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:
Oh My God!
Tough New Tactics by U.S. Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns:
"As the guerrilla war against Iraqi insurgents intensifies, American soldiers have begun wrapping entire villages in barbed wire."Oh my God!
"In selective cases, American soldiers are demolishing buildings thought to be used by Iraqi attackers."Oh my God!
"They have begun imprisoning the relatives of suspected guerrillas, in hopes of pressing the insurgents to turn themselves in."Oh my God!
"In Abu Hishma, encased in a razor-wire fence after repeated attacks on American troops, Iraqi civilians line up to go in and out, filing through an American-guarded checkpoint, each carrying an identification card printed in English only.Oh my God!
""You have to understand the Arab mind," Capt. Todd Brown, a company commander with the Fourth Infantry Division, said as he stood outside the gates of Abu Hishma. "The only thing they understand is force — force, pride and saving face." "OH MY GOD!
"The next day, an American jet dropped a 500-bomb on the house that had been used to attack them. The Americans arrested eight sheiks, the mayor, the police chief and most members of the city council. "We really hammered the place," Maj. Darron Wright said.OH MY GOD!
"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," Colonel Sassaman said.OH MY GOD!
"In Abu Hishma, residents complain that the village is locked down for 15 hours a day, meaning that they are unable to go to the mosque for morning and evening prayers. They say the curfew does not allow them time to stand in the daylong lines for gasoline and get home before the gate closes for the night."OH MY GOD! THIS IS US!
This is AMERICA doing this!
Party Over ... Everything
L.A. Daily News - GOP guts projects by local Dems:
"If a congressional Democrat asked for it, Southern California won't be getting it.If you live in a Democratic district, you aren't Americans, and don't get any of the benefits of citizenship.
Surprise! Limbaugh Blames Liberals
Yahoo! News - Limbaugh Attorney Blames Politics in Probe:
"Rush Limbaugh's attorney accused the local prosecutor Friday of having political motives in investigating his client for allegedly purchasing painkillers illegally. "Is this what they teach you in rehab? To blame others? What happened to the right-wing mantra of personal responsibility?
Oh, wait, I forgot -- laws, ethics, responsibility, honesty ... these things don't apply to Republicans!
This is Tom Spencer folks. Since my retirement a couple of weeks ago, Dave invited me to guest blog here whenever I wanted to.
I thought I'd take him up on it every now and then.
Everyone really should read this by Paul Vitello of Newsday.
Here's a bit of it:
I am no photo editor. But this is the time when we begin to see roundups of the best news photos of the past year. And just running the loop of the year's most memorable pictures in my head, a funny thing happens:
Now go read the rest of it.
And Vitello apparently didn't know about the administration's lies about the flight over to Iraq and the turkey itself when he wrote the column.
The way this administration has played the media and a distressingly large number of Americans for suckers through deft stage management is truly frightening.
We truly have reached the point in American politics where it's all about the style and not the substance, haven't we? Of course, American politics have really been largely about style for quite a while -- ever since television started playing a major role in the late 1950s actually.
However, W and the boys really do excel at the photo-op presidency. The current situation in Iraq is a perfect example. They are quite capable of making it look like things in Iraq are progressing nicely to the average uninformed American. Meanwhile, outside the administration's carefully constructed reality, everything over there is obviously falling apart.
Okay. That's all. I hope you enjoyed it.
"Out of Change" by Bruce Reed:
"He turned a $5 trillion projected surplus into a $5 trillion projected deficit. With a trillion dollars in deficits in a single term, Bush has done what baseball owners do best--lose money. "Great line.
FT.com / World / US:
"Boeing has taken a $20m stake in an investment fund run by Richard Perle, a top Pentagon adviser, underlining the close links it has built to Washington's defence establishment.The blatant corruption and criminality just DOES. NOT. STOP.
New Group - Go Sign Up
America Coming Together.
A line toward the end of this story, Dean Now Courting Party Insiders (washingtonpost.com), says:
While Dean has criticized Bush for relying on fundraisers known as "Rangers," who collect at least $200,000, and "Pioneers" who round up $100,000, Dean has his own roster of party insiders raising big bucks. [. . .] In early September, Lofgren raised more than $200,000, the largest amount collected for Dean's campaign at a single event. The fundraiser at her home was attended by more than 1,300 people, some of whom donated $1,000 each.Oh, please! I was at that event, and I paid I think $35.
If there were 1,300 people there, and she raised $200,000 ... well, I guess any of us can do the math better than the Washington Post can.
It is OUTRAGEOUS that the Post compares this to Bush's high-dollar corporate contributors, who in turn receive huge government handouts!
Dean's Hardball Transcript
"Where we’re at right now in this cycle is that we need somebody to mitigate the power of corporations. Corporations are not bad things. They’re neither good nor bad. But the problem is, they’re a bad influence on society if they get too much power, because their basic interest is the bottom line. And they forget that human being have-human beings have souls. We’re not meant to be simply cogs in a machine.
Who Tried To Bribe Rep. Smith? The Question Should Be Repeated!
Someone at the very top of the Republican Party offered Representative Nick Smith, R-Michigan, over $100,000 to change his vote on the Medicare bill. This is a Federal crime. According to this story, President Bush was himself calling Republican Representatives trying to change their votes. The bribe was offered either by President Bush himself, or someone on behalf of President Bush.
The theme of President Bush's campaign for office was that he would "restore honor and integrity to the White House." But those of us who get our news from non-mainstream or foreign sources hear story after story of bribery, lies and cover-ups from the White House and the leadership of The Party. Each story of corruption dies after a few days because no one is willing to pursue it. The Justice Department, the FBI, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Courts and the mainstream corporate media are all controlled by the Republican Party, so we can expect no investigation from any of them.
Now another day passes with the story receiving little attention. This story should not die. It should be repeated every day by every weblogger, and Progressive news site until pressure builds and something is done. The weblog community and the public are not yet under the thumb of The Party and we can continue to make noise! All of us should repeat the demand for an investigation. All of us should call their representative's office and demand to know who tried to bribe Rep. Smith.
The Republicans understand the power of a story like this one. This is the kind of story that Newt Gingrich would use to full advantage. He would arrange all night sessions on the House floor, with Representative after Representative speaking into C-Span's cameras, demanding an investigation. This is the kind of story that the Right's Wurlitzer would repeat endlessly as an example of the corruption of their opponents. This is the kind of story that the public will easily understand. So why shouldn't we continue to demand an investigation until someone in authority if forced to do something? This is the Republican Party caught red-handed engaging in the worst kind of corruption and criminality. If it is investigated someone is going to jail, and The Party will be exposed for what it is!
Stick with this. Webloggers - do not let this drop. People, keep calling your representatives, newspapers, television and radio stations.
This, about Dean and why he will not only win, but will bring with him a new Congress.
Just How Far To The Right Is Bush?
Just how far to the right is Bush? How divisive, nasty and harmful to civil discourse? How closely linked to the worst of the Far Right's character assassins?
Here's a clue:
"The White House announced Wednesday former Wall Street Journal Editor Robert Bartley has been selected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.Robert Bartley is the guy Clinton aide and friend Vince Foster's suicide note was talking about when he wrote, "The [Wall Street Journal] editors lie without consequence. I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport." Bartley has been one of the very worst of the Right's liars and character assassins. Bush gives him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The current talking point of The Party is that liberals are viscous haters. Remember, their tactic is to accuse you of what they are doing.
Domestic Terrorism Ignored
Check out this at Orcinus.
Just For The Hell Of It
You know by now that one of the talking points of The Party is that those who are upset by Bush as not rational, are simply full of hate, etc. You have heard almost the entire Wurlitzer repeat that theme. (Remember also, one of the tactic of The Party is to acuse us of what they do.)
Just for the hell of it, read this, posted at Heritage's Town Hall, from yet another guy funded by Scaife, Gary Aldrich: Hate speech.
All I can say is Jeeze.
Another Day, No Bribery Investigation
Rep. Smith still has not shared with the Justice Dept. information about who tried to bribe him.
The Congressman says a bribe was attempted, but won't say who did it. Naturally, Congress, the FBI, and no one else is launching an investigation, because it might embarrass The Party. And it's Party over Law and Country every time with this crowd.
Is This Supposed To Be A Good Thing?
Productivity Grew at Fastest Rate Since 1983.
This means that businesses need to hire fewer people to get the same amount of work done. If the resulting profits were SHARED with workers and the public this might be a good thing. In Europe they have a shorter workweek, six weeks paid vacation each year, health insurance for everyone, and generous pensions when they retire. (And they can retire earlier.) But in America it means that a few rich fucks will be even richer, while the rest of us are competing with more and more un- and under-employed people for fewer jobs, losing our health insurance, working longer hours, losing the right to overtime pay, etc.
Who is our economy for? Until we take our country back, good economic news will be BAD news for most of us.
Bottom of the Barrel
Bottom of the Barrel:
"Given a choice between a new set of matching tableware and the survival of humanity, I suspect that most people would choose the tableware. "Running out of oil.
Repeating Myself (Again)
After a long phone conversation on fighting the Right, I wrote up a summary to send via e-mail. I think it's worth sharing here:
My research and the research of others shows that the Right has been so successful because they developed an "infrastructure" of organizations specifically designed to follow a long-term plan to move public opinion to the ideological right. After the public is "primed" with repeated messaging from the Right's echo chamber of organizations and media, they are softened up and prepared to be responsive to the right's politicians. In contrast, our (centrists, moderates and progressives) politicians are faced with the entire burden of developing a message themselves, from scratch, each election cycle, usually on their own, to a public that is NOT primed ahead of time to be responsive. Even if we manage to elect a new President, he will not be in a position to be effective because of the power of the Right's network of organizations -- look at what happened to Clinton.
We can't be successful without fighting the Right's underlying ideological messaging. We need to fund and develop our own advocacy organizations designed to move public attitudes back toward "the center." Our organizations can be modeled after the Right's successful organizations, but would operate within our value system -- no lies, trickery, gimmicks and deceit needed because we aren't trying to trick people into giving up their health care, Social Security, etc.
Black Sabbath's War Pigs:
Generals gathered in their masses,
just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction,
sorcerers of death's construction.
In the fields the bodies burning,
as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind,
poisoning their brainwashed minds.
Oh lord, yeah!
Politicians hide themselves away.
They only started the war.
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor, yeah.
Time will tell on their power minds,
making war just for fun.
Treating people just like pawns in chess,
wait till their judgement day comes, yeah.
Now in darkness world stops turning,
ashes where the bodies burning.
No more War Pigs have the power,
Hand of God has struck the hour.
Day of judgement, God is calling,
on their knees the war pigs crawling.
Begging mercies for their sins,
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings.
Oh lord, yeah!
Update - Anyone else out there old enough to tell me what year this came out?
Another This Just In
This just in - an e-mail I received:
"The Daily Show" - absolutely the best show on television. This back and forth between Jon Stewart and "White House Correspondent" Stephen Colbert says it all:
Had a big party for my 50th. Here's what you missed:
My wife, Sudeep, is in the middle.
The end of a skit about being old.
It's a real sword. (Clcik a picture for more.)
OK, enough, now back to Bush-bashing.
This Just In
From the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:
From Florida, to California, to Colorado, to Texas, Republicans are attempting to hold onto power by any means necessary. On December 1, 2003, the GOP's plan to RE-redistrict congressional boundaries in Colorado was stuck down by the Colorado Supreme Court which stated clearly: "the Colorado Constitution requires the General Assembly to redistrict after each census and before the ensuing general election, and does not allow redistricting at any other time."
Really Shitty Court Decision - Literally
Nathan Newman writes about a literally shitty court decision. Read this, then ask: Who Is Our Economy FOR, Anyway?
Krugman On Voting Machines
Hack the Vote.
This should break this whole issue into the mainstream.
Thanks to Atrios: Who Tried To Bribe Rep. Smith? - Stop protecting him, Congressman. By Timothy Noah.
Another blatant crime, committed in public, with the Republicans getting away with it. Every one of us should be calling the press, and our representatives, and forwarding this article to everyone we know, demanding an investigation!
The Party controls the House of Representatives, the Senate, the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI, the military, and the Courts. They believe they can get away with anything, and so far are priving this to be true. They are going to continue their blatant lawlessness and cover-ups until enough people make enough noise, and the press understands that we are PISSED OFF.
Perhaps you could ask the ombudsman at the Washington Post who to write to? Can anyone else make any suggestions of who to write to about this?
What Have You Done Today?
Have you done your part? Have you sent e-mail to people you know, letting them know about BuzzFlash.com, and MoveOn.org? If you send an e-mail to the right person, they might know 10 or 20 more people who would be interested and don't know about these resources. And those people might know even more people. Every little bit helps. Spreading the word is so important! It's vitally important that everyone who might see things our way become connected!
As MoveOn says, "Democracy is not a spectator sport."
MoveOn House Parties Sunday
This Sunday, December 7th, over 2,000 MoveOn members are hosting house parties to screen the new documentary Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War. Some of these folks are opening up their homes to other MoveOn members, and you’re invited to attend. You can find a public party in your area and sign up at: http://action.moveon.org/meet/parties.html
OK, I've been listening to Rush and O'Reilly in the car... The Republicans have their finger on something. If you criticize what's happening in Iraq by just telling the truth, you sound unpatriotic. That's all there is to it. You CAN'T criticize them with the truth because the truth is so far out there!
Here's my thinking. You would think that the Republicans have been doing so much bad shit that there are SO MANY things you could go after. Things like Cheney still receiving money from Halliburton, and Halliburton getting no-bid contracts in Iraq, then buying gas in Kuwait for 50 cents and selling it to the US military in Iraq for $2.60. Or Bush and Harken Oil. Or Bush going AWOL in a time of war. Or privatizing Medicare and selling seniors to drug companies. There;s just SO MUCH SHIT going on! You would think with all this bad shit they do there would be something there you could use to get the public to see what's going on.
But that's just the problem. Here's what I think we're missing. They are the government, and a reasonable government just wouldn't do that. And America is a good country with a reasonable government.
I think a lot of what is going on is that they have successfully done SO MUCH that is SO BAD that the public just won't believe it.
Iraq - the simple fact is that we already did invade Iraq. The American public simply will not accept that we would do something like that for reasons unrelated to 9/11. The US would never do such a thing, therefore we didn't. To believe that we invaded a country that had done nothing to us -- in the middle of a national emergency requiring our full attention after we were attacked on 9/11, doing things like transferring Arabic translators and intelligence assets FROM the terrorists who attacked us TO a country that did not -- who would ever think that America would ever do such a thing. And if you say we did you sound like a paranoid fanatic nutcase.
These things just don't happen in America, therefore they didn't happen. These things don't happen in America, and don't you dare say they do.
How the hell do you fight THAT?
The Nader Page | Pharmaceutical Prices: "If Sam's Club can negotiate for lower pharmaceutical prices, why can't Uncle Sam?"
AFL-CIO sponsors "Tell Us The Truth" concert tour...
[The American labor movement has been, and in a large sense, still is, the last vestige of organized and institutionalized opposition to the status quo in American politics - the only one with the resources to really make things happen on a large scale... it is great that they're funding this tour. Progressives have, and have always had, a huge advantage over right-wingers on the cultural front... it is one that they've really failed to take advantage of effectively. This is a good sign, I hope to see more of it. And note how well Morello was able to stay "on message" even when challenged on the reasons for attacking globalisation. Good work. Of course, this item appears to have only made it into "print" on the web...]
Raging Against the Machine
Lefty rockers like Tom Morello join forces and hit the road in an antiestablishment tour sponsored by the AFL-CIO
By Brian Braiker
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
Nov. 26 — Iconoclastic rockers Billy Bragg, Steve Earle and friends recently wound down the first month-long leg of a group tour at the unlikeliest of venues: the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the AFL-CIO. Unlikely, that is, if this were your run-of-the-mill pop concert. But in an era of mega-tours organized and sponsored by soft drink and SUV-makers, the labor-backed “Tell us the Truth” tour is the unlikeliest of shows.
The Emperor's New Clothes
[Obviously, not all the members of the American media are blind...]
Ellis Henican - Theatrics Of It All In Iraq
Letters to the Editor in Washington Post
[The Washington Post just published a great letter to the editor (also below, in italics), just below a letter to the editor from John Podesta and the Center for American Progress rebutting the editorial mentioned (and linked to) below.
The publication of an editorial by the Washington Post with a line like this speaks volumes about how effective the ultra-right has been at defining the terms of the game... somewhere in a Washington area smoke filled room, the right has decided to go on the offensive, and make attacking Mr. Soros and Peter Lewis the issue of the day.
Thus, editorials this ("Mr. Soros's Millions" in the WP) which fail to place Mr. Soros' actions in any context, and news articles (LAT, "Democrats Line Up Their Own Billionaire Firepower") which, even as they mention the Heritage model that the Center for American Progress aims to emulate, fail to mention the overwhelmingly larger amounts poured in to the ultra-right over the last thirty years by a much broader cast of characters (most of it "laundered" through tax-exempt foundations [great tax dodge]), and paint progressives as hypocrites for accepting money from these folks.]
I was dumbfounded by this sentence in the Nov. 22 editorial "Mr. Soros's Millions":
"For Democrats thrilled with the Soros millions, imagine conservative financier Richard Mellon Scaife opening his bank account on behalf of Mr. Bush."
Although his money did not go to advocate defeating a particular candidate, Mr. Scaife has given $700 million to conservative organizations over more than four decades. He has been one of the main funders of the Heritage Foundation and many other conservative "think tanks" such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Contemporary Studies. In 1994 he set up a fund to investigate whether Clinton official Vince Foster was murdered, and he funded the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.
Besides Mr. Scaife, let's not forget about other right-wing billionaires such as Howard Ahmanson, who has spent millions promoting religious-right candidates and funding many conservative groups.
There is plenty of reason to worry about money in politics, but why single out Mr. Soros without pointing out the rich funders on the right too?
[The other point I wish to make, and I'll be brief, in deference to Dave's sensibilities: Podesta, Lewis, Soros, MoveOn.org... they represent a moderate to liberal, Clintonian style politics. What used to be the center of American politics (before the right pulled things so far out of balance). While I appreciate what they're doing, they're by no means attempting to shift American politics to the degree that their ultra-right-wing opponents aimed at, thirty years ago. These groups represent baby-steps in an attempt to move things back into balance... not that I'm unhappy to have them test the waters and take the point on this, mind you.
You'd have to go to the left of the Greens (who represent what used to be the liberal/left wing of the Democratic Party) to the Peace and Freedom Party in California (who are seeking to nominate Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier for President/VP), before you find anyone near as radical as Scaife, the Koch brothers, and the Coors family, et. al. ... you sure as hell don't see Mr. Soros, et. al pouring millions into the pockets of these folks, people whose goal is to upend the system as it now exists (just as was the goal of the Heritage Foundation, et. al. and still is). When I see seven figure donations pouring in from an assortment of multi-millionaires and the foundations they control to organizations like The Green Insititute, well, then I'll think that maybe the campaign to create balance is beginning to get some traction.
We're living in a skewed media environment, where the American Enterprise Institute is a non-ideological mainstream institution, and Richard Perle can get away with attacking the "new liberal institutions" (where the hell does the plural come from) as "political", and "not scholars" (as if what the Heritage Foundation produces is scholarship).
I sincerely hope that Podesta, et. al., at the very least, begin to force some "honesty in labeling" upon the American media. That would be a good first step.]
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