The Rabid Independent, Nonpartisan solutions, independent policy ideas

Every few years we get a person willing to sacrifice their life to expose government corruption and fraud. Unfortunately we can list them almost on one hand:

  1. Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers)
  2. Mark Felt (Deep Throat)
  3. Karen Silkwood (Nuclear plant safety)
  4. Jeffrey Sterling
  5. Joseph Wilson (“What I didn’t find in Africa”)
  6. Russ Tice
  7. Chelsea Manning
  8. Edward Snowden

How many gave us information that changed policy for the better and made the citizenry better informed about illegal government activity? Yet almost all of them went to jail or were rendered bankrupt by government lawsuits.

The list is far too short because the treatment of these American heroes is appalling. It reminds me of the famous question: If you lived in Germany in 1940 would you hide a Jewish family in your home? If you knew what Snowden knew, would you have paid the price to expose the NSA’s illegal activities?

That means that we need to provide incentives to people just like we do in the private sector. We have a Whistle blowers compensation and protection law which is great if you are exposing corrupt activities at a bank or agribusiness. It’s useless when it comes to protecting those who expose the FBI or the Army. Government departments act like the Roman Catholic church or the NFL .We must extend the law to cover government employees too.

How about a Government Whistle Blower of the Year award – presented at the Oscars?

We also need each President to pardon at least one government whistle blower unless there is overwhelming evidence that the damage they did exceeded the good. The government should have to prove that damage was done, not just be allowed to claim that classified information was compromised. Isn’t every single document produced by the government considered classified?!

We can start with Edward Snowden, after all isn’t it just a little ridiculous/hypocritical to treat him like a criminal when Timothy Edgar, director of privacy and civil liberties in Obama’s own national security staff, said: “Snowden forced the NSA to become more transparent, more accountable, more protective of privacy — and more effective. …the U.S. government has reason to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Snowden.’ ”

– except it hasn’t and their hypocritical protection of corruption makes it less likely that others will come forward.

 

The economic data are becoming clearer:

Productivity growth has completely stalled (much of it was based on fictional benefits from import substitution). Population growth is diminimus. Government stimulus is static. The budget deficit is sitting at $600bn – is that OK? Private and public sector investments are dead. Corporations are just buying back stock and […]

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There are a few major policy issues that get me worked up and when I see a new set of cases that should test my opponents then I want to hear what they have to say. Media interviewers never seem to ask the right questions so I’ll ask them here and maybe they’ll hear me.

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Party vs. Principle

On September 2, 2016 By

One of the great mysteries to me about the history of Germany circa WWII is how the officers of the army and the bureaucrats in the government stuck with party policy even after it went off the rails. There seemed to be no point where senior (previously) responsible leaders stood up collectively and said “You […]

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There are certain things in life that are set up to make you feel like a fool or as though your time is being utterly wasted. Many of them you can’t avoid even you if try your hardest. This is my list (if you have any favorites then let me know):

Being forced to watch ads before […]

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There are a group of men who have written books over the last twelve years devoted to exposing religion as magical thinking. They include:

Christopher Hitchens (R.I.P.) Richard Dawkins Sam Harris Michael Shermer Bart Ehrman Daniel Dennet

There are other notables like Douglas Murray, Lawrence Krauss, and Maajid Nawaz (who is trying to lead an […]

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Liberalism Betrayed

On July 28, 2016 By

What does it mean to declare you are a liberal? Are you open minded, sympathetic to the less unfortunate, willing to listen to reason over myth and superstition? I want to be considered liberal in these ways. The Democrats are supposed to be the party of liberalism but it or its constituents are twisting some […]

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I seem to be condemned in perpetuity to listen to social chatter along the lines of – “Can you believe the price of condo prices in Manhattan?!” The same line starts many conversations in San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and London. It’s sort of half amazement and half celebration as though we can take pride that […]

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Free traders will all tell you that the reason it is so powerful is because we make the stuff we are best at making and our partners make what they make best. Sounds perfect. Their proof for why this works is the 1970’s. We had severe restrictions on car imports so when they started to […]

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Both the Brexit vote and the Trump related polls show a consistent pattern. Young people are OK with globalization, immigration, economic integration. Older(er) people are not. The presumption or implied conclusion is that old people can’t adjust to the new world. Perhaps thy are racists or just nostalgic for a time that never existed. They […]

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Irritations

Here’s my list of things that bug me. Some are big and some are petty. Feel free to offer new additions.

Irritations

Mottos, Creeds, Rules

As we search for legitimate solutions to America’s problems everyone must obey these rules or we’ll never get anything done.

Mottos, Creeds and Rules

Reading List