Vox Populi
Our Readers Speak Out!
Democracy Redefined

E. B. White (1898-1985), best known as the author of CHARLOTTE'S WEB, also worked for years at the NEW YORKER magazine.  His stint there partly overlapped with World War II (he had already been in the Army, before going to college), when Uncle Sam requested him to contribute a writer's stock in trade to the national effort.  His reply follows:

"We received a letter from the Writers' War Board the other day asking for a statement on 'The Meaning of Democracy.'  It is presumably our duty to comply with such a request, and it is certainly our pleasure." "Surely the Board knows what democracy is.  It is the line that forms on the right.  It is the don't in don't shove.  It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles, the dent in the high hat.  Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time.  It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere. 

Democracy is the letter to the editor.  Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth.  It is an idea which hasn't been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad.  It's the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee.  Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of the morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is."
(July 3, 1943)

A moving passage, isn't it?  One might flinch a little at a War Board's asking writers to produce the right sentiments; even dictators use words like "democracy," after all, and have their paid propagandists.  Still, could there be a better critique of the Bush administration, on the whole, than this paragraph?

Contrast Bush during the "recount controversy" to "It is the line that forms on the right," and recall those fist-waving, shouting white-collar GOP staffers who physically disrupted vote counting in Florida.
Take a look at commentators like William Kristol and George F. Will, placing American presidents in danger by calling openly for a "regime change" of a foreign dictator, and then run your eyes over "It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles, the dent in the high hat."

Remember former authority figures like James A. Baker and Antonin Scalia obstructing a presidential election in the United States of America, and look at "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time."  Now remember the commentary and "news analysis" that minimized discarding thousands of votes on the grounds of a (fictional) "statistical tie."

Recall President Bush's new TIPS program for spying on your neighbor (counter that one:  join up), the gestapo-named department of "Homeland Security," and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer's suggesting that Americans should "watch what they say"; and re-read "Democracy is the letter to the editor."

Now look at those "opinion polls" that ask your income, your age, your religion, your political affiliation and your race; look at the investigations of libraries; look at the discouraging sameness of newspapers (which, like newspapers under the Third Reich, have lost half their readers).  Contrast that to "It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere." It is entirely conceivable that Nazi apologists might have been asked to come up with a new definition of democracy.  But no one defining democracy for the Reich would have come up with "It is the don't in don't shove."

Neither would anyone writing for this administration, which is one of the differences between it and democracy.

Margie Burns
Why Republicans love
the national debt

Because we "hit the trifecta."  On purpose and on target - which was [his] goal all along; and  I am sick of the American tax payers being taken for this ride; either by sheer ignorance or just simple denial.

The national debt is purposeful.  Bush knows/wants it, his father knew/wanted it, and Reagan started it... for their own profit(s).  No wonder they hated Clinton/Gore so ferociously and so much time/money/efffort was spent on derailing them.  If Clinton/Gore had actually been able to pay down/off the debt with the surplus as much as they had wanted (Lott blocked all except a small amount...), the amount of bonds issued to secure the national debt would have been decreased substantially.  Therefore, the interest payments that the US Government (i.e. - taxpayers) would have been lessened/eliminated. 

The interest payments on the national debt (alone) amount to 1/3 of the total annual budget paid by the US Government (i.e. - the taxpayers).  That is more than the budget allows for Social Security, Medicare, and military combined!  Who do we think owns these bonds?  Wealthy billionaire investors and governments (that we are swooning).  They make $100s of billions annually off of the US Government (i.e. the taxpayers).

The main reason our economy did so well under Clinton was because we had the ability not to be in debt... therefore, with a solvent government/budget, a healthy private (free) market follows.  Since Bush (and I believe that is why the stock market began to fall... as he was stealing the election), investors (again) realize, like with his father and Reagan before him, that "their" money will do better on the backs of the taxpayers' (i.e. US Government's) pockets. 

Did you realize that the initial cost of purchasing this type of bond is just a small percentage of the face value?  Did you realize that within 14 months of the bond owners' investment, they have completely been reimbursed for their initial "investment"?  Did you realize that ever single interest payment thereafter is sheer profit to them?  Did you realize that this "income" is not even considered "income," but rather "debt repayment"?  Therefore, this free income being made by billionaires and wealthy coorporations is not taxable to them!  It is absolutely FREE.  And  it is the taxpayers of the United States that are providing the already wealthy with all of this further wealth. 

It is criminal and it is purposeful, and if you or I attempted to maneuver any finacial gain resembling this scam, we would be criminally charged with racketeering. 

It is the single largest welfare payment made by our government, it does the whole world financial harm (except for those who hold the bonds), and if this money used to pay interest on the debt's securing was used for the good of the nation, not just the few (i.e. billionaire bond holders), we could give 700% more to the environmental budget, supply every single senior citizen and every single child with free prescriptions, add 300% more federal $$ to our schools, finance every single candidates' campaign (thereby alleviating special interest funds), protect Social Security for the next 11 generations(!!!), and would still would have a growing surplus along with a larger tax cut than the uneven crumbs this president presented to sell his agenda for the wealthy. 

It is a crime.  It is purposeful!  And -- take a look at the budget  history in the past generation...  it specifically documents that the Republicans (except Ford who was not a devotee to this scheme) are the ONLY ones whom have thrown this country into financial despair... for their own profit! 

Get that idiot out of office; make public the continued greed of Reaganomics as it still exists... and we will recover (again) and be okay... (and don't even get me started on the greed of this idiot we now have in office, as it/he pertains to going to war with the whole world for (again) his own financial gain!

Katherine Hovey