Picture 2

Picture 2

Sep 26, 2016

Congress Should Have to Vote On All Federal Regulations

The idea that the EPA can declare war on coal without Congressional involvement is ridiculous.  The idea that the FCC can regulate the internet like it's a copper wire telephone company, using a law passed in 1934 that does not apply to the internet, is absurd.  The whole idea that Congress can and should delegate its legislative power to unchecked federal regulatory agencies has proved to be utter folly.  But even worse, the president is delegating his power to sign legislation into law to these regulatory agencies.  A two step process to making legislation into law has been delegated to an agency without checks or balances and made into a one step process.  It needs to be changed.

The Constitution should be amended to end the legislative power of regulatory agencies.  Congress should have to vote to approve or reject every regulation. There could be a “fast track” procedure for regulations, that is an up or down vote with no amendments and no filibusters.  There should also be a provision in the Constitutional amendment that any member of Congress can call for a roll call vote on a package of regulations after they have been formally presented to Congress and been waiting 120 days.  Once the privileged motion is made, the vote has to be taken immediately.

The Constitution originally said all legislation had to come from Congress and be signed  by the president.  Veto overrides and pocket vetoes were specified. There is no reason to delegate legislative power to any other agencies with other procedures.  Congress and the president should be responsible for all laws and regulations.

Sep 21, 2016

Why We Need A Constitutional Convention

We need a Constitutional Convention because the powers of executive orders, regulatory agencies and courts ruling based on what they want the law to be are no longer being held in check by Congress or by the states.  Everyone complains that Congress does nothing, but it seems to me that most things are getting done around Congress.  The rule of law is supposed to be predictable, but the flow of court rulings and regulations during Mr. Obama's two terms have been completely unpredictable.  The law and the Constitution mean whatever the executive branch thinks is convenient at the moment.   Legislative processes have been short circuited because they are slow and messy.  The interstate commerce clause has been stretched past the breaking point.

The Constitution as originally designed had processes that were supposed to balance power so that no one branch could dominate the others.  It was also designed so that the states were a check on a limited federal government.  The balance is gone.

The fact that who is president makes such a big difference in how the Constitution works should tell you that the Constitution is broken.  A self-funding regulatory agency that has executive, legislative and judicial functions is an unchecked tyranny waiting to happen. There is no separation of powers, no power of the purse and no consent of the governed in such an entity.  There should be no way such a structure is Constitutional.  The fact that the Obama Administration created several tells you all how much the Administration respects the Constitution.

The structure of the federal government today has only one person that's accountable for anything and everything, the president.  The Supreme Court and the appellate courts vote on party lines, but nobody can remove them, so they aren't accountable.  Regulatory agencies can ignore the law, but Congress can't stop them, and under the Chevron doctrine the courts defer to their expertise.  We've gone from republic to elected dictator.

Sep 18, 2016

Building Height Restrictions Create Traffic Jams in Silicon Valley

Palo Alto, California, doesn't want new jobs, because the traffic is too bad.  But removing zoning restrictions on building height could fix traffic.  The classic solution to car traffic congestion is elevators.  High rise office buildings allow people to walk to where they work from their high rise apartments and condos.  High Rise buildings also can provide more affordable housing.  High density downtowns also encourage park and ride solutions.  People can walk to work from the train or bus station.  Pedestrian traffic density is far higher than any vehicle density can ever be.  

California's traffic problems and urban sprawl are largely the result of height restrictions imposed on buildings.  If you are worried about earthquakes, impose engineering standards on the high rise buildings to make them earthquake resistant.  But you have to make a choice.  You can't have both less car traffic and height restrictions.  You have to choose one or the other.

Eminent domain is not needed to clear land for tall buildings.  Just changing the zoning will slowly force the turnover in land ownership because the property values and taxes will rise to the point that selling and moving becomes to attractive for a few property owners.  After some development, the holdouts will decide that they don't like high rises as neighbors, so they will take the money and run. The train stop in Palo Alto is already in place.  With property values as high as they are right now, the money should be available for water, power and sewer infrastructure.  The only impediments will be NIMBY protests and related endless environmental suits to stop infrastructure improvements. 

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Birthers Had It Backwards

Birthers had it backwards.  I think Obama was born in Hawaii.  However, I think the reason he won't release his college transcripts is because Obama probably claimed to be Kenyan in order to have an easier time getting admitted.  Further, in the bio he supplied to his publisher in 1991, he claimed to have been born in Kenya.  (See the link below.)  So like Elizabeth Warren, with her claim to American Indian minority status, I think Obama claimed to be Kenyan when he was not in order to game the system.  Now Obama and friends want his lie to go away. 

Clinton cynically used the lie to raise doubts about Obama's basic qualification to be president.  Now, the origin of birther madness is inconvenient so the Pravda Press transferred it to Trump.   Trump put it back where it belongs, on Clinton. 

Obama book jacket

Sep 17, 2016

America Was Built on Cultural Appropriation

America was built on cultural appropriation.  How did we get Canadian bacon, French (actually Belgian) fries, pizza, Tex-Mex, bolo ties (Argentina), big cowboy belt buckles (Scotland), hot dogs (Germany), baklava (Greece), sushi (Japan) and Chinese take out?  It was all cultural appropriation.  Immigrants brought good stuff with them.  Americans sampled the stuff and appropriated what they liked.  These things became part of American culture to the point that most Americans don't even know where stuff came from.  The famed Kentucky rifle of the late 18th and early 19th century was a cultural appropriation from Germany.  Cultural appropriation was so accepted that at one point Chinese chiefs were in the same immigration classification as rocket scientists.  (Some Congressman must have REALLY liked Chinese take out.)  

The effort of leftist fanatics to divide and conquer through preventing cultural appropriation is historically absurd. What made America a great country was that Americans were open to cultural appropriation. We didn't insist that only things invented here were worth looking at.  Only truly xenophobic bigots refuse to culturally appropriate.

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