Today's Note from a Lot of Mad-People
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
THROUGH MY CRYSTAL BALL
You heard it here first:
Dick Cheney will retire before the end of President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's 2nd term is over. The White House will cite "health concerns" as the reason for the resignation.
The list of replacements would read like this:
This, of course, will piss off John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Bill Frist and a host of other lackeys that were promised that, if they support the president in his re-election run, that the current administration would support them in 2008.
More On Social Security Reform
by Robert Scardapane
(G)lobal (W)arming Bush has not considered even one alternate proposal for strengthening social security. Instead, he royally presided over a cabal of Wall Street bankers for advice. This so-called "economic summit" of pump and dump Wall Street types determined that salvation is to be found in privatization. Turning "baby boomer" 401K plans into 201K plans in 2000 wasn't enough for them; they must pave the way to future bubble and bust episodes.
The Republicans claim that Democrats have no new ideas and are merely obstructionists. They routinely pronounce meaningless phrases such as they are "moving into the future", yet their proposals reinstate the policies of the past. The truth is that at least three plans have been formulated by progressives for strengthening social security and increasing saving.
Gene Sperling, Clinton's Chief Economic Advisor, presented one such plan. Social security is strengthened with a modest surcharge on income over $200,000. In addition, saving is increased by creating a progressive 401K plan, outside of social security, that helps people with lower incomes save money.
GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS
The bad news is that the radical rightist coalition of greedy moneyed elite and theocrats is firmly in control of government.
The good news is that
there is a powerful people's movement churning and percolating in
The bad news is that the upper echelon of the Democratic Party is timid and provides no leadership for the people.
The good news is that this leaves a vacuum which presents an opportunity for the Democratic grassroots to wrest control of their party from the hopelessly timid. This will be done through two simultaneous prongs of attack: populists organizing inside the Democratic Party for internal Party leadership, and populist Democrats running for public political office.
This is the path for challenging the radical rightists for the soul of our state and country.
David Van Os
San Antonio, Texas
I don't know who this guy is, but... WOW!- NG
ICEBERG - RIGHT AHEAD!
by Marcella De Simone
In an AP story, reporter Leigh Strope writes that a White House strategy e-mail makes the case that convincing Americans that Social Security is headed for an iceberg is a good way to get public support for cutting future benefits.
Karl Rove deputy Peter Wehner's e-mail urged cuts in future promised benefits as the best approach to overhaul the system to private investment accounts, Strope says.
"To achieve the overhaul, the administration must 'establish an important premise: the current system is heading toward an iceberg,' " Wehner said.
I have a good idea. Instead of messing with the money taken out of our paychecks, why don't the politicians offer up their health benefits instead? Why don't they take ownership of their health plans and pay for it from the sizable income they make serving us, instead of relying on the American taxpayer?
Before Bush asks Americans to take ownership of their retirement, I think he should set the example and have the Congress take some ownership themselves.
A Letter from Senator Frank Lautenberg to Mrs. Pat Thompson, Monroe Township, NJ
Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts about President Bush's proposals to privatize Social Security. Please be assured that I will oppose any attempts to gamble with Social Security money in risky investments. Social Security has worked extremely well for nearly 70 years to reduce poverty among senior citizens. Without Social Security, half of all seniors would be living in poverty, while today only ten percent are. To risk this safety net on the vagaries of the stock market would be to jeopardize the very essence of the program – providing retirement security in good times and bad. Instead of guaranteed benefits based on an individual's work history and, in part, on need, benefits would vary greatly depending on an individual's investment skills and luck. Economic risks would be borne by individuals rather than shared across society.
While Social Security faces some challenges that should be addressed, the doomsday rhetoric we hear from some quarters is overblown. The current system, without any changes, is projected to be able to cover Social Security benefits for next forty years at the least. I support changes to the program to keep it running for our children and grandchildren, but we must not destroy Social Security under the guise of “saving” it.
Instead of promoting policies which give tax breaks to the wealthy, I support dedicating funds to strengthen and protect Social Security and Medicare; I did so when we enjoyed a surplus, and I still consider it a top priority. I will continue to work toward this goal.
Thank you for your comments.
A Letter from Senator Dr. Howard Dean to Mrs. Pat Thompson, Monroe Township, NJ
As I have traveled across our country, I have talked to thousands of people who are working for change in their own communities about the power of politics to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. Every group I have spoken to, I encouraged them to stand up for what they believe and to get involved in the electoral process -- because the only sure way to make difference is to step up and run for office yourself.
Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.
The Democratic Party needs a vibrant, forward-thinking, long-term presence in every single state and we must be willing to contest every race at every level. We will only win when we show up and fight for the issues important to all of us.
Another integral part of our strategy must be cultivating the party's grassroots. Our long term success depends on all of us taking an active role in our party and in the political process, by volunteering, going door to door and taking the Democratic message into every community, and by organizing at the local level. After all, new ideas and new leaders don't come from consultants; they come from communities.
As important as organization is, it alone can no longer win us elections. Offering a new choice means making Democrats the party of reform -- reforming America's financial situation, reforming our electoral process, reforming health care, reforming education and putting morality back in our foreign policy. The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side's positions. We must say what we mean -- and mean real change when we say it.
But most of all, together, we have to rebuild the American community. We will never succeed by treating our nation as a collection of separate regions or separate groups. There are no red states or blues states, only American states. And we must talk to the people in all of these states as members of one community.
That word -- 'values' -- has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.
We cannot let that happen. And we cannot just mouth the words. Our party must speak plainly and our agenda must clearly reflect the socially progressive, fiscally responsible values that bring our party -- and the vast majority of Americans -- together.
All of this will require both national perspective and local experience. I know what it's like to lead hands-on at the state level and I know what it's like to run for national office.
With your help, this past election season, Democracy for America, already started creating the kind of organization the Democratic Party can be. This past election cycle, we endorsed over 100 candidates at all levels of government -- from school board to U.S. Senate. We contributed almost a million dollars to nearly 750 candidates around the country and raised millions of dollars for many more candidates.
Together, we helped elect a Democratic governor in Montana, a Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah and an African American woman to the bench in Alabama. Fifteen of the candidates we endorsed had never run for office before -- and won.
I also have experience building and managing a local party organization. My career started as Democratic Party chair in Chittenden County, Vermont. I then ran successful campaigns: for state legislature, lieutenant governor and then governor. In my 11-year tenure as governor, I balanced the state's budget every year.
I served as chair of both the National Governors' Association and the Democratic Governors' Association (DGA). And as chair of the DGA, I helped recruit nearly 20 governors that won -- even in states like Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi.
All of these experiences have only reaffirmed what I know to be true. There is only one party that speaks to the hopes and dreams of all Americans. It is the party you have already given so much to. It is the Democratic Party.
We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe.
Thank you and I look forward to listening to your concerns in the weeks ahead.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
In response to NOTE FROM A MADMAN, Monday, January 10, 2005
Getting involved is a process that should be an integral part of getting out the vote. Taking ownership beats browbeating and chest thumping every time.
The things that went wrong are too many to enumerate. However the three primary reasons were:
A. Unlike Senator Wellman, who had the courage to make the right choice, and voted against the invasion resolution, Senator Kerry, as usual, voted for the most popular at the time. This is the reason the Republican's had little difficulty in attacking him as a "flip flopper".
2. Intellectual v.s. emotional
A. Kerry, like Gore before him was too cereberal. The short, emotional one liners used by Bush, had more appeal.
B. I'm not going to comment on his charisma.
3. Swing vote
A. Partially because of "1 and 2", coupled with Kerry's left of center position, handed the swing vote to the Republicans.
The AMA idea is excellent... even if they don't wish to self-insure, they can take a lesson from AARP, and it's insurance program.
Yes, it is extremely interesting that David Rosen has been indicted, and Marthe Stewart is in jail, while Kenneth Lay is still walking the streets. I agree with you that this is the opening round.
I might add the Moslum fundamentalism movement to your list of hate creators.
A.The historical Western pattern of exploitation, and indifferance.
Asbestos... the loss of jobs could also be attributed to the high morbidity and mortality rates among the workers.
by Mitchell Weiss
At the Republican Convention, President Bush introduced his plan for Social Security Reform. He seemed to cover this idea under the heading, “The Ownership Society.” I am all for private ownership.
Heck, I privately own my house, car, rugs; I even own some less tangible items like credit card debt. The plan to include Social Security Reform in this “Ownership Society” scheme was basic. It’s your money, you earned it, let’s give you the right to invest it as you see fit.
Under the President’s plan for Social Security we are going to invest a portion of our money in the Stock Market in an investment account. Someone needs to be managing these individual funds, enter the Wall Street investment bankers who consulted with the president on this plan in an “Economic Summit”. True, there has been no mention from the White House about the commission fees these accounts will produce, but wall street bankers does not have lunch at the White House two days in a row without there being any prospect of profits. Under this plan our place in society changes. Instead of working to pay into the Social Security Trust and pay for today’s retiree’s benefits, and insure their quality of life, we will all be working to help keep Wall Street’s profits high, by supplying them with commissions we are legally obligated to pay.
It seems that with this plan ours will really be an “Ownership Society”. The real question here is who is doing the owing?
"Our vision for the
Iraqi armed forces is a smaller army, well-equipped and fully trained,"
-Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi
If two-out-of-three ain't bad, then what is ZERO-OUT-OF-THREE?