PPD

For those with an interest in multi-level marketer Prepaid Legal Services – covered in this space a while back – a fascinating overview on proposed FTC regulations and more.

IRAQ

Kathleen Harrington: ‘Having participated in the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Plan for 20 plus years, it sure has been a great way for citizens to share in our state’s oil wealth and could be a stabilizing factor in Iraq. But I am pretty sure that Hillary Clinton (and probably others) have raised this idea before.’

☞ All the more reason to think it’s a good one.

Paul deLespinasse: ‘Hillary Clinton has suggested something similar. With both of these people, it is better late than never. My article suggesting an oil dividend as an ALTERNATIVE to the war came out before the war. It is still a good idea. I also discussed the basic principle of capturing and distributing the net rental value of scarce natural resources in an Alaska-style social dividend in a 1998 virtual book that can be accessed here.’

ROMANIA

According to this Associated Press report, ‘Offended villagers are threatening to sue the film’s producers for paying them a pittance to put farm animals in their homes and perform other crude antics.’ Romanians from the Village of Glod (which means ‘mud’) got paid $3.30 each to be passed off as Kazakhs.

Nothing that a $50,000 gift to the village and $1,000 to each of the villagers wouldn’t fix.

Chris Peppey: ‘As a filmmaker and a teacher of filmmaking, I cringed each time I saw the unspoken rules of filmmaking broken. Real documentarians rely on trust and goodwill of the public. Ethical questions abound in every cut when you are making a documentary. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ‘evangelical’ scene was staged. The more that comes out on their methods the better.’

☞ I’d have to see it again to decide whether I’m really anti-Borat, or just not a big fan. But clearly, now that they have a huge financial success, they could buy a lot of good will by fessing up and sharing some of the proceeds.

OH, CANADA

Don: ‘While you’re searching for good ideas, one that occurs to me is that we need to make it ILLEGAL FOR POLITICIANS TO LIE. They have such a law in Canada. We’ve already made it illegal for ordinary citizens to lie to federal officials. That law is 18 USC 1001 – what they nailed Martha Stewart on. In Canada, the law states that federal politicians shall conduct their offices ‘with honesty.’ Currently a group called Democracy Watch is advocating an investigation of Prime Minister Harper on charges of lying. Pre-election he promised ‘no new taxes’ on Income Trusts (a company format with near-zero taxes). Post-election – yes – he raised taxes on Income Trusts (and crashed the market).

‘We’d need a Constitutional amendment, I guess. Something like: ‘In any official matter, any material misrepresentation by an elected officer shall be punished by [penalty], upon presentment by any citizen, and conviction in the Supreme Court.’ The penalty would need to be stern. Perhaps the French Revolution can provide inspiration for a method.

‘Bush got elected based on a lie. Obviously, this problem is not merely theoretical. We really need to clean up our system. You’ve spent a lot of column space dealing with the accuracy of votes. But what good are votes, if people vote based on lies?’

☞ And just in case this idea is not immediately workable, how about a free press that forcefully and aggressively holds politicians to account? And that does its level best to provide context and proportion? (I think it’s called The Daily Show on Comedy Central.)

Tomorrow: Save a Fortune on Drugs; Your Daughter’s Self-Image; and More

 

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