For The Trees

Who is our economy FOR, anyway?

About the Authors:
Dave Johnson
John Emerson
Richard Reich
Thomas Leavitt


Recent Posts:
Moved to Seeingtheforest.com
This Blog Has Moved
Democracy Arsenal
Thought Crimes
Think Progress
Bill Bradley Describes VRWC in NY Times Piece Toda...
Blog Change Coming Friday
How the Liberal Media Myth is Created
Interest Rates
Finally Leaving Blogger


BEST OF STF:

Dave's:

Articles not at STF:

The ATLA Speech on building a progressive infrastructure
Lowering the Bar
The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law
Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors

On the Right and their communications infrastructure:

Why Republicans Win
Win or Lose
The "Conventional Wisdom" Machine
Some History of the Conservative Movement
HOW TO FIGHT BACK
An Amplifier Of Our Own
Don't Blame the Democrats
How They Do It 1 2 3 4
Getting Rolled

Other:

You're Gonna Get Drafted
Scalia and Self-Government
Who is Our Economy For?
Voting Machine Story Link Collection
What's Wrong with this Picture? (Voting Machines)
Like Meat in the Supermarket
Get Active
Thin Line 1 2 3
Fixing Social Security
Seeing the Forest I, II, III
"Incredibly Positive News"
The Breadth of It
The Republican Crony Club
Moon Bush
Ralph Nader is a Scab


John's Best Of:
Kerry Smear Page
Bandar Bush
9/11 Commission Report Damages Bush -- if you read it
Florida Goon Squad Intimidated the Supreme Court
The Use and Abuse of George Orwell
Zizka's Archives (John's previous identity)
Zizka Sampler


News Sources:
AlterNet
BuzzFlash
Common Dreams
Cursor
Drudge Retort
Information Clearing House
Smirking Chimp
TruthOut
What REALLY Happened

Links to Other Weblogs:




4/11/2003
 



Free Mike Hawash!

I posted this the other day, but the way I posted it ("You Could Be Next!") might have diminished its importance.

Please go visit the Free Mike Hawash! site.


 



Trauma

I've been thinking about our soldiers. It is unavoidable that for years they will be thinking about and reacting to the horrible death and destruction they have seen and/or participated in. Not just the inevitable civilian casualties but also the Iraqi soldiers that we killed and injured by the thousands. This will have a traumatic effect on a human being.

Right now most of our soldiers are certainly pumped up, proud, thinking that they have gone on an important mission to protect the country and their loved ones from the terrible threat posed by Iraq to our national security. Thinking they have won a great and important victory to protect us and the world. Thinking that they have avenged the September 11 attack.

But one day sooner or later many of them are going to realize that Iraq did not attack us on September 11, and that if Iraq even has any weapons of mass destruction they did not threaten the United States. And many will realize that a country that could fall in three weeks certainly posed no military threat to us. And they will read about the lucrative construction and oil contracts Bush's buddies and campaign donors are getting.

How will they react? Back in January I wrote about a piece I had read that discussed the role of 'cognitive dissonance' in the public's support for Bush. What happens when the conditions for that dissonance fade? Will people feel tricked? Or will they require further dissonance in their thinking to avoid facing how they have been used and the feelings that will trigger? Either way, how will that play out? Will they need to become fanatical right wingers to justify how they were used and the damage it has done to them? Will they turn on those who sent them there? Will they withdraw from participating in our democracy?




4/10/2003
 



Winning

tendentious, on winning.

Friday Update - I'm having an "Instant Message" conversation with the author of tendentious: (My end of this might be edited to make me look literate.)
tendentious: i was thinking of elaborations of my idea -- robert blake hires mike tyson, who proves his complete innocense by ko-ing the LA asst da in 1.8 seconds!

Forest: That is really good. That is a REALLY good approach!!! Do it.

tendentious: missed my chance. you can't retell a joke.

Forest: Yes, you can. It's a blog. You can do anything you want.

Forest: You can even post it as an update to the original post

Forest: OJ certainly WAS innocent -- HE WON!

Forest: In fact, maybe I'll update the "Winning" post that points to you, saying OJ WAS right - he WON.

tendentious: exactly. but his innocense would have been more obvious to the commentators if johnny cochran had decked whats-her-name!

Forest: Can I add what you just wrote - if you aren't going to use it?

tendentious: you thief! but if you can do it, i guess you are NOT A THIEF!

Forest: BINGO!

tendentious: as long as you add this last bit.

tendentious: go for it

tendentious: describe our conversation.

tendentious: except for where you offer to blow me.

Forest: blow me
skippy - Notice how he avoids using capital letters to start sentences and proper nouns? Of course, he can steal it thanks to The Bush Doctrine: getting away with stealing it proves he originated it.


 



Republicans Then and Now

How many readers are familiar with President Dwight D. Eisenhower? (How many younger readers know we had a President Eisenhower?) Eisenhower was the first Republican President since Hoover, and he is worth learning about.

Here are some Eisenhower quotes.
"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity." Canadian Club. Ottawa. Canada January 10. 1946

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." "The Chance for Peace" Address April 16. 1953

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it." TV Talk with Prime Minister Macmillan August 31. 1959
And then there is his "Farewell Address" of January 17, 1961, just before leaving the Presidency. It is worthwhile to take the time to read the entire address, but here are some excerpts:
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Eisenhower was a great leader who cared about our country and the world and the future of both -- rather than focusing just on the short-term gains of his political party. He warned of the consequences of "unwarranted influence" of a "military-industrial complex." How the Republicans have changed. Now Eisenhower's party is the military-industrial complex, and we see the consequences of the "disastrous rise of misplaced power" he warned us about.


 



Republicans Still At It

This story in the Washington Post describes Wyoming Republican Representative Barbara Cubin's remark that, "One amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug treatment. So does that mean that if you go into a black community you can't sell any guns to any black person?"

Right. All black people are drug addicts.

So, naturally, North Carolina Democratic Representative Melvin Watt said the remarks were offensive to black people and demanded they be "taken down" from the record, meaning they are inappropriate for House debate.

So how did the vote turn out? From the story, In a largely party-line vote, the GOP-controlled House voted 227 to 195 to uphold the chair's ruling that the remark fell within House rules.

So, even after the Trent Lott episode, Republicans still are willing to go on the record with a vote that saying all Black people are drug addicts is "appropriate." Great. Republicans never forget who butters their bread: The South shall rise again! Abe Lincoln was a tyrant. The Civil War wasn't about slavery. Welfare Cadillacs. Welfare mothers have babies so they can get an extra $25 per month. States Rights. Etc. Heard it all before -- sick of it.




4/09/2003
 



Scoobie Explains Bennett

Please read The Truth about William Bennett, over at Scoobie Davis Online. To explain Bennett he does a bit of explaining of Moon as well. (Until links are working, just scroll to it. I'll fix the link later.)


 



"Reasonable" Democrats, Read This.

Tomasky Nails It. In Rupert Redux How the media magnate continues to take advantage of "reasonable" Democrats. Michael Tomasky shows just one example of how "reasonable" Democrats paved the way for unreasonable right wingers to stomp them. In the 1990s Rupert Murdoch needed to obtain a waiver allowing him to own the New York Post along with a local television station.
And to get the waiver, he needed backing from Democrats and liberal institutions. He needed Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), who chaired the relevant committee at the time. He needed Mario Cuomo, then New York's Democratic governor, to help behind the scenes and to speak publicly about the importance of diverse viewpoints. And he needed major concessions from the paper's unions. This was March. Phone lines were worked furiously; one thing led to another, and by July, Murdoch had the players right where he wanted them.
He got the waiver. Then a few years later many Democrats helped pass the 1996 Telecommunications Act which largely got rid of cross-ownership rules and helped build the Murdoch-Fox empire. And how did Murdoch repay those Democrats?
Back when Hillary Clinton was running for Senate, a research assistant and I undertook a study. We looked at the unsigned editorials and the pieces by staff columnists (not those by guest op-ed columnists) of all three New York City dailies and asked, How have these papers and their writers assessed her candidacy?
...
Results? The Times ran 24 favorable pieces, 25 neutral and 26 negative. The Daily News ran 19 positive, nine neutral and 23 negative. And the Post?

Seven positive, 17 neutral. . .and 212 negative. And believe me, we were being generous with that seven.

There's a lesson in this, and in the whole tale, for our side.
But I'll make you go read what that lesson is.




4/08/2003
 



Internet Joke

This just came in the e-mail; you probably already saw it:
Top 10 Reasons Dorothy Was Greeted As A Liberator
...And Our Army Wasn't

10. The Wicked Witch of the East actually HAD weapons of mass destruction.
9. Rebuilding contracts awarded locally to Lullaby League and Lollipop Guild.
8. Dorothy apologized.
7. Evil oppressor legally verified as "really most sincerely dead" rather than "maybe dead."
6. Dorothy got it that she wasn't in Kansas any more.
5. Did not install Toto as interim governor of Munchkinland.
4. Went home as soon as possible.
3. No interest in Munchkinland's natural resources.
2. Dorothy wasn't taking orders from the one with no brain.
1. No collateral damage.



 



For Page 16

You'll see this on page 16 of tomorrow's paper.


 



A Comment At No War Blog

Here is a comment I left in response to the discussion after my recent post at No War Blog. (Of course, edited to make me look better.)

"Miltiades" is an Iraqi-American who left comments arguing that the war is good because it gets rid of Saddam:
DO NOT TELL TO ME WHAT OUR PEOPLES HURT CAUSED FROM IF YOU DO NOT LIVE THERE! I KNOW I SAY I SPEAK NO MORE. YOU ASUME YOU KNOW IRAQ. YOU DO NOT KNOW. SADDAM HAS KILLED MUCH PEOPLES IN IRAQ NOT AMERICA. AMERICA DID NOT TAKE OIL FIRST TIME AND I DO NOT THINK THEY TAKE OIL THIS TIME. MAKE NO MISTAKE SADDAM HUSSEIN IS VERY VERY EVIL MAN. HE CARES NOT FOR THE PEOPLES OF IRAQ ONLY HIS OWN POWER. IF YOU ARE NOT BORN IN IRAQ DO NOT TELL ME WHAT IRAQ IS LIKE AND WHO KILLS. LETTING SADDAM HUSSEIN STAY WILL ONLY CONTINUE IRAQI SUFERING. MY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SUFERING TO LONG. AMERICANS ARE ENDING SUFERING. MY FAMILY SAYS THIS TO ME. I DO NOT CARE WHO SADDAM WORKED FOR BEFORE KILLING IRAQI PEOPLES. INTERNET WILL TELL YOU ALL YOU WANT EVEN LIES. NO POLITICIAN IS ALL HONEST. THAT IS WHY I AM NO POLITICIAN. DO NOT TELL ME ABOUT MY HOME IF YOU HAVE NOT LIVED THERE. THAT IS ALL I WILL SAY NOW. THANK YOU FOR CHANCE TO SAY THESE WORDS.
Miltiades has a point. The "liberate the people of Iraq" justification for the war might have only come along recently, and is only a pretext for something they were going to do anyway (or perhaps we would have heard about it sooner than March), but it is VERY powerful. The focus groups that came up with this did their job well. Good work, General Rove!

No one can disagree that getting rid of Saddam Hussein is a good outcome of this war. It is almost worth the war all by itself. But it is not worth destroying the entire structure of international law, the UN, NATO, as well as the relationships between the U.S. and the rest of the world, radicalizing Muslims and increasing the terrorist threat worldwide, along with all the other consequences of the war as conducted by Bush.

Of course, if you look at the outcome of our adventure in Afghanistan, you see that the slogan and the actual intentions are not related in any way. In fact, in his last budget Bush included ZERO dollars for rebuilding Afghanistan and working toward a democratic government. He just ignored Afghanistan and everything he had promised and got away with it.

But, again, getting rid of Saddam WILL be one outcome of this war, and people like Miltiades and his family will benefit from this no matter what comes next (assuming his family isn't bombed before the war ends.)

And I only wish him the best!


 



Greeley

Read about Greeley. And while you're there, read more Pedantry.


 



Kill The Leader?

Thinking about how this war is being conducted, one thing occurred to me -- the effect on people under a certain age, who don't know how things have been done in the past. For example, for a large number of people under a certain age, they must think that war is about trying to kill (or sometimes capture, like Noriega) the leader of the enemy country by blowing up his house, civilian government buildings, even apartment buildings or restaraunts he might be in.


 



Who Is Our Justice System For?

Nathan Newman writes about the Supreme Court today ruling that large lawsuit punitive damage awards for corporate crimes are "excessive," after recently ruling that a person receiving a life sentence for stealing $153 worth of goods is justified.




4/07/2003
 



Prosperity?

SOMEthing is just around the corner, but maybe it isn't prosperity.
WASHINGTON - Confronting new fears of recession, the Federal Reserve is refining an emergency economic rescue plan that includes further interest rate cuts and billions of dollars in extra cash for the banking system.

The Fed's effort would be aimed at pulling the country out of a nosedive that has seen 465,000 jobs evaporate in just the past two months, raising fears among economists that the weak recovery from the 2001 recession is in danger of stalling out altogether.
Great.
Because of this, some economists believe the Fed will not wait until its May 6 meeting to put its plan into effect, opting to cut the federal funds rate through an emergency conference call, possibly as soon as this week.

However, other analysts argue that the Fed will likely wait, hoping that the favorable tide of the war will bolster markets in coming weeks and restore confidence.

"I think they will hold off cutting rates again to see if an early, successful conclusion to the war has the desired effect everybody is hoping it will have," said Zandi.
Right, the war will end "early" and everything will be roses. Never mind record levels of public, corporate and private debt. Never mind record low saving rates. Never mind record concentration of wealth. Never mind that all the new jobs are exported to other countries.

Tax cuts for the rich, program cuts for the rest of us, and wars -- all laying on a bed of propaganda to keep the sheep in the corral so they can be sheared. Yep, that's a real prescription for prosperity, all right.




4/06/2003
 



Jobs In A World With High Unemployment

A friend sent me this e-mail she had received:
Our company is developing web sides for several companies last four years in
Bangladesh and wants to explore selling Bangladesh website development services to the whole world. We are offering to recruit our company as the web development part of your company.

We think if you make a business relationship with us you will be able to make more profit than what you do now or you can start a new web service business to your country.

We can say that our service charge is the lowest but the quality is very high.

Property of a Corporate Package:
---------------------------------------------------
This package contains the following features:
=> Home Page
=> 9 Normal Link Pages.
=> One Feedback Page.
=> Necessary Logos, Graphics and Animation

Development Tools
---------------------------
=> HTML
=> Macromedia Dreamweaver
=> Microsoft FrontPage
=> Macromedia Flash
=> Adobe PhotoShop
=> Adobe Illustrator
=> JavaScript
=> VB Script
=> ASP/PHP
=> Access/MySQL Database
Here comes the punch line:
Total Time for the Job: Two week

Development and Designing Cost:
==================================
Total cost of the web site design (Eleven pages) US $100
Additional per page Normal US $10
Additional per page ASP/PHP/Database Related US $35
Great prices, right? Every company in the country is being approached by hundreds of businesses around the world with offers similar to this. Many of them much more credible than the business that sent this e-mail. What this means is many fewer new U.S. web design jobs from now on. The same is happening with customer service jobs (both e-mail and phone centers), programming, and many other fields. They even have shops set up for analyzing medical x-rays. And yes, they are good. These are competent, educated people. India is graduating more engineering students each year than the United States and their schools are very good.

What is going to happen to American standards of living? We enter this new era of globalization with incredibly high levels of national, corporate and personal debt.

The problem with unregulated globalization is there are no protections against exploitation, and our world has pre-existing unemployment, forcing everyone to "race for the bottom" by trying to outbid those poorer than themselves. So Mexico is losing jobs to Thailand, which is losing jobs to VietNam, which is losing jobs to China and Bangladesh, where many people work for just enough to survive (or less).

Meanwhile, because of the job loss, people everywhere can afford less and less, so the volume of trade drops along with prices and wages. AND the countries with no environmental regulations, worker protections, etc. have an economic advantage over those that care about their people and the earth. It is a recipe for a race to the bottom, with now winners except those who start out with the most. Short-term they benefit from paying lower wages -- until the customer pool dries up. But, of course, they've made a killing by then. What matters is getting that corporate jet next year, not killing of your industry five years down the road.

If you pay attention to right-wing ideology (and I do) then you know they say that if someone will work for less than you, they should have the job and you should not, period, end of story. If they will work without health insurance, they should have the job. If they will work on a machine that might cut their hand off, and you won't, then they should have the job. They say the only criteria is corporate profit.

I do believe that people in other countries have every right to jobs. I don't think it's right to say that just because they are not Americans we should protect our industries. However, there are beneficial ways to accomplish world economic growth. Those who, like me, are "opposed to free trade" are asking for worker safety protections, international minimum wages, the right to form unions, environmental protections - things like that. For that we are marginalized, scoffed at and called "anti-free-trade" fanatics. Why? Because those things threaten the short-term profits of the big corporations.

Imagine if people in other countries were paid enough to purchase the things we make. Imagine what would that would mean for our prosperity as well as theirs! If they could buy refrigerators made here, and the shoes made there brought them enough to live better, what a world we would be making. This is what I want, and the anti-globalization people want.

Update - I just saw this story, which says it all, Tax Returns Taking Passage Through India. From the story:
The accounting industry has recently begun using the burgeoning India outsourcing and technology markets to process American clients' returns. In some cases, the work being performed is replacing tasks of U.S. accountants.
What did I just tell you?

Style note - OK I used all caps for one three-letter-word. I couldn't help it. Blow me.




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