Campaign Contribution Law Is Anti-Freedom

Picture of John Edwards,
Slimy Wife Cheating Jerk

In the news, today, is the story that the Depart of Justice dropped all charges against former Senator and Presidential candidate, John Edwards. Edwards has been the focus of a couple of years worth of scandal. Having cheated on his terminally ill wife, and having taken what might have been campaign funds to support his mistress and love child, he was judged not guilty last month of accepting illegal campaign contributions. The jury was hung on five charges.

There is no law against cheating on your mate, but there are laws that limit what you can do with campaign funds. In this case Edwards lawyers apparently sold the jury on the idea that one or more of the donors gave him money for other purposes, like, to take care of his mistress and illegitimate child.

Understand my opinion of John Edwards. I knew from the first time I heard him speak that he was a slime ball. He still is slimy, and always will be slimy.

In this one case I will side with Edwards, greasy slob that he is. I believe there should be no restrictions on political contributions. To do so is to limit freedom of speech in this country. However, I would limit those who could make those contributions to US citizens and registered voters in the political subdivision of interest in the election.

We could have a much better political system if donations to  political candidates were limited to those voters who live in the candidates geographical area of representation. If your candidate is running for Representative for the Fourth District, only people who live in that district should be allowed to contribute to the candidates running for that slot.

If a candidate runs for the US Senate, then the residence of all donors must be in that state.  The same for Presidential contributions.  The contrubutors must be US citizens and registered voters who live in the United States of America. No Chinese money in this system.

I don’t believe there should be any limit on how much people can individually donate. They should be able to donate as much as they wish with the restriction they must live in the geographical area of representation.

To monitor all this we would rely on each candidate to police their opponent. Each candidate would have to post online every donor’s identification, and how much they donated. Records of each contribution should be posted online within twenty-four hours. There would be no restrictions on how the candidates spend the money. If a candidate is caught taking out-of-area money, then they should be disqualified from running for office.

This would give us a simple system that is manageable. Right now, our system is not manageable, and candidates have to spend too much time making sure they don’t step out-of-bounds of legal restrictions where there should be almost no restrictions in the first place.

Putting restrictions on our political donations is limiting our right of free speech. Democracy takes a hit.

I know how some people feel about rich people donating to elections. It has turned out that rich people are not the problem with the system. The problem is with money aggregated from all over, and that means all over the world.

Do you agree with me?

A Saturday In June

picture of a beachSomewhere, children frolic in swimming pools and oceans under watchful parental eyes. Somewhere, people are taking the opportunity to drive around the country to see what they can see. Somewhere, people have paid cash money to enter an air-conditioned movie theater to view the latest movie of whoever about whatever.

I don’t have a swimming pool, and learned a long time ago that kids pee in swimming pools. I also do not own a beach cottage, and my kids are all grown so I don’t have to watch them lose themselves in the sun and surf. Movies? I gave up going to the movies a long time ago, unless a really great science fiction flick comes along. Nothing worthy has appeared since the first Star Wars.

So, what’s an old guy to do on a Saturday afternoon? Since I am not a golfer or a gardener, my preference is to stay home and play computer whiz and wannabe intellectual guru on the internet. I have twisted interests, but, so what? It keeps me off the streets.

Of particular interest is the Obama Re-Election Campaign. It’s not working too well when, in the middle of a severe recession with the number of jobs dropping like a rock, he says, “The private sector is in good shape.” He could be a star on a reality show if he applies himself.

On the climate front, a young wannabe climate scienctist and PhD, Joelle Gergis, published a new paper that made questionable conclusions. When asked for her data and methods, she got snarky. Apparently, Dr Gergis’ people skills are even worse than her science skills. The very same people whom she refused found egregious problems with her statistics and methodology, even without all the data. Her paper was put on hold until by the other authors of the paper! Imagine, a half-dozen PhD’s spending over $300,000 on a paper that was written so carelessly.

Unfortunately, much of climate science falls into the category of junk, just like Gergis et al, and sometimes for the same reasons. This was a PEER REVIEWED PAPER!!!  None of those PhD dummies at the American Meteorological Society who reviewed the paper caught the problem. Apparently, those so-called scientists at the American Meteorological Society can’t do weather or climate science. Why are they there?  It took an informal bunch of bloggers to call attention to the crime. A. W. Montford at Bishop Hill gives a good layman’s explanation. Steve McIntyre and colleagues at Climate Audit did the work.

Turning to things personal, this is the second week of my wife’s retirement from the public school system. Today was her first foray into the world of nutrition and grocery shopping. I helped her with a list of things needed, and kissed her for good luck before  she disappeared around the corner headed for stores unknown. Things were good. I had her doing some things to relieve me of my difficult duties.

She just returned from the store. There were no chips. There was no beer. Oh, what have I done? Where is that lawn mower? I need to work out some frustration.

Is There A Lesson In The Wisconsin Elections?

picture of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
Scott Walker, Governor of the State of Wisconsin

Depending on which newspaper you read, or which network news you watch, there are many lessons that might have been learned. I think it is simpler than that, and it doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth to explain.

Here we have a state governor who effectively stuck his finger in the eye of Big Labor by legislatively out manoeuvring state employee unions, and canceling some of their awesome political power. Therein lies the genesis of the fight. It was all about power.

When it came to crafting messages for the electorate, the argument was always economic. To the voter it was all about money, and the unions could not argue on that basis. Union employees would not be fired, and their pay would not decrease. But, here is the winner. Union members would be forced to fund part of their pensions and part of their healthcare. Every private employee in Wisconsin was already funding their own pensions, and a good bit of their healthcare if they could afford it.

Logically, why should the taxpayers of Wisconsin fund all of the state employees pensions and healthcare when they couldn’t afford to pay for their  own? In retrospect the results were obvious.

The unions did not lose any rights. They lost the power to blackmail the citizens of Wisconsin into paying more and more for state services, higher and higher union pensions, and using non-competitive healthcare providers. The power to take money from a population is not a right. The unions message could never could dominate, and the governor’s common sense message won.

I believe this election will have little effect outside of Wisconsin, but the unions are gearing up for a similar battle in Ohio. A skillful governor can use the same tactics on the unions in Ohio because I don’t believe the unions understand why they were defeated.

Being outspent seven to one is the union excuse, but that number that doesn’t stand up to inspection. The unions paid workers to go door to door, and to protest Governor Walker’s events. A good bit of the governor’s money came from small donors outside of Wisconsin.

This will be the mother of election years.

D-Day Remembrance

picture of cemetary in France with American War Dead Graves
Thousands of American Soldiers Are Buried At Normandy

Today is June 6, 2012. Sixty eight years ago , over 6,000 American soldiers became casualties at Normandy, and about 2,500 of those died. That’s a lot of soldiers, but that is not the whole story.  About 3,000 other Allied troops died that day. They were from England and Canada.

Around 19,000 French civilians were killed in the bombardments leading up to and during the Normandy invasion. The Germans lost around 80,000 soldiers. Casualties are usually lighter on the winners side, but the blood shed for the future generations of Europeans, Englishmen, Canadians, and Americans was very high. I believe we improved the future for the German people, too.

Today is a day to be remembered. It was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany, one of the most egregious and cruel regimes in modern times. Their legacy was genocide, and we can never forget.

Even today, there are entire nations and religions that deny the evils perpetuated by the Nazi’s. Islamic leaders in Iran deny the holocaust because they hate Jews. Indeed, they are dedicated to finishing the extinction of the Jewish people. How others overlook this documented goal of an entire nation is a sign of danger in itself.

Today, we are faced with some of the same choices that the German people faced. Do we move our government into a socialist entity like Nazi Germany (National Socialism), or do we strive to keep free markets and free people as our goals. Do we rob ourselves of free speech by instituting a fairness doctrine, or do we insist on our sacred rights of being able to say anything about anything?

Our choices diminish daily with the arrogance and ignorance exhibited by our leadership in Washington, DC. We need to make the choice for freedom, now, or we will learn the meaning of the words written by Frederich Hayek:

Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one’s government is not necessarily to secure freedom.

Honor freedom and make your choice for freedom while you have the chance. Maybe we will not have to fight another World War II to get it back if we pay attention, now.

A Fellow Named Hansen

Yes, I know I am not a poet, but sometimes I just have to jump in and sully the art. This piece  of work is inspired by an article at Watts Up With That.

A Fellow Named Hansen

There’s a fellow named Hansen
Whose science is quite handsome
And awards grace his pocket we’re told
It pops eyes out of socket to see that gold rocket
Of fame and science so bold

With NASA his sigil
Al Gore at the vigil
His cronies jump in for the fame
They get Mr Fenton to plan the whole lemon
“Shout down the others” the game

It’s methane and ozone
He says in the old days
That will wreck Gaia’s beautiful work
All those farting cows and belching sows
Will destroy our best efforts on earth

As the decades move on his conscience has gone
And his science has now become moot
Now it’s the coal trains and sports cars
That will kill the whole planet
And all of his grandkids to boot

That fellow named Hansen
Whose wealth is quite handsome
Because of his politics and stuff
His science is bad, his arrest very sad
It’s his time to give it all up

Diddy’s Kid Got A Big Scholarship

In the news on Yahoo is the story that Diddy‘s son, Justin Combs, has won a $54,000 scholarship to UCLA. Diddy, the richest rap artist in the world, has a net worth of about $500 million as noted in this Wikipedia article.

With all that wealth, a lot of people think that Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, does not deserve the scholarship. According to the article, some taxpayers think that the $54,000 should go to others, less fortunate than Combs. It sounds kind of logical.

However, the scholarship is for Justin Combs to play football at UCLA. For that $54,000, he is expected to do hard physical work, putting his body at risk, and to do well in his classes. This is not a slam-dunk for the kid.  I suppose that you could make the case that UCLA recruited Justin so that his daddy could donate millions of dollars to the program, but that’s a stretch.

Justin Combs played corner back at a New York prep school, and carried a 3.75 academic average while doing so. Justin Combs is the example of what the student athlete should be, and I imagine UCLA is proud to have him.

Justin Combs scholarship was awarded for his performance, not his father’s reputation or wealth. In my opinion it belongs to Justin. If the taxpayers in the State of California want to means test all college scholarships to state supported institutions, they have that right. Just don’t gripe when the athletic programs fall short of providing their millions to the universities.

What do you think?