The Coffee Party Agenda

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:45 am

The Coffee Party Agenda

1 – RESPONSIBLE ECONOMIC POLICY

Taxation: No state may receive more than 110% more in Federal expenditures than it sends in income tax. Likewise, no state may receive less than 95% in expenditures. Any surplus that this policy generates must be spent to pare down the national debt.

Pork Expenditures: Federal tax-supported projects cannot be added to non-taxation legislation, but must be independently introduced and debated.


2 – VOTING BEHAVIOR

Voter registration: All voters must reregister in the next national election. Each voter must pass, with 75% accuracy, the US Citizenship Test required of immigrant applicants. In addition, a second test will be required prior to each election to demonstrate a basic grasp of the issues. This test will not be a litmus test, but a test of the voter’s grasp of the concepts behind topics being voted upon. Those who achieve less than 60% accuracy may retest as often as needed to qualify for voting in the upcoming election.

Punditry: Media and public speakers can express any opinion they desire. Patently and demonstrably false information will be subject to a publicly disclosed “Misinformation Fine” of up to one year’s individual income. An additional fine of an identical amount will be imposed upon their employer. Any information found to be deliberately falsified (Death Panels, etc) will be subject to censure and potentially opened for a legal class action.

Stupidity Clause: Individuals who insist upon absurd litmus tests for public employees (disclosure of birth certificates; denial of religious affiliation; etc) will themselves be required to demonstrate, in court, a legitimate defense to the falsifications they are claiming. Any court case thus embarked upon and thrown out of court will result in a fine for court costs of the defendant.

Honesty in Campaigning Clause: Any politician who states categorical goals (“reduce government size”; “lower taxes”; “balance budget”) must file a specific plan for accomplishing these goals within one month of initiating the campaign claim. The plan must cite examples where the goals may be accomplished, and an honest assessment of the possibility of the goals being achievable and in what time frame This assessment must be published on the campaign’s official website with clear access from their main page menu.

3 – BIGOTRY AND EQUALITY

Heritage: The Coffee Party believes that the racial and religious heritage of all people adds substantially to the American culture. As such, bigotry or bias have no place within the Coffee Party’s membership and should be condemned as unacceptable at all times.


4 – CONGRESSIONAL CIVILITY AND COMPROMISE

Congress: In our belief, public employees should exemplify American values at all times. Congress members should be held to a higher standard. Any and all members of Congress should at all times have integrity, and be honest, forthright and above all courteous. Respect for other opinions is fundamental to running this nation. A healthy debate is to be encouraged, but vilifying and attacking opponents as un-American or unpatriotic is well below the standards to which this body must aspire.

Compromise: America, as a democratic republic, is founded upon the principle of compromise. Members of a governing body who refuse to compromise are themselves undemocratic and seemingly totalitarian in their nature. The use of procedural tools to delay or derail opposing legislation – as opposed to simply and openly debating the merits – is against our values as a nation and must be curtailed.

5 – CITIZENSHIP

Corporations: Corporations are not US citizens, though their employees may be. The benefits of citizenship should not be conveyed on non-living, non-human entities. Any corporate action within the public arena must have the support of a majority of the employees who are themselves US citizens. Actions of corporations within the public arena who have a minority of US citizens and a majority of outside-the-US business is the equivalent of election interference, and should be dealt with as such. This includes but is not limited to electioneering, contributions to members of Congress, and election-related advertising to the American public.

“Papers”: At no time, in any jurisdiction within the United States, may government law enforcement be allowed to inquire as to citizenship or request documented proof of citizenship unless an actual arrest for a crime has been made. Americans are free individuals who have historically condemned any nation which requires proof of citizenship to be produced on demand from its citizens.



…to be continued….
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Lori Koonce
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:03 am

Steve

The stupidity clause isn't workable. Too much like a poll tax. What acceptions are made for those whose IQ clearly puts them below "normal". And do we disinfranchise the mentally disabled and those who are mentally ill?

Otherwise, I'm more than willing to run on this platform. You really should think about running for some sort of office yourself. You may not have the money, but you clearly have the grasp of both the government and the governed it would take to make this nation great again!

Lori

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:30 pm

Lori, proud of you babe. Was shocked that Barber would write that. He needs to rethink that.

Nobody is holy enough to define what is absolute truth, since you can create pretty elaborate evidence on anything, no matter how crazy. Think religion.

This is how they silence the left, by saying that we are crazy liars, so we should be shut up. Rethink Barber.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:28 pm

It's not like this is anything beyond wishful thinking, guys. Note I used the term "thrown out by the court", not "went to trial on its merits".

If I'm writing my own platform, I'm throwing in a few of my own values. In my opinion, people who challenge Obama's birth certificate for the umpteenth time ought to be paying a price for ignoring the previous umpteenth attempts.
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:37 pm

Frivilous lawsuits. Oh, that I agree on.

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On speech lets not forget we have weak libel laws for a reason. Public figures should be mocked, even if they are lies. Lies are speech too.

Commercials for products, different. I do agree that companies should have to put on side-effects to anything they sell. Soda companies should have to say that soda hurts your teeth and may cause type-2 diabetes.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:59 pm

Frank -- In my opinion there's a vast difference between side effects and outright lies. If Coke told you their soft drinks would give you softer skin and great teeth they would be drawn and quartered.

Sarah Palin tells you there are Death Panels in the healthcare and she walks away scott free. The governor of Arizona tells you the undocumented brown man is evil and gets re-elected. John Boehner refuses to clearly state that Obama's an American citizen and wins control of the House.

Coke is forced to at least do things like put the calorie count on their cans. They cannot, in all realism, openly lie about their product.

Republicans seem to have a knack for doing exactly that...so which is a greater risk to America?
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Steve Evil » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:03 pm

FrankChurch wrote: Nobody is holy enough to define what is absolute truth, since you can create pretty elaborate evidence on anything, no matter how crazy. Think religion.

This is how they silence the left, by saying that we are crazy liars, so we should be shut up. Rethink Barber.


I don't think a merit test is the same thing as absolute truth. It's simply a measure. There are so many things in life you have to prove your qualificatons for. Driving. Flying. Instructing bloody Yoga. But any yokel can select the commander of the world's nuclear arsenal. Test of basic competence is something I could get behind.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:32 pm

One suggestion for practical economic limitation: a set boundary to Federal disaster relief.

Oh, I'm not a heartless bastard (all the time), & I've lived in a few hard-hit regions. But in order to qualify as a business, my little sideline is supposed to make a profit three years out of five, or it risks becoming officially a hobby.

So it occurs to me that, in a move of fiscal responsibility, any given county in the United States should not be able to receive Federal relief payments more than three out of any continuous five years -- if a place needs more than that, then it is not viable for living, & people can live (or have businesses) there on their own dime. To be fair, county leaders will have leeway to choose which three years they get national tax money to bail them out.

At the very least, the Republicans should go for it, right? Rugged individualism & all that. In fact, maybe it should only be two years of five...

Also, vast reduction of Federal aid for mitigation of problems that could be called Bloody Obvious. A few years back, I saw how cash was being dumped on residents immediately north of the Minneapolis airport, right under a flight path very popular with both commercial & National Guard flights. They interviewed a woman who was very angry with all the noise & demanding reparations to soundproof her house. She was maybe 28, & had owned her house for less than three years. She probably got a sweet price specifically because of the noise, which is no surprise to anyone who spends more than a few hours in that neighborhood, suggesting that she was some combination of (a) too stupid to be let out alone, & (b) a greedy opportunist looking to jack up the value of her investment. I thought at the time that the Feds would've been wise to look at it as a business situation & say, "since you've signed the application, here's $40,000, you have 60 days to move before we bulldoze the place," because you just know that she's either going to keep poking for more cash, or she'll sell it at a profit to someone else who starts the process all over again, when the solution is if you don't like noise, don't live here.

As for the merit test: no, it's not at all akin to a poll tax, especially with this darned Interweb thing. Anyone can take a bus to the local library & study up on the citizenship test -- which I point out is often foisted upon shellshocked illiterate refugees. Sauce for the goose. It's much more fair than what the Founders had in mind: voting for landowners only. People have a (okay, non-Constitutional) right to drive a car... after taking a couple of tests, getting the vehicle past a cursory safety evaluation, paying for a driver's license, paying for plates for the vehicle, paying for liability insurance, & not doing anything too egregiously stupid like driving drunk. In other words, there are [b]responsibilities[/i] that are wedded to rights -- voting has few discernible responsibilities, so this calls to question how much of a right there can be.

A simpler & more immediate test would be to ask for the voter to identify their candidate's main planks, or at least one concrete & specific example of the main ten -- some such "are you awake yet, bubbie?" test. Otherwise, as with the current system, we're encouraging campaigns to play to superficial emotion, sentiment, fear, & outright lies -- as much as I like Obama (still!), the fact is that many of the people who swept him into office acted as though he could make a few stirring King-esque speeches & Congress would see the light. It's those people who largely turned against him when the miracles were slow to arrive. Someone too stupid (willfully or organically) to understand that it takes time, effort, & a sturdy shovel to move a huge mound of steaming dung shouldn't be allowed to throw stones at the poor SOB doing the work.

Or we could go to a variant of the system proposed by R.A. Lafferty: draw names at random. You can't refuse &, if you don't maintain the standards set by the electorate, you're summarily executed & another name is drawn. People might think twice about setting standards that may apply to their friends, neighbors, & family -- okay, I did say "might," because look at all the folks who get government checks who vote against those very programs.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:34 am

Spot on post Anthony.

Too many people in this country don't understand the inter-relationships between the three branches of government, nor the powers wielded by each.

Republicans -- at least a branch of them -- believe in the concept of a unitary presidency, which is where they get the idea that the President already has extraordinary powers (which he does not). He can pressure and influence the Congress, but he cannot and does not control them.

This was, frankly, one of my key objections to Meg Whitman. She seems to feel the state can be run like a business, with a single powerful individual calling the shots. Ah-nold came in with the same basic presumption and encountered a hostile and powerful state legislature that kept denying him his decrees. (Remember the Girly Man incident???) In frustration he attempted to bypass the legislature and took four propositions directly to the people -- and got his ass handed to him.

Afterward, to give him his due, he got the message and began working WITH the legislature rather than against them.

Testing people's understanding of our style of government should be a pre-requisite to voting, IMHO. In this day of online training and testing it would be a rather simple method of completion (those who do not have computers can have voting test computers in the library).

One test would be for your right to vote. A civics test. "Which branch of government is responsible for legal interpretations of our laws?" "Which branch of government allocates money for government projects?" "Which branch of government is responsible for the day to day operations of the various departments?"

The second test, much harder to design to everyone's satisfaction, would be during an election cycle and deal with candidates and issues. This would be much harder to keep from being partisan in tone, but it could be done.
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby markabaddon » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:43 am

Great post Anthony

Allow me to disagree with my friend Mr. Barber on a point. Some Republicans do not believe in the Unitary Presidency, they only believe in that when a Republican is in the Oval Office. When a Democrat is in the Office, they feel that presidential powers should be greatly restricted. The distinction here is a fairly large one and underscores the depth of the hypocrisy in their political party
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Steve Evil » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:08 pm

If a Democrat makes unpopular decisions, he's despotic.
If a Republican makes unpopular decisions, he's courageous.

If a Democrat makes popular decisions, he's a crass politician
If a Republican makes popular decisions, he's a man of the people.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Steve Evil » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:12 pm

( By the way, what is Arnold like as governor? Just another hood ornament or can he play the game?)

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:33 pm

Mark -
I don't think we disagree. I think we're stating the same thing in different ways. I was very deliberate to state that there are two frames of mind when it comes to Republicans and the Unitary Presidency. There is not a consensus, and as you note it probably depends a great deal as to who currently could wield that power. (Mitch McConnell, having endorsed the idea under Bush, seems to have a dramatic reversal of conscience when it comes to Obama.) (Or would that be political hypocrisy of the first order? I can never tell...)
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:44 pm

Steve Evil wrote:( By the way, what is Arnold like as governor? Just another hood ornament or can he play the game?)


Don't know if you saw my notes on another thread, but he learned to play the game after an initial year or so trying to play CEO instead of Governor. He even famously took four different initiatives to the electorate when our legislature balked. He got spanked pretty badly when all four went down by wide margins. Lesson learned he licked his wounds, humbled himself a bit and moved on.

I'd describe him as a solid moderate Republican if there ever was one, and he's managed to build agreement on a lot of topics. He's also not afraid to take anti-GOP Doctrine positions, which is a hallmark of a centrist. He's kind of my example of "see, it CAN be done"!

While they may never say it to his face, it would seem most of his party brethren see this as "weakness".
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby swp » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:52 pm

Barber wrote:While they may never say it to his face, it would seem most of his party brethren see this as "weakness".

so you are saying that he will be the vice presidential nominee opposite sarah palin in 2012?

:lol: :lol: :lol:
:lol: :? :lol:
:lol: :lol: :lol:
(they aren't laughing at me, they are laughing near me)
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