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:
Who Is Our Economy For, Anyway?
Robert Reich, writing about the loss of manufacturing jobs:
"America has been losing manufacturing jobs to China, Latin America and the rest of the developing world. Right? Well, not quite. It turns out that manufacturing jobs have been disappearing all over the world. Economists at Alliance Capital Management in New York took a close look at employment trends in 20 large economies recently, and found that since 1995 more than 22 million factory jobs have disappeared.It's not just that we're shipping more and more of our jobs to other countries, and we are, but it looks as though the world really may be reaching the point where we need fewer people working to get done the things we need to get done. You hear about "high productivity." Well, that is what "high productivity" MEANS. Even China is losing manufacturing jobs.
And the answer isn't retraining people to move into higher-level jobs. When I moved to Silicon Valley in 1980, everyone was talking about retraining auto workers for tech jobs. Well, now in Silicon Valley almost the only jobs in the paper are for auto mechanics.
Wealth is concentrating as never before. The rich aren't just getting richer and richer anymore -- the concentration is way beyond that. And the opportunity avenues the rest of us expect from the social contract that tolerates such wealth are not expanding. If you look around at all the supposed prosperity -- the big houses, the SUVs, the electronic toys, nice clothes, etc. -- you should also understand what is supporting it: Massive debt. Massive, massive debt on a scale never before seen. Everyone thinks they are rich now, and are doing what it takes to live that way. It is the cultural expectation now, and I think this illusion is a way of avoiding accepting the concentration that is occurring and accepting that we are working harder, but receiving less and less of the benefits. The only way for most of us to achieve that lifestyle is to refinance our houses, run up our credit cards, and elect leaders who encourage all of that while running the country the same way. Massive, massive debt. Everywhere. A bankrupt philosophy surely expressing itself one day with real-world bankruptcy.
If something is unsustainable, it won't be sustained. We are all frantically trying to find new ways to buy time. Perhaps if we can sustain things another month we will turn the corner. Perhaps we'll get a raise in time. Perhaps tax revenue will increase in time. Perhaps the stock market will go back to where it was and our pensions will be there for us. Perhaps we'll win the lottery. But what is happening is that the money is draining upwards. As we work longer hours, and more members of our families enter the job market just to cover the house payments, the insurance payments, the childcare and the increasing cable-TV and credit card bills, the banker who collects our interest payments, and the owners and executives of the insurance companies are gobbling up more and more of the world's resources to "own" for themselves. Our government is even preparing to sell off our national parks -- another transfer of "ownership" of OUR resources to the priviledged FEW.
In the end, a very basic question will need to be addressed. Who is our economy FOR, anyway? This is a very dangerous question, and just asking it leads to places that many of us have not gone in our thinking, and many of us certainly don't want the rest of us to go. And, of course, the corollary question: Who is our GOVERNMENT for? Is it US, after all, or not?
You learned in grade school that "we" decide the laws and policies of OUR government. WE are our government -- that's what our government IS: US, grouping together to decide things. "Of the people, by the people and FOR the people." We even decide who "owns" what, and we do so because it supposedly benefits all of us. For example, no one "owns" the air or the oceans or the state capital building or the right to cut off your arm.
In many other countries now, (and in America until just a few years ago), there are some limits on how much of the public resources (money) one person can acquire. High taxes are imposed after a person has brought in some large amount for him or herself. Then, much of the rest is put to use for the benefit of the overall public. If a person has hit the jackpot and is bringing in, say, $10 million a year, anything beyond that is taxed at a high rate. Everyone benefits from this. The jackpot winner is bringing in a huge sum, but the public is also benefiting from having made the collective decisions that set up the system. In Europe the workday is shorter, they get 6 weeks average vacation per year, their health care is covered, AND they get generous pensions when they retire. This is because they have set up a system that works for THEM. But in America, we are degenerating into a form of feudalism, where the super-rich rule over the rest of us, to their benefit.
"Ownership" is only a concept. It is nothing more than a right that is granted by government -- US -- and only for the benefit of US. Corporations are not entities created by nature, they are structures created and defined by laws, and defined by law, and supposedly for the benefit of the public. Why else would we have passed the laws that set them up?
Remember, feudal lords "owned" the right to sleep with any bride on her wedding night.
"... a problem whose queasy horrors will eventually be made world-wide by the sophistication of machines. The problem is this: How to love people who have no use?
Everything, Everything, Everything For The Election
Even bugging out of Iraq. Just in time. Iraq to Get Transition Government by June, Council Says.
I really wonder what they're going to do in October, surprise!
New Democrat Network Conference
I just got home from a day at a New Democrat Network conference. I went because Daily Kos had a special price offer, due to Markos speaking on a panel. Over the weekend I'll be writing about the conference, but I'll quickly say that I met Markos, and had a good conversation with David Brock.
If you're coming here after talking to me at the conference, please read this recent post to get the idea of Seeing the Forest: Getting It.
Just In Time For The Election
So, the plan is to declare victory and bug out mid-year 2004. U.S. Moves to Speed Up Iraqi Vote and Shift of Power:
"WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 — The Bush administration, moving up its timetable for self-government in Iraq and yielding to its own handpicked leadership there, has decided to try to hold elections in the first half of next year and turn civilian authority over to a temporary government before a new constitution is written, administration officials said Wednesday.Do they think the Iraqi opposition can't read? So now they know it's just a waiting game. Hold out, kill a few soldiers a day to stiffen Bush's resolve to retreat in time for re-election, and mid-year they can take over Iraq.
What a mess Bush has gotten us into.
Dubya Goes To Hell
This just came to me in an e-mail:
While walking down the street one day, George "Dubya" Bush is shot by a disgruntled NRA member. His soul arrives in heaven and he is met by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.
If you know the history of the anti-abortion movement, you know they won't stop when abortion is outlawed. They also oppose contraceptives, and had banned them in some states. This is why concervatives insist there is no "right to privacy" in the Constitution. (Remember Judge Bork?) Bishops Open a New Drive Opposing Contraception:
"It will also examine the 'relationship between contraception and abortion' by pointing out that there is a link between abortion and failed contraception, and noting the potential for some contraceptive drugs to be 'abortifacient.' "
More Military Purging of Liberals
Soldier Might Face Court Martial For Radio Comments:
According to the Illinois Leader, a National Guard soldier based in Rockford, IL, who blasted President Bush on a local radio talk show Friday, may face court martial for her public comments.
Making Friends - Showing The US Way
Posted without comment: Iraqi Arrested for Criticizing US:
"BAGHDAD - American soldiers handcuffed and firmly wrapped masking tape around an Iraqi man's mouth after they arrested him for speaking out against occupation troops.OK, I'll comment. Maybe he was out of the "free speech zone."
A Great One From Molly Ivins
Call Me a Bush-Hater:
"By now, quite a few people who aren't even liberal are starting to say, "Wha the hey?" We got no Osama, we got no Saddam, we got no weapons of mass destruction, the road map to peace in the Middle East is blown to hell, we're stuck in this country for $87 billion just for one year and no one knows how long we'll be there. And still poor Mr. Krauthammer is hard-put to conceive how anyone could conclude that George W. Bush is a poor excuse for a President.Me, too.
From The AFL-CIO
Even though both houses of Congress responded to your appeals by voting to block President Bush's overtime pay cuts, the president is refusing to withdraw his pay cuts and says he will veto final legislation protecting overtime pay. Back-room maneuvering by the Bush administration and House Republican leaders has made it increasingly likely that the overtime pay protections we won will not make it out of Congress this year. Bush's Labor Department could put the overtime pay cuts into effect as soon as January.
What Atrios Said
What Atrios Said. "Hey, Nick Kristof - Blow Me!"
In fact, one minute I'm reading that the Republican plan is to get people to dismiss the Democrats' message because they are nothing more than "Bush-haters" (previous post), and the next minute I'm reading Nick Kristof accusing Democrats of being nothing more than Bush-haters. Well, Nick, let me guess where you get your column inspiration from. Could it have shown up on your FAX machine? THIS is why I don't read most "major" columnists. Why bother?
Update - Eric Alterman expands on this topic:
1) Bush “haters” talk about policy not personality.And let me just add one thing -- Look where the Clinton-Hating got them. As a result of their aggressive tactics they control the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Courts, the Military, and all the other things I wrote the other day.
Republican Election Plan
The Republicans are not being secretive about their plans for the 2004 election. This story contains the following:
"The strategy will involve the dismissal of Democrats as the party of 'protests, pessimism and political hate speech,' Ed Gillespie, Republican National Committee chairman, wrote in a recent memo to party officials -- a move designed to shift attention toward Bush's broader foreign policy objectives rather than the accounts of bloodshed. Republicans hope to convince voters that Democrats are too indecisive and faint-hearted -- and perhaps unpatriotic -- to protect US interests, arguing that inaction during the Clinton years led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."Lies, and smears. And worse.
This stuff works. We just got a cable bill - with another big rate increase. I suggested looking at satellite and my wife said she "heard" that satellite can be a problem because you have to keep positioning the dish. Well, the only place she "heard" this was from cable company ads. Advertising works. Repeating something over and over again works. Think of knowledge as a vacant receptor -- my wife had no information about satellite, so the cable companies were able to fill a vacant receptor with a message. Since there was no prior information there, and since she is a busy person with other concerns, that message was able to slide into place unchallenged. And later, when it matter, all she knew was that she had "heard" that satellite has problems.
The Republicans wouldn't be planning this without a great deal of work -- focus groups, polls, psychologists, etc. So they already know that the public is ready to receive this message. Can they get away with convincing people that Democrats are unpatriotic? Can they get away with convincing people that Clinton caused 9/11?
"Inviting a fierce foreign policy debate in the months to come, Gillespie continued: "The bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, Khobar Towers, our embassies in East Africa, and the USS Cole were treated as criminal matters instead of the terrorist acts they were. After Sept. 11, President Bush made clear that we will no longer simply respond to terrorist acts, but will confront gathering threats before they become certain tragedies.""Every time you hear someone repeat the lie that Clinton "bombed an aspirin factory" remember that what he really did was send a flurry of cruise missiles after bin Laden. This was a chemical factory owned by bin Laden. The same day Clinton sent dozens of cruise missiles into Afghanistan trying to get bin Laden, and destroying an al-Queda training camp.
But I digress...
I installed the latest Microsoft XP update this morning. Now, every time I click on Internet Explorer's scroll bar it acts as two clicks. Great.
(Yes, I use Windows. I have a PC laptop because the last company I worked for made an MSOffice competitor, and they ran out of cash -- couldn't get funded competing with Microsoft -- before they got the Linux version done, or I'd probably be using Linux now. Before that I worked on BeOS which ran on Intel machines. Before that I had a Mac software company and we have a Mac desktop at home, so don't write to me about using Windows, OK?) (Oh yeah, and if you're going to be regularly pouring coffee onto your keyboard it should be a PC and not a Mac. Right? Does that help you feel better about my using a Wintel machine?)
NY Times story today, Failed Pensions: A Painful Lesson in Assumptions:
"Assumptions that the government considers inadequate contributed to the demise of almost all of the roughly 150 pension plans that failed in the last year. Current detailed information about pension plans is not routinely disclosed, however.Got that? Even as pension plans are failing left and right, The Party is RELAXING the rules.
Let's look at the results of The Party's long-term effect on our retirement. In the 80's 401K plans were introduced. 401Ks are a plan for screwing workers out of having their companies paying for their retirement. Guess where the money that the corporations had been paying into retirement funds went? Then, during the stock run-up companies that still offered pensions projected ongoing huge returns, so they didn't need to put money aside for their workers. Now, they're allowed to continue to make optimistic projections.
But, of course, the really, really big effect on our retirement is Bush's massive deficits. That's our Social Security money being sent to Iraq, folks.
Liberals Purged From Military
The Left Coaster has a post about liberals being kicked out of the military because of their views.
Expanding on my previous "Dean as McGovern", and the power of The Party's use of smears, and how it doesn't matter who we run. What matters is how the candidate fights back.
Here is one of the very first posts to this weblog:
Seeing the forest"Getting it," in this election, means understanding the new political environment of a near-fascist right controlling the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Courts, the Justice Department, blocking any and all oversight or investigations into their abuses of power, using the FBI as their investigative arm, the military as their international enforcement arm, and the major broadcast and print media as their propaganda organ. It means understanding that smears, threats and intimidation are the favored tactic of The Party. Understanding that there is nothing The Party will not do, even politicizing the national tragedy of 9/11 and using it to justify a pre-planned war in an unrelated country, all the while using THAT to manipulate an election.
The only way to fight this is to take it on directly, and FIGHT it. Otherwise the Party machinery and the Wurlitzer will just crush you under a pile of lies and smears. From what I see, only Dean "gets it." Only Dean is willing to take them on -- head-on and directly. Only Dean is building an organization of people, ready to talk to their neighbors, going door-to-door, and organizing the public to fight back.
Dean As McGovern
Talking Points Memo (also here) and Atrios (and here) are talking about whether Dean is electible. Is Dean another McGovern, destined to lose because of his anti-war stance?
Two words: Max Cleland.
Two more words: John McCain.
So you want to nominate a candidate who has a good military resume, because you think this means Rush Limbaugh will say good things about him? Well, guess what: IT DOESN'T MATTER. The Republicans are going to smear the candidate ANYWAY! And by the time they get done smearing the candidate YOU'RE going to be questioning whether the guy should be in office. (Admit it, it worked with Gore, didn't it? Even YOU started disliking Gore and having doubts about him, after they got through with him.) IT'S WHAT THEY DO! GET USED TO IT!
What matters is how the candidate is going to fight back. Al Gore didn't fight back. Clinton did. Dean will.
Just as important, Dean will also have hundreds of thousands of volunteers, walking precincts all across the country, and dragging people to the polls on election day. None of the other candidates have anything even close to that. The Democrats haven't had that for decades. This is going to put Dean in office, AND it is going to bring in Demcoratic members of Congress and the Senate and local offices as well.
I see a pattern forming. Politicians and pundits from Washington hate Dean and "just don't get it." People from outside "the Beltway" are enthusiastic.
By the way, I'll say it again, I LOVE Clark and I LOVE Edwards. But their campaign staffs just don't get it.
Update - Oh yeah, one more thing. McGovern was a war hero who was against the war. So if the DLC is really so worried about repeating the McGovern experience they should be trashing Clark instead of running him. In MY opinion, it's about Washington insiders v.s. outsiders, and the insiders concerned about outsiders getting elected and affecting their Washington insider careers.
If You Are Buying A Mac
Buy it at Small Dog Electronics. I just heard them advertising on Thom Hartmann's radio show. They should be rewarded for supporting progressives.
"I'm always amazed, though I shouldn't be, when I talk politics with people who get all their news from newspapers, radio and TV. "It's an excellent read, when you also go to the links.
For Bush-Haters Only
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