Ze Web page of Ralph & Rosemary Meyer
(That’s French for Ralph and Rosemary’s Web Page)**

 

 

 

Contents

Work Information

Job Title

We are now a couple of official Dewwhatchawanters…

I.e., … Hot Dawg!  We’re Reeee-tired!  Hey, that doesn’t mean we’ve just got new Michelin foots for the Cars or Bike…  It means we can do what we want, how we want, when we want (mostly) and do nothing if that’s what we want.  We think it’s great stuff and recommend it highly!

Key responsibilities

Getting up in the morning (Whenever we feel like it), making breakfast (if we feel like it), and doing whatever comes down the pipe that looks like a Good Thing (Thanks, Martha Stewart, for that hackneyed, but useful, phrase!).

Department or workgroup

At work? in my former office…

For Ralph, The Cambridge History of China Project, East Asian Studies, Princeton University,

For Rosemary, Caravan Services, Opinion Research Corporation.

Now, Our Department is just Us’ns and friends and relatives.

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Favorite Links                                                                                              

 

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Worthwhile Links

 

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Important Books

Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, Shrub, the short but happy political life of George W. Bush – this is a frightening look at the Texas governorship of ‘Dubya’ and its cost and consequences for the people of Texas written by two highly respected and well-known political correspondents only too well familiar with the ins and outs of Texas politics.

 

Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, Bushwacked, New York, Random House, 2003.  An even more scary and unfortunately factual well documented look at the consequences for the nation of the outlook, actions, and administration of George W. Bush.

 

David Corn, The Lies of George W. Bush:  Mastering the Politics of Deception, New York, Random House, 2003.  “A valuable look at how often and effortlessly the man who campaigned on the lofty principles of ‘responsibility’ and ‘accountablility’ has evaded both”—Clarence Page, The Chicago Tribune.

 

Al Franken, Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, New York, Dutton, 2003.  A documented look at the resurgent Right’s lies about progressives and liberals that are baldfacedly told in hopes of gaining and holding onto political power by fooling the people of the United States into thinking their best interests are served by those who would make fat cats even fatter, take away constitutional liberties and protections like freedom of speech and expression in the interests of ‘public safety,’ destroy the environment and remove consumer, health, and workers’ protections in the interests of ‘good bidness,’ foist their religious outlook on everyone by making it a public standard, and remove individual privacy while increasing government secretiveness in the interests of ‘national security.’  By the best-selling author of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations.

 

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Contact Information

E-mail address

meyer@zoominternet.net, meyer@retiree.princeton.edu

rdmeyer@zoominternet.net

But don’tcha dare send SPAM!   We don’t read such things, we just erase ‘em in a bunch and purge ‘em without ever looking at ‘em.

Web address

http://www.zoominternet.net/~meyer

Office phone

Call us to find out what it is!   :^]=]  (Our means of foiling telemarketers!)

 

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Current Projects

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Biographical Information

Ralph got his B.A. at Western Maryland College, with a major in English Lit and minor in Classical Greek, his B.D. from the Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, Bexley, Ohio, and his M.S. in Media from Clarion University, Clarion, PA.A former Foolerthan (Ooops, We mean Lutheran…) Pastor (spent 30 sometimes useless years at that), he then decided to do something at least equally worthwhile and that definitely paid better and spent the last 12 years as publications manager for the marvelous East Asian Studies Department at Princeton University (Yea, TIGERS!!!).  Rosemary got her Associate Degree in Parish Work from Texas Lutheran College, and her B.A. from Clarion University.  Having been a former Pastor’s wife (congregations always look for extra manpower on the cheap!), she then worked for The Gallup Organization, and for the Opinion Research Corporation, both of Princeton, NJ, and both of which paid infinitely better than the crunch (Oops, I mean the Church…—on the mathmatics of ‘infinitely better,’ remember, even a buck is infinitely better than Zip, Zero, Nullo, and Nada, and something divided by Zero equals Infinity! Yeah!) Yea Gallup!!! Yea ORC!!! And Now we’re retired and enjoying looking back on them all. Yea Retirement!!! Yeeeeee-HAH as The Old Gunnie of Mail Call (History Channel) would say.

 

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Personal Interests

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Writings and Other Stuff

 

This section still under construction!

 

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Political and Other Rants

#11.8 Spin Doctoring

You know what ‘Spin Doctoring’ is.  Even the terminology itself has the distinct odor of dishonesty.  Is it innocent? Chinese philosophers, Hsün Tzu and others, for example, were concerned about something they called the rectification of names, that is, the attachment to a thing of the correct name that accurately described it.  Unless names were rectified, they said, not only would business become ensnarled in difficulties, dishonest dealing, and shysterism, and come to no good end, and ordinary people be hurt by misdirection, but the state would ultimately fail and an emperor and his courtiers could well lose the mandate of heaven to rule.   Essentially, rectification of names amounted to calling a spade the spade it is.  So.  I buy a car.  I run it for 5 years, winter and summer, in sun, rain, slush, salt, dust and grime. The kids climb in and out of it with muddy shoes off the ball field they played on following rain a day or so ago.   I trade the car in on a new car.  What is the most accurate description of the car I traded in?  Pre-owned?  Is that a right name for it?  Nahhhh.  It’s a USED car.  Yeah, it’s pre-owned, but to call it that is really an attempt to try to hide the fact that it’s been through the mill.  The rectified name for it is ‘Used Car,’  And what do you call something that tries to hide the real character of something so as to fool people into thinking it’s either something it’s not, or is something better than what it is, or its something they want when, if they knew the reality of it, they wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole?  I don’t know about you, but I call such a thing a lie.  A Plain,  Simple, out-and-out bald-faced lie.  If Aristotle is applicable here, and a thing equal to another thing is the same thing as the other thing, then a spin doctored term is a lie, and a spin doctor or anyone who uses or manufactures such terminology is a liar.

 

What are some spin-doctored terms the public is now faced with, besides ‘pre-owned car’?  One horrid one that I can think of is “Compassionate conservatism”—Now there’s a spin doctored term if I ever heard one!  Anyone who has ever merely read an ounce of history knows this one for what it is: an attempt to pull the wool over a fuzzily thinking unaware public’s eyes.  Unless, of course, you define ‘compassion’ as giving more and more economic, social, political, and medical benefits and privileges to the fewer and fewer rich, powerful people and corporations at the top of the economic feeding chain, while making the vast numbers of people at the middle and lower levels pay the costs for this.  If, on the other hand, compassion is the kind of thing as defined by such ethical giants as Jesus of Nazareth, the Buddha, the Moists, Isaiah, Mohammed, and any ethical humanist worth his or her salt, then compassion is a matter of caring for the downtrodden, the powerless, the economically and educationally disenfranchised (the poor), the sick, the hungry, the hurt, the jobless, the homeless.  Compassion, traditionally and ethically defined, is a matter of actively seeking the means to ameliorate the situation in which these people find themselves, and, historically speaking, conservatives and the so called ‘right’ (which isn’t, and, humanitarianly speaking, never has been) are not and never have been interested in doing this.  This is not to say they also want to avoid the appearance of being such humanitarian helpers.  Oh no.  They want the reputation, because, after all, nobody who’s a greedy, self-centered, graspingly venal nepotistic schmuck wants to be known for exactly what he is, but they want to avoid like the plague doing anything that would give such an humanitarian reputation even the slightist hint of representing actual reality.  That’s why they coin such phrases to describe themselves, or have other people coin them for them, as ‘Compassionate conservative.”  They want to be known to be something they’re not.  After all, nobody in their right mind would vote for an avowedly greedy money-grubbing helpless-person-kicking crumb.  But really, who are the compassionate folks?  Why, of course, those whose reputations the conservatives try like mad to destroy: that’s right, the progressives, the liberals.  Herbert Hoover was a conservative, for example.  When the great depression hit and many people in this country had their savings destroyed, were thrown out of work, and were begging for a job, desperately hoping for some means of keeping a roof over their family’s heads and some form of food on the table, did he do anything to ameliorate the situation?  Did he propose legislation that would help put folks to work, or raise taxes on those who were not hurting to help feed the hungry?  Nah.  “That’s not the U.S. Government’s job,” he said.  He was a conservative.  People were starving, and the rich were still yachting.  But his philosophy said the government had no place trying to help.  It took the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a liberal, to begin getting the country moving again; to promote legislation to give people desperate for jobs something to do, to provide a means of enabling aged working folks at least to be able to retire in the twilight years of their lives and know they wouldn’t be flat broke if they did.

 

Or take health care.  Other countries have health care systems that cover and care for all their citizens, not just the rich who can afford the best it has to offer while letting everyone else muddle by.  President Clinton proposed developing such a system, and actually got the wheels rolling to consider it.  Who shot him down?  Who didn’t care whether those in straightened circumstances had health care or not?  Who spent millions to try to dig up dirt in order to attempt to destroy his reputation and credibility?   Liberals?  Oh no.  Conservatives…  Why?  Because it would cost their rich campaign donors money, and, of course, because it hadn’t been done before.  Compassionate?  You bet.  For the richest folks in the nation.  Compassion for the rest of us?  The earners, the folks who actually do the work for a living?  Forget it.  If you want compassion for the great majority… the lion’s share of the folks of this country, you definitely shoot yourself in the foot if you vote for a conservative.  ‘Cause if you haven’t a million or more bucks, there’s no compassion for you among the conservatives.  You just don’t count!  So what’s compassionate conservatism?  Well, in terms of the traditional ethical meaning of the term compassion, it’s a lie, and those who use it to cover up their insensitivity to the real needs of the majority of folks are liars.

 

Still unconvinced?  Look at the record of the present so-called ‘Compassionate Conservative’ occupying a White House his conservative friends gave him despite the fact that the majority of the people of the United States didn’t want him:

  1. He wants to drill for oil in the Arctic Tundra—one of the most sensitive ecological regions on earth.
  2. When Texas Governor, he presided over more executions than anyone ever before him despite the fact that some were executions of people with mental disabilities and others might have been innocent of the crimes for which they were given death sentences.
  3. His ‘tort reform’ in Texas was aimed at making it very difficult for an ordinary person to sue major corporations when product faults have caused them grave damage.
  4. His appointees to the USDA have made it very clear to meat and poultry inspectors that if they value their jobs, they’d better not shut down a meat or poultry packing line just because they’ve seen what look like health contaminating practices or materials.  The line has to keep running until they’ve proved by extensive tests that things are contaminated.  No shutting them down until contaminating practices and situations are cleaned up when USDA inspectors find conditions that could well or already have infected their products with e-coli and other dangerous bacteriological or toxic materials that constitute grave health risks to consumers.  The argument behind the new ‘protective’ policy: shutting down a production line would be economically damaging to the meatpacking ‘bidness’.  But what about the consumers of the product who would be sickened by eating it?  No compassion for them or for the inspector who stops a line because of what could be contamination, I fear.
  5. His appointees to the EPA are those with established records of opposing or doing little about cleanup until they absolutely have to.  And endangered species?  Forgedaboudem!  If it’s profitable to destroy their habitat for some ‘bidness’ to profit, so what?
  6. His tax break amounts to a pittance for the average American.  Nothing for the poorest Americans, and great amounts for the richest.  His compassion for himself amounts to about $44,000/year.  His Veep gets about a $300K savings a year.  On the other hand, funding for such programs as ‘No child left behind’, school lunch programs, the EPA, and so forth, have been cut.
  7. Those he appointed to head such departments as were set up to see that the people doing the work in our country are protected against corporate practices that are harmful to them are those whose records indicate they consider such concerns to be basically undesirable because they cost ‘bidness’ money that ought to go into corporate coffers rather than into the pockets of aggrieved workers… like those who suffer carpal tunnel syndrome and can no longer type or grip things without excrudiating pain.  Such people don’t need their medical bills or job losses compensated for as much as the CEOs of their companies need their stock options.
  8. He and his party have repealed the taxes on chemical companies aimed at supporting cleanup of Superfund Sites of toxic waste, thus removing a major source of funding from the EPA for cleanup of such sites.  Result: dirty sites remain…. dirty sites.
  9. Although the Enron collapse destroyed the financial security and retirement savings of Enron workers, and countless other small investors, the Enron executives who gave large sums to his election campaigns have yet to be called to account, or their fraudulent gains confiscated in order to repay those who lost their savings due to these executive’s fraudulent practices.  Incidentally, they are still financially well off.  One has just built a several million dollar ‘house’ in Florida with moneys gained nowhere else but the fraudulant manipulations that destroyed the financial wellbeing of Enron employees and investors.

The list of ‘compassionate acts’ goes on and on.  For a far more complete, detailedly accurate, and downright frightening record of the ‘compassion’ that is being foisted on us, see Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, Bushwacked, New York, Random House, 2003, obtainable at your local library or from www.amazon.com or www.bn.com .

#132.59 Tax breaks for the rich parading as ‘tax relief for everybody’

I don’t like tax breaks for the rich…  Certain shrubbery in Washington has said that ‘his’ tax break for Americans will average about $1000 a year.  Have you seen that much? I haven’t. More like a hundred and something. But Ooops…,That’s right…  He wasn’t lying, though.  Not exactly.  He was just pulling the wool over people’s eyes who thought they were actually going to get tax ‘relief.’  But here’s how his tax relief works out:…  If you have a thousand taxpayers, and 100 of them get nothing, another 800 get $100, another 50 get $200, another 25 get $300, another 15, $500, another 7, $5,000, another 2, $25,000 and the last one, being a billionaire, gets $1,000,000, why, my goodness, if you average all them together, the Average is indeed about 1000 each.. well, actually 1190…. but only the billionaire gets the bundle.  Isn’t that neat math?  That’s Shrubbery Math.  Of course, meantime, while the rich are getting their ‘bit’ of the ‘average’, the national debt is again going sky-high… as does the interest to be paid on it.  (And that, according to Shrubbery Math, is good, because rich bankers bankrolling re-election bids, get more money.)  But who pays for it in the end?  Ahhhh… Long after Texas again gets a bush back where it belongs… Guess what???  Taxes are going to go Sky-High!  After all, somebody’s got to pay for the national debt, and its interest.  And guess who THAT’s going to be?  So who would have benefitted from this lovely ‘tax break’?   You?  Me?  Nahhhhhhh.  We’re the ones that’re going to pay for it.  Only the Rich Friends of Hizonner, The Shrub, will have benefitted.  And they had the gall to call Clinton a liar?  At least his didn’t affect your pocketbook and mine.  This guy’s is gonna!  So, don’t be too happy about a little 100 buck tax ‘relief.’  You and I are going to pay for it in spades in just a few years time!   (Incidentally, Harry Truman considered this kind of activity to be based on ‘the Trickle Down theory of economics…’   I.e., the republicans give the wealthy lots of money they don’t need… and the rest of us get what they want to trickle down to us!   I think a better name for this would be Bush’s Suck It Up theory of economics, wherein the poor folks and the middle class fool themselves via a temporary trickle of a tax break into allowing the Rich to Suck up even more of working folks’ funds in the future than they do now.)  I do like the philosophy that says that those who have made out better in this country certainly owe more than those who have not, and that those who have made out like bandits, should pay like the bandits they are.  The notion that a millionaire or billionaire should pay taxes at the same rate as a poor working single mother earning $6.50 an hour and working two jobs just to try to keep a roof over her family’s head and food on the table I find to be downright obscene!

#346.A3

Certain ‘unelected’ folks in Washington (D.C., that is) want to drill for oil in sensitive national forests and wildlife sanctuaries.  Now this might be an honest mistake if these same folks, being interested in the preservation of the use of oil, also were leaning heavily on the Auto, Truck, Tractor, and whatnot industries that produce internal combustion engines that use the stuff to make these industries make far more fuel efficient vehicles than they now do.  But are these Washington folks that honest, straightforward, and smart?  Naaaaahhhhh…Uh-uh.  These jokers (or should I say, This joker and his cronies) are, guess what???  Oil men.  Yep.  And what’s their republican policy?  (I’m ashamed to say republican, but I must, because it appears few of the folks on the Democratic side of the aisle in Congress approve of any of what’s being pushed).  THEY want to drill for oil in Sensitive National Forests and Wildlife Sanctuaries.  THEY ALSO REFUSE to even bother to look at the practices of the Auto industry, much less work to make the folks there make their vehicles more efficient.  THEY even have passed laws making Trucks and other such Trucky vehicles exempt from any requirements to make far more fuel efficient engines and far less harmful emission producing engines.  They could, in a word, care less about either preserving what is left of that depletable resource, oil, and, given that they want to open National Forest areas to dirt bikes, ATVs, and lumbering heretofore closed to these practices because of the destructiveness to these areas such activities pose, it is obvious these folks care only about one thing:  their Oil Buddies’ Present Profits.  They could care less about the future, and they care little or nothing at all about protecting the environment.  (Incidentally, these are the same folks that refused to have the US be signatory to the treaty that seeks to amerliorate Global Warming.)  What can us little folks do about this profit mongering bunch environment-destroying bunch?  Vote!  Vote ‘em out of office!

#287.48

**We LIKE the French! They fought with us in the Revolutionary War, have given the world some great cuisine and philosophers, and are generally a fairly rational people who think for themselves. (Their language also sounds neat!) The name ‘French Fries’ has been a good and traditional term for those delicious fried potato sticks we are all familiar with and love. Unfortunately there is a particular sad-sack politician in Congress who, because France didn’t toady to the unelected shrubbery presently in Washington with respect to its Iraq war (The need for which and for the death of American boys and girls in it, as was, and as is now obvious, didn’t exist).  This particular Congressional twit had the name of that delicious and long standing dish changed in the congressional cafeteria to ‘Freedom Fries’ because he was P-O’ed over France’s not kow-towing to the Shrub on this issue (For more on The Shrub, see Molly Ivan’s telling book Shrub, the short but happy political life of George W. Bush).  Now France, if I recall correctly, is a sovereign nation.  It has the right to examine evidence and decide for itself what is the best policy for it to follow in international matters.  Because the French (along with many other wise nations) did not agree with a questionable American administration’s faulty propaganda is certainly no reason for this kind of pinheadedly narrow minded behavior on anyone’s part, much less a republican’s (for that, sad to say, was the party this guy belongs to).  I say, therefore, ‘Hooray for the French’ who made their own (and now proved to be more accurate) decision, and who didn’t suck up to, or agree with, the self-serving war pushed by the power-hungry, rightist, now proving untruthful, unintelligent, unelected, environmentally destructive, venal political shrubbery that happens, unfortunately for all of us who aren’t rightists, religious nuts, filthy rich oil-mongers, or labor exploiters, to occupy Washington at the moment… we hope only until the next election!  So we say, “Hooray for FRENCH Fries!!!”

 

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Last Revised 4/26/2004 11:28 AM

 

 


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