Tuesday March 31, 2015
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Michele Reagan, Arizona’s 20th Secretary of State, will be the guest speaker at the Payson Tea Party on Thursday night April 2nd. Mrs Reagan spent 12 years in the State Legislature serving on the Commerce and Elections committees. Her campaign slogan “easy to vote, hard to cheat” is playing out in current election integrity legislation. Please join us at Tiny’s Family Restaurant, 6:00-7:30 pm. For more info call 928-951-6774
Back when the percentage of voters in our states was fairly well covered by the numbers of voters who were registered Democrats or Republicans this was not an issue. The fundamental principle of "one man, one vote" was automatic once women had a vote.
For example, even at such an historically short time ago as 25 years ago in 1990 Arizona had 45% Republicans and 43% Democrats. That's 88% of the voters. And in earlier eras the numbers, though reversed between a Democratic majority and a Republican minority, ran even higher, well in the 90 percent range.
We now have 35% Republicans and 29% Democrats, which means that a whopping 35% of all people in Arizona have no one presenting them, either in the State Legislature, in Congress, or in the Oval Office.
While these number are less extreme in some states, and more extreme in others, they at last show one of the predicted major effects of political parties, one which was predicted over 200 years ago, was correct and has at last happened.
What kind of democracy is it that does not allow for the representation of more than one third of its electorate?
One obvious result of all this is something that we have all been yelling and screaming about more and more over the past 20 years — a wild swing of the pendulum from the extreme right to the extreme left and back again every time the majority in Congress or the legislature switches. That swing has to happen. It is unavoidable. Why? because Congress and the legislature no longer represents "the people;" it sometimes represents fewer than 1/3 third of the people.
No wonder we are in trouble! Obviously, something has to be done, and it has to be done right now!!!
The Question Is....
Anybody want to bet that the next thing we'll see is an attempt by the Arizona Legislature to make it hard for anyone who isn't either a Dem or a GOP to run for office? That would be perfect, wouldn't it? Only the extremists would be represented; the rest of us could do out part by standing around grumbling.
"And what do we do .... ?"
Here's my answer:
• We let politicians write laws to "correct problems" by setting long prison terms, laws that actually do nothing.
• We write laws that interfere with the right of any individual to do whatever the hey he wants to do with his body, thereby turning jerks, weak people, and those who just plain screw up into criminals.
• We let prosecutors use, and abuse, their powers to get the maximum sentence they can get without having to actually prove that anything wrong was done. Why? I suppose so that they can show a "strong" record for the next election.
• We make no attempt to teach potential criminals — the young — why it is wrong to commit crimes.
• We make no attempt to determine the reason someone became a criminal, or to teach that criminal how to get back into society and earn his way honestly.
• We create private prisons, thereby creating a lobbying group which pushes for even longer and longer sentences.
• We push those caught in the act into agreeing to take a shorter sentence instead of trying them for what they actually did.
• We set up a jury trial so that the jury, instead of having to decide whether or not the accused committed the offense, has a handy dandy menu of offense, all of which he can be convicted instead of just the one of which he is probably guilty, thereby creating a situation where those who are found innocent of what they are accused are sent to prison for some lesser — and incorrect — offense because juries, having an collective IQ of roughly 20, think, "Gee! He must've done something wrong."
• In all but a few exceptional cases, we let the defendant bear the costs of his defense, and when he is affirmed to be innocent we do not "make him whole" again by paying him every nickel spent on defense, including loss of wages, travel, and everything else he would not have lost if he had not been falsely accused.
• Once we get the convict into prison we let the worst of the prisoners run the prison by allowing free contact between prisoners.
• We make no real attempt to "reform" anyone.
• We are actually stupid enough in some cases to eliminate the death penalty, thereby allowing anyone who wants to kill someone to do it and laugh over having gotten away with it for the rest of his entire life — especially for the 7 or 8 years he is likely to serve as long as he doesn't do it again, thereby showing creeps just how valuable a human life really is.
• And we do nothing whatsoever about the main problem, which is individuals who are born evil, act in evil ways for their entire lives, beginning from the moment they come in contact with others, who cost society millions upon millions of dollars, who contribute nothing to society, and who by spending a lifetime breaking the unwritten social contract toss away their right to live.
Ah, American justice!
Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!
Please read the article "Merging Boards Will Streamline Process For New Businesses" in the 27 March Roundup to get the whole story.
But here's a few quick quotes:
"The Payson Town Council recently took the first step toward consolidating the Design Review Board with the Planning and Zoning Commission."
"Staff hopes merging the two boards will expedite the approval process, keep costs low for developers and make the best use of staff time."
"On Thursday, March 19, the council held the first public hearing on the issue and only Design Review Board member Barbara Underwood commented. Underwood said she supports the merger since the DRB had accomplished 99 percent of what it set out to do...."
Good idea? Bad idea?
John, you said a mouthful!!
In the entire history of humankind there has never been a time when merely sticking someone in prison was effective in changing his ways. Since we cannot change criminals the only way to deal with them is to get rid of them. Putting them behind bars for life is — in my opinion, at least — far more cruel than a bullet in the back of the head. It also is cruel to those who may just possibly be possible to reform; they become so embittered that they just go back to what they were doing through hatred of the us, the system, and everything else.
You no doubt noticed that "bullet in the back of the head" comment. After many long years of thinking about executions, I have come to believe that sitting the criminal in a chair, placing a pistil at the back of his head, and pulling the trigger, is the most humane form of execution. It is also the most effective. Death is instantaneous. There is no pain, and not even a tiny moment of knowledge of death. With the correct round chosen the brain is destroyed to such and extent that it cannot function. In essence from the instant that trigger is pulled there is no brain.
And it should be done not in public, but in a cell where it is over and done with in just a minute or so. And no drugs or strapping someone down on a table. That's worse punishment than anything I can think of because it drags out the entire process.
I believe — and I'm fairly sure I am right — that knowledge that you will die if you become a career criminal would be effective in reducing the number of them. In other words, there would be less crime.
I'll say it again, by the way: I am just as dead set against someone who cheats us all by manipulating some company as I am against some crook who sticks a gun in my ribs and takes my wallet. It is the criminal INTENT which identifies someone who should be gotten rid of, not the type of crime. And one person who would work under a microscope is anyone in a prosecutor's office. What is worse than stealing someone's freedom?
"Could any citizen of the U.S do it or does it have to be someone in Govt."
Pat, under British law any citizen can file a criminal suit; under our law the power to do that is held by the government.
What's wrong with our governmental setup, I think, is that the law enforcement has not been separated from politics, at least not at the federal level. And it may be an error that administration of the government is left in the hands of a politically elected president, although what else we could do I don't know.
The Russian communists had an interesting approach to the problem. They created a body of supposed non-political people to oversee the government, but of course that became as phony as the rest of communism. So that probably wouldn't work here either.
But with the Attorney General under the control of the president we are currently screwed. Of course, there are occasional very honest and forthright people in high office, like Louis Freeh, who headed the FBI under Clinton. Clinton called Freeh in after he was approved by Congress and tried to tell him some things. Freeh just went back to his office and did his job according to the law. He also ignored some things that Janet Reno tried to get him to do. The result? It's rather funny to read, but in his autobiographical tale of his days in public office, he says something like, "After the first 30 days or so the President never said a single word to me."
Personally, I'd like to see Freeh as our president. He's still young (65), he's honest, open, and dedicated to the law, he seems about as non-partisan as anyone I've ever seen, and he'd make a good president at a time when we are suffering for lack of those qualities.
It may be that the Constitution is too vague about the oversight powers of Congress. We would not want Congress able to tell the president what to do; we need to keep the three parts of the government separate. But someone should be charged with the oversight of what the president does and the responsibility of filing a suit in federal court when he goes outside his powers.
Could the states be granted that power? Could we grant all states the power to file suit — at federal expense and in federal court — when there is reason to believe that any part of the administration from the lowliest forest service employee to the president himself is out of line? It certainly would help to balance out the power again.
You tell me, folks.
"...it is still us who pays the final bill."
No doubt true.
Brings up an interesting question, doesn't it?
Just exactly do we go about making sure that we don't get back into the trap which was the original cause of our revolution — namely the creation of an elite which has most of the money and controls the government as a result?
Socialism sure as hell isn't the answer, but we are getting very close to the day when some workable answer has to be found. I've heard only one suggestion that even seemed workable, and I wasn't crazy about that one. The idea was to set a ratio between the lowest paid and highest paid people in a corporation (not a wholly earned company where the owner has a right to whatever profit he can make), something like fifty to one. So that if the lowest paid person was getting — say — $40,000 then the highest paid person could not earn more than $2 million. At the same time, the person making the suggestion pointed out that in a corporation the people setting the wages are the same ones getting them, and that allows employees to loot the company. Maybe what we really needs is some laws to force corporation boards to better represent their shareholders by keeping wages at a reasonable level and prices down as well so that the company can compete better.
I don't know what it is, but something has to be done. Right? We can't go on with the mess we have.
Our laws have got one thing terribly wrong. They punish people severely for — say — murder because we all look upon it as a horrible crime, one that cannot be undone. That's fine, but it ignores a simple truth.
What is that truth? When an individual chooses to become a career criminal, stealing from others, or bullying others, or otherwise breaking our non-capital-punishment laws whenever and wherever he or she can, then that person becomes a far greater burden on society than someone who merely takes a life. He or she not only steals our money, he or she steals our sense of safety in our homes and elsewhere. Taking a life takes everything that one individual has, and it may cause pain and suffering to others as well, but in the long run it does far less damage to all of us than one small-time crook can do if he or she spends his or her entire life working at it.
Our current sentencing laws try to both punish and to reform individuals. In some cases they succeed and the individual never again commits a crime. In some cases it may take more than one sentence for them to succeed. But in most cases prison time is merely a short time-out from the career criminal's usual way of life.
This is true, by the way, whether the criminal is a small time thug who holds up a fast food restaurant with a pellet gun or an unscrupulous businessman who harms all of society by using unscrupulous tactics. What often happens to the unscrupulous businessman is that when he is caught it is the company for which he works that is "punished"— thereby passing on the cost of his unscrupulous actions to the public — and he or she goes scott free. We see this all the time don't we? And we see politicians or public servants who lose nothing but their current jobs when they commit a crime of some kind.
That is not justice!!
How much better life would be for all of us if what we did was this: (a) Charge individuals who use a company to do their evil with a crime and place them in prison. (b) Do the same with the teenager who performs his first crime. (c) During the first prison term — always one year at hard labor — teach the felon that he MUST comply with the social contract or he will be executed. (d) If a second deliberate crime for profit is committed then send the felon to prison for a second year at hard labor, making sure than he or she knows that it is his or her last chance, and that there will be no third chance. (e) If the felon repeats again execute him or her.
And yes. If I had the power to do it that law would be in effect right now.
Thanks, Don. There's nothing like a smile to make someone feel good in the morning.
Seriously, though, we are all subject to what is called the "social contract." We all agree, whether explicitly or tacitly (see note) that we won't do some things. It's a trade-off so that we can enjoy the rest of our rights.
(Note: Tacitly means by remaining silent. A simple example: Although it might be possible for the biggest kid in the class to take everyone else's lunch money because he is physically able to do it, that biggest kid, and everyone else, without actually saying it, agrees to live according to the rules. That is why we can write laws and can punish people for breaking them.)
I'll put up a second post and will tell you (a) how to get rid of almost all prison, and (b) how to stop almost all crime.
I don't dislike Barack Obama as much as many people do; I just really do not understand the man. If he genuinely is a law professor then he surely should know that the President is the "Chief Administrator," which means that he is there, among other things, to administer the federal government, running it according to the laws passed by Congress. He must know that he has no more authority to change or amend the laws than you or I have; he is just there to apply them as Congress wrote them.
Therefore, when he does what he has been doing his actions should first be challenged in court and overturned, and once it is shown that he has repeatedly, and with full knowledge of the law, failed to do his job as defined by the Constitution he should be charged with malfeasance in office and be removed for it, and there might even be a question of criminal charges to look into. No nonsense about impeachment; just plain legal charges, just as would be applied to the governor of a state who tried the same thing.
This is supposed to be a nation of laws, a nation where no one is above the law. So when someone is blatantly ignoring the laws of the land, and is doing it with foreknowledge of the fact that he is doing it, then why is no one filing a suit? Until someone uses the third branch of the government — the courts — as that branch was supposed to be used we will continue to have this kind of problem.
All we have to do is stick a few people from ATF in jail for what they are doing, and having done that go after Barack Obama, and this nation will see a sudden turnaround.
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