Category Archives: USA

Will Americans wake up in time?

When a democracy turns into a dictatorship the rules change. If the democrats realize in time what is going on, they will act decisively and stop it. “Predict the end, prevent the beginning.” But if they refuse to take in what is happening, if they bury their heads in the sand, then the dictatorship will take root. Let me give you an example. Bill Palmer runs an anti-Trump group of 150k people on Facebook which used to be pro-Hillary (and he also writes the Palmer Report). As a democracy activist I have not just one but several Facebook accounts, everybody has that in dictatorships, so I joined that group with different accounts, and one after the other was blocked. At the same time I had Bill as a friend on Facebook, so I asked him why I was blocked. When time passed without a reply I started suspecting that someone was blocking people without his knowledge, and published the warning mentioned below. After about seven weeks he replied and the exchange below took place.

My advice to all Americans who are fighting against the authoritarian regime under Trump (it is already here) is to stay united, and to engage each other in open discussions. Name calling is what the Trumpistas are doing. Blocking someone who is trying to debate is the stuff of dictatorship, and is only helping Trump. The only legitimate reason to block someone is when that person is trying to destroy the debate. What we want is the debate! Not a monopoly of ideas, but a meeting of opinions.

Not once did Bill Palmer explain what “conspiracy theories” he has talking about, nor did he ever respond to any of my posts or comments. If you want democracy, act as a democrat, that is the first lesson. Second lesson is, don’t ever trust a person who doesn’t respect the norms of democracy – such as Donald Trump.

Unfortunately I don’t see the leadership abilities in the Democratic Party that it needs. There is a lack of spine, a lack of “full speed ahead damn the torpedoes” mentality. And that is the only thing that can save America now: Courage. Lots of civil courage.

Fascism came through the Internet

Social media are the new public space of the world. We cannot allow private corporations to be the masters of what we can or cannot say online, since that is tantamount to FASCISM. Take this example: This image was deleted by Facebook without any motivation or due process, just referring to what they euphemistically call “Community Standards.” For 7 days they blocked me, removing everything I had published on Facebook, much of it warning of the risk of fascism under Trump.  Did Facebook silence me to cover their behinds from retaliation from the president elect? How can we ever know that Facebook is NOT playing nice to Trump, helping him to silence free speech? How can we know that we are not in fascism already? Simple answer: We can’t.
The image that caused Facebook to suspend my account and remove all that I had published, most of which was warning of the risk of fascism under a president Trump.

My conclusion is that every democracy needs a social media ombudsman to prevent fascism, but in the United States it may be too late already. When public space moved from the street to social media, the free speech protections did not keep up. Whoever controls the online space controls what the People knows, believes, and thinks.

Authoritarians like Putin, Maduro, and Trump don’t write laws to control the Internet corporations; they just let them know what they expect and that if they don’t preemptively do what the Leader wants, there will be “consequences.” It’s a brave new world.

Putin’s coup d’état in USA is war, treason

The head of a country, the person who represents the country, is called the Head of State. To replace the head of state by illegal means is called a coup d’état. The head of state in the United State is the President. The election of a president is not allowed to involve foreign influence, yet Russia clearly decided the outcome by waging a full scale dirty election campaign, in which the hacking of the Democratic e-mails was just the tip of the iceberg. The Russian involvement was therefore an act of war, since it illegally changed the head of state in another country.

The realization that it was an act of war is crucial, since in war it is unconstitutional to give aid and comfort to the enemy. That is defined as treason. Treason trumps the First Amendment but it only applies in war. Those in the Trump campaign and in media who have spread the Russian propaganda lies, and who have disputed U.S. intelligence in order to get Trump elected, have committed treason, a crime punishable by death.

The base of the Statue of Liberty would make a good place to execute the traitors by firing squad since it would create a powerful imagery and be seen by millions.
The base of the Statue of Liberty would make a good place to execute the traitors by firing squad since it would create a powerful imagery and be seen by millions.

While the President weighs the options for how to deal with Russia, he should start by declaring it an act of war so that justice can be made at home. Those who put a kleptocratic fascist in the presidency have to pay a heavy price for their crime. It is not the voters’ fault because they based their decision on what they heard, read, and saw, and that was largely foreign propaganda, as a result of media outlets like FOX News. More than one in that outfit should therefore be charged with treason.

Lawsuit seeks recount in Florida

A non-partisan group has filed a suit to force a recount in Florida. The brief outlines serious concerns that a nation-state adversary (read: Russia) may have hacked the election. It was filed just before the deadline that expired Friday night. If you are interested, here are some potentially suspect vote-by-mail and early voting data from Florida that you can analyze statistically, and here you can download the election results.

There are also recounts ongoing in Wisconsin (in one of the first counties they found that 5 out of 8 electronic voting machines had their seals broken, which is a no-no), in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, and lesser known, in Nevada where Clinton actually won, that recount was filed to see how reliable the vote count is and it’s a good thing because it will help us see if there is a statistical difference in pattern between where she won and where she surprisingly lost.

UPDATE: The Excel file with preliminary results provided by the Florida department of elections fails to indicate total number of votes cast or number of invalid votes in the race. There is thus no way of checking (yet; this will become available after Dec. 17) if there was a systematic elimination of votes in order to affect the outcome of the election. This is a crucial figure in any election result, and it is beyond disbelief that Florida does not publish it. It places Florida on par with or worse than your typical Banana Republic in terms of election transparency.

Too, BLM2

Too. A little word in English that can make a world of difference. Right now Americans are up in arms against each other for the lack of a “too” in a certain spot. Some say “black lives matter” and others (me included) feel that it is exclusionary towards all other races, that “all lives matter”. But when some with a larger media platform than me have responded that all lives matter, then they have been attacked by others who say that it doesn’t respect the legitimate grievances of the blacks. Let me be clear: I know that those grievances are legitimate, but it doesn’t make their slogan any less divisive. The thing is that their school system seems to have forgotten to teach them a three letter word: too. The sentence must have a “too” in the end in order not to be divisive. So here I offer the amended logo to them:

BLM2, Black Lives Matter, Too.
BLM2, Black Lives Matter, Too.

U.S. Constitutional Amendment proposal

The occupation of Wall Street, or actually a park a few blocks away, has shed light on the democratic deficiency in USA. The main reason is the corruption of the politicians. Nobody can serve two masters, says the Bible, but the Congressmen are expected to serve both the tax payers who are paying their salaries, and the donors who are paying their election campaigns. Since the latter is the larger post, no wonder they get the lion part of the politicians’ attention. The focus of reform must therefore lie on ending the institutionalized political corruption in the legislative body of the union. This requires attention to several different details at the same time, which I will address in the form of a proposed text for a constitutional amendment.

Paragraph 1. The first ten Amendments of the Constitution shall be named collectively the “Bill of Human Rights” and the word “person” shall refer to all living human beings from the moment they are born. Comment: Since the 19th Century a Supreme Court precedent has given corporations the same constitutional rights as human beings. This article is designed to undo that precedent and return the power to the people.

Paragraph 2. Congress shall make no law relating to specific cases. All laws shall be of a general and universal nature, and apply equal for all cases where the circumstances are similar. Neither a chamber of Congress, nor an individual member of Congress, shall express an opinion on a specific case, nor on the application of bills decided on by congress once they have become law. The specifics shall be formulated in regulations emitted by the administrative agency charged with implementing the law. Comment: By removing the possibility for congressmen to influence specific cases, a significant reason for bribing them is eliminated.

Paragraph 3. An administrative court system shall be established by Congress. Individuals and legal persons shall be able to turn to this administrative court system to challenge the implementation of regulations based on laws, or the implementation of regulations in actual administrative practice, including in individual cases. Decisions shall be appealable to Appellate Administrative Courts, and the highest level of appeal shall be the President’s cabinet, subject to their approval of attending the case. Comment: This will replace the practice of turning to ones member of Congress in case of trouble with the federal government, a practice that invites corruption.

Paragraph 4. Every member of Congress has a right to an up or down vote on the floor of the chamber, in the same session, on all proposals submitted before noon on the 30th calendar day since the inauguration of a regular session of Congress. Comment: This is designed to force Congress to function better than today, by removing the possibility to indefinitely stall proposals. It removes the possibility for a single member to exert undue influence, and thus it eliminates the possibility for special interests to bribe a single member to do just that.

Paragraph 5. All legislative proposals intended to become law must be reviewed for constitutionality in its final form before an up or down vote is taken on the floor of a chamber of Congress. This review shall be made by a Constitutional Board, consisting of 6 members all holding research doctorate degrees in Law, proposed by the House and approved by the Senate for 12-year staggered terms with one replacement every second year. The board can only make written statements and may only express opinions on legislative proposals as a group. The board may not express opinions on bills that have already become law, that being the exclusive privilege of the judicial branch. Comment: This is designed to both fight corruption, and improve the function of Congress, and improve the judicial situation of the country by eliminating the possibility of unconstitutional bills becoming law. Since the final draft must be reviewed, it excludes the kind of last-minute additions that are the main method by which pork is inserted into bills as payback to campaign contributors.

Paragraph 6. The President of the union shall appoint a cabinet of no less than 5 and no more than 20 members, who shall be approved by the Senate, having the right to an up or down vote within 20 days after the nomination, counting only the weekdays when the Senate is in session. All decisions shall be taken by the cabinet in quorum with at least half of the cabinet members apart from the President required at the meeting to have a quorum. The only exception is in the case of a declared war or a state of emergency, in which case the President can decide on urgent matters alone. As soon as circumstances permit, but not later than 72 hours after the decision, the decision and the justification for it and the nature of its adoption shall be communicated to the members of the cabinet who were not present when it was taken. The Vice President shall be included as a cabinet member without portfolio. In the case of an equal number of votes for and against a proposal, the President has the deciding vote. Comment: This is designed to speed up the taking office of the new administration after a presidential election, as well as to make the executive decision-making more democratic, and less prone to errors of judgment of a single person.

Paragraph 7. Members of Congress represent all the people of the United States, and they all have a right to a reasonable contact with any member of Congress who is involved in a committee that deals with the policy issue that the person wants to discuss. This right extends to interest groups formed by individuals, provided they have only individuals as members, that the group has a democratically elected leadership according to the principle one member – one vote, and that the group does not accept donations from for-profit organizations. Corporations, corporate interest groups, or lobbyists employed by corporations may not discuss policy with members of congress in closed meetings, only in meetings open for the public. Comment: This is another way to make corruption harder.

Paragraph 8. Political parties have a right to a tax-funded campaign contribution that is proportional to their result in the previous election of the same kind, i.e., for the House, for the Senate, and for the President. The result shall be counted as the nationwide percentage of the votes, not as the seats won. The size of the contribution shall be proposed by the President before each election, and given an up or down vote by the Senate within 20 session days. The Parties shall be in charge of distributing this money to their candidates’ campaigns as they see fit, but ultimately it is the Parties themselves through their chairman who is responsible for making sure the public funds are used in accordance with election law. This shall be the only financing for the general election campaign except for new parties since they are not receiving any funds. Comment: This complements the measures against corruption by providing another way to finance a campaign.

Paragraph 9. Public servants in a position to make decisions on individual cases in which a regulation based on a law is implemented, have a personal responsibility to make sure the regulation and the law are being implemented justly and fairly as the lawmaker intended. Comment: This is designed to assure that the implementation of the laws are not arbitrary, as a complement to the administrative court system, to which the civil servants may have to answer if they misbehave. It is thus designed to prevent them from being corrupted instead of the politicians.

Paragraph 10. Cabinet members in charge of [key secretaries, maybe the 5 main ones] will appear individually before the House to answer questions at least once per congressional session, but no more than once per month. Comment: The purpose is to increase the transparency in governing, and to make the elected representatives more able to follow up on how laws are implemented.

Paragraph 11. Every U.S. citizen shall be entitled to have free access to official documents, in order to encourage the free exchange of opinion and the availability of comprehensive information. The right of access to official documents may be restricted only if restriction is necessary with regard to: the security of the Union or its relations with a foreign nation or an international organization; the central fiscal, monetary or currency policy of the Union; the inspection, control or other supervisory activities of a public authority; the interests of preventing or prosecuting crime; the economic interests of the public institutions; the protection of the personal or economic circumstances of individuals; or the preservation of animal or plant species. Comment: This is to further transparency in governing. The wording is taken from the Swedish constitution where this provision has been seen as a central tenet since 1766.

That is my proposal, a draft. Note that there is not one single measure to end corruption, but a plethora of changes designed to circumvent the different practices and cheats that are being used, at the same time making it both difficult and rather meaningless to bribe a politician. I hope to receive comments, although I know it is hard to register (go to bottom, there is a tiny link; sorry for having to do that but the spam was killing the blog and I haven’t had the time to find a better solution). You can also comment on Facebook.