March 2005 Archives

Was a time not too long ago, when leaders and citizens of a society enjoyed making, buying, and selling their own goods; when trade and economy depended largely on what people provided and purchased from each other within their society's borders. What happened elsewhere in the world was of little concern, and troubling news from abroad did little to no damage to blissful prosperity and self reliance at home. Ignorance of what happened overseas could ordinarily enhance bliss at home. But, as WWII, the Viet Nam War, and Alvin Toeffler's book 'Future Shock' warned, those days were coming to an end.

And they are ended now. The NY Times ran a story this morning of titanic importance to investors around the globe. It is a very frightening story for investors, markets, economists, politicians, 401K holders, and pension plan holders, and may affect all Americans if the story's events play out. The title of the NY Times article is Buckle Up for the Dollar's Ride. Caution, if you prefer blissful ignorance of potential economic calamity, read no further. If you find comfort in contingency planning, the following quote from the article may prove beneficial.

Bob Barr (R), was on C-span today supporting a bi-partisan organization called by this article's title. Their goal is to move legislation over the next two years to revise the Patriot Act on certain key provisions in an attempt to restore civil liberties potentially lost under the act. Barr said the Whitehouse was the only primary the voice in enacting the Patriot Act, and it is time the American people's voice was incorporated into the Patriot Act since the Act has consequences to the civil liberties of American citizens.

Schiavo and Lunsford

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Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed yesterday clearing the way for her alleged wish to die rather then be kept alive in a dependent state. Should the federal government and the Republicans really be seeking to use the power of the federal government to override State laws on such issues? Jessica Lunsford's body has been found after a pedophile living across the street admitted killing her. Is it time to bring back the mental hospitals where individuals are, due to mental incapacity, kept indefinitely from harming society again?

The Republican Party has traditionally stood up for state's rights issues holding out limited federal government as a cornerstone of their platform. The Terri Schiavo case however appears to signal a direction shift in the GOP. Republican Congresspersons sought to stay all actions by Florida courts and laws to permit removal of Mrs. Schiavo's feeding and hydration regimen. Terri Schiavo chose her husband with her full mental capacities in place. Does not choosing one's mate and partner in life, also confer upon that individual all legal decision making power in the event of incapacitation of their spouse? Terri's parents, say no. But, Terri did not choose her parents to make decisions with and for her. She did choose her husband to make decisions with and for her.

The last few days have generated a huge number of political stories which must not go unnoticed. Following are highlights and links to those stories by category of Good, Bad, and Ugly. A couple of the biggies are "Bush inadvertantly defends Democrats not offering Soc.Sec. plan", "1/3 of Americans overworked", "Senate to Block Bush's Medicare cuts", and "Undermining American democracy and informed consent, our government is becoming ever more secretive."

The Good

President Bush expanded Medicare in his last term by prodding Congress into a Prescription Drug Benefit for Seniors. That was good. However, with his other hand, he proposed to cut Medicaid spending by 15 Billion in his 2006 Budget (while preserving pharmaceutical windfalls against competitive bidding). The good news now, is that Senators, both Republican and Democrat are poised to stop Bush's assault on Seniors and preserve that 15 Billion for Medicare. Anyone smell 2006 elections at play here?

In the middle of the last century a pair of writers wrote monumental novels about government's worst potential. The author's were George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. Their novels respectively were "1984" and "Brave New World". These two books were required reading in elementary and high school social studies classes in a large number of schools around the country in the early 1960's. At the time, given the conclusion of WWII and the Cold War with Russia already underway with its dictatorial type of government, the books were viewed as indictments of authoritarian regimes.

The last few days have generated a huge number of political news stories. Following are the biggies in the categories of Good, Bad, and Ugly from an Independent's point of view. Topics include a philosopher candidate for the World Bank President, drilling in ANWR to be sneaked in by inclusion on a budget bill, and Republicans pull out hammer and nails for Bush's Soc. Sec. Reform coffin.

The Good:

The Washington Post ran a heartlifting story today. The article states:

The Senate's top Republican said yesterday that President Bush's bid to restructure Social Security may have to wait until next year and might not involve the individual accounts the White House has been pushing hard.
It is good to see that even Republican Congress persons are capable of seeing the immense damage Bush SS Reform half-baked scheme would cause for the American people and her economy.


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