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:
Over at Hullabaloo
Since I'm not coming up with anything spectacular today, go read Witnessing History over at Hullabaloo.
Roemer Drops Out of DNC Race
The Left Coaster: Dean Now Unopposed For DNC Chair As Roemer Drops Out.
Yes, I know that was hours ago, but I was in Santa Cruz at the dentist.
Here we go again
Instapundit took an inflammatory three-year-old speech at a third-rank college which someone sent him and alleged that it was in some way an embarassment to the Democrats -- without giving any evidence that Churchill was a Democrat, which he probably is not. Then Bill O'Reilly relayed the story to millions of people. This is the same old lying game of taking crazies who are NOT DEMOCRATS and using them to smear Democrats.
I've heard that Prof. Reynolds is no longer teaching and is a full-time internet guy now. I'm sure that his income is all legitimate (well, not really), but he's on the gravy train now, and he knows who he has to please in order to get the speaking engagement. What he did was dishonorable and slimy, but he's not going to apologize. There's nothing to be surprised about -- that's his job now.
Alas, on DeLong and elsewhere a lot of people are defending Churchill. I just don't see how you can explain away the phrase "little Eichmanns". There's really no context that could make that OK, unless you think that every non-Native American in the U.S. should be killed.
I've had a lot of contact with ultra-leftists and used to be one myself. In that world you're always wondering who the provocateur is -- no one talks about provocateurs more than ultra-leftists do. Provocateursare paid by various police and intelligence agencies, and their job is to split and confuse left groups and make the left look bad to the public. Provocateurs have the loudest and most violent voices -- though sometimes sincere crazies do the provocateurs' work for them.
And many self-publicizing ultra-leftists, whether provocateurs or not, carve out little personal niches for themselves, doing pretty well without being politically effective. I can't be sure that Churchill is a provocateur, but it seems like a sure thing that he's running a game. Most of academic identity politics is merely futile, but Churchill's "little Eichmanns" zinger did actual harm. (Incidentally, Churchill makes ultra-leftists look bad, too. He's really in a class by himself.)
In this context, the doubts about Churchill's tribal membership are relevant. Recent decades have brought us a lot of fake Indians who go around pimping white guilt, and if Churchill is one of them, as far as I'm concerned that clinches it. (That doesn't mean, however, that if he really is a Native American everything's cool.)
The facts are this: his splitoff faction of AIM has been denounced by the original group. (This doesn't necessarily prove anything, since splits happen in lots of political groups). There are also accusations that he has changed his story about which Indian nation he belongs to. And the Keetoowah band of Cherokee in which he claims membership denies that he is a member. (Apparently he got listed as some kind of honorary member at one point, based on work he was doing for the tribe).
Churchill isn't the real issue at all. There's always going to be someone somwhere, sincere or not, shooting off their mouth saying dramatic and stupid stuff. The rightwing Wurlitzer has people who make their living scavenging up the worst of the worst, and others who make their living broadcasting it.
Except for the publicity machine, Churchill has little or nothing to do with the Democrats. Few Democrats had even heard of him before Instapundit did his dirty work,and that's the reason why he hadn't been denounced before. Denouncing him now, at Instapundit's command, doesn't do any real good, because that's how smears work. But there's certainly no reason to defend him.
"A lie travels around the world while the truth is putting its pants on" -- Mark Twain. "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time" -- Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and Mark Twain were both Republicans, but today's Republicans twist the meaning of these words. They were not meant to be operating instructions.
watch whose money you pick up
Beware of whores who say they don't want money. The hell they don't. What they mean is that they want *more* money; much more, these are the most expensive whores what can be got.From someone who saw Bush coming a mile away.
Huge Blog List
The Unveiling of States Writes: the Progressives' Peer Directory from the American Street
Donnie Fowler Blogs at MyDD
MyDD :: Dean for Change! Thoughts on Exiting from Donnie Fowler
Why They Win II
In Why Republicans Win, I wrote,
The way out of this is to understand that we need to EDUCATE AND PERSUADE THE GENERAL PUBLIC about the fact that core Progressive ideas and values are good for them. What we are instead doing now is spending a LOT of money on narrow-interest environmental and other kinds of interest organizations that largely talk to the converted. Environmentalists have to combine forces with civil justice advocates, consumer litigation advocates, peace activists, etc. and all together go after the Right AS ONE.Today, in the Washington Post, there's an example of what I'm talking about. From the article, A Quiet Revolution In Business Lobbying:
"The chamber is at the forefront of a quiet revolution in business lobbying. Corporate groups now raise big money to advance broad issues, largely to help the Republican president enact his fiscal agenda. That's a long step away from what trade associations traditionally did: concentrate on narrow concerns while shunning partisan spats.Even the narrow interests of the Right understand now -- advance the larger cause, and you get what you want because it gets your side in and THEN you can ask for what you want.
We don't really have lots of wealthy businesses on our side, but we do have a number of well-funded organizations working on environmental, peace, women's and many other "causes." The problem is each of these addresses their narrow interest, and talks mostly to their own audience. What is needed now is a pooling of interests, with each kind of organization joining with others who would classify as "Progressives" to advance a united front, explaining to the broad, general public why Progressive values are superior and will benefit THEM, and why they should therefore elect Progressive candidates. We need to take the country back. THAT is how we will save the environment, and protect a woman's right to choose, and get guns under control in urban areas, and help animal rights, and bring back the right to unionize, and save public schools, and raise the minimum wage, and protect Social Security, and get national health insurance, and all the other things that are so important to all of us. If you are giving money to any of these kinds of organizations you need to understand that your money is largely wasted now, because these organizations are stil largely trying to advance their own narrow interests instead of working together to advance our comon UNDERLYING ideals to the GENERAL PUBLIC in every state. Think about giving money to organizations that work to explain to the general public why they should support Progressive values in general.
Education, Fire BAD!
BoBo says the problem with Deocrats is that they are educated.
Juan Cole does a serious takedown of Jonah Goldberg. The overused term bee-atch slap applies.
My favorite line:
If Jonah Goldberg had asserted that he could fly to Mars in his pyjamas and come back in a single day, it would not have been a more fantastic allegation than the one he made about Iraq being a danger to the United States because of the nuclear issue. He made that allegation over and over again to millions of viewers on national television programs, to viewers who trusted his judgment because CNN and others purveyed him to them.And this raises a question. Why do networks like CNN feel that their own credibility is not damaged when they put liars on the air, and then, after the lies are exposed, put them on again?
I'll quit nagging when people quit being stupid
(I posted the below at Matt Yglesias. I've become sort of a one-note-Johnny on this issue, but Democrats seem to be having trouble figuring out what's going on. One of the house conservatives over there was using Ward Churchill and the Berkeley left to slam the Democrats. I begin with one of the characteristically weenie Democratic responses.):
Instapundit was being deliberately misleading in trying to smear the Democratic Party with these people -- people who all hate the Democratic Party. That's the main point here -- some of us want to correct the record, and some of us want to echo the smear.
On a binary up-and-down single-issue vote, politics does make strange bedfellows. That's where the ANSWER problem came from.
Compare: the Republicans agree with the American Nazi Party on affirmative action. But they've also been very successful in keeping the racists within the party -- in 2000 the right-wing parties got .7% of the vote, and you know that there are more rightwing loonies than that. (Nader got 2.7%. Switch the numbers and Gore wins solidly).
The neo-Confederates, Armageddonists, WW-IV hawks, and anti-tax anarchists are members in good standing of the Republican Party, and they comprise a significant proportion of its support. I doubt seriously that Churchill is even a Democrat at all.
When Instapundit, and Robert Conquest, and Armed Liberal, and John Hinderaker, and Andrew Sullivan make these kinds of accusations, they are disgracing themselves by launching a classically deceptive smear campaign. The way to combat this is NOT to say "Well, you know, they do have a point"
They do not have a point. What they do have is an advantage (since Dubya's re-election), and while they have that advantage they are going to use lies to try to destroy their political opposition entirely (which Grover Norquist has stated as a goal).
The liberal tendency to discuss everything reasonably, and say "yes, but" and "the truth is somewhere in between", etc., etc., does not work when you're confronted with an ideological goon squad. I'm not sure that the Democrats of today will ever be able to learn that lesson. It's a different ball game than it used to be, and people aren't getting the word.
"Cookie" in the comments reports that Churchill has been blackballed by the AIM and is suspected of having been a undercover agent for years., and also that his tribal membership with the Keetoowah Cherokee has been questioned. I'm not able to judge the facts here, but it's pretty clear that Churchill represents only himself (plus whoever actually chooses to endorse his views.)
Another Wurlitzer scam. Instapundit is a liar.
Last Saturday night, about 3am, our 9-year-old 70 lbs dog Buddy woke us up pacing, shaking and panting. This kept up for 2-3 hours. He had no fever or other apparent problems. In the morning he was fine, happy, energetic and ate normally. Each day since he has seemed fine during the day, but at night he has been getting us up very late, and panting and shaking for a while.
I took him to the vet Monday and they couldn't find anything wrong. He had a blood test which was normal. Today he had an ultrasound check of his adrenal gland for any growth and it was normal.
Tonite about 8:45pm he got off his bed and came over, shaking. This lasted about 15 minutes.
Does anyone have any suggetions?
Update - Thanks for the responses. Please keep leaving suggestions! Buddy slept on the bed last night and didn't wake us up, and wasn't panting or shaking as far as we know.
An interesting Buddy fact -- Buddy was the first picture of a dog ever blogged from a national political convention.
One I've been saving for a "Sunday Buddy Blog" but we'll make it a Saturday Buddy Blog:
Just so the other dog doesn't feel left out, this is Espresso:
Positive Suggestion #1
I have a reputation for negativism, and I've earned it. That's cool with me -- someone has to be the bad guy. But here's a positive suggestion, for a change.
Buy the biggest, tallest, most powerful ratio station in Oklahoma and use it to broadcast Air America (with Ed Schulz and Bartcop replacing some of the regulars.)
Out in the flats one station can cover an enormous area -- when I was a kid in Minnesota I listened to KOMA, an Oklahoma station, all the time. A station like that could cover fifteen or twenty states.
In that part of the country, the ambient political opinion is ultra-conservative. 20-30% of the electorate picks its political opinions out of the air (from free TV and radio), and where conservatives have a lock on the airwaves, that kind of voter ends up as default conservative. In some parts of the Southwest, you can go your whole life without hearing a liberal point of view.
By itself, the new radio station wouldn't win Kansas for the Democrats, but it would change the ball game -- maybe some of those states would even quit being Republican gimmes. The wingnut control of information flow around there approaches Stalinist levels, and this is something that we've got to change. (We wouldn't have to match the right wing station for station -- one single liberal Democratic station would break the monopoly.)
See? Positive thinking is easy.
We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
Is there anyone in the Democratic Party, or in the Democrat blogosphere, or among the Democratic sugar daddies, who would be interested in something like that?
Radio is too tacky for Democrats, and so is Oklahoma.
P.S. "Grannyinsanity" writes:
"I inquired about a radio license sometime in the last two years and was promptly denied on the grounds that they just weren't issuing any more then.
That's the thing, you can't do anything without one and Clear Channel tries to gobble them all up. Not for the resale market, just to keep a monopoly on our democracy."
In other words, at least in some parts of the country the government is enabling and enforcing a private, virtually-unregulated near-monopoly of the crucial political communication media. Sounds Stalinist to me.
The name of the radio station has been corrected from KAAY to KOMA. I listened to both, but KAAY is from Arkansas.
Bloggered Again Again Again -- Blogger isn't letting me in to edit posts. I want to update the post below about the $280 billion gift to tobacco companies, adding some background on the two judges responsible. One is David Sentelle. You may recognize the name. He is one of the far-right judges who appointed Ken Starr to go after Clinton. The other is a Stephen Williams, a Federalist Society judge also known for attending "retreats" where they teach about how environmentalism is anti-capitalism, then ordering the EPA not to enforce the Clean Air Act.
Judge Appointments: BIG Payoff!
The Right got a BIG payoff today from their judicial appointments. $280 BILLION!
Court Rejects U.S. Claim on Tobacco Lawsuits,
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Justice Department cannot seek $280 billion it alleges the tobacco industry earned through fraud, an enormous victory for American cigarette makers.THIS is what it is all about.
And what are the odds that the Bush administration will refuse to appeal?
The Attack on Liberals
"One who calls himself a liberal is nowadays diversely called by others a traitor, coward, parlor-pink, eclectic, jelly-fish, a selfish or muddy thinker who wants both to have his cake and eat it, rationalist, skeptic, conservative, radical…. But there is unanimity of opinion on one thing, namely, that liberalism is essentially negative, paralytic, and disintegrative. It’s boasted open-mindedness is nothing more than axiological anemia.”The illiberals have always been around. The above quotation is now 65 years old, and hatred of Roosevelt even before then had been virulent enough to motivate an abortiveLeslie Page, “Liberalism, Dogmatism and Negativism”, Journal of Social Philosophy, 5 (1940), p. 346; quoted in John Gunnell, The Descent of Political Theory,
coup attempt. Most of the big Roosevelt haters are dead by now, but illiberalism is the political philosophy of the dominant wing of the Republican Party. I doubt that anyone would have guessed, even a decade ago, that Social Security would be on the chopping block, but it is. (We seem to be winning that fight, but it's hard to take any comfort in that; we're fighting in our last ditch.)
As part of this attack have come a flurry of accusations that liberals are allied with Islamic terrorism. I'm not going to link, but these accusations have come from Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, John Hinderaker, Robert Conquest, and the fraudulently named Armed Liberal. None of these are marginal figures or populist talk-radio hosts; they represent the conservative mainstream.
The facts do not support the charge. Before 9/11, American sympathy for Islamic fundamentalism came mostly from the right wing, as I have documented here. Conservatives and Islamic fundamentalism share a bitter hatred of atheism, feminism, gay rights, sexual liberation, and secularism, and many or most Islamic fundamentalists are economically conservative..
Illiberalism has been charged up by Bush's re-election, and they're going to shoot for the moon. The gloves are off. Things that Oliver North and Michael Savage were saying five years ago are going to go mainstream. The hapless, bought media will whimper occasionally, but they aren't capable of fighting.
I really don't think that most Democrats have figured out what's going on yet. I've thought for a long time that the controlling majority of the Republican Party is acting entirely in bad faith, and that we have to treat this as a street fight rather than as a faculty-lounge debate. The so-called rational conservatives and moderate Republicans, if they aren't playing malicious games, are a hopeless, craven rabble which will never do anything. (Yes, John McCain, I mean you.)
Going around the left blogosphere I really feel that people haven't gotten the word yet. All the things people are saying in response to these attacks are nice and reasonable, but when you're accused of treason, a reasonable response is not appropriate. (The egregious Armed Liberal made a joke of this on the Crooked Timber comments, expressing surprise that the CT people were being all huffy, and not rational like him!)
This is looking like another Dukakis moment. When Dukakis was asked a hypothetical question about someone raping his wife, he made the mistake of thinking that he was in a rational forum and gave a detached, correct, policy answer about the death penalty. The problem wasn't that he said the wrong thing about the the death penalty. The problem was that he should have taken it personally. What he should have said was something like "You son of a bitch, don't you drag my wife into this!"
The sons of bitches are calling us traitors, and we need to take it personally. There are no good Republicans or conservatives except the ones who openly denounce this kind of smear. The rest of them are not fit to talk with. Rational discussion about this kind of thing will just make us look like weenies, and the Armed Liberals of the world will laugh at us.
(Written in part in lieu of a comment to this Crooked Timber post, since their comments are down.
I have fixed the bad link to the story of the coup attempt against FDR. It's worth following. This forgotten episode of American history deserves more attention than it gets.)
Simon Rosenberg Drops Out Of DNC Race
Statement from Simon Rosenberg on the Campaign for DNC Chair
"Effective today, I am ending my campaign for chair of the Democratic National Committee. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to share my vision with Democrats around the country, and I remain encouraged by the depth and thoughtfulness DNC members have brought to this important process of picking our next chair.It's Dean.
An e-mail I received:
Was GHWBush "Deep Throat"?
Poynter Online - Forums:
"From ADRIAN HAVILL: In my 1993 biography of Woodward and Bernstein, 'Deep Truth,' I argued that Deep Throat had to be a composite portrayal. No more. Yesterday's unveiling of Woodstein's notes at the University of Texas is an appropriate time to let Poynter's reader know -- based on recent events and my own research at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland -- who I believe DT is and why.
New Enron Tapes
There is a new batch of Enron tapes out. Transcripts are here. I haven't looked at them yet - more later.
Bush loves Lieberman, torture lover
As Bush walked the Senate reception line, he greeted most senators with a smile or handshake. But when he got to Joe Lieberman, Bush puckered his lips and gave him a big KISS!
Why was Bush so grateful? We note that earlier in the day, Lieberman had (as he usually does) deserted his party and voted for the pro-torture Gonzales' confirmation.
Lieberman - DINO (Democrat In Name Only)
Go read The Left Coaster: Everyday Iraqi Actually A Right-Wing Supported Associate of Allawi and Chalabi.
If you remember the run-up to the first Iraq war, and the story about Iraqis dumping babies out of incubators, and the story behind that story, you won't be surprised. But if you watch Fox News you'll ... think an average Iraqi woman was introduced last night.
Important To Understand This Lie
Among all the other lies in Bush's speech I see one that has not been widely explained. This is the lie that people would build up money in the private account that they can keep and pass on to heirs.
Bush said, "...you can build a nest egg for your own future," and "...you'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children or grandchildren."
So you have this account (if the stock market hasn't gone down), and you're supposed to live off of it until you die. Question for you: How much should you take out each month? Remember, if you take out too much you will run out of money and have nothing to live on.
The way a situation like this is usually handled is you use the money to buy an annuity -- a guaranteed monthly amount paid to you each month until you die. The amount is figured by calculating the average life expectancy of someone your age. It works because half of the people die early, leaving enough money to continue paying the other half of the people who die late. If you buy an annuity and die a month later, your money goes to cover the person who lives to be 112.
And, of course, the company you buy the annuity from keeps a healthy commission. (They gots to pay their CEO his $200 million each year.)
So this "pass along the money" idea is just another lie -- words that sound nice and are used to trick you into thinking this is a good deal. It is a lie because you have to give the money to an annuity company or risk having nothing left to live on. And it's worse than you think. The lifespan calculations that decide the annuity payments are calculated by professionals who do this and only this and know what they are doing. The Bush plan leaves everyone on their own to figure out for themselves how much to take out each month. This means that it is possible for every person to miscalculate and run out of money.
I Just Couldn't
Sorry. I just could not bring myself to watch the speech. And I just can't write about it. I read the speech in advance. Lies. I went to a DFA Meetup, and heard a minute of it on the way. UGH!
But I did read Senator Reid's speech, and it was masterful! Excellent!
There is a lot of great stuff in the left and right columns here. On the left is a blogroll that links to many, many great bloggers. It is always fun to explore the blogs on this list. I suggest trying to make your way down by looking at five new blogs each day.
On the right there are, of course, some ads. Today there are two from the United Nations that I think everyone here would want to click on to learn more. The United Nations is under attack from the right and needs your support! (I don't make money if you click on them but I do make some money every time someone clicks one of the items in the Google ads.)
Down the right side a ways are current headlines from BuzzFlash, Media Matters, Smirking Chimp and "Privatize This" from the DCCC. It's always a good idea to check these.
And, finally, clicking on the little picture of an envelope at the end of each post lets you send the post to a friend.
Join A There Is No Crisis Conference Call
Even if you are not having or attending a house party tonite (click here to find one near you) you can join the conference call. See this post: Social Security: There Is No Crisis - Join Our Conference Call with Atrios:
"We're having a post-State of the Union conference call at 11pm for bloggers and house party leaders. On the call will be Duncan Black and representatives from the Campaign for America's Future and the Center for American Progress.
If you want to get revved up about Howard Dean as head of the Democratic Party, go listen to this. It will bring it all back.
Update - Go listen to it anyway. It's great.
Just Making Shit Up
The new Think Progress weblog has a post about the Washington Times just making shit up about liberals who are "silent" about the Iraqi election.
"For instance, Lakely suggests that Iraq’s election stunned “left-wing filmmaker” Michael Moore into silence. “The last posting from Mr. Moore on his Web site is dated Jan. 10,” Lakely notes, “and concerns ‘Fahrenheit 9/11? being named best dramatic movie in the People’s Choice Awards.” Somehow Lakely fails to mention that Moore’s site has posted twenty-six updates about Iraq and election fallout since Sunday."My question is, why would anyone read a newspaper run by the Moonies and shown again and again to lie early and often? In fact, the same could be said about most of the Right's "noise machine." Limbaugh, Fox, etc. At what point does credibility start to matter?
Social Security Myths v. Reality
eRiposte has been busy putting together info on Social Security Myths v. Reality. One of the most useful sections is the list of Social Security Front Groups.
Cupertino Parents Blast Fox for Disinformation
Daily Kos :: Cupertino Parents Blast Fox for Disinformation.
I'm still being gloomy
(Below is a comment I made on Brad DeLong's site, considerably revised).
I guess I'll go back to pointing out, as I haven't for awhile, that we've been in let's-pretend never-never land for several years now. An effective majority of Americans have renounced analytic thought.
As a leftist I used to be the anti-economist in most groups, arguing against market-worship, but now conservative cornucopians (Lomborg's own self-description) are the ones rejecting economic analysis. Case in point, Luskin's most recent Krugman-bash).
Ultimately, when the contradictions become impossible to ignore, things have to get really ugly. I think that the Bush core constituency's uncritical "Will to Believe", and their absolute personal trust in one man, are totalitarian without any exaggeration. We're now in the grace period when totalitarian methods aren't yet necessary (probably toward the end of it), but there has to be a day of reckoning sometime. And a lot of the Armageddon neo-Confederate WW-IV free-market absolutists are looking forward to the day when they can bash heads.
Marxists tell me that this is all a masterful, rationally-planned scheme, but my feeling is that a minority within the monied class has been swept up by anger and ideological madness, and that most of the rich aren't thinking except in terms of short-term advantage. Scaife, Moon, the Koch brothers, and Murdoch aren't the richest Americans, but they're by far the most influential politically because they dish out the money. Two of the five of them, are probably mentally ill, and the other three are nasty pieces of work, but Americans are not bothered by that.
I have to wonder about the seemingly-rational people who are playing along for the money, and even more so about the relatively-intelligent unpaid conservatives and moderates, seem to be entirely oblivious to what's actually happening. They are the people responsible for reelecting Bush, and when they figure out what they did, there won't be much that they can do.
Networks Refuse Ads Opposing "Tort Reform" / Bush Gets Free Hour
4 Networks Reject Ad Opposing Bush on Lawsuits.
Tomorrow night the same networks will give President Bush a free hour and a half to push his right-wing agenda, including "tort reform," which is nothing more than a huge government bailout of insurance companies, drug companies, and other corporations that have harmed people for profit. Asbestos companies, for example. Selling Vioxx while knowing that it can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Copyright © 2002-05.
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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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