10/21/2008

10-21-08 - 3

I've lost my zeal for Obama. For a while there I was pretty high on Obama, because he seemed to be actually honestly addressing issues and speaking directly and intelligently about what's happening in the world. Obviously he's still better than McCain or W. but a few things are disturbing me. For one Obama seems to be promising free money to everyone these days. I know it's the campaign pressure, but it's sad to see him cave in to that and offer stimulus and tax cuts and money money hey vote for me I'll give you money!

The reason for America being fucked up and the positive change that's happening is going to be obscured. Obama is going to inherit a complete clusterfuck. He will have no budget to be able to do anything significant. In 4 years we're going to be in the shitter and Republicans will be able to say "Dems have been in control for 4 years and look at the shit we're in". Democrats will become complacent because "they won".

We're missing our chance to actually do something significant to fix the US government. Crises are one of the few chances that we have to actually get major changes through, when enough people are upset and the usual interests that stop any change are sidelined. Lately the Shadow Powers have been very slick about using crises to improve their positions. After 9/11 they quickly got the Patriot Act and all kinds of other nonsense through to be able to spy on americans and give more power to the executive and so on. With this financial crisis they get to give out masses of money. Getting Obama in will kill the momentum for real change.

A sampling of things we actually need :

1. Require transparency of the executive. Everyone in the executive branch except the president must answer congressional subpeonas. That's like required by the constitution or something, but I'd love to see a "Prime Minister's Minutes" thing for the President but we know that won't happen.

2. Require the executive to enforce the laws as intended. That means allocating budget to laws even if the President doesn't like them. Put an end to this idea of signing statements.

3. Require transparency of the Pentagon budget. No more multi-billion dollar secret budget for the Pentagon. The claim that it's crucial to national security is just nonsense these days. Our security from Al Qaeda is not going to be compromised if we disclose that an extra $6 billion went to Lockheed for "research".

4. Eliminate the Electoral College. The allocation of votes based on the senate gives unfair extra votes to tiny states with microscopic populations that provide very little to America. Each person's vote should have equal importance, this system gives much greater value to votes from tiny states. A vote in Alaska is worth 3* a vote in California. (Pop 670000 in Alaska = 3 electoral votes, Pop 36458000 in CA = 55 electoral votes). WTF, how are we the fucking majority of people tolerating this - hey your Californians, your vote is worth 1/3 as much as a vote in Alaska, step the fuck up and change that! This is the reason the Republicans have been able to win with the "small town" strategy for the last few elections.

5. Eliminate the Senate. Similar to the previous. Also, greatly reduce the number of people in the house, maybe like 150 is reasonable. It's too much, it's impossible for voters to keep track of who their congressman is and what they're doing.

6. Make lobbying illegal. All lobbying. Yes, there are some benefits to lobbying but the costs have grown to far outweigh the benefits.

7. Require all candidates to only use public financing. Similar to the previous.

8. Restore the media ownership laws we had until Clinton & Bush tore them up. Basically don't allow one company to control all the news media in a single market.

9. Restore the bank laws Clinton repealed. Give government insurance only to plain banks with lots of supervision and plenty of cash cushion. Banks with insurance are not allowed to be connected to any other financial institution.

10. Eliminate all the government-corporate complexes in which the government enforces monopolies and gaurantees pricing for companies that are weakly regulated and get to keep their profits. In some cases this would mean nationalizing more, in many cases it would mean removing government intervention in fixing markets. For example, airwaves and cable lines should be changed to an open bidding system. Transmission on the power grid should be opened up more, but management of the grid itself should be nationalized more. Get rid of the Medicare Prescription plan and instead require pharma companies to sell pills to the government at cost. If you want to have the privilege of selling pills for profit in America, you have to sell at cost to people on Medicare.

11. Require the power companies to fix their plants and get up to current environmental standards, eliminate the "old source" loop holes. The idea that this would be a massive cost is a complete fallacy. In most cases the improvements in efficiency would actually decrease long term cost to the consumer, they just don't want to do it because it's a big hurt to short term profit which is how executives makes their paycheck.

12. Stop subsidizing the automobile by pumping money into roads, gas companies, cheap oil leases, etc. Make drivers pay for their cars, AND tax them the cost of their pollution.

13. Spend more on the things that are going to save us. Technology infrastructure, public transit, education, etc. And by education I mean real substantive education for the brightest who really matter, not rubber stamp colleges and primary schools teaching memorization for standardized tests.

Anyway, there's a lot more. You can read my political rant from the 2000 election and pretty much all that still applies because we never fucking do anything significant that would actually make a big difference and structurally change how broken the system is.

Let me say that I do not dismiss the importance of competent beaurocrats. I think under W we got see just how important it is to have good people even in a horrible beaurocracy, and a bad president can really chase away the competent technocrats, while a good one can give people hope and bring a lot of good people into the horrible jobs in Washington.

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old rants