Setting the Record Straight

November 5, 2008

A New America


Welcome President-Elect Barack Obama


sr-concessionmccainjpeg     And welcome back, John McCain. The true McCain, the one we thought we knew in the past, emerged literally at the end of a long campaign: his concession speech.

     His speech was the perfect cap on a presidential campaign that demon- strated the United States finally has grown up. Whether racism in America was pretty much erased by the election or Obama won by a large enough margin to make it irrelevant, we have a new

     Not only did Obama win the presidency, he either benefited from the country having changed for the better or his candidacy brought about much of that new America. Virginia, the last state to hold out against court-ordered integration in the early 1960s, demonstrates the old America is now dead, or at least on is last legs.

     The Obama victory was large and broad enough to have given him an almost universal mandate to govern, and not for just a well-defined few stereotyped by society.

     Obama had been called a liberal by the opposition, yet there never had been any evidence that he was one. From the beginning, Obama appeared to be a centrist Democrat in the mold of Bill Clinton.

     Obama’s candidacy brought the people who would be natural Democrats, but who too often voted against their own self-interest, back into the party or into it for the first time. They include blue-collar workers who tend to be in the lower-half of the middle class as well as among the low-income, but most importantly the Hispanics who seemed finally to have realized which party is more likely to represent their interests.

     Obama’s victory, or conversely McCain’s loss, also is likely to change the Republican party itself. The party has too many ideological segments and needs to decide what its ideology is.

     McCain was handicapped by having to appeal to and represent too many conflicting segments of his party. The Obama victory suggests the party has to jettison some of those segments, even if it has to divide into two parties and start a rebuilding effort to appeal to the majority of Americans who have not been represented of late.

     And finally, let us hope the venal campaigning that marked much of the McCain/Palin campaign and of that Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., should have the same effect it appears to have this time: massive rejection.



November 1, 2008

HIQ In the White House?

This Time a Thinker, Not a Stinker

     The candidacy of Barack Obama gives Americans the chance to return to having a highly intelligent person in the White House. He would follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, both intellectual giants when compared with other presidents over the past century.
     Notice that all three are Democrats, the only ones elected since 1964. The rest of the presi- dencies during that period have been occupied by Republicans, one of them of fairly good intelli- gence, but with a deeply flawed character—Richard Nixon.
     After him came Republicans: Jerry Ford, never regarded as a man of high intelligence; Ronald Reagan, a good speech reader, but someone who otherwise spoke otherwise in clichés, a tool of the not so agile of mind; the elder George Bush, of mediocre intelligence; and, after getting eight years of probably our most intelligent president ever, we have suffered under the least intelligent one in U.S. history.

     So what does all that tell you about what the Democrats offer the country and what the Republicans offer? It might say Republicans not only would not nominate a highly intelligent candidate, one could not win the nomination because he, or she, would not be dumb enough to mollycoddle the right wing of the party that, however much a minority it may be, still decides whom the party will nominate and controls the purse strings that follow.

     Let us hope that if Obama is elected, he will not be crippled by some self-inflicted peccadillo and that he won’t come marching into town with his home boys trying to run the country the way he ran a state and making huge enemies along the way to a largely ineffective presidency.


October 28, 2008

Stevens to ACLU: Help?

Ted Stevens and His Ironic Conundrum

     For some of us, there are few things more pleasurable than watching irony play out. The example here is that Sen. Ted Stevens may not be able to vote for himself in his reelection bid Nov. 4 in Alaska, said to be a tight one even before his conviction on seven felony counts.
     As a Republican, his savior may be an organization his fellow conservatives have always referred in vitriolic tones and as evil incarnate—the American Civil Liberties Union.
     It seems that Alaska is one of 20 states that bar felons from voting until they have completed their sentences. That might present Stevens with a technicality he can squeeze through and vote. He has only just been convicted and will not be sentenced until after the new year, much less have a chance to complete his sentence.
     Why would the ACLU be interested? The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870 in the wake of freeing slaves and intended to block state efforts to keep them from being able to vote, states:
Section 1.
   The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2.
   The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
     The 13th Amendment, ratified at the end of the Civil War, had already defined “servitude” as it applies to convicts by stating: neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The key words are: “servitude, except as a punishment for crime.” It also gives Congress the power to enforce the amendment.
     But Congress rarely has tried and the fact remains only two states, Maine and Vermont, allow felons to vote without some conditions. Two, Kentucky and Virginia, flat-out deny felons the right to vote, eight allow some convicted of felony to vote and the rest allow only prisoners, probationers or parolees to vote.


     Some estimates put the number of people denied the right to vote because of felony convictions at 5 million, and half of them are blacks. That is more than enough to affect a presidential election, let alone a state outcome.

     The U.S. Supreme Court has ducked the issue. The last court to kick the issue away, in 2004 and 2005, was the same court that appointed George W. Bush as president.
     The court seems to uphold disenfranchisement of felons based on a provision of the 14th Amendment, which seems to condone the denial of a vote to people guilty of “participation in rebellion or other crime.” The trouble with that view is that the 15th Amendment ratified two years later would trump the 14th, stating clearly felons cannot be denied the vote. (There also is the argument that “other crime” has to mean something at the level of rebellion, or why even mention rebellion. A similar argument was involved in the Nixon impeachment proceedings when a committee wrestled with whether “high crimes and misdemeanors” meant misdemeanors also had to be “high [or major] misdemeanors.”)
     The last time Congress made an attempt to use its 15th Amendment powers was in 2002, when the Senate killed a Democrat-led bill to enforce it, 31-63, with all Republicans voting against it. Joe Biden joined John McCain in voting against it. Stevens was among six senators, all Republicans, who did not cast a vote.


October 27, 2008

Campaign Silly Season

Of Stats & Foreigners

     As we move closer to election day, television pundits tend to reach into their grab-bag of election clichés and weigh thick with prognostications, excuses and what have you. About the worst of this highly predictable behavior is the use of statistics.
     You probably already are hearing things that sound like, “No candidate with an “R” in his name has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio,” or (insert state here).
     Statistics such as this have been borrowed from the world of sportscasting, which has become so ridiculous at this, many viewers watch with the sound muted.
     Well, Ohio of 2008 is not the Ohio of 2004 is not the Ohio of 2000. The pundits who keep repeating that are fogging the real point; if a candidate cannot offset Ohio’s 20 electoral votes, or Pennsylvania’s 21, with votes from other states, that candidate will lose. Surprise, the same can be said about every other state.


      Polls in other countries show overwhelming support for Barack Obama against John McCain. Obama’s detractors in the United States, at least the right-wing ones, point to that as another reason to vote against him.
    Their problem is they see foreigners interested in the American presi-dential race as engaging in us versus them. It isn’t.
    Those who would dismiss the sentiment of foreigners are behind their own Republican Party, which recognizes the reality that we live in a global community; we cannot isolate ourselves any more. That this is so could not have been made clearer than the financial meltdown. As the United States goes, so goes the rest of the world.
    So foreigners do have a vital stake in the outcome of the American presidential election. They see us as their protector, many of their governments try to operate in sync with us, and as we have seen, their entire economies are based on the health of the U.S. economy.
    They have seen the United States go in an ugly direction the past 10 years, so of course they are interested in America being restored to its former status as a nation the world not only relies on, but looks up to.
    They do not see McCain as offering that change, they do see Obama as offering it. He may not, saddled as he would be by straightening out the mess left by the Bush years, but they see him as more likely to do so.


October 25, 2008

Obama Has Not Won!

Why They Keep Campaigning

     There have been a lot of statements of late that the presidential race is over and that Barack Obama has won. Not so.

     That type of speculation is a result of frequent nationwide polls showing how a person would have voted on that date. The Obama lead appears to be rising, according to those polls. But those polls are weighing sentiment on a national basis and the election is not counted that way; it is counted on a state-by-state basis as the electoral college.

     There are 538 electoral votes, so a candidate in a two-person race, which this is as far as the electoral college is concerned, needs 270 to secure the presidency.



     Using this New York Times map, updated as of Oct. 24, a count of electoral college votes shows Obama with only 196 electoral votes among the states counted as favoring him and highly unlikely to vote otherwise, i.e., the blue states.

     States with another 90 votes are counted as leaning blue. If all of them voted blue, that would give Obama 286 votes, or 16 more votes than he needs to win.

     In addition to any of those nine states being capable of turning the other way by just about anything, from an international crisis or terrorist attack that would favor John McCain, or some credible scandal involving Obama—he still faces the same problem he has had since he entered the race. It is racism.

     The Times map is based on state-by-state polling, and as we and others have said repeatedly, polling does a poor job of uncovering racism, in part because racists usually don’t believe they are. The depth of racism in this country will only be known when it is too late, when the ballots are counted, or in the case of the plan by Republican supporters to challenge registrations in pro-Obama areas, not counted.

     If the race is close, we can expect an outpouring of electoral college bashing once again by the losing side. It will be misplaced. If anything, that voting system is more necessary than ever. This past year has served to underscore once again how uninformed the American people have become, and so intellectually lazy they can be swayed by just about any simpleton overture. That argues mightily for the protection the electoral college offers.


October 22, 2008

GOP’s November Surprise: Part III

 Acorns to Chestnuts 

     Here are excerpts of what FactCheck.Org says about John McCain’s claims of voter fraud being perpetrated by the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (Acorn):

     –“Neither Acorn nor its employees have been found guilty of, or even charged with, casting fraudulent votes. What a McCain-Palin Web ad calls ‘voter fraud’ is actually voter registration fraud. Several Acorn canvassers have been found guilty of faking registration forms and others are being investigated. But the evidence that has surfaced so far shows they faked forms to get paid for work they didn’t do, not to stuff ballot boxes.”

     –“Obama’s path has intersected with Acorn on several occasions–more often than he allowed in the final debate.”

     –“Destroying Democracy?

     “The McCain ad accuses Acorn of ‘massive voter fraud.’ In the final presidential debate, John McCain added that Acorn ‘is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fab ric of democracy.’ Sounds scary, but is it true?”

     –“There is no evidence of any such democracy-destroying fraud.” 

     –“No evidence has yet surfaced to show that the Acorn employees who submitted fraudulent registration forms intended to pave the way for illegal voting. Rather, they were trying to get paid by Acorn for doing no work.”

     –“Acorn pays canvassers by the hour, not by the form, but it does ask them to meet certain registration goals.”

     –“In its defense, Acorn says that only a few of its 13,000 paid canvassers turned in any faked forms.”


 Voter Registration

     Obviously, for the American voting system, or that of any democracy for that matter, to work as intended, there must be a system in place to be sure voters are counted only once in an election.

     Without registration that allows the voter to be assigned to a single locale, potential voters could wander around town casting votes in every polling place.

     The system used to verify the accuracy of registration varies according to states and even localities, so it should come as no surprise many systems are far from perfect.

     In Wisconsin, the state elections board is composed of six retired judges. When they ran their own registrations through the new state database designed to match registrations against other state records, such as Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses, four of the judges’ registrations were rejected.

     Similar problems are cropping up in many other states in database systems created to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

     The Washington Post reports scores of voters being rejected in Alabama because their names are the same as those of convicted felons, who are barred from voting by the U.S. Constitution.

     All these are mistakes of the system and not necessarily of any nefarious attempt to deny some people, particularly classes of people, the right to vote Nov. 4.

     Because of the furor raised by McCain/Palin and their allegations of fraud, the FBI is reported to be looking into the situation. Police in several cities also are checking out fraud allegations.


 Tying Obama to Acorn

     Barack Obama came on the public scene in Chicago as a “community organizer.” Acorn is an alliance of community organizer groups that work in cities all over the country. Thus, Obama would have interacted with the organization on some level.

     He does have additional ties, however minor.

     According to FactCheck.Org, Obama directed a registration drive in Chicago for Project Vote, often allied with Acorn.

     He was one of several lawyers representing Acorn is suing Illinois to allow “motor voter” registration at DMV offices.

     He served on the board of the Woods Fund that awarded grants to Acorn’s Chicago office.

     Obama’s campaign paid Citizens Services, a group also associated with Acorn, $800,000 for a get-out-the-vote efforts aimed at getting people to vote in the primary.

     It is not surprising, then, that Acorn favors Obama for the presidency.

     But Acorn never honored Obama by having him as the keynote speaker at any of their major events.

     That honor went to John McCain, who not only showed up and spoke at the group’s 2006 rally, he praised the organization for its efforts.


October 21, 2008

Acorns, Buckeyes & Chestnuts: Part II

GOP’s November Surprise

     The artificial Acorn flap is more than just another McCain/Palin attempt to remind votors of Barack Obama’s color. It could be the basis for a Republican attempt to create havoc at the polling places Nov. 4, throwing the election into a state of confusion.

     It has to be more than coincidental that John McCain is making such a big deal about Acorn and voter-registration tactics at the same time Republican operatives, groups and just plain supporters are attempting other means to purge voter lists in areas not favorable to the GOP cause. The Acorn situation is simple, the rest is not.

     Well before the Acorn “scandal,” in the wake of the 2000 presidential vote that ended up with the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court appointing George W. Bush as president, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a law in 2002 to require and fund state efforts to improve voting procedures. The Help America Vote Act included a provision requiring states to create a statewide database so their voters could check to see if they are registered properly.
     Traditionally, any effort to get more citizens registered to vote tends to sweep up far more people in the low-to middle-income groups than the wealthy. That would be no surprise to the Republican Party. So it is no surprise the GOP Congress included another provision in the law.
     HAVA required each state, once its database was in place, to check the registrations against other state records, such as Social Security number or drivers licenses and strike from the registration lists names that do not match those records. The law then requires the state to notify those whose names were struck and allow them to prove their registration was correct (they could have been flagged because they used a nickname that did not match the driver’s license, for example).
     As those state databases have come on line, Republican groups in many states have been using the databases to launch their own challenges of registered voters. The methods vary, but many GOP operatives are sending voters on the databases a registered letter, or a letter with all the appearance of junk mail, or any other method designed to obscure the fact there is a letter inside notifying the voter his registration was being questioned and advising that he needed to respond.
     If the voter failed to respond, the GOP would use that as evidence the registration was fraudulent and lodge a formal challenge of the registration. Most of the voters would not know until they attempt to vote that there is a problem. They are required to be given a “provisional ballot” in such cases, but whether those actually are counted usually is problematic.
     Republicans also seek to use the law to create havoc at election time by increasing the number of voters around the country who would be issued provisional ballots on election day, jamming up what is expected to be a record turnout for a presidential election, with their challenged registrations considered one by one before their vote could be counted, and only after the election is over.
     To that end, the Ohio Republican Party sued state officials and got an appeals court ruling that would have required those officials to do the impossible and to have the state provide each county with its share of the third of the 666,000 voters registered this year whose registrations did not match, so the county officials could prevent them from voting.
     Because 200,000 registrations could not be checked out by election day to determine which actually were fraudulent, their provisional ballots would not be counted on election day, possible throwing the result in a key state in doubt. Armed with Democratic Party objections to that appellate court’s order, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the order with no comment.
     But the ever-resourceful GOP is not finished. It has other arrows in its quiver.
     Back in the 1960s an ultra-conservative man in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., built a reputation as a direct-marketing whiz. That’s direct-marketing, as in the form of junk mail and now nearly banned junk telephone calls.
     Now operating as American Target Advertising, Richard Viguerie invented direct mail targeted at ideological and political themes. Others later caught onto the techniques and that is why thousands of people in wealthier areas of the country receive free glossy magazines crammed with high-end advertising about lifestyles of the wealthy. Middle- and low-income never see them unless they work as maids, nannies or make house calls as “Joe the plumber,” who apparently votes Republican against his own best interests.
     That special targeting is simple. The marketers of which Viguerie is the master simply select the Zip Codes of the wealthier neighborhoods and send magazines, conservative come-ons and other junk targeted at their interests.
     The technique also works at the other end of the income scale. Republican operatives are using the same technique to check voter registration lists and extract those that list addresses in the poorer Zip Code areas. They then send that disguised letter to the registered address advising the residents they needed to verify their voter registration.
    And those are techniques we know of. Who knows what else GOP groups have up their sleeves this election season to discredit and even deny the votes of those who would vote for Obama and other Democrats.

Next: Fact-Checking Acorns and Chestnuts: Part III


October 20, 2008

GOP’s November Surprise

Acorns, Buckeyes & Chestnuts
     Racism may be the elephant in the voting booth Nov. 4, but there is an even bigger elephant already in the room this election season that Americans have overlooked. It is just beginning to get some attention.
     Groups with strong Republican ties, including GOP groups themselves, have been waging a war of sorts around the country that goes beyond the current effort to create a scandal involving the Acorn voter-registration group and to tie it to the Democrats through Barack Obama.
     The effort to smear Obama with Acorn is just a small part of a much larger picture. The apparent true purpose of creating an Acorn scandal is to give credibility, legal and otherwise, to Republican backers who want to negate the newly registered voters Democrats are counting on Nov. 4.
     That effort meshes with several other GOP-led tactics already underway, including a purging even of voters who may have been registered for years, but who may not live in a Zip Code attached to a lily- white suburb. The Zip Code tactic is called “caging” in the  world of direct-marketing. And that will bring us around to an old name in GOP politics, Richard Viguerie, who is alive and well and living in Virginia—and still operating.
     Operating through the McCain/Palin campaign and the right-wing network of e-mails and other spam, the strategy appears to be to keep your mind on Acorn while the GOP deals itself a card from the bottom of the deck.
     As one of the McCain/Palin campaign’s tactics of “guilt by association,” it is beating the drums saying Obama has ties to Acorn, which the campaign also says is engaged in fraud as the group sends out volunteers around the country to sign up new voters.
     The example cited most often as evidence of fraud is that in some places voter registration cards have been turned in to county clerks bearing the name “Mickey Mouse,” and in Nevada, the Dallas Cowboys football team’s starting lineup. The GOP, with the McCain/Palin campaign providing its voice, extrapolates those anecdotes to say there is nationwide fraud going on.
     The big lie is being delivered like a drumbeat by John McCain, who says Acorn “may be destroying the fabric of democracy.” Not true. It seems it is the GOP operatives who are setting things up to “destroy the fabric of democracy” come election day.
     Get this straight. McCain/Palin are telling you all these people who registered falsely, whether as “Mickey Mouse” or common names, are going to show up on election day and present false IDs, supposedly even a driver’s license for “Mickey Mouse” with a likeness of the would-be voter, and be allowed to cast a vote. Get real. And how about all those duplicate registrations claimed. One person is going to be allowed to vote over and over? Get real.
     The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now was begun in the 1960s by community organizations populated by “community organizers,” of which, of course, Obama was one.
     The purpose of those organizers was to help people with low to moderate incomes survive and work in a democracy that more often than not is stacked against them. To that end, Acorn began helping people in those income classes to register to vote so they would have a greater say in that system stacked against them.
     Unfortunately, Acorn, spurred the past two years by a community organizer with a shot at the presidency, stepped up its voter-registration drive. Part of that nationwide effort involved paying volunteers $2 per registration as an incentive to work hard. It was a bit naïve to think many of the volunteers would not be dishonest when the chance to earn more money was involved. It should come as no surprise people at the low end of the scale would be just as greedy as those at the top, just not as successful at it.
     In fact, what is being done may not even be a crime in many jurisdictions. The crime would be if the would-be voter registered as Mickey Mouse showed up with ID made out to Mickey Mouse and bearer actually attempted to use it to vote. That would be the fraud John McCain claims already is going on. But if any laws are being violated they should be prosecuted along with those behind the effort.
     But, as noted, making that situation a campaign issue is only the tip of the iceberg of what is going on here. The real fraud is being perpetrated by Republican groups behind the scenes.

Next: Core of the Plot: Part II


October 16, 2008

Good News From the Meltdown-Part II

Chance to Remake America

     The worldwide financial meltdown gives the United States under a new government come January a chance to think outside the box and shake off some of the old thinking that obviously has not worked to the good of the American people. We see three good things emerging from this mess.

     Since the government already is borrowing a bit from socialism, at least partially nationalizing some companies and now has support of both political parties to restoring a regulatory atmosphere, that should help dilute some of what has become an automatic Pavlovian response of seeing those three things as evils.

     There is nothing wrong with socialism, nationalization or regulation if they are used for the common weal. If this meltdown has shown us nothing else, it has demonstrated that unbridled capitalism allows our basic greed to overpower our basic good.

     There are two other bright spots from this collapse:

2. As we also have noted in yet another item on this Web site, the American public from the middle-class on down was aware by the beginning of this past summer that inflation was rising at a time when the nation also was entering a recession.
    The government and Wall Street were saying in unison at the time there was no recession and the rate of inflation was reasonable. But oil prices already had been rising at an alarming rate for months and even the price of food was rising. No other commodities have as much of an impact on those with little or no disposable income as do gas and food.
     Why did the government and Wall Street not see this happening? First, the government has to rely on objective data, not anecdotal indications, to show an economic slide qualifies as a “recession,” which relies on a downturn taking place over several months. Inflation is measures much faster, but it still takes weeks to reach the proper government levels. Meanwhile, as the government studies and Wall Street awaits the word on high, those without disposable income are getting pinched at the pump and checkout aisle while their employer cuts back on health care and pensions, and fewer jobs are listed in the help-wanted ads.
     The government needs to find some non-anecdotal way to capture what is happening at the level of the common weal at the time it is happening, not months later.
     With that trickle-up process, it could take action that would prevent the twin evils of inflation and recession, which become stagflation if they occur together. Currently, the government can only step in to correct the evils after they already have hurt the middle-class and below. That hurt eventually trickles up the line as their reduced buying affects business upon business stacked above them in the economic chain, eventually reaching Wall Street.

3. Even before nations in the EU moved to pour government funds into its businesses and financial institutions, other nations around the world were looking to move their investments from America to Europe as the United States led the world into the crisis.

     When we speak of these national investments, we’re talking about many billions of dollars per country into a smaller economy, a situation likely to make the EU the international financial center as the United States struggles to get back on its feet. Or at least the status of equality with the United States.
     America already had lost its leadership and credibility in terms of international security with the lunatic involvement in Iraq. Losing its leadership as the center of capitalism and eventually democracy would likely become a permanent situation in the lifetime of anyone alive on Earth today.
     What better time to remake the United States into a true democracy, back to a system that works with the interests of the common weal at its core. We have moved away from that over the decades that followed World War II into today’s division between the haves and have-nots that is as wide as what existed between the nobility and the serfs of the old British Empire.
     A new age is dawning in the United States. What are we going to do about it?


October 15, 2008

Good News From the Meltdown

Chance to Remake America

     Believe it or not, there are several good signs emerging from the financial meltdown, enabling the U.S. government to think “outside the box,” just as we did earlier on this page in our suggestion to Warren Buffett.
     First, the methods used to resolve the problem should help take some of the onus off the words “socialism,” “nationalization” and even “regulation,” terms that engender negative Pavlovian responses by the uninformed. That will allow for some creative solutions to many of the problems that have plagued the country for decades.
     Second, it should demonstrate anew the government needs to consider solving problems from the bottom up instead of the past and current trend, demonstrated at the beginning of the financial meltdown, solving problems from the top down. We labeled our way “trickle-up economics.”
     Third, we have a chance for a major makeover of U.S. policies across the board as the nation attempts to climb back to the top of the community of nations and tries to avoid losing its economic leadership status to the European Union, as now seems likely.

1.  Look for a major push by the next Congress and the next president, particularly if it is Barack Obama, to make major efforts to pass new regulations and restore old ones in the financial area.
     But the government is not likely to stop there. There have been widespread complaints about the lack of regulation in many other sectors of society, so look for new regulations in most areas and a return to enforcing regulations already in place. Along with this push will come a strengthening of several government institutions, beginning with the Food and Drug Administration.
     We suggested in an earlier piece the government build its own oil refinery to give it more muscle in influencing the price and supply of oil and gas that is a vital piece of the nation’s economy. Similar investments in other industries could give the government greater influence in them.
     By investing in banks and buying out major financial institutions, the government has overcome the previous onus labeled as “socialism” and taken a socialistic approach to resolving the financial crisis. There is nothing wrong with socialism as long as it never forgets its purpose is to serve the common weal. Past efforts lost that core purpose.
     Some of the government’s actions in the bailout were described as “nationalization.” If an industry operates against the interests of the common weal, such as the telephone industry has a history of doing and the oil industry often does, nationalization of that industry should not be off the table.
     Obviously, all these government interventions must be done with great care and never taking the eye off the prize: serving the common weal. But as the Bush administration economics leaders have demon-strated, the United States remains very reluctant to sign on to any of those three “evils.”
     But the idea that any of the three evils would be used as a tool by a U.S. Republican administration, let alone even a Democrat-led one, to solve an economic mess would have been unthinkable just weeks ago, let alone years ago.

NEXT, Part II: Trickle-Up and New America


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