Thursday, June 29, 2006

Major Party Status?

With the Green Party likely to fail in its quest for ballot access, finally some reporters are beginning to look at ballot status and political party status in Indiana. From an Indianapolis Star report:
Stant, the Green Party candidate for secretary of state, was holding out a sliver of hope Wednesday that he would clear the hurdle, one of the highest in the nation. He and volunteers around the state had collected 20,000 to 25,000 signatures, tantalizingly close to the goal he'd been striving toward for more than a year.

"We still have a fighting chance," Stant said, before wearily adding that, really, the chance was "highly unlikely."

The truth, Stant said, is that "it's not easy being a political candidate when you're not a Democrat or a Republican. You're made to feel like a criminal. You're made to feel like someone who doesn't belong. That's very, very depressing."

I have great sympathy. I believe that there should be no ballot restrictions in the United States, particularly at a time when we are in other countries trying to ensure open elections there. Iraq had more parties on the ballot than Indiana will. I have carried petitions in Ohio for the Libertarian Party for ballot access. It's very tedious, unfulfilling work. It's one of the reasons I am the Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State- to keep the LPIN on the ballot. 2% statewide does that, while a 10% result means major party status.

The reality is, the Republicans and Democrats are in collusion to maintain their duopoly, erecting difficult barriers to ballot access. Both parties fear the presence of any third party, for the so-called Nader Effect.

Current Secretary of State has made conflicting statements on the topic of multi-party access. From a Fort Wayne Observed entry:
(Rokita) talked about the Libertarian Party's effect on the race for Secretary of State: "They [Libertarians] always take margin away from the Republican vote in the Secretary of State's race. That's a historical fact." But he leavened that with the statement: "...I believe in multi-party systems."

And then in today's Star:
Secretary of State Todd Rokita, the Republican Stant hopes to challenge in November, said the state should have a discussion on where the bar should be set but added: "We have to have some parameters, or we'd be like some country in West Africa with 18 different parties on the ballot."

So, how many is "multi"? Hmmm. I guess it lies somewhere between 3 and 18, but seems closer to 3.

Anyhow, yes. Let's have that discussion. Let's keep in mind that they collusion of the Rs & Ds includes the act of gerrymandering, which causes many races to be uncompetitive. The purpose is to make sure the parties don't have to work terribly hard. Each side takes a good number of wins. Each side fights over a tiny handful of races to determine majority. So, here are my recommendations:
  • If a political party in Indiana does not run a candidate for US Senate, it is automatically declared a minor party in Indiana, because only a real loser of a political party can't find someone to run for US Senate.
  • If a party does not run a candidate in every State Senate and every State Representative race on the statewide ballot, it is automatically declared a minor party.
  • If a political party fails to run candidates in at least 50% of the races in any given county, they are declared a minor party in that county.
Hey- what's good for the goose... I get tired of the Republicans and Democrats crowing about being major parites, when they fail to meet these low threshholds. No excuses. Run full slates. You're major. You can do it!

However, the Dems can't- or won't- find anyone to run against Dick Lugar for US Senate. Can they really be out of sacrificial lambs? Maybe they just really like Lugar. From the Indy Star:
Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar will face no Democratic opposition in his run for a sixth term.

Dan Parker, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, said this morning that Lugar is just too popular to challenge.

"Let's be honest," Parker said. "Richard Lugar is beloved not only by Republicans but by independents and Democrats."

Fortunately, the Libertarians will be running a candidate, and not packing it in because the challenge is too difficult. Maybe like a corporation that is too big to adapt, the Democrats have become too bloated or too soft to give it a whirl. Whatever, the Dems deserve to be relegated to minor party status for this disservice to Hoosier voters.

Libertarians are used to scaling difficult odds. We've done it since 1994, maintaining continuous ballot access since that time. It's time Hoosiers gave up on these soft parties who have lost sight of the value of participation in the process.

-Mike Kole

Have Fun, Mike S.!

National conventions are great fun, and I envy Mike Sylvester and the rest of the Indiana delegation, who are now heading to Portland, OR for the Libertarian Party's national convention.

This will be the first one I've missed in a while, having most recently attended the 2004 convention in Atlanta, and the 2002 convention in Indianapolis. Being a candidate for Secretary of State, and there being a few parades around July 4th, it was just impossible for me to justify going to the West Coast, no matter how alluring the sentiment of a Libertarian gathering around Independence Day may be.

This cycle is the one where the LP's platform really is the centerpiece for much of the business. As a moderate, incremental Libertarian, it disappoints me greatly that I will not be able to cast a vote against some of the platform planks. Again, I envy Mike S. I have hope that Indiana's delegation will be continue to be a leader in moving away from rigid litmus tests and towards greater inclusiveness and incremental solutions.

The big fun is circulating with like-minded people from across the country. It gives a great sense that you aren't alone on an island. This is true for party faithful from any party that isn't in the majority in their state, I've been told. So, it's energizing and refreshing.

It's also fun being on the floor during a big vote, or rushing to a microphone to raise a question or a challenge. It's everything you see on TV for the Republican and Democratic conventions.

The 2004 Libertarian was televised on C-SPAN, so this one likely will be, too. To my surprise, I learned after the last convention from friends in Ohio that they saw me on C-SPAN's coverage, standing on a chair, pleading to delegates from the states in our region to nominate Gary Nolan as our Presidential candidate. Mike Sylvester is a passionate guy. I'm betting that he'll show up on the coverage making an empassioned statement at some point. I'll be looking for him!

-Mike Kole

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Libertarian National Convention

My wife and I will be attending the Libertarian National Convention this week. The Convention itself is on Saturday and Sunday of this week.

We are flying to Portland, Oregon early Wednesday morning. We will be back in Fort Wayne next Monday.

We plan on hanging around Portland Wed and Fri. We are taking a day trip on Thursday and going White Water rafting. That should be a blast.

While I am gone Mike Kole, Libertarian Candidate for Secretary of State, will be guest blogging here...

Mike Sylvester

Monday, June 26, 2006

Diet update

I lost another two pounds this week. I am plugging right along.

I have another 30.5 pounds to go...

Mike Sylvester

Guard the borders Blogburst, June 26th

The following article is reprinted with permission via Minuteman HQ email.

An Update from the Minuteman Fence Project Manager


First, let me say thanks to the brave ranchers who are stepping up to put their lives on the line to stop the illegal invasion. They live and work within spitting distance of the Mexican border every day. These brave men and women are working side by side with Minutemen in this war zone they call home, allowing us to secure America.

Second, let’s be clear. Not every single mile of the border or every ranch or rancher is the same. The full-on Israeli-style Security Fence is our primary design and first choice for construction. However, when circumstances dictate adjustment to a Border Fence with barbed wire and a vehicle barrier or another design to meet local requirements, we will make the necessary adaptations—and keep building.


Our plan: Do the job until our government does its duty.



    * Announce the need for the Minuteman Border Fence.
    * Ask again that President Bush do his duty and secure the border.
    * Schedule a groundbreaking to get the Border Fence launched.
    * Begin raising the $55 million needed for 70 miles of fence in AZ.
    * Work with ranchers to design fence to meet specific private landsite requirements.
    * Get steel and contractors to manage the sites.
    * Register and vet fencing volunteers.
    * Build a Minuteman Fence Security Plan to patrol fencing.
    * Set up Volunteer Crews administration and crew management
    * Continue to build fence as fast as resources allow.
    * Start more sites in TX, CA and NM as donations and volunteer capacity permit.
    * Continue Border Watch and Fence Operations until the border is secure.


Click to view details of fence diagram.
Fence_Idea.jpg


A Comprehensive Design


Numerous fence design variations will be required to effectively deal with border crossings by illegal aliens, drug dealers and livestock. Derivation from the primary design is necessary to accommodate local ranchers’ specific terrain, topography, herds and other factors.

The important point to remember is that MCDC will not let Vincente Fox tell us or the US ranchers we are working with where or what we can build. No matter what the fence design, MCDC will erect a well-built fence—and fences work. We know they are effective, because we see the results; incursions reduced, and all of the opposition groups and open border supporters screaming to stop the fence.

1) Security Fence - Illegal alien crossing design: A physical barrier capable of stopping people and vehicles has been designed to fit the general terrain. It is also a daunting psychological deterrent that cuts illegal crossings by 95% or more. The security fence will not be easy to compromise by climbing over with a ladder, cannot be cut with wire cutters, breached by ramming with a vehicle, or tunneling under undetected. While no fence can be a 100% impenetrable barrier—the Minuteman Border Fence is an excellent design and will prove time-consuming enough that Border Patrol agents can be alerted and respond before the incursion can be completed.

Our fence plan will keep costs near $150 per foot.

2) Border Fence – Halting drug dealers, illegal aliens and livestock: This style of fence is necessary where full Security Fencing cannot be installed. A physical barrier with a 5 wire barbed wire fence 5' 6" high, a vehicle barrier with a horizontal steel barrier in 12’ sections welded to steel post 30” high and razor wire on the ground between the wire fence and the vehicle barrier. This barrier will stop vehicles and cattle and slow down illegal aliens.

This design similar to Border Patrol designs is intended to accomplish the following: Mexican drugs are coming across the border in vehicles and on the backs of mules. The steel barrier stops drug vehicles and is high enough to stop mules from walking over and low enough to keep them from going under. The barbed wire fence keeps Mexican livestock in Mexico. Thousands of diseased Mexican cattle are presently allowed to walk freely into the US unchecked, and MCDC is working with our ranchers to stop the spread of disease. This design is cheaper and faster to erect where urgent conditions warrant, especially in cases of diseased cattle incursions.

Schedule Facts:

April 20, 2006 – Chris Simcox announces the Minuteman Border Fence is to be built if President Bush does not send armed troops to secure the US – Mexico border by Memorial Day 2006.

May 27, 2006
- Successful groundbreaking was held in Arizona on Memorial Day weekend. First 2.5 miles of 10 miles of Border Fence erected. Continue fence fundraising through direct mail, email, national radio affiliates and national speaking tours.

May 27 to June 30
– Finished the first 2.5 mile section of fence, applied for permission on next 7.5 miles, repaired vandalized fence, ordered steel, finalized fence design/civil engineering specifications, retained two local Arizona contractors who hire legally, started vetting volunteers for work crews, completed volunteer delivery of donated construction truck, continue next 7.5 miles, acquire vehicle barrier steel, install vehicle barrier, test/install fence camera technology, plan and implement 24x7 fence security.

June 27
- Second site layout to be finished.

July 6-15
– Security Fence at second location starts.

Peter Kunz
Project Manager
MinutemanHQ.com
Minuteman Border Fence
******************


MINUTEMEN CONTINUE BUILDING BORDER FENCE


A Successful Start on a Security Fence

The successful groundbreaking was held in Arizona on Memorial Day weekend, as President Bush refused to immediately deploy National Guard and reserve troops to secure America’s out-of-control southern border with Mexico.

Hundreds of volunteers—along with Minuteman Founder Chris Simcox, Ambassador Alan Keyes, Congressman Steve King, AZ gubernatorial candidate Don Goldwater, WeNeedAFence.com founder Colin Hanna and AZ Congressional candidate Randy Graf—dug holes, mixed concrete, put up fencing while opposition groups jeered and skeptics said it could not be done. Now MCDC continues with dedicated volunteers, engineers and contractors using LEGAL crews to work with local Arizona land owners in building mile after mile of border security fencing on private land along the border with Mexico. The first site is 10 miles long and the first 2.5 miles of Minuteman Border Fence already has been completed.
How can You Help?

Build the Minuteman Border Fence by sending donations and volunteering to participate in making the US border secure.

Donate to Build the Minuteman Border Fence


VOLUNTEER to Build the Minuteman Border Fence

Sign up as a volunteer and get access to the “Minutemen Border Cams” an active web based surveillance link on the fencing project. The Minuteman Border Fence is placing cameras which will be monitored via computer over the Internet by registered Minutemen across the country, so that Minuteman volunteers can observe and report illegal crossings from the computer in their living rooms 24/7.

The Border Fence is already making a difference.


Local reports indicate that drug and human trafficking has already been reduced. There are fewer vehicles in the area where the fence is under construction—proving again that having a presence and taking positive steps to do SOMETHING to secure the border reduces the flow of illegal aliens, potential terrorists, drug and human traffickers, murderers, rapists and thieves in these areas.

More than 1,500 have volunteered to build the fence.


Planning and organization continues as volunteers, materials and contractors are being coordinated in an unprecedented alliance with over 1,500 Minuteman Border Fence volunteers. In the true spirit of the Minutemen of the American Revolution these patriots have joined together to form an army of volunteers to secure our borders and protect America’s sovereignty, security and prosperity.

“The undertaking is monumental and historic” says Chris Simcox.

MCDC is beginning construction of the Israeli-style border security fence at a second ranch location in early July and later throughout the year in TX, CA and NM as more resources are marshaled. Two fencing companies that hire legally have been retained to run the jobs sites and coordinate volunteer construction crews as Minutemen volunteers are scheduled to provide labor and security. Crews of four to ten volunteers under the guidance of professional fence installers can install as much as 3 miles of fence in a week.

The nay-sayers are wrong. The reality is the Minutemen are here to stay, and this mission will be completed. In April of 2005, over 800 volunteer men and women took action to secure the border. This year there are more than 200,000 Minuteman Civil Defense Corps activists not only guarding the border but building fence, faxing our elected representatives, making phone calls, voting open border politicians out of office, starting local chapters and contributing their time, money and expertise. MCDC is an explosive grassroots effort enjoying the energetic support of political Democrats, Republicans and Independents—all American patriots who have earned the trust of the public by keeping our word to remain vigilant until our borders are secure.

The fencing will be built on private land with privately donated funds, engineering and labor. Its construction at every step will serve as an example to educate the public about the feasibility and efficacy of fencing to secure America’s borders from illegal invasion by aliens and international criminal cartels. An IRS-authorized charitable non-profit organization is facilitating, administering and reporting tax-deductible donations specifically and solely for construction of this Minuteman Border Fence project. Monetary and in-kind contributions for this effort will go directly into meeting hard costs such as building materials for this private fencing operation.

We have a monumental challenge ahead to raise $55 million. We urgently need your help for this effort to succeed. With your help MCDC can make America more secure by continuing to urge citizen volunteers to support the Minuteman Border Fence.

Be sure to send this to EVERYONE you know who wants to help STOP illegal aliens at the border! Thank you!

Donate to Build the Minuteman Border Fence



VOLUNTEER to Build the Minuteman Border Fence



Go www.minutemanborderfence.com and join with us TODAY .

Sincerely for America,

Chris Simcox, President
Minuteman Civil Defense Corps

_________________________________

This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wow, I am 39 years old today

I think the title says it all.

It is hard to believe that I am 39 years old today.

I am NOT looking forward to my next birthday!

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cell Phones

I have never wanted to have a cell phone, so I do not have a cell phone.

When my wife was pregnant with our oldest child (6 years ago) we decided to get her a cell phone that she has had ever since. I like that she has a cell phone, I worry about her less.

I still have a hard time believing just how many people own a cell phone.

Many people have ONLY a cell phone now. They have removed their "land line."

Do you have a cell phone?

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Federal Government finally did soomething sensible

Last year Congress passed a law that requires State Medicaid officials to verify that Medicaid recipients are citizens.

Bush signed the bill into law this year.

The sad part is they did not tell Indiana until June 9th. We have so many laws that no one can read them all.

So now Indiana is scrambling to install a system that will ensure all who apply for aid have the proper identification.

I am glad that this law was passed. I am tired of my taxes being used to support illegal aliens. It is wrong.

One interesting note: This law was passed because Congress wanted to make a token effort to reduce our 400 billion dollar annual budget deficit...

Mike Sylvester

FEMA Audit finds AT LEAST 1.4 Billion in fraud

FEMA proves that big government does not work. The Federal response to Katrina was disgraceful and wasteful.

Government auditors have located at least 1.4 Billion in fraud and suspect a lot more. This is at least 16% of total direct aid...

Fraud includes prison inmates who got aid, numerous people who got aid who lived in other parts of the country, FEMA paid for a sex change, FEMA paid for a divorce, FEMA paid for season football tickets, FEMA paid for a tropical vacation, etc.

So what are the Reps and Dems doing about it? Very little.

They are actually expanding FEMA and wasting more money.

My solution would be different, I would:
Disband FEMA entirely, The National Guard is intended to respond to National disasters.
I would remove all funding for FEMA at once.
I would designate 1/2 of those funds to The National Guard. The National Guard could then
prepare for an expanded role...
I would take the other 1/2 and use it to pay down the Federal Debt.

What would you do?

Mike Sylvester

An interesting government study

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance released an interesting study recently.

They studied how much each city spends for each resident. The results were surprising and interesting. This study only involved 1st and 2nd class cities in Indiana.

The biggest spender is no surprise, it is Bloomington, Indiana at $5,446.
The next highest was Gary at $3,947.
Then Richmond at $3,714.
Then Anderson at $3,342.
Then Mishawaka at $3,029.
Then Evansville at $3,006.
Then South Bend at $2,887.
Then East Chicago at $2,868.
Then Michigan City at $2,679.
Then Hammond at $2,220.
Then Marion at $2,134.
Then New Albany at $1,968.
Then Fort Wayne at $1,694.
Then Kokomo at $1,678
Then Muncie at $1,608.
Then Terra Haute at $1,353.
Last is Indianapolis at $1,016.

What is most frightening about this is that Indianapolis and Marion County are merged. Since they are merged residents of Indianapolis get more services then the residents of any of the other cities.

The people who favor consolidation in Fort Wayne will point to this study, and they should. I am not in favor of wholesale consolidation; however, I am in favor of consolidating those items that make sense.

It is amazing that Indianapolis is the cheapest when you consider that it provides the most services.

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Big news in Northwest Allen County Schools

A group of taxpayers in this area has collected signatures and submitted them to start a remonstrance, the first one in NACS.

The group opposes the expansion of Carroll High School. This group wants to build a second High School rather then add on to Carroll again.

I have thought about this issue a lot. I talked to a lot of voters during my run for School Board. During my run for School Board I changed my mind on this issue due to parental comments about Carroll High School.

Based on those conversations I have come to the conculsion that Carroll High School has some serious problems that need to be addressed.

Sit down when you read this.

I am in favor of building a second High School.

Mike Sylvester

Indiana Department of Education acknowledges HUGE mistakes

I have written several posts about this debacle in the last year.

To make a long story short, here is what The Indiana Department of Education in conjunction with our Public Schools have done:

For the 2002 - 2003 school year they CLAIMED an official graduation rate of just over 91%. I have heard many officials brag about this number over the years.

Now they have gone back and tracked individual students and re-checked their rates. Today they have determined the actual 2002 - 2003 graduation rate in Indiana to be 73%.

In other words, they were wrong by 18%.

And we want these people to teach our children math?

This is shameful and Mitch Daniels should fire a lot of people in The Indiana Department of Education tomorrow...

He will not...

That is too bad.

Mike Sylvester

Monday, June 19, 2006

Diet update

The diet news for the fourth week was not so good.

I broke even this week.

I am down 11 pounds over the first four weeks.

The wife and I are currently tied...

Mike Sylvester

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Libertarian Reform Caucus

I have found another organization that I will support. It is The Libertarian Party Reform Caucus.

This group wants to reform The Libertarian Party into one that can win elections and that has a realistic and attainable platform.

This group appeals to me a great deal.

I am surprised that I did not hear about it until today.

My wife and I are attending the Libertarian national convention in Portland in a couple of weeks. The LRC sent us both a package of information about their purpose. They sent a package to all delegates...

I have found a new home. I have found a group of people I agree with almost 100%! I am excited.

On their website they have a member list. There are quite a few Indiana Libertarians that have joined.

Some of the Republicans who lean Libertarian and visit this weblog should join as well...

Please take a few minutes to look at their website and please join them if they accurately reflect your views!
<http://www.reformthelp.org/>

Mike Sylvester, newest member of The Libertarian Reform Caucus

Results of last two polls on this blog

The first poll asked you if you thought it was a good idea for FWCS to hire a PR firm to "sell" a new bond issue to taxpayers for $389,000. You unanimously said no! John Olinger of the FWCS Board agrees with you. The rest of The School Board voted to spend the money on the PR firm...

The second poll asked you if you thought I was a Republican.
1 said not sure.
1 said yes.
12 said no...

Note, as always, online polls mean NOTHING.

Mike Sylvester

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mike's comments on Democratic "New Direction" Platform

The Democrats came out with a "New Direction" platform earlier this week. I am actually quite glad they did. I have included a copy of it below and my comments are in red.


MAKE HEALTHCARE MORE AFFORDABLE. Fix the prescription drug program by putting people ahead of drug companies and HMOS, eliminating wasteful subsidies, negotiating lower drug prices and ensuring the program works for all seniors; invest in stem cell and other medical research.
Bad. Fixing prescription drug program AND ensuring the program works for all seniors. It needs to be killed entirely. We cannot afford it. The entire program is just an expansion of the Great Society. Kill it.
Good. Eliminating wasteful subsidies AND negotiating lower drug prices with bulk discounts. I agree with both of these.
Not sure. Invest in stem cell and other medical research. Our medical companies are making record profits along with the oil companies. Can't they fund their own research?

Overall I think this one is a wash. They could refine it, add importing drugs from Canada, allow small businesses to pool together, and streamline the FDA drug approval process and make this a winning plank with a little effort.

LOWER GAS PRICES AND ACHIEVE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE. Crack down on price gouging; eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives including biofuels, promote energy efficient technology.
Bad. Crack down on price gouging. There is none. The only price gouging are the Federal and State gas taxes we are forced to pay.
Good. Eliminate subsidies to oil and gas companies. This should be expanded to all kinds of other businesses and industries as well. Farmers, sugar, etc.
Not sure. Provide consumer relief, develop American alternatives, and promote energy efficient technology. This sounds good on the surface; but, we have been spending BILLIONS on these ideas for years and it has not worked.

I think I have to call this plank a wash too. It has a feel good rhetoric to it. If we were to repeal Federal and State Gas taxes I could then agree with this plank.

HELP WORKING FAMILIES. Raise the minimum wage; repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas.
Bad. Raising the minimum wage is utterly stupid. Please...
Good. Repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas. I would need to see which ones they are talking about; but, this could help.

Another wash. Helping American families is a great line; but, the way to help them is to eliminate government and regulation...

CUT COLLEGE COSTS. Make college tuition deductible from taxes; expand Pell grants and cut student loan costs.
Good. Making college tuition deductible from taxes. Often-times IT IS deductible; however, it would be a good idea to make it always deductible.
Bad. Expanding Pell grants. DUMB. DUMB. DUMB. Why do you think college costs are increasing people? Because the government keeps mindlessly throwing money at the problem. This is a bad idea.
Bad. Cutting costs on student loans is just another subsidy that will allow colleges to increase tuition even faster. DUMB. DUMB. DUMB.

I have to be overall against this plank. It should be re-written to say SPEND EVEN MORE MONEY on education.

ENSURE DIGNIFIED RETIREMENT. Prevent the privatized of Social Security; expand savings incentives; ensure pension fairness.
Bad. Social Security is BROKEN. We have to either double payroll taxes or halve benefits TODAY to fix it. We need to fix it not play with it.
Good. Expand savings incentives. If done correctly this is a good idea. I assume they mean increasing the limits on IRA's and the like which is a good thing.
Not Sure. Ensure pension fairness. The Dems need to explain this more. Our pension system is BADLY broken. Companies in bankruptcy are shedding their pensions on the Federal Government right and left. This is wrong. Both Parties allow it right now. This must stop. The Fund that picks them up is badly in debt and needs to be fixed as well.

Another wash, good ideas mixed in with bad. They could make this good by doing Pension reform correctly!

REQUIRE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. Restore the budget discipline of the 1990's that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.
Good plank, could use some more explanation. We need to cut spending now. The Dems need to explain where they will cut spending. They need to be specific.

I will consider this a good plank; however, it is too vague.

These items below are quoted in The Boston Globe as also being part of The Democrats new plan:

<http://www.boston.com/news/nation/Washington/articles/2006/06/15/new_
direction_for_America_platform/>

INCREASE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE.
Not sure what this means. Is it going to cost a lot of money? Cannot evaluate without more information.

ENSURE THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION.
This is quite bad. The Federal government has absolutely NO BUSINESS telling the fifty states what to teach. You have got to be kidding me. This is far too Socialist for my taste.

INCREASE FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES.
Quite bad. It is not the Federal Governments job to fund colleges. Colleges are a business and they are making record profits... Do not subsidize them from The Federal level. If a State or local government wants to subsidize them, so be it.

CUT STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES BY HALF.
Another bad idea, just another subsidy. Tuition costs are rising about 8-10 % a year, the last thing we need are more subsidies.

ENSURE ACCESS TO FAMILY PLANNING METHODS AND ABORTION.
Very bad. NOT the Federal governments job AT ALL.

FUND INFANT AND CHILD-CARE.
We already fund them. There are about 100 Federal programs that do this now. Do they want more programs? Come on. Having children is a responsibility that belongs to parents, not the government.

INCREASE EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
Bad. Keep government out of private businesses.

ENACT FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 9/11 COMMISSION.
Not sure. I would have to know more about this. This may in fact be a good idea.

INSTITUTE LOBBYING REFORM.
Not sure, please tell me what kind of lobbying reform. The last time McCain-Feingold passed lobbying reform they made the system WORSE. Please provide details. Please.

IMPLEMENT BALANCED BUDGETS.
YES. This is a great plank. I need details. Almost everything listed above will cost tens of billions more then what we spend now. Please list what you will cut.

PAY DOWN THE NATIONAL DEBT.
Yes, read note above. Where will you cut all of the spending.

ENACT TAX CHANGES TO BENEFIT ENTEPRENEURS.
Our tax code is already 60,000 pages long. I would need a lot more details about this.

FOCUS NATION'S SECURITY STRATEGY TO NATIONS BORDERS.
Yes. I agree with this. Why is The Democratic Party currently fighting erecting a wall on the Mexican border? Based on their recent voting record I do NOT believe them on this plank currently.

INCREASE PORT SECURITY.
Yes, but this will require more spending. I see a lot of spending proposals and no spending cuts. That will not balance the budget people.

FUND MORE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.
No. Utterly stupid. Amtrak loses money EVERY year. Let's not spend more. Socialism is for Europe.

PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION.
Need more info. Sounds like a feel good statement.


Overall, I think The Democrats could have done much better. On the one hand I am PROUD OF THEM for at least coming up with a platform; though it needs a lot more details. The Democrats currently have more of a platform then The Republicans. That is good for The Democrats in my opinion.

This platform is NOT what they need to sweep the elections. It spends too much money. It is NOT designed for middle America.

I am pretty sure that The Democrats think that all of these spending increases will be offset by letting Bush's tax cuts lapse. That is one way to balance the budget. As long as they actually balance the budget I would be ok with it in principle.

I hope they provide a lot more details. I am interested.

I really want to know what you all think of this. Please be VERY specific.

Mike Sylvester

A reasonable, educated, and patriotic Democratic platform

I spent some time last night talking to one of the readers of this blog who is a very reasonable Democrat. Last night he described himself as a Libertarian Democrat.

One of the things that drives me crazy about BOTH Dems and Reps (AND Libertarians too) is their lack of a current platform.

Yes, I know, the Dems have a very touchy feely National Platform that has no substance to it. It is NOT a platform, it is a talking point that does NOT tell us what they want to do...

That is unfortunate.

The Reps have no platform today either. All they say is "you don't want Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker do you?" That is not a platform either...

My friend emailed be the beginnings of the platform he would like to see The Democrats run on. It is awesome. It is great. If they were to run on this platform they would gain a lot of seats.

His proposed platform follows. He just typed it up in a few minutes. There are a lot more items he would add...

My comments are in red.



Reader's Proposed Democratic Platform

1. Public Financing of Federal Elections - end the legalized bribery system and allow politicians to govern instead of constantly campaigning. This will SAVE the taxpayers money through the elimination of specialized legislation, corporate handouts, and ridiculous earmarks
Interesting, I would have to look at this closer to decide if I think it is a good idea. This much I can say, our current system is not working.

2. Reduce the Cost of Health Care - allow small businesses to pool together, govt negotiation of drug prices, importation of drugs, tort reform and POSSIBLY price controls (I'm not a big fan of this method but I'm not convinced it's always evil either)
I am for all of these except price controls. I think the first four items in this plank are a must and would be a great plank in a platform.

3. Move towards Energy independence - investment in cost effective energy solutions like wind and nuclear technology. Increase CAFE standards for auto manufacturers by 2% per year every year for the next 10 years. The US fuel economy peaked in 1988 and has decreased every year since. Remove the "Hummer tax break" and double the tax break for hybrid vehicles - phasing it out over the next 5 years.
This is not exactly what I would do, but, overall I would be for many items on this plank.

4. End the Iraq Nation Building - Immediately announce that the US has no plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq. Announce a complete withdrawal of all American troops 1 year from now. The Iraqis are leaning on their big brother - it's time we send them a message that they have to stand on their own to solve their problems.
I would not agree with this plank. I do agree that we need to start a phased withdrawal of troops. I think one year is too short. I WOULD agree that we should start a phased withdrawal of troops this year, maybe 20% a year with us being out entirely within five years... I am not sure exactly what should be done; but, we do need to get out in a controlled fashion. We also need to take a bunch of oil from Iraq to help pay our costs...

5. Suspend any domestic spying or data mining programs until FISA can be updated - Personal privacy should be protected by the government and not circumvented. Everyone wants to fight terrorists - let's just do it in a way that has oversight as well as checks and balances for abuse and corruption.
Darn right. I could not agree more.

6. Repeal the No Child Left Behind Act - it has not helped, forces teachers into regimented curriculum that only focuses on test-taking and has never been fully funded.
Darn right. I could not agree more. I would go further and dissolve the entire Federal Department of Education. Let the States and locals pay for education. Stop pouring Federal money into education. It is not working and just increases the cost.

7. Balance the Budget - Deficits should only be necessary in poor economies. If the economy is truly strong then the fiscally prudent thing to do would be to balance the budget. Mortaging our children's future for unnecessary tax cuts and spending is immoral. Cut the current deficit in half over the next 4 years; completely eliminate it in 6 years
I agree, I would go even farther. I think we must balance the budget now and only be able to deficit spend with a super majority vote and only during a declared war against a specific country.

8. Enact Fair Trade Policies - the rest of the world requires our purchasing power. We have the opportunity to force countries that want our business to enact fair trade policies that would improve their citizens' standard of living while improving our own competitiveness.
I believe in free trade. That being said, we do not have it now. I would have to hear more about this. We have a huge problem in our trade policy.

9. Enact a carbon tax - CO2 emissions are destroying the planet. There is no debate within the scientific community. There are no papers from refereed journals with conclusions contrary to global warming being caused by humans. Earmark this revenue to be used in breakthrough technologies that improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution. A carbon commodity trading system should also be enacted.
OK, this one would irritate me as a voter; but, you cannot like them all.


This is a platform people. I do not agree with all of it; but, it is a platform. It tells you what he wants to do. It is specific.

To be honest with you, if I had to vote in a race with just two people running, one Dem and one Rep, and they were very similar; I likely would vote for the Dem if they ran on the above platform...

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Further proof there is nothing fiscally conservative about Republicans

I know most of you do not need further proof; but, here it is.

On June 13th, 2006 The House of Representatives passed out of Committee a bill that would increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour.

This Committee is controlled by Republicans and SEVEN of these RINO's voted in favor of increasing the minimum wage.

What happened to The Republican Party of Reagan and Goldwater?

It is gone.

The Federal Government should NOT dictate to private business owners what they must pay their employees. Employees should be paid based on supply and demand. It is not complicated...

What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats these days?

Very darn little...

Below is a link to a longer article about this.
<http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2006/06/14/house-faces-the-dumbest-bill-of-the-year-so-far-a-210-increase-in-the-minimum-wage/>

What do you Republicans think about this piece of stupidity?

Andrew?

Mike Sylvester

P.S. I hope more of you Republicans become Libertarians over insanity like this...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A second poll I have decided to post for Bartleby

I do enjoy discussing issues with Bartleby and others who I do not always agree with. That is really the purpose of this blog.

I am really curious if anyone besides Bartleby thinks that there is no difference between Libertarians in northeast Indiana and the local GOP...

As EVERYONE who reads this blog knows I was a Republican for MANY years before The Republican Party left me. I freely admit that I lean Republican on many issues...

There are a ton of issues I completely disagree with The GOP on and they are well documented on this blog. There are many issues I have agreed with local Democrats on as well...

I also think you should check out Robert Enders blog. He is another northeast Indiana Libertarian. Is he identical to the GOP?

You can only vote in this poll once. Please vote. I am looking forward to seeing the results of this poll!

Mike Sylvester

Last poll results and a new poll for you!

The last poll asked you which of the last eight US Presidents is or was the worst.

The results were not what I expected.

73 votes were cast and the results are as follows:
40% Voted for Carter as the worst President
26% Voted for LBJ
21% Voted for Bush Jr.
8% Voted for Clinton
3% Voted for Nixon
Ford and Reagan both come in at 1%
Bush Sr was at 0%

The next poll is posted. You may only vote in this poll once. It involves FWCS recent decision to hire an outside PR firm to convince the taxpayers that a large bond issue is needed to upgrade FWCS buildings.

This has been covered by many local news sources including Tracey Warner's blog, both Newspapers, Fort Wayne Observed (At least ONE aspect of it), and this blog.

I think this poll will be interesting as well...

Please vote!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Something for you to do in Fort Wayne!

"Libertarians at Large" is a live call-in show produced by The Libertarian Party of Allen County. The show airs on the third Thursday of every month on Comcast Channel 57 from 7 PM - 8 PM. Please tune in and please call in.

The next show will be this Thursday, June 15th, I hope to talk to you then!

Mike Sylvester

Monday, June 12, 2006

Unfunded government liabilities

The largest reason I became a Libertarian is out of control government spending. The government is growing each and every year and our government gets more and more involved in our lives each and every year.

One of the problems is the fact that the government uses cash accounting.

The government mandates that almost every business in the United States use accrual accounting; however, our own government does not use that method.

In recent years our Federal government has reported annual budget deficits of around 400 billion dollars. In simple terms, what this means is our Federal government has spent 400 billion dollars more then it has taken from us in taxes. The Federal government borrows this money and then we pay interest on it each and every year.

Last year we paid 184 billion dollars in Interest at The Federal level alone. That is almost three times the entire budget for Homeland Security!

When you use accrual accounting you have to track liabilities and promised payments and record them in the year they are promised. These liabilities stay on the books until they are paid.

No one knows exactly what the present value of our unfunded liabilities is. I have read several reports and the best guess is that we would have to have between 53 and 75 TRILLION dollars invested in government securities TODAY to pay all of the benefits that our elected officials have promised... For the purposes of the calculations I made below I have assumed they are 64 trillion dollars.

Instead, we have a massive National Debt. We have NOTHING invested to pay for these future promises.

We should switch to accrual accounting for the government. This would help force our elected officials to acknowledge that the promises they are currently making CANNOT be funded by our future taxpayers; it simply is not possible.

The below assumptions assume that all levels of Government grow by about 5% per year (Which is a much lower growth rate then our current elected officials are incurring) and that we enact the changes January 1st 2007. If we defer the implementation dates then the problem gets even worse.

We really only have three choices to fix the problems The Republicans and Democrats have created for our kids and grandkids:

1. Increase taxes. The tax increases would have to be immediate (Starting in January of 2007) and massive. According to the highly respected Tax Foundation the average American will pay 31.6% in taxes in 2006. This is a combination of all of the taxes that you pay. To pay for all of the current promises our government has made to Americans we would have to increase the overall tax rate to 56%. This is a tax rate similar to that of Socialist France. Can you imagine the response of Americans to seeing their taxes increasing by about 77% overnight? This is obviously not going to happen...

2. Decrease spending. If our government were to immediately (January 2007) cut in half all of the payments they make for entitlement programs we would be solvent. This would mean cutting social security payments in half, cutting payments to all government retirees in half, halving the amount the government pays for Medicare and Medicade, etc. Can you imagine the response from all of the people currently collecting these payments? This is obviously not going to happen.

3. A combination of the above including "means" testing and raising the retirement age. My guess is that our government will NOT decide to fix the problems they have created. I would guess that by about 2016 everything will come to a head.

In 2016 we will be paying almost half a trillion dollars of interest on The Federal Debt. I do not even want to think about what this will do to interest rates.

I would also guess that our government will keep increasing spending on a variety of programs between now and 2016. I am sure they will not cut any major programs and I do not think they will increase taxes. This means that we will have unfunded liabilities that are MUCH larger then they are today. I would guess they will be in the neighborhood of 64 - 104 trillion dollars. I would guess around 84 trillion dollars if I had to guess. This would mean that we would have to increase taxes to about 62% (Higher then Socialist France) or cut all entitlement payment to about 38% of the promised amount.

I think that there will be a large public backlash against both The Reps and Dems in 2016...

Once again, our Government will not make the needed changes. Instead they will tinker with everything. My guess is that they will do the following:
1. Increase the retirement age to 70 for Social Security. This will lower spending on the program somewhat.
2. "Means Test" Social Security. In other words, the rich and those middle classed and poor people who saved money and invested in their retirement rather then spend that money will be punished and will not receive Social Security. This will lower spending on the Social Security program somewhat.
3. Remove the cap on paying taxes into Social Security. This will increase the revenue brought into the social security system.
4. Make other minor changes, increase some taxes, cut some spending.

I am worried for my kids...

Mike Sylvester

Diet update

I have just completed the third week of my diet. I managed to lose another 3 and a half pounds this last week... So in the first 3 weeks I have lost 12 and 1/2 pounds...

Mike

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A great example of how Fort Wayne wastes taxpayer dollars

The City of Fort Wayne recently spent $241,000 for new signs and to upgrade one intersection (Wells and Franke Park Drive).

The City did this mainly due to my councilman, Tom Didier.

You will not believe the reasoning behind squandering almost a quarter of a million dollars.

Tom Didier decided that it was offensive to children that they have to drive by some signs for strip clubs on their way to the zoo. So we now have a new "official" route for visitors going to the zoo from I-69. This route requires visitors to drive an extra mile...

Wow...

Talk about crazy...

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Anniversary of one of the most shameful acts in US Military History in the last 40 years

I was born on June 23rd, 1967. 15 days before I was born, on June 8th, 1967 The USS Liberty was viciously and unlawfully attacked by Israel. 34 of our men were killed and 173 were wounded.

I know many of you know little about this event, which is unfortunate.

I will tell you the brief facts:

1. The USS Liberty was a US spy ship that was listed in Janes Fighting Ships. It was an extremely ungainly and distinctive ship. It had countless large aerial antennae and had a very distinctive look.
2. The USS Liberty was unarmed except for a 50 caliber machine gun mount which was installed to repel boarders.
3. The USS Liberty was in international waters.
4. The Captain of The USS Liberty requested an armed escort be provided since he would be near a combat zone, this request was denied by The US Navy.
5. The name and hull number were prominently displayed on the vessel as required by maritime law.
6. The ship flew a total of three large American flags at various times during the attack (Two are on display in The United States, the third was uttlery destroyed by the attackers.)

It is also important to put things into context; 1967 was a momentous time. The Vietnam "conflict" was in progress. The Cold War was ongoing.

Most importantly the Six Day War was in full swing. During the Six Day War Israel pre-emptively attacked its neighbors (Claiming they were soon going to attack Israel, which is certainly possible) and was able to convince most of the world that Egypt was the aggressor. (A few days later Israel admitted to being the aggressor).

Israel waged one of the most successful military campaigns in modern history. They caught their opponents air force on the ground and defeated a far larger force of troops. Their intelligence forces should also get a lot of credit for this victory.

On June 8th the forces of Israel assaulted The USS Liberty. The attack lasted ABOUT 3 hours and involved both The Israeli airforce and three motor torpedo boats. The Israeli planes may or may not have been unmarked; the reports are somewhat conflicting.

The first pass took out The USS Liberty's communications with heat seeking missiles. The USS Liberty was fortunate that one off their communications systems was shut down at the time. During the attack the crew ended up repairing that system and getting their distress call off...

Disturbing facts about the assault:
1. Israel claims they mis-identified the ship, consider the following:
Israel had one of the best intelligence forces in the world.
Israel had one of the best airforces in the world.
Israeli forces got close enough to The USS Liberty to put THOUSANDS of bullet holes in it.
Israel claimed that their forces determined the USS Liberty was traveling at 30 knots, it
could only make 6 knots...
Israel claimed their forces did not see any of the three American flags that flew during the
attack.
Israel also claimed that their forces did not see the hull number or the name USS Liberty
prominently displayed on the side of the naval vessel in accordance with International
Law.
Israel also claimed that they did not pick up the USS Liberty's distress call.
Israel, believe it or not, claims that their forces identified the USS Liberty as an out-of-
service horse carrier that was at the time docked in an Egyptian Port. Note the horse
carrier could never have made more then 6 knots either.
2. The USS Liberty called for help. Two US Aircraft Carriers in the area scrambled planes to
help the embattled US ship. These planes were launched at different times but right after
the attack. Both sets of planes were recalled by Washington DC. The reason is unknown.
3. US forces did not arrive on scene for 17 hours. The USS Liberty was left on its own for 17
hours.

After the attack Israel repeatedly told us that it was an accident.

The US Navy convened an investigation that was ordered to be completed within one week. The investigation "white-washed" the entire affair and found that it was all a big accident. Not one person was found to be at fault.

The "incident" was never investigated by Congress. The crew has repeatedly requested an investigation to no avail...

There are a lot of theories about what happened. I do not know what happened. I do know this:
1. I do not think Israel mis-identified our ship.
2. It is unimaginable that Washington DC would recall two sets of planes and let The USS
Liberty be attacked.
3. I do not understand why there was never a Congressional investigation.
4. I know that we have treated the crew of The USS Liberty badly.
5. We must have had a reason to "white-wash" the entire affair. I just do not know what it is.

If you want to learn more about The USS Liberty please go to their website:
<http://www.ussliberty.org/>

Events like the assault on The USS Liberty reinforce my belief that I love my Country but I do not always trust my government.

I hope the seven marines and the navy corpsmen that are being held in shackles at Camp Pendleton that stand accused by the media of "war crimes" are treated better then the crew of The USS Liberty has been treated.

I hope the marines involved in the "supposed war crimes" committed in Haditha are also treated better then we have treated the crew of The USS Liberty.

We should honor our veterans and our current soldiers by providing them with the truth and by ASSUMING THEY ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I am so irritated at my government...

I am utterly disgusted at the main stream media coverage of the two alleged incidents where United States Marines are accused of killing "innocent civilians" in Iraq.

Our media and most of our elected officials have rushed to judgment and have convicted our Marines before they have had a trial.

Our soldiers SHOULD be treated as if they are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

I currently think that rapists, child molesters, and "terrorists" are treated better then we are treating one sailor and seven marines at Camp Pendleton.

Please read this article in The Marine Times:
<http://www.marinetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1851659.php>

If this does not make you mad, I am not sure will... We honestly treat rapists, child molesters, and "terrorists" better then we are treating these eight soldiers who have bravely served their country in combat...

Boy am I MAD.

As far as Haditha goes; the same principle holds true. Our marines ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

I am really angry at The Pentagon, President Bush, and all members of Congress from both The Democratic and Republican Parties. NOT ONE OF THEM HAS HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE AND TOLD AMERICA THAT OUR SOLDIERS ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

THEY ARE ALL COWARDS...

I kind of expect The Democrats to act this way (Except Lieberman); but, The Republicans are going to pay a HUGE political price this in the 2006, and THEY SHOULD.

Mike Sylvester





Today was a great day

My daughter, Kayla, turned five years old today.

She is currently enrolled in a Pre-Kindergarten class and they had a three hour field trip today. I managed to arrange my schedule so I could go with them. It was a blast. We went to the "Golf Dome" down southwest...

It is hard to believe my baby is five years old.

They do grow up fast...

Mike Sylvester

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pentagon report is complete junk, again

I spent some time reading the Pentagon's threat assessment of China and an assessment of China's future military growth and it is a BUNCH of hogwash, to put it mildly.

Let me start by reminding all of you that I am glad that we are the most powerful country in the world. That is a good thing. I hope we ALWAYS have the most powerful military on Earth.

Let there also be no doubt, we ARE the most powerful military on Earth and by a long ways. There is no one that we cannot destroy in a matter of weeks or months; no one...

I am a military veteran and proud of it...

It is my opinion that The Pentagon (And MANY of our Defense Contractors and Politicians) keep exaggerating the threats to this nation. The "War on Terror" is no exception...

The Soviet Union was never nearly as strong as we were. They did have enough nuclear weapons to where they could have done a lot of damage. After they fell apart The United States was able to easily determine that we had GROSSLY (and purposefully) over-exaggerated their ability to make war.

This was purposefully done to build up The United States Military and our military industrial complex.

I do want to keep our military strong; but we must cut out the vast waste, fraud, and corruption in our military spending procedures. Any competent person could cut our military funding by 10-20% (Eliminate no bid contracts, hold Contractors accountable, only start projects for programs we need, hold people accountable, just to name a few).

These IDIOTS who are trying to use China to scare us must think we are stupid. If we ever got into a real shooting war with China let me tell you what would happen:
1. The first day we would destroy their entire navy.
2. The first week we would 100% eliminate their entire air force, I doubt that it would take a week, I am being conservative.
3. We would pick them apart at our leisure...

The Pentagon is WHINING about the fact that China is increasing military spending at about 10% per year while we are increasing it at more like 5% per year.

BUT WE SPEND OVER SEVEN TIMES WHAT THEY DO...

Good grief...

We are going to spend away all of our resources and our Grandkids are screwed...

Mike's diet update

Week two of my diet is complete. I managed to lose another 2 pounds. So in a grand total of two weeks; I have lost 9 pounds.

These numbers are typical of my past diets. I consume so darn many calories when not on a diet that I can always lose some weight in the first couple of weeks with little real effort...

My wife and I are both trying to lose weight. We actually both want to lose the same amount of weight this year. We both want to lose 43 pounds in a grand total of 32 weeks. The last week will be a short week... Our goal is to lose this weight by Dec 31st...

I am not sure why I am posting updates on my blog...

Mike Sylvester

Guard the borders Blogburst, June 5th

Foreword by Heidi at Euphoric Reality
From Spanish-speaking illegal workers, to angry tenured professors and arrogant politicians, we are hearing more and more tenets and demands from a movement called Reconquista. The movement, once dismissed as extreme racist rhetoric, has rapidly gained traction and momentum among millions of ill-educated illegal aliens and well-established Mexicans alike. Reconquista gives voice to the angry demands of present-day Mexicans who mistakenly think they have indigenous rights to the land of the Southwestern United States - which they claim was “stolen” by an imperialist American government. The centerpiece of their agenda is the mythical Aztlan.
In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal “gringo” invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny.
“From whence came our forefathers…?” Nothing could be further from the truth - not that the facts matter much in their efforts to further “La Raza” - or The Race. Using racially-charged arguments to batter at the traditional guilt mentality of Americans, proponents of Aztlan aim to “reconquer” the Southwestern United States as their due. Apparently, they fail to understand that the tribes of present-day Mexico never inhabited the Southwest U.S., nor for the most part did Mexicans themselves - it was mostly open land [frontier] except for northern Native Americans (as you will see below).
A manifest destiny has been embraced by many within mainstreamed advocacy groups in America such as La Raza, LULAC, and most commonly MECHa, the radical student organization which has specifically embraced the tenets of Atzlan. “Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada,” is translated as “For the Race, everything, for those outside of the Race, nothing.” Though that singular statement seems to sum up the demands of today’s angry illegal Mexican aliens, there is much more to their Plan to restore Aztlan:
Aztlan belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops and not to the foreign Europeans. We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent
Love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner “gabacho” who exploits our riches and destroys our culture … Economic control of our lives and our communities can only come about by driving the exploiter out of our communities, our pueblos, and our lands and by controlling and developing our own talents, sweat, and resources.
Education must be relative to our people, i.e., history, culture, bilingual education, contributions, etc.
Self-defense of the community must rely on the combined strength of the people … For the very young there will no longer be acts of juvenile delinquency, but revolutionary acts.
A nation autonomous and free - culturally, socially, economically, and politically- will make its own decisions on the usage of our lands, the taxation of our goods, the utilization of our bodies for war, the determination of justice (reward and punishment), and the profit of our sweat.
So there is a Plan for Reconquista. But do these emotional and racial claims have any historical basis?
Clearing Up A Misconception About Reconquistaby Loma Alta
Introduction.
Spain conquered what was to become modern Mexico and part of the southwestern United States in 1521. Spanish rule lasted 300 years until 1821 when Mexico gained independence. Mexico ruled what is now part of the southwestern United States for a very, very short time. Mexico ruled Texas from 1821 until 1836, some 16 years. Mexico ruled California from 1821 until 1846, 26 years. Mexico ruled most of New Mexico from 1821 until 1848, 28 years, and the southern most portions of Arizona and New Mexico until purchased by the United States in 1853, 33 years. The United States began ownership of these territories in 1845 (Texas), 1846 (California), and 1848-1853 (New Mexico and Arizona). Thus the United States has owned this land since 1845-1853, 153-162 years.
The ownership has thus been: Spanish 1521-1821 or 300 years; Mexican 1821-36 to 1853 or 16 to 33 years; and American 1845-1853 or 154 to 162 years. Almost all development and modernization came under United States ownership. Please see Spain, Mexico, Texas, California, and New Mexico-Arizona for more details.
Comparison of Ownership Time and Development.
Spain owned the area for 300 years and operated it as a colony. The central area, and most developed part was around Mexico City with much of the current southwestern United States being the frontier, relatively undeveloped, and subject to Indian raids and predations. The situation was much the same in the very, very short period, 16-33 years, of Mexican ownership. With the United States ownership, 154 to 162 years, beginning as territories, exploration and development proceeded rapidly and modern civilization came with, or shortly after, statehood.
The Absurdity of Reconquista.
Whether by time of ownership or degree of development and civilization, Mexico had virtually no temporal or civil weight of authority in the southwestern United States. Mexico never really established military or civil control over the area and it was never really a normal part of Mexico, but was always the frontier with vast expanses of nearly unexplored and lightly inhabited regions far from Mexican rule and authority. So tenuous, unpopular, and corrupt was Mexico’s presence and claim to the areas, and the Mexican government so hated by American and Mexican pioneers alike, that they only lasted from 16 to 33 years.
Thus, Reconquista is another myth, promulgated for racist reasons (it is the spawn of Mexican supremacist groups such as La Raza - literally “the Race”) much as the Germans’ “Lebensraum”, or living space, was for the master race. And, Reconquista is equally racist and equally the deranged product of irrational hate groups.
Therefore, we can dismiss the concept of “Reconquista” as a racist, hate group concept that has no place in America, or in any other just and tolerant society or country. There is no need to give any credence whatsoever to the false and meritless claims of any moral attachment to territory by radical, racist groups. They are as phony as last year’s bird’s nest.
__________________________________________
This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Good books to read this summer

I am looking for a few good books to read this summer.

Do any of you have any books that your would recommend?

Mike Sylvester

Friday, June 02, 2006

I went to the firing range today...

I went to the firing range today with two of my three best friends, James and Doug. James has an older brother (Jeff) who is a Federal agent living in San Francisco; their old man came too.

We went up to "Mile Corner" Guns and Gallery, Incorporated. This range is at the corner of SR 8 and SR 327 in Garrett, Indiana.

I do not go to the firing range very often. I tend to go about once a year and practice with a target that is a silhouette of a man (or woman). I have a Sig P229 of the 40 caliber variety. It is equipped with combat night sights.

This is currently the only gun I own. I bought it back in July of 1998 in Missouri. I bought it when I was afraid Bill Clinton and The Republican House was going to pass some laws that would make it harder for law abiding Americans to own handguns.

I have my handgun for one reason and one reason only. If someone breaks into my house and wants to harm my family I want to be able to kill them. Period.

There was some good news. I always fire one box "for effect." I generally shoot at a range of at least 30 feet and today I managed to put 48 of 50 rounds solidly into the torso area...

It was a good afternoon...

Mike Sylvester

Mike Sylvester's thoughts on The Freedomworks Plan

Read it yourself at:
http://www.freedomworks.org/informed/issues_template.php?issue_id=2598

My comments in red

The 2006 Freedom Agenda
1. Cut Government Spending
2. Ensure Retirement Security and Personal Ownership for All
3. Unleashing Technology Freedom
4. End Lawsuit Abuse
5. Economic Growth and Full Employment
6. Fundamental Tax Reform
7. School Choice
8. Property Rights

1. Cut Government Spending
The Problem: Federal government spending has grown by 56 percent since 2000. The president’s proposed budget for next year will approach $2,800,000,000,000.00, or $5,323,712.42 per minute. That is a full $1 trillion more than President Clinton’s last budget in 2000. Federal spending now tops $22,000 per household. Before the current administration, it hadn’t been over $20,000/household in inflation-adjusted dollars since World War II. The federal budget grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton's last day to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush's first term. With the help of the Republican Congress, inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent. The wasteful spending is epitomized by the explosion of “earmarks” or pork-barrel projects, like the now famous Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. These projects have ballooned from 958 projects costing $12.5 billion in 1996 to 13,999 costing $27.3 billion in 2005. The 2005 numbers are a 31 percent and 19 percent increase, respectively, over 2004, and cost each man, woman and child in America almost $100.
The FreedomWorks Solution: A spending problem this big must be attacked from multiple angles. To start, the process the government uses to create the budget must be reformed. The current process was created in 1974—when the federal budget was only about one-third of its current size, in inflation-adjusted dollars—by tax and spend politicians and it is designed to grow government. Earmark reform is also needed to curb billions of dollars of unnecessary spending. And, most significantly, the three giant entitlement programs, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, must be reformed. They currently account for nearly half of all federal spending and are growing 7 percent a year. By 2040, they will cost alone 20 percent of GDP, approximately what the entire government costs today, which means these three programs alone would absorb all current revenues, leaving the rest of government unfunded.
I agree with them 100%. Spending is way out of control. If the Democrats get in power they will keep spending money as well. Both Dems and Reps spend and spend some more.

2. Retirement Security and Personal Ownership
The Problem: : The current retirement programs of Medicare and Social Security require us to rely on the promise of the government to provide for us in our retirement and offer no option for ownership. We pay our Medicare and Social Security taxes and, by law they are spent each year by the government. The Supreme Court decided in the landmark case of Flemming v. Nestor that we have no legal right to our Social Security “contributions” and that they are in fact just another tax. As life expectancies rise and birth rates decline, the system is left with fewer workers working to pay the taxes necessary to pay the benefits that have been promised. The current system also unfairly punishes those who die after paying a lifetime in taxes, but before receiving the benefits they were promised. The benefits promised can not be passed on to those left behind because they are not legally owned by the worker; they are just a promise from the government.
The FreedomWorks Solution: Companies across America and countries around the world are switching to retirement security systems based on ownership, where money is saved over a lifetime of work in accounts owned by individuals. Every worker in the United States currently pays 7.65 percent of his or her income to the government for Social Security and Medicare taxes. Every employer pays an additional 7.65 percent of each employee’s salary—money which could otherwise go to the employee—in such taxes. We should be allowed to voluntarily choose to put our 7.65 percent in an account that we own, control, and can leave to our loved ones, so we can provide for our own retirements. The system could be based on the Thrift Savings Plan (www.tsp.gov) which allows every federal employee, from mailman to Congressman, to save in one of 5 diversified and approved mutual funds. Every American worker should be free to choose to own their retirement just like every government worker can choose to own theirs.
I agree that the problem they identified is a large one and I agree that neither the Reps or the Dems will do ANYTHING about it. Private accounts will not fix the problem. The programs are exploding in cost and will not raise enough revenue to pay for themselves. All of the extra money these programs have collected in the last70 years has been spent. There is no surplus. There are only two wayts to fix this problem. Either cut benefits or increase taxes, most likely a combination of the two.

3. Unleashing Technology Freedom:
The Problem: : Amazing new advances in telecommunications can change the face of our nation, but burdensome outdated government regulations are keeping this technology from getting into the hands of most Americans. The worst of these are franchise laws, which make it very difficult for Internet, telephone, and possibly even power companies to provide video programming—what’s usually thought of as cable TV—over new high-speed networks that would compete with existing cable companies. As a result, most Americans face a monopolistic “cable” provider offering higher prices and fewer options than they could have in a truly competitive market. Also, because of these outdated regulations, further innovation and investment are stifled, the economy is slowed, and good jobs are lost. The FreedomWorks Solution: : In today’s world of robust competition, it makes sense for the communications industry to be regulated like other business, by simply protecting consumers and ensuring businesses do not engage in unfair behavior. Reforming the outdated laws strangling this vital sector of our economy would promote economic growth and encourage healthy competition. This would give consumers better service and more innovation, and bring more jobs to our economy. This can be achieved with legislation that eliminates current disparities between voice, video, and data services. Such legislation would do so by phasing-out costly and burdensome franchise laws that currently restrict real competition in the digital television video market. Two such reform bills have been introduced in the Senate: The Digital Age Communications Act (DACA), introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and The Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act, introduced by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). These bills create a communications regulation system that is market-oriented, competition-based, and grounded in sound economic principles.
I agree that our telecommunication kaws and regulations are old and outdated and in need of change. I do not think this is one of the 7 largest problems we face today, certainly not 3rd...

4. Ending Lawsuit Abuse:
The Problem: In the last 20 years alone, tort (damage, injury, or wrongdoing) lawsuits have risen 60 percent. The question is no longer if or when a lawsuit will affect us, but by how much. Recent estimates put the cost of the tort system at $845 per American, or about $250 billion. Of that, trial lawyers collected $40 billion in 2002 alone. These suits drive up prices of good we use every day, and bankrupt good businesses, costing Americans jobs. Asbestos related suits alone have pushed more than 70 companies to file for bankruptcy, costing 60,000 workers their jobs. It is estimated that 90 percent of these suits are baseless. Junk lawsuits are clogging the courts and crowding out justifiable claims, making it difficult for the legitimately harmed to get the speedy trial they deserve. The continued explosion in the number of asbestos lawsuits exemplifies this problem, with as many as 3 million expected.
The FreedomWorks Solution: : The lawyers have set up a multi-pronged, money making system that requires a multi-pronged attack to restore the legal system to its original purpose. This past year we took out one of their best weapons when grassroots activists pushed Congress to pass class action reform. To deal with the asbestos litigation crisis, the same pressure needs to be put on Congress to pass legislation that simply requires litigants show they have been harmed by asbestos by meeting such medical criteria as outlined by the American Medical Association. Medical malpractice lawsuit abuse must also be reined in by weeding out junk suits to help expand the access of all Americans to more affordable health care.
We need tort reform badly. I do not know enough about it to comment on it intelligently...

5. Economic Growth and Full Employment:
The Problem: The constant onslaught of government regulations, higher taxes, and increased barriers to competitive markets slow down economic growth. Welfare statists continually push for “cradle to grave” government intervention; government handouts discourage able-bodied individuals from seeking work; politicians looking to “do something” throw legislative sand in the gears of industry like Sarbanes-Oxley; big business seeks out special favors and exemptions from the government; and entitlements expand and fail to be reformed. Combined, these attacks on our free market system promise less job creation, higher taxes, slower growth, and fewer improvements to our standard of living in the future.The FreedomWorks Solution: : Economic growth is what has makes progress possible. Over the past century, America achieved greater growth, and the resulting improvements in the human condition, than any previous nation in history. And never before have these improvements spread as broadly in a society as they have been in the United States. It is the unique American formula of individual liberty and free enterprise that makes this possible. The results are staggering: The average life expectancy in 1900 was 47 years. Today it is 77, and rising. The infant-mortality rate has dropped from 1 in 10 to 1 in 150. “Poor” Americans today have routine access to a quality of housing, food, health care, consumer products, entertainment, communications, and transportation that even the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Rockefellers could only dream of (electricity, air conditioning, TV, motor vehicles, computers). A farmer a century ago could produce only one-hundredth of what his counterpart is capable of growing and harvesting today. In the 19th century, almost all teenagers toiled in factories or fields. Now, 9 in 10 attend high school. Today's Americans have three times more leisure time than their great-grandparents did. In the early part of this century the average American had to work two hours to earn enough to purchase a chicken, compared with 20 minutes today. In 1900 per capita GDP was about $4,800 compared to $32,000, in inflation adjusted dollars, in 2000. To keep these trends going, the great and successful “American Experiment” of individual liberty and free enterprise must continue.
This one is very true. We have WAY too many government regulations and laws. These laws often serve no real purpose. We need to downsize our government and our regulations.

6. Fundamental Tax Reform:
The Problem: : A tax code should simply, fairly, and transparently collect the revenue necessary to pay for the functioning of the government. America’s tax code is fundamentally unfair, unnecessarily complicated, discourages entrepreneurship, and stifles the economic vitality of our nation. America’s tax code instead is over 60,000 pages of special interest loopholes and social engineering. Just complying with taxes requires the average person to spend 26 hours filing a standard 1040. As a nation, we spend 6.6 billion man-hours completing our taxes. Over 60 percent of Americans will pay accounting services for professional help. That’s more time than it will take to build every car, truck, and van in the United States.
The FreedomWorks Solution:: We need to scrap the entire income tax code and replace it with a flat-rate income tax that treats all Americans the same. The flat tax embraces the core belief that all Americans should be treated equally. Rich or poor, black or white, we should all be viewed equal before the law. No more favoritism toward some citizens and harassment of others. No more loopholes. No tax breaks for corporations. No tax shelters. No depreciation schedules. No tables. Nothing. Under a flat tax, like in the Armey-Shelby flat tax bill introduced as recently as the 107th Congress the IRS would need to send out just one postcard to every taxpayer instead of the billions of pages it must send today. Taxpayers would be able to fill out their tax form postcard in minutes. Everyone would make the same simple calculation: income, minus personal deduction, times tax rate. That’s it. While we work toward this goal, we need to work to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, kill the death tax, and keep the internet tax free.
Tax reform is an absolute must. I prefer the Fair Tax to the Flat tax. The Flat Tax is certainly better then what we have now.

7. School Choice:
The Problem: Too many children are not getting the education they need and deserve from government schools. The school monopoly system doesn’t face the pressures of competition that pushes the rest of America to perform so well. Schools today spend three times as much as they did 40 years ago, teacher-pupil rations have steadily fallen since the 1970s, yet standardized test scored remain unchanged at best. More money and smaller class sizes have not made the improvements the education bureaucracy told us they would. Every day that passes is another day during which the children of our country are forced into a failing system. They deserve better. They deserve school choice.
The FreedomWorks Solution: : Empowering parents with control over their children’s education through school choice is working where it has been implemented, and must be replicated across the country. Study after study finds that statistically significant gains in academic achievement are obtained when children are given vouchers to choose which school, public or private, they’d like to attend. It’s still public education when students pay for schooling with vouchers or other tax-funded scholarships, but public education does not have to mean government schools. It’s time to stop penalizing children in low income neighborhoods by forcing them to go to failing government schools. School choice brings both the incentives of competition to the school system and the liberation of being able to escape failing schools to the children. Adults are not forced to shop in a government run grocery store in their neighborhood, and children should not be forced to attend the government school in their neighborhood.
I certainly agree with this one as well. Our education system is a shambles.

8. Property Rights:
The Problem: : Secure property rights are an indispensable ingredient of economic progress, of liberty, and of the rule of law. And they are under attack from all sides. From the increasing income redistribution to the horrible Supreme Court decision of Kelo v. New London to the Endangered Species Act, this institutional foundation of our country is being weakened. These attacks limit the ability that private property once had to work as a barrier to government power; which, in turn undermines the rights and liberties of our citizens. The Kelo decision says the government can take your house to give to a private business if that business will produce more tax revenue. The Endangered Species Act says you can’t harvest the trees on your own private property. These attacks on property rights are inconsistent with a free society and individual liberty.The FreedomWorks Solution: States have begun to fortify their constitutions against the takings permitted by the Kelo decision, but the process has only begun, and more action is needed. We must turn the outrage over this awful decision into the inspiration for reform across the nation, taking action to get the right legislation and state constitutional changes in place. Changing the bad state laws that allow for most eminent domain abuses will secure property rights in a way the Supreme Court fail to. As far as regulatory takings go, although the concept has begun to be understood by the courts, the law is still far from clear. Congress must clarify takings laws. Requiring government to pay for the costs of its regulations will both protect property rights and force needed reform of regulations and environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act.
Yep, this one is imortant too.

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Worst modern United States President

I have started a poll asking you who the worst recent President of the United States is. You may vote ONCE per day. Please vote. It will be interesting to see who wins...

I have started this thread for commentary on the question.

I my opinion they are ranked from WORST to BEST as follows:
LBJ (D)
Bush Jr. (R) He is still in office and has the opportunity to go up or down...
Carter (D)
Nixon (R)
Clinton (D)
Bush Sr. (R)
Ford (R)
Reagon (R)