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:
Ronald Reagan is still dead!
Am I Against "Conservatives"?
Thanks to Digby (Dibgy! Dibgy! Dibgy!) I found this Mike Finley piece:
"But my enemy is not conservatism (which is rooted in wariness of human nature) but corporate radicalism (rooted in laissez-faire, let-it-rip economics) - what was called fascism just before Hitler confused the term - government that works hand in glove with select large corporations, with amassed wealth. Our current government is 'fascist' in the 1920s Italian sense of the word. It is a radical form of assisting the wealthy to increase and maintain economic power. This is not a good thing. It seeks to undermine democracy and turn the nation into a 'market' and nothing more.(Digby found it through Avedon Carol.)
Bridging the Gap on Health Care
This is important:
From SEIU's Fight For The Future Blog:
Bridging the Gap on Health Care
Before you finish reading this blog post, five more people will have lost their health care coverage. Nationwide, 44 million people have no health insurance, and 80 percent of those without coverage come from working families.June 19 is next Saturday.
Digby! Digby! Digby!
Continuing my occasional Digby! Dibgy! Digby! series, we have this today:
"The stench of defeat is starting to rise off of him. I watched it happen to Carter and Senior. People keep a little distance. They don't look him in the eye. The winner's gloss is replaced by a sheen of desperation. He's got trouble. You can smell it."
Mathew Gross: Going Negative
Mathew Gross: Going Negative:
"It's not just the hollowness of Bush's 'uniter, not a divider' rhetoric that we're dealing with any longer; it's the reality that only through division can he win."Bush's toxic negativity is poisoning the public environment. It sets us against each other, and is a recipe for an unmanagable country after the election - if there even is one. Watch your backs.
No BlogAds ads right now, so ads are cheap for a while. Got something you want to sell to thousands to informed, influential readers like yourself? Click on "Advertise at Seeing the Forest" over on the right.
A True Honor
I am honored, I say, HONORED to be mentioned in a piece that contains this line:
"I should add that if Capitol Hill Blue really can be trusted, Rove has much bigger problems than being called an idiot by a GOP consultant, which is really like being called smelly by a wart hog with a bowel control problem."My name anywhere near that line ranks WAY up there in my lifetime achievements list.
Not Calming Down
Rebels Launch an Array of Attacks Across Iraq.
Once Again, Democrats Not Invited
GOP Leaders Eulogize The 40th President.
This was a "state funeral." But only Republicans were invited. And some ex-heads of state from other countries. Presidents Carter and Clinton, for example, were excluded. So ex-heads of foreign states attend a STATE FUNERAL, held in the US CAPITAL ROTUNDA, but not former Presidents of the United States, which has been the tradition until now. Yet barely a mention in the press.
Compare the Democrats' response to this nasty snub with the way Paul Wellstone's funeral was handled. The Republicans used that as a political stunt, and took back the Senate as a result. But the Democrats don't even mention what the Republicans have done here -- thereby ACCEPTING being excluded from the life of the country! ACCEPTING the Right's politicization and division of everything in American life. Well they are supposed to represent ME, and are failing me by accepting that the Republicans exclude me and the rest of my half of the country from participating in America.
They are being clear about this, it is THEIR country, not OUR country. Democrats are NOT invited to participate in America anymore.
Update - another story, "CLINTON FURIOUS AT REAGAN SNUB"
Pandagon: Killing the Middle
Ezra at Pandagon has chimed in on the discussion (continued in the post below this one) of how to deal with the Right, and the comments are many and interesting. Go read, and join in - leave a comment there and/or here.
Not Getting the Point
Matthew Yglesias responds to the Matt Stoller post I pointed to (twice) yesterday. (Which is similar to this scary piece I wrote yesterday.) He doesn't seem to get the point. I left this comment:
Your post misses his point and makes his point at the same time. You're talking about "the merits of pragmatic compromise" and wishing you could have good-faith debates on issues with these guys, while they're creeping up on you carrying a noose.Matt left a coment too,
This attitude is what I'm pointing at. The passive voice 'are given sufficiently solid defeats...' implies a certain reticence in realizing that WE are the ones who must administer the defeats. Moreover, the question is not just of electoral defeats, but of punishment. If you accept that this is essentially a criminal gang running a fraudulent political apparatus based on increasing their amount of power and institutionalizing the placement of certain monied classes above the law, then electoral defeats don't begin to address the political problem that we must deal with. Well, they begin to, but only just.(Matt uses more words than me.)
Richard and Thomas - what do YOU think we should do with them after the election? (Assuming your boy Ralph doesn't siphon off enough votes and get Bush back in.)
A Beautiful Comment
Over at The Smirking Chimp they posted my "Country in Crisis" piece, and someone left this comment:
"Remember that great scene from Jackie Brown, with Jackson and de Niro in the van? That's the situation on a global scale now: the rest of the world is sitting next to America and asking, in Samuel L. Jackson's voice, "What happened to you man? Your ass used to be so beautiful!" And America, like De Niro, has no answer."Beautiful.
Reagan Picture on Money
The wingnuts are proposing that Reagan's picture replace Hamilton's on the $10 bill.
I'm thinking it would be MUCH more appropriate to put Reagan's picture on T-Bills! After all, he printed about $4 TRILLION of them, didn't he?
Why THAT ad?
Take a look at the Right Wing Conspiracy ad (on the right there...) that Google for some reason puts at this site. Huh?
Update - Now it's Reagan ads.
One commenter points out that this could be construed as "incentivising" people to click on the ads. Don't click on the ads, because then the right-wing advertisers have to pay Seeing the Forest for the clicks.
The Choice This Year Is Between Empire and Democracy:
"When Attorney General William Wirt delivered Thomas Jefferson's eulogy on October 19, 1826 in the Hall of the U.S. House of Representatives, he noted how Jefferson believed in democracy, national humility, and abhorred empire. Jefferson well understood, Wirt noted, the danger of past empires as well as the dangerous possibility of a future president who may seize more power than the Constitution intended.There's more. Go read.
skippy on ashcroft
skippy, on ashcroft's contempt of congress today, in you'll just have to trust us, we hate torture.
Worse and Worse - Country in Crisis
In Salon.com | The Reagan legacy, Rick Perlstein writes:
"It is a quirk of American culture that each generation of nonconservatives sees the right-wingers of its own generation as the scary ones, then chooses to remember the right-wingers of the last generation as sort of cuddly. In 1964, observers horrified by Barry Goldwater pined for the sensible Robert Taft, the conservative leader of the 1950s. When Reagan was president, liberals spoke fondly of sweet old Goldwater."I think Republican administrations actually have been worse each time, moving farther and farther to the right as well as into greater illegalities. I think this reflects the extent to which their party has been increasingly taken over by this far-right, post-Bircher, Scaife-funded, fanatical cult-like corporate/Christian/libertarian "movement conservatism."
Nixon had to resign for things that Reagan picked up and did from day 1 without apology. Reagan, of course, instructed underlings to violate the law and lie to Congress about it. Bush I used parts of the government to obstruct the Iran/Contra investigations, then pardoned several criminals who had worked for him. And Iran/Contra -- and avoiding the mistakes that led to exposure -- was the model for the current Bush's first day in office - with this Bush this proudly hiring convicted (but pardoned by Dad) felons!
Elected Democrats and moderate Republicans keep letting far-Right conspirators off the hook, and failing to expose the true nature of their activities to the public. Perhaps this is because they honestly did not and do not recognize them for what they are. Some of Nixon's cronies went to jail -- none of Reagan/Bush I's. Worse, the Carter and Clinton administrations did not ask for a full accounting of the transgressions -- political and financial -- of the prior administrations. In a way, this signaled to the public to expect such activities as part of "business as usual." By allowing the Right to publicly get away with an "everybody does it" excuse, the legitimacy of our democratic form of government was eroded.
I believe that had Clinton recognized that the Republican Party has truly changed into a dangerous revolutionary movement intent on overthrowing our form of government, and taken action, purged the government of far-right ideologues and begun an investigation into his predecessor's political crimes as well as how money was siphoned out of the Treasury under Reagan and Bush, he would not have gone through the impeachment, and we would not be facing the national and international disaster we face now.
I think it is hard now to avoid seeing the true nature of the group that has taken over the Republican Party. The record is certainly clear, their intentions are clear, their activities are clear, and it's time to take a stand. After seizing control of the country by the narrowest of margins in 2000 the Republicans have illegally excluded Democrats and the public from almost all aspects of management of the government. They have positioned ideological agents throughout the departments, agencies and the courts. In one of their first acts in power they allowed companies like Enron to "harvest" the people of California and Oregon, and appointed FERC members would not do their job to stop this. Their tax cuts, that went to only a few, have bankrupted the country and spent our Social Security retirement money. They have handed out our country's natural resources, and given the right to pollute our air and water for profit to a few rich cronies. They have launched aggressive war in an imperialistic scheme to bring the Middle East's oil supplies under their control.
And they increasingly poison the public environment with lies. They are intentionally dividing the country right down the middle. Matt Stoller writes about what they are telling the public in their presidential campaign,
"In other words, even if a Democrat wins an election, it's just a prelude till his negatives can be driven up and a political castration opportunity appears.In The War at Home, John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton write,
The Republican party's hard right - "movement conservatives," as they like to call themselves - hold views and long-term objectives that are considerably to the right of mainstream public opinion, but they had managed to maneuver themselves into a position of control over nearly every branch of the American government. As we will explore, politics for them is not a debate. It is, quite literally, a "war by other means."We have to realize that we are dealing with an organized revolutionary conspiracy to seize power, enrich the few, and subject us to an ideological/theocratic/imperialist dictatorship. They often describe THEMSELVES as being modeled on the old Communist Party and their methods for infiltrating and seizing power.
"You cannot cripple an opponent by outwitting him in a political debate," he explains in The Art of Political War. "You can do it only by following Lenin's injunction: 'In political conflicts, the goal is not to refute your opponent's argument, but to wipe him from the face of the earth.'"This is an emergency and we must recognize it as such. These people will go to all costs to succeed, including fomenting civil war.
If Kerry does win this election AND take office, he has his work cut out for him -- there are some things to take care of right away -- if he expects to also govern the country. We simply MUST expose widely the Right's anti-democracy agenda. Crimes have been committed and this is not an occasion for a healing amnesty. We have to stop them once and for all. We need a complete financial accounting for the entire four years of Bush. Every single recipient of rigged no-bid contracts, tax break in exchange for "contributions", or any other corrupt activities should be prosecuted and put in jail to ensure that this does not happen should another right-wing administration take office.
Further, we need to implement SYSTEMIC changes to prevent anything like the "conservative movement" from happening again. This crisis has exposed the vulnerability of our system.
Let's look at it this way for a minute. Suppose that the intentions of the Bush people are entirely on the up-and-up. But looking at the way they have eroded accountability, oversight, and constitutional protections, suppose some OTHER people, with less-than-honorable intentions, examine these openings and see this as an opportunity to step in and seize power. The mechanisms for this are all in place, including the mechanisms to squash opposition and dissent. The Patriot Act, for example, allows the government to spy on anyone the President designates as an "enemy." And new technologies enable comprehensive tracking of a person's every action. We already have a precedent of Congress looking the other way and avoiding their oversight responsibilities no matter how extreme the transgression. We already have the precedent of the Justice Department covering up instead of investigating crimes. We already have the precedent of the Courts overruling law in favor of ideology.
Stauber and Rampton again,
The likelihood that those powers will be abused has increased, moreover, as the conservative movement accuses its ideological adversaries of "treason," "terrorism" and "un-Americanism," threatening long-standing traditions of tolerance and diversity.It is time for those who think this is the OLD Republican Party to take their head out of the sand and see that things have changed. Turn on the radio and listen to Limbaugh or Hannity for ten minutes -- yes they ARE the mainstream of the Republican Party now -- and you'll KNOW that the country is crisis.
Purpose of Iran/Contra
I'm tired of hearing the Right apply noble (to them) intentions to the Iran/Contra perpetators. The COVER STORY was that they used the money to supply the Contras. Whatever else it was, this was a typical corrupt right-wing scheme to grab the money and run.
Lawrence Walsh was the independent investigator for the Iran/Contra case. His final report is available here. It is well worth browsing.
On Ollie North:
North stood trial beginning in February 1989 on 12 counts. On May 4, 1989, he was found guilty of three counts, including aiding and abetting obstruction of Congress, shredding and altering official documents, and accepting an illegal gratuity from Secord.Remember, these were the things they could PROVE. But their motivation for bringing financial enrichment charges was the pattern they saw of diversions of cash for private use. Of $16 million, only $3.8 million made it to the Contras. And this does not count another $10 million that the Sultan of Brunei wired to North's operation, but was diverted to another Swiss account. The cover story for that was that someone transposed two numbers on the wire transfer and the money "disappeared."
General Richard Secord was Ollie North's partner-in-crime. From Walsh's report:
One of Secord's central purposes in establishing and carrying out the operations of the Enterprise was the accumulation of untaxed wealth in secret overseas accounts. Testimony and records obtained from the Enterprise's Swiss financial manager, Willard Zucker, show that Secord personally received at least $2 million from his participation in the Enterprise during 1985 and 1986, that he set up secret accounts to conceal his untaxed income, and that he later lied and encouraged others to lie to keep it concealed.I remember Secord testifying that he bought a Ferrari...
I forgot to mention 100,000 killed in Guatemala in the post "Gaddafi Regrets Reagan Died Without Facing Trial".
Talk vs Action
Tired of hearing right-wing lies about how Clinton didn't do anything to stop terrorism?
Take a look at this:
"However, Clarke says Clinton chose not to attack Iran but ordered an 'intelligence operation' that seemed to have worked.So Clinton actually DID something, AND KEPT QUIET ABOUT IT, even now, because it was a classified intelligence operation. He has chosen the good of the country over the good of his political party.
Compare that to the current administration's treatment of classified intelligence, AND their success against terrorism. Remember, 9/11 occurred ON HIS WATCH.
What He Says
What he says here.
More coming. I've been thinking about this for some time, and working on a piece for weeks. Great minds think alike. Or maybe it's that the obvious becomes obvious.
Even if Kerry wins, we have a huge fight on our hands, and we'd better all realize it!
Watch your backs.
A comment to a post below reminded me of one of my favorite Reagan facts.
RONALD WILSON REAGAN
Number of letters: 6 6 6
Anagram - INSANE ANGLO WARLORD
And, lest we forget, after he left office a group of rich supporters BOUGHT HIM A RESIDENCE, and it was at 666 St. Cloud Road. Nancy had the address changed to 668.
Speaking of rich supporters, Reagan had what was called a "kitchen cabinet." Not long after his election one of the members of this group was found ... orgy scene ... model killed with baseball bat ... oh, just read about it here.
Headlines over at Drudge:
REAGAN HATERS UNITE: PALAST: 'KILLER, COWARD, CON-MAN GOOD RIDDANCE, GIPPER ... MORE PROOF ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG'...I report, you decide. (Maybe Hitchens isn't as bad as all that after all...)
Randi Rhodes just said, "He lived long enough to not be our worst president ever."
I remember that Reagan's first week in office involved taking down the solar panels that President Carter had installed on the White House roof, and pardoning the FBI agents who had been convicted of illegal activities involving spying on, intimidating and breaking into the houses of Nixon's political opponents.
Update - More memories -- When Reagan was inaugurated President the TV showed a split screen, with the hostages that the Iranian government was holding being released about ten minutes after he was sworn in -- just about the right amount of time for someone now working officially for the President of the United States to sign something with the full authority of the U.S. Government. And we started shipping weapons to Iran about two weeks later.
Got this in the e-mail today:
You are a nut and belong in a nuthouse.... obviously you don't know anything about business or economics. Look at the historical tax rates and compare it to recessions and depressions here in the US. By overtaxing the people, it only creates less investment. God where did you go to school and how can someone be this dumb in a land like America. If I as a businessman have more money not taxable, DUH, I spend it on investments which hire more people who get paychecks and guess what idiot..... they then pay more taxes. Take you anti liberal, anti American left wing communist thought to another country. We have had enough of you and the garbage you throw out. Academically if you cannot understand maybe the joke below will give you some foresight.OK, violating the first rule of Seeing the Forest, I'm going to go through the trees.
"obviously you don't know anything about business" He's right. Oh, wait, I did run a corporation for over ten years, and was recently VP Marketing and Sales for a tech company. But he is right, except for that.
"Look at the historical tax rates and compare it to recessions and depressions here in the US." Well, I have, and, obviously, he hasn't, because he would discover that higher tax rates at the top coincides with periods of high GNP growth. Probably that is because we have a consumer economy, and more money in the hands of consumers means higher growth. And putting more of the tax burden on corporations and the rich means more money in the hands of average people. Remember, in 1993 Clinton RAISED taxes on the rich while cutting them on the low end. What followed was the greatest economic expansion in our history. And Bush CUT taxes on the rich while raising them on everyone else by cutting services, and what followed has been a long period of zero or slow job growth and massive concentration of wealth to the top few percent.
If I as a businessman have more money not taxable, DUH, I spend it on investments which hire more people who get paychecks and guess what idiot..... they then pay more taxes. Actually these businessMEN ship the money to bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, lay off their workers and hire in lawless countries where they only have to pay a dime a day. Smart businessWOMEN invest when there is DEMAND, and do so regardless of the taxes. And, even if they DON'T have a ton of cash they GO GET IT when there is demand. And, by the way, taxes are not a cost. Costs are deducted.
As for his "joke" I have a math degree, and clearly he doesn't. But aside from that, his line "Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they
just may not show up at the table anymore" implies that the rich will just leave the country after taking what they can get from it. Now THAT'S a patriotic joke.
But let's just sum it up in simple terms. In the 20's we cut taxes on the rich and corproations, wealth became concentrated and we had the depression. Then we raised taxes on the rich and came out of the depression. Clinton raised taxes on the rich and we had the greatest economic and job expansion in our history. Bush cut taxes on the rich, no jobs and massive debt.
Update - I received the following after informing the writer that I had responded on the blog
:"I believe Cuba and China are still communist... you may want to move.."
Oh, I'll Vote for Bush, Then
Reagan died, so I guess I'll vote for Bush instead, then.
(In case you don't get it, that is the official Bush/CHeney 04 website you're looking at. Their website might only look like this for a few days...)
Gaddafi Regrets Reagan Died Without Facing Trial
I report, you decide.
Yahoo! News - Gaddafi Regrets Reagan Died Without Facing Trial:
"Muammar Gaddafi said Sunday he regretted that former U.S. President Ronald Reagan had died without ever being tried for 1986 air strikes that killed dozens of people, including the Libyan leader's adopted daughter."Approx. 70,000 Nicaraguan civilians and an untold number of Central American death squad victims expressed their agreement.
Update - And 100,000 killed in Guatemala.
Bush losing it, bigtime...
[Read this, NOW. This is NOT fiction - this is a real reporter with deep ties to those on Capitol Hill. After you're done, forward it on to all your friends who are still considering whether to vote for Bush. Scary does not begin to describe the situation when this man holds the keys to the nuclear football. Oh, my, God. -Thomas]
Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides
By DOUG THOMPSON
Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
Jun 4, 2004, 06:15
President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.
In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state.”
Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.
[... continued at link above ...]
This is one of my favorite quotes...
"The Greens are the only constituency in America whom the Democrats believe they can convince by insult." --Sam Smith, in Greening the Golden Triangle (courtesy of CounterPunch)
Few things more true have ever been said.
For the curious, Sam Smith is the editor of the Progressive Review. This article is mandatory reading for Democrats seriously interested in understanding where the hell Greens are coming from.
If you're wondering what prompted me to post this little gem, read on...
In response to my posting re: pro-Kerry or anti-Bush, I received an email that started off thusly: "Longing for Nader or Kucinich is infantile."
Not quite what I'd expect from someone attempting to seriously persuade me to their point of view. Seriously folks, and here I address my friends in the Democratic Party: Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You're spent four years roundly berating every Green in sight, and what has it gotten you? Not much, so far as I can see... Nader still pulls 7% in the polls, and any Greens or Nader supporters (the two are not synonymous, by the way) that the tactic would've been effective with have long since been persuaded. It's time for a different strategy folks.
... here's another great quote:
"...the Democrats have spent the last decade in a masochistic effort to convince people that they were really just nicer Republicans, expanding the prison population and undermining social democracy to prove it. They should not be surprised if those whom they convinced included many Greens."
Now, clearly, a lot of you (judging by the tenor of the comments left here) are highly dissatisfied with this strategy, even if you haven't come to the conclusion that the solution is to abandon it for the Green Party.
The responses to my pro-Kerry or anti-Bush posting (21 comments and counting - I obviously hit a button) back me up on this: y'all are a lot more anti-Bush than you are pro-Kerry.
Unfortunately, anti-Bushism is hardly a sustainable ideology.
Which brings me to the primary point of this posting: how do we move beyond ABBA, and beyond Kerry's politics of triangulation, to facilitate the creation of a vision for a successful and sustainable progressive politics that has a snowball's chance in hell of making an impact on the American political system?
Much as I admire and respect Nader and Kucinich, clearly, they haven't come up with the right formula. It seemed for a moment like Dean had a handle on this (despite my reservations about his politics, I was fascinated enough by the Dean phenomenon to devote a category exclusively to him on my blog), but obviously something went wrong. Not to mention that, after the fact, it seems that the major validation of his approach, the ability to very quickly raise large sums of money over the Internet via appeals to the grassroots, wasn't that hard for Kerry to emulate once he became the clear front-runner.
I read a very thoughtful post-Iowa analysis by a no longer starry eyed Dean volunteer ("Losing My Religion", by Katy Bulter, in Salon) that explores the subject of why Dean failed, and which may offer some lessons for our movement as well. Kerry's victory in Iowa was not an accident, as this article makes clear... Dean appears to have failed to connect, in a very fatal way, with a substantial number of the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. The next candidate to come along can't afford to make that same mistake.
NOTE: I'm a Green (and have always been one, ever since I first registered to vote in 1990), so that tells you a little bit about what *I* think the solution is (it's called a "forklift upgrade" by us folks in the tech industry), but I'm curious to hear what YOU have to say on the subject. :)
Again: the question for discussion is, how do we go beyond ABBA to create a sustainable vision for a succesful more or less left of center politics in this country?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
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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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