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The Watering Hole - Conversations on 21st. Century religion.

Running for the Presidency

A break from reality: What you need to know to vote


 
Abstract

Following the trend of other Old Testament religious figures, and ancient kings, the smart thing seemed to be to go for political office. The motivation is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but most of the substance is right on target, and neither Republican nor Democratic.


The independent conservative... er, Republican

Recently I had a physical illness that prevented me from doing my recent normal activities (movie production). It was so distracting that I couldn't even think. So, I decided that while I'm in this state, I would do something that requires less brain power, so cease being an Independent for a while, and save the Republican Party from extinction. I'm a conservative, but not a radical like most of today's conservatives. Nor a conservative wanna' be, like many of those masquerading as conservatives to get elected. I'm an Eisenhower conservative.

Currently to put together a voting block that will get them elected, candidates have to pander to the "ultra-conservatives," the Hispanics who vote in overwhelming numbers, the Tea Party radicals, and tell a lot of lies about where they truly stand to appease these groups. I won't lie to you. I believe that the people are smarter than the group they elected, as indicated by the current Congressional approval rating in the single digits.

The divisions in Congress reflect the divisions in the electorate, but it's also a case of the small groups who have been pandered to, controlling the vote by holding the power of promises made and reelection votes. Never has political power been nested in the hands of so few. I won't tolerate it. No single interest group, and no special interest group can be allowed to run the country.

Well, the fun part: I perused the other Republican candidates to see if my candidacy was viable. Each one had already told why the others are hopelessly unqualified to be President. None have said anything against me - they don't know anything about me. So here I am, the most qualified of all the candidates to be President. How can you beat logic like that?

Every President has to have a campaign "slogan" that makes it very easy for people to know why to vote for him. It's like a sound bite. Eisenhowers was "I like Ike." He was a favorite son - won the war. I was thinking about, "I can't do any worse than any of the others." But it's a bit long. Well, anything will do - they're basically meaningless. I particularly like one response: "I'm with stupid =>" and make sure you're opponent is on the left side of you.

Now the serious part: My campaign platform, Plank 1, Promoting Business: Eisenhower, early in his Army career, was responsible for seeing how quickly you could move troops across the US, over log roads, one lane brick roads, mud roads... and of course then he saw the German Autobahn up close. When he became President, he put in place the Interstate highway system. It was a tremendous benefit to business, and Republicans are all about benefitting business. Of course the Interstate was single-handedly responsible for wiping out every small town that the Interstate went by, and changed much of our rural economy to regional or State economies. Progress almost always takes some sacrifice. Republicans are always about progress... that benefits business.

Plank 2, Energy Policy: It's well known that a country's ability to access and use energy is directly related to the country's economic success. We have to bring down our energy costs. So, we're going to mine more coal with the caveat that every dollar invested in mining and burning the stuff requires a 20% investment in recovery of CO2. We're going to install solar collectors in all desert areas and use cryogenic ceramic transmission lines to send the collected energy all over the nation.

While some may laugh at solar power, the reality is that solar energy has increased in output by 40% every year for the last several years, while dropping in price, and coal generated power continues to get more expensive. The politicians have mistakenly been voting solar power down for years because they get such large contributions from coal and petroleum companies. We're going to change that. Less expensive power for everyone. Billions have gone into electric power development, and electric cars have established a beach-head that will make them standard in a few years. Dependence on foreign oil has decreased considerably, and will continue to decrease.

Charging stations might help promote business, but they are a mixed bag. Hybrid cars have the range, but electric does not have the range, and few people want to stop alongside the Interstate for hours at a time while their cars recharge. Super capacitors may help with additional energy storage. Perhaps a tax break for hotels who install charging stations would help promote electric vehicle usage. This is an area where small business entrepreneurs could excell.

Plank 3, Religion and politics: Every candidate must court the vote of each of the Christian fanatical far right, with pledges to support legislation on their favorite issues, like replacing the Constitution and Law with the Ten Commandments (similar to Islamic Shariah Law - quick action for crime - get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, lose your hand). I won't pander to the far right, or any other religious group. However, for Rev. Terry Jones, whose congregation pickets veterans funerals, and for Al Quaida and the Taliban, I adopted the following from religious teachings, and I offer to place three Commandments as Ammendments to the US Constitution:

  • Thou shalt not teach hate.
  • Thou shalt not lack compassion.
  • Thou shalt demonstrate tolerance.
  • Thou shalt demonstrate love above all things.

Next: Plank 4, Jobs.

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Plank 4: Jobs

Plank 4: Jobs. The well-being of the people in the US is the single most important task facing the President. Sometimes that means promoting business. Sometimes that means preventing business from running roughshod over people and destroying their lives. Roughshod means the nails stick out of the horses shoe. Metaphorically it means that jobs are destroyed without being replaced, it means the environment is harmed, it means that wealth, medical care, and other services, are moved out of reach. The economy is a balancing act in which both business and people must thrive for the economy to work well, not a full-throttle, favor one or the other approach. Economists know this, but politicians prefer to stick with mantras that are well established poison.

Do business people make the best "job creators?" I was a regional manager in a Fortune 10 company (that's one of the biggest companies in the world), and also a manager in a small business and in a startup, and of course my own business since 2001. Never once did I hear the directive to "create jobs." Always it was "do more with less." Business is in business to make money, not create jobs. What business execs in large companies do is merge companies and get rid of staff and duplicate jobs. For the last decade, the merger crazy decade, this is primarily what they have done. That's why job creation has not kept pace with population growth for this decade. That's what Mitt Romney's experience is. Vote for me, a startup and small business creator, not the job killer Mitt Romney.

In the US, 80% of business is small business. These smaller businesses create most of the new jobs, while large businesses continue on their merger binge. It is small business that especially needs promoted by the government. Yet to date Republicans have focused on tax incentives for the wealthy and large business. Most small businesses will tell you that creation of jobs has nothing to do with taxes. Taxes are not a disenctive for creating jobs. Tax breaks are not an incentive for creating jobs. Go back to rule 1: Business creates job when consumer spending demands an increase in output that can't be handled any other way.

Next: Plank 5: Foreign Policy.

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Plank 5: Foreign Policy

Plank 5: Foreign Policy: There are those who would like us to avoid foreign policy and anything to do with foreign countries. There are others who want us to make military strikes the moment something in a foreign country doesn't suit us.

Eisenhower was a master at foreign policy. As Commander of US forces, he talked extensively with foreign leaders both before the war and during. He knew their intimate secrets and he knew from experience how to work with them. As President, he ended the isolationism characteristic of US foreign policy, and with a great deal of respect from foreign countries, he made the US the centerpiece of Democracy, Capitalism, and peace in the world.

But we can't continue to be the world's policeman - it is very expensive to intervene in foreign problems, and there really isn't much reason for it. Except for Sadam Hussein, other countries have not attacked other countries since WWII. Most problems are internal. But some warrant some type of intervention.

Henry Kissinger, the most excellent diplomat we have ever had (a Republican), laid out a strategy for other countries to work regionally to resolve disputes. The US should be the example, and not force its way into every situation. Politics are local. Politics are regional. Politics rarely influence the world stage. I strongly support Kissinger's approach. The US also has made military special ops contacts and training with nearly every country, so that when there are internal threats, such as terrorism, these can be identified and eliminated without a very expensive and intractible internal war starting. I strongly support this as a clear alternative to major military intervention, such as going on in Afghanistan.

So to the nutcases calling for US involvement in every dispute in every nation - elect me, there's a much better approach.

Next: Plank 6: Government Size and Spending.

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Plank 6: Government Size and Spending

What size should government be, and how much should it spend? The only true conservative in the race - is me. There are some who want to squeeze government down like a plumb, to prune size. Well, it's good to squeeze out the excess occassionally, but prunes can also give you diarrhea instead of good health.

Here's one fact: there isn't enough money to spend us out of a recession. On the other hand, you can't ever, ever, ever save your way to prosperity, you have to increase revenue to get there. Cutting and saving can only go so deep before becoming destructive and also paralyze future growth and revenue. That's where we are today.

What has government done for us? Is there a legitimate role for government? Without the government, there would be no Internet.* Not even a hint of an Internet. Government developed the thing that drives more democratic change and freedom in the world than anything else in history. Business would never, never, never have done it. The most business would have done is allow people to dial into something like a bulletin board, or a library to see the books that could be had. Business would totally sell all access to information for a very high price, but most in business would have prevented all access because it would have limited book and CD sales, and given people too much information.

*From Richard A Clark, who served Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes.

If business had its way, we would all be driving cars that still got 8 MPG. Scratch that. We would be driving SUVs that got 4 MPG. We wouldn't be able to afford to drive. If business had its way, thousands of tons of particulates would be going out of smoke stacks and vehicle exhausts into cities, causing widespread death, making healthy people choke, poisoning rivers, lakes, and streams, and changing the environment. The North Atlantic, which was fished out of Cod, would be permanently unusable for fish due to the destruction of fish beds. Business can't "afford" to do what is right for the world, it can only afford to do what is right for business. And the new Internet? It has been a major economic boon for business. But without government standing in the way, the Internet would have so many business interests tapping into it selling cash cow bandwidth that either it would be very expensive to use or only the wealthy could use it. The government makes business find solutions, and then applies them equally to everyone.

The question has never been small government or large government. The question has always been, what is the right size for effective government. You have to decide what is worth spending on, and then fund it so that it works well. We've seen the opposite. For the past twenty years, government underfunded the financial watchdogs, and basically had them back off, allowing financial institutions to have their way with the world. They took our money and came up with larger and larger schemes to gamble with it. Eventually they gambled with the world, and almost caused the entire world economy to fail. For those in charge in government, it was, "Save the financial institutions and the people," or "Let the financial institutions fail and let the people go down." We saw similar watchdog underfunding in a myriad of other agencies that didn't catch things that harmed real people. We simply can't afford to let this planned negligence continue.

Government has the larger role in strategically funding things that will help the world get out of recession. It's great that construction workers found work through the gov., but those are short term jobs. They help. Business currently won't invest. Business knows that consumers aren't spending, so business won't invest in product or expansion. Yes, it's that simple. All of those investment dollars that went into them are just sitting there. There is some loosening up of spending, but it's a very tight market. What gov. can do is understand strategically what will get the economy going again, and invest in those things.

While those other sort-of-conservatives (mostly extremists with their heads screwed on crooked) are out pandering to the Latinos, the Christian extremists, the Tea Partiers, and all those other groups, trying to tell enough lies to make a coalition out of them, switch your vote to me. Can I order Secret Service protection tomorrow?

Next: Plank 7: Minorities.

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Plank 7: Minorities

I will not court the Latino (Hispanic) or any other voting group. As President, I will be President of all the people, and not beholding to any particular voting block that put me in office. The fact is, Latinos vote about the same as other US citizens. They are not distinct, but their numbers are the fastest growing population demographic, and the largest growing voting group. By 2050, the US population will have quit growing, and whites will make up just 46% of the US population, with Latinos making up the next largest sector of the population. This will likely be a boon for the Catholic Church, which will probably be the only mainstream church to grow instead of continuing to shrink, in the US.

One difficult question is, "What to do about illegal immigration?" The fact is, because of the recession and lack of work, there has been a reversal of the flow of immigrants out of the US and back to Mexico. Hispanics are themselves divided on this issue. Many were here before the rest of us were, or earned entry the traditional way (waited a long time, or bribed an official in a foreign country, who only act if they are bribed).

We are in a very difficult place for manufacturing. Most US citizens disdain the "manufacturing image," of sweating your way to a living through manual labor. But in reality, most labor tasks in manufacturing have been replaced by computers and machines. The real problem now facing manufacturing is being able to find competent workers who can work with CNC programming and machines. There are plenty of unfilled jobs. The idea that illegal immigrants are taking our jobs is nonsense. We need to change the image and promote schools that teach these new manufacturing skills. If not, we will become a nation of enemployed, unemployable, and import everything we use from China, while becoming a third world country ourselves.

We should not be splitting up families. Those who have family attachments (parent/child/spouse) should stay here. The remainder should be separated into those who need temporary work visas, or simply want to immigrate. Those who want to immigrate should be put in line with the rest, and processed when their number comes up. Most of those wanting to immigrate, except hardship cases, should be returned to thier country of origin, without legal prejudice.

Next: Plank 8, Foreign trade Foreign trade and the importance of being conservative.

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Plank 8, Foreign trade and the importance of being conservative

We live in a rapidly changing world. Technology is changing everything from how we live, how we work, to how we obtain our knowledge and entertain ourselves. And it is doing this at a pace that is highly accellerated (exponentially) from history. Everything around us is changing. Church attendance is into 60 years of steady decline, and young adults have no stomach for irrelevant religious dogma. They leave the church on graduation and never come back. (This is a tale strongly told by research.)

Our population demographics have changed to high percentages of Hispanics - and most people don't seem to mind that unless they are working next to a Spanish only speaking person or illegal immigrant. Our manufacturing cities in the North have become the Rust Belt as jobs have either migrated to the warmer southern climate or left our shores for foreign destinations. People in rural areas can't find adequate jobs - they have to go to nearby cities, which means that rural areas and former rural centers continue in over 70 years of decline.

Medicine has quickly changed in the last 50 years from a compassionate system to a money hungry for-profit system. Rapid medical advances have driven change and consumers have demanded more service. The result is that medical prices have increased at double-digit rates every year for over 20 years. To cope, insurance companies have dropped people, refused claims, and increasing insurance rates have driven those with business funded policies right off the roles. Medical insurance is not available to 40 million Americans - those are working class people who have to throw themselves on the mercy of the hospitals every time they cut their finger, or as many of them do, do without life saving medical service and prescriptions. If they get care, we all pay for their care through County taxes. Letting people suffer because we can't get control of medical spending is unconscionable. We have to get control of medical spending or everyone will be off the insurance roles and nobody will be able to afford medical care.

Once upon a time there was such a thing as job security and career growth. Companies have no loyalty anymore, shifting jobs here and there to get better production rates, and closing companies that don't "make enough" money, or often the company just acts as a "jobber" and closes when the current order for goods expires. Jobs and careers are difficult to find. Many young adults see their future as bleak and education as useless - they drop out of high school to the tune of over 6 million a year across the nation in cities and rural areas alike. (This is actually an improvement from the 1980s.) This is happening at a time when it takes higher education to get a job. You can work at McDonalds all your life, and never be able to afford an apartment, a TV, a marriage, or anything else. Today's good paying jobs require a minimum of a high school diploma and most often advanced training after high school.

Everyone complains continually about education, and the US lags behind other industrialized nations in math scores. The simple fact has been for over 30 years that you can give students self-paced computer studies and drop out rates are reduced by 20% and students learn better (featured TV news story recently in Shelbyville, IN). Bureaucracy fights change. All around us either change is happening quickly, or people and bureaucracies are fighting change - whether it is good or not.

During an age of constant change, where it seems like the earth is constantly shifting beneath your feet, people desperately need anchors to keep them grounded. That's a lot of what conservatism is about. It isn't just about saving money and keeping the government out of your back pocket and your affairs. It's about slowing change to the point that you can make sense of life and can count on things staying like they are for a while. It's necessary. It's vital.

Foreign trade is one example where a go slow approach would be much better. It's bad enough that companies send work overseas, but the government? There should be a clear course of action established for both corporations and government if they are going to make a move that eliminates jobs. They need to carefully consider how quickly they do this and what they can do to mitigate the damage to both the new country and the old. Many types of jobs kill off all local competition in foreign countries when they land on those shores. It's like Walmart landed - a large company with the power to stifle everything. But most importantly for us, our jobs are often eliminated by foreign trade deals, even if we do create some jobs by increasing exports. If a sector is going to be impacted, it needs to be mitigated with new industry and training first.

As a conservative, you have to know when to hold your cards, and when to play your cards. The cut, cut, cut politics which are popular at the moment, has thrown millions of people out of work both here and in Europe. Sure we saved money. Penny wise and pound foolish. Those same people who lost their jobs, school teachers, government employees, factory workers dependent on government orders, are all part of the people who order products from industry and keep our jobs going. Industry needed to be stimulated. As soon as the recession showed signs of fading, industry needed to get increases in consumer spending to bring the economy back. But Congressmen are standing in line to say, "cut, cut, cut," which is a popular mantra that means about as much as "I like Ike." Ike was very likeable, but saying it doesn't put butter on the table.

So our climb out of the recession is faltering, and maybe we will make it. There are some problems. Orders for goods from European quarters have been cut by EU nations, to save them money, which is strongly impacting our recession. Europe, which followed our lead, or arguably we followed it slash and burn budgeting, has never had as strong an economy as the US (Germany would be closest), and EU nations are backfiring and sputtering and a strong backlash to extreme cuts is growing. Guess what. Today the UK announced that it was back in recession, and blamed it on the harsh cuts in spending. If other European nations follow England into recession, we will also be pulled into that black hole.

You can't run around screaming, "Cut, cut, cut," like it's the only words you know and all the world's wisdom is contained in that one mantra. You have to know when to play your cards to save the nation and the world. The time has come to stop cutting and put people back to work. Easy illustration. You have a hole and a pile of dirt. The hole equals 10, which is the same as costs or budget. The pile equals eleven, which equals revenue. Revenue drops to eight. Now you don't have enough revenue to fill the hole. So you're going to do what, save yourself to prosperity by stealing from revenue and filling in the hole by... two? Four? How much? Nothing works. Filling the hole can't work if revenue lags spending. You have to increase revenue, even if it takes a small increase in spending, not by raising taxes, but by raising personal incomes. It's the only thing that works.

What I will do as President is understand what being a Conservative really means, work to increase jobs and personal revenue, and act to bring a more conservative approach to government and industry activity. I can dance conservative rings around the moderate Mitt Romney and any of the faded glories that almost ran. They are "Neo-conservatives," not true conservatives. They wouldn't know a true conservative if held up a sign. Vote for me, and tell that new Secret Service agent to quit watching me pee through his binoculars. Yeah, I was peeing through his binoculars... sorry, you're not supposed to have that kind of fun unless you go to Colombia. No disrespect intended, all in good fun.

Next: Plank 9, The war on drugs.

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