Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Intelligent Design and Genesis

This article in Opinion Journal illustrates behavior that disgusts me, especially coming from "scientists". This is the strait-jacket of "political correctness" carried to its illogical extreme.

The kefuffle over "Creationism", "Intelligent Design", and "Darwinism" seems to be growing. There's something, however, that I'd like all three groups to think about.

The Bible of the Hebrews documents the creation of the "heavens and the earth" by an omnipotent, omniscent, all-powerful God who created everything that exists. It doesn't say HOW He did it, only that He had.

This brings up some interesting questions, if you're someone who's willing to think, rather than just reject anything to do with religion as "superstition". Here are some topics to think about:

  • If God created EVERYTHING, then that includes the so-called "natural laws" that govern the Universe, from the inverse square law to quantum mechanics to the laws of physics, biology, geology, and and any other "ology" we as 'mere mortals' may deduce from His universe.
  • In the same vein, if we look at the universe as something designed by a higher being, everything that happens occurs for a reason. That doesn't necessarily mean that we know the reason, or can even understand it at this point in our development.
  • The case for evolution to be the sole source for the creation of the myriad number of species is becoming weaker and weaker. At the same time, there is abundant evidence that evolution of species has occurred. We have also seen extensive evidence of the physical changes in the conditions supporting life on Earth. If we postulate

    • that the Earth is in a constant state of flux, with continents, ocean currents, air currents, mountain chains, river systems, and shorelines changing over time,
    • that the Solar System, including our sun, is also constantly changing, even if these changes are minute and difficult to detect,
    • and that even minute changes (in solar output, ocean width or depth, or mountain orogeny, for instance) may have huge impacts over time that affect every living thing on Earth,
    • there needs to be some form of biological feedback within species as a whole as well as individuals to adjust to those changes,
    • therefore, what we classify as "evolution" is a form of self-adjusting feedback mechanism that ensures the continued existence of the species.

"Intelligent Design" is the catch-phrase of those that acknowledge that the universe as it exists cannot be explained by the laws of random generation, but requires something more. These people cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the possibility that any one God, especially not the God of the Hebrews, actually exists, and actually relates to His creation on a routine basis, even at the individual level. They postulate some other force as being behind the universe without ever attempting to explain what that force could be. That's a cop-out. So are the words of the fundamentalists that believe they know how God created the universe, and that the literal translation of the Bible is the only explanation of how God works. Genesis explains "who" and "what", not "how". Trying to encapsule God's creation into days that literally didn't exist until the fourth "day" highlights this fallacy. How God works is beyond our abilities to know - THAT He works, and that He has a desire to be a part of the lives of each of us is all that should matter.

Anyone who refuses to acknowledge that there may be an alternate explanation to a theory, even an explanation with religious connotations, is not a true scientist. A true scientist is one who has an open mind, and a willingness to accept any hypothesis until it's proven false. The growth of scientific evidence supporting the structured nature of the universe will eventually displace the "chaos" theory. As the amount of evidence grows, there is good reason to expect intelligent design to be an equally, perhaps better explanation, of the development of life in all its current forms. For those who identify that intelligence as "God", it will be an acceptance long overdue.

The Hate-America Crowd, Part II

How can we talk about the Hate-America crowd without mentioning one of the chief sore losers, George Soros? Soros is a leftist billionaire who made his money in currency speculation. There's a growing pile of evidence that he's working very hard to manipulate the US Dollar, keeping it below market value, and attempting to at least put the brakes on the US economy for political purposes. He spent an estimated $25 million trying to ensure the defeat of George Bush in last November's presidential election. Here's a recent article from NEWSMAX on George Soros and his politics:

Soros Missive Attacks Bush Speech

While the goals stated by President Bush in his Inaugural Address were praiseworthy, his words sometimes directly contradict his deeds "in a kind of Orwellian doublespeak," says billionaire leftist George Soros.

Soros remains unable to accept the fact that George Bush was re-elected – despite the millions he spent in an effort to defeat the president.

Writing in an e-mail to his supporters Wednesday, Soros charged that when the President declared war on terror, "he used that war to invade Iraq. When no connection with Al Qaeda could be established and no weapons of mass destruction could be found, he declared that we invaded Iraq to introduce democracy."

We are now, he predicts, "about to convert elections in Iraq into a civil war between a Shi'a-Kurd dominated government and a Sunni insurrection," a charge the administration and Iraqi officials deny.

George Soros will never be able to find anything good in anything George Bush does. Soros is a sore loser, and a proud member in good standing of the "Hate America" club. He can see no good in the destruction of the Taliban and the end of their extremist religious views. He refuses to accept that Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States, and that he wishes to see the United States destroyed. He sees no good in the War against Terror, or in our victory in Iraq. Everything he says about the war on terror is an exaggerated, negative spin against the United States, its allies, its purposes, and its objectives. "Truth" to George Soros is what he believes, regardless of the facts that might contradict him - typical of the "Hate-America" crowd.

Moreover, Soros, a rabid internationalist, insisted that in Iraq and beyond, "when Bush says that 'freedom will prevail,' many interpret him to mean that America will prevail. This has impugned our motives and deprived us of whatever moral authority we once had in intervening in other countries' domestic affairs."

Soros boasts that he has spent billions around the world using "foundations operating on the ground and led by citizens who understand the limits of the possible in their countries.

"To explain what is wrong with the new Bush doctrine, I have to invoke the concept of open society," he wrote, adding that this concept has guided him in his efforts "to foster freedom around the world."

The U.S., "the most successful open society in the world," he wrote, does not "properly understand the first principles of an open society; indeed, its current leadership actively disavows them. The concept of open society is based on the recognition that nobody possesses the ultimate truth, and that to claim otherwise leads to repression. In short, we may be wrong."

Once again, George Soros shows his true colors - if it's not in George Soros' best interest, it's "wrong". Many of his "societies" have worked in countries around the world to manipulate the governments and politics of those countries for George Soros' benefit.

The President, however, refuses to acknowledge the possibility that he is wrong, "and his denial appeals to a significant segment of the American public" – the people who elected him twice, to Soros' dismay.

Apparently Soros likes an open society – until it democratically elects a candidate he doesn't agree with.

Soros says of the recent election that an "equally significant segment is appalled. This has left the US not only deeply divided, but also at loggerheads with much of the rest of the world, which considers our policies high-handed and arbitrary."

Apparently it wasn't an "equally significant segment", since George Bush got 3 MILLION more votes than John Kerry. That's a pretty good segment, and far more than the "1%" the left talks about. Equally damning to the left's argument is that this is the first time ANY president has gotten a majority of the votes cast in a decade. There is indeed a deep divide among the electorate in the United States, but the divide isn't the one George Soros talks about. The divide, and I discuss in another article I'm writing, is between those that live in pre-9/11 America and those that live in the present. George Soros is one of the people that refuse to acknowledge that "9/11 changes everything". To Soros, it changes nothing, and it should NEVER be used to change ANYTHING. Refusing to acknowledge reality is another sterling quality of the "Hate-America" crowd.

A real open society, Soros wrote, would be able to distinguish "between promoting freedom and democracy and promoting American values and interests. If it is freedom and democracy that we want, we can foster it only by strengthening international law and international institutions."

Translated: The President is mistaken in his refusal to turn our foreign policy over to Soros, the elites at the CFR, and the U.N. – which is better equipped to handle our foreign affairs, as it proved by its handling of the scandal-ridden Oil-for-Food program.

The United States is at war, whether George Soros or the rest of the moonbat patrol acknowledges it or not. The war is a truth backed up by the word of the enemy, and by their actions against us. In war, there are only two options: win or surrender. George Soros is in the "surrender" camp, with the rest of the "Hate-America" crowd.

A discussion of the "Hate-America" crowd wouldn't be complete without mentioning the massive master of hate, Michael "It's not wrong if I do it" Moore. Fahrenheit 9/11 was perhaps the most disgusting piece of propaganda poorly disguised as a documentary that's been filmed since the downfall of Hitler's Germany. Now the "Bloated Lord of Bloviation" is turning against his former allies:

Friday, Jan. 28, 2005 5:24 p.m. EST
Michael Moore: Dems Are 'Wimps and Losers'

Disgruntled conspiracy filmmaker Michael Moore blasted the Democratic Party on Thursday, saying its field of candidates for 2008 consists of "a lot of wimps and losers."

"The Democrats are going to have a very hard time winning the next election," he told London's Channel Four. "The Republicans have a number of star players and the Democrats have a lot of wimps and losers."

Only last month Moore was calling Hillary Clinton a Democratic Party star who had a good chance of winning in 2008. But her widely reported move to the center has apparently turned him off.

Moore was particularly irked that so many Democrats, including Clinton, voted to confirm Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week.

"It was a disgusting sight and indicative of who the Democrats are," he told Channel Four. "They are lazy and they're cowards and I'm just hoping that the more they continue to act like that the more it will encourage Americans to run against them and put the US back in the hands of the working class, where it belongs."

Which 'working class' is that, Mr. Moore? Are you talking about Bill and Hillary Clinton, who got between them more than $20 Million to write their "memoirs"? Are you talking about George Soros and the other fat cat billionaires that "donated" more than $80 million to "527" groups to defeat George Bush? Are you talking about the dozens of Hollywood millionaire actors and actresses and others in the film industry that belong to the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party? Perhaps, Mr. Moore, you've read so much about your 'genius' that you believe it yourself. Unfortunately for you, the rest of the world contains enough sensible people intelligent enough to see that your words and deeds are just another piece of leftist bovine feces.

Moore said the GOP is much more aggressive. "Bush and the Republicans have no shame and will resort to anything in order to win. The Democrats show up to a gun fight with a butter knife and thus they lose."

The radical movieman said he "prayed nightly" that Bush's "many scandals" would catch up to him and end his second term prematurely.

Asked if he would donate to the anti-war movement his income from "Fahrenheit 911," which reportedly topped $150 million at the box office, Moore pleaded poverty.

"I haven't seen a dime from this movie!" he told Channel Four.

Instead, said Moore, "I will promise you that I will donate as much of my time as I can in the coming months to see that the anti-Bush movement transforms itself into a massive anti-war movement so we can bring these troops home."

Michael Moore said, "Bush and the Republicans have no shame and will resort to anything in order to win." There are many, many instances of voter fraud coming out about the 2004 presidential election. Stefan Sharkansky and the folks at Sound Politics have a ton of information on Democratic Party voter fraud in the Washington State Governor's race. The folks at Power Line, and Ed at Captain's Quarters have similar information of Democratic Party malfeasance in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and East St. Louis, Illinois. Michelle Malkin has posted evidence of Democratic voter fraud in California. The list of charges being brought agains members of ACORN would take half a page to document.

A Google search for "vote fraud" turns up almost 200,000 hits; "voter fraud" turns up another 345,000, and "election fraud" turns up over 370,000. If you read the "vote fraud" page, it's 90% allegations of Republican fraud. If you read the "voter fraud" page, it's 90% allegations of Democratic fraud. The only place where anything like voter fraud took place by a Republican-backed organization was the totally reprehensible behavior of Sproul and Associates I detailed in the article "Voter Fraud: A National Epidemic", below.

I started writing this two days before the Iraqi elections. Now that they've taken place - large turnout in almost all areas of Iraq, only a handful of terror incidents, and a celebratory attitude among the Iraqis that participated - and been at least moderately successful, will Michael Moore admit that he and his attitude were wrong? Don't hold your breath!

End Part II

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Victory, sweet Victory

While most of the United States slept, Iraq made history. The first free, democratic, multiparty elections in the last 50 years were held in this war-torn country. The turnout was huge in spite of threats from the islamofascist terrorists that they would "turn the streets red with blood". There were attacks, and 44 people died, but the elections went forward. The Iraqi people took a giant step toward a peaceful, prosperous future today, and no one should downplay the importance of this stupendously historic day.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Vote Fraud: A National Epidemic

I started writing a series of articles about the "Hate America" crowd, and why they hate. Part of it dealt with Michael Moore. There's one statement Mr. Moore said that got me doing some research - that the Republicans would "do anything to win". I started doing some research on vote fraud in the 2004 election, and was totally astounded by the amount of words written about the subject. Unfortunately, the words haven't been followed by any action, either to correct the problems that allowed the fraud to take place, or to prosecute those responsible for it. Below is a state-by-state wrap-up of what I'm finding, complete with links to the articles themselves.

The research was done through Google searches of the Internet. A search for "vote fraud" turns up almost 200,000 hits; "voter fraud" turns up another 345,000, and "election fraud" turns up over 370,000. Additional searches were done adding the word "Democratic" and "Republican" before the other phrases. The only stories I've linked to are those where factual evidence was presented to Federal, State, and Local law enforcement people and others.

Google searches were also done using the string "ACORN" +"voter registration fraud", which returned 34,700 hits. ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is being investigated in a number of states for voter registration fraud, including Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Other groups that were checked was Americans Coming Together (ACT), a Democratic 527 group funded by George Soros, "America Votes", and Sproul & Associates, a Republican group.

In addition, two Google searches were done using "prosecuted" +"voter registration fraud" +2004, (789 hits) and "convicted" +"voter registration fraud" +2004 (819 hits). Other searches used specific names, company names, lists of "527" organizations, and information from State attorney general offices in each of the affected states. I've tried to be as truthful and nonpartisan as I could. DISCLOSURE: I am a Vietnam veteran, and was in South Vietnam at the time John Kerry told his lies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. I have a personal disdain for John Kerry. I am a registered Independent in Colorado. My parents were lifelong registered Democrats, and both belonged to unions at one time or another in their lives. Both also served in the Armed Forces of the United States during World War II.


This site discusses real and/or potential voter fraud in Maryland, California, South Dakota, Ohio, New York, Florida, and elsewhere.

This site discusses voter registration fraud by ACORN and others in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

More voter registration fraud reporting involving ACORN. This includes reports of problems in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Louisiana.

Free Republic has a massive database on stories alleging voter fraud across the nation. Stories about voter fraud that occured in Wisconsin, Washington State, Ohio, California, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Arizona, New York, North Carolina, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Puerto Rico, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, and elsewhere. NOTE: you have to go to all pages to see details.

Here is another rehash of the problems that ACORN has brought upon itself.

This link links to Daily Kos and Republican voter fraud. While I don't think for a minute that some Republicans participated in fraud, I can't accept anything from Daily Kos as truthful, having experienced more than three years of lies, distortions, and plain old fabrications. Take anything you read there with a grain of salt, and cross-check it three ways before accepting it. I won't link directly to Kos, period.

Another ACORN report, this one from National Review Online

This article attacks the online news center, NEWSMAX. While NewsMax is frequently sensationalized, there are many instances of it reporting striaght news - enough to offset the charges of "hysteria". Also, most NewsMax stories originate either on the national wires or other links. This report also brings up the point - how much fraud is acceptable? I would describe ANY fraud as unacceptable, by any voter, in any election. Fraud of any kind is a crime, and should be treated as such.

This site has a lot of links to articles about voter fraud, presented from the Democratic/Left side of the spectrum.

Massive Democratic voter registration fraud from voter-registration drives: " 9News has documented 719 cases of potentially fraudulent forms at county election offices show fraudulent names, addresses, social security numbers or dates of birth in Denver, Douglas, Adams, Boulder and Lake counties. Information from other counties is still coming in." Surprisingly, the article cannot be found in the archives of Channel 9 News in Denver. As a Colorado resident, I know the case is still pending trial.


This story discusses voter registration fraud by the group ACORN in Florida.

More on the Florida ACORN voter fraud story, plus links to other stories.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement checks in on ACORN voter fraud.

There is anecdotal evidence of additional registration shenanigans by several groups on both sides of the political sphere in other places in Florida.

This UPI story on Newsmax discusses election abuse and fraud in St. Louis.

REPUBLICAN voter fraud is reported in this article about the behavior of Arizona-based Sproul and Associates in Nevada, Oregon, and West Virginia.


In a story from KRQE Channel 13, Albuquerque, NM, stories of voter registration cards for at least two dead people and one unknown.
Jim Miller, a political blogger, discusses voter fraud in Bernalillo County, NM. This county includes the city of Albuquerque, and roughly a third of New Mexico voters.


This October, 2004 Drudge report shows part of the problem in Ohio - more voters registering than people of voting age living in that county. Fraud? Dead people voting? You decide.

This Boston Herald comment thread discusses the Ohio voter fraud case in a little more depth.

Here is another story about voter fraud in Ohio, this one by the Cincinatti Enquirer.

Here is the Toledo Blade story on voter registration fraud in Ohio.

This story comes from the "Blogs for Bush" website, but is still relevant because it shows voter fraud being committed, and discusses charges being filed. I can't find anything about the charges being dropped, or that any action has been taken on this matter.

This story shows part of the problem of having voter registration groups pay by the number of people registered - it's an open invitation to fraud.

There are many allegations of voter fraud surrounding the re-election attempt by Sen. Daschle (against Mr. Thune), especially in the many Indian reservations in the state, against both Democrats and Republicans. I found no concise news report that adequately covered the controversy.


Hobbs Online has this story of 200 fraudulent voter registration cards being filed in Davidson County by a temporary employee of the Tennessee Citizen Action committee. The matter was referred to both Tennessee and FBI investigator Hobbs also has a fraud report special page with many, many links here.

There is a major battle taking place between the Republican candidate for Governor, Bill Rossi, and his Democratic rival, Christine Gregiore. Voter fraud plays a major part of the battle. There are enough reports of voter fraud to verify that the original election was seriously flawed, with more unlawful ballots counted than the original or current difference in election results. A new election is being pushed by more than half of the state voters.

To date, the only agency working for the Republican Party to face criminal charges (and in my opinion, well-deserved) is Sproul & Associates of Chandler, Arizona. The group's destruction of Democratic voter registration cards is unconscionable. We'll have to wait and see, however, if the courts agree.

On the other side of the aisle, there's no doubt that many workers for ACORN committed voter registration fraud, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado at least.

The election farce in Washington State still has to play itself out, but don't expect any great surprises or "Cinderella" stories. This fiasco is being master-minded (if that's the right word) by the state Democratic machine, not some Soros-backed 527 or other group. The same can be said of vote fraud in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota at a minimum. Illinois and Missouri may also be in play. Less intense but still significant examinations of vote fraud should be carried out in North and South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, New York, Florida, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

"America Votes", a coalition of more than forty groups, mostly backed by Democratic party members, has dozens of its member groups under investigation for voter fraud. The Washington Times article has this paragraph: "Hundreds of questionable voter-registration applications, such as duplicates, and accusations of workers shredding registrations in favor of one party are under review by local, state and federal law-enforcement and election authorities in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia, Oregon, Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Florida."

What this should tell us is that we need to update our voter registration and election laws to meet the needs of the 21st Century, and to put an end to vote fraud. We need national minimum standards for voter registration, felony voting, and provisional ballots. We need national minimum standards for early and absentee voting, and for overseas voting by military and civilian citizens of the United States that guarantees their right to cast their ballot. We need national minimum standards for voting machines and the voting process. Finally, we need national minimum standards for prosecuting fraud and lawlessness in any form relating to voting.

Voting is our way of selecting those that will represent us in our government. Fraud not only makes the election process unjust, it deprives us of our honestly chosen elected officials. It MUST become a national priority to crack down on voter fraud before all respect for the process - and for our government - is destroyed.

Suggested Minimum Standards for Voter Registration

  • Proof of citizenship

  • Proof of birthdate

  • Proof of residency

  • Acceptable Photo Identification

Suggested Minimum Standards for Felony Voting
Any person convicted of a felony anywhere in the United States should have his/her name, social security number, date and place of birth, and a photograph entered into a nationwide database, and made available to all state registrars. State registrars should be required to validate their state voter rolls at least six months before an election to determine if there are any felons who are not allowed to vote on those rolls. That same database should also include a report of any limited or full reinstatement of the right to vote. Anyone who appears on the database and argues that it's wrong should be given a provisional ballot and allowed to vote, with the onus being on the state in which the vote was cast to determine if it is a legal vote or not.

Suggested Minimum Standards for Provisional Ballots

  • Provisional ballots should look exactly like the standard ballot, but printed on paper of a different color.

  • Provisional ballots should be given to all voters when there is a dispute over their voter registration, they have completed a same-day registration, or there is any other reason to require validation of voter registration information before their vote can be legally counted.

  • Provisional ballots should be given to any voter that does not have a valid photo identification card, or where the information on the photo identification and the information on the voter registration rolls do not match.

  • Provisional ballots should be totalled and counted on the same day that all other ballots are counted. When provisional ballots may alter the outcome of an election, they must be validated and counted before the election outcome can be certified.

I don't know enough about voting machines, voting options, or practices to make a valid argument about those. Those should be done by state registrars and lawmakers, working with a list of acceptable options. There are thousands of ideas about how to improve early voting, absentee voting, and overseas voting - some group needs to create a committee, evaluate the options and come up with a few suggestions that can meet the needs of the people exercising their voting rights through them.

Penalties for legitimate, proven acts of fraud or criminal conduct in regard to elections should include, at a minimum, lifetime disenfranchisement, inability to hold public office at any elected or appointed level, and restitution to those deprived of their legitimate rights as the result of such criminal conduct. Incarceration may or may not be added to that punishment, depending upon circumstances.

The election's (mostly) over. Those elected are taking their places in government at many levels. Anyone elected by fraud has been seated. We shouldn't turn our back on this important question, however. Current election laws are far too easy to break. It's time to acknowledge the current system is broken, and to do what it takes to fix it.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Hate-America Crowd, Part I

This is the first in a multipart series on America-Haters.

The amount of animosity - sometimes just plain hate - emanating from people who are upset that George W. Bush won the presidency in November is unbelievable. Yet as you dig deeper into what these people actually say and how they express themselves, you begin to understand that they just don't hate President Bush or the Republicans, they hate the United States itself, and wish to see it brought down.

Many don't wish the nation to be destroyed, merely humbled and forced to play a more subservient role in the world. Others make no bones about wishing to destroy the very essence of our freedom and personal liberty, end all forms of capitalist commerce, and establish a strict socialist or communist form of government. Others simply want to gain political power for themselves and their associates, and continue to exercise it without restraint - a form of tyranny that most citizens shouldn't tolerate.

Spewing hate, venom, and frequently outright fabrications has become a major cottage industry in the United States. The Internet appears to be the medium of choice. There, too, can be found the majority of those attempting to counter the lies, slurs, insults, and erronious information being dumped on anyone and everyone that has a computer and modem. The following examples were downloaded from the Internet yesterday, and reflect only a tiny part of what's being presented - from every side - on a regular basis.

Bush vs. Clark's kooks
by Brent Bozell
January 27, 2005

Turning reality upside down is easy when you live in the world of people like actress Janeane Garofalo, who proclaimed on MSNBC just hours after the inauguration festivities: "George W. Bush is unelectable, in my opinion." This isn't dissent. It's beyond denial. Welcome to liberal dementia.

Dictionary definition: Dementia: 1 : a condition of deteriorated mentality often with emotional apathy, 2 : MADNESS, INSANITY (a fanaticism bordering on dementia).
George Bush was inaugurated - I.E., took the oath of office as President - before these words were uttered. Dementia is one guess, another would be clueless, with a very large helping of denial of reality. When you live in a fantasy world such as Janeane Garofalo, reality has no meaning. Of course, neither does Garofalo's fantasy world for the rest of us.


"Left-leaning" is hardly an accurate description for the exotic socialists like International ANSWER, described by the Post as simply "an anti-war, anti-racism coalition." Their call to protest the inauguration wildly stated our president "is determined to maintain U.S. occupation and aggression against Cuba, Haiti, Afghanistan, Korea, the Philippines, Sudan, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Colombia and other countries."
The Post story excluded the itty-bitty fact that the coalition's leader, Ramsey Clark, signed up on Dec. 29 as part of the legal defense team for Saddam Hussein.

If you go to the International ANSWER website, you learn quickly that this is merely another socialist/communist front group. Here's their agenda: Bring the Troops Home Now (from everywhere, not just Iraq); End Colonial Occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti & Everywhere, Stop the threats against Iran & Cuba, Health Care, Education, Housing, and a Job at a Living Wage Must be a Right!

In other words, establish a "socialist worker's paradise". Why not? After all, these people are a direct descendant of the Worker's World Party, another Communist front organization. They insist that the United States stop treating terrorists and dictators as terrorists and dictators, and remove ourselves from the world. Our actions in Iraq are "colonial occupation", and our attempt to encourage the spread of democracy is "abhorrent". We shouldn't station troops in Korea or Western Europe, and we shouldn't interfere in the forceful imposition of Communist governments anywhere in the world. Also, capitalism and competition are bad, and everyone must be GIVEN a job at a "living wage", whether they're actually qualified for it or not, or whether they actually perform a useful function in society or not. Pravda under the old Soviet Union couldn't have said it better.

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark has never met a dictatorial government he didn't like, or an American government he did, including the government under President Lyndon Johnson, where he served. Clark is an avowed socialist, and his defense of Saddam Hussein is par for the course. Bozell again:

Wouldn't it be fair to conclude this pro-Saddam lobby is anti-American, not anti-war? Shouldn't this lobby have to contend with press questions about its agenda? Try to find a Washington Post story on Ramsey Clark's newest job. There isn't one. The same omission occurred in the New York Times.

It's a well-known fact that most newspapers rank from "somewhat-liberal" to "extremely liberal". In this context, "liberal" can be interpreted as anti-Republican, anti-capitalist, anti-military, and anti-liberty. Only socialism, prefereably European-style socialism, is worth praising or emulating. Back to Bozell:

The morning after the inauguration, New York Times reporter Michael Janofsky issued a very kind article about demonstrators "reveling" in the protests, reporting on Clark as merely an "antiwar figure" who was merely LBJ's attorney general -- not a tyrant's best legal friend. Janofsky quoted Clark rambling to assembled protesters about how impeaching Bush "now is essential to the integrity of the U.S. government and the people of the United States."

The American people can't have willingly elected a Republican president, and it's up to the left to ensure he's not recognized as "legitimate". The threat of impeachment isn't over the President's actions so much as over which party he belongs to. We saw all too well how the Democrats feel about presidential misbehavior in the impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton. Unfortunately, the left, including the Democratic Party, feel that unless they win, the election was a fraud, the elected shouldn't serve, and the people must have been hoodwinked into voting for someone other than their friends. There's no room in their minds for differences of opinion and the idea that the people would actually prefer someone else over their moonbat choices. This is evident not only in our own elections, but in the left's reaction to elections in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Another installment, another author:

In Davos, Part I
by Jay Nordlinger
January 27, 2005, 7:44 a.m.

Friends, I'm writing you from Davos, Switzerland... ...In the past, I've described Davos as "the pages of the New York Times come to life," or, I think, CNN come to life. The answer to "Who's here?" is "pretty much everybody." Heads of state, foreign ministers, financial wizards, captains of industry, intellectuals, artists, blah, blah, blah. The phrase "international community" is one of the emptiest in our vocabulary. Except here: Here, it makes perfect sense (for better or worse); it is, indeed, manifested.

I will not inflict long lists on you, but I will not forswear list-making altogether. As for business leaders, I will mention Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Carly Fiorina. Think of someone else, and chances are I can find him for you.

Heads of government? Allawi, Blair, Erdogan (of Turkey), Howard (thank heaven he was reelected), Karamanlis (Greece), Klaus, Kwasniewski, "Lula," Mbeki, Obasanjo (the impressive Nigerian), Saakashvili (from Georgia, as the "vili" will tell you), Schroeder, Yushchenko. And can you count Prince Albert, our Grace's son? Let's do.

Americans are here, but no one at the level of the vice president or secretary of state. (Cheney was present last year, Powell the year before.) We have Elaine Chao — the labor secretary — and a slew of officeholders: Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Bill Richardson; Orrin Hatch, Bill Frist, John McCain, Chris Shays, Bill Owens. And Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco. (He hasn't performed any wedding ceremonies, that I've noticed.) And ex-pols, such as Al Gore and Phil Gramm. The roster is Left-heavy, but there are some righties — à la Gramm, and Steve Forbes — about.

Did I mention Bill Clinton? I guess not, but you don't have to. He seems to be Davos's favorite American, as Shimon Peres is the designated Israeli.
George Soros is making the rounds, and Mohamed ElBaradei (the arms inspector — or putative arms inspector), and "Abu Mazen," and David Stern, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. (I'm being totally random here.) I'll tell you this, too: I saw a name-plate on a dais, "Prince." I assumed it was some royal. It turned out to be Charles O. Prince, CEO of Citigroup, USA. But mine had been a reasonable assumption.
The presidents of Harvard and Yale and other schools (to the extent there are other schools), and media panjandrums (the Howard Stringers), and writers such as Carlos Fuentes and Nadine Gordimer, and I love seeing the name Chief Arvol Looking Horse, and I also love seeing the name Robert Trent Jones Jr. — the golf-course architect — and I'm very excited about George Kell, but he turns out to be "Executive Head of the Global Compact Office, The United Nations, New York." Not the old Detroit Tigers third baseman.
There is a group here known as Young Global Leaders, of whom I will mention only two: Sergey Brin of Google, and our own Bret Stephens... ...Oh, yes, another Young Global Leader: Lily Habash, out of the prime minister's office in the Palestinian Authority (member of the family of George Habash). I sit next to her one afternoon.
Should I say something about the panels here at Davos? Okay, just a few remarks...

One dinner is called "Why Rich Countries Can't Buy Happiness."
Another panel takes on the small-bore question of "What Makes Us Human?" Then we have "Redefining Success" — one can well imagine the directions of that redefinition.

Here's a nice title, for a panel on social investing: "Strengthening the Visible Hand." Another nice title, for a nanotechnology session: "Learning to Think Small."

A dinner on "Can Artists Still Change the World?" (Still?) features Prince Albert, Carole Bouquet, Peter Gabriel, and Chris Tucker. Later that night is a "Nobel Nightcap," which gives us, among others, Nadine Gordimer and Elie Wiesel.

A panel is titled "Middle East 2020: Island of Wealth and Opportunity." From their mouth to ... Another panel asks, "Why Can't Europe Create Jobs?" That strikes me as admirably — and refreshingly — forthright.

Another cute title: "Living a Little Too Large" (the panel is on obesity). (And it includes an official from Nestlé.) And how about "Hate's New Medium," which refers to the Internet? Maybe, but there's a lot of love and humanity and enlightenment through that medium, too.

A dinner is headlined, "Can the English Language's Monopoly Be Broken?" Forgive my loud sighing (shades of Al Gore in the first 2000 debate). If there has to be a lingua franca — and there must — the world could do worse than to have it English. But we've discussed this many, many times.

I'll end with another good title: "Putting the 'Non-' Back into Non-Proliferation."

The theme of this year's Annual Meeting is Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices. To this end, a magazine is published, and its contents tell the tale. On Geopolitics & Security, we have articles by: Kofi Annan, Paul Martin, Javier Solana. We have an interview with Richard Holbrooke. We have further articles by Hanan Ashrawi . . . well, you get the idea.

The lead article on Economics & Finance is by Mikhail Gorbachev. Another one is by Sen. Jon Corzine, the zillionaire socialist (an amazingly common phenomenon these days).

On Culture & Values we have Lula da Silva, Rashid Khalidi ... A luncheon featuring Sharon Stone and Richard Gere.
The luncheon topic is AIDS, and when Sharon — we're on a first-name basis — rises to speak, she gets a serious, actress-about-to-address-something-grave look on her face. She gathers herself. Then she makes the most charming prefatory remarks you've ever heard: "It's good to be here with all you smarty-pants. I don't have your education, and probably not your world experience, although I have a certain experience. But . . ." A masterly downplaying of expectations. Right out of the Speaker's Handbook, page 1.

The gist of her remarks is that AIDS is readily solvable, but that "greed and arrogance stop us." We — we richies — simply don't want to spend enough, simply don't care enough. We are stingy and callous. (No mention is made of the Bush administration's remarkable efforts in Africa — efforts that the most knowledgeable and fair-minded can't help hailing.) Finishing up, the actress says, "If we just stopped arrogantly killing people all over the world, and channeled the money into AIDS, we would have a solution."

I imagine that "arrogantly killing people" is an allusion to the War on Terror. And I think for a minute about that phrase, "arrogantly killing people." It seems to me that two experts in arrogantly killing people were the Taliban and the Saddam Hussein regime. I think of Iraq's mass graves, the gassing of all those innocents, the putting of men into industrial shredders, feet-first (so that the torturers could hear the screaming). I think of the routineness of rape, and the cutting out of tongues for dissent, and the children's prisons.

And the Taliban? I'll say it again: There are people in this world — I suspect many of them are here in Davos — who would rather homosexuals be crushed to death by stone walls, bulldozed onto them by decree of sharia, than that they be freed by George W. Bush and the U.S. military.

But "arrogantly killing people": That sums up, better than anything I have heard, the ignorant or malicious Left's view of U.S. operations — operations designed precisely to keep bad people from arrogantly killing people.

The world gathers at Davos, and talks. And talks. And talks. Yet not much gets said that has any bearing on the real world. The topics discussed make sense only to the left. The real hard decisions aren't even brought to the table - international trade, disaster response, terrorism, totalitarian governments, genocide, health problems OTHER than AIDS (and the world has plenty). There's no discussion of graft and corruption and what role it plays in keeping others from achieving a higher standard of living. There's no discussion on how to improve living and working conditions in the "third world". The primary purpose of this love-fest is to heap scorn on the United States, and to a lesser degree, other democratic, successful countries. No one wants to admit that individual freedom is a key ingredient to success - and that includes many of the attendees from nations that experience such freedoms for themselves.

"Why Can't Europe Create Jobs?" can be very simply answered: because it punishes those that create them with high taxes, high costs for the European social welfare state, and makes it impossible to compete in a free market. End the sicialist welfare, reduce taxes, and acknowledge that achievement should be rewarded, not punished, and there will be an explosion of jobs in Europe. Of course, European governments won't do this, because it's against the nature of the welfare state they've created, and which perpetuates their government power. The same is true for many of the other problems being discussed: the answers are simple, but go against the ardent beliefs of those in power. The best way to end poverty is to allow people to create and keep wealth. It requires protection by the state of the right to get and own personal and real property, and to keep a lion's share of daily earnings. It requires entrepreneural freedom, which requires personal freedom. Even in Western Europe, personal freedom is subordinate to the State, society, and culture. Elsewhere, personal freedom is even more restricted, and personal productivity is often punished. The result is poverty and economic stagnation, and a lot of hot air from the people most responsible for that stagnation.

AIDS is a problem with two parts: unrestricted, unprotected sex (with multiple partners, inside and outside traditional marriage, heterosexual and homosexual, without considering the possibilities of infection or transmission of sexually transmitted diseases), and poverty. It's no secret that AIDS is most prevelant among the poor of Africa and Asia, where both custom and society are permissive of sexual practicies. This area is also the one with the least personal freedom, low education, and other problems, including disease. No amount of money can prevent the spread of AIDS in such a political and social setting. The only sure way of preventing AIDS is abstinence and/or fidelity in marriage. The left is against both ideas.

Sharon Stone's disingenuous and blatantly stupid statment, "If we just stopped arrogantly killing people all over the world, and channeled the money into AIDS, we would have a solution" shows why the arrogant left is part of the problem. I'm sure she means the "arrogant killing" by the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq, not the genocide in Darfur, the murder of whites and opposition members in Zimbabwe, the murder of Christians in Egypt,Iraq, and elsewhere. I'm sure she means not spending money on weapons and armaments for our self-defense, and the defense of our allies. I'm sure she means the blatant giving as much money to African and Asian nations as they want, regardless of the success or failure of their "AIDS" treatment plans. The left always has all the answers - it's just that usually, they have little or nothing to do with the (very real) problems.

End Part I

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Out of Touch, Out of Step, and Out of Office

Why the Democrats are failing

The Democratic Party of the United States lost the White House by over 3 million votes. They also lost of seats in the House and Senate, and had to literally STEAL the Governorship of Washington. Why? The question's been asked a million times, but few - and even fewer Democrats, realize the true answer.

The Democratic Party is still living in the 1960's. After 9/11, the 60's era politics have no relevance to the world we all have to live in.

The Wrong Message

The Democratic Party presidential candidate ran on his 1960's Vietnam record. That's understandable, since there wasn't anything else to run ON. There was nothing in his tenure as Assistant Governor of Massachusetts that was noteworthy. There was nothing in his almost 20 years in the US Senate that was noteworthy. Unfortunately, as it turned out, most of his Vietnam record turned out to be pretty phoney as well.

The Democrats had no message to offer to voters other than "We're not George Bush". That's not enough to get elected. Even going back to their long-standing, almost permanent messages - unlimited abortion, more government control of virtually everything, higher taxes, more government spending, fear and scolding, and genuflecting to the United Nations, only worked with the party's ultra-faithful that were already committed to the Botox Candidate from Taxachusetts anyway. To top it off, they all but conceded the war issue to the Republicans, and attempted to use fraud and deceit to warp and twist the debate.

Worse was the Democratic behavior toward President Bush and his message. The Democrats refused to actually debate issues, but merely objected, stonewalled, blocked, and derided everything President Bush tried to do. Most visible, and mose vehement, was their treatment of President Bush's Judicial nominees. The entire world understood that the Democrats didn't want Justices that obeyed the law, but those that could be pressured, or guaranteed, to MAKE the law - and make it in a manner favorable to Democrats, but which couldn't be done in the Congress, where laws are supposed to be made. The obstruction was an exercise in pure tyranny, and the rest of the nation noticed.

So the Democrats had nothing new to add to the debate, what they'd had before had already been rejected, and they behaved badly in both the Congress and among the general public. And they still wonder why they lost.

Out of Step with Reality

It gets worse. The Democratic Party has shown over the past three years that they have no concept of what the United States is up against in the international War against Terrorists. In fact, they refuse to acknowledge we are at war, as John Kerry's remarks about "allowing the police" to deal with terrorists shows. Doing that will guarantee more Americans are killed, in the United States, with loss of billions of dollars of infrastructure and jobs. The Democrats are not serious about fighting a war. That's understandable, since they lost the last one they fought through the lack of will. That same lack of will to do what's hard, what's necessary, is clearly evident in the Democratic leadership today.

Americans are tired of the demand of no-limits abortion. They're beginning to understand this is causing problems in our society, and not just because of the "religious nuts". Americans want to keep more of their own pay, not pay higher taxes. The American people want their children taught to read and write, history and science, not how to use a condom or how to play nice with gays and lesbians. The majority of Americans are tired of the constant attack on their beliefs, their culture, and their society. They're incensed over the attack on the most universal of institutions, marriage. They insist that marriage can only be honest when it's between one man and one woman, with commitments by both parties to make it work. "Hollywood" marriages are again becoming a scandal rather than something to emulate.

The American people are becoming legitimately concerned about the number of divorces in this nation, the number of single-parent homes and the handicap that puts on children, and the number of out-of-wedlock births. They're sick of grotesque extremes such as "partial-birth" abortions and supporting women who haven't the integrity to either refrain from sex or to protect themselves from unwanted and unnecessary pregnancies. They're tired of the cost of supporting both mother and child for most of a generation.

They're tired of being pushed around by tiny minorities that are loud, offensive, and rude, who add nothing to the general well-being of society but much to its destruction. They understand that their future retirement and well-being requires attention NOW, not after it's already become a disaster. They want more control of the decisions about retirement and about retirement investment.

The majority of Americans are finally willing to admit that the United Nations was a good idea, but that what it began as is far different from what it is today, and it's no longer the answer to every question. It's more obvious than ever that the UN itself is more often than not the problem. The tantrum France pulled in vetoing every proposal to hold Saddam Hussein accountable, followed by the Oil-for-Food scandal, unchecked genocide in Darfur, sex-gate in the Congo, and the pitiful performance by the United Nations in responding to the tsunami crisis in South Asia, have all but destroyed any willingness on the part of most Americans to work with the failed and failing UN.

All of these are part of the Democratic "message". The Democrats aren't asking for, and aren't listening to, feedback from the people they wish to represent.

The truth is, we have several very serious problems we need to be working on, including the war against Islamofascists in the Middle East. As the Dec 26, 2004, tsunami illustrated, the world is full of problems, disasters, and catastrophies just waiting to happen. We need the ability to deal with those problems. We need to help others develop the ability to deal with those problems. That requires two things - individual freedom, and a system of government friendly to private enterprise.

We need a larger military, at least for the next ten or fifteen years or so. That means a larger Army, a larger Navy, and a larger Air Force. We need them in order to provide relief for those actually carrying the fight to the enemy. We need them to put an end to small problems before they become big problems. We also need them to do what they're doing right now in Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka - helping those who have been devastated by catastrophies beyond their control. Right now, we're making it, but it can't go on forever, using every single resource to 100% of capacity. Increasing the military by increasing our fighting ability 20% across the board is critical. Most Americans understand that, and are willing to make that sacrifice. The Democrats don't see the need.

We need to secure both our northern and southern border against terrorists and others intent on destroying our culture and our political system. That's going to increase the need for manpower somewhere. I would recommend creating an entire new military command under the Army, called Border Command. Use troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan to man the posts, rotate units in and out just as we do in Iraq, and emphasize patrols, small-unit operations, and strong communications and intelligence. Add another dozen batallions of troops to the strength of the Army, beyond the additional buildup, for these people. Establish a close working relation between the Border Command, FBI, Border Patrol, and immigration authorities. Both parties are dragging their feet equally, but the American public wants this done.

We need to improve education by insisting on rigid standards, teachers knowledgeable in the subject matter they're teaching, the extermination of the anti-freedom rant called political correctness, and greater opportunity for everyone to learn and grow, mentally and physically, without being stifled by unreasonable, unnecessary, and often counter-productive behavior on the part of "educrats". We need to use the Internet to increase knowledge, by posting information everyone can use to learn about important subjects, ranging from basic reading and writing (using a variety of different approaches, and allowing each person to choose what works best for them) to the advanced classes - in math, physics, history, or whatever - only available in a few high schools. We need remedial classes for those that missed out and now find themselves desperate for an education, and we need advanced classes - something between high school and MIT - for those that want to go beyond the minimum pablum available in today's public schools.

Finally, Americans want to return to cultural standards destroyed over the past forty years by the Democratic Party. We want children taught to be polite and courteous. We want the discussion of sex to be reduced to something that doesn't interject itself into every other sentence. We want decency in movies and television, instead of the constant barrage against strongly-held personal values. We want preachers who preach, ministers who minister, and secular acceptance of religious institutions and religious values.

Most of all, Americans want honesty in government. The current scandals in Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, and Washington, do not encourage most Americans that they're getting the government they chose, but the government dictated to them by one or the other political party. Election reform is not just a byword - it must be constant, transparent, workable, and effective.

Until the Democrats are willing to listen to the American people, and to offer them what they want, they will be the party of the minority, and more and more marginalized throughout the nation.

Monday, January 24, 2005

My Declaration of Individual Rights

A lot of people have a lot of different ideas about "human rights". The President in his inaugural address committed the United States to support "Liberty" throughout the world. There are tens of thousands of different definitions of "rights" and "liberty", many of them self-contradictory. I've expressed my ideas here, based upon my long study of political science, history, and human nature.

Contrary to what many people would have others believe, personal liberty has a long history - all the way back to Moses and the Ten Commandments. While athiests and secularists refuse to admit it, our freedoms are based on those laws set down on Sinai. Denying it is like denying that we breathe air or have to drink water in order to survive. It's time everyone recognized these "self-evident" truths.

Exodus Chapter 20 says:

1 ¶ And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 ¶ Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

While this is directly from the Bible, and from God, let's forget that for a moment, and just concentrate on the words and their meaning. We'll also ignore for the moment the first four Commandments, although we'll come back to them later. Let's just look at the Jewish people, their success as individuals. Let's also look at the Mormon faith, and their success in life, as compared with the rest of the world. Let's also look at the Ten Commandments as if they're not part of a religion, but the compilation, verbal and written, of several thousand years of history.

I'm not an ordained minister, or a lay minister, or any other "annointed one", just a person who has a passion for history and a personal relationship with God. I also think for myself, which often puts me in conflict with everyone else around me. My words here may inspire the same conflict within the reader. Please put that aside for the moment, and concentrate on what I'm saying.

The first four commandments establish the relationship between Man and God. The next six establish the relationship between Man and Man.

The first commandment between men is to "Honor thy father and mother". How do we do that? More importantly, how do we believe an Omnipotent God would want us to do that? There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that explain what God means. They tell us we are to obey our parents, we are to listen to them and learn from them, and that we are to treat them with respect and courtesy. How many children do you know today that truly HONOR their parents? Civil courtesy has been all but destroyed in our society, and we are all poorer for it.

The next Commandment is "Thou shall not kill". One Jewish source says that the true interpretation of the original Hebrew is "Thou shall not murder." Life is precious, and should not be extinguished without the most stringent of causes. The right to life, then, is an essential right of all people.

The next Commandment is "Thou shall not commit adultery". This commandment enforces the sanctity of marriage, and the union of a man and woman before God and men. God recognizes no other union as being profitable or acceptable. The purpose for which God created Man and Woman was to be fruitful and multiply. The only acceptable way to do that, in God's eyes, is through marriage between a man and a woman. The sanctity of marriage, and the recognition of the commitment between a man and a woman to join together is an essential right of all people.

The next Commandment is "Thou shalt not steal". Taking something that doesn't belong to us is wrong. It deprives the other of their rightful property and impoverishes them, however much or little. This commandment, however, goes beyond just admonishing us not to take what doesn't belong to us - it also establishes the concept of personal property. What belongs to a person is that person's, and cannot be taken against his will without sin. This commandment creates two things: the right to own and possess personal property, and the right to be secure against the unlawful siezure or taking of that property.

The next Commandment is "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour". This means we are not to say anything false about another person, or that we shouldn't lie. It goes beyond that, however: we should never say anything that is untrue that would cause our neighbor harm, including gossip and inuendo. It means never saying anything untrue that would deprive our neighbor of any legitimate gain, or that would cause them to lose standing in the community. It means treating others with courtesy they deserve. Many of our own rights in the Bill of Rights derive from this commandment.

The next Commandment is "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s." What belongs to your neighbor is his, and none of your business. You should never covet what he has, because that diminishes what God has given to you, and shows that you are ungrateful for your blessings. It also undermines the rights of privacy and personal property. You don't NEED to know what your neighbor has, nor how he obtained it. Respect his rights that are equal to yours, and ignore lust, greed, and envy that might build inside you over his success. Those thoughts only poison your satisfaction in what you have.

Our Founding Fathers were very religious people. They read their Bibles regularly, studied what they read, and pondered the meaning behind the words. This is very evident in how Thomas Jefferson defined the role of Government among free men:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Note that Thomas Jefferson says that rights are endowed upon us by our Creator, and that all of us are equally endowed with rights. These rights include, but are not limited to, Life (Thou shall not murder), Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Thomas Jefferson states in this document that the ONLY legitimate role of government among free men is to secure these individual rights, and to protect them from infringement. Note, too, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL - meaning that no individual's exercise of his or her rights are to infringe upon the rights of any other.

Now let's look at our own Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This first right, the so-called "establishment" clause, is the most mis-interpreted clause in the entire Constitution. It simply means that Government cannot impose a religion upon us, or allow any individual to force a particular religious observation upon anyone else. We, within those limits, can do whatever we please to worship the God of our choice, or to NOT worship, if we so choose. We can even deny the existence of a god. What we cannot do is impose our views upon others, and force compliance with our wishes upon others. Somehow, that last sentence is lost on most secularists and others who attack religion in every aspect of our lives. Unless there is something forcing the observance of religious practices upon a person or group, there is no violation of this Amendment. Any time the Government forces any restriction on the right to worship, they are in violation of this Amendment.

"Free Speech" is another frequently-violated right. "Political Correctness" is a violation of free speech by forcing individuals and groups to work within specified artificial limits. Free speech means we can say anything we want, in any way we wish, as long as certain restrictions are observed: that the speech will not cause physical or financial harm to another (Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor), that it not incite others to violence or lawless behavior, and that if it is objectionable, that it be based upon truth, or the target of the speech may request redress through the justice system.

The same freedom is acknowledged as applying to the printed word as to the spoken word. This is the freedom of the press - to basically put the spoken word into print, with the same limitations.

The right to peacably assemble means that we may gather together in groups of any size for any purpose that doesn't incite others to violent or unlawful behavior, and doesn't inhibit the actions and behavior of others. We can gather in groups of tens of thousands, but not in the middle of a busy intersection, obstructing the free flow of traffic. We can gather in pairs within the confines of our homes, within public spaces, and anywhere else where our gathering doesn't infringe on the rights of others.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The original meaning of the term "militia" was every able-bodies man between the age of 16 and 45. This right goes much further than just "protecting the state". It was meant as a check against the power of the State, and as a means of ensuring the protection of the life, liberty, and security of the individual. We have the right to defend ourselves from those that wish to limit our freedoms, to impose upon us unlawful restrictions, especially those that unlawfully restrict our individual freedoms. We have the right to overthrow the government, if necessary, to ensure that our freedoms are protected appropriately. Our Declaration of Independence clearly states; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Restricting the possession and ownership of weapons is the first step toward abolishing our right to establish a government of our choosing, and the overthrow of a government that is "destructive of these ends".

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The quartering of Government troops in the homes of individuals was something that happened before independence, and was quite destructive of personal freedom - not to mention usually destructive of the home and private fortune of the individual whose home was so abused. It's nice to limit the role of government in any way, but especially in this respect, which is destructive of so many other freedoms. There is little chance of this particular right being abused without all other rights being suspended as well.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This right guarantees that our personal property is ours, and can only be taken away from us by government within certain limited measures. It also guarantees us the privacy of our thoughts, of our written words, and our personal liberty. Today, many of these rights are being encroached upon in order to secure the most basic of rights, the right to life. There's also a graying of many areas by the rapid expansion of means of proliferating our papers, and the necessity of protecting ourselves against those that would use our rights as a shield for dangerous and destructive behavior. We've had to re-define "unreasonable" in many instances to ensure that protection. We'll probably have to make similar adjustments in the future. Those adjustments, as long as they're well-reasoned and necessary, will be tolerated. Anything else goes back to that second part of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

These rights require the government to show just cause, based upon evidence, that a person should be arrested and charged with a crime. The laws governing the Armed Forces provides equal protection for military members, but based upon a different set of rules. No one can be charged twice for the same crime, but may be charged in a civil court for redress when his or her behavior has caused another person to lose something of value. If the government takes any item of private property, regardless of what it is, they are required to provide "just compensation" to the owner for it. That usually means market value.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

We have the right to a fair trial. We have the right to hear the charges made against us, to see the evidence being presented, and to contest that evidence. We have the right to counsel, either paid for by ourselves, or if that's not possible, by the state. We have the right to a trial by an IMPARTIAL "jury of our peers" - I.E., one who has not been tainted by pre-trial publicity, or that has reached a conclusion before the trial is over, or that is predisposed toward a given verdict.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Pretty well self-explanatory.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The purpose of the judicial system is to provide justice. Excessive bail - bail far larger than the facts in the particular crime would justify, are unlawful. Excessive fines - beyond what justice would dictate or the crime would justify, are also unlawful (consider some of the class-action and medical malpractice lawsuits - this amendment is being poorly enforced). Cruel and unusual punishment is difficult to define, and may vary from case to case.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The rights delineated here are not all the rights the people possess, and the law is not to deny or disparage these other rights.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This is the most ignored amendment in the Constitution. There are explicit powers delegated to the United States - approximately 33 to the Congress and a dozen or so to the Senate, significantly fewer to the President and the Judiciary. Most of the laws being enacted in Congress these days totally ignore the limited nature the founding fathers had for the Federal government, and usurp the rights of the States AND the people.

After all this, what exactly should we acknowledge as "universal" human rights? Here's my list, derived from the above writings:

  1. All rights belong to the individual. There is no such thing as a "group" right. Only when rights are accrued by individuals can rights be considered "equal". Every individual has the same rights, and may exercise them according to their wishes, within the bounds of never exercising their rights at the expense of the rights of others.
  2. The most universal right is the right to life. All other rights are subordinate to this. The rights of dead people are limited. The justification for taking a life must be limited, based upon solid evidence that a particular individual is a threat to the life AND well-being of others, and there is no other option available to adequately secure these rights.
  3. The individual has the right of personal liberty. This means the individual has the right to travel within his community, his nation, and elsewhere without unnecessary restrictions, and that such restrictions be based on evidence requiring the limitation. Within the community, the individual may exercise any and all other rights without restriction, within the limitations of not restricting the rights of any other.
  4. The individual has the right to accumulate items of personal property, and to be secure in the possession of that property. This includes the right to own land, the right to own and possess physical property, and the security of "intellectual property". The individual has the right to bequeath to others any personal property accumulated, according to his/her wishes, either before or after death, without restraint.
  5. The individual has the right of self-preservation, and the preservation of family members and personal property, in the face of unlawful behavior. We have the right to defend ourselves against those who would violate our individual rights, whether they be individuals, groups, or governments. We have the concurrent responsibility to be ready and able to justify our behavior to a jury of our peers if the exercise of this right is called into question.
  6. Individuals have the right to live under a government of their choice, one that respects the sum of their individual rights.
  7. Individuals have the right to exercise personal choice. This includes the right to choose to exercise a particular religion, or no religon; the right to work in a particular vocation or profession for which they are qualified; the right to purchase private property and live on it; the right to speak freely, as long as such speech does not cause physical, financial, or social harm to others; the right to publish their words in a public forum under the restrictions of libel and slander; the right to associate with those of his or her choosing, regardless of any outward or personal characteristic; and the right to demand that government and other groups limit themselves to the exercise of laws that do not unduly infringe upon personal rights or choices.
  8. The individual has the right to enter into binding agreements, including marriage, contracts, oaths, and other agreements, and to be expected to honor the commitments of the agreement. The individual has the right to expect others to honor their commitments, and to respect the individual and the individual's behavior within those agreements to satisfy his commitments, as long as no other individual's rights are compromised by them, or because of them.
  9. The individual has the right to succeed or fail in any appropriate endeavor without undue restraint. Individuals engaging in any acts for money, including unique creations, the creation of a business, the practice of a profession, or work within a vocation, cannot be guaranteed by government, bond, or other measures to be successful, nor will they be forced to meet outside demands for success. Persons engaged in behavior that may have an adverse effect on others, including those engaged in a vocation or a profession, may be held accountable for any failure on their part in practicing their vocation or profession, including those engaged in work within or for government.
  10. The individual has the right to expect that government will act to protect individual rights within the exercise of justice or law. This presupposes a definition of "justice" to mean the determination of violations of individual rights, the proof of injury by a particular individual or group, and a proper redress for that injury, including incarceration, restitution, and compensation. In the violation of taking another human life without sufficient justification, the penalty can include death where there is no hope of preventing the invididual from violating this principal right in the future, and no guarantee that they can be adequately removed permanently from society by any other means.
  11. Other rights other than those enumerated may exist, and must be recognized, as long as they meet two requirements: they are applicable to each and every person as an individual, and they do not restrict or curtail any enumerated right listed here.

    For those who believe in the God of the Old Testament, they should have the right to worship their God as they see fit, including being excused without prejudice from working on the Sabbath, acknowledging and celebrating their respective religious holidays, and acting as they determine their religious teachings require them - without using their freedoms to impose any religious behavior on others. The same rights and limitations apply to any and all other religions. Those that violate these strictures shall be held to have violated the basic individual rights of others.

The Concept of Privatizing Social Security

There has been much said about modifying or changing Social Security to allow people to have more of a say in their retirement. Here's what I would consider the best solution to the argument.

Social Security, as it's currently set up, is no different than a ponzi scheme, where those that got in early make huge rewards, and those that get in near the collapse of the scheme lose everything. Social Security is heading in that direction. Either a massive tax increase, or a massive cut in benefits, or both, is needed to sustain the system to meet the needs of retirees entering the labor market today.

Rather than continue the system as it's currently structured, there are many options available to the people of this nation. One I would suggest is to split Social Security "contributions" into three parts: 40% into US Government bonds owned by the individual, 30% in one or more mutual funds chosen by the individual, and 30% invested in long-term growth stocks such as utilities, food, real estate, banking, and industry, also chosen by the individual from a long list of possibilities.

For instance, suppose a new wage-earner enters the workforce at age 20, earning minimum wage (currently $5.25/hour). Their monthly gross income is approximately $910/month. They will be taxes at approximately 8.75% for Social Security, with an additional 8.75% paid by their employer. That leads to an approximate payment of $150/month into Social Security. Let's assume the Federal Government invested $60 of that into 10-year government bonds at 8%, with the interest rolled over into additional bonds. They would then invest $45 into a mutual fund paying from 8%-16%, also rolled over, and $45 into an accumulating fund to purchase stocks in companies selected by the individual.

Social Security today "pays" approximately 2% interest over the life of the "investment". Here are comparisons with my 40/30/30 split above:

Social Security (interest rate 2%/year)
Interest or dividend rate per period (e.g., 8.25)0.17
Number of periods540
Amount of each investment$150.00
Initial value*$0.00
Total payments$81,000.00
Total interest$50,333.69
Total value of investment, before taxes$131,333.69

Government Bonds (40% of total, paying 8%/year)
Interest or dividend rate per period (e.g., 8.25)0.67
Number of periods540
Amount of each investment$60.00
Initial value*$0.00
Total payments$32,400.00
Total interest$288,340.64
Total value of investment, before taxes$320,740.64

Mutual Funds (30% of total, average return 10%/year)
Interest or dividend rate per period (e.g., 8.25)0.83
Number of periods540
Amount of each investment$45.00
Initial value*$0.00
Total payments$24,300.00
Total interest$440,831.48
Total value of investment, before taxes$465,131.48

Selected Stocks (30% of total, average return 12.5%/year)
Interest or dividend rate per period (e.g., 8.25)1.04
Number of periods540
Amount of each investment$45.00
Initial value*$0.00
Total payments$24,300.00
Total interest$1,126,371.66
Total value of investment, before taxes$1,150,671.66

Total return on investment from this three-way split would be $1,936,542. Even the minimum investment, 40% of gross Social Security payments for US Government (or other) bonds would pay nearly twice what Social Security would pay. The interest on almost $2million would be a substantial amount, capable of supporting just about anyone without having to touch the original principal, which could then be given to children or grandchildren at the wage-earner's death.

Let's suppose our wage-earner retired at 65 after working for 45 years. He decides to discontinue rolling over the interest he receives on Government Bonds, and has it paid into his bank account instead. That means he would receive more than $25,000 a year, just from this investment. If he decides to only take the dividends from stocks and mutual funds he's invested in, and this amounts to 1.8% per year (low return), he would receive an additional $29,000 from those. This provides our retiree a combined retirement income of $54,000 a year after a lifetime of working for just minimum wage. Any increase in wages, additional money set aside for retirement, and any other changes would also affect his retirement in a positive way. This amount would continue as long as the individual lived, and the economy remained relatively stable. These types of investment would help create and maintain a stable economy.

It's impossible to say exactly how this would affect the economy of the United States, however. Imagine having a nation of mostly millionaires, just from earning minimum wage and investing it wisely. The amount of new money introduced into business, savings, and the economy will have an incalculable effect. Someone like Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams is probably able to do the math better than I can. Even with a 2% or 3% "Maintenance fee", the government bonds alone would outstrip the current outcome for Social Security.

There is no reason NOT to revise Social Security other than the need to work out the exact details, and keep the government's heavy hand from the procedings.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Keeping up with Friends and Family

The capabilities of information sharing is changing in bredth an scope with each passing day. It's never been easier to keep in touch with others, regardless of where they live. The Internet is especially great for keeping in touch with friends and family. Email is quick and easy, there are dozens of different ways to exchange information on the worldwide web, and capabilities are expanding faster than most people can keep up with them. There's only two problems with it - your friends and family have to understand and USE the Internet, and they have to be willing to use it to respond at least occasionally. If any member fails either one of these requirements, there isn't much communication.

I wrote a newsletter for my high school graduating class for a bit over a year. At first it was easy, and there was a lot of sharing. After we got caught up, however, the frequency and content of the letters to the newsletter dropped off steeply. Today, we have a Yahoo group account, and exchange letters that way.

Several people in my extended family write once a week or so, and send the mail to dozens of recipients. I've had problems with that kind of mail exchange as Internet Service Providers often consider any email with more than ten addressees to be spam, and stop them from being delivered. Since there are more than 30 people in my family address book, that poses a problem. I've had to break the group into several sections and send it that way in order to get by the censors.

One of the exciting possibilities of sharing family information is with the use of weblogs. Someone in the family can the establish a family weblog, and allow most other family members to post to it. It would require some significant coordination, but it's not impossible to do. Each person could post when they have something interesting to say, and the rest of the family could read it at their leisure. Posting it on the Web would make it difficult to keep secrets - there wouldn't be much in the way of privacy. That might restrict some of the input, but not significantly enough to limit the usefulness of the medium. It would be especially helpful in working with genealogy, when there may be a dozen members of the family all working on different parts. There, an outside reader might be good - they may have information that might contribute to the effort. Comments would allow other family members to respond to different posts.

Considering how young the Internet really is (under 20 - the airplane is over 100, the telephone is over 125), it's amazing its created such an essential nich for itself, and so many people are so dedicated to using it. There are as many new, innovative ideas that will be added to the overall venue as time passes - many of which we can't even imagine at this time.

I guess this is part of those "interesting times" the Chinese cursed us with!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Ted Kennedy: Wrong About Everything - Again

There have been dozens of comments about Senator Ted Kennedy's speech to the National Press Club a few days ago, but no one has commented about the entire thing. I've done so here. The speech is quite interesting for two reasons: Ted Kennedy represents the extreme liberal faction of the Democratic Party, and he has a tremendous influence over the party as a whole. His words outline his intentions, and his - and possibly the Democratic Party's - vision of what this nation should become. Frankly, it's scarey to think these people could possibly be in charge of our government.

DISCLAIMER: I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. If I were required to identify my political affiliation, I would have to acknowledge that I am a Jeffersonian limited anarchist.
This is long. It was a long speech. Read it all, however,
because it's all important if we wish to understand just
what the Teddy Kennedy faction of the Democratic Party
really wants America to become.
Text: Sen. Kennedy on the Future of the Democratic Party

Following is the full text of Sen. Edward Kennedy's (D-Mass.) speech at the National Press Club on the future of the Democratic party.
KENNEDY: Thank you, Sheila Cherry, for that gracious introduction and thank you to the Press Club for inviting me here today.

I'm honored to be joined on the dais by two outstanding young persons who represent a new generation of leadership for the Democratic party and our country. Grant Woodard is a junior at Grinnel College in Iowa, president of the College Democrats of America. He brilliantly organized students for John Kerry in the Iowa caucuses a year ago. And last fall he led a national effort to mobilize student voters. So I appreciate his presence.

And Andrew Gillum is the youngest person ever elected to the city commission in Tallahassee. He was elected while still a student at Florida A M and now, two years later, the commission has chosen him as mayor pro tem of the city.

Andrew served last fall as the Florida director of the Get Out The Vote campaign for People for the American Way. I'm pleased he's joined with us here today.

These two young leaders have a passion for public service and a talent for inspiring others. After spending a few minutes with them, you'll be reassured that the nation's future is in good hands.

Ten years ago almost to the day, I stood at this podium after another election in which Democrats lost ground, far too much ground, an unwelcome distribution of power with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress for the first time in nearly half a century.

2004 was nothing like that. It was more a replay of 2000. This time a switch of less than 60,000 votes in Ohio would've brought victory. Unlike 2000, it would've been a victory against an incumbent president in a time of war.

Small swings in other states could also have given Democrats control of the Senate or the House or even both.

Obviously it hurts to come so close in all three battles and then fail by so little. We did many things right, but there is no cause for complacency.

The Democrats lost by 3 million votes overall. They "won" Wisconsin by less than 12,000 votes. There is growing evidence of some 25,000 fraudulent votes from that state. They "manufactured" enough votes in Washington state to reverse the will of the people, and put a Democrat in the state house - at least temporarily. The loss in Ohio was by more than 118,000 votes, with a record voter turnout. The constant harping about Ohio is nonsense, merely a poor loser refusing to admit it's the Democrat's ideas as well as their candidate the people couldn't stand.
I categorically reject the deceptive and dangerous claim that the outcome last November was somehow a sweeping or even a modest or even a miniature mandate for reactionary measures like privatizing Social Security...
Good heavens, no! Can't have individuals having ANY control over their own retirement, or any opportunity to do things for themselves - what a reactionary idea! Why, that may even give them the idea they should exercise personal judgment, instead of doing what's "best" for them - what the Democratic Party says is best for them. After all, private ownership of ANYTHING is against Democratic Party principles which require us to be slaves to a socialist-welfare state. Any claim that the Republicans have a mandate is "deceptive and dangerous" - to Democrats and their kooky ideas about governing.
... redistributing the tax burden in the wrong direction or packing the federal courts with reactionary judges.
After all, an across-the-board tax cut is just so unfair! Why, the "rich" get a tax break! How un-American! And those reactionary judges that think the law should be interpreted as it's written, that the Constitution means what it says, instead of what a Democratic judiciary wants to interpret it to mean, for the "good of the party". Equality under the law? How reactionary! Everyone knows some elements need special treatment - especially Democratic operatives such as Sandy Berger, and good friends of the Democratic Party, like Mark Rich and George Soros.
Those proposals were barely mentioned or voted on in an election dominated by memories of 9/11, fear of terrorism, the quagmire in Iraq and relentlessly negative attacks on our presidential candidate.
Barely mentioned? Maybe by the Democratic candidate, but I've heard it mentioned by President Bush several times - in speeches, in at least one presidential debate, and in at least two question-and-answer segments. It's been all over the blogosphere. A Google search using the search string "Social Security Reform" +2003 resulted in 106,000 hits. Without the "2003", the number of hits goes up to 396,000. The term "tax cuts" result in 2,670,000 hits. "Conservative judiciary" resulted in 4,240 hits, while "Independent judiciary" (President Bush's perferred term) resulted in 179,000 hits. "Conservative judicial nominees" resulted in 3,810 hits. These hits reflect input from both left and right. Seems to me there was a LOT of discussion of these ideas in the last election, by both sides.

As for negative attacks on "our presidential candidate", a survey by an independent researcher showed that the media covered your candidate, John Kerry, favorably 67% of the time, while covering George Bush favorably 25% of the time. The people attacking your candidate were people who had prior knowledge of him and his incredibly anti-American behavior and lousy Senate record. Maybe they pursued a negative agenda because you had a negative candidate - isn't that possible? Of course not, silly me! He was a Democrat - he can do no wrong!

We'll get to Iraq later.
In truth, we do not shrink from that debate. There is no doubt that we must do a better job of looking within ourselves and speaking out for the principles we believe in and for the values that are the foundation of our actions. Americans need to hear more, not less, about those values.
Yes, why shirk from it when you can twist, distort, and misrepresent every single word the Republicans say so that it's unrecognizable from the truth, build unsupported arguments that even you can't understand, and play games with semantics until the entire world is wondering if you're an idiot. This last campaign is an excellent example of how Democrats "speak out for the principles we believe in and for the values that are the foundation of our actions." Those include abortion, gay rights, unionized failing schools, social welfare, higher taxes, lack of responsibility, a weaker military, reduced intelligence-collecting, more subservience of the United States and its sovereignty to the United Nations, government control of anything and everything, socialized medicine, and a host of other Democratic Party platform planks. We know all about them. Did you ever think that's why your guy LOST?
We were remiss in not talking more directly about them, about the fundamental ideals that guide our progressive policies.

In the words of Martin Luther King, we must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.

Unlike the Republican Party, we believe our values unite us as Americans instead of dividing us. If the White House idea of bipartisanship is that we have to buy whatever partisan ideas they send us, we are not interested.

Sixty million Americand disagreed with you - three million more than agreed. In the election system of the United States, that means you lost. There were also 286 electoral votes cast for President Bush against 251 cast for your candidate - again you lose. More people wanted the Republican ideas than the Democratic ideas. You also lost seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Trying to force the Democratic agenda on the majority of voters is tyranny, no matter how it's sugar-coated. If you don't want to work with the Republicans, then continue as you are. Don't expect, however, to improve your showing in the polls by continuing to foist the same failed ideas on an ever-more-knowledgeable electorate.
In fact, our values are still our greatest strength. Despite resistance, setbacks and periods of backlash over the years, our values have moved us closer to the ideal with which America began, that all people are created equal.

And when Democrats say, all, we mean all.

What the Democratic Party's ideas also mean is that all people should be created equally indebted to Government for most of their basic needs, instead of being independent, free, self-supporting, self-actualizing, and self-motivated. Any more, it also requires Americans to be self-educated, since the Democrats' values have virtually destroyed our schools, and Democratic ideas instead of truth prevail on most college campuses.
We have an administration that falsely hypes almost every issue as a crisis. They did it on Iraq. And they are doing it now on Social Security.
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, describes everything a Republican president does, any idea he has, as a failure or a quagmire, regardless of the truth. If you cannot accept the success of others, the truth of ideas if they're presented by someone outside your own social elite, you become a dogmatic fool.
In the face of their tactics, we cannot move our party or our nation forward under the pale colors and timid voices. We cannot play Republican clones. If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose.

As I have said on other occasions, the last things our country needs is two Republican Parties.

I'm beginning to believe an even worse fate would be to have even ONE Democratic Party.
Today I propose a progressive vision for America; a vision that Democrats must fight for in the months and years ahead; a vision rooted in our basic values of opportunity, fairness, tolerance and respect for each other.

These founding beliefs are still the essence of the American dream today. That dream is the North Star of the Democratic Party; the compass that guides our policies and sets our course to freedom and opportunity, to fairness and justice, not just for the few, not just for some, but for all.

At our best in all the great causes for which our party has stood we have kept that dream alive for all Americans, even and especially in difficult times. And we will not fail to do so now.

Today, as we know too well, that dream is again in peril. The hopes of average Americans have faltered, as global forces cause the economy to shift against them. The challenge has been needlessly compounded because Republican Congresses and administrations have consciously chosen negative policies that diminish the American dream.

We cannot reclaim it by tinkering at the margins. No nation is guaranteed a position of lasting prosperity and security. We have to work for it, we have to fight for it and we have to sacrifice for it.

We have a choice. We can continue to be buffeted by the harsh winds of a shrinking world, or we can think anew and guide the currents of globalization with a new progressive vision that strengthens America and equips our citizens to move confidently to the future.

Our progressive vision is not just for Democrats or Republicans, for red states or blue states. It's a way forward for the nation as a whole to a new prosperity and greater opportunity for all; a vision not just of the country we can become, but the country that we must become: an America that embraces the values and aspiration of our people now and for coming generations.

It is a commitment to true opportunity for all, not as an abstract concept but as a practical necessity.

To find our way to the future, we need the skills, the insight and the productivity of every American, in a nation which each of us shares responsibility for the future and where the blessings of progress are shared fairly by all our citizens in return.

Obviously, we must deal with Iraq and the clear and present danger of terrorism. I intend to address that issue in greater detail after the elections there.

But I do not retreat from the view that Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam. At the critical moment in the war on terrorism, the administration turned away from pursuing Osama bin Laden and made the catastrophic choice instead that has bogged down America in an endless quagmire in Iraq.

Eleven paragraphs, and he still hasn't said what he means by a "progressive vision for America". We do get off on how bad a decision it was for George Bush to attack Iraq, the invocation of the mantra of "Vietnam" and "quagmire", but absolutely no substance. Ted Kennedy - the master of hot air. No wonder we're in the midst of "global warming".
Our misguided resort to war has created much more and much more intense anti-American feeling than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of. And the sooner we reverse that distressing trend, the better.

I am convinced that John Kerry could have worked with the international community to end that war and bring our troops home with honor.

Our challenge now is to convince George Bush that there is a better way ahead in Iraq instead of continuing to sink deeper into the quagmire.

If anyone ever needed any more proof that Ted Kennedy is a duplicitious, lying scoundrel than these paragraphs, they're beyond help. Ted Kennedy believes (or says he believes, which is probably closer to the truth):

  • that Saddam Hussein was NOT involved in or supported any terrorism against the United States.
  • that the United Nations sanctions were working.
  • that Hussein never violated the dozen or more United Nations resolutions against him, including the one ending Gulf War I.
  • that Iraq posed no threat to the United States or any of its allies.
  • that France, Germany, Russia, or China may have joined with us even after the election, if John Kerry was elected (although all of them have repeatedly said, publicly, that they would never have supported the United States in ANY of its actions, regardless of who was president).
  • that the Oil-for-Food program was untainted, did not circumvent the sanctions against Iraq, did not act as subtle bribery to keep the United States from getting United Nations authority to attack Iraq, and did not criminally subvert the diplomatic community against the United States.
  • that Saddam Hussein would never violate the sanctions against upgrading his military forces, or that he would try to develop weapons of mass destruction, and that he'd accounted for the destruction of all those he'd had previously.
  • that giving up, turning Iraq over to the United Nations and pulling out of Iraq is the best policy for both the United States and Iraq.
  • that the people of Iraq really don't want freedom after all, and will gladly accept Hussein back as their rightful leader.
  • that nothing George Bush has done in the War on Terror has been "right".
  • that no matter what the problem is, the Democratic Party ALWAYS has a better answer (re: President Clinton's eight years of inaction, paltry action, and refusing to acknowledge that a problem existed is better than President Bush's aggressive policy of taking the war to the enemy).

Ted Kennedy says our war against Iraq was "misguided" and a terrible blunder. The Iraqi people, on the other hand, feel quite differently. Reading any one of the several excellent blogs by Iraqis will give one a totally different idea about how American action in Iraq is percieved.
Here at home, but also for the sake of our future, in this rapidly globalizing world I strongly believe that our highest priority must be a world-class education for every American.

As Democrats, we seek a future where America competes with others, not by lowering people's pay and outsourcing their jobs, but by raising their skills.

We must open new doors and new avenues for all Americans, make the most of their God-given talents and rekindle the fires of innovation in our society.

The biggest problems in our secondary education programs, are the lack of qualified teachers, the inability to promote based upon merit and performance, the inability to establish strict academic standards and enforce them, the reliance on untested, unproven, and often fallacious education theory, failure to require performance-based promotion of students, grade inflation, inability to effectively discipline disruptive students, low expectations, too much emphasis on "self-esteem" rather than performance, the attempt to stifle competitive behavior and desire for excellence, loss of local control, mismanagement and fraud. The majority of these problems are caused by the pressure of teachers' unions, one of the main contributors to the Democratic Party. No one expects the Democrats to rein in the teachers' unions. Nothing less will work.
Universities and school boards cannot master the challenge alone. We need a national education strategy to assure that America can advance, not retreat, in the global economy in the years ahead.

I welcome the president's remarks today on improving our high schools, but it's clear that unless we fund the reforms under the No Child Left Behind Act for earlier grades and younger children, what we do in high school will matter far less.

We are past the point where we can afford only to talk the talk without walking the walk. It's time for the White House to realize that America cannot expand opportunity and embrace the future on a tin cup education budget.

The Democratic answer to every problem - throw more money at it, create more government rules that require more expensive administration, and demand more accountability to government and less to the parents of the children being affected. This method hasn't worked in sixty years, but it will "this time". Riiiiiight.
The No Child Left Behind Act was a start, but only a start. We need to do more, much more to see that students are ready for college, can afford college and can graduate from college.

I propose that every child in America, upon reaching the eighth grade, be offered a contract. Let students sign it along with their parents and Uncle Sam.

The contract will state that, If you work hard, if you finish high school, are admitted to college, we will guarantee you the cost of earning a degree. Surely we have reached a stage in America where we can say it and mean it. Cost must never again be a bar to a college education.

I have a college-age student. She did abyssmally in high school, took no really HARD subjects (although my wife and I both encouraged her), yet she's still able to go to college. She's looking into financial aid. A Google search of "financial aid" +college turned up 8,840,000 hits. Although my daughter's grades were all "C" or below, she's been accepted by several local colleges. She's been pre-approved for some $4500 in grants and loans for this semester alone. There is no "financial bar" to college NOW. There are tens of thousands of programs available to anyone that wishes to go to college and who has completed a reasonable four-year high school education. This doesn't even begin to touch on trade schools, which also prepare a large number of people for their future livelihood. This is a non-problem. Getting children into school, keeping them there, presenting them with factual, intelligently presented information, and encouraging them to LEARN is the problem.
We must also inspire renaissance in the study of math and science, because America today is losing out in these essential disciplines. Two major studies last month ranked America's students 29th in math among leading industrial nations. Over the last 30 years we have fallen from third to 15th in producing scientists and engineers. Incredibly, more than half of all graduate students in science and engineering in American colleges today are foreign students.

National standards in math and science have existed for more than a decade. We need to raise those standards to be competitive again with the international norms and work with every school to apply them in every classroom. We should encourage many more students to pursue advanced degrees in math and science. We should make tuition and graduate school free for needy students in those disciplines. And we should make undergraduate tuition free for any young person willing to serve as a math or science teacher in a public school for at least four years.

A rennaissance in math and science would require several things the teaching "profession" balks at - teacher qualification, established standards, competetive enrollment, grade integrity, and quality textbooks. One of the major prerequisites for ANY rennaissance in math and science is the training of teachers in the specific discipline they're to teach, not in an "education" curriculum. Teachers MUST know what they're teaching, or they're frauds. High school students in particular have no problem recognizing frauds. When they spot one, they ignore their efforts.
We need an economy that values work fairly, that puts the needs of families ahead of excess profits, an economy whose goal is growth with full employment and good jobs and good benefits for all.

To create good jobs for both today and tomorrow's economy, the private and public sector must work together toward specific goals.

This is pure socialism, the same tired old "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" crap that failed everywhere it's been tried. The Democratic Party isn't striving for valuation of work fairly, but of government institution (and control) of pay standards. That's NEVER worked. "Profit" is not the dirty word the Democratic Party maligns it to be - it's what drives productivity, which creates jobs and keeps the wheels rolling. Market controls do a much better job of establishing true "worth" of production (work). The minimum wage is a good example: every time the minimum wage goes up, a million jobs go away because it stops being cost-effective to fill them - the value of the work isn't matched by the cost of salaries. The jobs lost are ALWAYS entry-level jobs that prepare workers for greater responsibility and greater pay - never the long-term jobs that "feed and take care of families" the Democrats purport them to be.

The government has NEVER been successful in creating productive jobs - NEVER. Only private enterprise can create jobs that actually increase Gross Domestic Product, which is the only reliable gauge of true worth. Job creation requires limits on restrictions in production, reasonable levels of taxation, qualified employees, and the expectation of a reasonable profit. Government jobs on the other hand require taxes and other restrictions on productivity to pay for them.
We should reduce our dependence on foreign oil, not by drilling in the priceless Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, but by investing in clean energy.
Obviously Ted Kennedy has never seen this "priceless" Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The land along the Arctic Circle is pretty much the same from Point Hope through Canada to Hudson's Bay. With new drilling techniques, the amount of land needed to capture the oil from the area would require less than 0.001% of the total land area. The Democratic Party has placed multiple restrictions on production of domestic oil, gas, minerals and renewable resources, forcing the United States to either reduce its productivity (and with it, its standard of living) or buy from overseas sources. Many of those restrictions are unreasonable, stupid, or just plain fraudulent. As long as the Democratic Party tries to force people to behave as the Democratic Party demands they do, they will be considered bullies, tyrants, and just plain words I can't type in this public forum.

There are severe technological limitations on most forms of "clean energy". The most economical form of "clean energy" is nuclear energy, but that's anathema to the Democratic Party faithful. Any time you take an option away, the costs of all others goes up. We're seeing the same thing in today's energy market - Iraqi production is hampered, the cost of crude goes up. The demand from China doubles, the price goes up. Eliminating the use of nuclear energy forces us to use less economical and more environmentally damaging options. The Democratic answer: reduce demand. The easiest way to do that is to significantly increase cost. That also drives up the cost of living to the point where it becomes impossible to maintain a decent standard of living, but hey, the environmentalists are happy!
We should invest in new schools and modernize old ones to make schools the pride of their communities again.
Public schools were, and should have remained, the responsibility of local communities, not the Federal government. Besides, it doesn't do any good to have state-of-the-art buildings and award-winning campuses if they're staffed by incompetent teachers, use inaccurate textbooks, and require no intellectual achievement for promotion or graduation.
We should invest in research and development to pave the way for innovation and growth.
Without an economic incentive, there's no pressure to do research that is actually useful, or even honest. While the basic increase in knowledge is a worthwhile goal for some research, if there's no reward - hard, financial reward - there's no incentive to push limits or work within stringent intellectually honest guidelines. "Pure research" is frequently pursued far beyond the point where a profit motive would have caused other researchers to abandon an unpromising, perhaps even false, lead.

We also need well-educated people to engage in research. As the Democratic destruction of our educational environment continues, we become less and less able to mount any truly ground-breaking research and development. When every dime is expended on social programs, the first thing that gets cut is funding for research - check the history books.
We should invest in broadband technology so that every home, every school, every business in America has easy and comprehensive access to the Internet.
The market is the best means of ensuring that, and it's doing a great job. Government doesn't need to get involved. Government involvement usually means government control as well, something the Internet does NOT need.
We should invest in mass transit to reduce the pollution in our air and the congestion on our roads.
"Mass transit" is not the be-all and end-all governments at all levels purport it to be. I've used mass transit. It's ok, if the bus is going where you want to go, and operates on a convenient schedule. If it doesn't, tough luck. Mass transit works in Europe because everything is close together. Outside the East Coast, distances tend to get farther and farther apart. Mass transit options should be left to the local community to decide if (1) it's cost-effective, and (2) if there's a demand. If neither of these answers is "yes", any mass transit will be nothing but an unrecoverable drain on the tax base.

Tremendous reductions in pollution levels have been achieved by increasing the efficiency of automobiles and other internal-combustion engines, in new techniques of removing industrial pollution from the air, and in new technologies. There are no good examples of how mass transit has significantly reduced pollution.
We should stop the non-scientific, pseudo-scientific, anti- scientific nonsense emanating from the right wing and start demanding immediate action to reduce global warming and prevent the catastrophic climate change that may be on our horizon now.
I guess Ted hasn't heard that 98% of any global warming (or cooling) that's occurred in the last 1000 years can be honestly attributed to fluctuations in solar output, and that there are no positive tests that has shown that mankind is responsible for it. The hypothesis that anthropogenic generation of CO2 is solely responsible for global warming, and that reductions in CO2 emissions will stop it has been thoroughly discredited. The original concern was based on inaccurate computer models which have been proven to be impossible to predict even the temperature trends of the last thirty years. There is no scientifically honest basis that indicates anthropogenic CO2 (which makes up only 5% of the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere), controls or drives changes in global temperature. Even those studies that exist ignore the role played by water vapor (which makes up 94% of greenhouse gasses), whose global impact is even more imperfectly known. The final nail in the coffin of the "global warming crisis"is that any activity by man to ameliorate global temperature fluctuations would have a very miniscule effect - so miniscule it's only a fraction of the margin for error of any meaningful prediction.
We must not let the administration distort science and rewrite and manipulate scientific reports in other areas. We must not let it turn the Environmental Protection Agency into the Environmental Pollution Agency.
We must not let the Democratic Party or its members distort and manipulate scientific data in order to impose unnecessary and unlawful restrictions upon citizens of the United States, deprive them of the full use of their own property for no other reason than the possibility that some possible endangered species may possibly be inconvenienced, much less harmed. We've seen the proven mis-use of the Environmental Protection Agency inflict damage to the community in Klamath, Oregon (salmon), and in Colorado Springs, Colorado (Preebles jumping mouse) WITHIN THE LAST YEAR. There are many, many other times when the abuse of the rules and restrictions applied by the Environmental Protection Agency have caused economic harm to individuals without compensation, and without reason.
A progressive economy also recognize that Americans don't just want more, they want more of what matters in life, which is the American dream.

They want greater flexibility on the job, with more time for their families, more time for their children's schools, more time to volunteer in their communities and churches and synagogues and mosques. They want jobs that pay fairly and don't force them to work excessive hours without extra pay.

People want a lot of things, many of them totally unreasonable. When unreasonable demands are forced upon an industry, that industry has less ability to compete. Eventually, the industry has to shut its doors, leaving all those employed without jobs at all. The Democratic Party has a problem with balancing rewards with costs, and limiting costs to those business can afford and still remain competetive. Failure to understand economic reality costs jobs, results in a reduced standard of living, and increases foreign dependence. That, coupled with the failure of the Democratic Party to understand the constancy of change in both the workforce and in industry leads to unrealistic demands and unreasonable restrictions on business.
They want safe workplaces and the right to join with fellow employees to bargain for a fair workplace.
We've finally gotten around to Organized Labor, the Democratic Party's other staunch supporter - and frequent abuser of laws, including labor laws. Of course, the Democratic Party isn't reasonable about holding Organized Labor accountable for any failings, so there's no problem - except for workers who don't want to be forced to join a union, and unreasonable union rules and demands that hamper and hamstring business.

Safety is always a good idea, but unreasonable safety demands that increase costs with no real track record of reducing or eliminating dangers cost businesses billions each year - costs passed on to consumers in higher prices or removal of products from the market. There always has to be a balance struck between potential and actual dangers, judgments based on real risk factors, and between caution and unreasonable restrictions.
They want companies to stop marketing cigarettes and unhealthy foods to young Americans.
The nanny state (which includes a large number of Democrats) wants to impose its demands upon the population as a whole, regardless of the wishes of the rest of society. We already have rules restricting the sale of cigarettes to minors, and the advertising of cigarettes in a number of branches of public media. Most of the rules the Democrats want to impose reduce personal freedom, prevent individuals from exercising free choice, and impose restrictions that limit the development of personal responsibility. That's in line with the overall Democratic strategy of reducing personal choice while increasing government control of every facet of life. That's not "freedom", that's not "fair", and it's not realistic.

The American people don't want "food police". If people cannot make reasonable decisions for themselves, they must accept the consequences of their poor decisions. It's called "cause and effect", and it works wonders to curb excesses. People that fail to understand, or refuse to accept, consequences usually eliminate themselves (and their failures) from the gene pool.
They want workplaces free from all forms of bigotry and discrimination, including discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.
REAL Americans want the right to live in peace, to be free to associate with whoever they personally choose, not having it forced upon them by others. The entire "gay rights" argument has nothing to do with rights and everything to do with FORCED ACCEPTANCE. That abrogates the right to practice the religion of our choice, which is guaranteed us by the Constitution. But then, the Democrats have a very loose interpretation of the Constitution - it means whatever the Democratic Party wants it to mean at a given time.
For too many Americans, an illness means a cruel choice between losing their job or neglecting their sick child or sick spouse at home.

I intend to introduce legislation early in the next Congress to end that cruelty. And I urge the Republican leadership to bring it to a vote on the Senate and House.

Glory Hallelujah, Ted Kennedy is going to outlaw sickness and disease! What a relief! We'll never be sick again...

The reason many young people don't have health insurance is the price has been forced up so high by unreasonable awards from malpractice cases, or unreasonable demands for coverages by groups who "know best" what's needed by every individual. I'd like a statistic that shows exactly how many people died in the United States in each year since 2000 due to not having health insurance. I DO know how many people in California have been hit with unreasonable taxes after having to pay for unreimbursed treatment of illegal immigrants - I've SEEN that statistic. I haven't seen the other one. Without that information, Ted Kennedy's words are hot air.
I also propose that companies which create good jobs with good benefits should receive new tax advantages, because their mission is so important to our cause. But companies that choose not to do so, that ship jobs overseas, should be denied those new incentives.
"their mission is so important to our cause" ????? Whose cause, the Democratic Party, or their owners and stockholders? Businesses create jobs to develop, market and sell products or services. They're not there to "support the cause" of the Democratic Party, or of their employees. The determination of whether to offer benefits, and what benefits to offer, have to be made as business decisions, not according to government coercion. This kind of manipulation of the business community leads to problems like the Enron scam and other injustices. It also leads to market imbalances, fraudulent reporting, and other crimes as businesses try to balance government demands against business necessities.
In addition, we must act at long last to raise the federal minimum wage. Overwhelming numbers of our citizens in Nevada and Florida showed the way last November by voting for a higher minimum wage in their states. It's time for the Republican Party to stop obstructing action by Congress and raise the minimum wage for all employees across the nation.
There are a number of problems with minimum wage laws, the most serious is that they're unconstitutional. Government has no legal authority to establish market value of human activity. Minimum wage laws impose unreasonable costs upon business without offering anything in return. They result in the loss of entry-level jobs, forcing more people into unemployment and poverty. They establish an unreasonable expectation within the populace as a whole, and among young, inexperienced workers in particular. IF minimum wage laws are a necessity, they should be based on the cost of living of the area involved, just as market-based wages are. It costs more to live in Colorado than it does in Kansas. Why should the minimum wage be the same in both places? The minimum wage won't even cover rent in Hawaii, but will provide a fairly good income for a young single person in Arkansas. A federal, across-the-board minimum wage is unequal in outcome. It would be much better to leave such actions to the states, as the Constitution originally intended. Of course, the Democratic Party would have a much harder time buying votes if they have to work in all 50 states to increase minimum wage - just as it would be harder for them to buy votes with other promises of government largesse.
We must do more to reduce poverty. It is shameful that in America today, the richest and the most powerful nation on Earth, nearly a fifth of all children go to bed hungry at night, because their parents are working full time and still can't make ends meet.
I would like to see where this statistic comes from. The Bureau of the Census released figures for 2003, the latest year available (2004 probably won't be available until April or May). That data is available here, in PDF format. It states that the percentage of the population that lived at or below the official poverty threshold for 2003 was 12.5 percent, with 35.9 million households at or below the poverty threshold. The average income for the lowest quintile (20% of the population) was $17,984. The average income of families with two people working was just over $60,000. A single individual making minimum wage earns (in 2004, with minimum wage of $5.25/hour) $10,930.50 a year as a full-time employee. Twice that is $21,861 - above the poverty level. For children under 18, the poverty rate was 17.6% and 12.9 million. There are literally dozens of variables that affect income and poverty. These five - location, education, health, experience, and demand - account for about 90% of the variables that affect income. The one major variable affecting poverty, beyond income level, is personal choice. Many people make bad choices, not once but repeatedly. We can (and do) try to help these individuals through dozens of federal, state, local, and charitable agencies. The final determinant is the individual's choice. The Democratic Party MUST accept that people have the right to choose to fail, and the rest of us aren't to blame when they make that choice. We can increase their education, improve their health, and help them gain experience (if they're willing to contribute to the effort), but we cannot guarantee they won't fail, if they choose to.
For the millions who can't find work and the millions more unable to work at all we need a strong safety net.

Social Security is fundamental to the integrity of that safety net. Never before, until now, has any president, Republican or Democrat, attacked the basic guarantee of Social Security.

Yet President Bush is talking, not just about a cut, but an incredible 33 percent cut.

We must oppose it, and we will defeat it. We will not let any president turn the American dream into a nightmare for senior citizens and a bonanza for Wall Street.

Mr. Kennedy is being very disingenuous with this statement. The President has repeatedly said that those currently receiving benefits, and those that have already made substantial contributions to Social Security, won't see a cut in benefits. Ted Kennedy knows this - his disingenuous statement is a fear tactic repeatedly used by the Democratic Party to rally the senior-citizen vote. I haven't seen ANYTHING even remotely resembling a submitted bill that deals with Social Security changes, so the 33% can't possibly be part of such legislation. Until the legislation is actually proposed before Congress and available for study and debate, anything said is pure conjecture.

Social Security is a ponzi scheme, pure and simple. Changing the formula for Social Security would have to be a good thing. Social Security has been and is nothing but a scheme to buy votes for the Democratic Party, and has been since the mid-1940's. How bad an investment is it? The annual return on investment for Social Security is less than 2% for 95% of those that have paid into it. If an individual were to invest $100 per month for 45 years (an average working lifetime) at 1.75% (approximating social security), they would have invested $54,000, earned $27,000 in interest, and have a value of $81,000 for retirement. They would receive $118 per month if they used JUST the interest, leaving the principal in place. At a rate of return of 3.75% (the minimum long-term average rate of return for treasury notes), the interest alone increases to $81,731 (more than the total investment under Social Security), and the total investment becomes $135,731. Using the same interest rate, the individual would have a monthly dividend of $424. The minimum average return from the stock market over the last sixty years has been 7.8%. At that rate, the same investment of $100/month for 45 years would provide the pensioner with $436,399 in total investment, and an average monthly return at 5% interest of $1818. Which would you prefer?
The biggest threat to Social Security today is not the retirement of the baby boomers, it's George Bush and the Republican Party.
Personally, I see the biggest threat to retirement security as the lies and distortions of the Democratic Party and its "leaders" such as Ted Kennedy.
To revitalize the American dream, we also need to renew the battle to make health care affordable and available to all our people.

In this new century of the life sciences, breakthrough treatments and miracle cures are steadily revolutionizing the practice of medicine and the quality of life. The mapping of the human genome enables us to understand far more about the molecular basis of disease and to plan far-reaching cures that were inconceivable only a few years ago.

Sadly, in America today, the miracles of modern medicine are too often the province only of the wealthy. We need a new guarantee for the years ahead that the cost of these life-saving treatments and cures will not be beyond the reach of the vast majority of the American people.

The biggest expense a doctor has today is malpractice insurance, where premiums can range up to $300,000 per year. The malpractice insurance fees are so high because of huge malpractice settlements 'won' by lawyers in malpractice lawsuits. Many of those lawsuits are ill-concieved, poorly adjudicated, and the verdicts (and amounts) unreasonable. To cap the insult, anywhere from one-third to two-thirds are claimed by the attorneys, not the patient. The same can be said of class-action lawsuits, lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, and virtually every other member of the health care profession. There have been many attempts to cap exhorbitant malpractice awards, all successfully defeated by the Democratic Party. Without those caps, the cost of medical treatiment will continue to explode. At the same time, the demand that no one, including illegal aliens, can be turned away from treatment, and that the hospitals must accept the pittance the government decides to pay them for such treatment, raises costs even higher. Again, these are requirements imposed by the Democratic Party. NOTHING can change the increasing cost of medical care until these uncompensated demands are addressed. These uncompensated costs are what is driving up the cost of health insurance. The entire health-care industry must be evaluated, effective corrective action implemented, and government bureaucracy reduced, or nothing will make medical care more "affordable".
An essential part of our progressive vision is an America where no citizen of any age fears the cost of health care and no employer refuses to create new jobs or cuts back on current jobs because of the high cost of providing health insurance.

The answer is Medicare, whose 40th birthday we will celebrate in July.

I propose that, as a 40th birthday gift to the American people, we expand Medicare over the next decade to cover every citizen from birth to the end of life.

OMG, Hillarycare! Just what we want...Not! The American people have watched Canada's introduction of socialized medicine, we've listened to the British complain for years about THEIR socialized medicine, and we've seen the way Medicare works, taking decisions out of the doctor's hands and putting it into the hands of administrators for treatment. Yes, we want that - like we want to be bound and gagged and dangled by our feet 200 feet below the Golden Gate Bridge. Socialized medicine is a failure everywhere it's been implemented. Costs go up, availability of treatment goes down, service is degraded, and waiting times stretch out to eternity. No thanks, Mr. Kennedy, thanks anyway.
It's no secret that America is still dearly in love with Medicare. Administrative costs are low, patient satisfaction is high, unlike with many private insurers, they can still choose their doctor and their hospital.
Who writes this nonsense for you, Mr. Kennedy - Jay Leno? Don Knotts? Whoopie Goldberg? I have NEVER heard a senior citizen say they "dearly love" Medicare. As for the administrative costs, the annual amount of discovered fraud under Medicare would pay for another trip or two to the moon. Patient satisfaction isn't "high", its abysmal. As for choice, they can choose any doctor or hospital that takes Medicare patients, which means any the government can bribe, coerce, or force into doing so. Remember what happened to Hillary Clinton's socialized medicine plans? The American public is NOT INTERESTED. Give it a rest.
For those who prefer the private insurance, we will offer comparable coverage under the same range of private insurance plans already available to Congress.

I call this approach Medicare for all, because it will free all Americans from the fear of crippling medical expenses and enable them to seek the best possible care when illness strikes.

Yeah, we won't have to fear crippling medical expenses, just death by starvation from all the taxes we'd have to pay to cover this ill-thought-out piece of stupidity. We only have to look at Canada once more to see what effect this monstrosity will have on health care, and how much it would cost each of us.
The battle to achieve Medicare for all will not be easy. Powerful interests will strongly oppose it, because they profit immensely from the status quo.

Right-wing forces will unleash false attack ads, ranting against socialized medicine and government-run health care. But those attacks are a generation out of date, retreads of the failed campaign that delayed Medicare in the 1950s and '60s.

Today we are immunized against such attacks by the obvious success of Medicare. It is long past time to extend that success to all.

Mr. Kennedy, in all due respect, I think you're still living in the la-la land of the 1960's. What you propose has been proposed before. We who are beginning to approach Medicare-age have taken a long, hard look at it, and we're not impressed. It's not the "right-wing nuts" that you're going to have to convince, but the rational, level-headed average American who has seen all this before, and know it's a suicide pact. Why do you think tens of thousands of Canadians come to the United States for medical treatment? It's not that it's not available in Canada - it's because the waiting time to get the treatment is longer than their ability to live without it. The same thing will happen here. We're NOT INTERESTED. Take your pipe dreams and peddle them somewhere else. The American people have grown up. We know there's no Santa Claus, and that "something for nothing" is a farce.
The Democratic Party's proudest moments and greatest victories have always come when we would stand up against powerful interests and fight for the common good. And this coming battle can be another of our finest achievements.
Only in your eyes, Mr. Kennedy, which is why your party is in a death-spiral.
To make the transition from the current splintered system, I propose to phase in Medicare for all age group-by-age group, starting with those closest to retirement, between 55 and 65. Aside from senior citizens themselves, they have the greatest health needs and the highest health costs and need our help the most.

The first stage of the phase-in should also guarantee good health care to every young child. We made a start with the Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997. It does a major part of the job. But it's time to complete the job now.

It's time for the government to get out of people's lives, stop trying to run everything, especially things they know nothing about, and to let us take care of ourselves. There should be a "safety net" for those that need it. Once upon a time, it was provided by families and charitable institutions, until the government took over and forced everyone else to back away. The problem with government is that it thinks if a little bit is good, ten times more will be ten times as good. Unfortunately, too many things don't operate that way, and government ends up destroying what was good and useful in its "one size fits all", hammer/nail relationship with its citizens. It's time for government to back of and resume its limited role in our lives. That's what the average citizen of this nation wants, not the cradle-to-grave welfare state that's killing Europe, crippling Canada, and turning the United States into a disaster looking for a place to happen. BOTH political parties need to wake up and understand this, or neither party will prosper. Somewhere, someone will suddenly realize what people really want, offer it to them, and become the new party of choice. Whether that's in one of the two current major parties or in a future third party, only time will tell. It WILL happen - get over it.
As we implement this reform, financing must be a shared responsibility. All will benefit; all should contribute.

Payroll taxes should be part of the financing, but so should general revenues, to make the financing as progressive as possible.

By moving to electronic medical records for all Americans when they go to the hospital or doctor, we can save hundreds of billions of dollars a year in administrative cost while improving the quality of care.

Equally important, we should pay for health care based on value and results, not just the number of procedures performed or days in a hospital bed.

We must also expand our investments in medical research so that we can realize even more of its extraordinary promise.

We must confront and defeat the misguided ideology that in the name of life denies lifesaving cures by blocking stem cell research.

More lies, more deceit. There are NO limits on "stem cell research", only a ban on Federal funding of fetal stem-cell research. California just passed a $3 billion bond issue to pay for stem-cell research, and the federal government hasn't said a word about it. Besides which, there's growing evidence that other sources of stem cells, from adult fatty tissue and elsewhere, that prove more promising of success. The cost of Mr. Kennedy's "Medicare for all" will equal about twice the current budget - bank on it. It can only be implemented by drastically cutting everything else, including Social Security, the military, and virtually every other government expenditure. Taxes will HAVE to be raised - not just raised, but doubled, maybe even tripled, in order to meet the costs. The people who will suffer the most will be the people in the lowest 80% of the income scale, or about 92% of the US population. Even worse, it gives the federal government access to the most private information about an individual - information about their health and well-being. No thanks, Mr. Kennedy. We'd prefer to do it ourselves. Just get government out of the way so it won't cost so much!
Above all, as we face the forces of globalization, we must inspire a stronger sense of national purpose among our citizens in a wide variety of areas that serve the public interest.

We must affirm anew what it means to be an American. Citizenship is far more than just voting every two years or every four years. The strengthen and genius of our democracy depends on the caring and involvement of our people, and we cannot truly secure our freedom without appealing to the character of our citizens.

If we fail, we open the way for abuses of power in the hands of the few, for neglect of poverty and bigotry and for arrogant foreign policies that shatter our alliances and make enemies of our friends.

Our founders made the values of justice, equality and civic responsibility the cornerstones of America's strength and its future.

Mr. Kennedy, you need to go back and read the words of our founding fathers. Their main concern was individual freedom. That included the rights of the individual to decide things for themselves, to be secure in their home and property, and to limit government's involvement in their day-to-day activities. Nothing you've said in this speech corresponds to what those early citizens of this nation dreamed of when they founded the United States of America.
If we are serious about reducing the number of abortions, we must be serious about reducing unwanted pregnancy. We must accept policies with a proven track record of reducing abortion.

History teaches that abortions do not stop because they are made illegal. Indeed half of all abortions in the world are performed in places where abortions are illegal.

We do know, however, that the number of abortions is reduced when women and parents have education and economic opportunity. Our progressive vision is of an America where parents have the opportunity and the resources, including good prenatal care, to bring healthy children into the world.

We want every child to be welcomed into a loving home and to be part of the American dream. This fundamental vision is at the heart of who we are as Democrats and we must do everything in our power to make it a reality.

The number of abortions will remain high as long as abortion is considered just another alternative form of birth control. Abortions will continue to abound as long as women aren't given the truth about the emotional and psychological as well as the physiological effects of abortion. Abortions will remain high as long as we have a culture that derides celibacy, regales limiting sexual intimacy only within marriage as "stupid", and denigrates family life. We know that children are far better off in all measurable categories when they are raised within a two-parent, conventional male/female household, yet this is the demographic that the Democratic Party's past and current policies hurt the most.
On the issue of gay rights, I continue strongly to support civil marriage. We cannot and should not require any religion or any church to accept gay marriage.

But it is wrong for our civil laws to deny an American the basic right to be a part of a family, to have loved ones with whom to build a future and share life's joys and tears and to be free from the stain of bigotry and discrimination.

Your words and your party's actions don't match, Mr. Kennedy. Members of the Democratic Party have attacked the Boy Scouts because they don't allow homosexual members or homosexual leaders. This is a private organization. Your party has chosen to punish them for their prohibitions by trying to force others to withhold donations to the Boy Scouts, threatening to withdraw their tax-exemt status, and prohibiting them from using federal facilities or organizing and operating on federal territory. Democrats have forced church organizations to open their doors to those who are in disagreement with Church policies, a violation of the government's promise in the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; Democrats try to get around this by having JUDGES make the laws, rather than Congress - a clear breach of the separation of powers enumerated in our Constitution. There is NO "basic right to be a part of a family" other than the one they're born into. The definition of the family does not include "two fathers" or "two mothers". The majority of the people in this nation regard homosexuality as being unnatural. Religions consider it a sin, one that cannot be tolerated. FORCING the acceptance of this unnatural relationship upon those people is Congress making a law prohibiting the free exercise of an individual's religious values. We will not tolerate it. We will allow any two people to live together if they so choose. We do not have to accept it as "ok", and we don't have to agree to give them the same rights and privileges of a heterosexual couple that contributes to the stability and well-being of the nation. A little history will demonstrate that those civilizations that have accepted and legitimized same-sex relationships have very soon collapsed. We will not tolerate that kind of destruction of our society.
The true American spirit and the basic generosity of the American people here never been more in evidence than in the spontaneous outpouring of support by millions of our fellow citizens for the victims of the deadly tsunami that caused such tragedy and devastation across South Asia.

We are a compassionate and caring people, and in times like this we are never separated by borders or oceans or politics or faith. The people of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India and Thailand, and other suffering nations are our brothers and sisters.

Sustained action by America and other nations will be essential in the ongoing mission of reconstruction and rehabilitation. The people of South Asia need our help now and they need our long-term support, and so do other peoples struggling desperately to deal with the overwhelming poverty and disease. Their nations can be our friends or be the breeding ground of our enemies.

You should look at how the nation's generosity was expressed, and who expressed that generosity most graciously, Mr. Kennedy. The majority of it was done by people of faith, people who believe in an Almighty God, in redemption, and in grace. The outpouring of money, clothing, food, and essentials was most apparent from those that have strong moral values - the people who occupy 'red' counties and voted Republican. Maybe there's a message there for you, Mr. Kennedy. Maybe if you really understood the generous nature of Americans, and their love of their fellow men, you might understand why they hate your ideas of government control of every aspect of their lives. Maybe your party would understand that these people exercise their faith and give generously without being forced by a government mandate. Yes, Mr. Kennedy, you need to understand the nature and beliefs of those generous Americans - the people you know so little about.
As President Kennedy said in his inaugural address, If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

America is strongest in the world when we use our superpower status to join with other nations to achieve great goals.

Indeed, Mr. Kennedy, but have you noticed something else? Our greatest achievements have been when we've established ad-hoc coalitions of those willing to help with the task at hand, rather than being subordinated to some outside authority that has no restraints, no mandate to operate, and no checks or balances against their behavior. Both the United States and Australia were actively working to give aid to the tsunami victims within a matter of hours. It's taken the United Nations two weeks to get the first person into the damaged area, and they have yet to actively provide assistance to those that need it. Europe, too, was slow off the mark, and late in arriving with any truly useful assistance. It's the "coalition of the willing" that has provided the majority of the food, water, blankets, medical attention, shelter, and hope for a return to normal living to the people of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia.
Instead of bullying them to salute us, more than ever our strength today depends on pursuing our purposes in cooperation with others, not in ways that anger them or ignore them or condescend to them.
It also cannot be done by subordinating our needs to the needs of some imaginary group. We have a government for one purpose, as stated in our Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed..." The United Nations was not created to "secure the rights of the individual". We cannot surrender our sovereignty to the United Nations, or any other nation, group, or people, without surrendering what it means to be an American. We will not allow it, Mr. Kennedy. We will do what we feel we must to secure our freedoms for ourselves and our children in the generations ahead. We will do this by acting "unilaterally" if necessary, or by creating a coalition of others who also acknowledge the rights of free men, and the necessity of defending freedom wherever it is imperiled.
Franklin Roosevelt said of America in 1945, We have learned that we cannot live alone at peace, that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of nations far away. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.

If only President Bush would heed those words.

Our fragile planet is not a Republican or Democrat or American community; it is a world community.

Unfortunately for you, Mr. Kennedy, you've missed the very thrust of President Roosevelt's words, and the deeds of President Bush. We cannot maintain our freedom by surrendering it. We can only live in peace in the world where peace is honored. Our well-being is truly dependent upon the well-being of others. But their well-being is dependent upon living in a society that acknowledges the rights of the individual, the sanctity of private property, freedom of action and of association, and acknowledgement of the rights of others, even those that are "different". President Bush DOES recognize these things, and has spoken of them many times. That is why we've helped those that truly wish to live free in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is why we stood up to the totalitarian threat of Soviet aggression for 40 years. And as in any community, the world cannot be at peace as long as any small group pursues acts of aggression against its neighbors, refuses to abide by the rules established for the common good, or wishes to impose its will upon others - for any reason. We may not be the "world's policeman", but we are a powerful force that can be used to bring those who refuse to accept the limits of acceptable social behavior into line or under control.
And we cannot -- and we forget that truth at our very, very peril.
Accepting your interpretation would also place us in grave peril. Unless we remain strong in what we believe is right, we will be defeated and destroyed. The entire world would be much worse off if that were to happen.
I welcome the opportunity and the obligation to debate our values and our vision. A new American majority is ready to respond to our call for a revitalized American dream grounded firmly in our Constitution and in the endless adventure of lifting this nation to ever new heights of discovery and prosperity and progress and service to all our people and to all humanity.

We, as Democrats, may be in the minority in Congress, but we speak for the majority of Americans. If we summon the courage and the determination to take our stand and state it clearly, I'm convinced the battles that lie ahead will yield our greatest victories.

The Democratic Party has consistently lost ground in each of the last three elections. One of the main reasons why that's happened is because the Democratic Party has failed to listen to the common man about HIS needs. The Democratic Party is the party of special interest groups - abortion rights activists, the teachers' unions, organized labor, trial lawyers, social workers, welfare recipients, and other groups whose only interest in government is for what they can get out of it. The average American wants a limited government that provides protection from enemies, and gets out of the way the rest of the time. They want safe highways and clean water, but not someone looking over their shoulder. They want their children to have the same opportunities they did or more - not to be used for someone's sociology experiment. Most Americans believe that a helping hand should be just that - not an attempt to pick their pockets. Most Americans want to keep as much of their paycheck as they can - up front, not after some government agency has skimmed off part of it and pretend to give the rest back.

Americans understand there are people in the world that wish us harm for no other reason than that we're different from them. They want the government to protect them from such people, not welcome them with open arms. Americans want secure borders, not a free-for-all traffic (and trash) pattern. They want police to arrest people who have broken our laws, judges to determine guilt or innocence, and sentences equal to the crime committed, regardless of who the lawbreaker is. Americans expect their vote to count, and that the procedures for voting to be honest and straighforward. They also expect that fraud, corruption, and other forms of unlawful behavior be addressed and corrected - immediately, not according to some vague future reference. Americans want and expect the laws of this nation to be made by Congress, according to the Constitution, and for judges to uphold them, not change, modify, or ignore them to suit their own personal ideology. We want to return, as much as possible, to the limited view of government envisioned by our founding fathers, and enshrined in our Constitution. Until both political parties recognize that, acknowledge the legitimacy of these wishes, and support them, they will lose ground among voters, and drive more and more people away from the ballot box.