Sunday, July 16, 2017

THE Moderate Mainstream - 50 Positions

1. Abortion: Should be rare. At some point rights attach to the growing human life. I consider the child to be human life from the point of conception, heck, even before conception the components are human and alive. But it is not "a" life. For the initial stages, the baby can not live, it does not have 'a life' of it's own. And during that time the woman's right to control her body is, absolute, sovereign. However, at some point that changes, the baby becomes viable. Over the decades that point has become earlier and earlier in a pregnancy. We may have reached a limit at 21-22 weeks. Children born at this point are dangerously immature. Many don't survive. I am for an unfettered right to abortion prior to the 20th week. Between 20 and 24 weeks I'd like to know that a woman consulted with doctors about viability. After the 24th week, six months into the pregnancy, I'd limit abortions to protect the mother's life.

2. Bureaucracy: Government bureaucracy has grown so large and dominant that even the changing of political appointees and elected officials has been insufficient to limit its growth and influence. That has to end. Still, the experience of government employees is something to be valued. I'd restrict government employment to a single 10-year term or two 5-year terms. No retirement benefits except self-funded programs. There are two exceptions: Judiciary and the military.

3. Capitalism: No system has done more to raise the standard of living of the entire planet than Capitalism. No one does it well, most do it with lots of sticks and pokes and lots of chiefs stirring the pots and yelling at each other. But no other system has done anything remotely close to the success of capitalism and capitalism has centuries more opportunities cresting the horizon today than at any other time.

4. Capital Punishment: I support it. Those that will not abide by the social constructs that we need to live by in order to have a viable society, need to be removed from it and in extreme cases, permanently. However, human justice is no different than any other human endeavor, imperfect. As Illinois found out, dangerously so. We can not with sufficient confidence say that the State can be impartial and objectively remove all doubt in all but the rarest of cases. Therefore, despite my support of the consequence, the Judge and executioner are too deeply flawed to give them the power to take life in the name of the Citizens.

5. China: The most populous nation on the planet has realized that its 'one-child' policy has come back to bite it in the ass. Men are unable to find wives. It has begun the process of changing the policy but it will take a generation to do so and its population growth will accelerate the entire time. It must grow at a pace it can not manage via government edict and either it explodes internally or it deflects its population with external threats. It is only a matter of time before either or both happen. China is the largest economy, if it had the largest free population it would become the likely successor to the United States as the largest economic power. (A boulder rolling downhill might gain more speed than a train, but its power is taking advantage of momentum, not internal effort.)

6. Climate Change: The climate changes. It has been changing for four billion years, will continue to change for the next four billion years. And? Oh, we might be causing 'more' change. Well, if someone can tell me when the Earth is at the best temperature, we can determine if the change we might be causing is good or bad. Until then, we can watch the change, adapt to the change and enjoy the benefits and deal with the damages as they come. In the meantime, we, the United States, comprise 4.5% of the world's population and anything proposed has to get the other 95.5% to get on board.

7. Corruption: Corruption has been part of every political system since we have had political systems. Political corruption or crony capitalism as it is sometimes called is causing widespread damage to our economy and to our ability to function well as a society. Getting corruption out of the political process is not about getting the money out, money is only the scorecard. It is about getting the favors out. The easiest way is to get government out of the business of granting favors to one company or industry over others is to get government out of using tax policy to affect the marketplace.

8. Crime: More than anything else I believe the infringement of an individual's rights by someone else is a crime. There is no 'thou shall not kill' on the books in any state or municipality. We punish people after they have done something; there is no prevention other than via the threat of punishment. (See Death Penalty) I want crimes against people or property to be swiftly and justly dealt with, but acts that offend the sensibilities of people are a waste of resources.

9. Economics: Everything you need to know about economics can be taught in one minute. Too bad the average citizen, politician and journalist hasn't given it even that much thought. First and foremost, economics is about human behavior. If the price of something goes up, you get less of it. If the price goes down, you can have more of it. Everything else flows from that. I need forty seconds to give you an example. We need to make things we want less expensive, like working, and start making things we don't want, like crime, more expensive.

10. Education: There are two types of education: one is learning from experience, the other is learning from books - which generally are written about and by people that have learned from experience. I support education, by experience and by books. Not everyone needs or should go to college. We have many jobs, necessary and valuable, that need more experience than book education. We should not be driving our children into needless education at outrageous prices unless that is the best thing for them individually. I'd like to see more money going to community colleges for apprentice and training programs. (See Military)

11. Environment: First we want to preserve as much of the natural environment as possible - our health depends on it. What that doesn't mean is to do so at the expense of caring for the humans that depend upon it. I believe that the Federal Government needs to return the land within State boundaries currently under it's control but unnecessary for Federal Government activities. Development of natural resources can then be decided by States. California is facing a natural drought to exacerbate the one caused by environmentalists' demand fish get more water instead of farmers.

12. Equality: Under the law. This is not a statement that we should have equality of outcomes. We all have different skills, abilities and resources and as such, our efforts will have different results. This is not a bug, it's a feature of our system and one to be embraced not legislated against. ‘All men are created equal’. Our society acknowledges a diversity of choices. We do not expect, nor require equality of results.

13. Faith: Is fundamental to almost everyone and it should be respected both as a society and as a matter of law. However, it is not the foundation of our law, nor should it be. Faith can not be the dictator of law.

14. Federalism: There are limits to the Federal Government, enumerated in the Constitution. We need to prune government back to its roots and stop trying to use the Federal Government to fix society from a perch beyond the sight and oversight of the People. We need States to reassert their sovereignty and stop using the Federal Government as a rich uncle and whipping boy for State's follies and foibles.

15. Federal Reserve Bank: Was created, in part, to get politics out of sound money. Over the last decade the Fed has embraced both politics and the profound mistake that it can fix or control the economy. It has sown the wind.

16. Green Energy (Renewable): We should continue to seek ways to replace oil and coal as sources of energy but wind and solar are never going to be more than bit players. Solar could supply a significant portion of our stationary needs if we consider solar satellites. Additional research into alternatives needs to stop using the food supply as a source.

17. Gun Control: The 2nd Amendment prevents government from interfering with the right to carry weapons. That hasn't stopped it well enough in the past and major efforts are made every time the media picks a story to give the idea that government can fix stupid. Fear mongering is a well-tried method to get people to seek security anywhere and anyway they think, or are told will work. Guns are a tool. Like any tool they can serve a purpose chosen by the person holding it. Taking guns away from a 100 million responsible gun owners to stop a thousand irresponsible criminals is not just cause.

18. Health Care: Is not a right. It is necessary for long life and while everyone wants long life, the cost needs to be a factor in his or her choice. If we continue to remove the cost considerations from individuals and place it in government bureaucrats we will get a one-size doesn't fit all application. Government cost shifting has created much of the cost of health care. There is a place for government in health care, providing it is not that place.

19. Homeland Security: We have accepted the idea that a crime-fighting approach to national security is insufficient. We assumed that the large distances most threats had to cross to get to us would protect us from all but the largest foes. A man can wake up in Pakistan and kill millions in New York before nightfall. However, this is not a police state and we have armed our local police with the tools of an army. We have deputized a nation into an army on our own soil. We need to stop pretending everyone is a threat so that no one feels picked on. We need to focus on the threats.

20. Homeless: We can't stop people from making bad mistakes that lead to homelessness. We can make it easier for people to get out of that state by focusing on why they are there and addressing those issues. Some, a small percentage are chronic cases with no solution. Most can be helped if they are found early. This is a project of the States, not the Federal Government.

21. Immigration: I am first born to immigrant parents. This Country is built on the blood, sweat and tears of millions of immigrants that came to this country for better, everything. The vast majority came legally. Those that didn't should not be rewarded for having broken laws from the first day. No path to Citizenship, deportation for those that have broken additional laws. Fines and legal recognition for those that voluntarily present themselves (with no chance of future citizenship). For that, they will have to leave and re-enter legally.

22. Innovation: Is the lifeblood of our economic future. Rather than cut spending on research and development, we need to spend more. Basic research into biology and technology needs more funding.

23. Iran: Has sworn to destroy Israel and do all it can to destroy the United States. I am willing to take them at their word and do whatever is possible to prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and I am for doing it as soon as possible.

24. ISIS: ISIS has taken to heart the worst aspects if Islam and has become a plague upon the Middle East. We need to step in and utterly destroy them. Swift, brutal and without mercy.

25. Jobs: It is not the job of government to create jobs. It is the job of government to get out of the way and let the market work. The President can't create jobs. (See Military)

26. Korea, North: I can't understand the desire of China to continue to prop up North Korea except as a bulwark against Taiwan and South Korea. It is a brutal dictatorship with a nuclear weapon. It is the poster child for not allowing Iran to do so. Yet, no amount of negotiation will change it and we look like idiots when we try and fail.

27. Lobbying: It is not money in the political process that is the problem, it is the favors government grants to companies and industries that spend significant money getting them. Get government out of the business of granting favors (tax abatements, cuts, and waivers) by getting government out of the business of taxing business. Petitioning the government is part of our rights and because some do it better doesn't give us reason to infringe upon it.

28. Markets: Can't fix everything wrong in the economy. There has to be some neutral force that can mediate and punish. Government can be that force as long as it doesn't try to pick winners and losers.

29. Medicare: The program that began the cost shifting from the older generation to younger ones. It manipulated the market and every attempt to fix the consequences has made it worse. It has taught market participants how to manipulate government to make them the beneficiaries of further twists in the marketplace. We need to end Medicare cost shifting and recognize that 95% of the dollars spent on each person's total lifetime medical care will be spent in the last year of life. Implementing a Hospitalization and Provider Plan would work.

30. Military: At the end of the Cold War a movement began to 'civilianize' the military - to convert non-combat jobs to civilian contractor jobs. The assumption was the cost savings would be better than wholesale cutting, gutting of the military. The shortsightedness of that idea was manifest when we tried to send troops into combat and none of their support could be mobilized. 1) Return support functions to military personal; 2) Bring home most of the troops stationed overseas (some exceptions); 3) Increasing military members in support functions will require significant 'hiring' of younger people to whom training in a wide range of fields will give them job skills for the civilian world; 4) Opening additional bases in the United States for training and staging purposes will positively impact local economies.

31. Multiculturalism: We live in a secular society in which all are free to follow their own pursuits towards happiness. However, we need a level-playing field, more to my point, we need to all be ON the same playing field with agreed upon rules. If we let people play their own game on their own field, we get a nation of such diversity that it becomes every man and woman for themselves. Such is the state Hobbes noted and it is not a place we want to be. We were the melting pot of the world, everyone contributing to the flavor, the heat supplied by the blood, sweat and tears of every immigrant's efforts. Not every culture is equal; none are equal to our own. We are a nation of immigrants, not a nation of cultures.

32. Nuclear Energy: We don't do it well. We are stuck with 1950's technology built with 1970's technology. We need to do better and there is better technology. We need to get over the fear, falsely stirred, and get back on the bike. We have spent almost 40 years on alternate technologies and nothing is else is close to providing for and replacing current hydrocarbon generated power needs.

33. Nuclear Weapons: Mutual assured destruction only works if the other side is worrying about destruction too. When the other side welcomes it, there is no deterrent having a bigger or more guns. I'd like to move away from nuclear weapons but we can not do so unilaterally. That means continued research and upgrades to our existing arsenal.

34. PAC: Political action committees were a natural consequences to attempts to limit campaign cash to political candidates. Like floodwaters, political spending will find the weak spots and exploit them. I am ambivalent about them. I see no reason to ban them and lots of reasons to dislike them. But they are the symptom, not the problem.

35. Poor: People make choices they don't understand, in circumstances they are not responsible for. In the end, everyone is responsible for his or her choices but not everyone can be held accountable. We need a safety net, but it can't be so big that everyone sees it as 'good enough', otherwise we get people choosing the safety net instead of falling into it. There can be no government provided lifestyle. Get people on their feet, get them back being productive. The Poor in this country tend to be richer than 90% of the rest of the planet.

36. Pothole Politics: There is a purpose to government, keep the playing field payable. Make sure the refs are honest; be agnostic about winners and losers. Too many politicians want to fix us and think fixing the potholes around town is beneath them. Those politicians need to be voted out. And yes, the President and Congress have pothole type responsibilities they are neglecting: advise and consent, separation of powers....

37. Public Schools: WERE essential to the concept of an educated electorate. Today they are a toss up between indoctrination centers and rabid cesspools of crime and institutionalized juvenile delinquency run-amok. The few places where education, actual real education not the pap served up by most Left-wing artichokes we call educators, are so in demand that strict policies of admission - IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS - are enforced. We have been accosted with stories of run down schools, out of date textbooks, lack of supplies, lack of sports, the arts and book-less libraries while pouring thousands of dollars per student at the problem that gets worse every year. Colleges are spending years teaching graduated high school seniors remedial English and Math. As an institution in our country, public schools have failed, the only reason we don't close them down to protect the children is that for a majority the school is a day-care center for kids with nothing else. Short of dismantling the entire institution the only option is massive overhaul. Too bad we don't have, unlike schools everywhere, a zero tolerance policy about failure.

38. Racism: Us versus them. Yes, it exists. Amongst every race, in every State. Institutional racism is all but gone. Well, that is not true in this sense: we have gone from 'we don't want that kind here' to 'them poor souls can't do it themselves'. The first is abhorrent, the second utterly destructive. We have proven however that getting a Black President did nothing to help and it was the claim of millions that it would. Racism ends one child at a time, which is too bad because it seems to be taught dozens at a time.

39. Religion: A fundamental part of the life of most Americans. Our goal as a Nation to be open to allow anyone to worship as they please with no interference from government, explicitly or implicitly. Part of that is under attack from within, another part from outside. I strongly support the right of individuals to express their religious beliefs as they need and choose with the single exception that it not infringe upon others. The attacks from outside religion run afoul, rightly, of our Constitution when government is the tool of the attackers. The attacks from within are from people that seek to use it as a weapon of social change or to prevent social change. Both are dangerous though I think the former has greater risk.

40. Regulation (Policy): Here it is, this is the place where government abuses its authority to grant favors to political friends, and to grant dispensations to political allies. Government has become too involved in too much of our daily lives and economy and everyone has found it to be the place where they can feast at a trough of government money. We need to get government, especially the Federal Government, out of every day American's lives. We need to starve the beast. And more and more of our government is beyond our reach to control (See Bureaucracy). Rather than report on how many new pages of regulations are issued per day/week/month/year, we need to remove whole chapters and verse. Starting with the EPA.

41. Rich: We are a nation that had the poor, the middle class and the rich at it's founding, we will continue to have poor, middle class and rich into our future unless the government continues to support the poor being poor. If every penny of income of the richest 1,000,000 people were confiscated, we wouldn't have enough money to fund government for six months, let alone a year. If the WEALTH of the top 1% were taken, it wouldn't fund government for a year, not even six months. It is that wealth, that surplus, that provides the capital we need as a nation to grow and continue to innovate. To demonize them is to demonize capitalism, but maybe that is the point. Greed is not exclusive domain of the rich but includes those that seek what the rich possess. Continuously demanding the 'rich' fund everything requires ever greater encroachment into the middle class who are unable to access any government programs but are increasingly the true source of government taxes. Most people don't understand that 'rich' by the definition of "Occupy" includes many white-collar two-income families living in our neighborhoods.

42. Russia: Will descend into a dictatorial abyss sooner rather than later and those currently in charge are working hard to make it soon. Russia is not our friend, will probably never be our friend and the sooner we understand that being 'a partner' with it is to be yoked to a nation trying to kill us as surely as Iran is. Like the United States, the shear size of it gives it great resources and reach that it is not using to improve its standard of living and productivity, but to build itself an empire. It is a threat and should be treated as such.

43. Science: Has become politicized; It has become a means to promote political goals. Lots of great science continues to be done but like a 100-head herd of cows on a million acres, it is too small and too spread out to continue to feed all but a small effort. We need more research at every level and we need politics out of it.

44. Self Determination: It is impossible for one person to dictate to another how to live their life, it is arrogance founded upon ignorance to assume one person or small group of people can dictate to an entire Nation how to do so. We must have the freedom to determine for ourselves how to live our lives, even when those choices are poorly made. Saving us from ourselves is not the purpose of government, nor is it the purpose of government to fix what is broken. Government must not impose edict for choice, security for freedom, benevolence for liberty.

45. Social Security: Arguably the first betrayal of our founding ideals. FDR blackmailed the Supreme Court and one of the first out of the blocks efforts was government providing for the welfare of individuals. Never meant to be a 'savings account' for individuals, it was a way for government to access the income of individuals to distribute it to others. Unfortunately we let it stand for so long that millions have come to rely on it. We need to begin now to phase it out over the next generations. It is already the largest part of the Federal Government and it is not going to shrink until the entire program is restricted and eventually dismantled. There are alternatives available today that were not 80 years ago, we need to look at them.

46. Solar Energy: More energy comes out of the Sun in a second than humanity has produced/consumed in its history. Converting it into usable energy for our engines and devices has been the goal for many efforts. And no matter the efficiency of our devices, they reside deep within the protective layers of magnetic fields and atmospheric blankets. If we could gather the Sun's energy in space and 'pipe' it down for use, we could eliminate a significant portion of our energy creation activities. Solar satellites could provide energy at a fraction of the cost of current systems.

47. Sovereignty: The freedom to live, to prosper, to seek our own happiness are the foundations of our rights and our ability to assert them. The individual is sovereign, we confer authority upon government to act on our behalf and it is that authority expressed in our National Sovereignty.

48. Sustainability: Whether we speak of individual, national or societal sustainability we speak of the ability to survive. Many of our resources are limited and need to be managed for long term use. However, too many people equate sustainability to a single component of our economic life: energy. The argument that we have only 4% of the population but use 24% of energy is comparing apples to cotton. The United States produces almost 25% of the planet's GDP, it does so with less than 24% of the energy used. That productivity builds our standard or living. Sustaining our society is more than just providing energy, it is about providing food, innovation and a future.

49. Term Limits: Are an attempt to limit the choices of the people to pick their own representatives. I oppose them on the basis of that liberty. The limit on the President acknowledges the power of the Presidency as the sole wielder of American Power and imposes a limit on that power in one person. Restricting the terms of one of 535 committee members serves no similar purpose.

50. Terrorism: Works only when people become so fearful that they will give up all freedom to appease it. It must be met with swift, brutal and complete annihilation, wherever it is attempted.

It has been said that all we can reasonably expect of a society based on an imperfect humanity is “one with some evils, maladjustments and suffering”. Why? Why not work to eliminate evils, maladjustments and suffering? Accept them as the natural consequence of an imperfect humanity? I agree we are imperfect, but that does not give us license to ignore those imperfections. What is worse is to allow institutions WE create to result in evils, maladjustments and suffering by design. Knowing such evils exist and to do nothing but accept the imperfection is to deny our own evil.