Monday, May 30, 2011

Popularity Contest

The Presidential election for 2012 is 18 months away and the campaigning has already started. We are already hearing who has the most electablility, not who is the most qualified, or who will be the best one for America, but who is the most electable. The mainstream media is not talking about who has the right ideas about what is best for America or who has the record to back it up, they are talking about who has the best hair, the best tan and is the best orator.

The RNC and the DNC are not concerned with who will do the right things for America; they are concerned with who can get elected and keep them in power, in power to continue the agenda. The problem is that the agenda of the RNC and the DNC may look different from the outside but in truth they are the same. Both parties only want more Government and more power.

Unfortunately the American People are caught up in the parties, even when they have no idea of what their party is doing, all they know is that they are a registered Democrat or Republican and that is how they are going to vote. You can’t be upset with the People, there are so many things going on in the average persons life that make an election just another event on the 6:00 news. With the hustle and bustle of the typical American life picking a President is easier if it’s done American Idol style.

Since Donald Trump has officially dropped out of the Presidential race we can have him pitch it as “So You Think You Can Be President”. It can start November of the year prior to election year with one show a week. The first 6 weeks can be all the challengers. Each week will be a different discussion with each participant having 3 minutes to state their case. To keep things interesting the judges should be from the talk show arena, both TV and Radio, people like Rush Limbaugh, Mike Church, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Glenn Beck, Chris Matthews and others. It needs to be fair so there should be a couple from all sides, right, left, centrist, liberal, conservative, progressive, libertarian and of course pro-constitution. Of course the people will vote each week for who they like the best each week. The judges would have the option of saving an individual but they would have to give their best campaign speech to see if they continue. Just to keep it going no one will be cut for the first 3 months, let everyone have a chance at getting to the finals. The voting will determine their poll standings, just to give the mainstream media something to talk about. After that, one candidate a week will be cut, until we are down to at least one candidate for the last 6 months to go head to head with the incumbent. In a year where the incumbent won’t be running we can have 2 shows going at once, maybe three. One for each of the major parties, Republican and Democrat, and one for the others, the independents, libertarians, green party and who ever else feels lucky.

The last 6 months will be only the finalists for each show, so we could be looking at possibly 3 candidates. This is where the incumbent President, if running, will have to clear his schedule for every Tuesday night. With today’s technology that shouldn’t be a problem, he or she can just do their part from the oval office, or the west wing using Go to or Skype. At the end of the second 6 months the American public will phone it their vote for the next President of the United States. If this works out well we can always look at doing the same thing locally in each state for Senators. Of course part of the process will be voting on how well they chose their running mates, how well they tell us how they are going to take care of us from cradle to grave, how well they explain the importance of spreading American democracy across the globe, and how all our entitlement programs are just fine, even though we have fewer and fewer taxpayers each year.

The beauty of this plan is that we can now charge say a dollar for each phone call and call it campaign contributions, not votes. The candidate with the most campaign contributions is the winner for that week, but, the money that is raised will go for paying for the show of course, but whatever is left will go to paying our national debt. Of course this will be limited to calls from within the United States only and something will have to be worked out so that each person of voting age can only call once a week, but hey, if we can track a cow from birth to supermarket I’m sure that can be figured out. This will also cut out campaign contributions from corporations and unions, which I’m sure many will feel is not fair. I know there was a landmark ruling in Virginia recently that stated corporations had the same freedom of speech as individuals when it came to campaign contributions, but how much sense does that make? The CEO of a corporation or the head of a Union may not have the same political attitude as the people that work for that corporation or that are members of that union, but they can use the employees hard work or the union members dues to contribute to political candidates they like? This plan leaves it in the hands of the citizens alone, and putting it on prime time will increase the voting block probably 10 fold, look at the results American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance have had.

Will it matter that we will be electing someone based on charisma, good looks, oratory skills, or how well they can relate to foreign diplomats? Probably not, from the state of things in America now it appears that no one is paying attention to the down hill slide America and our way of life are currently on. At least this way we can cash in a little to pay down the unwieldy debt past and present Presidents and Congress’s have given us while having a little entertainment thrown in.

Steve Avery

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Path Are We On?

Any American that watched the Twin Towers fall, the Pentagon ignite and flight 93 crash had every right to rejoice Sunday night when the news came that Seal Team 6 had gotten Osama Bin Laden. How many have thought about how much our lives have changed because of the man? What would America look like today if September 11, 2001 was just another uneventful day in a long string of uneventful days? After answering these questions one should ask whether or not we were right in getting Osama Bin Laden the way we did and how should we feel about it now?

If 9-11 had never happened would we have gone over to Afghanistan and fought a 10 plus year war against a foe that just can not be beaten? Would President Bush have had the opening to go into Iraq to remove Saddam? How many millions, billions, even trillions of dollars would America have saved? Would we have Homeland Security interfering in nearly every aspect of ours lives? Would TSA have set up shop in our airports violating the very laws that put people on the sexual predators watch list? The “War on Terror” has cost more to Americans then just the loss of a few thousand soldiers.

America has changed forever. Shortly after 9-11 the Patriot Act was passed. Americans that were deeply affected and patriotic were more then willing to let this pass, let the Government do what was necessary to keep America safe. That was just the first step. Next thing we know we have the Department of Homeland Security, more troops going overseas and more of our taxpayer dollars going up in smoke. How many Americans realize that in September of 2009 our lawmakers agreed to triple the foreign aid to Pakistan? This was all done while we were watching our own country sink deeper and deeper into a recession. Besides the foreign aid being doled out has anyone thought about how much money has been spent in keeping our troops overseas? Has anyone added up the amount of money that has been spent in pacifying countries that we are trying to operate from? What about the money that has been spent to implement all the security measures put into place since that tragic day? I haven’t even brought up the changes in attitudes of Americans. I haven’t brought up the opportunities the Government has taken to interfere with our lives and to take more and more power. I haven’t brought up how the lives of the now young adults changed. Would any of these things have happened? Where would we be now if they had not happened? America has changed more then any of us want to believe because of this one man.

The above reasons should be more then enough to justify some celebration by every person that was affected by attacks on 9-11. The above reasons are enough for us to thank all the members of our Military that have fought to find Bin Laden over the past 10 years, and the team that went in and found him. But there are other issues that must be considered, issues that may have ramifications that no one ever imagined.

In our patriotic lust to see justice done it’s possible we have stepped on International Laws, Constitutional Laws and moral laws. The moral laws we will just have to live with, it’s done, accept it, and go on. The International Laws could cause more of a problem, at least for our President and the team that planned, authorized and executed the mission. A team from our Military under the orders of our CIA and the President invaded a sovereign Nation and shot an unarmed man. By rights our President could now be labeled as a war criminal, possibly the entire team could be. Will they? I have no idea. I do believe it could be a possibility given the current decline in our foreign affairs. Next thing that needs to be considered is that there is now a precedence set for the President of the United States to be able to use the Military as, for lack of a better term, a hit squad. President Reagan signed Executive Order 12333 on December 4, 1981, Section 2.11 specifically states “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination”. Has President Obama violated this Executive Order? Has President Obama just set the precedence for not only himself, but all future Presidents to be able to assassinate enemies, political or otherwise, at will; all in the name of “National Security”? Sure the political legal eagles are touting that in a time of war, or for the self defense of the Nation he is well within his rights. But; there are problems with both of those arguments. We are not in a formally declared state of war; war was never declared by Congress on Afghanistan, Pakistan, or even Osama Bin Laden. Secondly self defense means you have a right to protect yourself in an attack, not a 10 year old attack. This defense would not stand up in a court of law for any member of the general public, in the courts eyes that would not be self defense; the roles of victim and aggressor would be reversed.

I feel just as vindicated as the next person with Osama Bin Laden gone, at the same time I am fearful of the path the leaders of our country are taking.

Steve Avery

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Hypocrisy

Recently I was honored to have one of my essays published in the Virginian Pilot. In the online version of the paper there was a comment made that said I was being hypocritical for receiving a pension from the Military and being eligible for Government provided heath care, while also being a proponent of limited Government. At first I got a little thin skinned about the comments; in fact, I was thankful for another commenter that defended my Military service. In short time I came to my senses; I’ve always known that I would have those that disagree with me. The question about my pension and health care is one I should have been prepared for.

While I support a limited Government and reduced entitlements; I do receive a check from the Government each month, but there is a significant difference. I signed a contract with the Government that stated I would follow their every lawful order without question. In return, I gave up my right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the ability to redress for grievances and my family life for 21 years; all in exchange for a pension check. I begrudge no person that has worked for the Government, and fulfilled their contract with the Government, for receiving a pension from the Government. At the same time; if taking away my pension, my earned pension, becomes part of the plan to save our Government from default and for future generations from being slaves to this debt, I will gladly give it up; only after those that are receiving entitlement checks, that are not earned, give up theirs.

Am I being a little thin skinned with this response? Maybe. But I am willing to do what it will take to save our country and get it back on track. Each generation wants to see their children have it easier then they had it, well we can’t say that now, it will not be easier and they will not be better off then we are. I do thank the person that posed the question; it was an honest and fair question.

Steve Avery