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:
It Was A Set-Up -- They Were Getting Too Close
It turns out that the phony dispute over a leaked, never-circulated Senate Democrat committee memo that outlined ideas for what to do if the Republicans block the war intelligence probe was a complete set-up, providing cover for the Republicans to cancel the investigation.
The thought of the Republicans accusing Democrats of politicizing national security... Sheesh!
Here's what I wrote on May 4, 2003:
PredictionI thought they'd wait until next summer. (Back then, Digby wrote this.)
And now, as the investigations and public opinion are closing in on The Party's use of national security for political gain, we get this: Frist Freezes Senate Probe of Prewar Iraq Data:
Angry about a leaked Democratic memo, the Republican leadership of the Senate yesterday took the unusual step of canceling all business of the committee investigating prewar intelligence on Iraq.Look at this Google search, with many examples of the Right-wing Wurlitzer manufacturing upset over the memo. Look at the way they orchestrate the pretend "outrage." See who is speaking out, and who is covering it, and the sequence of coverage. Far-right Republican leaders speaking out (here, here, here, here), using the same words. The Washington Times covering it, pretending it's a big story. Then far-right outlets like CNSNews issuing stories with the headline, "Memo Indicates Democrats Mulled Plan to Politicize War Planning," being picked up and repeated by other far-right news outlets. Murdoch's NYT Post prints, "TREASON'S FIRST COUSIN." Heritage's Town Hall with "Political terrorism" from, of all people, Ollie North. Manufactured outrage - all of it, obviously.
Look at this Google news search, and follow the timeline backwards. It's obvious that the memo dispute was a set-up from the start, preparing to give them cover for blocking the investigation. Clearly they have been planning this for a while - since the Plame affair started showing the public what this crowd is really made of. How does The Party get out of being caught leaking the name of a CIA agent, and using national security to manipulate public opinion for political and financial gain? By accusing the Democrats of doing it, using the Wurlitzer to orchestrate the outrage.
It's what they do best.
Oh yeah - one more thing. Yesterday was the deadline for the White House to turn over documents to the committee, but they refused. Incredible coincidence on the timing, no?
Updates - Thinking It Through:
Knowing W will come out looking like a dishonest snake if there's any serious investigation into the lies he told about pre-war intelligence, Republicans are trying to shut down an investigation by pretending this memo indicates the investigation will somehow be a sort of political bag job.Talking Points Memo:
"Two guys walk into a ring for a fight. One knows he’s about to get creamed. But he can’t bear the shame and humiliation of walking away from a fight. So at the very last moment he whips out some phony claim that the other guy’s cheating."Body and Soul:
"Forget manufactured outrage. Can Democrats summon any of the genuine article? Sarcasm is a good beginning, but doesn't the occasion demand something a bit stronger?"The Left Coaster:
"First, Bill Frist just announced that because the Democrats are trying to politicize the issue of intelligence use and misuse by the Bush Administration, he is shutting down the Senate Intelligence Committee inquiry. Coming as this does from a party that used a war drive for political purposes leading up to the 2002 midterms, and then politicized intelligence to create a WMD threat that didn't exist, this is the height of gall. But it can galvanize the Senate Democrats to unite and fight the GOP leadership and the White House on all issues, all the time. With this clumsy arrogant move by Frist and the White House, this is now a legitimate political issue for next year because it confirms that the GOP is hiding something."Oliver Willis:
"What's also interesting is the machine in action. Data flows from the congress, probably through some Republican flunky and then it magically finds its way into Hannity's hands. Then it fitters out to all the right-wing news services (Newsmax, Worldnetdaily, Washington Times) and becomes a "story". I'm not whining about it, heck I'd like my side to get off their high horse and build up an infrastructure with that sort of resiliency and reach. That's the only way you can win."
From the Geneva Convention:
"Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."From today's news:
"TIKRIT, Iraq — The U.S. military swept through Iraqi neighborhoods early Saturday, firing at houses suspected to be harboring hostile forces in the wake of an apparent attack on a Black Hawk helicopter that killed six U.S. soldiers.It doesn't get much clearer than this.
The Party can get away with threats, intimidation and blatantly violating laws in the U.S., because they control the House, the Senate, the Justice Department, the FBI, the Courts, the military and the press. Can they continue to get away with it internationally as well?
Getting Nastier In Washington
It's getting even nastier in Washington. Three stories today: Rejection of 'Earmarks' Angers Democrats,
"Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), who chairs the subcommittee that controls spending on education, health and jobs programs, recently stunned Democrats by announcing plans to reject every "earmarked" project they are seeking in the final, compromise version of the bill, which funds the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor."No government funding for projects in any district with a Democratic representative!
And White House Puts Limits on Queries From Democrats,
"The Bush White House, irritated by pesky questions from congressional Democrats about how the administration is using taxpayer money, has developed an efficient solution: It will not entertain any more questions from opposition lawmakers."Democratic lawmakers are no longer allowed to ask the White House any questions!
And Judicial Nominee Approved 10-9:
"The GOP's main event will be a 30-hour talkathon, which would keep the Senate in session through the night Wednesday into Thursday evening, to showcase the GOP's case against the Democrats. "This means that they won't just have a vote to see if they can override a Democratic filibuster, they'll make the Democrats talk for 30 straight hours. When Clinton was President the Republicans blocked almost everything using filibusters -- and then told the public, "The Democrats are in charge but aren't pasing the bills you want" -- but the Democrats never made them actually filibuster by talking nonstop. This shows the difference between a party that is willing to fight for its constituents, and a party that doesn't even know it's in a war.
Dean & Public Financing
Dr. Dean is likely to drop out of the public financing system. The reason is that Bush is going to have $200 million+ to use in the primaries, even though he has no opponent. Meanwhile the Democrats are all going to use up all of their money working to get the nomination. If they stay in the public financing system they are not allowed to spend any more money until after the convention in August.
This means that Bush will be running $200 million of nasty, negative ads between May and August, while any Democratic nominee who chooses to stay in the public financing system is not allowed to respond in any way.
Dean will get the nomination -- I think that's a given at this point. He is far ahead of the other candidates in all the states that matter, and he has a huge base of supporters and contributors, while the other candidates do not, and are depending on party insiders to get them through. And they're hanging around in case something changes -- Dean says something stupid or who knows what.
If Dean drops out of the public financing system he will be able to ask his base of supporters for the money to respond to Bush. He will easily have 2 million+ donors by then. He is going to ask each donor for $100, bringing him $200 million with which to respond.
Now, you can't even imagine Kerry or Edwards or even Clark being able to round up enough supporters to raise that kind of money. And, frankly, I also can't imagine Kerry or Edwards fighting back. Clark, yes. But he is not running the kind of campaign that is bringing in the numbers of active supporters.
So I support Dean leaving the public financing system.
Too Obvious For Smart People To See?
A week ago I attended a panel discussion on the election of Schwartzenegger, put on by Bay Area Dems. Speakers that day included California's Controller, Steve Westly, and Treasurer Phil Angelides. The panel included several high-level campaign consultants and ex-Clinton-White House officials.
Each panelist offered reasons they thought the recall occurred. Lots of high strategy was discussed. The reasons included the unpopularity of Davis, the failure to find and use a consistent framing narrative, the entry of Democrats into the race, failure of Get Out The Vote efforts, and others.
I listened to the panel and couldn't get over the feeling that all these smart people were missing what to me is the most obvious component. I think that we can't ignore that when you turn on AM radio you hear nonstop ridicule of Democrats and praise for Republicans. There's just no way around this. This is what radio IS now, and this has to have an effect, not just in California, but nationwide. (I'm using AM radio as my example, but the fact is that the right dominates every communications channel.) Before the California election every AM station I tuned into was promiting Arnold all day, every day, nonstop. I mean national as well as local talk shows. Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, etc. All of them, all the time. They were talking about how the Democrats had caused all the problems in the state, and how "we" all want Arnold to get rid of Davis and "fix" the state. All day, every day.
I have a little bit of a marketing background, but I don't think you need to be a professional to know that marketing has an impact on people. It's pretty basic that repetition drives a message into people's consciousness. And what is going on around us, on the radio, on TV, in the newspapers, and from the Right's politicians is repetition. Coordinated repetition of strategic messages.
In most parts of the country there is NO OTHER SOURCE OF INFORMATION. The public is saturated with right-wing messaging from radio, Fox News, and right-wing local newspapers. People like you and me don't tend to listen to these right-wing talk shows, but I think we should. I think we need to understand the extent of right-wing domination, we need to experience it, and it would benefit our understanding of America to know what they are saying, every day. I listen when I'm driving somewhere -- usually turning it off in disgust after a few minutes of lies -- but I try to listen in several times a week.
There are a lot of people listening to this stuff. When you only have limited sources of information and everyone around you is in agreement on certain points, it's hard to resist joining them. Most people are not newshounds. They form their opinions based on hearing a few filtered news items, and from a sense of what most people around them are thinking. For example, everyone has heard about the woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued and got rich, and thinks there are too many lawsuits. This story is a flat-out lie, intentionally spread to further a right-wing agenda, but it is accepted as fact by almost everyone in this country. This is an example of manipulation of an information-poor environment to generate conventional wisdom. THIS is what is going on out there in America. Marketing professionals know how this works and know how to use it. When your message is repeated to a distracted public without opposition, your product sells.
It's also much of the reason that Democrats are completely on the defensive, even in their own minds.
1) It doesn't matter what your messages, arguments, merits, etc. are if the public doesn't hear them -- and hear them repeatedly.
2) The general public isn't paying attention, and almost all of their information comes from right-wing dominated sources. (CBS cancelling the Reagan miniseries demonstrates the extend of right-wing's domination of ALL sources of information AND the Right's understanding of the importance of furthering thisdomination.)
Update -- I just came across this piece by Thom Hartmann. Here's an excerpt:
"The result of conservatives buying their way into our airwaves has been a conservative transformation in average Americans' political viewpoints. Soccer Moms and NASCAR Dads tune in to coast-to-coast, dawn-to-midnight conservative talk radio, and many have come to believe the right's slogans and myths.
Howard Dean Talks About Confederate Flag Remarks
"We're at a space today that's rich in our nation's history, a place where citizens have gathered for more than a century to debate the great issues of the day. From this platform and from this very podium Abraham Lincoln spoke nearly 150 years ago as a presidential candidate and when Lincoln came here, he did not shy away from talking about the greatest threat that our republic faced at that time which is the terrible institution of human slavery. I will not shy away today either.
The Zeitgeist talks about the draft.
Also, I read somewhere (I forget where) speculation that while bringing back a draft is clearly necessary, Bush won't do it before the election. So just after the election Bush will start it up if he wins, or will leave it as a present for Dean to have to start up, ensuring him a stormy presidency. Bush won't do it now, because doing what is necessary for the country would harm The Party. Dean would do it because it is necessary for the country.
Turns out I get a lunch break this time. (Last time too many voters, no breaks.)
I'm watching Crossfire. It looks like the Republicans are afraid of Dr. Dean because they are using the smear machine on him. The Republican guy just said, "Howard Dean has said he is the candidate for white guys with confederate flags on their pickup trucks."
This is a blatant lie. What Dean said was that poor Southern white guys driving pickup trucks with confederate flags should vote for him, too, because their kids don't have health insurance either, and they didn't get the tax cut either.
That is a very different statement, and it has a very different meaning -- one that really scares Republicans, because it's true. Dean is going to campaign in the South, and he's going to point out that the Republican appeal to racism isn't benefiting anyone, that the poor whites should look at what they are really getting out of voting Republican.
They have to lie, because Dean is going to tell the truth. What really gets me is that the Republican guy KNOWS what Dean really said, and is choosing to blatantly lie.
And later they have a "Democrat" guy on -- clearly a Kerry or Leiberman supporter -- who pretends to agree that this is what Dean said. This is why so many of us are Dean supporters. We are so tired of these corporate Demcorats who are willing to play this kind of Washington politics game, handing Republicans issues to use against them as well as against the rest of us.
Working At The Polls Today
I'm working at the polls today. It starts at 6am and ends about 9pm so I'm not going to be in too much of a mood to be blogging. No blog hero here. Maybe if my wife was having contractions... :-)
It's March. That's when we have to remove a significant number of troops. From Krugman today:
"In September the Congressional Budget Office analyzed how many U.S. soldiers could be kept in Iraq without extending tours beyond one year. The conclusion was that force levels would have to start dropping rapidly about five months from now, and that the forces in Iraq and Kuwait would eventually have to shrink by almost two-thirds. As the report explains, the Pentagon can use various expedients to maintain a larger force in Iraq, but all of these expedients would threaten to undermine our military readiness."We know it, and the Iraqi opposition and al-Queda know it, too. So in April and May the shit hits the fan.
DNC: Kicking Ass Guest Poster is Al Franken
DNC: Kicking Ass
The Party Orders Reagan Miniseries Off Air
Oliver Willis says it better.
Army Times Poll
At Army Times:
"If you were going to vote for president right now, which candidate would you support:Something tells me the Kucinich campaign has asked people to vote.
The Randi Rhodes Show
I hope you'll tune into the The Randi Rhodes Show over the internet. I'm listening now. Click on "Listen Live 3pm-7pm ET."
The Draft - Another Example of Republican Party Over Country
Salon has a story about the draft:
"Divisive military actions are ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. News accounts daily detail how the U.S. is stretched too thin there to be effective. And tensions are high with Syria and Iran and on the Korean Peninsula, with some in or close to the Bush White House suggesting that military action may someday be necessary in those spots, too.Here's the fact. We've overcommitted in Iraq. We don't have enough troops there now and next year the rotation schedules will have the military severely understaffed WITHOUT another conflict breaking out. So how are we going to defend the country if another conflict DOES break out?
From the story:
"The closest parallel to the Iraq situation is the British in Northern Ireland, where you also had some people supporting the occupying army and some opposing them, and where the opponents were willing to resort to terror tactics," says Charles PeÃ±a, director of defense studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. "There the British needed a ratio of 10 soldiers per 1,000 population to restore order, and at their height, it was 20 soldiers per 1,000 population. If you transfer that to Iraq, it would mean you'd need at least 240,000 troops and maybe as many as 480,000.The Republicans are refusing to reinstate the draft purely for political reasons: it will cost them votes. Never mind that it will cost lives and threaten our security if there is a conflict in, say, Korea or Iran. Or something unforeseen. The country NEEDS the draft now, but they refuse. Party over country, as always.
House Nixes Anti-Profiteering Penalties in Iraq Spending Bill
House Nixes Anti-Profiteering Penalties in Iraq Spending Bill:
"The final version of the $87 billion spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan is missing provisions the Senate had passed to penalize war profiteers who defraud American taxpayers."The Republicans rigged the "conference committee" to take out the reasonable provisions that the Senate had added to the Iraq spending bill. THIS change allows corrupt crony contracts that reward campaign contributors.
Remember that immediately after taking office Bush gave the go-ahead to corporate lawbreakers.
I think it's time for the Democrats to make an issue of this corrupt cronyism. This spending bill should be filibustered.
(Thanks Atrios for the original article.)
CBS Self-Censoring Reagan Miniseries
According to The War Over the Gipper, CBS executives are cutting out anything they think the Right might object to:
"Director Robert Allan Ackerman has opted out of the editing, and CBS executives are now cutting it themselves.Once you let yourself care what the Right is going to think about ANYTHING you do, it's all over.
Another Voting Machines Article
"The problem? 'There's no guarantee that what you see on the screen is what the machine is recording or counting,' said Stanford University computer scientist David Dill."And, let me add, there is no way for anyone to ever KNOW if what you see on the machine is what is recorded.
Warren Slocum, San Mateo County's Chief Elections Officer has a web page called Support Verified Voting, talking about electronic voting machines.
Voting Machines Story At CNN
CNN.com - Worries grow over new voting machines' reliability, security.
Blog Hero Award
From DailyKos this morning:
"Ok guys. I'm checking out. Elisa is having contractions three minutes apart which means it's time to go to hospital."OK, this guy's wife is having contractions three minutes apart and this guy is WRITING IN HIS WEBLOG!
For this he earns the coveted Seeing the Forest Blog Hero Award.
I mean, how can I even call myself a blogger after that?
I mean, I'm supposed to be at my aunt's right now, walking the dogs. And my wife is yelling at me to get off the computer and into the car. But that's NOTHING. That's not even worth mentioning next to Daily Kos!
I'm not worthy.
Few of us are.
From Daily Kos:
"In other news, Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz spoke at Georgetown University on Friday and and took questions. (hat tip Juan Cole.)Doing my part to get this all over the blogosphere by nightfall.Q: Hi, Mr. Wolfowitz. My name is Ruthy Coffman. I think I speak for many of us here when I say that your policies are deplorable. They're responsible for the deaths of innocents and the disintegration of American civil liberties. [Applause]That is OUT-FREAKING-RAGEOUS. I'd like to see this excerpt all over the blogosphere by nightfall.
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