Sunday, June 9, 2013

Special Interests targets the wrong things. The majority still silent or don't know how Republic democracy works

These days I am very frustrated that the majority of the population don't know how to stand up for their rights. It seems like paid commercial special interests run the whole show.

Also special interest groups are not often not standing up for issues affect what the majority of people want.

According to a petition started in 2011 and went on for ten months petitioning to ban plastic bags. It only received 1773 signatures in this ten month period. According to the Census Bureau as of 2010 California's population is 37,253,956. Apparently it indicates either much of the population does not know how to get involved in politics or this matter is pushed by a very loud mouthed minority that has the power to force the politicians of such a large state to turn their focus away from what the people want to focus. Another example is the pushing for San Mateo County to ban the bag it only received 122 signatures yet interest groups used pressure and bullied the county to start an unprecendented move to not only ban it in areas under their juristication which applies to unincorporated areas of the county but to let cities piggyback on their EIR to make sure the ban covers as much areas as possible even some cities outside the county in Santa Clara county. Bags only account for less than 1% of all litter in many jurisdictions and is actually the most reused item in the house while other plastic trash are truly single use and account for a far greater burdon in landfills and the environment. Yet media often overhype the issue in order to bring a sense of urgency. They also lie about how an overwhelming majority support these bans while clearly the numbers above show only a very small percentage of the population surveyed. 

There are much greater issues for the population and the groups to fight for. I just don't know why special interests just won't help stand up for what the general population needs and not what they don't need. It seems like Special Interest Groups are busy making the government work against the majority of its voters. State after state locality after locality are proposing or being proposed by pushy groups an avalanche frivolous useless legislation that lack common sense or kneejerk reactions to extreme examples of less substantial issues such as Helmet laws that expand to cover anything on wheels that are not enclosed and now even skis, Bans on takeout bags, containers, cups, utensils, water bottles, fast food, toys in meals, lightbulbs, licensing pets other than dogs, severely limiting kind and number of pets, engine idling, banning safety tested fireworks, fireplace use, curfews, primary seatbelt laws, school lunches, roadway lane use, headlight use, soda sizes, smoking at home, nannys and babysitters, cellphones, piercing and tattooing, the list goes on and on.
Too much frivolous legislation also severely tie up the system and causes more and more distractions that causes an inefficient government system. We already see its consequences particularly in the Liberal States such as California and New York. The two states also has the highest and worst deficits in the country apparently by excessive high cost liberal driven goals. There are plenty of legislation that need to be fixed, antiquated legislation that either need to be adjusted to the times and removed. Legislation that favors the wrong group. Not to mention it causes negative consequences in the very fabric of communities.

The worst issue is while the majority of the residents has issues with their government very few know how to make a difference to change existing rules and not let special interest groups push more useless legislation down their throats not only takes away individual choice but turns the system away from many critical issues.

Critical issues the much of the population faces is,

Universal Health Care with public option proposal had been struck down by big health insurance companies striking a deal with the government to regulate them but force citizens to buy private insurance instead giving them complementary choice for Medicare. Isn't big insurance companies the largest culprit for the medical care crisis in the US? This legislation only help to embolden their monopolistic power and control over healthcare for the masses. The crisis has always been caused by the greedy healthcare insurance companies controlling the price and access of health care. Many times good care is there but artificially made out of reach for the population unless they are willing and able to shell out an astronomical amount of money.
Lawsuit abuse "Tort reform"-Here is another pet peeve these days. Is how do we strike the balance between a legal system that provide the just amount of compensation for those who are in need and not be a lotto jackpot for opportunists. Lawsuit abuse had skyrocketed in many parts of the world. Many would say their country is the worst in abuse compared to others but in reality its been an issue in many countries in the world. It appears that there are an oversupply of lawyers with nothing to do therefore they get in to the practice of "ambulance chasing" to make a profit. In the end everyone loses big time except for the greedy lawyers. While Tort reform is being discussed in many governments there still has not been a good solution that would grant the right amount of compensation for those who those injured while not resulting in multi million lawsuit lotto jackpot situations. Probably limited punitive damages should be the first to be addressed. Lawsuit abuse have caused a lot of smaller businesses entities to turn belly up as well as larger business to merge with one another and becoming more monopolistic and less competition for the consumers. Lawsuit abuse also results in immunity clauses to be built in the legal system as an attempt to curb them from clogging the court system thereby severely taxing tax funding however it also prevents those truly harmed from seeking arbitration and just compensation as many legal systems places immunity sanctions to try to curb courtroom cluttering due to frivolous litigation. Its kind of similar to overuse of antibiotics and other strong immune system building medication.
Sovereign(or Governmental) immunity-
Speaking of the consequences of lawsuit abuse in the justice on the other end of extreme this is the biggest backward aspect of the justice system in much of the USA and its states. Sovereign immunity concept of old English Law regarding the King cannot be sued in his courts that had been struck down by our nation's founding father George Washington but somehow got reinstated by corrupt Supreme court judges in the 1800s. George Washington turned down offers to crown him king in the US saying that that the nation is founded for the people therefore we don't have an absolute unbounded power.  The original intention for Sovereign immunity in the eleventh amendment is to prevent foreign nation to nation lawsuits. However it should not had been used to hold government and its officials above the law particularly as the US is formed as a country without a monarchy. Though it eventually somehow became a principle to wiggle out of legal responsibilities when reckless actions of government personnel injuries citizens or cause loss of limbs or jobs, money, or property which all these rights protected by the constitution. Sovereign immunity had even been known to be asserted to turn down claims by injuries/damages caused by wrongfully arresting individuals, eminent domain situations or abuse, and even injuries and damages caused by out of control city buses, school buses, and trucks. Essentially government must waive this via a tort claims act in order to be held responsible. This, as with Lawsuit abuse needs to strike a balance. Most countries in the world had abolished this antiqued concept since abolishing their monarchy rule. For example Ireland Supreme court rules that in Byme vs Ireland case Sovereign immunity has not survived the creation of the Irish Free state in 1922 and the state can be held accountable acts of its agents. There was a reason that kings were very dangerous in the past and they were overthrown or abolished. The monarchy has been abolished or abandoned in most countries, countries that do keep monarchies such as England and Japan only keep them for show.  Don't know why this old English concept is still defended as policy in the US in the 21st century, with this concept any rights citizens have over the government is moot the government can violate and even harm with impunity in its courts. The only way to overturn it is to have as much citizens as possible gather to protest it. Sovereign immunity is also the reason people are afraid of socialized healthcare as they might be limited in compensation or rights to arbitration when things go wrong. Sovereign immunity also hurts taxpayers more than it protect taxpayer dollars as a person who goes bankrupt due to lack of just compensation or untreated due to lack of power to pay medical bills eventually would need to fall into the social security safety net and would depend on handouts to survive. Like anyone else the government needs to carry insurance and use that and not tax payer funds when things go wrong.

Pursuit policy legislation- Under affirmative Duty clause of the federal constitution the police have no duty to protect you if they did not directly place you into harms way i.e if police officers in the area saw you get beaten to death they have no legal duty to stop the assault perpetuator or rescue you from such an attack. The uniformed officers choosing not to get involved, just like any other citizen bystander would usually be acquitted of a wrongful death lawsuit if one is filed as they had no duty to rescue as they did not get involved in the first place despite the fact they were on beat patrol of that area. However if the police themselves actively places you in danger i.e arrest a couple's husband but abandon a helpless wife at night or places that are dangerous or where help is not available the police would failed in their duty to excise  due care and in this case they be held criminally liable if the woman dies or get injured in this situation. Though police pursuits are a sticky situation in the clause of affirmative duty which its the perpetuator that does the harm by shooting or ramming innocent people while trying to evade arrest but it can be argued that police have an affirmative duty if they agitated the criminal enough to cause them to kill or injury innocents either via weapons or the vehicle their driving or the police know that its dangerous to continue pursuing a suspect based on existing conditions to innocent bystanders.  Having said this the Supreme court of California turned down legislation to make police agencies accountable to justice if they fail to follow pursuit policy. Kristi's law, a bill proposed by a concerned mother after A Chico resident Kristi Priano was killed after her families' minivan was broadsided by a SUV driven by her schoolmate running away from home, was pushed but turned down each time its presented to the CA legislature leaving millions of state residents at risk. It is also important to push for a statewide standard not just local to local standard. Now the so called pursuit "policies" in individual California jurisdictions lack teeth aside from giving departments and their supervisors waiver from criminal prosecution(California penal code 17004) even if it is caused by their wanton disregard and it does not affect those who pursuit across jurisdiction borders. Afterall policies are just policies just like company policies and have no legal teeth aside from being a guideline for disciplinary actions within the department itself it would have no legal justification for prosecution in court of law.  Also pursuit policies don't apply to other agencies that might pursue a suspect through different justifications. An example of this involves a recent tragedy involving CHP pursuing someone who turned right on red at the end of a freeway ramp without stopping first, being the CHP was not bounded by the pursuit policy set by the local police department in that city at all, the car being pursued started to run red lights inside the city streets until it hit a car full of children at high speed resulting in fatality. The good improvement in legislation is that we have a set no fault state fund resource for those involved in pursuit related collisions. Therefore we need to focus on a state wide standard that actually have teeth on pursuit related issues and any tragic outcomes that may occur bring supervisors and those in charge to court if the laws are not followed and resulted in injury or death to innocent citizens. With plenty of ways ranging from simple radios and dash cams, to high tech infrared technology to bring suspects into justice without placing innocents in danger there is no excuse to place the public in unnecessary danger.
Funding the "unfunded mandates" - Here is another issue that cause a great issue is that government pass mandates without thinking about funding it. Money just won't fall out of the skies you know. The two major examples of unfunded mandates include the American with Disabilities Act and the Emergency Medical Treatment and active labor act.
The ADA or American with Disabilities Act was implemented 1990 nationwide. Its part of a global trend to make the world more accessible to handicapped individuals usually wheelchair or walker bound who wants to gain as much independence as possible. Prior to 1990 certain states have their own handicapped rights movement. Though ADA was a sweeping movement across the country that supersedes state and local laws. While its original intention is well though of, ADA due to lack of federal funding has caused massive cost issues for both public and private firms i.e transit agencies and commercial businesses, public buildings, etc. ADA also resulted in "lawsuit abuse" as known as the famous wheelchair lotto jackpot litigation. This has caused transit agencies to severely cutback service to those in the community who really need it.  A reform would involve providing federal funding for those agencies and businesses grandfathered in by licenses prior to ADA but somehow becomes subject to the ADA requirements due to renewal of license or necessary renovations. ADA related Lawsuit abuse as with any frivious legislation also needs to be included in Tort reform.
The Emergency Medical Treatment and active Labor Act Here is another unfunded mandate similar to the ADA that causes extreme burden to the healthcare industry which causes many hospitals to shut down resulting in hospital overcrowding and inability to accommodate life threatening emergencies. The original intent of the act was to combat the practice of patient dumping in which is the exclusion of patients who are unable to show proof of ability to pay first. While the intent is good there has not been included in the mandate for Medicare to cover the cost of such visits in the event the medical center could not recoup costs from the patient. Therefore it is important to lobby who to cover the costs involved with Emergency Medical Treatment and active labor act in the event the medical care facility has done what it can but cannot recover the losses of taking all reasonable steps within a appropriate time frame.
Other issues of concern
International shipping industry- These industries had been coveted by maritime law that had barely been updated since the wild west colonial and piracy era(Remember the infamous era of Pirates of the Caribbean) This coupled with the multi national nature of vessels which can be registered and where there companies are at to bring shipping companies from oil tankers, cargo transportation, and Cruise line industry to justice when things go wrong. For example the BP oil spill incident, Carnival cruise line vessel Splendor and Triumph catching fire and lossing all power in 2010 and 2013 stranding travelers for a week without working toilets, Costa Concordia cruise line sinking off the coast of Italy, Oil tanker sinking off the coast of Spain. The real nightmare is not the tragedy itself but the process for the those responsible to take responsibility for the incident. For example one vessel might have companies in multiple countries but register their vessel in a third country to avoid tax responsibilities. In this case its hard to know whos responsible for the investigation when something goes wrong. In addition when a oil spill happens out in International water it is hard for countries affected to know how to get compensated.  There also appears to be no standard of how to handle cruise incidents ranging from falling overboard or crime aboard apparently no one wants to take juristication over cruise ship incidents. This includes securing just compensation for those cruise had gone wrong such as injury, fire, sinking, crime, or cruise no sail. For now it appears cruise companies just get away with offering a free cruise in such incidents while keeping the guest's money however the guest might never want to cruise with them again what then. Its the 21st century we should not depend on 19th century guidelines as the world has completely changed didn't the lesson of the sunk Titanic teach enough already. Therefore the world, the United Nations, should really look at a way to standardize commercial vessel incidents i.e in the event of crime abroad or fallen overboard the vessel would be held in the next port for investigation by officials from the company, the country of registory, the port country, and the country of origin. In other words the suspect should not be allowed to leave the vessel and be free to go as they often do now.
Criminal record reform- Here is another issue that most of the population overlooks.  Yes one needs to be punished for their wrongdoings but however once they are punished they should have the right to a fresh start unhindered from the past. This issue is more crucial than ever before. While our states still resemble sovereign countries in terms of civil and criminal legal systems there is a great risk to unite their record checking system via computers this includes even driving records. This is especially a risk as the US tightens up its security after 9/11/2001 and strengthens its "war on terror." The US has forced Canada to share criminal data In addition to government eavesdropping on private communications while in reprocity treatment gives National Criminal Information Center, part of FBI, to Canadian authorities. The current criminal record system is quite a blame for "recidivism" a term when a released prisoner intentionally or unintentionally return to prison as they could not adjust to the real world as employers are afraid of them particularly when many job seekers who never been to prison have difficulty finding jobs themselves. These people sometimes end up seeking jobs in the black market such as illegal drug and gun trade or counterfeiting or product piracy just to survive and oftenor harm innocent people or end up back in prison. Or they depend on the social security system putting a burden on tax payers. The criminal record system basically hurts more than helps the community as a whole therefore needs reform. These people could had been an asset to the corporate world if it wasn't for the culture of fear that ruined them. Now the issue is greater as in some areas criminal records actually target minor non criminal infractions that does not even involve a incarnation sentence and barely even handcuffs. There had been issues where travelers had been denied entry from Canada due to minor incidents decades ago. Everyone makes mistakes when young or otherwise however that does not mean that person is going to be committed to a life of crime. A young person who had been caught doing drugs once doesn't make him a long lasting drug dealer. Some people were never really accused or were falsely accused yet could not afford a lawyer to acquit the charges others are the victims of identity theft. However information leaked to the border springs fear for the border patrol of who they are letting in their countries in some cases even after the record had been sealed in the state its kept. The worst is there is a increasing chance the information might be leaked to other countries as well.  We need to draw the line between minor mischievous mistakes that is correctable and not lasting and those who are  incorrigible no matter what punishment. In some countries such as Holland the a person's crime record is automatically destroyed after a certain amount of years with a few exceptions of the worst crimes. In 2010 the commonwealth of Massachusetts overhauled its Criminal Offender Records system to automatically seal most felony convictions after 10 years and misdemeanor after five years and prevent employers from requiring criminal records on official job application forms.There should be hard rules for what goes on the FBI's list such as only serious federal crimes or state crimes comparable to serious federal crimes such as murder. By common sense no one should have their life ruined by a "jaywalking" offense just because that individual jurisdiction overreacted and rat them out to the crime database. All fifty states have different laws on what is felony, different levels of misdemeanors, and infractions(some states don't differentiate between a misdemeanor and a violation/infraction therefore state records are very unreliable to be compared therefore should stay within that state same with driving and other offenses. Therefore we the people need to stand up and fight to correct these issues and not let our society down due to antiquated laws hijacked by modern technology.

There are many more issues that can be reformed which I cannot list them all. For example the new cell phone unlocking ban pushed by unelected officials in the Library of Congress controlling the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is totally against the will of the people of the United States even president Obama is wanting people to petition to overturn it. If they did not overturn it despite so many petitioners this shows United States does not represent its people and therefore no freer than those countries who oppress their people such as Russia and China. Other consumer enemies includes that unique requirements on vehicles sold or imported which is only made to protect the dealerships from competition but nothing to do with safety. Cars made to European and Japanese regulations which are actually officially under United Nation's World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations or ECE regulations are just as safe if not safer than cars sold in North America i.e US, Canada, and Mexico. Essentially North American countries now favor big corporations to gain too much control over the market. Though my main point is why we the people are not focusing on these issues and not let special interest groups make the legal system worse not better.

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