January 2004 Archives

by David Remer PoliWatch.Org

Kerry won Iowa, and he just won New Hampshire. The Kerry steamroller cannot be stopped now. The U.S. is about to see the most unified effort among disparate groups to unseat a President than has been seen in decades.

Groups having diametrically opposed central issues, now have an overriding superordinate goal to unify them. Send Bush back to Crawford, Texas where his path of destruction of the environment, civil and individual rights, and representation of the common person in the halls of government began. Pro-life liberals and pro-choice liberals will find unity. The Democrats and the Greens will find unity. Hawkish social liberals and dovish fiscal conservatives will find unity. Workers in the south and intellectuals in the north, will find unity.

From this point forward, the rule of the game is to put all other differences aside, and send this administration packing, so that our differences will become important again.

Posted by David R. Remer

President Bush and Republican Congressional leaders are balking at the 9/11 Investigation team's demand for 2 additional months to complete their investigation. In an article entitled Sept. 11 Panel Wants Extension on Report, Hope Yen writes:

WASHINGTON - An independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks says it can't finish its final report before late July, putting it at odds with House leaders who oppose a delay that would push the report's release closer to the November election.

The 10-member bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States agreed Monday to request an extension from Congress of at least two months past the May 27 deadline even though the Bush administration and congressional leaders suggested a delay was unlikely.

Watergate: Take Two

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by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

Republicans are alleged to have found access to Democratic internal documents through a security hole in a shared computer server. Republican staffers on the Hill are alleged to have used that access over a protracted period of time to leak information to the press and others to gain advantage over their rivals. An excellent discussion of this topic can be found at (of all places) ZD Net.

Assuming the allegations are a violation of law, (as they likely would be in exactly the same scenario amongst corporate competitors), the question is raised, will the Republican Department of Justice prosecute its own party members? At this point a radical departure from the Watergate scandal occurs.

Check out WatchBlog for a debate on this issue.

Republican Justice

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by David R. Remer - PoliWatch.Org

An era began when President Ford pardoned resigned President Nixon, both Republicans. Now Republicans are getting away with manslaughter with little more than a slap on the wrist. Republican resigned Representative, Bill Janklow from South Dakota was sentenced today. He received 100 days (which will be less with good behavior) and fines and court costs.

Janklow, with a long history of criminally speeding recklessly around the state in his car, finally ran a stop sign and killed a motorcycle rider crossing the interesection at exactly the wrong moment. His defense attorneys argued his blood sugar dropped as a result of being diabetic and not eating for 18 hours. So whose fault was it that he had not eaten knowing he was a diabetic? And whose fault is it that he was speeding as was his customary manner of driving? And whose fault is it that an innocent motorist lost their life and was removed from his family? Doesn't matter. He is a Republican, and like Nixon, we know Republican politicians have all people's interests at heart. If a Republican kills 505 Americans in Iraq or one on the highway, it is accidental at worst or justified if the Republican says so.

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

About the only statement about the current state of affairs that rung out to me during the speech was the President's belief that the economy is strong and getting stronger. The balance of the speech appeared more a political stump speech, and one by a candidate on the defensive. The speech itself was well crafted for its intended purpose, to stump for reelection. It was designed to hit all the hot topic buttons in the minds of his political base like religious discrimination by the government and centrist American voter's issues like national defense, jobs, and medical costs.

More than half the speech from the beginning was focused on Iraq, terrorists, and homeland defense. In much the same manner that he associated Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 terrorists, tonight he defended previous claims of WMD in Iraq in by asserting "already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations." WMD-related program activities? What does that mean? It sounds like proof of WMD has been found. Then I looked at the text. This impression is completely false. And what are these significant amounts of equipment concealed from the U.N.? Are we talking computer equipment, weather monitoring vans, or freezers? Again, the impression the statement makes to support his previous claims of WMD is cleverly written to conceal, not to reveal. Given the hits the President is still taking on the premises for invasion, this part of the speech was entirely defensive and cleverly so.

He quite correctly stated the world is better off without Saddam's regime, but carefully avoided any mention of what it has cost us. In stark contrast to the common knowledge that the huge share of the human and financial costs being expended in Iraq (almost 500 Americans dead and billions of dollars spent) belong to the Americans, he offered a list of countries participating in Iraq. In an attempt to create an image of an international effort which his opponents have called for through the U.N. he stated, "Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq."

Notably absent from the speech was any reference to 'right to life' or anti-abortion statements, found in previous speeches. This calculated oversight was certainly guided by the recognition that women's votes are important in November and reminding them of his position on that issue should be avoided.

Nor was there any address of the national debt surpassing 7 trillion dollars this year. He did mention the deficit stating, "This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending, and be wise with the people's money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years." Very clever, placing the responsibility for the deficits on the Congress while fostering one of the largest social benefit programs in decades, dispensing with competitive bidding for Iraq contracts which may have saved tax payers 10's of millions of dollars, pressing for colonies on the Moon and Mars, and cutting taxes so deeply for the wealthiest in the nation that the very best he can offer is continuing to deficit spend for at least the next 5 years. This was clearly a defensive maneuver against attacks coming from both the left and right regarding the potential damage our national debt poses as a legacy for the Republican Party.

The President is taking one huge gamble on the economy by professing its growth in his speech. Being a religious man, I would guess he will be praying for the economic fabric to hold together at least until the day after November's elections. This was the only bold part of the speech in my opinion. Bold, because while statistics overall reveal and recovering economy, the sentiment among CEO's and Wall Street, workers and the unemployed is that the economy is not responding fast enough to permit any of these folks to relax.

Bush Troubles Begin

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by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

There is no land sliding out from under Bush's feet, but the ground beneath him is beginning to quake. A number of stories yesterday reveal cracks in the edifice of Bush's reelection manor. Thumbs down for Martian cities, conservatives threatening consequences in November, N.O.W. and Planned Parenthood mobilizing in response to Pickering's appointment, and Kerry takes Iowa.

ABC reports Republicans split, and general population opposed to expense of Bush's space plan. This does not bode well since it will likely be a key item of tonight's State of the Union address.

The women's vote is about to come into play in a big way as two large organization's representing women's interests are highly motivated to disable Bush's reelection over his circumventing the Senate confirmation process to appoint Pickering to the federal bench. National Organization of Women's (NOW) president Kim Gandy says her organization is outraged. Supporters of Planned Parenthood will be equally outraged and motivated in November by this slight of hand.

Kerry taking the lead in Iowa's caucuses yesterday could dash the Whitehouse's hopes and preparations for facing off with Dean in November. If Kerry can maintain momentum and the lead in the New Hampshire primary, a serious threat to Bush's strategy against "weak on defense" Democrats could be in the offering. With Dean coming in third place in Iowa, there will be some 'back to the drawing board' activity at the Whitehouse. Kerry's war record, heroism in battle, and consistent stance of putting American military lives in harm's way only when absolutely necessary will pose a considerable challenge to Bush's gloat over the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Ralph Hallow of the Washington Times writes: Conservative groups break with Republican leadership. This is the most damning news since it may well translate into conservatives who oppose Bush outdoing Clinton on spending not showing up at the polls in November. According to the article, 6 conservative groups are condemning this Republican Congress and the President for the deficits and growing national debt, especially in regard to the Me3dicare Prescription Drug legislation. Since conservatives are not likely to vote for a Democrat in protest, their only means of protest at the polls is to not show up.

It is still early in the election cycle, but, substantial hurdles are being placed in Bush's path to reelection, some of his own making.

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

In three days President Bush will issue his State of the Union speech. What he won't say is any truth about the state of our nation that would put any negative light upon his administration. The number of items he won't want the American people to focus on are many. Some of the major items he won't mention or will spin appear below.

The Economy - A jobless economy is a fact to date. Yes, there was a fluke two months ago when net job creation spiked only to be followed by another indicating only 1000 jobs created. The Washinton Post states:

More than 2 million manufacturing jobs have been lost nationwide over the past three years. Administration officials knew that job creation would be the last part of an economic recovery to kick in, but they were taken aback by a Labor Department report last week showing that only 1,000 jobs were added to payrolls in December.

The Post further states the Administration will use tax dollars to shore up job growth numbers with government spending - this from a President who used to say Government should be downsized and businesses should create jobs. The President also will not mention that the Greenville, Michigan-based Electrolux factory announced it was laying off 2,700 workers.

Nor will the President indicate what manufacturer's had to say this week in a NY Times article which states:

In an otherwise buoyant report, the National Association of Manufacturers predicted that factories would add 250,000 jobs in the next 12 months - less than 10 percent of the 2.8 million they cut in the last three years.

And even that outlook may be optimistic. Manufacturing companies added barely that many jobs during the previous two economic recoveries, and productivity increases have been so high over the last year that demand for workers could climb more slowly than in the past.

And it just keeps getting worse as we may be discovering the white collar jobs may be going the way of manufacturing jobs as reported by Robert J. Samuelson in an editorial entitled The Specter of Outsourcing.

The President also won't mention the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) warning appearing on Jan. 7 that our national debt being created by this Administration and Republican Congress threatens not only the U.S. economy but that of the entire world's.

Iraq - The President is not going to reveal that the Iraqis have one plan for a direct vote to install what is hoped will be a lasting democracy, but his Administration is telling them no, you can't do that, we want caucuses that will involve far fewer Iraqis voting and provide more control over the voting process. Additionally. the Presdent is not going to discuss another setback in Iraq, the desire of the Iraqi's to decide if and how long American troops remain in Iraq. NY Times.

Nor will the President mention the soaring suicide rates among our troops in Iraq, nor many troops scoffing at a proposed $10,000.00 reenlistment bonus: strong evidence that our troops morale is falling and GI sentiment toward the Administration is changing as it extends tours of duties dashing troop's hopes of coming home when they thought they would.

Health Care - The Bush Adminstration did reveal on Jan. 8 that health spending accounts for nearly 15 percent of the nation's economy, the largest share on record. What the President won't mention is that the Medicare overhaul bill which he refused to veto contains language preventing any negotiations by Medicare administrators to reduce prescription drug costs for senior citizens. And the law prevents middle class Medicare recipients from purchasing private insurance to cover the gaps that Medicare does not provide for. Those gaps will be substantial for a great many recipients.

Education - The President will not reveal to the American people the criticisms of his No Child Left Behind initiative like these reported in the CS Monitor.

The requirements don't come with enough new money to pay for them. The new focus on the worst-off kids means the gifted children are now being left behind. The law is prompting some states - which must each create their own tests - to game the system by setting low standards.
Nor will the President have much to offer students facing rocketing college costs because the pressure is on to trim the deficits caused by Iraq, starwars research, putting towns on Mars, 1.5 Billion for promoting heterosexual marriages, and tax cuts, upon tax cuts, upon tax cuts.

War on Terrorism - Nor will the President mention the scathing report from the Army War College. A Washington Post writer Ricks states:

A scathing new report published by the Army War College broadly criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the war on terrorism, accusing it of taking a detour into an "unnecessary" war in Iraq and pursuing an "unrealistic" quest against terrorism that may lead to U.S. wars with states that pose no serious threat.

Reversals - The President will not discuss how he is having to back down from so many of his original positions evidencing claims of his being a student President, learning from mistakes which others must pay for. Some of these reversals are: White House Wants U.N. to Return to Iraq. Reversal of his steel tariffs imposed upon China. Acting Conciliatory, U.S. Seeks to Revive Global Trade Talks. After years of steps toward improvement in U.S.- Cuban relations, Jan. 8 finds this headline: U.S. Halts Cuban Immigration Talks; Worsening of Ties Seen. The Bush Adminstration made headlines when it announced there would be no Iraq contracts for the coalition of the unwilling. Recent headlines indicate reversal on this mistaken position as the U.S. announces Canada can bid on contracts and Germany, France and Russia are being reviewed for reversal as well.

by David Remer Polictical News & Analysis

President Bush announced this week a program that would grant legal working status to illegal immigrants now in this country. However, he insists this is not an amnesty. Sounds like doublespeak to me. Amnesty Definitions:

Noun 1. amnesty - a period during which offenders are exempt from punishment

2. amnesty - a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense

3. amnesty - the formal act of liberating someone

Verb 1. amnesty - grant a pardon to (a group of people)

OK, perhaps the President just misspoke, yet again. But, this President's habit of misspeaking reminds me of Will Rogers, the famous comedian of the 1st half of the 20th century who is still oft quoted today. Will Rogers played a shy bumbling ol' cowboy who would spin a lasso while speaking of things like politics in a Texan drawl kind of accent. Roger's whole persona came across as not educated, non assertive, honest kind of plain folk. What came out of his mouth however, was shrewdly calculated, surgically aimed critique of current events and politics worthy of a Harvard Ph.D.

It took me awhile to accept the fact that "Dubya" was not dim, uneducated, or bumbling. It took me awhile to recognize that he is a very calculating, shrewd, and very bright man capable of being responsible for his actions, his words, and the consequences of them. Therefore, I do not believe he misspoke. I am now convinced he follows the Orwellian political speech described as 'doublespeak'. He is in fact declaring amnesty for illegals, and he knows it will not sit well with the right wing of his party if it is called amnesty, so he denies that it is amnesty, trusting in the dim wittedness of the right wing of his party to accept that on its face, because 'Dubya' is an honest guy, right?

There are many beneficiaries of Dubya's non-amnesty amnesty. First there are the illegals themselves. They will no longer have to fear being arrested, jailed, and or deported provided they break no other American laws. Under Dubya's plan, they will be able to save from their low wages and invest those savings, and when they return to their country of origin, they can take those savings, tax free, with them. Anyone else see a flaw in this line of thinking? I see a few and most have to do with American tax payers subsidizing industries that use green card labor. But, I will get to that shortly.

If these new Green Card holders are able to save, will they? Currently, a great many send their savings back to their families to help increase their family's standard of living in their homeland. The Green Card holder will have to choose between depriving their family for three years of savings he/she is now sending back in order to benefit from the tax free bundle to take home. Also, the tax free bundle of savings can become a form of blackmail. It is very likely a Green Card holder who is saving for the tax free bundle, will lose at the very least, their tax free status if they are accused and found guilty of stealing from the employer, fighting on the job, or just plain refusing to be abused by the foreman or boss. It will only take a few such incidents to take place for the grapevine to spread the news that saving instead of sending home their savings as they are earned is a very, very bad idea.

Then there are the employers in Agri-business, motel chains, janitorial service companies and a host of others who do not want to see a minimum wage increase in this country, do not want to provide benefits to employees, do not want to pay an American standard living wage, do not want to be subject to current laws against employers who hire illegal workers, and who are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to find American employees willing to work so hard for so little. Businesses are going to reap huge rewards from this proposal if it is passed.

But the biggest beneficiary is Dubya himself. He needs the ethnic vote in America if he is to win in 2004. Since attempts to make inroads to the Black vote have largely failed and they are not immigrants by and large, this proposal is designed to cater mainly to the Latino American voters who represent the interests of split families between America and South/Central America and Mexico. This proposal shores up Dubya's votes from the many businesses that depend on the 100's of thousands of illegal workers to keep the costs of operations down, and profitability up. Finally, this proposal shore's up his damaged image as a 'compassionate' conservative, in relieving the stress and fears of so many poor and frightened illegal workers.

Who is likely to lose from this proposal? For every choice there is a cost, often referred to as opportunity cost. In choosing one direction, one loses the opportunities to have gone in other directions. There are 100's of millions of losers if this proposal is enacted by Congress. Those 100's of millions will be American tax payers, millions of poverty level and lower middle class American workers. How do these losses work?

First, the administration of documenting a huge number of illegals and granting them Green Cards will be one cost. Then setting up an accountability system that will track their employers, their address, their length of stay in the U.S., and processing their eviction/citizen notices at the end of their stay is going to cost a millions. Now this proposal, if honest, would ask the employer beneficiaries of the program to pay for the administration of the program, since they will directly benefit from the program. But, there is every indication from Dubya, that all tax payers of America will pick up this tab.

Second, this program does nothing to stem the tide of illegals coming in the country with one notable exception. By filling legitimate low paying jobs with Green Card workers, there will be some deterrent to illegals hoping to land legitimate employment by crossing over the border illegally. However, it does nothing to stem the tide of those crossing over to acquire black market jobs, nor does this bill stop a single terrorist, or other undesirable from entering the country through the sieves we call borders.

The biggest losers however, will be low to moderate wage American workers. Dubya had two choices regarding the kind of jobs that are going unfilled or to illegal workers, because of low wages and hard or dangerous work. To continue to fill these jobs with immigrant labor was one and he has announced this is his choice.

Alternatively, to raise the minimum wage or let supply and demand dictate higher wages to draw American workers into those jobs, were two other choices. Raising the minimum wage would have benefited millions of American workers and stimulated the economy due to those wage earners increased purchases resulting from the wage increase. However, this choice would have resulted in offending some of his key supporters, corporations and business owners.

If Dubya had chosen to fence our borders and stop illegal immigration, supply and demand forces would have dictated increased wages and/or benefits offered by employers who now use illegals, to attract American citizen workers. Of course, the consequence of the latter is that some of those businesses would have shut down, since the profit margin would have dropped had they been forced to increase wages. Again, an offense to some of Bush's key supporters.

Dubya's plan does nothing to control our borders and thus reduce the terrorist threat to our nation. His plan does nothing for American workers struggling in low paying jobs and it increases the taxes that will have to paid by those workers to administer his 'not an amnesty amnesty and to pay for a homeland defense system which does not protect our borders. Dubya's no amnesty amnesty does however give the illusion of compassion while leashing wage growth for American workers. Dubya's plan does increase profitability for Archer-Daniels, wine and produce growers in California and a host of other corporations and businesses, and thus pays back some of his key supporters for their campaign support. I must admit, anyone capable of mastering doublespeak as well as Dubya has, is no dummy. I must give our President credit there.

Secretary of State Collin Powell stated he has not ever seen any proof there was any connection between Al Queda and Saddam Hussein. The NY Times article states:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell conceded Thursday that despite his assertions to the United Nations last year, he had no "smoking gun" proof of a link between the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and terrorists of Al Queda.

"I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection," Mr. Powell said, in response to a question at a news conference. "But I think the possibility of such connections did exist, and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did."

Well of course he thinks the "possibility of such connections did exist" because his boss told him they did. A General does not get to be General by questioning or failing to support his chain of command. Not to mention the fact that it is important to throw the conservative base of the Republican Party a bone so they can continue to defend their belief in, and support of, their party's leader. Scientists tell us there is a possibility there was life on Mars at one time. That in no way indicates there WAS life on Mars. It is just as likely, in fact more likely, that there has never been life on Mars. You don't just mix water and minerals and expect chance to produce life. And you don't just cast all bad guys as responsible for a crime committed by one bad guy. Not logically anyway. But it is evident now, that is exactly what the Bush and his Cabinet did.

Whether there was or wasn't a connection is not now the issue. At the time Powell went to the U.N. and asserted there was a connection, he misled the U.N. and a host of members of the U.N. saw through it. They had their own intelligence and logical reasons for being skeptical of such a claim. In the absence of the kind of evidence JFK's Ambassador to the U.N. provided as proof of Russian missiles in Cuba, why should U.N. members have believed an assertion which ran contrary to the secular-religious ideological differences between Hussein and Al Queda? The U.N. members very likely saw through the assertion which was not backed by evidence. On a matter as great as war, if the evidence existed, it would have been presented.

The U.S. sought, and as we now know, needed the backing and participation of the U.N. for the invasion. The cost of such a venture was going to be huge. Given the gravity of the request, it likely made no sense to many U.N. countries that Powell could not back up his assertion with evidence. And one consequence of going to war in Iraq on a hunch or belief without full U.N. participation is a warning from the (IMF), International Monetary Fund, that the U.S. national debt could spell trouble for the world's economies, not just our own. The huge expenses incurred for the ongoing War in Iraq, combined with reducing federal revenues with large tax cuts, has resulted in a near 7 Trillion dollar national debt. Wages are not going up (except for CEO's and politicians) and the economic recovery is still a jobless one recovering only a small portion of the jobs lost since the Recession of 1999-2000 began.

We are in a mess! Powell's admission merely confirms what a great many in the International Community already knew, the U.S. had not made a rational and justified case for going to war with Iraq in stating Hussein had WMD and implying that Iraq was connected to the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil. U.S. credibility under President Bush has been seriously diminished around the world. And if Bush cries 'Wolf" again at the U.N. you can bet they are going to insist on proof, and proof that the proof has not been manufactured by the Bush administration. This is not good. Nor is the 10 to 12 Trillion Dollar national debt that will occur with another 4 years of G.W. Bush in the Whitehouse. Sorry, make that 12 to 14 Trillion; just heard Bush wants to put non-Republicans on the Moon and eventually Mars.

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org, Watchblog

Today CEO and President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tom Donohue and Treasury Secretary John Snow addressed the National Chamber of Commerce. C-span aired the program live at 10 AM. I have never seen Orwell's Newspeak and Doublespeak so eloquently spoken in real life. Donohue belabored the threat to the economy and private industry profitability posed by Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. He indicated that these programs were developed based on actuarial data is now outdated. Unfortunately for private industry he indicated, people are living much longer and the actuarial data upon which the programs were based is no longer valid. Snow reiterated in his speech that entitlements have simply got to be dealt with.

Now bear in mind, their audience was press, Business owners, and CEO's and they are talking about eliminating these entitlement programs in favor of the American population providing for themselves by hiring some of these businesses and corporations to invest their discretionary income into profitable investment vehicles for the businesses and corporations. This implies that Americans have not been providing for themselves before. So what were all those decades of Soc. Sec. and Medicare/Medicaid deductions from our paychecks for? Must have been for Congressional perks and salary increases if not for Americans providing for themselves through these programs, eh? The Doublespeak here is that entitlements are referred to as being getting something for nothing while investing in private industry is getting something for giving something. Those paycheck deductions were payments into a retirement baseline program and premiums paid into a government overseen health insurance program. Donohue's and Snow's problem with entitlements is that private industry is not getting their cut on the investments, and employers under the current system are providing contributions to each employee's Soc. Sec. and Medicare/Medicaid deductions as part of the employee's salary package.

The implication here is that businesses and corporations will become far more profitable by eliminating their contributions to employee's "Entitlement" programs. If accomplished however, DO NOT look for a compensatory increase in salary to the employees, nor a minimum wage increase. The goal here is to reduce employee overall pay by eliminating Employer contributions, which will make the companies more competitive in the international market place where wages are lower. The only problem is they wish to increase their profitability by making American employees poorer.

Snow's position is interesting. Snow stated he has no problem with deficits (meaning: deficits resulting from corporate welfare programs or elective war with Iraq and its nation building), BUT he states that "entitlement" programs for individual Americans paid for by American citizens and employees and their employers are a great danger to our economy and corporate profits since they will result in serious deficits.

Snow of course, went on at length about how successful President Bush has been in stimulating the economy that was declining fast under the previous administration. He cited job growth (net loss of more than one and a half million plus jobs to date), and a host of other economic indicators all showing we are on the right track and growing nicely. He even had the temerity to quote CEO confidence, a key lagging indicator as showing economic promise. He must have been referring to a few friends in the audience because MSNBC yesterday discussed how CEO insider trading demonstrates very bearish numbers with sell to buy ratios higher than have been seen in a very long time.

A DLC Founder & CEO Al From put forth a very uninspiring apology for the Democratic Party in the coming elections citing Dean as the frontrunner while current polls show other candidates have a far better chance of beating Bush. He predicted and expects Dean to change his message to appeal to swing voters and centrist Democrats after the nomination. That at least was probably insightful.

Newt Gingrich, I found the least guilty of Newspeak and Doublespeak, and the most credible speaker on most of his topics. While Gingrich offered few answers, he eloquently posed the problems the nation faces in regards to domestic economics in a global economic arena with all of the challenges that that entails. Gingrich also pointed out probably correctly, that Clark stands the best chance of winning against Bush, but only if Bush experiences a large gaff or setback in the minds of centrist voters. Finally, Gingrich spoke well and cogently about both parties having an obligation for the future of the nation to enact real tax reform. However, he did fall into the Newspeak and Doublespeak of privatizing all social programs as somehow beneficial to the American people when the real beneficiaries will be usurers, middlepersons taking a cut on individual investments for managing them and the corporations to whom individual investments will be loaned. Here too, Gingrich like the other Orwellian speakers fail to mention individual investments come with NO GUARANTEE your money will be there when you need it. Investments are subject to market fluctuations and global economic rises and falls. "Entitlements" the Gingrich fails to mention, come with a contractual guarantee backed by the same full faith and credit of the U.S. Government which gives those pieces of paper we call money, value to purchase real goods and services.

Here is some mind boggling but PERTINENT political information. Our interest accrued on our national debt for the month of December was over $82 Billion Dollars. Below is an interest chart with historical context.

The national debt as of two days ago (gets higher every day) stands at $7,010,088,657,339.47. That is over 7 Trillion Dollars. Following the interest chart below is another table of our national debt. All figures are courtesy of the U.S. Treasury.

Try taking the following numbers on a calculator and dividing by our population of 290 million, you will be shocked. Then consider what a 10 to 12 Trillion Dollar national debt will do to us. That is what is now projected by the Congressional Budget Office as our debt by 2010 if Bush programs and tax cuts remain intact and the current economic conditions continue. Voting for more of the same just does not appear to be a viable option to this voter.

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