Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Daschle running for president?
Ugh. But Matt Drudge says the story is developing ... http://www.drudgereport.com.
Run, Jim Hightower, run!
Should this man be president? I think so. How about a Hightower/Kaptur [Rep. Marcy, D-Ohio] ticket? Check out Hightower's new piece in The Nation and tell me he shouldn't be president: ["Going Down the Road: A Six-Pack Program for Democratic Recovery"].
Hightower's points:
"... offering a short to-do list that would include such measurable benefits as (1) a tax cut for working stiffs: remove the cap (now $85,000) on the grossly regressive payroll tax, reduce the percentage bite and spread the burden up to include the billionaires' club; (2) healthcare for all, provided by a single-payer system; (3) free education for everyone, preschool through higher ed, modeled after the enormously successful GI Bill; (4) energy independence for America through a ten-year moonshot project that'll put Americans to work building an oil-free future based on alternative technologies and systems; (5) public financing of all elections, so we can get our government back from the greedheads; and (6) [Add Your Favorite Here]. A six-pack is plenty. Stay focused."
This is a great program and any national Democrat who embraces it will get a elected in a heartbeat. In his own way, Hightower is staying away from the extremely polarizing "social issues," like abortion. While this may alienate some of the rank and file Democrats, this is the only way to go. As Hightower says so eloquently in this article, the corporate Democrats have driven the party into the ground and have used issues like abortion to keep women and liberals in line. However, new votes for the party's candidates are not with the corporates. And just running anti-Republican ads, trying to tie them to corporate crimes, doesn't work, as we saw in the mid-term elections - especially when the Democrat candidates are just as much a slave to big business as the Republican candidates. The only way Democrats can win is if they get the Reagan, lunch-bucket, Catholic/Christian, union, blue collar men - yes, men - back into supporting the party's candidates. And the only way to do this is through a populist economic platform that speaks directly to the issues of family. It really is that simple - and Hightower's proposals accomplish this.
On removing the cap on the payroll tax, this is a no-brainer. For far too long, the high income wage earners have paid less of their income as a percentage into the SSI fund than the 90 percent of us at the bottom. Instead of taxing 7.5 percent of the first $85,000, why not tax all income at 2 percent [or whatever would give the fund the same amount of money]. Someone please give us this number. Flat-taxers unite! Level the payroll tax!
Single-payer? Another no-brainer. Even Al Gore realizes this is the only way to go. The HMO/profit-based medical system is a disaster. Every industrialized nation in the world has a single-payer system. In Canada, people live years longer [in much colder, unhealthy climates] and health care costs less per capita then the U.S. At the same time, Hightower and single-payer advocates must stress preventive medicine to keep Americans healthy. That may mean that Hightower will have to skip that double cheese burger and beer while on the campaign trail!
Education for all? Gee, you think? There are a lot of problems with our education system, too many to go into here. But the $60 billion U.S. Education Dept. is a waste. They haven't built one single school. Think about this the next time your town goes for an override to pay for a new school or you look at your property tax bill or per-pupil costs in your town to realize the costs are back-breakingly high. Something has to be done.
A serious revamping of the energy policy is also needed. Where are the space age cars? Where are the wind and solar machines? If our nation made these investments after the last energy crisis we wouldn't "need" nuclear power or wars for oil.
Public financing of elections is going to be the hardest task to accomplish. But, as we have seen here in Massachusetts - with the Clean Elections Fund [CE] program - public financing works. It helps candidates who receive the funds to compete. That is its only purpose. Sure, few CE candidates actually won. In fact, I think most of them lost. But the point isn't to win or lose - it was how these candidates played the game. CE candidates limited their contributions and collected hundreds and thousands of small donations to qualify. It was an arduous task. Anyone who thought it was “easy money” is a fool or has never run for office and gone through the humiliating process of asking [or begging] people for money to compete in a campaign. And if your ideas are a little different or if people don’t think you can win, they are apt to not “invest” in your campaign. The time for publicly financing campaigns has come.
"Empire of the Air"
Pretty good article in The Nation this week by rocker Jenny Toomey about the state of media in America.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Welcome to Politizine!
For the last few years, I have been thinking about setting up a political news and information Web site to share with the general public. However, I really could never seem to find the time to teach myself to do it. Then, I heard about Blogger and decided to give it a try! So, this site will have to do until I get around to creating a real one. Check back daily for updates.

Other sites to check out
* Check out my columns in The Winchester Star, the newspaper where I work as an editor.
* Or my WMFO radio show site at Taste the Floor where you can find my radio playlists and pictures.
* And I play guitar for the rock band Lunargirl. The site is at lunargirl.org. The site has band pictures and also a new Web log feature. Soon, we will have song downloads.

Thanks for checking out my Blogger site and check back again soon!