The main theme of the rhetoric put out by the Republicans is Bush is steady, he does not change his mind, he will fight terrorists until the day he dies. Kerry, on the other hand, is a waffler, he does change his mind, he is not to be trusted.
Fear can be used to change a lot of minds. We have many citizens in the USA running scared. The whole ploy of the Republican convention was to bring out how the wonderful, unshakable Bush is winning the war on terrorism. Bush gave the order to attack Afghanistan. He did this with an illegal preemptive attack, using fewer troops than the amount of police on New York City police force. Apparently, to catch Osama bin Laden and the rest of the Taliban was a low priority in Bush's mind. Iraq's oil was the biggy. He did his best to tie Saddam Hussein with 9/11. He was barking up the wrong tree. The attack on Iraq was also an illegal preemptive attack. Fear is an old but useful weapon in war. Just read the history of Genghis Khan.
The Republicans are more or less forced to use this tool of fear to get votes from the poor people who live with fear. This is about the only issue they have.
Bush's war in Iraq has killed quite a few of our armed forces but hundreds and hundreds have ended up in our VA hospitals. Bush has cut moneys that were meant for these hospitals.
They cannot use diplomacy. Bush has the majority of countries in the UN against him and, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, all of the Moslem countries.
They cannot use education. Bush has underfunded "No Child Left Behind".
They cannot use the environment. Bush has the worst record on the environment in modern times.
They cannot use economics. Ronald Reagan in eight years increased the national debt by $1,672,177,712,041.16. Bush in just three years and seven months increased the debt by $1,637,939,807,304.81.
I hope these poor people who live with fear can see through this Republican charade, stiffen their spines and vote for Kerry. Kerry is perfectly capable of handling this so-called war (I would call it an act of piracy). Kerry will handle all other issues very much better than Bush.
Nobody but nobody can predict when, where or how a terrorist will attack. So stiffen your spine, think positive and happy thoughts. We can all live on this planet if we all put love in our hearts and reason in our minds.
Mr. Clare Crowley
Regarding Rick Zubaty's "Is George Bush a Liberal" letter [9/15/04 TPP], terms like "liberal" and "conservative" have opposite meanings in different parts of the world. The regulation of our economic system, from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, President Theodore Roosevelt's trust busting, the banking, security and labor regulations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, kept the US from slipping into feudalism. Zubaty is correct. The US Constitution's Bill of Rights attempts to protect Americans from the same abuses employed by another King George. It was not ratified with the body of the Constitution because the framers of the Constitution knew that mere paper would not stop the government.
As a progressive liberal populist, I know that making a government smaller does not work. What gets cut are public schools. This increases illiteracy. Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country says: "40% of the US prison population is functionally illiterate ... 75% of welfare recipients are illiterate" (page 198). This means that a large portion of the adult population is not available for employment in the private sector. ... Without the GI Bill of Rights after World War 2 the US would not have had the largest middle class in the world. Instead, it probably would have had a World War 2 and/or Korean Conflict veterans' march on Washington demanding bonuses during an economic downturn, as happened during the Great Depression.
The White House slipped a provision to decriminalize war profiteering, price gouging and fraud into the $87 billion Iraq reconstruction authorization. This is reason for any self-respecting member of Congress to vote against it.
Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.
Re: "What's the matter with Kansas?" [book review, 9/15/04 TPP], progressives should not let themselves be fooled like Democrats into thinking that rural people are voting against their own best interests to further the cause of cultural reaction.
While the provision of goods and services in metropolitan markets has largely been abdicated to corporations, in rural venues these jobs are still being done by individuals who make their living from their own labor and capital. Even though they may make little money, farmers', ranchers', contractors', storekeepers', mechanics' and veterinarians' financial lives are organized along the same lines as the wealthy.
Buffeted by the storms of burgeoning bureaucracy, they are not often eligible for subsidies offered to corporations and wage earners.
Caught in this crossfire, independent rural people feel that there is little else they can do but vote for the sirens of small government.
It is unfortunate that President Bush did not learn from his experience from the "downed spy plane" incident in China. His first reaction was all bluster and dare -- Condi Rice and Bush called the plane a sovereign piece of US property and they better not do something to it, etc.
This incident ended with us apologizing to them and accepting their demand that the plane could not be flown out of China's sovereign territory. They made us break down and take apart the plane and put the pieces in crates for shipment. The media did not take up this matter in the sense that nobody called "shame on you Bush for blinking first." The media should have clearly and boldly given a message to him that "you cannot enforce your will on other nations, be it big as China or small as Iraq."
Maybe this lack of chastisement from the media made Bush feel bold and reckless. And now we have Iraq. Thank you, media!
Listening to all the promises being made by politicians of reducing the deficit while expanding existing entitlement programs and proposing new ones while giving additional tax cuts is all interesting but unbelievable. It would be far more beneficial to address the following:
Continued double-digit cost increases in entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are unsustainable. In fact some projections indicate state's budgets will be consumed by Medicaid by 2020. What are your solutions?
Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is a grave threat to Western Civilization. What are your specific and long-range plans to deal with this growing problem?
Our open-border policy and increasing illegal immigration is a disaster. Other than the kneejerk response given by most politicians of granting some form of amnesty which just fuels more illegal immigration, why are you so reluctant to seriously address this problem?
Before I write anything else, I'd like to say that I am actually pro-choice. I don't want abortion to be illegal. But I can sympathize with the Democrats for Life.
It seems like the Republicans want us to have our kids and then raise them in a poisoned world that's not fit to raise children in. Then all the Democrats can offer us is the "choice" to abort our kids before they're born. Where's the party that will offer us the choice to not only have our kids, but feed them too? Which party will offer us the right to take our kids to the doctor, buy them shoes, and provide them shelter without having to work some crummy minimum wage job every waking minute of our days?
I find it really difficult to vote Democratic when Bill Clinton presided over welfare reform. That act alone made so many families so poor and desperate that a tiny little raise in the minimum wage here and there hardly makes up for it.
Now that the Democratic and Republican Party infomercials have faded from our telescreens, let's turn our attention toward the most important event in modern world history, the vote for US president this fall. Even without considering the potential for abuse and havoc that may result from the use of computerized voting machines with no verifiable paper documentation by over 35 million voters on that day, the real problems are much more challenging. The US is rapidly changing from a multi-party democracy into a one-party state system, much like the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the People's Republic of China. The key word in all three cases is republic, or republican. As you go to cast your ballot on Nov. 2, keep in mind that the American Republican Party, run primarily by oil industry alumni, now dominates all three branches of the US government; the executive, legislative and judicial. This is not a healthy state of affairs for a representational form of government and invites corruption if there is no real opposition. The PATRIOT Act has already eroded our civil liberties and dissent is being stifled and demonised under this extreme right-wing administration. Don't wait until it is too late to restore the traditional checks and balances that prevent the powerful from regulating excessive control over the citizenry. Vote, by absentee ballot if necessary, but vote with the future of our democratic way of life and the survival of the next seven generations in mind. You can vote for a future of endless oil wars and repression or for something different. Think about it carefully.
Charles B. Carr
New Boston, N.H.
The other day, as I was getting ready to do my workout at the Buffalo Athletic Club, one of my buddies there asked me if I had watched the Republican National Convention and if G.W. Bush had convinced me to vote for the Republicans in November. I let out one of my trademark laughs and then started thinking about the instances I had seen on TV on the convention. My thoughts went to what had transpired this week; it seemed to me that which was presented did not equate with the realities of the country. Maybe the Republican leadership, including our own state leadership, including Governor George Pataki, are extraterrestrial. The record of the last few years is a net loss of 1.1 million jobs (the worst performance in job creation since Herbert Hoover), three years of increasing number of Americans without health insurance (now totalling 45 million Americans), record federal deficits, educational mandates with good ideas but not enough funding, the mess in Iraq (which as The Progressive Populist would say: "We invaded the wrong country") and a bunch of empty promises. If the president wants to sincerely prove his compassionate conservatism and improve life in the urban centers, fund education mandates wholeheartedly, roll back recent initiatives affecting overtime pay for most wage-earning Americans that gave carte-blanche to the private sector to not pay overtime to anybody and last but not least tell that to his introducer Gov. Pataki of New York who just vetoed the increase in the state minimum wage (which would make it more of a living wage). Unless this this is to happen they must live on another planet than I do and many of the people of this country
We have learned that one of the effects and symptoms of global warming is an extraordinary number of large storms. Why has nobody connected the dots concerning all these extreme hurricanes this year -- and also the super typhoons in the Pacific rim? Instead, federal weather "experts" on TV claim this is nothing unusual.
Could it be they are covering for the Bush administration's refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty -- and denial of the contribution of SUVs to global warming?
Gloria Calcina del Vecchio
Kerry needs to speak to an all-enlisted organization such as the Retired Enlisted Association and not just groups of officers like the Guard Association Convention.
After all, 88% of the Iraq/Afghan casualties have been enlisted, most E-6 and below. This will continue as long as Bush is in office.
Nixon, who was a naval officer in WW2, learned early on that campaigning as a prior commissioned officer was counterproductive because many more enlisted than officers served in that war, and ALL our wars.
While it is great that generals Clark and McPeak, among others, are speaking out for Kerry, the voting numbers just aren't there.
Chris L. Gray, MSgt. (E-7) USAF (Ret. '89)