Volume 3, Number 24 - September 11, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Johnsons want to Save the USA
While many people at some point in time have complained about income taxes, the social security issue, health care or frivolous lawsuits, one couple decided to go one step further and try to make a positive difference. Bill and Sharon Johnson of Kemmerer are kicking off a grassroots campaign, called Save the USA, complete with a website that is up and running today, Sept. 11. Bill said he felt the anniversary of the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, would set the stage for the campaign.
"Timing is everything," he said, he said of their non-profit organization.
Patriotic, hard-working Americans trying to get ahead and save for retirement, the Johnsons both work for BTI in Kemmerer, Bill as vice president. Although Sharon has served on the Wyoming Economic Development Board and is a past president of the Kemmerer Chamber of Commerce and Bill was on the Pinedale Town Council, neither have political ambitions, but are "doing this simply because we feel we have to," Bill said.
"People in this country have got to summon the courage to stand up against the politicians and the special interest groups. That's what we are going to do. This is for our country, our kids and grandkids. If we don't get together and fix it, who will? And if not now, the 'when' is going to be a little late. This is democracy in action," he said.
Bill said he has complained about our government all his adult life, thinking maybe someone would listen and change some things.
"I now realize that is never going to happen. I also realize that if our generation doesn't change government priorities, that the younger generation won't get it done either. We have to be the ones to get it done," he said.
Save the USA is the Johnsons' effort to see that middle-class Americans have an equal opportunity for health care, education, running for office and social security.
"The middle class is dying and our country will die along with it," Bill said.
The Johnsons have three children, two young grandsons and several siblings (Bill's father, Pat, and brother Barry live in Pinedale; his other brother Bang lives in Big Piney. Because something of this magnitude will take more than two people can handle, some family members will be involved in the Save the USA campaign. Bill said they will operate under the theory that people who are doers always figure out a way to get the job done, no matter what.
"Without a whole lot of good people who will volunteer and step forward to answer phones, handle the mail, make contacts with newspapers, hound our political leaders, and are willing to sacrifice something so they can join us ... we are doomed from the start," Sharon said.
The Save the USA website, www.savethe-usa.com, states: "It is now totally apparent that great change will never come from our leaders but must instead come from the grassroots level. We must do the changing. Let us join together with our collective wisdom and save the United States of America.
"It is certainly a paradox that while our soldiers are busy removing dictators and fighting for freedom around the world, that our own democratic model is decaying from corruption, deficit spending, and the special interests of the political and powerful. Other nations notice how hard we have to work, how little we are able to save, and that our middle class is vanishing. Wouldn't it be best for us to lead the world by setting a better example?" the website asks.
The Johnsons came up with a list of seven critical areas they feel need to be changed, from income tax, to enforcing term limits and finance reform, to guaranteed health care and putting limits on lawyers.
Their goals include distributing the seven demands and Save the USA bumper sticks to hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of Americans, and urging them to email the demands to their congressional representatives (each state's representatives' addresses are available on the website). They would like to see many of our present leaders replaced with good citizens who are "hell bent to save this country and don't give a damn about power and greed!"
If able to create enough momentum, they would like to organize a freedom rally in Washington, D.C., some day.
The red, white and blue bumper stickers are available at $1 each, but Save the USA will mail a couple at no charge to those who cannot afford to pay.
Bill said anyone interested in 1,000 or more of the stickers can order them directly from Everen T. Brown Specialty Advertising, 376 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101, call 801-364-2642 or fax 801-364-2646. The cost is approximately $500.
Monetary donations will be used to buy bumper stickers, stamps, copy paper, office supplies, pay phone bills, etc., and the Johnsons hope to get by with volunteer labor.
Save the USA accounts have been set up at Kemmerer and Pinedale banks. If you would like to contribute to the non-profit corporation, send your donation to Save the USA, P.O. Box 1100, Kemmerer, Wyo., 83101; Save the USA Account, First National Bank of Kemmerer, 716 Pine Ave., Kemmerer, Wyo., 83101; or Save the USA Account, First National Bank of Pinedale, P.O. Box 519, Pinedale, Wyo., 82941.
"You have got to think we are crazy for all this, but damn it, we have got to try something," Bill said. "We're going to start a movement here."
Save the USA Demands
1. Fire the IRS - We can't be victimized or threatened if we have a simple flat tax that all of us can understand. For the sake of the poor, no one would pay tax on their first $25,000 of income. After that we all pay the same. No deductions. No loopholes. No exceptions. In the USA, the top 1 1/2 percent now hold more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.
2. Enforce term limits - Six to 12 years of public service is enough. Most people in power are more concerned with holding onto their power than in improving the quality of life for the rest of us. After serving their country they should go home and make a living in the economy they've helped to create. In the next election we are going to show our leaders we are serious about change.
3. Implement campaign finance reform - It's truly the haves versus the have nots, meaning in most cases you cannot win an election without a multi-million dollar war chest. A former president once said, "no one's point of view is less worthy of being heard than another." We need a level playing field.
4. Fix social security - Quit stealing from us and put the money back. Try and remember that we are all the same. Do away with all of the special perks. Senator Byrd, a Democrat, should not be entitled to millions of dollars in social security-type benefits and all federal employees should have the same plan as the rest of us, including the Republicans. Then watch them fix social security in a hurry! Visibility in money transactions is another word for truth!
5. Guarantee health care - There is no other way. Our ever-growing poor and the poor middle class use the local hospital emergency room as their family doctor. Most of us do not receive preventative health maintenance care at all. Employers and families cannot afford to pay for health insurance. The high costs and greed of this industry are astounding. Medical bills and bankruptcy should not be synonymous!
6. Put limits on lawyers - Stop the frivolous lawsuits. Limit liability awards. You cannot legislate morality. You cannot mandate equality. We have equal opportunity - not equality in fact!
7. Guarantee our right to a proper education - The results of our present system are tragic Fire inept teachers. Flunk inept students. Teach students subjects that are practical, such as problem-solving concepts, logic and responsibility, and spend little time on memorization. Colleges and trade schools should be available to anyone and paid for mostly with tax money. To go forward we must obviously change some of our basic beliefs about education.
Of course, many other entities also need change. How about playing hardball with the white collar criminals on Wall Street, etc., a common sense approach to foreign aid, real help for our poor, a limit of sex and violence on TV and the big screen, not allowing our government to deficit spend, total energy independence, better management of federal lands, and standard weights and measures via Interstates just to name a few. We know most of you will not agree with all that is printed, but we simply don't have much time left for debate. Our country is close to meltdown and then they are going to tighten the noose around our necks - this time till it hurts!
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