Ways to improve the US Government (the titular "other" of the forum)

magilum
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Ways to improve the US Government (the titular "other" of the forum)

I'm interested in ideas, and especially associated movements, to improve conditions in the US under the current form of government. Please refrain from idea hinging on the collapse of the current system.
Here are some ideas I'm looking to support:* Campaign finance reform. (Limiting the influence of private campaign donors by regulating the campaign process.)* Elections system reform. (Moving away from proprietary software, to OSS; emphasis on audit trails.)* Universal healthcare (Not the elimination of private health plans, but illness shouldn't bankrupt US citizens.)* Funding OK'd for embryonic stem cell research (The opposition is preying on ignorance and emotions to stop a promising source of potential treatments for terrible diseases.)
What are some other things that should be done, and how do we do them?


Jacob Cordingley
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Get a new constitution.

Get a new constitution.


Jarem Asyder
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I think we have a pretty

I think we have a pretty good constitution as it is really, its just the politics that are screwed up.

Here's what I'd suggest for fixing it though.

Campaign finance reform: Seriously, simply capping the amount lobbies can give and making everything public would help a lot. Not letting special interest groups with lots of money run washington would help keep politicians honest. 

Term Limits: Career politicians suck suck suck. No one should be able to be in washington for so long. I'd give everyone some kind of cap on how much time they can devote to being an elected official (maybe 16 years or something like that, would allow for 2 vp terms and 2 presidential terms, or 8 house terms, etc.) and I would have appointed positions go towards this limit. I would still allow justices to serve for life, with the afore mentioned term limits, I think people would be a lot more likely to pick more center of the line justices and politicians.

Automatic Voter Registration: Seriously, they automate everything else now adays, how hard is it to let a completely non partisan group run the voting system? Have everyone be automatically registered at age 18 and a safe reliable electronic voting system with two or three paper trails that can be verified by different groups so that everyone knows everyone else is playing fair. The electoral system is kinda useless in my opinion with such a system, so I'd scrap it.

Civic Service: Everyone, male or female, would be required to join selective service and serve 6 months to 2 years in some kind of civic duty, it wouldn't have to be the military, it could be peace corp, volunteer fire dept. etc. Get people involved in the country nad give em some kind of work ethic

 


magilum
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Jarem: With the exception of

Jarem: With the exception of the mandatory civic service, I wholeheartedly agree with all those suggestions. Now, how do we get these things to happen? Better yet, who can we throw our efforts behind so as not to reinvent the wheel?


Jarem Asyder
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I know joe biden has

I know joe biden has specifically stated he supports campaign finance reform, whether he'll get hte dem nomination is questionable but hes one who has certainly stated thats one of the major problems with the white house.

I really think it requires a big netroots push, it sorta fell flat on its face with dean but I think obama could do it better.

I think alot of it requires people to actually get out and vote. So many people I run into bitch about the current government but aren't even registered. Its kinda like how atheists can feel alone and seperate individuals when there are in fact a lot of us.  We have to really research and investigate who supports the people and not special interests. 

I really don't want hillary to win, I feel like it would just more of the same. I think there needs to be more outsiders to washington to change it.  


D-cubed
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In order to promote the

In order to promote the rise of third parties a system could be set up nationwide that will take a person's top two or three choices.  The first is worth five votes, the second three and the third one.  As a result someone who tends to vote for the majority party because they don't want to major opposing party to win yet still supports someone from the Green or Libertarian party won't be forced to vote the lesser of two evils.  So a vote could be given to say Mitt Romney for five but also to the Constitution party for three.

It would give the voters more choices and promote the popularity of ideas in third parties and hopefully advanced the variety of representation that we see in European parliments.

I'd see this as also weakening corporate grip on the parties.  The candidates will be competiting with lesser funded candidates who have the chance of getting votes just because of the available slots on the ballot.  Democrats would have to try to compete with the Green party rather than just taking the liberal votes for granted while sucking up to the unpopular corporate interests.  The larger parties would also feel more free to break apart.  There could be a pro-choice Republican party and a pro-life Republican party and so on.

The second thing I'd like (the first will probably never happen in my lifetime) is to destroy the concept of corporations as people.  For some reason the conservative Supreme Court granted civil rights to corporations under the 14th Amendment which granted personhood to freed slaves.  As a result corporations can donate to candidates and whatever.  Strange though that two corporations can merge but gays can't get married.

Thirdly, abolish the WTO, NAFTA and IMF.  Bring back tariffs so people are taxed more on consumption rather than labor.  Raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.  Up the limit on the withholding of social security taxes.  We must pay off our huge national debt so we aren't wasting $400 billion a year on interest payments.  Not surprising is that when taxes are raised government spending actually decreases (since we're paying the bills and not putting it on credit to be paid by someone else).  So with higher taxes people will look to cut government waste like they did when they cut a program that develops military planes that do nothing but crash.

Fourth, although I have a long list.  Develop an Apollo program for energy security.  We import 60% of our oil supply which puts us on our knees pleasing theocratic sheiks.  Investing in efficiency, alternative energy, recycling, etc. will keep money in America rather than flowing to some asshat in a robe that fucks underage slave girls and sends money to people to crash planes in our buildings.  The reduction in pollution will also help to lower our healthcare bills thereby lowering the cost of universal medical care.

 Fifth, develop a tax that taxes church money made through stocks, bonds, etc.  Churches can deduct expenses related to real social programs like soup kitchens (but not passing out bibles to prisoners) in order to encourage charity and discourage massive megachurches.

So much more.... 


Jarem Asyder
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I'd throw in on the tax

I'd throw in on the tax thing, extra sales tax of things such as alcohol, tobacco, fast food, or anything of the sort that is unhealthy for you to help pay for a universal health care system. We really dont need more income taxes, we just need ot rearrange where all that tax money is going and make it so the richest 1% actually pay what they owe.

I like the civil service idea because I believe it would promote better work ethics and proactivity in groups that are not very proactive and apathetic about government.  


magilum
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Let's take an example we all

Let's take an example we all seem to agree on: campaign finance reform. Are there any popular movements in progress, that you're aware of, to make this happen? Barring some fluke, all of the politicians we elect will have a conflict of interest in this regard, so it has to come from a grass roots level.


D-cubed
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The Supreme Court tends to

The Supreme Court tends to declare campaign finance laws unconstitutional since they say bribing politicians is a form of speech.  Naturally it's the conservative judges who tend to think so since it's the conservatives who benefit most from rich donors and corporations (who the Supreme Court ruled are people and can donate to politicians).  So the best strategy is to elect liberals to office and wait for the judges to die off so progressive judges can be appointed.  In any way we'll benefit once the three theocrats are removed from the bench.


Jarem Asyder
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I know Matt Blunt, the

I know Matt Blunt, the repub govenor in my state Missouri tried to pass a campaign law (dubbed no millionaire left behind of all things) that would have basically let him and all his buddies in office keep all of their campaign earnings and what not, but it got overturned and last I knew was pending for the missouri supreme court.

I'll look around for the actual bill later today after my classes.  


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Some really good ideas

Some really good ideas here.

I agree about canceling NAFTA. I lost my last job because of it. I also think we need to become energy independent by developing alternative fuel sources here to get off the Saudi tit.

We also need to stop selling our highways to foreign countries and take care of our own infrastructure. Use our tax dollars here rather than using it on nation building.

Gee, didn't George W. Bush promise that back in 2000? 

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