Friday, February 25, 2005

It's a start...

Now that President Bush has confronted Russia's Vladimir Putin on how the fundamentals of democracy are being ignored (as the country slowly slips back to Pre-Cold War governing style)…maybe he will give thought of lecturing China and Saudi Arabia as well.

We may be forced to play "nice" with both nations because our economy rests in their hands…but a more aggressive display of our displeasure with both countries doesn't seem like to much to ask. We may be bullied and forced to stay in line, but that doesn't mean we have to "sell out".
The United States looks rediculous going around lecturing Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, etc. but ignoring the massive humanitarian abuses brought on by both Saudi Arabia and China.

I guess it comes down to a little saying, "It's not about the money…it's the principle of it all."

It's not to say that Russia isn't treading dangerous grounds. Putin has seized control of the Russian Oil Industry (by swindling control of Russian Oil Giant, Yukos) and has sent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, its former chief executive, to cool his heels in prison on charges of tax evasion. The charges might be false…they might not, but the fact remains…the Russian economy will never leap ahead if private companies are swindled, and taxpayer money is used to purchase and make them government controlled. President Putin has battled to restore government control over energy assets that were privatised by Boris Yeltsin, his predecessor. See the trend? (Yelstin = Democracy = Private Control / Putin = Socialism = Government Control)

Russia was a brilliant place to start Mr. President (as was Iraq)…now let's see if you are up to finishing the job?!

Putin loses his smile after lecture from Bush on democracy

By Andrew Osborn in Bratislava

25 February 2005

President George Bush subjected Russia's Vladimir Putin to a public lecture on the fundamentals of democracy yesterday, injecting a chill into a relationship that has - until now - been characterised by bonhomie.

Meeting in the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, Mr Bush emerged from a three-hour meeting with the Russian President joking and smiling and full of warm words. But his frequent references to "Vladimir" and the "fella" were peppered with targeted criticism of the state of democracy in Russia with which the more hawkish members of his administration are said to have lost patience.

An unsmiling, visibly irritated Mr Putin squirmed as he listened to Mr Bush tell a press conference he had been told that Washington had "concerns about Russia's commitment in fulfilling" the "universal principles" of democracy. "Democracies always reflect a country's customs and culture, and I know that," Mr Bush said. "Yet democracies have certain things in common; they have a rule of law, and protection of minorities, a free press, and a viable political opposition."

Mr Putin had wanted to talk about the two countries' joint efforts to combat terrorism but was forced instead to defend his domestic reforms and his commitment to democracy.
For a man who is seldom subjected to such face-to-face criticism and is famously cool under pressure, he looked at times as if he was about to lose his composure. "I respect some of his [Mr Bush's ideas] a lot and take them into account. Others I won't. [Such issues] should not be pushed to the foreground. New problems should not be created that could jeopardise our relationship. We want to develop the relationship."

Russian officials tried to play down the tension by suggesting the two men's relationship had matured to a level where they could now tell each other things they did not want to hear.
The two men could not, however, have looked more different.
Mr Bush looked satisfied that he had obliged Mr Putin to justify his views on democracy and claimed a statement from the Russian leader vowing not to roll it back was the meeting's most important moment.

Mr Putin said: "Russia chose democracy 14 years ago without any outside pressure. It made this choice for itself, in its own interests and for its people and its citizens. It was a definitive choice and there is no turning back." A return to totalitarianism was impossible, he added.
However he indulged in none of the informal small talk beloved of Mr Bush and looked relieved to exit the stage with a stiff handshake, his face taut with pressure. In Russian official circles, the meeting is likely to be seen as a humiliation.

Mr Bush also used an earlier speech to revel in the success of revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia, revolutions which Moscow opposed. Mr Bush said he hoped for similar progress in Belarus and Moldova. Agreements did emerge. These were to prevent Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, to safeguard nuclear facilities in both countries, to regulate the sale of shoulder-fired missiles and to accelerate Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

States United for Independence FROM United States

One has only to take a look around the United States to witness how off course we have veered from the Intent of our Founding Fathers. Radical Judges practice judicial legislation by simply ignoring the will of the people and overturning democratic laws (gay marriage, abortion, stem-cell research, the right to bear arms, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the list goes on and on).

James Madison warned of the dangers of one branch of government controlling the power of the other two branches. Now we have a Federal Government (mostly through judicial practices) that pushes its weight around, disregarding states rights and the desires of the people. A government that no longer represents its constituents, but rather rules over them.

Thomas Jefferson often reminded Americans of the important "Right of Revolution". He believed it necessary every 300 years or so. It is becoming more and more clear that he was on to something. When the government begins to abuse the powers it was granted by the people, the people need to stand up and demand that power back.

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William S. Smith, January 30, 1787

In this day and age, forceful revolutions are not possible. The millitary has become too strong and organized while the militias and average citizens have been controlled through restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. However…non-violent revolutions are an option American's should consider. They can range from organizing masses to refuse paying taxes to just plain ignoring other federal laws.

One look at this year's county election map of the United States clearly shows that the people are not being accurately represented in Washington DC. I don't believe it is too far fetched to believe that people from all over the United States would come to the aid of Texas to fight for the state's independence. Conservative America has sat by too long and watched the courts slowly rip away freedoms and rights against the will of the people.

In Alabama, Judge Roy Moore is easily elected based on his promise to bring the statue of the 10 commandments to the courthouse, but is eventually removed from the bench against the will of the people. The issue of gay marriage came up to vote in states everywhere from the North to the South and East to West and the people spoke clearly in EVERY case that they wanted to ban gay marriage, but once again the courts stepped in against the will of the people. The important decision of life vs. abortion was decided by a 5-4 Supremem Court decision against the will of the people. First Amendment rights were ignored as prayer was removed from public schools through various court cases against the strong will of the people. Benjamin Franklin stated that at NO time should Americans be taxed more than 10% of their income. We now pay 20%-40% in income tax, and then we pay tax on everything from sales, food, gas, property, etc. We are lucky to have 1/3 of our income left after taxation. Yet we are left no better off. The tax money is squandered and we are left with failing public schools, a failing social security program, failing judicial systems, failing healthcare, a failing war on drugs, intelligence that failed us, failing prisons and rehab and the list goes on and on.

Texas is not alone and I don't believe it would stand alone in it's quest for independence and freedom from the injustices of our current federal government. The first rebellion failed…but with increasing frustration of the majority, I'm not so sure the second time the South rises would end the same way as the first.

"Republic of Texas" Again Pushes for Independence

LAST UPDATE: 2/24/2005 11:04:56 AMPosted By: Jim Forsyth

The separatist Republic of Texas group, which largely dissolved after an abortive uprising in the Davis Mountains left several of its leaders dead or in prison in 1997, has reformed, and is again pushing its message that Texas should be a free and independent nation, 1200 WOAI news reported today.

From a newly established 'capitol' in the east Texas town of Overton, Daniel Miller, President of the Republic of Texas Interim Government, says a desire to be free, combined with ballooning concerns over rising taxes and property rights, will convince more Texans to support a 'referendum' on whether Texas should become an independent nation.

"We're seeking a referendum to allow the people of Texas to vote on independence," Miller said. "We're looking forward to the benefits of Texas independence, where Texas stands as a nation among other nations."

Texas was a republic from 1836 until joining the United States in December of 1845, in a move that helped spark the Mexican War. Texas joined the Confederate States of America in 1861, and talk of independence has surfaced off and on since the end of the Civil War, although no reputable historian or political scientists expects the event will ever occur.

"There are many reasons why Texas would be better off as a republic," Miller said. "One of our biggest problems right now is school finance, and we don't have enough money to keep our schools solvent. Yet we send $129 billion to Washington D.C. annually for them to spend on projects that don't really affect Texas. We feel that if we could keep that money here at home we could solve all of our problems."

He says Texas is currently the eighth largest economy in the world, and second largest on a per capita basis.. "An independent Texas would be an economic powerhouse worldwide."

Led by self proclaimed "Ambassador" Richard McLaren, several people claiming to represent the Republic of Texas Organization took two hostages in remote Fort Davis. The resulting standoff left two Republic of Texas sympathizers dead and McLaren and several followers are serving lengthy prison terms for their roles in the incident.

In the weeks leading up to the standoff, McLaren had been attaching frivolous write and liens to the property of opponents, sympathizing with the 'militia' and 'freemen' movements which sprung up following the Branch Davidian siege in Waco in 1993, and even issuing $1.8 billion in phony financial documents. The new Republic of Texas movement condemns these actions and says its movement is purely peaceful and political.

"Texas independence is not some fringe movement, nor is it reactionary," Miller says. "We are simply living out trends that are happening around the world. If you look at the past twenty years there have been in excess of thirty nations which have been formed. There is a trend worldwide toward independence and decontrol, and we think it's high time that the trend came to Texas."

Social Security Logic!

During Bush's speech I attended, he spoke about Social Security. Did you know that the idea of Private Accounts was introduced by Bill Clinton in 1999 to a warm reception by Democrats?!

Some other points I found interesting were that:

- Democrats want to delay updates to SS by increasing the amount put into it (taxes) by 50% and lowering the benefits provided from SS by 27%. Sure that will make the program last a little longer, but who wants 1/4 less benefits for twice as much money if you can have more benefits for the same amount of money (and less tax money eventually)? Especially since delaying the problem doesn't mean you won't have to face it eventually somewhere down the line.

In 1950 there were 16 workers paying into SS for every ONE beneficiary receiving out of SS. Today...there are 3 workers paying into SS for every ONE beneficiary receiving out of it. Furthermore...SS benefits are GREATER today than in 1950 and require more money coming into the program to support it than in 1950. Let's also keep in mind that people (retirees) live much longer now than in 1950 so we pay out of SS security for a longer period of time than we did in 1950. They expect that by the time WE retire, there will only be two workers paying in to SS for every ONE beneficiary taking out!!!

The only other suggestions I have heard are:
- limiting benefits for wealthy retirees
- indexing benefits to prices, instead of wages
- increasing the retirement age
- changing the benefit formula to create disincentives for early retirement.

I want to know who actually finds these options more appealing than private accounts? Maybe we should just drop FICA all together and fund SS by raising sales tax! That way the democrats would be happy that SS is funded mostly through purchases by the wealthy. I bet they would go for long as a Republican doesn't introduce the idea.

Private accounts are no different than the current SS program, EXCEPT...the government can't touch the money in the accounts (so we don't have to worry about them spending it instead of saving it.)

Under the Private Accounts option...taxes are taken out of our paycheck for SS, just as they are now. A portion of it goes into today's SS program to pay for anyone over the age of 55 today. (Notice you don't lose your benefits at all if you are 55+...not even the 27% the democrats want to take away). The other portion is placed in our own private accounts that we can't touch until we retire, but neither can the government. If we die...the money in our accounts are passed on to family members so we don't lose our savings that we worked on all of our life (like you do under the current program.) The private accounts yield higher interest and since we don't have to worry about the government spending our retirement money (like we do now), we will actually have MORE money for retirement than we currently do.

You have to ask yourself...Who do you trust more with your money for retirement...yourself...or the government? If you trust yourself must be a Republican. If you trust the government more than you trust must be a democrat (and you obviously aren't capable of accountability.) It's funny to see so many citizens gripe and moan that they don't trust politicians...yet they fight to allow government to handle their retirement savings instead of themselves!

Maybe their dissent has more to do with partisanship than logic???