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Thoughts on how to improve the current system
11-20-2011, 08:54 AM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2011 05:07 PM by Taem.)
Post: #1
Thoughts on how to improve the current system
Frag spurred my thoughts on this issue, and while I never did find a good solution for giving states each more power and relieving some from the feds, I did find insight into what I would like to see happen in an overall picture of America. Here is but a small portion of the vision in my head based on several hours musing, or at least the more fleshed-out ideas:

EDIT - Somehow I forgot to add the section on TAXES. That's ironic because it was the first thing on my list of things to write, yet somehow got misplaced from the document. I'm adding it to the bottom.



Thoughts on a new form of government;
Or, [How to improve our current system:]


CONGRESS
A two-party system has its inherent flaws, as we’ve seen in recent and past dead-locks that ensue with the lame-duck session. While not a real “fix” of the system, introducing at least one additional party would alter the mix, and force all involved parties to rethink how they do business and potentially start thinking about what might be best for the people, instead of the institutions padding their wallets. Of the serious options, I’d suggest a Labor Party and/or Socialist Party to really get the Republicans and Democrats focused our freedoms as they should, while the Socialist Party fights for what we all deserve. Getting a 2/3rd majority vote in this new Congress would be nearly impossible, so I’d push for a 51% acceptance rating.

UNIONS
Unions ask for too much in a society that is struggling just to keep people employed. If union workers didn’t have such disparate pay wages and benefits over non-union workers, then the gap between the poor and middle-class would not be as wide as it currently is, and furthermore, corporations would be able to afford the employ of more workers. Additionally, with my propositions on Health Care, corporations would not have to cover such costs as they do now.

To replace the unions should be laws and government oversight agencies (similar in principle to the FDA, EPA, or any other Federal oversight agency) which ensure fair and equal treatment. The federal law should have a nationwide minimum wage based on average nationwide current “Livable Wage” requirements (i.e. food, shelter, utilities).

SCHOOLS
Children here in this country of school age must attend a state or private run institution of their choice until the 12th grade. The difference is with the abolishment of unions, schools should no longer get paid based on the amount of students which come through their doors. They should be paid a flat rate for their academic programs based on the projected population of minors in the area from the Census, and receive compensation from the state (which will receive kickbacks from the feds) based on the average grade of the students overall (per grade). As such, teachers should also receive compensation for jobs well done, and penalties – such as warnings and suspensions – for poor student performance. Because some years will be harder than others, no teacher should be let go based on one year’s poor performance, but over the course of several semesters if poor performance is continually outstanding. Twice a year there should be federal tests administered by federal teachers done in the school cafeteria to test all grades/children to make sure they are learning properly – or rather what the teachers are reporting for their students’ scores reflect what these federal tests do – and that the schools aren’t lying to bilk more money from the feds than they deserve.

MILITARY
A mandatory military service of 2.5 years will be required for all citizens and non-citizens whom have been in the country since the 6th grade and up starting after the Summer of graduation (or if the person did not graduate, then on their 18th birthday). Exceptions will only be given for the disabled or in extreme situations, young individuals may claim hardship if they support their entire family. Women who are expecting can get a reprieve until three-months after they deliver, then they must serve. No exceptions! This service will be mandatory and without pay (see next paragraph).

Once their time is the Military is served, reformed individuals gain automatic citizenship if they were not already legal, and may attend a four-year federal university of their choosing with all expenses paid – no more or no less. If the student chooses not to go to a university immediately upon leaving the service, or if the student takes longer than four years to complete their major, the federal government will not cover or compensate for the remaining expenses – it will be up to the individual student in that case.

ILLEGALS
To say illegal’s are taking American jobs is absurd when the reality is, the more people in a given area, the more food, gas, daycare, everything a person needs, must be available and in abundance. The influx of people should not “take” jobs away, because in return for the increase in bodies is an increase in demand, thus more jobs are required to sustain the current population. If all the illegal’s currently residing in the states left back to their country of origin, nothing would change because even though many jobs opened up, the need for everything else would decrease, thus working Americans would loose their jobs as demand for goods dropped and would have to take up the jobs the illegal’s left behind, and nothing would change.

On that note, both the Canadian and Mexican border should be removed completely. Citizens in North America should receive a pass, as they have in Europe, to travel around the continent and work freely.

DRUGS
Legalizing drugs would be mandatory for many reasons, but first let’s talk safety: all the strict laws in place currently for alcohol would be enforced fully for all drugs, including DUI, drunk in public, open container laws, etc. There would have to be a safe and effective way to test for the drug(s) in question or that drug would not be made legal for obvious reasons.

Having said that, upon legalization, non-violent drug offenders would retroactively be released from custody immediately; this would save the states a tremendous amount on inmate costs and overcrowding. Additionally, the legalization of drugs would include high tax rates (as they do for tobacco) which would add millions to each states revenue on an annual basis instead of costing millions annually for enforcement. Furthermore, the ability to grow drugs would add tens of thousands of jobs to the economy, from farmers, to sellers, to head shops, to what-have-you. With federal oversight, the FDA would provide safe levels of drug use for individuals, eliminating many overdoses caused today. I personally would push for a “no-refinement” law, meaning drugs must be used in a pure form, not refined into a powder form that might be considered highly toxic and unsafe, nor prescription pills abused. Abuse of this law would be steep penalties, followed by jail time.

Last and possibly most importantly, this would completely kill the drug trade in Mexico, and with the boarder opened up, there would no longer be anything to fear, and Mexicans could finally get the corruption out of their cities and government.

LAWS {SPEEDING}
To help cover the costs of Military and Healthcare, there should be traffic cameras on all freeways and highways going into and out of every city in every state, and in front of every school zone. Speeders will receive their ticket in the mail. Speeding is illegal, yet we all do it. The current system of the highway patrol catching one car at a time is a joke and we all know it, which is why we all speed. Our breaking the law can help cover the costs of Military, Healthcare, Prisons, and whatever else was needed, Hell, maybe even replenishing Social Security if enough people speed on a continual basis. The added camera system would also mean less highway patrol needed, thus more city police could be afforded and that would mean less crimes committed!

HEALTHCARE
In our current system, Doctors in certain fields simply get overpaid leaving the important jobs of our General Practitioners few and far between. The cost of non-generic drugs is controlled by large corporations, and even after five years (the maximum time from whence a drug hits the market to when generic versions of the drug can start competing), these corporations push congress to extend their stranglehold on the market, and Congress usually yields for whatever reasons (money obviously). Until these two discrepancies are fixed, our Healthcare system in America can never be fixed, however once they are fixed, I fancy a Healthcare system based on Denmark’s, with a higher tax rate, but everyone is covered from birth to the grave, regardless of what might be ailing you.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
Finally in this fantasy re-imaging of America, being a part of the United Nations and NAFTA is one thing, but policing the world is not good for Foreign Relations! Did I not trust the intentions of our leaders completely, I’d be afraid of the abuse of power at the highest levels, but having said that, I believe it should be this countries mission statement to strive for peaceful relations worldwide and to lead by example. But not only that, let countries – such as Israel – fight their own battles. So far it’s worked surprisingly well with a large portion of the middle-east countries turning democratic seemingly overnight. We don’t need to be micromanaging every aspect of the world to make it a safer place to live.

What I think should change in these regards is our foreign policy of giving aid to countries that don't need it, and interfering in other countries business without the full approval of the United Nations. Having nukes may make us formidable foes, but bad bedfellows with terrible bedside manors. I would like to see America more focused on strengthening ties to, and showing support for the United Nations, and attempting to do foreign affairs "business" through them instead of in opposition to them. This of course does not include Ambassador visits or special interests pertaining solely to this country, but worldwide events, such as our dealings with North Korea, how we handled the UN during our invasion of Iraq, situations like this. I guess what I fear the most with our current foreign policy is Iran launching a nuke and Israel, America launching a nuke at Iran, Russia seeing this and launching a nuke at America, America responding back with a counter-launch, China seeing this and launching a nuke at America, America responding, and the world ending all because we're interfering in other countries business instead of focusing on making peace. While I don't really think this would ever happen, it would be my hopes that doing business through more formal channels might lessen the possibility of such a catastrophic event ever occurring, and then perhaps as a United world, we can focus on helping the 3rd world countries that really do need aid but aren't getting any (because there is nothing in the cards for us).

TAXES
The current problem with the tax code is all of the "exceptions" and tax "loopholes" that make tax time confusing for the average American, and allow large corporations to pay next to nothing for their taxes (as stated by Warren Buffet). To remedy this and increase revenue, while spurring equality across the board, this country would adopt a policy like Herman Cain's flat 9/9/9 tax rate, but with no exceptions. Because it would be a flat, non-alterable rate, taxes would no longer need to be filled out at the beginning of the year because they would constantly be sent to the government out of your paycheck each month. Large business and private employees would have to submit this payment each month, perhaps with a Bill Pay type service, but the process would be very simple - take your total income and calculate 9% of that to see how much you owe. The only difference that might possibly be made to the standard 9/9/9 proposition is - with the other changes being proposed in this post - 9% might be have to be adjusted to compensate for Healthcare fees, but also increased revenue from the Speeding tickets and legalization of drugs. Perhaps a point lower or higher in either direction.

Child Support would still be allowed to garnish wages, but this would not affect the tax rate.

Religion is all about maintaining belief in the absence of proof and rationalizing that belief in the face of contradicting evidence, hence why it is called "faith".
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11-20-2011, 09:27 AM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2011 07:23 PM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #2
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
The whole system needs to go. There is no reforming it, especially our joke of a two-party system, both of which have the same agenda at the end of the day: protecting the interests of the bourgeois scum (themselves, along with their corporate and military industrial complex parasite buddies). The poor, working class, and even the middle class at this point, no longer matter to them. Well, the middle class no longer matter. The poor and working class never did matter for them.

Mandatory military service? Um, yea, good luck with that. Will never happen. Nor should it. Why should anyone have to be mandated to serve in the military to get a free college education? And women with a 3-month old child have to serve? You are joking right? Totally against this idea, for obvious reasons.

I agree with you on the drug legalization and illegal immigrant issue. War on drugs or any social problem is an automatic failure. Social problems like drugs dont just lie down and surrender like in 'normal' wars. The best way to solve these types of problems is to treat them as the type of problem they are: Drugs are not a criminal problem, they are a MEDICAL problem. As far as immigration goes, Immigrant laws are a total joke and just another form of jingoist racism spewed forth by reactionaries. It's ok for corporations to move across borders to increase profits, but it's not ok for people to move across borders to improve their lives. This is hypocritical. I dont want any government telling me where I can or cannot live, and if they disagree, screw them.

Disagree on Unions - they need to be stronger, not weaker. The decline of Unions is a big part of why workers wages and rights have been assaulted the last 30 years or so, though rollbacks through reactionary policies have been probably just as equally detrimental.

Foreign relations? I don't believe in borders. Ethnic nationalism is just another way to divide us and produce a mentality that one nation's people are some how superior to another nation's people, which is absurd. In general, flag waving patriots of ANY nation disgust me, and I look down upon them.

Healthcare and schooling are tougher issues, because they require many fundamental changes (both socially and economically) elsewhere to make them work well. I agree the ultimate goal for healthcare should be something similar to Denmark's (in a capitalist system or otherwise), but this would of course require a huge change in the tax system to implement it (the tax system change, which needs to happen anyway), and this will be much easier said than done, given our circumstances. I don't think school should be made compulsory, for obvious reasons.

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11-20-2011, 01:17 PM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2011 01:27 PM by ShadowHM.)
Post: #3
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
Taem, your posted essay deserves some thoughtful responses, and I may be able to find the time later to give some of the categories the detailed response they deserve. However, the first jumps out to me because I have given some time to that topic in the context of Canadian politics.

(11-20-2011 08:54 AM)Taem Wrote:  CONGRESS
A two-party system has its inherent flaws, as we’ve seen in recent and past dead-locks that ensue with the lame-duck session. While not a real “fix” of the system, introducing at least one additional party would alter the mix, and force all involved parties to rethink how they do business and potentially start thinking about what might be best for the people, instead of the institutions padding their wallets. Of the serious options, I’d suggest a Labor Party and/or Socialist Party to really get the Republicans and Democrats focused our freedoms as they should, while the Socialist Party fights for what we all deserve. Getting a 2/3rd majority vote in this new Congress would be nearly impossible, so I’d push for a 51% acceptance rating.

You cannot mandate a party to exist. My country's experience with additional parties suggests that even when they do, they cannot make much change because of the structure of our voting system.

What you can do is change the structure of your voting system so that other parties do have a chance to actually elect representatives. Mind you, just getting the existing parties (who have everything to lose by making this change) to vote to make that happen will be a challenge, to say the least.

But the archaic First Past the Post system used by both the U.S.A. and Canada is the root cause of much of what ails our political system. The incredibly disproportionate way that votes translate into seats in Parliament/Congress means that change does not take place. (i.e. a candidate and/or party with 30% of the popular vote can and often does take 70% of the seats)

There are many versions of proportional representation voting systems. Personally, I like the version wherein the voter rank orders the names on the ballot so that on vote counting the name that got the least first round votes is dropped out of the running and all the second order ballots for that individual are transferred to their second choices. The process repeats until one candidate gets more than 50% of the of the votes cast in that electoral district.

There are other types of voting structure that would also create a structure that would permit effective reforms. The challenge is to make sufficient people aware of how poorly they are served by FPP.

And you may call it righteousness
When civility survives,
But I've had dinner with the Devil and
I know nice from right.

From Dinner with the Devil, by Big Rude Jake
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11-21-2011, 05:19 AM
Post: #4
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-20-2011 01:17 PM)ShadowHM Wrote:  You cannot mandate a party to exist. My country's experience with additional parties suggests that even when they do, they cannot make much change because of the structure of our voting system.

I've often wondered what might happen if voting was compulsory instead of voluntary.
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11-21-2011, 06:09 AM
Post: #5
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
My two bits...
Quote:CONGRESS
A two-party system has its inherent flaws, as we’ve seen in recent and past dead-locks that ensue with the lame-duck session. ...
Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe, the paralysis will force the voters to get better informed, to choose the direction and better candidates. Maybe it will get painful enough for there to be real meaningful reform.

Consider that even as our Congress stagnates in its decision making on cutting or taxing, the automatic "sequestration cuts" are only limiting the increase of our federal government to grow by 2 trillion over ten years. The cuts are really cuts to the size of the increase. Under Bush, and now Obama, spending has increased 25%, and income, due to recessions has reduced. I don't see that we really have a taxation problem. We really have a spending problem, and an employment/economic problem.

Quote:UNIONS
Unions ask for too much in a society that is struggling just to keep people employed.
Believe it or not... I actually like unions, as long as they are private sector unions. The problem with public sector unions is that it puts union members in a position to make electoral decisions amenable to giving them more money, even if that is not in the best interest of the State. Any group, whether that be union or corporation, when it corrupts government, it is a bad thing in my book. It's not the corporation, or the union that is bad, it is the corruption and golden handshakes that make the system unfair.

Quote:SCHOOLS
Children here in this country of school age must attend a state or private run institution of their choice until the 12th grade. ...
I would like to see parents receive vouchers, and enroll their children in the best school for their child. There needs to be more rationality to the level of co-curricular activities in schools. I'd like to see our tax funding mostly to curricular activities, and leave funding the co-curricular activities to the community.

Quote:MILITARY
A mandatory military service of 2.5 years ...
No. I'd like to see more 18 year old graduates, become entrepreneurs. It would be a much better use of the money to send the best and the brightest to college, vocational school, or a low interest business loan program. A country with a 25 million person army, is just more likely to use it.

Quote:Once their time is the Military is served, reformed individuals ...
Reformed? From being young?

Quote:ILLEGALS
On that note, both the Canadian and Mexican border should be removed completely. Citizens in North America should receive a pass, as they have in Europe, to travel around the continent and work freely.
No. You cannot control your legal system if you cannot control your borders. However, I agree roughly with your assessment. My solution would be to more vigorously fine the people who hire illegal workers, and remove the incentive. Secondly, to streamline the process of obtaining a work visa, and the citizenship process. Third, to vastly increase the number of allowed immigrants, especially those who already have the skills we need in our work force.

Quote:DRUGS
Legalizing drugs ...
A knee jerk in the other direction is still a knee jerk reaction. We need to decriminalize drug use (and clear the jails), but control (like any other imported product) the supply. Where government fails most is in not clearly understanding "Murphy", and in not thinking through the negative unintended consequences of their actions. I'm all about liberty, but just allowing unregulated drugs to flood the market returns us to the bad old days of snake oil peddlers and dangerous poisons killing the people.

Quote:LAWS {SPEEDING}there should be traffic cameras on all freeways and highways going into and out of every city in every state, and in front of every school zone...
OMG! NO! Smile First, that camera system is mighty expensive. 2nd, research has shown that cameras actually do two things a) cause the light operators to shorten the yellow to red timing, and b) cause more accidents. 3rd, with digital recognition technology it is already too easy to set a system up to scan for a face in the crowd. This is getting too much like Big Brother.

Quote:HEALTHCARE
In our current system...
... we have the worst of all worlds. Corporate protections causing higher prices, multiple layers of administration and bureaucracy, lack of competition, lack of accountability, and severe limitation on the number of people allowed into the field. Just choose to fix one of those, and you'd see improvements.

Quote:FOREIGN RELATIONS... let countries ... fight their own battles. ...
I like the idea, but I think it needs to be a weaning rather than a cold Turkey situation. Like it or not, the US chose to be the great stabilizer after WWII. We see our role as interventionists, because of the global consequences of isolationism. The pendulum has swung too far toward involving ourselves in every brush fire wherever it flares up, rather than encouraging and helping our allies in tamping down local issues. It means giving (up) power to peace oriented regional coalitions, (like the Arab league, African union, EU, etc. ) to help manage their own local issues. But, also in enabling those regional peace keeping coalitions by providing training, equipment, strategies, etc.

Quote:TAXES
The current problem with the tax code ...
... is that it is used as a rewards system. I'm a fan of 9/9/9 if it remains revenue neutral in the short term, and can be reduced in the longer term (shifting responsibility to the States, and localities).

"Look in the deepest of your wounds, for there lies the gold of your being, and though it pains you, you have to excise this luminous metal from the crevices where it has accumulated." - The Emerald Tablet by Dennis William Hauck
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11-21-2011, 08:38 AM
Post: #6
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
I'll no doubt have more thoughts later, when I'm a little less busy. But for the moment, I'd just like to point out that the US has lots of political parties, about a dozen of which are labour/worker/socialist/communist parties.

The problem isn't that there is a two party system. The problem is Duverger's Law.

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11-21-2011, 10:33 AM
Post: #7
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-20-2011 01:17 PM)ShadowHM Wrote:  You cannot mandate a party to exist. My country's experience with additional parties suggests that even when they do, they cannot make much change because of the structure of our voting system.

Indeed the voting system is the problem.
People often vote against the other party or vote for a party to make sure the one they are against will not be biggest.

First, a problem with many parties, in a system like the netherlands (there are 150 seats in the hosue of representatives so 0.7 % of votes will get you 1 seat) is that it can often take a long time to form a government (I am speaking with the Netherlands in the back of my mind). And that while doing so parties need to exchange opinions a bit. What happens often is that things like 'the environment' always get traded away in favour of things like economy, welfare etc.

A good thing is that small parties which aim on certain issues, like the PvdD (party for animal rights) can be represented and get a lot of things done. EXample: if you ask dutch people if they are for or againts wearing fur, or bioindustry most people (more than 50%) would be against these things. However with only the big parties in the HoR noone will usually ask for a vote on these things because 1; they don't find it important amd 2: if noone mentions these things they at least don't risk losing votes of people that are not against fur or bio-industry.

So now this PvdD with their 2 seats in the HoR has of course the opportunity to propose new laws and what you see then is that many parties don't want to vote against such a new proposol because they know that this will be very bad for their image and so something like this could pass.

To me this is superdemocratic. A quasi-two party system (because of voting laws) will suffer from the representatives who will consider the amount of seats in parliament more important than the topics they actually work on.
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11-21-2011, 01:18 PM
Post: #8
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-21-2011 05:19 AM)DeeBye Wrote:  I've often wondered what might happen if voting was compulsory instead of voluntary.

Me too. The Aussies do it and it seems to work for them.

And you may call it righteousness
When civility survives,
But I've had dinner with the Devil and
I know nice from right.

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11-21-2011, 09:18 PM (This post was last modified: 11-21-2011 09:20 PM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #9
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
In our current system, I would much prefer to have a proportional-representation voting system, than a winner-take all. Democrat or Republican, Communist or Fascist, and everything in between, I think we can all agree that a two-party system representing the will and needs of over 300 million people isn't exactly suitable, yes? I'd like to see our Senate filibuster eliminated as well as change Senator representation for states based on population changed (States like CA and NY get 2 people to represent 30 million people, which is just awful when states like N. Dakota get 2 for 700,000....not exactly fair or democratic in my opinion).

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11-21-2011, 09:21 PM
Post: #10
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
*tongue in cheek* Obviously they should be fixed by splitting those states into several smaller states so there isn't such a huge disparity in representation! I propose that California be divided into Cal, Ifor, and Nia.
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11-21-2011, 10:40 PM
Post: #11
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-21-2011 09:21 PM)Tuftears Wrote:  *tongue in cheek* Obviously they should be fixed by splitting those states into several smaller states so there isn't such a huge disparity in representation! I propose that California be divided into Cal, Ifor, and Nia.
Smile You could just call the new States, Los Angeles, and San Francisco encompassing their former counties. Leave the rest of it to be California. New York has a different issue, so the New York Metro could be called New York, and the outstate area renamed to New Yorkshire.

Tex and As would be good though. Smile

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11-21-2011, 10:44 PM
Post: #12
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
RolleyesConfused

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11-22-2011, 08:16 AM
Post: #13
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-21-2011 09:18 PM)FireIceTalon Wrote:  In our current system, I would much prefer to have a proportional-representation voting system, than a winner-take all. Democrat or Republican, Communist or Fascist, and everything in between, I think we can all agree that a two-party system representing the will and needs of over 300 million people isn't exactly suitable, yes? I'd like to see our Senate filibuster eliminated as well as change Senator representation for states based on population changed (States like CA and NY get 2 people to represent 30 million people, which is just awful when states like N. Dakota get 2 for 700,000....not exactly fair or democratic in my opinion).


Yes this whole winner takes all thing is a bit strange. I mean the states have their own government already so no sense in making the federal elections have a 'state-segment' in it as well.
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11-22-2011, 03:18 PM
Post: #14
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-22-2011 08:16 AM)eppie Wrote:  Yes this whole winner takes all thing is a bit strange. I mean the states have their own government already so no sense in making the federal elections have a 'state-segment' in it as well.
It's because we are a Republic.

Each state is supposed to have Senators representing the State's issues, rather than merely the States populist issues. Post Civil War, and culminating in about 1912, many states had implemented the reform in their states and called for an amendment. However, I think it was short sighted. The unintended consequence was that it shifted power away from states legislatures, and increased the power of the federal government. The role of the states legislatures is federal politics has been replaced with special interest groups, unions, and corporations petitioning senators directly. And... since now both houses of Congress are beholden to populism, they pass laws for every popular concern, whether or not it is in the best interest of the people, or the states. I'd be in favor of repealing the 17th amendment, but... If wishes were fishes, then pigs would fly.

So, nothing new. Instead of cleaning up the real mess, they pushed it off onto the federal government. Federalists finally win.

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11-22-2011, 03:45 PM
Post: #15
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-22-2011 03:18 PM)kandrathe Wrote:  .

Each state is supposed to have Senators representing the State's issues, rather than merely the States populist issues.

I find this very unpatriotic.

When you favour senators working for state issues you probably hate the USA. Smile
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11-22-2011, 03:56 PM
Post: #16
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-22-2011 03:45 PM)eppie Wrote:  I find this very unpatriotic.

When you favour senators working for state issues you probably hate the USA. Smile
Smile Yeah, I can't decide if it's more jingoist or racist.

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11-22-2011, 04:24 PM
Post: #17
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
Sorry I have not had the time to post in my own thread. Turkey day a-comming, and wouldn't you know it... sh*t hit the fan. I've got relatives from both sides demanding my family spend time with them, but no sides are willing to compromise to a level suitable to any one families needs. Ahh, the holidays. FYI, both of my parents are divorced, and both of my wife's parents are also, but each separate grandparent (four in total) want to spend time with us, but do not want to yield up their turkey-providing sovereignty by going to someone elses house. It's been this way for years, and every year my wife and I have to negotiate a peace treaty because our house is too small - I guess in that sense it's very much like a true Thanksgiving Feast, lol. Pathetic. Anyways, I doubt I'll have much time to post any replies until Monday, or after T.Day at the earliest.

Religion is all about maintaining belief in the absence of proof and rationalizing that belief in the face of contradicting evidence, hence why it is called "faith".
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11-22-2011, 06:24 PM
Post: #18
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-22-2011 04:24 PM)Taem Wrote:  Sorry I have not had the time to post in my own thread. Turkey day a-comming, and wouldn't you know it... sh*t hit the fan. I've got relatives from both sides demanding my family spend time with them, but no sides are willing to compromise to a level suitable to any one families needs. Ahh, the holidays. FYI, both of my parents are divorced, and both of my wife's parents are also, but each separate grandparent (four in total) want to spend time with us, but do not want to yield up their turkey-providing sovereignty by going to someone elses house. It's been this way for years, and every year my wife and I have to negotiate a peace treaty because our house is too small - I guess in that sense it's very much like a true Thanksgiving Feast, lol. Pathetic. Anyways, I doubt I'll have much time to post any replies until Monday, or after T.Day at the earliest.

Man, this would be a thread-topic in its self.
I have similar thoughts regarding Christmas. I am for the sober celebration instead of the over the top eat and drink fest it is. I am an atheist but I think jesus would prefer my way of celebrating.
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11-22-2011, 09:25 PM
Post: #19
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(11-22-2011 04:24 PM)Taem Wrote:  It's been this way for years, and every year my wife and I have to negotiate a peace treaty because our house is too small - I guess in that sense it's very much like a true Thanksgiving Feast, lol.
Yes, like a true first Thanksgiving feast. Have you thought about giving them a plague of leptospirosis, and when weakened, conquer them and sell them into slavery in the West Indies. Smile

Now you'd have a bigger house, or five, actually.

But... I feel your pain. My parents divorced during my first year in college. My solution was to ignore them all, and have Thanksgiving with my friends, many of whom were recent immigrants and had no family in the States. By the time I left college, my dad had died, and my mom moved down south. My wife's family moved to California.

"Look in the deepest of your wounds, for there lies the gold of your being, and though it pains you, you have to excise this luminous metal from the crevices where it has accumulated." - The Emerald Tablet by Dennis William Hauck
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12-25-2011, 05:06 AM
Post: #20
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
Finally getting back to some replies. This is the first; expect more to come. I have to stop after this post however - wife keeps nagging me to wrap presents!

(11-20-2011 09:27 AM)FireIceTalon Wrote:  The whole system needs to go. There is no reforming it, especially our joke of a two-party system, both of which have the same agenda at the end of the day: protecting the interests of the bourgeois scum (themselves, along with their corporate and military industrial complex parasite buddies). The poor, working class, and even the middle class at this point, no longer matter to them. Well, the middle class no longer matter. The poor and working class never did matter for them.

I'm not in disagreement with your assessment of our current political system, but I do disagree with your "starting from scratch" approach. Getting rid of earmarks was a start, but the system Congress uses deliberately does not use currency as a direct trade in negotiation, thus services are traded. It's the way of commerce, the way of business, and they way thing have always been and will be from now to the foreseeable future. The only thing that might make it a better system is more oversight, and a new party in place that will inevitably disagree with the current parties and force each side to find a middle-ground or find themselves on the outs, because with a mere 51% majority votes to pass a bill, two parties need only agree to pass a vote, so if a party on the outs wants to get any headway, compromises must be found. This would be the best of both worlds IMO.

(11-20-2011 09:27 AM)FireIceTalon Wrote:  Mandatory military service? Um, yea, good luck with that. Will never happen. Nor should it. Why should anyone have to be mandated to serve in the military to get a free college education? And women with a 3-month old child have to serve? You are joking right? Totally against this idea, for obvious reasons.

Then we disagree. For obvious reasons, such as Americas gang problem, I think a little boot camp would not only be good for moral, but make the citizens of this country much more patriotic and supportive of what living in this great country really means. We are not slaves - we should fight for our well deserved freedom. The fact that people in this country don't appreciate the freedoms we have here is pathetic. Teaching patriotism and respect to Americans, and giving them a college degree for their service in the process - a prospect which could only improve this country as a whole - seems like a great idea to me all around.

And as for the woman with a 3-month old child, I'd have to say get over it! My cousin and several women I know got pregnant in the service and were given a small amount of time to pop the baby out before having to get back to active duty. It's part of the life-style. It happens all the time; the bases have day-cares.

(11-20-2011 09:27 AM)FireIceTalon Wrote:  Disagree on Unions - they need to be stronger, not weaker. The decline of Unions is a big part of why workers wages and rights have been assaulted the last 30 years or so, though rollbacks through reactionary policies have been probably just as equally detrimental.

Couldn't disagree more. It seems ridiculous to me that the unions fought for the car workers - who were replaced by machines - by getting the worker who pushed a button in the factory to get paid for all the jobs that were "replaced" by machines, arguing he is doing the job of "20-men", so he should get 20-mens pay. Right... or the few times Safeway/Vons has gone on strike over a drop in pension pay for retirees because they could not afford to pay the increased healthcare fees any longer, but lost to union demands and instead had to raise prices to rates so absorbent, that I now shop at Costco, Smart and Final, and Walmart because shopping for 6-people at Vons would cost be over 2k whereas shopping at the other three costs me 1k. Greedy unions... There are ton's of people working minimum wage making a living just fine now being supported by the unions. But because the unions keep demanding more for each member - "what are my union dollars doing for me" - unionized stores have to find ways to recoup these lost profits, usually by raising the cost of products for EVERYONE else, so the few unionized workers can profit. The whole union system is forked and since Jimmy Hoffa, corrupt.

(11-20-2011 09:27 AM)FireIceTalon Wrote:  flag waving patriots of ANY nation disgust me, and I look down upon them.

I don't know what to say. If you don't support your own country, then I think your ideals are flawed because your picture of a perfect world will never be, not with so many people with varying opinions in this world. So knowing there will never be a perfect world, the only real choice there is is to either embrace the country you live in (or move to one you like better), or live as an embittered revolutionary who might attract a little notice, but fall far shy of the "American" dream.

Religion is all about maintaining belief in the absence of proof and rationalizing that belief in the face of contradicting evidence, hence why it is called "faith".
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