28 August 2012
Good ideas behind many local initiatives that result in bond issues reveal no useful (to voters) details of the costs associated with those good ideas.
What if TARP of other federal stimulus funding could focus on reducing the debt service costs that consume local municipal or district budgets? Rather than spend so much on debt service, General Funds could maintain funding for municipal services than they can at this point. But, none of this information is available on line, to the extent that I can find. So, I will have to telephone local Controllers or Treasurers for such information. I wonder how difficult this will be.
I'll report back on this.
My Parents' Advice Was Right, at least about Politicians
I doubt that American political campaigns have changed much since the lead up to the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Despite having killed Hamilton in an illegal duel in New Jersey (while Vice President in Jefferson's first term), despite having been labelled a traitor by Thomas Jefferson (after 1805 during his second term), my reading of the Wikipedia narrative of Burr's life could easily correspond to an amalgam of today's politicians in office or seeking office. I think I'll read Gore Vidal's fictionalized biography Burr for more information about this outsider among our Founding Fathers.
According to Wikipedia, Aaron Burr's character and actions that so alienated him from Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, and others among the electoral elite resulted in two major clarifications of the Constitution of 1787. First, the trial for treason brought by Jefferson against Burr established the independence of the Supreme Court and the federal court system under the leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall.
Second, the initial electoral process for President and Vice President was for the second highest electoral vote recipient to become Vice President. Had that process been in place in 2000, the election result would have been a Gore/Bush or a Bush/Gore administration. Instead, the 12th Amendment requires separate elections for President and Vice President. The evolution of the electoral process into the party-based system whereby one votes for both offices from a single political party must be a tedious if enlightening read. I'm not up to it. When the electoral college reports its results to Congress, the House of Representatives approves the person having the greatest number of electoral votes as President and the Senate approves the person having the greatest number of electoral votes as Vice President. Thus, the 12th Amendment's requirements are performed by Congress and, because the political party system of a combined slate for both President and Vice President automatically links together the electoral college's votes, both offices will be filled by persons from the same political party. [Source: http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/organic/1787-usc.htm]Unless one lived in a major city and read newspapers that were reasonably current, I cannot imagine that most of the outlying communities, farmers, pioneers, rural settlers knew any of these things in time to affect the politics of the day. Once the distribution of newspapers expanded in the 19th Century, they became the source for the public's knowledge. Yet, the opportunities for "transparency" of candidates to voters were few. Until Daniel Shorr exposed the Pentagon Papers, the broadcasting of the War in Viet Nam on the nightly television news, and the Washington Post published the Watergate tactics of Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President (aptly, CREEP), mainstream press participated in the obfuscation of real politik in US politics. For the most part, the American public continued to ignore or block out the shenanigans of the House, the Senate and the Executive Departments. Unfortunately, with the consolidation of news media, most of us choose to read or watch those sources with whom we agree. If we don't, we just feed the coffers of Big Pharma.
The elections since 2000 have changed mostly due to the technological advances that enable individuals to see what really goes on in their elected governments from local to federal.
I do not have much faith that the next party convention of Democrats will be less propagandized than has been the Republican convention so far. Voters have to choose between politicians whose campaigns disrespect factual data, put different spins on verifiable information, on past actions, votes or political stances.
Tonight's speech by Arthur Davis, whose biography emphasizes Mr. Davis' former allegiance to and support of Barack Obama's candidacy as a Democrat, who was an elected Representative as a Democrat, and who since has disavowed President Obama's proposals and programs and, as a result, switched to the Republican Party, was appalling in his characterization of the past four years of the Obama Presidency. No mention of the Republican leadership's stated goal of ensuring a one-term Presidency for Obama, no mention of the united front of House Republicans as "the Party of 'No'" since 2008. Listening to Davis' speech evoked extreme emotions of anger, true wonder and shame on his behalf for his mendacious words. Just another flip flopper on display--symbolic of today's RNC.
Mrs. Romney came off as a nice, dignified person who, despite her social position, has dealt with fears and incurable disease too common in our world. At least she had limitless resources, including a devoted husband, to help her in those dark times. Imagine working two jobs, a single parent, trying to deal with those challenges and somehow Mrs. Romney's difficulties do not make her husband more human. I learned nothing about her husband, the candidate. In an earlier interview, Mrs Romney revealed how she did not like prepared speeches, preferring to speak extemporaneously and that she was trying to get used to the teleprompters. It would appear that neither the RNC nor her husband the candidate, trusted her enough to speak extemporaneously. The orchestrated "No" calls in unison from the assembled delegates showed little spontaneity in her audience. I hope she makes him pay for that lack of backing her judgment.
Governor Christi offered no new ideas to chew on. I find it ironic that the New Jersey boss wants the President to go back to Chicago [in other words, the East Coast is mine; your territory is Chicago.] And Anthony thought he's killed off Big Pussy.
Liars always lie, don't they?