Monday, May 28, 2012


Celebrate MEMORIAL DAY....THE RIGHT WAY ......

I watched a "Memorial Day Concert Tribute" last night....which listed a number of reputable hosts and performers. 
There "theme" was "welcoming home" troops/veterans...????
Now, maybe it's me....or maybe I'm just being too "picky" here; but isn't Veteran's Day in NOVEMBER ???

Well, I suppose we can stretch the definition of Memorial Day...if one wants to make a political statement!!  The media loves to do that anyway!!

The BEST STATEMENT  that I can think of to HONOR our fallen soldiers would be:  BRING ALL THE REMAINING TROOPS HOME.....NOW.....

Yup, wrap up all the "goodies" and bring it on home!! 

I don't know of any "AUTHORIZED WARS", "Police actions", or such committments requiring the presence of our "troops" anywhere.....Do You??
Even getting rid of old residual agreements subsidizing antiquated needs for "bases"....i.e. Germany, Korea, etc.

Recent polls show that more than 60 percent of Americans believe we should bring our troops home from Afghanistan — NOW !!!

They are right. We should bring our young men and women home — and vow to never again fight an 11-year war when our mission was complete much earlier.... in six months after it started.....ten years later, too many lives and hundreds of billions of dollars longer than necessary. "The military budget of the United States, conservatively measured at around $700 billion (but probably closer to $1 trillion once all security measures and veteran benefits are considered), is approximately equal to all of the military budgets of all other countries combined. If the US military budget were cut in half, it would still be the largest in the world. Then, if it were cut in half again, it would STILL be the largest in the world. Then, if it were cut in half a third time, reduced to only one-eighth its current size, it would STILL be the largest in the world. And that's using the conservative measure."......
"Whatever motivates this enormous budget, it is certainly not for the defense of American soil.
 Indeed, when the Department of Homeland Security was created, this was a virtual admission that the Department of Defense had goals other than homeland security.
No foreign army has the slightest capacity to invade the United States, and as North Korea has demonstrated, even the possession of a single nuclear weapon is enough to deter invasion."~​foreign-policy

So whether you call this Memorial Day or (Veteran's Day).....Celebrate it right; Honor our fallen soldiers by saving the needless and "unjustified" sacrifice of our soldiers currently in "Harm's Way"!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Two-Party System: Is it Coke or Pepsi ?? (A Catastrophic Failure ???)

George Washington refused allegiance to any political party during his eight-year service as first president of the United States.

"Many people believe that political parties are essential in a democracy such as the United States. These individuals claim that since a democracy encourages dissent and disagreement, it is only natural that such differences of opinion will find expression in organized factions."...........
"The two-party setup in the United States has severely divided our nation. Having names and labels for different political persuasions can be helpful, but they have too often led to pigeonholing and name-calling which hampers a free exchange of ideas. “Republican” and “Democrat,” “conservative” and “liberal,” “right” and “left” have degenerated into terms used to ostracize and vilify the opposition and to stifle discussion of topics deemed politically incorrect."

  "Moreover, the true meanings of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” have been obscured. In modern parlance, a “conservative” is someone who defends fundamental moral values and wishes to preserve traditional national ideals, and a “liberal” is someone who disputes fundamental moral values and wishes to radically change our country around. But these meanings are inadequate. The words originally referred to political approaches, not to a person’s moral values or lack thereof. “Conservative” basically means someone who applauds the status quo, while “liberal” means someone who wishes to effect change. Neither conservatism nor liberalism is good or evil per se; it depends on what specific policy you wish to maintain or to alter."

Most democratic countries have more than two parties. In Israel, for example, twelve parties or party alliances held seats in the seventeenth Knesset. Japan has several major parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, the New Komeito, and the Japanese Communist Party.

The following summary outlines our system:


Most Americans look favorably on the two-party system because it has dominated much of American politics from the very beginning. The Republican and Democratic parties have existed for more than 150 years, and that history gives them a legitimacy that third parties do not have. The two-party system is also self-perpetuating. Children grow up identifying with one of the two major parties instead of a third party because children tend to share their parents’ political views.
Coke and Pepsi

The two political parties are a lot like the two giants of the cola world, Coke and Pepsi. Although each wants to win, they both recognize that it is in their mutual interest to keep a third cola from gaining significant market share. Coke and Pepsi, many people have argued, conspire to keep any competitor from gaining ground. For example, in supermarkets, cola displays at the end of the aisles are often given over to Coke for six months of the year and Pepsi for the other six. Competitors such as Royal Crown face an extremely difficult challenge. The Democrats and the Republicans function in much the same way.

The Electoral System

In the United States, a candidate wins the election by gaining a plurality, or more votes than any other candidate. This is a winner-take-all system because there is no reward for the party or candidate that finishes second. Parties aim to be as large as possible, smoothing over differences among candidates and voters. There is no incentive to form a party that consistently gets votes but cannot win an election. As a result, two political parties usually dominate plurality electoral systems to the disadvantage of smaller third parties, just as the Democrats and the Republicans dominate the American political system. No one person or organization prevents third parties from forming, but the plurality system itself usually hinders their efforts to win votes.
The United States also has mostly single-member districts, meaning that each legislative district sends only one member to the legislature. There is no benefit to finishing second. Some countries use multiple-member districts, which makes it easier for minor parties to succeed because there are more members winning seats in the legislature.
The Electoral College
The Electoral College exacerbates the winner-take-all system because in all but two states, whoever wins the most popular votes wins all of the state’s electoral votes in the presidential election. The electoral rules favor a two-party system, and minor parties have a very difficult time competing in such a system. Even successful third-party candidates often fail to get a single electoral vote.
Example: In the 1992 presidential election, independent candidate H. Ross Perot received nearly 19 percent of the popular vote, but he did not get a single electoral vote. Other recent third-party candidates—including John Anderson in 1980, Perot again in 1996, and Ralph Nader in 2000—also failed to win electoral votes. The last third-party candidate to win any electoral votes was George Wallace in 1968’s tumultuous election.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are a few advantages of the American two-party system:
  • Stability: Two-party systems are more stable than multiparty systems
  • Moderation: The two parties must appeal to the middle to win elections, so the parties tend to be moderate.
  • Ease: Voters have only to decide between two parties.
But there are also a few disadvantages to our system, including the following:
  • Lack of choice: Both parties tend to be very similar, limiting voters’ options.
  • Less democratic: A percentage of people will always feel marginalized by the system.
See more:

See my earlier post "So Where Do We Go From Here ??"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SOCIAL ISSUES - Your Moral Compass & "American Exceptionalism?"


So what's YOUR position on:

Gay Marraige
Drug use
Tobacco use
Body jewelry
Family values
   on and on.......

Is it like mine???
 Should it be??  (and why??) 
  Is it that YOU are right and I am wrong???
    Does it matter ???

Let's first look quickly at "American Exceptionalism"-
American exceptionalism (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)-
is the theory that the United States is different from other countries in that it has a specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. In this view, America's exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming "the first new nation,"[1] and developing a uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire........
Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States is exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite. In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, America is a nation "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." In this view, America is inextricably connected with liberty and equality. This interpretation of American exceptionalism has been championed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. In a 2011 film, A City Upon a Hill[36] and book, A Nation Like No Other, Gingrich argues the claim to "exceptionalism" is "built on the unique belief that our rights do not come from the government, but from God, giving honor and responsibility to the individual – not the state."[37]

However, The United States has the largest population of immigrants in the world—over 38.5 million people living in the United States are first-generation immigrants.  As such we have "mutated"!!   We are no longer a few select groups of Pilgrims, Puritans, and assorted aristocrats from England; but a hugely diverse maze or "melting pot" of many cultures and nationalities.  Coming with that, is its associated variety of beliefs, values & religions....all of which have been welcomed here under the American roof with no discrimination or favoritism.......or has it ???

The United States' policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism and checks and balances, which were designed to prevent any person, faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful.

But as we have seen with our recent electoral has become infested with "special interest groups" and powerful elites with financial controls over, not only the media, but over the "electoral process itself". 
It has gotten to where these policies are now expected to tell us what is "right or wrong"......or to set our "MORAL COMPASS" regarding SOCIAL ISSUES. 
 This used to be an area reserved for "individual responsibility" originated & developed by our parents, family and faith (religion) be maintained by each of us, individually, throughout our life.

"A person’s sense of right or wrong may change depending on what role they are playing at the time, according to a new study that also found that people may not even be aware of their shifting moral integrity": see more - Moral Compass Shifts as Roles Change

In modern times....
"Instead of a moral compass, people have been given enormous freedom to construct their own lives and make their own moral decisions. Although this outcome has had many positive elements, it also has resulted in large numbers of people, at least in America, who are fundamentally unsure when it comes to their philosophy of life.  In Schwartz's words, "They don't seem to know where they belong. They don't seem to know that they are doing the right things with their lives. They don't seem to know what the right things are": see more - Finding our Moral Compass

Since when do we expect our elected representatives and a political party to involve themselves in the myriad of social issues and the various viewpoints that come with them!!??
If you don't like someone's position on abortion....or gay marraige; then don't vote for them !!!  It's really that simple !!!For any party to attempt to find positions that are acceptable with such a wide cross-section of society will necessitate continual bickering and dis-content among its members.....never finding the "magical" combination or formula to satisfy enough of a majority to accomplish anything.

POLITICAL PARTIES SHOULD REFRAIN FROM TAKING POSITIONS ON SOCIAL ISSUES.....This is solely a responsibility of the INDIVIDUAL derived from one's parents, family and religious beliefs !

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


POLITICS.... Sometimes I wonder why I bother with it.

After spending many months supporting & endorsing NEWT GINGRICH for the GOP nomination;  thinking that he would be the person to fix the ailing system and be the one who would be able to resist the influences of the elite establishment and its biased media;  only to be suddenly, once again be dis-illusioned,  and disappointed in the public display of political corruption witnessed in this election cycle.
Having made many new facebook friends (as I'm sure many of us have)....some of which will certainly not agree with my views....I only say: "that's what our country is supposed to be about....freedom of expression, thoughts, ideas & opinions."  Those in disagreement are free to express theirs in their own long as we don't infringe upon the rights of others to do the same.
I personally can not adopt a view of  "voting for the lesser of two evils" in comparing Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney.  I feel we must be able to resist being "force-fed" a philosophy that we disagree with.  Their ARE other choices!  WE MUST STOP THIS INSANITY !!

I honestly feel we have a long struggle ahead of us.
The two-party system is so powerful (money supported) and influential (media-driven)... that any progress toward fixing this will necessitate electoral reforms &; campaign finance reforms which will entail an uphill battle that must come...
but how and when???

I don't see either the RNC/DNC changing themselves and becoming "un-corrupt"; and for individuals at the ground level to work their way is extremely unlikely with the "playing field" so "uneven" and dominated by BIG MONEY and the "good ole boy networks" that are in place.
 So, does it come through a 3rd Party??

The duopoly we now have has so embedded itself and thus dominated U.S. politics for quite some time now, that it, too is extremely difficult!!
The biggest hurdle is Ballot Access: National BALLOT ACCESS ( for 3rd/independent parties in all states is the first step which can often take years.

They will, however, need to clarify some of their positions (policies/platform) if they truly expect to assimilate more of the INDEPENDENT VOTERS and CENTRIST-RIGHT MAJORITY in order to actually win elections on a national level.
For one, they DO A POOR JOB of expressing their "NEUTRALITY" on SOCIAL ISSUES !!! Often being labeled "pro-something, when they are NOT !!!
They DO A POOR JOB of expressing their actual views on National Defense & Foreign Policy !!! Often being labeled "isolationist" when they are really NOT !!!

I'm trying to weigh most of the admirable principles of the Libertarian Party against the risk of turning the nation into one of "Anarchy"...(where everyone just does as they please).
As an example...there is a fine line in being able to determine when one's choice of a "social liberty" infringes on, or does harm to another's choice.
Specifically, it becomes the inevitable problem of choosing...By who and when is such a determination of "harm" made? (by the Government...through a Law?????)
History has shown us that people can not rule themselves in a "civil society" without some kind of civil constraint.

The Libertarian Party does not seem to address this area very well. In order for their philosophy to work, people must be rational, and we're all too often not rational at all.
We need a system that will work for the good of the nation.....and my hopes that a "workable" methodology/system of allowing those liberties be adopted in the Libertarian platform.

Whether any "a party" includes or deals with SOCIAL ISSUES is always a critical problem (as it is often the major cause of disputes among the parties). Many parties choose to treat one or all social issues with a broad brush thus leading to internal bickering, while others become so restrictive that they exclude the overwhelming majority of those they wish to appeal to....look at the GOP for example !!
 Suffice it to say that trying to get "everyone" or, at least, a workable majority of constituents on the same page...on all or even most social issues; is a daunting if not impossible task.
It is the RESPONSIBILITY of the "individual, parent or family" to provide, develop and maintain a "moral compass". Why should it become the responsibility or job of your elected representative to provide, develop and maintain it??  If you don't like or agree with one's position on abortion...or gay marriage.....don't vote for that person!!   It's really that simple!
Again, it is when people are not "responsible"; or infringe upon the rights of others ...that it often FAILS. Therein lies the real issue!!!


Campaign Finance Reform:
Reduce or eliminate the influence of money and special interests groups in campaigns.
Establish public funding options for clean elections and shorten election cycles. Eliminate soft money from corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals. Prompt Internet disclosure of campaign contributions and voting records. Lobbyists provide information, not money.
Establish election spending caps on candidates in order to cover administrative/travel costs with annual adjustments tied to relevant national inflation/cost index.

Elections/Electoral Reforms:
Amend Constitution to provide Term Limits on Senate and Congress of no more than 2 consecutive terms in Senate and 6 consecutive terms in Congress. In doing so, term limits will minimize corruption, put and end to career power wheeling politicians, allow for quicker response to change in policy and direction of the country and reduce the possibility of a political class within the government.
All States must grant fair ballot access to qualified third party candidates and independents.
All TV, Radio or other media debates and forums must uniformly & impartially include ballot-qualified third-party and independent candidates. Publish uniform statewide voter guides in all national elections.
Eliminate "Gerrymandering" in the States or require courts, not State political parties, to construct equal legislative voting districts preventing the disenfranchisement of the voter
State primaries/caucuses/conventions for any & each party must be held on the same day with results not published until all states have closed respective polls.
Cumulative voting options, instant runoff.
NOTA (None of the Above) on the ballot line as a voter's choice.
Electorate Recall vote to remove legislators in their respective state.
Citizen initiative and referendum laws in all states.

For more info see:

Ready or Not...Here it Comes !