Friday, January 25, 2008

Economic Revitalization Plan

There's been a lot of talk and some action as of late about how to revitalize America's flailing economy. So far, the two solutions we have seen are President Bush's tax rebate checks and the calls for us to focus on investments instead of sending rebates.

The way I see it, tax rebates only focus on the short term and calls for improving investment opportunities only focuses on the long term. Neither one, by themselves, are worth the spit it takes to talk about them.

Why only focus on the short term and not the long term? Why only focus on the long term and not the short term? This isn't rocket science. Aren't those we elect supposed to be smart enough to figure that out?

The only good plan I've seen so far (from one of the few people actually proposing one) is one that has been shunned by entrenched media and the political elite...Ron Paul's Economic Revitalization Plan.

It addresses the short term AND the long term in a realistic and smart fashion. I would be willing to see Bush's tax rebates also added to the plan, but even without the rebates Ron Paul's plan is the most solid out there.

In an effort to get past mainstream media and get Paul's plan out for all to see, I'm posting it here. Note how it also includes legislation that has been proposed in Congress to get all of these things done:

Ron Paul, a 10-term Republican Congressman from Texas's 14th District, is currently the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology. He has been named "Taxpayers' Best Friend" for 10 consecutive years by the National Taxpayers' Union. Ron Paul is also the author of several books on monetary policy and economics:

The Four-Point Plan:

1. Tax Reform:

Eliminate Taxes on Dividends and Savings -
The basis of capitalism is savings, and Americans who do so should be rewarded.

Pass HJ Res. 23 to encourage savings over consumption.

Repeal the Death Tax -Attacking small businesses and breaking up family farms smothers growth and kills jobs.

Pass H.R. 2734 to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Cut Taxes for Working Seniors - Grandmothers and grandfathers working to make ends meet should keep all the fruits of their labor.

Pass H.R. 191 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the inclusion in gross income of Social Security benefits.

Eliminate Taxes on Social Security Benefits - That money belongs to seniors, not the government. They paid into the system for a lifetime, and they should be free to spend every penny as they see fit.

Pass H.R. 192 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 1993 increase in taxes on Social Security benefits.

Accelerate Depreciation on Investment - We need to help companies grow and create jobs.

Pass H.R. 4995 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce corporate marginal income tax rates.

Eliminate Taxes on Capital Gains - Investment should be embraced and rewarded.

Pass H.J. Res 23 (The “Liberty Amendment”), proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to abolishing personal income, estate, and gift taxes and prohibiting the United States Government from engaging in business in competition with its citizens.

Eliminate Taxes on Tips - The single parents and working students who earn their income chiefly through tips deserve to keep all of their money. This tax on "estimated income" is unfair and should be ended.

Pass H.R. 3664 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide that tips shall not be subject to income or employment taxes.

Support the Mortgage Cancellation Relief Act - Working families who lost their homes should not be punished a second time with a big IRS bill.

Pass H.R. 1876 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from the gross income of individual taxpayers discharges of indebtedness attributable to certain forgiven residential mortgage obligations.

2. Spending Reform:

Reduce Overseas Military Commitments - Our bases and troops should be on our soil. It's time to stop subsidizing our trading partners in Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Freeze Non-Defense, Non-Entitlement Spending at Current Levels. I vote against all bloated, pork laden spending bills and will veto them as president.

3. Monetary Policy Reform:

Televise Federal Open Market Committee Meetings - An institution as powerful as the Federal Reserve deserves full public scrutiny. Expand Transparency and Accountability at the Federal Reserve.

Pass H.R. 2754 to require the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to continue to make available to the public on a weekly basis information on the measure of the M3 monetary aggregate and its components.

Return Value to Our Money - Legalize gold and silver as a competing currency.

Level the long-term boom and bust business cycle by passing H.R. 4683, which would repeal provisions of the federal criminal code relating to issuing coins of gold, silver, or other metal for use as current money and making or possessing likenesses of such coins.

4. Regulatory Reform:

Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley - It has seriously wounded our capital markets and helped make the UK a financial center at our expense. Ending these misguided regulations would bring jobs flooding back to the United States.

Pass H.R. 1049 to reform Sarbanes-Oxley and reduce the burden it places on small businesses.

Repeal or Remove Costly and Unnecessary Federal Regulations - Neighbors know best how to help their neighbors. We need to make it easier for community banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions to better serve their communities and to help people in these communities get access to credit and capital.

Pass H.R. 1869 to enhance the ability of community banks to foster economic growth and serve their communities, boost small businesses, increase individual savings, and for other purposes.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Transpartisanship

I often promote decentralized federalism here at this blog, as being the best means to ensure freedom. The concept behind decentralized federalism is that the states act as "laboratories of democracy".

However, I'm not beyond observing reality. While I believe decentralized federalism is the way to go in order to ensure freedom, I also recognize that we are massively diverse in every state.

Sure, some states are more "blue" and others are more "red", for example. But the fact is that the majority of states are more like "purple" than anything. There is a strong possibility that as great of an idea as decentralized federalism is, it can be very hard to achieve its full potential.

From coast to coast, people of all persuasions exist in every state. That's a tough cookie to crack when the object is to have states act as different possibilities. When large numbers of people from all up and down the political spectrum exist in every state, it can be difficult for states to actually accomplish standing for one political persuasion or another.

Movements such as the Free State Project and Christian Exodus seemingly act more like invading armies than free people in assembly due to the fact that there are people of other persuasions already living in the place that such groups are trying to boost the majority in. And those people of other persuasions who are already living there have no intention of moving.

In the cause for freedom, I think it's good to have a Plan B. This is where Transpartisanship could be a strong help.

Transpartisanship is a line of thinking that's been around for a few decades but still isn't well known. What this system does is elevate conflict between ideologies to a higher level (transending) that creates solutions which includes all concerns involved. As it states in the link I provided above:


...transpartisanship acknowledges the validity of truths across a range of political perspectives and seeks to synthesize them into an inclusive, pragmatic container beyond typical political dualities.

Translation: Every perspective is part of the whole truth. No perspective holds a monopoly on the truth. And this is the EXACT same thing I have been saying about decentralized federalism!

Transpartisanship and decentralized federalism go hand-in-hand because they both create the same thing...Freedom. If everyone is able to obtain the perspective they want, that's freedom.

Instead of forcing everyone in the country to live under conservative policy, or to live under liberal policy, or to live under libertarian policy, etc, and creating continuous conflict between all as to which one is "best", transpartisanship promotes communication, not conflict, as to how all can work at the same time, not which one is best. Best of all, this can be used at the national level, not just at the state or local level.

Thus, unlike "compromise", transpartisanship does not degrade original perspectives. It does not create solutions without original perspectives represented and intact, unlike moderation that focuses on compromise where one side has to be degraded in order to allow the other more stability.

I see this as another means to establish freedom, one that can address the shortcomings and difficulty presented to decentralized federalism due to diverse populations.

Where decentralized federalism begins to falter, transpartisanship can keep the ball rolling toward freedom. Indeed, decentralized federalism itself can even be used as a transpartisan solution, which only illuminates the connection between the two even more.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Critique of the SC Democratic Debate

I try to watch the debates whenever I can, from any party. I just turn on the tv and see what I can see. Last night, I turned on the tv about halfway through the Dem debate in South Carolina and was appalled enough to turn it off about 20 minutes later.

Here's my critique:

1. First and foremost, where were the other two Democratic candidates who are still running for President? Only Clinton, Obama, and Edwards were in this debate. Missing were Kucinich and Gravel. What the hell kind of debate is that?

It's this kind of "steering of opinion" from the major media that I dislike. The media shapes voters' opinions in this manner, by only showing certain candidates, and that is just plain wrong.

This issue alone discredits the entire debate, right from the start.

2. All three candidates stated their disapproval with our justice system in that more black people are incarcerated than any other color.

Well, my question is what are all those black people doing to become incarcerated in the first place? That's the justice system's fault? I don't think so.

I think black people are capable of understanding that they are responsible for what they do. Assuming that they don't understand such a concept and trying to shift the blame to the justice system is nothing more than pure racism.

3. Clinton declared herself the best choice to "take on" the Republicans. Edwards took it a step further and declared himself the best choice to "take on" specific Republicans, like McCain.

What I want to know is why we need a candidate who is going to work "against" others in our government instead of working "with" them? Why would we want a candidate who's ready to fight other officials instead of trying to make something work? Are these adults or 5 year old kids we are electing? Did they not learn the lesson of playing nice with others?

Obama isn't any better. He talks a big game about bridging the divide, but his response to "taking on Republicans" was that he saw an opportunity to "bring more people in to the Democratic Party", whether independents or republicans.

So, bridging the divide means getting people to convert to your way of thinking? What happened to working with others while respecting their point of view? What happened to creating solutions based on everything that is brought to the table?

My vote is still with Ron Paul.

Ron Paul believes people should be responsible for the choices they make, no matter what color they are. He believes in hearing all opinions (a.k.a. - all candidates should be a part of the debates), which could be why he is one of the ones the mainstream media excludes from debates, like Fox did recently. And, Ron Paul never attempts to "fight" others in our government. He simply uses the Constitution as a sounding board.

If anything good was said in the debate, I missed it. The 20 minutes I saw was enough.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Worldwide Freedom in Decline

In case you missed it on the Newsreel I provide, this article by Editor and Publisher is too important not to emphasize:

Worldwide, Liberty Declined In 2007, Freedom House Survey Finds

Fewer than half of Earth's population live in places that can be called free -- and the march of liberty worldwide reversed itself significantly in 2007, Freedom House reported Wednesday in its annual survey of global freedom. Freedom declined in one-fifth of the world's countries in 2007, the New York City-based non-governmental organization said.

Liberty's reversal was "most pronounced" in South Asia, but also covered a wide swath of the Earth, including nations of the Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa, and the former Soviet Union. Freedom House said the environment of human rights and liberty in countries it had previously rated as Not Free grew worse among some important powers, such as Russia, Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, and Venezuela.

The full report, Freedom in the World 2008 is available here. There was little change in the actual numbers of countries designated Free, Partly Free, or Not Free. What changed, Freedom House said, was the climate of liberty inside the broad categories. "Nearly four times as many countries showed declines during the year as registered improvement," the organization said.

In Egypt and Pakistan, for instance, authoritarian regimes stepped up efforts to suppress independent media, democratic opposition, and civil society in general. And "group of market-oriented autocracies and energy-rich dictatorships" -- Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and China -- carried out "assaults" on freedom of association during the year, Freedom House said.

"This year's results show a profoundly disturbing deterioration of freedom worldwide," Arch Puddington, Freedom House's director of research, said in a statement. "A number of countries that had previously shown progress toward democracy have regressed, while none of the most influential Not Free states showed signs of improvement.

As the second consecutive year that the survey has registered a global decline in political rights and civil liberties, friends of freedom worldwide have real cause for concern." Among the most worrying signs, Freedom House said, were reversals of freedom in nations that had been making progress. In Asia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines all saw declines in their ratings.

It said "the deterioration within Nigeria and Kenya, two of Africa's most important countries, should be of great concern for those who had hoped that the incremental gains of recent years would continue." Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor said authoritarian regimes have been using their influence to slow the advance of freedom, while "democratic governments have not worked together effectively to counter these trends."

Overall, Freedom House said, the number of countries considered Free in 2007 stood unchanged at 90, representing 46% of the global population. The number of Partly Free countries increased to 60, or 18% of the world population, with the move of Thailand and Togo from the Not Free category.In 2007, Freedom House said, 36% of the world's population lived in the 43 countries it deems Not Free. North America and, "with a few exceptions," Western Europe received the highest ratings on the Freedom House index.

"However, the flawed response to an upsurge in immigration in Europe and the U.S. has revealed potentially serious imperfections in these countries' democratic systems, especially in Western Europe," the NGO said. "Furthermore, they continued to grapple with problems posed by the continued threat of Islamic terrorism.

"The United States was rated 1 on a 1 to 7 scale, with [1] being the most free."


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Response to The Luddite

Being a supporter of Rep./Dr. Ron Paul for President, I tried to respond to an article I read at Wired, written by Tony Long. I was only allowed a certain amount of characters in my response, and I couldn't cut the response down enough without missing some key points.

So, I decided to post my response to excerpts of the article here and invited The Luddite (as my response) to view. It is as follows and I ask that everyone pay particular attention to response #13:

These days, our federal government is being pushed toward the warfare/welfare state, divided along bitter, partisan lines. This creates a kind of fog that is difficult to see through. The viewpoints you have selected in your article about Ron Paul display a misunderstanding that the warfare/welfare federal state creates.

I hope I can clear up some of that confusion:

1. "You can't be a good president in the 21st century when your chief concerns are the sovereignty of the American taxpayer and his right to bear arms."

Actually, the sovereignty of the American taxpayer is the sole reason for the existence of our government, to protect our rights, establish a reliable place for investment, and establish freedom. This is a fact that history proves.

And, the right to bear arms is our last resort to ensure that such an existence happens.

Nothing could be more important and a president that doesn't recognize such importance is a president that has no connection with the foundation of America or with an understanding of freedom.

2. "Isolationism is no longer an option."

Agreed, which is why Ron Paul is not calling for isolationism. He's calling for non-interventionism. There is a difference. Isolationism means having nothing to do with other countries. Non-interventionism means having nothing to do with other countries' conflicts and disagreements, yet still trading with them, interacting with them, traveling to them, and speaking to them.

3. "And this guy wants to pull us out of the United Nations."

The Founding Fathers' advice for us was "alliances with none". Alliance with foreign nations erodes our sovereignty, by dictating what we should do, who we should fight, and whom we should support. That's not the mark of a free country.

4. "Speaking of babies, his libertarian defense of individual rights doesn't extend to women, apparently."

Yes, it does, except when a woman attempts to deny the individual rights of another life – the baby. As well, Ron Paul has indicated that this is his "personal" opinion, not to interfere with denying the right to life only with due process, as stated in Amendment 14 of the Constitution.

5. "More specifically, he supports a state's right to ban abortion."

Again, Amendment 14 of the Constitution - ...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Personally, I say that Roe vs. Wade is sufficient because it is due process of law. Though Roe vs Wade is federal, the Constitution does not specify that due process must be state or federal for a right to life. Anyway, I'm simply explaining where Ron Paul's stance is coming from.

5. "That's a new one on me: turning the stem cell debate into a taxpayer-rights issue...His chief concern isn't so much the morality of the research as who pays for it."

The morality of the issue has everything to do with who pays for it. Being forced to pay for a federal government program that goes against one's religion in a free country is morally wrong.

6. "States rights is a major plank in the Paul platform."

States rights are what ensures that we are a free country. Instead of imposing one ideological stance on the entire country (i.e. – conservative, liberal, socialist, libertarian, etc), state governments offer us the opportunity to have multiple preferences exist at the same time! That's freedom. And it only works if federal government stays limited.

7. "Paul says the federal government has helped damage the environment by "facilitating polluters, subsidizing logging in the national forests and instituting one-size-fits-all approaches that too often discriminate against those they are intended to help."

They haven't?

8. "If Chauncey Moneybags owns 40,000 acres up near the Idaho-Montana border and decides to cash in by letting the timber boys do a little clear-cutting, who's going to stop him? Paul says Chauncey can do whatever he wants to with his land. How is that helping the natural environment?"

Consider these three points:

A. Doesn’t the "common person" such as you and me own land as well? Even if our land amount is much smaller than Mr. Moneybags's land amount, how small is it when you add up ALL of the common people that own land?

Point: If you care about the environment, who better to protect it than yourself (why are we relying on the government to do what we can do ourselves)?

The more land that is owned by those who care about it, the more it will stay safe. And most people, even if they are not huge environmentalists, are going to care about the property that they own, because they have paid for it.

B. If I hold private property and you cause pollution to enter it, that goes against the law because you are causing damage to my private property. The more private property that is held, the more pollution will be penalized by the law.

C. Ron Paul has never supported doing away with government penalties for pollution nor has he supported doing away with ALL public land nor has he not supported private enterprise creating green technology. Although government should be doing something to promote green technology (I think), why are we relying on the government alone to do it (again, why not do more things for ourselves)?

9. "If there is anti-American sentiment along the East River these days, it's because we're swaggering around like the high school bully, and we've pissed a lot of people off."

Agreed. And Ron Paul agrees as well.

10. "As for military matters, Paul's objection to the U.S. invasion of Iraq was not that we ignored world opinion and attacked unilaterally, but that we violated the Washingtonian-Jeffersonian doctrine of "avoiding foreign entanglements."

Not to mention that it also violates Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution by sending us to war without a Declaration of War from Congress, which is Ron Paul's main objection.

11. "George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have been dead for two centuries. Our world is just ever so slightly different from the one they knew. Realities have changed."

Agreed. In fact, Thomas Jefferson advocated making changes that reflected new realities for new generations. The Founding Fathers even went as far as to create a system for us to do that. It's called amending the Constitution.

12. "The modern world is all about interaction, interdependence and active engagement, not isolationism."

Agreed, though I don't approve of interdependence. At any rate, see #2.

13. "Fine. I'm a fool. But when push comes to shove, I'd rather be my kind of fool than yours."

There's nothing wrong with that. Being your kind of fool is what freedom is all about. And those states rights that you seem leery of supporting are the exact thing capable of allowing you to be your kind of fool as opposed to being my kind of fool. Again, that can only happen with the kind of limited federal government that Ron Paul supports.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Hampshire

Remember when I said, "Here's to hoping that voters in New Hampshire do a better job of taking care of our national freedom" in my last post? Well, so much for that.

New Hampshire, arguably the most freedom-minded state in the union, voted for Clinton and McCain, two candidates who have have no issue with nation building, or forced government health care, or corporate subsidies, or the federal government conducting domestic spying without reasonable cause and acting on what it finds without oath or affirmation, to name just a few, tasty treats that come with those candidates.

Before I say anything else, I'll say this:

1. Wow.

2. The Free State Project might want to re-evaluate where it has decided to set up shop.

Moving on, I must also say that McCain was elected because of his tendency to supposedly "bridge the partisan divide", though I think he does it in a way that often dilutes the original perspectives, which is not the way to bridge a divide.

Clinton was elected on her new development of honesty, after her breakdown in front of voters and a brief moment of crying. New Hampshire voters then saw her as open and honest.

Judging by Iowa and now New Hampshire, it seems that honesty and bridging the partisan divide are going to be in great demand this election. And, these are important traits in our elected officials because both traits enhance our freedom.

But perhaps one should ask where honesty and bridging the divide stop and where the candidates' actual POLICIES, such as the ones I mentioned above, start.


Friday, January 4, 2008

No Love for Iowa

So, the Iowa Caucuses have come and gone, and it appears that voters in Iowa prefer force placed on them instead of freedom.

Iowans voted for a man who would force all employers to pay for our health care or be forced to contribute toward a national health insurance plan that the rest of us will be forced to pay for through higher taxation as well.

This is regardless of the fact that an amendment in the Constitution says powers not listed in the Constitution are granted to the states or the people (10th Amendment). Health care of the people is not listed in the Constitution as a responsibility of the federal government. Therefore, health care is a state or individual issue (which can open the door for multiple possibilities).

Not only does Obama ignore the Constitution (or doesn't know it), he sets an example of force instead of freedom in a free country.

Iowans also voted for a man who would push for a Constitutional amendment that bans marriage and all of the legal rights associated with marriage from certain people based on their chosen sexuality, while continuing to grant such rights in marriage to people who choose a different sexuality, essentially dictating what kind of sexuality we should all have.

This is regardless of the fact that an amendment already exists in the Constitution which forbids creating new amendments that deny rights to some while are granted to others (9th Amendment).

Not only does Huckabee ignore the Constitution (or doesn't know it), he sets an example of force instead of freedom in a free country.

In Iowa, such force is perfectly fine, if that's what they want (freedom provides that). But the rest of the country is not Iowa.

Don't get me wrong, Obama and Huckabee have their good points. Obama wants to move past partisan politics. Huckabee wants to eliminate the income tax. These things can be good for freedom, if done properly (no cherry picking of partisanship to move past and no replacement of one tax for another).

But why vote for a candidate who has good traits when they also have bad traits that weigh just as heavily, if not more? Are traits that abuse freedom in a free country traits worth ignoring?

All of this is regardless of the fact that there exists a candidate who knows what the Constitution says and who sets an example of freedom instead of force - the kind of freedom that would allow the kind of force Iowans want in a state that wanted it, so long as it stayed within that state instead of expanding across the entire country.

That candidate is Ron Paul.

Here's to hoping that voters in New Hampshire do a better job of taking care of our national freedom.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Quote I Like

I started the new year out by touring the sights in Washington D.C. One of my favorite monuments was the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Here's a quote I like from the man himself, etched in a circular fashion around the ceiling inside the memorial, high above all other quotes of his that are placed on the walls:

“I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”