Friday Fives – New Years Revolutions edition

New Years Revolutions

You are president for a day.  You have an opportunity to lay out some new initiatives for the country.  Knowing that you have a combative congress (which is per design by the framers) but this is your chance to right some wrongs.  Whatcha thinking?

Gimme 5 initiatives and a quick few sentences on why.   GO!

1. Using your turn signal. 

It’s mandatory for everything that involves you turning.  Even if you are just turning in to your driveway.  Always use a turn signal.  What is the downside?  NONE.  It takes no effort, no energy, and no finite environmental resources.

If you are going to cut me off, just warn me.  Yes, even if you are in the left hand turn lane, turn your signal on.  Please.  Pretty please

 2. If your windshield wipers are on, so should be your headlights.

If I could hardwire this into cars, I would.  Every time we have a big snow storm, I see white sedans driving around in blizzard conditions with no lights on.  It makes them invisible.  Here is the deal, the headlights aren’t for you to see better… it is so we can see you.  Again, this takes no effort.

3. Solar panels – solar panels would be part of housing code.

Every new built house would need to average 5% of surface area of the roof fitted with solar panels.  See, we know solar works great, but it is super expensive.  How do you bring the cost down?  Economies of scale.  Once that building code was put in place, every business on earth would get into the solar business.  You would see more innovation and better pricing.

Yes, it would add to the cost of new houses, but not much.  Plus, it would create a shit ton of jobs and industry… which America needs.  I live in Denver, one of the sunniest cities in America.  They say we get more sunny days than Florida.  Why is my entire roof not covered in Solar Panels?  I’ll tell you why, it costs $5,000.  (I checked).  You get that on every single new house built and the costs would be more like $200.  And we give a warning.  Heck, I’ll give you 10 years to get your shit together, just like we did with the CAFE (car mileage) standards.  Until Obama, they hadn’t been updated in 45 years.

4. Congress would have to negotiate.

Right now, as every American knows, Congress gets nothing done.  Each side will vote against the other guys, no matter what the initiative was.  Heck, the GOP could open a bill called ‘puppies are great’ and the Dems would fight it.  So, for issues that are within a 20% potential majority, they are forced to negotiate.  What does this mean?  Old school thunder dome approach.  The lawmakers are sequestered in a hotel conference room.  No one leaves or goes home until an agreement is reached.  This is your job, and it’s what we pay you to do.  Wanna go home?  Need to pee?  Want to shower?  Not until we hammer out an agreement.

See, for some insane reason, Americans re-elect congress no matter what.  Find me one person who doesn’t think everyone in Congress is a crook.  Everyone hates them.  The data says 91% of Americans think Congress isn’t doing a goddamn thing.  Problem is, this is super duper fixable.  Vote someone else in, right?  I mean, that is democracy.  We don’t do that at all.  Last election (2012, where Obama was re-elected) 91% of Congress was re-elected.  Does this terrify you?  It should.

Can you tell me why 8 out of every 10 Americans thinks Congress should be fired, but then 9 out of that same 10 vote the same guys back in?  My theory remains this – voters think everyone in Congress is a crook… except their guy.  That is the only way to explain it.  Now, let me make another dog training analogy, because I LOVE analogies.  Really, I do.  For some reason, it seems the bulk of my reasoning process is all analogies.  So, here goes –

 Imagine every time your dog jumps on the counter.  Imagine each time that happens, you say “bad doggie, don’t do that” and then give him a piece of bacon.  Will the dog get off the counter?  No.  But, you told him he was a bad doggie.  Yes, you did tell him that.  BUT… what the dog sees is this – each time I jump on the counter, I get bacon.  Why do you keep giving Congress bacon?  Stop bitching and vote their asses out.  I don’t care what party you are, or they are.

 5. No more bill riders for spending.

A ‘rider’ is an initiative tacked on to another bill.  It is how big business and special interest sneak shit into law.  Remember that bill above, about ‘puppies are cute’.  I am going to pass that.  Then, Monsanto tacks a rider on that says genetically modified food does not have to be labeled.  They can make your corn in a lab instead of on a farm… and not even have to tell you.  Sound nuts?  Yeah, well it already happened.  There was some bill about recognizing farmers.  Yeah, the bill is called the ‘Farmers Assurance Act’.  That sounds great, right.  I mean, we need farmers.  Just kidding, Monsanto has decided we don’t.  they have labs instead. Monsanto got something tacked on to it known as the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’.

But… you thought you were voting on puppies being great, or farmers being heroes.  See, no one reads the fine print.  Each bill looks like a phone book, and it’s all in lawyer speak.  But… here is the super insidious part.  Lets say you caught this, and so you vote against it.  You know what they say come election time?  They say “Lono of Colorado voted AGAINST Americas farmers.”   Do you want to vote for a guy who hates farmers?

This is how the Patriot Act got passed.  It wasn’t printed until night before the vote.  This was a brilliant Rovian move.  There was literally not enough time to read it before the vote was do.  Who is going to vote against a bill called ‘the Patriot Act’ a month after 9/11?  No one.  You know how everyone is all up in arms about your cell phones being tracked by the NSA?  All that shit that Snowden leaked – it’s all legal, and it was all done in the Patriot Act.

The tragedy of Sept. 11 gave the impetus for the Patriot Act. It was introduced very soon after the attacks (around a month later), and it became law on October 26, 2001. In fact, there were only 48 hours between the introduction of the final draft of the Patriot Act and its passage into law. Many critics have observed that, in reality, 48 hours was much too short a time period to allow members of Congress to fully read and really understand the thing for which they would be voting. Some critics suspect that many members of Congress supported the bill without even having read it

Here is my point.  If you want a Monsanto Protection Act – fine.  But it has to be its own bill about nothing else.  You can’t tack it onto the puppies bill, or the ‘gee, I sure appreciate farmers’ bill.  It is also where money gets sneaked in.  See, the ‘Puppies act’ set aside 2 million for puppy appreciation and awareness.  But, the Monsanto part tacked on sets aside 2 BILLION*  for their own legal defense if they get sued for making poison food.

Of course, the puppy part is hyperbole (another specialty of mine) – but the Monsanto stuff all really happened.

Here is a specific and real example – in 1996 President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act.  It was mostly good and useful and important stuff.  BUT… Clear Channel snuck in some scary verbiage.  There was a restriction on monopolies of media markets.  Meaning, the same company can’t own all the radio stations and news stations in town.  Guess what, that isn’t the law anymore.  So, Clear Channel could own the CBS, NBC, and ABC affiliate in your town.  Why bother changing channels, then?  Don’t believe me?  Look who owns the radio station you listen to.  They are ALL clear channel.  In Denver, they own

I hope you love Jack Johnson, because Clear Channel sure does… so that is all I have heard on Denver rock stations for the last ten years.  Radio sucks so bad that I busted the antenna on my truck a few years ago accidentally and never bothered to fix it.

For news outlets, there are some givens.  We know Fox is right wing, and MSNBC are lefties.  This is out in the open.  But, with the telecom act of 1996, they are just now unlocking monopoly opportunities in these markets.  It’s scary shit, and you would have NEVER known that in 1996.  They buried it in there, knowing they wouldn’t even touch it for 20 years.

Sound nuts?  it is, and it reaches far beyond radio stations. You can read more about it here, or here, or here.

They put useful stuff in there, too.  So, everyone voted for it.  For example, it used to be cable and satellite companies were not allowed to broadcast local stations.  Where I lived, there was no coverage over the air.  So, even though I was paying $120 a month, I couldn’t watch Seinfeld on TV without switching the antenna and getting those stupid rabbit ears out.  The telecom bill fixed that, and it was great for consumers.

* ok, full disclosure.  I totally made that 2 billion figure up about Monsanto.  I don’t know the real amount they gave themselves.  it’s too cloaked in legalese to ever know.

Jesus, that got a little preachy and out of hand, didn’t it?  I guess I have some issues pent up.  Just be glad Ticketbastard didn’t come up, or we would be here all day!