Tuesday, September 28, 2004
"Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security (news - web sites) system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding Iraq," the editorial said.
The Iconoclast, established in 2000, said it editorialized in support of the invasion of Iraq and publisher W. Leon Smith promoted Bush and the invasion in a BBC interview, believing Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. "Instead we were duped into following yet another privileged agenda," the editorial said.
"Tax avoidance in the United Kingdom deprives the exchequer of between £25bn and £85bn a year, according to the Tax Justice Network. It's hard to get your head round these figures, until you see that the low figure more or less equates to the projected public-sector deficit for this financial year. The high figure represents 74% of the income tax the exchequer receives. It is more than we spend on the national health service. The super-rich are fleecing us".
The are links to Kos and the Guardian on our web site, www.gvdemocrats.org on the "Links Page"
Monday, September 27, 2004
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Enough of the handwringing! Enough of the doomsaying! Do I have to come there and personally calm you down? Stop with all the defeatism, OK?Bush IS a goner -- IF we all just quit our whining and bellyaching and stop shaking like a bunch of nervous ninnies. Geez, this is embarrassing! The Republicans are laughing at us. Do you ever see them cry, "Oh, it's all over! We are finished! Bush can't win! Waaaaaa!"
Hell no. It's never over for them until the last ballot is shredded.They are never finished -- they just keeping moving forward like sharks that never sleep, always pushing, pulling, kicking, blocking, lying.
They are relentless and that is why we secretly admire them -- they just simply never, ever give up. Only 30% of the country calls itself"Republican," yet the Republicans own it all -- the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and the majority of the governorships. How do you think they've been able to pull that off considering they are a minority? It's because they eat you and me and every other liberal for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day wreaking havoc on the planet.
Look at us -- what a bunch of crybabies. Bush gets a bounce after his convention and you would have thought the Germans had run through Poland again. The Bushies are coming, the Bushies are coming! Yes, they caughtKerry asleep on the Swift Boat thing. Yes, they found the frequency inDan Rather and ran with it. Suddenly it's like, "THE END IS NEAR! THESKY IS FALLING!"
No, it is not. If I hear one more person tell me how lousy a candidate Kerry is and how he can't win... Dammit, of COURSE he's a lousy candidate -- he's a Democrat, for heavens sake! That party is so pathetic, they even lose the elections they win! What were you expecting, Bruce Springsteen heading up the ticket? Bruce would make a helluva president, but guys like him don't run -- and neither do you or I. P eople like Kerry run.
Yes, OF COURSE any of us would have run a better, smarter, kick-ass campaign. Of course we would have smacked each and every one of those phony swifty boaty bastards down. But WE are not running for president-- Kerry is. So quit complaining and work with what we have. Oprah just gave 300 women a... Pontiac! Did you see any of them frowning and moaning and screaming, "Oh God, NOT a friggin' Pontiac!" Of course not, they were happy.The Pontiacs all had four wheels, an engine and a gas pedal. You want more than that, well, I can't help you. I had a Pontiac once and it lasted a good year. And it was a VERY good year.
My friends, it is time for a reality check.
1. The polls are wrong. They are all over the map like diarrhea. On Friday, one poll had Bush 13 points ahead -- and another poll had them both tied.There are three reasons why the polls are b.s.: One, they are polling"likely voters." "Likely" means those who have consistently voted in the past few elections. So that cuts out young people who are voting for the first time and a ton of non-voters who are definitely going to vote inTHIS election. Second, they are not polling people who use their cellphone as their primary phone. Again, that means they are not talking to young people.Finally, most of the polls are weighted with too many Republicans, as pollster John Zogby revealed last week. You are being snookered if you believe any of these polls.
2. Kerry has brought in the Clinton A-team. Instead of shunning Clinton(as Gore did), Kerry has decided to not make that mistake.
3. Traveling around the country, as I've been doing, I gotta tell ya,there is a hell of a lot of unrest out there. Much of it is not being captured by the mainstream press. But it is simmering and it is real. Do not let those well-produced Bush rallies of angry white people scare you. Turn off the TV!(Except Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers -- everything else is just a sugar-coated lie).
4. Conventional wisdom says if the election is decided on "9/11" (the fear of terrorism), Bush wins. But if it is decided on the job we are doing in Iraq, then Bush loses. And folks, that "job," you might have noticed, has descended into the third level of a hell we used to call Vietnam. There is no way out. It is a full-blown mess of a quagmire and the body bags will sadly only mount higher. Regardless of what Kerry meant by his original war vote, he ain't the one who sent those kids to their deaths -- and Mr. and Mrs. Middle America knows it. Had Bush bothered to show up when he was in the "service" he might have somewhat of a clue as to how to recognize an immoral war that cannot be "won."All he has delivered to Iraq was that plasticized turkey last Thanksgiving. It is this failure of monumental proportions that is going to cook his goose come this November.
So, do not despair. All is not over. Far from it. The Bush people need you to believe that it is over. They need you to slump back into your easy chair and feel that sick pain in your gut as you contemplate another four years of George W. Bush. They need you to wish we had a candidate who didn't windsurf and who was just as smart as we were when WE knew Bush was lying about WMD and Saddam planning 9/11. It's like Karl Rove is hypnotizing you -- "Kerry voted for the war...Kerry voted for the war...Kerrrrrryyy vooootted fooooor theeee warrrrrrrrrr..."
Yes...Yes...Yesssss....He did! HE DID! No sense in fighting now...what I need is sleep...sleeep...sleeeeeeppppp...
WAKE UP! The majority are with us! More than half of all Americans are pro-choice, want stronger environmental laws, are appalled that assault weapons are back on the street -- and 54% now believe the war is wrong.YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM OF ANY OF THIS -- YOU JUST HAVE TO GIVE THEM A RAY OF HOPE AND A RIDE TO THE POLLS. CAN YOU DO THAT? WILL YOU DO THAT?
Just for me, please? Buck up. The country is almost back in our hands. Not another negative word until Nov. 3rd! Then you can bitch all you want about how you wish Kerry was still that long-haired kid who once had the courage to stand up for something. Personally, I think that kid is still inside him.Instead of the wailing and gnashing of your teeth, why not hold out a hand to him and help the inner soldier/protester come out and defeat the forces of evil we now so desperately face. Do we have any other choice?
Published on Friday, September 24, 2004 byCommonDreams.org What Shall the Perplexed Voter Do? by Caroline Arnold
This title headed a pair of essays by William LloydGarrison and Thomas Mott Osborne in The Ethical Record2 (Oct-Nov 1900) during the campaign of WilliamJennings Bryan against William McKinley.
A century later we voters are no less perplexed. The word ‘perplexed’ is compounded of per- -- thoroughly, utterly -- and plex -- from plicare: fold, bend; orplectare: braid, twist. Thoroughly folded, crinkled,bent and mashed; utterly twisted, snarled and tangled-- that’s us.
We’re aware that our lives have become immeasurably more complex, dense, and intense, and that information about our nation and the world is not only being spawned faster than ever, but is expanding fractal-like into realms we could scarcely imagine 20years ago.
I have previously observed that voters aren’tSupercitizens(http://commondreams.org/views02/0906-08.htm). We aren’t even professionals. Technically we’re amateurs: lovers, presumably, of democracy, self-government and liberty -- and we’re not paid. We are amateurs, too, in the popular sense of ‘not being especially good at’being citizens and voters.
So for the perplexed, amateur, voter, here are some suggestions for doing it better: -
Recognize that elections are about government. Elections are how voters make choices of the priorities by which they consent to be governed. Powerful interests have persuaded many citizens that government is evil. But blaming an evil government is not a strategy for improving it.
-What are your priorities for government?. Pave roads? Attack other nations? Provide sewers? Control environmental pollution? Regulate your sex life? Regulate everyone’s sex lives? What are you willing to be taxed to provide? Fire and police services? Safe drinking water? National defense? Public schools? affordable health care?
-Don’t vote on the basis of hot-button single issues like abortion, gay marriage, gun control, Ten Commandments or ‘Who-Did-What-in-Vietnam’. The people who are in office now haven’t resolved them, and those who get elected won’t. These issues are unresolvableby science, law or consensus, and they primarily serve as counters to push back and forth across the table, or paint-guns to stain opponents. They attract cash from corporate moguls, rouse invective from pundits, invite flights of fancy from the news and entertainment industries, feed rancorous blogs, and provide endless distractions to keep perplexed citizens from attending to substantive issues.
-Take very seriously the largest issues: war, foreign policy, and United States’ standing in the world. There is only one planet Earth and Americans share it with about five and three-quarter billion other people who can’t vote in this election. Yet when it is no particular challenge for the U.S. military and its arsenal of WMD to kill all or any of them we deem threatening or merely superfluous, we U.S. citizens have a heavy responsibility to make good choices for the rest of humanity.
-Worry about economics -- not just your personal pocketbook, but how some giant corporations (who certainly don’t pledge allegiance to "one nation,under God") are exploiting poor people and then on-renewable resources of our planet for profit,while passing off the costs to the children of the world. -Invest time and thought in Congressional races. Domestic policies are determined by legislation passed and money appropriated. -Don’t put much stock in what candidates say they will do. Practical people recognize that saying what one intends to do limits future action. Candidates are tempted to promise things that are impossible in the real world, or things they will have no power to do. Especially beware the candidate who promises to make your life simpler, safer, or sweeter by making choices for you.
-Be skeptical of what you learn from TV and radio. Remember that newscasters, talk-show hosts and broadcasting magnates are professionals. Their stock-in-trade is surprise, shock, thrills, novelty, fear, mockery, and influencing consumers. They are biased, all right -- toward making money.
-Don’t worry about not being comprehensively well-informed. Talk to your friends and listen to them; share your doubts and raise questions. Preparet he best you can, listen to your conscience, and vote with hope. Trust yourself and trust your neighbors as basically good moral people who want to do the right thing.
-If in doubt, vote for the challenger. If the incumbent is doing a good job, you won’t be in doubt.
-Among totally unknown candidates, choose women or minorities. Both are statistically under represented at every level of government.
In his 1900 essay Osborne advised the perplexed citizen not to vote "... if his heart is anguished by... a policy which includes the shooting down, by soldiers of the United States, of men fighting for liberty and self-government; if his mind is rendered uneasy by appeals to class prejudice, and his conscience revolts from a financial system of commercial dishonesty ..."
Today, not voting is not an option. We know that when citizens don’t vote, their choices are overridden by money and democracy languishes. We can and must do it better.
What shall the perplexed voter do? Get out there and vote. Vote your faith in government, not your cynicism. Vote your conscience, not an ideology, a sound bite, or a bandwagon. Vote your best thinking and sense of responsibility to others, not some professionally-crafted myths or mantras. Vote your allegiance to your neighbors and to the common good for all the human family.
Because it’s our democracy, our election, our government, our nation, and those things will only be as good as we make them.
Caroline Arnold (http://us.f204.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Toemail@example.com&YY=98900&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=f) served 12 yearson the staff of Senator John Glenn and is now active in civic and environmental affairs in Kent, Ohio.This column will appear in the Kent-Ravenna RecordCourier on Sunday September 26, 2004
Friday, September 24, 2004
Some examples. In the beginning of his administration, Mr.Bush felt that nothing was so repulsive as nation-building. So what has happened? For months he has been involved in not just one nation-building project but two- Afghanistan and Iraq .That’s the way to go, Prez.
In 2001, he thought up this fabulous new foreign policy idea of pre-emption (get them before they get us). I’m not talking about Afghanistan. Most Americans agree that he had a good reason for attacking the Taliban there. But, as Donald Rumsfeld has reportedly said, there aren't enough good places to bomb there, so he (and some buddies) went for Iraq, which had lots of good places. By now, we know that Paul Wolfewitz, Vice President Cheney, and Richard Pearl, among others, had a bunch of reasons all ready for that invasion. They wanted it so much they could taste it. That invasion went so well the President apparently was looking for another member of his Axis of Evil to bomb. It looked like he would go for North Korea, a worthy opponent with a large, fanatical army a few nuclear bombs. That put some 40,000 of our troops in danger as well as Japan and South Korea. At this point, some cooler non-Texan heads around the White house were thinking about that famous motto "results matter" and decided the results might not be so good. It appears they convinced him that pre-emption was NOT always the best policy. Thank God, he flipped . Asia, and all of us, narrowly missed a war with real (not imaginary ) nukes..
We could go on and on listing situations in which he flipped or flopped - whichever way you want it, and the good old U.S.A. is lucky he did. Maybe it was increasing maturity; maybe Karl Rove had a calming influence. After all, Karl is very aware of things called elections.
Being a lucky Texas entrepreneur (specially in baseball, oil, and choice of a daddy with friends ) it was only natural in those old days of 2001 that he should try to "go it alone ". In the beginning of his Administration it was "me against the world", Old Europe- those quiche-eating French, the Germans, and even the Russians who had made some civilized moves in recent years. The UN was not to be relied on nor trusted in any case. By spring of 2004, the President was practically begging Kofi Annon and the UN to bring in some more troops to replace those from the Alliance of the Willing who were pulling out. That required a complete 360 degree flop. I’m glad he did it, and besides, IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
Inside that mysterious presidential brain there are two Georges. There's a "stay the course what the hell" one, with the lemming–like determination. Then there's another George, who can occasionally be swayed by common sense. That second George has to pretend all the while that nothing has really changed and that the stern-jawed resolute George is still in charge.
I’m glad he flops. What would we do if he never flopped?
G. Joseph Moody
534 words….1321 N. Paseo Maravilloso, Green Valley, AZ 85614
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Today the residents of Green Valley had the opportunity to meet the Candidates running for various offices in the November election. They chose not to take advantage of this opportunity as I estimate less than 50 people were in the audience. What a shame! Have the people of Green Valley already made up their minds as to who they are going to vote for on November 2nd. or do they not want to be informed as to who may be the best candidate and therefore don't want to be confused by the facts?
Most of the Arizona candidates were present at the West Center, with some traveling down from Phoenix, noticeable exceptions being John McCain and Jim Kolbe.
I am glad I attended the meeting if for no other reason than the person I had picked for State attorney will no longer get my vote. Being a Liberal and a Democrat my uneducated choice was the incumbent, Barbara LeWall but after listening to her presentation and her response to a question on capital punishment, I came to the conclusion that she may really be a Republican in Democtratic clothing! I cannot in good conscience, vote for anybody that supports and requests the death penalty as the ultimate punishment.
The biggest thing expected of the President by certain Americans is to deliver a simpler world.
So there seems little debate. It's just about shouting slogans. Bush declares that he is strong and that America is richer and safer with virtually no reference to supporting evidence. These claims are paraded around as fact. A vote for Kerry is going backward, but backward on what? Bush presents policies with no reference to his track record. Scrutiny is minimal. Pigs can fly.
The Kerry camp has been caught flat footed. They have been naive enough to hope that facts mattered, facts such as the exploding budget deficit, the widening gap of rich and poor, the collapse of America's international reputation, global warming, and the quagmire of Iraq.
Instead now they are also driven to populism. Equally those of my friends from more professional backgrounds don't understand how an election can have so little to do with reality. There is a real sense of fear in this group, and I repeat they are both Democrat and Republican voters, that the new politics is one where informed debate is dead, and facts don't matter.
Of course, maybe it was always so. A great politician,and now even my Republican friends speak admiringly of Bill Clinton as such a creature, can present complex ideas simply, whilst still retaining nuance. In the absence of such leaders we are seeing politics move into a terrifying place of empty platitudes where facts are too scary to be permitted.
Is this the new politics?
Monday, September 20, 2004
September 11 remains the central plank of the Republicans' strategy for re-election. The fact that their campaign begins with the terror attacks is not only understandable but also, arguably, right - this is the most significant thing to happen in the US since Bush assumed office.
The trouble is that the campaign's message ends with that day also. September 11 has served not as a starting point from which to better understand the world but as an excuse not to understand it at all.
It is a reference point that brooks no argument and needs no logic.
No weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
"The next time, the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud?"
No United Nations authority?
"We will never again wait for permission to defend our country."
No link between Saddam and al-Qaida?
"They only have to be right once. We have to be right every time."
This is the real link between Iraq and 9/11 - the rhetorical dissembling that renders victimhood not a point from which they might identify with and connect to the rest of humanity but a means to turn our back on humanity. They portray America's pain as a result of 9/11 not only as unique in its expression but also superior in its intensity.
When 3,000 people died on September 11, Le Monde declared: "We are all Americans now." Around 12,000 civilians have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war, yet one waits in vain for anyone to declare that we have all become Iraqis, or Afghans, let alone Palestinians. This is not a competition. Sadly, there are enough victims to go around. Sadder still, if the US continues on its present path, there will be many more. Demanding a monopoly on the right to feel and to inflict pain simply inverts victimhood's regular contradiction - the Bush administration displays material strength and moral weakness.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
America has a choice to make. I guess the question that vexes us too much is the belief that she will make an ill choice. It is not easy to cut through the nonsense that passes for political debate in this society. When we should be talking of military misadventures, financial malfeasance, and the most environmentally devastating actions in our history: we are spending our time talking of a war that ended thirty years ago.It would be too easy to dismiss such questions as irrelevant, but that would not be correct either. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, our candidate’s activities as young men are relevant. It is important for us to recognize what the person did when confronted with the hard choices that can define our lives. One chose to serve. One chose to find a way to serve, and risk as little as possible for that choice. One fulfilled their obligation. One was an outstanding student: one just got by. Let’s make a couple of conclusions and move on. When Kerry went to Yale, he was an outstanding student. He did what is necessary to achieve academic success. (Essentially this means that he fulfilled the obligations of the courses to the best of his ability.) Bush was a marginal student who was more interested in the physical characteristics of a college student: too many beers, too many tears. Make your choice: someone who satisfied the requirements or someone who shirked responsibility in favor of some “other” actions? As a child is father to the man, the young person who fulfils their commitments, telegraphs their own intention as adults. The promise of youth is realized, not in the success in life: for it would be difficult to argue against Bush in this manner, but, rather in the path that took the person to that success. Kerry’s road is littered with success, Bush’s road is just littered with the failures of a lifetime of privilege.So, you pays your money and you makes your choice. If we measure the need for character as a requisite for the office: the choice is clear. Fulfilling obligations is an American ideal of the first magnitude. As Frost wrote, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” Let’s help Kerry fulfil his promise and send Bush back to the faux ranch to wrangle whatever devil of his is left to conquer.
Dances with Donkeys "
Saturday, September 11, 2004
From the Guardian
"Yet the truth is that Bush is actually soft on terror. When it comes to going after the men who were behind 9/11 and who continue to wage a jihad against the US, Bush has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the forces behind terrorism, shielded the people who funded al-Qaida, obstructed investigations and diverted resources from the battle against it.
One key reason is the Bush-Saudi relationship, the like of which is unprecedented in US politics. Even after the success of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, the subject is largely taboo in the American media. Never before has a president of the US - much less two from the same family - had such close ties with another foreign power.
Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US and a powerful member of the royal family, has been a close friend of George Bush Snr for more than 20 years. Nicknamed Bandar Bush, he drops by the Bush residences in Kennebunkport, Maine, and Crawford, Texas, not to mention the White House. He and Bush senior go on hunting trips together.
Then there's the money. More than $1.4bn of financial transactions have gone from the House of Saud to corporations and institutions tied to the Bushes and their allies - largely to companies such as the Carlyle Group, Halliburton, and HarkenEnergy. So what does all that influence buy the Saudis?
Let's go to the White House on September 13 2001. Just 48 hours after 9/11, the toxic rubble at the World Trade Centre site was still ablaze. The estimated death count, later lowered significantly, was thought to be as high as 40,000.
On that afternoon, Bandar met on the Truman balcony with President Bush and the two men lit up Cohiba cigars. At the time, the White House knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. It knew that Osama bin Laden was Saudi. And, as the 9/11 commission concluded, it knew that Saudi Arabia was "the primary source of money for al-Qaida", which was largely funded by wealthy Saudis via Islamist charities.
President Bush was in the presence of the ambassador from the country that is the guardian of Wahhabi Islam, the fundamentalist sect which helped produce al-Qaida. This is where the war on terror and a massive investigation into the greatest crime in US history should have begun."
Sunday, September 05, 2004
The Republicans' rhetoric show how nasty they can be
It's all here:
It is time for Kerry to take off the gloves and fight back. If the Repugs can play dirty then so can we. It's time to start asking why Dubya ignored to the PDA warning of impending terrorist attacks, why he spent 7 minutes reading to school kids after the attack on 9/11 and why he was such a chicken by hiding instead of returning to DC.
Let's kick ass like our logo implys and get this moron out of office.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
I am wondering how the news of the largest increase in Medicare contributions in the history of the program will affect the way registered Republican voters in Green Valley will actually vote on November 2nd! Many of us in this community are going to be affected by this increase. After all, our contribution comes right out of our Social Security checks and we all know that the annual increases in Social Security are nowhere near 17%.
On top of the Medicare costs/increases, my former employer has consistently increased my premiums for the supplemental insurance they provide. Last year that increase was in the order of 40% and the year before it was 20%. I am now paying almost as much for healthcare insurance as I am for my mortgage. It cannot continue this way, something has to be done about the cost of healthcare.
Having said that, I've never understood why we expect our employer/former employer to pay for our health insurance, (being a bit of a conservative for a moment) surely that is our responsibility. Now, what's wrong with a 'National Health Care' program? The United States is the only industrial county I know that doesn't care for it's citizens health care needs. Oh, I've heard all the rhetoric why Americans fear such a plan but I've lived in the U.K. and Canada where, for the most part, such programs work very well and if you have money in either of those 2 countries, you can still get "preferential" treatment which is no different from the way things work here.
Friday, September 03, 2004
Largest increase ever attributed to new prescription drug plan and expanded preventative services.September 3, 2004: 7:17 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday afternoon the largest increase ever in Medicare premiums, an increase of over 17 percent that will affect 38.9 million Americans.
Starting in January, the elderly will pay $78.20 per month for non-hospital services, up $11.60 from $66.60 this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said.
Full story here.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Setting Kerry's record right—again.
By Fred Kaplan
"This myth took hold last February in a press release put out by the RNC. Those who bothered to look up the fine-print footnotes discovered that they referred to votes on two defense appropriations bills, one in 1990, the other in 1995. Kerry voted against both bills, as did 15 other senators, including five Republicans. The RNC took those bills, cherry-picked some of the weapons systems contained therein, and implied that Kerry voted against those weapons. By the same logic, they could have claimed that Kerry voted to disband the entire U.S. armed forces; but that would have raised suspicions and thus compelled more reporters to read the document more closely.
Read the full article by clicking on the link above.
Thanks to Joe Moody for this input.
IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU ARE REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT!
2004 Election Issue !!
GET A BILL STARTED TO PLACE ALL POLITICIANS ON SOC. SEC.
Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. !
Our Senators and Representatives in Congress do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it.
You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan.
In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan.
For all practical purposes their plan works like this:
When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die.
Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments.
For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives.
This is calculated on an average life span for each of those two Dignitaries.
Younger Dignitaries who retire at an early age, will receive much more during the rest of their lives.
Their cost for this excellent plan is $0.00. NADA....ZILCH....
This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds;
"OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK"!
From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into, -every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer)- we can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after retirement.
Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator! Bill Bradley's benefits!
Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made.
That change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us ... then sit back and watch how fast they would fix it.
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.
How many! people can YOU send this to?
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
We’re Not in Lake Wobegon AnymoreHow did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?By Garrison Keillor August 26, 2004Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned—and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. “Bipartisanship is another term of date rape,” says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires! Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy—the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president’s personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours. The omens are not good.Our beloved land has been fogged with fear—fear, the greatest political strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition. And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn’t the Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it’s 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn’t the “end of innocence,” or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn’t prevent people from asking hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national security at the time.Whenever I think of those New Yorkers hurrying along Park Place or getting off the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward their office on the 90th floor, the morning paper under their arms, I think of that non-reader George W. Bush and how he hopes to exploit those people with a little economic uptick, maybe the capture of Osama, cruise to victory in November and proceed to get some serious nation-changing done in his second term.This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats as embittered academics, desiccated Unitarians, whacked-out hippies and communards, people who talk to telephone poles, the party of the Deadheads. They will wave enormous flags and wow over and over the footage of firemen in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and bodies being carried out and they will lie about their economic policies with astonishing enthusiasm.The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and school prayer and flag burning and claimed the right to know what books we read and to dump their sewage upstream from the town and clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the constitution on behalf of intolerance and promote the corporate takeover of the public airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.This is a great country, and it wasn’t made so by angry people. We have a sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren in better shape than however we found it. We have a long way to go and we’re not getting any younger.Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It’s a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning.
Garrison Keillor is the host and writer of A Prairie Home Companion, now in its 25th year on the air. This adapted excerpted from Keillor’s new book, Homegrown Democrat (© 2004) is reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.