New Skills for the New Democracy

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As the inventor of Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG), I will be the first to say that if we only change out the system of western elections for TDG elections, we are only rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This essay will describe several skills and attitudes we need to learn to make the TDG work.


Skill #1: Voting based on good character and capacity for governance


In western democracies, wiser voters spend considerable effort analyzing the issues and coming to some conclusion on the best direction society should take. They then analyze which politician or political party aligns best with their position--and then vote for that person or party.


The voting decision of the less-wise voters is probably more influenced by the quality of the advertising message at election time.


The TDG, citizens will not look at the issues to make their voting decision. Rather they will vote for one of their neighbors who displays "good character and capacity for governance." The underlying premise is that if the better people are called into governance, better decisions for society will result.


Each citizen for decide for him- or herself what constitutes "good character." When casting a vote, some voters will prefer representatives who are approachable and friendly. Some will prefer intellect and critical thinking. Some voters will prefer being relatively free of the various vices--thus being able to give more attention to governance. Some will look at the positive life examples such as career or family. Some will look at previous community service as being important. Even though "good character" is not precisely defined, when good character is actively sought out as a reason to vote for someone, most elected  representatives will be people of good character--and the public will recognize this attribute of the TDG.   


And each citizen would decide for him- or herself what constitutes "capacity for governance." Perhaps the best example is how has the current neighborhood representative taken on the responsibilities in his or her one-year term. Does he like this volunteer job? Does she hold regular TDG meetings? Is she attending other meetings in the neighborhood? Does he take part in lots of one-on-one conversations in the neighborhood? Is she showing abilities to get along with the various personalities and perspectives in the neighborhood? If the elected representative is doing a fine job, then he or she is worthy of the vote in the next election, but voters should still look around a little. If the elected representative is not showing much capacity, then the next vote should be cast towards someone else, and neighborhood is not beset by an ineffective representative for very long.


Skill #2: Shunning of Electioneering

Any neighbor who is wanting the job too much should not be voted for. If the person is always complaining about the incumbent representative--as if other neighbors cannot judge properly about the incumbent's good character and capacity--votes should go to someone other than the complainer. Or if a neighbor conducts even a minor campaign like "Vote for me, I will get things done", votes should be cast for someone else. Or if a handful of neighbors recommend voting for someone, maybe that recommended person should not be voted for as well.


For the TDG to work, people will need to be trained to recognize electioneering and cast their votes in another direction. There will always be other good people to vote for who are not electioneering.


Skill #3: Consultative Decisions

Western democracy teaches us that however we have come to our positions on various issues, those positions are 100% right. And people who disagree with us are fools. This polarization then sets up a democratic contest: Shout loud, shout long, make deals to get votes,--and win the right to implement our version of how the world should work. This attitude has to stop with the TDG.


In the TDG, you are encouraged to bring your knowledge, wisdom, and experience into any decision making forum, but you need to accept that whatever you have is still limited--and other people have knowledge, wisdom, and experience you don't have. 


The idea is not to get your knowledge, wisdom, and experience implemented, but to combine it with the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of the other participants. In this way, new solutions can be created that neither side could have thought of by themselves. But we need to open to find that magic. For the TDG to work, perhaps St. Francis said it best: "Seek first to understand, then be understood." 


Skill #4: Respect for TDG Decisions

Western democracy teaches us that if our political leadership reaches a decision that is contrary to our thinking, we can claim the decision is coming from fools. Even though we individuals are only working somewhat outside the issues and on an irregular basis, we are so much smarter than a group working directly and fulltime with an issue. We are just so much smarter than any group. And if we really don't like the decision, then we have the freedom to publicly oppose it and work towards to its defeat. 


The attitude must be different for the TDG. When a contrary decision is reached, the citizens needs to analyze how the decision was made: (1) the TDG found some pretty good people to put into its decision-making forums, (2) they were working with a consultative attitude rather trying to implement their own agenda, (3) they looked at lots of new information before making the decision, and (4) they are not attached to the decision--meaning that if it doesn't work, the decision can be amended or rescinded. 


In this sense, the citizen may feel: "I don't understand why this decision was made, but let's give it some time to see how it works."



Practicing these Skills

I'm going to be first to say that these skills are not exactly easy. We have been trained to think in an arrogant way, and it will take some time to shed our western democracy attitudes.


For those of us who want to learn these skills, the best place is to start building the TDG. For starters, the early TDG will not be attractive to citizens with an extreme, toxic, and negative perspectives of the world. Rather the early TDG will a gathering of citizens who are optimistic for the future--and realize that there can be another way to govern a society. The right people will be attracted to this social movement which makes the learning easier.


The first two tasks of building the TDG will be promoting the TDG in the neighborhood and writing up the local TDG constitutions. While the TDG constitutions are indeed important, perhaps their more important function to give a forum to practice consultation skills. In other words, if the consultation is good, so too will be the constitution. 


The early TDG will not interfere with the current political discourse. Its job is neither to criticize the current government nor give recommendations to the current government. Instead the TDG builders should minimize their political activities to put their spare energy and time into TDG affairs. The political world will move in its own direction without the TDG builders. But the TDG will only move forward with the TDG builders.


If the early TDG builds the right culture, more people will join and be willing to learn these new ways. The early TDG will transition into the middle TDG stage, which then will then transition to the maturing TDG stage. At this time, there will be some contact between the TDG and the political world--and the TDG will, with all its newly learned skills, will be mature enough to handle that contact--making it more appealing to the citizenry.


There will be a time when it is quite obvious to many the TDG is a viable replacement for governance. This is when the TDG-in-waiting stage starts. Further maturation and earning the trust and respect of the general citizenry is the objective of this last stage. Both the citizens (through a referundum) and the legislatures (through their legislative process) will approve of the formal transfer of power. Then all citizens vote for their neighborhood representatives on an annual basis.


These four TDG stages will take at least a decade to happen. We will need this time to learn the new skills--and make them an integral part of this new culture of governance. But without these skills, the TDG goes nowhere.









Doug Plumb Added Mar 12, 2018 - 7:01pm
If you ever created a fair government for Canada, one that worked for the people, you would be joining the ranks of E.D. Amin, Mohmar Gaddafi, Adolf Hitler and many others in the history books. The media and publishing houses would make up terrible stories about you and Americans would be lining up to bomb you into the stone age. It happens over and over again. All TV has to say is you have dead children in your freezer and you eat them. Everyone would believe it and your name would be synonymous with evil for all of history.
If, on the other hand, you were a mass murderer or committed terrible crimes against humanity, our governments would honor you. You would have a national holiday like Lenin (May Day), you would be honored as a great humanitarian like Nelson Mandela, or be remembered like Martin Luther King.
Its best to rape white prostitutes, burn people alive and murder by the millions if you want to be known as a man of the people. Tee Vee creates reality. Maybe you can even walk on the moon.
Really Dave, read Aristotle. He will explain everything in The Politic and its over 2500 years old. Nothing is new under the sun.
Phil Greenough Added Mar 12, 2018 - 7:23pm
Speaking from the standpoint of a conservative American, what’s so terrible about the current system that it needs to be replaced?  I’m guessing you’re a liberal, hence the desire for the replacement of our current crop of politicians.  
Doug Plumb Added Mar 12, 2018 - 7:46pm
"Speaking from the standpoint of a conservative American, what’s so terrible about the current system that it needs to be replaced? "
I have to respond to this.
(1)Dishonesty of press
(2)Suppression of free speech
(3)Education system that is more propaganda than education, in fact its about zero on education, even in math, but especially in English. People assume they know what the words mean. Kids learn The Monkey Religion to make them good communists.
(4)A law and money system that operates in the "Penumbra Doctrine", that is to hide the truth not distort it.
(5) Hide everything with cake and circus.
(6)Multiple wars and foreign occupations to implement steps (1) to (5) in every country they invade or occupy.
Tubularsock Added Mar 12, 2018 - 8:30pm
Oh Doug, you missed polluting land, sea and air and arming teachers!
Just when one feels they can’t make the system any worse they one-up themselves.
It is the only thing we have to show for bipartisanism in our “great” land.
Dave Volek Added Mar 12, 2018 - 8:48pm
Good question! If you believe that the current system is doing a fine job, then you need not become part of the TDG. But there are a lot of people who are not happy. I'm hoping they will consider the TDG some day. But right now I think they like the entertainment value of the current White House.
I'm at the stage where any publicity is good publicity. If it has to be said that there are dead babies in my freezer to get some interest in my book, let's go for it!
And there's no doubt that if the TDG ever gets some traction, there will be all sorts of bad things said about me.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 12, 2018 - 9:09pm
Dave, If you have dead babies in your freezer, BOTH you and your doctrine will be demonized. Notice how people accept International Socialism but reject National Socialism.
The peoples government is just a reflection of themselves. To change government we must change ourselves. We get the government we deserve.
Pardero Added Mar 12, 2018 - 9:10pm
Dave Volek,
I like your system. It may very well be closer to what the founders intended.
It seems as every group wants to be viewed as grassroots when they are all actually astroturf.
In a system where a Rep stands for many thousands of constituents, legalized bribery with obscene amounts of money, and a dumbed-down and distracted electorate, it is a wonder that it as functions as well as the chaotic mess that we observe. 
Perhaps the monied interests deserve some credit for keeping it running well enough to prevent a loss of profits.
Dave Volek Added Mar 12, 2018 - 9:47pm
The founding fathers saw what was wrong with British democracy and determined the political parties were a detriment. Many of them tried to find the words to prevent the parties, but that didn't work out. When the Madison/Hamilton/Burr factions started fighting, it was the end of the end of the political parties. 
Since I became non-partisan, I have only known one person on the provincial/national ballot to cast a wise vote on basis of character. Most voters are voting for abstract concepts. 
Citizens in my provincial constituency had a preference for a certain party, and that party won the election. But the party parachuted some hack who looked good in a suit as its candidate. He has since been involved in all sorts of conflicts of interests. The party has finally thrown him out. But we really don't know much about the people we are voting for.
Thomas Sutrina Added Mar 12, 2018 - 11:55pm
So Dave V. please explain why progressive (today liberals) when they got control of education stopped the teaching of the Federalist papers and Washington's farewell Address.   When these are added to learning about the Constitutions and Declaration of Independence a student will understand the vision of the founders.  A sixth grader learned this already.   Now high school graduates just learn a very simplistic understanding of federalism.    Your point #1 and #2 are achieved in America before 1890's by the above education approach.  #3 first paragraph was inserted by the progressives and is contrary to the founders teaching.  The division of power produces the second half of #3.  Again #4 starting paragraph was inserted by progressives  and is contrary to the founders teaching.
Seem that your seeing the wisdom of the founders and the folly of the progressives.   
Pardero Added Mar 13, 2018 - 3:06am
Dave Volek,
I see you have rebuttals to make and I may annoy you by going off on a bit of a tangent.
I have read a bit of your book. You describe a good government discouraging negative behavior which damages society and also wrote of farsighted governance anticipating dwindling resources, etc.
Without dabating whether or not a government has any business promoting the arts (I further alienate my base just by asking this question)
I sometimes like folk and old time country, plus pop versions of both. Repelled by Nashville's peculiar vocal affectations and stale music that sounds like bad 70s pop/rock with pedal steel, I discovered Canadian heartland type music.
The vocals are sung normally and the slick fake Nashville sound is not there.
I buy many recordings, with a label and wording, that indicates some Canadian government assistance. Just for an example, take folk/pop artist Basia Bulat.
In the US, we are used to performance artists flinging blood and feces, desecrating pictures of Jesus, or a combination with homosexual activity depicted. People are rightfully outraged at the use of their tax dollars and demand the funding stop.
My question is: How the hell does Canada get it so right, and the US get it so wrong?! 
How is it that you are producing in a genre that is called 'Americana' music, while we are churning out fake Nashville product and sickening performance art?
Say hi to Sarah Harmer and Lynn Miles for me when you see them.
; )
Doug Plumb Added Mar 13, 2018 - 5:11am
Canada gets it right ??? It only appears that way because Canada has a much more controlled press. Canada is far worse than USA for corruption. We are in all the wars too, but everyone thinks we are a peace loving nation.
Pardero Added Mar 13, 2018 - 5:58am
Doug Plumb,
But if the state must help starving artists, at least you guys pick decent ones. 
Pardero Added Mar 13, 2018 - 6:06am
As fast as your empty suit white Obama is alienating the electorate, it won't be long before things swing the other way and you will get a brimstone baritone like William Aberhart.
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 6:44am
There is a long history behind funding for the arts in Canada. Just to summarize, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a government corporation set up in the 1930s to primarily counter the American networks beaming their radio signals into Canada.  To make a long story short, there was not a "free market" solution for Canadians to get Canadian news (by radio) at that time. The powers that be feared an increasing Americanization of Canada. Private Canadian radio stations did appear in Canada, but the CBC had a coast-to-coast presence, whereas the private stations were local. And when television came into being, the CBC was there to provide Canadian content. 
In the 1950s, Canadian musicians were having a hard time making a living. The American musicians and their backers had marketing depth and economies of scale, so they found Canada an easy sell. With the experience of funding and directing the CBC, Canadians were to set up programs that allowed a few Canadian artists to find success in the 1960s. I'm not sure of the state of funding today for Canadian musicians. I think they are more independent than in the past. But had the government of the 1960s and 1970s not taken some steps to promote Canadian talent, there would be very few Canadian professional musicians today.
Why do we get these "socialist" thing right? That is a very good question. I don't have a ready answer for music. I have a little bit of knowledge of the social assistance programs in Canada. Circa 1970, social assistance had expanded in Canada, and it was a very hot political topic in Canada. There were a lot of people against welfare and were content to let poor people starve if they couldn't find means from family, friends, or charity. And there were too many people on welfare that should not have been. Abuse and corruption were rampant. But as time passed, provincial governments (mostly responsible for welfare programs) honed their programs to serve those in need. I know a few people on welfare today, and I would say that they are "unemployable." Some might be able to handle a 20-hour work week, but most have great physical and psychological limitations. And nearly all able-bodied Canadians will take on a minimum wage job than go on welfare. So we no longer have rampant welfare abuse. Most applicants use the system for a few months to get themselves on their feet again. And unfortunately some recipients will be lifetime recipients. Life is not easy on welfare, but it is not destitution. 
Any progressive cause requires some experimentation. The outcomes have to be monitored, and adjustments made. Then we have a viable social program that brings in value for the money spent. There is seldom a social program that gets it right when first implemented. I'm not sure USA has figured this out.
Maybe because Congress is so deadlocked, laws that have good intentions but require adjustment cannot get the adjustments. Hence, poor laws are allowed to flourish for 20 or 30 years until there is enough political pressure to make the change. Maybe the Canadian parliament and provincial legislatures are more adept at making changes. I think the TDG will be much more adept than whatever Canada is doing today.
Thank your for that question. It has helped me settle a few things in my mind. Writer Beat may not be the forum that gets the TDG going, but it is preparing me for that time .
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 7:21am
I should have added that social assistance in Canada has not been a political issue for at least a decade. While there is still lots of discussion on poverty, there is little talk on dismantling social assistance programs--even from the politically right!
Utpal Patel Added Mar 13, 2018 - 7:39am
How will it be determined when a voter is “less-wise” warranting his vote go to his neighbor?
Are you saying the less-wise person votes for his neighbor or are you saying his neighbor gets to use his vote?
Don’t we already have Tiered Democratic Governance?  After all, every election in this country is conducted via the Democratic process.  At the top in terms of power is the POTUS but there are also Governors and Mayors and all those legislative people.  That seems pretty tiered to me. 
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 13, 2018 - 8:07am
Our population is too vast and diverse for people to know the character of their candidates.  Knowing them personally is impossible.  You can only judge them by their past record and, once in office, by their performance.  Your premise is juvenile at best.  
Lem Bray Added Mar 13, 2018 - 9:51am
Good article.  Had to read one and make a comment to keep in the fray.  Glad I chose yours, Dave.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Mar 13, 2018 - 11:20am
Hey !! Nice to see you back !
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Mar 13, 2018 - 11:21am
No comment. You know that I approve your thoughts.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Mar 13, 2018 - 11:22am
Are you speaking of Europe ? We have the same thing going on....
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 11:58am
In the wise/less wise example, I was referring to western democracy. In either case, the voters seldom really know the people on the ballot well enough to determine whether they are of (1) good character ond (2) have some capacity for governance. Candidates depend more on the party marketing machine or the formal and informal spins on their character for their success in the election.
I have served on several boards over the years. It takes me about a year to figure out whether a fellow board member is truly interested in what I have to say or is just nodding politely while trying to implement his own agenda. Unfortunately I have a lower chance of making the right assessment in elections for I just haven't worked with the names on the ballot---and there is no way to tell in an election campaign which of them are more consultative in their approach to solving problems.
But with the TDG, I would probably know four of five neighbors who exhibit the traits I am looking for. I would cast my vote towards my preference. Maybe other neighbors saw things the same way I did and vote the same way. Maybe other neighbors liked my other preferences more than I did, and that person gets elected. If a good person gets in, that's the objective.
Don’t we already have Tiered Democratic Governance?
The federal (national), provincial (state), and municipal levels are not tiers in the TDG as all the representatives are elected directly by the people. In the future TDG, the municipal representatives would be indirectly elected by several tiers below them. And the municipal representatives might elect the provincial representatives, depending on how each TDG designs itself.
The electoral college in the USA is actually an indirect election. Legally speaking, when you vote for the president, you are actually voting for an elector nominated by the party. The electors, legally speaking, make the final decision. Somehow through some legal magic, the names of the presidential candidates are on the ballot.
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 12:00pm
Our population is too vast and diverse for people to know the character of their candidates.  Knowing them personally is impossible.  You can only judge them by their past record and, once in office, by their performance.  Your premise is juvenile at best.  
Right on! Except the juvenile part. We need a system where we have a better chance of knowing the people we can vote for. 
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 12:02pm
I am honored that you used my article to get around Autumn's rules. Any publicity is good publicity.
Doug had me freezing babies, but I think better publicity would come from wrestling rattlesnakes.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 13, 2018 - 12:50pm
I agree we do need a better system.  Strict voter ID with picture and thumbprint to begin with to stop the fraud of illegals and people casting multiple votes and voting for absentees.  But to know the candidates you have to put super strict rules on campaign advertising.  Right now it's easy to tell the truth about someone and make it sound nefarious.  Deliberately misleading and misinforming is how most campaigns are run.  Democrats and RINOs all campaign as Republicans, but then change their stripes the moment they're in office.  The people don't know what their candidates are even doing in Congress and both sides play the game of putting in add ons to their bills by which to hang the other side.  It's all so pathetically petty.
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 1:02pm
More strict voter ID will not fix the problem. And it seems strange if such voter fraud was rampant, there should be some government commission to fix it.
Rules on truthfulness in campaigning? It's hard to nail down what constitutes truth these days. This can be very politicized as such rules will or be perceived to be favoring one side. 
Why not just vote for someone in neighborhood who has earned your trust and respect?
Lem Bray Added Mar 13, 2018 - 1:08pm
Dusty, I would agree we need some changes.  Allowing a Majority vote to change the rules or draw the lines to give them greater power was a mistake.  We see that now so we need a Constitutional Convention to change the problems.  We don't need minority rule through obstructionism or through having the power seat so that nothing comes to vote but that which you are in favor of.  That is simply dictatorial posts.  Speakership and Senate Majority Leader.  Time to change the rules Constitutionally.
Lem Bray Added Mar 13, 2018 - 1:14pm
Dave, I'm in a Tiered Democratic Organization religiously.  It is better but not the best yet. 
At the upper levels it is hard to know who to vote for also.  The one I am in allows no nominations or campaigning. 
There are still those who want the "title" but are not up to doing consultation to arrive at the best solution.  They have already made up their mind and want their name on the solution instead of giving it up to the Board, Assembly or Congress and letting those collections take credit for a good outcome. 
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 1:31pm
In the TDG, those with fixed minds should not be voted for. We really need to get away from "It's my way or the highway mentality". 
In my mind, the most important function of an elected representative is their committee work for bills and legislation. Unfortunately I cannot see how these people operate and I cannot use the criterion I would like to base my vote on.
Only people who have worked with the individuals would know if they are worthy of moving up a tier.
Lem Bray Added Mar 13, 2018 - 1:41pm
That is the problem.  Once you are up to the 3rd or 4th level it is difficult to ferret out the manipulators of the system period.  Helps to have the training to put aside the my way or the highway mentality.  Still see the peacocks on stage occasionally playing to the crowd and not really getting down to consultation.
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 2:48pm
Consultation is one of those skill sets that everyone believes they are fantastic at. Yet the truth is most of us need a lot more training and experience. The building of the TDG be a deliberate attempt to create a culture of consultation.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 13, 2018 - 3:51pm
I only know a handful of people and none of them are running for office or know anyone that is.  Getting out to meet candidates is equally hard.  My only recourse is to examine their record beyond the propaganda their opponents create and that's alot to waddle through.
As for voter fraud I would say it is a massive problem.  California alone has over three million illegal votes being cast for Democrats.  I believe if we had the strictest laws to prevent voter fraud that there would be a massive shift in results for the better.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 13, 2018 - 4:17pm
re "Doug Plumb,
But if the state must help starving artists, at least you guys pick decent ones.   "
Which do you refer to?
Stone Eater- I suppose European nations are equally corrupt, France, Germany, etc helps with the occupations and invasions. But they have the same banks as US and Canada. All the banking is essentially owned by about ten families.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 13, 2018 - 4:30pm
Whatever TDG is replace Merkel with it. Next step for you, Dave, is to organize and carry out a violent coup against her.
BTW Do higly manipulative people have a chance for high office in TDG? ;-)
Pardero Added Mar 13, 2018 - 4:49pm
Doug Plumb,
Sorry for the belated reply. I hope you get back this way to see it.
I have a number of recordings by Canadian artists. Many are popular enough to not seek state funding though they could be considered 'Canadian heartland' music.
Without digging through stacks and boxes of CDs, here are a couple that I can confirm. Naturally, they are obscure or they would not need to accept state assistance.
Basia Bulat
Good Lovelies
Pardero Added Mar 13, 2018 - 5:03pm
Doug Plumb,
Add Ingrid St. Pierre to that list. 
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 5:07pm
If one is working alongside a manipulative person, it's not hard to figure this person out. Only a fool would vote for that person.
But such a person can hide behind a party banner or populist leader or a savvy media image and not show much of their true character. They can easily be elected in western democracy.
Pardero Added Mar 13, 2018 - 5:39pm
Dave Volek
and Doug Plumb,
Considered in an environment of bombardment and saturation with American pop music, often of dubious value and merit, it would appear to be money very well spent IMHO.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 13, 2018 - 5:50pm
I'm not saying funding art is a bad idea. I just don't follow art as much as I used to. I never did much, I just listened to music that I had heard and liked.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 13, 2018 - 5:51pm
I believe that I can argue ethically and lawfully that we are all entitled to a universal minimum income in Canada based on extraction of natural resources that are our property.
Lem Bray Added Mar 13, 2018 - 6:04pm
Illegals don't register to vote.  They don't want to give the government their location.  They also don't have drivers licenses for the same reason and run from the site of an accident.
Legal permanent residents are registered with the voter registration as non voters.  They have to maintain their addresses current so there is no way for even those to vote illegally.  Any voter fraud takes place at the polls by poll watchers.  Ballot boxes disappear from areas where the county clerk is of one party and the precinct is primarily of another party.
In the past ghosts have voted via poll watchers.  So if you are worried about voter fraud become a poll watcher.  That is the only way you can be aware of how fraud is committed and know what to look for.  
I'm really tired of hearing this bull about "voter fraud" because that is all that it is.  The system is too good in most states and only in those where it benefits the interests of the Clerk in charge of voter registration does voter fraud occur.
Pardero Added Mar 13, 2018 - 6:23pm
Doug Plumb,
See the Social Credit Party of Alberta (history).
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 13, 2018 - 6:29pm
Lem, I'm surprised you acknowledge that corrupt pollsters can cheat, but then say illegals cannot be part of it.  You also haven't been paying much attention to the news for the past week wherein Democrats have been acknowledging that they are making it possible for illegals to vote in their sanctuary cities and states.  I have a friend who believes sanctuary cities and states don't exist.  He apparently follows some of the Democrat deceivers who say socialism doesn't exist, the Holocaust was faked, and that Russia hacked 2016 election
Dave Volek Added Mar 13, 2018 - 9:29pm
Voting lists are never 100% correct, but they are around 98% correct. It's amazing at how some people will claim a few clerical discrepancies as evidence of orchestrated fraud.
All political parties have the right to scrutinize the voters' list and the polling stations. If they haven't got the manpower to effect this vigilance, they have only themselves to blame. 
It was claimed millions of votes were fraudulently cast. Yet there is no evidence or commission to find some evidence.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 13, 2018 - 9:44pm
No one ever contests the vote to find all the fraud and therein lies the rub.  Unless a contest is within less that 1% or something tiny like that there is no automatic recount.  It costs millions of dollars to challenge even one district.  The independent who paid for recounts in Detroit and Philadelphia after Trump's victory to try to take away votes from him ended up taking thousands from Hillary when voter fraud was uncovered.  Just two little districts, millions of dollars, and thousands of fraudulent votes.  Just imagine if the entire nation was audited?  Voter fraud is vast and cost to fight it extreme which is why no one ever does it, and this is wrong.  That's why I say voter ID and thumbprint on the ballot at the time of casting.  Computers today can cover the extra data rather than being used to cover up the data.
Dave Volek Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:18am
No one ever contests the vote to find all the fraud and therein lies the rub. 
If there were vast fraud, something would be done about it. "Millions and millions" of illegal votes-----and no evidence. 
I'm from Canada, but it is my understanding that both D's and R's sit on all these electoral committees to supervise, monitor, and invigilate the electoral process. The purpose of these partisan members is to ensure the other side is not cheating. If the R's found evidence of D cheating, they should bring it forth. If they were sleeping on the job, then that is their problem. 
Bill Kamps Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:32am
Dave, there is a difference between fraud, and error.  As we saw in the famous Florida recount, hanging chads made a precise accurate vote count impossible. 
As for fraud, it does exists, or at least has existed.  I grew up in Chicago and it was well known that the homeless were carted about to different precincts to vote multiple times, in exchange for food, drink and some walking around money.  All the aldermen had "walking around money", and they used it to get out the vote.  Its  not exactly fraud in the classic sense when a legal voter is given a few bucks for lunch, and given a ride to the polls, but then again it kind of is.
So why didnt the Republicans claim fraud?  A number of possible reasons.  One is that the Democrats were too powerful in Chicago, and the retribution wouldnt be worth the effort.  The GOP wrote off Chicago, just like the Democrats would write off GOP strongholds.  It is not unlike gerrymandering.  Both parties do it, both parties want to do it, and so they dont try very hard to stop the other party from doing it.  Both think they can win the advantage, so rather than stop the game, they both play the game. 
Is fraud big enough to change the outcome, probably it rarely is.  Again it is more like gerrymandering.  In party strongholds it  reduces the odds that viable  candidates will run against the incumbent. 
Lem Bray Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:53am
Bill, during the Daly days ghosts voted from the grave in Chicago.
In one area where I voted a box of votes disappeared and was never found.  Yes, there is fraud but it takes insiders.
Lem Bray Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:58am
Dave is right.  Fraud that makes a difference is so difficult it cannot get under the radar.  People will cheat at anything when motivated to do so.  But it takes things like poll taxes, threatening positions around the polls,  making it difficult to vote like only putting enough voting machines in the areas your votes are and making people stand in long lines the way Ohio did a couple of times.
The Goal should be to make it easy to vote while keeping the checks for fraud in place, including monitoring clerks of one party that does things to make it difficult for the other party.  such should go to jail.
Bill Kamps Added Mar 14, 2018 - 12:48pm
Lem, if by insiders you mean people at the polls that look the other way, then yes there are insiders.  Its all about that walking around money.  It is surprising how little it takes.  The problem in Chicago was that it was so pervasive and so routine, people didnt even think of it as breaking the law, when people were allowed to vote who should not have been.  The joke of it is that Daley probably would have won anyway, but he was taking no chances.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 14, 2018 - 1:55pm
As I pointed out, Dave, the cost of auditing the vote is as great as the cost of doing it.  Those in government are not willing to pay to have that done.  I have read far too many stories of pollsters stuffing ballot boxes.  The watchers on the other side can't catch all the crafty scams the fraudsters pull.  How are they supposed to know the person signing the register is actually the citizen who lives at the address they claim?  Hell, Al Franken won an upset because Democrats pollsters "discovered" hundreds of ballots in the trunks of their cars to convert him from the loser to the winner and give the Democrats a Supermajority that they used to screw the country with ObamaCare! Instead of claiming it doesn't happen when it has been proven that it does, why don't you jump on the bandwagon to make Voter ID that will actually stop voter fraud a reality?  
Dave Volek Added Mar 14, 2018 - 1:55pm
Lem & Bill Kamps
Alberta used to have an electoral law that all the pubs had to be closed on election day. This law was created because some contenders would buy bar patrons a round or two if they made a little trip to the polling station.
When I first started voting in Canadian elections, I just had to show up at the right station, say "I'm David Volek", get my ballot, and mark my X. And with such a loose system, there were instances of cheating. The party scrutineers were there to watch things and brought shenanigans to the attention of the electoral officials. Seldom did the officials overturn an election based on shenanigans, but the rules were changed to prevent further instances for the next election.
These days, one must bring in ID with a name and address on it to vote. The ID can even be a phone bill. Most Canadians have been trained to remember this rule, but there are a few who are turned back.   
Back to the 2016 fraud. I find it difficult to believe that all those R's watching the polling station would somehow remain unitedly silent and let millions of votes go to the D's. I'm not sure we can extrapolate the Chicago example to this election.
Bill Kamps Added Mar 14, 2018 - 2:01pm
Dave, my point was not that instances like Chicago are common, but they did exist.  Philadelphia and New York had instances at other times in history. 
My larger point is that we assume the parties keep each other honest, in a general sense, but often they enable each other because they  think they can play the game better than the other party.  Just because the other party is there to monitor the situation, doesnt mean it prevents fraud.  Just as the parties enable each other  with gerrymandering.
I think mistakes, and some fraud happen.  It is foolish to say it doesnt go on.  But compared to the number of votes cast, it is relatively rare. 
Dave Volek Added Mar 14, 2018 - 2:15pm
I hope my last post answers the question. In Canadian elections, one must bring in ID. I'm in total agreement with that, even if it means turning 2% of voters away.
As I have said in my last post, elections are seldom overturned. It's very difficult to prove shenanigans in a court of law. But rules can be changed to prevent further shenanigans or perceived shenanigans. But it still is up to the parties to make the case that they were cheated.
From my understanding the 2016 election, Mr. Trump did not have much of a ground team in place on election day. This meant very few R scrutineers to watch the process. If the D's indeed brought millions of illegal voters, where are all the R scrutineers to make their case that fraud had occurred? Sorry, but I'm not buying this story just because you and Mr. Trump say it happened.
As for your Franken example, missing ballot boxes can be effectively challenged by having the poll workers and the scrutineers sign a sheet after counting the ballots (i.e. this box has 417 D's and 387 R's). That sheet is then taken to the head poll worker. In this way, there is all sorts of paper trail in case a recount yields 517 D's and 287 R's. If the USA is not up to these standards, then maybe we should use the words "banana republic".
And as Bill and Lem have suggested, there might be some collusion between the D's and R's to keep all the rules loosey-goosey, then USA is really no longer a democracy, right? But before I go there, I would like to get some theories as to why both parties would agree to this arrangement. The gerrymandering I can understand.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 14, 2018 - 2:23pm
Dave are being deliberately ignorant.  You completely ignore the fact that most of the voter fraud occurs in blue states where they can deliberately commit acts to undo Republican oversight.  The case in Minnesota to which I referred they got a Democrat judge to make a ruling to allow those ballots from pollster's trunks to be counted even though no one saw them being put in their trunks from the polling stations.  Obama had Holder refuse to prosecute some Black Panthers who had used clubs to chase of Republican voters from one polling place.  Another had a policeman take the ballots to a back room with a Democrat pollster, lock out the Republicans, and emerge to turn in the box without anyone knowing what they had done.  Machines record votes electronically with no proof of what the voter had actually done.  No one examines every machine in the country after the vote to be certain none have been tampered with.  Chicago is not the only place in the country where dead people vote.
That is why I advocate for the public to pay for their own voter registration cards that include a photo and thumbprint to prove when they vote they are who they say they are.  And all polls must print out a hard copy of their ballot to which they affix their thumbprint and these must be counted to affirm that the computer count is accurate.  The blindness of the public to the pervasiveness of the voter fraud that takes place in this country astounds me.  Democrats always deny they commit voter fraud, claim it is not possible, but for the past year have been claiming that Russia changed the outcome of the election with zero proof they could possibly do so!  It's psychotic.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 14, 2018 - 2:29pm
You are right, both parties play fast and loose with the voting system.  But then, Republicans lay down for Democrats and the media all the time because Democrats have run the show for the past century and Republicans must play nice or be publicly flogged.  California doesn't confirm voter ID.  They just take anyone with a driver's license and they give those to illegals.  Don't get me started on gerrymandering.  Why do you think it is Republicans who want voter ID and Democrats who are slandering them as racists for doing so?  Hint: it's not because Democrats are true blue.
Dave Volek Added Mar 14, 2018 - 2:38pm
Dusty: If what you say is true, then the USA has indeed become a banana republic.
Is there some cheating going on? Probably!
Is there enough cheating going on to turn the results of an election? Probably not! It takes a great effort to get thousands and thousands of votes cast in the wrong direction, then actually create an effective coverup.
Don't get me wrong. I think some of your suggestions are warranted. I'm surprised that the USA is still allowing people with no ID to vote. If that are rules you guys have come to, then you get what you deserve. If a party does not provide enough scrutineers to prove a massive voter fraud, then the party gets what it deserves.
If there is a collusion between the D's and R's not to tighten up the rules, then I could hypothesize that the R's are also cheating--and seemingly a little better at hiding it than the D's.
Did I mention "banana republic"?
Bill Kamps Added Mar 14, 2018 - 4:16pm
Dave, both parties collude on different matters. To keep out 3rd party candidates, to improve the odds for incumbants, gerrymandering, not complying with Federal work place rules, the sexual harassment procedure in Congress, the list goes on and on.
To imagine they would both play  loose with voting regulations is easy to imagine.  They tend to stay out of each other's way, in areas where the other side has a lot of power. 
Dave Volek Added Mar 14, 2018 - 4:49pm
I would still like to understand why the R's would keep these "millions of illegal voters" under wraps.
Lem Bray Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:03pm
Lot of fake news floating around re voter fraud.  Probably mostly from Russian Bots.  The business of Dusty's case in Minnesota.  What was the case number on that?  I have a PACER account.  I'll look it up if there is actually such a case. 
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:40pm
Yes, well you're right.  This is what we get for a century of people being duped by Democrats.  If strict voter ID laws were enacted and enforced I believe Democrats would lose over 10% of their votes where Republicans might lose 1%.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:41pm
Why Republicans would not contest the votes?  I think it's because most of them have been in Washington too long under Democrat rule.  They know if they step out of line the Democrats will smear them as they have been doing to Trump and none of them had the spine to stand against them as The Donald has done.  Maybe Americans will start getting Republicans in that stand for republicanism again and aren't just RINOs along for the ride that Democrats allow.
Dave Volek Added Mar 15, 2018 - 9:14am
So what's the next step?
Should we take the voting rights of anyone for voting D? After all, if they can't see the truth, they must be mentally deficient.
How about put them all in jail for treason?
To me, this is where your logic needs to go--if the Democrats are so deficient in moral character.
Bill Kamps Added Mar 15, 2018 - 9:22am
I would still like to understand why the R's would keep these "millions of illegal voters" under wraps.
I dont believe I said there are millions of illegal voters, that seems quite high to me. 
What I said is that both parties dont like to enforce the rules.  If the GOP gets hard line about the voters, maybe the Democrats will get hard line about campaign contributions.  Both parties play fast and loose with the rules, and neither wants the rules scrupulously enforced.  Both sides think they can exploit this lack of enforcement to their advantage.
As we both have stated, it would be an unusual case that the illegal voters cause a different person to be elected.  Most of the time the illegal voters are simply increasing the margin of victory, because they happen where the incumbent is strong.  Then is there any harm? well large margins of victory discourage competent challengers from running. 
Dave Volek Added Mar 15, 2018 - 11:20am
I think we are on the same page here. There will always be clerical errors with voters' lists, and too often they become explained as  fraud. There indeed may be some backroom "understandings" between the D's and R's about the rules and how to enforce them. But do they have a direct effect on the results of the elections? Probably not! But it would be nice to know what these understandings really are.
But there the claims of "millions and millions of fraudulent votes" have not been substantiated in any way. If the R's are keeping quiet about something, then that is their problem. And I have to agree that any smart illegal immigrant would not come to voting booth--even with false ID.
Bill Kamps Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:55pm
But it would be nice to know what these understandings really are.
Im sure the understandings are not formalized, it is more like, I wont rock your boat if you dont rock mine.  
With gerrymandering at the state level, there is real horse trading involved.  Even though one party will have the upper hand because of having a majority, they dont wipe out all the gerrymandered districts of the other party, why? because the other party may have the majority at some point or does have the majority in other  states.  So the party in the majority takes back a few seats, and calls it a win, but they dont take as many as they could.
For example, even though the GOP has the majority in the Texas legislature, Shelia Jackson Lee has held her gerrymandered district for decades.  Why? because killing it off would anger the Democrats so much that the GOP would get no cooperation from them, when they  wanted it.  Also the Democrats would then go after the gerrymandered GOP district in Minnesota, for example.
Both parties like that many districts are not contested, because it lowers their campaign costs, and allows them to focus on those few districts that really can swing one way or another.  Unfortunately gerrymandering is bad for good government because it allows in more extreme members of the party, since the primary is the election. 
Dave Volek Added Mar 15, 2018 - 1:34pm
I saw a youtube video on this topic a few months ago. With the gerrymandered districts, the election that really counts is the primary, where the candidates have to appease only the party members. The winner of the D primary in a D district will eventually win the election. Anyone running as an R candidate in a D district would be a fool for wasting his time, and hence the R's nominate poor candidates, which further increases the D chance of winning. Of course, the converse is also true. 
I was in Czechoslovakia shortly after communism fell. I got to know a few former communist party members (and they weren't bad people). In their country, about 6% of the population were members--and it helped their careers and income and privileges. Communist Czechoslovakia still elected their leaders, but only those 6% were allowed to vote! 
I saw a TV analyst do the math for the American presidential primaries. According to his calculations, 9% of Americans supported either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. In other words, 9% of Americans decided the two final candidates for the rest of America to vote for! I am wondering if that would be classified as feudalistic or communistic!
As for the R's not getting to the bottom of the millions and millions of fraudulent votes, I would still like to know the exact relationship they have with the D's to keep this quiet.
Personally, I don't think millions of fraudulent voters ever happened.  There were undoubtedly a few clerical errors and illegals voting. There might have been the odd poll worker stuff some extra ballots in the box. But nothing on the scale that was claimed.
Phil Greenough Added Mar 16, 2018 - 8:10am
“If you believe that the current system is doing a fine job, then you need not become part of the TDG. But there are a lot of people who are not happy. I'm hoping they will consider the TDG some day. But right now I think they like the entertainment value of the current White House.”
I don’t think the current system is doing a fine job, just pointing out that it’s doing a much better job now than when the Democrats held the reins of power.  I share your unhappiness, but nothing you’re suggesting is all that different than the current system.  Basically there are two competing schools of thought left/liberal/socialist = Democrats and right/conservative/capitalist = Republican. Your system won’t change a thing about how these two groups perceive the world and what should be done to make it better. 
Lem Bray Added Mar 16, 2018 - 8:35am
Better put would be those who are wealthy and those who brown-nose the wealthy in the two parties against those who want a better system that doesn't allow the minority government by the Wealthy using their suck ups.
Citizens United!  Yes, protect the free speech.  But we have a right to know who is speaking and whose benefit they are promoting.  Congress get off your ass and fix this.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 16, 2018 - 10:01am
[Dave, So what's the next step? Should we take the voting rights of anyone for voting D? After all, if they can't see the truth, they must be mentally deficient. How about put them all in jail for treason? To me, this is where your logic needs to go--if the Democrats are so deficient in moral character.]
Democrats are the party that endorses lobbies for every sexual deviancy, criminal's rights, voter fraud, and killing babies in the womb. This nation was founded as a republic, not a democracy.  Do you know why?  Because democracies always devolve into corrupt masses voting for more benefits for themselves.  People who do not pay taxes have no right to determine how they are spent because all they do is vote for benefits for themselves.  Voting is a privilege you must earn in a republic, not a right just because you draw breath.  Democrats who are rigging voter fraud deserve jail for treason!  My logic is excellent.  It is your leaping to erroneous conclusions that is flawed.  You are taking what is just and righteous and carrying it back to the left to make it totalitarian Nazism.
Lem Bray Added Mar 16, 2018 - 12:01pm
Stephen Hawking's final Reddit Post:
“Intelligent future AI will probably develop a drive to survive and acquire more resources as a step toward accomplishing whatever goal it has, because surviving and having more resources will increase its chances of accomplishing that other goal,” he said in a Reddit Ask Me Anything forum in 2015. “This can cause problems for humans whose resources get taken away.” His solution? We should all leave the planet and find new lives in outer space.’s-final-reddit-post-is-going-viral-over-its-ominous-warning-about-robots/ar-BBKdJAe?ocid=spartandhp
So, your way or the highway, Dusty.  What are you edging toward?  A Cambodian Killing Fields?  A Inca end to the Great American Experiment? (probably the same as the Cambodian Killing Fields)
You don't see your greed as the cause of anything in the future?  Did the Oklahoma bombing fall on your deaf ears?  For a time afterward some changes occurred for the better.  America Corps.  What is happening with America Corps?  What is being done to share the work and the benefit of the work whether the worker is earning enough to pay income taxes or not.  Certainly everyone pays the regressive taxes.
Would it be better to end all regressive taxes such as sales taxes and property taxes and replace them with progressive income taxes?  Go to a 101 Economics text book and look up "optimum pricing".  Wouldn't it be better to foster competition and let startups happen easier,  make bankruptcies slower, plant lay downs less because they cant meet their nut?
I think all you can see is the deduction and tax bill.  You don't see the benefits of your taxes or the work that is done to put cheap food on your table by those that don't pay income taxes.
Dave Volek Added Mar 16, 2018 - 12:10pm
In the TDG, there will be no D's or R's or any other party. The political parties must disappear---just like the founding fathers suggested.
Yes, my "solution" is a bit extreme. But it is logical: if the D's are so corrupt, inept, and of the wrong ideology, they should not be allowed to participate in democracy any more.
If you don't like that solution, then how do you suggest handling the D's?
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 16, 2018 - 4:26pm
Undo the Amendment that says everyone can vote.  Republicans were tricked into passing that to stop Southern Democrats from denying qualifying black landowners the right to vote.  It went too far.  Making voting a privilege to be bought and paid for rather than a right to be given without consequence again will eliminate most of the rabble and criminals who abuse it for their personal gains.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added Mar 16, 2018 - 4:26pm
The Founders never meant for the worst of people to use voting rights to take from taxpayers.
Lem Bray Added Mar 16, 2018 - 7:16pm
The Founders meant for us to govern ourselves.  "of the People, by the People, and for the People."  That includes those who do not pay income tax and only pay regressive taxes.
You didn't read the link I gave you from Stephen Hawking did you Dusty?  Stuck in a rut and unwilling to look at contrary evidence and analytical thought.
Dave Volek Added Mar 16, 2018 - 10:42pm
Thanks Dusty
There are a lot of people wanting to go back to the "real constitution". Very few can make the leap that voting belongs only to an elite of some kind. You are the first I've come across. 
I have toyed with idea of having only "wise" voters vote. But then we have to decide who are the wise and the unwise. No matter how I had cut the pie, universal suffrage seems to be the only way to be fair.
The TDG is universal suffrage. But votes really can't be bought by some kind of ideology or political agenda. 

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