I am a registered Republican in a safely red state. Our candidate won. All's right with the world. Shouldn't I be deliriously happy? Well no.
There is nothing conservative about this administration; in any sense of the meaning. Not fiscal restraint. Not moral responsibility. Not environmental conservation. And certainly not smaller government (unless they intend to bleed the government to death).
Even at the local level; the central committee makes their endorsement, and the public vote is an acknowledgement of appointment pro forma (a mere formality). I am just as much disenfranchisedj any convicted felon here or gulag slave in Stalinist Russia. The only purpose of such a managed (FREE) election is to show public endorsement of the system. The government gains a cloak of legitimacy.
After $5 billion dollars worth of political ads, unaccounted more covert fraud, millions of patriots were mislead and manipulated into voting against their own best interest. Bush now claims a MANDATE. If our president would mind realistic US business, such authority would be good and sufficient. Unfortunately, for all of us, Mr. Bush made his bones by repeatedly stating: "I am fighting terrorism anywhere in the world I find it." By building his political base on this one-note theme; and by spending billions of dollars to bribe Pakistani and other foreign leaders to persecute government dissidents; by inserting his private agenda into the international arena, it has became politically impossible to retreat.
That limited explanation is spoonfed to the dittoheads every day. It is also the only version you are likely to get from the media. As troubling as this is, it is still only the start of troubling times. The Neo-Cons embedded in the government integrated with the Bush client oil companies are privy to the next level of information. The open secret. The New American Century Theology. ...
When the new administration takes office in January, the change won't be merely a matter of degree. It will be by an order of magnitude. As the dollar shrinks, as trade and government deficits increase, as the economy drifts south and as the war news gets worse, they will find a terrorist under every woodpile. In the election polls terrorism response consistently favored Bush. Every day Fox News says "Bush fights terrorism" gives me another day for human rights abuses here and abroad to remain a non-issue. A fearful and distracted population will accept a war agenda. Several countries are on the short list. [After inauguration] expect the draft and another offensive.
As mentioned in the columns of Mark Weisbrot and Molly Ivins (1/1-15/05 TPP), the Bush plan to privatize Social Security (at a cost of at least $2 trillion just to put it into effect) is enough to scare the pants off of you. How's this for a scenario?
We borrow the $2 trillion (thus increasing the national debt). Bush declares this a repayment of the $2 trillion of Social Security money, which the government now owes the trust fund (thus decreasing the national debt so that it's now the same as before we borrowed that $2 trillion to privatize.) Then Social Security must use that $2 trillion to put privatization into effect. It now has spent the $2 trillion, it no longer has the government debt to Social Security to fall back on, and thus it goes bust even quicker than forecast.
Do you think that's far-fetched? But that's the way the Bush mind works. Remember that his "Clear Skies" initiative will result in the skies being clear &emdash; of any hint of the color blue. The more twisted you can make your way of thinking, the closer you will come to grasping the Bush/Rove/Cheney thought process (if one can call it that). Make no mistake about it &emdash; one way or another, Social Security will be made to bear the cost of that $2 trillion borrowed.
All of us better start writing to our Congessmen, not just once, but time after time so that they are in no doubt that we do not want privatization of Social Security. While we're at it, we should be pushing them to rescind that Medicare prescription drug bill with its $500+ billion cost to us and its gift of profits to the insurance companies issuing the drug coverage cards. Don't forget that 2006 is going to be a big election year for Congressmen, so we really need to push them.
Patricia M. Koster
R.L. Borosage's article "What Mandate?" [1/1-15/05 TPP] and the statistics quoted therein may prove that mathematically Bush has no mandate to carry out his agendas &emdash; but sadly such things do not matter anymore in our nation. We know that the mainstream media will "sit" on such statistic and remain, as if muzzled, on the sideline.
Take Bush's pet project of privatizing Social Security &emdash; his claim that in the future (?) the funds will deplete dramatically is not being adequately challenged by the media. No solid figures and calculations are presented by the administration and yet the public (mostly under the age of 40 years) have started to accept this doom and gloom scenario. This is exactly like the time, early in his first term, he went around the country saying that the economy is "fluttering" just to justify his plan to cut taxes (mostly for the rich). The unproven theory of trickle-down economics was pushed down our throat and the media did not question it then nor do they question it now even though the tax cut led to a big budget deficit.
It seems we are unfortunately going down the same road and unless the media strongly gets involved we will see the Social Security privatized &emdash; maybe for assuring the solvency of the fund but definitely for assuring the solvency of Wall Street.
A suicide bomber evades the tight security that surrounds a military mess hall in Baghdad, blows himself up, kills up to 20 soldiers, wounds dozens of others &emdash; many critically &emdash; and George W. Bush has not even been sworn in for his second term as president of the United States.
When a bomber can enter a mess hall so easily, there is no secure place anywhere in Iraq for our men and women serving in the military. This war of choice by this mad man soon will turn on him viciously and his name will become anathema to all who are witnesses to this insanity.
Mark my words! Six months from now &emdash; a maximum of two years into his second term &emdash; and Bush's name will be spoken only in contempt by Americans.
Rev. Allen Brill's thoughts in the recent TPP are interesting and possibly accurate. However, about the only thing with which I can agree is that we must begin acting with a bit more compassion and less self-righteousness; in other words, refrain, even if it's difficult, from referring to right-wing ideologues as "morons".
However, if the progressive "New Deal" vision is dated and obsolete, than surely a vision based upon very dubious evidence of a 2,000-year-old Middle-Eastern sage is even more so. The Christian perspective, lamentably, has been linked with some of the most vile oppression and conquest in history, and indeed has often been the guiding philosophy. One may argue &emdash; perhaps accurately- that deep Christianity is about mercy and compassion, but in practice it has so often served as velvet wrapping on the battering ram. Without debating further historical points, it seems that Christianity has had its chance, and has nothing to offer humanity in our present straights of post-modern angst, over-population, and the obscenities of the Neo-Conservative steamroller.
But is it really true that the progressive New-Deal-type thinking has lost its allure? If so, could it be that a solid multi-decade bombardment of right-wing sound-bites has warped the vision, rather than a mature evolution of thinking which has replaced it with something better? Do we not need enlightened government to rein in greed and abusive power? Is my &emdash; or Rev. Brill's &emdash; desire to see our affairs ruled by compassion sufficient to actually enforce it against control-crazed thugs such as the Bush administration?
My guess, or hope, is that if questioned with some unbiased clarity, most American citizens would gladly choose a system that provided them with some semblance of surety of basic services, and a sense that opportunities are the same for everyone. In our present state of emotional and spiritual evolution, this will most likely be achieved using enlightened and progressive government.
The Bush administration has pledged $35 million to help victims of the tsunami that has killed over 100,000 people by some estimates and left millions homeless and in danger of dying of starvation or disease. The Bush administration has spent over five thousand times as much on an illegitimate and unjustified war that has killed tens of thousands of innocent people.
I ask the people who voted for Bush because he shared their Christian values a simple question. Which effort would Jesus fund?
In "Control Fertility" (Letters, 1/1-15/05 TPP) Kerry Lund's focus on fertility/overpopulation appears to fall short of effectively dealing with serious environmental and social justice issues. Consider that overpopulation itself is a "symptom," perhaps of a lack of education and/or economic opportunity? Getting at root causes is critical and as Lund points out the "eco system" is where "All economic and survival activity must come from." Here Lund shows an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things &emdash; and how the world functions. We therefore cannot isolate specific issues like population to find answers.
So, what exactly is going wrong? Isn't it the human decision making process itself? Aren't humans naturally inclined (and taught) to focus on singular objectives or goals? What if we utilized a different decision making framework that simultaneously considered the financial, environmental and social impacts of our proposed actions; kind of a "triple top line" versus a single bottom line. In his book Holistic Management, Allan Savory makes a powerful case for the need to improve the way in which humans make decisions. His comparison of parts of Africa and West Texas, both dying regions (land and communities) of the world with similar climate and natural resources, yet exact opposite issues (overpopulation vs. under population, low education vs. high education, low technology vs. high technology, unstable government vs. stable government), however both are dying. Why? Something they have in common is how the people there make decisions, always toward singular goals, narrow objectives.
So, how can we go about making decisions differently? A more holistic approach is needed. This means decisions are made toward a broader objective or goal established by those decision makers; one that considers economic, ecological and social objectives. Overpopulation is forever linked with economic and social justice, with environmental degradation and so on but until we address how we make decisions as a human species we cannot expect to thrive and sustain our desired quality of life, which is attainable only when we are in harmony with how the world in fact functions.
Articles in the newspapers Jan. 3 explain that the government gave over $1 billlion to religious-based institutions. Is this a payoff for votes in the last election? Down in Mexico that would be called "mordida".
What has happened to our vaunted concept of separation of Church and State?
Everett L Williams
The concluding paragraph of Molly Ivins' column from the 1/1-15/05 issue included the line, "The people we elect to public office do what you want them to." I beg to differ ... since unfortunately the people running the government are, in many instances, completely unresponsive to what I have written or telephoned. My representative, a Bush sycophant Republican, will reply in a letter which does not address anything which I have written her or answer my questions on policy, such as how the federal government can actually have a "tax cut" while it must borrow to do so, the budget being in deficit? Her letters on the Iraq invasion mirror the mendacious prevarications of the Bush administration. She voted FOR and brags about the Medicare drug bill, which is no aid to most seniors but a windfall to the drug companies. I will contact her office about the proposed Bush scuttling of Social Security, but I am not optimistic about the response. I will also encourage support of the proposed bill by Rush Holt HR 2239 to require an auditable paper trail for all voting, but again, am not optimistic there either.