Friday, February 06, 2004

The Moral Development of George Bush continues. 

I'm not sure how many conversations like the ones I will share with you are going on right now in these United of States, but it certainly is a testament to how strong feelings are running. I think it important, if possible, to keep the lines of communication open with as many as possible, wether they share your views or not.


I sensed a lot of pain in Evan's diatribe against "liberals". When
> you look
> at how campaigns are funded, it can be difficult to see a difference
> between
> republicans and democrats. I find myself not expecting that Kerry,
> if he
> were elected president, to make many "structural" changes that would
> help
> the working poor. The working poor grew huge in numbers during
> Clinton's
> so-called years of prosperity. What I hope for, if Kerry were
> elected, is
> that at least he wouldn't waste our money, and lives, in an
> unnecessary war.
> Lowered expectations? I seem to live with them everyday, in relation
> to our
> government.
> elizabeth

Beware. I'm going to take the chance again of offending you with
too much honesty.
Have you ever heard the expression, "Politics is the art of the
possible"? I'm afraid that as long as you dream and wish for an American
government that provides for all of its citizens and works constructively
with the rest of the world for peace and the common good instead of
bullying it into submission, you'll be suffering from the disappointment
of lowered expectations. Positive change happens in small increments.
We have a campaign financing system that makes it impossible for
an unknown without money to be a viable candidate for national office.
Short of violent revolution, the Democratic candidates have no choice but
to play by the rules of the system. That doesn't mean there's no
difference between Republicans and Democrats -- it just means the system
is fucked up. In my opinion, McCain-Feingold made it even worse, and I
thought so at the time -- stricter limits were put on the type of
"hard-money" fundraising Democrats were best at, leaving Republicans to
go ahead and raise their record sums of corporate "soft money" as they
sail back to reelection.
I see a lot more pain in your complaints about Democrats than I
do in Paul's against liberals. I think you're projecting again.
Greg Palast is still unimpressive to me for the same reasons I
told you before. He seems to be missing the forest for the trees, and so
do you.
The military/industrial complex has risen up and seized the
executive branch of this country, and it's strangling democracy to death.
This is no time to be sniping at Democrats for their lack of idealistic
social initiatives that would make your life easier. Democrats are
fighting to preserve the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; they're
fighting for survival. You and Greg Palast are yipping and nipping at
their heels. You're not helping.



You didn't comment on this letter, which was an expansion of the comments concerning my "lowered expectations". By the way, you can't offend me. If I am offended, it is my choice.
Regarding pain, I fully admit to the pain I feel in regard to the inadequacies of our government. Instead of projecting, I am seeing and feeling the pain in Paul's attack on Ted Kennedy, because I feel it also, in the sense of disillusionment with our leaders. However, while Paul choses to fixate his anger and pain on liberals, I have chosen a different route, an attempt at understanding how the overall climate of our country could have produced such a man as George Bush as president. As Hitler didn't come to power in a vacuum, neither did Bush. Fascism has to take root in the hearts of Americans before the leader is elected, not after. If we oust Bush, the work we have to do has just begun, in my view. There is also the danger that if the roots of fascism are not addressed, this could happen, and quickly, all over again. My search is for the beliefs that circulate like planets in this solar system that we call America, the beliefs that structure our overall experience. My search, is, of course, through the prism of my own beliefs. I full acknowledge that, and even savor it, because I am on my own, self-appointed mission, if you will, as sleuth and detective, to hunt down and bring to light the poison that started all of this.
I recently read "Nickel and Dimed", and I'm going to quote something from her book. It is well worth reading, by the way, and very funny, as she is able to, with humor and compassion, expose the belly of the beast of capitalism:

"The preaching goes on, interrupted with dutiful "amens". It would be nice if someone would read this sad-eyed crowd the Sermon on the Mount, accompanied by a rousing commentary on income inequality and the need for a hike in the minimum wage. But Jesus makes his appearance here only as a corpse; the living man, the wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist, is never once mentioned, nor anything he ever had to say. Christ crucified rules, and it may be that the true business of modern Christianity is to crucify him again and again so that he can never get a word out of his mouth."

By the way, it is true that universal health care would make my life easier, as it would for millions of Americans, as well as a hike in the minimum wage. I have it relatively easy, because I am living at home (which will end this summer). Perhaps that was the one thing you said to me where I felt a twinge of hey, he's not giving me much credit here:

>>>This is no time to be sniping at Democrats for their lack of idealistic
social initiatives that would make your life easier.<<<

There are working people going hungry in this country. I also have personal experience with the young people that I manage at the coffeeshop. I am concerned, very concerned, for the direction of the soul of our country, which, in my view, worsened while the so-called prosperity of the '90's was taking place. So in closing Jeremy, as I said, this is my choice to try to understand why people are going hungry in America, working people, and homeless...You need not understand, nor even engage in discussion with me on it. I was merely trying to share my views with you.


I was commenting on both your letter to Carol Norris and your comments surrounding the Greg Palast article, including your reaction to Evan. It's unfortunate, because you're my friend and I love you and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but it seems to hurt your feelings when I don't share your views, as though that means I disrespect you, which I don't. I just disagree, and in this case, I feel that your expressions of pain and anger at the failure of Democrats to advance social programs you believe in is undermining a cause I feel passionate about, which is the emergency need to rescue our democracy from the fast-rising tide of corporate fascism.
Our disconnect arises from what we believe government's role should be in the lives of citizens and how much responsibility individuals have for the conditions of their lives. I favor freedom as a value over security, and I believe in minimal government that protects individual privacy, rights and autonomy. It appears that you value security over freedom and want a maternal government that takes care of the basic physical needs of all of its citizens. So we disagree.
I'm worried by our disagreement, because I believe that in this political emergency, in which a small but powerful group of military/industrial fascists have seized control of all three branches of American government, those of us who believe in democracy need to work together as a team to oppose them, to take back our government and return it to the rule of the people.
You're arguing for social programs that Democrats should be championing at a time when they've essentially been ousted from power and are in danger of becoming irrelevent. I want you to focus on the immediate problem, which is the need to reassert democratic power in America. We can do that this year if we pull together, but if we waste our energy squabbling among ourselves about what the Democratic party should be doing if and when ever it gets the Presidency or the Congress or the Judiciary back, we'll never get it back.
All I'm saying is, first things first. Let's unite in our desire to return traditional democratic values to preeminence in America and take back the executive branch of our government, and then we can argue about what we want that government to do.


David and Elizabeth,

What is it with all you "Move On" morons that keep equating George W with Hitler. They will never be morally equivalent. You were raised in just, if not a more affluent family than mine..You are poor now because you chose to be . I chose to work hard and make something of my gifts and education. I feel no pain or anger towards liberals, but their hypocrisy and naivety make them seem foolish.
As a physician, I am not at all against universal health care. I do not want the government to run it. My ideas is a stepped system based on personal responsibly. I you keep your weight under control, don't smoke, drink in moderation you would have different levels of covered care. It is imperative that serious tort reform is included. Caring quality healthcare for all is more important than perfect care for a few. We (physician) practice too much defensive medicine and waist too many recourses on the elderly and dying and the hopeless. I am all for people being kept comfortable when they get old and sick but it is not uncommon to spend hundreds of thousand of dollars on some one with no chance to return to a productive happy pain-free life.
A hike in the minimal wage puts more people out of work and is inflationary. It, like many liberal ideas sounds good on paper but in reality it hurts those that need help most.


> While I know at times I can be blind to certain "realities", because
> of my
> beliefs, I think I deserve a little more respect than "moron". Your
> anger
> and hostility are apparent, and frankly Paul, I believe there is a
> great
> deal of pain beneath that anger.
> I equate Bush with Hitler, because, like Hitler, he is willing to
> push the
> world towards the brink of world war because of his beliefs. We can
> quarrel
> as to what his beliefs are...but I fail to see the value of war as a
> means
> of solving problems. That might sound terribly naive to you. So be
> it.
> I'm glad to hear that you at least support a form of universal
> health care.
> Perhaps this will come to pass in the next few years.
> As for the minimum wage, working people are not surviving on the
> minimum, or
> current low wages most earn in the service industry. Many are going
> hungry
> and homeless. This disturbs me, and frankly, I am surprised it
> doesn't
> disturb more people. But that is what I want to understand; why more
> aren't
> bothered by the dire straits of our brothers and sisters in this
> country. I
> see much welfare for corporations, yet helping a hungry, working
> person
> seems to be against the beliefs of so many. The book, Nickel and
> Dimed, is a
> good place to start to begin to understand this problem, and she
> cites many
> statistics.
> Take care,
> elizabeth

Elizabeth and David,

Evan said:
>>> A hike in the minimal wage puts more people out of work and is inflationary. It, like many liberal ideas sounds good on paper but in reality it hurts those that need help most.<<<

"Cheap Labor" is the single most important tenet of the Republican right. If Americans won't work for slave wages, then send the jobs to someone who will.

And give the CEO a 75 million dollar bonus for thinking of it.


Dr. Evan is securely wrapped in many layers of virgin Idaho wool,
seeing nothing and hearing nothing. I assure you he's not disillusioned
with our leaders and he's feeling no pain (although he might be a little
overheated, scratchy and irritable). What you take for hostility is just
good old-fashioned superior snootiness. He honestly believes he earns
twenty times as much as you because he works twenty times as hard as you.
He has no idea how much more privileged his childhood was than yours.
(Mine and his were comparable, but I'm not complaining about my
circumstances and I wouldn't want his life.)
As for his plan for universal health care, you should note that
he makes no mention of how to pay for it (except that it shouldn't
involve the government) and his only provisions are how to limit care to
those who can truly benefit (which are people other than the elderly and
the dying) and those who act "responsibly" (don't smoke, aren't fat and
drink moderately). In other words, he's proposing the present system
without the "waist" on the hopeless and the undeserving.



I have to agree with this genius. I too hate to "waist too many recourses on the elderly and dying". Are you & Sandra Krewe de Vieuxing this weekend?


Evan can be wittily Lennonesque. Thankfully he's made the most of his gifts and education. He is The Doctor!
Sandra has gone to Baton Rouge til late tomorrow afternoon for a tourism convention. I expect she'll want to go Krewe de Vieuxing. Shall we go as a pack to Frenchmen St.? Maybe we could unofficially join the parade as the Krewe of Movin' On Morons. I'll wear an aviator flight suit with an Alfred E. Neuman mask and a Hitler mustache. Sieg heil! What me worry? Mission accomplished!

Happy carnival,

> I'm not sure if you've ever met Evan, but there's some things you
>need to understand about him. Evan grew up the son of a doctor in a
>Kansas City suburb where the only black in our high school was a funny,
>chubby little guy we made the class president. He went to college with
>me in Lawrence, Kansas and medical school in Kansas City. His grittiest
>brush with social reality came during his internship in Las Vegas -- I
>remember he told me at the time that they took to writing ebonics on the
>case sheet in the emergency room, things like, "He be shot". Then he set
>up practice in the most homogeneous place in America, Twin Falls, Idaho,
>where he's been comfortably encased in another upscale suburb ever since,
>making a quarter-million or more a year. When Clinton was elected, he
>wore a black armband signifying the end of the golden age for doctors.
>There's nothing wrong with any of this, except the fanciful notion he has
>that he's an experienced man of the world who knows what going on.
>Evan's experience is a blend of privilege, insulation, medical doctor
>hubris and Fox TV reality. His idea of he-man manliness is shooting elk.
> He just doesn't know any better. Believe me, he's not in pain. If he
>was, he's got plenty of painkillers all around him. The only thing he's
>ever had to be angry about is the high tax rates at his income level, and
>the Bushies have taken care of that.