Friday-Sunday, March 4-6, 2005
Robert's Crystal Ball
I predicted that Republicans would raise taxes. They'll give the new taxes antiseptic name such as "fair tax" and "consumption tax". The bottom line is that working people will be hurt. But, such draconian taxation will lead to an economic meltdown as the consumer accounts for 2/3 of the economy. Regressive taxation, runaway health care costs and bankruptcy laws that take away people's homes will eventually result in an economic collapse. This is the neocons master plan - create a mass of poor people to use up in endless wars of aggression. Make no mistake, the present administration is truly evil. Alan Greenspan is nothing but the neocon's messenger boy.
In response to Bruno Corey's "What Bush needed was Count Dracula to act as a translator," Robert Scardapane writes:
You mean Cheney wasn't available. I guess Daddy Cheney was too busy formulating new policy on "consumption taxes", "fair taxes", "tort reform" and "social security piratization". I wonder if Americans now realize that they voted for a bunch of blood sucking ghouls.
In response to, "I wish a good and smart and "compassionate" man like Rep. Harold Ford would look at Dr./ Sen. Frist and say, "I have to run against this guy. I have to beat him for the sake of Tennessee and the United States!" Robert Scardapane writes:
Harold Ford is a good man. I think he has the potential to make it to the top one day. By all means, it's time to oust Dr "Mengele" Frist.
For what it's worth, I'll send Mr. Ford an email to encourage him to run for Senator in 2006.
Maybe we ALL should. -NG
Improve 401K Plans
President Bush said he wants "add-on" accounts for social security. We already have "add-on" accounts called 401K plans. If the President is interested in improving 401K plans, I have no quarrel with that. But sadly, I believe he is playing language games by using terminology that is more acceptable to the opponents of social security privatization.
A bipartisan think tank called "The Century Foundation" done an interesting study that demonstrated many employees don't enroll in 401K plans. When the employee was automatically enrolled, with an option to drop out, they generally stayed in the plan. Furthermore, when the amount deducted into the plan slowly escalates, they generally stuck with it. So, even though many people don't think they can save money in fact when it's made easy they do.
Here's my suggestion for Mr. Bush. Improve 401K plans to increase savings:
Automatic enrollment in 401K.
Automatic escalating deductions into the most conservative fund within the 401K.
Provide a government sponsored 401K plan for people whose companies don't have one.
Increase the percentage of money that can be saved. It's still way too low.
I am a believer in saving. But, I don't think that is the Republicans main motivation for privatization. I still suspect that they want to destroy social security. That would be a major mistake that we will pay for in the future.
Bankruptcy Bill Benefits The Robber Barons
The Republicans have passed yet another disgraceful bill. This bill requires means testing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A person filing for bankruptcy will have to go through an expensive, time consuming process to meet the means test. Failing the means test may result in additional assets being seized and garnished wages.
But alas, they put a loophole in the bill for millionaires! They can now setup a domestic asset trust that protects their assets from being seized. Corporate criminals such as Bernie Ebbers and Ken Lay may be able to hold on to their ill-gotten gains via one of these trusts. There is no cap in these trusts.
Now, if this doesn't stink of Robber Baron policy, what does? Welcome to Bush's ownership society where the Robber Barons will eventually own everything you struggled to obtain.
Harry S. Truman - A REAL American President
"Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home— but not for housing. They are strong for labor— but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage—the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine— for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing—but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it." — Harry S. Truman
The more times change the more the Repubs stay the same!
The Moral Dilemma, A Dialogue on Darfur and the Views of One Christian
response to, "We are NEVER required to choose evil. The 'lesser
of two evils' is always evil. There is ALWAYS a choice that is,
at least, good. Otherwise the moral order of the universe is a
joke." -David (I didn't get his last name) writes:
It reminded me of a lesson in ethics I taught my son just last weekend.
Have you heard of the classic lifeboat dilemma? It goes something like this: "You are in a lifeboat with 20 survivors of a shipwreck. It will take 5 days to reach land, and you only have enough water for 15 people to survive until then." It then goes on to list the skills, occupation, and age of each survivor (some are children or babies), and asks, "Which 5 people will you vote to throw overboard (to their deaths), so that the rest will survive?"
I told my son, the correct answer is, NONE of them, for three reasons. First, because it is immoral to kill innocent people.
Second because it's immoral to judge one life as more worthy than another life (e.g. do you throw children overboard because they can't contribute anything to the group?).
But most important, what happens if the premise is wrong about needing 5 days to reach safety, and you are rescued the next day by a ship or plane? How will you feel that you murdered 5 people unnecessarily, and how will you be judged, both in court (murder charges) and before God?
THERE IS ALWAYS A THIRD WAY! Or as you said,
> We are NEVER required to choose evil. The "lesser of two evils" is always evil. There is ALWAYS a choice that is, at least, good. Otherwise the moral order of the universe is a joke.
"War is sometimes a necessary evil, but it is always an evil."
James Earl Carter
And is it ever necessary? Nations never consider alternatives.
Stephen Spiro responds:
Your question to your son reminded me of a situation when I was in College, and working nights in a hospital. I told my girlfriend that we had a sad occurrence the night before: a child had been born with hydrocephaly, "water on the brain". The child had about a 2 year life expectancy. She was disturbed, and said, "Why don't they just but the child out of its misery painlessly? It would also save the parents the pain of watching their child die." My reply was, like David Harten's third point, "Suppose you were the doctor who killed the child, and the treatment was discovered a year later?" It brought her up short, and she did some serious rethinking about the merits of euthanasia.
A few years later, I was working in a different hospital, and was processing the insurance forms for a child. He had been admitted to have his shunt refitted. He had been born with hydrocephaly, but now it was treatable. Judging from his age, I figured the other child was also still alive and being treated...
Peace to you all!
Proving the old saying that the wheels of justice grind slowly, a suit has recently been filed by Vietnamese people who were injured by Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. We used "chemical warfare" over 30 years ago against these people who we supposedly were trying to save from communism, which caused cancers and birth defects. When GWB talks about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and using chemical weapons it was supposedly reason enough for regime change and invading another country. The US is guilty of using Agent Orange to defoliate the countryside of Vietnam, which contaminated water supplies and crops. Along the same lines, while this administration is developing NEW nuclear weapons, bunker busting bombs, which will need to be tested, violating treaties on nuclear proliferation and testing, we can't have any righteous moral indignation about countries who want to obtain nuclear weapons. After the world saw what we did to an unarmed country in Iraq, why would any country not want to have all the defenses possible against this bully of a country which invades other nations pre-emptively?
Stupid Quotes of the Day
"There are Democrats and Republicans who see No Child Left Behind as Washington running amok. This is normal because it forces states, districts and teachers to change behavior, and people don't like being pushed. In some cases, I have no sympathy for those being pushed, because they're not doing right by kids and don't want to change. In other cases, I sympathize because some states and districts and schools were educating children better" before the law was adopted.
-Chester E. Finn Jr., an assistant secretary of education in the Reagan administration responding to Utah delaying the vote to not use "No Child Left Behind"
Chester seems to be saying that ALL STATES need to suffer under a poor plan such as "No Child Left Behind" because SOME STATES are doing a poor job of educating their children. So in order to fix what IS BROKEN, the Bushies are going to also FIX WHAT ISN'T BROKEN.
That's Reagan-to-Bush logic for you.
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