February 15th, 2004 ~ I've been watching Lou Dobbs' excellent series "Exporting America" on CNN since late September of 2003 because he has distilled the situation down to its basics.  Night after night, the list of companies shipping American jobs overseas grows.  Night after night - to Lou's credit as a host - he allows some apologist for the Corpocracy to warn of the evils of protectionist policies and to exhort "Free Trade" as the only true road to prosperity.  Unfortunately, the only place where the term "free trade" is said with anything approaching a straight face is right here within the borders of these United States.  And the only American street paved with gold these days is Wall Street.
      Until such time as TRUE free trade - FAIR Trade conducted on a level playing field - becomes a reality, a simple plan occurred to me which would encourage ANY company (foreign OR domestic) to consider American workers first on their march toward prosperity.  I propose a New "New Deal"; a $.75 tax break on each dollar paid to U.S. citizens in salaries and wages and $.50 on each dollar of medical, dental, post-natal, daycare, or supplemental disability benefits for those same U.S. employees.  Furthermore, in the first year of employment for any newly hired U.S. citizens, I propose a $1.00 tax break on each dollar paid in salaries and wages and $.75 on each dollar of medical, dental, post-natal, daycare, or supplemental disability benefits.  This proposal has very little bureaucratic overhead and requires only that employers make a good-faith effort to confirm and document the U.S. citizenship of employees to take advantage of the tax break.
      I'm sure there must be flaws in my idea as I haven't seen anyone inside the beltway propose anything even remotely similar and they - of course - are the experts.  Still, it's an idea, and while it may be flawed, it's SOMETHING; which is more than the big NOTHING coming out of Delta Charlie these days.  Whether you like this idea or have a better one of your own, please let your Senators and Representatives know their jobs are entirely dependent upon ours.

      February 11th, 2004 ~ President Bush today renewed his call for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage.  I applaud this decision, but regret that it does not go far enough.  We really need a Constitutional Amendment banning ALL government-sanctioned marriages; returning this most sacred bond to the exclusive jurisdiction of the church and getting our government completely out of the business of interpreting God's wishes.  A Civil Union is the ONLY legally-binding contract ANY government needs to recognize ANY union between ANY two consenting adults.
      We've seen, throughout history, what happens when states bolster their shakey secular hold on us by dressing in the snowy-white garments of righteousness.  From the abject cruelty of Tomás de Torquemada, to the Taliban's pre-game executions in the Kabul football stadium, those garments quickly turn deep red with the blood of innocents.  If contemporary Iranians with anything more than half a brain have seen through the hypocrisy of state-sanctioned religion, why should We, the People of the United States of America, start down that same road to slavery and terror?