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:
The Snarky High Ground
The Teenager just linked to a NYT piece by David Brooks explaining that voters are silly to vote on the basis of "electability", because if they all do that, then voter A will vote for a candidate because he thinks that the candidate is electable, thus making the candidate look stronger and causing voter B to vote for him for the same reason, and so on -- with positive feedback loops leading to a sort of bubble craze which, however, will collapse instantaneously in the same way if the candidate suddenly starts to seem less electable for any reason.
This doesn't seem like much of a point. By now we're dealing with candidates who are all pretty much the same. Gephardt is out, Lieberman soon will be, and support for Kucinich and Sharpton is stable at 1% or 2%. So what we're looking at is really Coke versus Pepsi, and consumer choices of that type are famous for being volatile.
What's really happening is that the core Democratic voters, even the simple Iowa folk, have learned to play the meta-politics game of "electability". So now the pundits have had to try to regain their edge by playing meta-meta-politics: "Aren't those people out there fools, thinking about electability like that?" By doing this, they hope to maintain control of the all-important High Snarky Ground.
As is his wont, Brooks is just throwing a little monkey-wrench into the Democratic works -- no surprise there. Yglesias' case is a bit more complicated. Doesn't he belong to the moderate branch of the party, which has been promoting the swing-voter "electability" strategy and slagging on the odious Democratic Core Constituency ever since Matt was in diapers?
Since approximately 1965 I've had to live with the fact that most Americans don't agree with me about politics, and whatever changes there have been in my own opinions during that period have not changed the situation much. Between you and me (PC aside), the famous White Southern Male the Democrats are supposed to be trying to appeal to seems to be quite the jerk (as do his many Northern brothers). But if I choose to think about his response to a candidate when I vote in a primary -- as people have been nagging me to do for twenty years or more -- couldn't I be cut a little slack?
Of course, my real gripe against the New Dem types (the ones who've been pushing the swing voter strategy the hardest) is that I doubt that they would support an Old Democrat even if he were electable. (Consider Matt's insane drivellings about the ethanol subsidy and Gephardt, for example, or the way many of them turned on Gore because they thought he had gone populist on them.) The big difference between the people who helped Dukakis lose and the ones who helped Gore lose -- I don't mean Matt here -- is that Susan Estrich is "out", whereas Martin Peretz still isn't.
Revisions for style
Blog Hero Award
The cherished STF Blog Hero Award goes to Cup O' Joe for his post They Brought It On Themselves! about Southern Whites.
"Nothing I can say will convince them that their outlook on life is harmful to them, or that the people they are trusting to protect and to guide them are more than likely just using them to further their own causes, whatever they may be. To them, I'm just an interfering Yankee (never mind that I've lived in Atlanta for a decade) who doesn't know anything about life (despite the fact that I have lived in more places than some of these people have even heard of). Things are the way they are and that's the way it will always be. It's an argument you would expect to hear from a slave or a feudal peasant, not a citizen of a free nation."Go read, it's good. Other good stuff there, too. Scroll around.
Repost of something from two weeks ago:
"But the most sacred duty civilians have to their armed forces is to ensure they are never called to sacrifice their lives unless this nation faces a real threat."
Kerry Guy Getting Creamed
I'm watching Crossfire, and a Kerry "Senior Advisor" is on, and is just getting creamed about the Iraq war and the WMD question. I mean eaten alive. Begala is stepping in to try to help him. The right-winter guys are bringing up old Kerry quotes about how Iraq had WMD and how we must act... the Kerry guy is being nice, doesn't know the issues, isn't prepared to argue the points, seems surprised that the right-wingers would say the things they are saying... Reminds me of Kerry before his makeover. "Pathetic" is the word coming to mind.
In a way it reminds me of Leiberman saying the Bush people should go ahead and count absentee ballots, even if they are not properly postmarked -- which might be the one event that stands out for me as exemplifying the problems of the old-style "Washington" Democrats.
I've been thinking that if Kerry can continue to be the tough, focused, fighting guy he has been for the last few weeks -- since he took on the Dean persona -- maybe he can win. It didn't occur to me that a campaign is more than just the guy at the top. It's also all the old-style Democrats that we have been so tired of. They're still there.
Test of Electronic Balloting System Finds Major Security Flaws:
"Electronic voting machines from Diebold Inc. have computer security and physical security problems that might allow corrupt insiders or determined outsiders to disrupt or even steal an election, according to a report presented yesterday to Maryland state legislators."
Krugman, Where's the Apology?:
"Still, the big story isn't about Mr. Bush; it's about what's happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn't. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?"
Political Blog Ads
One of the topics on the blogs today is inexpensive blog advertising vs. expensive TV advertising. I think there is no question that inexpensive POLITICAL blog ads reach the informed person most likely to get involved and/or contribute. Compared to the cost of TV advertising there shouldn't be any question that a campaign should be putting part of its money - particularly early money - into weblog ads.
I've accepted an ad for Chandler for Congress, over there on the right. Let me know what you think. And click on the ad to visit the site, see what you think about it, and send a message that politicians would do well to pay attention to us blogers and blog readers.
Erskine Blogs: Stop treating the South like a foreign land:
"I am not an oracle on Southern politics. But I know one thing. Pundits and Democrats need to stop treating the South like it is some sort of uncouth uncle who is easier to ignore than confront.
Coulter Fails to Slime Kerry
Despite my lifelong interest in slimy creatures, I don't normally do Ann Coulter. However, a line I saw in Diana Moon's fisking of Coulter caught my eye.
Coulter writes: ""Kerry's life experience consists of living off other men's money by marrying their wives and daughters".
To begin with, that's pretty misleading. Like George Washington, Kerry is a war hero who married a rich widow with a taste for classy guys-- and not someone else's wife, the way Neil Bush just did. (Apparently Coulter thinks that Theresa Heinz should have remained alone forever, the way Coulter probably will).
But here's my main point: what's this shit about "marrying other men's daughters?"
What other options are there? By law he can't marry other men's sons, nor can he marry his own daughters. Marrying other men's daughters is where the action is in the marriage biz. Does Coulter think Kerry should have remained single forever too?
It sort of seems that Coulter, at her age, is still not completely comfortable with what Mommy and Daddy do in bed and where babies come from. Isn't it about time for someone to take her aside and give her The Talk?
Edit: Neil Bush, I mean, not Jeb. Can't tell the felons without a scorecard.
Sometimes it is a good idea to wait a bit before saying anything. I think I'm glad that I had decided this week is one of those times. And the news today that his campaign is flat out of money make today another one of those times... I think I'll wait a bit longer to decide what I think about all of this.
Don't you wish the professional pundits would keep their mouths shut when they don't really have anything worth saying? Blogging is great -- you don't live and die by deadlines. Of course, you also don't get paid.
"A Certain Amount of Baldness"
Recently the New York Times posted a story with the too-tactful headline "Less Certainty in White House on Iraq's Arms". Brad Delong objected that the White House is not "less certain" now; it is now certain that it had earlier been wrong.
"Mecki" commented (slightly revised):
"I was reminded of a story by Ephraim Kishon, in which he describes his loss of hair. When he's down to 3 hairs (and two have fallen out) he writes 'I guess I have to own up to having a certain amount of baldness' .
This is the Bush White House: When every one else has realised that there are no WMDs and there were no WMDs, they say 'Well, maybe not QUITE as many as we thought.'"
This sounds like a brand name for the whole Bush administration: "A Certain Amount of Baldness". It describes the economic plan pretty well too.
Edited for style
Wire story from Moon's UPI, printed in Moon's Washington Times, Iraqi govt. papers: Saddam bribed Chirac - (United Press International):
Documents from Saddam Hussein's oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.This is almost certainly right-wing propaganda against France, planted in an Iraqi paper for the purpose of being picked up by US media.
A senior Bush administration official said Washington was aware of the reports but refused further comment.This is White House assistance in this smear job.
Here is some background on the right-wing's campaign against France. These wingnuts REALLY ARE talking with increasing hostility toward France, with some discussion of military action! FRANCE!
Lyons: "Attack on Scrooge McDuck"
Here's Gene Lyons' column for the week!
Attack on Scrooge McDuck• Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient
of the National Magazine Award.
What I Think Happened
I think that a lot of last minute deciders, who had not been paying particular attention to the race, voted for Kerry based on his resume, assuming that he can win because he is a veteran and Dean isn't. I suspect that none of them have had to sit through an entire Kerry speech.
Anyone who HAS tried to sit through an entire Kerry speech knows he can't beat Bush.
Somehting in the Air
I don't know why, but lots of bloggers who seem usually to have full-time proofreaders are posting things loaded with typos, elided words, repeated words, etc. Or maybe it's just me.
Alterman and Springsteen: Problems?
Eric Alterman doesn't like Deanies:
"Moreover, it’s kind of pathetic that so many people on the left become so tied into hero worship—Nader, Dean, Chomsky, (and dare I say it, Stalin)—that they feel a need to abuse anyone who does not share their wide-eyed admiration."
Well, yeah, you did dare say that, Eric. You be scary when you be mad.
He explained himself the next day, though:
"Did I smear all or even a majority of Dean supporters? Did I compare Dean to Stalin? You get an “F” in reading comprehension for even asking either question."
OK, fine, I'm probably not a Stalinist, but since I found the gratuitous Stalin reference highly annoying, I get an F in reading comprehension. I think I'll take what's behind the third door, Eric.
Eric needs to find another outlet. He doesn't let on, but the restraining order Bruce Springsteen slapped on his sorry ass must have really hurt him.
Edit: I WAS JOKING! There was no restraining order!
(Edited for style.)
Sharpton Working For Bush?!
The Left Coaster: Al Sharpton Has Left Our Building.
Go read. Looks like a GOP "dirty trick" designed to erode black support for the Democrats, especially Dean! A high-level GOP campaign operative working with the Sharpton campaign -- for free! From the nature of this relationship I suspect that any investigative follow-up of this story will also show some kind of campaign or personal funding coming to Sharpton from the GOP, whether publicly disclosed or not (as in Swiss bank account).
Digby at the american street: Ten Patriots.
I'm watching Bush taking questions on TV. He calls the pre-war period, "the runup to the war." Is this related to the "marketing campaign" that his Chief of Staff referred to? Runup?
He also says that Saddam was a man with bad intentions, who could have gotten weapons, so the US is safer with him gone.
Is the US safer from stopping the war on those who attacked us on 9/11 to instead go to Iraq? Either we are in a desperate war against the terrorists, or not. If we are, then how can we pause that war to start a different war?
It took a while...
but apparently the majority of Americans now hold the beliefs about IraqWar Part II that I did before the war took place.
Most Americans (51 percent to 43 percent) believe the result of the war with Iraq was not worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq. (CBS News/New York Times poll, January 12-15, 2004)Thanks for playing folks.
Better late than never I guess.
Too bad all those people had to die, huh?
Suddenly I'm getting lots of e-mail with attachments. Obviously viruses. Don't open any e-mails with attachments for a while.
Keep This Going -- We Need A Horse Race
I think it would be great if the nomination race goes right up to the convention! The press LOVES a horse race and will cover this as a major story, every day. And every day the media will be reporting what each candidate said about how terrible Bush is for the country!
For example, With Race Near Fever Pitch, Candidates Zero In on Bush:
"Throughout the day, the candidates denounced Mr. Bush's economic and foreign policy: in one typical remark, Mr. Kerry described the foreign policy as 'arrogant and inept.' But mainly, it was a day for the candidates to avoid conflict with one another and set out the themes that have defined this campaign since the beginning. From here in southern New Hampshire to Hanover, in the western part of the state, and from the seacoast to the hills of Keene in the southwest, the candidates called for a sharp expansion of health care coverage and an end to tax cuts that benefit the wealthy. More than anything else, each presented himself as the Democrat who could beat Mr. Bush. "So here's to Dean, Kerry, Edwards and Clark - may the best man not emerge until August!
Today's Google Experiment: "I trust Hamas more than my own government."
Does anyone remember when Republicans were blocking anti-terrorism bills following the Oklahoma City and Atlanta Olympics bombings?:
"However, some law enforcement provisions were dropped at the insistence of House [Republicans] lawmakers fearful that federal law enforcement would become too powerful and intrude on individual liberties [of right-wing terrorists].In contrast, here's part of a Clinton radio address on the subject:
"And law enforcement has also asked that explosives used to make a bomb be marked with a taggant -- a trace chemical or a microscopic plastic chip scattered throughout the explosives. This way sophisticated machines can find bombs before they explode, and when they do explode police scientists can trace a bomb back to the people who actually sold the explosive materials that led to the bomb.And do you remember when the Republicans refused to investigate the militias following the Oklahoma City bombing, choosing instead of investigate the government's actions at Waco -- justifying and further inflaming the domestic terrorists?
Dean Goes Nuts
Dean Goes Nuts.com.
"I scream! You scream! We all scream for Howard Dean!"Their favorite is my favorite, too! (Warning - broadband recommended, no screams.)
Why Can't Democrats Add?
Over at Fight for the Future - Blog for the Future, "Why Can't Democrats Add?":
"It takes 18 years to grow more African American voters, the same for Latinos (unless you let immigrants who are already working here become citizens). Growing more single women is a pretty hard campaign to message.Good question: why aren't Demcorats doing more -- much more -- to GROW THE BASE? They're not doing enough to protect and hold on to the base they have.
The So-Called Dean "Scream"
Go see it and hear it the way it sounded in the room - before filtering out the crowd noise and pumping up the volume at the scream, which is what you heard on TV all week.
(Thanks to Body and Soul)
Blog Hero Award
The coveted, much sought-after blog hero award goes to Body and Soul: Attacking a general (or any other Democrat):
"The natural tendency, when you see your opponent get trashed, even when you know it's unfair, is to sit back and watch it happen. But under the circumstances, I think the Democrats have more to gain from standing up for each other than from standing by and letting it happen. In other words, all of the candidates should make it clear that they object to the press putting the Dean Scream on endless repeat. When they go after Dean for mentioning Diebold, all of them should back him up. After Clark was attacked unfairly, all of them should make clear that while they may not want to dwell on Bush's military record, it's disingenuous of the press to completely ignore it.
Republicans Eat Their Own
Vicious tactics are to be expected from Republicans, but here in Oregon they're using them on each other.
Goli Ameri (a woman) and Tim Phillips are contending for the Republican nomination in Oregon's First Congressional District. Both are generic business Republicans who make no mention of social issues on their websites. Phillips is the establishment candidate with many significant endorsements.
Ameri is an immigrant from Iran who has had a successful business career here, while Phillips' mother is an immigrant from India. Both support the Bush administration's new strictness toward foreign visitors, but in 1998 Ameri protested rather similiar policies by the Clinton administration.
After 9/11 her change of position is hardly surprising, and it's not at all unusual for a Republican to respond differently to similiar policies coming from Clinton and from Bush. But Phillips has charged that Ameri "put the people of Iran's interests before those of the American people", and has succeeded in posting his disloyalty smear on The National Journal's "House Race Hotline" (subscription, no link; it may have been taken down by now).
So that's how they treat each other. It gives us a pretty good idea what kind of civility we can expect from them in the general election. Phillips is getting some Republican flak for his stand right now (look here) but in the fall we can expect the gloves to be off.
Phillips' link to "House Race Hotline" at Jan 25., 10 a.m.
My copy of "House Race Hotline" story
(Edited to add "House Race Hotline" links).
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