If Dayton had fiber for internet service, I’d have the video up from last night’s debate already- however, because our country thinks building schools, hospitals and roads in Afghanistan is more important than the critical data infrastructure for the new economy- uploading 90 minutes of compressed video will take all night tonight.
Since you can’t watch the video yet- you can read the DDN piece- which is guaranteed to take the thing that makes me look the most radical of the three (which isn’t hard- considering the candidates) and try to paint me as some kind of rogue. The reality is- my views on Afghanistan haven’t changed much since my days in Special Forces where the plight of the Kurds is the main case study. Afghanistan is a conjured-up country- that contains vastly different tribes who don’t like each other- where the main source of revenue is the drug trade.
You want to fix Afghanistan- you decriminalize opium– and let Halliburton start peddling it (they have no morals) and Afghanistan will be a peaceful country with a higher standard of living (until Halliburton starts buying elections like they do here) and the people catch on to it (something people are slowly catching on to here).
The cave comment wasn’t my finest- far from it-but, after listening to Roberts’ plans to spend your money to build a modern country in Afghanistan while people are losing their homes, their jobs, and their country to the corporations pisses me off. To hear Fogle talking about counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency as if he understands how we take care of terrorists (trust me- Special Operations Command is perfectly capable of doing the job, without the giant corporate investment in a country) was as if I was listening to Mike Turner try to explain away the billions we’ve wasted on trying to fix a whole country because 20 Saudi’s attacked us (and yes, Bin Laden still hasn’t been caught or killed despite the giant drain on our economy).
Here’s the DDN re-cap:
The three also differed on the war in Afghanistan.Fogle supports reducing troops involved in the counterinsurgency, while continuing to fund counter-terrorism efforts, arguing that the main goal is to fight the Taliban, not try to create a democracy.Roberts said building schools and infrastructure would keep Afghans from turning to the Taliban and other militants.Esrati opposes such spending.“It’s time to stop building schools, hospitals and roads in Afghanistan,” Esrati said. “People are used to living in caves in Afghanistan and building them schools is not going to change things.”
When I first told you about the DDN editorial board meeting and then provided the podcast– I made an observation about the other candidates- it still holds true. Yet last night, I was truly blown away by Mr. Roberts giving a new definition to the idea of a tax-and-spend liberal- he was proud to talk about how he planned to make former U.S. Rep Dave Hobson- our former pork king- look like an amateur. His ideas of buy now- pay later were so far away from what I believe is needed to fix this economy that it actually scared me. Yet, he still believes that “the stimulus is working, just not as fast as we’d like it to.” When there are 5 job seekers for every job, that’s not working very well in my playbook- especially while the people who tanked major corporations weren’t sent to prison for securities fraud, racketeering, theft, etc.- and in fact were still paid millions of dollars.
Here is the DDN recap- but, I think you’ll find the video WAY more telling:
Esrati said government should give no tax incentives to businesses and should not be in the business of economic development.
Fogle called for reducing the business tax rate, giving tax breaks for research and development and a one-year moratorium on the payroll tax for small and mid-sized businesses. Those contributions to Social Security and Medicare would be replaced with stimulus money.
“We need shock therapy,” Fogle said. “We need to put the paddles to the chest of the Miami Valley and shock the dickens out of it.”
Roberts said stimulus money should be used to retool plants to build fuel cells, wind turbines and solar panels.
“The job of government is to bring jobs,” Roberts said.
Several times during the evening Guy Fogle followed me- and graciously said he agreed with me. But, his rhetoric on taxation was the same kind of stuff you hear on right-wing talk radio- as if taxation is the only thing stopping small businesses from succeeding. And although it’s not my style to give the other guy credit in a debate/forum, I will say that in the whole evening Roberts did make one very good point- one which I’d actually planned to write about last month and didn’t- that a mortgage should still be able to fit on one sheet of paper. I’d been cleaning and organizing the house in preparation for my new family to move in and found a note I’d signed with Gem Savings for a second mortgage on this home in 1987 or so- one page. It was awe inspiring… (there I did it- said something nice about Mr. Roberts).
The reality is- Roberts kept saying that the stimulus was working and that we just have to give it time. I say when the homes in our neighborhoods are being sold at 40% or more off what we thought they were worth- and not just one, but 25 hedge fund managers pocketed a billion or more for a year’s “work”- the stimulus is working for someone else- the people who buy the people who represent you. Roberts cites the Roosevelt solutions of spending to end the first great depression- yet doesn’t acknowledge the key part was new banking industry regulation (including Glass-Steagall which I’ve been calling for reinstating) and that the government created jobs through the WPA to make sure people were doing something instead of starving and then rioting.
This is already at 1000 words and has taken 45 minutes to write. This is the kind of dedication and communication my readers are used to seeing. There may be others of you- who are finding this for the first time. This is the kind of communication- with the ability to comment – and discuss- that I would continue to deliver if you deliver me to Congress. Try commenting on Mr. Roberts’ site, or Guy Fogle’s– or even Mike Turner’s. In fact- note that Mr. Roberts’ site main function is a plea for cash- while mine is to inform you.
If you are wondering why there was always a bunch of applause after everything Robert’s said- it was from his family and friends he brought down to pack part of the house. All three candidates had handouts- I’ll add pdf’s of them later today- and the video as soon as it is uploaded.
I had some people come up to me after- and tell me that they didn’t think I was anything like what they thought I was from the media coverage- thank you. And, quite a few said that I’d won them over. I’m asking people who were at the forum- to put their comments on this piece.
Lastly- I’m not perfect. I sometimes attack people instead of gracefully attacking the idea. I’m working on it. Yes, I started out attacking Ellen Belcher at the DDN for her perennial leading question to me:”Why do you keep running and failing”- to which I wouldn’t dare ask Thomas Edison or Michael Jordan (failing is as big a part of learning as succeeding). I shouldn’t have made it personal- I could have blamed the whole DDN editorial board for their annual hanging of Esrati in their “endorsements.” And yes, I was a little harsh on Joe Roberts (the crack about him talking about Chuck Whalen- Tony Hall’s predecessor- being out of office before Roberts was born, which was true). But, the purpose of primary debates is to inform voters- and to prepare candidates to face the enemy. As the only candidate who has beaten Mike Turner before, I know exactly what I signed up for. I’m not sure the others do.
I’ve now invested another 20 minutes filling you in. If you appreciate this kind of communication from a candidate- please consider making a donation: www.electesrati.com/donate
Here are the three candidates handouts in PDF form:
There was the question about what book made you tick- my answer was the free book I offer on this site- written by my father: “Dear Son: Do you really want to be an American” It’s a PDF- about 70 pages, well worth reading.