Monday, May 23, 2016

All presidential candidates, release to the public your income tax records

As much as regulations are sometimes needed in government, the will of the election day voter trumps everything.  Releasing to the public the candidates' tax returns may offer critical information for their decisions.

Ultimately, the voters on election day would like to be as prepared as possible.  Before they make their decisions, they want to find out how the candidates manage their personal finances.

This is also a matter of how open to the people each candidate is.  Their honesty and integrity of showing their records will go a long way for voters making their choices.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Do we want to keep careerism in our elected officials?

One of the greatest grassroots movements alive today is term limits.  People from a wide political spectrum want to see a limit on the number of terms elected officials can serve.

Presently, for US congress members, there are no limits on the number of terms they can serve; presidents can only serve for two, four-year terms.  Our federal congressional representatives face a possible lifetime career in office.  Accordingly, we, their constituents, lose influence over them over time.

There is a movement to make congressional term limits by amending the US Constitution.  By limiting how long a representative or senator can serve in congress, voters can keep their elected officials accountable and trustworthy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why Tuesday? asks why we have election days on tuesdays. Good question.

There has been an NGO called Why Tuesday? asking the question:  Why is election day on a tuesday?  Among other electoral reforms, they have supported voting on a day more accessible to voters; they advocate a federal holiday for general election day.

Tuesday is in the middle of the work week.  Not as many people have the freedom to vote on Tuesday as on the weekend.

Civic responsibility demands that we encourage as many people as possible to vote.  Having primaries/ caucuses, runoffs and general elections on the weekend is a major step in that direction.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Denying action on climate change takes the Earth down

There is a large part of the general public and their lawmakers, in all levels of American government, that does not believe in man induced global warming.

What keeps us from seeing the writing on the wall?  We're setting new temperature records every month; the world's environment is sick of too much greenhouse gas; bad weather events speak of a critically ailing Earth.

That we are in the midst of damaging weather is undeniable.  And yet our government representatives won't face the fact that the Earth is disintegrating every day.  The Obama administration has developed new policies to fight climate change; where is Congress and the courts on this?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

US Senate candidates still manually file their campaigns' finance reports

There is an unmet abuse of our campaign finance system.  It has gone on since the capitol has started electronic filing to the Federal Election Commission.

It is common practice for senate candidates to manually file their campaigns' forms to the FEC, instead of filing electronically.  The idea behind this management practice is to delay their finances' openness.

Hey, US senators, Washington watchdogs have known about this FEC abuse for years.  And there are no excuses for not filing electronically from your offices' computers.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Constituents lose trust in legislators who add unrelated riders to bills

The purity of a bill under legislation is sometimes compromised by one or more riders.

A rider can be an abuse of legislation if it concerns an issue not concordant with its underlying  bill.  It happens when a rider is easier to pass if added to urgent legislation-- a bill that is expected to be voted on.

This legislative abuse lessens peoples' trust with their elected officials.  Why hold hostage bills
that must get passed with unrelated riders?  Constituents are victimized by this abusive legislation.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Businesses must pay their share of the federal budget

Billions of dollars in federal taxes are going each year to tax shelters instead of to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  It seems like a crime, because that money is supposed to go to the budgeted federal government.

The biggest instigators are large businesses.  Instead of paying for services legislated for our nation, they divert their tax monies to banks of foreign countries.

This starving of government is commonly known to journalists.  Most citizens that closely follow the news know about it.  Yet congress and the president in Washington DC don't receive these tax dollars in the Department of the Treasury.  Our nation was declared independent from England in 1776 for fair tax representation.  Let's demand the same from commerce.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Govern the public interest over commerce's

One of the biggest faults in our political system is the government representation of commerce.  As the Republicans get more and more brazen in collaboration with business, the public life of the people is more and more thwarted.

Calling it right wing politics doesn't justify the neglect and abuse of our only citizens, the people.  The Republican Party, and some of the Democrats, have sold their souls to big business, a special interest that has no interest in public issues.

Most Democrats are continually fighting capitalism's hold on legislation.  Socialism pushes it back, but it is its own special interest of the left.  Until our elections bring into office  legislators representing just the people, we will lose integrity in our nation's business.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Giving money to a bill's legislators is wrong

An established method of gaining influence in legislation is to give money to its legislators.

If there is a bill being debated on, even early in the process, special interests affected by it donate money to campaign coffers in favor of a particular outcome.

This is a blatant form of corruption that has no place in the working of the legislative process.  The peoples' representatives should deny access or influence in the form of money, as the money is of no benefit to the deliberation of the legislation at hand.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Reform our campaign finance system for all elective offices

The amount of money spent on campaigns for most levels of government has increased greatly recently.  However, the first concern should be the transparency issues of the donors.

There are campaign rules from the Federal Election Commission and from the individual states, depending on what level of government a contested office is in.  The federal (national) offices' campaign regulations are now compromised due to a dis-functional FEC.

A better electoral system for all government office openings is public financing.  By freeing all candidates from campaign fundraising, they can focus on the voting public in their respective races.

Friday, March 25, 2016

For election day, vote and count manually

As noted in an earlier post, the American voter, in this age of technology, has had trouble using their polling stations.

Some waiting lines were too long due to a lack of enough voting machines.  Some have voted for the wrong candidate.  And you haven't known whether their voting calculations were correct.  The lack of full trust from the voter has been of increased concern.

The tried and true paper ballot system had proven to be mostly trustworthy.  Not only had it given the voter control of how they voted, it made the vote counting process more transparent.  Just because the voting technology became more sophisticated hasn't meant it's more accurate.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Open up the monied speeches of politicians

A common income from present and former political officeholders and leaders is giving speeches to groups in the private sector.  The amount for each speech varies by the politico; each one can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars; fundraiser speeches by office candidates can run into the millions.

Is it ethical to "cash in" political value he may hold?  Should he be more egalitarian, and contract only minimal fees for his speeches?  How important to the general public-- those not attending the event-- are these speeches?

Times change, and so do the speeches.  There should be more transparency to these events; the public needs to know what these important people have to say.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Republicans are terrible socialists; Democrats are horrible capitalists

The way most states' congressional districts are redrawn after every 10-year US Census is political.  That is a mistake, because if you leave redistricting in the hands of majority political parties, they will re-draw to their own political advantage.

Take Texas, for example.  Not only are the districts determined by the majority party only, they balkanize the citizens living in them philosophically.  So you end up with Abilene mostly Republican and McAllen mostly Democrat.

There are a few states that use other, more apolitical systems for drawing congressional lines.  Non-political redistricting allows freer political landscapes for otherwise very red and very blue districts.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Judges and conflicts of interest

Right now, across the nation, private political donations are going to judicial candidates.  One can look at their campaigns' periodic financial reports; even so, some donor groups don't have to open up their donation information.

This unleashes corruption when court cases try judges' campaign donors.

When the plaintiff and the defense go to court on a case, they should determine whether its judges hold a conflict of interest in it.  They may open a reality that is too obvious to ignore.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Money in politics? or communication?

Money in politics is nothing new.  It's not right, however.  Just because a politician claims that "money is the mother's milk of politics" doesn't make it right.

Take lobbyists, for instance.  The ones who ask for the most compensation are the ones most sought after by special interests.

If you have a concern you would like your representative to know about, go to them in their office or during their days in their districts.  Money never solves problems; it only gets in the way of communication.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Voters must demand issues, not the race

All too often, the political season of elections analyzes campaigns as either winners or losers.

The catch is that the consideration is done during the political season, not on election day.

Yes, a candidate's personal background is important.  But issues are what separates the statesman from the sinner.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Don't deny the spirit of the law

Ever try to "beat the system?"  Seems like everyone in this country does it at one time or another in their lives.  It's not a matter of following the spirit of the law, but challenging the letter of it.

And for who's benefit?  Not the lawmakers.

Just because "we can do it" doesn't negate the spirit of a law.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Corporate propaganda

Have you ever wondered why large companies show commercials on Sunday morning political shows?

Don't forget that their primary drive is for the interest of their respective shareholders.  And that's it.  The commercials to the rest of us are pure propaganda.  Do they want lower taxes?  Do they want less regulation?  Are they against anti-trust laws?

Don't be easily taken by their messages to us.  Who are they really for?

Friday, December 4, 2015

The trials of voting

Have you ever had a bad experience voting?

People talking politics while you're in line; going to the wrong polling station; avoiding others that are hanging around the ballot box; don't have a photo id; not finding your voter registration card; following vote counts in other states before casting your vote?

It's a matter of consideration and democracy.  One person, one vote.  Sometimes voters and precincts being reformed is a good attitude.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

When industry scientists are politicians

Politics is the only arena I know, where company scientists are lobbyists.

Take producers of crude oil.  They employ full-time only scientists that are willing to cut standard practices in order to put their employers in a good light.

Ah, the power of money to get exactly what you want, whether it's ethical practices or it isn't.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We can't vote if we don't know who donates (and why they donate)

Right now, corporations can donate anonymously and unlimited to political campaigns.

Also, right now people can give $25 directly to their candidate's campaign.

As a voter, which of the two donors should be honored?  Which donor can also be a voter?

* Of course, the Federal Election Commission would answer what is legal and what is not, if they weren't politically corrupt like they are now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Our representatives must always address their entire constituencies

Our representatives publish letters to their constituents on their websites, by email and by other venues.

They must remember that, though most were elected through nomination by political parties, our officeholders are beholden to everyone in their respective districts.

Once in office, our representatives have the duty to address their entire constituency at all times.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Legislators, don't waste work time meeting with campaign donors

When are we constituents going to get full representation from our elected officials?  They spend half of their time asking donors for money to support their next campaign for office.

In the private world, they would be fired for taking so much time off.

Our representatives already have a hectic work schedule; they should worry more about legislating than making money.

Monday, September 7, 2015

All of the states' elections officials should be politically non-partisan

As this is Labor Day, all of the races for the November, 2016 elections are heating up.

Each states' Secretaries of State should be supporting clean and fair elections.  This demands impartial election administration, from the filing of candidacies through the final ballot counts.

It is all of the voters' interest for all of their Secretaries of State be politically non-partisan. Otherwise, some campaigns can't trust the elections' results.

Let us join Arizona and the other states that have non-partisan election officials, and see that candidates up and down the ballot enjoy non-partisan voting administrations.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

All too often, money replaces merit in politics

All too often, money fuels politics in place of merit.

All too often, money factors the strength of candidates for government office.

All too often, money raised wins powerful positions in political parties.

All too often, money raised determines leadership in house committees.

All too often, money is spent for negative campaigning by candidates.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A favorite way to contact your representatives is to write to them on their legislature's website

One of the great traditions in democracy is writing letters to your representatives.

For anyone familiar with the former blog Activism News, there is a myriad of methods possible to the constituent for doing so.

One of my favorites is to go directly to my official's own website and write my letter there.  There is always directions there on how to proceed.

All elected officials have their primary websites on their respective houses of legislation sites.  For instance, your US Representative's webpage will be at

Take this method to heart and your representative will appreciate your cordial visit.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ranked Choice Voting ranks candidates with your vote

How the US conducts its elections varies among its states, municipalities, colleges, etc.  Candidates vary widely among themselves within election season.

Ranked Choice Voting has been used successfully in local contests around the nation as a rank voting for each candidate.

In these days of increasingly complex election seasons, RCV provides a discipline of voting that gives a close look at all of the candidates.  It ranks candidates by level of preference as you vote down the ballot.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Federal Election Commission is dysfunctional

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is politically bankrupt; which, oddly enough, boosts the two major parties and their candidates' legal and illegal financial activity.

With no fear the Republican Party hates regulations, even those for elections.  Their constituents, big business, can brazenly contribute an unlimited amount of money in support or against candidates.  And the Democrats can do the same with unions.

Dysfunctional government in the FEC allows candidates to break electoral laws without conscience.  Let us fix the crippled agency and give we, the people clean and clear voting the next election season.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fundraising and committee membership

Do you know why there are so many members of the House Finance Committee?

Could it be that all of them offer critical expertise to the committee?  Could it be that most members are successful incumbents in general elections?  Could it be that the qualified in financial issues are many?

One reason is that the finance issue lobbyists and the companies they represent give large financial contributions to the committee's membership, especially to its leadership.

It used to be common with most house committees that their legislators with the most experience moved up their parties' leadership ladder.  Nowadays, however, committee members who have the most success raising money is a committee's most valuable members.

Most legislators spend around half of their time personally fundraising; gaining a seat in a rich committee helps them and their respective political parties raise money for future elections.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Releasing controversial news

Sometimes a legislator or agency is called to release information to the public.  If the info is controversial, a favorite tactic is to unload it during a slow news cycle, like the night before a holiday.

In other words, let "Joe" fall asleep on Friday night, then release the documents.  Then, perhaps, it is reported on C-Span only during that weekend.

So paradoxically, if the source considers the document controversial, releasing it after-hours only confirms to everybody the critical nature of that news.

Giving the info during business hours, up front, will otherwise laud you as a good transparent source for the public's interest.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Titles of bills

Have you ever heard the yummy titles of some major bills making their way through legislation?

I can make some up:  "Americans are our first priority act," or "taxpayer relief act."

If you dig deeply into most bills, there is a lot more going on.  Much debate and discussions may fundamentally alter them before the final votes on them are in.

Don't be fooled by the name of some bills-- read more into them and follow them through the legislative process for honest consideration.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Weapon words

I have a phrase for political debates that last a couple words:  "weapon word."

Does this sound familiar:  "liberal," "conservative," "small government," "statist," "red state."

Designed to stun the listener into a stupor, weapon words limit greatly the debate to just powerful things said, or, weapon words.

Debates are meant to be, for the listener, a drive for the truth or an optimal answer to an issue.

The 2016 election season, for example, can search for the truth of candidates.  People have the time to open up the discussions for intelligent votes.