For The Trees

Who is our economy FOR, anyway?

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


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


BEST OF STF:

Dave's:

Articles not at STF:

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

On the Right and their communications infrastructure:

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

Other:

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


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


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

Links to Other Weblogs:




11/15/2003
 



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.

In fact, the United States has not even been the biggest loser. Between 1995 and 2002, we lost about 11 percent of our manufacturing jobs. But over the same period, the Japanese lost 16 percent of theirs. And get this: Many developing nations are losing factory jobs. During those same years, Brazil suffered a 20 percent decline.

Here's the real surprise. China saw a 15 percent drop. China, which is fast becoming the manufacturing capital of the world, has been losing millions of factory jobs."
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?

In time, almost all men and women will become worthless as producers of goods, food, services, and more machines, as sources of practical ideas in the areas of economics, engineering and probably medicine too. So, if we can't find reasons and methods for treasuring human beings because they are human beings, then we might as well, as so often has been suggested, rub them out."

- Kilgore Trout, in Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater




 



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!




11/14/2003
 



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.




11/13/2003
 



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.

Increasing attacks on American and other foreign forces forced a rethinking of the administration's approach in recent days, the officials said, lending more urgency to the need for Iraqi self-rule by the middle of next year. "
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.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem: We seldom see a Republican around these parts, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in; I'm a believer,' says Dubya.

"I'd like to just let you in, but I have orders from the Man Himself: He says you have to spend one day in hell and one day in heaven. Then you must choose where you'll live for eternity."

"But, I've already made up my mind; I want to be in heaven."

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to an elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush golf course; the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, the temperature a perfect 72 degrees. In the distance is a beautiful clubhouse. Standing in front of it his dad and thousands of other Republicans who had helped him out over the years: Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Jerry Falwell. The whole of the "Right" is here, everyone laughing, happy; casually but expensively dressed. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had getting rich at expense of the "suckers and peasants." They play a friendly game of golf, then dine on lobster and caviar. The devil himself comes up to Bush with a frosty drink and says, "Have a Margarita and relax, Dubya!"

"Uh, I can't drink no more, I took a pledge," says Junior, dejectedly.

"This is Hell, son: you can drink and eat all you want and not worry, and it just gets better from here!" says the devil. Dubya takes the drink and finds himself liking the devil, who is a very friendly guy who tells funny jokes and pulls hilarious nasty pranks, kind of like a Yale Skull and Bones brother with real horns. They are having such a great time that, before he realizes it, it's time to go.

Everyone gives him a big hug and waves as Bush steps on the elevator and heads upward.

When the elevator door reopens, he is in heaven again and St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven," the old man says, opening the gate.

So for 24 hours Bush is made to hang out with a bunch of honest, good-natured people who enjoy each other's company, talk about things other than money, and treat each other decently. Not a nasty prank or frat boy joke among them; no fancy country clubs and, while the food tastes great, it's not caviar or lobster. And these people are all poor; he doesn't see anybody he knows, and he isn't even treated like someone special!

Worst of all, to Dubya, Jesus turns out to be some kind of Jewish hippie with his endless 'peace' and 'do unto others' jive.

"Whoa," he says uncomfortably to himself, "Pat Robertson never prepared me for this!"

The day done, St. Peter returns and says, "Well, then, you've spent a day in Hell and a day in Heaven. Now choose where you want to live for eternity."

With the 'Jeopardy' theme playing softly in the background, Dubya reflects for a minute, then answers, "Well, I would never have thought I'd say this -- I mean, heaven has been delightful and all -- but I really think I belong in hell with my friends."

So Saint Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to hell. The doors of the elevator open, and he finds himself in the middle of barren, scorched earth covered with garbage and toxic industrial waste...kind of like Houston. He is horrified to see all of his friends dressed in rags and chained together, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. They are groaning and moaning in pain, faces and hands black with grime.

The Devil comes over to Dubya and puts an arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers a shocked Dubya. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse and we ate lobster and caviar and drank booze. We screwed around and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and everybody looks miserable!"

The Devil looks at him, smiles slyly, and purrs, "Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted for us."



 



Contraceptives, Too

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.

The husband of Sergeant Jessica Macek, who returned from leave back to Kuwait on Saturday, told WNTA Talk host Chris Bowman that his wife says she may face a court martial for comments she made Friday.

IllinoisLeader.com Rockford correspondent David Hale heard Macek's comments on the Friday morning show. According to Hale, Macek said the President lied about the reasons America military was in Iraq.

But on the air Monday, Bowman argued that Hale's reporting was inaccurate and biased, saying the story was published on an “ultra-conservative” news source.

When asked by the Illinois Leader's Managing Editor what Bowman considered inaccurate in Hale's story, Bowman said, “I don't believe [Macek] said `liar,’ I think she may have used the words `less than truthful,’ but I don't recall her saying the President was a liar.”






11/12/2003
 



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.

Asked why the man had been arrested and put into the back of a Humvee vehicle on Tahrir Square, the commanding officer told Reuters at the scene on Tuesday: 'This man has been detained for making anti-coalition statements.'

He refused to say what the man said."
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.

Chuck, honey, it ain't just the 2.6 million jobs we've lost: People are losing their pensions, their health insurance, the cost of health insurance is doubling, tripling in price, the Administration wants to cut off their overtime, and Bush was so too little, too late with extending unemployment compensation that one million Americans were left high and dry. And you wonder why we think he's a lousy President?
[ . . . ]
It is not necessary to hate George W. Bush to think he's a bad President. Grownups can do that, you know. You can decide someone's policies are a miserable failure without lying awake at night consumed with hatred.

Poor Bush is in way over his head, and the country is in bad shape because of his stupid economic policies.

If that makes me a Bush-hater, then sign me up.
"
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.

We still have a final chance to stop President Bush from taking away overtime pay from some 8 million workers if we make our voices heard. As many people as possible need to contact their senators and U.S. representative and tell them not to come home for the holidays without acting to protect overtime pay. Click below to take action or keep reading for more information.
http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/otlastchance/xei63b4z78ewk

How did this outrageous betrayal happen? After both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed measures to block President Bush's overtime pay take-away, a hand-picked committee of members of both of these bodies met behind closed doors to hammer out differences between the two versions of the overtime pay protections.

House Republican leaders--working with President Bush's lobbyists--stacked the committee with legislators who support Bush's overtime pay take-away. So despite congressional votes to block President Bush's overtime pay take-away, millions of America's workers are likely to lose it soon.

Please take one minute right now to send a message to your senators and representative by clicking on the link below. Tell them not to come home for the holidays without acting to protect overtime pay.
http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/otlastchance/xei63b4z78ewk

It is increasingly clear that President Bush will not withdraw his overtime pay take-away. That is why it is so important that as many people as possible get involved before it is too late. Please don't forget to spread the word. There are two ways to do this: After you take action, forward this e-mail or part of it to as many people as possible. Or click on the link below to send a message to up to 10 of your friends, family members and co-workers.
http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/otlastchance/forward/xei63b4z78ewk


The sweeping changes in America's work life President Bush is pushing will hurt millions of working families. Paychecks will be smaller. Work hours will be longer. Job quality will be worse. This is a sad moment in U.S. history--President Bush is taking America back nearly 70 years.

Please take action and then spread the word. Thanks for all you do.




 



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.
2) Bush “haters’ support the country and its soldiers in wars they believe to be misguided
3) Bush “haters” do not accuse the president of drug-running and murder
4) Bush “haters” do not accept millions from billionaires to publish their paranoid fantasies in magazines like The American Spectator, and helping to drive unstable people to suicide, only to try to exploit even this tragic act for gain, with even more lurid paranoid fantasies about murder, safe houses and moved bodies.
5) Bush “haters” do not control any media properties remotely as powerful and influential as the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Murdoch empire, the Moonie network, their own cable network, world-famous internet gossip sites, weekly and bi-weekly magazines, dozens of multi-million dollar “think” tanks, various publishing houses, etc.
6) Bush “haters” are quite removed from the Democratic establishment.
7) Bush “haters” back up their arguments with references and, frequently, footnotes, all of which can be checked for accuracy.
8) Bush “haters” are addressing themselves to a president who ran, dishonestly, as moderate and still managed to lose the election, only to gain the presidency with the support of Republican-appointed judges.
9) Bush “haters” are addressing themselves to a president whose dishonesty has led to the death of thousands of people in a counterproductive war, the looting of the treasury, and the trashing of the environment, for starters.

Now look at the Clinton-haters.

1) One of them, the one who advised David Brock to make stuff up for the Spectator in order to see what would stick, is Solicitor General.
2) Another is House Majority Leader
3) Another is the former House Majority Leader.
4) Another is the former Speaker of the House.
5) Just about all of these refused to vote for a resolution in support of U.S. troops risking their lives for freedom and democracy in Kosovo, when given a chance.
6) Another is the former Republican-appointed special prosecutor, who controlled an unlimited amount of funds as well as the loving sympathy of the Washington journalistic establishment.
7) Another is a radio hate-monger who just got out of rehab, to the delight of 15 million-20 million others.
8) A significant number of the rest of them have their own shows on cable, care of the So-Called Liberal Media.
9) A bunch of others control the editorial page of the most important business publication in the world.
10) Virtually all of their arguments were driven by either paranoid fantasies, planted lies, or at best, personal actions that had no bearing on the well-being of the country.
11) A few of them—including the one who sought to raise money by accusing the president of murder—blamed the attacks of 9/11 on Americans.
12) Clinton-haters abused the constitutional system to shut down the government and later, impeach the president.
13) Clinton-haters were addressing themselves to a president who was honestly elected, and by the way, boasted a 68 percent approval rating on the day he was impeached.
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...


 



Microsoft Patch

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?)


 



Pensions

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.

The painful lesson for employees comes as companies press Congress for permanent relaxation of some provisions of the pension funding law. One measure, passed by the House in October, would allow companies to make more favorable interest rate assumptions for the next two years while a panel works on broad changes to the pension funding rules. "
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.




11/11/2003
 



Liberals Purged From Military

The Left Coaster has a post about liberals being kicked out of the military because of their views.


 



"Getting It"

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

Recent polls show that the public is blaming Clinton for the business scandals, and Bush's popularity remains astronomical. That's a tree.

Let's see if we can see the forest. Look back to the 2000 election. Step back and look at the candidates. The Democrat's candidate was a well respected, well liked, extremely experienced, Vietnam vet, former seminary student, character beyond reproach, faithfully married family man, foreign policy expert, with many accomplishments including being the person in the Congress most responsible for advancing the Internet... The Republicans ran a foul-mouthed thoroughly inexperienced scandal-ridden (Harken oil, Rangers stadium, recipient of bribes directed at his father) failed businessman, continuously bailed out of jams by his father's connections, draft-dodger (worse, he got into the Nat. Guard through connections and then played hooky!), former drunk, probable drug-user, kids constantly in trouble, with a campaign entirely financed by large corporations obviously looking for favors.

But by election time the only issue was “character”, and the character in question was the Democratic candidate’s! That's the forest.

Issues like the "Love Canal story" and "I invented the Internet" were trees. The forest was how they pulled it off - the smears, the propaganda blitz, the way they spread their message and the way people hear messages these days.

With this weblog I'll be writing about this issue, seeing the forest for the trees.
"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.




11/10/2003
 



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.


 



Always Amazed

Doc Searls:
"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

For all you Bush-Haters out there who also have high-bandwidth. (750K)




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