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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-09-04 - 1:29 p.m.

Promises! Promises!

Citing Higher Costs, U.S. Plans Rise in Medicare Premium

By GARDINER HARRIS

Published: September 4, 2004

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 - A day after President Bush heralded his efforts to help the elderly cope with increased medical expenses, federal officials announced the largest premium increase in dollars in the Medicare program's history, raising the monthly expense by $11.60 to $78.20.

The increase, which amounts to 17 percent, results largely from increased payments to doctors and reflects rising medical expenses generally, officials said. The rise has nothing to do with a program that will start in 2006 to offer prescription drugs, for which beneficiaries must pay a separate premium.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

And look at the people looking on as President Bush signs the bill (picture courtesy of They Knew and notice the amount of money that’s been donated by HMO’s and pharmaceutical companies. Makes a girl think!

And as if you weren’t scared enough by what’s going on in this country, thanks to my friends Carol and hamiltonian, I’ve got a couple of things for you to read: Christian Reconstructionist Sugar-Daddy, Howard Ahmanson, Jr., and National/California Politics.

…The warping process that produced today’s extremist GOP did not happen overnight, and only part of it happened as a stealth movement. Much of it occurred right in plain sight, documented largely in bits and pieces by the mainstream media, and exhaustively by well-respected, albeit less powerful and publicly known, political scientists.

And an article from 1998 in Mother Jones: God’s Vice-Regents,posing the proposition that a faction of right-wing Republicans who believe in governing by the Bible has already taken control of California GOP with the long-term goal of expanding to all the other states with the ultimate aim of an America ruled by the word of God. Their principles support the right to bear arms, strict interpretation of the Constitution, limited government, and “fair” trade and sovereignty. They condemn the separation of church and state, abortion, affirmative action, women in combat, and homosexuality. Members advocate legislating by the Bible.

You might also want to check out hamiltonian’s blog of August 31, 2004, “Facism.” The photo above rather supports Mussolini’s statements in the 1923 “Doctrine of Facism,” in which he wrote: “If classical liberalism spells individualism, Facism spells government.” But not a government of, by and for we the people – instead it would be a government of, by and for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation. “Vice-President Wallace bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article,” according to Hamiltonian’s blog, his concern about the same thing [that happened to Mussolini’s Parliament when it was replaced with a Chamber of Fascist Corporations] happening here in America:”If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. …They are patriotic in time of war because it is in their interest to be so, but in time of peach they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.”

The blog is well worth a read. Read it with a highlighter and note those things that seem to be happening in our world today! Radical? Perhaps. Thoughtful? I hope so.

Here are some thoughts from some independent undecided voters:

As she watched Bush's upbeat assessment of his tenure and his riff on the "transformational power of liberty," Corinne Richardson, 66, said she could not escape the idea that much was left unsaid -- an understanding that almost 1,000 U.S. service members have died in Iraq, for example, or a commitment to the environment.

"I just have this gut feeling that we're in a mess right now, no matter what area you're talking about," said Richardson, a retired lawyer and registered Republican. "I really am concerned about civil rights, about who's going to be on the Supreme Court. Think of how he went into Iraq. We didn't even have a plan."

Linda Wheatley, 59, a retired elementary school counselor, said she wished Bush would move beyond concepts to details. When he said his next administration would remake "fundamental systems" of government to make Americans "truly free to make your own choices and pursue your own dreams," she asked in an aside, "Yeah, what does that mean?"

I'm glad they're thinking. 'Cause just as Senator Kerry said to a heckler the other night, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Just as I heard Joe Lockhart say in a morning conference call after the President's acceptance speech: "It's almost like the president, with his boyish charm, is looking for a political do-over." As if he has not been president the last four years, Lockhart told reporters.

And Edwards likened it to putting lipstick on a pig..."You can do that, but it's still a pig."

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