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:
Growth In Las Vegas
Everyone knows that Las Vegas is the city of fast growth. Why is that? Maybe this opinion piece has a clue to the answer. What Wal-Mart Has Wrought:
"Anyone who doubts the ability of these unions to transform dead-end jobs into productive careers should check out the improbable union city of service-sector America: Las Vegas. By organizing almost every Strip hotel, HERE has created an employer-funded training academy where maids and dishwashers can become cooks and servers and wine stewards, and a hotel workforce that makes enough to purchase new homes. The biggest housing boom in the nation today spreads across the Vegas desert and, as in Los Angeles a half-century ago, it is largely the consequence of unionization."Sounds sort of like how the REST of the country was, back when unions were strong. Unions brought good wages, benefits, overtime, vacations, health insurance and created the middle class. Now they're weak, overtime is gone, wages are dropping, we're losing our health insurance, the middle class is being split up into the poor (if you add in debt, most of the middle class is worth very little now) and a few rich who own almost everything. I wonder if this is related?
Most Recent Kerry Smear is Fake
Below Dave has posted a piece of GOP-USA disinformation about Kerry's Vietnam service -- a story claiming that Kerry received an unearned medal for killing a Vietnamese who was unarmed and dying. Here's the truth (from Snopes):
"Kerry earned his Silver Star on 28 February 1969, when he beached his craft and jumped off it with an M-16 rifle in hand to chase and shoot a guerrilla who was running into position to launch a B-40 rocket at Kerry's boat. Contrary to the account quoted above, Kerry did not shoot a "Charlie" who had "fired at the boat and missed," whose "rocket launcher was empty," and who was "already dead or dying" after being "knocked down with a .50 caliber round." Kerry's boat had been hit by a rocket fired by someone else — the guerrilla in question was still armed with a live B-40 and had only been clipped in the leg; when the guerrilla got up to run, Kerry assumed he was getting into position to launch a rocket and shot him."
(Incidentally, if some winger starts raving about Kerry murdering innocent civilians -- that accusation has been made against Sen. Kerrey from Nebraska, not Kerry.)
There's a lot more at Snopes: Snopes on Kerry's Vietnam Service
9/11 Survivors Protest Rove Ads
Here's a nice site by 9/11 survivors. It's got a rundown of the various protests of the Bush administration's use of 9/11 images.
They don't want the Democrats to capitalize on 9/11 either, but you can tell that they have major objections to Bush's whole approach.
They've gambled and, so far, they've lost
I've said for more than a year now that the Bush team was trying to rerun Reagan's 1984 campaign. Reagan, who was one of the luckiest presidents in my lifetime was also one of the most unpopular presidents ever judging from his poll numbers in 1982 and early 1983. Reagan lucked out in 1984 when the economy recovered just in the nick of time (you and I can debate whether it had a damn thing to do with his policies) and Americans rewarded him with a second term. I have long contended that if the economy recovers and jobs start returning in any way we'll get another four years of W, immoral war based on lies and exaggeration notwithstanding.
Well W and the boys clearly thought they were going to be able to party like it was 1984 again. As Atrios so perceptively points out in this post, W and the boys have essentially revved the engine up and dropped the clutch as far as fiscal and monetary policy is concerned. There's nothing left they can do. They keep expecting the economy to respond and it stubbornly refuses to do so. We're still essentially in the same place as we were two years ago.
Furthermore, continuing the engine metaphor, I would contend that the RPMs are currently nearing the redline point and the wheels are spinning but we're not going anywhere. If the tires don't get traction soon folks, there could be one helluva mess. (A "dubya dip" recession perhaps?) And, as Atrios notes, any sort of shock to the system at this point (say, a major terrorist attack) would be nothing short of disastrous for the economy.
Through pursuing such reckless economic policies in order to assure his re-election, W has actually left us all in a very vulnerable position economically. Politically, W had certainly better hope nothing at all goes wrong in the next eight months because he has absolutely no margin for error now.
And, even if things go relatively well, I'm really beginning to think he may still lose.
Hey, I can dream, can't I?
Smears -- "Invented By Democrats"?
Cross-posted at american street.
When you hear a line like this one: "Nothing is sacred in today's politics of personal destruction - invented and perfected by the Democrats" on a website called GOP USA, you know there's really going to be some nastiness in the coming Presidential campaign. Republicans accuse others of what they are doing, as a tactic to give them cover. "Self-acquittal."
And then it begins:
"In the debate about which man has given more to his country, no evidence has been more emotionally persuasive than Senator Kerry's own claims of war heroism. One basis for this assertion is that while serving in Vietnam, Kerry showed great courage in leaping off his boat to attack and kill a wounded North Vietnamese soldier."Some time back I said that the Republicans are going to spread so many disgusting smears that soon YOU will hate your own candidate. This is an example. This kind of stuff is so nasty, so wrong, so foul, and so low that you feel sick just being in the same country where it is being said. It makes my stomach turn, and I want OUT of the campaign already. And there are 8 months of this to go.
If you think the stuff they were saying about and doing to President Clinton was bad, this is going to be so much worse. If THIS smear doesn't "have legs" then they'll try a different one. And another one. And another one. And on and on until they either find one that DOES have an effect, or until the accumulation of dirt just makes the guy look bad. People will say, "Where there's smoke there's fire." Today people still talk about "all the Clinton scandals" even though NO ONE in the Clinton administration was EVER found to have done something wrong! Every single person accused was exonerated of every single charge. (Except Clinton got a blow job.) I'll be surprised if Kerry gets even ONE vote.
"Evidence suggests the Vietnamese soldier had previously been wounded by a 50-caliber round. Veteran friends of mine tell me if a person is hit by a 50-caliber round, it is highly unlikely they could continue to be a threat, because of the hydro-shock associated with the impact of the round. I am assured this is true regardless of where the enemy was hit.This is what they are spreading, especially in the South, where they worry that Kerry's service to the country might carry some weight against Bush.
"Also, Kerry's ardent fans clamor over the Purple Hearts he received for each of his several wounds. What is not widely known is that even a minor wound can qualify for a Purple Heart, and a combination of Purple Hearts can be the basis for reassignment to a safer post. Kerry did, in fact, take a safer post after accepting his war medals.Got that? Kerry wasn't BRAVE for volunteering to serve in VietNam, and getting wounded saving men he commanded, he was in fact TRYING TO LEAVE HIS BUDDIES BEHIND by receiving multiple Purple Heart medals for being injured several times. (And what about his Silver Star?)
"In total, it appears Kerry was in-country less than five months. Yet some prisoners of war served more than seven years and had many serious wounds. "This Kerry guy, what a wimp. Trying to shirk his duty to his country, trying to leave his buddies behind. But wait, there's something EVEN MORE sinister about this Kerry guy:
"Did he only participate in peaceful war protests, or did he join the Hard-Left, anti-US, pro-Communistic cabal of Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda and other well-known Hard-Left, anti-US radicals?My God! The guy is a COMMUNIST AGENT! We need to see his (illegally obtained, in the Nixon years) FBI file. He has an FBI FILE!
"Today I am announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to encourage and assist Senator John F. Kerry in the acquisition and distribution of these two [FBI and Navy record] files. In due course, we will send the appropriate forms to Senator Kerry to be filled out. Soon, following President Bush's lead, Senator Kerry can reveal to the mainstream media the various documents establishing the truth about his conduct."The truth about his conduct. Right.
If you think for a minute this was really written by Aldrich... This is the real thing: pure, researched, focus grouped, professional stuff here. And we're going to see a LOT more of it!
Update - One more thing I want to say. As I said above, this isn't Aldrich speaking. This isn't even Bush - even though it is the Bush style to "stay above the fray" while sending out surrogates to do their dirty work. Like Bush did with McCain in the 2000 primaries. This is "The Party" at work here. This is who they are, and what they do. This is how they get power and keep it. Be ready for it.
Why Did They Drop It?
Why did the Democrats drop the AWOL controversey? Why did they stop talking about it? It was just starting to get somewhere. It was just starting to penetrate America's conciousness?
And, while I'm talking about Democrats dropping things, what about Harken Oil?
On His Watch
Bush Defends His Sept. 11 Ads, Economic Policies:
"Despite pressure from Sept. 11 families and firefighters, Bush said he 'will continue to speak about the effects of 9/11 on our country and my presidency.'An OBLIGATION to exploit their tragedy for political gain? WTF does that mean?
This happened on his watch. He shouldn't be bragging about it.
Update - George W. Bush acts like he's entitled to treat the remains of a dead man like a souvenir. Maybe he feel this way because it happened ON HIS WATCH.
Anonymous voice of America's unemployed
Go here and click "Hear the Tape" : Anonymous voice of America's unemployed
"This week I got a call from America, who happens to be a 43-year-old unemployed woman living in the Valley. She is angry. She is sad. America got my answering machine and left a message. George Bush's line must have been busy. John Kerry was probably out of town.Anyway, go click "Hear the Tape"
Go see 120 truths about liberals, including gems such as "The liberal must create an atmosphere of crisis and fear to justify collectivist oppression."
The Message From Martha
I fear the real message from the sweeping investigation, swift prosecution, and conviction of Martha Stewart is: if you are a high profile person of some wealth, you had better not be contributing to Democrats.
Martha is the symbolic prosecution for the corporate accounting scandals in which billions and billions were stolen. Ken Lay is not. End of message.
I left a comment to this post: Whiskey Bar: Bush Hits the Trifecta Again. My comment:
As a marketer, I think that all this "outrage" is going to do is amplify Bush's message, which is "Bush 9/11 Bush 9/11." It's intentional - carefully calculated, releasing the first ads with these pictures. Of course they knew what the response would be -- they counted on it. It's free advertising to have all the news outlets reporting that people are outraged that Bush is using 9/11 pictures in his ads. His TARGET audience will be reinforced by that. To them the news reports will just be seen as liberals whining. (I haven't tuned in to Limbaugh for a few days, but wanna bet something like that is today's theme?)I left a similar comment to this post at american street.
Update - I just came across this: Bush Campaigns Amid a Furor Over Ads,
Mr. Bush's aides said that they would not pull the commercials and that the battle over them could even work to their advantage by focusing new attention on what they said was the president's forceful response to the attacks and the continued threat from terrorists.Doh!
February Job Numbers
Lately all the right-wing radio shows have been touting the "Household Survey" over they "Payroll Survey" because the Household shows that unemployment is not as bad as the Payroll shows. (Economists say the latter, Payroll, is the more reliable number.) But today's job numbers for February are terrible if you use the Household numbers, which actually fell. Don't expect to be hearing about the Household Survey on right-wing radio anymore.
The numbers are here: Employment Situation Summary.
Scalia Knows No Law
Justice Scalia denies that there are any problems with his two recent hunting trips paid for by people with cases coming before the Supreme Court. (His precise response: "Quack quack".)
As far as I know, Supreme Court justices are invulnerable to any challenge except impeachment by Congress, and with the Delay-Lott Congress we still have, impeachment is unthinkable. Thus Scalia is untouchable and knows it, and is acting accordingly.
The authors of the constitution certainly must have recognized that there are certain critical points of vulnerability in our system of checks and balances, and that Supreme Court Justices are among the most important of these. I would imagine that over the years, quite a bit has been written about the system's dependence on having individuals of a high ethical standard located at these critical positions. (Nope, no citations. Am I wrong?)
But like most people who call themselves conservatives, Scalia seems entirely indifferent to conflict-of-interest considerations. Whereas the founding fathers presumably hoped that people in these positions would discipline themselves, Scalia seems to have decided that since there are no real legal restrictions on his behavior, that means that he can do anything he damn well pleases.
This feeling of sovereign and invulnerable entitlement, rather reminiscent of that of a feudal lord or a Saudi prince, is also widely felt among the captains of industry and by Republican political leaders. Many of these recognize no limits to their actions except the letter of the law, and often enough they feel justified in ignoring the law too if it cramps their style. "Trust us!" is their motto.
If you're wondering who I'm talking about, Scalia's hunting partner Dick Cheney would be a pretty good example. And also the Idiot King imposed on us in the year 2000 by Scalia and four of his friends.
Scalia / Cheney hunting trip
Scalia's Kansas hunting trip
The Court Ignores its Own Principles
P.S. Note Lessig's dilemma in "The Court Ignores Its Own Principles". He thought that he could win by arguing on the basis of the principles in which he knew the Justices believed. He's puzzled that that didn't work, but there's no mystery here at all if you assume that at least five of the justices are political operatives.
This Is Very Good
This is very good: the american street: The Po-Mo Prez and Identity Politics. Values vs issues.
And this: With God as my Copilot. Very good indeed. Bush saying he hadn't realized America could be attacked. He doesn't read papers, so I guess he never knew about the Soviet Union.
On His Watch
Furor over Bush's 9/11 ad
"After 3,000 people were murdered on his watch, it seems to me that that takes an awful lot of audacity. Honestly, it's in poor taste.' - Kristen Breitweiser, with her husband's ring."I’d like to see a TV ad with this script:
"3000 people were killed on his watch, our worst national tragedy, when he was on vacation. He had already taken more time off than any president before him, but he went to his ranch in Texas, after he had been warned by the FBI, by the CIA and by the outgoing Clinton Administration, that we could be attacked at any time.Make suggestions for changes to this script. Maybe we can get something going, raise some money to put it on the air.
I don't want to let him get away with using 9/11 again.
With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.But W would tell you that all of this is not his fault.
Apparently, "prosperity is just around the corner" as W attempts to replay Reagan's "Morning Again in America" campaign but without any of the, um, positive news that Reagan could brag about back in 1984.
Straussians With Nukes
Sometimes I think that the right-wingers are competing to get weirder and weirder, like rock bands appealing for new teenagers by trying to top last year's acts. But the stuff going on on the Right matters, because they are firmly in charge and have nukes. For an introduction to the kind of thinking the Right is engaged in, Matthew Yglesias writes about the Straussian influence on Bush's Bioethics Council:
"Simply put, the view is that scientific research holds the promise of radically improving human health and therefore must be stopped.This article confirms the above, discussing Bush's appointments to the Council on Bioethics, headed by University of Chicago bioethicist Leon Kass. Please read or scan this article to get a sense of the kind of appointments being made by our government.
"A surprising number of the council members, including Kass, are closely associated with the neoconservative religious magazine First Things. [. . .] Leon Kass is a physician and philosopher with a decidedly anti-modernist bent. A disciple of University of Chicago anti-modernist philosopher Leo Strauss, Kass has long believed that the Enlightenment was something of a mistake. In his view, its focus on individual rights and individual conscience undermines the traditional bases for morality."So... Straussian philosophy. Before I start - I don't claim to have particularly studied it, except to scratch the surface. Straussians are basically anti-modern -- the Enlightenment brought with it a liberal ideology of social-political progress. Strauss felt this liberalism allowed (or inevitably created) a weak German government that would fall to evil -- Nazism.
"The modern world is held to be the deliberate creation (with some unintended consequences) of the modern philosophers -- namely, the Enlightenment, which gave birth to both scientific-technological progress and the liberal ideology of social-political progress. The Enlighteners argued (though still covertly) that instead of hiding philosophy, philosophers should reform society to make it more hospitable to philosophy: in particular, by undertaking the "project" of modern science, by which reason masters nature and provides material gratifications -- safety, health and wealth -- to common men, bribing them into acquiescence to philosophy. Physical science and technology would provide the know-how, while a new kind of regime, liberalism, would provide the conditions of liberty and equality enabling men to pursue their self-interest. "One of the points of Straussian philosophy is that there are a special few who are supposed to run the world. And this elite is also the group that will understand "straussian writings" - philosophy written by previous philosophers on two levels, one for the masses and one that the ruling elite will understand. There's a sort of Calvinist idea here: Only a few people are Chosen to go to Heaven, and they will know who they are -- only a few elite people are Chosen to understand the higher-level messages in Straussian writings -- and therefore be rulers -- and they will know who they are by understanding these messages. Here is a discussion of Straussian philosophy from a far-right viewpoint:
"The key Straussian concept is the Straussian text, which is a piece of philosophical writing that is deliberately written so that the average reader will understand it as saying one ("exoteric") thing but the special few for whom it is intended will grasp its real ("esoteric") meaning. The reason for this is that philosophy is dangerous. Philosophy calls into question the conventional morality upon which civil order in society depends; it also reveals ugly truths that weaken men's attachment to their societies. Ideally, it then offers an alternative based on reason, but understanding the reasoning is difficult and many people who read it will only understand the "calling into question" part and not the latter part that reconstructs ethics. Worse, it is unclear whether philosophy really can construct a rational basis for ethics. Therefore philosophy has a tendency to promote nihilism in mediocre minds, and they must be prevented from being exposed to it. The civil authorities are frequently aware of this, and therefore they persecute and seek to silence philosophers. Strauss shockingly admits, contrary to generations of liberal professors who have taught him as a martyr to the First Amendment, that the prosecution of Socrates was not entirely without point. This honesty about the dangers of philosophy gives Straussian thought a seriousness lacking in much contemporary philosophy; it is also a sign of the conviction that philosophy, contrary to the mythology of our "practical" (though sodden with ideology and quick to take offense at ideas) age, matters.Please read on, and you'll find:
"In a nutshell, Strauss would lead us back to the Aristotelian conception of man as naturally political. Politics implies natural goods that are prior to human thinking about them. If man is political by nature, the goods of politics also exist by nature. The goods of politics are the ways man must behave to make political community work. If there are natural goods, there is a natural hierarchy of goods, and therefore a natural hierarchy of men, as different men pursue different goods. Civic equality may be salutary for the functioning of society, but men are not truly equal in value. All these things and more follow. Following Strauss's arguments, it is not hard to realize that much of what conservatives find attractive in society is ultimately premised on philosophy that is pre-modern and to some extent anti-modern. We realize that our America is a modern society but not only a modern society. This alone is worth the price of the Straussian ticket."I wonder where I fit in this hierarchy?
I don't really think there has been an ongoing conspiracy of secret organizations of elites who control the world. I do, however, wonder if those in today's right-wing movement listened to all the theories and decided, "That would be cool, as long as it's US doing the controlling," and got started setting it up.
A friend just said, "It's a good thing we're unable to actually do anything about all this stuff, because otherwise they'd shoot us for talking like this."
More Strauss stuff: Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception, The long reach of Leo Strauss.
Working The Polls
I worked at the polls today. Just got home. This time I was the "inspector" -- the person in charge of the precinct operation... Got there at 6am, home after 9pm. Long day. Exhausted. Might blog tomorrow. Might sleep.
Congrats to Kerry. Good night.
Is Kerry a Liberal?
Well, yeah, sort of. I'm not the guy to defend Kerry against this particular charge; my hero is the late Paul Wellstone, who was unquestionably more liberal than Kerry.
And yeah, Kerry really is from Massachusetts too. Kerry and the Democrats are really going to have to take the bull by the horns on this one. Kerry has stated his intention of attacking rather than letting himself be put on the defensive -- thank God -- and once Bush's wretched record on counter-terrorism is widely known, half the "Massachusetts liberal" smear will become inoperative. Bush is supposedly "strong on defense", but you don't become strong on defense by talking loud, strutting around in a flight suit, and tying the American military down in the wrong country. Iraq was never the main problem.
As for the rest of it: deep down, most Americans would rather live in Massachusetts, California, or Minnesota than in Texas or Alabama. There is indeed a bigoted demographic which has a bitter hatred of Northerners and liberals, and they should be allowed to vote for George W. Bush. But there are also a lot of voters who thoughtlessly buy the "Northern liberal" smear without really being quite that bigoted, and we should change their minds. Massachusetts is America too.
P.S. And New York is also America. When al-Qaeda wanted to hurt us, they didn't attack Dallas.
Really, why should they have? They have lots of friends in Dallas.
Conason on the "Liberal" Charge
Blasts Kill 143 at Iraq Shiite Shrines
KARBALA, Iraq - Simultaneous explosions ripped through crowds of worshippers Tuesday at Shiite Muslim shrines in Baghdad and the city of Karbala, killing at least 143 people on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar, a U.S. official said. It was the bloodiest day since the end of major fighting.Aren't you glad we started this war in Iraq?
We sure have improved life for the people of Iraq, haven't we?
Bush & Guard Inflation
Boston.com / Bush bio on Web inflates Guard service:
"But the State Department biography of Bush, which has been on its website since 2001, makes the president out to be more of a frequent flyer than the embellished account in Bush's 1999 autobiography, 'A Charge To Keep.' In that book, Bush said he flew with his unit for 'the next several years' after his five months of training on the F-102 concluded in June 1970."You can be sure these websites will soon will be set to "never said that."
More on "Who is Bandar Bush?"
I'll be continually updating my Kerry Smear and Who is Bandar Bush? files from here on. Here are some recent samples from the latter:
From the March, 2004 Harpers:
"Since September 2001, the administration has designated hundreds of individuals and organizations, including several Islamic charities, as terrorists or sponsors of terrorism and frozen their assets. Yet Saudi organizations and individuals have emerged relatively unscathed.... And although in January the Treasury Department designated several branches of the Saudi charity al-Haramain, U.S. officials declined to freeze the assets of the group's dozens of other offices worldwide, including the one in Riyadh....."
From the Sept 11, 2003 Time Magazine:
"U.S. investigators, he says, sometimes suspect that the Saudis are fishing, trying to ferret out details of U.S. intelligence, or stalling, to protect Saudi individuals from embarrassment. One of the Administration's top counterterrorism officials says the Saudis still appear to be protecting charities associated with the royal family and its friends.....
.....Indeed, when President Bush spoke to Abdullah for 20 minutes by phone last week [fall 2003], say U.S. and Saudi sources, he went out of his way to compliment the Prince on Saudi Arabia's efforts to combat terrorism."
Haiti Takeover Part Of Bush's "War On Terror?"
Something's going on concerning Haiti, and I don't know what it is. Listening to AM radio this morning, the local far-right station followed the network news with a "War on Terrorism" report that President Aristide has left Haiti, and American troops are securing the country following over 100 killed in the uprising to get rid of him - the wording implying that Aristide had been behind the rioting and killings. Then O'Reilly comes on and rants about how the mainstream media just lies, and you should never listen to or read mainstream media news reports because they are all liberals and just lie because they truly believe that government solves every problem and they want to tax you to pay for their big-government solutions and will always take the side of the Democrats.
Then I tuned to Limbaugh who was going on about the "atrocities committed by Aristide," and how "the Democrats" are circulating stories that the Bush administration was behind the uprising against Aristide because they were against this just like they were against invading Iraq to get rid THAT dictator (and Democrats always support dictators,) and it is really all about securing "the black vote." (Limbaugh is ALWAYS pre-emptive, telling his audience that "the Democrats" or "liberals" are circulating stories that... and it's always way ahead of any stories actually appearing, but the stories he refers to will be accurate reports of what is really happening... And he ALWAYS tells his audience that what Democrats do is about "the black vote" and not about "real Americans...")
So I think (tinfoil hat guy) something is going on concerning Haiti. For some reason they are selling the takeover of the elected government of Haiti as part of Bush's strong leadership in the war on terror...
When I combine this with Aaron Brown blowing his stack over the GOP machine's attempt to deep six the 9/11 investigation, I can only conclude the Matrix is experiencing a serious program run error in its CNN subroutine.And, under Agent Rove's direction, the system is about to crash.
If you start seeing green numbers, be very afraid.
Republicans and October Surprises
In response to comments following this post, In October? No Surprise.
Fears that Republicans will attempt to manipulate elections using some kind of "October Surprise" go back further than the 1980 election when Iran released the hostages just after Reagan's inauguration, after President Carter had worked so hard to get them released with no success -- and no rational reason for the Iranians to hold out so long. (Doing that only makes sense if the Iranians wanted something in writing signed by a representative of the new President, not by a candidate, and coincidentally two weeks later the Reagan administration started shipping arms to Iran -- a fact that became public from the Iran/Contra investigation.). In fact, this story about the 1968 election, Nixon 'Wrecked Early Peace In Vietnam', describes events that helped people who knew about them realize what was going on in 1980: (Other sources here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
At the heart of the new account was Nixon's fear that Vietnam peace efforts by President Johnson in the run-up to the November 1968 US presidential election could wreck Nixon's bid to oust Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, and capture the White House.The charge that the Reagan campaign interfered with attempts to get the hostages released in order to manipulate the elections came from people who knew that Republicans had interfered to block peace negotiations of a previous Democratic administration in order to make Democrats look weak on national security. They understood what Republicans are capable of. And now we have more history. We have Nixon in 68, Reagan in 80 and Bush forcing the Iraq vote to manipulate the 2002 election. So the question is not what are they capable of doing for the 2004 elections, it's what ARE they going to do?
(Gotta go -- My wife's looking at me with that 'there I go again' look...)
Race To The Bottom
Over at The Zeitgeist: Lay off the Kool-aid Tom...:
"I've been a software developer since the late 1970s when I was running my own business in high-school. I was a VP in technology on Wall St. for many years, and even helped jump-start this whole Internet thing by putting JPMorgan & Co. on the Internet back in early 1991 -- JPMorgan was the very first bank in the world on the Internet -- and helping to fund the development of a little program called Mosaic (which later became Netscape). I've run my own consulting business. I am the founder of a start-up. God help me.I don't think the job loss situation is about "trade" at all. I think the use of the terms "trade" and "free trade" are clever ways to distract from the real problem. "Trade" sounds great, OF COURSE we should "trade" with others. Duh! But the arguments I have heard promoting sending jobs offshore are pretty much the same argument as those for getting rid of the minimum wage, for not having unions, for workers keeping quiet, doing what they're told and being grateful that they have food and shelter at all. As I wrote the other day in Trade, Jobs and the Ongoing Struggle,
"Show me where the current trade arguments are different from the minimum wage arguments? They argue that raising (or even having) a minimum wage keeps the poor from getting jobs. And they argue that asking trade partners to protect workers rights and safety and pay higher wages keeps THEIR poor from getting jobs."I think this is about the moneyed interests -- corporations in this case -- being able to make use of global unemployment to drive down not just wages and benefits (costs) but also the power of workers. This is about the struggle between labor and capital that has been going on and will go on. Since they started shipping jobs to Mexico they have been able to substantially weaken the unions and by weakening the unions they have weakened the power of the Democratic coalition (with some help from Ralph).
It seems that the question, Who is our economy FOR, anyway? gets more and more relevant every day.
Who Are "Vietnam Vets Against John Kerry"?
Kerry's positions on defense issues and his opposition to the Vietnam War are both legitimate political issues and well worthy of discussion. However, the motivation of this anti-Kerry demonstration is quite dubious.
The leader of "Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry", Ted Sampley, is a con man who has been making an excellent living off his POW-MIA non-profit organization. Sampley was one of those who helped George W. Bush smear John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary.
In McCain's words: "I am well familiar with Mr. Sampley, and I know him to be one of the most despicable people I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. I consider him a fraud who preys on the hopes of family members of missing servicemen for his own profit."
Ironically, one of the operatives attacking McCain for Bush, Thomas Burch, attacked the first President Bush in 1988 for naming the National Guardsman Dan Quayle as his Vice Presidential candidate! Apparently it's not just Democrats who have questions about the Vietnam-era National Guard.
Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry
McCain on Sampley
Sampley's non-profit; Burch
More on Burch and Sampley
2000 McCain smear; Burch attacking Bush the First
Conason on McCain and Kerry Smears
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I took out the Amazon "donate button" because they are a red company, helping fund the right.
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