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The Prosecution of George W.
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Prodigal of the Pecos
Dolphins Under My Bed
What the Hell Is a Liberal?
By Natalia Prentice
The Shadow Factory
A Cross Estate
The Woman Who Wrote
Hot Issues, Cool Topics
The Art of Conscious Creation
The Mental Environment
The Energy of Belief
Definitions of Some Mathematical Terms
Didn’t John McCain or Sarah
By John F. Miglio
Patriotism is the last refuge
Well, my friends, no one will ever accuse John McCain of downplaying his prisoner of war experience in Vietnam to prove that he is a hero and patriot. And no one will ever accuse Barack Obama or any other high-profile Democrat of not paying the proper homage to McCain’s military service at the beginning of their speeches.
But let’s put this in perspective. John McCain came from a military family and was expected to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. Nothing wrong with that except for the fact that Vietnam was not World War I or World War II. And at the time, any veteran of either war with an ounce of sense knew it.
My own father, a decorated veteran of World War II, looked at me incredulously when I told him I was thinking of enlisting in the military after high school so that I could fight in Vietnam. After all, I had been raised on his war stories– and the war stories of my uncles– and it all sounded rather glamorous.
Fortunately, my father sat me down, told me the truth about the horrors of war and ended by saying: “This war in Vietnam is different than World War II. It’s not being fought for the right reasons. So stay out of it and go to college.” It was probably the best advice he ever gave me.
By the time I graduated from college, I had put aside my puerile fascination with war and was committed to putting an end to the Vietnam War and promoting peace.
Of course, I was not alone. By that time most thoughtful individuals, including many Vietnam vets who had returned from the war, including John Kerry, had joined the ranks of those of us who were protesting against the war.
Unfortunately, John McCain was not one of them. “Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I believed and still believe that the war was winnable,” McCain has told audiences over the years. In other words, he has never seemed to grasp the reality of his own experience– that Vietnam was a tragic mistake, that we should have never been there to begin with, and that wars of imperialism don’t work and end up costing hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars. No wonder he believes we should stay in Iraq for “a hundred years” if necessary, and no wonder he still thinks we can “win the war in Iraq” rather than end an unnecessary and costly occupation.
The truth is, John McCain is not that much different from George W. Bush when it comes to brain power and critical thinking. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy, he admitted that he wasn’t well versed in economics, and he still doesn’t know how to use a computer.
He’s also very similar to Bush in that he is not averse to lying about his positions or changing them whenever it suits him, and his campaign ads have consistently lied about Obama’s record and have been so vitriolic and unfair that even as Promethean a prevaricator as Karl Rove has admitted– McCain ads “have gone too far.”
And on top of all this, he chooses Sarah Palin, an inexperienced evangelical Christian who believes in the Rapture and the End of Days, to be his vice president, a choice that is not only cynical and politically motivated but downright dangerous. Imagine, for example, if McCain dies in his first year or two in office, and we have President Palin steering the ship of State in a future confrontation with the Russians: “Onward Christian soldiers!” I can hear her proclaim to a dumbfounded American public. “Let’s nuke those godless commie bastards and bring on the Apocalypse!”
To be fair to Palin, at least she “walks the walk” of a Ted Nugent-style, redneck conservative. She thinks it’s a kick to hunt and slaughter defenseless animals with high-powered rifles and has no problem with her daughter getting knocked up before getting married. She also believes in the righteousness of prolonging the occupation in Iraq. In fact, she has bragged about the fact that her own son is in the military and soon will be shipped to Iraq.
She has said that it was “his decision,” but I haven’t read anything about her trying to talk him out of it. In other words, she is so committed and blind to Bush administration propaganda– even in light of all the evidence that has come out about the lack of connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda and the failure to find WMD– that she still believes that invading Iraq was the right thing to do, a mandate imposed by the word of God. And she is willing to risk her own son’s life to prove it!
Is this anyone’s idea of a smart or compassionate mother? In this sense, she and McCain are like two peas (make that two pea brains) in a pod, since McCain also has a son in the military who is serving in Iraq and one more who may be going there in the near future. So like Palin, McCain is also “walking the walk” regarding military service, which at least is more than Bush or Cheney can say about themselves or their own kids.
If this were the beginning of the war in Iraq, when most people were still ignorant of the facts, perhaps one could make a case for encouraging one’s son or daughter to serve. But at this point, after all the public discussion and reams of evidence about the lies and deceptions Bush and Cheney foisted on the American people to sell their disastrous war in Iraq, only a dumbass or a fanatic would not do everything possible to stop his or her own son or daughter from joining the military and going to Iraq.
Then again, perhaps it’s not an either/or proposition. Perhaps the person could be both a dumbass and a fanatic– just like our current president. And look how swell he worked out!
Billions for Bailouts! Who Pays?
By Senator Bernie Sanders
The current financial crisis facing our country has been caused by the extreme right-wing economic policies pursued by the Bush administration. These policies, which include huge tax breaks for the rich, unfettered free trade and the wholesale deregulation of commerce, have resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy.
The middle class has really been under assault. Since President Bush has been in office, nearly 6 million Americans have slipped into poverty, median family income for working Americans has declined by more than $2,000, more than 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance, over 4 million have lost their pensions, foreclosures are at an all time high, total consumer debt has more than doubled, and we have a national debt of over $9.7 trillion dollars.
While the middle class collapses, the richest people in this country have made out like bandits and have not had it so good since the 1920s. The top 0.1 percent now earn more money than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The wealthiest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion while Bush has been president. In the midst of all of this, Bush lowered taxes on the very rich so that they are paying lower income tax rates than teachers, police officers or nurses.
Now, having mismanaged the economy for eight years as well as having lied about our situation by continually insisting, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” the Bush administration, six weeks before an election, wants the middle class of this country to spend many hundreds of billions on a bailout. The wealthiest people, who have benefited from Bush’s policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all. This is absurd. This is the most extreme example that I can recall of socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.
In my view, we need to go forward in addressing this financial crisis by insisting on four basic principles:
(1) The people who can best afford to pay and the people who have benefited most from Bush’s economic policies are the people who should provide the funds for the bailout. It would be immoral to ask the middle class, the people whose standard of living has declined under Bush, to pay for this bailout while the rich, once again, avoid their responsibilities. Further, if the government is going to save companies from bankruptcy, the taxpayers of this country should be rewarded for assuming the risk by sharing in the gains that result from this government bailout.
Specifically, to pay for the bailout, which is estimated to cost up to $1 trillion, the government should:
a) Impose a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. That would raise more than $300 billion in revenue;
b) Ensure that assets purchased from banks are realistically discounted so companies are not rewarded for their risky behavior and taxpayers can recover the amount they paid for them; and
c) Require that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies so that the assumption of risk is rewarded when companies’ stock goes up.
(2) There must be a major economic recovery package which puts Americans to work at decent wages. Among many other areas, we can create millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and moving our country from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Further, we must protect working families from the difficult times they are experiencing. We must ensure that every child has health insurance and that every American has access to quality health and dental care, that families can send their children to college, that seniors are not allowed to go without heat in the winter, and that no American goes to bed hungry.
(3) Legislation must be passed which undoes the damage caused by excessive de-regulation. That means reinstalling the regulatory firewalls that were ripped down in 1999. That means re-regulating the energy markets so that we never again see the rampant speculation in oil that helped drive up prices. That means regulating or abolishing various financial instruments that have created the enormous shadow banking system that is at the heart of the collapse of AIG and the financial services meltdown.
(4) We must end the danger posed by companies that are “too big too fail,” that is, companies whose failure would cause systemic harm to the U.S. economy. If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. We need to determine which companies fall in this category and then break them up. Right now, for example, the Bank of America, the nation’s largest depository institution, has absorbed Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, and Merrill Lynch, the nation’s largest brokerage house. We should not be trying to solve the current financial crisis by creating even larger, more powerful institutions. Their failure could cause even more harm to the entire economy.
A bone-chilling political
John F. Miglio is available for all types of speaking engagements. For information, click here
March 19, 2017