Government Reform Coming?

Posted by dansail 6 years ago to Government
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This evening, I sent the following e-mails to my elected representative/senators (three separate men):

I am sending you this message in response to a radio interview I heard earlier this week. The interviewee's name I do not recall, but his message was rather alarming nonetheless. He was relating his discussions with senators and representatives who are no longer seeking re-election in the upcoming midterms. While he was talking about those individuals, he wasn't concentrating on the topic of them leaving, but rather was focused on WHY they are leaving.

He plainly stated they're dismayed. They believe their contribution to this country is being sidetracked by a pervasive new mentality in federal government. It seems that the latest mindset, building up over the past twenty years, is "PARTY FIRST". It's plainly not "NATION FIRST", but rather "PARTY FIRST". Do you agree with this mindset? Should we be placing the power of the party to 'rule' over the needs of the nation?

He also stated our senators and representatives are required to conduct upwards of 40% of their time in Washington toward fundraising for the next election. Is this true? Is this why they (yourself included) were elected, to raise money and persistently re-seek office? To me, this is a colossal misdirection of effort. Wouldn't you think a congressperson would be better off serving the people who elected them, not phoning for dollars? I also heard that if a senator or representative did anything to step over the line (i.e., 'reach across the aisle', go soft on the fundraising, fail to vote the party line, etc.) they'd be reprimanded or looked over for other key post positions.

This present exodus from public service seems to be driven by a loss of direction. This loss of direction tells me we are a nation approaching the condition of a house divided. In many respects we are already there. I see the mainstream media presenting a polarized view of the world and I hear other media presenting a differently polarized view. A house divided cannot stand, yet no one seems to notice the bus careening over the edge.

Yesterday, on the radio I heard a compilation of speeches given by Vice President Mike Pence, in which he concluded with "God bless you, God bless the Republican Party and God bless the United States of America". While I am one to cherish blessings of God, it seems that asking for blessings upon one party and not another is a petty addition not needed in our present day dialog.

I am old enough to remember this frame of mind in another nation that strictly demanded party first and I believe you are still able to recall the same. It reminds me of the now defunct Soviet Union. 'Party first' meant loyalty no matter what bad decisions were being made at the top. To me, this is the direction our two opposing (knocking heads is more like it) parties are going. Those elected officials leaving also recognize this and have had enough. They feel they can be more effective as a human being with their families at home than as a fundraising lackey in Washington DC.

What this means in the progression of events is the dire need for a third (or a fourth, or fifth) party. I believe the Tea Party was just the first whack at change. While the two biggest monopolistic parties are duking it out over who's the greater victim or who has the better message, other parties will form and shine the light on this circus. I've already seen enough of this circus and agree with those walking away, shaking their heads in disillusionment.

George Washington served his country, yet wanted to finish his hitch and go home. Jesse Ventura served his state one term and hung it up. To me, both examples are more human and noble than seeking to become a lifetime politician inside the beltway.

What this means is the recognition that there is something rotten to the core. Where do you stand on this? Are you tired of the wasted rhetoric yet?

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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 6 years ago
    I'm in favor of a distributed Federal government, with representatives and senators having their main offices in their home state/district. With telecommunications technology as it is today, conferences can be telepresence, rather than in person. We're almost at the state of hologram imagery, if someone felt it was needed, but I think it an unnecessary expense. I worked in missile defense, where highly classified group telepresence conferences were quite common and effective.

    By enacting real federalization, our representatives would be more conscious of our needs and requests. This would also make lobbyists' jobs far more difficult.

    Only the office of the President and the cabinet agencies would be located in Washington, with the Congress gathering only on symbolic occasions. Such an arrangement would make decapitating the government extremely difficult.
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  • Posted by coaldigger 6 years ago
    Isn't the problem the fact that WE continue to vote the same people back in? WE say we want less control over our lives and WE suggest that the solution is more rules. WE want favors from our governing agencies for OUR purposes and are willing to vote for officials that we know are corrupt because we are trading favors with them and damning them at the same time. WE are the ones wanting to belong to the tribe/party and only object to the tribe/party of others. Pogo said it best "We have met the enemy and he is us."
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    • Posted by chad 6 years ago
      Listened to a radio commentator once who pointed out that although the polled populace disliked congress by 80% more than 80% were always re-elected. As the commentator pointed out it seemed that the discouraged public hated everyone else's congressman, not their own.
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      • Posted by $ allosaur 6 years ago
        After reading your reply, my dangerous dino mind imagined a voter crumpling up a ballot sheet within his fist and repeatedly punching himself in the face.
        (Me dino votes in Alabama by marking boxes by preferred candidate names on a sheet of paper and sticking it into an electronic counting machine).
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 6 years ago
      Clearly, more people want more control over their lives by others. They also vote mainly on name recognition.
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      • Posted by NealS 6 years ago
        Perhaps ballots should only list the name of the position, and then a blank line where the voter writes in his/her/its choice. Ahh, never mind, that still would probably not work. Term limits would help prevent party collusion amongst those who want to rule us.
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  • Posted by CaptainKirk 6 years ago
    We elect them, but they answer to the Donors.

    For example, WHAT Committees you make it to DEPENDS on how much MONEY you raise for the RNC/DNC. This is INSANE. It is literally driving the problem!
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  • Posted by GaryL 6 years ago
    The ones we are seeing retiring are the ones close to expiring in some cases and the ones who refuse to be corrupted. The Kling-ons will remain as long as the pay off is lucrative. As I have said here before the concept of D or R is fine during and up to the election. Once elected the concept should take a drastic change and they become Americans working for the American values with their party be damned. You just can't tell me or any of us with 100 men and woman in the Senate that 49 of them think and feel 180 degrees opposite from the remaining 51. Right you are Colddigger, We continue to elect these fools who act like spoiled children.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 6 years ago
    "Party first" sounds like a GOP response to the threat to their power by Trump.

    Neither major party has earned any loyalty based on their actions and the results-directly in violation of the limits expressly included in the constitution.

    There should be a federal law limiting serving in federal political office (at any level) to one single term of a maximum of 4 years.
    There should be a federal law excluding the franchise of voting (in federal elections) from anyone supported or employed by the federal government in ANY way (including employees of companies with federal government contracts and their subcontractors, and all those with any federal government funding whatsoever.) They should regain the franchise after 2 years of private employment with no federal source of funding of any kind. For example, all public school teachers will lose their voting franchise unless the school refuses all federal funding.
    There should be a federal law prohibiting campaign contributions by any corporation regardless of its purpose. Only human beings can make such contributions, and only to politicians that they can vote for, which also excludes contributions by human beings who can't vote.
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    • Posted by $ allosaur 6 years ago
      Yes, people here who are not American citizens and foreign countries should not be allowed to donate money to any USA campaign.
      And it should work both ways. We should mind our own business and see to it other nations keep their noses out of ours.
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  • Posted by term2 6 years ago
    Maybe the reason for leaving government is that it no longer returns what the politicians want- power, money, and a career. Although there aren’t strict term limits, it is increasingly harder to get re elected. Things that you did 20 years get brought up by the opposition and kick you out for example. Plus you can hardly get anything passed today. The power and glory is gone...
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  • Posted by $ blarman 6 years ago
    Ultimately, what you are getting at here involves personal integrity. And there is simply no way to "enforce" such a thing. It is the nature of power to corrupt and it is the rare individual indeed who does not fall prey to its lure. Yes, it is unfortunate that those who are leaving in large measure are those who recognize (via personal integrity) that the system is failing the People. I should clarify that to mean that the system as presently constituted and not as originally constituted (pun intended).

    I think that much of the power can be returned to the people by undoing some of the things we have done:
    1. Repeal the 12th Amendment which makes the President and Vice President elected on a single ballot. This guts the threat of Impeachment proceedings as a major check against an Imperial President. It also encourages a two-party system.
    2. Repeal the 17th Amendment which calls for popular election of Senators. The States have had their powers severely undermined by this single provision because their representation in the Federal Government has been wiped out.
    3. Either repeal the 19th Amendment or cap the Federal Income tax at 2%.
    4. Repeal social spending by the Federal Government and officially recognize that this is NOT a power specifically delegated to the Federal Government.

    Here are a few suggestions on improvements:
    1. Force the agencies to have their budgets debated and voted on separately and individually in Congress. Further, without an active budget, they are truly shut down - and people DON'T get retroactive pay! Finally, outlaw CR's. If the Legislature doesn't give them money, they are out of business until they do.
    2. Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. Included in this is a provision which sets the maximum spending level for a given year at the tax receipts of two years prior.
    3. Pass off all funding for elected Representatives to the States, i.e. all salaries of Congressional Representatives, their staffs, their offices, etc. are the responsibilities of the respective States - not the Federal Government.
    4. All terms of office END on election night. No lame duck actions (laws, pardons, etc.) in either the Legislative or Executive Branch. I don't care when they start back up again, but once you get voted out of office or don't seek re-election, your authority ceases.
    5. Federal Judges which have their decisions overturned more than three times in a given calendar year by the Supreme Court are automatically brought up for another ratifying vote of approval by the Senate (2/3). Failing a vote of ratification, they lose their judgeships. (This goes back to the "during good Behaviour" piece in Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.)
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    • Posted by freedomforall 6 years ago
      "3. Either repeal the 19th amendment or"
      I'm sure you mean the 16th amendment, although I'd also go for repealing the 19th and replacing it with an amendment that limits voting franchise for non-gender related reasons.
      I'd still oppose 2% because that would be consenting to income taxation, and the 2% would not survive for long. Income taxation as implemented is unconstitutional, imo. If only my opinion mattered.
      You have some commendable ideas, blarman.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 6 years ago
        I did mean the 16th but I'm apparently dyslexic today. Nice catch.

        I totally agree that income taxation should be abolished, but I'd settle for a fixed and flat 2% if I couldn't get complete abolition as it might appease the free trade folks. Without an income tax to fund the government, we go back to excise taxes and import duties on trade, and I go back and forth on which is the lesser of the two evils. "Income taxation as implemented is unconstitutional, imo." Completely agree. The Founders were completely against personal taxation by a Federal government because of the controls it placed on people and businesses. The history of the American Revolution was a revolt against these very taxes because of the limits to freedom that come with them.

        "replacing it with an amendment that limits voting franchise for non-gender related reasons."

        If by that you mean restricting voting for those who mooch off the government, I'm totally with you there. I've also been intrigued by Heinlein's notions about voting in Starship Troopers, though he noted several caveats in that scheme as well.
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        • Posted by freedomforall 6 years ago
          I'd rather have a consumption tax on non-essentials than any income tax. That would have to be a limited percentage, too. Not giving government the money to grow may be the only way to contain it.
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    • Posted by JohnJMulhall 6 years ago
      I would modify this: Pres & VP stay on one ballot - we had the other experience and it was less-than-satisfactory; Congress' terms last to the end of the election year, but they shall not meet unless an emergency occurs (Dec 7th 1941) and all newly elected are installed 12/31; two terms only -period. If you want to give the House a 3-year term, OK but that is it. I am as much concerned with the 'Deep State' of un-electeds running the country and the life-time aspects of our current system.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 6 years ago
        The original issue which led to the Twelfth Amendment was due to the small number of votes in the Electoral College and the resulting run-off in Congress going for something like twelve votes. I don't see the same issue (a tie vote in the Electoral College followed by repeated tie votes in the House) being an issue in today's day and age with a greatly expanded voting base in both the Electoral College AND House of Representatives.

        Furthermore, my contention remains that the Twelfth Amendment as presently constituted neuters the threat of Impeachment - the most potent check against a sitting Executive which exists. The threat of a change in power in the Executive upon successful Impeachment and Conviction imho would be a powerful check if it could be restored. The present party system, however, effectively removes this power from the Legislature because the power doesn't change out of the hands of the abusive party!

        Think of what else results from the combined ticket system? Aside from making the Vice President a position of relative nothingness (see Al Gore or Dan Quayle), it denies third parties a chance to shake up the current two-party monopoly. How many people would have voted for a Libertarian - especially this past election - instead of merely voting against Hillary Clinton? If the best antidote for the market economy is competition, shouldn't we also be looking for ways to bring competition back into politics as well? Doesn't that also provide a voice for more people than the current two-party system? I believe it does.

        Regarding your proposed post-election moratorium, it could work, but there would also have to be a moratorium on recess appointments during the same span of time. They were abused badly by President Obama and forced the Supreme Court to intervene (see the appointments to the NLR Board).

        I would also point out that the "deep state" is in the un-elected bureaucracy for the most part. The best way to deal with it is to have the Legislature do its job and decommission bureaucracy after bureaucracy outright. We want our elected representatives to actually represent their respective districts - even if the districts are comprised of a majority of idiots ;)
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  • Posted by $ CBJ 6 years ago
    I would like to see a no-party system. Each political party would have only the same rights as any other private organization. No official recognition and no listing of party affiliation on the ballot. Congressional committee assignments and chairmanships decided by lottery. Strict term limits. All meetings with lobbyists to be recorded and open to the public. No fundraising, by telephone or otherwise, when Congress is in session. Etc.
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  • Posted by scojohnson 6 years ago
    Most Americans are apathetic, lazy, and way too focused on their own issues/problems/concerns that have little impact on anything in the big scope of things. Their disinterest and lack of ability or effort to understand the issues is answered by politicians that buy inordinate media time to "reach" them to gain their vote. We can compound that by the FCC's invented monopolies in media - if we let all interested entrepreneurs start their own media channels (such as on YouTube), the market would drive down advertising costs to the point that it wouldn't be as necessary to raise as much money.
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