Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We have a president elect

Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama.

I sincerely hope that he turns out to be the best president the United States has ever seen.

I don't expect it to happen, though.

I will support him on issues where we agree, and oppose him where we disagree. Since I am just a minor political malcontent from Utah, that end up to be very little support or opposition that I can give.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Obama is...

Obama is, according to his own speech, black!!!!
So what?
I have no doubt that there are people out there that will hold that against him. In fact, last night I was at a friends house where a "friend of a friend" declared that a mixed color couple is "disgusting!" I asked him why - he had no answer.
Fortunately, I don't think he actually votes.
I believe I am speaking for the vast (90%+) majority of Americans when I say, with regards to race, "I don't care."
I don't care that Barack Obama is black (and white, and Arab). I don't care that Nancy Pelosi is white. I don't care that Jesse Jackson is black. I don't care that Al Frankin is white. I don't care that Al Sharpton is black.
You get the picture.
What I do care about is ideas, ideology, proposals, and actions. And when I look at the ideas of these people, I cringe. When I look at their ideologies, I wince. When I look at their proposals, I worry.
And when I look at their actions, I get confused. They say one thing - how people should behave, how people should act, how people should live, and yet they don't even try to live according to the rules they want the rest of us to live under.
I'm not talking about the "hypocrisy" of a chain smoker (or any other type of drug addict) who tells others not to smoke or do drugs. Those people are speaking from experience, saying, "look what it did to me!"
No - the hypocrisy of the "leaders" on the left (and, unfortunately, some on the right), seems to be saying that there are several sets of rules: one for the unwashed masses, and others for the "privileged few" at the top.
Race? Who cares. Religion? Ditto.
I do not judge them by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

And I find it wanting.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Why Term Limits are a Bad Idea

At least on a local and state level. I don't know if my argument works on a national level.
Term Limits is an attempt to get rid of what many people call "professional politicians" or "political careerism". In reality, as long as people believe that someone is doing a good job, they typically don't care how long that person is in office.
I am of the opinion that it isn't the political careers that people are opposed to, but the undue influence that special interest groups have on career politicians. And, of course, a "special interest" group is one that you don't agree with. Few people consider the Boy Scouts of America a special interest group, but even they have their own lobbyists.
So, how do we get rid of the special interest groups? To paraphrase Shakespeare, "Kill all the lobbyists!"
But, that probably won't work. There are few times that an extreme reaction would ever work, and I can't think of any situations where they would.
So, what to do?
100% disclosure.
(Note: this is not my original idea, but I have added stuff to it. I originally heard it from my Congressman, Rob Bishop)
Remove campaign limits. Allow any citizen of the United States to give any amount of money to whomever they want. Just require ANY donation to be published online, in an easily searchable format, within 72 hours. Any corrections must be made within 7 days. No more of this quarterly filing BS. We have the technology, and it is actually pretty easy to use. In fact, I'll even write it! (another note: I am a software developer, and a good one at that)

"But that means people will be donating millions to a campaign!!!"

So? It gets done now. Soft money. Donating to a candidate directly, the county party, the state party, political action committees, special interest groups, 527 groups, "get out the vote", and more. It adds up. The only thing is, it's extremely difficult to determine who is funding whom.

Bill Gates has a lot of money. Billions. So does Warren Buffet. Soros. And many, many others. You like them? Dislike them? Fine. Either way, it would be easy to see who gave what money to whom. Don't like the fact that the NRA gave money to a candidate? Don't vote for them. Don't like the NEA? Find out who got their money, and vote against them.

Many years ago in a computer magazine, Penn Jillette had a column. A particular column that I remember (actually, the only one I remember - it's been 25 years) dealt with censorship. To paraphrase, "The best way to deal with words that you don't like isn't with censorship, it is with MORE WORDS!!!!"

More rules will not make politicians and their campaigns more honest. They will simply hire more consultants to figure out ways of hiding and moving money. We don't need more rules - we need more exposure.

And if it is one thing less than honorable politicians hate, is exposing themselves.