Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bill Clinton in Myrtle Beach, SC

Bill Clinton Campaigning for Hillary in Myrtle Beach, January 2008 Great Crowd, Great President

New Photos online at Picassa- Bill Clinton in Myrtle Beach!

Former President Bill Clinton came to the Myrtle Beach High School last night and faced a packed crowd of attentive fans. Campaigning for Hillary Clinton, he urged everyone to vote in the primary here Saturday, and outlined in great detail exactly what Hillary plans to do in office AND, unlike the others that I have listened to, he told us HOW she intends to do it.

One thing that he mentioned several times was how very serious and dangerous the economic situation is right now, and how the results of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the real estate slowdown is going to affect every aspect of it. He spoke of "predatory lending" such as "Payday Loans" and the mortgage companies who over-charge the less affluent, who often have credit problems and other things that cause them to have to go to other sources beyond the bank mortgages at the best rates. Included in that group of sharks were the companies that over-charge on student loans and make it nearly impossible for a college student to repay their tuition loans. He said that Hillary will have a fund to help EVERY American who wants an education to be able to have one, and the payback will be based on the income from the training, instead of high interest rates. For instance, he said the payback for a teacher would be much less than for a doctor, because of the salaries earned afterwards. And he said that in some cases if the student performed in some type of public service job afterwards, the loan could even be forgiven, or condsidered paid by the service to the community. Hillary will be enacting some strict guidelines on the Payday and mortgage loan industries to monitor the abuse in those areas, he promised.

Likewise, Hillary plans to place a (5 year?) moratoriam on foreclosures, preventing the loan companies from further injuring homeowners who got tricked into using ARMs and other bad mortgages to buy their homes. Specifically, he said that "EVERY home foreclosure costs the country a quarter of a million dollars in the final damages done." This is amazingly terrible if you think about it. He said that if all the foreclosures that are impending take place, the damages be in the trillions of dollars and the economy will suffer drastic results from it.

He talked at length about Hillary's plan to take the tax cuts away from the oil companies, unless they use the money to find and implement the alternative fuel sources. To semi-quote, "If they want to produce oil along WITH solar power, wind power, and our other choices, she has no problem with it. But we MUST reduce our use of oil, and rely instead on the type of energy that we can make at home, and which is less damaging to the planet."

He said there were electric/gas cars available now that were good, but not practical because the battery could not hold up for any time period. There are batteries being developed that will be able to last longer, and we need to step up the production of them, as well as solar panels, and methods to utilize wind. And that the oil companies can use the money they get in the tax cuts to help, or we will take it from them and give them to companies and individuals who will.

He spoke the first hour in general about the things that Hillary is planning to do, and then had about an hour of question and answers from the audience. At one point, a school teacher asked about a Republican sponsored program called "No child is left behind" and what a nightmare it is to schools, teachers, and students. I'm not very familiar with this program, but I understood them to say that it spends too much time on testing, uses tests that are unproven, and is doing more damage than good to the under-performing students. He spoke at length about Hillary's reform of this program, that she was very much against it, and has spent many hours diagramming a different plan to assure that all students had the opportunity for an equal education, whether they have learning disabilities or are star pupils. As he said, Hillary's experience with the armed forces programs had taught her that achievement comes through excellence of a single company...and that right now the schools were hundreds of MINI companies, and all going their own way, instead of pooling resources for a final goal.

I wish I knew more about the education problems to better understand that, as I think it's a very important issue to Senator Clinton, but not having children, I am not up on schools and student issues. However, when he said that Hillary would banish that program, there was much applause and cheering from much of the audience.

A retired man, who was perhaps a Vietnam Vet, asked Bill what Hillary's policy would be for the many injured and problem-ridden veterans that are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq war. He spoke of the disgraceful way the Vietnam vets were treated, many with mental problems and ending up homeless on the streets. Bill became very animated on this subject, and told us this:

He said the good news with Bush's war is that many more of the soldiers lived through the fighting, and there were many less deaths than in any other war. But he said the method of fighting using car-side bombs and such had created a large number of brain-damaged veterans, and the doctors and government did not know how to treat them. He said a friend of Chelsea's came back and had been a top student at West Point, and even though he felt well after his tour, and an injury, his memory was damaged. His wife had to make notes for him to run errands, and even the directions to cross town and return. Bill then mentioned a friend of his own that had had a mental breakdown in one of the older wars after taking care of so many bodies that had been blown up and killed. He said the man afterwards had the mental capacity of a child, and that war (BUSH's WAR) caused damage and problems that we may never think about until we see it face to face. Hillary's plan is to withdraw our troops immediately, even while trying to provide protection for the civilians and Iraqi's that have aided us. He said he never understood why previous governments had not allowed the foreigners who aided us to come to our country afterwards and be afforded protection from their own countrymen who would hurt them when we left. The injured soldiers in any capacity are going to be given money and help of every kind to get them well and supplement any lack of capacity to live and earn resulting from their service.

A young student asked Bill what "guarantees Hillary could offer the young people" if she is elected. After a thoughtful moment, Bill replied that IF our government spends the time to produce a more "green" energy source, stops the pollution and global warming issues, and makes our country independent from the oil producing countries, he will guarantee that this upcoming generation and their children will live in wonderful times. He said he would love to be 40 years younger and be growing up in their time, as he felt like it was to be the most exciting and prosperous times in history. (Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek have imprinted us so well!)

Then he said, but IF things were not done, and we continued as we are now, dependent on oil and abusing the planet, that he could almost guarantee their children's lives would be bleak and dismal. A very thought-provoking answer, for sure.

He didn't do too much Bush-bashing, other than to mention several times what a serious and dangerous place that Bush had taken the country to, and how important it is to get the Democratic party in to undo the damage. One senior asked him about social security, and if Bush was using it to fund the war. Bill explained in detail that all offices have used some or all of the backup funds in social security for various things, himself included....and effectively placed IOU's in the fund to be replenished when needed. He said the generation AFTER the baby boomers was much bigger than the boomers themselves, and the funds needed for THEM to retire would be considerable. The backup funds had been sufficient and were large before the war, but now almost all government funds were spent. So, he said, the answer to your question is YES, those funds have been used for this war, and if we don't find a way to balance the deficit and replace them, we will really be in trouble.

Thankfully, nobody mentioned anything embarrassing about Bill's past problems, but he did tell a few jokes on himself, once saying, "When I was in office, the Republicans were soooo mean to me...." It was a priceless moment and he won our hearts with his cuteness.

I can't express what a dynamic, expressive, and brilliant speaker Mr. Clinton is. He doesn't read anything. He doesn't talk in rhetorical circles like Obama, and he doesn't rely on his looks and bat his eyelashes like Edwards. Hillary has the same style. Honesty, incredible intelligence and such a grasp on the country's needs and problems, and the ability to speak so that even the youngest audience member is kept interested and can understand...these are the earmarks of our Camelot Couple. I am so proud of them both, and so inspired to be in the generation that produced Hillary and Bill Clinton. Last night was a momentous part of my life, to meet this great man and shake his hand.

I have some excellent photos from Bill's appearance. As soon as I have determined where to upload them, I'll update this posting to include a link.

Bill Clinton-Elegant and Casual

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