As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, I thought it would be a good time to talk about WHY that wall fell. I am sick of listening to right wingers claim that Ronald Reagan defeated communism and liberated Eastern Europe. It just didn't happen that way.
Here's an essay I wrote on the subject a few years back. I put my heart into this work.
It is LONG, much longer than other DU posts, but I hope you will take the time to read it.
The essay may help teach younger people what actually happened at that time. Greg.
Few will argue that with respect to world history, the most important event in the second half of the twentieth century is the fall of the “Iron Curtain”, the end of the "Cold War" and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Today, historians often discuss the effects that the end of the Cold War had on world politics and economics, but few seem to discuss the events that led up to and caused the end of the Cold War.
Even today, historians spend a lot of time discussing the events that led up to WWI and WWII, in the hope that similar wars can be avoided in the future. Strangely, few seem to spend much time discussing the events that led up to the fall of the iron curtain, and with it, the end of totalitarian eastern European communism.
I fear that we're missing an opportunity to teach non-violent revolution.
After “the fall”, the world found itself with over 300 million newly freed people.
People with the new-found freedom to elect their own leaders, the freedom to practice religious worship, the freedoms of speech and dissent, the freedom to make personal career and economic decisions, the freedom to buy property and goods without prior bureaucratic approval.
All of these freedoms were gained by Eastern Europeans when the iron curtain fell.
The freedoms gained by those hundreds of millions of people, the impact on the world economy, and the disappearing threat of nuclear annihilation, all contributed to making the fall of the iron curtain an event that should play a prominent role in history lessons for decades and even centuries to come.
The historical end of the “Cold War” begs the questions: Why did the iron curtain fall? Which events and which individuals caused "the fall"?
Cold War era Americans were taught that the Soviet system was a flawed system doomed to failure. Why then didn’t it fall prior to 1989?
Many credit one, or both, of the cold war super power leaders, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev for bringing an end to the Cold War. Reagan supporters credit his military build-ups for "bringing the Soviets to their knees", while Gorbachev supporters credit his policies of Glasnost and Perestroika for ultimately ending the Cold War.
Neither group fairly rates the events that caused the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.
The military build ups under Ronald Reagan may have made the Soviets less likely to crush the freedom movement militarily, while the policies of Glasnost and Perestroika championed by Mikhail Gorbachev certainly energized the voices of dissent.
In spite of this, those cold war superpower leaders, did not create the movement that liberated Eastern Europe, they merely prevented a different ending to that movement.
The movement that brought down the Berlin wall and ended the Cold War did not start in Moscow or Washington D.C. It started in Poland.
The movement was born in the Lenin shipyards of Gdansk, Poland way back in 1967. It was that year, that Lech Walesa began work as an electrician in the industrial shipyard of Soviet Poland.
Lech Walesa had been born in Popowo, Poland in 1943. His father, a carpenter, was forced into labor by the occupying Nazi army, and soon died due to his mistreatment. Lech was forced to grow up quickly, as his widowed mother struggled to raise her eight children. It was at that time that Lech Walesa decided he would dedicate his life to fighting injustice.
As a teenager, Lech went to vocational school. He worked first as a mechanic, before joining the army. It was after he completed his stint in the army, that he went to work in the Gdansk shipyards.
In 1969, twenty six year old Lech Walesa married Danute Golos. The stability that marriage brought to Walesa's life contrasted with what was a very tumultuous time in communist Poland.
In 1970, Poland was swept by “food riots” as protestors demonstrated against the government's decision to raise food prices. Young Lech Walesa joined those demonstrations at the shipyards.
In time, the demonstrations grew large and violent, before being crushed by the Polish military. As a result of his participation in the demonstrations, Lech was arrested by the authorities. This would be the first of many times that Lech Walesa would find himself incarcerated by the Polish government.
Walesa, a devout Catholic, was distressed by the brutality of the army crack-down. He soon made contact with small groups of Polish dissidents, including the Workers Defense Committee (KOR). The KOR was a group of intellectuals formed to aid the families of the workers fired for their parts in the demonstrations. The KOR was the precursor to what became the Solidarity trade union movement.
Lech continued to associate with the dissident groups for several years.
In 1976, Lech was fired from his job in the shipyards because of those dissident activities.
The activities, however, did not stop. During this time, Lech was heavily monitored by the government, and he was frequently detained. By 1978, he and others had begun to organize trade unions, independent of the communist government.
The on and off detentions continued.
Also in 1978, Lech Walesa and Catholics world-wide were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Pope John Paul I.
The somber mood in heavily Catholic Poland, however, soon turned to jubilation, when on October 16, 1978 Karol Wojtyla, Archbishop of Krakow was selected as Bishop of Rome. He took the title Pope John Paul II. He was the first non-Italian Pope since the 16th century, and the first ever Polish Pope.
The Polish people took to the streets and celebrated. Amid the sounds of ringing church bells, the Poles lit candles and prayed openly, events which were previously unimaginable in Communist Eastern Europe.
The Polish Politburo met after dark, to discuss the new "threat". Soviet KGB chief Yuri Andropov predicted trouble for the Soviet Union...
On the following Sunday, the Pope celebrated his inaugural mass at St. Peters Square, in the Vatican. The Polish Bishops suspended their normal services, so that their parishoners could listen to their fellow countryman on the radio:
“Be not afraid”, the Pope declared. “Open up, no swing wide
the gates to Christ! Open up to his saving power the
confines of the state. Open up economic and political
systems... ...be not afraid.”
Later the Pope was urged not to forget the “church of silence”, a reference to the Eastern Europeans unable to worship freely. He responded, “It is not a church of silence anymore, because it speaks with my voice.”
He urged the Bishops of Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Czechslovakia to have more courage in the face of opposition from their communist governments. An outspoken anti-communist, the Pope soon rallied his church behind the Polish dissidents.
In June of 1979, Pope John Paul II made a triumphant return to his Polish homeland, and the nation once again celebrated. Victory Square, which had previously been used only for military parades, was converted to a Holy Shrine, the centerpiece being a 36 foot tall cross. Catholics throughout Eastern Europe followed the story on radio and television while the Pope’s visit focused international attention on the plight of the Polish people. In a thinly veiled attack on the communists, he declared that, “The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man”.
Meanwhile, Lech Walesa continued to work at odd jobs, as he had done since being fired from his job at the Gdansk shipyards. He also continued to organize protests, while economic conditions in Poland continued to deteriorate.
In July 1980, the communist government decided to again raise food prices. Like before,
their actions were met with protests. By mid August, over 100,000 Polish workers were on strike. This time, the protestors occupied the shipyards.
In a dramatic move, Lech Walesa scaled the fence at the Gdansk shipyards to join the protestors and they quickly adopted him as their leader.
Inspired by the Gdansk protesters, the strikes quickly spread across Poland, and the economy was brought to a standstill. The number of strikers soon reached 500,000, while the threat of Soviet invasion loomed large.
Lech and his fellow protesters adorned the gates of the shipyards with flowers, Polish flags, and with photos of Pope John Paul II and the Virgin Mary. They set up makeshift confessionals inside the shipyards for the protestors, and they gathered to listen to radio broadcasts of the Pope celebrating mass.
When the Pontiff saw photos of the demonstrators praying, he was said to have declared that Walesa had, “... been sent by God, by Province”.
Each evening, Lech would climb back over the fence to give news of the negotiations to crowds waiting outside the shipyard fences. His appearances were greatly anticipated and wildly cheered.
Lech became chairman of the Interfactory Strike Committee, linking the Gdansk shipyard workers with strikers at other factories. As committee chairman, Lech led the strikers away from the usual issues of workers wages and food prices, towards even bigger prizes: The right to form free and independent trade unions, and the right to strike. Such bold proposals were never before heard of in the Eastern Bloc.
Crippled by the strikes, and fearing further unrest, the Polish government capitulated, and agreed to meet with Walesa.
The workers sensed victory.
On August 31, 1980, Lech Walesa met with Poland’s first deputy Premier Mieczyslaw Jagielski to sign the Gdansk agreement granting the workers the right to form free trade unions. The agreement also gave the workers the right to strike, while reducing government censorship, and granting the church and the union access to the very important government broadcasting facilities.
When Lech signed his name to the agreement, he used a large commemorative pen adorned with a photo of Pope John Paul II. In celebration of the agreement, strikers and government negotiators stood side by side and sang the Polish national anthem.
After years of build-up, in September 1980, the Solidarity trade union was officially born. The Pope responded by inviting a delegation of union members to the Vatican.
In October 1980, nine hundred thousand Poles dropped out of the communist party, after the party had urged them to resign their Solidarity memberships.
A few weeks later, Ronald Reagan staged a dramatic come from behind victory, and was elected President of the United States. He took office in January 1981.
Also in January 1981, Lech Walesa and the Solidarity delegation arrived in the Vatican, where the Pope celebrated a private mass for them. The Pope declared, "The right to form free associations is one of the fundamental human rights.”
Solidarity membership was growing, but so was the wariness of the Soviets.
Union membership soon grew to 10 million members, while U.S. satellite photos showed a massive Soviet troop build-up along the Polish border. In December 1980, President Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski notified the Pope of the military build-up.
In February 1981, the Pope wrote a letter to Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev declaring that if the Soviets invaded Poland then he would personally stand between the Soviet tanks and the Polish people.
The invasion never happened.
In September 1981, Solidarity held their first national Congress. There, Lech Walesa was elected Solidarity chairman. As chairman, Lech found it difficult to forge a concensus as to how fast reforms should occur. Some of the union members began to feel that the time had come that Solidarity could no longer co-exist with the communist government, and that, one of them "had to go".
On December 12, 1981, a more radical element in the Solidarity movement voted to support a national referendum on the future of the communist government, and on Poland’s military alliance with the Soviet Union. Frustrated, Lech Walesa knew that they were handing the communists the excuse they needed to crack down on Solidarity.
The police came to Lech’s home at 3:00 AM the next morning and placed him under arrest. Within hours, most of the Solidarity leadership was also under arrest. Along with him, thousands of Solidarity members, intellectuals, and dissidents were also rounded up.
Hundreds of workers were injured, and some were killed, when soldiers and police forcefully removed striking workers from factories and mines. Martial law had been declared, and Solidarity was “suspended”. Walesa was cut off from contact with the outside world, while tanks and armored personnel carriers took up positions across the Polish countryside.
Overnight, the new freedoms of the Polish people disappeared.
For the previous sixteen months, and for the first time in a couple of generations,
Polish church parishoners had joyfully sung their spiritual national anthem, “Oh Lord please bless our free fatherland”. After the imposition of martial law, they again changed the lyrics, as they always did while under foreign occupation to, “Oh Lord please return our free fatherland”.
In 1982, Time magazine named Lech Walesa as their “Man of the Year” for 1981. He was released from custody in November 1982, and he was reinstated to his position in the Gdansk shipyards. By now, the freedom movement had ground to a halt. For the next six years, Lech’s activities would be monitored, he would be harassed by the authorities, and he would often find himself in jail.
In June 1983, Pope John Paul II again returned to Poland. He met with General Jaruzelski and urged him to end martial law. Again, the Pope met with Lech Walesa. In July 1983, martial law was suspended, although several of the restrictions were written into permanent law.
In October 1983, Lech was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The selection was quickly denounced by the Communist regime, while it boosted the spirits of the Solidarity membership. Fearing that the communists would not allow Lech back into Poland, his wife Danute went to Norway to accept the Nobel Prize.
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the leadership of the Soviet Union. His policies of Perestroika and Glasnost breathed new life into the freedom movement, as eastern Europeans slowly gained the right to free speech. In Poland, the Solidarity trade union movement remained illegal.
That year, the Soviets hinted that they wanted to open diplomatic relations with the Vatican. The two had been at odds since the days when Joseph Stalin sarcastically asked, “how many army divisions does the Pope have?”
Meanwhile, Solidarity members continued to keep the pressure on the government to re-legalize their union. In 1987 in an attempt to appease the Solidarity members, Jaruzelski instituted a series of reform referendums. Wishing to keep the heat on the communists, and to drive for total victory, Lech Walesa led the defeat of the referendums.
In 1988 Poland was again swept by a series of strikes. Like the last time, the Gdansk workers again occupied the shipyards. This time, in somewhat of a nostalgic move, Lech Walesa again joined the workers in the shipyards. Poland was changing, and the mood was much different this time. Now, there was an air of inevitability about the reform movement. By December, it was clear that the situation in Poland was going to change.
The communists invited the Solidarity members to join them in talks beginning in February 1989. These negotiations came to be known as the, ‘roundtable talks’. The negotiations lasted for 59 days. On April 5, 1989, Solidarity and the Communists came to an agreement to share power, and to hold free elections.
During those negotiations, Lech Walesa had barnstormed the country urging his fellow Poles to support the talks. In the end, Solidarity was again legalized, the power of the Polish parliament was expanded, and Solidarity won the right to field candidates for office.
In June 1989, the elections were held, and Solidarity candidates won every race in which they were allowed to run, including 96 of 100 Senate seats. Poland elected it’s first non-communist Prime Minister in over 40 years. By August 1989, Poland was being led by a Solidarity coalition government.
By this time, the rest of Eastern Europe had also began to change. Hundreds of East Germans sought refuge in the West German embassy in Hungary. They crowded the embassy grounds until Hungarian authorities allowed them to travel to West Germany. By September, 60,000 more East Germans had passed through Hungary on their way to Austria. A mass exodus had begun.
In October, the Hungarian leaders renounced communism. Meanwhile trainloads of East Germans left Prague and Warsaw from their refuges in the West German embassies. Amazingly, the trains were allowed to pass through East Germany, undisturbed by the authorities, on their way to the west.
On October 18, 1989, East German President Eric Honecker was forced to resign in the face of massive street demonstrations. On that same day, the Hungarian Parliament ended their one party monopoly and scheduled free elections for the following year.
At the same time, the blood of Chinese freedom demonstrators was being washed from the pavements of Tiananmen Square.
On November 9, 1989, the Iron Curtain symbolically fell forever, as the Berlin Wall was breached. The crowds in West Berlin cheered as concrete drills punched holes through the wall. The streets of West Berlin were filled with people anticipating a large celebration. They stood on buildings, they climbed trees and sign posts. They sang. They cheered. They drank champagne.
When a large enough hole was finally punched through the wall, the hands of the East German guards quickly came through the hole to shake hands with as many of the celebrants as they could. By now, the East German guards had abandoned their positions on top of the wall, only to be replaced by celebrating West Berliners who climbed to the top of the wall where they sang some more, danced some more, and drank more champagne.
Soon the voids in the wall were large enough for people and even vehicles to pass through. The streets of West Berlin quickly filled with celebrating East Berliners, while the West Berliners carried the party into the East. Up to 100,000 Germans were pouring into Berlin each hour. The streets became littered with empty champagne bottles and abandoned East German Trabi automobiles.
Millions of Germans now clogged the streets of Berlin setting off fireworks, flying flags, singing, and dancing. The mayors of East and West Berlin shook hands in the street. By the end of the week, there were nearly 13 million East Germans milling about in the west, where they were welcomed like the long lost family members that they were.
That same week, Bulgarian Communist Party head Todor Shikov resigned from the post he had held for 35 years. The streets of Prague, Czechslovakia filled with hundreds of thousands of Czech protesters which led to the resignation of their President in December, 1989.
In Romania however, there was to be no ‘velvet revolution’. In the week preceeding Christmas, their streets filled with demonstrators. The communist security forces opened fire killing hundreds. On December 22, 1989, the Romanian Army revolted and joined the demonstrators, ensuring the collapse of the government. On Christmas Day, dictator Nicolai Ceausecu and his wife were tried, convicted, and executed.
On December 26th, Poland instituted a series of radical free market reforms.
Within days, Vaclav Havel was named the new President of Czechslovakia. Havel had spent several years in prison as a political prisoner of the communist regime.
In 1990 the Romanian Communist Party finally dissolved. That same year, Hungary held it’s first free elections since 1945, while Poland elected Lech Walesa as their first ever popularly elected President.
On Christmas day in 1991, the cold war officially came to an end as the communist system in the Soviet Union followed the lead of their former Warsaw Pact allies and folded.
Later, when questioned about the fall of the iron curtain, Pope John Paul II stated, “I did not cause this to happen. The tree was already rotten. I just gave it a good shake, and the rotten apples fell.”
For centuries, nervous investors have turned to gold for investment security during uncertain economic times. When the economy gets weak, the price of gold rises. In the late 1970's we watched gold peak in the $700+ per ounce range. That number eventually ebbed to roughly the $300 per ounce range where it held fairly steady until early 2002 when the price began to rise. By spring 2004, gold was $400 per ounce and by spring 2006 it was approaching $600 per ounce. By mid 2007 gold was over $700 per ounce when it spiked near $1000 per ounce in early 2008. In the past year, the price of gold dipped down as low as about $720 per ounce in mid November. Today, gold broke the $1000 per ounce price for the second time in history, although it did close just under $1000/ounce.
As in the past, the recent spikes in the price of gold again reflect consumer uncertainty over current economic conditions. Recently, however, there has been another force at work. For the last couple of years, several knowledgable individuals in the coin collecting and precious metals markets have been speculating that the U.S. has been secretly manipulating the world price of gold by selling it's supply of gold bullion.
Many experts believe that the Bush administration has been selling America's supply of gold bullion in order to "flood" the world market with gold and suppress the price. With nervous investors causing the price of gold to rise steadily, the Bush adminstration wanted to slow down the price rise and keep it from "getting out of hand".
Why would they want to suppress the price of gold? There are two reasons: One was that The Bush administration wanted to fool the American public into thinking that the economy was stronger than it really was. Had gold been allowed to surge to a market level, then the high gold prices would have been front page news during the election year. Team Bush was dedicated to making sure bad economic news would be suppressed. The second reason for the price suppression was that when the price of gold surges, people pull their money out of the stock market and buy gold in search of higher and safer returns.
Pull money out of the stock market and the price of stocks falls. That would be more bad economic news that Team Bush was desperate to avoid.
A falling stockmarket combined with surging gold prices would have been terrible news for the GOP during the past election year. That's why the Bush administration decided to sell OUR gold in order to further the political fortunes of their political party.
The market manipulation they have been accused of has artifically suppressed the price of gold while artifically inflating the value of dollar based securities. Now that Bush's team of crooks is out of power, the gold market manipulation has ended. The result? A falling stock market and rising gold prices!
Here's a link to some comments from an analyst at a coin collecting publication regarding this subject:
"On Dec. 6, 2007, the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, Inc., (GATA) filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with both the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury. ...sought information about possible gold swaps that the U.S. government may have handled and any related information about policies for such swaps.
In mid-April, the Federal Reserve responded, releasing part or all of hundreds of pages of worthless information, but also claiming that it was withholding all or part of the information of about 400 pages of documents. The status of the withheld documents is currently under appeal...
...I personally find it hard to reconcile the Federal Reserve's acknowledgement that it found about a thousand pages of documents on gold swaps when the Treasury will only admit it involves two documents. To me, that smells like a carefully created cover-up...
...There is a lot of information hidden from the public. If this information were to become known, there is a good possibility that it could show that the U.S. government has sold or swapped gold. The president of the German central bank has already admitted that he has held discussions with other not-yet-identified central banks about gold swaps. The U.S. Treasury is an obvious candidate to be one of these central banks. Since the U.S. government so far is trying to claim it has never engaged in gold swaps or sales, any release of information that contradicts this position could lead to a sharp jump in the price of gold..."
http://www.coinlink.com/News/gold-silver-b... / - MAY 2008
"There has been a constant stream of terrible financial news over the past nine months. This news makes investors leery of owning US dollars or dollar-denominated paper assets like stocks or bonds. When investors try to protect themselves by switching to other assets or currencies, the result is a decline in the values of the dollar and American stocks and bonds
Apparently, the top priorities of the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve is that the US stock market must be supported and the price of gold held down, so as to avoid a massive exit from the dollar and American stocks and bonds. To accomplish this manipulation, the Federal Reserve trades short-term repurchase agreements with 20 approved primary government securities dealers.
...dealers on this approved list are Bank of America Securities, Bear Stearns, Cantor Fitzgerald, Countrywide Securities, Daiwa Securities America, Goldman Sachs, Greenwich Capital Markets, HSBC Securities (USA), JPMorgan Securities, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch Government Securities, and Morgan Stanley. As long as these companies use the liquidity provided by the repurchase agreements to do the government's bidding, they will be allowed to make profits from the fees of the transactions.
When significant negative financial news is released... ...this could scare investors into selling their US dollars and stocks and bonds and buying gold and silver with the proceeds. To diminish this effect, the Federal Reserve and Treasury (who know the bad news before its public release) give orders to boost stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and to knock down the price of gold.
Last Friday we saw a perfect example of this tactic. The previous day, American International Group, Inc. (AIG), the world's largest insurance company announced a $7.8 billion loss for the first quarter of 2008. This followed a $5.3 billion loss the previous quarter, when AIG officials suggested that the worst was over. As a result, when the U.S. markets were opening on Friday, the U.S. dollar and stocks were falling and the price of gold was rising. In mid-morning, the manipulators struck. Gold quickly fell almost 2%, the DJIA increased about 1%, and the US dollar index rose about 0.5%.
...then came the new bad news: Citigroup, one of the world's largest banks, announced a plan to dispose of about 20% of its assets over the next 2-3 years.
...over the past nine months, the pre-arranged manipulation of the DJIA and the gold price had the desired effect of persuading investors to sit tight. Last Friday, that didn't happen. After the manipulators struck, nervous investors continued to sell the dollar, sell U.S. stocks, and buy gold and silver. For the day, the DJIA was down about 1%, the US dollar index down 0.5%, and gold was up 1%. For the day, the stock of AIG dropped almost 9%; Citigroup lost over 2%...
...The gold price manipulators seem to be losing their clout. We could be in for some serious decline in the value of the US dollar, stocks, and bonds in the coming weeks, along with much higher gold prices. "
For every job "taken" by an illegal Mexican immigrant in the Southwestern U.S., how many manufacturing jobs have been lost from my Great Lakes region due to the transfer of American manufacturing to China? Ten times as many? One hundred times as many?
At least the Mexican immigrants count their wages using DOLLARS per hour and they spend some of their money in this country, unlike the teenage Chinese girls who make all the crap sold by Walmart and the rest of America's retailers. They only measure their wages in cents per hour. Their wage rates and work schedules would get their employers tossed in jail if they tried to impose them inside our country. The Walmarting of American manufacturing jobs really is the next best thing to slavery if you're trying to save wage and benefit costs.
For too long, states in the industrial Great Lakes region have watched our standards of living decline as the manufacturing jobs that are the backbone of our economies left for foreign lands. And people want us to worry about the financial strains placed on the Southwest states and communities due to illegal immigrants from Mexico? Really?
Forget it. We in the Great Lakes region have finally united with our common cause. We understand that our economies are so closely related that we will all sink together if we don't unite and defend what's left of our manufacturing economies. The decline of manufacturing jobs has even reliably Republican Ohio and Indiana now ready to help elect Chicago resident Barack Obama as President.
2008 may very well have Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York all voting for one Presidential Candidate. Toss in Iowa and New Jersey because their economies and demographics are so similar to our. Have all these states EVER voted as one before? Even Fritz Mondale carried Minnesota.
A unified electoral voting bloc of the states in the Great Lakes region could decide Presidential elections for years to come.
Oh behalf of all of us, I'd like to say that we're very pleased ta meet cha!
Posted by Lefty48197 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu Jan 17th 2008, 03:10 PM
With economic indicators showing our nation sliding into recession for the last year or so, I was surprised to hear the
recent talk of an "economic stimulus package" to help ease the strain of the recession, which most people feel has
already arrived. I was even pleased to hear that the Republicans in Congress were not only admitting that we were in a
recession, but that they were even agreeing that something should be done about it.
I seems we have come a long way since the days of President George H.W. Bush, who couldn't even utter the word
"recession" during his re-election campaign in 1992. The media even mockingly used "the R word" to refer to the unmentioned
Admitting we have a problem is the first step to solving it. Doing something about the problem becomes the second step.
Unfortunately, President George W. Bush now says he wants an extension of his two major tax cuts for the wealthy to be
the cornerstone of his "economic stimulus package". I find that ironic, considering that he and his Republican friends who
used to control Congress told us that those two tax cuts would in fact create economic prosperity by themselves.
The fact that we are now entering a recession demonstrates that those tax cuts certainly didn't prevent our current
economic woes. Renewing those tax cuts sounds like an attempt to try the same policy that has already failed.
With housing sales down by about 20% nationwide in 2007, with the credit crunch caused by the scandalous behavior of mortgage
lenders, and with our national wealth heading overseas with every boat load of empty Chinese cargo containers, and middle east
oil tankers, it appears our economic problems will only get worse.
Just yesterday, the DOW Jones closed at 12,466. It closed at 10,507 on the day President Bush took office on January 20th
2001. This is less than a 20% increase in seven years, which translates to about a 3% annual increase, far below the
historical 14% annual increase in the Dow Jones average. As a result, our retirement savings accounts have suffered.
Most Americans have our retirement investments in 401K packages, yet the DJIA has stagnated for seven years.
And they wanted to transfer our Social Security accounts into the stock market?
Likewise, those who thought their investments in a home were adding to their personal wealth have seen that "paper wealth"
shrink by ten percent, or more over the last couple of years.
We've watched the value of our dollar crash during the last few years, while the cost of gold has skyrocketed, up
nearly 300% since George Bush took office. Even the Canadian dollar is now worth more than ours. We've also watched
the price of oil go from under $30 per barrel to about $90 a barrel during the Bush Presidency, and we've watched most of
the goods on our nation's retail shelves be replaced by goods made in China.
Clearly, our economic problems didn't start last month.
Now, President Bush is responding by saying that extending his tax cuts of 2001 & 2003 are the
solution to the problem.
This reminds me of President Clinton's comment during the 1992 campaign where he said
the definition of insanity was trying the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. My father taught me
decades ago that "two wrongs don't make a right". Extending the tax cuts that have done nothing to help our economy,
is clearly not the solution to our current economic woes.
I hope the new Democratic Congress will let those tax cuts for America's richest 1-2% lapse, and perhaps grant a tax
cut to those that are struggling in this weak economy. Perhaps doubling the personal exemption would be a good idea?
I don't see any benefit to making working families pay taxes, when they can't afford to pay their housing costs, when they
can't afford to pay for food and clothing, when they can't afford medical insurance and expenses, or when they can't even find
a job. Extending unemployment benefits would be another good idea.
Unfortunately, President Bush's solution to the economic recession seems to be "more of the same".
Now, more than ever, Americans need creative leadership from Washington. The Democrats in Congress can see to it that we don't
have to wait for a new President to get that creativity. I hope they realize this and I hope they follow through.
Posted by Lefty48197 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Nov 14th 2006, 06:05 PM
Name 10 things the new Democratic Congress should do:
We've heard our new Congressional leaders mention a few items that they plan to address in the "first 100 hours" after we take charge. They've mentioned raising the minimum wage, implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and allowing Medicare to use group bargaining power to negotiate lower drug prices. It also looks like we may soon take the first steps towards bringing our troops home from Iraq.
What's at the top of your "to do" list?
Do you agree with our leaders? Do you have your own list? Even if you have one, or five, or nine ideas, let's hear your ideas as to what the new Congress should do to make this country a better place.
In no particular order, here is my list:
1) Health Care - I believe we should push an incremental plan that eventually results in guaranteed health insurance for all
Americans. Nancy Pelosi has said that she will push for a plan similar to what they have in San Francisco
whereby all children are guaranteed health insurance, and they retain it until they are 25 years of age. I
fully endorse her "San Francisco Plan", and I would expand it to include all new and expectant mothers,
regardless of age, or other factors.
2) Minimum Wage - The minimum wage has not gone up since 1998. Because of inflation, minimum wage earners today
earn about 30% less than thos in 1998. That's eight years with not only NOT getting a raise, but
effectively getting a pay cut due to inflation. We can't let this happen anymore. Not only do minimum
wage earners deserve an immediate raise (up to about $7.50 per hour), but we must also see to it
that minimum wage earners are never again subject to the sadistical whims of right wing politicians.
This past eight years of effective pay cuts was a repeat of the 1980's when the minimum wage was
raised in 1981, but not again until 1990. We cannot allow our most vulnerable workers have their wages
set by the likes of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. We need annual inflationary increases in the
minimum wage. We cannot settle for a raise without the mandatory annual increases.
3) Tax Fairness - Since the days of Ronald Reagan, the GOP has worked to reduce the tax rates of the wealthiest
Americans. Reagan reduced the number of brackets and he reduced the rates paid by those in the
highest brackets. The difference is left to be paid by those in the lower tax brackets, or not at all, resulting
in a loss of one service or another. Since the arrival of Reaganomics, the right wingers have worked to
reduce or eliminate other taxes paid by wealthier Americans: Capital gains taxes, dividend taxes, estate
taxes, property taxes, all the while continuing to push for cuts in the top brackets.
In order to work for tax fairness, we need to fight to reduce the taxes paid by working individuals, and
have the difference made up by wealthier individuals. The best way to accomplish that is to increase the
exemptions to federal taxes. I would suggest that each adult receive an exemption of $20,000 per year,
with an additional $5000 annual exemption for each child. That way, a family of four would pay $0 per year
in federal income tax with a $50,000 income.
The Republicans like to claim that it's more important to cut taxes for the wealthy, because they will then
use the money to "create jobs", and that the wealth will eventually trickle down to the wage earners. I
think the Clinton years proved that the best economic plan for America is to have everybody working and
bringing home a paycheck. Consumers with money to spend create jobs, not rich Republicans.
4) Fair Trade - We've watched as hundreds of thousands of jobs have left this country for overseas to places like China,
India, and Indonesia. Workers in those nations now make a huge percentage of the products sold on the
shelves of places like Walmart. Just try to find a plastic child's toy this Holiday Season that WASN'T made
in China. American corporations now import their goods from developing nations that treat their employees
in manners that would get the executives thrown in jail, if they did that in America. Likewise, those foreign
manufacturers damage the environment in ways that would lead to jail time in this country.
The jobs continue to leave on a daily basis.
In addition, China and Japan have been manipulating their currencies, making their products more affordable
to Americans, while making our products unaffordable to their consumers. Michigan GOP Gubernatorial
candidate Dick DeVos said that the only reason he opened factories in China, was because they wouldn't
allow him to sell products there, that were manufactured here. Why can't we provide the same protection
for our workers? Why can't we insist that they open their markets to our products, if they want to sell their
products here? Part of the reason is that the American corporations that profit from the cheap Chinese
labor have been writing our trade policies in the past. That must end.
We must insist that they open their markets to us, or else we will close our market to them. We must also
insist that they let the value of their currencies float on the open market, and that they also provide
compensation for their past abuses of currency values. We need the Congress to fight for American workers
and for corporations that still manufacture goods in this country.
5) Corporate Citizenship - We need policies that help corporations that remain in America and continue to provide jobs in this
country. Conversely, we need to punish those corporations that do otherwise, such as those that
send manufacturing facilities overseas, or those that create paper home offices in Barbados, in
order to dodge American taxes. We need to aid the companies that pay living wages, and provide
health insurance to their employees, and we need to punish those that don't. The way to do this is
through the tax structure. Provide lower than current tax rates for those that do pay their
employees well, and provide higher than current rates for those who don't. Ditto for those that do
and don't provide health insurance. We can also provide tax relief for corporations that manufacture
goods in America, and sock those that import from slave labor countries with higher (MUCH
higher) tax rates. Hit them so hard with taxes that it becomes cheaper to open factories in this
country. Make it cheaper to pay your employees well.
6) Nationalize the energy industry - The energy industry, including oil & gasoline, natural gas, and electric service have
proven that they will do whatever it takes to make obscene profits, even if it bankrupts
the American consumer. We cannot tolerate that any longer. We cannot allow them to
threaten our economic security any longer. "We the People" should own the refineries,
the pipelines, the electrical generation plants, and the transmission wires, and we
should own the retail gas stations. Those that currently own all of these entities have
proven that they are a threat to our nation, and they should lose their ownership
privleges for it.
7) Iraq - Bring the troops home. The tyrant is out of power, he's been convicted, and he will soon be executed. The Iraqis
voted, and they have voted again. They have voted for the Constitution, and they have voted for the Parliament.
We've all seen the purple thumbs. We can't run their country for them, and they won't run it themselves while
we're there. They'll only do so when they're forced to. That time is now. Bring the troops home.
8) Strengthen Social Security and Medicare - Social Security will remain solvent until about 2040, Medicare until about 2015.
The baby-boomers are about to begin retiring and we will soon need to take
steps to insure the long term solvency of those very important programs.
Anything less will leave the door open to right wing agitators who will try to
eliminate or privatize the programs. We can't let that happen.
9) Public Education - We need to improve our public schools, especially those in the big cities. Declining tax bases are
robbing these districts of revenue and are exacerbating the problems that already exist. With the
falling revenue, discipline and drop out rates will continue to get worse. Class sizes will grow, and
the quality of education will suffer. We need an educational policy that recognized the vulnerability
of our big city school districts and works to improve them, rather than letting them continue to decline.
Vouchers won't help inner city schools, nor will non-union teachers solve the problems. The big city
school districts have the added burden of older buildings that need more money for maintenance and
repairs. The suburban districts have more money to spend on books & supplies, and also on teacher's
salaries. Couple that with the higher degrees of relative safety in the suburban schools and we have
a system where our best teachers migrate from the big cities to the suburban schools. If our big city
schools are going to match the quality of our suburban schools, they we are going to have to pay
the big city teachers comparably. Because of these factors and the falling tax bases in many of the big
cities, meeting these goals will require a higher rate of spending in the big city schools. We need to
make a financial committment to saving all of our public schools. Failing to do so will open the door to
the right wingers who want to destroy the public education system that has done more to pull
Americans out of poverty than any social program.
10) Civil Rights - America has come a long way since the days when African-Americans were counted as only 2/3 of a person. We've come a long way since the days of slavery, Jim Crow, and the lynchings, but we still have a long way to go to guarantee basic civil rights to all Americans. Overt discrimination still exists in this country as does de facto discrimination, both of which work to trap brown skinned Americans in an "economic sub-class". No group, however, bears the brunt of discrimination in this country more than homosexuals. The right to a legally recognized marriage is denied, along with the basic human dignity that goes along with that right. Probate rights are denied. Insurance rights and coverage are denied. Hospital visitation rights are denied. I doubt the Family Leave Act even applies to homosexuals.
(How can you take time off work to help your spouse, if you can't even marry the person?). Basic rights
are denied to homosexuals by the fundamentalist Christians who sometimes have an awful lot in
common with the homosexuals they suppress, when the lights are turned off. We cannot allow the right
wingers to continue to deny basic human rights and dignity to the homosexuals. We must fight to extend
full family and spousal rights to homosexuals. America will never be the "Land of the Free" until this final
civil rights frontier is conquered.
"Windquest" the yacht owned by billionaire Doug DeVos, brother of fellow billionaire and Michigan Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Dick DeVos has now fallen to third place in the annual Port Huron to Mackinac Island race due to the correction factor used to adjust for the size of the yachts. Because the DeVos yacht is so big, they adjust the finish times of all the other yachts to compensate.
"Windquest, owned by the brother of gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, was the first to reach the island, but ended up in third place in its class on corrected time."
Here's a photo of the DeVos yacht:
Oops, I'm sorry. That's the DeVos family jet, Alticor.
Here's the DeVos yacht Windquest:
Oops, sorry again, that's the DeVos yacht Alexia.
Not to be confused with the DeVos yacht Enterprise:
Yes, the same Enterprise yacht upon which the DeVos family has hosted countless Republican fund-raisers, including the ones to benefit indicted former House leader Tom DeLay. Good ole Jack Abramoff was also known to schmooze with the DeVos family upon the Enterprise. (What pleasant company they keep, eh?)
"Business Week and the Associated Press reported in 1999 that Abramoff was “first to sign up” for a meeting with GOP House conservatives hosted by DeVos on the Amway yacht. Brewer demanded that DeVos abide by his own words on accountability and release the photographs of him and Abramoff at that event and from other meetings they had."
"Abramoff attended the meeting of GOP conservatives called the “Potomac River Cruise” hosted by Dick DeVos on the Amway yacht Enterprise in the summer of 1999. Abramoff was the first person to sign up for DeVos’ meeting. Indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, another leader along with DeVos and Abramoff of the GOP culture of corruption, also attended the meeting."
Ok found it. Here's the photo of the DeVos yacht Winquest:
Sorry about the earlier mix-ups.
Can you imagine if Dick DeVos were actually elected Governor? How would he find time for work, what with all the yachting and jetting around the country to GOP fundraisers? They'd probably have to show him how to operate the office water cooler. I picture him walking into the office followed by a guy in a tuxedo carrying a frilly pillow with Dick's briefcase on top of it.
Recent history has shown that Michigan has a predictable pattern during national economic recessions. One predictable truth is that when the nation gets an economic "cold", Michigan gets the "flu". i.e. moderate national recessions hit Michigan hard. Such was the case in the late 1970's and early 1980's when the nation went into a pretty bad recession, but Michigan entered a near DEPRESSION. Detroit's unemployment was like 25%. Most of the major cities in Michigan with large African-American populations had unemployment rates between 20 and 30%. That was true of Saginaw, Pontiac, Flint, Benton Harbor, Muskegon in addition to Detroit.
The reason Michigan takes such an economic beating is because of our dependence on the auto industry. When the nation slips into a recession, even one that's not that bad, one of the first things people do is forego the purchase of a new automobile. They make the old ones last. Repair costs are probably cheaper than new payments, especially if the old one's paid off.
That's why Michigan almost always has a higher unemployment rate than the national average, during recessions.
Dick DeVos and the Republicans don't want you to know that.
They want you to think that Michigan's current economic problems are Governor Granholm's fault. Nevermind the fact that it was her that had to provide the political leadership to take care of the budget mess that John Engler and his Republican legislature left her. In spite of continued Republican control of the legislature, Governor Granholm made the tough choices in her budget proposal, that resulted in Michigan's current budget solvency.
Since they passed her budget, the Republicans have tried to stone-wall every single one of her proposals. They did so, because they did not want her to succeed. They didn't want her to create jobs improving the infrastructure, they didn't want her bringing jobs to Michigan through Michigan Economic Development Grants, and they sure didn't want her improving the living and working conditions of Michigan's working class.
Now they're trying to blame Governor Granholm for not fixing the problems.
The Republicans also don't want you to know that Michigan is always the last state to pull out of a recession. When the nation first starts to pull out of a recession, people are more interested in paying off their bills, building savings accounts, and maybe buying a few small luxuries that they wouldn't buy during times of economic uncertainty. What they don't do is rush right out and spend $25,000 on a new vehicle. Those major purchases are put off until six months, or one year, or two years after the recessions end.
That's why Michigan is always the last state to pull out of a recession.
The Republicans don't want you to know that either.
Please don't let Dick DeVos' campaign mislead you, or anybody else.
Posted by Lefty48197 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Apr 18th 2006, 07:40 PM
Bash them by saying that they are just like Bush. Bash them for all the stupid things they do. But whatever you do, be sure to bash the Republicans in both houses of Congress. We should all be concentrating on retaking one, or both houses of Congress THIS YEAR. Congress is up for re-election this year and Bush is not.
Bush's approval ratings are already in the bottom of the trap below the toilet, so there's not much sense in trying to push them further down. It's not in our best interest to try and "pile on", or punish Bush, in spite of all the bad things he continues to do. Bush's term doesn't end until 2009. We have a chance to send a whole bunch of Republican Senators and Representatives home "to spend more time with their families", THIS YEAR. With it, we can overtake one or both houses of Congress.
We have a historical opportunity before us. All indicators point towards Democrats having a chance at sweeping the GOP out of power. We can impeach Bush in 2007, but first we need to take over both houses of Congress THIS YEAR. To do that, we need to defeat the individual candidates. We need to seek out any and every seat that is possibly vulnerable and work our butts off to win those seats.
Further attacks on Bush won't help that cause, unless we use the opportunity to tie the GOP candidate to the sinking Bush ship.
Gather and share photos of your local GOP Congressperson with Bush Jr., Tom DeLay, Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich, or Jack Abramoff. Gather and share quotes from them praising the failed President. Especially, be prepared to point out that they have marched lock-step behind George W. Bush for their entire term in Congress. Point out that they are as responsible as Bush Jr. for all of the failures in our current leadership. It's not just Bush's fault, it's those in Congress who have abetted him too.
It's morning in America...
...MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Posted by Lefty48197 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Apr 05th 2006, 07:32 PM
After all, Hastert only got the job as Speaker of the House, because the Republicans didn't want the American public to know that they were actually electing Tom DeLay as their leader. Hastert was meant to be the figure-head, while DeLay would actually control the House Republican agenda. Hastert was supposed to project some sort of warm-puffy, jolly nice guy image.
The Republicans had learned their lessons from the Newt Gingrich era. They knew that electing an overt a$$hole as their leader would probably expose the fact that all of them are complete a$$holes.
Pretending to elect somebody like Hastert as Speaker of the House was and always has been a subterfuge meant to fool the American people. ...or at least enough of them to keep getting Republicans elected...
The politically astute Republicans knew that the ice cold razor sharp edge that Tom DeLay brought to American politics would expose their true character.
What now? DeLay is gone. The House of Representatives is without a true Speaker. Surely, we can't allow Hastert to suddenly take over as the ACTUAL Speaker of the House. The learning curve is far to steep, especially when you consider the fact that the Republicans are going to be ousted from power next January, following the November elections. We have reached a true Constitutional crisis. Does the Constitution address this scenario? i.e. where a figurehead puppet Speaker suddenly finds himself without his marionette?
Posted by Lefty48197 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sat Mar 18th 2006, 11:15 AM
For those of you that love South Park. For those of you that read banned books. For those of you that think Scientology is a cult. For those of you that want to see Tom Cruise and R. Kelly get SKEWERED. Watch the controversial episode in it's entirety here:
"Go ahead and sue me! I'm not afraid of you!" - Stan.
Thanks to George W. Bush and his handlers, we are right in the middle of the biggest money grab in world history. The rich and powerful are working full time to line their pockets with our money, before the window of the Bush Presidency closes. George W. Bush is literally holding open our front doors, while his campaign contributors loot our homes and personal wealth.
As soon as Bush took office, the big money grab began. First it was tax cuts for the ultra-rich. Then it was more tax cuts for the ultra-rich. Meanwhile, the debt and deficit soared, passing the cost of those tax cuts onto to every other American taxpayer, born or unborn.
Throughout it all, the large corporations gained tax breaks of their own. They also gained deregulation and a lack of oversight, which allowed them to try their accounting schemes and line their individual pockets, while leaving their shareholders holding worthless stock certificates. Big Business also gained the open door policy into the White House and Dick Cheney's office, which allowed the corporate executives to write the very legislation that would (de)regulate their particular industries.
Large retailers, led by Walmart, decided that they wanted in on the action, so now nearly every single product sold on their shelves is manufactured in China by workers earning slave-wages, working under inhumane working conditions, ignoring their severely detrimental effects on the environment, and generally doing a whole host of things that could get the corporate executives tossed in jail, if they dared try those things in this country.
Not to be outdone, the energy and health insurance industries jumped into the action. We saw what happened in California a few years ago with the manipulation of the energy market that caused blackouts and needlessly caused enormous price increases for consumers. Today, the oil industry is getting "their share" as all of the major oil companies are raking in record profits, in spite of the high gasoline prices that are crippling our economy. The natural gas industry decided to get it's piece of the pie this winter as they jacked their prices up on the order of 100%. Meanwhile heating oil and diesel fuel prices also helped keep the cash registers stuffed at the American energy companies.
The health insurance companies are also making record profits, while more and more Americans go without health insurance. I think we're up to 50 million uninsured Americans these days. Those that do have insurance are paying higher premiums every year, while getting less coverage, increased co-pays, and a whole lot of run-around from the national Republican party.
Wall Street wants their share, so the Bush junta is trying to privatize our Social Security accounts, in order to pump billions of dollars into the stockmarket, which will help both the big money interests of Wall St. and the big money interests of corporate America. Nevermind that the stock market has flatlined for five straight years, and that future retirees would suffer greatly under Bush's privatization plan. The Republicans are only interested in facilitating the big money grab that transfers money from those that have only a little bit, to those that already have a whole lot.
Credit card companies? They're now charging interest rates that used to be called "loan sharking". Now they're called "business as usual" in George W. Bush's America.
Wages and benefits are being curtailed, and the buying power of minimum wage earners continues to fall behind inflation. What are the corporations doing with the extra money they gain from wages and benefits that effectively get cut year after year? They're lining their pockets with some of it. They're buying homes and funding college educations for their children, grandchildren, and unborn great grandchildren too.
And it's all at the expense of the American consumer. Those that want to buy homes of their own, those that want to send their own children to college and complete the American dream for their families are watching their dreams fade away, all because George W. Bush is helping the rich and powerful take money out of our pockets on a daily basis. They must feel like kids in a candystore, taking candy from babies. Where are the adults?
Since personal retirement accounts come in the form of 401K plans for most Americans, the terrible performance of the stock market during the Bush Presidency has prevented America's retirement savings accounts from growing as a result of investment returns, during the last five years. Only continuing contributions have caused the accounts to grow.
The lack of a "Santa Clause rally" has highlighted the problem this year.
Here's a graphic showing the Dow Jones performance during the Bush Presidency. The performance could only be described as flat-lining at best, and dangerously volatile for American retirement security, at the other end.
The Republican squawk box endlessly repeated their claim that the market took a beating after the attacks of 9/11/01. No doubt that was true, but the graph shows that the market had fully recovered by spring 2002. Then the excuses started: "It was the accounting scandals". "How were WE to know? What could WE have done?", the Republicans asked, as the stock market tumbled again. The graph shows that the DJ average had recovered again, by January 2004, nearly to the level it was at when Bush Jr. took office.
Here we are in January 2006 after celebrating a holiday season without a Dow Jones "Santa Clause Rally", and we see that the DJIA has barely gone up one penny in the last two years. Why not?
The terrorists haven't so much as blown up a firecracker in this country since 2001. The accounting scandals have generally subsided. Bush got his tax cuts. He has a Republican Congress. Yet the stock market continues to stagnate.
Here are the year end Dow Jones closing averages from December 31st of the following years:
The five year stagnation under GWB is a major change, even from the days of his father's Presidency.
Dec-88 2,168.57; Dec-89 2,753.20; Dec-90 2,633.66; Dec-91 3,168.83; Dec-92 3,301.11; Dec-93 3,754.09
Dec-94 3,834.44; Dec-95 5,117.12; Dec-96 6,448.27; Dec-97 7,908.25; Dec-98 9,181.43; Dec-99 11,497.12
Dec-00 10,787.99; Dec-01 10,021.57; Dec-02 8,341.63; Dec-03 10,453.92; Dec-04 10,783.01 ; Dec-05 10,717.50
Other economic indicators also show that Republicans are bad for the American economy. Among them are the federal deficits...
...and unemployment rates:
You don't have to be an economics professor to understand that the George W. Bush, and other Republican Presidencies have been a disaster for the American economy, and you don't have to be a political science professor to understand that the Republicans will continue to lie about the above facts. Sooner or later, they will again start telling us that they, and only they, can manage the federal budget.
They'll scratch and claw to find any economic news that they can use to argue that they aren't terrible stewards of the American economy. Some are still puffing their chests over the growth in Gross Domestic Product in the fourth quarter of 2004. Or was it 2003?
Look for more of the same in the future...
With elections just around the corner, the GOP has had to grasp an "issue" that they think will help divide America, and thus open a door for them to win elections. That issue is the illegal Mexican immigrants that are "stealing American jobs".
The right-wingers have decided that we are being invaded by Mexicans, and that as part of the war on terror, we have to seal our border with Mexico. We need a wall they say. We need the minutemen, and we need the KKK from which they came.
We need to punish employers that hire Mexicans. We need more border patrol agents. We need electronic devices. We need deportations. We need to keep Mexicans from getting drivers licenses, from getting health care or welfare.
We need... We need... We need...
Why do we need all this stuff? We need it because the illegal immigrants from Mexico are taking jobs from Americans.
What about the Chinese? How many "American jobs" have left this country for China? Have you looked on the shelves of Walmart, Target, or Toys-R-Us lately? I think about 90% of the things those stores sell are made in China. I don't see that many "Made in Mexico" tags. I don't see the cash registers at Walmart being run by Mexicans.
Why are the Mexicans such a threat, and the Chinese aren't? Could it be that the GOP is merely looking for a political tool to divide Americans? Would they possibly pander to the racism that thrives in some people's hearts?
The GOP is working hard to stir up the racism in southwestern states. Nevermind that "the Mexicans" were in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas about 10,000 years before any Europeans were there. The Mexicans are invading "our land".
Posted by Lefty48197 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Nov 30th 2005, 10:14 PM
GOP Congressional bribery scandal grows:
The bribery scandal that caused Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham R-CA to resign in disgrace last week threatens to ensnare more high profile Republican legislators according to a report in USA Today.
Today's report said that San Diego businessman Brent Wilkes, who was referred to as "co-conspirator no. 1" in documents from the Cunningham investigation, had donated large sums of money to several influential Republicans, including Duke Cunningham, presumably in exchange for the government contracts worth nearly 100 million dollars, that were awarded to Wilkes' company, ADCS Inc. The court documents said that "Co-Conspirator No. 1" gave $636,000 to Rep. Cunningham. Wilkes' attorney has confirmed that his client is "Co-Conspirator No. 1".
Wilkes also gave over $40,000 in campaign contributions to Rep. Duncan Hunter R-CA, who now chairs the House Armed Services Committee. "Hunter has acknowledged that he joined with Cunningham in 1999 to contact pentagon officials", who then reversed their earlier decision and awarded a $10 Million contract to ADCS.
In addition, Wilkes "and his employees" gave $71,253 in campaign contributions to Rep. Jerry Lewis R-CA and Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Lewis led a Congressional panel that ordered the pentagon to continue funding programs that aided ADCS, even though the Pentagon had requested that the programs be cut.
A report from the Pentagon inspector general concluded that "the money went to ADCS instead of projects for the Army's UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, Air Force bases, and a parts center in Oklahoma."
And lest you think that this scandal only involves the Republican Chairmen of two major House Committees, it appears that Wilkes also has close ties to President G. W. Bush himself. Yup, Wilkes is one of Bush's "Pioneer" fundraisers, a special distinction given only to those that raise/contributed over $100,000 to Team Bush. Anybody wonder where Wilkes got the money to donate to Bush?
John Eisenhower, son of the late President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, wrote a letter to the editor of the Manchester, NH Union-Leader last year about two months prior to the Presidential election, explaining why he was going to vote for John Kerry.
"As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry."
"...To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion."
"...Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance."
"...In 1960, President Eisenhower told the Republican convention, “If ever we put any other value above (our) liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.” I would appreciate hearing such warnings from the Republican Party of today."
"The Republican Party I used to know placed heavy emphasis on fiscal responsibility, which included balancing the budget whenever the state of the economy allowed it to do so. The Eisenhower administration accomplished that difficult task three times during its eight years in office. It did not attain that remarkable achievement by cutting taxes for the rich..."
"The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and small business. Today’s Republican leadership, while not solely accountable for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor."
"Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically."
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
Use the tools below to keep track of updates to this Journal.
Today's Featured Forums