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
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Bill Bradley Describes VRWC in NY Times Piece Toda...
Blog Change Coming Friday
How the Liberal Media Myth is Created
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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


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Links to Other Weblogs:




3/26/2004
 



War

Cross-posted at Daily News Online.

The Wrong War:
"Mr. Clarke, President Bush's former counterterrorism chief, writes in his book, "Against All Enemies," that despite clear evidence the attacks had been the work of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, top administration officials focused almost immediately on the object of their obsession, Iraq.

He remembers taking a short break for a bite to eat and a shower, then returning to the White House very early on the morning of Sept. 12. He writes:
'I expected to go back to a round of meetings examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were. . . . Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq. At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting Al Qaeda. Then I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq.'"
I have a cousin who went to Iraq. He was in a Marine recon unit that went in before the war. He's very gung-ho about "defending America" and retaliating against the terrorists for 9/11, so we don't talk about this. But I wonder what he's going to think about this later, when he realizes that he was NOT "defending America" or avenging 9/11.

More than that, I wonder about the families of the dead. And I wonder about the injured. I wonder how they feel -- or will feel when the truth is accepted -- having sacrificed so much for the wrong war, for a trick, for an election gimmick, for a far-right ideology. And when the troops return, and the truth is known, how will they react? What will they say about this period of their lives, spent away in Iraq, seeing what they have seen and for some of them having done what they did in the course of a war and the year following that war.

I wonder how will we ever ask others to sacrifice? Now that our country has done this, how will we be able to ask people to sacrifice when it really IS necessary, really IS about defending the country, and really IS about fighting for freedom?

This betrayal is beyond politics, beyond impeachment, beyond resolution by law, certainly beyond a swinging left-right pendulum of national attitudes that naturally resolves itself back to some center. America was hijacked, politics was hijacked, our law was hijacked, our SYSTEM was hijacked, international law was hijacked, morality was hijacked...

There is nothing worse than war. When this is all over (if we do come to our senses) we must -- MUST -- repair our system and put in place oversight and accountability mechanisms to prevent anything like this from happening again. And I mean a lot more than just preventing a war -- I mean all the steps that led up to this, from the one-dollar-one-vote campaign system that let them get a foothold, to the repeal of the equal time doctrine that allowed them to turn our radio and TV stations into full-time right-wing propaganda outlets, even to indirect-but-related activities to consolidate their power over our institutions of morality like their taking over the Southern Baptist Church. That's part of the whole equation, and we need to look at every little piece of how they accomplished the takeover that led to this terrible, unforgivable war.


 



Free Trade Again

Matt and Kevin are posting about free trade again, so I'm being the free trade skeptic again. (How about you? Anything new with you?)

As always, I'll start off by saying that free trade is in many respects a good thing, etc., etc., and that under certain circumstances it might have been a very good thing.

Free trade defenders always point to the formal economic principle of comparative advantage and claim that it proves that with free trade, everyone is always better off. Even at best, though, it doesn't prove that; the most it can prove is that, on the average, free trade between two countries makes both countries better off. Not "everybody".

One major American product is labor, and Indian and Chinese labor, by and large, have an enormous comparative advantage over American labor. So perhaps America should reduce its production of labor, and stress products for which we do have a comparative advantage.

Problem solved, except that most Americans have nothing to sell but labor. What then? Well, they collect unemployment for a few months, and then they hunt for work for another few months, and then they become "discouraged workers". And then -- voila! -- they disappear from the statistics, and everything is fine again.

It is dogmatically asserted by all free traders that the tradeoff is even -- one job exported, one job imported. There may be some formal tendency of the system to gravitate that way, but isn't this an empirical question? What has actually been happening?

On the one hand, maybe our big partners like China and India aren't playing the game the same way we are. There is, after all, an enormous trade deficit. And on the other, maybe our exporting firms are exporting products which are less labor-intensive. So what are the facts? (I don't know, but I don't think we can get them by extrapolating from the formulae in our Economics 101 textbook).

From the point of view of labor, free trade tends to force labor producers (i.e. workers) to compete with overseas workers whose pay is much lower. And even these workers (e.g., in China and India) have to compete with workers elsewhere who are paid still less (e.g., in Egypt and Bangla Desh). And maybe this is a good thing on the whole, but it's certainly not good for everyone. Specifically not American workers.

Kevin Drum points out that if one job is lost and one gained, the loser will be angrier than the winner is happy (what's called "prospect theory"). This again assumes a parity that may not exist, but even if there is a one-for-one exchange, and even if the jobs are equally good, there's no real advantage in breaking even like that -- certainly no advantage big enough to justify the messianism about free trade. You really need a better than one-for-one ratio. So maybe prospect theory is a good guide -- if you're only going to break even with free trade, you better not do it.

As usual, I will conclude that free trade might have been a good thing. (Yes, I've failed to mention some of its benefits here). But combined with our present economic slump with its jobless recovery, and the relentless long-term reduction in public amenities (especially medical insurance, pension plans, and access to education), and finally the lack of real commitment to the various proposals floated to soften the impact for displaced workers, I find it hard to be sure that free trade was a good thing.

And certainly the Democrats made a big political mistake by sacrificing a chunk of their core constituency in the name of the global general welfare. Clinton's allies in the free-trade battles were mostly Republicans -- and most Republicans are anti-labor pure and simple. With free trade, the Republicans won, and both the free-trade Democrats and the protectionist Democrats lost -- to say nothing of labor.

And the Democratic party is now that much weaker, and the Republican Party that much stronger.



 



March Madness and Budget Watch

Posted by Tom Manatos
Advisor to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi


Check out the right kind of humor/cleverness to use these days, as opposed to President Bush's poor taste humor.....Leader Pelosi is tying in the "March Madness" theme into the Republican Madness recently. See site for first round of "Republican March Madness" and vote for the most outrageous Republican priority.

Speaking of outrageous Republican action, the Republican budget just passed on the House floor last night and it will now go to conference committee with whatever was passed in the Senate. See fact sheets on how the Republican Budget affects different issues: Education, Homeland Security, the Environment, Veterans and Armed Forces and Health Care. Also, definitely check out the House Democrats central site for everything regarding the budget including actual video of Republicans voting against protecting social security and veterans benefits, "Budget Watch."

For information like this or any information pertaining to House Democrats please feel free to contact me at Tom.Manatos@mail.house.gov.


 



Lying Liars Update

Awhile back my buddy Dave posted a piece on the Bush-Rove strategy of lying all the time. More recently, mind-mannered neoliberal Josh Micah Marshall said about the same thing, and for Brad DeLong's opinion just google "Brad + DeLong + these + liars" for the ongoing series. (Dave's piece is now the #1 google for "They just lie".)

The Rove-Bush strategy doesn't seem to work as well overseas, and deception still can be an issue for Spanish voters and also for Polish leaders. But here in America we're all California fuzzy-logic situational ethics: "That was then -- it doesn't really make any difference any more -- it's water over the dam -- we're positive people who look forward -- solutions are more important than fingerpointing." Or at least Rove and Bush hope so, judging by Bush's recent lame WMD jokes.

For my Polish and Spanish readers, however, with their naive enthusiasm for their recently-won democracy, here's a collection of links about the Bush administration's lies, Chalabi's lies, and the circulation of lies through the American media. (The Knight-Ridder pieces are of special interest: throughout the Iraq War, reporters for this chain consistently did actual reporting, instead of just typing up administration handouts the way the deteriorating New York Times and Washington Post did. Perhaps market forces will eventually propel one of the Knight-Ridder newspapers to national status to fill the journalistic gap.)

237 misleading administration statements about Iraq (pdf file complied by Rep. Waxman, of the House minority)

Knight-Ritter: Exiles plant fake stories in media

Knight-Ridder II

Editor and Publisher: Fake Iraqi exile stories planted in media

Editor and Publisher II

Chalabi: "So what if we lied?"

Chalabi family has cashed in for $400 million so far

Google cache of Royce story


The two Chalabi stories got very little coverage in the U.S. media, and the second story has apparently been pulled from the internet by Newsday, which originated it. I saved the Google cache.


 



THE UNMAKING OF A PRESIDENT-2004

[... this is a little bit old, but well worth thinking about. I couldn't find an "original" posting site via Google, and found all sorts of copies reposted, so I think I'm o.k. in posting the full text. The theory espoused is provactive, at the very least, and the information included re: relative levels of positive/negative coverage is disturbing (although, admittedly, Dean's campaign, in challenging conventional wisdom, was bound to provoke more reaction, positive and negative, than that of his opponents). --Thomas Leavitt]

THE UNMAKING OF A PRESIDENT-2004
By Carl Jensen

Howard Dean supporters across the country were surprised when they
woke up Tuesday morning, January 19, to read reports of Dean's
unexpected third place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

What happened?

Gov. Dean started 2003 with little name recognition and even less
campaign funding. Through the summer he spread the old familiar theme
of power to the people, mostly through the Internet, and Americans by
the hundreds of thousands responded with their support and dollars. We
wanted to take our country and the Democratic Party back.

Then in late 2003, the media, which had anointed Dean as the front
runner, started to attack him. By the time of the Iowa caucuses, the
polls showed him plummeting and the media's new darling, Senator John
Kerry, soaring.

Kerry's remarkable overnight turnaround even surprised the candidate
himself who gleefully declared he was the "Comeback Kerry."

Meanwhile, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), a
nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC, which
conducts scientific studies of the news media, was monitoring the
nightly network news broadcasts that are the source of news and
information for most Americans.

The results of the CMPA study, released January 15, 2004, revealed that
Gov. Dean received significantly more negative criticism on the
network broadcasts while his Democratic presidential competitors
received significantly more positive comments. The research examined
187 stories broadcast on the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news in 2003.

Only 49 percent of all on-air evaluations of Gov. Dean in 2003 were
positive while the other Democratic contenders received 78 percent
favorable coverage.

In a follow-up study by CMPA, of the network coverage of the
candidates from January 1 to January 18, the night before
the Iowa caucuses, revealed that the networks selected Kerry and Senator
John Edwards before the Iowa voters did. As you may recall, Kerry
finished first with 38% of the vote; Edwards ranked second, just below
Kerry, with 32%; and Dean managed only a poor third with 18% of the
vote. During the two-and-a-half week period leading up to the Iowa
caucuses, there had not been a single negative word uttered about
Edwards by the three networks (100% favorable coverage) while nearly
all, 96%, of the comments about Kerry were positive.

However, Gov. Dean's coverage during those first 18 days of January
was significantly less glowing with 42% unfavorable on-air
evaluations.

What happened in the campaign that inspired the media to turn on Dean
and throw their support to uninspiring Kerry?

A clue may be found in a story published in the Washington Post on
November 19, 2003.

The Post reported that, "In an interview Monday night (11/17/03), Dean
unveiled his idea to 're-regulate' utilities, large media companies
and businesses offering employee stock options. He also favors broad
protections for workers, including the right to unionize."

Also on November 19, the Associated Press reported, "Dean, the
former Vermont governor, said Tuesday that if elected president, he
would move to re-regulate business sectors such as utilities and media
companies to restore faith after corporate scandals such as Enron and
WorldCom."

Dean's idea of re-regulating two out-of-control business sectors
produced criticism from some of his competitors and surely struck a
raw nerve within monopolistic utilities and mega-media companies.

I believe Dean's progressive attack on monopolies helps explain why
the corporate media started piling on Dean, portraying him with the
pejorative term of the "angry candidate."

But while this helps explain why the media went after Dean, it doesn't
explain why they suddenly anointed Kerry as their Golden Boy.

However, it would appear that Kerry would not pose a threat to
corporate America while Dean would obviously challenge their
monopolistic control.

First, a search of Lexis Nexis, a comprehensive computer databank of
news and information, failed to find a single comment by Kerry
supporting re-regulation of media companies. In fact, Gov. Dean was
the only major candidate who ventured into no-man's-land to criticize
media monopolies and even threaten to break them up when elected
president.

We then discovered a newly published book by the Center for Public
Integrity(CPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that does investigative
reporting and research on public policy issues. The book is titled,
"The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and
his Democratic Challengers - and What They Expect in Return, (Harper
Collins, 2004)

According to CPI, the three largest fundraisers in the presidential
campaign at this time are Howard Dean with more than $25 million; John
Kerry with more than $20 million; and, of course, President George W.
Bush with $85.2 million (as of Sept. 30, 2003).

As has been reported, Bush plans to build a war chest of some $200
million for the election. His top major donors include financial firms
Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, UBS Paine Webber, and
Goldman Sachs Group. The President's top career donor is the
scandal-ridden Enron Corp.

Kerry's top donors include Fleet Boston Financial Corp., Time Warner,
and a variety of major law firms. Time Warner, as we know, is the
world's largest media conglomerate. Among a variety of media outlets,
it also owns Internet giant America On Line and CNN - a virtual
cheerleader for Kerry.

The research Center does not cite any major donors for Dean. As we
know, the majority of his contributors are ordinary citizens who
donate an average of $77 dollars. Dean's "special interest group" is
the American people.

Finally, we come to a January 28, 2004, report from "The Campaign
Desk," which produces a daily analysis of the 2004 campaign and is
sponsored by the Columbia Journalism Review at Columbia University.

The non-partisan "Campaign Desk" reported that it is concerned "when
the press singles out one candidate for the kind of mauling and piling
on by exaggeration and distortion that Dean has endured in the past
week.

"On CNN last night, Judy Woodruff joined the mob at 10:42 p.m. when
she suggested that perhaps Dean's lower-key post-election address in
New Hampshire means that he was 'preparing his minions, all of his
supporters, for the fact that he may not win this nomination?'

"That's neither fair nor journalism," "The Campaign Desk" concluded.

There may be a limit to the piling on. When Wolf Blitzer polled his
CNN viewers on January 25, "Are the media unfairly characterizing
Howard Dean's post-Iowa loss rally?" 89% said "Yes."

Carl Jensen, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
Sonoma State University,
Founder of Project Censored



 



(un)Common Sense discussion of public policy in re: the economy.

[Read the whole article. This guy is dead on target with his analysis. Another gem from Dave Farber's IP list. -Thomas]

The Economy Summed Up: Pay Any Price, Bear Any Burden, to Avoid Creating Jobs-http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2004/03/the_economy_sum.html

The political analyst Charlie Cook's weekly column, available by e-mail
subscription http://nationaljournal.com/about/cookcolumn.htm is a real
treasure, and usually offers much more than just the horserace. There's a
single paragraph in today's column that I think sums up what we need to
know about the economy and jobs better than anything I've read:
In December, the CEO of a California-based high tech firm told me that
"there is no amount of overtime that we will not pay, there is no level of
temporary services that we will not use, there is no level of outsourcing
or offshoring that we will not do, in order to prevent us from having to
hire one new, permanent worker in the U.S." As I travel around the country,
meeting with business leaders, I hear similar, though less succinct
thoughts in almost every sector and every part of the country. U.S. wages,
health care, and other benefit costs have gotten so high -- and the press
by investors for high stock prices is so great -- that the premium is on
wringing every last bit of work out of as few employees as possible, to do
anything but incur the costs of adding permanent employees. [emphasis added]

[see url above for full article]




3/25/2004
 



Bush has lost

I don't see how our comedian President is going to be able to survive this:

"Political pundits recently showcased on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" said the outcome of this year's election may rely on the swing votes of undecided voters in states like Oregon. Voters like me.

I'm a registered Republican who is loath to vote for a Democrat. But if President Bush doesn't act swiftly to get our sons and daughters out of this hand-picked war of his, he won't get my vote.

Those of us who lost fathers in Vietnam have spent a lifetime debating the wrongs of that war. We shouldn't have to spend our futures distraught over the sacrifices of our offspring, too -- sons like Joel K. Brattain, who gave his life this month while fighting to help free the oppressed people of Iraq."

"A swing voter's plea: Get them out of Iraq, and soon"



 



Richard Clarke may still be a Republican

To the Editor, Portland Oregonian:

Both today and yesterday you printed columns disparaging Richard Clarke's testimony about 9/11 preparedness. Debra Saunders claims that Clarke is part of "the Clinton machine" and explains that 9/11 was all Clinton's fault. David Reinhard says that it's impossible to take Clarke seriously because his friend Rand Beers now works for John Kerry.

Beers and Clarke both worked for Bush as experts on counter-terrorism – Beers took over when Clarke resigned. Neither was a Democrat then, and Clarke isn't one now. They resigned because they were dissatisfied with Bush's counter-terrorism performance -- Clarke is now giving us the details.

Contra Saunders, Clarke does not exonerate either Clinton or himself. Contra Reinhard, Clarke's book is being published now because of a three-month security-review delay – not because of the upcoming election.

Reinhard and Saunders are trying to discredit Clarke because they think his book will hurt Bush. Aren't they the ones being political?

John Emerson

(150 words -- count 'em.)


**********

They don't usually print my letters; we'll see.
(UPDATE: They did: Friday, March 26)

Here are some links about Clarke. Clarke has the Republicans terrified -- Bush's anti-terrorist leadership is one of the very few positive things they had to run on, and without it they're doomed. They're scarcely contesting his facts at all, and are mostly just trying to discredit him.

Talking Points Memo: just read everything.

Brad Delong: Republican Attack Monkeys

Billmon: Clarke will be hard to discredit

Conason interview of Clarke

Sketch of Clarke's career

Summary of administration smears against Clarke

Daniel Benjamin ("The Age of Sacred Terror") backs Clarke

Clarke and Beers are only two of many professionals to resign from the Bush administration






3/23/2004
 



George W. Bush Coloring Book

[Got this in my inbox at SavageStupidity.com today. Looks amusing. Anything that helps spread the word about the "alternative reality" that this president and his administration operate within is a good thing. --Thomas Leavitt]

New Book by Publisher of Temp Slave

Drawing from the imaginative quotes President Bush has uttered over the
years, the George W. Bush Coloring Book illustrates Bush's very own words
in the form of a coloring book. Illustrator Karen Ocker lends her visually
distinct style to on-the-record quotes such as "It's amazing I won. I was
running against peace, prosperity and incumbency," and "I know the human
being and fish can coexist peacefully." The coloring book includes an essay
on Bush by Joley Wood. Wood has written on numerous Irish writers,
including essays on James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats,
and a preface for Shaw's "Saint Joan" (Penguin).

Examples at: http://www.gcpress.com/gwbush/

Available through INGRAM.
ISBN: 1891053949
The George W. Bush Coloring Book
8.95
release date March 28, 2004

Contact:
G.K. Darby
Garrett Ct. Press
http://www.gcpress.com/
504.598.4685




 



The Brian

Brought to you by the People's Front of Judea, uh, or the Judean People's Front, or, uh, oh bugger!


 



Saying a lot

This is one of Billmon's finest. And that's saying a lot.


 



Rallying

Just a quick comment about Bush and 9/11. It is conventional wisdom that Bush did a good job leading the nation after the 9/11 attack.

Here's what I say. (So listen up.) After 9/11 Bush did not rally the nation under his leadership. The Democrats rallied under Bush because that was the patriotic and sensible thing to do -- we're under attack, we need one leader, etc. Immediately Bush began abusing that patriotic sentiment for political purposes. Immediately they began steering that unity towards more tax cuts, invading Iraq, and the rest of their far-right agenda. AND they used 9/11 to instill a sense of fear and intimidation in the press, the political opposition, and the public. So enough about Bush being an excellent leader. Why should BUSH get credit because WE "rallied 'round the flag?" (So there.)




3/22/2004
 



The Spanish Election and Democracy

The reaction to the Spanish election, in which the party of Bush's ally Aznar was voted out of office, was a litmus test of attitudes toward democracy, and the message I'm getting is not encouraging.

David Brooks: "It was crazy to go ahead with an election a mere three days after the Madrid massacre..... But I do know that reversing course in the wake of a terrorist attack is inexcusable."

Now, Brooks obviously would not have said this if the Spanish voters had voted correctly -- in Israel, terrorist attacks have thrown the election to Likud several times. Since, as Matt Yglesias astutely pointed out, the conservative attacks on the cowardly Spanish voters were just dry runs for attacks at some later date on cowardly Kerry voters, Brooks' speculation about cancelling or postponing the Spanish election makes you wonder whether a terrorist attack might also lead to an attempt to postpone this year's Presidential election -- especially if it seems that voters might vote "wrong".

After the tainted 2000 election, and granted what we know about the Bush machine, I think that we should insist in advance that the 2004 election be held, no matter what. Not only that, we should insist that the prescribed Constitutional procedures for recounts and challenges be followed to the letter next time, without an ad hoc Supreme Court intervention. (Considering that the problematic Diebold machines apparently will be used in many states, a contested election seems very likely unless there's a real landslide, and one wonders whether a post-election struggle -- which worked so well for them last time -- might not be part of the Republican plan.)

The standard right-wing interpretation of the Spanish vote is that the cowardly Spaniards caved in to terrorism. A more reasonable interpretation (based on the facts) is that the Spaniards rejected the Aznar government's strategy on terrorism, and especially the dishonesty of the Aznar government's attempt to convince the voters that the bombing was done by the Basques. In other words, as Krugman said -- in the Spanish election, democracy worked: "By voting for a new government, in other words, the Spaniards were enforcing the accountability that is the essence of democracy."

However, there is an anti-popular theory of democracy which says that democracy cannot be allowed to be harmed by the wrongheadedness of "temporary majorities", and I think that that is what is going on with the conservative commentators. This theory also says that, by and large, the electorate really is not able to understand the larger issues and really do not need to be told the truth.

Fortunately, the Spanish do not believe that, nor do the Poles (judging by some things their President said). But perhaps this is because they are new to democracy, and thus overenthusiastic and lacking in sophistication.

In America, the official conservative story is that what Bush said before the war doesn't make any difference any more. That was then. When they figure out what they were trying to do and why they did it, they'll tell us. Or something like that.

In the U.S., everything works against popular democracy: media concentration, money in politics, experts at "engineering consent" like Karl Rove, and the anti-democratic convictions of the elite. We're definitely fighting an uphill battle. Demanding the truth might be the place to start.

(Documentation here, including a bunch of links about the Iraq lies.)


 



John O'Neill

Don't forget about John O'Neill, the FBI's terrorism expert who quit in disgust at the Bush administration's lack of response to bin Laden. More here.


 



Divisions

Cross-posted at american street.

The White House response to Clarke's interview and book reveals a lot about their thinking. From Former Terrorism Official Criticizes White House on 9/11:
"'If Dick Clarke had such grave concerns about the direction of the war on terror, why did he stay on the team as long as he did, and why did he wait till the beginning of a presidential campaign to speak out?' Mr. Bartlett said. He said the book's timing showed that it was 'more about politics than policy.'"
1) How about he stayed because he cared about the country and wanted to try to do some good rather to leave the country in the hands of those who would do nothing but give speeches -- trying to actually do something as contrasted with just making a political statement? That does not appear to be a concept that is in the thinking of this White House.

2) The timing? Since timing of activities to coincide with elections seems to be on the White House's mind, let's talk about timing of events to coincide with campaigns. In September of 2002 the White House rolled out what it called a "marketing campaign" to "sell" the Iraq war. They launched their campaign on Labor Day -- the traditional beginning of campaign season. The Iraq War campaign was EXACTLY timed for the 2002 elections. In this White House politics is everything.

Bush's father waited until AFTER the election to hold a vote on getting Iraq out of Kuwait because he did not want to introduce such a potentially divisive issue -- a war vote -- during a campaign. That would have been bad for the country, and he cared about that. But THIS Bush forced the vote DURING the campaign BECAUSE he wanted to divide the country. And he brought up the Father Mother Homeland Security vote, after opposing it -- and threw in an anti-union provision that would force some Democrats to oppose it, to further divide the country and politicize the issue of terrorism and national security.

WE, blog readers, all knew about the things Clarke talked about on 60 Minutes last night, because we are informed. But now, after last night's 60 Minutes, this is out there in the mainstream. And the number of people who supported Bush's war can't go up. It can only go down. There are facts, and they are not going to change, and eventually facts can break through fog. Iraq did not attack us on 9/11 is a fact. Iraq was not working on weapons of mass destruction is a fact. Iraq was not supporting al-Queda is a fact. Iraq was not a threat to us is a fact. So there is only one direction this can go with the public. Support for the Iraq war CAN NOT increase.

But we are informed and also have seen that this Bush crowd is capable of ANYTHING and THAT is what we have to worry about between now and the election. It has become painfully obvious that this crowd cares more about politics and Party than the good of country and most of the people in it. Another fact. I have seen people like this before, in business. I'm talking about people who only understand their own desires and who have learned that PR can be a magic potion. People who believe that marketing and money can accomplish ANYthing -- and who will turn to marketing and money with no consideration of actually delivering real value to the customer. It's a game of using the power of marketing and money to change the customer -- making the customer believe that what you are already delivering IS what the customer wanted.

It has become so blatant that one has to either see it for what it is or form a cognitive dissonance around it. We're forced to choose "sides." I have observed that those "moderates" among us informed-people-who-read-weblogs, etc. have started to change their views. One can not look at the Bush campaign ads and tactics without realizing that they are just lies and smears. Just lies and smears. It is pretty hard not to see that at this point. And I think the "moderates" are joining us hothead radicals in our view of Bush and his cronies -- that the Bush people just lie, that they care about politics and power far more than they care about the good of the country. I don't think a reasonable person can look at events in the election campaign up to this point and reach another conclusion, and I see even the "moderates" reaching this conclusion. This is happening outside the blogosphere as well. I see the "middle" breaking down.

So my question is, how far are the Bush people willing to push the divisions in the country? The current anti-Kerry campaign line is an indication, yet it is still very early in the campaign -- it actually could get even worse. Today they are saying that the leader of the opposition party is "dangerous." They are saying that he will not protect the children of "real Americans." This kind of language is already beyond just an election -- these are words that encourage a response that goes beyond just voting against the guy.

The Republican choice of PR over Policy, and Politicization of Everything has led to potential civil war in Iraq. How far will they push things here at home?


 



Thanks Again, Joe

White House Rebuts Ex-Bush Adviser Claim:
"Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said Sunday he doesn't believe Clarke's charge that Bush -- who defeated him and former Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election -- was focused more on Iraq than al-Qaida during the days after the terror attacks.

'I see no basis for it,' Lieberman said on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'I think we've got to be careful to speak facts and not rhetoric.'"
Go away, Joe. You and Zell.

Oh yeah, then there's Other Joe:
"And Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., told ABC's 'This Week' that while he has been critical of Bush policies on Iraq, 'I think it's unfair to blame the president for the spread of terror and the diffuseness of it. Even if he had followed the advice of me and many other people, I still think the same thing would have happened.'"
You go away TOO, Other Joe.

When we say we want more "Democrat" Senators, maybe we should be careful what we wish for.




3/21/2004
 



The Smearing Begins

Richard Clarke's Legacy of Miscalculation:
"The retirement of Richard Clarke is appropriate to the reality of the war on terror. Years ago, Clarke bet his national security career on the idea that electronic war was going to be real war. He lost, because as al Qaeda and Iraq have shown, real action is still of the blood and guts kind. "
This is from February (after they knew he was writing a book exposing Bush), but is brought out on the far-right Drudge Report to honor his appearance on 60 Minutes, and begins the inevitable character assassination.

Doesn't take long...

And what are Clarke's sins?
In 1998, according to the New Republic, Clarke "played a key role in the Clinton administration's misguided retaliation for the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which targeted bin Laden's terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan."
Helping Clinton go after bin Laden. THAT'S "misguided." If you read the piece, it seems to say Clarke is a bad person because he say we should go after bin Laden instead of Saddam.


 



Well, Did You See It?

Clarke on 60 Minutes. What did you think?

A Green friend says tomorrow the Republicans will "challenge" Kerry to say whether he "agrees with Clarke that the soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq died in vain," and Kerry will say NO, and that's the end of it.

I say, Kerry, prove him wrong!


 



When The Company IS The Party -- II

Businesses Point Workers Toward Ballot Boxes:
"A growing number of large U.S. corporations are offering services to register their employees to vote and mounting get-to-the-polls drives that advocates hope will swell the ranks of pro-business voters this election year.

Companies portray the voter push as a nonpartisan employee benefit. But Republicans see it as a boon to their hopes of maintaining control of the House and Senate and reelecting President Bush."
This is not as bad as pressuring employees to contribute to The Party (then reimbursing them) but it's clear where the pressure lies. Don't DARE register as a Democrat in these circumstances if you want to keep your job.




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