What we need is a new color code system for the political parties in America.
The Libertarians can be gray.
The Greens -- well, they can be green.
The Republicans want to be red so the Communists will have to take another color as soon as they form a new party.
The Democrats are blue.
The Conservatives can be yellow -- because they hide behind the Republicans and won't come out in the open.
The Christian Conservatives can be purple -- and their party leader can wear a robe and a crown.
The Liberals can be orange -- a little red, a little yellow.
This way we can avoid the lies attached to the present red/blue state problem. As before the Civil War there were plenty of people in the South that didn't want their states to leave the Union and raise a traitorous army -- in today's America there are plenty of people in many of the "red" states that didn't want to watch Rumsfeld mishandle Iraq for another 4 years -- but it's kind of hard to get around those pesky bureaucratic and corrupt election boards that have sprung up in Ohio, Florida, New Mexico or the entirely upside down system in Texas.
The colors I choose are Red, White and Blue. Before I answer to party or religion, I am an American.
What are you?
I want my vote counted. I want my borders secure. I want my military home. I want the budget balanced. I want taxes reduced.
What do you want?
Molly Ivins notes in her column ("Lynching Social Security," Feb.1, 2005, TPP): "... the presidential race (was) so devoid of joy that the high point was when the president claimed God speaks through him ..."
I wonder what Mr. Bush would say if a little-known quote from one of his earliest predecessors, John Adams, was presented to him. President Adams, reflecting the views of many of our revered Founding Fathers, wrote, in 1788: "(In) the formation of American government ... it will never be pretended that any person employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of heaven."
And what would he say about the words of another famous Founding Father, James Madison: "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind ..."?
Maybe that explains everything.
Social Security is the taxpayer's safety net and should not be privatized! It has meant the difference between dignity and despair for generations of Americans and the only crisis is the one being "manufactured" by radical right-wingers who want to kill a program that they have never liked.
Keeping Social Security healthy for the next century will require only a small future revenue infusion; less than we are paying for the Iraq war fiasco and only a quarter of the amount lost annually to Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact it will mean cutting benefits to retirees, raising taxes or massive government borrowing, quite probably all three.
The real danger would be in diverting our retirement savings to the profit driven corporate account managers of Wall Street. It is a gamble and a risky strategy meant only to benefit the rich, who after all, are Bush's base. After the less than truthful shuck and jive, the shuffling and shadow boxing in the run-up to the Iraq war fiasco, how can anyone of us believe the hype of this so-called Social Security "crisis"?
"Ownership Society" is merely a euphemism for the ongoing transfer of wealth from the middle classes to the corporations which now control our government through their influential political contributions, rightly called "bribery" by those who see the system for what it is. Speak up now or you will regret it later.
Charles B. Carr
New Boston, N.H.
Martha Stewart lies under oath and she does five months in the slammer.
Alberto Gonzalez lies under oath and he gets promoted to attorney general.
Re: "Oldest Profession Needs to Get Organized," by A.V. Krebs, 2/1/05 TPP, on movements coming from farmers: Don't forget Shay's Rebellion, ca. 1786, and the Constitution barely dry, when Daniel Shays led farmers from Western Massachusetts to barricade the entrance to the Hampshire County courthouse [and other courthouses] demanding a moratorium on suits for debt and a temporary halt to all court sessions so no more farmers would lose their land until the state's economic situation improved! An early start!
Mary Jane Fowler
La Veta, Colo.
Let us settle this argument once and for all. The oldest profession was apple picking, closely followed by dress design when Adam and Eve went over to the fig tree and selected suitable leaves to cover their nether regions. Fashion was born!
A.V. Krebs was close with his suggestion that farming was the oldest profession. However, there is also a close contest between cooking and hooking. I think that some serious biblical scholars should study this and let us know for sure. I suppose in all the red states the inhabitants think that yellow cake is a dessert. Thank you for a great paper.
Your editorial, "Dems Need Rebrand" [2/15/05 TPP] is an easy assertion to make after the election. Your 10 points that the Democrats need to adopt are a virtual word-for-word recitation of the Dennis Kucinich platform that you were unwilling to get behind during the primaries. Because you thought him unelectable, you were willing to toss aside this same agenda to get behind a compromised candidate instead.
The sad thing is, Kucinich himself tossed it all aside to get behind Kerry and present a united Democratic front after the primaries. Sadder still is that I compromised my own principles and voted for Kerry instead of Nader in hopes of defeating Bush. I won't be making that mistake again. The next time my choice is between two sorry pro-war candidates I won't be behind either wrong side.
Editor Replies: In 1/1-15/05, TPP recommended US Reps. Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich as the two most progressive populists in the race. We explicitly embraced Kucinich's universal health program and his defense of worker and consumer rights. In 2/1/04 we noted our heart was with Kucinich but our head tilted us toward Howard Dean, who had adopted a populist platform and actually had a chance to be elected. After Dean dropped out, in our 3/1/05 editorial, "Keep the Scream Alive," we said, "Democrats should vote for the most progressive populist candidate who can win in November. That's Edwards." After Kerry sewed up the nomination, in 4/1/05, "We're all Dems Now," we endorsed Kerry, noting that he had beaten populist campaigns of Gephardt, Dean, Edwards and Kucinich. We're all for fighting the good fight, but not for flogging lost causes.
Almost everyone is familiar with the term "Yellow Dog Democrat." It started with someone in the south, back when almost all southern whites hated the Republicans because Lincoln freed the slaves, said that he would "sooner vote fer a yeller dog than a Republican."
Since then southern white voters have switched allegiance and overwhelmingly favor Republicans because they blame Democrats for giving black people the right to vote and to attend previously segregated schools. These bigots have been joined by so called Christians, "Pro-Life" people, those who believe that they should have the right to own assault weapons, Homophobes, and millions of people who believe anything the right wing spin machine churns out every day. This vast coalition of hate mongers and ignorant will, as proven in the last presidential election, vote for a liar, a deserter, a fascist, a murderer and a war criminal rather than voting for a decorated war hero Democrat.
If someone who would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican is a, "yellow dog Democrat," is someone who would rather vote for a war criminal than a Democrat a "war criminal Republican"? Is someone who would rather vote for someone whose lies have lead the country into a unjustified war rather than voting for a Democrat a "lying Republican"? Is someone who would vote for a war criminal who is responsible for the deaths of 1500 American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis rather than voting for a Democrat a "war criminal Republican"? Is someone who voted for G.W, Bush rather than John Kerry because they believe that Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks or actually had WMDs a "Stupid Republican"?
The question of the day is what is the Republican equivalent of a yellow dog democrat?
Recently I had the opportunity to read Joe Conason's book: Big Lies: the Right Wing Propaganda Machine and How it Distorts the Truth.
Mr. Conason does an excellent job of rebutting the "big lies" of the right wing propaganda machine.
I was back at the library a couple of weeks after I had finished and returned the book. The book was sitting on the shelf in the "New Books" section of the library.
Whether anyone took out, read, and returned the book in that period I don't know. One thing I do know is that the "big lies" did not sit on the shelf unread during that period. The right wing propaganda machine was pumping them out in a steady stream night and day over the airwaves and in the print media.
Rebuttals come and rebuttals go but the big lies keep coming, and as the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels said: "Lies repeated over and over again come to be accepted as truth."
It was not the religious fundamentalists that reelected Bush. It was the "big lies."
One can hardly blame American conservatives for using a "machine" that works so well for them. It would be stupid for them to do otherwise.
Richmond Heights, Ohio
I am certainly not an apologist for our medical system, which is broken, but please do not defend the medical tort system, which also doesn't work. In both your editorial, and in Hightower's column, a remarkable blind spot was repeated. An amazing number of lawsuits were filed in those [Illinois] counties, of which only 1.9% ended in jury verdicts. It is the 98.1% which represent the nightmare!
I recently witnessed a colleague who was sued for malpractice, and was involved in this inept system. The game is to set a ridiculously high value, in this case $5 million, which is purposely above insurance coverage. The immediate threat (on which both your attorney and the plaintiff's counsel agree) is to place any asset that you have in jeopardy, including house, car, etc. You then must hire a lawyer to protect yourself against your own insurance company -- as they may not act in your best interest! The anguish and fear is numbing -- and an additional implied action is to garnishee your wages for eternity, as you will never be able to pay such a reward.
In this case, the plaintiff's lawyer was unable to find any expert witness to support the claim. As expert witnesses are highly paid to testify for the cases, invariably one can be found except for the most frivolous claims. The price fell to $150,000, or they would still take it to court. The physician now begged the company to settle out of court, instead of risking an astronomical judgment by a sympathetic jury. The insurance company finally relented and paid, although no one thought that the case had any validity whatsoever.
So what became of the $150,000? $79,000 was paid to Medicare, and you guessed it, the rest to the lawyer!!
The lack of a cap places a huge stress on the individuals, who constantly live under an implied threat of destitution every day. Jim Hightower should walk in those shoes. The medical and tort systems both need an overhaul, but a cap would make it a little more bearable until this occurs.
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