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Time  is  Running  Out . . . .   


FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS):

(press  Ctrl - F  to search this page)

(01) What is an incumbent ?
(02) What is anti-incumbent ?
(03) Why are incumbents almost always re-elected ?
(04) Why should voters always vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents ? 
(05) What about the good politicians ?
(06) What if some politicians still refuse to pass many badly needed, common-sense, no-brainer, constructive reforms ?
(07) What if there is no challenging candidate ?
(08) What if the challenging candidate is not a member of my party ?
(09) Why won't incumbents initiate reforms ? 
(10) What makes it so difficult to decide which party or politician to support ?
(11) What makes some politicians' brains seem to turn to jelly after they are elected ?
(12) Does history have to repeat itself over-and-over ?
(13) If there are no government reforms soon, what will be the short and long term outcome ?
(14) What is the real fundamental problem with government ?
(15) What can be done to peacefully force a restoration of power between government and the people ?
(16) Are things getting better, and what does the future hold ?
(17) What can be done to discourage corruption within the government ?
(18) Can a pure democracy exist ?
(19) Are political parties the problem ?
(20) What if the voters won't do it ?
(21) Do we theoretically have the ability to reform government ?
(22) What is the solution to peacefully force government to be transparent, accountable, and responsible too?
(23) Is government even necessary ?
(24) So, we vote out all irresponsible incumbents.  Then what ?
(25) How can enough voters make a difference ?
(26) When does it end.  When is it OK to vote for incumbents ?
(27) Is there really any difference between the Democrats and Republicans ?

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FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS):

(press  Ctrl - F  to search this page)


(01)   QUESTION:   What is an incumbent ?
 
back   ANSWER:    An incumbent is a person who currently holds an office (e.g. Senator, President, etc.).

(02)   QUESTION:   What is anti-incumbent
 
back   ANSWER:    An anti-incumbent vote is against the current office holder, and for a candidate that currently does not hold that office.

The history of anti-incumbent voting in the United States demonstrates that Americans, periodically, become dissatisfied, and choose to vote out larger-than-usual percentages of incumbents (as in 1950-1952, 1976-1980, and 1992-1994).  The reason, perhaps, may be that voters hope that newcomers will do a better job.  Unfortunately, it is only temporarily effective (if at all) if voters only do it once, if incumbents (who resist reforms) always outnumber newcomers, and voters fail to provide sufficient incentives to incumbents to pass reforms, and adequately address the nation's most important goals and pressing problems.

(03)   QUESTION:   Why are incumbents almost always re-elected ?     
 
back   ANSWER:    Because voters keep re-electing them. Congress enjoys 85%-to-99% re-election rates.
  

Even when voters finally vote out incumbent politicians (as most unhappy voters did in year 1933), it's usually just one party (mostly), which allows the two main parties to keep taking turns, and never sending a loud-and-clear message to BOTH parties.

But, in the United States, it is also very difficult and expensive to replace an incumbent with another challenging candidate, because of several unfair advantages.

Unfair Incumbent Advantage:
    (a) Perk$ of Office:   Incumbents have more party support and resources to draw upon.  Each member of Congress has an office budget allowance (provided by tax-payers). That allowance is large enough to employ a sizable staff both in Washington, D.C. and in their home states or districts. This staff provides a huge advantage, and tax-payers fund it.  In addition, members of Congress also have travel allowances for trips between Washington and their constituencies, and also for trips inside their states or districts. Also, House and Senate members can use the United Stated Postal Service for free for informational letters or announcements to their constituents. 
   
    (b) Time:   Members of Congress and their staffers not only get paid (by the tax-payers) while campaigning and raising money for their campaign war-chest, but they have the time (as part of what they are supposed to do within their job description).  But challenging candidates are not provided the time or money by the tax-payers.  In contrast, a candidate challenging an incumbent is not paid to do those things, but must determine how to fund it.  Many candidates go into debt.
    
    (c) Visibility and Access to News Media:  Members of Congress have visibility by virtue of being elected, have easy access to the news media, make appearances on television, radio, and are frequently mentioned in newspaper articles and editorials.
  
    (d) Campaign Organization:  Members of Congress have the advantage of the experience of having managed a campaign organization (and winning), and already have a volunteer campaign organization in place.   Also, have you ever noticed that there is rarely (if ever) more than one candidate from any party.  This is one of the clever mechanisms used to perpetuate the two-party duopoly, and the incumbent politicians' high re-election rates; by capitalizing on voters' blind-party-loyalties and reluctance to vote for anyone not in THEIR party. This is why many politicians love to fuel the partisan warfare.  It is extremely effective.
     
    (e) Money:  The biggest advantage that incumbents have is the ability to raise large contributions.  Big-money-donors prefer predictability.  Incumbents that refuse to cater to their big-money-donors are not likely to receive more big-money contributions.   90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money.  Unfortunately, government is FOR-SALE.
    Hence, incumbents have many unfair advantages (some funded by the tax-payers).
A tiny 0.3% of all 200 million eligible U.S. voters contributed 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more in 2002).  What chance does the remaining 99.7% of all eligible U.S. voters have against that.  In 2004, total federal campaign donations (of $200 more more) totaled about $2.4 billion. 
90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (usually, the incumbent).  Government is FOR-SALE.  Too many incumbent politicians spend too much of their time campaigning, peddling influence, filling their campaign war-chest$, voting themselves cu$hy perk$ and raises (10 times between 1997 and 2009), and other irresponsible behavior, instead of solving the nation's most pressing problems that are growing in number and severity, threatening the future and security of the nation.
   
    (f) Voter Apathy, Complacency, Laziness, Ignorance, Blind Partisan Loyalties, and Irrational Fears and Hatreds:  
Many voters:
    = do not feel voting is worthwhile.  Many understand the difficulty of unseating an incumbent, and believe it is futile to even try. 40% to 50% of voters do not even bother to vote at all.  However, the voters have the power to overcome all of these disadvantages and schemes, but repeatedly rewarding corrupt, irresponsible, and incompetent politicians with perpetual re-election is not the solution.
    = do not believe the voters can organize to vote similarly to achieve any particular goal, due to partisan loyalties, and partisan warfare that distracts and divides the people from ever forming a majority to vote out irresponsible incumbents.
    = do not feel a need to vote.  In the 2004 election,  78 million (39%) of the 200 million eligible voters (in the United States) did not vote.
    = do not consider candidates individually (regardless of party). Too many voters blindly pull the party-lever.
    = do not have the time or motivation to learn more about their government. Many do not even know who their senators or representatives are, much less their voting records.  Too many voters are also too easily bribed with their own tax dollars.  For example, in year 2000, voters were eager for tax cuts. Little did they realize at the  time that most of the tax cuts were for the wealthy, making the tax system more regressive and unfair than ever before.  That's only one of many abuses that too many voters are unaware of.
    = do not want their vote to go to waste, so they vote for one of the candidates that has a chance of winning;  not the candidate that is most qualified.  In the end, this rationalization actually empowers the two-party duopoly. 
    The many reasons benefit the incumbents and the two-party-duopoly, creating great disadvantages for third-party and independent candidates.
Perhaps enough voters will be less apathetic, complacent, and blindly partisan when enough of the voters are deep in debt , jobless , homeless , and hungry ?
 

(04)   QUESTION:   Why should voters always vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents ?     
 
back    ANSWER:    Because, they are irresponsible !   Most incumbents (if not all) are irresponsible.
Can you name 10, 20, 50, 100, 150, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are not  irresponsible,  not bought-and-paid-for,  don't vote on pork-barrel and corporate welfare,  don't carry the water for their big-money donors,  and don't look-the-other-way?   No?   Then why keep re-electing them, over and over?    If there aren't even 268 (half of 535) in Congress, what does that tell you about Congress, in general?

Irresponsible Incumbents:
    = refuse to pass many badly needed, common-sense, no-brainer, constructive reforms (e.g. campaign finance reform, election reform, one-purpose-per-bill amendment, balanced budget-amendment, tax reform, etc.).
    = vote irresponsibly (e.g. pork-barrel, graft, waste, corporate welfare, etc.), look the other way because they lack the peer-pressure to police their own ranks, and continue to grow government and the national debt to nightmare proportions, which is threatening the future and security of the nation.  The national debt is so large now, it would take 143 years to pay off the debt if the federal government started now to  (a) stop borrowing billions per day,  and (b) also started paying back enough per day to start reducing the debt (slightly more the daily interest alone; otherwise the debt still grows larger).  It is irresponsible and immoral to be heaping that much debt onto future generations.
    = are bought-and-paid-for, too beholding to their big-money-donors, and refuse to tackle tough issues for fear of risking re-election, or defying their big-money-donors. 
    = always outnumber the newcomers to Congress.
    = spend too much time and tax-payers money raising more money for their campaign war-chests.
    = fuel the partisan warfare, and seduce voters into a circular pattern that distracts the voters from more substantive issues. 
    = pressure and seduce newcomers into Congress to conform to the status quo, look the other way,  or be shunned and isolated.
    = somehow still convince many voters to empower the incumbents that use and abuse the voters.
    Therefore, the voters can and should peacefully force government to pass many badly-needed reforms, because government will not do it themselves.  Voters are supposed to vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, repeatedly, until elected officials are responsible and accountable.  That is what voting is supposed to be all about.  That is what the voters are supposed to do, and should have been doing all along.

There are many other benefits and reasons to vote out incumbents.

Benefits and Reasons to Vote Out Irresponsible Incumbents:
    = Accountability:  The lack of accountability is not only because you failed to accurately judge the character of the candidate.  It's not only because voters are consistently bad judges of character.  It is also because voters keep voting for irresponsible incumbents.  Thus, the system is dysfunctional, and breeds more irresponsibility and unaccountability.  The problem is not just a few bad apples.  It is a majority of the incumbents that are irresponsible and unaccountable, which is evidenced by the growing corruption, and the worsening of our many pressing problems.
    = Peer Pressure:   If voters continue to vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, it will peacefully force government to police their own ranks.  Politicians will get the message eventually, and they will also pressure their peers to behave, for fear that voters will not be able to discern who among the incumbents is irresponsible. 

If politicians want to keep their jobs, they will have to agree to many common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms, or be held accountable.  That is exactly what should happen.  They do not deserve to stay, and that is the price they should pay, if they continue to look the other way.  Also, a severe lack of transparency keeps the voters from seeing all that really happens.  Incumbents, together (i.e. as if one entity), corrupted the current system, and cleverly over-complicated the system to reduce transparency

So, until voters have the transparency to see which incumbents are irresponsible, voters should treat them as one entity, and continue to vote out (or recall) all of them until they provide the necessary reforms to allow the voters to see who exactly to hold accountable.  If some good politicians are voted out, then that is the unfortunate price they pay for looking the other way, for not policing their own ranks, and not sufficiently pressuring their peers to also be responsible and accountable
    = Peaceful Force:   The voters have the means, by virtue of their right to vote, to peacefully force out irresponsible incumbents. The voters' right to vote is a privilege that many have risked life and limb to secure.  It should not be taken lightly.  It should be used wisely and responsibly to peacefully force government to be responsible and accountable too.  No other proposed solutions have the necessary force to peacefully bring about reform.
    = Simplicity:    The right thing to do is often also the simple, common-sense thing to do.  Voting out irresponsible incumbents is simply do the right thing by wisely using the right to vote. There is no need to over-complicate the goal or the means.  Some will loathe it, and some will want to modify and tweak the solution.  Modifications are not necessary, and it will risk failure by introducing  over-complication, division, distractions, and controversy.  Fortunately, the voters still have, at the moment, the most simple, safe, peaceful, non-partisan, inexpensive, ethical, and responsible thing they were supposed to be using all along:  vote responsibly to vote out irresponsible incumbents, and continue to do so until government is responsible and accountable too.
        = A Wise and Responsible Vote:  This is one thing irresponsible incumbents are hoping you, the voter, will never discoverGovernment has no power except the power that voters grant them,  and the voters must stop rewarding, empowering, and enabling government to allow the corruption and government to grow to nightmare proportions.  Only the voters can bring about reform, because government will not do it voluntarily. 
    = Balance Of Power:  Politicians don't have any power except for the power voters grant themVoters must appreciate their power and responsibility, and stop empowering politicians to continue the abuse and corruption Voting out irresponsible incumbents provides the force required to peacefully balance the power between government and the people (not merely shift it, or strip government of power to accomplish anything).
    = Common-Sense, No-Brainer Reforms:  If Congress can be peacefully forced to pass much needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms, it would increase transparency, which would yield more accountability and responsibility.  For example, some obvious reforms that are badly needed are:
    (a) One-Purpose-Per-BILL AmendmentThis would reduce pork-barrel, graft, waste, and corporate welfare.  It would let the voters know exactly why and who voted for or against a BILL.  As it is now, no one can know why any incumbent voted for or against a 10,000 page, pork-laden BILL.
    (b) Campaign Finance Reform:   Limits must be set on campaign donations.  Reform Reform this area is very badly needed.  Government should not be FOR SALE.  Bought-and-Paid-For incumbent politicians are too beholding to their big-money-donors.  83% of all federal election campaign donations (of $200 or more) come from only 0.3% (i.e. 300,000) of the total of 200 million eligible U.S. voters.  That is on average $6667 per person from a tiny 0.3% of all 200 million eligible U.S. voters.   The remaining 199.7 million eligible voters only average about $2 dollars per person to federal campaigns.  Money in elections makes it rotten. Members of Congress (and their staff and family members) must be prohibited from accepting large donations and gifts of any kind from lobbyists and special interest groups. 
    (c) Election Reform:   Election fraud threatens the democracy.  So does main parties trying to block access to ballots for third parties and independents.  
    (d) Tax Reform:   The tax system is extremely complicated, abused, unfair.  A simple and fair tax system is badly needed.
    (e) Balanced Budget Amendment:   The government can not even account for where all the money goes.  In 2003, $24.5 billion dollars could not be accounted for.   The un-reconciled $24.5 billion could have funded the entire Department of Justice for an entire year.  A Balanced Budget Amendment is needed to limit spending except for national emergencies (only).
    (f) Lobbying and Influence Peddling:   Make it illegal for members of Congress and senior staff from taking jobs as lobbyists until after 5 years of leaving public service.  The American people don't elect their representatives to promote their bank accounts and financial status upon leaving office for a lucrative lobbying positions.
    (g) Term Limits:  It eliminates the need for term-limits.  It would immediately eliminate the few truly bad career politicians that remain in office as long as they keep bringing home the pork-barrel, and greasing the way for graft, corruption, and corporate welfare.  But, perhaps shorter terms should still be imposed anyway
          (h) Ethics Commission Create an independent Ethics Commission to monitor and investigate unethical conduct, and report illegal activity so that violators will be held accountable.
    (i) Stop Illegal Immigration The numerous problems created by the governmentsĺ extreme negligence, poor planning, and inadequate immigration controls reads like a strategic plan for national decline.  It burdens our many systems (ripe for abuse), and generates resentment, increased crime, racism, chaos, and societal disorder.
    Many other subsequent improvements will probably follow, and the nation would flourish and prosper knowing it has a plan, and is upon a better path. Perhaps, taxes could be lower, while still providing for the truly needy, a strong national defense, better law enforcement and protection, and equal opportunity for all citizens.
    = Creates Unpredictability Which Reduces Big-Money Influence:   Voting for non-incumbent candidates introduces unpredictability.  It will help to reduce the influence of big-money on elections by making it difficult for those that abuse vast wealth and power to know which candidate to fund.  Government should not be FOR SALE. 
    = See  list  of   PROs and CONs.

(05)   QUESTION:   What about the good politicians  
 
back    ANSWER:    What good politicians ?  
OK, there may be a few (maybe). 
If so, vote for them.
But, with such a dysfunctional system and a severe lack of transparency, who can really know ? 
Who are they ? 
Have they done anything to distinguish themselves from the typical bought-and-paid-for incumbents ? 
Can you list 10, 20, 50, or 100 incumbents (much less half of the 535 in Congress) that:
 
    = do not vote irresponsibly for pork-barrel (while our troops risk life and limb, go without body armor, armor for vehicles, and adequate medical and health care)
    = do not vote themselves cu$hy perks and raises (10 times between 1997 and 2009)?
    = do not ignore problems for fear of risking re-election or defying their big-money-donors ?
        = do not prevent newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms ?
        = do not tempt, pressure, and threaten newcomers with the loss of party support if the newcomers don't accept the status quo ?
        = do not pander ?
    = do not peddle influence and accept money from big-money-donors ?
    = do not fuel the petty partisan warfare that distracts the nation from our many pressing problems ?
    = do not spend a great deal of time and tax-payers' money (via allowances) trolling for money for their campaign war-chests ?
        = do not abuse their allowances (provided by tax-payers) to retain their cu$hy, coveted seats of power ?
        = do not look the other way ?
    = genuinely embrace campaign finance reform, election reform, tax reform, or any reform that will create more transparent, accountable, and responsible government, even if it diminishes their opportunities for personal gain ?
    = are fiscally responsible ?
    = deserve to retain their cu$hy, coveted seats of power ?
 
    Unfortunately, the system has become so perverted and dysfunctional, it corrupts almost all within it. 

Study their voting records to see the pork-barrel they voted for while our troops risk life and limb. 

Study the things they do and say. 

Study their attendance records.  Study their travel habits and expenses paid for by the tax-payers. 

Study the use of their time, and how much of it is spent raising big-money for their campaign war-chests. 

Study the way they vote themselves rai
$e$ (10 times between 1997 and 2009), special perk$, and cu$hy retirement plans that are not part of the same mismanaged Social Security and Medicare Systems that the rest of us are relegated to (which has been and is still being plundered). 

Study all those things, and you will probably be surprised at what you find. 

If an incumbent really is responsible, then they deserve to stay.
However, there are very few (if any) that are really responsible.

Incumbents not only refuse to police their own ranks, but are unable to do so.  Incumbents are too entrenched in partisan warfare, fueling it, seducing voters into it, too consumed with collecting money, and too beholding to their big-money-donors.  Government should not be FOR SALE.  Why can Congress vote themselves a raise and cu
$hy perks in a heart-beat, but they can not eliminate the marriage penalty tax ?  The irresponsibility of incumbents is threatening the future and security of the nation. 

Therefore, few (if any) of the incumbents deserve to stay in their cu
$hy, coveted seats of power, and that is the price that the incumbents should pay for looking the other way.

(06)   QUESTION:   What if some politicians still refuse to pass many badly needed, common-sense, no-brainer, constructive reforms (e.g. campaign finance reform, election reform, one-purpose-per-bill amendment, balanced budget-amendment, etc.) to increase transparency, and make government more responsible and accountable ?
 
back    ANSWER:    VOTE OUT (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, always.  If necessary, start a recall.  A recall will send a very loud and clear message to their replacement and remaining incumbents, that they must vote to pass the much-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms to make government more transparent and accountable.  Otherwise, they too will be voted out (or recalled), and ousted from public service.

(07)   QUESTION:   What if there is no challenging candidate
 
back    ANSWER:    If the incumbent is irresponsible and unaccountable, the voters should start a recall, and find someone to replace the irresponsible incumbent.  See:  Voting Guidelines

(08)   QUESTION:   What if the challenging candidate is not a member of my party
 
back    ANSWER:    Do not rely solely on party affiliations.  Instead, vote for the person that will do the job best.  Incumbents, regardless of party affiliation, have already proven that they are irresponsible.  If there is a viable alternative, why not give them a chance, since they will undoubtedly understand that their political career will also be short if they follow in the footsteps of their predecessors ?  Especially, since it is not as important who you vote for as it is that who you vote for understands that they too will be voted out or recalled if they are irresponsible too.  See:  Voting Guidelines

(09)   QUESTION:   Why won't incumbents initiate reforms ? 
 
back   ANSWER:    Unfortunately, as history shows us, those in government seldom initiate significant reforms voluntarily.  Because of the power that accompanies certain offices in government, that power is frequently abused for personal gain, unless there is sufficient transparency and law enforcement to discourage corruption, and encourage members of government to police their own ranks. 

Not all incumbents succumb to corruption, but many do, and  when too many do, the system becomes dysfunctional, and even breeds more corruption.  Since it is human nature to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain, and since power corrupts, the following anti-incumbent voting cycle is one that repeats itself:
    (a) Without sufficient transparency and law enforcement to discourage corruption, some within government grow increasingly irresponsible. 
    (b) The people grow increasingly dissatisfied with the corruption, and frustrated with the lack of transparency to see who exactly to hold responsible.
    (c) Thus, voters decide to vote anti-incumbent with the hope that newcomers will make government more responsible and accountable.
    (d) Then process starts over again. Return to step (1) above.
       
Reform isn't possible until the level of corruption becomes more painful than less corruption.  We are all responsible (voters and politicians), but it is unlikely government will reform itself until it is forced to do so.  Most likely, only the voters can peacefully force government to reform.  See:  Voting Guidelines

(10)   QUESTION:   What makes it so difficult to decide which party or politician to support ?  
 
back    ANSWER:    Because it does not matter who we vote for if they succumb to pressures, temptations, and the acceptance of the status quo.  Newcomers that don't conform to the status quo, will be punished by incumbents, and soon find themselves shunned, isolated, and perhaps lose their party support.  Incumbents will not allow newcomers to pass badly-needed, common-sense, responsible reforms.  Incumbents will not allow any reforms that may reduce their power and opportunities for self-gain.

Thus, studying, researching, and learning about candidates does not seem worthwhile.  Even if it was worthwhile, it is difficult and time consuming for many voters to research and learn all that is required to make an educated and well informed vote.  Negative campaigning and incumbents that fuel the petty, partisan warfare make it worse, and it distracts voters from more substantive issues. 

And, then, some pandering politicians don't always deliver what they promise.  It is no wonder many voters do not know what to do.  Nothing we're doing seems to be working.  Hence, apathy, complacency, futility, and despair lead many voters to give up. 

But giving up will not ever resolve anything either.  All voters need to do is the one simple, safe, non-partisan, inexpensive, peaceful, and responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along:  vote responsibly to vote out irresponsible incumbents, and continue to do so until government is responsible and accountable too.  See:  Voting Guidelines

(11)   QUESTION:   What makes some politicians' brains seem to turn to jelly after they are elected ?  
 
back    ANSWER:    It seems that way doesn't it ?  The real problem is that the system is dysfunctional.  Many newcomers into the system soon succumb to the pressures and temptations.  Incumbents pressure and tempt newcomers to accept the status quo, look the other way, or be shunned, isolated, and threatened with the loss of their party support. Without sufficient transparency and accountability, opportunity and power almost always leads to growing corruption. 

(12)   QUESTION:   Does history have to repeat itself over-and-over
 
back    ANSWER:    No.  Not unless you believe in fate or have no faith that humans can ever learn from their mistakes.  But, history does repeat itself.  History shows us that governments come and go.  There does seem to be a cycle.  However, giving up will not solve anything. 

There are reasons to have hope.  We ended slavery.  We have taken steps toward respecting human rights,  toward condemnation of tyranny and oppression.  Still, while no one knows what the future holds, the only logical thing to do is to always strive to make things better, because doing nothing will only guarantee that things become worse. 

(13)   QUESTION:   If there are no government reforms soon, what will be the short and long term outcome
 
back    ANSWER:    Nobody can know for certain.  However, short term, there may be some economic growth for a while, but that growth may be fueled by massive spending, borrowing, and debt.  Some economic problems could follow (e.g. recession).  If pressing problems are ignored for too long, the consequences could be painful (perhaps as serious as the great depression), and could destabilize the government. Civil unrest could spread and government may not be able to provide sufficient law enforcement.  It could conceivably lead to government oppression (to varying degrees), tyranny, anarchy, revolution, and war. 

Nobody can know for certain, but there will be consequences someday for the irresponsible actions of today.  It is difficult to predict when and how, because there are many factors and the consequences of decisions often take decades (even centuries) before they are realized. 

But, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that decades of fiscal and moral irresponsibility will someday lead to fiscal and moral bankruptcy.  And if that happens, there will be much pain and suffering.

(14)   QUESTION:   What is the real fundamental problem with government ?   
 
back    ANSWER:    Government is too irresponsible and unaccountable, and voters tolerate it. 

In fact, voters reward irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians.

It is that simple.  Both politicians and voters are culpable, since voters have the power to vote out irresponsible incumbents.  Voters have the means to vote responsibly to peacefully force government to be responsible and accountable too.

But, who in government is most irresponsible ?
Incumbents are the most irresponsible.  They always outnumber the newcomers, and prevent the newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms

Incumbents will not allow newcomers to pass reforms that would make government more transparent, accountable, and responsible. 

Incumbents have many unfair advantages too (perk$ of office, time to campaign on the job, visibility and access to media, pre-existing campaign organizations and big-money-donors already in place, and the voters that are apathetic, complacent, and have resigned to the despair and futility to change the status quo.

But, the real, basic, root problem is laziness, which breeds greed and corruption.  It also breeds apathy and complacency. Unfortunately, it is a simple fact of human nature.  Many people naturally seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain.  People seek the path of least resistance.  Sometimes, through unethical or illegal methods.  Especially, if there is insufficient transparency and law enforcement to discourage it.  While laziness is a natural human trait, it is immoral to surrender to it completely. 

So, when does the corruption end ?  It ends when either:
    (a)   the level of corruption becomes more painful than less corruption.
    (b)   or, people learn from experience how to avoid learning the hard way (again).
       
There is historical precedent for both (a) and (b). 
We sometimes wait until it is too late to take action, and, sometimes, we take action before it is too late.  The later should give us hope that we will someday learn, before it is too late, to do the one simple, safe, non-partisan, inexpensive, peaceful, and responsible thing we were supposed to be doing all along:  vote responsibly to vote out irresponsible incumbents, and continue to do so until government is responsible and accountable too.

See:  The Solution.

(15)   QUESTION:   What can be done to peacefully force a restoration of power between government and the people (not simply shift it or strip government of all power to accomplish anything) ?
 
back    ANSWER:    The voters really have the last say, as long as the voters have the right to vote.
The voters are not stripping all power from government to accomplish anything.
The voters are merely choosing elected officials that will be more responsible, or be held accountable.  The government still has the power to enforce the laws and protect the nation.  Voting out irresponsible incumbents does not harm those objectives.  See:  Voting Guidelines

(16)   QUESTION:   Are things getting better, and what does the future hold ?
 
back    ANSWER:    No one knows for certain what the future holds.  Many have tried to predict and many claim to know.  But, it is very complex.  There are many variables. 

However, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that extreme fiscal irresponsibility will eventually, someday, have undesirable consequences. 

At any rate, things may be improving slightly, short term.  But, that may be an illusion due to massive spending and borrowing. Long term, things do not seem to be getting better for the U.S.  Median incomes have been falling for years.  We have many pressing problems.  Many economic models show a positive short-term and long-term forecast, but it's difficult to predict 10 to 20 years from now.  Economist, Harry S. Dent speaks of an 80 year cycle and predicts a serious financial meltdown (in 2010) that may be as bad as the Great Depression.  Some other economists and politicians are also raising some concerns about the rapid growth of the national debt. 

Since the effects of decisions are not felt until many years or decades later, we have to be careful to not create or ignore too many problems.  Otherwise, some may become too unmanageable, and we may be unable to change the course before it is too late.  Also, the people need to be less dependent on government.  The people should not continually ask government to provide or do things it should not do.  Government and the people must reject the "great fiction that we can all endeavor to live at the expense of everyone else" -- Frederic Bastiat 1848.   

(17)   QUESTION:   What can be done to discourage corruption within government ?  
 
back   ANSWER:   Transparency Ó yields Ó Accountability.  Transparency can be an effective prior-to-crime deterrent.  Punishment is an after-the-crime deterrent.  Transparency can be achieved through many methods.  Common-sense simplifications of over-complicated processes is often all that is needed.  For example, One-Purpose-Per-Bill would greatly increase transparency, and allow voters to see exactly who to hold accountable.  As it is now, voters can not know why anyone votred for or against a 10,000 page BILL loaded with pork-barrel, graft, waste, and corporate welfare.

In general, surveillance and law enforcement can be useful deterrents to crime. There are many forms of surveillance, but one obvious type is video/audio surveillance.  How many crimes would never be committed if people knew they could not get away with it

However, video surveillance is probably not a practical method to create government that is more transparent, accountable, and responsible.  But, some sort of oversight and auditing is badly needed.  Also, there must be equal and unbiased enforcement of the laws.  Presidential pardons for those convicted by a jury and judge should not be overturned by one person; not even the president.  The presidential pardon has been severely abused, and breeds corruption, in which politicians are allowed to be above the law.  Who says political crime doesn't pay ?  That is why, perhaps, we need an independent commission to monitor and audit activities, and investigate unethical and illegal activity by members of the Congress and the Executive branch.

(18)   QUESTION:   Can a pure democracy exist
 
back    ANSWER:    No.  A democracy in the pure sense is not possible.
A pure democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It must also be constrained by laws that protect human and civil rights and enforce fiscal responsibility.  A pure democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves anything they want from the public treasury, or unscrupulous politicians discover that they can bribe tax-payers with their own money.  Laws must also exist to prevent government from borrowing and spending irresponsibly, that enforce transparency, accountability, and responsibility, discourage pork-barrel, corruption, waste, and graft. People must also refrain from selfishness, and reject the myth that we can all live at the expense of everyone else.  Without laws and accountability, the majority will always vote for pandering candidates promising the most, which leads to fiscal irresponsibility, and possibly worse.

(19)   QUESTION:   Are political parties the problem ?  
 
back    ANSWER:    Not really.  Many people join parties because they believe their party fights for them.  They believe there is power in large numbers, which is true.  However, if the party does not really fight for you, there is not really power in large numbers.  There is now only a larger problem.  Still, parties are not the root of the problem.  The problem is that the two main parties are more similar than dissimilar.  Both work hard to deceive voters to believe the nation's problems are the fault of the other party, but the fact is, both are irresponsible, and their voting records and behavior prove it. 

(20)   QUESTION:   What if the voters won't do it ?  
 
back   ANSWER:    That is possible.  But, no one can know for certain, and resigning to futility and despair will only guarantee the decline of our nation.  Giving up will not solve anything.  Ignore those that say you are wasting your time for trying. 

That fact is, many of the nation's many problems will most likely all eventually be resolved (someday).  The question is: 
   
        = Will it be the hard, painful way (again) ? 
        = Or, will it be the smart, peaceful, less painful way ?
    All the voters have to do is the one simple, responsible thing they should have been doing all along:  Vote out irresponsible and unaccountable government, repeatedly, every election, until incumbents understand that the voters now understand that a fiscally and morally bankrupt government is no longer acceptable.  Vote out irresponsible incumbents, and replace them with newcomers that understand that they will be voted out (or recalled) too, if they are not responsible and accountable.  

(21)   QUESTION:   Do we theoretically have the ability to reform government ?  
 
back   ANSWER:    Yes.  No one can know for certain whether enough voters will decide to do the one simple, responsible thing they should have been doing all along, but the voters have the capability, as long as people have the right to vote responsibly to peacefully force government to be responsible and accountable too.  A fine balance of power between government and the people is necessary.  Government often has a minor advantage since it consists of fewer people

It can theoretically work, because the solution also factors in human nature.  There must be a balance of power between government and the people.  Resigning to futility and despair will only guarantee the decline of our nation.  Giving up will not solve anything.  Ignore those that say you are wasting your time for trying.  Education is they key.  Share the simple truth with others.

(22)   QUESTION:   What is the solution to peacefully force government to be transparent, accountable, and responsible too ?    
 
back    ANSWER:    = An understanding of the PROBLEM
        = An understanding of the SOLUTION
        = An understanding of the BENEFITs
    = Then spread the message. Help EDUCATE other voters.
    = Then, go to the polls, and vote as recommended below:
 
          Stop Repeat Offenders.
    Don't Re-Elect Them.
 
    = That is the one, simple, logical, non-partisan, peaceful, inexpensive, responsible thing voters were supposed to be doing all along.   Repeatedly rewarding, empowering, and re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians will simply make them more irresponsible.
 

(23)   QUESTION:   Is government even necessary ?   
 
back    ANSWER:    Yes.  But, only if it is a form of government that protects the rights of its citizens and also strives to protect the rights of all people.  Due to the realities of human nature (i.e. the desire to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain), and since not everyone respects the rights of others, and until someone knows of a better way, government is needed to enforce the laws to protect the rights of all people, and provide for the national defense.  Most governments strive to meet that goal, but all fail to varying degrees.  Nevertheless, without any government to enforce the laws to protect people's rights, there would be crime, looting, plunder, chaos, and war.

The next step toward better government is for voters to learn that they have a moral duty to participate, to do the one simple, safe, non-partisan, inexpensive, peaceful, and responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along:  vote responsibly to vote out irresponsible incumbents, and continue to do so until government is responsible and accountable too. 

(24)   QUESTION:   So, we vote out all irresponsible incumbents.  Then what ?   
 
back    ANSWER:    Continue to vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents always (currently, in 2006, that would be most incumbents, if not all).  That is what voters were supposed to be doing all along.  Continue to vote out (or recall) incumbents that refuse to pass badly needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms.  Many common-sense reforms will provide the voters with the much-needed transparency (such as the One-Purpose-Per-BILL amendment) to know exactly which incumbents to hold accountable (i.e. vote out or recall).  Voters must realize they can never ignore government,  because it invites abuse.  Without constant attention to ensure transparency and accountability (law enforcement), many people (i.e. within government) will always try to pervert the rules, procedures, and laws for self-gain, as evidenced by most (if not all) of the irresponsible incumbents in Congress now.

(25)   QUESTION:   How can enough voters make a difference ?    
 
back    ANSWER:    Most elections are only won by a small percentage.   90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money.  In the 2004 U.S. elections, 62 million voted for George Bush.  59 million voted for John Kerry.  78 million eligible voters did not vote.   If only a few million of the 200 million eligible voters decided to vote non-incumbent, it would have changed the political landscape significantly.  If voters understand the problem and solution, and vote responsibly to oust all irresponsible incumbents, it would send a very louder message to government that the people are no longer going to tolerate irresponsible government

(26)   QUESTION:   When does it end.  When is it OK to vote for incumbents    
 
back   ANSWER:   Voters must always vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents.
In the beginning, due to the current, severe lack of transparency, voters may find it difficult to know which incumbents are responsible, and which are not.  If in doubt, vote them out, or research it further.  The fact is, few (if any) are responsible.  Few (if any) don't vote for pork-barrel, don't troll for campaign money, don't prevent newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense reforms, and don't look the other way.

In time, incumbents will get the message, and voters will then be able to know who is or is not responsible because of the reforms that are passed to increase transparency (e.g. One-Purpose-Per-BILL, Campaign-Finance-Reform, Election Reform, Tax-Reform, Balanced-Budget-Reform, etc.), accountability, and responsibility.

Thus, the answer is:  It is OK to vote for incumbents only when:
(a) 
incumbents are transparent, accountable, and responsible.
(b) 
incumbents adequately address the nation's most
pressing problems, pass badly-needed, common-sense, responsible reforms and increase transparency so that voters know exactly who to hold accountable, and stop using clever detractors to seduce the voters into the petty partisan warfare, and distract them from higher priorities. 
See:  Voting Guidelines

(27)   QUESTION:   Is there really any difference between the Democrats and Republicans ?   

back    ANSWER:    No.  Not really.  What they say varies, but actions speak louder than words:  See for yourself 
There is nothing wrong with parties, as long as they truly represent their members.  Many people join parties because:
(a)
 they believe that their party will represent them best. 
(b)  they believe there is power in numbers.
However, when their party does not really represent them, there is no power in numbers, but only a bigger problem.  Voters must be careful about blindly supporting any party.  Otherwise, they will no longer be part of the solution, but may become part of the problem.  Incumbents of both parties often fuel the partisan warfare, because it serves as a clever distraction from the fact that incumbents are irresponsible and unaccountable.  People don't need parties, but they are often drawn to them.  Therefore, if you join a party, take off the partisan blinders.  Otherwise, you are doing your party, other voters, and yourself a disservice, and setting yourselves up to be taken advantage of.


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