From what I can gather these groups may operate by datamining voting records and then going to areas where there is 'high opposition activity' and then pursuing tactics designed to deprive those high-probability-of-being-an-opponent voters of their democratic rights...
I recall that there was a similar problem in I think Berkeley - mentioned in the Daily Cal (UC Berkeley campus paper) around a year ago. I don't know if the RNC was involved but there was exactly the same thing happening, some group was registering students and then apparently tossing out some of them.. I don't remember the specifics, but the DNC should encourage all recently registered Democrats to check their registrations and report back any anomolies so they can get to the bottom of it...
You are right on the economy - particularly the stock market - doing better under Democratic than Republican administrations. Two economists at UCLA proved this mathematically in a paper published recently.
"The Presidential Puzzle: Political Cycles and the Stock Market"
1.) The trend in Republican tax legislation is towards the so called 'flat tax' - This will dramatically increase the taxes paid by the poor and middle class, through sales taxes. See the analysis of HR 25 at www.ctj.org. And economists for the most part agree that putting money in the pockets of the poor and middle class stimulates the economy more than giving it to the already-rich. All Kerry would do is bring taxes on the very rich in the US up to the levels they pay in other developed nations. So your tax argument doesn't fly.
2.) Its clear to me that 'No Child Left behind" is a ploy to maintain economic segregation in the school system. They are setting the schools up to fail because they don't see education as necessary for the 'proles' in the future economy. Because their jobs are going overseas or being automated anyway. So why have public education? At least that is how i see them approaching it. Call me cynical. I am...
3.) Free Trade - We don't have free trade because bush encourages monopolies in every area that counts. If Bush supported real free trade he would not block the re-importation of prescription drugs by Americans. Also, Bush is NOT training our workforce, Bush IS cutting training programs AND encouraging the exporting of many good American jobs and the dumbing-down of the rest.
I think that if we end up with Bush for another four years, we will be in a terrible mess.
Birthrates are falling in the US, and it's going to have a myriad of effects, including lower crime rates, a fall in real estate values, a lack of draft-age potential soldiers, and (perhaps - but other factors apply) some upward pressure on wages if the conditions are right (which the Bush regime is making sure wont happen)
All these changes have been shown globally - they tend to empower individuals somewhat...
Can't have that now..
That is the real reason they want to ban abortion..
A better solution would be to set up free childcare and perhaps pay - at least somehow incentivize people to have children.. But no, they would never be that smart...
Please forgive me for uploading an unfinished, rough draft of a post here. My wife is bugging me to stop blogging and come to bed.
Its far from done.. But there are some good ideas here if you can follow the lack of structure.. Please forgive.. I need to click the submit button now...
i don't know what a good name for it.. I started out trying to describe the problems I think we as democrats face in the near future.. and how we need to frame the debate and encorage discussion instead of hoping our probmens will go away.. because they wont...
anyway, feel free to borrow, adapt, criticize..
again.. its a very rough draft .. and quite disconnected ... But I do beleive it makes some important points.. _
The problem as I see it is that even though the Republicans are clearly pushing a deceptive agenda that favors the very rich, they are doing a very good job of concealing it. And they are also doing a good job as portraying themselves as the party of the common people, fighting the 'elitist' Democrats.
And the Democrats are letting them get away with it because they *are
elitist in the sense that they clearly are not willing to tackle the roots of our problems, the real underlying problems, just the symptoms of them. It's understandable, because facing the reality of the situation is very disturbing. Because it will require that we begin a dialogue, AS A NATION, on some very unpleasant truths. And it will also require the unmasking of some big lies. I don't think that any politician really has the courage to do it. But they must, because a failure to do so will allow extremists of both the right, and later, the left to exploit that denial and turn it against us as hatred. Call me paranoid but I totally see it coming.
First, I think the biggest problem we are dealing with is the fact that our technology is rapidly pushing us towards the day when only a fraction of those who do now will be required to work in order to fulfill our basic needs.
Read that again and meditate on it for a minute before reading on, because its important. Very important. Very, very important.
This process has been going on for two hundred years but the invention of the computer and the Internet has ushered in an entirely new era, and along with it, the problem represented by the commoditization of skilled trades and the devaluation of work due to a deliberate process of simplification - a process described by Frederick Taylor a long time ago is accellerating very quickly. And long-term, it has staggering implications for the social contract and the global community. Because it eventually represnts a whole new era in the history of humanity.
Short-term, unless we are aware of it sneaking up on it, we will blow our chance to patch and adapt our CURRENT system GRADUALLY to meet the challenge. This will plunge our whole world into chaos. The Republicans are clearly preparing for that day - with their goal being to protect the rich, at the expense of all of the rest of us and democracy. IT THREATENS AMERICA.
We have to do something..
What the hell am I talking about?
Now, I have to bring in an old name of someone who I doubt if any of you recognize, Frederick W. Taylor. Most would tell you that 'Taylor made' his mark in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries and that his ideas have been discredited today, but I think that they are wrong. An understanding of Taylor and his student Leffingwell will give someone an understanding of the way modern business is working to reduce (and by implication - eventually eliminate! most employees. This is not their fault! Businesses are not welfare or job agencies. Social issues ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES - in other words, GOVERNMENT)
It is the responsibility of corporations as they are currently structured to decrease their costs, and the cost paid for salaries is a big one.
If taxes are based on employment, and if employers are saddled with the burden of paying for health care, it is also understandable that they will try to reduce the number of employees. They are just doing their jobs. We perhaps can find solace in the fact that many of the jobs being lost are boring and perhaps are better done by machines BUT they are still jobs and they wont come back..
Trying to turn back the clock and stop progress will get us nowhere. We have to deal with this huge change.
Government needs to change. A dialogue needs to begin. I think that the way corporations are structured needs to change in response to this lack of community accountability. Individuals also need to change their expectations. Since WWII, we have been pushed to consume far more than we need. Our current society seems to view sharing as an anathema. (People should not be FORCED to share, however, our society needs to make sharing easier and this change will strengthen us. For example, many older people could live in co-housing situations much more cheaply than if they stayed in single-family homes without children.. This would help us deal with their medical needs and could also be cheaper.)
But, most importantly, as I said, government and corporations need to adjust. We all need to COMPROMISE and join together..
The alternative is that many US corporations will continue moving jobs overseas. It is simply so much cheaper to hire an engineer or computer scientist in China than it is here. Or to build a plant there than it is here.
This is causing a huge outflow of money and jobs from America to other nations. If we look at the economy of the globe, perhaps it is a good thing, but the combination of the technological revolution that I described earlier, the globalization of work and the commoditization of the jobs that remain here in the US is a very challenging one.
Its challenging because it directly threatens a number of assumptions that we have been building in to our planning.
We do want to keep money in the US and that means keeping jobs here. that will require quite an effort...its clear to me that a very large number of American workers are not trained for the kind of jobs that will be available in the future, and that American society as a whole is unwilling to make the committment to educating Americans to take them because we are buying the stupid line that moving those jobs to other countries is much more profitable. What this means is that we will lose our middle class, because the high paying jobs will involve a lot of technology.
We need much more of a committment to education, and that means the givernment MUST help people finance their educations MUCH more aggressively. I think that the givernment needs to at least double, probably much more, its spending on education. And we also need to change the structure of corporate governance to make corporations much more accountable. i would suggest as a vehicle for this the re-interpretation of the 14th amendment to not consider corporations as people, with equal rights to people. This decision was never made by the Supreme Court, instead it was written in to a court opinion (Santa Clara) by a renegade clerk.
What i am suggesting is that we return to our original definition of corporations and make them accountable for the full - lifetime consequences of their decisions - as well as make them more rooted in the community and America. In other words, build a legal framework that will create a situation where it makes sense economically for a corporation to hire and perhaps even train Americans here rather than ship jobs offshore. They will howl and scream though, because this will be very expensive compared to cherry picking resources abroad.
The alternative will be a situation in which millions of Americans will lose first their jobs, then their homes, and then their families will disintegrate.
With falling consumption, our economy and then the world economy will implode. Well funded facists will take over in most democracies in order to preserve the property of the elites.
They will play the middle class off against the poor skillfully, while liberals unwilling to take on the hard issues wring their hands.
First will come a currency crisis, which will result in mass waves of bankrupcies, evictions and business closings. Democracy will become threatened by demogogues and hate-slinging, and then die.. The facists will take over, with a secret agenda of preserving the fortunes of the richest from taxation and a diversionary policy of blaming the systemic economic problems on scapegoats such as foreigners. Globally, the picture will be just as dim with people losing jobs everywhere as one job after another is automated.
In some nations the anger of the poverty-stricken mobs will result in the installation of just-as-brutal communist regimes that prey upon the remaining members of the middle class and rich.
What a mess.. No, I'm not sure that this will happen, but I am almost sure that it will UNLESS we start talking about the dangers inherent in inaction and start trying to figure out ways to preserve what I see as the American Dream for all Americans. To do that, we need to LOSE OUR ELITISM and start practicing putting ourselves in each others positions. Democrats could start by facing the realities of the mindnumbing future faced by millions of working Americans as their jobs are dumbed down and then out. And perhaps we need to face that sometimes NO JOB is better than BAD JOBS and figure out a way out. I don't even begin to know where to start on that one. BUT IT HAS TO BE DONE. We need to lose our Calvinism and become pragmatists. And we need to face the facts on retirement. For example, what will happen to stocks when 40 million people start trying to extract their too-small equity from them at around the same time.. It just can't work.. And there are only so many garbage cans around for the old to eat out of..
We also need to face the fact that our medical system is in crisis, our retirement system will not work for millions of Americans without a renewed committment to Social Security's success, and that a policy of preemptive strike and aggressive military hegemony is a terrible mistake that will spend money we desperately need to be spending on building our future and make us enemies at a time we can least afford it. Because when transnational companies, farms AND small businesses automate to the point where they no longer need anywhere near as many workers as they do now, American AND European consumption will fall - and a force that is currently 'buying off' anti-Americanism in many countries with the promise of prosperity will be gone. It won't be pretty.
So, we are facing a lot of problems that will take everything we have got to deal with, as a nation.
By denying this the Democrats are betraying the working people of America and making the same mistake that Al Gore made in 2000. They are making all of us vulnerable to the stealthy lies of the would-be facist stealers of democracy - and this blindness - and taking the electorate for granted is a huge mistake.
They are playing games and placing us into a situation that will ultimately turn into struggle between neofacism and I suspect some kind of neo-communism.
They are also betraying a lack of vision and a lack of faith in Americans intrinsic good sense.
The Republicans are pretending that they will protect the middle class. But they really represent facism and they are portraying the Democrats as representing the thing the middle class fears the most (for good reason) - communism.
By facing and confronting the commoditization problem head on, Democrats could regain the initiative and immunize them from this framing attack for years to come. But it would require a committment to actually deal with the serious problems I described in a way which would incentivize all of us constructively.
Kerry's response is a good one, but wouldn't we all like to hear a solution to the nuclear proliferation issue.. (North Korea, Iran, etc.)
He says 'we will get tough' but what can we do, shy of war? Not very much..
My feeling is that we may not be able to stop these countries and other from getting nuclear weapons..
Technology spreads.. we have to adjust.. we can't police the world.. We have to face the extremely unpleasant reality that we can't hold back things like nuclear proliferation much longer (especially if we are claiming the 'right' to attack preemptively... :( )
The world has changed.. we have to adjust..
I think that means that we have a choice, be more of a team player, internationally, so much so that the hate is defused, or - and this is a very scary road.. understand that we will be a target of nuclear terrorism..
I think that portable, affordable health care is the most important issue we face going into this election. Why? Because the high cost of health 'insurance' is making our whole nation fall apart, directly or indirectly. Many Americans have been bankrupted by the impact of a single uninsured illness in their family after they lost health insurance. I have a friend who is self employed, and she suddenly came down with appendicitis. She ended up going to the hospital, even though she didn't want to, and now, because she makes around $20k a year, the hospital is suing her for the whole $40k bill. Where I live, $20k a year is not even enough to keep someone from becoming homeless.
Also, the high cost of healthcare is making the HMOs unaffordable to the self-employed. If someone has so much as seen a doctor in the last 5 or 6 years, they become 'uninsurable' and cannot get health insurance as an individual. Most people know this and it forces them to stay in jobs they hate just because a family member needs the insurance coverage. It's a new form of feudalism, where people are tied to their jobs because of the situation. In my area, the number of uninsured has skyrocketed, and the infant mortality has gone way up. I heard recently that the US's infant mortality levels are the highest of any developed country. This is a criminal situation, as babies are dying..
Also, the cost of prescription drugs is criminal.
I think that the cost of drugs is way out of control. Even generic drugs are orders of magnitude more expensive here than they are in Canada and Mexico (the media is wildly underestimating the difference, saying that they are only 50% cheaper - its often much more)
One way to frame the US drug expense penalty is to point out that we are, like idiots, subsidizing the pharmaceutical research for the whole world by paying these high prices. Drug companies are multinationals. They are laughing all the way to the bank. Meanwhile, Americans die because they cant afford lifesaving medications for things like, for example, high blood pressure. And they are also dying because of the MENTAL stress.
-This cannot be underestimated, as its been proven that high stress levels - as one would experience worrying about drug costs, job loss, etc, cause serious brain damage over time - the stress hormones kill cells in the hippocampus which negatively impacts one's short term memory - for the rest of your life! Stress kills!-
There is no way that the drug companies would stop doing research if Americans could buy drugs from any country they wanted to, getting the lowest price they could find. Ultimately, prices here would go down.
The Republicans are fighting this tooth and nail. We have to make people aware of their nightmarishly selfish health care policy, the average person just donesn't realize just how much they are fighting the people of America on this.