New School President Bob Kerrey takes part in an informal discussion with former Florida governor and U.S. senator Bob Graham. Graham is the author of America, the Owner's Manual: Making Government Work for You (CQ Press, 2009) and founder of the Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida.
The talk focuses on Senator Graham's distinguished career in government and his perspectives on today's critical issues, including national security and ways ordinary citizens can affect government policy.
Daniel Robert "Bob" Graham was the 38th Governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987 and a United States Senator from that state from 1987 to 2005. Following a failed bid for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2004 presidential race, Graham was considered a possible running mate for John Kerry.
Graham dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on October 6, 2003 and announced his retirement from the Senate on November 3, 2003.
Graham is now concentrating his efforts on the newly established Bob Graham Center for Public Service at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Florida. He also serves as Chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism and advocates for the recommendations in the Commission report, World at Risk. In the spring of 2009 Bob Graham published a book titled America, The Owner's Manual: Making Government Work for You which inspires and teaches citizens how they can participate in our democracy in effective ways.
Bob Kerrey is president of The New School in New York City.
For twelve years prior to becoming president of The New School, Bob Kerrey represented the State of Nebraska in the United States Senate. Before that, he served as Nebraska's governor for four years.
Bob Kerrey is the author of When I Was A Young Man: A Memoir, published by Harcourt Books (May 2002). He served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, currently leads a five year writing challenge sponsored by The National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges, and is co-chair with Newt Gingrich of The National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care.
Country, North America. It comprises 48 conterminous states occupying the mid-continent, Alaska at the northwestern extreme of North America, and the island state of Hawaii in the mid-Pacific Ocean. Area, including the U.S. share of the Great Lakes: 3,676,486 sq mi (9,522,055 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 307,226,000. Capital: Washington, D.C. The population includes people of European and Middle Eastern ancestry, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians (Native Americans), and Alaska Natives. Languages: English (predominant), Spanish. Religions: Christianity (Protestant, Roman Catholic, other Christians, Eastern Orthodox); also Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism. Currency: U.S. dollar. The country encompasses mountains, plains, lowlands, and deserts. Mountain ranges include the Appalachians, Ozarks, Rockies, Cascades, and Sierra Nevada. The lowest point is Death Valley, Calif. The highest point is Alaska's Mount McKinley; within the conterminous states it is Mount Whitney, Calif. Chief rivers are the Mississippi system, the Colorado, the Columbia, and the Rio Grande. The Great Lakes, the Great Salt Lake, Iliamna Lake, and Lake Okeechobee are the largest lakes. The U.S. is among the world's leading producers of several minerals, including copper, silver, zinc, gold, coal, petroleum, and natural gas; it is the chief exporter of food. Its manufactures include iron and steel, chemicals, electronic equipment, and textiles. Other important industries are tourism, dairying, livestock raising, fishing, and lumbering. The U.S. is a federal republic with two legislative houses; its head of state and government is the president.
Movements like the Tea Party Movement and its affiliates will always exist around the world and especially in the USA. It is weakening democracy, because of the fact that undeniable reality isn't an argument for them. Some simply say that the federal government isn't allowed by the Constitution to collect taxes so we know that they failed to read the Constitution regarding the powers of Congress.
Further, reality shows that taxes for those with less than $120,000 per year in the USA are back to the lowest level, not found since President Truman, but still they complain about tax-increases that don't exist, just like they complain about non-existing death panels in the reform of Health Care Assurance.
Of course, their concerns go to further bailouts of banks and other big companies, but they are to vote in favor of Gods Own Predators who invented the bailout during the last months of the Bush43-administration. They love and support politics that caused all the problems.
You can be as mad as a senator Paul, but look at Billy Roper the Tea-Party's candidate to become governor of Arkansas and who doesn't want any colored people to be allowed to live in the country or visit it. How limitless crazy can you be?
It's all a matter of not being in touch with reality.
Let's talk about big government.
While life in the world and the USA becomes more complex, because of progress in several fields, like population, environment, technology, trade, financing business and because no-one can stop that, there has to be regulation of potential dangerous activities to prevent damage and harm to consumers and workers, citizens all together and also regarding their environment, safety, health and freedoms. Government has the constitutional duty to protect the people and the people's interests. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an example of failing government (MMS) by a lack of regulation, but the GOP, along with the Tea Party Movement, proposed a moratorium on all regulation, also preventing Big Oil to pay for the damage. They are supposed to win Congress back in November on that item, eventually forcing President Obama to give Big Business a free ride to further rob the poor and middle class in favor of the 5% extreme rich people (a.o. robber barons and banksters) who already own 75% of all the American wealth, not counting the benefits for foreign (Arab) billionaires, who are funding terrorism against the democratic western civilization as they are already funding Gods Own Predators and the Tea party too, even with unlimited amounts of money, recently authorized to do that by the Supreme Court. By now it is the freedom of speech for corporations that guarantees the right of foreign owned businesses to buy American politicians and make them at their special service.
Since long the fairy tales are spread that the super richest people provide most of the jobs, but two thirds of all the jobs are provided by small businesses and adding a lot more to that amount by the (growing) government is real reality.
When Ronald Reagan told the people that the government is part of the problem there wasn't any decrease of government and he and his successor (Bush41: "read my lips... I will nor raise taxes") were forced to raise taxes, but nevertheless still increasing the budget deficits.
During all the terms of Democratic Presidents the gab between rich and poor decreased in favor of a growing home market and with all the Republican Presidents that gab widened again subsequently to shrink the economy and prosperity of the American average families. It's not that hard to find out the facts. It's all documented and available by reliable open sources.
So President Clinton let a budget-surplus to his successor and that surplus faded away already in the first year of Bush43, given away to big business.
By now the GOP, inspired by the Tea Party, announced a comprehensive alternative to the Obama politics in any field of interest, but they don't want to make that political agenda public, House minority leader John Boehner said, because the media would jump on it and make an election issue of every point in it.
Yes, that is exactly what media have to do, with pro and cons.
Obviously there are, as is foreseeable, too much cons in it to please the voters.
So what has that to do with free elections if the voters are not allowed to know what they, GOP and TPM, have in their perverted mind? Do you vote in favor of your expectation that no individual with a colored skin (red, black, yellow, brown or mixed) be allowed to be in the USA like the Tea Party's governor-to-become in Arkansas supports?
"*sigh* No. The Tea Parties want government and they want taxes to support that government. They just want them small and with minimal power. I don't understand how that is hard to understand for some people."
Government in the US is small in comparison with pretty much any other country I know from personal experience. I wonder if the tea party majority has such experiences in other countries? If they do, could they relate them to us and explain why one can live quite comfortably in some countries which have, e.g. public health care for everyone? Or is the general notion of the tea party that many of the world's governments are smarter about spending money than the US government and that they are therefor qualified to provide for their own people, while the US government is not?
As far as taxes are concerned, taxes in the US are small. They are, as we all know, not even paying the bills. Now, if somebody from the tea party would stand up and tell us which government programs they want to get rid off and how they are going to deal with the fallout of those programs being gone, please?
I am all ear. Sadly, what follows after this question is deadly silence or ridiculous hand-waving. No, no, people. I don't want to hear crank theories on how you can do something with nothing. I want worked out examples on how you can keep the services running, what you do with people who have fallen and can't get up on their own. Are we supposed to watch them starve to death? What about national defense? Are we cutting back on that? How about education? Shall we close our schools to lower your property tax? I mean... is it fair that you should pay for the education of other people's children if you don't have any of your own? And why should anyone get education who can't pay for a private school?
OK... I am a bit rough on you, here. But seriously... you have to tell us in detail how you want to replace the essential government services, for which there is already not enough money today, with smaller services that will have even less.
If the GOP is the party of the NO! to every solution, isn't the tea party the party of the no solution, whatsoever?
Originally Posted by Periergeia
Actually... that's not being "for" something. These are merely euphemism for being AGAINST government and being AGAINST taxes.
*sigh* No. The Tea Parties want government and they want taxes to support that government. They just want them small and with minimal power. I don't understand how that is hard to understand for some people.
"...that the Tea Parties are for things like "small government" and "lower taxes" its not just a negative movemen..."
Actually... that's not being "for" something. These are merely euphemism for being AGAINST government and being AGAINST taxes.
The most obvious problem with the tea party movement is that they are merely against these things without offering any solutions to replace what they want to get rid off. If you reduce government, you still have to take care of the problems that government is in the business of solving. We are not hearing from the tea party movement much about how to provide medical services to all Americans. They are not explaining to us who will fund the schools that teach their children. They are not telling us who will build roads and do fundamental research in the physical and life sciences.
Why are they not telling us any of that? Because they don't know and they don't even care. They think that selfish short term self-interest is a solution to any and all problems. Anybody who has studied history (US history included) knows that strength can only be had in numbers and in efficient organization. The tea party movement fears both and lives in the naive fantasy that they can replace what takes collective action with individual pettiness. Good luck with that.
An interesting discussion. What the commentators fail to realize is that the Tea Parties are for things like "small government" and "lower taxes" its not just a negative movement. I have a feeling the Tea Parties are being dismissed like the social movements of the 60s. They will have just as much impact if not more in the coming years. Mainly because the Tea Parties cross a larger ideological spectrum and age range and thus have a larger chance of being relevant.