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User Journal

Journal Journal: The Second Bill of Rights

Today it occurred to me that what this country really needs is a second Bill of Rights. A codification, if you will, into the Constitution of the true intent of the Founding Fathers, and the lessons of the last 230 years of nationhood. My version would look like this.

The Second Bill of Rights

The Balanced Budget
The Congress shall pass no budget which exceeds the collected receipts of that budget year, save in times of Declared War. The Congress shall pass no law or order that assumes a debt for a term in excess of 15 years.

Repeal of the 16th Amendment
The 16th Amendment to the Constitution is hereby repealed.

Revocation of All Direct Taxation of Citizens
The Congress shall pass no law directly taxing the Citizens of the United States, its Corporations, Businesses, or other entities. The powers of Taxation are left to the States alone.

Establishment of a National Sales Tax
The States shall provide to the Federal Government, a portion of the Revenue of all final sales which occur within their border. This revenue shall not include the purchase of unprepared foodstuffs and medicinal or medical items required by the order of physician. The Congress shall not pass any laws either adding to or subtracting from the list of items subject to this taxation.
The amount of this taxation shall be initially set at 18% of the cost of the goods.
The Congress shall not be enabled to increase this rate, save through the process of a National Referendum, requiring a majority of the citizenry of the United States to approve of such an increase. No such restriction shall be placed on the reduction of said rate.
The States shall provide this revenue to Federal Government once per quarter-year, or more often at the State's discretion.

The Right to Own Property
The congress shall make no law by which the private property of a Citizen shall be taken and given to another Citizen, corporation, or organization. Although the Federal Government shall retain the power of Eminent Domain, any property taken under that power, must be held for the free use of the Citizenry for a term of no less than 25 years.

The Definition of Public Good
History has shown us that the Public Good in America is ensured only by the guarantee of the smallest, least personally intrusive Federal Government possible. Thus the Congress shall make no law creating or sustaining any federal agency not directly related to, and budgeted as a part of, the National Defense, the regulation of Interstate Commerce, the regulation of immigration, the protection of the borders and establishment of ports, the collection of tariffs on foreign goods, and the provision of the census.

The Definition of Interstate Commerce
Interstate Commerce shall be defined solely as goods or services which cross the boundary of a state within the purview of the United States. The Congress shall make no laws redefining this definition, nor shall they make law regulating commerce which does not meet this requirement.

Abolition of the Federal Reserve and Restoration of the Gold Standard
The Currency of the United States, being of utter concern to the Nation; the Congress shall make no law establishing any outside agency to create, distribute or in any way control the monetary funds of the United States. All such currency shall be based on the value of gold held in reserve to establish said currency. That rate of exchange to be set at $1,000 per Troy Ounce of Gold. The Congress shall make no law changing this definition of value.

Single Issue Bills
The Congress shall pass no bill into law which contains any clause, amendment, or rider not directly related to the title and purpose of the bill.

Public Knowledge of Legislation
The Congress must publish the full and complete text of all bills, in full legal form, and in "plain language" form, to the public for a minimum of 14 days before a final vote may be taken. A formal Declaration of War is exempted from this requirement. For the purpose of this amendment, publishing requires the dissemination of the materials through a media that can reach at least 50% of the citizenry within 24 hours.

Require Roll-Call Votes on All Bills
The final passage of all bills must be taken by roll-call vote and the results of that vote must be made public within 24 hours of the vote. For the purpose of this amendment, publishing requires the dissemination of the materials through a media that can reach at least 50% of the citizenry within 24 hours.

Establishment of the House of Abrogation
This amendment creates a new House of Abrogation in the Legislature. The House of Abrogation will be peopled by one Councilor from each State of the Union, and shall serve for a term of three years. Each Councilor will be sworn into duty with the same oath of office as used for the members of the Senate. The House of Abrogation shall meet under the same conditions as the current House of Representatives, and will elect a Speaker from the majority party. It is the duty of the House of Abrogation to consider, debate, and vote upon the dissolution of laws that are currently in place. Upon a simple majority vote, the Councilors will send to President an Order of Abrogation naming the Law to be removed from the books. In the same manner as a Bill, the President shall have the right of Veto over the Order of Abrogation. Should a two-thrids vote of the House of Abrogation override said veto, the law shall be stricken. If the President approves, via signature, the Order of Abrogation, the law shall be stricken. If the President vetoes the Order of Abrogation, he must return it to the House of Abrogation with a written explanation for his veto.

Federal Term Limits
No person shall serve in the House of Representatives, the House of Abrogation, or the Senate for more than a term of 12 years, combined.

Identification of Citizens for Voting
The right of a democratic vote being paramount among the citizenry, and the need of said vote to be correctly enumerated and as free from fraud as possible, it is hereby established that no person shall be allowed to vote in any Federal Election save that they provide reasonable proof of their identity, the least of which to include some form of photographic evidence by which their appearance can be established as the owner of said identity. Each State shall provide such identification for all of their confirmed citizens, and shall include a means of verification of proper and currently eligible Citizen lists to their polling places.

Abolish Non-Discretionary Budgeting
The Congress shall pass no law establishing any policy, program, agency, or department for which the budget is set for a term of longer than one year. All spending and budgeting must be open to debate and vote each and every budget year.

English as the Official Language
English is hereby declared as the single, standard language of all functions of the Federal Government.

Restriction of Debate
The Congress shall pass no law which in any way restricts the future debate of any law, motion, or proclamation passed by Congress.

Abolition of Entitlements
The Congress shall make no law which distributes funds to any individual Citizen, group, corporation, organization, or other entity, save for the purchase of goods or services rendered.

Limitation of Treaties
The President and Congress shall not make the United States party to any treaty that shall infringe on the sovereignty of the United States and its citizenry. Nor shall any treaty or agreement place the armed forces of the United States under the control of any foreign power. Any treaty already entered which violates this amendment shall be declared null and void.

Federal Funding to States Restricted to Block Grants
The Congress shall pass no law funding any program to the States save that it be funded through a single payment made on a per capita assessment of the population of the State. The Congress shall attach no conditions, rules, or assessment to such funding of the States. Given that the People are more responsive to the government of their local State; the Administration of said programs shall be reserved to the States alone.
User Journal

Journal Journal: The Ideal Federal Government

I've posted some political commentary on this board, and so it occurred to me today, that I should probably elaborate at some length and detail, what I would consider the perfect form that the federal government should take.

The Ideal Government: Small

It's a simple concept that was embraced by nearly all of our Founding Fathers. Alexander Hamilton disagreed, and found things like the federal banking system in the words "ensure the public good." But, as far as I'm concerned, I'd hold firm and fast to what the Constitution lays out.

The Ideal Government: Armed Forces

First, providing for the national defense. Okay, clearly we need an armed forces capable of protecting our shores and our overseas interests. History has taught us it must be capable of fighting on two fronts simultaneously and be modern and capable. I believe that it was George Washington who replied when Thomas Jefferson asked, "can we limit the army to 5,000 men?", and said, "Only if you can guarantee that we're never attacked by an enemy with over 5,000 men in their army."

National defense is expensive, but forms one of the few, legitimate purposes of the Federal Government.

Waste within a government agency is inevitable, but we do need a level of oversight within the Armed Forces to minimize it as much as possible. This is an area that I still need to put more thought into, but is definitely important.

The Ideal Government: Customs and Immigration

This is another area specifically laid out in the Constitution. We must provide for customs at the border, and a means of immigration. Right now, this system is horribly broken. I suggest three ideas to help fix it.

One, a fence. Yes, a fence. We can start with a 6' cyclone fence along both the northern and southern borders. If it gets breached, we replace it with a concrete wall where it was breached. We add electronic countermeasures, etc. If we finally end up with three layers of concrete walls separated by "moats" with crocodiles, lions, and machine guns, that's fine with me. But we shouldn't have to, because of part two.

Two, if you enter this country illegally, then you are a criminal. A felon. You can never get a job, you can never earn money. If you are found you are deported. If you attempt to re-apply, you can't get in because of your felony status. If you ever cross the border illegally, you're never going to be allowed to cross it legally. And, if you are found employing an illegal, then you are also a felon. You will go to jail. If it's a corporation, then the entire HR department goes to jail, along with the CEO. I would make it so painful to get caught hiring an illegal, that no one in their right mind would dare do it to save a few dollars.

Three, customs is broken. We have 5,000 pages of regulations on the importation of cabbage. Who cares? It's not the government's job to protect the people from a bad cabbage. Customs should be looking for illegal weapons, illegal substances, and illegal goods, not worrying whether a cabbage is the right shade of green. If a company imports bad cabbages, it's not going to be able to sell them anyway. That kind of inspection should be done at the plant, not at the border.

Four, tariffs are simple. Mirror them. If country X charges an import tariff on our goods, we charge the same tariff on their goods entering our country. Any nation can, therefore, establish free trade by simply removing all tariffs on our goods entering their country.

Five, H1-B visas should have a limit of zero. If we truly need a worker that only can be found abroad, then a company should be able to pay for their travel and their immigration and citizenship paperwork, and has to pay them at 3 times the going "average" wage. The definition of a worker taken on an H1-B visa is that the worker cannnot be found in America. It does not say "cannot be found cheaply." I want it to be cheaper for a company to get a local worker and pay to train them then to simply go overseas and raid other country's talent pool.

Speaking of companies...

The Ideal Government: Corporations

Corporations, like many things, are good ideas executed poorly. Corporations have their place in the real world, because businesses rarely are one person. Corporations allow entrepreneurs to take a risk on something without necessarily risking everything they have and own. In that respect, I like corporations. However, they've been poorly executed.

We have created a society where a corporation stands entirely on its own, and faces no consequences. You cannot throw a corporation in jail. You can't hold a corporation responsible for it's actions in any meaningful, criminal sense. So I propose the following changes.

One, Corporate officers are directly responsible for the actions of their corporation in a criminal sense. If a corporation knowingly ships tainted meat, knowingly poisons a river with toxic waste, or knowingly hires an illegal alien (as examples), then the CEO and the people who directly made the decision are now criminally responsible for those actions. How much more careful must a CEO be when they are personally responsible for the actions of their employees?

Two, Officer level compensation cannot exceed 10 times the wages of the median salary at the company. In other words, if you're the CEO of a 10,000 person company, with a median salary of $20,000 then you cannot receive more than $200,000 in direct salary. This means that a CEO can not get a raise without also providing raises to the majority of workers.

Three, An officer of the corporation can receive a bonus package -- with the following caveat. Any corporate officer who is to receive a bonus package, must distribute, as part of the annual voting of shareholders, a yay or nay vote on whether that officer should receive their bonus package. The officer will receive the portion of said bonus package based solely on the percentage of shares voted from that referendum. In other words, if 60% of the shares vote that the officer should receive their bonus, then they will receive 60% of their bonus package. If more than 50% vote that the officer should not receive a bonus package, then all the money for said bonus must go back into the corporation's profit and the officer receives no bonus.

Four, at no time may the combined total of all officer bonus packages exceed 90% of net profits for the corporation. This will prevent any bonuses at a corporation where there are no net profits.

Five, no other corporate perk, via per diem, moving expense, etc. may exceed 90% of annual salary. This keeps a CEO honest and prevents the "I only took a $1 salary, but I got a $10,000,000 housing allowance."
User Journal

Journal Journal: Wow, I just got a First Post

Okay, so it's a meaningless ego stroke, but after five years on Slashdot, I finally got a first post.

The Comment

And not only that, it's been modded up . Wow.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Foes of mine

Neat, I just checked the journal of some of my foes to find a rant about how, if I'm on their foe list, that I've made horrible scientifically untrue statements, or "supported ideology above science."

Now, I know that this comes from my ongoing defense of the non-anthropogenic global warming view. Whenever I comment on this, I'm relentlessly attacked, usually ad hominem, by the "other side". What surprises me is that this would somehow qualify as "ideology before science."

The more and more I'm reading about how climate science is performed in this country, the more I continue to doubt that Anthropogenic Global Warming is anything other than political ideology. In other words, ideology before science.

What kind of things bother me?
  • Many of the studies refuse to publish their raw data, algorithms, or even detailed methodology. That's not science. The point of publishing is to put the idea out there so that the experiment can be duplicated. It is this duplication that is the point of science. Reproducible results. The idea of hiding data and methodology would mean automatic disqualification in any other peer reviewed journal. Nature in fact, requires public data archiving for all other branches of science, but not climate science. Why the exception?
  • The maintenance and siting of the climate network appears to be atrocious. Not just really bad, not even poorly maintained, but possibly intentionally bad. Look at and if you're not horrified, then you're not paying attention.
  • The conflict of interests is overwhelming. Al Gore is out there "raising awareness" of AGW. But Al Gore also owns the largest Carbon Credit Trading organization in the world. Who is making money on every person who buys into purchasing Carbon Credits? That's right, Al Gore. When tobacco companies sponsor cigarette studies, no one believes the results. Why do we believe Al?
  • The science is being bought. Turns out James Hansen, the poor oppressed scientist at NASA, got $750,000 from known left-winger George Soros. I don't know about you, but if someone gives me three quarters of a million dollars, I'm thinking they want something in return.
  • In the same vein, Hansen is the sole source of climate data. He wrote and runs the code that generates the "adjusted climate values" from the raw temperature data. Problem is, for the last ten years, he absolutely refused to turn over the code. Then he got caught by analysis as having a "bug" in his code that just so happened to make the years from 2000 - 2006 the hottest years on record. Turns out most of those years weren't even in the top 20 warmest years. Suddenly the hottest year in the U.S. was no longer the El Nino driven year of 1998, but the year 1934. In fact five of the ten values were in the 1930's. Hmm. Where'd all the warming go.
    Then, after an act of Congress (okay, a Congressman threatening to pull all of Hansen's funding if he didn't) Hansen turned over the source code. It took only a few days to find that any measurement with more than one series (i.e. a temperature gauge that got moved so it was in a new location) introduced a bias in the temperature. The more series, the bigger the bias. And thats just in step 1. They haven't even gotten through all the steps yet.
  • No global climate model has been accurate. Not one. You can't take the output of any GCM from five years ago and compare it to the last five years and get anywhere close to a match. If the model isn't accurate, then it can't be used to predict. I don't even want to go into how horrible the models are to begin with. I could write a journal entry on that all by itself.
  • We don't understand precipitation. We don't know if it's a positive or a negative feedback. Most research is pointing at a hugely negative feedback. A recent paper said it may account for as much as an additional 30% cooling in the tropics. However, every computer model says it's a positive feedback. Every single one. And most of them consider it a huge positive feedback. Look up the "Iris Effect" and you'll see that it has to be negative.
  • More and more scientists are starting to doubt the findings of global warming. Gray put out an absolute lambasting of AGW after Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. Heck, Al's movie has been found by an English court of law to be inaccurate.
  • So much data doesn't line up with AGW theory. Yes, we see warming -- in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere has been having record cold years. That would seem to average out. We see melting of the Artic Ice cap, but the Antarctic is having record amounts of mass added. We see glaciers in Europe melting, but many southern glaciers are advancing.
  • So much of our data is inaccurate. Fifty years ago no one thought that taking the temperature every day would suddenly become a life or death struggle. Of the six stations in Brazil, five are listed as "Rural" when, in fact, they sit at the center of cities of over 500,000 residents. The Urban Heat Island skews all of these measurement upwards, while the actual rural station shows that temperatures have dropped.
  • Many of the glaciers touted as "shrinking because of global warming" have actually been shrinking since the 1700's or even since the end of the last ice age.

I could go on and on. All of these facts have to be ignored to believe in AGW, but I'm the one being called an idealist. Sigh.

I guess I should be happy that my foes don't read this, but I can't be. Ignorance of the scientific method is what's driving AGW. "Scientific Consensus" is a meaningless term. If I get 500 scientists together and they all say that box number one contains a rabbit, it doesn't make it true. It should only take one scientist to walk in and say, "Uh, no, that's a fox," for the whole thing to fall apart. In real science, that lone scientist carries as much credence, more even, than the 500 "consensus scientists." An unconfirmable story runs that Einstein was once approached by a reporter, "Mr. Einstein," he said, "there's a new book coming out called 100 Scientists Prove Einstein Wrong. What do you think about that?" To which Einstein replied, "One, it takes one."

What ever happened to science?

The trouble with money is it costs too much!