While learning about the problems we
face in a number of places I've seen a strong parallel between
where we are now (2012) and the U.S.S.R. in the 1960s.
the news media being a propaganda machine for the government
("Fox News" is an infomercial paid for by the Republicans, CNBC
is the Wall St. propaganda outlet)
Act 0f 1948, Foreign Relations Authorization Act
in 1987) prohibited using foreign propaganda in the U.S.
BuzzFeed May 18, 2012: Congressmen
Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban
Privatization today working as inefficiently as Russian
factories and for the same reasons that depend on the details of
the 1% being very well off while the 99% suffers,
way more people in prison than belong there
a business can not fail in socialism because government and
business are the same thing (Too Big to Fail)
repression of the people because they disrupt
Congress: what you see on any day is a show for the public and
all the important stuff happens behind closed doors.
Justice is decided based on political positions rather than
the merits of the case
there's more and I'll come back to this and fill in.
I'm running for the House of Representatives mainly as a public
service to let people know about the major problems we face and
point out that there's hope if the voters will stop doing the
wrong thing, that's to say don't vote for any Democrat or
Democrats the same as Republicans on the big
Feb 2013 - Reading "The Parties versus
the People" by Mickey Edwards, ISBN: 978-0-300-18456-3 as part of
the description of the problem he has a quote from Gilbert &
Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore:
"always voted at my party's call,
and never thought of thinking for myself at all."
This is by far the biggest problem where the voters have
the power to make a real change.
Expecting a Republican candidate to do
a bad thing because it was a campaign promise is like expecting a
Democrat to do a good thing because it was a campaign
promise. Neither will happen. They will both do what
the money and their party tells them to do.
Rita Mae Brown in her book Sudden
Death on Pg. 68 from 1983.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but
expecting different results."
The Democrats and Republicans have
the same position about war, the economy, health care, justice,
environment . . . . Obama is a good case
In the 2012 2nd district Congressional race there are a number of
Democrats saying things that the people want to hear, and they may
even believe it themselves, but once in office they must follow
their party line. Even if they got elected without much or
any help from their party, if they don't follow the party line
they will be replaced by their party at the next election.
Those candidates who have accumulated many times the salary of a
Congressman are trying to be a career politician and want to be
reelected over and over so will follow their party line even if
that means NOT following what they said in the campaign.
It's clear the people want single payer health care (and it's the
only viable solution), yet the two front running Democrats are
already saying they will support Obama Care rather than saying
they will support Single Payer Health Care. Many of the
candidates say they will support Democrat or Republican Values and
then mention Right to Choose or Gay Rights, i.e. their only
"values" are these issues. But as the two front runners have
demonstrated they have no values when it comes to the big issues,
they are good party members and will follow the party line.
This reminds me of the U.S.S.R in the 1960s.
The two parties vote on party lines, not because of PAC or
SuperPAC money, but because of the higher dollar value support
they get from their respective national committees. This
shows up in Congressional votes that block bills and nothing gets
Note that virtually all the money spent lobbying goes to the
campaign committee for that Congressman, it does not go into his
or her personal pocket. The money is then used for TV spots,
mailings, yard signs, etc. for the next election. This means
it will take a real grass roots movement (not the astro turf tea
party) to make a real change.
For an independent to make a change it's not necessary to have a
majority. Instead only a few votes are required to give a
whole new complexion to Congress. A very small number of
independent votes can make all the difference in getting a bill
passed or blocked. This forces both parties to come up with
good bills and court the independent votes.
Constructing Public Opinion: How
Politicians and the Media Misrepresent the Public a
documentary by Media Education Fund (6 min YouTube,
format full length preview)
based on the book: Constructing
Public Opinion: How Political Elites Do What They Like and Why
We Seem to go Along With It by Justin Lewis (2001)
Maddow - Goofy gun conspiracy surfaces in Congressional
21 May 2012 - there seems to be a rash of "Values" press
releases. For example: Obama coming out for Gay
marriage. This is an example of the Democrats and
Republicans making an issue of the one thing they differ on.
The media is lapping it up and NOT reporting on how the agree on:
the defense budget, the economy, health care, the environment,
China and the One Party System
This TED Talk clearly shows that the idea of all countries
moving to a democratic from of government is false. What
the U.S. and much of the world needs to be doing is fixing our
Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems
Laws are the Cause of Many Problems
Many of the problems that we have were
caused by politicians in the sense that they authored laws now on
the books that were a mistake.
See the authoritarian section for Prison
and Teen Pregnancy.
Since 2008 there has been no
improvement and in fact it's getting worse. Obama's JOBS Act
of 2012 (the Wall St. boiler room full employment act) and the
good parts of Dodd-Frank have not been implemented on schedule.
There's talk of new laws to further gut Glass-Steagall and
counteract the good parts of Dodd-Frank.
All lawmakers are human and therefore
make mistakes in the form of bad laws. It's not that they
set out to make bad laws.
But, there's no provision to get the bad laws off the books.
A very few laws have expiration dates.
Good Laws that worked
Act of 1927 (Wiki) -
"specifically prohibited interstate branching by allowing each
national bank to branch only within the state in which it is
acts of 1932 (Wiki)
and 1933 (Wiki).
1929 the stock market crashed and the great depression
followed. The latter was aimed at controlling the run away
banking system. But starting in 1980 Congress passed a
number of laws that removed the restrictions of Glass-Steagall
and those have lead directly to the financial mess we now are
**** Ask your congress person what they are doing to get this
back on the books, so far (March 2014) mine has not answered
Pecora investigation (Wiki)
- Congressional investigation into the causes of the great
depression that lead to many of the good laws below.
Something NOT done after the current crash.
Public Holding Company Act of 1935 (Wiki)
Wheeler-Rayburn Act - was to keep utility holding
companies that were engaged in regulated businesses from
engaging in unregulated businesses (repealed by the 2005
Holding Company Act of 1956 (Wiki)
- "specified that the Federal Reserve
Board of Governors must approve the establishment of a
bank holding company, and prohibited bank holding companies
headquartered in one state from acquiring a bank in another
Antitrust Act of 1890 (Wiki)
- "... prohibits certain business activities that reduce
competition in the marketplace..."
College v. Amory 1830 (Wiki)
- defines the prudent man - "people in charge of
other people's money must exercise due care and skill, and look
after the money as if it were their own"
Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (Wiki)
- was violated on a grand scale post 9/11 - then immunity was
granted after the fact
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Wiki)
- this is an example of a well meaning government making laws
with unintended consequences. The final version was No
Child Left Behind (Wiki)
- both of these resulted in the schools "teaching the test" (Wiki)
and turning out students that could not think or reason. Common
is the latest version of "teaching the test". also see: Surely
you're joking Mr. Feynman! page 211 "In regard
to education in Brazil. . . . ." "the students had
memorized everything but they didn't know what anything meant."
1975 Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (Wiki)
- When the Studebaker Corp. (Wiki) went
out of business it was discovered that the union had "lost" four
million dollars in employee benefit funds, so ERISA was written
into federal law requiring care in handling of the funds.
The unintended problem is caused by there being no provision in
the law to treat the employees fairly. So the fund
managers abuse the employees and they can not sue in local
courts, but must sue in a federal court which really means that
they have no recourse.
Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act 1980
- removed interest rate caps
Staggers Rail Act of 1980 (Wiki)
deregulated the railroads and allowed secret deals to stifle
competition. See the book The Fine Print by
David Cay Johnston
Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981
"Kemp-Roth Tax Cut" - the Reagan "tax cuts"
Surface Transportation Board (Wiki
STB) one of it's first rulings after being founded in 1996 was
the "Bottleneck" rule which says that if any part of a rail
route is a monopoly they can charge the monopoly rate for the
whole route. Court
case cites Staggers Rail Act (PS the STB has a revolving
door relationship with the railroads, i.e. the railroads control
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994
- allows woo-woo products that have no proven objective value
Act of 1996 (Wiki)
- spurred on Mergers, takeovers and
acquisitions consolidating the media into a few hands
1998 National Center for Complementary
and Alternative Medicine (Wiki: NCCAM)
- Woo-woo organization that has spent $20 Billion and has not
one positive result.
Act aka Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (Wiki)
- started "too big to fail" and removed the separation between
investment and commercial banks (repealed Glass-Steagall).
$300 million was spent lobbying congress for this. The
merger of Citibank & Travelers Insurance was a crime that
was put on the sidelines while GLB was passed to allow it to be
S900 Vote: Senate
(Boxer & Feinstein:No), House
(Thompson: FOR, Woolsey: No)
Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000
- source of the Enron Loophole (Wiki)
and enabled "credit default swaps", turned the commodity
market into a gambling den (& prohibited states using
their gambling laws to regulate it) where the price of food
and oil among other things is now the result of banks gambling
rather than supply and demand.
FCC Cable Modem Declaratory Ruling of 2002 (FCC
02-77). Poor decision by FCC removing cable delivery of
internet from Communications Act of 1934 Title II regulation.
Sarbanes–Oxley Act (2002) (Wiki)
- is an attempt to outlaw cooking the books like in the case
of Enron, but it uses the SEC as it's enforcement agent and we've already seen that the SEC works to
prevent Wall St. from going to prison, not bringing charges
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Wiki)
- a huge tax gift to utility companies see: The Fine Print
by David Cay Johnston
FCC Wireline Broadband Order of 2005. Poor
decision by FCC removing telephone (DSL) internet delivery
from Communications Act of 1934 Title II regulation.
Protect America Act of 2007 (Wiki)
- removed the warrant requirement for government
surveillance of foreign intelligence targets "reasonably
believed" to be outside of the United States. FISA
Amendments Act of 2008 reauthorized many provisions of the
Protect America Act in Title VII of FISA. This violates the
Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010 (Wiki)
does not come close to restoring the checks and balances
needed. In fact Title IX, Subtitle B, Section 929 (Wiki)
repeals the Freedom Of Information Act reporting requirement
from the SEC allowing them to hide information to prevent
prosecuting Wall Street criminals. It's part of the Obama
'Opaque" government plan. Note that the SEC already is
working to protect (not regulate) Wall Street because of
Regulatory Capture (Wiki).
Prudent Investor Act (Wiki)
- repeals the prudent man idea - passed on a state by state
McCarran–Ferguson Act of of 1945 (Wiki)
- "...exempts the business of insurance from most
federal regulation, including federal anti-trust
laws..." The Sherman Antitrust Act does NOT apply to
insurance companies. There's nothing in Obama Care to
change this, yet Obama Care is based on mandating that the
insurance companies run the program.
1980 15 USC § 46 - Additional powers of Commission (cornell.edu)
- "Nothing in this section (other than the provisions of clause
(c) and clause (d)) shall apply to the business of insurance,
except that the Commission shall have authority to conduct
studies and prepare reports relating to the business of
insurance. The Commission may exercise such authority only upon
receiving a request which is agreed to by a majority of the
members of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation of the Senate or the Committee on Energy and
Commerce of the House of Representatives. The authority to
conduct any such study shall expire at the end of the Congress
during which the request for such study was made. "
another example of regulatory capture (Wiki).
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
Care) (Wiki) - Leahy
and Conyers tried to tack on a provision that would make it
illegal for health or medical malpractice insurers to fix
prices, rig bids for contracts, or divide up markets among
themselves, but this provision was removed. (PBS: Obama's
No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (Wiki)
- teachers need to game the system and teach the test rather
than teaching subjects.
Three Strikes Laws (by each state) (Wiki)
- If you have a couple of criminal convictions and live in a 3
Strikes state (Wiki)
you should move to a state that does not have the draconian
law. That's because if you are convicted of spitting on
the sidewalk you'll go to prison for a very long time.
Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and
Modernization Act of 2003 (Wiki)
- prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices. Came
to a vote at 3 am 22 Nov while some congressmen were on
Thanksgiving break. This is one reason the U.S. has the
highest prices for drugs in the world.
Defense of Marriage Act (Wiki: DOMA) - Article
4 of the U.S. Constitution leaves all things not specifically
granted to the federal government to the states.
Marriage is one of those things that's solely a states right.
HR3396 Vote: House,
Protect America Act of 2007 (Wiki)
- allows for warrantless wiretapping in the U.S. - debasing
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 &
violating the constitution.
The thing that's allowed this to work
is that the people who enforce the law have quit enforcing against
the top 1%. Regulatory capture (Wiki)
means that the agencies who are tasked to regulate are now working
to protect the industry from criminal prosecution.
2014 - Eric Holder worked to NOT
criminally prosecute any of his Wall St. cronies while the local
police put people in prison at an all time high rate.
See the book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the
Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi
Bill Moyers Journal - William K. Black - Video
(William K. Black TEDx talk)
The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate
Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry by
William K. Black
If the president and members of Congress take an oath to uphold
the U.S. Constitution and they do things that are clearly in
violation like is now happening then can they be impeached for
failing to uphold their oath?
Over the past 30 years the
Constitution has been subverted and is no longer operational on
many levels. This is the number one thing that needs to be
fixed. Without it all the rest will be meaningless. I
think a Constitutional amendment is needed to get away from the
corruption that Lawrence Lessig talks about (see his talk: Congress), although there a chance that
election finance reform can be done on a state by state
basis. A possible answer is if many states enact election
finance reform that limits campaign contributions so that they can
only come from voters registered to vote for them and with a
dollar limit on each of those. That would eliminate
contributions for people who were not voters, i.e. eliminate a
dependency that is not to the people who vote.
- Michael Huemer - The Irrationality of Politics
Office of the President
The Office of the President has much more power than the
Constitution allows. In some cases this has happened by
presidential directive and in others (like war powers) was given
away by the Congress. The Department of Justice (Wiki: DOJ)
has become a branch of the White House (index0811.html#SEC) and no longer
enforces the law.
The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (Wiki)
is just the latest example of the office of the president taking
on powers that are in violation of the Constitution and
Wiki: Hedges v. Obama - Challenge to
the NDDA - YouTube
interview with Chris Hedges - repeals the protection of the
Posse Comitatus Act (Wiki)
Mark Foire (00:01:36)
Mark Foire (00:01:44)
Restrain Yourself by Mark Foire (2:31)
United States of
John Roberts by Mark Foire (1:39)
The Supreme Court (Wiki)
has lost sight of fairness and needs to be over-ruled by
Congress. Note the U.S. Constitution (Wiki)
defines the powers of the federal government: Congress (A1), the
President (A2), the Courts (A3) and all powers not so defined are
left to the States (A4).
United vs. Federal Election Commission558 U.S. 08-205
the court ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the
government from restricting political expenditures by
corporations and unions. The idea of corporate personhood
In Santa Clara County v. Southern
- Thom Hartman has pointed out that the ruling had nothing to do
with corporate personhood, that was an idea wrongfully put into
the case summary by a clerk. Note the actual decision was
OK, it's just that the wrong summation has become the basis of
the current law. Thom claims it's also the reason that the
supreme court threw out the Kasky v. Nike, Inc. (Wiki)
case because they knew that the case would reopen the meaning of
Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific
Railroad. Corporations can not be sued for torture and “extrajudicial
killing” (can you say assassination?) that's just for people
Mohamad, et al., v. Palestinian Authority, et al. (docket
11-88) Bowoto, et al., v. Chevron Corp., et al. [docket
10-1536] Kiobel, et al., v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, et al.
analysis: Anti-torture law given narrow scope (UPDATED)
I guess that means Blackwater (Wiki)
mercenaries are individually responsible but not their employer. Young Turks - Witchcraft More Popular
Than Citizens United-
Voter Photo ID
In Crawford v. Marion County
Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008) (Wiki)
the supreme court upheld a 2005 Indiana law requiring all voters
casting a ballot in person to present a United States or Indiana
photo ID. Note the U.S. Constitution does not
contain a "right to vote" clause.
Equal Protection Clause
In Bush vs. Gore 531 U.S. 98 (2000) (Wiki) the
Court ruled that the Florida Supreme
Court's method for recounting ballots was a violation
of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Wiki).
The Commerce Clause (Wiki)
of the U.S. Constitution (A1, S8, C3) reads:
[The Congress shall have
Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among
the several States, and with the Indian tribes;
Commerce means trade, not manufacturing,
retail sales etc. and only commerce (trade) between foreign
nations and the U.S. or between states or between states and
v. Ogden 22 U.S. 1 (1824) (Wiki)
- The court (I think unfairly) concluded that
Congressional power over commerce should extend to all aspects
that "significantly affected" interstate commerce. This
opened the door to more abuse of the Constitution.
In Wickard v. Filburn317 U.S. 111 (1942) (Wiki)
- Mr. Filburn was growing wheat on his own land for
consumption by his farm animals, none of it was sold
anywhere. The court ruled that the Agricultural Adjustment
Act of 1938 (a United States federal
law of the New
Deal era which restricted agricultural production by
paying farmers subsidies not to plant part of their land)
applied to him using the commerce clause as the basis of the
decision. That's to say it would force him to buy some of the
wheat he needed. In my opinion this was a huge mistake and
should be repealed.
In United States v. Lopez514 U.S.549
- The court ruled that the federal Gun-Free
School Zones Act of 1990 (Wiki),
part of the Crime Control Act of 1990 (Wiki),
was unconstitutional based on the commerce clause. I think
this was the correct decision but is not consistent with Wickard v. Filburn.
In Gonzales v.
Raich545 U.S. 1 (2005) (Wiki)
- Raich grew and consumed
California legal marijuana in her home. The court ruled
that, based on the commerce clause, she was guilty of a
violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (Wiki).
I think this was a wrong decision, there was no interstate
commerce and this is a states right.
There have been a few Individual Mandates (Wiki)
by the U.S. government.
The first was the Militia Acts of 1792 (Wiki)
would have required every "free able-bodied white male citizen"
between the ages of 18 and 45, with a few occupational
exceptions, to "provide himself" a weapon and ammunition.
It was not legally tested in the courts.
The second is contained in the mandate to pay income tax which
was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1895
because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the
population of each state. Income tax became legal after
passage of the 16th amendment to the Constitution (Wiki)
The Senate where the members serve six year terms.
There are two Senators from each state. The idea is to
give each state an equal vote at the federal level. An
interesting observation is that whenever I have contacted my
Senators neither of them ever responded, except a recent
answer from D. Feinstien saying she backed giving the NSA more
power to spy on U.S. citizens. Although she's clearly in
the pocket of the people feeding her money, at least she is
now aware that she can't continue to totally ignore those who
can vote her out of office.
The House of Representatives was supposed to have one member
for each 30,000 people, but when it grew to 435 members the
Constitution was changed locking the number at 435.
Note: If the population of the U.S. is about 300 million
then we should have 10,000 Representative. But as it is
each Representative has about 700,000 voters in their
district. There's no way that they can represent such a
large group of people. Note: Every 10 years when a
new census comes out the 435 districts get redrawn. In
most states this is a chance for that state's legislature to
the boundaries so that the political party in power will get
the most votes.
@Google: Lawrence Lessig: Republic, Lost: How
Money Corrupts Congress
The Sequester starts today Monday 7 Oct 2013. Here's a SNL
skit about how the House Republicans are blackmailing the
country to defund Obamacare. We Did Stop -
Congress today looks like the 1960s Soviet Politburo in
the sense that what you see on any day is a show for the
public and all the important stuff happens behind closed
We have become a "Banana Republic". That's to say we
have a two-tier justice system. The 1% are immune from
prosecution while the 99% are over prosecuted. For
more on this critical problem read the book "With Liberty
and Justice for Some" (2011) by Glenn Greenwald. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/10/26/glenn_greenwald_on_two_tiered_us When I went to college in California there was no
tuition. The idea was that the state would fund
education from property taxes. In the 1960s there were
more advanced college degrees in Silicon valley than
anywhere else in the World and that may be the key reason
for so many high technology start-up companies there.
Around 2004 spending on prisons passed education and now the
university system is being privatized, i.e. California is
funding less than half the tuition.
In the movie The Reagans (IMDB)
based on the book "First Ladies Volume II". During his
campaign for governor of California some Berkeley students
threw an apple (?) at him and in retaliation Reagan
dismantled the state support for the UC system, stopping the
free higher education in California. UC
Berkeley News "Kerr was fired three weeks after Reagan
took office. . . . . he wanted to set a political standard
for appointing faculty members. " It was Clark Kerr
and Pat Brown who instituted the free higher education
policy in California. It was a policy that was very
profitable to California.
Politicians now spend all their time raising money.
That's to say they are not spending the time they should on
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (Wiki)
and the National Republican Congressional
will spend millions of dollars to help their candidates get
elected by producing and paying for air time, phone calls,
mailers, signs, etc. Much of what they do is negative ads
for the primary elections to bounce candidates they
oppose. So they have the power to say who is going to
be on the November ballot.
The Patriot Act (Wiki: PA,draft
and presidential directives (Wiki)
have taken away a good part of the Bill of Rights and this
MUST be repealed.
the U.S. spies on
everyone and collects their data into a massive data
base. The Forth Amendment is gone.
"The right of the people to be secure n their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by the oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be
If ignoring this amendment is going to be official
policy then at the Constitutional Convention we
should remove it, or better, leave it in and start
to obey it.
Subsides: Agricultural 32% of
the payments go to farms with sales of $500,000 or more (2003
DoAEB6). Since the annual subside is
$8,000,000,000 (8 Billion) that 32% is 2,560,000,000 or a
little over 2.5 Billion going to farms with profits of more
than $ 50,000 per year. Oil March 30, 2012
U.S. Senate Votes to Continue Oil Subsidies
California "Top Two" primary
The Top Two primary system that started with the June 2012
primary has the effect of eliminating third party (i.e. all
except Democrats and Republications) from being on the
November ballot. In the presidential race there's
provision for a voter to write in the name of anyone for
president, BUT there's no provision to do that for House or
The people who vote in the primary are at the
extremes of their parties, i.e. they do not represent the
main stream voters. So the extremists pick the
candidates who will run in the November general election.
We should just get rid of the primary elections, their main
function is to eliminate candidates that are good for the
people and put in candidates that big money wants.
This is a KEY point, i.e. Citizens United was passed by the
Supremes because the voters do get a chance in the November
election. If the primary election is removed that
invalidates Citizens United.
Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Ethics. Campaign finance (Wiki),
revolving door (Wiki),
Freedom of Information Act (Wiki),
whistle blower treatment (Wiki),
regulatory committee capture (Wiki),
PACs (Wiki: PAC,
PAC)), Presidential Signing Statements (Wiki,
Item Veto), Congressional Insider Trading (Wiki)
the list goes on . . .
An example of the Revolving door is that case of John
Michael McConnell (Wiki)
G.W. Bush DNI
2007-2009. At both Booz-Allen and the defense
department he oversaw outsourcing pretty much all the
government functions he could. The
spy who came in from the boardroom: Why John Michael
McConnell, a top executive at a private defense contractor,
should not be allowed to run our nation's intelligence
agencies. By Tim Shorrock
I have not accepted any PAC or Super PAC money and will
not in the future.
I'm running a ZERO MONEY campaign where if you support my
ideas you tell your friends, in person, via email, and/or
social media like facebook and ask them to tell their
friends. That's to say true grass roots support.
Note you can tell you friends that are outside the new 2nd
district in the hope that they have friends inside the 2nd
Any candidate who says they will not accept PAC money and
who is running as a Democrat or Republican is being
hypocritical because they are going to get a lot of money or
the equivalent in support of their campaign. Then they are
in a position where voting against their party may cost them
an election. This is currently a big problem in
Congress. That's why all the votes in Congress are
along party lines.
Bob Altemeyer has spent a number of decades refining his measure
of authoritarian behavior and it's now a very valid
indicator. Instead of using a book publisher he has chosen
to make his book "The Authoritarians" a free on line pdf
Conservatives Without Conscience, ISBN-13:
978-0670037742, 2006, by John Dean is where I learned about
Authoritarian behavior along with the Milgram Experiment (Wiki)
(see below). Milgram has shown that
some people will do the bidding of an authoritarian figure, even
to the point of killing someone else. His experiment has
been repeated many times with a number of variables and the
result is confirmed. The point is that it's not good for
society to blindly follow authority figures.
Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party,
ISBN-10: 1568584172, 2010, by Max Blumenthal http://maxblumenthal.com/
- much of the analysis is based on the idea of authoritarian
behavior. It's interesting that Max uses Erich Fromm (Wiki)
instead of Bob Altemeyer as his authoritarian expert although he
uses Bob's phrasing.
Fromm's books that are referenced in Gomorrah: Escape
From Freedom (US), or The Fear of Freedom (UK) (Wiki)
"Fromm characterizes the
authoritarian personality as containing a sadist element and a
masochist element. The authoritarian wishes to gain control
over other people in a bid to impose some kind of order on the
world, they also wish to submit to the control of some
superior force which may come in the guise of a person or an
Anatomy of Human Destructiveness(1973) ISBN 978-0805016048
"Fromm detected a profound link
between necrophilious (Wiki)
character traits and right-wing ideology."
"In all of the samples, we found
that anti-life tendencies were significantly correlated to
political positions that supported increased military power
and favored repression against dissenters."
"Fromm identified necrophilious characters as among the most
dangerous members of any society. 'They are the haters,
the racists, those in favor of war, bloodshed and
destruction,' he wrote. 'They are dangerous not only if
they are political leaders, but also as the potential cohorts
for a dictatorial leader. They become the executioners,
terrorists, torturers; without them no terror system could be
set up. But the less intense necrophiles are also
politically important; while they may not be among its first
adherents, they are necessary for the existence of a terror
regime because they form a solid basis, although not
necessarily a majority, for it to gain power."
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most
Powerful Mercenary Armyby Jeremy Scahill - it's very clear
that there is a strong link between Christianity and the
In the bonus features for the movie Green Zone it's also
very clear that soldiers in a squad will do WHATEVER they are
ordered to do when they have respect for their commander.
Sword: The Church and the Jews by James Carroll 2001
- it's clear that the New Testament was written to be
different than the Old Testament and the it's built-in hatred
of Jews lead directly to the Holocaust
Also that the battle sword became the symbol of Christianity
because of Constantine's victory at Rome.
In the TED Talk How
economic inequality harms societies: Richard Wilkinson
says that income inequality is the cause of many social
problems, but I say that authoritarianism has a stronger
correlation to those problems by up to a factor of two.
Here's some data I collected based on fifty U.S. states ranked
by percent of population that was Evangelical Christian (as a
proxy for authoritarianism). Income inequality is an
available parameter for each state. R*R is a measure of
the statistical fit of a straight line to the data.
Some of these correlations are mentioned in the book Republican Gomorrah.
Correlation based on Authoritarianism is better than
Income Inequality for: Life Expectancy, Obesity, Infant
Mortality, Hi School Grad, Teen Birth Rate and Prisoners.
Correlation based on Income Inequality is better than
Authoritarianism for: Murder, Abortion, Suicide and Army
There does not appear to be a correlation preference for:
Unemployment, Economic Growth or Rape.
There is nothing in any of his or my data the goes to
causality. It may be that some states have a lot of
problems and that drives their population to be Evangelical.
Or it may be that people who are Evangelical make poor decisions
that lead to social problems.
Hi School Grad
Teen Birth Rate
The UN's Human Development Index (UN, Wiki)
- shows similar data but based on countries instead of states.
These are not only examples of authoritarian behavior but
also of how current problems are caused by the actions of
politicians where the Democrats and Republicans agree on the
The U.S. has more people in prison that any other country in the
This is a result of the authoritarian mind set of the law makers
when there was a "crime wave" in the 1980s and 1990s (Wiki).
As a result about half the people in prison are there for
victimless crimes and need to be released and also have their
rights restored. The "Tough On Crime" laws, like Three
need to be repealed. The War on Drugs (Wiki)
needs to be stopped both because it's wrong and because, like
all wars, it's expensive.
YouTube - Stanford
IMDB - The
Spins Around the Sun (IMDB, NetFlix)
- Randy Credico & his work on prison reform
In the book My Life with Lifers (2012) Elaine Leeder makes that case the the majority
of lifers have reformed themselves in spite of the prison
system and no longer belong behind bars. So it's not
just the pot laws that need reform, it's much bigger than
Brooke on Prison
Law & Disorder by Mark Foire
The Mean World Syndrome
by Media Education Foundation
The U.S. is No. 1 of the industrial countries in teen
Joycelyn Elders (Wiki)
was the U.S. Surgeon General while Democrat Bill Clinton was
president and fired for honestly answering a question about
masturbation. At that time (and still in 2014) the
official U.S. policy was that teenagers should abstain from
sex. The Republican position on anything sex related is
from the dark ages. And even today under Obama the
surgeon general advice dances around contraception in
"The Nordic countries and the
Netherlands have the lowest rates of relative child poverty,
at around seven per cent. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and
the United Kingdom have rates of between 10 and 15 per cent,
while more than 20 per cent of children in Romania and the
United States live in relative poverty"
Making Sex Normal: Debby
Herbenick at TEDxBloomington
In the talk starting at 05:38 are U.S. maps showing Gonorrhea
and HIV. Notice that the authoritarian states have a
much higher infection rate than other states.
End War in all it's forms
Where do the other candidates
stand on the Defense (war) budget and foreign military
bases? This is the No. 1 expense of the U.S. and is taking
money away from other uses.
Dying To Win: The Strategic
Logic of Suicide Terrorism 2005 by Robert A. Pape - He
makes a good case that suicide terrorists have a strategic goal
of getting an invading army to withdraw. The invading army
is from a democracy (there is no point in trying to change the
mind of a dictator) and the terrorists have a religion that's
different from the invading military. It's very clear that
the religion of the terrorists is a secondary factor. The
primary factor is that they are being invaded.
This means our foreign policy is wrong on many counts,
especially stationing U.S. troops in non Christian
countries. Much better to get them all out ASAP.
for Economics and Peace (Wiki)
- 2012 Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks the U.S. at 88
out of 158 countries. The
Economic Consequences of War on US Economy.pdf - "The
higher levels of government spending associated with war tends
to generate some positive economic benefits in the short-term,
specifically through increases in economic growth occurring
during conflict spending booms. However, negative unintended
consequences occur either concurrently with the war or develop
as residual effects afterwards thereby harming the economy over
the longer term.
The U.S. is the world's imperialist war monger. We must
remove all ability of the President to declare war. The
Constitution says it's the job of Congress to declare war.
If we are really attacked AND the enemy is really known, I think
Congress will act.
Johnson lied to the people and Congress to start the
Vietnam War. (The second attack, which started the war,
never occurred Wiki: Gulf
Obama as has involved the U.S. in the war in Syria without
legal justification (Wiki).
There are Congressmen promoting a war on Iran.
The 700-plus foreign military bases need to be closed. Not
only is what we're doing ugly, but it's also extremely
expensive. We simply can not afford it. Dismantling the
Empire: America's Last Best Hope (American Empire Project)by Chalmers A. Johnson (2010) The Book Rogue State: A Guide
to the World's Only Superpower by William Blum (2005)
explains the current U.S. situation. TED: Regina Dugan:
From mach-20 glider to humming bird drone - why
spend all this money on what will become a faster Predator drone
instead of doing some good?
Biometric identification and tracking, Due process, Executive power, Freedom of speech and dissent, Government secrecy, Immigration, enforcement, Infiltration of First Amendment-protected groups,
Militarization of local police, Military detention, Privacy, Racial profiling, Torture, Second Amendment, Surveillance and intelligence collection
In California there are FasTrak
towers along the 101 freeway to monitor cars (not for charging
tolls) and in areas where there are no FasTrak towers they
have license plate readers. This all goes into a data
base so when asked someone can find out where you drive.
Combine that with every use of a credit or charge card, or
photo posted to a web page (the EXIF data on the photo often
have location data and face recognition puts a name, date,
time and location together) and you have a location data base
for everyone in the world.
Heart and Mind-O-Matic by Mark Foire
Thingamajigby Mark Foire
War on Terror
Note: Whether you call someone a terrorist or a freedom
fighter depends on which side you are on. I think that all
those the past two administrations have called terrorists are
being called freedom fighters in their country. So a war
on terrorism makes no sense. That's to say they are
attacking us because of something we are doing that they can't
stand. Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only
Superpower by William Blum (2000 & 2005) Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of
Suicide Terrorism by Robert Pape (2005) The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to
9/11 by Robin Wright (2006)
Has been a very expensive failure in many ways and needs to be
The Wiki web page looks at the cost to tax payers and only uses
two economic factors: law enforcement savings ($ 44 Billion) and
tax revenues ($33 Billion). But the U.S. annual spending
on prisons is $ 60 Billion. If half the prison population
is there because of victimless drug related crimes there's a
savings of about $ 30 Billion. It's not clear of the wiki
number for law enforcement includes the prison savings. I
think it's just the enforcement aspect of the War of Drugs.
"Australia and Switzerland were
two countries which introduced harm reduction very early on in
their HIV epidemics, and they have a very low rate of HIV
among injecting drug users. The U.S. and Malaysia came to harm
reduction a little later, and they have higher rates of HIV in
these populations. Thailand and Russia, however, have resisted
harm reduction and have stringent laws which punish drug use.
And hey, surprise surprise, have very high rates of HIV among
people who are injecting drugs."
Our misguided war on drugs is surely an important
factor where gangs are concerned. This is another vicious
circle: Like Prohibition before it, the war on drugs renders
the sale of illicit drugs extraordinarily profitable while
requiring that drug dealers function outside the law,
protecting their investment and turf with guns. If we ended
our war on drugs, the money that finances most gang activity
would disappear, as would one of the primary reasons for gang
violence. No doubt, gangs would remain. But with the war on
drugs abandoned, our police, courts, and departments of
corrections could focus on the real problem of violent crime.
12 June 2014 - Time magazine cover Eat
Butter: Scientists labeled fat the enemy. They were
wrong by Bryan Walsh
Time's video: Ending the war
on fat- the science is sound, but the politicians don't
get it and are still promoting sickness.
Wiki defines a terrorist as people who commit "violent acts
which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for
a religious, political or, ideological goal; and deliberately
target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians)."
Notice that there's no focus in this definition, that's to say
if the attack was motivated by religion then the attacks would
be everywhere in the world where that difference existed.
If people in a country feed they are under attack by another
country then they will focus their efforts at that
country. I think that's what happened on 9/11.
The 9/11 hijackers (Wiki)
were all affiliated with al-Qaeda (Wiki) one of
it's founders was Osama bin Laden (Wiki)
and he explained why they attacked (Wiki).
This explanation does not involve terrorism (even though Wiki
says it was a terrorist act). From the point of view of
those who planned and executed the attack thought they were
defending their way of life from attacks by the U.S. in the form
of sanctions against Iraq (Wiki),
U.S. military in Saudi Arabia (Wiki)
and by Support of Israel by
the United States (Wiki).
This is a witch hunt that needs to be ended. In the book Dying to
Win: the Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Robert
Pape (2005) the case is made that they were trying to get a
foreign military out of their religious region. And that
the religion of the invading military was different from that of
the region and that the military came from a a democracy.
Convention of 1907 (Wiki) Geneva Protocol
of 1925 (Wiki)
Kellogg–Briand Pact of 1926 (Wiki) Nuremberg principles of 1950 (Wiki)
Things like jobs, the economy,
Global Warming and education can not be improved unless the
above issues are greatly reduced in importance. Part of
the benefit of addressing the above issues is that a huge amount
of money will become available for peaceful purposes.
Here's an example that demonstrates a number of the problems.
First that the Democrats and Republicans agree on the big
issues (see above), Justice in this case,
they don't what any part of it.
Presidential Pardons & Grants of Immunity & Cover
Ford pardons Nixon
for criminal activity (Wiki)
- Watergate Carter pardons G.
Gordon Liddy (wiki)
Reagan pardons George Steinbrenner (Wiki)
- Obstruction of Justice, Watergate G.H.W. Bush pardons: Elliott Abrams, Duane Clarridge, Clair George, Alan D. Fiers,
McFarlane, Caspar Weinberger - Iran-Contra,
Armand Hammer CEO of the
Occidental Petroleum Co. & many many others (Wiki)
Clinton pardons: Roger Clinton, Jr. - his
brother, Lewis Libby Watergate, Fife Symington III -
Republican Governor of Arizona, Susan McDougal - partners with
Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Henry Cisneros - Clinton's
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Mel Reynolds - Democratic member of the United
States House of Representatives, John Deutch - Director of
Central Intelligence, FALN - commuted the sentences of 16
members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that
set off 120 bombs in the United States G.W. Bush pardons: Lewis "Scooter" Libby -
Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff
to Dick Cheney related to Valerie Plame & gave
retroactive immunity to Verizon,
AT&T, and Qwest. "...the Bush White House had
converted the DOJ into it's own political group and was firing
honest prosecutors who refused to advance that agenda." (from
Greenwald's book With Liberty and Justice for Some page 196)
Obama gives immunity
to the telecom industry (Wiki).
He also has stopped foreign governments from prosecuting the
Bush43 administration for war crimes (see: Greenwald's book
With Liberty and Justice for Some starting at page 181
Philadelphia Daily News "The Day
That Barack Obama Lied to Me" by Will Bunch (1
"In its first months in
office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush
administration officials facing criminal investigation
overseas for their involvement in establishing policies
the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist
suspects. An April 17, 2009, cable
sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State
Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by
WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working
with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this
Barak Obama's Righteous Drone Strikes - "has carried out 5 times
as many drone strikes as Bush43...
Rather than send prisoners to Gitmo, he's taking the high road
by sending them to their maker."
NYT -"Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by
deciding...to take no prisoners alive."
Another way justice is thwarted is by means of Executive
United States v. Nixon (Wiki)--
about getting the Watergate tapes
Clinton tried to use it in the Lewinsky scandal but failed.
G.W. Bush used it on many occasions (Wiki)
The SEC used it Feb. 4, 2009 during the House Investigation of
why they failed to act when information about Bernard Madoff was presented (Wiki)
Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act CISPA
(Wiki) - this
proposal contains a grant of immunity from criminal prosecution
for the companies who provide private information. This is
in addition to throwing out the 4th amendment of the
"State Secrets" (Wiki) -
I believe there are a number of things that should be secret and
we have the National Security Agency (Wiki) who makes
and breaks secret codes. But I also think it's very wrong
for the government to hide behind the claim that something can
not be disclosed because it involves something related to a
state secret. The problem is that the government is
saying "trust us". And as the book Why Leaders
Lie: the Truth About Lying in International Politics by
John Mearsheimer it's common for leaders to lie to their own
people. Hiding behind the claim of a state secret started
with the supreme court case United States v. Reynolds
which led to the State secrets privilege
The proposed State Secrets Protection Act
would have made it harder for the government to hide what it
was doing, but it could not be passed in Congress.
The quality of education in the U.S. is very poor considering
that we spend more than any other country on it (in terms of
absolute dollars or in terms of dollars per student).
Our whole education system is geared to turn out factory workers
but almost all those jobs have moved to China.
When I went to Foothill Jr. College then transferred to San Jose
State there was no tuition (Wiki).
I only needed to pay for my books and lab fees. This was
part of the plan for California higher education. When I
was working in Silicon Valley there were more Masters and PhD
degrees there than anywhere else on the planet. Because of
that, there were (and still are) a lot of high technology start
up companies located there. So the state of California got
back much more than they invested in higher education.
When Ronald Reagan was running for Governor of California some
college students threw a vegetable at him in protest of his
ideas. In retaliation, when he became governor he fired
Clark Kerr (Wiki,
movie: The Reagans IMDB, book:
First Ladies Vol 2 Amazon)
and changed the funding system of the colleges in California to
make students pay, i.e. reversing the system the Brown and Kerr
had put in place. This has lead to the current situation
where the UC system is so expensive (UC: admissions,
does not include normal living expenses like food, clothes,
computer, gas, etc.) that even if you live here it's not
affordable to normal people.
This will have an impact on where high technology businesses
will locate, both in terms of California and the U.S. vs. other
Since the manufacturing jobs that depend on labor have been (or
will be) exported to countries with lower labor rates, it's even
more important to increase the level and quality of education in
The United Nations - Human Development Report
- Public Data
Explorer - the U.S. is spending about 5% of GDP on
education or about $750 Billion per year but the results are
very poor for the money. It's the same story as our
of countries by literacy rate - U.S. is No. 45
, 46, 47 a pretty poor showing. You can
say we're tied in 25th place with 22 other countries
if that makes you feel better.
PS I edit the page every now and them. When I first made
it (2012) the U.S. was 45th, but now (2014) we are 47th.
We've fallen a place each year.
The educational system of Finland (Wiki)
may be a better model of where we should be heading.
Note: compulsory education is through 9th grade (Wiki)
and admission to upper secondary school (17 & 18 year old)
is based on GPA (Wiki).
In Taiwan there are national tests and only some
percent of students can advance in public education (Wiki),
so only the very best students attend public high school.
This has the effect of weeding out students who are
troublemakers. In the U.S. the schools keep all
students, and the troublemakers pull down the rest.
In Denmark (Wiki)
"education is compulsory for children below the age of 15 or
16, even though it is not compulsory to attend"
Now reading: Education Myths: What Special-Interest
Groups Want You to Believe About our Schools - and why it
isn't so by Jay P. Greene
Promotes the idea of Charter Schools (Wiki)
- this privatization (Wiki,
U.S. cases all of which turned out badly) of the schools
is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
The U.S. is now suffering many of the problems of the U.S.S.R
in the 1960s. One of those is that the factories in the
U.S.S.R. were under contract to the government, but they did
stupid things, while in full compliance with their
contract. Whenever any business comes about by
privatization they have a capitalistic motive to make profit
by strictly following the contract but doing things that harm
society. So although it's possible to have a successful
privatization, it requires an iron tight contract and those
are as common as chicken's teeth.
It used to be that the U.S. Vocational Schools (Wiki)
were run by the state governments. This provided three
options for people leaving high school: college, vocational
school or no further education. But it seems most of the
state run vocational schools are gone, either because their
graduates could not find jobs or because they were replaced by
privatization in the form of businesses offering vocational
eduction who can get money from the federal government.
It turns out that some of these private schools falsified
their placement rates to defraud their investors, get money
from the U.S. government and to get more enrollment. In
order to have a viable vocational education system there needs
to be jobs for those who graduate, but that's a questionable
If we shrink class sizes and give schools the power to expel
difficult students then we also need to think about where the
expelled students end up.
22 May 2013 - Jared Huffman has his first telephone Town Hall
meeting. I was No. 6 to ask a question "What was he doing
to bring back Glass-Steagall?" but after over a dozen answers he
didn't get to my question. At the beginning he said he
would answer everyone's questions off line if not on line, but
as of 13 Oct 2014 he has not answered this one.
He also responded to a direct question where I was in disagreement
with the idea of taxing internet transactions. It turns he
is a sponsor of "H.R. 684, the Marketplace Fairness Act".
So here's the federal government making a law about sales tax that
will very substantially increase record keeping and customer
disclosure requirements. The idea that people will buy on
line instead of locally to save paying the sales tax ignores the
reality that the shipping costs are typically much higher than the
sales tax. The definition of a "small business" that's
exempt from the proposed law is sales below one million dollars,
but that's far different than the definition of a small business
in other branches of government where it's 20 or 30 million
dollars in annual sales.
Mercantilism (Wiki) was
the economic system from the 1500s to 1800s replaced by Adam
Smith's Capitalism. "Most of the European economists who
wrote between 1500 and 1750 are today generally considered
mercantilists." "In modern economic theory, trade is not
a zero-sum game of cutthroat competition because both sides can
The Wealth of Nations (Wiki)
laid out what's called classical economics including the concept
of the Invisible Hand (Wiki).
I think the Invisible Hand sort of worked in Adam Smith's time
(i.e. before the Industrial Revolution (Wiki)
and large corporations), if there was a retail mom and pop store
that was doing something underhanded you could easily open a
shop that was fair and be successful, but that no longer is the
case with large corporations.
There was a change in focus from the King's wealth to the
wealth of the population.
PS. I think neoclassical economics (Wiki)
is a waste of time because humans do not make good decisions
under negative conditions i.e. they do NOT act as rational
persons. There are a number of TED Talks on the topic of
how humans and chimps make the wrong choice when loss is
The idea that people are rational
in their decisions relating to money. It's not true on a
number of levels.
The book "How we Decide" by Jonah Lehrer goes into some depth
about how our mind works and it's not how most people think it
This means that the basis of most
economic theory is flawed.
Money based on debt
When a bank makes a loan they just make two entries in their
books. One puts the principal amount into your checking account
(as a liability) and the other puts the principal amount into
their collection of assets.
You borrow $100,000 for 30 years at 6%. The amount of
money created is $100,000.
But, you need to pay back close to $216,000.
This is a big problem because the money to pay back the interest
was NOT created. Where is it going to come from?
Capitalism- It's OK if Regulated but can
be so much more -> Capitalism 2.0
The year 1776 is notable for (1) the 4th of July
and (2) the publication of the
Wealth of Nations (Wiki)
by Adam Smith, the basis of Capitalism.Prior to this there was
Feudalism (Wiki).At the time products
were made by craftsmen one at a time, and there was no
manufacturing, electricity, plumbing, etc.A high technology
business was making cast iron cookware.So the philosophy of
doing what’s in your own self interest (greed) and an invisible hand (Wiki)
will guide you for the good of society might have worked then.But greed is no longer
working and we need to move on to a better idea.
Note: in the book Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline
(2012) Morris Berman makes the case that the United States was
founded on the idea of the swindle. He bases this on the
group of people who founded the U.S. being driven by the idea of
getting away with something. Note the founding fathers were
all: white men who owned slaves.
The Constitution was ratified over a dozen years after the
Declaration of Independence was signed and so our economic system
of greed and the "invisible hand" was built into it not only in
terms of the economic system but things like the legal system.
Stiglitz: Smith's "Invisible Hand" a Myth? (00:02:35)
90 years later in 1867 Carl Marx published Das Kapital (Wiki) and
said Capitalism could not work and socialism was the answer.The U.S.S.R. tried socialism and it failed
John F. Nash won the 1994 Nobel Prize in
economics for his theory of Governing
the movie A Beautiful Mind
the bar scene is an example of his two part idea that starts with
Adam Smith’s Capitalism and adds a second idea: “doing what is in the best
interest of the group”. http://www.end2partygovernment.com/2012Issues.html#ASvJN
<- the 3 minute bar scene
We need to move to Capitalism version 2.0.
Has built in the idea of a growing
economy and that's not sustainable. This needs to be
changed. YouTube - Money As
Debt-Full Length Documentary- the only item they
may have wrong is the idea that spending on infrastructure
promotes the economy. I think R&D on sustainable
projects would be a much better way for the government to spend
money. ContagionEx by by Mark
The Laffer Curve & Voodoo Economics
Nick Hanauer - TED Talk (pulled by TED) March Long Beach
Are the rich America's job creators?
Last Word, at YouTube1,
When Reagan cut the marginal tax rate G.W. Bush used terms like
"voodoo economics". The reason was that what Reagan said was
that by cutting the marginal tax rate the government would take in
more money. This is a counter intuitive idea, you would
think that raising the marginal tax rate would increase income and
the cutting it would lower government income. But that
simple thinking does not take into account what's called
elasticity of tax rates or the Laffer Curve (Wiki).
Prior to the Reagan tax cuts the
marginal tax rate was 70% (IRS: 1980
Marginal Tax Rates). What this means is that the IRS
takes 70 cents of the next dollar of income made. This
caused stupid behavior like buying tax losses (Wiki: Tax Shelter)
rather than trying to actually make more money.
The Laffer curve says that if the
effective tax rate is zero then the government will collect a very
small amount of money by means of charitable contributions.
If the effective tax rate is 100 percent then the government will
collect a very small amount of money from those who volunteer to
work for free. Somewhere between 0 and 100 percent there's
an optimal tax rate that will bring in the most money. If
the current effective tax rate is higher than the optimum rate
then lowering the tax rate will result in bringing in more
money. And that's where we were in 1980. So when the
marginal rate was lowered there was a huge influx of money. The
tax cut part of what Reagan did worked well. The thing he
did wrong was the massive increase in war spending. Instead
of a peace dividend (Wiki) we
got massive military expansion at a time when the U.S.S.R. had
Peace Through Strength). Some critics of tax cuts cite
the increased national debt when Reagan left office as proof of
it's failure, but that ignores the military spending.
Today (2012) we are at the other end of the Laffer curve, i.e.the
marginal tax rate is about 15% (Huffington Post: Marginal
Tax Rate Chart). So raising the marginal rate will
bring in a lot more money into the government.
Adam Smith vs. John Nash ->
Adam Smith (Wiki)
is commonly credited with formulating the idea of Capitalism or
free markets. He published The Wealth of Nations (Wiki)
in 1776 this is at the start of mass production and before the
problems caused by large corporations were known. Smith thought
that when everyone works for their own best interest an "invisible
hand" guides them to also do what's best for society. There
was no electric or phone service and plumbing was yet to come to
homes. All businesses were family run. Free market
"hands off" capitalism failed in the early 1900s with the advent
of big business and big banking. This led to government
regulation of business and banking.
After W.W. I Russia was in a very bad way economically, and
which allowed Lenin to stage the October Revolution (Wiki)
and install the Communist party in Russia which used the ideas of
Karl Marx for their economic system. This economic system
did not work and the U.S.S.R. fell apart in the late 1980s.
Capitalism can work when applied to a competitive market, for
example things sold in grocery and hardware stores. But it's
not so good when applied to monopolistic cases like utilities.
John Nash (Wiki)
won the Nobel prize for his idea that there are two factors that
determine the best outcome (1) what's best for the individual and
(2) what's best for the group he is in.
This has implications for both national and world wide economic
See the bar scene from A Beautiful Mind (a bio on Nash) for a
practical explanation of his idea.
Bar Scene from A Beautiful Mind:
Governing Dynamics by John F. Nash "Adam Smith was
This means that the Republican Party ideas about economics are
based on a false idea "free market capitalism" and a false idea
"voodoo economics" about tax cuts.
Using Nash's idea we will get the best outcome if we do what's
best for the Earth and what's best for us individually. It
may be a good idea to call this Nashism rather than keep using the
word Capitalism. This has a profound impact on economic
Brooke on Capitalism 2.0
Alexis de Tocqueville
in America) - “self-interest properly understood.”
looking out for the other guy isn’t just good for the soul—it’s
good for business.
"Tocqueville warned that "modern democracy may be adept at
inventing new forms of tyranny, because radical equality could
lead to the materialism of an expanding bourgeoisie and to the
selfishness of individualism. In such conditions "we lose interest
in the future of our descendents...and meekly allow ourselves to
be led in ignorance by a despotic force all the more powerful
because it does not resemble one."
Tocqueville worried that if despotism (Wiki) were to
take root in a modern democracy, it would be a much more dangerous
version than the oppression under the Roman emperors or tyrants of
the past who could only exert a pernicious influence on a small
group of people at a time. In contrast, a despotism under a
democracy could see "a multitude of men," uniformly alike, equal,
"constantly circling for petty pleasures," unaware of fellow
citizens, and subject to the will of a powerful state which
exerted an "immense protective power".
Tocqueville compared a potentially despotic democratic government
to a protective parent who wants to keep its citizens (children)
as "perpetual children," and which doesn't break men's wills but
rather guides it, and presides over people in the same way as a
shepherd looking after a "flock of timid animals."
It turns out that the Bush43 administration has put a poison pill
into the Postal Accountability Act of 2006 (Wiki)
This was part of a larger move to privatize everything.
In Eat the Rich by
the chapter on Russia during the cold war has information on how
poorly the factories worked. The description fits most cases
in the U.S. where a government monopoly is privtized. What
happens in both cases is that the business operates strictly to
the letter of their contract and they find loopholes that allow
them to optimize some other parameter (minimizing material
requirements for the USSR and maximizing profits for the U.S.).
of countries by number of broadband Internet subscriptions
- the U.S. is No. 27 (28%) when ranked by percent of the
population with broadband connections. Liechtenstein has 64%. This is an
area were the U.S. government could do a lot of good, like when
Eisenhower built the U.S. Interstate Highway system. Getting
a lot of our population connected by broadband internet would
greatly increase our ability to communicate not only with each
other but with the world. 2014 Google may be doing a lot to
increase internet connectivity, but it may be just a way to sell
advertizing space, i.e. they are doing it to make money.
The PBS Frontline "Obama's
Deal" goes into how he campaigned against the politicians
who made the Medicare Part D midnight deal to prevent the SSA
from negotiating prices of medicine, but when he wanted to pass
his Obama Care medical package made a deal with the big
pharmaceutical companies right after he made a deal with the
insurance companies to take single payer (Medicare for all) off
the bargaining table. His health plan was written by the
insurance and pharmaceutical companies. The big problem it
has is profiting from peoples medical problems and the
government forces everyone to pay those profits. It's way
too expensive and if implemented the costs will go up
Jan 2014 - So far there has been a lack of enrollment by young
people since they will be paying premiums that will be going to
benefits for older people. By April 2014 we'll know if the
system will require a massive federal subsidy to the insurance
companies. That's to say taxpayer money going to the
profits of the insurance business.
The PBS Frontline special Five
Capitalist Democracies & How They Do It (Watch
on line) looked at: United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan
and Switzerland. In no country was there any business
making profits on peoples first order medical problems and there
were no people going into bankruptcy because of medical
expenses. When private insurance companies were providing
medical insurance they were not allowed to make profits on that
I've personally seen the Taiwan system first hand and think
it's great. For many people it would make sense to buy a
round trip first class plane ticket, go to Taiwan (or other
county) and have the treatment done off shore and return to the
U.S. The savings will more than pay for the plane ticket
and expenses. For many procedures it makes sense to fly to
Canada or Mexico and pay their going rate which are a tiny
fraction of the U.S. rates for the same procedure.
An interesting fact is that Japan set the price for various
imaging procedures (spiral CAT, MRI, etc.) at a very low
level. Japan is one of the key sources of high technology
imaging equipment and the manufacturers developed newer lower
cost machines to comply with the government low cost
target. It turns out that my hospital has the spiral CAT
scanner that was developed because of the Japanese medical
system. So I'm seeing a benefit from their health care
system. The implication is that if the U.S. does a similar
thing a benefit may show up in other places in the world.
This is consistent with John Nash's Governing
Some of the products made in the
early 1900s are still serviceable today whereas products made
today to perform the same functions will only last a short
time. It's my understanding the car makers now use Mean
Time Between Failures (Wiki: MTBF) as a design
parameter for each model but it's not public information.
I'd like to see manufacturers advertize the MTBF. For
example when shopping for a car, you could choose how you want
to trade initial cost and the life of the car. Given the
choice I'd choose a car that would last a long time over a cheap
car that would need to be replaced in a few years. For
example in The Warranty Direct Top 100 Most Reliable Used Cars
Of The Past Decade (Gizmag
2006) not one was made in the U.S.
New U.S. Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Wiki
MITI). We can't do everything, so what areas should
we be going after?
The idea of making products that will last a short time and must
be thrown away is very short sighted and is unsustainable.
Here's an excellent video that ties together many of the issues
related to the limits on growth.
There's No Tomorrow (00:34:52)
M. King Hubbert (Wiki)
- quantified oil depletion (Wiki) -
Peak Oil (Wiki)
Food vs. fuel (Wiki) Industrial Revolution (Wiki)
- 1750 - 1850
Note that GDP (Wiki:
criticism) is NOT a measure of anything useful.
The There's No Tomorrow
video is based on the implications of exponential growth and
explained in this 8 part series of videos. The Most IMPORTANT Video
You'll Ever See by Dr. Albert A. Bartlett Part 1
- Arithmetic, Population & Energy - the magic number "70"
divided by the annual growth rate 7% = time to double 10 years
Chess board & grains of
wheat example -
The growth in any doubling time is greater than all the
- in 70 years (about a human lifetime) the number of doublings
is 2 ^ (percent), for example at 7% there would be 2^7 or 128
zero population growth is going
to happen. Table of Options with columns for Increasing
Population and Decreasing Population.
Nautre will choose from the Decreasing Population list and we
don't have to do anything.
- Steady growth in finite environment - bacterial in bottle -
"growth is the centerpiece of the national and global economy".
M. King Hubbert
- graphical representation showing areas doubling
- about oil Part 5
- about oil Part 6
- Definition of Modern Agriculture: the use of land to convert
petroleum into food.
Ethanol from corn is a looser if
you look at energy in vs. energy out
- Liters per person of oil consumption peaked in the mid
"In Growth we trust"
The 1st law of sustainability: Population growth
and/or growth in the rates of consumption or resources CANNOT
Population is the focus in this issue.
"If ever there was a time when
the human race needs people who will think, it's right
now. It's our responsibility as citizens in a democracy
Eric Sevareid's Law: "The chief source of problems is
- Example of the Nile river flooding.
"The Greatest Shortcoming of the Human Race is our Inability
to Understand the Exponential Function."
M. King Hubbert (Wiki)
is cited in both of the above videos in relation to peak oil (Wiki). The
bottom line is that no system that requires growth is
The idea mentioned above about getting back to products with
a long MTBF, i.e. products designed to last 100+ years is part
of a sustainable human existence.
- Problems with GDP as an Economic Barometer(00:08:06)
00:06:12) "The United States has about 10 times as many people
per capita in prison as other advanced industrial
countries. That contributes to our GDP, because we have to
spend money to incarcerate them. And now some states are
spending as much on prisons and on constructing them, as they
are on Universities. Well that's good for GDP. But
any measure of societal well being says it's not so good to have
so many people in prison and it's a symptom of something
(00:06:52) "Another example is we spend more on health care than
any other country as a percentage of GDP and our health outcomes
are much lower than in other advanced industrial countries, and
actually lower than many developing countries. Well, the
extra money that we spend on health care shows up as a
contribution to GDP. If we got more efficient our GDP could go
down. . . .You're looking at the wrong thing."
"To take the United States as an example, the U.S.'s GNP is the
value of output produced by American-owned firms, regardless of
where the firms are located. Similarly, if a country becomes
increasingly in debt, and spends large amounts of income
servicing this debt this will be reflected in a decreased GNI
but not a decreased GDP. Similarly, if a country sells off its
resources to entities outside their country this will also be
reflected over time in decreased GNI, but not decreased GDP.
This would make the use of GDP more attractive for politicians
in countries with increasing national debt and decreasing
Paul Gilding: The Earth is full (TED2012)
James Hansen: Why
I must speak out about climate change (00:17:52)
"Until about 2007 the U.S. was No. 1 for total CO2 emitted."
The 13% decrease in the U.S. is mainly due to fuel efficient
(00:43:00) The 2007 IPCC estimates about a 1 meter sea level
rise by 2100.
In the new 2014 assessment more factors will be included and
probably the 1 meter rise will occur sooner.
(00:44:39) The global map of sea level shows the California coat
not being effected that much, but Japan will see a lot of
San Francisco, Seattle & San Diego are experiencing a 2.2 cm
(1 inch) increase in mean sea level per decade.
(00:45:40) Most (2/3 to 3/4) of the sea level change is due to
00:46:18) Globally sea level is rising 0.32 cm/year.
(00:48:27) If we keep on with business as usual by 2500 Florida
and San Francisco may be under water.
There are some problems with this presentation. I've asked
the presenter of the talk but he's too busy to respond.
1. The tide gauges at Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego are
showing a linear ocean rise of 2 mm per year, or 500 years to
get to a 1 meter rise. The slide at 00:45:03 shows 2
cm/decade, why this strange choice of units, is it to confuse us
into thinking it's 2 cm/year? But later in the talk he's
talking about 2 cm per year which calculates to 1 meter in 50
years. Where did the change come from? Wiki: Sea
Level Rise: IPCC 3rd Assessment: Minority
uncertainties and criticisms regarding IPCC results)
2. The reason for ocean rise is given as 2/3 to 3/4 due to
expansion. That means the ocean is warming, but later in
the talk he says there's more and more CO2 in the ocean leading
to problems for the formation of skeletons for sea life.
But a warming ocean should be releasing CO2 and getting more
basic rather than getting acidic.
3. The plot at 00:53:53 has three lines: atmospheric CO2, ocean
surface CO2 and ocean surface pH. This reminds me of the
debate about does the Sun orbit the Earth or does the Earth
orbit the Sun. That's to say is the atmospheric CO2
driving the ocean surface CO2 or is the ocean surface CO2
driving the atmospheric CO2?
4. The slide says "ocean surface CO2" because that's the place
where acidification is taking place. But the bulk of the
ocean is getting more basic (opposite from acidic) because the
bulk of the ocean is warming.
5. In the California
Coastal Commission paper on sea level rise they point out
that tide gauges only measure the relative position of the ocean
and the gauge. Because of plate tectonics (Wiki)
the land is also changing elevation and that needs to be backed
out of the tide elevation numbers for each measuring station
individually. The paper also acknowledges that expansion
plays a large part in ocean rise. Are there precision GPS
stations attached to the tide guages to see how much they are
6. So far I haven't seen any mention of the idea that the oceans
are being filled up. A local reservoir used for drinking
water has it's water level going down, but they do not really
know how many acre feet are in it because they don't know how
much silting and other stuff is on the bottom. I would
find it easy to believe that dead sea animals and underwater
volcanoes are raising the bottom by a thickness of 2 mm per
year. If that were the case then a rise in ocean level of
2mm per year would be accounted for without any change in the
amount or temperature of the water. Has this been
me if you know
Microbes in the sea generate half the oxygen we breath, 1/4
comes from land plants and 1/4 from macro algae like kelp.
I believe that the climate is changing,
but I'm not convinced that the cause is all man
made. That's because the ocean is very large and
as it warms it's releasing not only CO2 but also a lot
of methane, but I can not get anyone to tell me how
much. We need to cut down on emissions, but a
larger problem is sustainability
and it's impact on economic systems. 2014 update -
the idea of silting and dead animals 2mm thick every
year all over the ocean bottom may be a much simpler
Recently in many places I've seen the argument that 97%
of climate scientists believe that global warming is a
This is not a valid argument.(Wiki).
For example Galileo was the only scientist who thought
the Earth went around the Sun, all the others thought
the Earth was the center of the universe.
PG&E did some studies and found this type of appeal
worked because people want to be part of the crowd.
Nov 2014 - I have the book "Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big
Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest" on order after having
read some of the free part at Amazon. In chapter 1 it's
mentioned that there were survey results that suggested land
movement on the order of a few millimeters per year but before
Plate Tectonics (Wiki)
no one paid attention to the data. On the Wiki page they
show horizontal movements for various parts of various plates
on the order of 20 to 100 mm/year and if only a few percent of
that was vertical movement then you would get the few
mm/year of sea level rise we are now seeing. It seems to
me that a whole ocean could rise if the plate(s) under it
rose. Sort of like lifting a bowl of soup up off a
table. If you are measuring the liquid height using a
gauge on the table then lifting the bowl shows a rising water
level, but there's been no addition of water and no
temperature change in the water. So I question the
current model that says there are only two factors, i.e. added
water (melting glacial ice) and added volume (thermal
expansion). There's a third factor geodesy (Wiki).
LSD & Ecstasy
I believe recreational use of
marijuana in all its forms (Wiki: marijuana,
aka: cannabis,Kief,Hashish,Hash oil and
LSD and Ecstasy should be legal in the same way alcohol is legal
to use. That implies that like tobacco it should be
taxed. Note it's legal to brew your own beer and make your
own moonshine and in a similar way you should be able to grow and
refine hash for you own and your friends use, but selling requires
the tax stamp just like tobacco or alcohol.
10 May 2014 - Here is an email I sent to someone promoting a
constitutional amendment to nullify the Citizens United vs. FEC (Wiki)
The problem is that adding an
amendment to the constitution requires ratification by a 2/3
majority of the states, so even if both houses passed it that
would not make it a law. Note the Equal Rights Amendment (Wiki)
was never ratified by the states so is not part of the current
Since the states must ratify an amendment let's start with a state
initiative to change the rules here. For example here's a
question I submitted at a meet the candidates meeting in town last
week. Note these were candidates for the CA state senate and
"Considering the corruptng influence that campaign finance has on
making politicians more responsive to their funderes than the
voters, would you promote a bill that would only allow campaign
contributions from voters registered to vote for that candidate?"
As it is now all candidates get campaign contributions from pretty
much everywhere, I'd guess that 90% of it comes from outside the
district they are supposed to serve. You can confirm that
for federal politicians by looking at www.FEC.gov. and there's an
equivalent web site for state politicians. That means that
the candidate needs to be responsive to people who may and
probably do have agendas that are in conflict with the voters.
A state law would be much easier to pass and would serve as a
model for other states. It would also effect federal
elections in that state.
Note that in the 1970s and 1980s
politicians were accepting cash to vote for (and more importantly
to kill) bills and a number of them went to jail. (Wiki: Abscam)
Today the vast majority of politicians do not accept cash bribes,
but instead their campaign committee accept contributions which is
legal although is still corrupt.
This very well may be the NUMBER ONE
issue. For example the current (Oct 2013) shutdown of the
government is caused by the fear of Representatives that if they
make an enemy of the Tea Party they will loose the next Primary
election (note: fewer voters turn out at primary elections than
general elections and it's easier for negative campaign money to
defeat a candidate in a primary). But the problem isn't just
the Tea Party, it's anyone with enough money to campaign against a
candidate, either an incumbent or challenger.
Another example of this effect is the
Pledge that's been signed by 236 House members and 41
Senators as of the 112th Congress. If any of them break
their pledge to NOT vote for any tax increase they know they will
be kicked out at the next primary election. There's no way
that Congress will do anything to change this situation since it's
in their best interest to keep it going, even if that means
bringing the country down.
We can act by promoting a
Constitutional Convention where we can overturn Citizens United
vs. the F.E.C. and probably McCutcheon vs FEC (SCOTUSblog)
where the supremes probably will make another bad decision.
Note: this effects not only Congress, but also the Supreme Court
and the office of the President.
TED Talk - Lawrence
Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
Money allows a candidate to gain recognition by means of phone
calls, mailing cards, letters, polls, etc, TV and radio spots and
person to person contact either door to door or at public
Personhood is a big part of this problem.
May 2014 - For the past couple of months I've been
reading about bad science. When Gary Taubes (Wiki)
finished his second book (published in 1993) on bad science "Bad
Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion" people in
the physics community said if he wanted to see real bad science to
have a look into nutrition and diet. In July 2002 he
published the article: What
if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? in the New York Times.
Based on this article he received a book contract that paid for
four years of his time to do research, he spent 5 years and
published Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the
Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease.
This book gets into the nitty-gritty of all the mistakes that were
made in U.S. nutrition research resulting in pretty much all of
"official" organizations telling us the wrong things to eat.
The American Medical Association, American Heart Association, U.S.
Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, Centers
for Disease Control, &etc. all said we should eat a low fat
diet. The base of the "Food Pyramid" (Wiki)
was seventy percent carbohydrates.
It turns out all of them were very wrong and carbohydrates are the
real problem. But politics prevents a change any time
soon. Note that a can of beer has the same effect on
anyone's (including children) waistline and liver as a can of soda
pop with sugar or a glass of organic fruit juice.
A few years ago the World
Health Organization said that chronic disease (Wiki)
had become a larger problem that infectious disease (Wiki).
The cost of chronic disease in terms of death and disability is
staggering. There are predictions that the impact will
bankrupt Medicare in a couple of decades.
It turns out the Metabolic Syndrome (Wiki)
medical problems are a very large part of chronic disease and it
seems are the direct result of eating foods (carbohydrates) that
This is a huge problem that needs to get fixed at the federal
In the book Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline
(2012) Morris Berman makes the case that the United States has
already failed and we're now, like Rome, in our decline. He
cites the failure of all branches of government, the economy,
&etc. He mentions that the U.S. has a strong soviet
component, not for the people but rather the corporations, that's
to say the socialist policy of the government protecting business
from failure. Berman, a U.S. citizen has moved to Mexico
permanently because he's given up on the U.S. Other names
mentioned on this page are also U.S. citizens who have moved out
of the country. It turns out upon reading the book that he
thinks technology, like say the telescope, are bad for society and
likes the culture of the South around the time of the Civil war
(excepting the slavery), but it was the culture that saw slavery
as a good thing and it was the culture that formed lynch mobs,
i.e. high authoritarian
Movie: Ethos (IMDB,
- touches on many topics and they seem to have all of them correct
(except maybe the hint of 9/11 domestic conspiracy).