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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

March 9, 2008


Bush's Cloudy Crystal Ball - 2001

Excerpts from "Remarks by the President to Southwest Michigan First Coalition/ Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce Joint Event on the Economy" at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 27, 2001 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/03/20010327-5.html)

PRESIDENT BUSH: The last time I came, I think I went to the school right down the street, if I'm not mistaken.
MADMAN: Funny how President Bush's opening statement included this bit of humor. In looking back upon his record, he might have asked the same thing about his undergrad and graduate "work" performed in Connecticut (Yale) and in Pennsylvania (The Wharton School of Business) had he made speeches there.
After the obligatory name-barrage in which President Bush honored all of the Republican Party members sharing the stage with him (the first three paragraphs included words like "honored" and phrases such as "good fortune" while stating the names of no less than eleven "dignitaries", women of whom flew on Air Force One with The President).

BUSH: You see, oftentimes, what I try to say in Washington gets filtered. Sometimes, my words in Washington don't exactly translate directly to the people, so I've found it's best to travel the country.
MADMAN: that explains why President Bush took out so much time to spend on his ranch in Crawford, Texas. He must have some real dumb cattle down there.

BUSH: You see, it's the President's job to look for warnings of economic trouble ahead, and to heed them, and to act.
MADMAN: After seven years, I think it's time to get your eyes checked, President Bush because if you can't see the warnings then you must have some bad eyesight. The problem is that even if you could see the warnings you would have ignored them anyway.
This is the presidency of never having to say you're sorry. After all, if one never admits to doing anything wrong, what does one have to apologize for?
And as far as acting goes, you've "acted" like the President long enough. We didn't need another actor to act like the President Mr. Bush - we needed a President who would act.

BUSH: We must put more money in the hands of consumers in the short-term, and restore confidence and optimism for the long-term. We need an immediate stimulus for our economy and a pro-growth environment for years to come.
MADMAN: Instead you put more money into the bank accounts of the already very rich and made them even richer. At the same time, we saw jobs lost, our dollar shrink and all consumer confidence fall out the window. If left to you and your ilk, the only thing that is occurring for "years to come", is more heartache for the middle class - at least those of us left in the middle class.

BUSH: But lasting prosperity requires long-term thinking.
MADMAN: But wars require no thinking at all.

BUSH: The dollar is as respected in Kiev as it is in Kalamazoo. The world's shrewdest investors put their money in America.
MADMAN: NEWSFLASH! President Bush. Check out this headline from NASDAQ.COM (March 5, 2008): "US Dollar Drops To Multi-year Low Versus Russian Ruble"
Certainly many are looking towards America as the land of opportunity today, President Bush. Sultans are trying to purchase our ports and banks as I write this. And how could they not want their piece of the American pie. The discount rate is amazing thanks to you. In fact, the only ones who apparently can't take advantage of the American Dream today are us regular Americans. We simply can't afford it.

BUSH: My policies face reality as we found it, and lay the foundation for future growth.
MADMAN: Well, I guess we can forget about that one, Right Mr. Bush?

BUSH: Michigan has been hit especially hard. According to the latest figures, unemployment has risen more in Michigan over the past year than in any other state of the Union. Some regions of America, and some industries are doing better, but the trend is clear, and the need for action is urgent.
MADMAN: Well, you've corrected that trend, President Bush. Now in ALL of America, unemployment is rising and we are feeling the stings of your budget for the rich.

BUSH: Lower tax rates mean a new home will be more affordable, not just the first year, but every year. Lower rates mean that a new investment will have a better chance of success, not just the first year, but every year. Lower rates mean that a start-up company will keep more of its earnings, in not just the first year, but in every year.
BUSH: Our present tax code discourages investment by small business and entrepreneurs. The vast majority of American businesses -- the vast majority of American businesses -- pay tax on the personal schedule, not the corporate schedule.
MADMAN: Home values rose so fast that almost no new, young would-be home owner could afford to purchase a new home. Giving big tax breaks to the already rich did nothing to help them. And the best thing you could have offered start-up companies is cheap, affordable health care insurance. the state of health care coverage today makes sure that anyone thinking of leaving a job with any kid of employer contributed health care policy to create their own "Start-up" business just can't do so. Any would-be entrepreneur who might take that plunge just can't afford to.
Small, start-up business usually don't pay any taxes because they're not making a profit right away. The tax money they pay starts coming into the US treasury after they begin to show that profit. The tax break you spoke f way back in 2001 was geared to your global buddies who found it more profitable to move away during your administration and take good paying US jobs with them.
BUSH: Small business generates approximately 75 percent of America's net new jobs.
MADMAN: and they can't create any new jobs if they don't have the kind of help that would encourage the small business person. Tax relief is not what they're going to need in year-one. They'll need to know that they have health care; that they can pay their home's mortgage; and that they can put food on the table during that fist year or so. Then, and only then, will the small business person be able to create more of those jobs which you, apparently, already knew they had created before you ever thought about ruining our economy.
And today, with the cost of health care rising out of control with no end in sight; and the health care CEO's and other executives making record salaries, bonuses and retiring with giant golden parachutes, is there any wonder that health care is a blight on small business. One has to wonder how many have gone under during your presidency so far, President Bush.

BUSH: Since 1995, in fact, productivity has grown nearly twice as fast as it did between 1975 and 1995.
MADMAN: Wasn't a guy named "Clinton" President then?
BUSH: And if our productivity is to continue to grow, our tools and machinery and equipment must work better and faster.
MADMAN: All the "tools and machinery" didn't do a thing while you stood by and watched as our economy and jobs were shipped overseas. You even agreed with your chief economic advisor, Dr. N. Gregory Mankiw, who said that "outsourcing" was "a good thing". Is it still "a good thing", President Bush, and would you tell the people of Michigan that today?

BUSH: What makes productivity go up? Well, you know as well as anybody, it's education and investment
MADMAN: So what do you do, President Bush? You create a brand new bureaucracy in a scheme known as the No Child Left Behind Act - an unfunded mandate which the fifty states can't keep up with. At the same time, you brother, Neil, starts a company which provides the tests which the schools are required to give to their students. And if that weren't enough, you cut college funding and student loans to make it harder for middle- and lower-income students to go to college. Another brilliant plan, President Bush. Just how well is that one working out for us?

BUSH: Oh, I know you've heard the rhetoric about only certain kinds of people are going to get relief if you reduce all rates. But I want to talk about two things, two principles. One, if we're going to have tax relief, everybody who pays taxes ought to get relief.
MADMAN: And in the scheme which you and your "advisors" came up with, the very rich did, in fact, get the nearly all of the tax break offered up by your tax break which was geared towards them, Your mouthpieces said things like, "they paid the most in taxes, so they get most of the money back." But that tax break didn't do what you said it would do. It didn't put money back into the economy - it only made your very rich "base of haves and have mores " the "haves even mores".
BUSH: And, secondly, it's important to always remember the role of the federal government -- or any government for that matter -- is not to try to create wealth; the role is to create an environment in which the entrepreneur can flourish, in which a small business owner can grow to be big businesses.
MADMAN: And in that goal you were successful, President Bush. The environment created the wealthiest class of people ever seen - too bad it was at the expense of the American middle class.

BUSH: The death tax is unfair. It taxes a person's assets twice. It discriminates against savings, against investment, and against growth. And my plan repeals the death tax.
MADMAN: Considering that most of that wealth was money "earned" in by the reduced capital gains taxes; and considering that the "death tax", as you, Fox New, and any other member of your "base" like to call it, only affected fortunes left in excess of $1.3 million (back in 2001) and a handful of families, just what kind of growth were your talking about?
This is the first use of the word "discriminate" I had seen you use, President Bush. And today, as we try to get the oil industry under control, you're using the same word, "discrimination", in relation to them.
I guess one has to be filthy rich to be discriminated against in your book, President Bush.

BUSH: we must reform the Social Security system to give workers the option of directing some of their payroll tax contributions into personal retirement accounts -- give every -- every -- working American an opportunity to be an owner, not just a wage-earner.
MADMAN: The best thing that happened in regard to Social Security is tat you couldn't get that one past even your ultra-friendly GOP-dominated Congress and Senate. They realized that this scheme to open up our Social Security trust fund to those who only make their money by trading our money would, in the end, cause them their jobs.
We all remember your full-court press regarding Social Security. We all remember your telling us all that "It's only four percent", when in actuality, it was two-thirds of our six percent Social Security contribution. You told us that we could invest "our money" the way we want to; take chances for big gains or lay it safe. But what happens to those who invest poorly? Who pays their bills when they want to retire or get sick. You never explained that one away, President Bush.
Then you told us about the Galveston, Texas plan which allowed Galveston county employees to take their money and invest it in the stock market. What you didn't tell us is that they were guaranteed at least a three percent per year increase, even when the market tanked; they were only allowed to invest in certain, safe stocks; and those who were charged with investing their money were restricted to a very small commission. But that's not what you were talking about, was it President Bush?

And now for the biggest lie, or the worst incident of bad judgment in recent history:
BUSH: We can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens. Projections for the surplus in my budget are cautious and conservative. They already assume an economic slowdown in the year 2001. Even if the slowdown were to turn into a recession similar to that of 1990 and '91, the Congressional Budget Office projects that the 10-year surplus would shrink by only 2 percent, from a little more than $5.6 trillion to a little less than $5.5 trillion.
MADMAN: Softens? It's past soften, President Bush. That budget surplus which you guaranteed would be there in ten years was gone almost the immediately after that speech. That recession you talked about is here today ad there is no relief for the great many of us who live in the real world. A budget surplus of some $248 billion dollars has turned into a budget deficit of about a half-trillion dollars.
The only growth which has occurred is in the wallets of you true "base", and if you had your way, it would have even been worse.

BUSH: The lights are dimming in California. Consumers and businesses in California, the west and all over our nation are paying sharply higher energy bills
MADMAN: And as it turned out, it was you buddy, Kenny-Boy Lay's company who were the culprits behind the scheme to defraud the people of California.
BUSH: I directed Vice President Cheney to lead a task force that will produce the comprehensive energy strategy this nation needs.
MADMAN: And it has helped - it has helped the oil industry gain record profits; it has helped people go bankrupt trying to pay their heating bills; and it has helped bring us regular Americans to the brink just trying to pay our bills.

One has to wonder what a speech such as this one would sound like had President Bush made it today in Michigan, the state with the nation's worst unemployment statistics since he came into If made today, would it include the words, "Wow! Was I wrong or what?"; or would it sound exactly the same?

Unfortunately, probably the latter.

-Noah Greenberg

A Democrat Wins Hastert's Seat in Illinois

YEAH!! A harbinger of November in one of Illinois' most upscale and traditionally conservative districts.

War, depression, corruption, destruction of American values! Voters are really angry--and McCain will make a lousy candidate for the GOP. His personality, his questionable Senate votes (even angering the Board Room of Boeing!), and hypocritical, money-influenced so-called "ethics" are being exposed long before the nomination! Thanks to the loudmouth haters, baiters and woman-beaters who run the party, all the GOP candidates for 2008 who got out of the starting gate (in other words, the billionaire-funded ones) were fanatics, fumblers or fools. As an ex-Republican I'm deeply ashamed of the party I used to campaign for back when I thought it stood for something decent--but will always be proud of having campaigned for Ike and Senator Javits, and voting for Congresswoman Roukema of Bergen County NJ, another progressive Republican, as recently as 1992. And equally proud of NEVER voting! for crooks like Nixon and weirdoes like Goldwater. Thanks to admiring my socially progressive, fiscally cautious, independent-minded father's opinions, my political judgment has always been sound, regardless of voter registration.

It may be too late to save the Republican Party, which is poised to disappear or disintegrate. Lincoln must be weeping in heaven at the descent of his party into corruption, brutality, and behind it all, their guzzling of NeoCon(federate) snake-oil while pretending to be "conservative" and "religious". (Do some of them REALLY believe those ridiculous lies? Pitiful.)

The Democrats need to take the fall of the GOP as a grim lesson. The only conservatives in our country today are Liberal Democrats--because we know OUR NATION AND ITS HIGHEST IDEALS, INCLUDING OUR CONSTITUTION, MUST BE PRESERVED. (What could be more genuinely conservative?) This election may be a chance to clean a lot of Blue Dog Democrats out of Congress, and bring in Liberals. The last of Tip O'Neill's wimpy imitation-NeoCon legacy needs to be defeated along with the worst of the GOP.

-Jenny Hanniver

In response to a multiple primary solution in Michigan and Florida, Ann Dougherty writes:

Correction: The Abate/Schulman race to go against Garrett is NJ-5, not NJ-1.

As to the delegates from Florida, blame the Florida Republicans. They tied the date of the primary to the bill for requiring paper trails for all voting machines. The Democrats could not remove that amendment. So, in order to have a voter verified paper trail, they had to vote for both.

Since I did some volunteer work for Candidate Abate, you'd think I would have known better. -NG

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-Noah Greenberg