Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ken Mehlman

reveals his plan to make the Republican majority permanent. Notice how he wants to recruit voters:
"We can deepen the GOP by identifying and turning out Americans who vote for president but who often miss off-year elections and agree with our work on behalf of a culture of life, our promoting marriage, and a belief in our Second Amendment heritage," Mehlman said, referring to the party's opposition to abortion, gay marriage and gun control. . .
"When we debate who should sit on the judiciary, we have an opportunity to deepen the GOP by registering to vote men and women who attend church every week but aren't yet registered voters."
. . . Use the GOP agenda to court new voters: Blacks through school voucher initiatives, young voters through Social Security changes and Hispanics through efforts to limit legal liability.
And what does he want to do with that majority?
Enact the president's agenda, including fighting terrorism, revamping Social Security (news - web sites), changing the tax code and appointing "strict constructionists to the courts."
He plans to use the social issues to turn out the voters, in order to pursue policies of empire-building and dismantling consumer rights and government programs which benefit primarily the President's uneducated working-class base, in favor of big corporations and the wealthy. Interesting.

No Crisis

Even though 4 in 5 Americans, including 8 in 9 Americans under 30, believe the system is bankrupt and near failure, there is no social security crisis. In the 2050s, when projections show the program unable to meet all its obligations, it can still pay out at 75% of statutory benefits for those years - a rate that is actually higher than current levels. This is because increases in benefits are tied to wage increases rather than price increases. Slight tinkering with the system can make it solvent for far longer, and simple changes like ending the income cap on payroll taxes (making the rich pay their fair share), having public employees contribute to SS instead of PERS, or reducing the rate of benefit increases, could cure the system for years. Do your own research if you don't believe me. Heritage and Cato are lying - they just philosophically object to the redistribution of income. What I object to are changes to the system that risk leaving members of my generation destitute in our old age so the rich can profit.

Reality TV

Some days I want to get cable TV again just so I can watch Al Jezeera. Think you know what's going on in Iraq?
[M]ost of those invited to the conference were Sunnis, like Jasim al-Obaidi, who has felt increasingly marginalised since the U.S.-led invasion.

"I was arrested by the Americans and spent five months in Abu Ghraib (prison) because they accused me of being a Wahhabi," said the 64-year-old former army officer, referring to radical groups blamed for many bombings and hostage beheadings.

"I may be a Baathist, but I am not a Wahabi. They have raided my house three times since then. I live across the road from a National Guard station. Every time someone attacks it they raid my house."
The rest of the time I'm thinking about the Sci Fi Channel.

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