Gerrymandering a New Government

According to Wikipedia – the definition of Gerrymandering:

In the process of setting electoral districtsgerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander (/ˈɛriˌmændər/); however, that word can also refer to the process.

In an article by Douglas J. Amy Department of Politics at Mount Holyoke College he states;

Most Americans believe that who wins political races is decided on election day by the voters. But in a single-member district electoral system that is frequently not true. Who wins is often determined before voters even go to the polls – sometimes many years before. The outcome is decided by those who draw the district lines. If they decide to create a district that is 70 percent Republican, there is little chance the Democratic candidate will win. And Republican candidates will usually lose if a district is drawn so that it is predominantly Democratic. Voters go to the polls confident in the illusion that they control the fate of the candidates. But in reality they are often only participating in the last act of political play whose ending has already been written.

Which party wins the most seats may not determined by how many votes that party gets, but instead by how the district lines are drawn. 

In a recent article on February 15th 2014 in the DavidsonNews.net a community news website to share information and promote discussion about town news, events, and issues in the town of Davidson, N.C.

Former Congressional candidate and author Harry Taylor states ending gerrymandering is critical for democracy. “The state General Assembly can redistrict, or re-establish voting districts, after every 10-year census,” Taylor said in an interview. “The party in control can do whatever they want to do.”

Is there a solution?

Oliver DeMille and Orrin Woodward in their Bestselling Book LeaderShift provide a comprehensive plan with 28 specific, non-partisan constitutional and policy proposals

Other considerations;

Again Professor Amy weighs in;

Given the pernicious and clearly undemocratic results of gerrymandering, its elimination is obviously high on the list of those who believe in fair elections. But reform in this area has been slow in coming, and the problem continues to plague our political system. Some reformers have tried to challenge this practice in court, but they have been consistently unsuccessful. While the Supreme Court has said that redistricting plans can be challenged in federal court, they have consistently refused to overturn them. Strangely, while the Supreme Court has been eager to label as unconstitutional the practice of “racial gerrymandering” – the manipulation of district lines to increase the representation of minorities – it has been reluctant to criticize partisan gerrymandering even in its most blatant and undemocratic forms.

Obviously those in Politics (the Supreme Court is appointed by the highest of elected Politicians – President of the United States) have little interest in changing this long standing political maneuvering. Since Politicians have little interest in changing something that both parties want to use to ensure their candidates get or stay in office, perhaps a system where we live within those districts would be a solution to satisfy both parties, at least until the impact of “brutal reality” reveals itself.

Here is my simple proposal;

We have the technology to know who lives where and what their political philosophy is in order to create these districts, so why not have two separate forms of government to match their political philosophies. Since all politics for the most part boil down to a couple major issues; money and power, let those who believe in more government power and those who believe in less government each run their own system.

Let each party whose district they control, levy their taxes and provide services according to their plan of governing. In those districts that believe in a more liberal system of government where the government controls the economy and provides liberal benefits for their constituents let them do so. In those districts where the constituents prefer a more free market approach and personal accountability let them also tax and provide services to people in their districts. Other than those items of National concern such as providing for the general defense of the nation, etc., the districts would be self governing and self sustaining.

I believe what would happen in a fairly short period of time, would be that the debate over which system of governing is best, will not be necessary. The reality of each system to its constituents would reveal itself.

2014 – Let’s Consider Our Legacy…..Again

2014

In a post I did on January 2nd 2013 entitled Your Legacy I challenged us all to;

  1. Be thankful
  2. Change our input
  3. Determine our Legacy

If you haven’t been able to determine what you want that legacy to be for you, perhaps I can give you a perspective you may not have thought of, or some insight into a legacy beyond yourself. That is you know what legacy’s are really all about….what we did for others or what we did for mankind.

 In this excerpt of a recent article on the Legacy of 2013  by Oliver DeMille are some facts and thoughts on where America is headed. For you maybe this article can give you some ideas as to what you want your legacy to be.

During 2013 state governments in the United States passed over 40,000 new laws.

That’s not a typo. It’s 40,000 new laws — which means five times that many regulations when all the agencies of government write these laws into agency policies. It’s even more if you add the new federal laws.

Taken together, these signal a serious period of decline for America. We are a nation being overtaken by our biggest competitor (some would say future enemy) China, and simultaneously mired in skyrocketing levels of regulation.

Governments, federal and state, now seem determined to regulate and overregulate every facet of our lives — private and business. Many entrepreneurs, who were already reeling from reams of Obamacare regulations, are now facing more government red tape from every flank.

The free enterprise economy is literally under siege. Those who think this is exaggerated should try to open a significant new business in the United States. Most of the biggest entrepreneurs and corporations who have attempted this recently have decided to build in China or some other economy instead. The U.S. government has become generally hostile to business.

This is a strange reality for the land of the free and the home of the brave. Long considered the bastion of world freedom and economic opportunity, America is consistently less appealing to many businesses and investors.

The December 31, 2013 issue of USA Today summarized this overarching trend by saying that “aristocracy” is now “in” in America.

Aristocracy, really? That’s a bold statement. Yet it is increasingly true. The lower classes are more dependent on government, and the middle classes only survive by using debt. Only the upper class, the elites, are financially flourishing — and many of them rely on international investment that is growing in foreign economies.

Anyone relying on the U.S. economy right now is concerned. What will the escalating rollout of Obamacare bring? How many more government regulations will come in 2014, and how will this further weaken the economy?

The experts are finally taking notice of sharply rising levels of regulation, even if Washington isn’t.

For example, Francis Fukuyama called our time “The Great Unravelling” (The American Interest, Jan/Feb 2014) and Steven M. Teles called it “Kludgeocracy in America” (National Affairs, Fall 2013). We have become a Kludgeocracy indeed, with more business-killing regulation every week.

In The Discovery of Freedom, Rose Wilder Lane said that,

“Men in Government who imagine that they are controlling a planned economy must prevent economic progress—as, in the past, they have always done.”

What is her definition of a planned economy? Answer: modern France, Britain, and the United States. She quoted Henry Thomas Buckle, who wrote:

“In every quarter, and at every moment, the hand of government was felt. Duties on importation, and on exportation; bounties to raise up a losing trade, and taxes to pull down a remunerative one; this branch of industry forbidden, and that branch of industry encouraged; one article of commerce must not be grown because it was grown in the colonies, another article might be grown and bought, but not sold again, while a third article might be bought and sold, but not leave the country.

“Then, too, we find laws to regulate wages; laws to regulate prices; laws to regulate the interest of money…The ports swarmed with [government officials], whose sole business was to inspect nearly every process of domestic industry, to peer into every package, and tax every article…”

This was written about France, just before it lost its place as the world’s most powerful nation, and it was published as a warning to Britain, just before it lost it’s superpower status. This quote applies perfectly to America today.

Great nations in decline need innovation and entrepreneurialism, but instead they choose anti-innovation and anti-entrepreneurial regulation. It’s amazing how every nation repeats this well-known but addictive path of self-destruction.

As Lane Kenworthy argues in Foreign Affairs, opponents of bigger government “are fighting a losing battle.” In the near future, he says,

“More Americans will work in jobs with low pay, will lose a job more than once during their careers, and will reach retirement age with little savings.”

But this will be offset, he suggests, by more vacation days, less working hours each week, and more government programs that pay for many of these people’s needs.

Many of the experts agree — he U.S. economy isn’t going to boom anytime soon, but this will be balanced for investors by significant economic successes in Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, among other places.

All of this adds up to an America on the verge of what Paul Kennedy called the “fall of great powers”: overreach in international affairs that spends much of the nation’s prosperity, and simultaneously too much government regulation at home — shutting down a nation’s innovative/entrepreneurial class at the same time that the government taxes and spends more and more.

This same pattern brought down the top leader status of Spain, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. Before these, it brought down Athens, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. Unless the United States changes course, it is following this same blueprint for decline.

When historians look back on 2013, they may well see it as the tipping point to a rapid American downturn. Partisan conflicts, government spying on its own people, drastic government spending, constantly increasing regulation, the rapid rise of China — any of these could fuel real decline. Together they may be insurmountable.

But one thing stands out: In a nation desperately in need of innovation and entrepreneurial initiative, the government is handing out innovation-blocking regulations at a breakneck pace.

The good news in all this is that entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. Tenacity is part of their DNA. The future will be determined by this race between politicians (increasing regulations) and entrepreneurs (innovation and prosperity).

Whoever wins will lead the 21st Century.

Our future as a nation, as well as our children and grandchildren’s future depend on who wins. Perhaps the role you could play in helping to develop a stronger and freer America might be your legacy. So look at the last year and determine what you will do differently this year, then look beyond this year and determine when you get to the end of your life what you want your Legacy to be. Perhaps it will be one that changes the course of history for the benefit of all freedom loving people.

Be aware of the magnitude of YOUR significance and remember;

  1. Be Thankful – YOU are alive today to play a role
  2. Change YOUR Input – educate and develop yourself
  3. Determine YOUR Legacy – only YOU can

1913

I just read a book that challenged me. Not that it was a difficult read, but rather what I read caused me to wonder where I have been all these years. I graduated high school, went on to college, took all the required classes to graduate and never once was I exposed at least to my memory the information in this book. At least never exposed in a way that made me angry. Angry by realizing that our country has been losing the foundations that were set in place to keep it free. It helped me understand how a few changes could so jeopardize our American freedoms. The book you ask….. 1913 by Oliver DeMille, a history of a “Turning Point of Freedom” in our United States.

The Four key Turning Points that have made a huge impact on our freedom as Americans are:

  1. The Sixteenth Amendment which allowed Congress to get money directly from the people without consent of the States. Prior to this the federal government received a large portion of its tax money from the State government.
  2. The Seventeenth Amendment changed the way Senators were selected. Originally they were selected by the State and with the 17th Amendment they are now elected by popular vote. As a result Senators are much less likely to look out for the States interests over the interests of the Federal government.
  3. The establishment of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is really a privately owned business that prints money and loans it to the Federal Government.
  4. The Butler Case which gave the Supreme Court the ability to decide what its own powers are by interpreting the Constitution and putting itself  above the other branches of government.

The Four Turning Points have taken away the system originally designed by our Founding Fathers in framing the Constitution to create a system of checks and balances by a separation of powers. As a result the Federal government now has the ability to go beyond the powers as outlined in the Constitution when it comes to spending and power. It is now a National Government.

This book which I highly recommend reading will outline in much greater detail, but in an easy to read manner, to help the reader clearly understand the changes that were made in 1913 and 1936, and how those changes impact each and every American today. DeMille also lays out how we as Americans can return to the founding principles that created a fair and equitable opportunity for all.

If you care about America’s future this is a must read.

Leadership Abounds

My last couple days afforded me the opportunity to view and participate on several different levels in local leadership events; Kings College Impact Forum held at the prestigious Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre Pa and the 23rd Annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference held in Camp Hill Pa.

In had the privilege of attending the Kings College Diversity Impact Forum where students who study at Kings from around the world support each other and expand their cultural experiences and interact with local business leaders. I was able to meet several dynamic young students several of which I had the opportunity to mentor and closely interact with; Exaud Hugho, Jorge Brito and Tyler Tynes and I was impressed with how well spoken and eager they were to learn. They were obviously benefiting from their educational experience and took the additional steps of leadership to involve themselves in this unique forum. The forum was coordinated by Nathan Ward, Director of the Office of College Diversity and LIFE member.

I had an interesting discussion with Freddy Pettit Esq. an attorney for approximately 15 years who has returned to Kings as Vice President for Institutional Advancement. His enthusiasm was evident as he described how the college was founded to help families of coal miner get a college education. He explained he was the first in his family to receive a college degree and that the college helped his parents meet the financial gap need to attend. He spoke of how Kings College changed his life. He graduated, met his wife there and went on to law school and a successful career. He is back to help others change their lives.

The speaker Roger Jackson of R. Jackson & Associates an educational consultant delivered an inspired message “Bringing the Manly Back” challenging these young men to become manly men and not just be XY chromosomal males. He spoke of their responsibility to model appropriate responsible behavior, and to learn what it is to be a gentleman. His final challenge was for them to rise up and be the man our families, communities, and country needs.

As a guest of the Commonwealth Foundation I attended the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference where author and national pollster Dr.Frank Luntz provided several powerfully visual examples demonstrating “It’s not what you say it’s what people hear” from his book Words That Work. The conference featured Presidential Candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, as well as Pennsylvania Senate hopefuls each offering their vision. The conference provided a host of vendors focused on education of Americans on topics such as The Constitution, academic education, taxation, Freedom, Liberty, Patriotism, and personal responsibility. I was proud to see several TEAM LIFE exhibits also represented. The TEAM LIFE exhibits lead by Paul & Christhene Rabanal and Dave & Beth Ober / John & Deb Webster were professional and well spoken in their discussions with people interested in improving their lives in one or more of the 8F’s.

Both events emphasized the need for leadership and personal accountability and demonstrated leadership examples and needs abound. After listening to many people’s individual and group views and discussing the need for leadership today in America it is apparent there is a huge need and interest in leadership education among Americans. We need to return to trust in the backbone of Americans to follow the principle that if you give a man a fish he eats for one day (which lends itself to relying on the government) but rather to teach him to fish for a lifetime. There certainly is the need and with organizations such as these and the many LIFE growth groups that are developing there is ample opportunity for any individual willing to change their lives for the better.

I hope when the election comes and it is time to choose a leader that we can come together, not as Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, but as American’s. Not all of America will get everything they want in a candidate but we need to start moving towards a single nation not one divided by race, gender, religion, income, political party or any other divisive category. I believe if one were to follow the principles discussed in the CD by Orrin Woodward the Lens Effect which discusses the need to put those individual differences aside and to turn America back to start the journey toward less government intervention and more personal responsibility and ultimately more personal freedoms.