Tuesday, December 27, 2005

OK, Enough Whining. Time for Solutions!

Here's a cheering thought for the holidays: Some practical suggestiong for repairing the horrendous messs the US is in and by extension, all the rest of the world (that's you honey!). Read, take heart, but remember:

It can only happen when ACTION is taken. Blog, write, call. Put pressure on the folks who's salaries YOU pay.

That an interesting New Year is upon us if certain. Be part of what may make it happy.

Blue Ibis

Big Lies: Who told the worst political untruth of 2005? It’s a shame the list of contenders is so long.

By Eleanor Clift
Dec. 22, 2005

Every holiday season, we on "The McLaughlin Group" hand out news awards. Some categories, like "Biggest Winner," are easy (My choice was Chief Justice John Roberts, with the oil companies as runner-up). Others are a struggle to fill, like who to insult with the “Overrated” award.

In compiling this year’s list, I had the highest number of entries for the category, “Biggest Lie.” I chose the White House declaration that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby had nothing to do with leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent. They were the principal participants in the effort to discredit former ambassador Joe Wilson because he had raised doubts about one of the pillars of their argument for war, namely that Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake uranium to make a bomb.

Read the whole article here.

Comment: It's a strangely schizophrenic state for the United States to be in: on one side, you have Bush, Cheney and the gang loudly proclaiming "their reality," and on the other, you have more and more mainstream media outlets loudly proclaiming that Bush, Cheney, and the whole White House gang are out and out liars.

Two years ago, almost NONE of the mainstream media sources were calling Bush and Cheney liars; that was the purview of the alternative news sites and bloggers. But the issues have grown so large, so frightening that even the moderates and former Bush supporters are joining the general clamor for something to be done.

There's a problem, however, as Eleanor Clift points out above:
"The polls show that a majority of Americans no longer trust this team, which is why Bush and Cheney are hitting back hard at their critics. ... We have no mechanism to deal with a president who has lost the trust and confidence of the American people and has three years remaining in office. Impeachment is a nonissue; it’s not going to happen with Republicans in control of the House and Senate."

Recent polls (uncooked ones, that is) show that over 80 % of the American People want Bush impeached. But, as we pointed out a day or so ago, that's not the answer. If you impeach Bush, you get Cheney, if you impeach Cheney, you get Hastert, if you impeach Hastert, you get Stevens.

What we need is a way to get rid of an entire government.

The problem seems to be that our Founding Fathers did not include in their deliberations, any situation such as the United States is faced with today: a gang that has fixed elections, assassinated opposition, blackmailed and stacked the Congress to pass laws that essentially create a dictatorship.

Some other democratic governments have made provisions for just such contingencies. Typically, when parliaments vote 'no confidence,' or where it fails to vote confidence, a government must either: 1. resign, or 2. seek a parliamentary dissolution and request a General Election. We think that such provisions still leave something to be desired in that there is no way to factor in the voice of the people

In view of the situation, we here at Signs do have an idea. Since it is now obvious that 80 % or more of the American people want Bush OUT, it is not very likely that any of them will be voting Republican in the next congressional elections. If a Republican majority is returned to Congress, we can then be almost certain of vote rigging. So, the thing to do first is deluge all state governments with demands for voting systems that have a paper trail to ensure that no more elections are stolen.

Then, the people must put their energy into demanding new legislation. This legislation should be a bill introduced in Congress to the effect that a petition of citizens can invoke a national referendum of confidence/no confidence. Such a referendum will be 1 person = 1 vote, no "electoral college," no steps between the will of the people and the representatives of the people. If the will of the people is "no confidence" in the reigning government, they must all resign and a new election will be held. There ought to also be new legislation regarding elections, election financing, Congressional perks and power brokering.

So, here are some general ideas:

Government Should Be In The Hands Of Those Who Wish To Serve And Who Are Qualified By A Thorough Psychological Testing Program As Well As Extensive Background Investigation by something equivalent to a Grand Jury. Governing powers should certainly never be in the hands of those who are evaluated according to "electability" in terms of looks, or budget. Government should be made undesirable to those who seek money and power. Honor and the High Regard of the People should be the main rewards of statesmanship. Therefore, the following should be enacted as Constitutional Amendments:

A. Outlaw Expensive Political Campaigns. The Top Five qualified candidates should be given equal media representation gratis so that each can clearly state their positions and platforms. Money must be divorced from power in a Democracy.

B. Outlaw Lobbying And Special Interest Groups. Each Act Of Legislation should be clearly written so that all people can understand it,and no bills should be "conglomerates" where an unpopoular measure can be piggy-backed on a popular one.

C. All Elected Officials should be elected by Majority Vote of the People only. The Electoral College needs to be dismantled.

D. Salaries Of Elected Officials should reflect an average of the incomes of their constituents. In this way, they will have a better idea of how everybody else lives and will be more motivated to solve the problems of the people they serve.

Legislators and government officials should be provided with simple apartments, paid for by the government, where they can live while performing government functions if they must live away from their normal homes while doing so. Expensive residences, parties, cars, trips, and other so-called perks must be outlawed. Entertainment for visiting heads of state from other countries can be handled via special programs for same.

E. Outlaw Honorariums, Speaking Fees, Consulting Fees, Gifts etc, for elected officials while in office. If they can't live on their salaries, how do the expect anyone else to do so?

Such measures as the above are simple and would quickly result in social adjustments relating to government. With individual riches and power eliminated from the government equation, only those who truly seek to serve will be motivated to run for government office.

Naturally it is to be expected that great resistance to such ideas will issue from those possessing great wealth and power. The wealthy and powerful control not only the government, but also religions, social customs and social institutions. They have access to very clever theoreticians who invent very clever theories to justify everything they do. The result of these machinations can be seen all around us today. Never before has humanity been so precariously balanced on the edge of a chasm of fire, from which no one will emerge if we fall in.

Popular Theory holds that, while concentrated wealth may seem unfair, it is "good for economic prosperity." A couple of con-artists once made an Emperor a New set of clothes, too.

We believe in prosperity and comfort and freedom from want for all. Indeed, those who are more industrious and ambitious will naturally have more than others: that is the nature of a free market. We have no issues with that. However, we believe that those individuals who are less "equal" in terms of intellect or ambition, but who are still the majority of humanity, should be able to establish and maintain a basically comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle. The people who are content flipping burgers and collecting the trash should be able to live without stress, too.

Since our current major problems are actually Economic, we think immediate measures must be taken. These measures are based on the ideas of Dr. Ravi Batra, Professor Of Economics at Southern Methodist University.

A. Enact taxation in proportion to benefits received from the government. Since "Defense Of Our Way Of Life" is the Primary Benefit we receive, and is the major part of the Federal Budget, those who have the most to protect should pay the most taxes for that service.

Those who have accumulated great wealth in the United States have been vigorously protected at great expense of life limb by the common people from the time of The Revolutionary War until the present. That is to say, that the wealthy have been protected at the expense of the poor and middle classes and yet, the poor and middle classes are getting poorer and less able to survive while the rich are getting richer and sending more of the sons of the poor and middle classes off to die to enable the rich to get richer. For this reason, such a Wealth Tax should be retroactive when possible.

This Tax should be imposed on net worth including Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate, Precious Metals, Paintings Etc. An Exemption of an amount to equal twice the average cost of living in a given region should be allowed for everyone for personal and living expenses. The next double amount of the average cost of living would be taxed at 2%, the third at 3%, the fourth at 4%, and so on up to 10% of everything above 10 times double the average cost of living.

As can easily be seen, this would instantly remove the tax burden from the poor and Middle Classes entirely.

This Tax Rate would also generate revenues amounting to well over $300 Billion, based on $15 Trillion in total wealth.

This tax would apply to all foreign investors as well. This money should be used to immediately balance the Federal Budget. At the same time, government spending must be frozen and capital controls against moving money out of the country enacted.

Several things would result from this plan.

1. The tax would only fall on those who could afford to pay.

2. It would stimulate those of wealth to divest themselves of speculative paper and invest in actual industry. REAL jobs would be created and expanded.

B. Financial Institutions Must Be Regulated, and not by themselves as is the current situation with the so-called "Fed."

C. Charge Foreign Countries For Defense. It is cheaper for foreign governments to pay the U.S. than to establish and maintain their own standing armies. That is one of the reasons the U.S. has so many military bases all over the world. Ten years agoa, as much as $290. billion of the U.S. Defense Budget was spent on defense abroad. Today, that figure is so unbelievable that the U.S. is in imminent danger of economic collapse.

Following WW II, America offered a sefense umbrella to impoverished allies. At that time it was the world's largest banker. Those surpluses have declined turning America into the world's largest debtor. We can no longer compete in world trade because of our defense spending. Charging 1 To 2 percent of other nation's GNP for defense would bring in hundreds of millions annually. It can be said that the Iraq War is being fought on behalf of Israel, therefore, Israel should pay for it. Any wealthy individuals in the U.S. holding dual Israeli/American citizenship ought to pay double the Wealth Tax: once for the U.S. and once for Israel.

If other countries imposed a wealth tax as well, they would easily be able to bring their books into balance. But, as we have noted above, it is the wealthy who have risen to power on the blood, sweat and tears of the common man with the predictable result of today's embarrassing situation of the U.S. being stuck for the next three years with a president and administration that over 80% of the people do not want. It is the "love of money" for its own sake that has brought this evil on America.

In closing we would like to say: We believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people - and we desire to see that it does not perish from the Earth!

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