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Friday, May 20, 2005

How's this for hypocrisy?

From today's Washington Post:

"...The poll released Thursday indicated that most Americans accept Bush's proposed cuts in future benefit increases -- until they learn that it is his plan. Under the progressive indexing proposal, advanced by Pozen and adopted by Bush last month, Social Security's long-term finances would be bolstered by ratcheting back the programmed growth of benefits for everyone but the poorest Americans, whose checks would continue to rise as planned. Middle- and upper-income recipients would still receive more than now, but not as much as promised.

In the Pew survey, 53 percent endorsed the idea while 36 percent opposed it, with greater support among Democrats than among Republicans. But when Pew changed the question to add the phrase "George W. Bush has proposed . . .," overall support fell to 45 percent and opposition grew to 43 percent. "Bush is a drag on the popularity of his own Social Security indexing plan," Kohut said."[emphasis added]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Retirement at 70

Retirement at 70

Robert Samuelson writes a great column on Social Security:

Our Social Security problem is just one aspect of a larger retirement revolution -- an upheaval in medicine, life expectancy, work and lifestyles. Since Social Security's creation in 1935, life spans have increased dramatically. Someone who now reaches 65 can expect to live almost 20 more years. Meanwhile, government has constantly made Social Security and Medicare more generous. The result is "middle-aged retirement," as Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute calls it. If people retired for the same number of years now as in Social Security's early years, he says, they'd work until 74. In fact, half of Social Security recipients start getting benefits at age 62.

We can no longer afford this system: It will overburden future generations and could weaken the economy. Congress ought to design a broad makeover of retirement. Americans should work longer. We're healthier (thanks to medical advances and the decline of physical labor) and -- as the number of new workers shrinks -- society will need older workers. Social Security and Medicare were intended to protect the neediest among the elderly; they should not subsidize ever-longer retirements.
[emphasis added]

Read the full column.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

3-line political quiz

I'm an "anarchical republican free marketeer" -- how do you score?

(Note that these terms have specific meanings in the context of this quiz are not defined by their common usage).

This is an interesting read

Notice how the Declaration of Rights is the very first section (Article 1).

I'm going to excerpt some of my favorites.

Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Article 1

That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, WE DECLARE THAT -

Inherent Rights of Mankind
Section 1.

All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

Political Powers
Section 2.

All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper.

Freedom of Press and Speech; Libels
Section 7.

The printing press shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine the proceedings of the Legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever by made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. No conviction shall be had in any prosecution for the publication of papers relating to the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or to any other matter proper for public investigation or information, where the fact that such publication was not maliciously or negligently made shall be established to the satisfaction of the jury; and in all indictments for libels the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

Security From Searches and Seizures
Section 8.

The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation subscribed by the affiant.

Right of Petition
Section 20.

The citizens have a right in a peaceable manner to assemble together for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes by petition, address or remonstrance.

Right to Bear Arms
Section 21.

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Standing Army; Military Subordinate to Civil Power
Section 22.

No standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up without the consent of the Legislature, and the military shall in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Reservation of Powers in People
Section 25.

To guard against the transgressions of the high powers which we have delegated, we declare that everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government and shall forever remain inviolate.

No Discrimination by Commonwealth and Its Political Subdivisions
Section 26.

Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.

Prohibition Against Denial or Abridgment of Equality of Rights Because of Sex
Section 28.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual.


Again, I like that this is the very FIRST section of the Constitution, before the powers of the Government.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Freedom is Slavery -- Welcome to America, the police state.

The End of America: May 10, 2005:

"On Tuesday, May 10, 2005, America became a true police state. Your U.S. senators voted -- unanimously, with no discussion, and without even reading the bill -- to create a national ID card.
The Real ID Act blackmails state governments into turning their drivers licenses into a draconian tool of the federal homeland security apparatus. If states refuse, their citizens lose such 'privileges' as being allowed to board an airplane, enter a federal building, or apply for social security. President Bush is expected to sign the bill eagerly on Thursday.
In three years -- by May 2008 -- this Stalin-style internal passport will be an American reality. But your government will have more control over you than Stalin ever dreamed in his most violent, vicious, anti-freedom dreams. (See links to the text of the law and articles about it at the bottom of this article.)
But that's only the beginning.
The creator of the Real ID Act, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, smiles and tells us that his Real ID Act is all about 'solving illegal immigration' or 'preventing terrorists from entering the country.' This is one of the biggest of the thousands of 'Big Lies' we've heard from the tyrants in Washington. The Real ID Act is about tracking and controlling Americans. You. Me. Our children. Everybody."

Why there is a Second Amendment, by Ron Beatty

Why there is a Second Amendment, by Ron Beatty:

"I submit to you that the Founding Fathers would be ashamed of us. They wrote the Second Amendment with the idea in mind that no more would American citizens have to fear the government, as had been the case up until the American Revolution. The Second Amendment was the direct result of years of government abuse of law-abiding citizens, then of years of war brought about as a direct result of a government attempt to disarm the citizens.
I submit to you that the actions taken by the federal and local governments have gone far beyond what was necessary to precipitate the American Revolution. I submit to you that the government of this country has actually become what we fought so long against in Soviet Russia. The government of this country has murdered its own citizens, waged illegal warfare against a country on the far side of the globe, killing thousands of our own troops, and tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. The government of this country has systematically lied to us in order to justify these actions. The government of this country has stolen our property, money, and goods. The 'unfair and repressive' taxation which helped to spark the American Revolution was only 3 to 5%. Today, we work almost half the year to pay taxes, and that is only because so many taxes, fees, and governmental regulation costs are NOT included in that calculation!

The whole purpose of the Second Amendment is to prevent just these types of government activity

Am I calling for a new revolution? No, not yet. I do not now, nor have I ever advocated armed revolt against the government, not while there is still a chance to correct these injustices peacefully.

What I am saying is that the Founding Fathers realized that it might someday become necessary for that to happen, when government grew beyond the bounds set for it in the Constitution. That is why the Second Amendment was written, so that if it should become necessary, the people would have the means to overthrow government gone tyrannical."