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It's time to put a stop to the charade that is a "moderator" at debates.

We need to change the format, in short.  This is what I recommend.

  • Install a device with a large button (red and visible on the top) of each podium.  These are connected to a small computer (as Raspberry Pi will do) with a large LED-style display for remaining time, one for each candidate that faces toward them (so they can see it.)

  • The candidates take a coin toss for who goes first.  After the first question the order alternates.

  • For each round the selected candidate presses their button; this turns on his or her mic for 30 seconds.  They have 30 seconds to direct a question to the other candidate of their choosing.  When the 30 seconds is up their mic is cut off.

  • The responding candidate presses their button.  This turns on their mic for 2 minutes, during which they have the only working microphone.  They may use their 2 minutes however they wish but when the 2 minutes has expired their mic is cut off.

  • The other candidate now may press their button and gets 2 minutes for a response as well to their own question and/or the asked candidate's answer.   Again, after 2 minutes click -- the mic is off.

  • Finally, the asked candidate gets 30 seconds for a rebuttal; again, they must press their button to enable the mic and after 30 seconds it's over.

There are no other microphones nor pool feeds other than the microphones that go through the box.  It is thus impossible (within reason) to talk over the other candidate since you can't be heard except locally in the room.  It is also impossible to go over time.

And finally, it puts a full and complete stop to any sort of bias from a so-called "moderator" since the candidates themselves choose the questions, either from those items they wish to talk about or those they wish to try to skewer their opponent with.  In either event the challenged candidate gets both more time and the opportunity to go both first and last with a rebuttal.

This would end the charade that is currently called "a debate" and restore something approaching an actual policy discussion between the candidates.  It can work for more than 2 as well (the "asker" doesn't get a rebuttal period) but becomes dicier with larger fields.

I'll write the code if someone wants to use it -- it would take me roughly an afternoon to code it up and another afternoon to put together the interface box for the podium switches (de-bounce and such.)

What say everyone?

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Gee, this is impressive... (Note the "From:" and "To"; this is an internal DNC email!)

"Yes, but going forward, when our allies screw up and don't deliver bodies in time, we either send all our interns out there or we stay away from it.. we don't want to own a bad picture:"

(click for larger copy)

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Many have decried Trump's positions on illegal immigrants.

Folks, this is not a complicated problem, and it revolves directly around The Rule of Law, as with so many other issues.

In the 1990s, as anyone who's read this column knows, I ran an Internet company.  Even at that time I was required, under federal law, to collect certain information and make a good faith effort to verify it for everyone I hired.  The most-obvious were the W-4 and I-9, both of which were required at the time.  The I-9 dates to 1986.

It was a violation of the law for me to hire someone without completing that form.  In addition it was a serious violation of the law for me to fail to report and deposit payroll taxes (FICA and Medicare) on an itemized basis for each employee within a very short period of time (days) of payroll being distributed.

Since most people are paid either weekly or bi-weekly (in MCSNet's case it was bi-weekly) this meant that the government had actual notice and funds from any such employee within two weeks of their being hired.

Since individual Social Security numbers were required for each such person it would be trivial for the government to determine if someone was working here illegally if they gave a good damn.  If a person's SSN shows up in two or more places at once it's pretty easy to figure out whether you ought to raid one or both of them; odds are good you're going to wind up arresting someone.  If a false or deceased person's number is reported you show up at the business immediately and either get the error corrected or arrest the employee who intentionally provided false identification.

E-Verify makes this easier and even more-immediate.  If you enforce the law against employers -- that is, you jail any employer who fails to file E-Verify for every employee -- this problem goes away immediately.

If you cannot work you will not come unless you're here for the explicit purpose of breaking the law.  In that case the decision as to whether to deport you is easy, since you're not here to "make a better life", you're here to break the law -- period.

Simply put the only reason there is an illegal immigrant issue is because we refuse to enforce existing law when it comes to employers.  If an illegal immigrant cannot get a job and cannot get welfare then they will not stay unless they are here for the explicit purpose of engaging in unlawful activity.

This is not a difficult problem to solve nor do we need new laws.

I filed both taxes and took I-9s from every person I hired.  I did so because the law required that I do so.  Those employers who do not do so are breaking the law and are doing so intentionally, and should be punished with both ruinous fines and imprisonment.

The chicken processing plant, farm or roofing company full of illegal immigrants exists only because we refuse to enforce already existing laws against the owners and managers of same.  It's outrageous and a serious affront to those businesses that compete in the same sphere yet do follow the law.

Trump can stop this in one day without new laws by simply enforcing the laws that exist.  Those who are here illegally and cannot work will either leave or demonstrate that they are here with criminal intent, and for the latter the proper action is immediate deportation and a lifetime ban on returning to the United States.

It's that simple.

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Here's The Bill that either Obama or Romney could propose and demand be passed.

(For that matter so could Gary Johnson, and if he had a lick of sense, he would as this would be a "break the glass" moment for the Libertarians, but I digress...)


An Act to redress the imbalances in the economy related to health care products and services, enforce the law, improve patient outcomes, enhance access to treatment modalities, decrease costs and open competition in the Medical Industry.


Article I - Competition

  1. The Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman Acts shall apply to medical commodities, services and related products without exception, including but not limited to pharmaceuticals, hospital services, clinical services, medical devices, implements, drugs and supplies, financial services such as payment plans and health insurance or any other service or good used or provided for the purpose of promoting health, treating or diagnosing disease, provided that said goods, products or services are marketed, sold, advertised or used anywhere inside the United States and its territories.

  2. Medical providers shall post via conspicuous method and bill at a level price for their services to all users of like kind and quantity without regard to the means of payment, subject only to reasonably-defensible discounts for volume of service or product rendered or sold.

  3. All State CON laws and other regulations that serve to prevent, deter, bar or impair medical good or service providers from entrance or exit to or from a market area, where said facilities do or may serve customers on an interstate basis, are hereby preempted and void under the Interstate Commerce Clause to the US Constitution.

  4. The doctrine of first sale shall be applied to all medical and health-related commodities, pharmaceuticals, supplies and goods, including but not limited to drugs, medical devices, implements and health-related products, provided that such goods are truthfully and lawfully labeled as to their origin, manufacturer and contents, irrespective of their point of original purchase.

  5. No manufacturer, distributor or other seller of medical goods or commodities may prohibit by contract or other provision the effects of Article I Section 4, and any such clause in existing contracts for sale are hereby declared void as a violation of public policy.

  6. Medical goods and commodities permitted or lawfully offered for sale in nations and territories other than the United States may be imported, marketed and sold for consumption and use in the United States irrespective of FDA approval provided that any drug, device, implement or commodity not approved by the FDA shall be conspicuously labeled that it does not have FDA approval in no less than 14 point white print on a black background on all bulk and, where applicable, individual use or dispensed packages.  All such unapproved drugs, devices, implements and commodities shall bear or have enclosed with their packaging truthful information as to their exact contents, purity, method of action, expected benefits and known risks and side effects of its use.  All such unapproved drugs, devices, implements and commodities shall be explicitly disclosed to the consumer before use or administration by any licensed medical facility or physician and an explicit release shall be obtained from said consumer in advance of the use of such unapproved drugs, devices, implements or commodities.


Article II -- Access To Medical Care And Records

  1. EMTALA is hereby repealed.

  2. Privately-run and operated medical clearing firms are hereby authorized who citizens and visitors to the United States may register with to document verifiable means of coverage or payment for potential medical services and products.  These firms shall be regulated only as to privacy of information maintained.

  3. Such registration shall include not only insurance coverage by traditional health insurance firms but also registration of escrowed funds or other unencumbered and liquid assets available for disbursement in the event of unplanned and emergency medical expense.

  4. Medical providers may query any such registry only for a bona-fide purpose of determining whether a proposed procedure is covered for payment, and shall not issue more than one query per patient, per medical incident without that patient or their agent's explicit approval.

  5. Registries shall not provide information on coverage or escrowed and liquid limits beyond a response indicating whether the explicit and queried amount proposed to be billed is or is not covered.

  6. Patients shall own all records in any such registry, including the record of all inquiries and shall have a right of inspection of any such records during reasonable business hours and by reasonable means.

  7. Medical records shall be the property of the consumer to whom they pertain, and shall be provided to and may be maintained by the consumer upon his or her reasonable request.  No provider shall provide access to or permit the copying of any such record to any third party without the explicit authorization of the consumer or his or her lawful representative, except where applicable statute mandates the disclosure of said records such as in the case of communicable disease or mandatory reporting statutes.

  8. A registry or medical provider that violates any provision of this section shall be liable for all damages that a consumer shall suffer, but not less than $25,000 (twenty-five thousand dollars US) per incident in liquidated damages if the actual amount of damages shall be less.

  9. EMS providers and systems shall maintain a registry of charitable hospitals and other providers of medical care willing to provide services to those who have no verifiable or actual means of payment so as to be able to expeditiously make decisions on transport of indigent patients, and shall update their listing of such available care facilities not less than once daily.


Article III - Enforcement

  1. Consumers, employers or other parties harmed by violations of this act shall have a private right of recovery for all harm sustained in triplicate, but not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each occurrence.

  2. Each day that any such violation occurs shall constitute a separate and distinct civil offense.

  3. Willful and intentional violations of consumer privacy, or any act of conspiracy between parties to violate any provision of this act shall be a Federal Felony Criminal Offense punished by not less than 2 nor more than 20 years of confinement and a fine of not less than $10,000 or more than $100,000 for each count, except that if permanent physical injury shall occur to any person as a consequence of said violation the penalty shall be not less than 10 nor more than 25 years of confinement and a fine of not less than $50,000 nor more than $250,000 for each count, and if death to any person shall occur as a consequence of said violation the penalty shall be not less than 25 years to life of confinement and not less than $100,000 nor more than $2,000,000 for each count.


That would pretty much do it, I suspect (that is, cut the cost of medical care by about 80% -- if not more.)

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The piece sent "over the transom" taking a shot at Governor Johnson's possible motives for running as a Libertarian contains some interesting theories.

However, it also contains some disturbing claimed facts, and one thing I did do before publishing that piece was check them.

Unfortunately the facts cited are correct and Gary is being less-than-honest.

This is what his campaign web site claims on his record:

  • Left office with New Mexico as one of the only four states in the country with a balanced budget
  • Left New Mexico with a budget surplus
  • Used Line Item Veto thousands of times to trim the budget
  • Vetoed 750 bills during his time in office; more than all other governors combined
  • Cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone
  • Created more than 20,000 new jobs
  • First New Mexico Governor to challenge education status quo and propose statewide voucher program
  • Restored State General Fund reserves to more than $222 million from a low of $28.1 million
  • Limited annual state budget growth to 5.0% during eight years in office
  • Cut taxes 14 times while never raising them—a first for New Mexico
  • Vetoed 32% of the total number of bills submitted for his signature

This all sounds good, right?

Well, no.  Yes, the budget rose 5% per year during his time in office.  Unfortunately that's a roughly 50% increase in the size of the State Government during those eight years.

That might be ok if the rate of increase was less than the rate of inflation.  So let's check the rate of inflation and see if Governor Johnson was telling the truth or if he's being less-than-honest with the public.

In 1995 the CPI index stood at 150.3.  In 2003 when Johnson left office it stood at 181.7.  That's a 20.9% increase over the same eight years.

In other words Gary Johnson increased spending in New Mexico at approximately 240% the rate of inflation -- or about double and a half as fast as prices rose.

Do you define that as "fiscally conservative" or "responsible"?  I do not.  Further, can you find any part of spending in this chart that he actually cut during his time in office or did every single one of these bars get bigger?

 by genesis 


Then there's the claim of a "balanced budget".   That's a nice claim.  Unfortunately it was achieved by lying, just as it has been in the other states, because the amount of debt the State Government had outstanding nearly doubled during those very same years.

 by genesis

That's a gross $2.78 billion increase in debt during those years.  The population of the state was (as of 2003) 1.87 million, so Governor Johnson added about $1,500 in debt to the financial responsibility of every man, woman and child in New Mexico during his administration and that's only for the state itself -- municipal governments added another billion, so the total was well over $2,000 per person.

Is that "fiscally conservative"?

Ron Paul has often been called "Dr. No" for his refusal to accede to more spending and bigger deficits.  While he's one man in Congress, you can rarely if ever find a bill that he has approved which increases spending and public debt. 

Gary Johnson, on the other hand, was the man with the pen who signed the spending bills in the end analysis.  He is the one who was responsible for approval of the budget and the actual spending and borrowing profile of the State.  And he has repeatedly claimed, and claims today, a huge number of vetoes.

It's true that Governor Johnson vetoed a huge number of bills.  But the implication he wishes you to believe, that he shrunk the size of government in New Mexico and thus that he also shrunk residents' responsibility, both directly in current government spending and in the debt that was left for both residents who voted for various policies and the children and unborn unable to vote for or against those policies is simply false.

Governor, you have some explaining to do if you expect me to support or vote for you, as I believe you have actively and intentionally misled not only myself personally but the Libertarian Party in general on the actual facts when it comes to your spending and debt record as Governor.

Nobody should vote for this man believing he will cut their debt load or actually shrink one single line item in the Federal Budget, as his history shows that over eight years as Governor of a small state he saddled every single resident with more than $1,500 worth of additional debt, sanctioned municipal and local governments adding roughly $1,000 more, and in fact added to State Spending in all of the categories he claims he will "control" or "cut" including pensions, health care and education. 

Not one of those areas was cut in size during his time in office.

And that, my friends, is a fact.

Ps: Before someone pipes up and tries to claim that population increases were responsible for this, the population of New Mexico in 1995 was ~1.7 million.   In 2003 it was 1.9 million, or 12% higher, an approximately 1.4% annual expansion.  It is thus immaterial to the expansion of the State budget and debt, and one cannot lay off these expansions on "growing population"; any such attempted claim is a futher lie.

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