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By now, you gotta figure Tehran’s on their speed-dial.

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April 6, 2004

And speaking of Nathan Newman— as we were in our update to the post below—the man himself, welcoming the new visitors his site’s recent travails have netted, writes a remarkable political memoir of the last several years, with hard words both for the war-besotted right and for activists who value “peace” but not justice. Tough-minded pragmatic American leftism on wry. If you haven’t been reading Newman all along you’ve been missing one of the more original voices in blogdom. Time to start. [11:27 PM]
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Comments on And speaking of Nathan Newman--:

Bob Devney ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2004, 01:33 PM:

Patrick, thanks to the pointer to Newman's frankly brilliant analysis. We've all been waiting for something like this. To paraphrase that old story about Ben Franklin, what Newman has given us is a Democratic agenda, if we can keep it. John Kerry, read it and sweep.

Surely we can find enough money to match the Wahhabis and Hamas school for school, social service for social service. As Newman suggests, capture hearts and minds worldwide with our brand of social justice. NOT just because it's right. But because it's the best and surest-shooting weapon in the entire gleaming arsenal of democracy. How did we ever forget this?

As our religion, I suggest technology-worship. Subsidize low-cost or free Internet cafes in the Sudan, Pakistan, Malaysia, so on. Open free computer schools -- Bill Gates may see some market-prepping advantage here.

Oh, and every time a Falwellian imam closes a movie theater, open a bigger megaplex nearby. How about reading rooms stocked with science fiction and graphic novels?

As for our domestic platform -- wild idea, but what if Newman's social justice were to begin at home?

Rick Heller ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2004, 11:53 PM:

I don't think the public will be very receptive to a huge foreign aid program for Arab countries, particularly after the uprising that's going on today.

Rather, we should defund the Wahabis by raising auto fuel consumption standards, and increasing the gas tax.

One of the ads Bush is running in the Northeast ridicules Kerry for supporting a gas tax in the past. As if sucking up too much oil wasn't relevant to our tragic engagement with the Persian Gulf states.

Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2004, 07:21 AM:

So the public won't be very receptive to foreign aid for Arab countries, but will be perfectly o-kay with four bucks a gallon (or more, if we're being serious here) for gas?

Rick Heller ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2004, 10:47 AM:

They won't like a gas tax either, but they may be persuadable if they know the gas tax

1. Pays down the deficit, or

2. Is offset by tax reductions elsewhere - let's say in the payroll tax.

The main liberal objection to a gas tax is that it may hurt low-income people who can only afford used cars that are gas guzzlers. My response is that the gas tax should proceed, and low-income workers should be compensated through an expansion of the earned income tax credit.

It won't be easy to convince Americans they need to conserve oil, but it could be done, with presidential leadership. Amazingly enough, William Clay Ford, Jr., the head of Ford Motor Company, has endorsed a gas tax.

cafl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2004, 04:28 PM:

"Of the total of 17.2 million households that were eligible for the credit, about 12.9 million claimed the credit, representing a participation rate of about 75%" (from this.

I think the trouble with balancing the fuel tax with the EITC is that the fuel is taxed every time you go to the pump, while the EITC, if it is even claimed, comes as a lump sum at the end of the tax year. This is a problem for very low income people, even though participation in the EITC is higher than many other assistance programs.

Shawn Scarber ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2004, 04:57 PM:

I find it sad that we have the perfect combination of 'clean burning fuel' and 'energy efficient motor' ready for application, but still use fossil fuels. If you were to combine Biofuels with e-traction's TheWheel, you could still drive your SUV and do zero damage to the environment.

the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2004, 09:28 PM:

Nathan is one smart dude. He was out front, for example, questioning what Wes Clark's bona fides for the Democratic nomination besides looking handsome in a uniform were... (he was ahead of me on that, actually). He is a principled, smart guy-- who knows bloody well that ends don't justify means, and stupid ends are worse than no ends.

As to Dick Morris, he told me:

TTD: You have observed that you think if the 2004 election is about terrorism, Bush will win, and if its about anything else, Bush would lose.
Would another terrorist attack between now and November 2004 help or hurt George W. Bush? Put another way, would the Democrats benefit from a
national security breakdown because they've urged Bush to spend more and do more; or would Bush benefit because people would rally around the President?


Morris, of course, would see the world in terms of branding and marketing: Bush (as I have noted, uniquely) calls himself "the war president". Bush has (1) not delivered OBL or the rest of Al Qaeda, and (2) though he has Saddam in custody-- then a lone man dressed as a hobo living literally in a hole-- he has mired this nation in a military minefield-- which at this point, will only result in much higher casualty counts, monetary expense, and probable national humiliation. I think DM has a point on this...

And it just shows how the so-called liberal media is PRECISELY that-- I KNOW that Kerry has been "beaten down in the polls by Bush's ads branding him a tax and spend liberal"-- but haven't heard a damned thing about Bush's nosedive thanks to Iraq... interesting, no?
(Btw: proposing a gas tax right about now-- BAD IDEA. Keep it simple, stupid, as they say... Bush is self-destructing-- Kerry seems smart enough to get the fuck out of his way.)

Oh-- the scary thing (especially for New Yorkers): read my question and Morris's answer. If Bush feels its fourth and long come, say, September, or October, we may be looking at him going for the bomb. And I do mean bomb.

Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2004, 02:20 PM:

The Talking Dog's Dick Morris link is prefaced with a nielsenhayden.com string. The actual Talking Dick page is at "http://thetalkingdog.com/archives/000475.html".