Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Random Stories 2/24/08

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First of all, I went to a friends’ wedding last night. It was a nice, classy affair. A good idea that needs a little improvement: guests walked by a small appetizer bar on the way to the reception area. It had crackers and cheese and fruits. The only thing it lacked? Two lines. One could either wait in line for a half-an-hour or walk back from the reception room and find things already well picked over. The dinner (roast beef & salmon) was extremely well done, however!

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Clinton is mad that Obama is using her NAFTA stances in his mailings. After telling the nation how proud she was running against him, she brought out an interesting charge: “enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove‘s playbook.”

Obama’s response: “You can’t be for something and take credit for an administration … and then when you run for president say that you didn’t really mean what you said way back then. It doesn’t work like that,” he said to cheers at a rally in Akron.”

I think the record speaks for itself here: Hillary was a big supporter of NAFTA in public while her husband was President. The result of this lopsided trade agreement has helped greed-driven corporations to close factories and depress state economies here in the U.S. Now, Hillary wants a time-out with some trade agreements. Riiight. Up until she’s the President and initiates more of them. This is a clear area where we need better Democrats in addition to more Democrats. Elect fair-trade Democrats to Congress and things like NAFTA and CAFTA could be amended to push for labor and environmental concerns.

Oh, Clinton said something else interesting: She said by his actions, Obama was giving “aid and comfort to the very special interests and their allies in the Republican Party who are against doing what we want to do for America.” Wow. Good thing she accused Obama of being Rovian, or else one might think this attack accomplished the very same thing. Which of course is Rovian: hit your opponent where they’re strongest and you’re weakest. Jesse asked the other day what kind of change Obama represents. This is another area, or perhaps an offshoot of the example I gave: less corporate lobbyist influence on policy, including trade agreements.

More stories below.

Lovely. Ralph Nader, perhaps the only person more egomaniacal than Rudolph Giuliani, has once again entered a race for President.

“A Jeffersonian revolution is needed in this country,” he said.

Nader told NBC that great changes in U.S. history have come “through little parties that never won any national election.”

Interesting. His fourth candidacy for President is supposed to be a Jeffersonian revolution? Have great changes occurred because of his prior attempts? No, they have not. While not solely responsible for Bush’s 2000 theft of the office, Nader Certainly played an influential role in the election. Why is it we only hear about his “great efforts to revolutionize the country” every four years? Why hasn’t he attempted to change how the field is constructed in a more meaningful way in the intervening years? Nader is a joke and I hope he doesn’t get his name on many ballots this year. I for one am tired of his distractions.

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What happens when Republicans control all the levers of government, including enacting their economic policies?  The infrastructure of the people falls apart.  Or, it gets much more expensive to maintain what’s already built, removing money for needed new infrastructure.  Changes in the bond market will make borrowing more expensive for municipalities.  The result?  Fewer services and higher taxes.

Here’s the short of it: the Republican mantra of fewer taxes no matter what is a disastrous economic policy.  Taxes are an investment in the commons – things we all share like water treatment plants, roads and schools.  Without money coming in, municipalities sell bonds to pay for infrastructure.  When the same policies affect the larger economy, credit ratings suffer.  As a result, bond insurance goes away and citizens are forced to pay additional interest on those bonds.

It’s a hidden tax that Republicans like foisting on people but refuse to talk about.  Why?  Because rich people got their big tax breaks in years past under this administration.  They can afford a little bit more in increased interest rate payments (or pay to find out ways to get out of paying anything).  It’s the rest of us (95%+) that will suffer.  Remember the catch-phrase Bush used to get his tax plan passed?  More money in earners’ hands.  Guess what, that money will still be spent.  Except we’ll end up paying more than before due to interest.  And to close the loop, we’ll end up paying more for less!  How incredible!

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