Yes, Lets End Ballot Control :)

California has passed law making it a requirement for primary candidates for governor or president of the USA must show their tax returns to the public to get on the state’s ballot.  If you’re aware of the law it is highly likely you fit into one of three camps 

  1. You think this is the end of democracy as we know it and it should be thrown out 
  2. You think this is a great idea and will force president Trump to finally publish his returns
  3. You think this is a worthless exercise and we have better things to do

Ok I might have missed some nuance here 🙂

But as madman i find the arguments and furor pretty fun.  To be clear i’m very ambivalent at best about the law itself.  I think it is incredibly unreasonable for the public not to see how candidates make money as a very basic way to make corruption transparent.  But at the same time my hackles go up when ballot controls are used as a tool…

The basic argument against the law is that it is unconstitutional because states cannot put addition requirements for candidates beyond what the constitution specifies.  It also states the law itself was politically motivated attack on Trump.  

The latter, in my opinion is true.  If you don’t think this is an attack or rebuke of president Trump’s lack of providing tax returns well, share what you’re smoking…  But just because it is a rebuke / attack is really meaningless in determining if it is good and valid law.  Plenty of good laws have been created because someone did something that needed rebuking or attacking.  In fact it is likely the start of most good, and bad laws…

The first part of the argument is a hoot.  The courts have held in the past that states can’t restrict access based on things outside the candidate’s control.  But things in their control such as obtaining signatures, filling fees, party registration and being selected by a party have all been allowed…

So the argument is really saying states can only use the constitution as a guide even for things clearly in the control of the candidates…  

If that’s true then all states should have ballots for both primaries and general election that include anyone who requests that can show they are a natural born US citizen that is 35 years or older and has resided at least 14 years in the US.  This might make for a pretty unwieldy ballot, but i like it!  Of course it would remove parties from the ballot equation…

A Madman has spoken….  🙂 

Enough! : Do Something For America

Enough!  As Americans we have had enough of inaction and partisan stupidity it is simply time to act.  When it comes to gun violence in America today we clearly have a problem and there are no easy solutions!  But not doing anything is stupid and using it as a political football is morally bankrupt. We can do something real.

Mitch, Donald and Nancy, no more excuses and finger pointing, the three of you need to sit in a room and come out and pass legislation all three of you support. And it must do something about the problem.  There has been enough talk that some of the points are clear.  For example we already know extending background checks is needed, a boost in mental health care.  Other provisions should be considered, in action has already cost lives.

And as we have seen we need to point out where speech can have consequences, we need direct talk and hold out examples where it goes too far.  Like inaction words can kill.

When you walk out with that legislation and message to America it better not have any stupid other topics in it.  It has to be clear you worked together on this issue and not some idiotic political trade.  You all need to support the other party and do something right by Americans!!!

An American has Spoken….

Border Emergency! Yes its real.

There is an incredible emergency at our border!  Our border patrol  is being overwhelmed by desperate families are crossing over the border to find us officials to turn themselves in.  While they are hoping to be accepted as refugees, most will not be…

Most are coming from Central America, so they had to first cross the southern border of Mexico, then travel and additional couple thousand miles.  I know this is shocking but these refugees aren’t likely aware of or considering the specifics of our immigration policies.  They simply see the dangers of travel and the uncertainly of migrating as being the best choice for their children.  

So yes we need to do something about this, but rather than spending billions on the border perhaps pending millions working with Mexico and Canada to create refugee centers in southern Mexico would be a more effective way to handle the emergency…

These centers would be allow refugees to find out if they qualify for status in the US and/or Canada before spending their resources traveling across Mexico.  And the centers would be a place for other NGOs to find refugees possibly giving them more options.  This would reduce the border crossings and yield a better result for the refugees.   Oh and it would mean we wouldn’t have to spend as much, or rather i should say borrow a much money…  But hey our kids and grandkids can pay those bills!  

A Madman has spoken….

Breakdown US Senate Integrity : Vote your conscious not your party!

It is amazing how out of touch our Senators are right now.  They have a relatively simple job, they have to look at and review what they know of Brett Kavanaugh and decide if they think he should be a supreme court justice.  This is a political appointment so of course the two parties are playing politics.  But at the end of the day they need to each individually decide if this person is the right person to be on the court.  It is not about handing on party or the other a loss or victory…

I of course have opinions, I’m a political madman its what I do…

I reviewed the transcripts of the testimony and caught some on the radio, some on you tube.  And I have to admit my American heart was crushed by listening to a sitting American Federal Judge lie under oath to Senators.  And over the stupidest crap, just to avoid “embarrassment” of being a crass and drunken high school kid.  And he did it to color and avoid the obvious problem that given teenage antics with alcohol he probably cannot account for all his actions.  So he lied to avoid consequences.  It reminds me of when Bill Clinton was being interviewed many years ago…  

Yeah when you’re in a hearing, under oath you get asked hard questions, but you have a responsibility to answer those question with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth just like the easy questions.  In the end Clinton was impeached for this type of BS.  And I know I’m tired of this attitude that some people are above the truth and wondering if any senators can stop playing politics long enough to call I out.

So they have to decide not on guilt or innocence but whether they can say yeah I want this guy representing every Americans rights and protection the integrity of our courts.

A Madman has spoken…

The Importance of the Right of Free Association : Defending ourselves from the Shithead Hypothesis

Meet the ShitheadsOK here is the soon to be tremendously famous Shithead Hypothesis or The Simple Shithead Hypothesis for short:

“There are 3 groups of people in life 

      1. The largest are those we don’t know, then 

      2. The people we like, and finally 

      3. The people we’ve decided are shitheads.”  

You might come up with “friendlier” terms but in the end it’s really the same groupings….

The hypothesis came to mind when a very good friend asked me what could I do to make our current political system work better.  You’re probably wondering the same thing I was at the time what the hell does my thought have to do with the question?  Well, having “Madman” in my title you should expect some less than direct thinking.

The Shithead Hypothesis quickly turns into a problem when we get lazy and bucket people we don’t know as shitheads just because they are associated with a given group.  I mean what could go wrong assuming all people in a group are shitheads?  Don’t get me wrong there are some groups who truly support horrific ideas, e.g. hurting people, killing people, .…  But I’m talking about political parties here, not Boko Haram, the Aryan Brotherhood or NAMBLA.  And yeah parties are not in the same league! I mean don’t be a shithead…

Yet rhetoric, noise and money is aimed behind these artificial teams called political parties specially to make us think the “other side” is just a seeming pile of shitheads.  The sad things these teams are simply groups of Americans that would like to make life better but they see different problems and approaches.  Yeah that person you don’t know and can’t stand because of what “team” they’re on is trying to make your life better. But, since they’re shitheads we don’t listen to them at all.  In fact it is very effective to get an idea dismissed simply by associating it with the “shitheads”…

Ok great I see how this is a problem…  But Madman what is a step toward a solution?  Funny you should ask that (ok in my head you asked).  One of the main reasons this crazy rhetoric and division works is we divide people into political parties.  That is as far as our auspicious government is concerned you can only officially register with one party.  This forces people to choose a team (or not play at all).  However as Americans we all have the right to freely associate any and all groups we want at least those groups that will have us. And if we joined multiple parties we’re likely to understand they’re just groups of Americans rather than the worst shitheads ever.

So the solution? We need to sue states that do not allow us to register in multiple parties.  This won’t end political parties, just make us all more motivated o listen to each other a little bit more. Parties are of course allowed to reject people if they want to, but states simply need to respect our right to participate in any and as many parties as we want!

A Madman has spoken….

The Great Wall of America : Afraid of Everything Except Wasting Money

Indebting America’s children for a “fantastic” landmark

I think walls are pretty cool, the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall are very interesting accomplishments.  Both are great historic landmarks and were very expensive ways attempts to protect against military invasions.  Given visions of invading immigrants and drug smugglers sneaking across the desert I can understand the appeal of the the refrain we all know:

Build The Wall!
Build The Wall!
Build The Wall!

But those walls of the past were built to protect against MILITARY invasion, and they were built well before airplanes.  The reality is we want commerce to happen, in fact our capitalist system thrives on it. This means smuggling happens through the air sea or roads where it is far easier to move quantities of merchandise and people.  Adding walls simply won’t have much of an effect.  So that refrain really is:

Waste That Money!
Waste That Money!
Waste That Money!

But wait that somehow seems incomplete…  Oh yeah! I forgot given that we’ve gone from about $700 Billion in 2017 to about $1 Trillion in 2018 WITHOUT spending on the wall.  So the full refrain is:

Waste That Money!
Waste That Money!
Waste That Money!

And Who is Going to Pay for It?



A Madman has spoken…. well actually two…

Destroying America One Lie at a Time : Why we should value truth

Politcal fighting is never the answer

I love a good competition, sometimes even a shouting match but the amount of lies that permeate the remains of political discourse is just disgusting.  America stands for freedom and democracy, we control our destiny.  I am proud of that to my core.

But that also depends on all of us being informed.  As we vote it is hard enough to understand different points of views and arguments to cast that vote. As an American I feel a responsibility to do my best each time a vote comes up.  To make it my choice not to be led by some sticking talking point even if I like the person its coming from.

But the pure amount of lies being generated everyday now tears the heart out of me.  Those political leaders that lie to the US public are the most despicable un-American, un-patriotic politicians. They are simply avoiding or trying to change the truth to be more successful.  Even if they thin it forwards and agenda best for us it destroys our ability as Americans to make that choice.  I am sorry if they don’t have the balls to tell us the truth.  If they feel so week that lying is necessary it is simply wrong in a democracy.

As Americans we can tell lies are happening based on the disagreement over basic facts.  I’m not trying to tell you  how to believe.  But we must expect and hold our leaders responsible for then the truth.  If we catch them in lies or don’t believe them we simply must vote them out.  We can make up our minds who are the liars and who trusts us with the truth.

In this case political boundaries don’t matter.  Our American democracy thrives under truth and falters under lies.  So there are two sides the the American side and the lias’ side, lets Throw the Liars Out!!

A Madman has spoken….

The Evidence is in: All Hail America’s Twithead and Chief : Too scared to call a terrorist a terrorist?

Well President Trump like you I wait for all the evidence to be in, and well now it is.  You are without a doubt America’s Twithead and Chief.  It should have been obvious given your twitter addiction.

But the real proof is when you somehow blamed “both sides” when a shithead white supremacist drove a car into people walking and carrying signs. He killed three Americans and injured several more.  And yes he clearly fell threatened but not by clubs but rather simply that these people believed in a free and equal America for all races.  Clearly he was scared by Americans with a different point of view.

By the way it’s a pretty big clue when David Duke thanks you and strokes your ego.  Maybe you and he should get a room.  Perhaps then he can explain the history of these groups terrorizing your fellow Americans.

We should also call it like it is, driving a car into people to stop them from protesting is terrorism.  So as a reminder in addition to being our twitched and chief you are also president and should protect all Americans from terrorism,  Just so you know this includes protecting black and brown Americans from shithead  white terrorists.  Perhaps you can get your balls back from David Duke and actually do something about this.

A Madman has spoken….

The newest Senate Healthcare plan is “WTFcare”! : Alternative "improvements" arrive!

I have to admit some Republican Senators are swinging pretty large sack to release the latest round of “healthcare” legislation.  They don’t hide their complete disregard for the average working American one bit, and It’s not clear what they think is an “improvement”.

Case in point the plan will reduce Medicaid and cut Planned Parenthood two ways currently many expecting mothers get prenatal care.  With the cuts proposed many won’t be able to afford these services.  These are not guaranteed services, they are paid for out of healthcare. So yes this proposed “healthcare” legislation will literally put the health of babies at risk, well at least those of people who can’t afford it.  Those of use lucky enough to make more well we are just fine, “Thanks Mitch!”.

We do need to improve healthcare, by this improve means more effectiveness / better outcomes, reduced costs, and covering more Americans.  But instead the current plan does nothing to reduce the cost of healthcare that is hurting some many Americans and simply cuts support for far too many working Americans. It’s amazing how much worse their legislation is  than the current system.

The newest legislation being discussed in not only immoral it is also stupid.

A Madman has Spoken….

The Truth!? We don’t value the TRUTH!! : But maybe we could try….

Avoid the Lies and clicking on RruthDo we value truth?  Do you know why  fake newsies so persistent?…   Because it quite literally pays.  News items that get clicked on the most end up getting revenue.  And the more attention the more it drives those clicks.  Fake news is simply created to capture those clicks. Different stories crafted with words, memes, images and people that cry out to click me!! And truth doesn’t drive clicks…

Though it seems like an art form there is also a lot of science behind it.  For example marketing research companies study subject lines that will cause email to more likely be read.  Studying the click behavior of many different populations.  All aimed at finding the most effective communication to reach your audience.  Unfortunately Fake News uses this science making falsehoods payoff but not caring about truth.  Can data science make truth more valuable?

I’m not sure we can get there today but it is conceivable, and here’s how.

  1. Build a “Truth Grader” that reads ahead “news articles” that appear in your browser
  2. Then the grader breaks the article into opinion vs fact, capturing the fact / opinion ratio
  3. Next the grader tests the facts against trusted sources and determines an overall fact score
  4. Finally the Truth Grader puts a code based on the strength of facts with rill over details for the reader

Technically we’re actually not as far off as it may sound.  Step 1 and 4 are relatively straight forward, Step 3 maybe possible with a Watson like interface. Though determining “trusted sources” would likely be an area of much “discussion”.  It’s step 2 that would currently be the only real blocker.  And of course this gets harder with video and pictures

Of course the real question is would knowing that some juicy sounding story was probably fake stop us from clicking on it…  I am hopeful we’d teach the web we do value truth.  But at least we’d have a way to find out.

A Madman has Spoken….