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
Think Progress
Bill Bradley Describes VRWC in NY Times Piece Toda...
Blog Change Coming Friday
How the Liberal Media Myth is Created
Interest Rates
Finally Leaving Blogger


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


News Sources:
AlterNet
BuzzFlash
Common Dreams
Cursor
Drudge Retort
Information Clearing House
Smirking Chimp
TruthOut
What REALLY Happened

Links to Other Weblogs:




7/07/2004
 



Michael Moore says, "Elect a Green"

"OK, I'VE SEEN THE MOVIE NOW WHAT DO I DO?"

last on the list:

Elect a Green

Sometimes when the Democrats suck, they really, really suck. And sometimes, you gotta teach 'em a lesson. And hey, it's not like the Republicans would be overjoyed either. We can crack the two party system.

***

Michael then goes on to endorse Pat Gray, who is running against Tom Lantos, a conservative, pro-war Democrat in the SF Bay Area that I've heard people of all stripes describe as "horrid", and Bob Kinsey, who took on Republican Marilyn Musgrave (sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment in the House) after Colorado's state Democratic Party organization wrote off the race as unwinnable and appeared likely to not even bother fielding a candidate!*

Moore describes these two races thusly:

"Here are some elections where the Democrats have all but surrendered to their opponents or are equally conservative, leaving you the option of voting your conscience without feeling guilty."

Do you buy that? If not, why - and at exactly what point does this logic become valid (if ever)?

--Thomas Leavitt

* Here's a case of the Democrat's "spoiling" a race, and "splitting" the vote... Kinsey was doing well enough that local Democratic clubs were even inviting him to speak at party events and trying to discourage the state from running a Democratic candidate. So what do they do? Convince a reluctant retread (he lost by 25,000 votes last go around) to run again.


 



Timing

In politics, timing is everything!


 



Over at Drudge

Headline: Couple have sex on stage during concert ** Warning Graphic Photos**...

Do you think it got any hits?

And no, I WON'T provide a link to Drudge.




 



Hamilton Burger doesn't like Kerry/Edwards

The legal profession as a whole always bats .500. There are two sides to every legal case, and one side always loses.

The way these statistics worked themselves out, Perry Mason won every single time, and Hamilton Burger never did. (What are the chances of that!)

One imagines that Burger did not like Perry Mason very much. And a lot of corporate lawyers don't like John Edwards, either. Strange, eh?

Perry Mason vs. Hamilton Burger: let's run with it!

Kerry/Edwards vs. all the fat, whining corporate lawyers in the world.

A great big cold greasy overcooked hamiltonburger on a stale bun doused with rancid ketchup sitting out overnight for the cockroaches..... well, maybe I've had a little too much coffee.


 



Two Wrongs Make a Right

I'm a big "two wrongs make a right" guy. So let me explain.

First of all, Moore is less dishonest than Bush and Cheney themselves are, and much less dishonest than the Republican surrogates who kept the Clinton impeachment going. He's got a few howlers in there (statistics, dates) and a few stretches (Afghan pipeline). But he doesn't have any equivalent of "The Clinton Death List" or "Hitlery the lesbian killed her lover Vince Foster."

And remember -- that stuff wasn't just seen in marginal sources; it percolated up to Safire, the Wall Street Journal, Newt Gingrich, Pat Robertson, et. al. Of those involved, almost no one has been punished or repudiated. The most vicious surrogates (e.g. Ann Coulter, Gary Aldrich) are still well-paid and hard at work. Pat Robertson remains a central Republican figure. And Newt Gingrich, who I think played the biggest single role in the debasing of American political discourse, revolutionized American politics and ended up as Speaker of the House.

To return to Moore: as I've said, Moore's film is impressionistic and insinuating, and does not make a logical, factual argument the way a Chomsky film, for example, would have (and in fact, the ZNET people have already denounced it). But to me this is a good thing. Moore's film reaches people whom wouldn't otherwise have been reached, and whom the Republicans have been flim-flamming for decades. The main reason for the screams of rage you're hearing is the fact that Moore's film has been very effective.

There is such a thing as "prevailing community standards" or "the way the game is played", and Moore's work is comfortably within those standards. These have been so low for so long that almost nothing could really violate them except physical brownshirt attacks on the opposition.

Now let's try another way of making my point: who has standing to protest against Moore's movie? I don't see how any Republican can say anything. During the worst days of Gingrich, when the Republicans used the most abhorrent tactics to gain control of the House and the Senate, no major Republican (except Jeffords) ever stood up and said "This has to stop". Not all of them played the game, but only a single Senator ever publicly opted out.

The same goes for media people who helped the Republican slime operations along, or who sat quietly and watched. That means almost all of them, including the SCL New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN. All of them have relayed Republican smears and lies, usually without ever retracting them, and their protests against Republican dishonesty, inaccuracy, and viciousness have been extraordinary feeble and few.

That leaves the nice, high-minded liberals who've been slamming Moore. Maybe some of them are as good as they think they are. But there's a big pre-defeated anti-populist streak in the Democratic Party, and I think that that's what we're looking at here.

High-mindedness has not worked. Mondale, Dukakis, and Gore all stated their intention of talking sense to America and treating Americans as adults, and they all lost. The impressionistic Boston Harbor / Morning in American / Willie Horton strategy has been triumphant. (Clinton was just a speed-bump, and he gave away half the farm anyway).

The uproar about civility, polarization, and "lies" only started when Democrats started fighting back by playing the game that the Republicans have been playing for ten years or more. It's really too late for the bought, intimidated referees to say anything. And frankly, I think that the high-minded liberals should be ever-so-politely elbowed out of the way.

Only after the defeated Republicans have been forced to renounce their nastiest operatives should we start talking about civility.

(Developed from a comment on Matt Yglesias. 10:42 PDT: Please forget earlier premature postings.)




7/06/2004
 



$10,000 Reward For Factual Errors in F-911?

Maybe soon. CNN.com - The world according to Michael:
"He also hired the former chief of fact checking at the New Yorker magazine to comb the film for inaccuracies. 'There's lots of disagreement with my analysis of these facts or my opinion based on the facts. But,' he insists, 'there is not a single factual error in the movie. I'm thinking of offering a $10,000 reward for anyone that can find a single fact that's wrong.'"
Analysis, opinion - but no factual errors.


 



Cnn Says Kerry Lies

I just got to the hotel - and I do have a broadband connection!

So I turn on CNN Headline News, and they just said that Kerry lied by saying he waited until today to make up his mind. 6:06pm Boston time.


 



The Right Guy -- Gone For A Few Days

Kerry picked the right guy.

I'll be gone for three days, to speak at the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) convention in Boston. So I probably won't be posting, unless the hotel has a broadband line in the room. (Kerry is scheduled to speak, too. Maybe that will change...)

I'll post my remarks after I get back so you, too, can know what trial lawyers know!




7/05/2004
 



Go Get Mad

Here's a right-winger's web page saying that Moore's movies is full of lies, Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 911, and here is the first in the list of lies:
"Fahrenheit 911 begins on election night 2000. We are first shown the Al Gore rocking on stage with famous musicians and a high-spirited crowd. The conspicuous sign on stage reads "Florida Victory." Moore creates the impression that Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida."
Well, do you know ANYONE who thought this showed Gore "celebrating his victory in Florida?"

Guess what, this guy is a professional. The end of his web page says:
"Dave Kopel is Research Director of the Independence Institute and an NRO columnist."
The Independence Institute is funded by Coors and Koch, AND the guy works for National Review.

So go get mad and learn what the Right is about.


 



Another Letter-to-the-Editor Complaining About Unions

This is from a a letter-to-the-editor today, titled, How about real world pensions?,
"[ . . . ] I have worked as an electrical engineer for over 40 years and when I retired a year ago it was without any pension and just my 401(k) money that I had saved. I would love to be living now with 85 percent of my salary every month.

The pensions these people get are just called greed."
I thought engineers were supposed to be smart.

HEY BONEHEAD! Instead of complaining about how people in unions have it so much better than other workers, and saying they shouldn't, WHY DIDN'T YOU JOIN A UNION!

Bonehead.


 



Your Tax Dollars Promoting Bush!

I came across this today, while looking for budget documents that will tell me for the amount of interest that we pay on the national debt each year. (They have made this number very hard to find, and now report "net" interest, which subtracts all the interest the government receives from all sources, which makes the impact of Bush's borrowing look less severe.)

Here is the headline at the House Budget Committee's web page. Tell me if you think this is using our tax dollars to POLITICIZE our government, to the benefit on one political party? House Budget Committee: "Yes, America is Better Off Today."

When you click this link, you get this:
Yes, America is Better Off Today
Today – in 2004 – we are better off than we were at the end of 2000.

Homeland Security: Since 2000, we've greatly strengthened our homeland security. Today, America is better prepared to prevent, disrupt, and respond to terrorist attacks than ever before.

  • We've more than doubled funding for Homeland Security since September 11th, 2001.

  • We created the Department of Homeland Security.

  • With the improved resources, we've increased presence at key foreign ports, improved visa and inspection processes, strengthened seaport security, and improved security technology at airports and border crossings.

  • The BioWatch program now protects many large U.S. cities by monitoring the air for biological agents that could be released by terrorists. Additionally, Project BioShield is developing and acquiring more advanced vaccines and treatments for biological agents.

  • Over 500,000 first responders have been trained in weapons of mass destruction awareness and response since September 11th, 2001.

    Defense: Over the past three years, we've made great strides in correcting the defense deficit begun in the early 1990s, and continuing , including:

  • Increasing the Department of Defense annual budget by over $110 billion to prosecute the global war on terrorism and carry out military transformation.

  • Greatly improving military quality of life issues: we've increased basic pay alone by 21 percent. Out of pocket housing expenses for the troops will reduce to zero in 2005.

  • International Terrorists on Defense – Not Offense: In 2000, the Taliban and Saddam were free to aid international terrorism through their despotic regimes.

  • Today, the Taliban no longer rule Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein no longer rules Iraq. These former sources of international terrorism are under Coalition control.

  • Even Libya – a long-time supporter of terrorism – recently renounced aid to terrorism.

  • Libya is now working in partnership with the United States and United Kingdom to implement a commitment to eliminate all of its ballistic missiles and chemical and nuclear development programs.

    Economy: The economy is growing strongly now in 2004 - the best in 20 years - not on the verge of a recession as in 2000.

  • Real GDP growth is at its highest pace in 20 years; in contrast, over the last 6 months of 2000, real GDP grew at an annual rate of less than 1 percent and even declined 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 2000.

  • Payroll employment is growing strongly now - up over 1.1 million jobs over the past 8 months, and up by 867,000 over the first 4 months of this year. Over the last 4 months of the Clinton Administration, payroll jobs growth was slowing as the economy was entering recession, up only 284 thousand jobs.

  • Manufacturing jobs are increasing now - up 37,000 over the past 3 months. Over the last 3 months of the Clinton Administration, manufacturing payroll employment fell by 120,000 jobs.

  • The unemployment rate is falling now - down 0.7 percentage point from June of last year to April of this year. In contrast, 4 years ago, from January 2000 to January 2001, the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points as the economy was on the verge of recession.

  • Housing markets are the strongest in 20 years - and housing values are at record highs.

  • Unemployment insurance claims are falling, recently down to as low as 318,000; 4 years ago, in the last week of 2000, unemployment insurance claims were up to 350,000 and rising toward 400,000 as the economy entered recession.
  • This is entirely a (dishonest) campaign document, posted on a government website, created by a Congressional committee. Someone should go to jail for this.


     



    Michael Moore One More Time

    I'm on a mission to keep saying this everywhere, even though I realize that I have become a monomaniac. A lot of people still haven't seemed to have gotten the word.

    In the political game as it is played today (and really, during every period) you need to have some way of getting your message out to intuitive gut thinkers who don't pay close attention to facts and logic. You know, the salt of the earth types and the fuckups.

    Michael Moore is able to do that, whereas the Democratic party itself has been pitifully weak in this regard.

    The Republican machine, including its surrogates, has been masterful at this job: this is one of the defining factors of the last 25 years or so of American political life.

    Conservatives have profited enormously from the Republicans' impressionistic propaganda. Whether or not they listen to the Republican surrogates, and whether or not they praise them, conservatives are all implicated with Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and any number of other equally sleazy but less famous characters. (Not to mention the egregious William Safire and George Will -- but that's a different story).

    When conservatives make high-minded statements of outrage about Moore, unless they can point to a track record of consistent rejection of the comparable Republican flaks, they show themselves to be partisans pure and simple, and they discredit themselves -- except as more or less effective political operatives.

    "Two wrongs doesn't make a right", they say. Yes it does, in a competitive sport. Both sides get to play by the same rules. If reaching in or pushing off or palming the ball or travelling or standing in the lane is allowed for one team, it has to be allowed for the other.

    Michael Moore's film is impressionistic, propagandistic, polemical, and not really fair. It is NOT especially dishonest or inaccurate. His film should be very effective in convincing a lot of ill-informed whim voters.

    I.e., voters the Republicans thought they owned.

    Versions of this rant were posted in the comments on Matt Yglesias and Kevin Drum.





    7/04/2004
     



    Pandagon: "Just Sickening"

    Ezra writes about a new Bush ad, titled, "Yakuza." Go see it. Ezra writes,
    To spend 30 seconds bashing Kerry's book The New War because it doesn't mention bin-Laden or Al-Qaeda without admitting that it was written in 1997 and was about organized crime is just absurd. It's like criticizing a book on obcenity from 1998 for ignoring Janet Jackson who, as we know, bared her breast in 2004.
    The background is that Kerry had pointed out that back in 1997 he had referred in his book to terrorism as a major problem. He did, it's in the book. Also Kerry did refer to Arafat as a "statesman" -- after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994..


     



    Middle-Class Estate Tax is 100%

    This story in today's NYTimes got me thinking. As Bills Mount, Debts on Homes Rise for Elderly:
    "As a result, the cushion that could provide financial security for older people -- their homes -- is no longer so secure. People reaching retirement age are now less likely to own their homes free and clear than their predecessors, according to an analysis of government housing and Census data."
    So the low interests rates old people receive on their savings have forced them to take out reverse mortgages for money to live, meaning they've handed their homes to the banks.

    Meanwhile there is huge prescription drug, medical bill and nursing home tax.
    Why is this happening, given that over all the elderly are financially better off today than in any previous generation? In various consumer surveys and bankruptcy studies, heavy health care expenses are consistently cited. "It's always medical bills - and credit cards to pay for medical bills," said Barbara May, a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in Arden Hills, Minn., and a board member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

    She described one of her current cases, involving an elderly couple who have amassed $44,000 in credit card debt largely for medications to treat heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other ailments. Ms. May described the couple's adult son weeping in her office.
    And if you have a parent who has been through this, you really know what I am talking about. If you end up in a nursing home your assets are taxed at 100% -- every penny you ever saved, and your house, and everything else goes away to pay the nursing home.

    These add up to huge - maybe 100% - taxes on the elderly. But the government is not collecting these taxes. These taxes go to the banking or drug or nursing home corporations.


     



    Union Bosses

    This letter was in yesterday's San Jose Mercury News:
    The power of big unions

    Thanks for insightful reporting into abuses of the California prison guard union. For all those who bemoan the corruption of "big business," let's remember there is just as much corruption in "big union." For every Enron, there is a California prison guard union. For every Republican in the pocket of some capitalist fat cat, there's a Democrat beholden to a union boss.
    I sent a letter in response:
    Editors,

    Scott Abramson complains (Saturday, July 3) about "big union" corruption. He writes, "For every Republican in the pocket of some capitalist fat cat, there's a Democrat beholden to a union boss."

    Let me explain the difference. The result of Republican politicians being in the pocket of corporate fat cats has been that working people LOSE their pensions and health care. The results of Democrat politicians being beholden to unions has been that millions of people GET pensions, and health care, and raises, and weekends, and overtime pay, and vacations, etc.

    Sincerely,

    Dave Johnson
    Let's hope they publish my letter.


     



    A Simple Question

    I have a simple question, probably get me in a lot of trouble.

    Bush Extols American 'Values' in West Virginia:
    "Bush described the United States as 'the world's foremost champion of liberty' and said 'terrorists' cannot be negotiated with."
    Why not?

    And what is the definition of a "terrorist," anyway?

    OK, two questions. Both cause a lot of trouble. Never ask questions. 4th of July.




    7/02/2004
     



    Howard Stern's Anti-Bush Web Page

    Howard Stern.com

    And it points to my current favorite song!

    And this.


     



    The Media Blackout: Single Payer Healthcare

    Here's an excellent example of how "liberal" ideas get no play in today's media:

    Single Payer Healthcare

    It you went by the right-wing manufactured conventional wisdom, you would think that this is completely off the agenda, anywhere in the United States, and that only wingnuts like the Greens are willing to put themselves on the record as being in favor of it.

    Except for the fact that the California Senate passed a single payer healthcare bill, SB 921, by a 23-14 margin last year - and the Assembly Health Committee passed it by a 12-5 vote this year (a couple of days ago). Obviously, a lot of non-wingnut types think it is a credible idea (8 members of the State Senate, and 18 members of the Assembly, are authors or co-authors, for example).

    Pretty newsworthy, eh? Yet, a search in Google for information about AB 921 ("SB 921" california) results in *zero* hits among major media outlets. In fact, only on page five does coverage by even a single minor media outlet appear (LatinoLA) in the results.

    I double checked this astonishing result by searching with Google News. The results? Just 7 hits (at least one of which is a letter to the editor)! #1? The Sonoma Index Tribune. #4? The People's Weekly World. #5? Good Housekeeping, of all things! NOTHING in the L.A. Times. Nothing in the San Jose Mercury. NOTHING in the San Francisco Chronicle. Let alone any national newspapers, such as the Washington Post, New York Times, the major newsweeklies, CNN, MSNBC. NADA. ANYWHERE.

    The biggest state in the union is credibly close to implementing Single Payer Healthcare, a massive debate is going on between various sectors of the electorate and interest groups, and NOTHING is being said about it in our major media. Anywhere. For the last thirty days. Despite the fact that the only action on the bill since July of 2003 has occured during that period.

    How is this possible? ...well, readers of this blog know the answer to that question. And we also know what the answer is: a media messaging infrastructure of our own, to counter the Mighty Wurlitzer built by the right over the past thirty years, at a price in the billions.


     



    It appears that Californian's are "against Bush", not "for Kerry".

    The results of two recent polls show that the relationship between the two major Presidential candidates and their respective voter base is completely different.

    The Field Poll, in a May 26th, 2004 Press Release, says:

    Voter support for Kerry is based more on voters’ desire to unseat Bush than it is a positive endorsement of the Massachusetts Senator. Two in three (65%) of those who prefer Kerry say their vote is more of a vote against Bush than it is support for the Democrat. The pattern is completely different among Bush voters. Seven in ten (71%) of those who prefer Bush say they are expressing support for him and just 25% say they are voting against Kerry. [33% of Kerry supporters say they are voting for Kerry.]


    This echoes the sentiments recorded in a May 7th press release on polling done by Survey USA, which showed even wider disparities on the Republican side: 80% for Bush, and 17% against Kerry, 35% for Kerry and 61% against Bush.

    This demonstrates that 2004 a classic "lesser of two evils" election, in the view of voters to the left end of the spectrum. The result may, ultimately (hopefully?) be a victory for Kerry this fall, but at the same time, points up how weak and out of contact with their base the Democratic Party as a whole is... a very dangerous situation, politically, to be in. Republicans are FOR their candidate, Democrats are AGAINST the other candidate. Which is a more sustainable position? I think the answer is obvious.

    California's two recent gubernatorial elections demonstrate this quite clearly:

    Election One: Davis runs an all out attack campaign, and paints Simon as a dangerous fanatic and an incompetent fool, and narrowly wins by convincing people that whatever reservations they have about him, he's the "lesser of two evils".

    Election Two: On an up or down vote, Davis gets dumped. His party's proposed replacement, Cruz Bustamante, attracts barely a third of the voters, and is wiped out by a tidal wave of pro-Arnie sentiment... why? All the voters in the middle didn't feel it necessary to vote AGAINST Arnie.

    Moral of the lesson? You can't build a sustainable majority on a negative. When the negative is neutralized or lessened, you lose.

    That said, perhaps the more interesting question is, how did the Democratic Party wind up in this position? It could be argued that this is a product of how utterly repulsive Bush is to the average Kerry supporter - so much so, that, on our side, all the energy that might otherwise go into pro-Kerry sentiment has been diverted to anti-Bush sentiment... but it seems to me that the answer is more complex (and in line with the core theme of this blog): the media environment is like a super-conductor for pro-Bush/pro-conservative sentiment, and an insulator for pro-Kerry/pro-liberal sentiment. In a sense, Kerry and the Democrats have no choice but to pursue a "lesser of two evils" campaign, because that is the only way they can get their message out: they have to fight Bush on his own terrain, and on his own issues, in order to be heard.

    It is fortunate that Bush is so bad... can you imagine how hopeless the situation would be, if Bush *hadn't* pursued such a radical agenda? I shudder to think of it. As it is, it looks like Kerry is ahead in the polls by a narrow margin.


     



    Myths and Green Campaigns

    [I'm reproducing this essay because it is a very cogent statement on the official Green position re: this fall's elections, and of the debate within the Green Party over the "anybody but Bush" strategy. This nuanced position (remember, the more liberal you are, the more you appreciate and embrace complexity :) ), in essence, is what the Green Party endorsed when they nominated David Cobb, as opposed to Nader/Camejo's more in your face tactics.

    The "Safe States" strategy is not about avoiding the blame for a loss by Kerry, it is about focusing the energy of the campaign on building the Green Party where its message can be most effectively communicated without distractions.

    --Thomas Leavitt]

    Myths and Green Campaigns

    by Steve Herrick estebandido _at_ gmail.com

    During the 2000 Presidential campaign, "everyone knew" that Nader was
    going around saying that there was no difference between the Democrats
    and the Republicans. However, what "everyone knew" was a myth - Nader
    never actually said that. What he in fact said was that there was not
    enough difference to make a difference. Between the media and the
    Democrat spinmeisters, this scathing indictment of the similarities
    between the parties was subtly but crucially recast as a dismissive
    oversimplification, one that anyone would recognize as simply
    inaccurate. This myth is still being perpetuated four years later,
    though it hasn't become any more true.

    Now we have a new campaign and a new Green Presidential ticket. Within
    a day or two of the convention, the myth machine was again at work on
    the Greens. This time, it's telling people that Green Presidential
    candidate David Cobb is encouraging people to vote for Democrat John
    Kerry. One media outlet in Maine even went so far as to assert that
    Vice-Presidential candidate Pat LaMarche didn't plan to vote for
    herself. This is nonsense, of course, yet LaMarche found herself
    obliged to clarify the point.

    Cobb and LaMarche are campaigning heavily in states that either Kerry
    or Bush is guaranteed to win in November. In toss-up states, they are
    taking their cues from the state-level Green Parties, and in the
    meantime, encouraging voters to "vote their consciences." The campaign
    has said repeatedly that this phrase means just what it says, no more
    and no less. It is no way a call to vote for Kerry, whom Cobb has
    called "a corporatist and a militarist."

    But then, why say anything except "vote Green?" In essence, Cobb is
    recognizing that this is not an easy decision for progressives. As
    much as he and LaMarche do indeed want people to vote Green, they
    recognize that progressives see Bush as being the worst administration
    in living memory, and possibly in the entire history of the United
    States. As they (the non-Green progressives) see it, Kerry, almost by
    default, would have to be a step up. This position is known as ABB,
    "anybody but Bush."

    A large majority of Green activists reject this stance, citing a long
    list of Kerry's positions which bear a far greater similarity to
    Bush's than to the Green Party's. Just "anybody" isn't good enough for
    them. However, it would be disingenuous - and impolitic - to callously
    dismiss the concerns of the ABBers out of hand, given that they are a
    large majority of progressives outside the Green Party. After all,
    this is the segment of the population most likely to vote Green
    farther down the ballot, even if not for President.

    So, when David Cobb tells people to vote their conscience, here's what
    he's saying: "I understand what you're going through. You've looked at
    the Green Party and realized that we represent your values and
    convictions better than the Democratic Party. At the same time, you've
    seen what a disaster the Bush administration has made of things, and
    you want to be part of stopping it, which the Green Party is not yet
    in a position to do. You're caught between what you see as the right
    thing in the short run and the right thing in the long run. I don't
    pretend that's an easy decision. I'm asking you to vote Green, which
    is why I'm running and campaigning in your state. In the end, though,
    it's your vote to cast."



     



    Republican Thinking

    I got an e-mail that is part of an exchange a friend is having with a Republican. I'm going to excerpt from the Republican's e-mail so we can see what is out there circulating. Think of this as being like a small focus group. There is much to learn here.

    On Bush's intelligence -- in response to being told that the King of Jordan was more literate in English than Bush in a recent press conference, that Kerry is more intelligent, and that Bush speaks in slogans:
    "I ... have known ... fighter pilots and they just don't let "dumb" people fly supersonic jets like the ones that W has flown. Therefore, he IS intelligent. If the Texas pronunciation gets in the way of people's judgement of him, then they haven't been around too many Hoosiers. All of us sound like we are from the backwoods but that doesn't mean they are dumb. The Jordanian is probably American educated and spent most of his youth in American. His dad was and his mother is American.

    [. . .] Kerry may be an educated man with no slogans yet, but he also hasn't said anything about specifics except that he would wait for the UN to tell us what to do and that all the tax breaks that helped all Americans would be repealed.
    The Republicans use "When they make fun of Bush they are making fun of YOU." It works. It's a big part of their technique to make their people feel like victims.

    On Cheney as an architect of the war:
    I would have liked to have seen Cheney replaced with Condi. They could have used his health as a basis of retirement and using her would have given W as woman and a minority as a Veep. That would have driven the Dems wild. I have never been real impressed with Cheney. I think his wife would be a better choice even.
    Note the racist dig at Democrats here.

    On terrorism:
    I will vote for Bush because he didn't fool me the first time. I have been proud that he has been our President during these very difficult time which called for stern measures and will for generations to come. We suffered through 8 years of Clinton refusing to face the brutality of terror after the first WTC attack, The USS Cole, the embassy bombings, etc. We did take out an aspirin factory and a toy factory.
    Cheney just repeated this lie about the Clinton Administration two days ago! Obviously the campaign to blame Clinton for terrorism has been very effective. The lie about the "aspirin factory" is from when Clinton ordered a full-scale attack on bin Laden's holdings, including a chemical plant in the Sudan, and more than 50 cruise missiles into his Afghanistan camps. I have no idea what the "toy factory" is about. "Stern measures" is the "strict father" metaphor. (See also here and here.) The whole thing about "generations to come" carries a subtle undertone of this being a war between Christianity and Islam. (Talk radio host Glen Beck was talking about this today - saying this is a "Christian nation" and this is obviously a religious war...)

    On government spending, and exporting jobs:
    I do agree with the government spending being too large except for the military which is the only thing that is protecting us and our way of life. We could do without many of the "entitlements" and make people responsible for their own care. I also do not like the sending of jobs overseas; however, Kerry's family has 57 of their factories overseas now. They could bring all those plants back to the US as a token of practicing what he believes.
    Here is where the under-the-radar smear machine is very effective. Note that this guy has heard a lie that Kerry's "family" has 57 factories overseas. (This probably means the Heinz company, as in "Heinz 57".) This is effective and follows the "hypocrite" strategy.

    On the Patriot act:
    I don't believe that Americans have lost one civil right. I have always felt that our safety was more important. This is not the first time that Americans have had to tighten their belts. During the Civil War, Lincoln was a close to a dictator as we have ever had. Most of the basic constitutional rights were in limbo during those four year and the present time is nothing close to that. I have heard this from students and I always ask them what effect the law has had on them. Obviously, this was written before the recent Supreme Court decisions. Remember on this note they agreed with W and the Department of Justice. Also the House and the Senate including Kerry voted for the measure. He probably voted for it before he voted against it. When people, including American citizens, are picked up on a battlefied and fighting against us, they have forfeited their rights and deserve whatever happens to them.
    If they are in jail they must be guilty.

    On Bush's alienating the rest of the world:
    America has never been liked by the Arabs or many other countries. It's called jealously. Many of them are incapable of achieving what America has and they want some but don't or can't figure out how to achieve those goals. The Cold War wasn't even close to starting again because there is only ONE major super power now. I am glad that all of those countries are worried about us. However, the French, Germans, Japanese, etc benefited from and appreciated our generosity after the W Wars. Why do we even worry about the Europeans. That's why our ancestors left there because they understood America would be a better place for the future generations to live. Suggest a read of deCrevecour again.
    In response to, "it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey, windsurfs, rides motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks French:
    If John Kerry does all of that stuff, I would be worried why a person would be proud to speak French. This writer seems to think that W doesn't do all of that too or other things. Bush is fluent in Spanish. Do we have more Frenchmen or Spanairds living in America? Why would a writer assume that we elect Presidents on what they do for fun or exercise? Why would that be "fun"? Most of the worst teachers in public schools are the ones who try to make learning "fun". Hopefully, we will stay away from the "touchy, feel good" stuff of the 70's and 80's. We need a forceful person who will take no stuff off anyone.
    Notice how this turns into a "culture wars" thing here. The word "fun" sends him immediately into the "strict father" metaphor.

    On Kerry's military experience:
    Remember there are witnesses that the VC that Kerry killed was a wounded man on the beach and Kerry finished him off. Quite a hero!! ... Of all our buddies who went to Vietnam, I never knew any of them who spent only four months there. They all had one year or more.
    First, this shows how valuable Rush is to the Republicans. Obviously this guy is a listener. And he's going to be someone who repeats this stuff to others. See how a good smear campaign neutralizes the fact that Kerry is a war hero?

    These kinds of lies that the Republican spread don't work unless they fit into a larger "story" that people buy. Once they fit into the framework of the larger story, people will let a lot a lot of contradictions slip by them. The Bush is "strong" is a HUGE thing for them. So it is very important to spread stories that say Clinton didn't do anything about this problem. And to spread stories that neutralize that Kerry is a war hero.

    The level of "cognitive dissonance" here is striking. He is just not going to accept that Bush lies, or that he wasn't paying attention before 9/11, or that he was AWOL from his military service. EVERYthing he hears is turned back around against Bush's opponents. And the base of it is this culture war thing: the elite liberals are making fun of people like you and want to let the government take your money and give it to the irresponsible welfare cheats.


     



    Dave Winer on F-911

    Dave Winer on Wednesday:
    "Nicholas Kristof: "Insults and rage impede understanding." Amen.

    About the Michael Moore movie, Farenheit 9/11. I haven't seen it and I don't plan to. I'm an American before I'm a member of any political party, and I have more invested in the intelligence of our decision-making process than in any one decision. I'd rather re-elect Bush than elect a president based on Moore's politics.

    Yesterday on NPR they played an excerpt where he confronts members of Congress and asks if they would send their children to fight in Iraq. What a ridiculous question. No parent will say yes to that question. You could have asked that question on the Capitol steps during World War II and they still wouldn't say yes. See how this cheapens the question of whether we should be in Iraq? In a smart world, we wouldn't be there, but it isn't because Congress people won't say yes when confronted by a camera crew.

    Moore is the worst of American politics, an opportunist, an anti-intellectual.

    Vote no on Moore."
    All I'll say is, he starts out by saying he hasn't seen the movie.

    Hacked on Wednesday, Dave Winer Misses The Point With Fahrenheit 9/11. (Read the following comments, and learn a bit about where much of the country is at on these things.)

    Dave Winer on Friday:
    "Okay, Murphy-willing, I'm going to go see Farenheit 9/11 today. And I'm also going to see the new Spiderman movie."
    Why do SO MANY PEOPLE who are supposedly ON OUR SIDE spend time discussing whether Moore goes too far dissing Bush? And the ones who do that usually haven't even seen the movie! Which means they are reacting to what is being said about the movie. Which means they are being fed opinions by the elite media. Which means ... NO WONDER THERE WAS A WAR!

    Once again, I suggest people tune in to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity occasionally and learn what the Republicans are saying! After the shock and awe of THAT settles down, see if you have any energy for dissing fellow moderates and Progressives. Maybe you'll instead recognize that the country is in an emergency.




    7/01/2004
     



    The Bush-Saudi Connection

    Interested in going deeper into some of the facts from Michael Moore's movie F-911? Check out the Center for American Progress' page, The Complete Saudi Primer.

    They also have "Analyzing F-911."


     



    Southwest Airlines: Exploding the myth of unions being bad for business.

    I'm not sure how I came across it, but I was astonished to learn a few days ago that Southwest is one of the most heavily unionized (if not *the* most heavily unionized) airline in the U.S. The figure I saw quoted was "85% of the workforce is unionized"... a figure confirmed by Southwest on their web site.

    Now, normally, I'm not one for quoting corporate executives, but this article by Herb Kelleher (co-founder and Chair of the SWA Board of Directors), is worth quoting for this paragraph alone:

    "Many observers of Southwest Airlines assume that our outstanding relationship with our People is due to a non-union work force. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a percentage of total Employees, Southwest is probably the most heavily unionized airline in America. More than 4 out of 5 Employees at Southwest are union members."

    I have to admit, this had been my assumption as well... tells you how easy it is for even media-saavy folks to swallow the implicit anti-union rhetoric that pervades the American media (especially when covering the airline industry).

    In case you've missed it, Southwest is the one and only major airline that has managed to be consistently profitable over the course of the last few decades. This would seem to indicate that the problems experienced by other airlines are less due to union intransigence over benefits and wages, and more due to management level incompetence.

    The example of Southwest would seem to disprove the idea that a unionized workforce is bad for business, and bad for efficiency.

    It appears that Henry Harteveldt, principal airline analyst at Forrester Research in San Francisco, agrees, judging by this quote from a recent article:

    "What matters is how productive and efficient the airline is," said Harteveldt. "Southwest Airlines is heavily unionized, so if you have good labor relations and keep things focused, you can run a good airline."

    To top it off, Southwest employees also own about 12% of the company's stock (and now the flight attendants are being cut in on this deal, through the contract they just negotiated). This doesn't sound that great, until you realize that employees owned 60% of United Airlines before it went into bankruptcy, but are likely to own squat once/if it comes out of bankruptcy. I'm sure Southwest's employees are happy to own a smaller chunk of a successful airline--and the rest of the stockholders to continue own a larger chunk, themselves. I'll bet if you ask the latter whether they think Southwest's unions have been bad for business, you won't find many takers.

    --Thomas Leavitt


     



    Bush Bad For Business

    Saw the blog below referenced in a posting to Dave Farber's "Interesting People" mailing list...

    The Big Picture: Bush Slipping Amongst Corporate America?

    Check out this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:

    "Among Kerry supporters is Eric Best, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, who says Mr. Bush's tax cuts go too far at the expense of mounting deficits. "I was raised as a fiscal conservative, and I think his fiscal policy is scary," he says. Mr. Best, who remembers Mr. Bush as an upper-class dormitory proctor at Phillips Academy Andover boarding school, says that what really motivates him to stump for Mr. Kerry is the hostility the global strategist finds as he travels.

    "I can testify to the extraordinary destruction of 'American Brand Value' accomplished by this administration, from Europe to Hong Kong to Shanghai to Tokyo, and beyond," he wrote in a recent e-mail that he widely distributed. "If any CEO of a global multinational had accomplished this for his enterprise as quickly and radically as George Bush Jr. has done for the U.S., he would be replaced by the board in no time."

    Geez, who would'a thunk it? Bush's blunderings abroad engendering hostility, and lost sales for American business?!? What a concept... NOT. We have only to look at the level of hostility in the U.S. towards France during the run up to the war in Iraq, over nothing more than mild displomatic resistance, to see an example of this in our own back yard.

    --Thomas Leavitt



     



    Question for Catholics

    I have a question for Catholics. I'm not a Catholic, so I don't know how this works. I know that the Church is opposed to abortion, the death penalty and the war. Why is one considered a bigger deal than the others?

    Why does the Church think Bush should be re-elected, even though they opposed the war?


     



    Why Blogs Are Becoming More And More Popular

    I don't know why I punish myself by reading the rich, white elite Washington columnists at all anymore.

    This supposed "liberal" insults me and millions of others, calling us the "loony left," for going to see Michael Moore's movie F-911. Of course, he doesn't refute a single fact from the movie, referring only to " a farrago of conspiracy theories."

    He writes of justifications for the Iraq war, "Was there no footage of a Kurdish village that had been gassed? This is obscenity by omission." Well, that happened way back when Reagan was President, and Iraq was allied with, and supplied by, the United States. It happened to a village that was in Iranian hands after the Iranians had gassed Iraq. I'm not justifying gassing the village -- they killed CIVILIANS! -- but I am saying this is not a reason for the United States to go to war more than a decade later, and almost a decade after we had destroyed Iraq's weapons. Using this as a justification for going to war, killing tens of thousands of Iraqis and killing or wounding thousands of Americans was the obscenity.




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