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:
New phenomenon: blog spam
One of my blogs just got hit by this yesterday, and I've seen discussions on how to deal with this, technically, in various developer lists. Do a search for "blog spam" on Google, and you'll find plenty of discussion about it.
Here's one particularly extensive thread:
There's already a blacklist tool: MT-Blacklist
Everything old is new again?
Just what we needed. Another wholesale attack on an Internet service - it seems like the entire structure of IP based communication is now under attack... my email inbox is flooded, my IM clients have lost much of their functionality (over the past few months 95% of the "people" who've added me to their lists, via ICQ, have been spammers), my email lists all need to have new members moderated to prevent spam, and now I'm going to have to fight off attempts by these bastards to flood my weblogs. Great.
Heritage Foundation spamming bloggers?
According to Off the Kuff, in How clueless can you get?, the Heritage Foundation has be cause spamming bloggers... here's a sample:
You've been discovered! Tim Rutten's Media column in today's edition of
The Los Angeles Times is the latest example of the traditional media's
newfound appreciation of the growing influence of bloggers on America's
public policy debates.
Our job at The Heritage Foundation is to provide useful resources -
objective data and conservative analysis and commentary - to journalists,
analysts and commentators of all stripes. But we aren't quite sure how
to do this with the blogger community.
So this email is an invitation for you to participate in an experiment.
For the next month, we will periodically email to you short notices
about significant Heritage studies, publications and events. At the end of
the month, let us know if these notices were helpful. If not, tell us
at any time, and you won't get any more. If you find you only want those
notices regarding specific issue areas - foreign policy, welfare
reform, etc. - we'll limit our future emails to you thusly. If you want to
continue receiving all of the notices, let us know that, too.
Regardless of your perspective on the issues of the day, we are
confident you will find Heritage materials useful in your effort to provide
the kind of incisive, immediate and thoughtful commentary and analysis
made possible by blogging.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Laura Bodwell Mark Tapscott
Marketing Manager Director, Media Services
The Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation
... note the title: "Marketing Manager Director, Media Services"
While "spamming" (and I think this falls into a gray area - if you own a blog, and post your email address for contacts, it isn't unreasonable for someone to contact you, even using a form letter... although their "opt-out" strategy is majorly uncool) is highly un-hip, this is a pretty smart tactic on their part... a totally new way for them to "seed" a message, in a co-ordinated fashion, into the public dialogue. The Center for American Progress should take note.
John Podesta answers readers questions on Center for American Progress in NYT
Oliver Willis pointed to this article in the NYT, highlighting Podesta's favorable comments about blogs, excerpted below:
Q. 3. As a lifelong progressive, I have been rather depressed at the ideas and strategy of the Democratic Party. Last year an incredible culture of liberal blogs developed, exploding with amazing ideas and people. Is Mr. Podesta going to tap into the blog revolution for new ideas, information and people for his think tank? -- Gary Greenblatt
A. Absolutely. Two of our fellows, Eric Alterman and Ruy Teixeira, have their own blogs. We are actively monitoring a number of other blogs [maybe this one? -Thomas]. Our website is still in development but we are looking at using the blog format for some of our own content and creating a clearinghouse of progressive blogs.
Q. 4. What is your organization going to do to help Democrats better market our messages? -- James Briggs
A. American Progress is a nonpartisan organization – we’re interested in helping anyone with progressive ideas, not just Democrats. That said, we are conducting outreach to media to promote progressive thinkers on cable, radio and print. We are providing rapid response to conservative proposals and rhetoric. We are promoting progressive authors. Our website, www.americanprogress.org, will serve as a resource for academics, politicians, the media and the public.
Pardon me for expressing some level of cynicism about the their willingness to help progressives outside the Democratic Party, given that Eric Alterman is known for his flaming assaults on the Green Party and Ruy Teixeira has chimed in as a member of the chorus blaming Nader for Al Gore's defeat... maybe I should recommend that Tom Hutchings, Green Party candidate for the 33rd Assembly District in California, contact them? That might be a good test of how "non-partisan" they actually are. :)
Stalking horse Hillary?
I had the opportunity last night to attend the Jefferson-Jacson DNC fundraiser in Manchester, NH. It was a pretty good event- outside, before the event, well over a hundred of us gathered, cheering on our candidate of choice and filling the air with our placards and dueling chants. There was even a bit of surprise when I arrived with a portable projector and showed part of Dean's Boston rally on the side of a building across the street from the convention, facing the Kerry, Clark and Lieberman supporters with a twenty-foot image of the good doctor. Heh. Pity traffic kept me from arriving earlier....
Terry McAuliff gave a good speech, the most notable part being the instant, unanimous cheer when he asked that we all support whoever wins the nomination. I found the lack of hesitation on this point encouraging indeed.
But the most interesting part came late in the event when I noticed a man with a large poster calling for a write-in campaign for- no, I'm not kidding- Hillary Clinton. I asked him why, and he proceeded to tear into the pack of candidates like....straight off of the RNC spin/smear sheet. The level of hostility displayed towards every one of the Dems in the race was as shocking as his conviction that NONE of them stood any chance- whatsoever- of beating Bush. Only Hillary, he said, stood any chance of motivating Democrats to vote. Only Hillary could garner the resources to oppose Bush. Only Hillary. Nothing good was true about anyone else, nothing bad or challenging to H's chances of success could even be discussed. Not the way to win converts!
At this point, I had to ask him if he was a Democrat. And, while he did indicate in the affirmative, I wasn't convinced. A quick check in google revealed that the gentleman in question was none other than Bob Kunst. You may remember him from the battles with Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell, as president of the Oral Majority. Or, as the independent candidate for Governor of Florida in 2002. To his credit, he has been active in calling attention to the theft of the election in Florida.
It turns out that most of the reasoning, as far as I can tell, comes from the fact that some polls indicate only 50% of the population can name a Democratic candidate, while Hillary polled at 46 to W's 50% elect numbers. This is a matter of name recognition, not ability to conduct a winning campaign.
I know this is still the primaries, and pretty much anything goes. But, please, knock the shit off once we have a nominee. We do not need another splitting of the vote in 04.
State your case, but do not add to the ranks of useful Idiots. Division after the primaries is the last thing we need, or will tolerate.
Media Literacy: Who is the "American Council for Capital Formation"?
So, I'm reading this article on Sen. Boxer's efforts to push through a huge tax break for corporate America, Boxer Promotes One-Time Corporate Tax Break to Boost Spending, and I see that she's waving around a study by economist Allan Sinai that claims it will produce a zillion dollars in new capital spending and hundreds of thousands of new jobs, etc.
At the end of the article, I see this: "Sinai is a well-known macroeconomist at Decision Economics Inc. The study was funded by the American Council for Capital Formation, a nonprofit advocacy group."
A "non-profit advocacy group"? Yeah right.
So, what did my buddy Dave tell me:
a) go search on MediaTransparency.org for ACCF - ping: money from the Olin Foundation, and a mention in this article: The Corporate Think Tank Complex; apparently, this is one of ExxonMobil''s favorite charities.
b) search in Google, both "the web", and in Google News... hmm, the Las Vegas Review Journal covers the same topic, but despite a rather sympathetic treatment to the topic (in the Business section, by a Washington Bureau reporter), described these guys as a "pro-industry group". What possessed the Chronicle to do differently?
c) sometimes it helps to check out namebase.org: they don't have much on Allen Sinai, but they have a fair bit on Gerald L. Parsky, ACCF board member, and member of the Governator's transition team (he's also a UC Regent, appointed by Wilson)... and you can see why he's on the ACCF board: "From 1977 to 1992, he was affiliated with the law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, specializing in international corporate and tax law."
Google search for Allen Sinai produces quite a few hits... including all sorts of speaker's bureau entries, one of which states his fee is between $10,000 and $20,000 per speech. Obviously, this is a very media-saavy individual with a high profile. Seems that he can be counted on to produce consistent conclusions, too: here's his testimony before Congress on the benefits of repealing the estate tax.
Google produced this item from Capital Research Center... a lot of donations from corporate America and the oil industry... and guess what's on the ACCF home page? A rant about excessive subsidies to "renewable energy" research.
Anyway, all this begs the question: what is one of the most progessive Senators in the Congress doing waving around a study funded by these folks?
P.S. Can you guess how this little gem came to my attention? Well, the answer is two words, starting with G and P.
Spin, spin, spin!
Recent poll results in Iraq were cited by Dick Cheney in that infamous Meet the Press interview of a little while ago. He claimed that the Iraqis were overall feeling very favourable towards the occupation. Now the pollster himself has spoken up to say that it was a load of spun crap, and the attitude is much worse.
For example, while Cheney noted that when asked what kind of government they would like, Iraqis chose “the US... hands down,” in fact, the results of the poll are actually quite different. Twenty-three percent of Iraqis say that they would like to model their new government after the US; 17.5 percent would like their model to be Saudi Arabia; 12 percent say Syria, 7 percent say Egypt and 37 percent say “none of the above.” That’s hardly “winning hands down.”
The administration's misuse of the numbers is really only to be expected, but it's nice to see my skepticism about this poll was rewarded.
China and India talking...
I got this chat transcript off one of the innumerable lists I'm on. I thought it was worth redistributing, as an example of an exchange between citizens of two emerging world powers, representative of conversations that happen every day all over the world, and yet seem to be completely off the radar of American media.
Items that struck me (aside from the dialogue being held in English): the Indian's skepticism about whether or not the U.S. ever actually landed on the moon, the Chinese woman's comments about good jobs in the U.S., the differing perspectives on Iraq, and the environmental consciousness.
Maia: so, bollywood?
Maia: is that famous in india
blackcranein: thats a capitalist industry runs with black money
blackcranein: i would rather do underground
Maia: what kind of films do you make?
blackcranein: i am working on a film on Bombay
Maia: wow, i love documentaries so much
blackcranein: i move around with the camera and shoot every day
blackcranein: i will then make a film on the city and how it is opressive
Maia: mostly i watch national geographic
blackcranein: thats very problematic
blackcranein: its from the first world perspective
blackcranein: they show wildlife as some sex and thriller
blackcranein: interested in mating and violence of animals
Maia: but its what truly happened in the nature
blackcranein: i dont think so
Maia: its natural
blackcranein: they want to say survival of the fittest is natural and it should happen with humans also
Maia: yes, evolution
blackcranein: some people say darwinism is dangerous
blackcranein: in the name of evolution first world says that they are smarter and will rule the wortld
Maia: no not like that, evolution is a science
Maia: you are overreacted
blackcranein: animals do not accumulate, they hunt whatever they need for today and that is also natural
blackcranein: but humans accumulate and thats the problem with the world, the greed of humans
blackcranein: they should focus on the environment friendly ness of animals
Maia: that mostly happened in the 3rd world countries, i think
blackcranein: it happens all over the world
Maia: you cant say america is like this, they are doing good jobs
blackcranein: are u sure u are communist, they are killing innocents in iraq and afganistan
Maia: communist is in the sense of a nation's political strategy, and how we should progress, to change social structures, to be stronger
Maia: we china is also learning from america
blackcranein: u mean imperialist in national strategy and communist in the domestic sense
Maia: we hope to make good relationship with every country
blackcranein: why not with iraq and help them
blackcranein: and cuba
Maia: its none of china's business
Maia: if we do so
Maia: it would just cause troubles
blackcranein: i think u need to read lenin
blackcranein: the workers of the world unite
blackcranein: workers of the world are one against all interantionals capital
Maia: rightnow what we need is to pursue economic development, but not conflicts.
blackcranein: one which sees nature as resourse and exploits it
Maia: tahts the most important thing china needs
blackcranein: we need happiness and not goods
blackcranein: are u interested in reading some interesting stuff of what i am saying
Maia: i dont read those stuff, currently what we learn
blackcranein: go to www.swaraj.org/shikshantar and read their vision of the world
Maia: is DengXiaoping's theory
blackcranein: our education is fucked up
blackcranein: read mao
Maia: maoism is old for china
blackcranein: and sometimes communists have also taken environement badly
Maia: what we are learning is a better way that suitable to china
blackcranein: so lets invent new forms of humanism
blackcranein: what about all the nuclear disasters and flood in china causes by playing with environment
Maia: but the main spirit also came from maoism
Maia: we have noticed that
blackcranein: we have to evolve
Maia: although its late
blackcranein: the world has caused major disaster to the world in last 100 years
blackcranein: polluted the soil our rivers
blackcranein: and go on till we realsie that we cannot eat money
blackcranein: we need to reverse it
blackcranein: nature is a loan from future generations and we have to preserve for them
Maia: you know a lot
Maia: i should learn from you, lol
blackcranein: we all know a lot , just have to see around us
blackcranein: but read the site i just mentioned, i just met those people and they are really sensible
Maia: ok, i will, thanks for the link
blackcranein: i feel my school was the worse thing for me
blackcranein: it taught me a lot of nonsense
Maia: same here in china, what they taught are just vacant theoretic things
Maia: but not realistic
Maia: not applicable
blackcranein: it was the worst form of child labour in a way
blackcranein: i read maths by figures, my mother knew it by making dresss for me from a straight cloth and according to my size
blackcranein: school taught me that my native language is inferior and english is good
Maia: every culture is good
Maia: india has very old culture
blackcranein: it is doing this all over the world
Maia: we should reserve it
blackcranein: western education is fuck all
blackcranein: it teaches us that our tradition is bad
blackcranein: now they have started looking at chinese medicne and fengshui
Maia: fengshui?? geeez
Maia: its all bullshit
blackcranein: is it bad
Maia: its cult
blackcranein: i dont think so
blackcranein: they make it a cult when the can sell it
blackcranein: but i think their must be some truth
Maia: nobody believes it rightnow
blackcranein: in west they are going mad after it
Maia: i dont know bout that, maybe they are crazy? lol
blackcranein: u know their is a theory that americans didnt go to moon and it was a drama, we believe them but dont trust our traditions
Maia: i dont belive those theories
blackcranein: i bleieve them
blackcranein: why didnt they go again
Maia: why SHOULD they go again
Maia: since its already successful
blackcranein: no why did they go to antarctic again and again
blackcranein: thats one reason why i think they are liars
Maia: because they need to do so, and go to the moon second time is not needful
blackcranein: coz they cant
blackcranein: they would have buy now taken the minerals or whatever or sold the moon
Maia: no need to waste money on unnecessary things
Maia: thousands of ppl involved in the apollo, do you think its funny to make such a lie?
Maia: cheating the whole world?
Maia: no need!!
blackcranein: thousand can go and kill innocents in iraq
Maia: after all, its racism caused all the trouble
Maia: and racism is human nature
Maia: have to admit it
blackcranein: u say this coz u are fed on national geographic
Maia: prob is we have to change it
Maia: to improve it
Maia: but not to hate
Maia: hatred just cause more troubles
Maia: and disasters
Maia: we need PEACE
Maia: dont be involved in the hatred circle
Maia: thats what we need
blackcranein: now u know why the channel is dangerous
blackcranein: the essentialism and darwinism
blackcranein: but u cant change it if u say it si human nature as we are humans and we will do natural things
blackcranein: i am not
Maia: human is not flawless, racism came up when you were born in a stronger nation
blackcranein: but plz for god sake dont say racism is natural
Maia: IT IS, you have to admit
Maia: im not saying everyone is a racist
Maia: but racism
blackcranein: if it is then as humans we have to do natural things only
Maia: is one of human nature
blackcranein: no its not
Maia: im not saying everyone is a racist
blackcranein: then capitalsim is also one and fascism is also one
blackcranein: then its not human not nature
Maia: yes of course
Maia: so that's why we have to change it, nothing is born perfect, including human
blackcranein: but dont call it natural
Maia: being evil is a human nature? of course it is
blackcranein: its not
Maia: it is
blackcranein: being good is natural and we have to bring it back
blackcranein: its not
blackcranein: its not
blackcranein: its not
blackcranein: u have the right to ur opinion
blackcranein: but i think its not
Maia: well, dont have to argue, although argument is a nature too
Maia: so improve it
Maia: change it
Maia: so, i want to be a progressivist and leftist
blackcranein: we have to resolve conflict
blackcranein: u are progressive and leftist
blackcranein: and nice person and a beautiful human being
Maia: see? that is do what i wanted to say
Maia: you put it well
blackcranein: we are all children of mother earth
Microsoft a cult?
... I have to agree with the poster. Seriously disturbing.
Ballmer obviously needs to work out more.
[email addresses deleted]
From: Dave Farber
Subject: Steve Ballmer
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 06:42:37 -0500
Wonder if Dave Packard or Andy Grove ever did this? djf
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 00:40:22 -0400
From: Alexandros Papadopoulos
Subject: Steve Ballmer
To: Dave Farber
Have you seen this clip of Ballmer?
I find it scary, all things considered.
Separation of what and what?
Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Paschall presumes to tell jurors how they should go about their deliberations. From a story at FOX (yes really) --
The 61-page booklets promote "jury nullification" -- a concept promoted by conservative groups that say juries have the right to not only decide guilt or innocence, but also whether laws are just and adhere to God's law.
Riiiiiight! And since when was it the county treasurer's job to instruct the jury anyway? There's only one person whose job it is to tell you what to do, and you call them Your Honour.
Cheese-eating surrender monkeys!!
A sample from writer Susan Sontag's Friedenspreis peace prize acceptance speech, reproduced in The Guardian:
What the Americans see is almost the reverse of the Europhile cliché: they see themselves defending civilisation. The barbarian hordes are no longer outside the gates. They are within, in every prosperous city, plotting havoc. The "chocolate-producing" countries (France, Germany, Belgium) will have to stand aside, while a country with "will" - and God on its side - pursues the battle against terrorism (now conflated with barbarism). According to secretary of state Colin Powell, it is ridiculous for old Europe (sometimes it seems only France is meant) to aspire to play a role in governing or administering the territories won by the coalition of the conqueror. It has neither the military resources nor the taste for violence nor the support of its cosseted, all-too-pacific populations. And the Americans have it right. Europeans are not in an evangelical - or a bellicose - mood.
Just a snippet of an excellent read: check out the rest.
Seymour Hersh's story in the current New Yorker comes close to the complete ugly picture of the Bush administration's stupid, mendacious and finally very destructive relationship with the US intelligence community. The tiles of this mosaic are gathered from many disparate sources and stories, not previously understood in their totality. It's good Hersh.
The ultimate source of the forged Niger documents may be the missing key -- the grassy knoll, the 18-minute gap -- to Bush's Iraq war deception. Maybe we'll find it. Probably we won't.
I'm travelling, so when I can get on I'm using a dial-up connection. Yesterday over 24 hours I received 310 spam messages - all having to be downloaded over a slow connection. This morning it was 86, but that's just since I checked before going to bed.
What keeps Generation X awake at night (hint: it isn't "the bomb" or Islamic terrorists)...
But that GDP is growing at an annual rate of 8%.
Meanwhile, China is a country coming alive. Shoucheng Zhang, a physics professor at Stanford University who also teaches at Tsing-hua University in Beijing, can't help but notice it when he returns to his native land. "I love to see the young people changing the world, [c]hanging China," he says.
After growing just 4.3 percent last year, India's economy, the second fastest growing in the world, after China, is widely expected to grow close to 7 percent this year.
... and, actually another word: "compounding".
What is America compounding?
The national debt (and the amount of interest paid on it annually).
Deferred maintenance on national infrastructure.
The costs of healthcare and the percentage of GDP devoted to it.
The cost of being the world's sole military superpower and wannabe traffic cop.
We see the nation's blood and our children's inheritance being pissed away in Iraq, and we wonder what the future will hold... as the above examples make clear, even in a global econony, our well being, and the opportunities available to us and ours, is dependent on the wisdom and foresight of our leaders. ... although, in the case of India and China, in some ways, it seems as if they are succeeding despite their leaders, as much as because of them. Imagine where India and China would be right now, if they hadn't been hobbled by an authoritarian/collectivist government for the last fifty years.
Being born an American, from 1946, up until now, has been a unique advantage - I'd rather be an American than anyone else, despite all the faults of my country; the level of economic opportunity... but also personal freedom available here is like no where else - not Europe, not Japan, not India or China, not Hong Kong prior to the mainland takeover, or Singapore... I'm worried about whether that will be true, looking back from 2050, whether or not our country will be seen as a bankrupt land that squandered a golden opportunity.
Seeing reports like this leaves me deeply uneasy... developments like this are what George Bush and Congress should be paying attention to, not tinpot dictators like Saddamn Hussein, and the ravings of crazed Islamic fundamentalists like Osama Bin Laden. Screw the war on terror and mirror-shaded CIA spooks hanging out in third-world capitals... I want to see universities being built, scholarships being awarded, grants and prizes being handed out, infrastructure being upgraded, schools being reformed, the moon, Mars, and near earth orbit being colonized.
The U.S. has leaned on immigration to supply technology innovation for the last hundred years... what happens when our comparative advantage in that area dries up, and people quit coming here to stay? 75% of Chinese who came here for an education used to stay; now 75% of them leave. That means three times fewer scientists, three times fewer companies, three times fewer economic side benefits being thrown off...
But, do we see our leaders worrying about this? No - it's the war in Iraq, it's terrorism, it's Internet pornography, it's taxes... it is anything but what really matters for the future of this nation.
Despicable treatment of American military personnel...
Seems to me that we oughta treat folks injured in the line of duty better than this.
"This ballot sponsored by Coca-Cola." (not a joke)
The Charlotte Observer has an article on the South Carolina Democratic Party's latest initiative: corporate sponsored election materials! Apparently their ED got the idea from Iowa Democrats (who're proposing to sell advertising space on a media backdrop to help pay for their caucuses) and decided to take it a step further; they're having trouble raising the funds necessary to put on a primary election (their state, unlike others, makes the party pay for the cost of holding the elction), and this is their solution. Given that it only costs $500,000, you'd think they could dun the various candidates for the nomination for the funds necessary to put it on (or the DNC), in order to avoid embarassment of this type...
I especially love the last paragraph:
[State Democratic Party Executive Director] Erwin brushed off the criticism, saying it would be worse if the primary were canceled. "It somewhat changes the nature of politics, but boy, isn't it consistent with the way things are changing?" he said.
BTW, this arrived in my inbox via a Green Party mailing list... thanks the the help building the party in South Carolina, Erwin. :)
What first came to mind when offered this big, shiny blog Dave built, was, what could I add? In the archives and posts are a great wealth of information. This is the place I've always sent friends who are new to the web.
Then, the question hits me: what are we doing with all these billions of bites of blogged bounty? We can find more information faster than ever before. What are we to do with it? How do we deprogram the propogandised hordes?
First, I'm trying to understood who 'we' are. Roughly half of American households have internet access, and you can bet your booties that it's income skewed. What percentage of that frequents Weblogs? We need to widen the circle somehow...Enter Dean. More on that later...
What we're up against
We stand little chance of changing the tide unless we understand the nature of the monster that ate our government. The unholy alliance between the neocons, radical religious right, and big corporate money is a mighty foe indeed. How we focus our efforts will make all the difference in winning this fight.
This article, 'Noble Lies and Perpetual War' gets at the real underpinnings of the current governing philosophy of the neocons-in-charge. It's an important read, because it highlights the futility of expecting any respect, or fairness, from our self-styled new ruling class. They have no shame and no guilt because they are convinced that the ends justify the means. Here for the visual.
Strauss does this by putting forward the argument that there is a natural ruling class, and a natural dominated class.
Leo also 'legitimizes' the sort of bull that got us into Iraq:
A natural order of inequality
Needless to say liberal thought is considered a weak inferior. Thus this administration's acting like it's entitled to do as it chooses, being superior and all...
A second fundamental belief of Strauss's ancients has to do with their insistence on the need for secrecy and the necessity of lies. In his book Persecution and the Art of Writing, Strauss outlines why secrecy is necessary. He argues that the wise must conceal their views for two reasons - to spare the people's feelings and to protect the elite from possible reprisals.
So, what kind of power are they accumulating over any potential opposition, threat or undesirables?
Information Clearing House has another article up describing US efforts to data mine every person traveling into or through the US, regardless of their home country's policy on privacy.
"In Europe, data protection laws allow information to be used only for the purpose for which it is collected. America has no such laws. The EU is arguing with America over how to restrict its access to the passenger records of European airlines, but from a position of extreme weakness. America says it will fine air- lines $6,000 per passenger if they fail to provide all the access demanded, and the EU's transport commissioner says he cannot afford to bring air traffic with America to a complete halt."
She goes on to describe the creeping erosion of our basic protections....and describes a situation that is chilling to say the least: detentions without benefit of council or even official charges being placed; development of no-fly lists with no way to determine how a person gets placed on, let alone removed from. Interrogations based on one's political opinion:
"Now ordinary people fall under suspicion for ordinary behaviour. In San Francisco, a retired phone company worker got into a fierce discussion at his gym about the failings of President Bush and the war on Iraq. He was woken several days later by federal agents calling at his apartment to interrogate him about his politics. Last February, a middle-aged defence lawyer in New Mexico was in an internet chatroom when he apparently suggested that "Bush is out of control". Within hours, he was surrounded by police, then handcuffed by Secret Service agents and questioned about whether he was a threat to the president. In North Carolina, a 19-year-old was visited by FBI agents who had been told she had "un-American material" in her apartment. It consisted of a poster opposing Bush's use of the death penalty. She was asked what she knew about the Taliban and questioned for 40 minutes. Her details have been placed on file."
But for an answer for where to look to widen our circle, she continues:
...Yet it isn't these measures that have aroused most public anxiety - it is the government's new power to track, secretly, what people read, research and borrow in public libraries. For the past two years, many libraries have had wall signs warning patrons that the library cannot guarantee their privacy, and may be required to hand information on them over to the FBI.
Maybe there's some use to be had of all the efforts conservatives have made demonizing our government....it would be sweet irony to turn the monster they created against them. Feed the snake it's own tail!
This is also a good indication of where we need to look to start building relationships and bring more support to the fight for sane government, although one wonders how the thought of FBI oversight affects surfing habits. But here is the fertile ground where we need to educate and recruit actively to take away more of those blood red states in 2004.
Time to take another look at Library Juice...
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