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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
February 2001

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independence.

-- C.A. Beard


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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,
"How do we best convince people that it's not in their long term best interest to cede control of their lives to the govt.?"

David Gay's response to this challenge is an excellent one. However, it has a couple of drawbacks: it would require that the lesson be repeated every few years (since people forget and there are always new voters) and it would lead to increasing damage to the nation.  Someone once said, "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  Sadly, and here I must agree with David, this seems to be the case for most voters.

Case in point: last November's election in the state of Washington. While simultaneously voting against property tax increases, voters supported increasing pay for grade school teachers and expanded road construction and repairs throughout the state. Exit polls showed that no one felt that these contrary attitudes were in anyway inconsistent.

Why is it that we can't learn from the horrendous blunders of other nations? During the first two years of the Clinton Administration, everyone was keen to adopt socialized health care, even while we saw how it left the British health-care system in ruins and was threatening to do so in Canada.  And few people in the popular media cultures seem to draw the correlation that those very areas that continue to have thousands of starving children tend to be a ruled by military dictatorships promoting Marxist ideology.

Closer to home, we have a new president who dares to suggest that the people may have better ideas of what to do with their money than the government.  Liberals, both in the media and the government, have done and excellent job of rewriting the history of the '80s.  This was well demonstrated to me when I happened to notice some graffiti in a restaurant that said, " Reagan 1980, Bush 2000 (if you like 20 percent interest and 10 percent unemployment)."

Of course, the author of the statement had it completely backwards.  Reagan inherited  Jimmy Carter's 20 percent interest, 10 percent inflation, and 10 percent unemployment. Reagan ran on three things: cut taxes, rebuild the military, and balance the budget.  He delivered on 2/3 of those promises. Back then, as now, Democrats said "how will Reagan  pay for these new programs if he cuts tax rates?"

This very question belies the static thinking of Democratic economics. Democrats believe that the economy is a fixed dollar volume, therefore tax cuts must somehow be paid for.  It does not occur to them that cutting taxes actually promotes new business growth and thereby increases revenue.

Well, the results are in. From 1981 through 1988, real revenue to the treasury more than doubled - and this occurred after the top marginal tax rate was reduced from 70 percent to 28 percent. In addition, luxury taxes were slashed, and capital gains taxes reduced from 38 percent to 26 percent. Of course, we also know that deficits  increased during the '80s. The military cost buildup was planned for in the Reagan budgets and in fact they reached a peak in 1987 and began to shrink before Reagan left office. However, Bush Sr. was saddled with a 400 billion dollar S&L bailout due to the Democratic boys that made up the Keating five, who left taxpayers rather than investors carry the risk for bad S&L investments.  Entitlements spending also more than doubled during this period.

So where are we?  Probably back where David Gay started.  I think the public can learn the truth, but with the overwhelming bias of  the popular media this will not happen because few people have the time, energy or desire to seek out alternative viewpoints on history.  Towards this end, I offer the following moderate proposals:

1.  Show people the real price of everything that they buy.  Show them the pretax price of gasoline, or their phone service, or a beer.  Force them to realize the percentage that taxes make up of everyday products.

2.  Ban tax withholding on paychecks, force people to write a check for the full amount every April 15.

3.  Suspend voting rights to people who are on public assistance for the duration that they are on it.

On the late issue:
February has been a busy month in Lake Wobegon, my hometown ... at about 11 a.m. on Feb. 21 we had a 6.8 Richter earthquake.  The night before that, fat Tuesday, Mardis Gras revelers broke out in riots  which produced 40 some injuries and two deaths.  A week before that, on Friday 16 February, mother nature played the rare trick and dumped 10 inches of snow on a city that can muster at most two dozen snow plows  to cover roads used by three million motorists, which pretty much paralyzed things for 2 days. During this time, yours truly was playing host to several state inspectors that were trying to assess the quality of care at our far-flung radiology departments.

I'm reminded of the Chinese curse, " may you live in interesting times."  In any case, here  is the February issue.

And thanks to everyone who asked about us. We're fine.

Guest Editorial:

George Will

March 11, 2001

Memo to First Amendment: Look out!

WASHINGTON--The coming debate on campaign finance ``reforms'' that would vastly expand government regulation of
political communication will measure just how much jeopardy the First Amendment, and hence political freedom, faces. Recent
evidence is ominous.

In 1997, 38 senators voted to amend the First Amendment to empower government to impose ``reasonable'' restrictions on
political speech. Dick Gephardt has said, ``What we have is two important values in direct conflict: freedom of speech and our
desire for healthy campaigns in a healthy democracy.'' Bill Bradley has proposed suppressing issue advocacy ads of
independent groups by imposing a (BEG ITAL)100 percent tax on such ads. John McCain has said he wishes he could
constitutionally ban negative ads--ads critical of politicians.

The basis of political-speech regulation is the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act. Bradley Smith, a member of the Federal
Election Commission and author of ``Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform,'' calls the FECA ``one of the
most radical laws ever passed in the United States.'' Because of it, for the first time Americans were required to register with the
government before spending money to disseminate criticism of its officeholders.

Liberals eager for more regulation of political speech should note the pedigree of their project. The first FECA enforcement
action came in 1972, when some citizens organized as the National Committee for Impeachment paid $17,850 to run a New
York Times ad criticizing President Nixon. His Justice Department got a court to enjoin the committee from further spending to
disseminate its beliefs. Justice said the committee had not properly registered with the government and the committee's activities
might ``affect'' the 1972 election, so it was barred from spending more than $1,000 to communicate its opinions. After the
expense of reaching a federal appellate court, the committee defeated the FEC, but only because the committee had not
engaged in ``express advocacy'' by explicitly urging people to vote for or against a specific candidate.

In 1976 some citizens formed the Central Long Island Tax Reform Immediately Committee, which spent $135 to distribute the
voting record of a congressman who displeased them. Two years later this dissemination of truthful information brought a suit
from the FEC's speech police, who said the committee's speech was illegal because the committee had not fulfilled all the
registering and reporting the FECA requires of those who engage in independent expenditure supporting or opposing a
candidate. The committee won in a federal appellate court, but only because it had not engaged in ``express advocacy.''

In 1998, with impeachment approaching, Leo Smith, a Connecticut voter, designed a Web site urging support for Clinton and
defeat of Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn. When the campaign of Johnson's opponent contacted Smith, worried that his site put
him and their campaign in violation of the FECA, he sought an FEC advisory opinion.

Although Smith neither received nor expended money to create this particular Web site, the FEC said the law's definition of a
political expenditure includes a gift of ``something of value,'' and the FEC noted that his site was ``administered and maintained''
by his personal computer, which cost money. And that the ``domain name Web site'' was registered in 1996 for $100 for two
years and for $35 a year thereafter. And ``costs associated with the creation and maintaining'' of the site are considered an
expenditure because the site uses the words that bring on the speech police--it ``expressly advocates'' the election of one
candidate and the defeat of another.

The FEC advised Smith that if his site really was independent, he would be ``required to file reports with the Commission if the
total value of your expenditures exceeds $250 during 1998.'' If his activity were not truly independent, his ``expenditures''
would have to be reported as an in-kind contribution to Johnson's opponent. Smith ignored the FEC, which, perhaps too busy
policing speech elsewhere, let him get away with free speech.

Today Internet pornography is protected from regulation, but not Internet political speech. And campaign finance ``reformers''
aspire to much, much more regulation because, they say, there is ``too much money in politics.''

Actually, too much money that could fund political discourse is spent on complying with FECA speech regulations. To cover
compliance costs, the Bush and Gore campaigns combined raised $15,135,382.54. And Bradley Smith notes that because of
the law's ambiguities and the FEC's vast discretion, litigation has become a campaign weapon: Candidates file charges to
embarrass opponents and force them to expend resources fending off the speech police. Consider this legacy of ``reforms''
during this month's debate about adding to them.


Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 12:04:19 -0600
Subject: RE: lastcall

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"How do we teach people that it's not in their long term best interest to
cede control to the govt of their lives?"

Given that nobody learns from other peoples mistakes, and only smart people
eventually learn from their own, there is only one way to approach this.
Elect Algore! We could just let OSHA into everybody's home to see if their
computer, television and furniture meet OSHA standards. Better yet get OSHA
to go after workplace conditions for professional athletes. When there is no
football on Sunday, everybody will notice that the government has become too
intrusive. Clearly, with the death of Dale Earnhardt and all the injuries to football, soccer, baseball, basketball and hockey players, the working conditions for these employees is clearly unsafe!

The only way to clearly demonstrate this to people is if they see an
application that applies to them!

How about starting a charity to purchase homes in affluent neighborhoods
(where liberal leaders live) and rent them out to poor families for nominal
fees. Another could be set up to pay the tuition to send poor children to
the same private schools as the liberal leaders send their children too.
However, this will only demonstrate the hypocrisy of the left, an nobody
really seems to care about that.

For local news. Jesse "The Governor" Ventura, between XFL games, is trying
to fight the big education lobby in Minnesota. He is also advocating
unfastened seatbelts as a primary offence. So while you don't have to wear a
motorcycle helmet, you can be pulled over by a cop if it looks like you are not wearing a seatbelt. (Good-bye 4th Amendment)

Dave Gay

Quote(s) of the month:

"If I'd have known about it, it would not have happened"

-- 5 March, Hillary Rhodam Clinton, expressing her disappointment in her brother who appears to have brokered pardons for cash to President Clinton in his final days

Fix of the month:

"Is deregulating power companies a bad thing?"



1. Seattle, 16 February: in an 10 inches and heavy snow blanket Puget Sound area overnight, leaving the city nearly completely paralyzed for today's.  While sensible people stayed home, those who insisted that they knew how to drive their SUV's caused over 400 accidents.

2.  Seattle, 26 February: Fat Tuesday, the eve of ash Wednesday and the season of Lent. Otherwise known as Mardis Gras. Several hundred revelers broke out in riots in Pioneer Square district.  Forty people were hospitalized with two deaths.moving

3.  Tacoma, 27 February: 30 miles South and underground of Seattle, a 6.8 Richter earthquake rattled the area. Oddly enough, most of the areas of downtown were not visibly affected as the more modern skyscrapers were well-designed.  However, the older university buildings and warehouses of brick and mortar did not fare as well. There was no loss of life.

While most private businesses are back in operation, the district courts and state legislature are continuing to not report to work until building inspections are thoroughly completed. Of course, it's not necessarily a bad thing when the legislature is not in session.

New York;

1.  NY city, five March: in or out of office, the Clintons can't seem to avoid the limelight.  It now turns out that the final day's burst of pardons before the Clintons left the White House may have been connected to a financial inducement. Hillary's brother was paid over four hundred thousand dollars to broker introductions among those who  were trying to induce Bill Clinton to pardon them.  One of the most famous, Denise Rich, ex-wife of billionaire tax evader Mark Rich, was a frequent visitor of both Bill and Hillary's brother.

In her press conference from her senatorial office today, Hillary expressed that she was  disappointed in her brother and said, "if I knew he was doing it it wouldn't have happened."  Of course, at the time this was occurring, brother Rhodam was staying in the White House.


  1. Dade County, 26 Feb: Kudos to today's USA Today for having the courage to announce on the top fold front page that in the full manual recount of last November's election, Al Gore still lost. In fact, according to the Miami Herald (which managed the recount) Gore gained only 49 votes. The New York Times buried the news in its political section. The Washington Post, CNN and NPR have not mentioned it at all.

Ed: Likely, these media giants are running on the philosophy that if they don't report it, it isn't true, therefore Bush is still illegitimate.

Washington D.C.

1.  27th February: Bush Jr. outlined his plan for a nationwide tax cut this evening.  Despite the tax cut, his budget calls for increased funding for education, health care, and Medicare prescription payments for needy elderly.  Five seats in the front row of the Democratic section of the house were symboliccaly  left empty - as a protest against Bush's refusal to use statistical methods to adjust the census count, methods which would have gained 5 seats in Democratic held city districts.

2.  Seven March: in the first of what promises to be numerous moves, Republican leaders in the house and Senate undid one of Clinton's final day executive orders.  In in a move certain to draw the ire of traditional liberals and warm the hearts of evil white businessmen, Congress will repeal the "ergonomic act" which would have given OSHA the authority to fine businesses that did not take steps to reduce the chances for repetitive stress injuries at the workplace.

Net News;