For The Trees
Who is our economy FOR, anyway?
About the Authors:
BEST OF STF:
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
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
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
Ralph Nader is a Scab
John's Best Of:
Kerry Smear Page
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)
Information Clearing House
What REALLY Happened
Links to Other Weblogs:
Reading this Joe Conason piece in Salon, about Bush's latest right-wingnut judicial nominee, I came across this line,
"Evidently Kuhl didn't regard these outrages as an invasion of the patient's privacy."Yesterday, reading this from BuzzFlash, The Karl Rove PR Machine Keeps All the Right Wing Shills on Message Point, Even Jerry Falwell, I come across this, written by Jerry Falwell about the judicial nominee standoff,
"For the past two years - two years! - two of President Bush's judicial nominees, Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen, have been maligned and smeared by Senate Democrats who have ignored their superb and celebrated legal careers.That is Jerry Falwell complaining that Democrats are trying to block judges who don't think we have a right to privacy.
And the other day I wrote this piece, It's Privacy They Have A Problem With, which pointed out that Senator Santorum was not only against gays having the right to have consensual sex, he opposed the idea that ANY Americans have a right to privacy.
How many people remember that one of the main reasons Robert Bork was rejected as a Supreme Court nominee was that he held that there is no "right to privacy" under the Constitution?
The reason that the wingnuts have such a problem with the idea of Americans having a right to privacy dates back to the 1965 Griswold vs Connecticut case, which overturned a Connecticut statute which made it a crime to use devices or materials to prevent conception. The Court said that a married couple has a right of privacy that cannot be infringed upon by a state law. This led to the Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that held that the right of privacy encompasses a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.
In order to make abortion illegal again, they have to get judges into the court system who will rule that we do not have a right to privacy. This will, of course, lead to other areas where the government no longer leaves us alone, including going back to banning birth control. Who knows what else this will open up? And this is serious shit -- they really ARE trying to go in this direction.
End Limited Liability!
Op-ed in the NY Times today, Reward but No Risk.
The public does not generally understand that the owners of corporations are not liable for the things that the corporations do, and the debts they run up. But corporations are granted limited liability by our government, which means that the owners shielded from responsibility for what the corporation does, and from its debts. This is a HUGE benefit, and is something that we the public are free to change.
Under current law, if I invest in an incorporated company, the only money I risk losing is that with which I bought the shares of stock. So if Exxon destroys a sizable section of Alaska's coastline; if R. J. Reynolds directly contributes to the astronomical health care costs of smoking; or if Enron goes belly up, leaving many unpaid accounts, the most their victims can retrieve is the value of the corporation's assets. Once the value of the company — and thus the shares — is driven down to zero, creditors and litigants are out of luck.YES YES YES!!! Why should the shareholders be granted HUGE benefits through limited risk, at the same time as they are handed HUGE tax breaks, and the corporations are granted huge power? A corporation, under current law, is considered a "person" and has the rights of a "person," including free speech - which is why it is so hard to change the campaign finance laws. But the owners of the corporation do NOT have the same responsibilities as a "person" when it comes to paying debts.
It is finally time someone is bringing this to the attention of the public! If the owners of corporations want all these financial benefits and power, then they should be asked to actually compete in a free market! YES! Why should they be shielded from the responsibilities the rest of us "persons" have while enjoying the benefits of being "persons?"
Learn about this, become active, write to your Congressional representatives asking that the benefit of corporate limited liability be ended.
Update - This op-ed was there this morning. I found it in the archives and updated the link here, but it is no longer linked from the online NYTimes Op-ed page. Can someone explain to me where it went?
The lesson: besieged Americans want to be led by ass-kicking meanies, not mild-mannered milquetoast moderates.Oh, that feels good!
Update - On reflection (and reading the first comment) I guess I don't that good about this because some of this is a personal attack. Perhaps a similarly hard-hitting attack that is not personal? So I would take out the words 'idiot' and 'drunk'. Maybe change the 'dumb' and 'stupid' but I would certainly emphasize that Bush lies and lies, and world leaders mock his abilities.
From Scaife's NewsMax?????
Prez Wannabe Graham Eyeing Evidence That Bush Blew 9/11:
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bob Graham is reportedly sitting on damaging evidence that the Bush administration could have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks - but he hasn't released the information yet because it's classified.Did Bush piss someone off? Maybe the NRA? OK, maybe not, as the article continues:
If Graham does indeed have evidence implicating the administration in 9/11-related negligence, it would be doubly ironic for the Bush White House, which has gone out of its way not to point fingers at the Clinton administration for its role in leaving America vulnerable to a 9/11-style attack.Or maybe they just can't help themselves, throwing in a lie like that. Or maybe it's just policy over at NewsMax that they can't write an article that doesn't smear Clinton somehow.
Read everything over at Whiskey Bar.
What's The Use Of Telling People?
I know I'll be accused again of being a wild-eyed radical who just makes thing up, but the Republicans in the House forced through a bill yesterday allowing organizations to refuse to hire Jews and Muslims and to receive Federal money.
Best Find of the Day
Bush nominated for Nobel peace prize ... by ....
Clearing Up A Few Things
I want to clear up some things that I've been reading in the media.
Bush did not land the airplane on the carrier. He was a passenger. He was in an airplane that landed.
Bush did not have to wear the pilot's getup. He could have worn a business suit. The flight suit was for the cameras.
Bush did not win the war. The military won the war. Bush started the war. ("Getting us into a war" used to be considered a bad thing to do - a major screwup.)
Back to our regular programming.
Pope vs Bush
Well THIS is certainly an interesting article! Vatican Concerned By Bush's "Christian" Blood Cult has some intersting things to say:
Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs, and his constant references to "evil doers," in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations - the anti-Christ. People close to the Pope claim that amid these concerns, the Pontiff wishes he was younger and in better health to confront the possibility that Bush may represent the person prophesized in Revelations. John Paul II has always believed the world was on the precipice of the final confrontation between Good and Evil as foretold in the New Testament. Before he became Pope, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla said, "We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel." The Pope, who grew up facing the evils of Hitler and Stalin, knows evil when he sees it. Although we can all endlessly argue over the Pope's effectiveness in curtailing abuses within his Church, his accomplishments external to Catholicism are impressive.Well I guess he can count out the Catholic vote. On the other hand, if the Wurlitzer can convince the public that war is a good thing, maybe they can convince Catholics to vote for the anti-Christ against the Pope!
Thanks to Suburban Guerrilla for the link.
From Indian Country, Intimidation punditry - A disservice to discourse"
Over the past 10 years, it has been the right wing that has steam-rolled the media. Its organizations, publications and think tanks - particularly Bill Kristol’s "Weekly Standard" group - are wielding significant influence in U.S. foreign policy. Right wing punditry, however, tends to drive its points of view with sledgehammers. It fields a style of verbal attack that is very harsh and insulting of the opposition. Often, the intent now is openly to damage reputations and to seek to destroy the careers of anyone who might dare question the right wing ideology that drives so much of the coverage these days. Public discourse is deteriorating in the process.Thanks to Cursor for the link.
Maybe It Will Sink In
Wow. This from Brad DeLong:
Kevin Drum is extremely unhappy about the Iraqi WMD situation. It seems to me that there are three possibilities:These are the options, and this might just sink in with the public at some point. 1) They were completely criminally incompetent. 2) They were worse than incompetent and let terrorists get ALL of those weapons of mass destruction to use against us in the future. 3) They lied in order to get support to invade another country. Let me know if you see any other possibilities here.1. We suffered a truly massive intelligence failure: Iraq had next to no WMD around.It seems to me that the grownups in the Republican Party need to find out--and find out quickly--which of these three possibilities is correct. If (1) is correct, they need to tell us so and need to fix the "intelligence community" and fix it now. If (2) is correct, they need to tell us so and need to fix the NSC and the Pentagon, and fix it now. If (3) is correct, they need to tell us that George W. Bush needs to be impeached and needs to be impeached now.
Update - My mother came up with a valid fourth possibility - mental imbalance. Hypothesis: Bush is mentally imbalanced and paranoid, so even with no evidence of a threat they concluded there was a threat anyway. I say not likely that all the relevant people in the administration and military could be mentally imbalanced in the same way, but logically it is a valid fourth possibility.
Cost Of The Bush PR Carrier Stunt
From David J. Sirota, Communications Director, U.S. House Appropriations Committee - Minority:
With President Bush's circus stunt photo-op last week reportedly delaying the return of the U.S.S. Lincoln and its crew by at least a day, Democrats have demanded a formal inquiry into how much the Pentagon and U.S. taxpayers were forced to cough up to sponsor the event. According to our preliminary estimates, one day of aircraft carrier steaming (aka. energy to power the boat at sea) costs roughly $800,000 to $1 million. This does not include the added huge costs of running regular air patrols over the carrier for the extra day, deploying the regular sea-based protection for the boat for the extra day, paying extra costs to keep the crew fed at sea, security for the President, the cost of flying the President out to the boat by jet, etc.I posted the PDF file here. It's certainly worth a look!
Any Day Now?
Whoa! Go check out this site. Be sure to check the Rapture Index.
Which Is Worse?
Bush claimed there were tons of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, and on his word we invaded the country. But now they can't find any WMD.
Which is worse? That Bush was lying, using WMD as a pretext for war, terrifying the American public to achieve his own personal, political and financial goals? Or that Bush was telling the truth, and there were WMD -- and Bush's invasion was bungled -- not securing the WMDs -- allowing the Iraqis to give them all to terrorists, who will use them against us?
Which one is stronger grounds for impeachment?
This One Will Make You Just Want To Cry
Over at AlterNet, Why Ecocide Is 'Good News' for the GOP. Scroll down to "A Higher Power":
Nevertheless, beyond all these more obvious anti-environmental motivations there lies a more deep-seated inspiration. Difficult as it may be to believe, many of the conservatives who have great influence in the Bush administration and now in Congress are governed by a Higher Power.There is so much more in this article, and it rings true because it agrees with much that I have been reading about these right wingnuts in my research. I'm a little shaken up so instead of saying anything about it I'll ask you to go read the whole article. Oh yeah, by the way, some of the wealthier Reconstructionists are buying up some of the voting machine companies. (If blogspot doesn't scroll to the right piece, search for 'CNP' and 'Ahmanson'.)
Update - While researching the right's web of anti-environmental organizations and their funding would be a lifetime career in itself, I came across this group, Interfaith Coalition for Environmental Stewardship (ICES), one more right-wing organization claiming God gave the planet to humans for "stewardship." If you want to see where they're "coming from" check out the organizations they link to. They have a subtle message that translates to the usual right-wing line: environmentalists are socialsts who are trying to destroy capitalism, which is God's law.
Dean Meetups Tomorrow
I have been through several Dean days. I'm talking about former Governor Howard Dean of Vermont, who is running for President in the 2004 election. Saturday a week ago I attended two Dean house parties, each of which involved conference calls of approximately an hour, with Governor Dean answering questions from groups in different cities. Then I saw Dean speak in San Francisco last Tuesday evening. His speech was an order of magnitude refined from the California Democratic convention speech you may have seen online and the crowd was yelling and cheering. Before the event there was a pretty good crowd of "Meetup" members gathered out front to greet him. There was such a feeling of energy and hope.
This last Saturday I went to a local Democratic Party event. In private discussions on the upcoming Democratic primaries, Dean seems to be the main subject. There were Kerry supporters present, but they are taking more of a pragmatic than an enthusiastic position – they're betting that Kerry will be the nominee and they want to be "on board" early. These Kerry supporters have nothing bad to say about Dean. Most will tell you they agree with Dean more than with Kerry on issues. (The Lieberman supporters I have met appear to be well aware of where things are going, and complain about how "liberal" the primary voters are.)
Several old-time Democrat pros have told me that they haven't seen anything like Dean in a long time. Three different individuals have said that his speech at the Cal. Dem. Convention was one of the best they have ever seen, and the way it inspired the crowd there tells them that this is a different kind of candidate. They see an energy and detect an ability to attract not just base Democrats, but to reach out to "swing voters" and even Southerners. Many mentioned a feeling that Dean will be able to draw young people back into the election process. I'm talking pragmatic jaded state-wide professionals, and you do not see this kind of enthusiasm from this crowd very often. Usually it's pragmatic and cynical talk but this time I am hearing optimistic, enthusiastic support. This is what is special about Dean's candidacy. Dean already has a large (20,000+) Meetup volunteer network operating nationwide because of this ability to inspire enthusiasm. Now this is almost year before the first primary, and we're seeing this kind of energy and numbers.
I think that after you have actually seen Dean speak, you're a believer, and this is why the numbers are growing so fast, so soon. This ability to make a personal impression through a speech is important. I was a Kerry supporter until I met Kerry, and will still support him if he gets the nomination, but I have to say that Dean is bringing out an enthusiasm in so many people I am talking to. Kerry doesn't have an enthusiastic, inspirational, energizing style. He does have credentials and can challenge Bush on National Security as well as making an issue of Bush's AWOL service record, and I hope he does this before the election even though Dean will be the nominee.
There is an energy around Dean's candidacy and I think Dean has the message and personality to win the nomination and the national center, too. I haven't seen anything like it and I've been around long enough to have gone to see Gene McCarthy in Detroit in 68.
Click here to locate a Dean Meetup in your area.
Funding The Message Amplification Infrastructure
Seeing the Forest and other weblogs have been writing about the need for a "Message Amplification Infrastructure" to counter the Wurlitzer of the right. Developing these infrastructure organizations will take a lot of money, so we need to look at how this can be done.
The core funding for the right's Wurlitzer comes from a group of philanthropic foundations controlled by right-wing zealots. These funders provide general operating funding to ideological advocacy organizations. This means the money is given to the organizations to use in any way that supports the overall efforts of "the movement." In the report The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations, Sally Covington traces this use of funds by right-wing foundations.
There is actually more money available on the moderate/progressive side, but it is used in a different way. Moderate/progressive philanthropists have evolved a system of "program funding" -- providing money for specific programs with the intent of doing good through specific, measurable, accountable individual projects. The idea is that this program money is more results-oriented. Moderate/progressive foundation funding is rarely provided for general operations use, especially by the kind of advocacy organizations we are talking about building.
I have been researching and am going to be writing about this problem of persuading moderate/progressive philanthropic foundations to provide funding for general operating expenses for advocacy organizations – the organizations that will function as a message amplification infrastructure for our side. Stay tuned.
BuzzFlash - Daschle Resign!
BuzzFlash says Tom Daschle should resign.
Learn To Ignore Their Words
By now we should have learned that the Bush people lie. They use words to cover their actions. They use words to divert attention, to confuse and distract people so they won't see or understand what is being done.
By now we should understand that we need to look at their actions instead of their words.
Let's take a look at Iraq and see what was done and not done. Some things done: The PR for the Iraq operation began in earnest in September 2002, timed to correspond with the election and used effectively to manipulate voters and intimidate opponents. Then we invaded a country that had not attacked us, had not even threatened us, and did not even appear on the surface to have the means of doing any harm to the United States should they decide to try.
On the ground, the invasion operation immediately secured the oil fields and infrastructure -- even the oil ministry building. This was carefully planned, and the troops and equipment necessary to accomplish this were in place at the beginning of the invasion. The oil was flowing again within weeks.
This is what was done.
The Iraq operation did not secure suspected WMD sites. We did not plan for this, and did not provide the troops necessary and resources necessary to accomplish this. In fact, we still have not sent the necessary forces or equipment to secure suspected WMD sites.
The Iraq operation also did not plan for or provide the forces necessary to secure and protect the people of Iraq and their heritage. We still have not sent the necessary forces or other resources.
This is what was not done.
I read somewhere that the U.S. "Public Diplomacy" operation for the Iraq war was the largest PR operation in history. This should provide us with a clue about how to understand what is happening. We are being subject to a massive PR operation, which means that a fog of words is being laid down to obscure actions, and to "soften us up" to accept what is occurring. The very words "Public Diplomacy" and "PR" themselves are used to confuse people. The words mean "propaganda", but propaganda is a word that people understand and, to some degree, are prepared to defend against – when people hear that word they know that they are about to hear lies intended to confuse people. "Public Diplomacy" and "PR" are substituted as a way around that defense.
We KNOW the Bush people lie and we know they are very good at it. This means we should learn to step back, cover our ears, not listen to what they SAY and stop being confused and distracted by the fog of words they lay down to obscure what they DO. The WORDS are just a tactic - ANYthing the Bush people SAY - their words are just smoke and fog laid down to cover what they DO.
And we must teach others to do the same - to learn to look at what they do and not be confused by what they say.
The world has learned some lessons from past regimes that relied on deception to mask their agenda. The Stalinists/Soviets were masters of the use of propaganda, and the world learned to look at their actions not their words. The Nazis were expert liars. They mastered the art of lying – propaganda – and used it effectively to confuse and conquer all of Europe. The Nazis were finally defeated only after enough people came to understand this. People came to understand that the Nazis were liars, and that they used techniques designed to influence and confuse people. People eventually learned to ignore what the Nazis said, and to just fight them. The fight against the propaganda of these regimes is the origin of why people today understand that they must put up their defenses when they hear the term "propaganda." They learned to say, "Oh, that's just propaganda, we should ignore it and look at what they are doing instead."
Now we have another crowd that is willing to lie and use even more sophisticated psychological techniques to confuse and divert people. The people behind the words now are the same people who marketed tobacco -- they are REALLY GOOD at using words -- they managed to get much of the public to give them their money and then kill themselves! They are that good. They are better at this than we can even understand.
Again: We invaded and secured the oil fields and the oil ministry. We did not secure WMD or bring order to the country. If you look at what was DONE and ignore what was SAID I think it becomes obvious what this was all about – it becomes clear that Iraq's oil was the only goal. Everything else is just words.
I predict that the Republicans are going to start accusing the Democrats of exploiting 9/11 for political gain. The Wurlitzer is going to be talking about nothing else all through summer 04 until the election. If they do it right, it will be the major issue in the campaign: those horrible, despicable, un-American, treasonous Democrats using 9/11 to try to win the election.
A Good Statement Of What Happened To Us
An op-ed piece in the LA Times the other day, Media Monopolies Have Muzzled Dissent, has a good quote that shows what has happened to us:
The transformation of active citizens into passive consumers was enabled by the Federal Communications Commission under Ronald Reagan's Mark Fowler, who declared "the perception of broadcasters as community trustees should be replaced by a view of broadcasters as marketplace participants."Community replaced by market. One-citizen-one-vote replaced by one-dollar-one-vote. That kind of sums it all up.
From the piece:
TV's Fox could not get away with its shameless shilling for the White House if the Fairness Doctrine were still in place, and radio's Clear Channel monopoly would not be able to impose wall-to-wall Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage, etc., on the public if broadcasters were accountable to public opinion rather than the dictates of plutocrats.If Republicans try to tell you that the media is liberal, ask them why they oppose the Fairness Doctrine.
Rigged Election In Florida
South Knox Bubba writes about the rigging of the 2000 election.
An IM Conversation This Morning
A conversation on IM this morning. (Exactly as typed, except where I edited it to make me look better -- and literate.)
tendentious: you're not a liberal, you're a pansy!Yeah, that's where my time goes.
Quotes For Bush To Use
I'm going to write soon about Howard Dean, and the South Carolina Democratic candidate gathering last night. But my first impression is that Leiberman handed the Republicans more than a few quotes to use against the eventual Democrat candidate in the next election. For example, he complained about "big spending" programs like health care.
Update - in the debate Leiberman proudly says he's one of the Democrats who came out against Clinton. Isn't that just great.
Who Did "We" Hire?
See this story, U.S. Hires Christian Extremists to Produce Arabic News.
The U.S. government this week launched its Arabic language satellite TV news station for mostly Muslim Iraq. It is being produced in a studio – Grace Digital Media – controlled by fundamentalist Christians who are rabidly pro-Israel. That's grace as in "by the grace of God."Just how DID they get this contract? Was this an open bidding process or more corrupt insider cronyism from the Bush gang? Funneling government money to the Christian far-right wingnuts.
Hiring this company doesn't fit at all with the WORDS the Administration is using. In fact, it contradicts those words. So many of their actions contradict their words, and so few support them. If you look at what they are DOING instead of the fog of words they are spreading around, you'll see that they appear to be following an Ann Coulter foreign policy, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
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