For The Trees
Who is our economy FOR, anyway?
About the Authors:
BEST OF STF:
Articles not at STF:
The ATLA Speech on building a progressive infrastructure
Lowering the Bar
The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law
Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors
On the Right and their communications infrastructure:
Why Republicans Win
Win or Lose
The "Conventional Wisdom" Machine
Some History of the Conservative Movement
HOW TO FIGHT BACK
An Amplifier Of Our Own
Don't Blame the Democrats
How They Do It 1 2 3 4
You're Gonna Get Drafted
Scalia and Self-Government
Who is Our Economy For?
Voting Machine Story Link Collection
What's Wrong with this Picture? (Voting Machines)
Like Meat in the Supermarket
Thin Line 1 2 3
Fixing Social Security
Seeing the Forest I, II, III
"Incredibly Positive News"
The Breadth of It
The Republican Crony Club
Ralph Nader is a Scab
John's Best Of:
Kerry Smear Page
9/11 Commission Report Damages Bush -- if you read it
Florida Goon Squad Intimidated the Supreme Court
The Use and Abuse of George Orwell
Zizka's Archives (John's previous identity)
Information Clearing House
What REALLY Happened
Links to Other Weblogs:
OH MY GOD!
There is a new campaign ad viewable at The Official Re-election Site for President George W. Bush that you will not BELIEVE! (Click the big, green "Watch!" button.)
It's called The Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party and it shows people like Al Gore, Howard Dean, Al Gephardt and John Kerry morphing into HITLER! It starts with Gore in a speech, morphing into Hitler, with a crowd shouting "Seig Heil!". It goes on like that. YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT! Go watch before they pull it down!!!
Here's the transcript of Bush's Feb. 8, 2003 radio address:
"THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Powell briefed the United Nations Security Council on Iraq's illegal weapons program, its attempts to hide those weapons, and its links to terrorist groups.And so it was off to war, glorious war. And, of course, the bonus that Bush would be a "war President" for the election.
John Quincy Adams and George Walker Bush
I saw the following quote in a fundraising pitch from The Independent Institute*:
"During this time, President Bush has become the first full-term president since John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) NOT to have vetoed a SINGLE bill."
Information from the Office Clerk of the House confirms this statement(http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0801767.html).
It is certainly an attention getting statistic... I don't rightly know what to make of it, other than it only re-emphasizes the exceptional nature of the Bush Presidency.
* Yes, I'm aware of where their money comes from, like everyone else on the right. At the same time, I have a lot more respect for truly libertarian institutions like this. These folks are generally a lot more coherent and consistent than their brethren... and they've been consistently and highly critical of the Bush's administration's policies re: the war in Iraq, civil liberties, and expansion of police power.
Greens vs Dems
I posted a comment in the ongoing Greens vs Dems debate, and thought I would elevate it to a post. (I can do that. So can the other posters here, by the way.)
Changing the minds...
The Green's idea is that they are forcing the Democratic Party and the country back to the left. I agree that this needs to happen. In fact I used to BE a Green because I believed this strongly.
But if you study what has happened to America it is not the Republican PARTY that has moved the public -- and therefore the Democratic Party -- to the right, it is their network of well-funded think tanks and advocacy/communication organizations. By changing public attitudes, they can elect candidates that reflect the changes their efforts have brought.
Parties reflect the public. What is needed is not a change in the Democratic Party, but a means to change public attitudes, which would then change the candidates and parties. Parties don't tell the people what to think -- people's thinking tells the parties what to do. Parties respond to the voters. Change the people, then the Parties will change.
To accomplish this, we need to fund organizations that are able to reach the general public through marketing, and work to restore Progressive values of community, sharing, nurturing and democracy -- and counter the Right's propaganda. That's what the Right has been doing -- pounding the public with "free-market" and "linertarian" and "personal responsibility" messaging -- and we need to do it right back.
This is not the job of just a radio network, it requires a long-term effort with strategic funding designed to reach the long-term goals. It requires many organizations doing research into public attitudes and language and messaging, etc. That's what the Right does. They have over 500 organizations working on this, and they are well-funded.
As the public is moved back from the Right's constant ideological drumbeat, THEN the Democratic Party will respond.
ANOTHER Fine Mess He's Gotten Us Into!
Three years ago North Korea did NOT have nukes. Bush insulted them and called them part of the "axis of evil" and then refused to negotiate with them, forcing them into a crash program to develop nuclear weapons. So here we are. Our military is completely tied up in Iraq, and North Korea is threatening to set off nuclear weapons.
N. Korea Threatens to Test Nuclear Weapon:
"WASHINGTON (AP) - North Korea told the United States on Thursday that it would test a nuclear weapon unless Washington accepted Pyongyang's proposal for a freeze on its atomic program, a senior administration official said."It REALLY, REALLY matters who you vote for. REALLY.
This is a case where the "lesser of two evils" literally means not ending the world.
The Terrible Cost
"Price of war":
The Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy In Focus have released a study on the costs of the Iraq war. Here are the human costs as cited by the groups, but the report also includes security, economic and social costs.Who you vote for does make a difference. If not to you, it certainly did and does to those listed above.
Take the poll - what will Bush do to hold on to power?
Supreme Court Backs Cheney
The same Supreme Court that ruled that President Clinton basically had to go on television in his underwear (no attorney-client privilege, OK to proceed with private suit that supposedly wouldn't get in the way of running the country, etc.) ruled that courts can take more time deciding whether to make Cheney disclose who and what went on with his "secret energy task force."
One thing we know about the task force is that it involved maps of Iraq's oil fields even before 9/11. If we know that, and they still want the rest of it secret, what is it they want to keep the public from knowing?
Denial of Service Attack on my personal weblog.
It appears that someone has launched a denial of service attack on my personal weblog - the post at this URL: http://www.thomasleavitt.org/personal/blog/index.php?p=530, accounts for 150 out of the last 200 accesses, and 670 out of the last 1000 ... most of them from a small number of similar IP addresses. Given that the post is entitled "Nader endorses Camejo!", it doesn't seem unreasonable to draw the conclusion that someone angry about Nader's selection of Camejo as his VP is trying to exact their revenge. Which is amusing, given that I've already stated that if the race is close in California, Kerry is likely to get my vote... despite the fact that I run a web site entitled UnrepentantNaderVoter.com. Not to mention my rather ambiguous feelings about Nader's campaign, also previously stated. :)
Anyway, I've decided turn my personal blog off, for the moment, to prevent the rest of the server from getting hammered. Seems like the Republicans aren't the only types who believe in censorship. :/
If I were the devil
I don't know why but my political/personal inbound emails run 4 out of 5 right wing, and often it's on its third or fourth generation of forwards. Half of these emails have longer headers than text. While I've stopped trying to respond to those where I just don't recognize any names (which is most because what few right wing friends and family I have remaining have long since learned I "REPLY ALL" my responses and dropped me from their email lists) in yesterday emails I received a special request from mom. Mom , ever the diplomat, has so far avoided being removed from family and friends GOP_chain ebombs but is finding it harder to ignore them. So mom, knowing my penchant for not keeping my mouth closed (sure, now it's handy . . .), forwarded me the latest and asks if I can help her formulate a response. Half hour later and I've whipped out a quick Fisking of a perennial favorite of Death Pools around the country; Paul Harvey. I sent it back and didn't give it any thought until I got word today that it's being printed up and passed around.
Our most gracious host, Dave, sent me a link months ago to guest post and told me "Whenever inspiration strikes . . ."
So, in the spirit of "It would be a shame to waste a good Fisking" I present for my opening post:
Paul Harvey, If I Were the Devil, Fisked
If I were the devil, I would gain control of the most powerful
nation in the world; I would delude their minds into thinking that they
had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;
This kind of simplistic logic suggests that man is the opposite of God, and the devil is the opposite of God, so therefore man (or in this case man's effort) is equal to the devil. If I were the devil I'm quite sure I would appreciate this kind of logic. I'm not sure who else would though. Of course there are many that would argue the devil has already gained "control of the most powerful nation in the world" through the person of George Bush, but I doubt that's what Paul had in mind with this statement.
I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people,
instead of the other way around;
If you were the devil what would you think of invading and occupying, at a cost of tens of thousands of innocent lives, a nation that was not a threat to the US, was not involved in recent attacks against our country and had in fact been a subsidized client state of the US only a decade ago? If I were the devil I'd love the oil and use our troops to steal it.
I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their
If I were the devil I would cut taxes (especially on those most able to afford them) until entire states bordered on bankruptcy. Then I'd cut vital public services including infrastructure, transportation, education, school nutrition programs (as the devil this would be one of my favorite cuts), police and fire protection. Can't very well ensue social chaos without cutting education, Police and fire.
I would convince people that character is not an issue when it
comes to leadership;
Considering the inexplicable level of support for Bush I think the devil has already won this one.
I would make it legal to kill unborn babies;
If I were the devil I would make it mandatory to torture semantics.
I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and
invent machines to make it convenient;
If I were the devil I would make it socially acceptable to prolong a person's un-treatable suffering and agony as long as possible, and invent machines to make it convenient.
I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life
of animals are valued more than human beings;
See both "mandatory to torture semantics" from above and "invading and occupying."
I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of
His name was grounds for a lawsuit;
If I was the devil I would insist that God be taught in the schools. Outside of the fact that I, the devil, couldn't exist without God, nothing brings out the absolute worst in people like instilling the belief that their God is the only correct God (as the devil I'm telling both sides this one, hee hee hee). Now couple this with cuts to education and law enforcement and I'd be one very happy devil.
I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the
young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them;
Not that Jesus was a sports hero, but he did do a ton to help promote wine. If I were the devil I'd take credit for tobacco though.
I would get control of the media, so that every night I could
pollute the mind of every family member with my agenda;
If I were the devil I'd want royalties from Fox.
I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.
Does this explain why the holiest are forbidden to marry and have families? If I were the devil it might make sense, but as it is it doesn't.
I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If
the family crumbles, so does the nation;
If I were the devil I'd forbid divorce. Misery loves company and oh how much company I'd have were that the case.
I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies
on canvas and movie screens, and call it art;
If I were the devil I would compel people to repress their most depraved fantasies and then, when they inevitably act out on them behind the scenes, have them repeatedly shuttled to new parishes to start over again (and again, and again), and call it rehabilitation. Or denial. The devil doesn't know the difference anyway.
I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and
that their lifestyles should be accepted;
If I were the devil I'd want to convince the world to be as intolerant as possible of others who are different. If I were the devil I'd be agreeing with what Paul Harvey really thinks on this one.
I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined
by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as
If I were the devil I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves exclusive spokesmen for God's word and refer to their agenda as Divine. Of course others may refer to it as an inquisition . . . or a Crusade.
I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of
date, and the Bible is for the naive;
If I were the devil I would persuade people that the Bible is just as relevant today as it was when it was written 2,000 years ago. Especially Leviticus. He'd be my favorite. Death for mixing your fibers, death for working on Sunday, death for talking back to your parents, tips on selling your daughters into slavery . . . what's a devil not to like? Anyone who doesn't believe that everything Leviticus espouses is the path to a richer, more fulfilling life is naive.
I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that
prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are
If I were the devil I would close the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer, faithfulness and obedience, to the exclusion of all other concerns, are the only things that matter. Much easier to work my magic* without free will messing things up.
* An example: "Look, over there! The devil is in that man. KILL HIM! Ohh now look over THERE! Another possessed by the devil. You must, for the sake of your saftey, kill them too." It's almost too easy.
Hmmm... I guess if I were the devil, I'd leave things pretty
much the way they are. Good day.
Hmmm . . . I guess if I were the devil I'd agree things are going my way, but not for the reasons Paul Harvey thinks.
I wrote about this the other day, but today Tony Blankley's column is out. Here's what he says:
"But it is that third point about failing to catch Bin Laden where Clinton probably, and correctly, realizes he is historically most vulnerable. Whether or not Clinton tried as hard as he could, the cruel, objective fact of history is that Bin Laden and his al Qaeda emerged on Clinton's watch. He failed to nip it in the bud, and it has now blossomed into a malignant worldwide danger. "Notice how he says "on Clinton's watch?" Actually, bin Laden and al-Queda "emerged" on Reagan and Bush I's watch -- and were funded and trained by them.
Speaking of things happening on someone's "watch," what happened on George W Bush's watch?
Clinton the Most Progressive
Thomas posted some Green propaganda so I'll just ask one question. Can you name an issue where Clinton was not the most Progressive president we've had since FDR?
Update - Unless you have an absolutely perfect candidate, who agrees with every single position you have, 100% of the time, then aren't you voting for the "lesser evil" every time you vote, no matter who you vote for? In other words, "lesser evil" is just meaningless words, designed to sound good but actually confusing the real issues. You have to compromise, even if you vote for yourself.
Nader's selection of Peter Camejo as VP
Nader has picked Peter Camejo, Mr. Avocado himself (an avocado is Green on the inside, and Green on the outside), as his running mate/VP. For those of you not in the know, Camejo ran as the Green Party of California's candidate for Governor in 2000 and 2002, earning respectable totals in both campaigns (over 5% in the 2000 race, and 200,000+ votes in both races). This is a political masterstroke (at least, if you look at it from the perspective of a Nader campaign supporter):
1. It (negatively) seals the fate of an independent Green Party candidacy by David Cobb. Faced with the double-whammy of a Nader/Camejo ticket, each of which draws upon a significant and not necessarily overlapping segment of the Green voter/activist population, it seems inconceivable that a Cobb campaign could gain any traction at all, even within the confines of the Green Party itself. Having Camejo running as the "Green" half of a Nader/Green "fusion" ticket* pretty much renders Cobbs' "Safe States" campaign pointless, and narrows even further a base already considerably shrunken by defections to the Nader campaign. A Cobb campaign would be a "rump" campaign in the most classic sense of the word, and I think most activists within the Green Party will recognize that and vote accordingly.
2. It renders whatever decision the Green Party makes in Milwaukee about endorsing Nader more or less irrelevant - with Camejo having delivered a big chunk of the Green grassroots to the Nader camp, all the convention can do is make it more or less difficult for Nader to obtain a few ballot lines. What will the convention decide? Who knows... my sense is that the momentum for a Nader endorsement is building, but at the same time, if Camejo's decision has finally put the last nail in the idea of an independent Green candidacy via David Cobb, as I think it has, it may very well result in a substantial number of the party's delegates opting to sit this one out, rather than putting the Green Party in the position of supporting and being a proxy for a candidate (or a pair of candidates) over which it has no control whatsoever.
1. There was a very strong "Draft Camejo" movement in the Green Party, folks who've been seeking to ensure that an authentically Green voice is heard this November, one that the media will have a hard time silencing. Camejo, even as the VP of a Nader ticket, fits that bill very well, and I think most of the Draft Camejo types will very willingly come on over to a Nader/Camejo ticket, regardless of whether the Green Party officially endorses it.
2. Camejo's always been a bit of a wildcard, willing to go his own way, regardless of whether or not the party establishment has bothered to line itself up behind him or not (such as when he plunged into the race for Governor of California during the recall election), and this fits. It also, as I point out above, pretty much seals off any potential for a strong campaign by a separate Green Party nominee.
* See: The Challenge of 2004: GREEN PARTY UNITY (from Peter Camejo) and Robert Caldwell's essay, For a Green-Nader Candidacy.
What do I think, personally? I don't know. I like Camejo, and I like Nader, but I'd like them both more if they were the official nominees of the Green Party itself, rather than independents making an end run around party process. I'm a Green, first, not a Naderite or an "independent progressive". I believe that the most effective way to work for the long term transformation of American politics (and thus the preservation of life on this planet) is build the Green Party into a credible and effective alternative to the politics of the status quo, as represented by the duopoly. I don't see how an independent campaign by Nader and Camejo does this, and so I find it hard to muster much enthusiasm for it. That said, Kerry's done nothing to earn my vote as of yet, and quite a bit to lose it... under normal circumstances; but we're not in normal times, and Bush strikes me as incredibly dangerous (or rather, those around him). Enough so, that I'm willing to concede that I might hold my nose in November and cast a vote for him, if things look close in California.
Put it another way: you're not likely to see me pounding the pavement, or writing a check, or holding a fundraiser, or manning a phone, for any candidate for President of the U.S. this fall. Ray Glock-Gruenich (Green) for Congress in the 17th District, anyone? :)
The Clinton Record – Let’s Not Forget
[Got this from the VoteNader web site.
Thought some of you read meat types might want to rip into it. Personally, I could name a half-dozen other things not mentioned here off the top of my head, starting with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", and DOMA (the "Defense of Marriage Act", that pissed me off... -Thomas]
During the flurry of mass media attention being devoted this week to
Wouldn’t President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick
What the Clinton-Gore administration did:
Cleaning Up Republican Messes
I took a break from work and was clicking through the channels, and stopped on Crossfire for a minute. Right-winger guest Tony Blankley was saying that Clinton's "failure to nip bin Laden in the bud" will damage his reputation in the future.
How many variations of "9/11 was Clinton's fault" have you heard? Well, let's nip THIS in the bud right now.
Here's a 1998 story about bin Laden's Bush/Reagan CIA training and funding. This is just one of many such stories.
Once again, Clinton is being scapegoated by the people who created the mess in the first place, because he didn't sufficiently clean it up for them. For example, while he managed to bring us the longest economic expansion in history, as well as starting to pay down the debt, he didn't make the economy strong ENOUGH to withstand what Bush was going to do to it. So they say the economic mess is Clinton's fault.
Reagan and Bush funded and trained the Afghan resistance, including bin Laden, and then dropped them, no follow-up, didn't even get the shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles back from them. Now they blame Clinton for not seeing what bin Laden was going to do ON BUSH'S WATCH and doing more to prevent it -- even though Clinton had made bin Laden the #1 priority, and was going around the country giving speeches warning about terrorism, and trying to get anti-terrorism bills passed that the Republicans were filibustering. (One they filibustered because Clinton wanted tags in explosives so we could learn where bombs were made.)
So it's all Clinton's fault because he didn't clean up the Republican mess ENOUGH.
Let's not be hysterical
Al-Qaeda is not the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. Stalin and Hitler controlled enormous military forces located within or adjacent to the heartland of Europe, and Hitler was the master of one of the most productive economies and one of the most technically advanced nations in the world. (The USSR was no slouch either).
By contrast, all Muslim nations are economically weak. None of them has an industrial base or significant scientific or technical capacities. None of them has a genuinely fearsome military.
Furthermore, Islam is not united.The Shia / Sunni division is the most prominent, but there are many internal divisions within these large groupings too. There are twenty or more Muslim nations, and they are often intensely hostile to one another. Muslims speak more than ten major languages.
All Islam has is oil money and popular support. The popular support is broad but not necessarily deep; most Muslims are not militants and give nothing more than lipservice to the cause. Only the Islamists' ability to recruit suicide bombers makes them a threat at all.
Doesn't this tell us that we're going to be able to handle this? Doesn't it tell us that the hysteria about the collapse of Western civilization is unnecessary?
The 9/11 attack was unprecedented for America, but other nations have suffered much worse attacks (either absolutely or in proportion to their populations) without going insane. One example is El Salvador, which lost about 1% of its population to terrorism over about a decade.
Some of the hysteria (at the popular level) comes from people who have personal emotional problems and need to vent -- go to "Little Green Footballs" or "The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler" if you don't believe me. But at the elite level, it comes mostly from politicians and policymakers whose agendas can't be fulfilled unless the American people are petrified with fear and obsessed with rage.
We should figure out what we have to do, and do it -- but without the hysteria, please. The United States has the most powerful military in the history of mankind. More than anything, we need a calm hand on the controls: the head cases should butt out.
Another Republican Assault on Labor Rights
Nathan Newman writes about the Bush administration's National Labor Relations Board's latest assault on the rights of workers. This is worth reading to get more of an idea of the kinds of things that happen with Republicans run the country.
This case is an example of why so few union people are Greens. Ralph Nader says there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans, but this kind of thing shows why people in the Labor Movement so strongly support Democrats and don't succumb to the Green's call to split the coalition. Union people are living in a reality where they see every day how their jobs and rights are on the line. They understand about getting what you CAN get, incremental improvement, and the harm that can be done when people demand ideological perfection over pragmatic compromise.
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