Thursday, March 17, 2016

What Should Be Done about Puerto Rico's Debt?

Puerto Rico's debt ( provides an opportunity for looking at the concept of division of responsibility.

The President of the USA cannot, by fiat, do much about it. That would be a lot of power. The Constitution specifically gets in the way of fiat powers, to keep the President from abusing power.

Presidents do, you know, abuse power. So do Congresscritters. All politicians end up doing things they shouldn't, and the average politician will tend to try to gain power, assuming that he has to have power to do good. So, even though your heart is bleeding for this cause or that, you have to be patient and let the processes work by the rules.

Otherwise, politicians welcome every crisis as a way to expand their powers, as they think.

And, once they have new powers to do good things, somebody comes along with deals they can't refuse, hiding bad stuff behind good.

We have to regularly remind ourselves of these facts.

As I mentioned in the previous rant, President Obama has requested Congress to act on Puerto Rico's application for statehood. Congress has not acted.

Well, they seem to have acted half-heartedly.

The Huffington Post is not my favorite news source, but they have a few articles on the subject showing some of the arguments that people are having: (

Another example of the boondoggling going on is this post on the radical pro-English site/ (

You can find more through your favorite search engine: "Puerto Rico application for statehood", etc.

Language is not a problem. Contrary to certain idealists' assertions, the USA does not have a national language. If we were to choose a national language, right now, the reality is that we would have to choose English and Spanish both. Too many residents of the mainland do not speak English well enough. We already provide services in both, and the necessity of that in Puerto Rico has nothing to do with statehood.

Citizenship is not a problem. The USA already recognizes dual citizenship in practice. If Puerto Rico goes fully independent, Puerto Ricans before that date could claim dual citizenship and after that date would be only Puerto Ricans unless born to US citizens (most of them). In the latter case they could claim both still when they get old enough, etc. It would keep the US Consulate there in business for quite a while, I'd say, registering foreign births.

Tax has to be made a non-problem, but that is a subject for a different rant. The "Federal" income tax is, indeed, tightly bound to the causes of most of the current ills of US society and government. When we solve that, the solution for the Puerto Ricans should naturally be part of the general solution, and if it isn't, we should talk about charging someone with treason.

Until the national problem with internal revenue is solved, Puerto Rico should be required to implement a territory-run equivalent of a state income tax, from which they can pay an assessment to the national government. Taxes, they must pay, as long as they are part of the current USA. How they implement those taxes should be their own choosing, within the constraints of the Constitution.

(This is the fundamental nature of the solution to the national budget problems, by the way -- Amendment 16 was an exercise in treachery. Income taxes should never be adminstrated higher than state level, and mostly not that high. I'll rant more on that eventually.)

Lots of people in this world are plenty happy to tell others what they should do, and this is no exception. We can't tell them they can do just anything and everything they want, but we have to get our paws off of their decisions.

The problem is specifically that Puerto Rico was allowed, for a long time, special privileges in exchange for yielding their self-determination to the US national govnernment. This is very commonly recognized.

Why this was allowed to proceed for so long is fodder for conspiracy theories. 

Self-determination is precisely the core of this problem.

Not just Puerto Rican self-determination. Those whom we have elected to our government have stood, halt between two opinions, for too long.

Are we going to rally around the flag of freedom and responsibility by relearning to make choices and to accept the consequences of those choices?

Or is this USA, this glorious experiment in a government based on the fact of individual freedom, going to be allowed to go the way of all previous such experiments known to history? Is it going to be allowed to continue to slide into feudalism, ignobility, and tyranny?

Is the God who created this world and put us on it to learn how to act for ourselves and for others God? Or are we going to build to ourselves gods of gold and silver, money, and power, of immediate satisfaction, of incoherent competition, and of trying to control others while we let others decide who and what we are and what we will do?

Are we going to stand up and be men and women? Or are we going to follow the crowd, whatever is popular and "winning", unable to even behave with as much intelligence as a herd of sheep or a pack of coyotes?

If we, the citizens of the USA, won't set the example of responsible free individuals for the residents of our "territories", how do we expect them to understand how to pursue the road of self-government, whether statehood or national independence?

I can't do much here except preach.

But there are people who "own" the Puerto Rican debt, who irresponsibly encouraged them to get further in debt, who somehow believe that having a lot of money under their control makes them "right".

If they really want the problems to be solved, they are going to have to quit lobbying Congress to avoid letting Puerto Rico move ahead. I don't think they want the problems to be solved, because they think that the existence of the problems gives them power. These people seem to want to keep a tight grip on the resources of Puerto Rico, to the point of not letting anyone use them, in the illusion that they thereby have "control".

If I had fiat powers, I'd be more than happy to declare people who claim to own too much of other people's money and resources traitors to the cause of freedom and the Constitution. It's a good thing I don't have fiat powers, and it's a good thing the Constitution disallows fiat powers.

But it is time for somewhat drastic action for Puerto Rico, kept within the bounds of the Constitution, and keeping reasonable paths open for a self-determined path forward for Puerto Rico.

The first step is to explain the options to the Puerto Ricans through the internet and through their media, and to let them decide what they want to do. The plebiscite from four years ago is a little stale now, so they probably need to do it again.

The options in Puerto Rico are
  1. Maintain the status quo, probably letting debt-holders continue to control more and more of their day-to-day living, and probably becoming less and less able to borrow more money or make money, less able to keep Puerto Rico from becoming one large ghetto;
  2. Pursue statehood, under which they will have to write a state Constitution and set up the state government by themselves, which means they need to start working on the legal and social framework themselves;
  3. Pursue national independence, under which they will have to write a better national Constitution and set up a national government by themselves, which means they need to start working on the legal and social framework themselves.

Last time, they were asked to approve or disapprove each path individually. I can't tell if the options were fully explained to the citizens. This time, they should be asked the same, and then be asked to choose one path as their preferred path. And the options should be more carefully explained.

And, while they are organizing the plebiscite, they should start getting to work on the legal and social framework for self-determination. The plebiscite is not supposed to happen ex nihilo and then disappear back to the vacuum. Whether statehood or national independence, it requires leaving dependence behind.

Whatever they have been doing, it hasn't been working. They need to start looking for things they can do now that will work. The US Congress may be able to make the path forward more workable, but they have to walk the path themselves.

And it would be a lot easier for them to see a good example of what to do if the people of the US in general would quit setting the bad example and go back to setting a good example of walking the path of independence and responsibility.

This is where the second step comes. If you know someone who owns part of Puerto Rico's debt, ask them whether they are helping get the debts resolved, or whether they are engaging in petty efforts to control what others are doing.

And this is where the rest of us ordinary individuals can help. Check yourself. Are you setting a good example of what Puerto Ricans should do as they pursue independence either as a state or as an independent nation?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Debt Crisis in Puerto Rico

While I was catching up on the primaries the other day, I noticed an article about the debt crisis in Puerto Rico. See the following:
Puerto Rico ( currently has a population larger than 21 of the states of the US, including Utah and Hawaii:

For a long time, they enjoyed special low taxes as a commonwealth of the US (one of a very few). They thought that was great. That couldn't last, of course, and they have not been able to find ways to balance the budget since those low taxes ended.

A big part of the problem is that the government is in a kind of limbo. It's not a state, it's not an independent country. It's a territory, with some special provisions that they can't figure out how to work around.

In 2012, they held a vote: become a state or ask for independence. The result was more than 60% was okay with statehood, and more than 50% was okay with becoming an independent country. 75% of the people voted, apparently.

Then they submitted a request to the US Congress to start the processes to give them statehood:

It's four years later, now. What has Congress been doing since then? Surely, in between meddling in other countries fighting war on war terrified people terrorism, trying to push the TPP ( and other ill-considered international "agreements" ( through, and infighting between factions in the government, we could get Congress to act on this?

(I'm not sure why they would want to become a state now. Maybe we should require another vote, between statehood in this moribund political warzone we've become and full independence.)

Is Congress so willing to let an entire territory of the US become a population 3.4 million ghetto because they are hamstrung by their legal status as a territory?

What is the hold-up? Is it that so few speak English and so many speak Spanish and Congress isn't willing to let them be an independent country?

Shooting from the hip, if the US Congress is not willing, for whatever reason, to accept Puerto Rico as a proper state in the Union, we must ask them to become an Independent country and suggest, if they later still want to become a US state, to apply as an independent country.

Otherwise, we will continue to be the biggest contributor to the worsening conditions there.

The Democrats' Trump Card in 2016

Back last fall, I considered the possibility that Donald Trump's campaign were being instrumented by Democrats.

In fact, looking at the field, I was wondering who ( might have organized it so that I might have to seriously consider voting for the former president's wife.

Nothing against women in general or Hillary in person, but she is not the woman I want to fulfill, in the literal sense for the US, the prophecy in Isaiah 3: 12.

Mind you, the problem is not the gender. And the prophecy is already being fulfilled in the allegorical sense that matters: that people should be seeing gender relationship as warfare.

Sorry, guys, when we insist on making it a fight, we're going to lose.

Not that women really win. Nobody really wins the battle between the sexes. But when we insist on making it a battle, women may lose the battles, but they end up being in charge of everything. Whether they are the power behind the throne or the occupants of the throne, they end up controlling things. That's what the prophecy is all about.

And that is bad. We need balance. We need everyone to participate as equals, regardless of gender or other personal traits.

Fighting is the wrong thing to do.

Frankly, if it's between Trump and Hillary, I'm most likely voting for Hillary. Trump is a loose cannon.

And, this is where he is fooling everybody: Trump is just as much old guard as anyone else in the field. More so in many ways.

The old guard is all about money. Getting lots of money and "doing stuf with it".

Trump doesn't have a lot (relatively speaking) of money of his own. What he has is money he gets people to give or lend him. What he does with it is sell what he thinks people are buying.  (And, frankly, his record there is pretty mixed. He has not demonstrated that he knows how to get out of debt in any other way than to find something new to sell. I don't think he understands generating real value (

He just happened to tap into the frustrations, and he is selling the obvious political salve now. Salve is at best a temporary measure. Salves quit working if you don't fix the underlying problems.

His brand of salve is pretty caustic, too. Wall around the US? We were celebrating the fall of the Wall in Berlin just a few years ago. 

If you look at what he has been selling as an entrepeneur, you have an idea what he will sell when the salve no longer works. He is old guard at it's worst.

If you think you want to elect someone who knows how to use money, look at Bill Gates. And then ask yourself why you want to elect someone who knows how to manipulate people, facts, and markets like that. Charisma has its limits.

Back to the topic of manipulating the primaries.

At the time, I was thinking of such a tactic as mostly a propaganda move. Poison the well. Paint the whole party black by association with Trump.

But I also thought about the possibility of an attempt to divide and subvert the opponents by orchestrating mass "defections" from one's own party to support a non-viable candidate, and otherwise reduce the effective influence of the other party. (

It has happened before, in local elections. And the influence of party line crossing in "key" voting districts in past presidential elections has also been the subject of political analyses.

I've read a number of news articles recently that say the exit polls indicate a lot of crossover voting -- voters in Republican primaries claiming to be erstwhile Democrats who are voting for Trump as a Republican candidate "because they really want a change". (

Who organized this mass crossing of lines?

How can we avoid this kind of party crashing?

Who drew the lines in the first place? There is a problem here. Actually, the lines are a political weapon, used to divide a people against itself. But this problem also demonstrates one of the serious weaknesses of the two party system as it presently exists. If Republicans were thinking in terms of warfare, it would be time to go vote in the Democratic primaries for Sanders.

Start crashing their party.

In many cases, you can go back and vote in the Republican primary, too.

Wow. It's not really a problem if both parties allow crossing the lines. Unless you think that giving the people the power to turn the incumbents out is a problem.

I'm thinking it may be a good way to help really ensure a decent turnover in government.

This sword has two edges. Still wielding a sword is like wielding an axe. It's a dangerous business. We want to be careful where and who we cut, and we need to remember that every stroke has a possibility of being turned against us.

This is one fact about war that every individual hungering for a rumble should remember: Swords regularly injure the wielder thereof. You will not cut just the enemy. You will cut yourself and people you care about.

Now, as for the ultimate possibility of Trump getting elected, let's open our eyes and take a long view.

First, Hillary -- Eight years ago, she would have been a disaster as president. At least, at first. She has gained a lot of experience since then, and it's evident that she is no longer the idealist that would have initially wrought havoc in the White House.

Next, Sanders -- Yes, he could still cause some serious problems in the White House until he learns the ropes, learns the limits of the office, and the limits of political power. As long as he remains a political socialist, he will be liable to make a mess of things. But he is definitely showing more understanding of political realities as his campaign continues.

Cruz? -- No. He is not showing evidence that he even wants to understand the underlying issues. Not yet.

Rubio? -- The media portrays him as SO YOUNG! He's the same age as Cruz, and his faith in human nature which the media has played as naivity and weakness is something I want in a president. And he has a good record in Florida, shows flexibility, shows an ability to bring people together, and shows tenacity for issues he understands to be important. He was the most dangerous to the old guard.

I liked Rubio the best of the candidates in the two major parties, but now he has dropped out. I don't understand why he's endorsing Trump. Maybe that's more media misinterpretation.

Kasich? -- Initially, he seemed too removed from the political processes to survive the current political climate, but he is showing more ability to articulate his case. His record is good, and his politics are sound. I could vote for a Kasich - Rubio ticket.

The major party candidates have "grown" in a way since last fall. Even Cruz, really. Last fall, the media was able to portray Hillary as the only serious candidate. Now we have more serious candidates.

Looking at the minor party candidates, I'm sort of interested in Gary Johnson. His record indicates the sort of competence the office requires these days and the sort of idealism and leadership that could be effective in the major course corrections coming up.

Last fall, I was thinking it was about time for a minor party candidate to be elected. I'm not sure I've changed my mind.

They say the office makes the man, and it's true. Every candidate, including Trump, would likely be able to grown into the presidency. Trump, as he is now, would do some significant damage in the process.

Damage in terms of helping upset the status quo is not necessary a bad thing. The damage I'm worried about is what Trump thinks he understands about the Constitution, and the bad precedents he could set while fixing his understanding. I have similar concerns about Cruz, Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, but the concerns are not as deep. Less concerns about Hillary than eight and four years ago.

I don't really think Trump's candidacy is a direct product of Democratic conspiracy, but Democrats could have played key parts in getting his candidacy started and in feeding the media frenzy that is helping drive it. Whether the line crossing is part of deliberate efforts to undermine the Republican party or not is not really important. It's a two-edged sword.

Some of those line crossers will actually stay in the Republican party for a while, too, which is also just fine.

If Trump's candidacy were really part of a conspiracy to undermine the Republicans' game plan, I'm going to say now that it won't work that way.

Here's the real reason for the race: to get the citizens thinking in terms of what they as individuals should be doing to solve their own problems and to help solve the problems of the people around them. Who wins is not so important as long as the voice of the people is not muted.

The president is not king for four years. He's just one part of the picture. Congress, the courts, and the people. Four powers to provide checks and balances.

(Yeah, four. Not the three branches of government we used to be taught when I was in the primary grades. Four branches. Sovereignty, the power, comes from the people.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Absolute Freedom, and Campaign Promises

Having talked about the roots of terrorism a little bit, I think I should talk about the concept of freedom a little bit as well.

Do you want to be free?

Freedom has costs. It doesn't come free and it doesn't come easy.

And there is no absolute freedom.

Platitudes, platitudes. Okay, let's walk through some thought experiments.

When I was just out of high school I often rode my bike to work. Pushing against the West Texas wind, riding up and down the rolling hills of certain parts of Odessa -- easy slopes on a ten-speed, but long, I often wished I knew of a way to counter all the forces I worked against. Gravity and friction were way up their amoung the forces I lazily thought I'd like to be free of.

All the science fiction I used to read, and my habit of daydreaming, I dreamed about getting rid of gravity. I'd heard the kite string analogy in a Church Conference talk, so I was roughly aware of where that would lead.
No string:

Nothing for the wind to work against.

The kite is just tossed about in the wind, blown in the air and then back down against the ground.

Blown away down the road and across the fields and into the trees.

And broken to pieces.
Then I worked over the high-school physics I knew in my head and realized that, indeed, without gravity and friction, I'd have a much harder time getting to work.

Assuming the earth somehow held together, I'd be floating around above it, nothing to push against, no way to accelerate in any direction without getting rid of mass, perfectly free, unable to get anywhere.

So I then daydreamed about getting rid of friction.

Again, assuming things would hold together without friction, it would be tires slipping against the pavement, feet slipping off the pedals.

Everything would slip.

No way to pump, no way to get moving, no way to steer, no way to brake.

No friction and no gravity.

Perfectly free in all directions, and no way to get anywhere or do anything.

Perfectly free is not free at all.

Freedom is definitely not something you want and number one priority. Number two or below. (I'm thinking about number five or eight, depending on how I'm counting on a particular day. Way up there, but not as important as God, family, country, or being able to work.)

Actually, I'd put freedom and law about equal in priority, but that's a rant for another day.

What does this have to do with not running for president?

Look at all the campaign promises. Look again. Is the candidate promising anything that looks just a little like perfect freedom for all?

Which of those promises do you want the winning candidate to actually follow through completely on?

Even my abstract platform of cleaning up the body of US law -- if that's taken too far, too quickly, it would tend to be rather destructive of society.

Imagine 400 million Americans floating above the surface of the earth, perfectly free, perfectly unable to do anything. Alleghorically speaking.

Many people who think they hate America would think they love that idea.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Google Filtering This Blog?

I get the feeling that maybe there is some subtle manipulation of blogs on Google's part.

Some of my posts in this blog have somehow missed the usual announcement process.

They are published, they are visible, but they don't seem to get announced.

Generally, my posts to any of the (too many) blogs I have on blogspot register pageviews immediately. I hit the post button and I already have at least one view show up in my stats. If I check back in a few minutes, I have more views.

Yesterday, when I posted a rant recommending the President take more active part in cleaning up the mess of spaghetti that is the US Legal Code, there were no views of that page. There still aren't any views of that page as I type this.

Today, I started another rant, as a note to myself that I want to rant about Amendment 16. My thumb must have dragged on the trackpad when I was trying to backspace, to correct some mistyping in the title, and the publish button got pressed. There was nothing but an uninformative "Course Corrections #2: An Ammend" or something like that in the title, and nothing at all in the body.

It immediately got one view.

I quickly reverted that post to draft, and it is sitting there with 2 views recorded. (Maybe I should keep it as it is, and re-publish it, just to demonstrate what I mean a little more clearly. I'll have to think about whether that would be meaningful.) 

I remember this happening to at least one other post in this blog.

I don't remember whether it was my rant on the non-felicitous nature of the current definition of, and focus on terrorism that met the same fate, or my first rant here, on a proposed ammendment for avoiding the potential for re-interpreting treaty provisions into a loophole against the Constitution. But one of them did suffer this effect.

It could be a simple glitch. They definitely haven't completely blocked those posts, nor have they black-listed them in their search engine.

But they were not announced via Google+:
That's the way Google+ shows my blogs right now, in spite of having edited and re-published the rant on untangling the law at least twice since I published it last night.
The other time(s) this happened, the post(s) eventually found their way into Google+, after a day or more. It'll be interesting to see this time, as well.

So, glitch or hidden censorship? Or maybe there is a list Marm for Google+, monitoring for posts that need to be kept from the full light of day until someone makes sure they won't start a riot?

You know, I'm not sure that would even be unethical. I've concurred about monitoring on users groups in the past, still do. And social networking is basically setting up a very broad users group.

Anyway, let's see what happens.

My Ideal Platform: Cleaning up US Law

[Note: This is an alleghory about law. I didn't think the computer programming examples were too far out of reach. But even if you think the listing of BASIC source code looks scary, please don't be intimidated. Bleep over the code. There's important stuff down below. JMR20160310]

If you have ever been involved in large software projects, you will have heard the expression, "spaghetti code". The term is used to indicate that the code is unstructured, tangled, difficult to understand, difficult to modify, and difficult to prove correct. In other words, spaghetti code is not good code.

("Rat's nest" is another term used with similar meaning.)

The entry in wikipedia on the subject, as I write this, mentions GOTOs, exceptions, and threads of control. It shows an overly simplified example:

10 i = 0
20 i = i + 1
30 PRINT i; " squared = "; i * i
40 IF i >= 10 THEN GOTO 60
50 GOTO 20
60 PRINT "Program Completed."
70 END

This is compared to the slightly more structured-looking

110 FOR i = 1 TO 10
120     PRINT i; " squared = "; i * i
130 NEXT i
140 PRINT "Program Completed."
150 END

The latter example (lines 110 - 150) is a bit more clear (especially if you are familiar with this use of the word, "for" in the English language).

But the former example (lines 10 - 70) is not really unstructured. The GOTOs are merely being used to construct the execution paths of a counted loop, whereas, in the latter (lines 110 - 150), the FOR ... NEXT explicit counted loop is used. The layout of the former code pretty much shows the structure of the loop. And the code is short and clear.

Some early dialects of BASIC had no multi-line loops. When you write structured code for such dialects, it basically looks like lines 10 - 70, but with more stuff between the GOTO lines.

So this example is a little easy to misinterpret. It doesn't really demonstrate the primary qualities of spaghetti code.

We need a better example.

In the following, I'll use a misfeature that was originally intended (ironically) to help improve code structure, the computed GOTO (line 300), to help slightly tangle the code:

200 e = 0
210 GOTO 300
220 PRINT i; " squared = "; i * i
230 GOTO 300
260 REMARK Remember to set e before you start! 
300 ON e GOTO 310,330
310 i = 0 
320 e = 1 
330 IF i < 10 THEN i = i + 1 ELSE GOTO 350
340 GOTO 220
350 PRINT "Program Completed."
360 END 

Yes, I deliberately contrived this example. And maybe my use of the computed GOTO was specious. Line 300 could have read
 300 IF e = 0 GOTO 310 ELSE GOTO 330
for the same effect. But you can see how the code is beginning to develop spaghetti structure. The code jumps around. That is, there are branches (GOTOs) and branch targets (the numbered lines) that you don't really know reasons for unless you sit and think through the code.

[I decided to check the code with a real BASIC interpreter, and I posted the results in my Programming is Fun blog. And now we are done with talking specifically about computer program source code. JMR20160310]

While you can read the program effect of each line of code, you are not sure of the real meaning, the semantic intent, of each line.

The question you should be asking is, "Why did this end up this way?"
Usually, software engineers don't intentionally write code like this. Sometimes we do it for fun and recreation. I've done it here to demonstrate a mild form of the junping around that we call spaghetti.

Some engineers (maybe engineers who are not all that confident of their own ability to keep a job) do actually write spaghetti code intentionally.

How this kind of code usually gets written, however, is that code just tends to grow. You start with something simple, then you find it doesn't work everywhere you want to use it, so you "fix it". Sometimes you want to add useful features, so you fix it up a bit.

That means adding code.

It also should mean removing code and re-structuring code, but we always have something else we want to be doing. And we usually have lots of other things our managers want us to be doing, because lines of code disappearing or just moving around doesn't seem to be evidence of productive work.

First, some lines will get re-used. Therefore, the meanings of those lines changes, because of the re-use.

Then, in order to support the changes in meanings, code is added here and there, and spaghetti-like structure gets added to the code.

It's like a shelf in your workshop that you quit using, then you start using it for something else. You didn't plan on it holding more than some small flower pots, but now it's holding a bunch of books, and you sometimes look at the nails and the warping planks and wonder how it's holding up. Someday it's gonna sag and fall.

Now, it's not so much where the code was coming from and where it is going to when it hits line 330, it's what the meaning of line 330 is in the context of where it came from and where it is going.

(I could offer more examples via include files and conditional compilation and macro definitions in the C language, but I hope this is enough.)

The spaghetti is semantic spaghetti more than flow of control spaghetti. You are following a thread of thought in the code, and suddenly there is stuff there that breaks the thread of thought that you thought you were following. And you have to go looking somewhere else in the code. Sometimes you have to spend hours just looking for where you should look.

What does this have to do with a campaign platform?
US law has a lot of semantic spaghetti in it. Laws that were written years ago are repurposed for things they were never originally intended for.

So the laws are "fixed" by adding snippets of code. Sometimes you put a note in that a particular word should be read with a special meaning in a particular section of the code. Sometimes you put in a note that a particular section has been basically repealed and replaced by something else, with notes about where to find that something else.

So you often have to jump through a lot of addenda to read and understand the current version.

Even in the best of cases, in order to write laws concisely, specialized definitions are use, and you have to refer to the specialized definitions or find yourself misinterpreting the laws. But the longer the code sits around gathering cruft, the more of those specialize definitions appear.

One more egregious factor in spaghetti law, there are usually "riders" on laws, things leftover from the bargaining process that add to the complexity of the law.

A law is passed for one purpose, but, in bargaining to get the law passed, agreements are made that have nothing to do, really, with the law. And those agreements are attached to the law, "riding" into the code on the backs of the irrelevant law. More addenda.

And would it surprise you to know that laws are often written using incorrect grammar and vocabulary? Too many lawyers never really got a good grip on the basics of language.

I have often thought that a "Doctor of Law" degree should require a minor in both computer science and linguistics -- linguistics because lawyers who can't read and write English can't make good law in English, and computer science because lawyers should be required to understand the processes of definition and implementation of code.

Code for humans is a bit more malleable than code for machines, but it's still code.

The end result is that laws, as they exist on the books, actually end up with a lot of effects different from the advertised intent.

The US law (US Code, they call it) needs to be cleaned up.

The president cannot void laws that already exist, but he can use his power of veto to send badly written law back to Congress, with his reasoning, and make them either fix the laws or override his veto, if they want the bad laws passed.

One platform I would like to see candidates run on is a platform of never allowing bills from Congress that he couldn't read and understand to become law, to veto such laws and send them back with the reasons.

That's what the Constitution says he is supposed to do. If he doesn't approve it, he is supposed to send it back, with notice of disapproval, and with his reasons. Take a look at Article I section 7.

Poorly constructed law, including the existence of riders and such, should be plenty of reason to send the law back. Almost automatic reason.

And a willingness to commit to do so on his platform would indicate he understands at least part of the Constitutional definition of the Office of President that he aspires to.