1) WHY IS THERE (AT LEAST) 60 BILLION FOR AN IRAQ WAR NOBODY WANTS, 28 BILLION FOR A ‘STAR WARS’ ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEM THAT WON’T WORK, AND NOTHING FOR TENS OF MILLIONS OF FAMILIES WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE?
If you don’t have medical insurance, you have one hope for getting decent care — having a heart attack in front of Bill Frist, with a Fox TV cameraman nearby. Otherwise, the Bushies are very happy to see you and your family expire, pounding on the door of the ER. Every day brings a new horror story, like today’s headline in the New York Times — “Bush policy rolls back ER services for poor on Medicaid.” This is unnecessary, mean-spirited, cruel and wrong. “Compassionate Conservatism” my ass. Medical care isn’t a commodity — it’s a right.
2) WHY THIS OBSESSION WITH KEEPING PEOPLE FROM KNOWING WHAT’S GOING ON IN THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT?
V.P. Cheney won’t let us know who is whispering in his ear about our energy policy. Let me repeat that — OUR energy policy. You know, WE THE PEOPLE. We elected these clowns (shame on us). They work for us, so why won’t the tell us what they’re up to? Ashcroft sent his people a memo actively encouraging them to reject “Freedom of Information Act” requests. Why? Isn’t that the law? Isn’t he supposed to uphold the law?
3) WHY DENY PEOPLE THEIR DAY IN COURT, TO BE JUDGED BY A JURY OF THEIR PEERS?
Bush’s newest obsession is “tort reform,” another way of saying that he doesn’t think “we the people” are smart enough to make our court systems work. Those “big jury awards” he’s yelling about were decided by juries made up of American citizens, deciding cases on their merits. The courts are the one recourse a citizen has when the Enrons and Exxons and Eli Lillys and (fill in rapacious corporation here) destroy their lives. Guess what will happen if Bush gets his way and limits damage settlements? Anyone remember the Ford Pinto case? The Ford safety engineers wanted to put a ten dollar baffle between the bumper of the Pinto and the gas tank. Lee Iococca wanted the car to come in for less than $2000. Company lawyers (get out your barf bag) figured that if they DIDN’T put in the baffle, about 200 people a year would get burned to death, and each of those people would get a couple of hundred thousand dollars — so, bottom line, it didn’t make sense to put in the baffle. THEY HAD FIGURED THE COST OF DEATH SETTLEMENTS INTO THEIR BOOKKEEPING. If Bush limits these award judgements, you think this WON’T happen again? What’s your life worth? Your children?
4) WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT THAT FEWER AND FEWER PEOPLE HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD, JUST SO THOSE FEW CAN MAKE MORE AND MORE MONEY?
The second worst thing Bill Clinton ever did as President was to change the rules of media ownership. He opened the way for voracious media giants to swallow up thousands of tv and radio stations. This means you and I hear a lot fewer voices and lot fewer opinions and points of view. The airwaves belong to the people — this is what the FCC said in 1934. TV and radio station licenses are supposedly given to broadcasters who will operate in the public interest. The Reagan Administration changed this attitude — they decided that radio and TV stations were as “value free” as microwave ovens, and were merely vehicles to make wealthy broadcasters wealthier. They’re not. They are the vehicles by which Americans talk to other Americans, as we try to find out who we are, what we think, and where we’re going. Why is it so important to Michael Powell and Bush and all the other alleged “free marketeers” that FEWER AND FEWER folks make more and more money giving us less and less content? Which “public” does this serve?
5) WHY ARE THE REPUBLICANS SO DEATHLY AFRAID OF AN HONEST DIALOGUE WITH THE PEOPLE THEY PRETEND TO SERVE?
George Bush doesn’t like press conferences. Some “librul” might ask him something impertinent. His solution? Don’t bother with them. God forbid he should have to talk to someone who might disagree with him, and force him to explain himself. Of course, he’s already said that, as President, he DOESN’T HAVE to explain himself. He can get away with being insulated, imperious and high-handed because he’ll know he’s speaking in a right-wing echo chamber — wingnuts telling wingnuts that wingnuts are right about everything. He’s OUR President. He needs to come out from his hidey-hole and explain himself (if possible). Same for Clarence Thomas. He’s got a new book he’s going to promote, but he’s not going to speak in any forum where he might hear a discouraging word — just the usual wingnut media echo chamber. Do we really want a Supreme Court Justice who is afraid to explain himself to Katie Couric? The mind reels.
6) WHY DO BUSH AND HIS CRONIES WORK SO HARD AT BEING DIVISIVE, WHEN THE COUNTRY IS BEGGING FOR UNITY?
There’s never been an Administration so eager to pick a fight, play to their “angry white male” base, and push the loyal opposition’s nose in the dirt. Where to begin? The tax cut is classic “class warfare,” a reverse-Robin Hood effort that takes from the poor and middle class, makes the well off even more well off, and most importantly, destroys the ability of government to raise money for them “librul” social programs. Is it going to produce staggering budget deficits into the year 2070? Who cares? These guys will all be retired behind the walls of their gated communities by then. Plenty of Judges out there — do we really have to debate how big a good ol’ boy cracker racist Charles Pickering is? And how ’bout drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Reserve? That oil won’t even start arriving for eight years, which means this is nothing but another finger in the eye of anyone with a scintilla of environmental consciousness. Karl Rove and company don’t just want to beat the Dems. They want to humiliate, enrage, mock and destroy them. The fact that the Dems make up (slightly more than) half the population doesn’t figure into their equation.
7) WHY DON’T BUSH AND COMPANY HAVE THE GUTS TO PRESENT, DEBATE AND DEFEND THEIR REAL AGENDA?
Let’s examine the Bush Agenda honestly. If he had HONESTLY presented his agenda in 2000, he would have run on the following: o “PRE-EMPTIVE” WAR IN IRAQ, with no provocation, and no international support. o TURN HUGE SURPLUS INTO STAGGERING DEFICIT THROUGH MASSIVE TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY o ROLLBACK 20 YEARS OF ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARDS o PRIVATIZE (i.e. destroy) SOCIAL SECURITY, PRIVATIZE (i.e. destroy) MEDICARE AND MEDICAID o CREATE A AGENCY WITH MIND-BOGGLING ABILITY TO SNOOP INTO EVERY CORNER OF YOUR LIFE WITH NO OVERSIGHT. o DESTROY OR PERVERT MISSION OF REGULATORY AGENCIES AT BEHEST OF BUSINESSES THEY ARE MEANT TO REGULATE o DESTROY ABILITY OF CITIZENS TO SEEK REDRESS AGAINST CORPORATIONS IN COURT o DESTROY A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE BY APPOINTING WINGNUT JUDGES (Priscilla Owens, etc.) WHO WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SUBVERT THE LAW
Think Bush would have gotten elected on this platform? He ran as a moderate, and has ruled as the most partisan right-wing zealot in history. The one thing the Bushies understand is public relations. They know that the right wing megaphone known as the media will mouth their bland platitudes about “compassion” and “moderation” even as they continue their reign of terror. The only hope for the Democrats is to ask these questions, and keep asking them until they get an answer.