Thursday, February 19, 2004

Tough words from George McGovern, who disagrees with Thomas Friedman

"Replacing Saddam Hussein with Ahmad Chalabi would be comparable to replacing Jack the Ripper with Al Capone. Such a development is not worth risking the death of one additional American."
--George McGovern, Democratic candidate for president in 1972

Read his letter to the NY Times here.
Mr. McGovern, like Thomas Friedman, speaks to Senator John Kerry as if he's already secured the Presidential nomination. (I'm so glad they can both so accurately predict the future.) McGovern's words to Kerry, to whom he feels compelled to aim his words, bring to mind the many complaints I've expressed here about Kerry's lack of a "leader's intuition" on the Iraq resolution. Especially the ending of the letter: "Thousands of young Americans bled and died in Vietnam to keep a series of political frauds in power in Saigon. Let's not go down that road again, claiming all the while, "We will not run." How about a compromise? Let's walk out of Iraq."
Bill Moyers Leaving PBS

Feeling compelled to get his book about President Johnson written, Bill Moyers will stay on through the Presidential race, but will then end his time as host of the program NOW, where he's been an executive editor and frequent reporter since its premiere in 2002. I'll miss him greatly, and I'll bet many others will.
Democrat-centrists will shut out Washington insiders who supported Dean.
I see where we're headed. I don't like it.

I'm not at all surprised to read the Democratic party-centrists are punishing those Washington insiders who threw their weight and influence behind Howard Dean. I am, however, disappointed. Did the Democratic party learn nothing from all of this? Will we simply forget Howard Dean's message existed and retreat to business-as-usual? Will we accept Senator Ted Kennedy's dismissal of Dean's criticism of Democrats for not standing up to Bush on the "No Child Left Behind" act (calling Dean "naive")? Does he think we're all "naive"? Because we are not "naive" enough to miss weakness when we see it. Compromise is necessary in politics, but knowingly selling your constituents' souls is unaceptable. Personally, I fully understand why Al Gore and so many others inside and outside the Washington beltway chose to support Howard Dean. I want true representation..not a diminishment of my child's right to a solid education in exchange for other needed political favors. To hell with that! I want to be truly represented. Isn't that what a healthy democracy is all about?
Democratic Presidential Race: New York Is In Play is reporting that Senator John Edwards is scheduled to stop in five New York cities in the coming days, not including Syracuse. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, is scheduled to campaign in Syracuse on Wednesday.( 2/25 )
Senator John Kerry will be in Rochester Saturday while his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, tours Western and Central New York, including Syracuse.

Assemblywoman Joan Christensen, D-Syracuse, who is undecided about which Democrat she'll be supporting, said (about the Wisconsin primary results) that she is "skeptical of a Democratic primary that allows in other-party members." (''I don't know what to make of it,'' she said. ) I have often contemplated the consequences of such a primary election myself. We cannot know what motivates individuals to vote one way or another...especially in a nation that is deeply polarized in a political sense. Divisive/partisan intent could always be a factor when those of an opposing party are allowed to participate in the other party's electoral process. John Edwards had a great showing in Wisconsin, however..and I can't believe it can be attributed to any particular anti-Kerry faction. I have watched the Edwards' campaign buoyed by the endorsements of many persuasive major newspapers in States where primaries have already taken place. When people see Edwards close-up, they seem to be won over. I'm curious to see how New York will like Senator Edwards. I believe Edwards' strength is in his gifted ability to generate passion for his candidacy by speaking directly to the individual, even when he's speaking to a room of hundreds or a television audience of millions. Frankly, I have not seen Senator Kerry generate this level of passion.

Today, there are people from Syracuse (including some former Dean supporters) who are talking about Senator Edwards at his campaign's website.
Here's some of what they are saying:

--"Will JRE be campaigning in Syracuse? They really need him up there, they've just lost Carrier, just like the folks in Tennessee. Anybody know if JRE will be in Central New York?"

--"Elizabeth will be there? YAY!! They will LOVE her! Does it say where she'll be and at what time? I'd like to get some family members and friends lined up to go watch her."

--"Hey it looks like there are a few Edwards supporters near Syracuse. Any word about a campaign office there or opportunities to volunteer?"

--"Yes, I was raised up there, for the most part, and my family still lives there. I used to live in Oswego as well, had to travel to Syracuse every day to work for a very low paying job. Eventually I had to move downstate. My brother is working his butt off up in Syracuse, way too many hours for way too little pay. He doesn't want to leave his home, and I know most people in Syracuse area face the same challenge. It's very heavy Republican base up there, and everyone hurting really badly under Bush administration. JR[Edwards] would win them over because he is EXACTLY what they need right now. I sure hope he can speak to them there..."

"Project Censored"- Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003

On their website, the stated mission of "Project Censored" (out of Sonoma State University) is to 'educate people about the role of independent journalism in a democratic society and to tell The News That Didn't Make the News and why.'
Current "Project Censored News" can be found here.
George Will's column defending outsourcing sounds good in theory; looks bad in political reality

George Will's column appeared in the Syracuse Post Standard today. [See:"When jobs go away, sometimes it's for good reason" at site] Mr. Will begins by dismantling a statement by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert:
"An economy suffers when jobs disappear."
It seems like a simple statement, but Mr. Will wants us to know that it really isn't an accurate statement at all. He says the economy does not truly suffer and he gives a fairly good technical economic explanation as to why he believes it to be so.

I read it...I understand it. It left me cold..unconvinced.

In the end, it may not be an economy that suffers due to jobs being bled away to foreign lands where workers will do the work for less (and thus lift their own foreign economies).'s not the economy that's the PEOPLE who suffer. These are the same people who not only vote, but who, in the Declaration of Independence , were said to be endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and to secure these rights, a Government was to be instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Which men? All men. (And women, naturally..although perhaps it wasn't completely apparent at the time...;)
My point: ours is a government of the people....not corporations. They are people with families who depend upon them. What the current administration will have to live with is the simple fact that when the people suffer because of their nation's economic policy..good or bad for the nation and/or world economy, those people (also voters) are not going to remember the greatness or social nobility of the policy. They will only recall their personal sufferings and how their government cared (or failed to care) about those sufferings.

While Mr. Will spells out his ideas in what seems to be an intelligently sound manner, outsourcing is not simply a
Hobson-like choice between free trade and no trade at all. With mutual interest must come fairness to concerned parties. The economy may be dynamic, yet the dynamics seem to have gone off-track for American workers. It seems that all the Bush administration has done is to put in temporary political fixes such as temporary steel tarriffs and farm subsidies. We seem to have forgotten that the economist John Maynard Keynes stated that capital is best employed at home. We must ask ourselves: "Who is setting the standards for investment and concentration of capital at home and abroad?"

Americans are not blind, nor are they numb to the effects of unemployment. They do not see dynamics at work here. They have seen the loss of millions of jobs here in the U.S. over the past four years and have been teased by fleeting (give-then-take-away) promises of jobs to come. NAFTA and WTO are not working as they should for some reason, and as pretty a picture George Will paints about the splendour of new American jobs from foreign auto companies, the bald truth is that free trade agreements and open borders are putting our own middle class workers into direct competition with the masses of very poor workers in third world countries. Without principled and moral governmental oversight, our middle class is left to hang. In the upcoming Presidential election, middle class workers (who make up the better percentage of voters in this country) will be heard more loudly than George Will's "plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face" talk about economic rationality. We desperately need principled leadership on this matter, or the backbone of this nation is going to lose ever-important ground. Cutting taxes while increasing the deficit is not going to cover the Bush administration's crucial mistakes much longer. A healthy economy with a middle class who suffers presents little more than a cold, meaningless, and unAmerican prospect.