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:
Mutiny from stern to bow
A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
The Democrats cannot win as hawks
The recent TNR proposal for a hawkish Democratic party is politically wrong, and much more important, it's wrong on the issue.
Politically, Beinart and the others misrepresent the state of affairs. The
But we really don't need to do that. We only have to convince 2% out of Bush’s 51% to switch sides. Or else, we have to recruit enough new people from the 40+% of non-voters to tip the scale. (And if we could convince 4% out of Bush’s share to switch, we’d have a solid 53%-47% victory.....)
I do not think that the Democrats can win as a war party. Besides the reasons given above, a wartime president has a enormous power to control the agenda, and for many voters the “don’t change horses in midstream” cliché holds -- even for those who have serious doubts about the incumbent. (Kerry in fact did try to use the competence argument -- “I’ll do about the same thing, but I won’t screw it up” -- but that argument is a proven loser. Remember Dukakis?)
So Beinart’s strategy probably isn't smart politics. I think that this is just another case of Democratic passivity vis-a-vis public opinion (shown most vividly by
The Muslim world is divided into twenty or more countries which are mostly enemies of one another. Muslims speak between five and ten mutually-unintelligible major languages. Religiously, they belong to two hostile major tendencies, each of which is divided into many sects. None of the Muslim countries has a significant industrial or technical base, and only a few of them have a significant financial base (which in all cases is due entirely to oil rents.) None of the Muslim militaries are powerful, and finally, most of the Muslim governments are not Islamist. And while many individual Muslims have some sympathy for the militants, many do not, and in most cases sympathy does not translate into active support.
The defensive, anti-terrorist aspect is really a lesser part of the mix and is mostly important as a pretext. (The decision to begin by attacking
The Death Bet
The Death Bet. Bet you didn't know you already shook hands on it.
Local Blogger Makes Good!
American Street blogger Jenny Greenleaf has been elected to DNC from Oregon! See also Kos. I met Jenny at the Democratic Convention, where she was a delegate but spent time up (waaayyy up) where "the bloggers" were sitting.
Update - Jenny writes about it at American Street.
When you talk about "the Democrats" you're talking about Jenny now, and others like her. Go read about what this means.
Mush Journalism Lets The Lie Spread
The New York Times, in God, American History and a Fifth-Grade Class, writes today about the Thanksgiving-week "Declaration of Independence Banned" story. They cover the story in a he-said/she-said manner, saying the teacher's contrived lawsuit,
"...has single-handedly turned the Declaration of Independence into a powerful tool for the Christian right in its battle against secularist teaching of colonial history..."The Times story does not even mention that the controversy -- the reason they are covering the story at all -- only exists because of the inflammatory claim that the Declaration of Independence was banned by the school because it contained the word 'God,' and does not refute this outright lie beyond one "he said" statement. The school had not banned the Declaration of Independence, it had asked a teacher to stop giving unconstitutional "supplemental handouts" (like this, perhaps?) to students.
The original story surfaced in the Right's echo chamber (Drudge, Limbaugh, Fox...) the day before Thanksgiving -- carefully timed to make it impossible to refute for several days, and to stir up emotions at family dinnertables. Now the story is widespread, which is probably the reason the Times addressed it at all. A Google search of "Declaration of Independence banned" yields 17,200 citations. (That is a search of the text in quotes, not for sites containing some mix of the words.)
The Alliance Defense Fund, the "Christian law" organization responsible for the lawsuit states on their website that they use "strategy and coordination" to advance their mission to "spread of the Gospel." In this case their agitprop strategy of bearing false witness to provoke argument and division has proven successful. This lie is being repeated by blogs, discussion forums and word-of-mouth "water cooler" conversations. And the intended culture-war response is evoked in the thinking of the public: they are "fed up" with "politically correct" "domestic enemies" who are taking the separation of church and state "too far."
Professional journalism again fails us. As far as I know, no "journalists" have seriously looked into the outrageous claim that a school banned the Declaration of Independence because it contains the word 'God', even though it is a major topic of discussion across the country, after Reuters allowed itself to be used to publicize and bring mainstream credibility to the lie.
(Edited 10pm PST.)
Update - My point is the real story that needs to be examined is not whether a teacher has a right to distribute handouts, or the limits of the use of 'God' in the classroom. The story is the strategic use and repetition of the lie (probably focus-group-tested) that the school "banned the Declaration of Independence." THIS is what is being discussed around the country, fueled by right-wing columnists like Cal Thomas. THIS is what is being repeated at 17,200 websites. THIS is the information a democracy needs so its citizens can make informed decisions.
Note -- Be sure to visit eRiposte's collection of work on this story!
Intuitive Swing Voters
The day before the election I ran into a woman from the neighborhood whom I had met once or twice. She ran up to me and agitatedly asked, “Help me decide who to vote for! I just don’t know!” We talked for about ten minutes and I explained that I thought that Dubya might end up being the worst President in
A high proportion of Americans (mostly in the Red States) never hear a liberal opinion, ever. For a lot of them, some form of cheesy conservatism becomes the automatic default position, even though they may never have thought about it for a minute. For these people, free liberal media (even if they never listened to it closely) would give liberalism a respectability, plausibility, and reality that it hadn't had before.
Note: Blogger ate a version of this post after I'd spend 1/2 hour editing it. I've re-edited it now, but I've probably lost a little.
Extremely Serious War Crimes Accusation Against U.S.
Thanks to Blogging of the President, this letter from Naomi Klein at The Guardian to the US Ambassador in London, Your evidence Mr Ambassador. (Mirror ">here.) It's too serious to leave it to excerpts so go read the whole thing and tell others.
Shaking Up The Democratic Party
Wednesday night I went to a Democracy For America meetup. DFA is the old Dean For America organization. I hadn't been to a DFA meetup since Dean lost Iowa.
Well here's some news: There were MORE people at the meeting than there ever were before Iowa! I didn't expect that. And these were not just Dean people. Maybe 1/3 were people who had been active in the Kerry campaign and are now looking for a place to continue their activity.
The meeting was about getting signed up in our local Democratic Party organization in time to be able to vote in their upcoming annual organizing meetings. There were detailed charts on how the state Democratic Party is organized and information on where to show up, what you have to do to be able to vote, things like that.
This is just San Mateo County (cities south of San Francisco, north of Palo Alto). I'm told that Santa Clara County (San Jose) has an even bigger DFA organization.
If this is happening in other states, I think we're going to see a real shake-up in the Democratic Party in the next few years. And, in the future many of these people will become candidates themselves.
2004 Weblog Awards: Best Military Blog
Democratic Veteran is nominated for 2004 Weblog Awards: Best Military Blog. Go vote for Democratic Veteran.
Jo writes, "It would be nice to give Citizen Smash a run for his money, and let blogtopia (y!sctw!) know that not all vets are Bushist jr. Fascists."
There are other categories. I didn't even know there were nominations...
Shorter Kevin Drum
Shorter Kevin Drum: Islam is the same as Nazism and Stalinism and we didn't go to war against them soon enough so "liberals" should go to war against all of Islam now.
Update - and apology. Kevin says I misinterpreted what he was saying. He says he was making the opposite point. I went back and read it again, and can see where he was doing that. In my defense, I think the wording of his piece is giving readers mixed messages, and in the comments following the piece I see that other readers also took Kevin to be saying what I thought he was saying. But in the end the scorecard should read that Kevin is AGAINST the idea of war against Islam. That's what counts.
Republicans: "Sex, Power and Nothing Else"
skippy the bush kangaroo is on the story.
Time To Start Making Noise?
This is a PDF of a letter from the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee to Ohio's Republican Secretary of State. It is worth reading. It documents just some of the problems with the Ohio vote, namely minority voter suppression ad counting irregularities. It is worth reading.
Before this I have said it's best to sit back and wait while things are investigated. I'm starting to think it is time to start making some noise about all of this.
The citizens of Ukraine faced similar problems with their election, and decided not to sit still for it. They had experienced Soviet-style government and recognized that it was attempting a comeback. We don't have their experience, so it seems that we don't recognize it when it is staring us in the face.
No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn
Some call it heavenly in it's brilliance
Others, mean and rueful of the Western dream
I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft
We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping
This is the land where the Pharaoh died
It HAS Happened Here!
Watch your backs!
Gun-Crime Enforcement Fuding Killed By Congress!
Key Antigun Program Loses Direct Financing:
"The move ... cuts federal grants to local and state law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting crimes committed with guns. [. . .] A related program to track and intercept illegal purchases of guns by youngsters ... also received nothing.Surprised? Why?
Republicans Taking Control of CalPERS - Huge Implications
CalPERS president removed from post. From the story,
"The ouster of the president of California's public pension fund has raised questions about whether pension funds, endowments and other big activist investors will be able to keep wielding clout in corporate governance campaigns."This is a "tip-of-the-iceberg" story with vast implications. CalPERS is the pension fund for public employees in California. It had an activist management that was trying to help clean up corporate corruption. The large corporations got together and have succeeded in getting the fund's management changed.
"Richard Ferlauto, director of pension investment for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Harrigan's ouster was an early success in a campaign to wrest control of pension money from a CalPERS board now controlled by Democratic trustees and put it to work in projects more in keeping with Republican ideals.Public pension plans have been one of the few remaining avenues for exerting public pressure on corporate behaviour -- it's not just CalPERS that's a target.
The story suggests that they're also going to work now to get rid of employer-paid pensions and replace them with employee-paid pensions:
"Ferlauto said he thought that if Republicans could regain control, they would seek to make two fundamental changes: put an end to the corporate activism CalPERS has engaged in, and reshape the traditional, defined-benefit pension fund as something more akin to a 401(k) plan. [emphasis added - dj]"401K means instead of THEY pay, it is YOU pay. That's the big bait-and-switch that was pulled under Reagan - convincing people to accept 401Ks - which really meant the end of employer-paid pensions, and rechanneling all the cash that had been set aside for pensions into the pockets of the top 1%.
Massive Debt Problem To be Solved By Incredibly Massive Borrowing, Says Bush
"We're going to borrow more money than a body can possibly imagine," said Bush. "We're gonna take that enormous wad of cash and plug it right into what cynical people are calling 'that gaping whole in the budget.' And that'll save Social Security."
Heckled. By Canadians.
An Offer From the Right
I just posted a piece as a DailyKos diary: An Offer From the Right. I'm trying that out and hoping to grow Seeing the Forest's audience in the process. If you like it, recommend it... (In the right-hand column of Kos diaries there is a "Recommend this diary" button.)
It's cross-posted at The American Street.
Torture -- Something You Can Do
Yes, the American people voted to endorse torture. But there is something you can do. Bush has nominated Alberto Gonzalez, one of the authors of the "Torture Memo," to be our Attorney General. Here is a group working to do something about that:
Our group, Human Rights First, has launched a campaign called Http://www.EndTortureNow.org to ensure that the Senate obtains all the necessary information regarding Mr. Gonzales. As today’s New York Times reported, the Red Cross is calling the U.S. treatment of detainees “tantamount to torture”.It's good to know about the group, and good to raise awareness of this issue. But I hope they are doing more than sending e-mails to elected officials. E-mails aren't even read.
It's here. Do you believe now that it's here?
Less subtle version: It HAS happened here!
More on Declation at eRiposte
eRiposte has an update on the story I put up last week about the "Declaration of Independence Banned" lie.
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