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Carl E. Person
325 W.45th St Suite 201
New York NY 10036-3803
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TOP 10 LIST OF THE MOST-NEEDED CHANGES IN THE U.S.
1st Published on 12/16/07; Last Update: 09/14/08 11:00 a.m. vers. Q
I want to put into a single web page a list of 10 or more changes (I'm up to 13) that are needed to undo many of the adverse changes that have taken place in the U.S. economy and political structure, during the past 20 years, from the standpoint of about 98% of all U.S. citizens and residents. Many or most of these changes can be made, but I want to discuss how this is possible near the end of this page, in a final section. Needless to say, I need your help.
I am a lawyer (Harvard Law, '62), a member of the New York bar ('62, meaning I passed the bar exam on my first and only try), and a newcomer to politics. After winning the presidency of the student body at college (LIU, '59), I stayed out of politics for more than 40 years (other than some minor activity shortly after graduating from law school).
I have spent more than 40 years in civil litigation, which is at least a lifetime and a half for most lawyers in civil litigation, and I have spent more than 40 years in schools (as student, teacher, owner and program innovator), starting from nursery school and ending with college, law school and owning a school for 18 years.
I have a perspective from the foregoing standpoint. I now want to draw upon this experience and perspective to indicate 10 areas of needed change for the United States so that it works, once again, for the benefit of its human population, instead of the non-living "persons" including corporations, trusts, banks, off-shore funds, hedge funds, PACs, slush funds, partnerships, investment banking houses, mutual funds, closed end funds, pension funds, health-care organizations, insurance companies, real estate investment trusts, mortgage loan and mortgage servicing companies, charitable trusts, foundations, other financial institutions, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, and other organizations and institutions holding massive amounts of capital in one form or another.
These institutions are the modern equivalent of "mortmain" or the "dead hand of the corporation", which doesn't die or commit a felony and therefore doesn't forfeit its land to the King, but in many cases keeps growing instead. This is so especially with the church, which receives testamentary gifts from church faithful as they pass on to another place and leave their worldly bank accounts, stocks, bonds and real estate to the church for use in buying up more property and removing it from ownership and use by the human population. Merriam-Webster Online defines "mortmain" as follows:
Etymology: Middle English morte-mayne, from Anglo-French mortmain, from morte (feminine of mort dead) + main hand, from Latin manus — more at manual
Date: 15th century
1 a: an inalienable possession of lands or buildings by an ecclesiastical or other corporation b: the condition of property or other gifts left to a corporation in perpetuity especially for religious, charitable, or public purposes
2: the influence of the past regarded as controlling the present
Historically, society has tried to limit the accumulations of capital in corporations, especially church organizations, through the enactment and enforcement of "mortmain" statutes. In the United States, unfortunately, we went the opposite route, and gave corporate accumulations of capital the status of "citizens" and "individuals", enabling them to keep growing until they (or the survivors after a 32-year period of mergers, acquisitions and growth dating from the 1976 formation of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) have wound up ruling the world, with little that anyone can do about it, especially our elected "representatives", who understand better than most voters how hopeless our situation has become.
We have seen during the past 20 years how these organizations and their temporary human principals, which collectively I'll refer to as the "Ruling Corporations", take over control of the U.S. government and most of its institutions, including the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Presidency and Vice Presidency, the U.S. Attorney General, and to a great extent the U.S. Supreme Court through the appointment of a majority of existing Justices using a litmus test.
Not only has the government been bought off at the federal level, but most of the State governments appear to have been purchased in one way or another because of their inability to do much for the human population within any given State. To a substantial extent, the States have been crippled by federal mandates requiring States and local governments to spend money to comply with federal law. But where there is room for a State to maneuver in favor of voters and other living residents (as distinguished from the Ruling Corporations), the State can be counted on to slight the humans and do the bidding of the Ruling Corporations. The reason: That is where the money is. Humans don't count unless they (such as Rupert Murdoch, as one major example) control one or more Ruling Corporations. Someone has to pay for re-election of the State legislative officials. You and I don't cover their expenses, because our money was taken long ago by the Ruling Corporations, in one way or another.
Oh, yes, the Ruling Corporations own the major media, in case you haven't been awake for the past 20 years. General Electric owns NBC; Disney owns ABC; Viacom owns CBS and CNN; and Rupert Murdoch (News Corporation) owns more than I have room to describe (including Fox network, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, about 35 television stations, and MySpace, a new form of news organization). As I am writing this website, I have been reading news reports about how Murdoch's "liberal" second son, James, is being lined up as Rupert Murdoch's successor, and at the same time in Russia Putin has appointed President Vladimir Putin's successor, Dmitry Medvedev, who announced that after the elections in March, 2008 he'll appoint Putin as Russia's "prime minister". As to the Murdoch successorship, the 12/8/07 London Guardian reports: "Rupert Murdoch has confirmed a high-profile executive merry-go-round that confirms his son James as likely heir to a global media empire." In America at the same time, Hillary Clinton is hard at work in establishing a broken successorship to Bill Clinton and parallel line to the Bush line with whom the Clinton's are increasingly intimate, while Giuliani is working his own intimacy at the lower level of the Bush dynasty (through Bush II and President Cheney, a $38 million dollar cash cow for Giuliani in his quest to succeed Bush II).
"Concentration" is the word used to describe growing industry monopolization. You don't have to own 67% of all television stations in the U.S. to have a media monopoly. Owning a town's only newspaper and the largest television station servicing the town will probably suffice to give a media monopoly to the owner as to that town. When a candidate runs for office without the approval of the owner, you can imagine the kind of press the candidate can expect: little or none, and very little favorable press. The owner selects and elects his/her own candidate, and the public gets shafted once again. But what do you expect. Why doesn't the owner just run for office himself/herself? This is now happening. Instead of paying people like Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon to run for office, the people with huge (obscene) amounts of money now run for office themselves. Take Rudy Giuliani, for example. He has made about $40,000,000 during the past year by introducing a data-mining company to Homeland Security and Vice President Cheney (I was just joking in the preceding paragraph when I referred to Cheney as "President Cheney"), and for doing this one month later Giuliani received a $38,000,000 commission (illegal in addition, but who cares; what is legal or not depends on who is in charge; Giuliani knows, he was number 3 in the Justice Department at one time.
Anyway, let me get back to what I started out to do, which is to list the top 10 (or more)problems for U.S. citizens and residents which, if cured, could return the United States and its benefits and government to the human population of the U.S.:
- Stop All Mergers and Acquisitions Of or By Any Company Having a Value in Excess of $100,000,000, and Break Up Any Bank or Other Company Which Has Become Too Large to Allow It to Fail.
- Require All Imports from Other Countries to Pay Their Fair Share of U.S. Costs to Maintain the U.S. Market.
- Break up the Monopoly of the Major Media so that the Owner is Limited to One Major Medium (Newspaper, Television Station, Cable Company)
in a Given City or Geographic Area.
- 100% Financing of All Parts of Campaign for Candidates for State/Local Office.
- An Alternative to the Monopolized Media - Opt-In Email Lists.
- Decentralization of the Law-Enforcement Power of Do-Little Federal Agencies and the Awsome Civil-Litigation Power of the State Attorney General to Create a "Town Attorney General" or "City Attorney General" for Each of 40,000 Cities, Towns, Villages, Municipalities and Counties in the U.S.
- Cabinet Level Emphasis upon Self-Employment and Small Business and Support of Obvious Reforms to Make Self-Employment and Small Business More Profitable and an Adequate Substitute for the Major Reduction in Number and Quality of "Jobs" in the U.S.
- Direct Voting by Voters to Enact Desired Local and/or State Statutes - Ballot Initiatives or Referendums.
- Changing the U.S. from a Country of Ruling-Corporation Employees to a Country of Self-Employed "Task" Providers.
- Tuition-Free Equivalency College in Your Home Town (with Free Books) - But Does Not Grant a State-Licensed "Degree".
- The Key to Reform in Education Is Competition - There Is No Other Way.
- Court Reform is Needed in a Variety of Ways.
- Banking and Credit-Card Reform is Needed in a Variety of Ways.
- THE SOLUTION IS PERFECTLY CLEAR FOR THOSE WITH EXCELLENT VISION - HOW GOOD
IS YOUR VISION?
Stop All Mergers and Acquisitions Of or By Any Company Having a Value in Excess of $100,000,000, and Break Up Any Bank or Other Company Which Has Become Too Large to Allow It to Fail.
The reasons for this are that our federal regulators seldom stop any mergers because of statutes that are not precise. Instead of prohibiting a merger or acquisition involving any company having a value in excess of $100 trillion, or $1 billion, or $300 million, the statute looks to "market share". What constitutes a "market" is something akin to what is "beautiful" or "useful". Regulators will disagree. Regulators wanting large corporations to increase their control of the world will never see that a proposed merger or acquisition would cause concentration in any "market". To them, it seems, the whole world is a single market, and what difference does it make if a company makes airplanes, seagoing vessels, submarines, bicycles, shoes, skates or waterboards - they all involve transportation of something and are therefore in the same "market". It is this thinking by our paid-off regulators that has permitted almost every proposed merger and acquisition to take place.
What follows the approved merger or acquisition is a firing of Americans from their jobs and an outsourcing of the jobs to lower-paying countries, such as India, Mexico, and China. The stock market goes up because of the reduction in costs, the newspapers report that the "economy" is getting better, and the rich stockholders get richer while most Americans see their jobs, retirement and real estate values going down the drain.
Mergers and acquisitions directly lead to job loss, a decline in the standard of living for Americans, a transfer of manufacturing and intellectual property type jobs to other countries, and greater profits for the companies in the U.S. that control the U.S. government but are doing everything they can to steal the value of America away from American human beings and transfer that value to the Ruling Corporations. You have to hand it to them, they are doing one hell of a job, and without you even realizing what they're doing!
If you want to stop job loss, you have to stop mergers and acquisitions by the dollar amount involved (such as that no merger or acquisition or consolidation should be permitted involving any company having a value or purchase price of more than $100,000,000). This will allow smaller companies to be available for merger or acquisition up to a point, but will put an end to 98% in value of all mergers which otherwise will take place from this time on.
A related problem (failure of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros. and the threatened failure of Chrysler Corporation back in the late 1980's) provides a benchmark to start cleaning up some of the nation's excesses. The country's leaders should decide which banks and other corporations are too large to allow them to fail, and these same corporations should be targeted for orderly breakup into smaller, more competitive organizations. In other words, before putting the U.S. government in a position of having to purchase or finance the largest corporations in the U.S. or world, these corporations should be identified (which takes about 5 minutes) and then broken up into competitive units, so that there is no longer any threat that the government will have to bail out the entire corporation. Also, companies with a monopoly on the storage, search and retrieval of information such as Google should become a regulated utility with equal pricing available to all, unlike the present situation where Google requires the writer of this article to pay 50 cents per click for the same key word, at the same time, that Google is charging ebay only 1/2 cent per click, which drives small businesses out of the market and reinforces existing monopolies. Is ebay too large to be allowed to fail? What about Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer with a gross income per year exceeding the annual income of about 85-90% of the countries in the world? Also, as a footnote, it seems wholly unfair to taxpayers that these corporations that have contributed to the nation's unfortunate financial condition are to be rescued with taxpayer money and allowed to keep their ill-gotten gains. Why shouldn't the bailout cover the victims instead of the companies causing the problem?
Require All Imports from Other Countries to Pay Their Fair Share of U.S. Costs to Maintain the U.S. Market.
U.S. based companies move their operations to other countries to obtain lower costs of manufacture, and then import these lower-costing goods into the U.S. to compete with the goods made here at a higher price. The higher price in the U.S. is caused by higher costs of land, labor, taxes, housing, automobiles, infrastructure, military to safeguard this market and much of the world market, among other things. It is not unfair to require companies selling into the U.S. market to pay a fair share of the cost s of maintaining this market for them. It is unfair to place all the costs on U.S. taxpayers if companies in China are selling into the United States market and reaping many billions of dollars per year in profits, at the expense of the U.S. and its citizens and residents. We need to ensure that equalization taxes and/or tariffs are imposed on imported goods and services so that whoever makes or provides the goods or services to the U.S. pay their fair share of the costs of running the U.S. By doing this there would be an increase in demand for goods and services made or provided in the U.S., and a reduction in the demand for goods and services from abroad. Corporations selling into the U.S. market should be audited to ensure that they are paying the appropriate taxes to the U.S., or their sales to the U.S. should be stopped.
Other countries have industrial policies that allow them to strip the U.S. and its citizens and residents of a substantial part of their wealth, and the U.S. should adopt an industrial policy of its own. The reason that the U.S. has no such policy favoring the U.S. at this time is that the policy of the U.S. is to favor the multi- national companies by allowing them to prosper and the expense of the U.S. and its residents, citizens and small businesses, among others. It is now time to stop this trillion dollar giveaway program, which is bankrupting the U.S. and its people.
Break up the Monopoly of the Major Media so that the Owner is Limited to One Major Medium (Newspaper, Television Station, Cable Company)
in a Given City or Geographic Area.
In addition, the owner would be limited to no more than 2 radio stations in the same area; and to no more than 5 areas in the U.S., but only 1 of the top 20 population areas. This would permit 20 competing media companies, each with a top 20 city in its portfolio, and up to 4 cities/areas lower than the top 20.
Instead of having 7 networks (or is it now 6 or 5, I'm not really sure) select the candidates who are permitted (through continuing major media exposure) to run for President, we would have major input by at least 20 media organizations, and more candidates running effectively for the top office in the land.
States and local governments should try to impose these limitations on ownership. The voters in NYC could do this by a ballot initiative - see my website at NYC Ballot Initiatives for Examples of Local Statutes for Enactment by NYC Voters. There could be arguments raised against such state or local legislation such as preemption by federal statute permitting the concentration, but the State and local statutes could probably succeed in removing subsidies, government contracts, and tax benefits, among other things, as to media companies having a greater concentration than set forth under the State or local law.
This is a no brainer. Without 100% financing, we prevent rank and file participation by the public in running for office. I know. I tried to run for NYS Attorney General in 2006 and I saw first hand the problems presented for candidates who are not placed on the ballot by the several parties having status in New York State as a "party". The Green Party in New York State is not on the ballot because it failed to get at least 50,000 votes for the gubernatorial candidate during 2006, which means that to put any of its candidates on the ballot for the 2010 general elections the Green Party will have to put petition gatherers out into the streets throughout NYS for a 43- day period during the summer of 2010 to try to get at least 2 times the 15,000 required number of signatures to put a statewide candidate (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Senator, Attorney General or Controller) on the ballot. This is not an easy undertaking, especially when the major parties do not do this at all. It is merely an obstacle which prevents competition for the two main parties.
Getting 30,000 signatures in 43 days (not one day more than that, by the way) from a business standpoint is merely a cost, which is calculable but for the additional rule in NYS (not generally applicable in most other states) that a candidate or his/her party is not allowed to pay petition gatherers on a "per signature" basis, such as $5 or even 1 cent per signed petition. The cost in most states of obtaining signed petitions is a given, calculated at about $5 per signature. In New York this would mean that I would have to have at the beginning of the first day of the 43-day period $150,000 on hand to pay for 30,000 signatures at $5 per signature. Please note that this money is not paid to the voter who signs a petition. Instead, it is paid to a person (who is also required to be a voter, practically speaking) for taking time off from his/her job or unemployment to go out into the streets of NYC and NYC during the heat of the summer and ask passers by for their signature, and do so on a professional basis, taking care that the petition is filled out correctly and signed by a registered voter, who gives the correct address for verification against voting registration records.
Because NYS law does not allow payment on a per-signature basis - something which I know first hand because I brought a federal lawsuit to have such law declared unconstitutional - and lost - I as a potential statewise candidate in 2010 have to worry about raising perhaps 3 times the $150,000, or $450,000, to have enough money to pay people by the day or week (without requiring any given number of signatures) and hope that my selection of petition gatherers can weed out the phonies and fakes (who will take my money and produce worthless petitions costing me more money to detect and replace) and find honest petition gatherers who will work as hard for a weekly wage as they would when paid on a per-signature basis.
I have drafted a law for adoption in New York City by a ballot initiative for NYC voters. See Petition for 100% Campaign Financing Ballot Initiative in NYC. You'll see that I have provided 100% financing for gathering signatures to be placed on the ballot; for participating in a primary contest (which I was denied in NYS even though I had more than 25% of the vote at the State convention for the Green Party); and for trying to get votes on election day.
Through 100% campaign financing, you and I can be encouraged to run for office, without the funding of the Ruling Corporations.
The way I look at this issue of having taxpayer money spent to elect taxpayer representatives is as follows: I would gladly give the 535 members of Congress (435 Representatives and 100 Senators) 5% of the growth in the U.S. economy each year because that would maximize the effectiveness of the other 95%. It would be a small price to do away with wars for the purpose of keeping our war machine well fed and to do away with rules that give trillions of dollars of unnecessary "relief" to the oil industry and other favored industries, including the banking and credit card industries. Why shouldn't the government (meaning taxpayers) pay for the full cost of the election process? Why should I have to use my limited resources to run for office or go to the Ruling Corporations and sell out to them? It is this dilemma of campaign financing that has put the U.S. where it is today. The 535 members of Congress (from one election to another) have sold out the interests of their voters in exchange for the money needed to get re-elected. When already-elected members of Congress talk about "campaign finance reform" it is an oxymoron, similar to "military intelligence". Of course the already-elected members don't want campaign reform because they would lose their advantage and their office. This means that you cannot expect to get campaign reform at the federal level..
How else can we get campaign finance reform? Let's try the local level of government in NYC, with my 100% campaign financing ballot initiative. See Petition for 100% Campaign Financing Ballot Initiative in NYC.
What good are the above ideas if nobody is exposed to them? The major media for obvious reasons doesn't base news stories on ideas that would wind up getting honest legislators into Congress or honest candidates into other major offices (such as President, Vice President, State Attorney General or State Governor). The cost to the Ruling Corporations would be substantial. They would have to give back some of their stolen spoils - they would have to pay for their excesses - the savings and loan scandal; the present subprime scandal, the Enron scandal, the bank and credit card "statutory rape" of Americans thanks to the beneficence of President Bush II, as his first act when getting elected the first time (by the U.S. Supreme Court instead of American voters).
This country needs to have media that can provide important facts (or news) to the public to enable it to get needed jobs, healthcare, market protection from greedy, thieving financial institutions and others from the Ruling Corporations. One way this can be done is by having interested citizens and residents join email mailing lists designed to provide them with the type of news they want to receive. Small and medium-size businesses which join trade associations to obtain protection from unlawful practices in their industry do not realize that in many instances the trade associations have to remain neutral to survive. If they start providing information about the wrongdoing of their top members, these top members will resign and the association will lose their membership fees needed to survive. The solution for the smaller members is to join an email list which provides daily or weekly information of value to small businesses about state and federal antitrust laws designed to protect small businesses against the alleged illegal practices of major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and the other 98 general and specialty retailers, who force manufacturers to sell to these major retailers below the manufacturers' cost. This practice drives the small, independent retailers, jobbers and their wholesale suppliers out of business. They have to charge up to twice as much, and customers decide to buy from the major chains instead, where the prices are lower, until the competitors are driven out of business. At this point the major chains are free to, and generally do, increase their prices, but customers can no longer tell. There is no competitor left to compare prices with.
Opt-in lists overcome the nation's anti "spam" statutes which prohibit small companies from doing mass mailings to lists of email addresses. Large companies often require you to join their email list in one way or another, so that they can "spam" to their customers regularly. But someone who has not taken the time to create an "opt-in" list, cannot buy email address lists and spam messages to such lists, no matter how valuable the message may be. There may well be a political exception to this, but the gatekeepers do not seem to honor this exception, except when they spam.
I am trying to create opt-in lists through the creation of websites which give away valuable services without any fee. All I ask is that users of my websites allow me to send email to them (as members of my opt-in list). See my two websites, one offering an opportunity for you to remake yourself financially, by placing hundreds of FREE ads (2 to 6 words each, generally) describing what "tasks" you would like to perform for money (or for free or barter, if you wish), and the ads will remain "forever" (see the website agreement). Website users looking for providers of specified services can search for them using a ZIP Code radius from 0 to 50 miles, so that anyone advertising in the website has little or no competition, which allows a higher effective hourly rate than the same person could earn working for Wal-Mart, for example. Please visit my "myclads" (meaning "My Classified Ads" website) at Myclads Website for Making Over Yourself Financially For lawyers (and prospective clients or lawyers looking to find a lawyer) I have created a myclads-type website called "attydb" (meaning, "Attorney Database"), at AttyDB Website to Offer and Find Legal Services by "Task" or "Field".
If I get enough names on the lists, I will be able to obtain signed petitions through email mailings to the list, instead of having to pay petition gatherers to get the signatures out in the streets of NYS and NYC. As an added advantage, I will be able to ask members of the opt-in lists if they would like to run for "any of the following elective offices for voters in your ZIP Code" such as dogcatcher, superintendent of high schools, mayor, police commissioner. I can obtain signatures for anyone as a byproduct of getting signatures for myself. It is no more than a data lookup, to see what elective offices are available in a specific ZIP Code (when seeking candidates for office) and to add the candidates name, address, ZIP Code and elective office to my own petition before emailing it to individuals on my NYS opt-in lists.
Decentralization of the Law-Enforcement Power of Do-Little Federal Agencies and the Awsome Civil-Litigation Power of the State Attorney General to Create a "Town Attorney General" or "City Attorney General" for Each of 40,000 Cities, Towns, Villages, Municipalities and Counties in the U.S.
Law enforcement in the U.S. is highly centralized. At the federal level there is one person who has the power to authorize or not authorize law enforcement. This is the U.S. Attorney General, who is appointed by the President. Also, you have civil enforcement activities by federal agencies, such as the SEC, FTC, FCC, DOJ, EEOC, the bank-owned Federal Reserve and government-owned FDIC, and IRS. At the state level you have the state Attorney General and various state agencies. The problem is that law enforcement is discretionary, and it is too easy to prevent law enforcement when it is centralized, as it is with federal and state government, by paying the campaign costs for elected officials to run for and get re-elected to office. This process has resulted in broken campaign promises and do-nothing governmental agencies and officials.
The solution, it appears to me, is to decentralize law enforcement, and bring it down to the lowest level of government, so that we can have, once again, taxpayer-financed enforcement of laws that give rights to individuals. We need to have a new way to enforce the rights of individuals because the present way doesn't work, and individuals are losing their rights, homes, jobs, health and American Dream through the current political policy of non-enforcement at the federal and state level. The one opening, it seems, is to have law enforcement at the local level of government, but this will take a different type of agency or lawyer than currently exists. We need a single lawyer who can bring enforcement lawsuits under the laws now being administered (and not really enforced) by various governmental agencies such as the SEC, FTC, DOJ, IRS, EEOC, FCC, to name some of the most important.
There are 50 State attorneys general, plus one for each of various U.S. possessions. Thirty-seven of them are elected (including the AG in New York and California). Years ago, the State attorney general had the power to prosecute, but this has been decentralized for many years. The former power of the State attorney general is in the hands of prosecutors elected at the county level of government throughout the U.S. (including the Parishes in Louisiana). You see how effective prosecutions are at the County level of government. We have more people in jail (percentagewise) than any other civilized country. [The U.S. has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners.] I'm not proud of this fact because 97% of the people in jail for sentences of 1 year or longer were forced into pleading guilty, whether guilty or not. Our system forces them to plead guilty because of
- (i) the inordinate amount of money any criminal defendant would need to defend himself/herself properly - probably ranging from $100,000 to $10,000,000 in most felony cases (some recent notable defendants have each spent more than $100 million in their own defense, such as the Rigas defendants);
- (ii) the County prosecutors (acting as officers of the State - remember the attorney general origin of their prosecutorial power) have taxpayer funding to spend as they wish, to ensure that someone they prosecute gets convicted if he/she refuses to sign a plea bargain deal, and many of these trials are "show trials" for the benefit of the District Attorney who seeks relection and needs to get some publicity about how effective he/she is in prosecuting hapless victims;
- (iii) the County prosecutor is allowed and encouraged to bribe witnesses against the Defendant with virtual impugnity, whereas the Defendant is not allowed to bribe any witnesses; "plea bargaining" deals made by the prosecutor are the bribes which enable some alleged criminals to go free if they agree to testify in such a way that conviction is assured of some other defendant, even if such other defendant is not guilty and even if the paid witness is lying through his/her teeth. What is important to the prosecutor is to convict, convict, convict - not to obtain justice. Conviction by definition is justice to the prosecutor, even if the evidence shows the defendant is innocent. The prosecutor merely hides the evidence and get a plea bargain agreement from the innocent defendant (requiring say 2 years in jail) or the innocent defendant is forced to try a case which he can't win.
- (iv) the County prosecutor has different rules governing his/her professional conduct than the Defendant's attorney. The prosecutor has limousines, assistant prosecutors, investigators, detectives, police security and paralegals paid by the County, whereas the defendant's lawyer is often limited to a few thousand dollars (or about $20 per hour when counterparts are earning $400 per hour in civil practice); the prosecutor often takes several years and secret subpoenas to put together evidence that is too costly for anyone but a millionaire to offset; and then the defendant is supposed to be ready for trial in several weeks after becoming a defendant, with no money in addition; and the prosecutor can take all of the assets of the defendant at the beginning of the criminal case through "forfeiture statutes" which allow attachment of everything of the defendant at the outset to ensure that he/she doesn't have enough money to fight. Also, the criminal defendant is not allowed to examine paid witnesses under oath by deposition (i.e, the paid expert witnesses, who never heard of the events until retained by the prosecutor; depositions are important and a second phase of discovery in civil lawsuits for thousands of dollars, but not allowed when a criminal defendant is facing 5 or 10 years, life or even execution - what total unfairness. No wonder everyone pleads guilty and no wonder our jails get more and more crowded. In NYS there is a deal between lower NY and upper NY: In lower NY we get the crimes and do the trials, and then we transport our prisoners to upstate NY to be incarcerated there for 10-20 years, to create good jobs for the upstate residents, who (because of the dealings of the merger-acquisition/investment banking crowd in NYC) have lost their regular paying jobs and are relying on NYC to build more prisons in upstate NY so that upstate New Yorkers can get needed jobs.
An elected attorney general in each of the 40,000 towns, cities, villages, municipalities and counties in the U.S. would be a needed governmental official and competitor to keep overzealous prosecutors in check, and there would be a comparatively non-bribeable army of law enforcement officials whose primary duty would be to enforce the rights of citizens and other residents of the community instead of the criminal prosecutor's role of enforcing the duties of the same persons. A good "town attorney general" or "city attorney general" would enforce federal and state antitrust laws designed to protect competition and small businesses; and would enforce civil laws prohibiting sale of jobs, avoidance of taxes, voting fraud, bank and credit card fraud; and would enforce laws requiring minimum standards of healthcare, for example. These rights are not now being enforced because of the federal government's abandonment of their duty to enforce the rights of citizens/residents. Instead, the federal government is concentrating on giving away the nation's wealth to the Ruling Corporations.
In a town of 10,000 population, for example, I estimate that a good "Town Attorney General" could raise enough money each year through meritorious lawsuits against Ruling Corporations and others to provide free healthcare for all uninsured and underinsured citizens/residents in the town, plus a reduction of rent or real estate taxes, free broadband services, and possibly some dental care program for uninsured persons. See my websites at Town Attorney General Explained and my "election issues" website at My Election Issues Website for Local Candidates for Public Office.
I believe that a town attorney general can replace the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Justice Department, Equal Economic Opportunity Commission, banking and credit card regulators and other agencies supposedly working for voters and residents, but no longer doing so. Instead of having do-nothing agencies at the top (federal level), we can have active law-enforcement officials at the bottom, at the grass roots level where an injured citizen or resident can go in to a local office, talk with the new regulator (the town attorney general) and have a much greater chance of getting relief than trying to activate the non-moving wheels of justice at any of our federal "regulatory" agencies of today.
Officials, citizens and residents of a town with a "town attorney general" will quickly find that the hot office to compete for will be the town attorney general, with so much power to help voters and other residents, instead of hurt them as the prosecutor's office is heavily oriented to doing. Imagine having a local official with the power and incentive to help citizens and residents, especially if the office is available competitively with 100% campaign financing provided by the town. Even the prosecutor will want to become the attorney general instead of prosecutor. A prosecutor's reward is getting elected, but the price is screwing too many people. On the other hand, the town attorney general reward is getting elected and relected for doing a good job for citizens and residents, and improving their economy and lives. The prosecutor, on the other hand, destroys lives and the economy created by the lives before the prosecutor rushed in to destroy things. As an aside, criminal prosecutors ought to be put on a budget, to require them to prosecute where needed (with money being scarce); all prison sentences should be paid with taxpayer money put up in the year of the sentence, so that the public can feel the impact today of what the prosecutor is doing today; and a random number of plea bargained defendants should be tried to see if the jury would convict, and an increasing number of criminal cases should be tried until the plea bargain defendants no longer include innocent persons.
Cabinet Level Emphasis upon Self-Employment and Small Business and Support of Obvious Reforms to Make Self-Employment and Small Business More Profitable and an Adequate Substitute for the Major Reduction in Number and Quality of "Jobs" in the U.S.
The persons who finance and control politics, parties, candidates and governmental agencies in the U.S. are interested in corporate profits, and individuals fit in only as employees -- workers who can be bought and sold in the worldwide market through transferring jobs overseas and by outsourcing. We don't have any government officials looking out for earnings of individuals, which occurs mainly by "self employment" (or, if the individual wants to dress up his/her activity) as a "small business". Our governmental policy assumes that if corporations are well fed, they will take care of the U.S. taxpayer and worker. We now realize that this assumption is false, and that corporations are not American corporations any longer (such as Citibank) and that they don't have any concern at all about the ability of their American employees to earn a living. These corporations say, in effect, that in a free market there is somebody, we assume, who will find it profitable to take care of the American workers.
This has driven more and more American workers out of jobs and into (1) unemployment, (2) early retirement, (3) underemployment, (4) the holding of 2-3 simultaneous jobs, (5) self employment and the related (6) small business.
What programs do we have to help these individuals?
The answer is "None", as far as I can see.
But there are programs that can be adopted at the lowest level of government. I know, because I have created many of these types of programs. If you want to see some of the programs I have outlined or developed, go to my website Website for Helping Individuals and Small Businesses at Lowest Level of Government, at which I offer
- any willing town, village, municipality, city or county in the U.S. a tuition-free equivalency college (including free books and free remedial courses) but only for residents of the area, because the costs ranging from $1 to $2 per hour of instruction per student are raised by sale of life insurance to rich, elderly, under-insured residents in good health and willing to lend their insurability to the non-profit, local educational activity
- an increase in class, "job"-type employment of about 20%, by creation of a non-profit community employer of record to administer payroll for all the community's small businesses, self-employeds, and domestic-hiring households; the amount of time and money to be saved by the community's small businesses is substantial, but the real beneficial effect will be that the lowering of payroll administration costs and time will increase "job"-type employment by an estimated 20%, which is important because "job" type employment carries better Social Security benefits later in life than haphazard self-employment and small business, in which salaries and profits are often miniscule or non-existent and therefore Social Security benefits are much less for the persons involved;
- appointment of a "town attorney general" to become a little SEC, FTC, DOJ, AG, EEOC, FCC, FDIC, Federal Reserve, and other state and local law enforcement agencies all wrapped up into one person to enforce the rights of town residents at government expense; these rights relate to jobs, healthcare, voting, prosecutorial abuse, other civil rights, monopolies and restraints in trade, and other ways in which the standard of living, assets and opportunities are being eroded for residents by the failure of anyone at the federal or state level to enforce laws designed to protect the residents;
- a town-wide effort to put local residents onto a website - myclads.com - which will offer their services as "tasks" instead of "job wanted" keyword ads all for FREE, with as many as hundreds or even thousands of keyword ads per resident, with the ads to last forever. Upon reaching a 40% penetration of signups of residents able and willing to earn extra income through the offering and sale of their keyword-advertised "tasks", I will market the town's "task" offerings to the 25-mile surrounding area through radio, television, cable television and newspaper advertising. The website has a 50-mile ZIP Code radius search to enable a person desiring to hire someone to perform a task to find the person within the desired mile radius. If residents in the initial town start to prosper from this activity, as they should ($100 to $200 per day, 5 days per week or $25,000 to $50,000 per year, on the average), the adjoining towns will include their own residents and this new type of employment, as a replace for the increasingly troublesome and unworkable "job" employment, will take hold and we will have a way for individuals to earn a living in competition with the rapacious corporations who are increasingly earning their living by exploiting workers in other countries and selling their goods in the U.S. (to the employees they fired or would like to fire) at highly profitable prices.
- Other local reforms - just look at the website My election-issues-us.com Website.
Direct Voting by Voters to Enact Desired Local and/or State Statutes - Ballot Initiatives or Referendums.
When legislators and other elected officials are put there by the Ruling Corporations, voters can't expect to see anything favorable from their elected representatives. You can see this for yourself, even though you may need someone to point it out to you from time to time. The Republicans and Democrats are doing the same thing, which is denying voters what they want and deserve. The reason is that the voters are not electing the representatives. The voters get to choose between Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee, and it makes very little difference to the Ruling Corporations who wins. They eagerly provide funds and opportunity to both Democrats and Republicans, even when vying for the same office.
Republicans and Democrats have party platforms with promises to the voters, but we know from experience that nothing happens, other than political payoffs to a fringe group that made election possible. The rank and file voters do not get paid off. That's the way the system now works. They have no other place to go, so their vote is assumed, and the payoffs go to the fringe, to keep them there for the next election.
Imagine if you could have a set of promises put into statutory form and when voters voted for the "candidate" (i.e., ballot initiative) the promised reform would automatically be implemented. That is what you have with a ballot initiative. Take a look at my proposed ballot initiatives at Petition for 100% Campaign Financing Ballot Initiative in NYC.
Instead of having phony candidates, we as voters should have specific statutes to vote on, and the law in NYS surprisingly (because it is based in the NYS Constitution) allows voters to enact legislation at the local level. Thus, in NYC all we need to do is to get 30,000 signatures on a petition, present it to the local legislature (e.g., NYC Council) and if is rejected by the local legislature, get 15,000 more signatures (or 30,000 to be sure) and put the ballot initiative on the ballot. If voters approve it by a bare majority of votes, the statute is enacted, and the voters obtain immediately what they voted for. This seems to be a much better way for voters than electing crooked politicians to office.
I am looking for volunteers to make this happen in NYC, and to have me become NYC Attorney General by voter enactment of one of my ballot initiatives. You can reach me at E-Mail Your Willingness to Help in Reforming Politics in NYC.
Changing the U.S. from a Country of Ruling-Corporation Employees to a Country of Self-Employed
As the major corporations have grown, the number of U.S. employees has dwindled in total and in percentage; the compensation paid to the remaining rank and file employees has been substantially reduced; the benefits paid to the rank and file employees has been reduced to virtually nothing in many instances; the profits have skyrocketed for the Ruling Corporations and the compensation for the potentates at the top of the Ruling Corporations has grown way beyond obscene.
There are now enough of us in the U.S. to be a critical mass to change the way employment is taking place. No statute is needed. The persons who make up this critical mass include yours truly (a self-employed attorney, entrepreneur and populist candidate), the nation's unemployed, underemployed, employed with no benefits; employed at any of the top 100 (major) retailers; unemployed veterans; ex-prisoners; retired persons unable to live on their less-than promised pension; retired persons looking for something different; high school and college graduates unable to obtain a job; high school, trade school and college and university students still in school who want part-time employment; persons already self-employed; and others wanting to supplement their income - and others. We number between 50 million and 80 million, I suspect, probably more.
Imagine if your town allowed you to register at town hall (for posting on your town's website) each and every task you were willing to perform, for money (presumably, but you could also seek experience, excitement, barter or volunteer work). Let's say you can think of 300 things you would like to do for money (such as assemble IKEA furniture; replace failed lights in a car dashboard, change storm windows; list household or office items on ebay; take care of an elderly citizen; tutor someone in quantum mechanics, or any number of other tasks that you believe someone in the logical area for your services would want. Then assume that the town allowed everyone within 50 miles of the town (or beyond) to search the database looking for someone to perform such a task. For example, I might need someone who can help me comply with the NYS Campaign Financing Law (a terribly complicated law and related software that takes about 60 pages of text to explain) or someone who can advise me on what telephone I could purchase which would allow at least 2 lines and allow an answering machine to be attached; or who could advise me on using "web 2.0" to market my widgets throughout the U.S. or beyond.
I have created such a website for use in any part of the U.S. and other English-speaking countries. You are allowed to place as many ads as you want on the website for FREE, and the ads will remain "forever" (subject to the rules, of course), so that you can create ads to re-define yourself economically by offering hundreds of different "tasks" that you feel you are competent or would like to do (presumably for pay), together with your own landing page for each ad, if you wish, further describing what you mean by the 2-6 word ad which attracted a visitor to the website. For example, your ad might be "assemble IKEA desks or other furniture". A user wanting to find someone within, say, 10 miles of the user's office would search for "assemble IKEA" or "assemble furniture" and put in a ZIP Code radius of 10 miles.
Also, anyone throughout the country (or elsewhere in the world) is encouraged to place "wanted" ads to seek individuals willing to perform the task described in the ad. Thus, myclads creates a two-way market, for individuals offering to perform tasks, and for anyone (including corporations) seeking to find an individual to perform a described task.
In this hypothetical town, there would be purchasers from a 50-mile radius giving money to residents of the town. Residents of the adjoining towns would start wondering why they too didn't have the opportunity to offer their own tasks.
The answer is that they do. My website is available for all of the 40,000 towns, villages, cities, hamlets, municipalities and counties in the U.S., and the service is FREE. I'm trying to build my opt-in list, remember?
Imagine a town that has its residents making money! I am trying to find a test town (population between 3,000 and 7,500) to start my website moving by registering 40% or more of the eligible persons in the town. I view this 40% as critical mass for the town, and if I get the 40% I can start advertising the website in adjoining towns and bring money from outside of the test town into the town itself, together with the business which will come in from the test town itself.
I see my website growing on a grass roots basis, and creating an antidote to the poison that is being administered by the 100 top retailers, who destroy existing small businesses, reduce the labor rate, and haul the proceeds out of town while creating additional costs on the town (such as healthcare costs for the employees who are paid poverty wages and virtually no benefits).
Having a prosperous town will create a prosperous middle class and create persons willing and financially able to devote time to politics, especially if the town will finance their campaign for election (and re-election).
Take a look at this revolutionary website, which is hopefully going to change citizens and residents from unerpaid, unwanted, exploited "employees" of the Ruling Corporations into self-employed persons doing what they want to do at an effective rate per hour several (or more) times greater than if they worked for any of the top 100 retailers. Go to Myclads - Unlimited "Forever" FREE Advertising to Makeover Yourself Financially.
Note: The U.S. economy needs to have more than providers of services, and my effort to have individuals offer their "tasks" is an effort to provide greater opportunity and a higher standard of living for individuals who seek more income for a variety of reasons, such as unemployment, under employment and low-paying employment. My "task" solution does not automatically create the needed businesses and employment for manufacturing, which the U.S. needs to build up once again. Yet, my "task" orientation should enable new manufacturing businesses to get started by enabling the needed skills to be located and assembled at a lower cost than through traditional "employment". Individuals who start out offering tasks may well turn to manufacturing, and using unemployed and underemployed individuals in the U.S. to get started. An example would be someone who wants to buy and resell used cars might decide he/she could go into the business of remanufacturing used cars, through systematic replacement of specified parts, to bring the used cars up to a level at which reliability can be warranted and certified. The U.S. has a huge base of unemployed and underemployed individuals waiting for an opportunity to get back into manufacturing. A huge market exists, I believe, for courses and programs to be offered and taught in the nation's proprietary schools, vocational schools, community (2-year) colleges, and colleges and universities for a new type of manufacturing for the U.S. taking into account the changing world competitive factors, and of course making liberal use of "task" hiring (which is a form of outsourcing of a local business to find specialized, temporary or task-type help within the U.S.).
Tuition-Free Equivalency College in Your Home Town (with Free Books) - But Does Not Grant a State-Licensed "Degree".
As I stated above, I have had about 40 years of experience with schools, and understand the school business better than most persons. Also, I'm an antitrust lawyer (as is Joel I. Klein, Chancellor of NYC's Department of Education). I know what's wrong with our school systems and many of you may not want to hear what's wrong. But let me try it out for size:
- The Ruling Corporations don't want to educate people so well that they will figure out what the Ruling Corporations are doing - it took me a very
long time to figure that out, but it does answer the question of why this country is unable to achieve excellence in education even though we can place
people on the moon and India can create a world-class university almost overnight. Thus, the Ruling Corporations allow the existing educational system
to continue in existence because what they want is a disfunctional system, with "graduates" unable to do the job, and the Ruling Corporations can justify
going to other countries to get better workers, or can justify importing better workers from other countries to do the jobs here at lower pay; and do not
have to worry about any sizeable group of American voters figuring out how they are losing their country to the Ruling Corporations.
- The teachers' unions have reached agreements of so much in compensation per week (similar to my requirement of paying petition gatherers, who have no immediate incentive to perform)
without having any required productivity for the week's work. In India, the government funded the 7 India Institutes of Technology and them left them
entirely alone, with no oversight or regulation, and the result was that these 7 colleges for computer technology and programming are turning out
world class technology experts who are getting jobs all over the world and are in great demand. In fact during the past year (i.e., in 1997-1998) the cost of hiring such
graduates has increased in India by 50%, which higher cost was passed on to the U.S. and other companies hiring such graduates. Until we can
create performance standards, we will just be throwing money away at the education problem.
- The costs of obtaining an education (even a bad education) are skyrocketing far beyond any rate of inflation. The reason for this is the availability of
student loans in increasing amounts, which the nation's educational institutions use to increase their tuition and other charges. On the other hand, these loans
are in dollar amounts (including interest) far beyond the ability of most graduates to pay, when taking an ever-decreasing job market into account. Students
and often their parents are being saddled with students loans that no longer can be shed in bankruptcy court, and do not purchase an education sufficient
to obtain jobs paying enough to be able to service the loan and enjoy a good standard of living. Most graduates and former students with loans to pay off
understand the problem they are in, but fail to send any thanks to Bush II for putting them (or leaving them) in this situation. The problem today is that the cost
of an education at the most expensive colleges and universities exceeds the value of such education for most students. What we need is a lower cost or, better, a FREE college
experience, where you can get the education, pay no tuition - or tuition so low that you do not need any student loans, and be more attractive to local employers than if
you had gone to a high-cost Ivy League college or university. See my "Free-Tuition College Equivalency Program" described below.
- I tried to solve the "incentive compensation" problem in part with a program I created called the "Personal Assistant Training Program", a multi-skills
program designed to create the skills needed by someone who would be the assistant to a small business owner. The graduate would be paid according
to the number of hours he saved each week for his employer. For example, if the graduate after his employment was able to save his employer 8 hours
per week, the salary would be $800 per week; or if the saving was 11 hours per week, the salary would be $1,100 per week. You might wonder
what would happen if the employer and employee disagreed on the number of hours saved. Before I answer that question, give it some thought.
What would the thinking of the employer be? And then what would the thinking of the employee be?
- Here is what I concluded. Assuming there is a market for jobs and for graduates of the program, the employer would determine how many hours per week the
employee was saving the employer. If the number was 8, then the job should only pay $800. If the employee was demanding substantially more, the employee
was demanding too much. The employee had to make a similar estimate. He had to believe that the employer was willing to pay $100 per hour for each hour
saved and not be willing to lose a trained employee by understating the hours saved per week. Thus, each side had to try to be reasonable and try to work
out the compensation. In due course, they would reach the right compensation or the relationship would be terminated by one or both sides.
- The foregoing is one way in which a school could create performance standards for its teachers, by looking at the results after graduation, and paying teachers
according to the results. I'm not trying to say that compensation of teachers is easy to solve, but there has got to be some type of productivity and
performance involved. Also, teachers who have rare skills should be paid more, and persons with rare skills especially (say someone who can teach
quantum mechanics) should not be required to have taken a mickey-mouse (sorry, Mr. Disney) course in education as a condition to getting a job teaching
mathematics. We have to review all requirements and throw out the requirements that work against performance and educational quality.
- Getting back to my Tuition-Free Equivalency College. Now that I know where every penny is spent in the school business, I know what it takes to create a tuition-free college.
The first step is to keep the costs as low as possible. I can keep the costs below $2/hour, as the cost of instructing a single student for 50-minutes. In one week, attending 15 hours of class per week, the cost would be less than $30 for the week. In the course of one year, in which a student has 16 weeks of 15 hours per week, with 2 semesters in one year, the total number of hours would be 480 hours per year at a total cost of less than $960, or as low as $1/hour (or $480 for the year).
- The tuition-free college would have to be streamlined. I have a way to raise money to cover the costs of educating the students. But the costs must be in the $1 to $2 range per hour of instruction for this to work out. I can't cover the $70/hour needed by colleges such as NYU and Ivy League colleges. Instructors would not have tenure. Most instructors would be parttime, and working in the industry in which they are teaching (to ensure the instructors are keeping up to date with the industry).
Also, instructors would be getting about $20 per hour (before withholding taxes), with little or no benefits. At various law schools, assuming full professors are paid about $200,000 per year (before perks) and teach only 3 hours per week - or 100 hours per year, the professor is getting $2,000 per hour to teach.
- In a local area, the employers would know all about the school and even have employees teaching in the school, where they can get an early advantage in recruiting new employees.
- The main question of the students and their parents would be this: Why would a local business hire someone from this local tuition-free (or $2/hour school) that does not even grant a college degree (because it is not licensed to grant a degree by the state)?
- The answer is that when a student graduates from an Ivy League or similar school, he or she may owe $50,000 to $100,000 in student loans, requiring the
student to make monthly payments of $400 to $1,000. Now the question is this: If you were an employer considering the Ivy League grad with a monthly
student loan obligation of $1,000 or a $2/hour graduate of the local equivalency college (which you know is providing a good education), which graduate
would you choose? The one who would be unhappy because he/she is not making enough to pay off the student loans and has to seek a part-time job
to make ends meet? Or would you take the student who owes no money and is happy with the pay he/she is getting, and has the time to devote to the
job because he/she has no part-time job to rush to every day?
In case you haven't yet figured out the solution to reforming the nation's educational system, it is the same thing that is needed to reform politics and the economy - Competition. Politics is non-competitive because only a few people get to compete - the ones receiving the funding from the Ruling Corporations. The Ruling Corporations achieve their dominance in what they are doing because of the lack of competition, acquired by such corporations by paying off Congresspersons to set up a business environment that does not encourage competition. For example, major corporations such as Wal-Mart are able to get small towns to pay a substantial part of Wal-Mart's startup costs, which costs are borne in part by the stores that never got a subsidy and are going to be put out of business once Wal-Mart opens its doors. The local town attorney general would put an end to that economic and political nonsense. Somebody is getting money under the table, and you and I know where to look. Just follow the money.
Using my 5% analogy once again (i.e., my willingness to pay Congress 5% of the economic gains each year if this would stop them from taking bribes - "campaign contributions" - from the Ruling Corporations), I believe that the civil court system in the United States ought to be expanded to two or three times its size (even if the court-system cost to the economy is 5% of the gross national product) so that the following changes can be made (and without adverse impact on existing judges and courts):
- Corporations such as Google should not be allowed to require anyone suing Google to have to file its lawsuit in Santa Clara County, California. By creating
this requirement in its "clickwrap" agreement to which AdWords advertisers are required to assent, or be denied use of Google's monopolizing AdWords
system, Google is forcing its customers to travel thousands of miles to try to obtain justice. Already in my lawsuit against Google I have travelled 12,000
miles (2 round trips to San Jose, California, with an additional trip to San Francisco coming up, for a total of at least 18,000 miles). Google has its
principal office for AdWords in New York, New York, my home town, but under existing rules this does not matter. The rules need to be changed.
- Corporations should not be allowed to require its customers to submit any dispute to binding arbitration. The original purpose of arbitration was to have
a less expensive way to resolve disputes. Now, however, the corporations have created a system more costly than the court system, with equal delays, and
are forcing their customers to use this costly system and pay 50% of the costs in addition. This prevents hundreds of thousands of injured persons from bringing
suit and the wrongdoer gets away with grand theft hundreds of thousands of time. Did you know that the "judges" in arbitration (actually called "arbitrators")
are often charging $300 to $600 per hour or more for their legal services, which is ok for General Motors, but not ok for me. I can't afford to pay half of $600
per hour for 3 arbitrators (i.e., $1,800 per hour) for 30 hours of motions and trials. That amounts to $54,000, with my share amounting to $27,000, plus my
own legal fees and deposition transcript expenses. In a government court system I have to pay a filing fee of about $500. This potential $27,000 fee is
something that the Ruling Corporations want, because it deters injured persons from suing them at all. A recommendation being circulated is that the courts
be open to claims that an agreement to arbitrate was procured by fraud, so that the case doesn't have to start out in arbitration. After all, which way do you
think an arbitrator is going to rule when faced with the issue of whether he/she gets to share in a $54,000 fee. The arbitrator has a conflict of interest and
probably will rule that there was no fraud, to enable the case to remain before the arbitrator or arbitration panel of 3 arbitrators.
- State courts should be required to let litigants use the federal rules for obtaining documents and depositions from third-party witnesses located in other
states. Without this easy, low-cost federal procedure, it can take a year before a litigant in New York is able to take a deposition across the Hudson
River in New Jersey. We have all sorts of interstate laws to facilitate litigation (such as laws reaching into other states to snare ex-husbands (usually) who
are behind on their support payments), and it would be no big deal to allow interstate litigants to use federal discovery procedures. In fact, it would tend
to reduce the number of cases brought in federal court.
- Also, we should get rid of the notary public. Federal cases have shown that the "declaration" without any notary public works quite well. The
inconvenience and cost of obtaining a notary's signature isn't worth the trouble, especially for individual practitioners like myself who may be finishing up
a document for notarization at 3:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning and can't complete the work until I find a notary public to witness my signature.
- Court fees should be lowered to a nominal amount. The government should be paying for the cost of justice not the litigants.The fee for filing a federal
lawsuit is $350, which is too high. The cost of filing a federal appeal is $500, which is also too high.
- Attorneys should not be required to make motions to withdraw from a case. The added work for the attorney goes without compensation and can amount to
5 to 10 hours sometimes, which is a cost of about $1,500 to $3,000, for nothing. If lawyers could leave a case without having to make a motion, they would be
more inclined to accept a client and go as far as the client could go economically, without being tied in longer because of this rule that the attorney cannot
leave a case without the judge's order or permission.
- Judges should have their contacts with opposing counsel done by conference call when appropriate rather than by requiring attorneys to show up
in court and wait on benches until the judge reaches their respective cases, one after another. Conference calls would work in many instances and they
would save about 2 hours of travel and waiting time for each attorney for that one conference, a total of $600 per attorney (assuming $300 per hour
is being charged by the attorney). Of course, this cost is passed on to most of the clients. The addition of a single additional scheduling clerk for a federal
judge, at a cost of about $200/day, would save the litigants a total of $30,000 each day. (I am assuming 50 lawyers per day times 2 hours per lawyer,
at an average legal fee of $300 per hour.) This is an example of how the deliberate creation by Congress of a scarcity of judicial resources for the
nation creates an unaffordable legal system trying to accomodate itself to the lack of adequate judicial resources.
- The federal courts have electronic filing of cases, with an emailed notice sent out each time something happens in a case. Some lawyers, such as myself,
have many federal cases and the amount of emails becomes substantial and difficult to administer. I have proposed that each week the docket sheet for each case
that I'm in be emailed to me with red ink marking any court dates or deadlines. In this way, I could review each case once per week without having to
individually download each docket sheet for the numerous cases in which I'm involved.
- The important thing to remember is that the courts
have become so costly that it is almost impossible for the average citizen or resident to afford to go into court to enforce his/her rights. Reducing the costs of
litigation is one way to help with the enforcement of individuals' rights, but another way is to have a "town attorney general" appointed or elected in each of
the nation's 40,000 towns, cities, villages, hamlets, municipalities and counties for the purpose of enforcing individuals' rights at public expense, especially
when the rights of many individuals have been taken away by the same member of the Ruling Corporations. I do not envision that the Town Attorney General
would ordinarily be interested in getting involved in routine litigation. Instead, he/she typically would be looking for cases where many individuals,
residents, citizens, employees, homeowners or small businesspersons have been injured by the unlawful activities of one or more Ruling Corporations.
- There are many more reforms I could talk about, but that is for another day and another website.
The banking industry is similar to the healthcare industry. The latter takes away your health through greed, and the former takes away your money through greed. Both lead to premature death of most Americans. The obvious fix for the healthcare system is a universal, one-payer system, in which everyone is covered. The obvious fixes for the banking and credit card industry require a little more discussion. Here is what needs to be done:
- The Glass Steagall Act of 1933 (also known as the Banking Act of 1933), repealed in 1999, needs to be reenacted and refined. It prevented
commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities, where the financial activities are more speculative. If banks had not been allowed to
venture into venture capital and other risky financial transactions, such as subprime lending and dealing in derivatives and securitized debt obligations,
the U.S. probably would not be in its current financial crisis involving subprime loans and the forthcoming scandal involving derivatives and securitized
obligations (because of their high volatility and inability to value). The banks want to speculate because they are in a position to get the U.S.
government (i.e., you, the taxpayer) to bail them out when necessary, while allowing the banks to keep their speculative profits. As an aside, you may be worrying about the near collapse of the home mortgage market, but this is only one-thousandth of the little-known "derivatives" problem. There are more than $300 trillion in "derivatives" decorating the balance sheets of banks, other financial institutions, pension funds, university trust assets and other investors, with the problem that derivatives are so complicated that they cannot be valued meaningfully. This means that, similar to the subprime mortgage market, that investments sold for $300,000 (such as a mortgage investment) may only be worth $150,000 (because of the decline in value of inflated real estate values). If $300 trillion in derivatives is only worth $150 trillion, then someone (probably U.S. taxpayers) are losing $150,000,000,000,000 - which is so scary that nobody wants to go down that road. The derivatives problem may be 1,000 times larger than than the subprime mortgage problem.
- The Federal Reserve is owned by the major banks, believe it or not, and it has obtained the right by statute to create and issue money, and charge you,
the taxpayer, interest on money that the U.S. government borrows. If the U.S. government itself issued the money, instead of the Federal Reserve, there
would be no interest to pay. Most of the federal deficit is the payment of interest on money borrowed over the past years by the U.S. government. The
Federal Reserve Act of 1913 created this situation, where the banks of the U.S. (now the international banks) determine monetary policy for the U.S.
government, which has been exercised repeatedly in favor of bondholders and other major creditors and against the interests of small businesses. The
powers of the Federal Reserve need to be returned to the U.S. Government.
Also, another problem exists in that ownership of U.S. banks is being acquired by foreign countries with the wealth we have turned over to them through purchases of oil and through our trade imbalance and outsourcing of jobs to China and other countries. This ownership of U.S. banks is a fantastic opportunity for foreign countries to buy up U.S. property at distress prices by foreclosing on millions of homes under judicial as well as non-judicial foreclosure proceedings. Judges don't seem to understand that when bank forecloses on a U.S. resident's home (in spite of the homeowner's charges that the bank has committed violations of law) that the homeowner's property is being sold at distress prices to foreign interests, who will hold the property until the market rebounds and then sell the property at a substantial profit, thereby driving more money out of the U.S. and into foreign hands.
- Banks and credit card companies (mostly owned by banks) have been allowed by federal statute (enacted for Bush II) to be exempt from state regulation
of the rates of interest they can charge. Under state "usury" laws, states prohibited banks and credit card companies from charging interest exceeding a
certain percentage. New York had an interest ceiling of 16% (or 25% for criminal purposes). See
NYPIRG PayDay Loan Analysis. Court decisions under state usury laws held that late
fees were usurious when, for example, because of a 1-day late payment of $20, a $30 late fee was charged. The banks and credit card companies
wanted to escape from this regulation which limited the amount they could soak borrowers. Bush II and Congress obliged them,
shortly after Bush II's first election, by passing a statute which preempted the state usury laws as applied to most banks and
credit card companies. The result was that the nation's banks and credit card companies started imposing interest, late fees and
other charges that added hundreds of billions of dollars to their profits, by taking away hundreds of billions of dollars from individuals and
small businesses in the United States. This needs to be corrected by enactment of a statute returning the regulation of usury to the states. The banks and
credit card companies complained that the 50 states created difficulties for the banks and credit card companies because of their varied laws. But computers
have made it easy for banks to comply. All they need to do is match the zip code of the borrower against a table showing what usuary rules apply, and
everything would be billed automatically. Of course, if control was returned to the states, the banks and credit card companies would merely bribe the
state legislatures to obtain an exemption from the states' usury laws, as to most if not all states. An aggressive town attorney general, or perhaps 40,000
of them, might get together to fight any such hypothetical efforts to continue larceny of this grand amount.
- A final question. Why are there so many bank branches being set up all over the United States? The answer is Bush II. He made it extraordinarily profitable for the banks and credit card companies, more than enough to incur the huge overhead of tens of thousands of high-rental store fronts throughout the nation through which the usurious tranactions are being run, and the hundreds of billions of dollars of usurious profits are being created. This alone has driven up the cost of living in neighborhoods because restaurants, food stores and other stores servicing local residents are being forced to pay higher rents.
The Basic Problems
I have excellent vision and can see pretty clearly what's going on. But I have to admit that it did take me several decades to figure it out. The problem is that the adverse political activities have steadily gotten worse over the years, but for many years we did not see or believe what was happening. By now we know the real problems, or at least you are not going to be shocked with disbelief when reading my explanation of the problems.
The media is concentrated (meaning relatively few outlets in any area, compounded by common ownership of competing major media) and the main media are owned by, or owe their allegiance to, the persons (including corporations, financial institutions and other organizations) owning or controlling vast amounts of wealth (such as stocks, bonds, real estate, mortgages, income-creating or profit-creating assets). This allegiance basically is to let the rich grow richer at the expense of the nation's individuals, small businesses, and others having little or no wealth or power. This is so even though the resulting governmental activities are harmful to individuals and their family members, their towns and social groups and small business interests.
The super-wealthy individuals and the corporations they control, and their highly paid enablers, have been able to continue and increase their conduct (which is further enriching them while impoverishing the rest of the nation) because with their huge and growing wealth they are able to designate who runs for major political offices and put up the money to ensure that they are elected. As we are increasingly able to see, there is very little difference between the two major parties and the major candidates because both parties are acceptable to the super-wealthy interests. It makes little difference to the super wealthy whether Giuliani, Romney, Clinton or Barack is elected. An obedient Congress will ensure that a President trying to represent the "people" will not be able to do effectively.
Again, I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know or suspect. You can probably spell this out better in your own words. And I encourage you to do so. But there is something I have which you probably do not, and that is an understanding of what we can do to cure these problems which are causing citizens and residents of the U.S. to lose their country, from an economic, political and social standpoint (including the loss of meaningful employment, adequate healthcare, civil rights and almost everything else that we hold dear).
Isolating the Component Problems; My Workable Solutions
As I see it, there are several components of the above problems that have to be addressed if any solution to the overall problem is to be obtained. These components, as I see the problem, are:
- Creation of a news medium in which information needed by voters, other residents, small
businesses, homeowners, employees and self-employed individuals can be disseminated, at the
lowest possible cost.
SOLUTION: My solution to this is for concerned citizens to create websites to attract users (by offering valuable services for FREE), and to obtain permission from website users to send email to their email address (by having them join the website's "opt-in" mailing list). Then, assuming the website is able to attract users (which requires development of another part of the problem - see my lawsuit against Google for monopolization - at Lawsuit to Require Google to Charge Equal AdWords Prices to Everyone - the website owner has the equivalent of a weekly newspaper (or newsletter) which can be sent to members of the list on a weekly basis providing information not being disseminated by the monopolized media. This list should be used to create an interest in helping out, through donation of time, money, ideas and personal mailing lists. Also, this opt-in list can be used to gather required signed petitions for public office, and to encourage subscribers to vote. I have already created several such websites, which I invite you to explore. The best one is www.myclads.com, which encourages everyone to remake themselves financially by placing hundreds or even thousands of FREE keyword-type ads on the website to list the "tasks" they would like to perform for money. The other is www.attydb.com, which is a website for attorneys to list the tasks they would like to perform for clients and the fields of law in which they practice law or would like to practice law. In both websites, users can place FREE keyword-type ads or listings to try to find the services (or goods) they want to buy. The opt- in mailing list used to communicate with (hopefully) millions of users of www.myclads.com should be able to help select good candidates for public office, and help to get them on the ballot (through gathering of petition signatures) and voted into office, in the same way that the major media in America push the candidates of the two main political parties.
- Creation of a new system of employment in which individuals can generate income for
themselves without having to get a "job" and rely upon Wal-Mart or some other major corporation
to decide what they should do and how little they should earn (in salary and benefits).
SOLUTION: See MyClads.com, described immediately above. By offering and selling "tasks", individuals should be able to earn more per hour than when working for Wal-Mart or other major corporation squeezing U.S. workers while deriving huge profits through transferring U.S. jobs to other countries.
- Create the opportunity for average, honest citizens to run successfully for public
SOLUTION: What we need is 100% public financing of election campaigns, starting with the expenses of trying to obtain a party nomination; and then with the expenses of gathering nominating petitions; and any primary expenses; and then campaign expenses. This can more readily be accomplished, in New York, at least, at the local level of government. New York State law permits voters in a town, village, city, other municipality to pass legislation by direct voter action, and perhaps the first thing voters should do is pass a local law requiring 100% campaign financing. I have drafted such a local law for New York City, for enactment by NYC voters through a ballot initiative. See NYC Ballot Initiative for 100% Campaign Financing.
- Create the opportunity for individuals to obtain more for their money when purchasing banking
services, educational services and other products and services.
SOLUTION: See my proposal above for a tuition-free equivalency college (with annual per-student teaching costs of less than $1,000, which can be obtained locally so that tuition is free) and my website for helping users avoid payment of late fees, at www.lawmall.com/latefees [Note: the website is not finished, and is going to be moved after completion to www.late-fees.com.] What the U.S. needs in the long run is a return to antitrust law enforcement and a restoration to the states of the right to regulate usury, so that the usurious practices of the banks and credit card issuers can be dealt with under state law instead of its current status of 100% protection from state law under a federal statute pre-empting state regulation in favor of no (federal) regulation.
- Have voters enacting laws directly to replace the current system of having voters elect
public officials who then pass laws turning over the voters' money to the world's largest
SOLUTION: Voters can do a better job of voting for laws than the legislators who have been in office during the past 25 years, most of whom (at least at the federal and many-state level) have been bought off by campaign contributions from the super wealthy. If voters have the right to pass statutes, such as in California and in New York State, they should start doing so, and focus on this as their main political effort, instead of worrying about which look-a-like candidates are going to win. See 29 NYC Ballot Initiatives for NYC Voters to Enact.
- Create a governmental agency that will enforce the collective rights of individuals,
employees, homeowners, citizens, voters, residents, and small businesses at taxpayer expense.
SOLUTION: I have written at length of what this governmental agency should be - which is a "Town Attorney General". I'm trying to become the "NYC Attorney General" - see my ballot initiative at See NYC Ballot Initiative for Creation of a NYC Attorney General - to Enforce the Collective Rights of Individuals at Government Expense. Also, see my website Website Offering Economic Reform to Towns and Villages.
- Finally, pass legislation needed to give healthcare and dental care services to everyone in
the U.S.; reform the criminal laws and criminal law enforcement; protect voters from voter fraud;
protect everyone from loss of their civil rights; deal with the energy problem without
being guided by the vested interests; start enforcing our nation's antitrust laws; protect
the nation's business and jobs from being moved to other countries; create a "town
attorney general" for every city, county, town, village and other municipality in the U.S.;
and to do whatever else is necessary or appropriate to restore the U.S. to its
rightful position in the world.
SOLUTION: If we can achieve the earlier objectives, you can expect a grass roots reform movement that will take care of the rest of the nation's problems. We have to start at the lowest level of government because the top level is wholly bought off and is too difficult to reform at any one time. Reform needs to start at the lowest level of government, starting with the most important reforms first. I have spelled out these needed reforms, as I see the problem.
Carl E. Person, Editor, LawMall,
For the c.v. (resume) of Attorney Carl E. Person, click on Carl Person C.V.