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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
2004-11-13 - 8:28 a.m.
Bill Moyer NOW
Last night’s Bill Moyer NOW was a bonanza – I tuned in to hear the interview with Sister Joan Chittister, but stayed to hear the interviews with Christian Parenti on the elections in Afghanistan and NOW's David Brancaccio talked with economist Laurence Kotlikoff, author of COMING GENERATIONAL STORM: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AMERICA'S ECONOMIC FUTURE, about what may be ahead for ordinary Americans.
Although I have read her weekly newsletters for more than a year, I had never heard Sister Joan Chittister speak before. How articulate, how intelligent, how well informed. Had I had people like her at my high school boarding school, I might still be a practicing Catholic. She makes perfect sense. I wish John Kerry had had some of her no-nonsense approach to the moral values issue. It's the Beatitudes, Stupid!
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
Christian Parenti is a correspondent for THE NATION, and most recently the author of THE FREEDOM: SHADOWS AND HALLUCINATION IN OCCUPIED IRAQ. He just came back from Afghanistan where he spent a month chronicling what is really taking place on the ground. Parenti spoke with David Brancaccio about a very different view of Afghanistan than the portrait of flourishing democracy. In fact, he pointed to war lords and poppy production. I predict we’ll be back fighting the war lords again in ten years to free the people of Afghanistan. Women are faring better these days, because they are earning more per day – maybe $7 a day – harvesting poppies. He reports that the poppy fields are burned in compliance with orders from U.S., but AFTER the harvest. The Taliban has been ousted, but new regime (although elected) is little better, according to Parenti. I’m going to read his book.
The interview of Kotlikoff was enough to cause you to withdraw your money from the bank, buy land or gold and hide it under your mattress.
In 2030, as 77 million baby boomers hobble into old age, walkers will outnumber strollers; there will be twice as many retirees as there are today but only 18 percent more workers. How will America handle this demographic overload? How will Social Security and Medicare function with fewer working taxpayers to support these programs? According to Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns, if our government continues on the course it has set, we'll see skyrocketing tax rates, drastically lower retirement and health benefits, high inflation, a rapidly depreciating dollar, unemployment, and political instability. The government has lost its compass, say Kotlikoff and Burns, and the current administration is heading straight into the coming generational storm.
For all its professed desire for a strong dollar, the Bush administration has apparently decided that letting the dollar slide is a good way to shrink America's trade deficit. This is dubious economic policy. It provides a modicum of relief to American exporters, but it increases the nation's vulnerability to higher prices and higher interest rates, while ignoring fiscal measures that would more assuredly anchor the United States in the global economy.
I’m hoping my library has Mr. Kotlikoff’s book to help me better understand what, if anything, we as individuals can do to protect ourselves and our investments from further erosion of the dollar. For sure, I’m writing to Feinstein, Boxer and Thompson, urging them to do what they can to encourage their Republican colleagues to join them in trying to bolster the dollar in what seems to be an already bankrupt country.
Good Reviews or Voter Fraud or not?
The headlines on November 12 were meant to reassure us about the election results: "Vote Fraud Theories, Spread by Blogs, Are Quickly Buried'' or "Mostly Good Reviews for Electronic Voting"
If you’ve been following the Scott Peterson murder trial, you know the three criteria for believability of culpability: motive, means and opportunity. The question being asked is not whether this election was stolen but rather whether the system is secure to prevent future elections from being stolen. That the system relies upon only partly secure computer systems, owned and run by partisans, with no paper backup, is not the basis for confidence that results are accurate in a hotly contested election.
It is clear that this election could not be recounted in many, if any, state. I believe for confidence to be regained in our elections, Congress should restructure the system, including the Electoral College.
And on to more pleasant things...we're going to go watch Chelsea run in a Sectional Meet at Folsom. Wish her luck!