Some Random Political Humor, Some Impassioned Writings, and Some Constitutional Amendments

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Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America

Here are ten proposed Amendments to the US Constitution -- the 28th through 37th.

  1. The first of these amendments (the 28th) abolishes the Electoral College. Henceforth, all national elections shall be one person one vote. We have allocated a billion dollars to each State to rework its voting system accordingly.
  2. The second of these amendments (the 29th) abolishes gerrymandering. Henceforth, no congressional district shall have more than six linear edges. Their divisions shall be purely on the basis of population; no partisan factor shall be admissible. We have allocated funds for the appointment of a non-partisan group in each state to draw the map of the new districts.
  3. The third of these amendments (the 30th) recognizes reality by defining human life as beginning upon the complete detachment of the newborn from the body of the mother. Until that time, it is simply an extension of the mother's body and not yet a distinct person. Human rights and personhood shall henceforth be adjudicated accordingly.
  4. In the fourth of these Amendments (the 31st) we decree that every American and United States resident shall have complete and unconditional health care, both preventive and acute. We have established new funding for HHS that shall henceforth serve as the single payer, and a new, progressive tax to pay for it.
  5. The 32nd Amendment defines the Internet as a common carrier and regulates it. Traffic for every web site and on-line data source shall be delivered with equal priority and the telecommunications vendors -- wired and wireless -- shall be constrained to perform accordingly. Further, no news or entertainment vendor shall be permitted to control more than 20% of any single market. Media monopolies and near-monopolies are immediately ordered to divest business units, much as the Bell System was broken up in the 1980s.
  6. In the 33rd Amendment, we abolish corporate taxes thus establishing the United States as the most business-friendly environment on the planet and strengthen our economy by attracting foreign businesses to locate here. To remedy the reduction in federal revenue, we create several new individual tax brackets ranging up to 90%. We also reinstate the estate tax. Estates of two million dollars or more shall henceforth be taxed on a sliding scale up to 90% at the high end.
  7. The 34th Amendment limits military spending to no more than 10% of the federal budget. This is a decrease of more than one third from today's level but still leaves us with the most powerful military on the planet. But it doesn't need to be insanely powerful. Furthermore, all nuclear and chemical weapons shall be destroyed and no further funding shall be provided for them.
  8. The 35th Amendment forbids aid or funding to any foreign government that practices racism, genocide, imperialism, or military attacks on others. Thus, support for Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and several more ceases immediately. If they want to keep doing those things, they are on their own. They get no help from us.
  9. In the 36th Amendment we state the obvious regarding our precious planet, its atmosphere, its oceans, its forests, and its plant and animal life. This Amendment establishes and funds a brand new US Department of the Environment whose mandate -- supported by the full force of federal law -- will transition us away from destructive technologies, industries and fuels, toward sustainable and renewable ones. Coal and oil shall soon be gone and we shall enjoy a new era of solar and other environmentally friendly systems. No more rain forests shall be bulldozed or burned. Rather, we shall restore them. Where in the past we have looked the other way, fishing shall be tightly regulated and ocean stocks shall be restored. Human population growth shall be reversed and brought back down to sustainable levels.
  10. Finally, in the 37th Amendment, we remedy flaws in today's election process: campaign finance and voting rights. Contributions to any nationwide campaign may be made only by humans (no corporations nor PACs). The amount of any such contribution by any such human cannot exceed $100 in today's dollars. This amount is to be adjusted according to the consumer price index. This Amendment also recognizes that voting is, in any democracy, a sacred and essential right and Election Day shall be a paid, national holiday. Every State shall be required to provide a robust, universal, and secure mail-in ballot to each registered voter as well as providing polling places that are open not less than thrice weekly for two weeks preceding Election Day, for not fewer than 12 hours each opening, and located so as to provide equitable geographic access to all citizens.

In addition to creating these ten new amendments, we are repealing one, the Second Amendment. Henceforth, no person or entity within the borders of the United States shall be permitted to possess firearms of any description. This includes not only private persons but also military and law enforcement. No guns, period! We have allocated a substantial budget to collect and destroy them. All of them!

Thank you, and God bless America.


Jason on Russia/Ukraine (March, 2022):

[Many current pundits are] paranoid and contentious... This kind of bias is all too pervasive. Just turn on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox (except for Tucker Carlson), the NYT, WP, and other major media organs. They're all pushing this line. Putin is evil and wants to reconstitute the USSR. No mention of Baker promising Gorbachev that NATO wouldn't move one inch eastward after Germany was reunited. No mention of Putin's warning in 2007 about the NATO expansion. No mention of the Maidan coup which the US funded in 2014 (Nuland chose the replacement prime minister, Yatz). No mention of the arming of Ukraine once trump got in office. There were many red lines crossed, and Putin telegraphed his intentions repeatedly. We didn't listen. Stoltenberg brushed him off as of no account. We baited the bear, just as we did in Afghanistan. The objective seems to be regime change in Moscow. The Russians are the ones who ought to be paranoid. They've been invaded from the West five times.

There is more: the treatment of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, the banning of their language, the shelling in the Donbas, which has killed 14,000 people so far. These are also valid concerns, though they do not justify Vlad's 'Special military operation', seeing as that covers most of the country. Had he limited the incursion to just protecting the Donbas, it might be justified, though the chances of failure might have been greater, since the Ukraine forces could have overwhelming superiority. I am not a military strategist, and am normally not interested in that sort of thing, but I have heard that the Russian approach, far from being more brutal than ours, in, say, Iraq, is actually more targeted. Way fewer civilians have been killed in Ukraine than were killed in iraq under Shock and Awe (remember that?) Which makes the US media look even more hypocritical and hysterical. There is also the widely disparate attention the Ukraine campaign is getting, compared to other military campaigns going on right now, in Yemen, Syria, Somalia... something like 400 times as much more major media news stories devoted to Ukraine. Apparently, the brown skinned people are of little account, or it's OK when we or our friends do it.

The US used to go to war with countries that announced that they were going off the dollar. Now there are too many of them. In 1984, Orwell didn't have Oceania be so stupid as to fight Eurasia and Eastasia at the same time. But that is what we are attempting to do.

Putin's demands, on their face, seem modest and reasonable. Neutrality for Ukraine, as for Finland and Austria (before the end of the USSR), which is different from a puppet government, and could allow Ukraine to prosper. The longer the hostilities continue, the more likely it will have a puppet government, which is why Zelensky, far from being the hero and rock star as he is touted in the Western media, is doing grave damage to Ukraine's future by his intransigence. As Mearsheimer said, we led Ukraine down the primrose path, and Zelensky bit. So did Putin. We are not coming to Ukraine's defense, aside from sending more arms. We are prepared to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. Surely Zelensky realizes this? Surely he's not that enamoured of his celebrity status not to realize that his country is getting wrecked?>

The other major two demands (recognition of Russian ownership of Crimea, and autonomy for the small separatist region of Donbas) are either fait accomplis or have recent precedents in what we did in Yugoslavia (Kosovo).

So Zelensky should give into these three demands as quickly as possible. Implement the Minsk accords. They are the lesser evil. But will the West let him?


Some thoughts on the recent spate of convulsions over sexual bad behavior (alpha males?)
Fascism

Source: The Arch Druid Report

Ernst Nolte, whose 1968 book Die Krise des liberalen Systems und die faschistischen Bewegungen (The Crisis of the Liberal System and the Fascist Movements) ...was careful enough not to propose a hard and fast definition of fascism, and offered instead a list of six features that any movement had to have to count as fascist. The first three of them are organizational features: a cult of charismatic leadership, a uniformed Party militia, and the goal of totalitarianism.

A totalitarian political system is one in which the party in power claims the right to rule every sphere of life: political, religious, artistic, scientific, sexual, and so on through all the normally distinct dimensions of human existence. There are plenty of dictatorships that aren’t totalitarian. It’s common for dictators to spare themselves extra work by focusing purely on the political sphere, and letting people do what they want in other spheres of life so long as their activities don’t stray into politics. There are also totalitarian systems that aren’t dictatorships: there are plenty of religious communities, some of them more or less democratic in terms of governance, that claim totalitarian authority over every aspect of the life of the faithful.

The totalitarian dimension, though, is central to those movements and regimes that count as fascist by Nolte’s criteria, and it’s a crucial distinction. The charismatic leaders and party militias of between-the-wars European fascist parties presented themselves, and in at least some cases honestly saw themselves, as trying to overturn not merely a political system but an entire civilization they believed was rotten to the core. Crusades against "degenerate" art and literature thus weren’t simply the product of the individual vagaries of fascist leaders; they were part and parcel of an attempt to reshape an entire society from the ground up, and the cult of leadership and the party militia very often served mostly as vehicles for the broader totalitarian agenda.

The other three features in Nolte’s description... are Marxism, the second liberalism, and the third -- the hot-button one -- is conservatism.



On the occasion of the revelation that Russia secretly filmed
Trump's Moscow hotel peccadillos, I could not resist penning...
The News Makes Me Wet

I love to read
The news today.
It speaks of
Golden show-ners.

The Russians make
Hot dossier
About those
Trickle downers.

Yellow journalism
We are told
We cannot trust
Those speakers.

It's not yellow
It is gold
And they are
Wiki leakers.

Now... Let's hope the Russkies hurry up and release those videotapes!


Here is my 2018 letter to the editor (SF Chronicle) decrying Trump's election-rigging. Scroll down... it's near the bottom.


Some Impassioned Writings


Hilarious (but true, sadly) video: We Are the Worst
Dear FCC...

Nearly everybody uses the Internet. It is an essential source of information, research, commerce, social exchange, and so much more. Thus, it is as essential to daily life -- and to the economy and functioning of our country -- as the telephone and the postal service. It is a common carrier and must be regulated accordingly.

I operate a small business. To support the activities of my company, I run some web sites. Many of my daily transactions are over the Internet. I also purchase a wide variety of Internet-delivered services. The notion that due to my company's small size and tiny information-services budget I could suffer reduced connectivity with colleagues and vendors, and reduced visibility to my customers, is unfair and anti-American.

The services that I buy from my ISPs include telephony, web browsing, electronic mail, e-commerce, data storage in the "cloud", and application data collection and dissemination (some of my mobile products (apps) connect to backend servers that I administer, growing and drawing upon pools of data of various kinds). Thus, to collectively call these services telecommunications is to misrepresent their variety and complexity, and the breadth of technologies that underlay their diverse protocols.

The forces that would tilt this playing field (toward themselves, of course) do so not out of ideology but out of an accurately-perceived opportunity to make a lot of money. However, this would be to the detriment of the American people. It must be opposed.


2017

My brilliant friend Ann Farrell summarizes the potential impacts of the proposed tax reform law on healthcare (HC).

She summarizes the key points from Sen. Van Hollen’s town hall she attended attended today (12/1/17). The content of the legislation is in flux but available for review by both parties. This is not “fake news”.

As it stands today, this legislation would:

• Add $1.5T to national debt (crumbling infrastructure, depleted assets). Once bill passed, next Rs in Congress plan to address “intolerable debt” via further HC cuts and privatizations (highway tolls, charter schools, private prisons, etc.)

• RE values decrease 10% (RE Associations est.)

• Removes RE tax and medical expense deductions - huge impact on chronically ill, ALZ pts and caregivers, pts in SNFs (most dual Medicare/Medicaid patients). Senate and House bills differ.

• Huge cuts to Medicare and Medicaid - grows population of chronically ill, older, disabled & addicted population going without care or bankrupts them /families to pay for it. (CHIP still not funded!)

• Hidden cuts to rehab equipment and services needed by many disabled and elderly to remain mobile.

• Ultimate goal to privatize Medicare & VA (vouchers to help buy often unaffordable or unavailable private insurance)

• Corporations / wealthy donors advantaged - concerns raised re US equivalent of RT (Russia state media) if Sinclair controls 70% of market (no net neutrality – Fox / Breitbart on steroids). Dickens?

• Dems proposed – 1) Reallocate Medicare $ / services to focus more on in-home support (care givers and pts) not just funding SNFs and 2) Drug price controls. Rs propose 1) big cuts to Medicare / Medicaid, rehab services and 2) Lilly exec to lead HHS – no drug controls.

• Congress funded small amount (compared to what’s needed) for Opioid crisis but Medicaid cuts wipe out many addicts’ HC services - funding supports little (e.g. “just say no” campaigns).

Maryland and CA among top states hurt. Senator Van Hollen said only recourse today is to flood phone lines (all count calls) to Senators McCain (202.224-2235), Flake (520) 575-8633- I got a person!!!) Corker (202 224-3344.line off hook?) and Collins (main 207. 622-8414 busy) – only ones he saw as potential no votes.

For me and many of us this has negative impacts but is much worse for others (including next generations we love) and country at large.


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