The value of your vote

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kaman's picture
kaman
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The value of your vote

Just over 12 months until a major election.  The political circus has come to every living room, the republican debates are in high gear, everything in the news comes with a generous topping of flavored partisan pandering.  Forums and blogs are abuzz with opinion and personal debates, full of energy and conviction, and often overflowing with disagreement and anger.  You would think this election process and the fervent months ahead are the stuff of which our forefathers would be proud of... but are they?

I listen and read a lot, talk little, and am always trying to make some sense of the things taking place in this country and the world.  Events over the last decade, especially the last couple years have brought to the forefront a nagging question for which I have no answer.  Perhaps some of you here can add insight...

Do you really think your vote means anything…

-when you have a government so powerful that it continually ignores the will of the people and circumvents the Constitution…

-when you have a government so powerful that it appoints Czars to run factions of government that work totally behind closed doors and without public scrutiny or oversight…

-when you have a government so powerful that even its President’s past is shrouded in mystery and his records are cloaked from public view…

-when you have a government so powerful that it can give unlimited amounts of our people’s money to any other people or country in the world, for whatever reason it chooses, without our consent while our own citizens struggle…

-when you have a government so powerful that it can take over any privately owned business or corporation that it deems ‘to big to fail’ or poses a national security risk…

-when you have a government so powerful that it favors the rights of undocumented and illegal immigrants over its own citizens…

-when you have a government so powerful that can go anywhere in the world and declare open hostilities, murder, destruction and mayhem on any people it chooses, without the will of our own citizens or the approval of Congress…

-when you have a government so powerful that it can send the police to your door and search your house without a warrant, arrest you without charges, and detain you indefinitely without legal counsel or communication, or shoot you dead in front of your wife and children as you stand at your front door, and yet does not have to answer any questions, from anyone, about anything…

-when you have a government so powerful that it can secretly sanction and murder its own citizens without due process or oversight…

Really?

 

?

jrf29's picture
jrf29
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Answer

Answer: your vote has very little value under these circumstances.  In fact, a vote by itself always has little value.  The founding fathers believed that voting was the least of a citizen's responsibilities.  Voting was merely the outward manifestation of the type of intense citizen involvement that is needed.

In the old New England towns, every capable adult male was expected to hold office at some time during his life: to be a constable, or one of its selectmen, or a fence-viewer, or an assessor.  Attendence at town meeting was required.

I live in a small town in New England which is still run this way.  It would be fair to say that everything is run pretty much directly by the people.  The Board of Selectmen (who roughly fill the shoes that a modern mayor would fill) manage things when Town Meeting is not in session, but the police department cannot buy a pistol or a single taser gun, the fire department cannot purchase a hose, and no bylaw can be enacted without the approval of all the voters at town meeting (which all town residents are entitled to attend).    Not to mention that the actual oversight of each town department is govered by a committee of citizen volunteers.

And town meeting is more than merely voting - in practice it operates more like a jury, because discussion will go on and on until something approaching a consensus has been reached.  Usually a consensus is reached after much discussion.  So the act of voting is not a mere "poll" it is a process by which the community is actively healed and drawn together to be of one mind.

This way of life, although it still exists in small-town New England is completely foreign to the modern city-dweller.  But this is the tradition that our founding fathers came from.  There were no large cities in Pre-Revolution America.

Why am I relating this idyllic tale of small-town Massachusetts, where it obviously cannot apply to the modern U.S?  Because the Founding Fathers did not intend to rely on voting alone to secure the liberties of the people.  They relied heavily on decentralization of power -- on the old system of direct citizen involvement -- so that decisions would whenever possible be made at the level of government closest to the people.  This is the reason why there was only a small and tightly defined number of powers that were delegated up to the Federal government.  Even state governments exercised relatively little power in comparison to the towns (or to the counties in non-New England states).

If we abandon that original philosophy of strictly limited central government, and allow all kinds of decisions to be made in Washington, D.C., relying only on the vote to keep things "democratic," we will meet with disaster, because the individual citizen has no voice at all when the decision-making process has been so far removed from the people.

What makes the problem even worse in the U.S. is the fact that our Federal government was not designed to operate as a pure national government.  It doesn't have the democratic protections that would be needed for that purpose. 

Look at the executive branch in your state.  How many people do you elect in your state?  Not only is the governor elected, but so is almost every important official down to the county sheriff and town constable, including the district attorney, the registrar of probate, the judge (in many places), the town clerk, the county commissioners, the assessors, and on and on.

Remember, too, that at the time the constitution was signed there were no such things as state police forces.  People would have been outraged at the idea that the state governor should get his own private standing army.  At that time virtually every person with the right to exercise physical control over the individual was directly elected. 

But who do we elect in the federal government?  Do you elect the regional director of the F.B.I.?  The D.E.A?  The A.T.F?  The I.C.E.?  The U.S. attorney for your district?  The regional director of the I.R.S?  Would it even be possible for the poeple to make a meaningful choice with the candidates so far removed from them?

I would argue no.  The central government was not designed to exercise the kind of power that it now does, and the Founding Fathers "wrote in words that they earnestly believed nobody could misunderstand" when the prohibited the Federal government from exercising more than the small number of powers that they gave to it.  Voting only works if we respect the structure of government handed to us by our forebears, and strictly limit the type and amount of power that can be exercised by any central government.

But as long as the people have an appetite for the central government to do more and more for them, and as long as the people are willing to give up the burden of handling their own local problems on the promise that somebody far away can and will fix it for them, then the empty formality of voting will do absolutely nothing to protect real liberty.

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kaman
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Thank you jrf29, for your

Thank you jrf29, for your well thought out and communicated response.

Now disappointment sets in as I was expecting many more responses, but perhaps this topic is too dark to think about, (with 11% of American's over the age of 12 already using antidepressants(?)  Hopefully the topic just needs time for fermentation in the back of the mind for it would be a grave situation indeed if only two of us here even recognise the true state of 'government of, by & for the people'.  Is it this easy to ignore?

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Doug
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conspiracy theories

At least some of your allegations are conspiracy theories.  You may get more feedback in the Controversial Topics dungeon.

Doug

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MarkM
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kaman and jrf29, Thanks for

kaman and jrf29,

Thanks for both of your posts. To me, they both offer much education in few words.

kaman,

The picture you paint is succint and in line with my thoughts...and it is terrifying. The tools are being put in place (no, not necessarily as part of some "grand plan") little by little that would allow the federal government to completely control the people if the leader chose to do so.

For the vast majority of the minority that does realize how far off the tracks we are, the question might be, "Why even try, the problems in our federal governent are so overwhelming and backed by so much inertia that they will never be remedied." A little like the 450 pound person trying to convince themselves to eat less. Our culture has produced a citizenry that does not have the discipline to hammer away at these problems knowing that it could be decades before there are noticeable results for their efforts.

I do see some changes in a few of those in my circle with regard to the overreach of the federal government. However, I feel it is miniscule compared to those that do not perceive a major problem, much less fostering the effort to change the situation.

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JAG
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kaman wrote: Do you really
kaman wrote:

Do you really think your vote means anything…

Nope, which is why I have never voted in my life.

I never could understand why mature men and women would limit their self-image to a political abstraction.

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kaman
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Miniscule...

'A terrifying situation with miniscule attention being paid to it'.  That about sums it all up, MarkM.

I didn't always care about the state of the nation, much less vote, but that changed about 25 years ago when I took an active role in educating myself and others as to the issues and candidates of the day.  I felt that no matter how insignificant my vote may seem all by itself it still had an effect on the course of history much like a single rain drop does in a flood.  Unfortunately it wasn't long before I found myself voting for a candidate not solely on their merit, but to block another less desirable one from getting into office.  The past two presidential elections brought me back to voting for the person I felt most qualified and the best choice for this country, no matter the odds.  Nowadays, having come full circle, I firmly believe it makes no difference whatsoever and I'm back to being a sideline observer again.

At my age I am more concerned for my offspring and their children than what the hard times ahead mean to me.  What type of country, world, and life do they have to look forward to?  Certainly future generations won't experience the same environment I did, when you could leave one job and walk across the street and get another (often better paying) one. Or when most anyone could start a business on a shoestring in a garage and turn it into lifelong self-supporting profitable endeavor in just a couple years without all the government constraints/restrictions/regulations/permits/certifications and  fees.  The loss of individual freedoms and privacy have yet to be fully felt by the majority but when their loss become evident it will be to late to recover -  for it already is.  This is no longer our grandfather's country, or our father's, or our own.

As the election cycle gains momentum there will be many personal and public debates, speeches, polls, conventions, rallies, more polls, articles, essays, interviews, forum postings, blogs, and yet even more polls, and the net result will be to narrow the public perception of the ideal candidate down to a previously chosen one or two so that there are no surprises when the votes are tallied.  And even if this all sounds too conspiracy riddled, just think of the many unthinkable things that have taken place in the past 10 years that were previously... well, unthinkable.  Look at where we are today, having witnessed how we have become so far removed from our past in such a short period of time I realize there is no way of knowing just how bad things can become right around the corner, or how fast.  Yet precious few seem to care.

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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Structural reform - Electoral College

The usual idea is that we should have a direct popular election for President of the United States ('POTUS'). I have a different idea. We elect real functioning electors -- not pre-committed to any candidates or party -- to the Electoral College and charge them with recruiting the next president.

The Constitution requires each state's electors to vote by majority for a president and a vice president ... that could be after an intensive recruiting and interviewing process conducted nationally. I'm not sure about this, but I like to imagine that's how our first president, George Washington, was elected. Anyway, he didn't run for office, he was recruited.

Think about it -- to voluntarily submit yourself to the insanity of the media circus as a candidate for POTUS, you'd have to be crazy. So, if we want a sane person, let's have a system that goes out and recruits the best that we can find who is willing to take the job.

EXCEPT, I have to say that you wouldn't have to be crazy if -- in a period of marked political dyfunction like today -- you are just patriotic ... I like Buddy Roemer in the current situation and I think he's patriotic, not crazy.

We wouldn't even have to change the Constitution to accomplish this -- just state laws, state by state, and also everyone's attitude about the Presidency.

This information is from Wikipedia article Electoral_College_(United_States)

Original plan

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution states:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 of the Constitution states:

The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 of the Constitution provided for the original fashion by which the President and Vice President were to be chosen by the electors. In the original system, the candidate who received both the most votes and more than half of all votes cast would become President, the candidate receiving the second most votes would become Vice President.

The design of the Electoral College was based upon several assumptions and anticipations of the Framers of the Constitution:

    1.    Each state would employ the district system of allocating electors.

    2.    Each presidential elector would exercise independent judgment when voting.

    3.    Candidates would not pair together on the same ticket with assumed placements toward each office of President and Vice President.

    4.    The system as designed would rarely produce a winner, thus sending the election to Congress.

On these facts, some scholars have described the Electoral College as being intended to nominate candidates from which the Congress would then select a President and Vice President.

Each state government is free to have its own plan for selecting its electors.

I call your attention to point 2, above -- "Each presidential elector would exercise independent judgment when voting."

Also, "no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector." Sounds like they wanted electors who were not particularly partisan, doesn't it? What do we have today? TOTALLY partisan electors!

Maybe the Electoral College isn't the problem ... maybe it could be the solution!

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JuanGalt
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Unfortunately it is worthless

Sad to say. The American political process has been absolutely corrupted and the Republic is dead.

It's likely going to come down to Obama or Romney and we can't win with either although Obama is about as bad as it gets.

I think focusing on changing the political process and outcome is futile and a terrible waste of time and effort.

It's better to concentrate on how to protect yourself and your loved ones, position yourself for successful navigation during change and volaitlity, acquire skills that will allow you to survive and thrive during the coming turbulent times and create community with like-minded people. Period.

Life is too short and time is to precious to spend it ramming your head against the wall.

Educate yourself, find other for support and act on your gut conviction, not what the media, your dumb clueless neighbor or relative or waht the corrupt gov't wants you to believe.

If you're interested in learning more visit "the basement". Only registered can see this board. Click "all forums" and then go ALL THE WAY to the bottom. Some interesting discussions and material can be found there.

GOOD LUCK!!!

JG

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dshields
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Right On !!!

You are so right on !!!  I am endlessly amazed at how far we have fallen.  The only word I can come up with is "shocking":  While your list is potent I could easily double it.  The government, in all its forms, has expanded so far past what the constitution specifies that we no longer live in the America the constitution defined.  We live in a soft tyranny.  It is the most amazing thing.  I am shocked on a daily basis by stuff I see in the media.  It is completely out of control.  It has been going that way for some time but Obama is the pinnacle of statism.  Just look at the things he has done and the things he tried to do.  It is shocking.  It is incredible.  It is sad.  Practically every major problem we face is due to deviation from the constitution.  The welfare/warfare state.  The massive overspending to support a massive class of dependency.  Constant government or Fed Res intervention in the economy causing all kinds of distortions and boom/bust cycles.  The list is endless.  Statism is a powerful force that has eroded the very fiber of America.

There is an election coming.  I was all excited about the 2010 mid term election.  I thought if we elected a bunch of people who wanted to move America back toward normal then America would move back toward normal.  I was wrong.  I used to be all optimistic after the 2010 election.  Not any more.  I have come to a completely different point of view.  I now believe that the current system is so broken that it can not be repaired no matter who we elect in 2012.  It is possible that complex systems like America can become so broken that they can not be fixed.  I looks like we have reached that point.  The entitlement mentality and low achievement has become so pervasive that only some kind of very serious crisis that results in the breakdown of the status quo will result in a "reset" that will allow America to eventually recover and get back to normal.  I know that sounds harsh.  Maybe it is harsh.  I don't know.  If we temporarily forget the massive fed gov power that is far in excess of anything ever envisioned and focus in on the economics of the current situation we can see things.  For instance, we have crazy wars that are bleeding money and lives for no apparent reason.  Crazy wars have somehow become normal.  The welfare state has expanded beyond all reason.  47% of the people do not even pay fed income tax and many are actually paid as a result of submitting a tax return.  That is incredible.  If you look at the budget of the federal government it is all out of whack.  Tons of money going to things they should not even be doing and not enough money going to things they are supposed to be doing.  Amazing how broken that is.  The fed gov suing states who try to enforce the fed govs own constitutionally mandated laws because the fed gov refuses to enforce them.  Incredible.  The Senate has not even bothered to make a budget in 2 years even though this is clealy specified in the constitution as required.  Incredible.  The list of malfunctions is endless.  The entire thing is a malfunction.  Over spending by 40+ percent and growing.  Outrageous.  However, it is now so broken how do you fix it ?  Let's say we decided to stop the out of control spending spree and bring spending in line with revenue (does not even include paying down the debt).  We would have to cut social security by 40%, the military by 40%, lay off 40% of the fed gov employees, medicare/medicaid cut 40%, food stamps cut 40%, section 8 housing cut by 40%, agg subsidies cut 40%, the entire thing cut by at least 40%.

Guess what - it is simply not going to happen.  If it did the entire country would come unglued.  Cities would become violent hell holes and millions of people would be forced to move out of the cities.  Violence would become the norm.  Everyone would start carrying guns.  Armed bands of people would wander the land killing and taking whatever they wanted.  It would be much worse than the great depression.  A reset by any name.

Or, we can use the fed res to force interest rates to basically zero forever so the fed gov can borrow money for almost nothing.  At some point the world would not want any more dollars and the fed res would just directly finance the over spending through direct monetization of the treasury.  We are on the way now.  At some point on that journey serious inflation and then hyper-inflation would destroy the dollar.  That is also a reset.

Looks like a reset no matter what happens.  No body knows what will trigger the reset or when.  What I am working along on is preparing for the reset.  I think that is about all one can do.

 Bottom Line - I don't think it makes any difference who you vote for.  The system is so broken that nobody can fix it.

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kaman
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2OLD-Not wanting to sound

2OLD-

Not wanting to sound too pessimistic, for I like what you're saying about a new election process, but several obstacles come immediately to mind:

- "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."-- John Adams. A tweak here and there in the system is not going to cure the illness.

-The POTUS is only one person. There are 545 other elected federal legislators to consider.

-Those currently holding the true governing power (whomever they are) will not relinquish it freely or easily.

-And despite the checks & balances written into our current system it still was circumvented and corrupted, as will be any adjustments to that system.

 

JuanGalt-

"Life is too short and time is to precious to spend it ramming your head against the wall."   Amen to that statement!  Last year's mid term elections were such a disappointment.  All the hype, talk, and internet chatter of taking back our government fizzled as early as the primaries when it became perfectly clear that the status-quo would be preserved indefinitely.  A couple promising upsets in the election were soon brought back to earth when candidates changed horses (came to see things differently) once elected.

 

dsshields-

We obviously share the belief that the system is so broken that nothing short of burying it and starting totally anew will bring any improvement.  It's not easy to say exactly when we crossed that line, any more than it is an easy pill to swallow once you realize where we're at, but here we are nonetheless -and that is the all important first step.  For many folks letting go of things as we've known them to be, and still want them to be, is as scary as jumping from atop a 4 story building in a 3 alarm fire.  It's not until the flames are scorching your back and licking at your heels that the tiny net way down below looks like the better option - our only option.  The only thing one can do now is prepare for the ugliest, nastiest, hard times we can imagine while hoping deep down inside that it won't ever get as bad as we fear.

 

2OLD4OKEYDOKE's picture
2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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The Impossible dream

Okay, my friends, I understand. However, I do also wonder if your remarks would have been any different if I had made any statement about political reform at all. I think not, and I conclude that no one really has given any thought to my remarks beyond various boilerplate knee-jerk reactions (excellent and sincere though they may be).

Perhaps it's just a habit of thinking, but I do think that USA is going to be around for a long time to come. Or, anyway, USA can be around for a long time to come. If enough Americans don't allow ourselves even to think in those terms, the result is predictable and almost certainly catastrophic.

But you aren't saying that the USA is gone, just that it's becoming or become a military dictatorship, or a country that has effectively been conquered already -- maybe something like late-stage Imperial China when it was being run by foreign devils. I can see those tendencies. I was early in applying the thinking of Sun Tzu to our situation today, how a nation can be conquered without even knowing they've been conquered.

Here's the thing though. All we can do is keep a clear mind on all the issues. And try to spread clear thinking around.

For example, I am a monetarist of the www.monetary.org school, not because I delude myself that the American Monetary Act is going to be passed by Congress anytime soon, but because it keeps my thinking clear. Thus, I don't say well, we have a fiat currency ... which means this, that or the other about the price of gold. Because I see that the big currency success story today -- the renminbi -- is a classic case of fiat money.

I am into keeping my mind free, free to think for myself. I think it through and I am a monetarist, not a gold bug ... meaning nothing at all about the price of gold or what you should do to protect your savings in the current environment ... I just think we should all clearly understand that fiat currency is how the USA started and isn't, in and of itself, necessarily a disaster. Now, fractional reserve banking ... that's another story.

It's a matter of clear thinking about issues.I wish people would understand that I am not here to say 'Buy platinum now', 'Look for the market signal', 'Get out of the USD', 'Send Buddy Roemer the $100, will you?', 'Stock up 1,000 rounds of 9mm', or any of that. Well. maybe I am saying that you should consider all of these suggestions equally without excepting the suggestion to send Buddy Roemer the $100, because you already think you know Buddy doesn't stand a chance in the New Hampshire primary.

I am just sharing my thoughts, in pursuit of clear thinking about issues free of prejudices, including the prejudice that there is no possibiltiy of political reform.

Okay, let's get back to the Electoral College thing, which is the topic of my comment on voting. Certainly we are all aware that USA has evolved this insane god-king-president mentality, (nothing to do with the Constitution), which means that the foreign devils have to keep each administration weak to keep it under control, which means that the foreign devils have to keep We-the-People divided. We all understand these realities.

We would be less than truthful to say that we think that we can ignore the devils in the details of all this hopeless political mess. We can't. We all study it, even if we study it under the heading of 'PM markets' rather than 'politics', we still study it and think about it, expending considerable time and energy in that endeavor.

So, living in the real world, I like to keep my thinking clear. There is no god-king-president. Understanding that keeps my thinking clear.

That's how I am on the matter of the way we Americans have evolved the Electoral College. I see that the Constitution has very little to do with our entire system today and that the Constitution isn't the problem. Too many people today think that we could accomplish something with a constitutional amendment to replace the Electoral College with a national direct election. Now that effort would be a waste of time and money.

So I go back and study the Constitution. I see that the problem isn't in the Electoral College, it's in the way that we have evolved a system to circumvent the Constitution. Then I note that this system can be challenged in any single state at any time! I think that's how we can change things, even nationally, by trying things one state at a time. By taking the Constitution seriously. By taking the Constitution more seriously than we take the 'Conventional Wisdom' that is piped into the public's conditioned thinking by mainstream corporate media. Maybe even by taking the Constitution more seriously than we take our tendency toward cynicism and survivalism?

My point here is just this simple: there are possibilities for change within the Constitution of the United States that we, as a people or a nation, have yet to explore. You're telling me that I am delusional. I say, No, I'm just stating some facts about potentialities that are overlooked today. I think I am keeping my mind clear to understand this potential, and that's all I am saying.

You can plug your ears and say 'No, no, no," if you want. "No, I won't be fooled into spending any energy at all thinking about political reform because I already know it's impossible." Okay. No, no, no. Fine. That's your choice. You're 'entitled', aren't you?

 

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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kaman's reply

Thank you for actually reading and considering the content of my comment.

About questions that you raise --

1. What about the character of the people? Well, I'm not sure. You never know until you try.

2. Isn't the POTUS just a small part of the problem? Yes, but possibly an essential part of any solution. So, as I state in my general reply about all this, there is no god-king-president. There isn't, IMO, even a devil-anti-Christ-president. That's all part of our USA delusional system. I think if we think differently about the presidency, we'll do better. And I think we can start to think differently about the presidency by thinking about a different way to select (or elect) someome to do that job.

3. What about those holding the real power? Yes, that's the real problem. It's like Buddy Roemer says, "It's the money." But we have to start somewhere. Sure, they would try to manage the system that I propose, but it would be more difficult for them because we would have all these fairly well-known citizens all around the 50 states who would be meeeting in the 50 states to openly choose someone from the point of view of 'Can that person do the job?' rather than 'Can that person win a popular election?' or 'Can that person raise the money to win the election?' Of course, we really have to consider doing much more than just getting a better grade of POTUS ... we have to think in terms of shifting the power totally. I don't make my proposal as some kind of panacea, rather as possilby a part of a general solution.

4. Yes, the system has been corrupted. But we still have the Constitution. We need to insist on it. We need to take the Constitution seriously.

 

One last thought, from Winston Churchill, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing ... after they have exhausted all other possibilities"

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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dshields ... and then what?
dshields wrote:

You are so right on !!!  I am endlessly amazed at how far we have fallen.  The only word I can come up with is "shocking":  While your list is potent I could easily double it.  The government, in all its forms, has expanded so far past what the constitution specifies that we no longer live in the America the constitution defined.  We live in a soft tyranny.  It is the most amazing thing.  I am shocked on a daily basis by stuff I see in the media.  It is completely out of control.  It has been going that way for some time but Obama is the pinnacle of statism.  Just look at the things he has done and the things he tried to do.  It is shocking.  It is incredible.  It is sad.  Practically every major problem we face is due to deviation from the constitution.  The welfare/warfare state.  The massive overspending to support a massive class of dependency.  Constant government or Fed Res intervention in the economy causing all kinds of distortions and boom/bust cycles.  The list is endless.  Statism is a powerful force that has eroded the very fiber of America.

There is an election coming.  I was all excited about the 2010 mid term election.  I thought if we elected a bunch of people who wanted to move America back toward normal then America would move back toward normal.  I was wrong.  I used to be all optimistic after the 2010 election.  Not any more.  I have come to a completely different point of view.  I now believe that the current system is so broken that it can not be repaired no matter who we elect in 2012.  It is possible that complex systems like America can become so broken that they can not be fixed.  I looks like we have reached that point.  The entitlement mentality and low achievement has become so pervasive that only some kind of very serious crisis that results in the breakdown of the status quo will result in a "reset" that will allow America to eventually recover and get back to normal.  I know that sounds harsh.  Maybe it is harsh.  I don't know.  If we temporarily forget the massive fed gov power that is far in excess of anything ever envisioned and focus in on the economics of the current situation we can see things.  For instance, we have crazy wars that are bleeding money and lives for no apparent reason.  Crazy wars have somehow become normal.  The welfare state has expanded beyond all reason.  47% of the people do not even pay fed income tax and many are actually paid as a result of submitting a tax return.  That is incredible.  If you look at the budget of the federal government it is all out of whack.  Tons of money going to things they should not even be doing and not enough money going to things they are supposed to be doing.  Amazing how broken that is.  The fed gov suing states who try to enforce the fed govs own constitutionally mandated laws because the fed gov refuses to enforce them.  Incredible.  The Senate has not even bothered to make a budget in 2 years even though this is clealy specified in the constitution as required.  Incredible.  The list of malfunctions is endless.  The entire thing is a malfunction.  Over spending by 40+ percent and growing.  Outrageous.  However, it is now so broken how do you fix it ?  Let's say we decided to stop the out of control spending spree and bring spending in line with revenue (does not even include paying down the debt).  We would have to cut social security by 40%, the military by 40%, lay off 40% of the fed gov employees, medicare/medicaid cut 40%, food stamps cut 40%, section 8 housing cut by 40%, agg subsidies cut 40%, the entire thing cut by at least 40%.

Guess what - it is simply not going to happen.  If it did the entire country would come unglued.  Cities would become violent hell holes and millions of people would be forced to move out of the cities.  Violence would become the norm.  Everyone would start carrying guns.  Armed bands of people would wander the land killing and taking whatever they wanted.  It would be much worse than the great depression.  A reset by any name.

Or, we can use the fed res to force interest rates to basically zero forever so the fed gov can borrow money for almost nothing.  At some point the world would not want any more dollars and the fed res would just directly finance the over spending through direct monetization of the treasury.  We are on the way now.  At some point on that journey serious inflation and then hyper-inflation would destroy the dollar.  That is also a reset.

Looks like a reset no matter what happens.  No body knows what will trigger the reset or when.  What I am working along on is preparing for the reset.  I think that is about all one can do.

 Bottom Line - I don't think it makes any difference who you vote for.  The system is so broken that nobody can fix it.

I dispute your analysis that we have no choice but to cut social security and many other programs by 40%. For example, I refer you to the alternative presented by the American Monetary Institute. Anyway, I don't find your analysis convincing. Things might be going the way you predict ... or not. Basically, your analysis is just another delusional system at this point in time. But a reset is a possibillty, for sure. And then what? Is that when we take our obligations as citizens seriously and begin to vote? Or is that when we accept our postion as slaves within an empire headed up by the People's Republic? At what point do you suggest we consider fighting together as a nation to preserve our nationhood and our liberty? If not now, when?

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Damnthematrix
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dshields wrote: You are so
dshields wrote:

You are so right on !!!  I am endlessly amazed at how far we have fallen.  The only word I can come up with is "shocking":  While your list is potent I could easily double it.  The government, in all its forms, has expanded so far past what the constitution specifies that we no longer live in the America the constitution defined.  We live in a soft tyranny.  It is the most amazing thing.  I am shocked on a daily basis by stuff I see in the media.  It is completely out of control.  It has been going that way for some time but Obama is the pinnacle of statism.  Just look at the things he has done and the things he tried to do.  It is shocking.  It is incredible.  It is sad.  Practically every major problem we face is due to deviation from the constitution.  The welfare/warfare state.  The massive overspending to support a massive class of dependency.  Constant government or Fed Res intervention in the economy causing all kinds of distortions and boom/bust cycles.  The list is endless.  Statism is a powerful force that has eroded the very fiber of America.

So then....  can you explain why this is occuring globally, even though, as an example, Australia is neither a Republic nor does it have your constitution?

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Jim H
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OKEYDOKE said...

"4. Yes, the system has been corrupted. But we still have the Constitution. We need to insist on it. We need to take the Constitution seriously."

Yeah.. how's that working out for us...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34822247/ns/politics-supreme_court/t/supreme...

 

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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With the dead Republic, in the Basement

Okay, JG, at least you don't mince words. "The Republic is dead." But I'm not so sure about that. For one thing, there's the matter of the oath I have sworn to the Constitution. I guess that limits my thinking.

Anyway, I have gone to 'the Basement' as you suggest, and I don't really find any of the realism there, or any of the delusionailsim or even any of the idealism, to be shocking or something that I don't already comprehend. But I do like that kind of tough thinking. I like to keep a clear head.

If you happen to read my posts in the Basement, you'll see that I don't claim to have the solution, just maybe a part of a solution.

But can you be satisfied thinking that history will record it all as coming down to this: "And then there was the sell-out, give-up generation, and then it was over"?

Sure, you might find some comfort in proving yourself to have been realistic in your analysis ... you might even find considerable comfort in knowing that you survived where others did not ... but sometimes in life we find that we have to do things that are not comfortably realistic.

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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Good point by Jim H

I guess probably how it's working out is what they call a "constitutional crisis".

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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Damnthematrix - it's global!

"So then....  can you explain why this is occuring globally, even though, as an example, Australia is neither a Republic nor does it have your constitution?"

Yeah, good point. All I can say is that while the problems are global, the solutions are local.

Between the global and the local, there's this thing called the nation, and the global disaster doesn't play out the same in every nation. That suggests that we have some independence, at least potentially, some ability to frame our collective (ooops! what a word!) future.

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ao
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2OLD4OKEYDOKE wrote: So,
2OLD4OKEYDOKE wrote:

So, living in the real world, I like to keep my thinking clear. There is no god-king-president. Understanding that keeps my thinking clear.

The fact that you state again and again that you like to keep your thinking clear suggests to me that your thinking may be not be as clear as you think.  Forgive me for saying this but something about your rhetoric reminds me of a politician.  Clear thinking is generally more concise and focused.  Prolixity, whether intended or unintended, often contributes to obfuscation which, in political circles, is usually purposeful.

 

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jturbo68
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It was always baked into the cake
kaman wrote:

dsshields-

We obviously share the belief that the system is so broken that nothing short of burying it and starting totally anew will bring any improvement.  It's not easy to say exactly when we crossed that line, any more than it is an easy pill to swallow once you realize where we're at, but here we are nonetheless -and that is the all important first step.  For many folks letting go of things as we've known them to be, and still want them to be, is as scary as jumping from atop a 4 story building in a 3 alarm fire.  It's not until the flames are scorching your back and licking at your heels that the tiny net way down below looks like the better option - our only option.  The only thing one can do now is prepare for the ugliest, nastiest, hard times we can imagine while hoping deep down inside that it won't ever get as bad as we fear.

 

If we were on the front end of our energy frontier, the system we have built would still be functioning like it has for the past few hundred years.  Energy can support continued increases in complexity.

Social Security, Debts, the size of our empire, etc, etc, etc were built brick by brick based on the faith that the future would always being larger. And obligations could be payed for as a byproduct of perpetual growth.

As we learn that this is not true and never was true, then ... failure was baked into the system from early into the process.

 

 

 

 

 

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earthwise
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Damnthematrix
Damnthematrix wrote:
dshields wrote:

You are so right on !!!  I am endlessly amazed at how far we have fallen.  The only word I can come up with is "shocking":  While your list is potent I could easily double it.  The government, in all its forms, has expanded so far past what the constitution specifies that we no longer live in the America the constitution defined.  We live in a soft tyranny.  It is the most amazing thing.  I am shocked on a daily basis by stuff I see in the media.  It is completely out of control.  It has been going that way for some time but Obama is the pinnacle of statism.  Just look at the things he has done and the things he tried to do.  It is shocking.  It is incredible.  It is sad.  Practically every major problem we face is due to deviation from the constitution.  The welfare/warfare state.  The massive overspending to support a massive class of dependency.  Constant government or Fed Res intervention in the economy causing all kinds of distortions and boom/bust cycles.  The list is endless.  Statism is a powerful force that has eroded the very fiber of America.

So then....  can you explain why this is occuring globally, even though, as an example, Australia is neither a Republic nor does it have your constitution?

Because every first world country followed us (the US) off the cliff!

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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There IS a god-king-president?

'ao' quotes me where I say "there is no god-king-president" and then says to me, "something about your rhetoric reminds me of a politician."

Wow! That really stings! It was bad enough when Jim H said that he suspected me of being a troll, but a politician? Wow, that really stings. (Truth is I have held elective office, but it was small potatoes, a little local thing ... shame on me!)

Maybe I am missing the dominant paradigm here. Reminds me of when I tried posting at Indy Media some years back. They actually banned me for my dissenting views, even though they supposedly specialized in dissenting views.

Oh well.

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land2341
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The is not nor ever was a democracy...

 And several here have pointed out that the republic is dead wihtout somehow seeing the issue.  I am puzzled.

This is not a democracy nor was it designed to be even a representative democracy.  It is designed that the will of the people be counter balanced by a separate and not elected branch whose entire job would be to interpret the law.  Not necessarily to uphold it but to interpret it.

We acn argue what the framers intended for years and get no where,  but it was quite clear that they designed this NOT to be rule by the will of the people.  And it should NOT be rule of the people without that counterbalance.  Because people are idiots en masse.

Where we have failed is that we have reached the point where we no longer have a rule of law.  When Obama said a while back that what bankers had done was immoral but not illegal I knew we were shafted.  Of course, what a bunch of them did was patently illegal.  If the free market exists wihtout the framework of proeprty and contract law it is not "free" it is either anarchy or fascism.  We have a plutocracy with fascism at its base.

What we need is to get the law back.  We need to get the balance of power back.  We lost our way when the courts decided in 2003 that news agencies could lie.  We lost our way when the courts decided corporation were people and had rights.  We lost our way when the courts decided that there was not enough evidence to prosecute the indivdual memebrs of corporations as individuals when it was clear they had committed fraud.  We lost our way when Elliott Spitzer was ousted over his behavior when he was trying to uphold the laws against the banks.

Get the law back.  Stop caring who your leaders are sleeping with and start caring about who they're F*ing!  HINT:  It's you.

Many of you want to weaken the government.  I say be very careful what you wish for!  You weaken the government you will get free range corporations wiht no one to reign them in.

 

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2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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Well said, land2341

Thank you.

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jturbo68 wrote: kaman
jturbo68 wrote:
kaman wrote:

dsshields-

We obviously share the belief that the system is so broken that nothing short of burying it and starting totally anew will bring any improvement.  It's not easy to say exactly when we crossed that line, any more than it is an easy pill to swallow once you realize where we're at, but here we are nonetheless -and that is the all important first step.  For many folks letting go of things as we've known them to be, and still want them to be, is as scary as jumping from atop a 4 story building in a 3 alarm fire.  It's not until the flames are scorching your back and licking at your heels that the tiny net way down below looks like the better option - our only option.  The only thing one can do now is prepare for the ugliest, nastiest, hard times we can imagine while hoping deep down inside that it won't ever get as bad as we fear.

 

If we were on the front end of our energy frontier, the system we have built would still be functioning like it has for the past few hundred years.  Energy can support continued increases in complexity.

Social Security, Debts, the size of our empire, etc, etc, etc were built brick by brick based on the faith that the future would always being larger. And obligations could be payed for as a byproduct of perpetual growth.

As we learn that this is not true and never was true, then ... failure was baked into the system from early into the process. 

yes - but i do not believe they people who baked the current system understood what they were doing.  the constitution had it right.  when they deviated from the constitution they went wrong and now we are going to get the poop kicked out of us.

 

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Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Excellent post
land2341 wrote:

 And several here have pointed out that the republic is dead wihtout somehow seeing the issue.  I am puzzled.

This is not a democracy nor was it designed to be even a representative democracy.  It is designed that the will of the people be counter balanced by a separate and not elected branch whose entire job would be to interpret the law.  Not necessarily to uphold it but to interpret it.

We acn argue what the framers intended for years and get no where,  but it was quite clear that they designed this NOT to be rule by the will of the people.  And it should NOT be rule of the people without that counterbalance.  Because people are idiots en masse.

Where we have failed is that we have reached the point where we no longer have a rule of law.  When Obama said a while back that what bankers had done was immoral but not illegal I knew we were shafted.  Of course, what a bunch of them did was patently illegal.  If the free market exists wihtout the framework of proeprty and contract law it is not "free" it is either anarchy or fascism.  We have a plutocracy with fascism at its base.

What we need is to get the law back.  We need to get the balance of power back.  We lost our way when the courts decided in 2003 that news agencies could lie.  We lost our way when the courts decided corporation were people and had rights.  We lost our way when the courts decided that there was not enough evidence to prosecute the indivdual memebrs of corporations as individuals when it was clear they had committed fraud.  We lost our way when Elliott Spitzer was ousted over his behavior when he was trying to uphold the laws against the banks.

Get the law back.  Stop caring who your leaders are sleeping with and start caring about who they're F*ing!  HINT:  It's you.

Many of you want to weaken the government.  I say be very careful what you wish for!  You weaken the government you will get free range corporations wiht no one to reign them in.

This is an excellent post Land.  You have good thoughts and expressed them well.

Travlin 

 

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