Monday, September 22, 2003
I'm just to the half-way point of my second tank of gas since early June. I used slightly more than one tank on a round-trip to Chicago.
I look at all the Patriotic Americans driving their Suicide Utility Vehicles, and I start to think that maybe $87 billion for Iraq next year and $150 billion so far are really just tax subsidies for these Patriotic American to drive their monster vehicles. Of course there's a lot of blood to go with those tax dollars.
Poor little wretch.
His most pathetic dig at Clark is that Clark met with Mladic. Mladic is a vile war criminal, whose daughter killed herself.
On the other hand, under Bush (Poppy) the United States supported the genocidal Serb nation-state thieves. Poppy was happy for them to kill as many civilians as they wanted, and wreck Yugoslavia and Europe. Poppy protected them.
By the time Clinton was elected, *far* too much damage had already been done. Only a propagandist would dredge up episodes from the attempt to fix the mess Poppy made to malign the people who were fixing the problem.
Novak's propaganda lie is particularly sweet, because the particular event with Clark occurred *before* the massacre Novak cites as the reason Clark shouldn't have been polite with Mladich.
There's no problem with Clark meeting Mladich. The problem here is vile right-wing extremists spewing propaganda lies in a desperate bid to keep the Bushists in power.
GE -- NBC is just a subsidiary of GE -- has decided that "West Wing" has to be "fair and balanced".
GE had its hands all over the real-world coup d'etat -- NBC news was apparently ordered to declare Bush the winner in Florida. As it turned out, that set the -- wrong -- presumption about when the vote counting should be stopped, and let the Bush cronies on the Supreme Court install their boy by canceling the vote count.
But Rove isn't satisfied with just stealing the real-world elections, he has to destroy the parallel universe fantasy of a country whose elected President got to move into the White House. Now West Wing will have to pretend that right-wing extremists are not vile and evil.
Well, this time we'll just have to make sure our guy not only wins the election, but gets into the White House, too. Better to leave the parallel universe for the right-wing cranks, and take control of the real world.
What's up with this?
Command Sgt. Maj. Rand Osweiler of the Headquarters Support Company, 109th Area Support Medical Battalion writes in the Iowa City paper: "Your soldiers, to date, have treated 37,000 US and coalition soldiers.
Let's see.... This acknowledges that Fox is a propaganda outlet for right-wing extremists, *and* places everyone who questions Bush in the category with Al Qaeda. Good to know where everybody stands.
I saw Gephardt last night.
The most remarkable thing about his talk and discussion: I don't remember hearing the word "Iraq". Gephardt focused on domestic issues. His things are health insurance, the economy, energy, education, trade, and such.
His approach is personal. He talks about his family a lot, and he talks about people he has met. Where Kerry speaks with orator's inflections, Gephardt speaks to a crowd with the same inflections he uses speaking to an individual.
The woman who introduced Gephardt impressed me -- she was direct and concise, conveying both the urgency and importance of ridding the country of Bush, and of picking a candidate who knows how to make government work. By the time a Democrat takes office in 2005, she pointed out, there will be no time to learn the ropes.
Gephardt claimed he is the man to beat Bush -- that he can win the closely competitive states in the midwest, and that will put us over the top. He said the election *won't* be won by Democrats in the south or the (arid) west.
I wonder, though. There are signs that the miserable economy could make many southern states competitive. And winning Florida would be a major boon. And it may be that Bush implodes, and we sweep the electoral college... but we had better not plan on that.
Gephardt's very proud of his health insurance program. He's proud that it would cover *everybody*, not just the uninsured. He points out that we already pay for the uninsured -- they come to the emergency rooms where they cost us far more than preventive care would cost, and the medical system winds up recouping the costs by charging the rest of us more.
It may be that proposing a serious solution to the health insurance problem would bring out voters and establish a mandate that could get it passed. I would be glad if that happened.
On the other hand, I am even more concerned about putting Bush out of the White House. I don't want to lose the election because the country isn't ready for decent health insurance.
There's also a fantasy going on, I fear. I suspect that four years of this Bush will have wrecked the country more thoroughly than twelve years of the previous Bush. Even repealing Bush's tax cuts and raising taxes on the extreme rich, we probably won't be able to afford *anything* new until the economy starts creating large numbers of jobs.
Politicians always campaign on domestic issues, then find they can't get much of their agenda through, so they focus on foreign policy.
What about NAFTA? If you think we should have *fair* trade, Gephardt has a lot of credibility. Again, would I want to risk leaving Bush in power for the chance of reworking trade issues? No. Could trade issues help us win? Maybe. Gephardt points out that there is a "race to the bottom": jobs that once left the US for Mexico are now leaving Mexico for China. A business whose competitors outsource to a cheap-labor country is practically forced to go along with the trend, just to stay in business.
Gephardt actually came out and said that capitalism has the production side figured out, but not the consumption side. If the jobs all go to people in the poorest countries, who is going to buy the products? Note that this is *my* point not Gephardt's: All the morons think we *won* against Marxism, but that's hooey. We've completely proved that capitalists repeatedly and stupidly abuse their power to drive wages down to the point where consumers can't afford to buy. Only rigging the market to prevent that lets the capitalists win in the long run. But when they start winning big, they can afford to buy the government, and then they rig the markets to screw the consumers, yielding high short-term profits, followed by collapse. Gephardt used the phrase: "The best government money can buy." He said pharmaceutical companies had spent $70 million attacking Democrats in the 2002 elections -- not as campaign contributions to Republicans, but as corporate expenses.
Gephardt repeatedly made the point that free trade would have been fine if the workers in the poor countries had come out ahead, but that workers are merely exploited -- products made for first-world markets pay labor at fourth-world rates, with no health care, and atrocious working and living conditions. People working in poverty can't afford to buy our products, and so we lose both ways.
A woman asked about funding AIDS-treatment in Africa. Gephardt talked about the people he met on a trip to Africa -- groups of women training to teach AIDS prevention who were all HIV+ themselves; HIV+ infants who will die within a year, a generation of children whose parents will all have died. He promised to do our part.
Gephardt seems like a very good man. I'd be proud if he were President of the United States. I'm not convinced he is the most likely to beat Bush, but it's early in the race.
He seemed a little more natural at schmoozing than Kerry, but maybe less enthusiastic about it. My first measure of a potential president is whether we would feel better after hearing him give a speech after a tragedy. Gephardt would do well, I believe. Bush, of course, fails my test miserably. A candidate who passes the test would have a major advantage over Bush -- and should automatically be a step ahead of Gore.
What counts most to me is defending us from Bush, and taking the fight *to* Bush. Gephardt has put it plainly: Bush is a "miserable failure".
The sad thing is that I don't really think that's accurate. I think Bush has been all too successful. I think they really want to break the government's ability to provide safety net programs. The way they want to do that is by creating unbearable deficits that can't be eliminated -- forcing a reduction in services. Essentially, they've already stolen Social Security, and from here on out we lose the rest of the safety net. Doesn't Bush care about jobs? I don't think so. As long as he can keep his cronies happy, Bush is happy to wreck the economy for the rest of us.
Since Bush's true motivations are essentially unbelievable, the case against him may need to be made as a case of "failure". And Gephardt seems pretty good at that.
I wish he had done even better at telling how easy it is to put the economy right. That should be the key message: do the right things for the economy and we will have prosperity like the Clinton years only hinted at. And we *need* that prosperity to pay for the things we need to do on this planet -- switch away from oil and coal, provide health care, provide retirement, clean up the environment, help the poor of the world become prosperous so they can afford to buy our products, etc.
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Last update: 10/1/03; 10:22:43 AM.