20 Theses for Political Reformation

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson

1.         The Left and the Right Define the Box Within We Are Trapped!
We must break out of the tyranny defined by the ideologies of left and right in our country to chart a new course for our People, communities and country for the next 250 years. We must do this whilst recognizing our leadership role in the world and reinvigorating the Jeffersonian ideals on which our country was founded.

“Experience hath (shown), that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

2.         Constitutional reform now!
Convene a constitutional convention: we must dare to re-imagine the republican foundations of our Federal and State governments and the relationship between the national and local interests of the People whilst always protecting the Bill of Rights (including the 2nd Amendment). States should follow the lead of the Federal government in re-imagining our governments from top-to-bottom.

3.         Cherish the statesman. Forsake the political animal!
Two (2) representatives from each state/commonwealth in the union shall comprise the constitutional convention membership. Governors should appoint the ‘best and the brightest’ using their conscience, not their interest. Party affiliation is irrelevant. Ideology is irrelevant. Race, sex and creed are irrelevant.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

4.         A Republic, not a Democracy!
Halve the size of our political leadership in Federal and State government: one (1) senator from each state means fifty (50) senators; one (1) representative per 150,000 People means two hundred seventeen (217) congressional representatives. Representation in State governments should be similarly downsized, where appropriate.

5.         End 365/24/7 Political Campaigns!
Extend the terms of elected representatives: four (4) year terms for representatives (four term limits); eight (8) year term for senators (two term limits); and, six (6) year term for the president/governors (two term limits). This will alleviate the need for constant campaigning/fundraising and allow our representatives to lead rather than follow.

6.         End Gerrymandering
Representative districts should be convex in shape, defined by clear geographical and physical boundaries (natural and man-made) rather than gerrymandered to incorporate specific demographic populations to give advantage to one party over another at election time. There is nothing wrong with a diverse electorate and our leaders will be better for representing multiple points of view.

 7.         Referendum Prohibition
Establish an explicit constitutional prohibition against political referendum at the Federal and State level. Popular vote referendums lead to governmental anarchy and paralysis. California has been destroyed by the democracy of referendums, and Florida and other states are foolishly following close behind on this well-traveled path to destruction.

“Democracy leads to anarchy, which is mob rule.” – Plato

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the People may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – Thomas Jefferson

8.         Prune the Overgrown Branches of Federalism!
Eliminate and/or consolidate the expansion of Executive Power. This means de-evolving ‘health and human’ services closer to the People served at the State level (education, housing, health) and the Federal government focusing on its core responsibilities to the People: war and peace, law and order, national defense and international commerce and relations.

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the People under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

9.         Half the Size of the Federal Government!
Eliminate and/or consolidate more than 1,000 Federal agencies, many of them obsolete or redundant. Merge agencies with overlapping missions, de-evolve others to the State level, and eradicate those that are obsolete or irrelevant.

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” – Thomas Jefferson

10.       Not Isolationism but Consolidate-ism!
Consolidate our forward assets/presence abroad by realigning to a core mission serving our strategic interests rather than the expansive application of military and economic power in all geographical spheres of the world. Reduce our military footprint in Europe (defend yourselves!). The Monroe Doctrine should take precedent: protecting and strengthening our sphere of influence and partnerships in the Americas.

11.       Rationalize the Disposition of Our Military
Re-deploy our military bases (at home and aboard) to better serve our strategic interests rather than to serve the political and economy interests of a specific community or politicians.

12.       Expand National Service
Require a minimum three (3) year period of service for all citizens between the ages of 18-21 in the US military, or alternatively in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps. No exceptions.

13.       Trust Bust “Too Big to Fail” Corporations
Corporations that are “too big to fail” are 21st century representations of anti-trust monopolies. These corporations should be regulated and, where necessary, broken apart in order to facilitate market competition. No private business should be eligible for a government protection ever. Innovate and compete or perish! Government protection perverts market dynamics.

14.       Reform the Market
Ban quarterly reporting of return on profits, institute annual reporting within the context of 5-10 year business plan models. Short-term, tunnel vision obsession with profit (otherwise known as greed) perverts our markets. Regulate predatory lending and usury exploitation of consumers by banks. Further reform of bankruptcy laws to protect consumers (see #16 below regarding expanding credit).

15.       State-by-State Universal Health Care
Establish a single payer, public health insurance program in each state (or regional plans amalgamating states for less populous regions of the union) and allow for cross-border competition of these public insurance plans. Adopt tort-reform to limit awards for malpractice lawsuits. Allow public-private partnerships (“pubvates”) between states and private insurance companies to meet the need for health care insurance.

16.       Reform Social Security
Instigate social security reform to allow: 1) investment by Social Security Trust in low-interest yielding government bonds to facilitate expanded investment in our infrastructure; and, 2) private accounts (maximum: 50% of personal contributions) for citizens to invest in market at their own discretion (within certain limits to avoid excessive risk-taking). Allow personal contributions above minimums prescribed by law. Increased availability of monies in the market will provide a safety net for credit markets without perverting market dynamics. Increase the retirement age to more accurate reflect average lifespans in today’s world.

17.       Decriminalize Human Vice
Constitutionally decriminalize, regulate and tax human vices such as gambling, narcotics and prostitution. Instead of spending billions of dollars to fight human nature in mock ‘wars’, allow individual choice on vice and generate billions to regulate and monitor such vices. Reserve the power to regulate, monitor and collect taxes for the states (a Federal top-off of the tax rate should be allowed). Lower the minimum drinking age to 18 years old (if you can vote, you can drink).

18.       Cherish Innocent Life!
Adopt constitutional ban on abortion except for cases of protecting the life of the mother. Instigate adoption reform so it takes a maximum of twelve (12) month to adopt a child in this country. Allow single parent and homosexual partners to adopt abandoned children. Adopt more stringent guidelines for the application of the death penalty. The death penalty should be reserved for the “monsters of our nightmares”.

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

19.       Constitutional Reserve of Powers
Further clarify the application of Federal power between the three co-equal branches of governments: legislative branch legislates; executive branch implements; and, judicial interprets. Limit some expansions of executive power (presidential decrees), limit legislative usurping of executive powers, and retard legislative branch forfeiting of power to the judicial branch.

20.       Reform Libel Laws
Freedom of speech must be maintained but injured parties must have recourse to seek relief from the legal system for perversion of the truth, especially by those in the media. Freedom of speech is irrelevant when the truth has been destroyed.

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the People… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally posted on the Metro Jacksonville online magazine discussion forum on January 20, 2010. It generated 0 comments, arguments, or discussion. I can only assume it was because either: 1) it was thought to be basic common sense; 2) so radical as to not warrant additional comment; or, 3) everyone just wants to argue and no one is really interested in solutions. I’m not sure. You decide. Mark David Major

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Violators Will Be Executed

The entry warning sign at Queen’s Harbor in Jacksonville, Florida reads, “No walking, bikes or motorcycles.”

So let me get this straight. I paid in excess of seven figures for my McMansion in the gated community of Queen’s Harbor – located in Jacksonville, Florida off Atlantic Boulevard and the Intracoastal Waterway – and I’m not even allowed to walk or ride my hog to the house, much less have a barbecue on football Saturday (only joking about the last part but make sure the gates don’t hit your SUV’s ass on the way into your suburban prison). How exactly do they enforce these rules? Certainly, the labyrinthine layout and lack of sidewalks deters anyone from ever walking in this suburban nightmare. But what would they actually do if anyone dared to break the social taboo (and HOA docs) and violate these rules? Ostracization? Excommunication? Banishment? Or would the punishment be more severe; like being forced to mow everyone’s over-sized lawns for a month?

From Number Six

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The American Pyramids

IMG_0031Driving down I-95 along the Atlantic Coast to CNU 20 in West Palm Beach last month, there was nothing so jarring as coming upon these landfill mountains in the flat Floridian landscape. It’s one thing to come across these artificial hills of filth in the river bluffs along the Mississippi River or other Midwestern rivers, where the hilly topography affords some aesthetic opportunity for these behemoths to blend into the natural landscape (putting aside the issues of any potential environmental impact arising from a mountain of buried garbage). It’s another thing to find them in a landscape no more than a few feet above sea level. These are the American Pyramids, a testament to our culture of mass consumption. The Egyptians built their pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and monuments to the gods. In America, we build our pyramids as tombs for our refuse; monuments to what we consume and mostly defecate.

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Waiting for Gravity to Pile On

IMG_0048If ever there was an appropriate metaphor for today’s American society, then this is it. Instead of taking action to cut down the perilously hanging tree limb in this grocery store parking lot, someone thought a more effective measure would be to place shopping carts in a circle around the probable landing zone with cautionary tape wrapped about the carts and wait for gravity to do all the work. This is how we solve problems in today’s America. We wait for gravity to pile on instead of taking action to solve the problem. It’s an insane world!

From Concrete Blonde

 

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Amendment 4 Commercial Script

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is the final script for an online political ad in support of Florida Hometown Democracy (Amendment 4) during the November 2010 elections. I have no idea if the ad was ever finished or aired.

Amendment 4 Commercial Script
by Mark David Major, AICP

Hello! My name is Mark David Major. I’m a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and I’ve lived – and worked – in Florida for nearly a decade now. Over the last decade, as Senior Planner for Nassau County, a planner for one of the largest home builders in the state, and a small business owner, I have worked on both sides of the table on growth and development issues in Florida; ALWAYS based on the principle my primary ethical obligation is to the public good, and to speak clearly and honestly about growth issues to the public, my employers, and my clients.

I want to talk to you today about why I’m supporting Amendment 4, or “Florida Hometown Democracy”, and why I’m urging you to vote YES on Amendment this November 2nd. During my time in Florida, it has become abundantly clear to me how we manage growth and development in our state simply does not work. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Even those who opposed Amendment 4, openly admit it does not work. And you don’t have to take their word for it either.

Over the past 2 years, Floridians from all walks of life have experienced first-hand the catastrophic effects of our real estate market being Ground Zero for a Global Recession that has led to 1 out of every 5 Americans being out of work. Banks have foreclosed on homes at a rate not seen in this country since the Great Depression. There are record numbers of people filing for bankruptcy. The scale of personal debt defies description and the scale of government debt is beyond comprehension. The decline in the value of our homes has been massive. And it has all been a direct result of the way we’ve planned, grown, developed and built our communities, neighborhoods, and homes over the last 30 years. It is not an accident the areas of Florida hardest hit by home devaluation during this Great Recession has been those characterized by unsustainable, energy-inefficient, suburban sprawl neighborhoods. That’s because when the housing bubble burst, the bill for reckless growth finally came due.

So what’s the solution? Amendment 4 proposes to give voters a voice in how their neighborhoods, towns, and communities grow and develop. But even more importantly, approval of Amendment 4 will cause businesses and developers to make smarter decisions about what land they buy and develop long before the public becomes ever involved, leading to better and smarter projects. Instead of being driven but what is the cheapest land to develop, developers will have to decide what is the best land to develop. This will lead to smarter growth in Florida.

Now the opponents of Amendment 4 have a clear political strategy to try to defeat this ballot measure: to confuse the issue and try to scare you. They are saying approval of Amendment 4 will cause Florida to lose jobs but we’ve already lost tens of thousands of jobs. They are saying approval of Amendment 4 will cost Florida’s economy billions of dollars but our economy has already lost billions of the dollars. They say approval of Amendment 4 hand power over to special interest lawyers but our dysfunctional system is already dominated by special interest lawyers lobbying on behalf of landowners and developers. They say approval of Amendment 4 will mean higher property taxes but that’s only because our homes have lost so much of their value due to their reckless development practices.  The opponents of Amendment 4 want cheap land because they are poised, even eager, to make the same mistakes all over again because they know how to exploit cheap land and leave you the bill for the next time the bubble bursts. It’s ironic, on one hand, the opponents of Amendment 4 are trying to confuse you into believing approval of Amendment will not really change anything and, on the other hand, they are trying to scare you into believing the solution to our current problems is more of the same. Do you really want more of the same?

Americans built this country by being explorers and pioneers; by dreaming of a better tomorrow and then daring to make it a reality. I urge you to do the same by voting YES on Amendment 4 this November 2nd and daring to dream today of a better Florida, a smarter Florida for you and your family tomorrow.

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