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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday- Sunday, May 26-28, 2006


 

In response to "MADMAN READERS, PLEASE READ AND RESPOND!", and:

 

Honest Leadership and Open Government

We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government as good as the people it serves

 

Real Security

We will protect America at home and the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies

 

Energy Independence

We will create a cleaner and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

 

Economic Prosperity and Educational Excellence

We will create jobs that will stay in America by restoring opportunity and driving innovation.

 

A Health care System that Works for Everyone

We will make sure everyone has access to affordable, quality health care.

 

Retirement Security

We will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American.


Rhian:

The first and second sound great.

I only have one question for the last three of these statements. How do you propose you will, or we, should accomplish each of these?

Some cures kill the patient. The US is presently in traction with multiple broken bones, waiting for quadruple bypass surgery on a heart in defib, thanks to Bush.

Specifics please.


Billie M. Spaight:

"Honest Leadership and Open Government

"We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government as good as the people it serves"

-Then why are you constantly trying to please Republicans and abandoning the core Democratic values?

 

"Real Security

"We will protect America at home and the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies"

-Then why are you afraid to challenge the war in Iraq? Why are you afraid to admit that you never should have supported the war?

 

"Energy Independence

"We will create a cleaner and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

-Then why aren't you fighting to demand that we use alternative energy sources? Why aren't you demanding that we join the rest of the world's energy mandate?

 

"Economic Prosperity and Educational Excellence

"We will create jobs that will stay in America by restoring opportunity and driving innovation."

-Then why did your guys devise horrid things like NAFTA and the trade agreement with China? All it does it outsource everything and drain us of jobs.

 

"A Health care System that Works for Everyone

"We will make sure everyone has access to affordable, quality health care."

-This would be the funniest one of all if it weren't so damn sad. What in holey hell possessed Ted Kennedy to push that disaster in Massachusetts, making people pay for healthcare that won't hardly cover them? This is this BIGGEST LIE of them all!

 

"Retirement Security

"We will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American."

-Exactly how? Certainly not with Medicare Part D's huge doughnut hole? Certainly not by making people slave till they are in their 70s because they cannot afford to retire earlier.  Is retirement living in a broom closet in a crack den your idea of a dignified retirement? That's what a lot of people will have to do in order to be able to afford to eat and take medicines.

 

"Without any spin from yours truly, I am curious what Madman readers think of it."

-I think the Democrats are just another variety of Republicans. They are out for themselves and just want power any way they can get it. They are not the least bit interested in helping human beings. They don't want to end the war. They don't want to have a safety net. They don't care about anybody but themselves. In every single fight that occurred they backed down and let the Republicans get away with pushing their far right agenda. They let the Bushies create a police state here where our government is breaking laws by tapping people's phones. They let the Bushies pass through their Social Darwinist agent. They never even made any noise. I am sick of both parties. Hillary Clinton is one of the biggest liars of all. So is Joseph Lieberman. They are horrible and have betrayed everything that we once stood for. This country I live in is not even recognizable to me anymore. It stands for nothing but greed and violence.


Casey Sweet:

 

…it sounds more like a collection of conceptual mission statements than a plan.

 

Basically, I agree with all that is said by the DCCC and appreciate the vision it conveys, but I am a follower of politics and don’t need to get my political opinions in sound bites. 

 

Thinking of ordinary citizens who spend little time following or listening to politics, I think what they propose seems very conceptual and not strong enough to breakthrough to voter’s ears.  It is not clear what specific promises the DCCC is making and that means much is left to interpretation, all of which weakens the intended message.   That is, assuming they want the mainstream public to hear these messages in their plan.

 

For instance, to get more to the meaningful point I would say “Honest Leadership – Corruption will be curtailed and prosecuted.”  In some cases I think the statement given sounds good, but there is no power or specificity behind it.   For instance, the explanation under Retirement Security conceptually sounds good, but “We will fight for and protect social security” would be stronger if that is what they meant to convey.  They need good marketing/advertising people who understand the way the public listens and interprets and how to communicate most effectively so the message is heard.

 

And enough with the “culture of corruption” which I have always disliked because the most important point being made – corruption – is softened and mitigated by using a word that has a positive connation – culture.  I have always preferred “crisis of corruption” which more accurately conveys the immediacy and illegality of it all.


And finally, here are my (Madman’s) answers:

 

"Honest Leadership and Open Government

"We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government as good as the people it serves"

-We have to do much more than that. We have to rid bot our national government and state governments of the legalized bribery system known as :lobbying". It will have to start somewhere, so the question needs to be asked "Who will cast that first stone?" We're not going to stop lobbying in one fell swoop... it will need to be done "incrementally" (That's "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's word of the month).

 

The "Lobbying Reform Bill" being presented in Congress is nothing but a joke. And the argment that "Lobbyists are important means of getting necessary information" is bogus. Think of this: If there were no  lobbyists whatsoever, do you think there will be one businessman, when asked by  congress for advice, that would turn them down because there wasn't that Lobby middle-man to filter his answers? Do you think that any businessman wouldn't want the chance to promote his business or his industry in front of the "deciders" for free?

 

As a matter of fact, I'll go as far as to suggest that without removing lobbyists from the "big picture", none of the remaining "goals" are going to be achieved, at least not with the best interests of the nation at heart.

 

The one question I have for all wanna-be representatives would be this: If you could write your own "Lobby Reform Bill", what would it say? If it didn't include the words "NO MORE LOBBYISTS", that wanna-be wouldn't get my vote, regardless of party.

 

If I were running for office, the first thing I would say is this: "I will present a true lobby reform bill in my first year as your representative."

 

"Real Security

"We will protect America at home and the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies"

-Telling the truth is nice. But protecting our nation, I believe, starts with our ports. More stuff comes into this nation than one could truly imagine on any given day, and they either come into, or adjacent to large, metropolitan population centers. At present, depending on who's numbers you believe, only six percent of all containers are physically inspected (taken apart and looked through) Here is my solution:

 

There needs to be inspections performed at the point of origin. these inspections need to be performed by trusted US allies or trusted US companies. These inspections would have to be made at the expense of the shipping companies, even if it does increase the cost of goods to the US citizenry by a penny, nickel dime or even dollar.

 

An alternate method, if it could be done, is to have all of these shipments inspected at sea while they are in transit. A crew armed with hand-held scanners and dogs could inspect the cargo during the voyage and ensure its integrity before it hits New York/ New Jersey, Los Angeles, Long Beach or New Orleans.

 

Next, protecting our nation means securing our borders. You could compare the illegal immigration problem with economics. There are buyers (the illegal immigrants who venture across our southern border in order to find work) and there are sellers (those who would hire them).It comes to my mind that the first thing you have to do is make sure the sellers (employers) know that if they break the law, they will have to pay. Heavy fines (maybe a month’s business receipts, for example) and severe jail terms (escalating according to the number of violations and the severity of the violation) should make a real dent in the employment of those who want to work here illegally.

 

Also, I think it’s fair to say that there are different situations in different states regarding illegal immigrants. The border states (California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas) have the unique problem of contending with illegals on a first contact basis. There are many ways to help them cope on the border including: a wall; a “mote” (as described in an earlier Madman); more border patrols; using the Army National Guards border troops (this will require getting them home from Iraq first).

 

The proposal that I feel requires a study is the “mote” idea. First, commission a study by the Army Corp of Engineers to achieve something similar to the St. Lawrence Seaway: a long stretch of water, navigable by ships, extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the pacific Ocean. The silt removed to make way for this waterway would then be used to reinforce the barrier islands which are supposed to protect New Orleans and the other low-lying areas of the gulf.

 

Oh yeah… And no more wars based on lies.

 

"Energy Independence

"We will create a cleaner and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

-Good idea. Here's how I would accomplish this: Bring back CAFÉ standards. If we kept the CAFÉ standards which the Carter administration put forth, our cars today would be averaging about 40 Miles per gallon. Researching ways to make fuel from crops (corn, “switch grass”) more efficient; removing the tax breaks for SUV’s ($100,000… WOW); and raising the tax break for those who purchase hybrid vehicles are all good starts.

 

More and continuing convictions holding corporate energy thieves responsible (Most recently, Enron's Jeffery Skilling and "Kenny-Boy" Lay) for their actions would be a good idea as well. I think a non-partisan, REAL, permanent energy task force, with a special prosecutor at its head, would also be a good policing action.

 

"Economic Prosperity and Educational Excellence

"We will create jobs that will stay in America by restoring opportunity and driving innovation."

-Force companies that outsource to pay taxes here if they want to sell here. Yes, I know it’s a tariff, but at one time in our nation’s history, the whole federal budget was based on tariffs rather than tax-based. Of course, a national health care plan would also make employers more likely to keep jobs here in the US rather than outsource them. If you don’t tack on that extra “business tax of health care coverage” to employers (since many employers pay a portion of their employees health care coverage), it will immediately make them more profitable; it will allow them to hire family men (and women) rather than a cheaper employee without a family; and it will immediately help those who wish to start a new business actually create that new business. For example: Let’s pretend that you’re in the service industry and that you charge $100 per hour for your services. With health care costs the way they are now, it would take you eight to fifteen hours each and every month just to pay for your health care. It is prohibitive. That being said…

 

"A Health care System that Works for Everyone

"We will make sure everyone has access to affordable, quality health care."

-Everyone should not only have access to health care, it should be guaranteed. Whether we start with a plan that allows everyone to pay for it themselves by withholding a portion of their income (say ten percent, but no more than $8,000 per year); or have the federal government fork over all of the Medicare money to the states (let’s face it -  the states would do a better job if they were given the whole sum rather than just a portion doled out by the thieves in DC); the whole thing really revolves around the idea that everyone is covered.

 

Health care companies “earn” whopping profits and offer less and less to patients, as well as doctors for their product. Social Security and Medicare operate at a fraction of what health care companies operate. It is estimated that health care companies’ “operating costs” run between 23 and 40 percent while Social Security and Medicare’s “overhead” is a mere two percent. In this case government is not only more efficient, but to the American people, it is more profitable too.

 

Additionally, we have to change the word "Affordable" to Guaranteed".

 

Again, we need to remove Lobbyists from the equation before any true health care reform can ever take place.

 

"Retirement Security

"We will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American."

Don’t believe the Bushies when they say that “Social Security was never meant as the only source of retirement revenue for people.” That is a lie. Social security was put in place so people wouldn’t spend their golden years begging for scraps on the street or deciding on whether to purchase food or medicine. We should offer people special incentives to augment their Social Security Insurance by not forcing them to pay payroll taxes on the first $20,000 of their earned income. This would require removing the ceiling (which only favors the very- to- ultra-rich Bush “base” of “haves and Have-Mores”) so there is more money going into the “lock-box”. Additionally, we have to stop Presidents like “G”lobal “W”arming Bush from raiding the “lock bix” every tme one of his base wants to buy a new 45 foot yacht and put it on the American People’s tab in the form of a targeted (to the rich) tax break.

 

The rich are supposed to help the poor, not the other way around.

 

In short, the rhetoric by the DCCC is good, but ideas are better.


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-Noah Greenberg