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This is What Democracy Looks Like

First Day of Summer's Madman

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Margin of Error

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?" If "Depends": "Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"
-The latest Pew Research Center Poll

Much to my brother's chagrin, the 15 point bump in the polls that "G"lobal "W"arming Bush was supposed to receive hasn't quite gotten there yet. In the latest Pew Research Center poll of June 14-15, President Bush has seen his approval rating soar to the heights of 35 percent, up a whopping three points from their poll which closed on May 22. And there is more good news for the GW: His disapprove number declined from 56 percent to 54 percent.

Amazing. Of course one has to remember that this is in the margin of error of +/- three percent. Basically, Bush's numbers have remained unchanged.

President Photo-Op is receiving no bump from his Karl "The Traitor" Rove stunts, which once were all the rage just a short time ago. There are no color coordinated terror levels to scare us with. We won't fall for that. $120,000 airplane trips don't impress us any longer. And there are no more piles of rubble, with the remains of slaughtered Americans, to stand upon. They will have to think of something else.

It was Richard Perl, recently of Donald "We Don't Know What We Don't Know" Rumsfeld's Defense Department, who wished that the United States would be the victim of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". Perl was one of the members of PNAC (Project for the New American Century) who, as a group, looked at the prosperity and relative peace enjoyed during the Clinton years and said, as a group, "That will not do." The real scary thing about that group is the notion that they are all either integral parts of the Bush administration or on its close periphery. But the really, really scary part is that their ranks include the present Vice President (Dick "Go <F---> Yourself> Cheney; a former VP (Dan "Don't Shoot Me, Dick" Quayle); The present Secretary of Defense ("Rummy"); an indicted Chief of Staff to the VP (I. Lewis "Scooters aren't allowed in jail" Libby); and a host of others including religious leaders (Gary Bower); a former Presidential Candidate (Steve "Flat Tax" Forbes) and a soon-to-become "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party presidential nominee (Jeb "Can I steal just one for Me?" Bush), among others.

Numbers don't mean anything to these people. Not poll numbers; not unemployment numbers; not even 3,000 dead Americans on 9/11 (The PNAC Sacrifice); not 2,500 dead Children of America (our troops); and not upwards of 50,000 dead Iraqis.

Let me rephrase that: They do care about numbers, as long as they have a dollar sign in front of them.

They spin numbers that one would think couldn't be spun. They'll look at the polls and say something like, "We never look at polls, but the presidents approval numbers are really on the way up," despite the fact that they have nowhere to go but up. They'll look at the unemployment numbers and say "Since there is only a 4.7 unemployment rate, that means that there 95.3 percent of Americans have jobs," when, in fact, only 62.9 percent of working-age Americans are employed under the Bush administration. At the same point in time, in their respective presidencies, 65.1 percent of those same Americans ,under the Clinton administration, had jobs. And they'll look at the deaths of the Children of America and say things like "It's a part of war.," when we all know that this was a war of choice... Their choice.

Republicans who are running for re-election are really running for their political lives right now. They are also running away from President Bush, and appropriately so. But, somehow, they still vote the party line, despite, what should be, better judgment. Today, for example, the Republican Senate refused to allow a much needed and much overdue hike in the federal minimum wage. It would have taken the below poverty level wage of $5.15 per hour up to $7.25 per hour over three years, barely keeping up with inflation.

"For every increase you make in the minimum wage, you will cost some of them their jobs,"
-Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

I hope this guy's the first to go.


Of course, states which have increased their minimum wage have seen a growth in jobs, not a decline. But that wouldn't fit under the GOP spin of the moment.

At the very same time, the Republican-led house, every member of which is up for re-election this November, is considering the Bush-Pushed legislation to allow the "base" of "have and have-mores" "even more" in an estate tax that would cost the American treasury billions of dollars at a time when we're in a growing budget crisis. Its passage would effect the bank accounts of the wealthiest 2,300 American families in a very7 positive manner (for them). The GOP calls it the "Death Tax" while the rest of the nation calls it "Paris Hilton's Tax Rebate".

Rove's Spin party is just getting started, They will use their minions at Fox News and the other main stream media outlets, all of which are afraid of losing the advertising dollars of big business, to help the Bush washing machine "spin to the right". after all, who you gonna believe, them or your own eyes?

Back in 2001, just after Bush's Boys "new Pearl Harbor" GW's approval rating was somewhere around where his father's was upon the invasion of Iraq in 1991: 92 percent. Today GW hovers around 35 percent. He's a lame duck just trying to get his ducklings elected for another two years to finish the job. Too bad that job's main requirement is the fleecing of the American People.

-Noah Greenberg

Minimum Wage Increase is Dead Again

Thanks to the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople Party

Today in the Senate: In the past 7 or so years the Congress has voted themselves $31,000 in increases because they believe they deserve it or earned it or are entitled to it. When it comes to regular citizens, some of whom have minimum wage jobs, the Republicans don’t feel anything has been deserved, earned, or entitled. In a vote of 52 (yeas) to 46 (nays) the Kennedy minimum wage Amendment failed which would phase in an increase from $5.15 to $7.25 over three years. Under a special agreement the Amendment needed 60 votes to pass. At the same time the republicans fought it tooth and nail (except for a few who voted for it including Specter, Snowe, Chafee, Collins, Lugar, Warner) and then proposed one of their own which would offer only $1.10 which didn’t pass. So we can thank the republicans again for lack of decency in rejecting a fair increase for low wage earners. All the while voting themselves an increase which is at least 20-25% more than they were getting 7 years ago. Most of the republicans who spoke contended that wages should be left to free market forces – hmmm, like those free market forces and companies involved in Iraq, Katrina, and other fiascos? Shame, shame, on them for their lack of compassion and fairness. Sooner or later their constituents will catch on that they really do not care about them or their progress.

-Casey Sweet



AUSTRIAN REPORTER: Mr. President, you said this is absurd. But you might be aware that in Europe, the image of America is still falling and dramatically in some areas.
Let me give you some numbers. In Austria, in this country, only 14 percent of the people believe that the United States -- what they are doing is good for peace; 64 percent think that it is bad.
In the United Kingdom, your ally, there are more citizens who believe that the United States policy under your leadership is helping to destabilize the world than Iran.
So my question to you is why do you think that you've failed so badly to convince Europeans, to win their heads and hearts and minds?"

Bush: Well, yeah, I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran.
I -- you know, it's -- we're a transparent democracy. People know exactly what's on our mind. We debate things in the open. We've got a legislative process that's active.
Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq. And I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us it was a change of thinking.
I vowed to the American people I would do everything I could to defend our people, and will. I fully understood that the longer we got away from September the 11th, more people would forget the lessons of September the 11th. But I'm not going to forget them.
And I understand some of the decisions I've made are controversial. But I made them in the best interest of our country and, I think, in the best interests of the world.
I believe when you look back at this moment, people will say, It was right to encourage democracy in the Middle East.
I understand some people think that can't work. I believe in the universality of freedom. Some don't. I'm going to act on my beliefs so long as I'm the president of the United States.
Some people say, 'It's OK to condemn people to tyranny.' I don't believe it's OK to condemn people to tyranny, particularly those of us who live in the free societies.
And so I understand. And I'll try to do my best to explain to the Europeans that, on the one hand, we're tough when it comes to the terror. On the other hand, we're providing more money than ever before in the world's history for HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa.
I'll say, on the one hand, we're going to be tough when it comes to terrorist regimes who harbor weapons.
On the other hand, we'll help feed the hungry.
I declared Darfur to be a genocide because I care deeply about those who have been afflicted by these renegade bands of people who are raping and murdering.
And so I will do my best to explain our foreign policy. On the one hand, it's tough when it needs to be. On the other hand, it's compassionate.
And we'll let the polls figure out -- you know, people say what they want to say. But leadership requires making hard choices based upon principle and standing by the decisions you make. And that's how I'm going to continue to lead my country.
Thank you for your question."

More garbled double talk from Bush – we’re tough, we feed the hungry – huh? His secret is he leaves listeners scratching their heads and wondering what the heck he said and worse, what did he mean. Figuring Bush-speak out is like trying to tack Jell-O to a wall, as a wise friend would say.

-Forwarded and Commented by Casey Sweet

I bet, at that point, the Austrian journalist questioned himself as to whether or not he actually spoke English. -NG

Media Madman
American Tabloids, George, Laura and Ann

I have GOT to send this before I get too busy & forget it. Went to the supermarket this afternoon. Waiting in line, sometimes I glance at the headline pages of those silly tabloids. They can be good for a giggle. "Glance" is the word, since most of the pix and captions are about anorexic entertainers I never heard of, or hideously ugly Prince Charles and his wrinkly-faced wife. Immediately forgettable.

The last time I saw something about Dubya, about 6 months ago, I think he'd gone for a ride in a flying saucer and fathered an alien child, or maybe he was an alien, or something--ho hum. However, after 9-11 through the propaganda blitz that brought us into the Iraq War, some tabloids played up Bush the Great Leader, and I saw a few photos of him in his imitation-masculine pose, in the phony aviator uniform on that carrier deck announcing that we'd won. The headlines, especially all those goofy prophecies--seemed even more slavishly propagandistic than the "respectable" press--as one might expect from papers that play to the super-gullible.

Sorry, I never looked at the articles inside, so maybe this has been changing and I never noticed. The tabs do seem to bypass the banal photo ops the Inquirer prints.

And WOW--TODAY! I can't recall which tabloids had what, or the exact wording--but all you need to do is go to your nearest supermarket. One of them had a full page photo of Laura Bush looking indignant, and a small pathetic camera shot of Dubya. The headline went something like this: LAURA WALKS OUT--SHE'S FED UP WITH GEORGE'S SKIRT-CHASING!

Well, we knew about the women all along, didn't we? (Whenever he's sober enough.) But I doubt that she's walked out--or even driven away in her SUV.

The other tabloid showed a closeup of a bleached blonde I recognized as Anne Coulter, although no name was attached. This isn't the exact wording of the caption, but close: THIS WOMAN IS EVIL! READ WHY SHE SHOULD BE DEPORTED!

Of course Ms. C. shouldn't be deported, and can't be--she's a US citizen, for heaven's sake--although institutionalizing her and treating her schizophrenic paranoia would be good for both her and the rest of us. What this silly caption does show is that her latest book has run up a massive credibility gap, and is irritating a lot more than a few pink commie egghead leftist kooks.

I told ya! Anne Coulter is our secret weapon!

-Jenny Hanniver

More Media Madman
Green Zone Bush"

"On Tuesday, June 13th, while Mr. Bush spent a brave five hours in the "green zone" of Baghdad with puppet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, at least 36 people were killed across Iraq amidst a wave of bombings. 18 of those died in a spasm of bombings in the oil city of Kirkuk in the Kurdish north.
"The minute word hit the streets in Baghdad of Bush's visit, over 2,000 supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took to the streets in protest. The protestors chanted "Iraq is for the Iraqis," and Sadr aide Hazem al-Araji publicly condemned the peek-a-boo visit of who he referred to as "the leader of the occupation."
-Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, on GW's secret visit to Iraqi (http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/061906J.shtml)

That's how the Iraqi people see it - the United States is occupying their country. It's time to redeploy.

-Robert Scardapane

In response to Billie M. Spaight, who responded to Robert Scardapane with, "I just participated in an e-action in which I told my congress-people that not only should they accept the Kennedy amendment but then after that they should double the minimum wage. I told my congress-people that some people have to live on the the same amount as the INCREASE. This is disgusting. Nobody could live on even the amount proposed. Nobody, nobody should make under $15.00 an hour because even that is too little to make," Rhian writes:

You are going to love this Billie: Scardapane and you are both right.

I honestly believe that no one in the world actually needs more than about $3M, of investment money, working for dividends they can live on. Basically.

Further, I believe that anyone who accumulates more than about $3M max of personal net worth, that they are actually damned if they do not at that point, use the excess accumulation, to give others the opportunity to rise up the financial scale in ways that demand shirtsleeves training time, volunteerism, even if that means going to classes with and tutoring those who have not made it yet. Not with get-rich-quick internet phishing schemes, but real time, real mentoring, real communication.

I'm not saying this should be a federally mandated program. It should be a personal desire to help others up.

It this went on long enough, and included everyone's kids along the way, it wouldn't be more than 40 years, two generations, till no one would need insurance for anything.

Vast wealth is, in and of itself, a burden and a horror, if all it is used for is either to accumulate more vast sums, or fund wars. If all one wants to do is spend all day everyday, guarding a lair of treasure, one dies bankrupt.

A CEO who takes home a $4M dollar per year salary, while there are people in the company making less than $20 per hour is no better than a biting, growling dog on a pile of hay he cannot eat, while the oxen who plowed the dirt for the hay to grow, stands and starves. (Aesop, roughly transcripted)

True riches lie in the eyes of children who are well fed, in fields of clean crops, in the joy of rest at the end of a day of endeavor to create. . . .(something besides poisons). True riches is the moment one learns to read and the universe opens. True riches is in the hand of an artist, or musician. Riches lie in the sunset and dawn tapestries in the skies. The rich man/woman is the tradesman or craftsman who sees a building rise under their efforts, or a bridge, or a barn, or silo, or orchard, or piece of furniture.
The rich man/woman is the man/woman who pursues their dreams and do what they love, without having to worry about the price of a loaf of bread, without having to sell off the dream for a wage doing something they hate, every day.

When exactly did most everyone forget, that there are problems that cannot be solved by money, that toys are to share, that you only get by giving?

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-Noah Greenberg