A First Second Chance

My first cousin Terry Saunders died a week ago.  I remember his Corvette when I was quite little. Two weeks before he died I had a stark reminder of my own mortality as well. In a routine blood test there were nearly 30 times the normal number of liver enzymes.  I read up on it, and I should have been horribly sick with numbers that high.

I had no symptoms, so I thought is was all a mistake, had a re-test and the numbers were down, but still about 6 times higher than normal.  Had my vital organs ultrasounded and my blood tested for hepatitis and everything my doctor and I could think of.  Nothing so badly out of the ordinary except those darn liver enzymes.  Did I say no symptoms?  No symptoms.  Maybe, just maybe a shadow on the liver, but so slight it would not explain those numbers.  Maybe a cancer in some other organ is making my liver work hard to make those enzymes.

My doctor wanted a liver biopsy and a CAT scan but I said hold off.  My numbers were normal in September, so if there is anything it is brand new, not a month old, let me hold off a month.  I had plans.  I was going to stand tall and do things in my life that I had always intended but never did.  I wanted to run every day, eat right, begin this web site, publish, write those two new books and finish the one I started years ago.  No one in the world thinks like I think and I think what I think is valuable.  More people should think like me.

But I did hardly any of what I planned during the month.  And my cousin died. But here is something interesting.  Terry had hemochromatosis  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_overload  a hereditary disorder that is very treatable if caught BEFORE symptoms appear.  And today I got the tests back.  My hospital doesn’t normally test for hemochromatosis but they were able to test for iron in my blood and I had about twice the normal iron.  My liver enzymes were normal again.  And my blood has been sent to another hospital for more testing so I should know more tomorrow.

So now I need to step up and do the things I have told myself to do all my life.  I have not listened to myself until now.  There is no one in my life to encourage me, so I need to encourage me and others.  I have often thought religion has had a negative effect on me, but there is good in religion as well.  I need to explain all this in a clear voice.  Who cares if no one is listening.  I am doing it for others, and in so doing I am doing it for myself.

Thanks to Terry I may have dodged a bullet.  I would never have been tested for hemachromatosis.  Not even Dr. House would have found it.  I am not sure I have the disorder, but I am certainly glad I was tested for it.  The things that went through my head, the songs asking people to live like they are dying, the things I have said about lives having value if and only if they are valuable to others.  What we do for humanity is our worth, I have said, and now I am looking at me, and how my life has helped others, and what more I can or should do.  And I come up wanting.

Here is the beginning of the rest of my life.  My first second chance.  I hope I get many more second chances.

What Americans don’t know about Immigration

Thousands of High School students in every state have no idea they are illegal immigrants.  Typically they find out when they want to get a job or a driver’s license.  They find out that they do not have a social security number.  They cannot work or drive even when they reach the age that all their friends and classmates begin working and driving.  They cannot join the military, and they have no way, no how to become “legal”.

Forty seven percent of undocumented or “illegal” immigrants entered the country legally but overstayed their Visas.  In this area of the country the percentage is a lot higher.  Nationwide 58% are Mexican nationals and the new border security has made it much more difficult for people to cross our Mexican border.  Ironically that has increased the likelihood that those in the United States will remain here undocumented rather than return home with no chance to ever come back legally.

There is no small irony in the fact that we all seem to just accept these people are “illegal” while many have broken no laws.  In fact it is not illegal to be undocumented.  Overstaying a visa means you are deportable, but there is no law against it.  One cannot be illegal for “being” in America.  The law against crossing a border “unexamined” is punishable by a fine of $50 to $250, like a speeding ticket.  But there is no one to take your money, and even if you did pay it you would not be “legal” and you would still be deportable.

Undocumented children, when they reach age 16 or so feel as American as I am, having gone through our school system.  But when they are asked for a social security number they find out they will not be eligible for loans or grants for College in-state tuition in the states they may have resided most of their lives. All of them know a lot more about this country and the English language than the country and language of their citizenship.  But here they can’t work, drive, go to college or enter our military.

Most are idealistic, many stand up and declare publicly they are “dreamers” because of their hope that an immigration bill that passed Congress (but not the Senate mainly due to efforts from Senator McCain) will one day allow them a path to citizenship.  This is a courageous act, obviously, because their immigration status makes them “illegal” ostracizing them and putting their families in danger of deportation.  But they probably have never broken any law, and certainly have broken no immigration law.

You probably think these people can now just “do it the right way” and apply for citizenship.  Nope.  According to US immigration law, the only way to become legal is to return to their country of citizenship, wait ten years, and apply for a return Visa.  Or get married to a citizen.  All the immigrants I know agree that immigration should be difficult, but US immigration under present laws is just impossible.

Our immigration laws, or lack thereof, then forces 20 million people to work in a shadow economy.  They can make up a social security number to use.  Or there is a legal Tax ID number they can use in place of a social security number, but an employer who knowingly hires undocumented workers is liable for severe penalties.  If their employer takes a chance on them then the undocumented workers are allowed to pay taxes.  The vast majority in that situation never receive any refund of taxes paid because they never file for a tax refund, which would be illegal.  And none of them are eligible for any benefits from the Social Security or Medicare they pay. It is generally accepted that the undocumented segment of the population pays more than its fair share of taxes.

Most estimates say undocumented aliens make up as much 6% of the people in the United States, but being undocumented means we just don’t know.  The check cashing stores that sprang up around the country a decade or so ago evidence the fact that the undocumented usually work for cash.  They work cheaper than most Americans, live cheaper, save money, and contribute a great deal to the economy with their labors.

There are two ways an economy can grow:   One is to add productive people who work and spend within that economy.  The other is to produce more for a cheaper rate.  For our economy to grow we either need more people or we need to be more productive.  The only ways to add people to our economy is through immigration, to increase our birth rate, or to expand into other countries or populations.

Conservative estimates report 20 million people are undocumented or “illegals”.  Considering the cost alone deportation is out of the question.  No one is untouched by this huge segment of the population.  These people work here, build lives here, raise children, and they are better behaved than the rest of the population so as not to draw attention to themselves.

According to US immigration law the only reasonable path to citizenship is to marry an American.  To marry “for papers” is very definitely and completely illegal punishable by fines, imprisonment and deportation.  But is it really that different from marrying for health insurance benefits or to legitimize children?  It certainly cheapens the institution of marriage and undermines the foundation of involved families.  And in any case, the immigration services take it very seriously when an undocumented marries an American and often checks out the situation thoroughly.

According to our immigration policy those who marry must live together as husband and wife for three years.  Immigration authorities may check pictures of weddings and celebrations, ask personal questions about living arrangements etc.  Every such marriage I have heard about has been a real marriage and only a few I know of have ended in divorce.  The only difference I see between marrying for papers and other marriages is that the non-American offers money to the American for the marriage.  I have heard that figure from $5 thousand to $15 thousand but obviously that is all negotiated in complete privacy between the only two people involved.  If either marriage partner ever confesses the marriage is for immigration purposes the foreigner is deported and the American will pay fines and/or go to prison.

The only life options available to “DREAMer” undocumented youths puts them in the strange position of having to break a law in order to stay in their home country.   Their parents may have broken some laws, but these people have not.  So they must work under the table or marry illegally in order to stay in their home country.  Or perhaps they will fall in love and marry, but regardless the pressure is on these people, but none of the fault.




Only Good Ideas

This is a clearing house for good ideas.  For example, why not charge for immigration?  We have citizenship and residency that we can sell, and in the mean time Mexican coyotes and human smugglers are cleaning up getting money that could go to the public. We can make money on our borders instead of spending billions on walls and police actions against our neighbors.  If someone is here illegally let them pay a fine or leave, their choice.  If you don’t know about our present immigration law, well, shame on you.  Everyone knows the system is broken and will not be fixed by deporting 11 million people.


Prohibit tax dollars to be used to educate the public.  Ban Public Service Announcements paid by taxpayers.  If the law is so stupid that people don’t know what is or is not illegal, and a sign isn’t good enough, then simplify or repeal the damn law.  Let our Justice System work.  We should defend against stupid law by the simple fact that they are stupid. 


We all distrust all our politicians and we do not doubt there are thousands of laws that are just stupid and never can be or should be enforced.  Repeal all laws that have not been invoked in  the last three years.   We all know about stupid laws that only serve to make tax payers pay more.


And why not make money on drugs like we do with alcohol and gambling?  Tax drugs.  And prostitution is the silliest thing to regulate.  We are free to have sex with whomever we want so long as no money changes hands.  Regulating, sanctioning and making sex difficult is a good thing.  But does anyone think that making a law against sex will stop sex?  We should not legislate against the  impossible.  We won’t stop immigration, sex, drugs or gambling but we try and spend lots of money trying.


Instead of thinking we can stop a thing by making it illegal instead tax it, regulate it, make people think twice about it, but prohibiting it is just stupid.  Like we want to slow down the generation of greenhouse gasses, so we talk about taxing those who use them.  It is a good idea, but not popular because we all want to burn fuels in our automobiles, stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners…  We cannot and should not prohibit green house gasses.  And the approach we use to keep them down should be the same approach we use to curb sex, drugs, immigration, and gambling.  Let’s top fooling ourselves into thinking we don’t have prostitution, gambling, drugs or people crossing our borders.  Let’s stop deluding ourselves that we can stop those things.  The best way to handle it is to slow it, to regulate, to tax it, to help those who get in trouble with sex, drugs, gambling and immigration with the money from those who can pay for sex, drugs, gamgling and immigration.


How long is our border fence now?  The border is nearly 2000 miles.  The Berlin Wall was about 87 miles.  The Great Wall of China is over 5000 miles long, but was begun in 223 BC and took nearly 2000 years to complete.  Although it had its uses in history it is now a useless, though marvelous, relic.  People on both sides of the wall are in the same nation.  We have militarized a peaceful border using tax dollars that are not designated for the military.  How is Homeland Security not Military?  Only in politics.


So why do we think it is a good idea to militarize our border with Mexico?  Because people might cross it illegally.  Ha.  You probably think you can stop drugs, sex, gambling and rap music as well.




Manifesto: these are the principles

Simplify and Repeal is under construction.  This site will be devoted to repealing stupid laws and simplifying our legal system.

It is an economic question.  Are more efficient legal systems better for everyone?  Or is it a good thing that lawyers, lawmakers, insurance companies, highly regulated industries such as utilities, transportation, construction, and drugs, as well as all government employees and increasingly advertisers, take our money for the greater good and for the intangible benefit of the taxpayer and all other citizenry?

Simply put, is it good to redistribute taxpayer wealth to lawyers, insurance, and advertisers?  Obviously we can’t stop giving taxpayer money to lawmakers and other government employees.

Simplifyandrepeal does not think this is a good use of taxpayer resources.  We support a ban on taxpayer money to all advertising and cutting ties to insurance companies and lawyers.

The government stacks the cards and we all follow along.  No one can have a waterslide in their pool because if someone gets hurt it will cost them their livelihood for the rest of their days.  A man can’t rent his horse for a vacationer to ride for a few hours without a million waivers and a heck of a lot of money. We can loan but not rent a car, house, bicycle or computer because if we rent that is income and the government, insurance companies, advertisers and the rest have to get their legally purchased percentage. That is the American way.

Do a majority of us agree that we should band together to pay advertisers to tell parents about jailtime if they don’t sufficiently lock up their liquor?  Would it be unreasonable for a man to kill a cop so he doesn’t go back to jail for not wearing a seatbelt?  Does anyone doubt that is the direction we are headed? Simplifyandrepeal believes life is better, the economy is stronger and people are happier when the government does not legislate spitting on the sidewalks.  Sure it is disgusting, and we can have a law about causing a health hazard, but really!  Make our laws reasonable and simple for us all to understand.

Without a movement like simplifyandrepeal we will continue to see copyright laws demanding $100,000 dollars for every COPY of a photograph or song whether you knew you were a pirate or not.  Your Android could hold billions of dollars worth of piracy without you knowing it.  That is the American way. This is justified by saying, well, it was not intended to make YOU pay billions of dollars to BMI music publishers but rather as a vague deterrent that will be administered reasonably by a judge.  REALLY?  I have been sued, and I know better. 

Are we free when we don’t even know what is legal and what isn’t?  If you own a gun I am sure you know the myriad laws pertaining to that ownership.  And if you don’t, you know that ignorance of the law is no excuse.   In Connecticut, for example, if you rob a liquor store with a gun you are charged with that crime in addition to being charged with robbing, armed robbing, robbing a business, and who knows what else.  Why?  It is the American way.  Everything is legal unless there is a law against it.  That is freedom.  The problem is there is a law against most things.  More often there are four of five laws against it.

Why is the government in the sex and drug and gambling businesses?  The simple answer is for the taxes.  But the history shows that we the people did not want others to enjoy sex and drugs and gambling for various reasons and we asked the government to curtail such activity thankyouverymuch.  And lawmakers and lawyers were happy to oblige.

Simplifyandrepeal advocates revoking any law that has not been invoked in over five years.  If no one breaks the law we don’t need the law.


All laws that have not been invoked in over five years


Redundant laws


Unenforceable laws


Simplify laws to allow justice into the justice system


Repeal of laws involving victimless crimes


Empty our prisons of all but violent offenders


Prohibit tax money to advertise laws


More about all these subjects and more soon.