Who Should Vote?

It is president’s day and I thought I would look at the idea of voting…..most of us know that voting has been a point of contention since the very beginning…..first only free white guys could vote and then it was only white guys and 3/5s for the Afro-Americans…..women were still left out of the process and then slowly the light came on and women were eventually granted the right to vote in 1920……that left one group that were left out of the process, the Native Americans and after much to do they were granted the right in 1924…now the stage was set for a fair and equitable vote, right?  Not so much the Afro-Americans and Native Americans were still bound by state law that could prevent them from voting a various assorted ways……and then came the Civil Rights Act and finally it was a more equitable process.  (A very simplistic history of the voting rights……if further data is wanted then put your Google finger to work)…….

Everything progressed rather smoothly until there was allegations of rampant voter fraud (a made up issue, btw) and this gave rise to many state laws that could be used to limit the vote…all in the name of stamping out voter fraud……to this day I still do not have a good reason that limited polling stations or hours or early registration will control voter fraud (I guess I will just have to accept their doings….not really)……

Then of course there was the SCOTUS ruling that gave billionaires unlimited access to the election process,  Citizens United……in essence they could buy candidates and elections (not something the Founders would have wanted)…….while I was doing a little research on this matter I ran across a piece written by Jason Easley in Politicususa……

These are the thoughts of venture capitalist Tom Perkins…….

Perkins is terrified that rich may have to pay more taxes, “The fear is wealth tax, higher taxes, higher death taxes — just more taxes until there is no more 1%. And that that will creep down to the 5% and then the 10%.”

The idea that millionaires should get one million votes is already something that is being put into practice by wealthy conservatives. Citizens United has given wealthy billionaires the opportunity to buy votes through anonymous super PACs, but the plan has met with mixed results. Super PACs have been very effective at the state, and in some cases, local level. They have also been effective in congressional districts. However, they have had poor results in Senate races, and were an absolute failure during the 2012 presidential election.

Perkins’ comments echo the mentality that the American people are up against. Super rich Republican supporters think that they are entitled to more democracy than the rest of us. They believe that democracy is a commodity that they can buy. The right wing billionaires really do believe the job creator stuff.

They think their money makes them better people than the rest of us. Their hatred of President Obama, and the “unwashed masses” who have elected him twice is real. The Koch brothers, Perkins, and others consider themselves to be at war for the country.

Tom Perkins laid it all on the table. The super rich right thinks that government should be theirs, and they are doing everything in their power to steal democracy away from we the people.

I do not understand all the concern for the loss of democracy (imagined or actual) and then in the same breath look for ways to keep people from voting (for whatever imaged reason)……

If you want a strong republic should not the answer be a stronger move to get more people involved in the voting process?

Any retort?

Checks And Balances

College of Political Knowledge

Subject:  American Government

This could be a humorous post on the aftermath of the Christmas season, but sense I have NO sense of humor that I am aware of….it probably is not what this post is about.

A new year and time to examine the government as we know it…..it is obvious that it is not working as well as the founders intended (or is it?)………

In the beginning of this country our forefathers brought forth a unique idea, well to them it was unique, that we should have three (3) branches of government because this would keep any one branch from becoming more powerful than the others and they called it the American “checks and balances”.

But what does this mean?  By creating three branches of government, the delegates built a “check and balance” system into the Constitution. This system was built so that no one branch of our government could become too powerful.

Each branch is restrained by the other two in several ways. For example, the president may veto a law passed by Congress. Congress can override that veto with a vote of two-thirds of both houses. Another example is that the Supreme Court may check Congress by declaring a law unconstitutional. The power is balanced by the fact that members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president. Those appointments have to be approved by Congress.

The process goes thusly……..

The system of checks and balances is an important part of the Constitution. With checks and balances, each of the three branches of government can limit the powers of the others. This way, no one branch becomes too powerful. Each branch “checks” the power of the other branches to make sure that the power is balanced between them. How does this system of checks and balances work?

The process of how laws are made (see the following page) is a good example of checks and balances in action. First, the legislative branch introduces and votes on a bill. The bill then goes to the executive branch, where the President decides whether he thinks the bill is good for the country. If so, he signs the bill, and it becomes a law.

If the President does not believe the bill is good for the country, he does not sign it. This is called a veto. But the legislative branch gets another chance. With enough votes, the legislative branch can override the executive branch’s veto, and the bill becomes a law.

Once a law is in place, the people of the country can test it through the court system, which is under the control of the judicial branch. If someone believes a law is unfair, a lawsuit can be filed. Lawyers then make arguments for and against the case, and a judge decides which side has presented the most convincing arguments. The side that loses can choose to appeal to a higher court, and may eventually reach the highest court of all, the Supreme Court.

If the legislative branch does not agree with the way in which the judicial branch has interpreted the law, they can introduce a new piece of legislation, and the process starts all over again.

Now that you have a grip on exactly what the term means…let’s move on to the meat of the subject……

If you stop and think about the subject there is a case to be made that it is time to dump the idea and start fresh…….why on earth would I make such an assertion?

Easy….look at DC today….it is solidly cemented into place by gridlock….each branch is busy covering their own butts for any worthwhile legislation to move forward……and Peter Aldhous agrees with me in a recent article……

– The political gridlock in DC can’t seem to get much worse, and public opinion polls about Congress can’t get much lower. At Medium, Peter Aldhous runs through the usual explanations—partisan media outlets, campaign donations run amok, gerrymandering, to name a few—but he thinks those fed up with the gridlock must ask a more fundamental question regarding the Founding Fathers: That would be “whether a band of eighteenth-century revolutionaries who had just thrown off the yoke of colonialism really have the answers we need for effective government today.” In short, we should think about whether the age of “checks and balances” has run its course, argues Aldhous. He acknowledges it’s a “radical” idea, but allowing the majority party to have its way, at least temporarily, might be the only real solution. That might mean scrapping midterm elections, for example, which often result in a House dedicated solely to undermining the president’s agenda. “Yes, what I’m proposing would mean accepting that sometimes we have to give those whose views we oppose a few years to put their ideas into practice,” he writes. But we’d still be in a democracy, meaning voters can still “vote the bums out” as needed. Click for his full column.

I think no matter which side of the spectrum you decide to reside you can still see the necessity for progress….and at the same time you can see that gridlock is preventing anything worthwhile from getting accomplished……so I ask…..is is time to dump the concept of ‘checks and balances’?  Or should we proceed as usual and hope for the best?

You will not be graded on your answers…….whatcha think?

Who Was Our 1st President?

College of Political Knowledge

Subject:  American History

Today is 17 February or the federal holiday known as President’s Day…….it was once called Washington’s birthday…actually Washington’s birthday is the 22nd…… but since another president had a birthday the same month the government decided it was to be called President’s Day in 1971………

We are all familiar with this question from our civics and/or American History classes, right?  And we all answered with the popular answer…….George Washington.  Remember?  But how accurate is that standard answer?

To answer the question….not very accurate, at all.

Let’s dash back in history for a moment…..the year is 1776 and the Continental Congress has jjusr given Jefferson (a bone of contention with me) the task of writing the Declaration of Independence….when the task was completed and the document agreed to….we became the United States of America and at this time our ruling body was the Continental Congress and president of the Congress was John Hancock and as head of the Congress he became the 1st president of the US by default…..

Now the war with mother England rages on….and on….and in 1781 the colonies came up with a document for the governing of the new nation and it was called the Articles of Confederation………..and by now Hancock had stepped down as president of the Congress and Huntington assumed the leadership in 1779.  Once again as president of the Congress at the time of the signing of the Articles of Confederation this made him, by default, the president of the US…..where he remained until he had to resign because of ill health…in 1781……..that is president #2.

With the retirement of Huntington one John  Hanson became the president of the Congress in 1781…..but only after several others had been elected to the position but refused to serve for whatever reason they could think of at the time.  This making him the 3rd president of the United States of America.

And now we come to the rest of the story…..It is true the George Washington, the hero of so many battles, was our first president….our first ELECTED president…..and the first person to work at the job 24/7 365 days………..let us teach truth and accuracy not popular myth……

If you would like more info…..

” Who was truly the 1st President of the United States “