Bush I spoke disparagingly of the vision thing while talking vaguely of a new world order. Installed in the White House by the Supreme Court Five, Bush II has moved aggressively on a sweeping agenda that includes:
* Institutionalizing a hereditary ruling aristocracy in the United States by eliminating the estate tax.
* Moving aggressively in the name of defense to develop and deploy a Star Wars weapons system that makes military sense only as an offensive system intended to secure global US military hegemony.
* Weakening environmental regulations to facilitate the rape of the earth by corporate interests for quick profits.
* Advancing trade agreements that strengthen corporate rights everywhere at the expense of human rights, democracy, and the environment.
* Regimenting schools with standardized testing that gives central authorities the power to determine the "correct" answers that children must be taught in school.
Connect the dots and the truth jumps out from the page -- the Family Bush has a clear and well articulated vision of a world order maintained by American military and economic power and ruled by a hereditary family dynasty accountable only to itself. Bush I set the stage. It falls to Bush II to move it quickly forward before the rest of us wake up to the fact that he took hold of the reigns of government with perhaps the clearest vision and the most comprehensive agenda of any White House occupant in US history.
DAVID C. KORTEN
Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Korten is author of When Corporations Rule the World
Let us examine the economic downturn in this country as it affects our every day lives. What is the purpose of a recession or depression?
First, a laid off worker is more apt to accept a lower paid job -- when they do find work -- and the idea is that they will work harder when they do go back to work. Also the people still working are expected to work harder to hold on to their jobs. Then to it makes it easier to fill the low-paying jobs that no one else wants to do.
Another fact is the armed services have been having trouble recruiting people to serve in the military lately. When jobs are more plentiful young people are not going to take up a trade, as quickly, where you learn how to kill people, and then go and practice your skills on the poor people of the world who do not agree with your ideology.
Last, but not least, is the psychological effect of not finding a job on a worker who has been laid off. After a while they begin to think that maybe society does not need them or like them. That can become real depressing. After a while they may give up trying to find a job.
Then we come to the one and six tenths trillion dollar tax cut, mostly for the rich, along with estate tax and the capital gains tax, cuts. Now back in 1981 under President Reagan and a Democrat Congress they told us the big tax cut would cure the ills of the economy through the trickle down theory. All that happened was that we ended up with a $4 trillion bigger national debt.
Then after the rich get their big tax cuts and the government goes into deficit spending again, they will decide that we have to have more government revenues. Guess what? They will decide that we should have a flat tax system or a national sales tax or both -- both of which are regressive -- to replace the present progressive graduated income tax.
A better way to improve our economy would be to put people to work repairing our bridges all over the country and replacing the water and sewage systems in the cities which are in need of repair.
A country's economy always does much better when money trickles up from the bottom rather than down from the top, at least you have something to show for it -- a solid bridge, a good water system or a sanitary sewer which would better the living conditions of everyone.
In other words, let us put the government surplus and the unemployment compensation dollars to work repairing our infrastructure.
Now we are engaged in a great national debate over tax cuts. Since no one likes to pay taxes you might say that everyone is in favor of cutting taxes. Some of us recognize that the national debt is our responsibility regardless of who caused it. Certainly the American government could not have gotten $5.7 trillion in credit except for the fact that the American people were behind their notes. Those of us who abhor debt would like for our tax cuts to come after the national debt is paid off. Fiscally irresponsible Republicans insist that they get a tax cut right now.
What is different is that last year great white father Greenbridge [sic] messed up our most excellent economy with five increases in interest rates and now he is saying that maybe a tax cut would be a partial redemption of his sins of last year. Trouble is he has seduced some Democrats so the only question is how big of a cut. The best tax cut would be $300 credit in taxes to every man, woman, and child in America. This would be a little help to the people who have been abused so much for the past 20 years. Obviously the poor who don't earn enough to pay income tax would need to redeem their tax credit with Uncle for the coin of the realm. This would amount to $84 billion which is certainly enough money to jump start the economy.
A generation or two back the rich knew that it would be up to them to support the government because the poor simply do not have the money to pay for our army etc. Several years before I retired the company that I worked for had an exceptionally good year so I personally got into the 50% income tax bracket. Instead of complaining about so much taxes I turned hand-springs all over the yard because I was so happy to have earned that much even though it was only for one year. The moral degeneracy of those who want to skip paying for the government now and send the bill to our grandchildren leaves me speechless.
The defection of Nader liberals from the Democratic Party will eventually introduce the USA to another depression that only Republicans can tolerate.
Possibly, Nader himself is not free in my opinion of financial gain from some billionaire for getting Bush elected.
Elderly citizens like myself will take it on the chin like millions are doing so the rich can get richer.
The Republicans control the TV and other important media as evidenced by what they did to Clinton for years and the current emphasis on pardons which compare favorably to other presidents.
Richard J. Condon's mention of an "ongoing conversation" sounded positive enough, but his letter ("We Don't Need 'Boutique Candidates,'" 3/15/01 PP) turned into a lecture instead. Worse, it failed to grasp the material. Mr. Condon says Nader supporters "don't get it," even though, according to him, "we are mostly in agreement on the issues." But that's just wrong. Nader says that big money distorts politics beyond recognition; Gore took in some $140 million (last time I checked). They disagreed on campaign finance reform, out-of-control corporate power, real environmental protections, living wages, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and sustainable energy policies. The list goes on; the point is that on most substantive issues, there was no agreement at all.
I reject Mr. Condon's claim to the left (whatever that means). The fact is, the Democratic Party under the [Democratic Leadership Council], Clinton, and yes, Al Gore, just plain left the left. Hell, even Robert Reich said it, after he left the cabinet: "There are no Democrats in Washington anymore. There's only Republican and Republican Light."
Some seem to think that when the Dems say, "We're not Republicans, and we're big," that somehow defines the left. Nader rightly calls that "diminished expectations."
Many loyal Democrats can't accept the fact that, if they have progressive ideas, the party has dumped them. It's not easy on the ego to admit you've been snookered, but there it is.
"Boutique candidacy" is a cute term, but if you're going to throw it around you ought to acknowledge your support for "boutique democracy." That's what you have when the choices are so narrow, isn't it? Of course, Al Gore was happy enough to help keep Nader out of the "boutique debates," which many of us (and many others) saw as a stranglehold on the Marketplace of Ideas.
The assertion that compromise "works well to achieve our goals" is too general: sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. For myself, having seen the Dems compromise us into NAFTA, merger mania, and GMO Hell, I was SO HAPPY for the chance to vote for a candidate who took stands I believed in. That's arrogant? I call it democracy. I'm supposed to be embarrassed? I'd do it again.
We Nader voters dislike the current regime more than anybody. That's why we voted for the candidate who asserted the greatest difference. So trying to blame us for Shrub's victory is just silly. Try blaming those who voted for him.
I too am sad about "lost opportunities for progress," and if we agree on what they were, it would be good to have a dialog about them. But try to "get it" -- in 2000 such opportunities were not offered by the Democrats.
St. Louis, Mo.
I was shocked by the letter [3/15/01 PP] from Richard J. Condon of Poulsbo, Wash. He said, "... there are many of us on the Left still angry with Ralph Nader and the Greens, and it seems hard to believe that he and many of his supports [sic] still don't get it." EXCUSE ME! It is the Democratic Party honchos who don't get it! What they don't get is that they are moving farther and farther away from representing the public good and the needs of the people. The 2000 election should be a wake-up call for the Democrats who should open up their eyes and ears and pay attention to what Ralph Nader and his supporters are saying. Ralph Nader is a leader; for decades the only presidential candidates we've had are politicians. Politicians are nothing more than puppets of whoever is paying their way; they don't stand up for what they believe in (if they believe in anything) and they don't ever think -- really think. Anyone can be a politician; leaders are a rare and priceless breed.
Mr. Condon speaks. of Nader as being "disrespectful", "arrogant", "shortsighted", all of which, to me, describe the tone of his letter.
And, by the way, Al Gore didn't lose the election.
Yesterday's mail brought the March 15th issue to my desk and after seeing the cover illustration I felt compelled to write.
Usually, I find Dolores Cullen's front page illustrations right on the mark ... however, this week's cover implies a "love fest" (even if it is under the threat of the knife held over the head of the Dem donkey.) I feel the total collapse of Democratic opposition of the "resident shrub" and his nominations for cabinet posts smacks much more of the donkey kissing the other end of the elephant!
And regarding the highjacked presidential election and all the coverage of the Florida controversy please pay attention to disregard of true grassroot efforts to bring about change. Here in North Carolina third party access to the ballot is nearly impossible to accomplish due to the excessive high requirement of registered voter signatures needed on ballot petitions. However, failing to secure a slot on the official ballot, voters can opt to submit a write-in vote. The Catch-22, however, is that it is up to each county board of elections to decide if the write-in ballots will be counted. Here in Henderson County, N.C., the board decided it was too much trouble to do the count! No notice is posted at the polling location that the write-in ballot will not be counted.
Lastly, has anyone else noticed that their voter registration designation has been changed by the board of elections ... I'm no longer listed as an "Independent;" instead I'm assigned the twilight zone "unaffiliated" tag!
It took Maria Cantwell the newly elected Washington State Senator, three months to become corrupt. She voted against her constituents and in favor of the credit card industry which has bilked billions from consumers who signed up for credit cards under the assumption that the banking industry could be trusted to care for their money. Instead they find the interest rate on their credit cards raising from an introductory 2% or less to over 25% in many cases. They change the dates of sending out bills so the time when they are received to the time a late payment is charged is so narrow that any flub by the postal service results in usurious late charges. The leading credit card contributor to the political coffers, MBNA, is currently being sued for fraud in their advertising and Cantwell and a majority of Democrats voted with Republicans to give them up to $25 billion more in profit and send the people they are pledged to represent to the debtors' prison. The Democratic Party no longer represents the people and it makes no difference if the Democrats or Republicans are in power. We have become a feudal state regardless and the Congress serves the lords of the fiefdoms.
After 50 years of loyal service to the Democratic Party where I worked hard to elect candidates, walking precincts, going to conventions and monthly district and county meetings, and donating money, I quit. Not only do I quit but I will devote much of my remaining energy to see that the current bunch of thieves will not gain office in the future.
Bill Press of CNN's Spin Room correctly defines spin as saying one thing but meaning the opposite.
George W Bush: "Give the surplus back to the people who earned it."
Interpretation: Let [GE Chairman] Jack Welch, [former Sunbeam Chairman] Chainsaw Al Dunlap and the rest of the modern-day Robber Barons keep most of what they are stealing from the poor and middle class and give the middle class a few crumbs, hoping they will sign on.
The tragedy is, many of the middle class are swallowing the bait.
As for the surplus, as far as I can tell, "There ain't no such animal."
I generally enjoy and agree with Jim Van Der Pol's dispatches from the front-lines of family farming, however, I must take exception to one comment in his latest column "Choose Your Fats" [3/15/01 PP]. He says, "All the "good" foods, such as tofu ... require very expensive and profitable company-controlled processing."
The fact is, tofu can be made in your kitchen with nothing more than a blender, a couple pots and pans, and a piece of cheese-cloth. The process is similar to making cheese. Soybeans are ground in a blender, then boiled to create "soy milk". A coagulant is added to the soy milk which causes it curdle ( as with curds and whey). The curds are skimmed out, placed in a cheese-cloth bag to drain, and then put into a perforated vessel with a weight on top to press out more of the water. The traditional coagulant is something called "nigari" which is a by-product of evaporating sea water to make salt. An alternate coagulant is Epsom salts; vinegar or lemon juice will also do the job. That's the basic process -- not exactly a Cargill, ADM-kind of operation.
Granted, there are probably industrial tofu plants in the world, just as there are Velveeta "cheese" or Wonder "bread" factories. The tofu I buy is made in a cottage-industry setting -- bigger grinder, bigger pots, but the same basic process. The whole show requires no more physical plant than a neighborhood bakery. As with bread, cheese, or hogs, there is an inverse relationship between quantity and quality. The best food comes from small, labor-intensive operations, with a high degree of human involvement, love for and pride in the finished product.
Jim, I'm on your side. I think the decline of the family farm is one of the great tragedies of modern times and the true cost of this situation has yet to be reckoned. However, I don't think tofu has much, if anything, to do with it.
No matter how Robert Parry attempts to slice and dice administrations, "Democrats Bipartisan Folly" [3/15/01 PP], the majority of Bill and Hillary's ardent supporters now admit that the Clinton Administration was one of the most unethical, sleazy and corrupt in history.
As an aside, the IRS should investigate that most effective corporate shakedown artist, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and that phony Operation Push and Rainbow Coalition organization he heads. I'm sure the government coffers will be richly rewarded for the taxes and fines such an audit would produce.
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