To Pledge Or Not To Pledge

I happily recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and do so after a fashion every day when I look at the flag flying from our upper balcony. However, I am actually against having school children recite it, and perhaps even against allowing them to recite it in a formal setting until the age of majority. Having a child take a pledge before the child is capable of understanding what a pledge is, and to what he or she is pledging allegiance, seems inappropriate to me.

Let’s have the adults who feel the urge get together and recite it, and have the children see them do so as they grow up, and perhaps decide that they might want to do the same eventually.

This country is a terrific idea, and worth protecting and defending, and pushing through bad times and bad events to recover and keep the idea alive and pass it on. I’m not sure that it’s a worthy idea, to think that children should recite a pledge to it, before knowing what it means to pledge something, and particularly before they can possibly understand what a revolutionary feat the establishment of this country was and how richly it deserves to be kept whole and safe.

The question we should be asking, particularly now but truly quite often in any event, is, “Shall we be a nation?” What we do depends on our answer to that, every day.

Is There Nothing In Government We Can Dispense With, Ever?

Here’s part of the problem with the Liberal (political) view: Some cannot grasp the concept of getting rid of overreach and unnecessary bureaucrats while keeping essential services. The problem seems to be that they can’t distinguish between things that matter and things that don’t, or actually shouldn’t be done, so we just have to keep everything that anyone every thought of forever. That would explain a lot in our staggering and every-increasing debt.

Zero-Expenditure Candidacies (If Only)

Trump, like Sanders and Carson and Fiorina, draws people who are truly sick and tired of business as usual, which certainly includes me. I wish we could make political parties obsolete by reaching out electronically and directly to voters with very close to zero expenditure and no need to depend on big donors. That would give us no reason to accommodate same.

I can’t honestly claim to be optimistic about that, but it is the only way I am interested in proceeding.

Business? Hooray! Big Business? Big hooray!

Business, even big business, is a key element of a healthy economy, and we should be as business friendly as it is humanly possible to be, short of allowing cronyism, special privilege, influence based on money given to folks in government. We need government to make sure there are some reasonable rules and that they are followed by everyone, and beyond that we need to let entrepreneurs run their businesses and not punish them for success.

Here’s a very narrow example: Let’s not do government supplied or guaranteed loans on the front end, lending to folks who might be able to do a thing, such as Solyndra, who got the money and went out of business, profitably it seemed to me, if you were a principal. Let’s establish a goal and a prize: If you achieve XYZ, then you get K dollars. That way, they put their own money at risk, and probably only if there’s a reasonable chance of getting it done. And, if they do, bonanza! I can imagine that there are things it would be important enough for us to encourage business, but let’s do so by rewarding success, not doling out money for trying based on influence.

We’re supposed to be the revolutionaries. Let’s be revolutionary!

How Do We Get Out of the 60s?

Stuck in the 60s. That’s the problem with a lot of our radical left friends. They know something really good did actually come to pass back then, even though there was a lot of chaos. (I’m not speaking of the true revolutionaries, for whom the chaos was part of the good.) There was progress in race relations, particularly in consciousness across the nation and in legislation. There was a popular uprising against a war which was making less and less and less sense, and may have made very little sense to begin with. So, they want to be a part of something that big. The problem is that things have moved on. While some of the problems, such as racism, still exist, because they have always existed, in all parts of the planet, in all ages, they are not the same, and certainly not institutionalized as they were. So, there is progress.

But the desperate-to-be-part-of-it crowd can’t think of the new things to fight: things like actual energy independence (using everything), actual tolerance (the United States of Mind Your Own Business, as opposed to The United States of You Have to Approve of Everything I Do), actual education for creating civilized human beings (as opposed to mere schooling, or worse the propaganda that now occupies too much of our university class space).

So, they take anything that looks or sounds a bit like things from “the good old days” (selectively remembering) and run with it. What’s easier to understand than “cops out of control”, “racist white folks”? Easy to say. Easy to accuse. Easy to find like-minded folks willing to go along with any accusation.

It won’t be easy pulling out of this, but we can and must. It’s fine to think of what did come of the 1960s, but way more productive to think of how good we can make things by the 2060s, if we have real discussions, ask tough questions, insist on real answers, stop name-calling, stop race-baiting, stop confusing revenge with justice.

Like I said, not easy. Dennis Hopper’s character in some movie once told us that “when we get out of the 80s, the 90s are going to make the 60s look like the 50s”. Well, that’s what we wanted. And we didn’t get it. So, here we are, stuck in the 60s some of us, hungry for what we were hoping for in the 90s.
Think. Read. Talk. Discuss. Act. Respect. Love. Help. Prod. Meditate. Ponder. Muse. Consider. Work. Write. Do things. Do things. Do things. Just don’t keep doing the old things that we already see don’t work.

Taxation

The tax code should be more or less scrapped and rewritten from scratch. The sheer volume of the thing leads to a complexity that could be taken as evidence of a complete lack of interest on the part of lawmakers in creating comprehensible law. A lack of interest in creating comprehensible law can only lead to mischief at best and, at worst, leads to laws that simply cannot be obeyed even by citizens of above average intelligence and with the best intentions. Some critics now claim that the current tax code has exactly this nature.

How should the tax be? As flat as possible, with preferential treatment for the raising of children. If entertainment is an expense of doing the business of commerce, then why aren’t good food, good clothes and good education considered legitimate expenses of doing the business of raising a family?

Now, just about the worst turn we could take would be to reframe the discussion of raising children in the language of business. One problem with our society is the tendency to idolize business and try to view everything as some sort of business. There are specialized philosophical discussions in which doing this makes perfect sense, but it is unnecessary and even destructive to carry this practice over into the everyday discussions we should be having about raising our children.

There are certainly times when it makes sense to provide government funding for some development activities, such as when a developing technology seems essential to the nation’s competitiveness or security, but this shouldn’t be handled through the tax system, where provisions are buried so deep that no ordinary citizen could possibly decode what’s going on.   A better system is to insist that everyone and every business pay some reasonable rate of tax. Then, let those who think that they deserve help apply for a loan or a grant, just as any ordinary citizen would have to do. That way, the help is in the public record, clear as a bell, and the votes that approve the help are on record and easy to review.

Fat chance.

The “Third Senator” Amendment

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of three Senators from each state. All Senators shall serve the same term and meet the same requirements for holding the office of Senator. Each Senator shall have one vote.

One Senator from each state shall be selected by a lottery from among the inhabitants of the state who meet all the qualifications for holding the office of Senator.
The first selection of Senators by lottery shall be conducted on the same day for all States. At the first assembly of the Senate following the first selection of Senators pursuant to this Amendment, these Senators shall be divided as equally as possible into three groups and assigned to the existing classes of Senators for purposes of term expiration.

You Don’t Have to Shoot to Kill

It is a lovely fantasy, and certainly a humane one, to think of picking your target with such precision and thinking that you would calmly track to just that region where you won’t make a fatal wound. I have never been in the situation, and hope never to be, but folks who say many things that sound sensible to me suggest that the single priority in a confronting-the-shooter situation is to stop that shooter. Your fine motor skills will be out the window. It will take all the training and practice you have put into it to rely on and you will be fighting an adrenaline rush that none of us can imagine, I gather.

The humane impulse is certainly laudable, but study up and think very seriously about whether you can accomplish that or will just jeopardize yourself by striving for a very difficult goal, as well as jeopardizing everyone around you if you do not succeed and are put out of action yourself.

Which States Allow Write-In Presidential Candidates?

Alabama     AL
Alaska     AK
American Samoa     AS
Arizona     AZ
Arkansas     AR
California     CA
Colorado     CO
Connecticut     CT
Delaware     DE
District of Columbia    DC
Florida     FL
Georgia     GA
Hawaii     HI
Idaho     ID
Illinois     IL
Indiana     IN
Iowa     IA
Kansas     KS
Kentucky     KY
Louisiana     LA
Maine     ME
Maryland     MD
Massachusetts     MA
Michigan     MI
Micronesia     FM
Minnesota     MN
Mississippi     MS
Missouri     MO
Montana     MT
Nebraska     NE
Nevada     NV
New Hampshire     NH
New Jersey     NJ
New Mexico     NM
New York     NY
North Carolina     NC
North Dakota     ND
Ohio     OH
Oklahoma     OK
Oregon     OR
Pennsylvania     PA
Rhode Island     RI
South Carolina     SC
South Dakota     SD
Tennessee     TN
Texas     TX
Utah     UT
Vermont     VT
Virginia     VA
Washington     WA
West Virginia     WV
Wisconsin     WI
Wyoming     WY

Action Items

  • Insure that missile shield is back in Europe (Poland?, Czech Republic?). “Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama was careful to portray his decision as a revamping, not an abandonment, of European missile defense. He said he would replace the long-range system Bush envisioned — which had a spotty testing record — with a more reliable defense system aimed at countering what Obama called a more imminent threat from Iran’s short-range missiles, which can travel up to 5,000 miles and potentially strike continental Europe.” Obama scraps Bush millile-defense plan
  • Coordinate with other nations: Securing Nuclear Material
  • Open the discussion on a long-term solution for abortion legislation to establish three phases: Discretionary, Under Medical Advisement, Under Medical Order.
  • Dial back all “too big to fail” supports.
  • Host presentations on Anthropogenic Global Warming, to make presentations of proponents and opponents available without sensationalism.

 

 

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