Category Archives: Politics

Horses and Bayonets

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children playing
horses and bayonets-
failed history test

Silly Asses

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Many years ago I read this story by Isaac Asimov and it is even more relevant today. I hope you enjoy it.

Naron of the long-lived Rigellian race was the fourth of his line to keep the galactic records.
He had the large book which contained the list of the numerous races throughout the galaxies that had developed intelligence, and the much smaller book that listed those races that had reached maturity and had qualified for the Galactic Federation. In the first book, a number of those listed were crossed out; those that, for one reason or another, had failed. Misfortune, biochemical or biophysical shortcomings, social maladjustment took their toll. In the smaller book, however, no member listed had yet blanked out.
And now Naron, large and incredibly ancient, looked up as a messenger approached.
“Naron,” said the messenger. “Great One!”
“Well, well, what is it? Less ceremony.”
” Another group of organisms has attained maturity.”
“Excellent. Excellent. They are coming up quickly now. Scarcely a year passes without a new one. And who are these?”
The messenger gave the code number of the galaxy and the coordinates of the world within it.
“Ah, yes,” said Naron. “I know the world.” And in flowing script he noted it in the first book and transferred its name into the second, using, as was customary, the name by which the planet was known to the largest fraction of its populace. He wrote: Earth.
He said, “These new creatures have set a record. No other group has passed from intelligence to maturity so quickly. No mistake, I hope.”
“None, sir,” said the messenger. “They have attained to thermonuclear power, have they?”
“Yes. sir.”
“Well, that’s the criterion.” Naron chuckled. “And soon their ships will probe out and contact the Federation.”
“Actually, Great One,” said the messenger, reluctantly, “the Observers tell us they have not yet penetrated space.”
Naron was astonished. “Not at all? Not even a space station?”
“Not yet, sir.”
“But if they have thermonuclear power, where then do they conduct their tests and detonations?”
“On their own planet, sir.”
Naron rose to his full twenty feet of height and thundered, “On their own planet?”
“Yes, sir.”
Slowly Naron drew out his stylus and passed a line through the latest addition in the smaller book. It was an unprecedented act, but, then, Naron was very wise and could see the inevitable as well as anyone in the galaxy.

“Silly asses,” he muttered.

Sources: “Buy Jupiter And Other Stories” (1975) by Isaac Asimov

Congressional Reform Act of 2011 Revised

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Early this year I received a spam email about “The Congressional Reform Act of 2011.” I looked at it and thought that most of it sounded like good suggestions to me, but what were the facts. After a bit of research I found out that FactCheck.org had vetted the email pretty throughly and had done a good job of showing where the original person, who started the email, was uninformed on parts of their Act. While I make no claim to know much about politics, I was interested and decided to look into the parts of the “Act” that FactCheck did not make specific comments about. Specifically Term Limits, Pay Raises and Health Care. What follows are my suggestions from the viewpoint of a past government employee. -U.S Army Infantry, Sniper.

The first part of the Act covers Term Limits. In the Federalist Papers #57 either Alexander Hamilton or James Madison wrote. (the Federalist Papers were all signed “PUBLIUS” so we cannot be positive of the authorship)
“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust. The elective mode of obtaining rulers is the characteristic policy of republican government. The means relied on in this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. The most effectual one, is such a limitation of the term of appointments as will maintain a proper responsibility to the people.” You can read here that when our great Nation was newly formed it was understood that if you allowed individuals to stay in government for an extended period the would most likely become disconnected with the populous and start to favor the “elevation of the few on the ruins of the many.”
The next three sections are self explanatory as I added the comments to the individual sections for the sake of brevity.
  1. Term Limits.
    12 years only, one of the possible options below..
    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Six Two-year House terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
  2. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A legislator collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office. They currently can receive up to 80% of their salary after one term, how much they receive depends on many factors. A soldier who serves less than 20 years and does not get injured gets no pension why should our legislatures get better consideration?
  3. Pay Raises -Currently they get an automatic raise to match COLA, unless they vote against it.
    Our legislators  will no longer get a COLA (Cost Of Living Allowance) adjustment if the Country in is debt. If Social Security, Armed Forces, and Disabled Veterans do not get it why should they?
  4. Our legislators should participate in the same health system as the Military and Veterans since they all work for the same government it only makes sense. Also, this might improve the quality of care and treatment of Veterans in the VA hospitals.

I feel that we need to overhaul the system. For me it was an honor to serve in the U.S Army and so serving in Congress should be an honor. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

How do we decide on WHO should represent “We the People” for that I close with a quote from the Federalist Papers #57

Who are to be the electors of the federal representatives? Not the rich, more than the poor; not the learned, more than the ignorant; not the haughty heirs of distinguished names, more than the humble sons of obscurity and unpropitious fortune. The electors are to be the great body of the people of the United States.

sources:
http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fedindex.htm
http://factcheck.org/2011/03/congressional-reform-act/
http://www.snopes.com/politics/socialsecurity/pensions.asp