The Michigan Militia Corps'

Weekly Update
Internet Edition

Volume 4, Issue 44

Week of December 1, 1997

Stop Clinton Cold in Kyoto

We need your help immediately on a national campaign to flood the White House with letters and fax messages demanding the President not sign the Climate Change Protocol (Treaty). The President's plan would require a 20 to 30% reduction in energy use by 2010. This target can be met only by rationing fuel, or increasing the price drastically, impacting the average household by at least $2000 per year. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that costs will:

Increase gas prices 26 to 52 cents per gallon,

Increase electric bills 24 to 48 %,

Other fossil fuels such as heating oil and jet fuel will also skyrocket,

The Climate Change Protocol will:

Adversely impact 70% of the economy,

Affect 1.8 million jobs,

Allow the UN to limit America's energy use,

America alone will bear the highest cost of this protocol;

Industry and jobs will move to Mexico, China, Brazil, Korea and other third world countries not bound by the same limitation imposed on America.

Clinton is prepared to sign the Climate Change Protocol even though the majority of the scientific community does NOT believe there is an environmental problem which warrants these restriction. Global warming is an unproven theory that is being proposed by the President to create an international problem to warrant his signing this protocol.

Tell Clinton "No." If he signs this treaty it is in defiance of the American people. Call the White House today (202) 456-1111 - when recording answers, press 0 to get a real person) or fax your letter directly to the president at (202) 456-2461. Send copies of your message to all your elected officials. Make sure your voice is heard. (The toll-free 800 # for the switchboard is (800) 522-6721 or (888) 723-5246)

For more information order FaxBack Doc 214, 215. To access FaxBack, dial 518-725-7890 from your fax machine. Follow the voice prompts to order specific documents or a catalog.

Also, the DeWeese Foundation is organizing rallies in about 22 states as of now, forms for handouts, Strike signs for truckers, to be handed out at truck stops, organizations, (moose, lions clubs etc) Call: (703) 925-0881

Web site: or

Cancerous Budget

Congress's failure to confront the pending retirement of the Baby-Boomers may lead to catastrophe.
Feature Article October 27, 1997
National Review
By JOHN ATTARIAN: Mr. Attarian is a freelance writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a PhD in economics.

THE bragging about the budget deal by its top players, it was quite an achievement. ``We have put America's fiscal house in order again,'' crowed President Clinton on the White House lawn on July 29. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (Miss.) was even more extravagant. ``Today we celebrate the beginning of a new era of freedom,'' he proclaimed. For John Kasich, it was ``a dream come true.''

Prima facie, the plan does look impressive. In 1998 - 2002, it cuts taxes by a net $95 billion -- the first tax cut since 1981 -- and cuts projected spending by about $263 billion, including $115 billion from Medicare and $10 billion from Medicaid.

Closer scrutiny, however, discloses spending-side sins, of commission and omission, which make it impossible to reconcile the budget deal with prudence or even sanity.

First, discretionary spending cuts must provide about half the planned savings -- but Congress has made no hard choices specifying where the knife will fall and how deeply. ``That's the silent victim,'' said Robert Reischauer, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and former Congressional Budget Office director. ``No one talked about where those savings are going to come from.'' Moreover, most of them are postponed until 2001 and 2002.

Furthermore, the deal significantly undoes last year's welfare savings. Legal immigrants who lost eligibility for disability benefits get them back, costing $11 billion over 1998 - 2002. Congress also voted $1.5 billion to reverse food-stamp cuts, and $3 billion to help welfare recipients get jobs.

However, the budget deal's worst flaw is its willful refusal to face the Baby Boomers' retirement, which will create a genuinely catastrophic fiscal crisis.

The generation that was born between 1946 and 1964 and will start retiring about 2010 is abnormally huge (hence ``Baby Boom''), and will be supported by a slower-growing taxpayer population. Under Social Security's intermediate actuarial assumptions (intermediate, that is, between optimistic and pessimistic), from 1995 to 2030, when the last Boomers retire, the population aged 65 and over will double, from 34.2 million to 68.4 million. But the population aged 20 to 64, whose taxes will pay their Social Security and Medicare benefits, will grow by just 20.6 per cent -- from 159.6 million to 192.4 million.

This spells disaster. Today, 3.3 taxpayers support every beneficiary of Old-Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI); under intermediate assumptions this ratio falls to 3.0 in 2010 and just 2.0 in 2030. Likewise, in 1996 Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) had 3.9 taxpayers supporting each beneficiary. In 2030, there will be just 2.3 taxpayers per beneficiary. The conclusion is inescapable: current Medicare and Social Security tax rates cannot possibly generate enough revenue to pay the Boomers' benefits.

With their outlays outstripping their resources, OASDI and HI will have to liquidate their ``trust funds'' of government debt. HI is already doing so -- it ran deficits of $4.2 billion in fiscal 1996 and an estimated $9.9 billion in 1997 -- and, under intermediate assumptions, it will go bankrupt in 2001. OASDI's trust fund is projected under intermediate assumptions to run out in 2029. Under high-cost assumptions, which Social Security's former chief actuary A. Haeworth Robertson argues are more realistic, OASDI will go bankrupt in 2018 -- just 21 years from now.

The trust-fund [what trust fund?] deficits will quickly become catastrophic. Without timely, radical reform of Social Security and Medicare, all our options will be bad. Abrupt, large increases in Social Security and Medicare taxes to erase these deficits and keep paying current-law benefits would crush millions of taxpayers and the economy as a whole. Abrupt, deep benefit slashes would devastate retirees. Covering these huge deficits by borrowing would add similar amounts to the budget deficit. If our creditors refused to lend such sums, as they well might, the only other recourse would be hyperinflation.

How much time do we have to avert these outcomes? In The Big Lie, his recent popular-level criticism of Social Security, former chief actuary Robertson persuasively contends that ``Frankly, it is already too late to make a smooth transition to a new system (we should have acted in the early 1980s). A very bumpy transition can be made in the late 1990s'' -- that is, now. After 2000, however, ``we will be trapped.'' Social Security's unsustainability will be clear, but ``it will be too late to implement a revised program without causing a different form of social and economic turmoil that is equally disturbing.''

In the face of these warnings, Congress's performance has been criminally feckless. At first, it looked as if Congress would at least nibble the Medicare bullet. The Senate approved increasing monthly Medicare B (Supplemental Medical Insurance, SMI) premiums for higher-income beneficiaries, raising the benefit-eligibility age from 65 to 67, and charging (gasp!) five-dollar fees for home-health-care visits. But in the end Congress flinched from even these modest measures, opting to get most of its projected savings by squeezing payments to doctors, hospitals, and other providers. It also resorted to a classic dodge of foundering concerns: shifting costs from a sick unit to a healthy one. Home-health-care costs were switched from Medicare A (HI) to Medicare B (SMI), which is financed from general revenues and patient premiums. This supposedly postpones HI's trust-fund insolvency to 2007.

Meanwhile, President Clinton, who is paid to provide leadership, furnished none whatsoever. Indeed, his demagoguery on the Republicans' 1995 Medicare reform attempt doubtless influenced Congress to avoid bold measures.

This year's vaunted budget deal furnished mere palliatives. True, squeezing providers will slice HI's projected deficit (on intermediate assumptions) for 1998 - 2002 from $179.9 billion to $64.9 billion. But afterward, even at cheaper rates, the exploding beneficiary population will still swamp Medicare. As for the cost-shifting, in calendar 1996 home-health-care costs were $17.5 billion, just 13.5 per cent of HI expenditures, up only slightly from $15.5 billion (13.3 per cent) in 1995. Hence this gambit gives only minor relief. And HI deficits are projected to explode even before the Boomers retire: $69.6 billion in fiscal 2003, $97.3 billion in 2005, and $114.5 billion in 2006.

In any event, the deal's Medicare expansions will offset its savings. The budget bill creates, of all things, seven new benefits, covering things such as mammography; Pap smears; tests for colon cancer, prostate cancer, and osteoporosis; and education in self-testing for diabetics. The bill provides $4 billion for these benefits. Medicare payments to health-maintenance organizations serving rural areas get increased, too. When the Boomers retire, these expansions will raise Medicare spending by tens of billions of dollars annually -- opening another vein on an exsanguinating patient.

The deal's only acknowledgment of oncoming disaster is the appointment of a bipartisan commission to study Medicare and issue a report by January 1999 -- 15 months away. Congress thus has an excuse for inaction this year and next, so that it can avoid more Medicare demagoguery from Clinton in the 1998 election. And neither party will care to enter the 2000 presidential election with its name on draconian Medicare reforms. Congress's escape into a commission, then, most probably means no action until 2001 -- which, as Robertson argues, would be too late.

Note that the Social Security Advisory Council reported this past January, three years after its formation, and nothing has yet been done about its proposals. The budget deal ignored Social Security completely.

In short, the budget deal threw away what was probably our last chance to squeeze through a rapidly closing window of opportunity.

Under these circumstances, the last thing America needs is another entitlement, but the deal created one, for children without health insurance. States will receive $24 billion in 1998 - 2002 to provide health insurance for 3.4 million uninsured children in any of several ways: buy private insurance for children; expand Medicaid; strengthen other programs; or locate uninsured children and buy services directly from doctors and other providers.

If this sounds innocuous, recall that today's budget-busting Medicare and Medicaid started as a cloud no bigger than a man's hand. From an initial $2.5 billion in 1967, Medicare outlays had soared to $171.3 billion by 1996. In 1965, Medicaid spent just $300 million; in 1996, $92 billion.

Moreover, just as Medicaid created incentives for well-off Americans to artificially impoverish themselves by asset transfers in order to qualify for benefits, so Kiddiecare creates incentives for lower- and middle-income parents not to insure their children, and for employers not to insure employees' children.

And the Administration's agenda in this area makes it almost certain that this $24 billion for Kiddiecare is only the beginning. Unable to socialize medicine in one swoop, the Clintons are now socializing it by salami-slicing. Writing in the New York Times on August 5, Mrs. Clinton made that clear -- and signaled that we can expect intense Administration pressure to maximize the beneficiary population:

As the largest expansion in children's health coverage since Medicaid's creation 30 years ago, the bipartisan legislation could move the United States closer to shedding its status as the only Western industrialized nation that does not provide basic health benefits to all children. . . . While $24 billion . . . should be a significant incentive, dollars alone may not induce participation across the board. That's why our most urgent task is to educate citizens, especially parents, about what is at stake, and to encourage state officials to join the program and assure adequate benefits for all children. . . .

While this law will not fully achieve the universal coverage that I believe is in the nation's best interest, Americans should be proud that our Government has made another down payment on the President's goal of providing health insurance for all citizens.

The effect on federal health-care outlays is grimly predictable. Putting all ten million uninsured children on Kiddiecare, as the Clintons want, would probably roughly triple the five-year cost, to about $72 billion. Fold in the additional millions of uninsured infants and children whom we can expect among us in the next two decades if illegitimacy and divorce and Third World immigration keep soaring, and we have a recipe for burdens that we cannot conceivably bear.

The budget-balancing pact is a disaster. It cravenly backloads its vague, bogus spending cuts into the next century. Its expansion of Medicare as the program founders and its creation of a new entitlement will make it almost impossible to avoid being drowned by the oncoming tsunami of red ink. Some dream.

Robust Economy?

These are the facts, folks. Evidence of a robust economy on the way to a bust? Or is it just the by product of yet more corporate downsizing in order to give the CEOs a bigger bonus and the stock holders a bigger dividend? I believe Kodak plans even more layoffs between now and the end of the year, and I know that the two Fruit of the Loom plants in Kentucky have announced an additional 1300 will occur in the next two months. Wonder how long we will continue to maintain the "lowest unemployment record in 30 years" at this rate?

Top 10 job cut announcements of 1997

Kodak [November] 10,000
Woolworth [July] 9,200
Citicorp [October] 9,000
Int'l Paper [July] 9,000
Levi Strauss [November] 6,400
Fruit of the Loom [August] 4,800
Whirlpool [September] 4,700
Stanley Works [July] 4,500
Apple Computer [March] 4,100
First Bank System [March] 4,000
Total 65,700

Poisonous Toads:
Those Huge Ugly Things Can Kill the Family Dog

By TOM WELLS Associated Press Writer, Sept. 20, 1996 MIAMI (AP) - In one of those examples of man foolishly messing with nature, a huge kind of South American toad was let loose in Florida and other parts of the world earlier this century to try to control sugar cane pests.

Big mistake.

The Bufo marinus, or marine toad, can grow to 7 inches or more and weigh more than 3 pounds. They are overrunning part of Australia. They're scaring tourists in the Caribbean. And occasionally they're killing dogs in Florida with a poison so potent that the family pets die in a matter of minutes.

"Someone got this wild idea it would increase sugar cane production. It didn't," said University of Miami biologist Jay Savage. "You'd have to have bumper-to-bumper toads to increase a crop."

"Now they've become a pest themselves," Savage said. Bufo marinus resembles Jabba the Hutt of "Star Wars," with deeply pitted swollen glands behind each eye, extending down the back. The glands contain a milky white toxin that the toad secretes when threatened. The animal's call sounds like a tractor in the distance.

Vivian Gil's Dalmation, Jazz, survived a confrontation with one of the toads this month outside her home in western Dade County, on the edge of the Everglades.

"It looked like he was having spasms or something. It felt like his brain was going to explode," she said. "It was very scary."

Some people try to use the poison of the toad and its cousins as an aphrodisiac and a hallucinogen. The substance was sold up until last year in grocery stores and tobacco shops in the United States but is now banned.

"Four New York men purchased it, thinking it was an oral aphrodisiac. They died," said Dr. Rossanne Philen, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The substance was supposed to be rubbed on the genitals.

"A few years ago there was a fad of licking the toads because people thought they were a hallucinogen," Savage said. "Other people tried to extract and sniff it."

In fact, Maya Indians in Mexico use the toxin as a hallucinogen in their religious ceremonies.

In Florida, "there are a few dogs killed every year. Cats are usually smarter. When they see something that big, they leave it alone," Savage said. "If a dog gets a good shot of the toxin, it can kill it. The first sign is that the dog starts frothing at the mouth."

If a dog spits out the toxin, the toad just ends up ruining the dog's day. But if the dog swallows the poison, death can be quick. In humans, the toxin generally isn't enough to stop the heart, but it can irritate the mucous membranes, Savage said.

Bufo marinus is native to Latin America from Brazil to Mexico. It was introduced into Puerto Rico in the 1920s, into Hawaii, the Philippines and Australia in the 1930s and South Florida in the 1940s, Savage said. It has spread to southern Texas, but cold winters keep it out of the rest of the United States.

The toads will eat just about anything, including insects, small birds, snakes, table scraps and vegetation. Sometimes they can be found feeding on cat food or dog food if the pet's dish is left outside at night.

Florida wildlife officials haven't tried to eradicate the toads and can't say for sure how many there are.

In Queensland, Australia, the toads have become so numerous that they are poisoning ranchland water holes when they get into ponds and die, Savage said.

Scientists there are testing a virus that seems to kill the toads.

[Ed. Note: And what else will the virus kill? The track record of our "scientists" is not the best in this area]

Every Bureaucrat Has His Day

"Dade County resident John Crouse's . . . dog died back in 1995. In 1996, the county sent Crouse a notice to have the collie's license renewed. He told the control officer that his dog was dead, and therefore he didn't think he needed to register it. When he didn't renew the license, the county fined him. So Crouse again reported that the dog was dead, and had his veterinarian send in a copy of the death certificate. County officials responded by notifying Crouse that if he didn't pay the fine, which was now $500, within 30 days, they'd slap a lien on his house. They also notified his mortgage holder of their intent."

Charles Oliver, Reason, December 1997

WASHINGTON, DC -- Do bigots have First Amendment rights?

Clinton's proposed federal hate crime legislation will punish "thought crime," warn Libertarians

Bill Clinton apparently doesn't think so -- and that's why he wants to punish them with new "hate crime" legislation, the Libertarian Party said today.

"Bigotry is despicable, but it shouldn't be illegal," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national chairman. "When politicians start punishing people for what they think -- not for what they do -- they create a chilling new category of wrongdoing: Thought crimes."

Dasbach's comments came as Clinton proposed an expansion of federal "hate crimes" legislation to include criminal acts committed because of someone's gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Current hate crime law already allows prosecutors to impose additional penalties for crimes motivated by the victim's race, religion, or ethnic background.

"Every violent crime is a hate crime, and is already covered by existing laws," Dasbach said. "Law enforcement should focus on stopping crimes in general -- not punishing crimes which happen to be politically incorrect."

However, just discussing violent "hate crimes" masks the real issue, said Dasbach.

"The fact is, so-called federal hate crimes don't require violence -- just unpopular opinions," he said. "In 1995, for example, 57% of the reported hate crimes were verbal. Those verbal comments may have been repugnant, or malicious, or offensive -- but they shouldn't be crimes. If the First Amendment protects anything, it protects the right of Americans to hold and express opinions that are repugnant, or malicious, or offensive."

Interestingly, Clinton's call for more hate crime legislation comes at the same time that a new FBI report reveals that violent crime has actually declined by 4% since last year, Dasbach pointed out.

"Real crime is going down -- so the president is busy inventing new crimes," he said. "Wouldn't it make more sense to continue to apprehend and punish all violent criminals -- no matter what their criminal motivation is? After all, law enforcement's job is to prosecute criminals, not to improve their character."

Eventually, Dasbach predicted, Americans will realize that we don't need new hate crime legislation to fight crime.

"We all want to live in an America where no one has to fear crimes of violence," he said. "Any thug who attacks or kills another American or vandalizes their property because of their gender, race, or sexual orientation should be apprehended and punished. Violence against innocent people should never be tolerated.

"But that's true whether a criminal commits a crime based on greed, aggression, general misanthropy -- or a particular bias against one group of people," said Dasbach. "Americans want effective law enforcement, not cheap hate-crime symbolism. And Americans need protection from murder, rape, and robbery -- not from name-calling."

In short, said Dasbach, "Politicians should get out of the business of punishing people for impure thoughts -- and recognize that hate crime legislation is actually a hate crime against the First Amendment."

If you would like to submit an editorial, commentary, or news story from your perspective on something you have been keeping an eye on, please e-mail it to xxx and it will be evaluated for entrance. Thanks.

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