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Geek for President!

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ApochPiQ

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So I've been thinking about running for President. (Don't get your hopes up - thanks to some age discrimination in our vaunted constitution, it'll be a few years before I'm eligible.)

I've come up with a few major points for my platform so far. It's an interesting mental exercise, and I think it'd be funny as hell to actually try and campaign on this platform, just to see if I'd have more than a snowball's chance of actually scoring some votes.

Why I'm Better Than Those Other Guys
  • I refuse to align myself with a political party. It is my belief that partisan politics creates artificial polarisation and skews representation. To appease legal requirements, I will run under the Non Party.

  • I think it's stupid to withhold my opinions and views from voters on the grounds that I might trick some people into voting for me. The point of elected officials is to represent their constituents. If I piss you off, don't vote for me. I'm not going to lie to you to try and influence you into ticking a different box on election day.

  • I'm technologically savvy and have a solid grasp on how technology affects real people. This puts me ahead of pretty much every living politician in the country in terms of being able to make sensible technology-related legislation. No, it's not "a series of tubes," you dumbass. Don't talk out your base orifices if you don't know what you're on about.

  • Speaking of which, if I don't know something, I'll have the balls to say it - and seek advice from people who do know (as opposed to seeking advice from fellow rich people who used to go to the same country club). I'll also be careful not to muck around with laws and such if I don't really know what's going on and how my decisions would affect people.

  • Last but not least, I'm a regular average citizen. I have a sense of humour, I'm an actual human being, and I'm interested in supporting other people like me. Rich guys in suits who want to lobby the country out of existence can go jump in a freaking lake. Government by the people, not by the greenbacks.


What I Will Do As You President
  • Reform the entire governmental system from the ground up to eliminate partisan bias and open up all elected positions to anyone who is willing to run.

  • Replace the entire tax system from the ground up, likely based on a model similar to the proposed "Fair Tax."

  • Ban the use of private money (including corporate lobbying) for all political campaigning, and allocate a reasonable amount of tax funds to the creation and maintenance of web-based resources providing objective information about each candidate in every public office in the country. These resources would also include comprehensive documentation of issues open for legislation and public voting. All elected officials would be required to list their positions on each appropriate issue. For those not privileged with Internet access, free printed copies of relevant materials will be made available via suitable distribution methods.

  • Push for Constitutional reform limiting the power of the government to legislate areas of personal choice, including but not limited to religion, sexual orientation, marital status, selected substance use, and so on.

  • Enact strict limitations on the ability of any government or public agency to gather information on private citizens without due approval.

  • Completely redesign the public education system around teacher input, and push for equal status of alternative education choices, including private and home schooling.

  • Radically reduce the barriers to entrepreneurship and the creation and operation of small businesses.

  • Commission an extensive documentation project which removes all the mysterious legalese bullshit that fills up government paperwork (e.g. tax forms) and push for the use of plain, human-readable English so that real people have half a damn chance of figuring out what they're supposed to do without needing a lawyer.



That's just for starters; I'm sure I could come up with a few other interesting things to push for.

I plan to be elected by a history-making 96% majority. My acceptance speech is quoted below, in its entirety:

I'd like to thank you all for having the good sense to vote for me. For those of you who didn't... well, sucks to be you, and we'll see ya in four years. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go drink a lot and celebrate my crushing victory.



Vote Apoch in '08!
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Seems like a good idea!

To bad (for you) I don't live in the USA.


Also, make sure you ban fuzzy math. Children need to learn how to calculate and not push everything off to calculators.

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I'll be your VP, and send the CIA into foreign nations to get rid of people I don't particularly enjoy -- sometimes on live TV.

I'll make grisly traffic accidents into a hilarious reality TV show -- complete with 'boing' sound effects and dubbed voices.

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Quote:
Original post by ApochPiQ
Reform the entire governmental system from the ground up to eliminate partisan bias and open up all elected positions to anyone who is willing to run.
OK. How?

Quote:
Ban the use of private money (including corporate lobbying) for all political campaigning, and allocate a reasonable amount of tax funds to the creation and maintenance of web-based resources providing objective information about each candidate in every public office in the country.
Who decides what's reasonable?

Quote:
These resources would also include comprehensive documentation of issues open for legislation and public voting.
Who decides what's "comprehensive?"

Quote:
All elected officials would be required to list their positions on each appropriate issue.
Who decides what's "appropriate?"

Quote:

Radically reduce the barriers to entrepreneurship and the creation and operation of small businesses.
How?

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Guest Anonymous Poster

Posted

Stick to your Day Job...or try your hand at singing the Karaoke Circuit.

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Quote:
Original post by Ravuya
I'll be your VP, and send the CIA into foreign nations to get rid of people I don't particularly enjoy -- sometimes on live TV.

I'll make grisly traffic accidents into a hilarious reality TV show -- complete with 'boing' sound effects and dubbed voices.


Can you start Monday?



Quote:
Original post by superpig
OK. How?
...
Who decides what's reasonable?
...
Who decides what's "comprehensive?"
...
Who decides what's "appropriate?"
...
How?


The anti-partisan reform is honestly my least thought-out goal. To be honest I'd have to do a fair bit of research into the actual legal situation that makes the partisan system so firmly entrenched, so I'd know where to direct my efforts. I'd be looking for smart people who know Of What They Speak to consult in this area. This is one place where I don't yet have a plan, but I'd pretty much be dead set on finding one.

"Reasonable" funds in this case means enough to get the job done. The people involved would be paid a fair wage based on analysis of current market rates for similar duties. We would of course be looking to reduce costs where practical in order to make the most efficient use of taxpayer money, but at no time will we cut corners or compromise the integrity of the information being compiled for the sake of money. This is an area where I think it is very important to spend wisely, so there would be a very focused study done to determine the expenditures involved. A dedicated office (or, better, set of offices) would likely be created to help maintain the system and ensure honesty and efficient operation.

"Comprehensive" documentation would encompass, on average, a three to four paragraph summary of each issue as a whole, and links/references to external information sources for things such as historical background and currently active legislation. There would be a publically available process by which citizens could nominate non-ballot issues for inclusion, in order to help dessiminate information on candidates that may be of popular concern but is not actively involved in legislative action, e.g. proposed bills by as-yet unelected candidates. This would of course be open to the candidates as well.

"Appropriateness" of candidate-issue pairings would be quite mechanical; if an issue concerns legislature or a specific domain which is not within the jurisdiction of the candidate in question, their position will not be mandatory, although the candidate should be free to provide it for informational purposes if they so choose. For any issue in which a candidate is actively involved (pushing bills, voting on measures, etc.), their opinions and intended votes should be a matter of public record.


Reduction of barriers to entrepreneurship is a complicated and touchy process. Many of the existing laws are intended to cover corner cases, limit or prevent certain types of fraud, or provide certain subsidies to special areas of industry (e.g. farming). It is important that the intent of that system be preserved in the interest of fairness. However, the system in place can be streamlined quite a bit to promote the creation and operation of small businesses.

In actuality, most of the changes involve tax law. For instance, self-employed persons are required to pay quarterly liability taxes which are well in excess of actual tax amounts owed under the (already burdensome) income tax. The aforementioned tax reform would eliminate virtually all of these problems.

Required annual paperwork for the operation of corporate entities would be reduced for cases where it is not necessary. The disjoint existence of a corporation at the state and federal level would be addressed, most likely via a streamlined system where the operator files a single set of paperwork, and the appropriate information is provided separately to both the state and federal levels.

The other main goal here is covered under the documentation project; the actual legal realities of the formation and operation of a corporate entity should be made available freely to the general public rather than requiring expensive legal consulation. At this time it is very unadvisable to start a business without significant legal consultation, which is an unnessary barrier to entry. I believe that good documentation of the legal processes, requirements of a corporation's operators, and the benefits/drawbacks of various forms of corporation should be clearly and publically documented, in order to facilitate private and small-scale ventures. Legal advice should only be needed if the law gets involved; it shouldn't be needed to run a lemonade stand or sandwich shop.

Speaking of lemonade stands, I'd take a very hard look at the opportunities for minors to create business entities, and where possible eliminate restrictions on such activity.

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If I lived in the US, I'd vote for you. But only if I get invited to the drinking party after you're elected.

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Quote:
Original post by ApochPiQ
The anti-partisan reform is honestly my least thought-out goal. To be honest I'd have to do a fair bit of research into the actual legal situation that makes the partisan system so firmly entrenched, so I'd know where to direct my efforts. I'd be looking for smart people who know Of What They Speak to consult in this area. This is one place where I don't yet have a plan, but I'd pretty much be dead set on finding one.
I'd start here. It's easier to get rid of partisan tactics if you're not locked into a two party system.

Quote:
We would of course be looking to reduce costs where practical in order to make the most efficient use of taxpayer money, but at no time will we cut corners or compromise the integrity of the information being compiled for the sake of money.
Yeah, but what does the populace have to guarantee that? Your word of honour? It's extremely open to abuse, especially considering that by censoring things you'd be silencing your opponents. As as much as you may be a man of integrity who would never do such a thing, there is no guarantee that your successor would be the same.

This is my counterpoint to many of your ideas - they all depend upon government administration, but there are no controls in place to regulate the government.

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Instant runoff is definitely a good solution to a lot of the problems our political system has at the moment; I'm actually quite seriously looking at pushing that even outside my half-serious campaign bid here [smile]


I definitely understand your concerns about integrity; I know I'm not a corrupted bastard, but as you said, that doesn't prove anything to anyone - nor does it make any promises about future persons in office.

Fortunately, our governmental model is (at least in theory) very carefully designed to promote accountability and regulation of power. That's the motivation behind the three-branch system, federal vs. state vs. local governments, and so on. Admittedly that system has had the crap beat out of it lately (especially by our current administration) but at least the groundwork is laid.

The problem of integrity and self-regulation is something I've thought about at length, but at the moment have few answers for. I can't (and won't) pretend to be highly educated about the legal and political nuances of the government, so I can't (at this point) offer any concrete, bulletproof answers. However, I'm absolutely aware of the potential dangers, and would be fully committed to finding good answers - again, usually with the help of people who know what they're doing [smile]


The points I mention are goals; they're the endpoints I would like to reach. I'd have to put some serious thought, research, and consultation into each in order to produce a roadmap for actually achieving those goals - and, more importantly, doing so in a way that genuinely benefits the future of the country rather than leaving yet more holes for abuse by power-crazy people who come down the road.

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