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:




2/12/2005
 



Hullabaloo Link

Digby is linking to YOU Will Be Called A Terrorist, which has scrolled down.

And a comment. At Seeing the Forest we have a rule: If Republicans are accusing others of something, it is a damn good bet that they are the ones doing what they are accusing. The accusation is a tactic sometimes called "self-acquital" or "immunization." Also called "a good offence is the best defense" and a "smokescreen." It works because of the way people think: when you are being accused of something it looks pretty silly if you start accusing the accuser of the same thing. Another reason it works is by distraction and redirection -- the focus goes to the accused rather than on what is going on here.

There are so many examples of this ... Republicans accusing Democrats of excessive partisanship. Republicans accusing Democrats of negative campaigning. Republicans accusing Democrats of hating the military and avoiding service. Republicans accusing Democrats of wanting "big government" while growing the government faster than ever before. Just think back to all the cases where this tactic applies!


 



Wingnut Professors Not Just Left-Wing

In the post Noxious academics, Orcinus points out that there are right-wingnut professors, too, and provides examples:
"...there are a number of right-wing professors who could face similar academic firing squads if the punditocracy chose to raise their cudgels against them."
He asks the "conservatives",
So why are they not every bit as eager to expel these radical academics from our midst? Their silence has been longstanding; if anything, you'll find so-called mainstream conservatives actually defending thinkers like this (see, e.g., the long-running right-wing apologia for Charles Murray's repulsive theories about race.)

Personally, I think the principles of academic freedom are paramount in all these cases. But then, I'm not a right-winger.



 



Dean's In! Contribute To Show Support!

Howard Dean is officially Chairmand of the Democratic National Committee! Sond a contribution, even if it is only $1. Blogs have organized actblue.com for contributions to show our support. Enter an amount and click the following to contribute.

Contribution amount: $
Click here to see how much has been raised.


 



Right-wing Traitors

The truth isn't important during a smear campaign, but nevertheless:

Before 9/11, it was mostly the ultra-conservatives who were sucking up to Saddam, the Taliban and the Islamic fundamentalists. These two groups of true believers hated (and still do hate) many of the same people: feminists, homosexuals, atheists, liberals, secularists, modernists, progressives, socialists, cynics, and the press. They both believe that there should be no sex outside of marriage, that the husband and father should be the Lord and Master, and that the Holy Book is infallible.

Awhile back I collected a bunch of examples of Republican Islamofascist-symps: Ronald Reagan, Sen. Simpson of Wyoming, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Grover Norquist, Dana Rohrenbacher, the whole Bush family, Justice Scalia, William Bennett, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Daniel Pipes, Jude Wanninski, and John Sununu. Examples are of all different kinds: endorsements, alliances, business relationships, lobbying, and agreements in principle. Some examples are stronger than the others, but there's a ton of dirt there.

There's a pretty hefty contingent of liberal Democrats who have never at any time played ball with the Islamofascists, but we should just forget that, just as we should forget past Republican hanky-panky. Because now, anyone who fails to completely support Bush's plans for war is a traitor and an Islamofascist. Don't you see?

The interesting and painful thing for me is going to be watching formerly-respected individuals disgrace themselves by falling in with the smear. Somebody should keep track.





 



Bush Waits Until Late Friday To Release Specific Cuts In Children's and Law Enforcement Programs

The story is over at The Left Coaster: Bush Waits Until Late Friday To Release Specific Cuts In Children's and Law Enforcement Programs.

Spread the word.




2/11/2005
 



Progressive Infrastructure

Commonweal Institute: Creating Progressive Infrastructure

And the document: Creating Progressive Infrastructure Now
An Action Plan for Reclaiming America’s Heart and Soul
(PDF 75K)
Summary: The American conservative movement has succeeded in moving public attitudes steadily rightward over the last 30 years, with far-reaching consequences for the country’s political governance. This success has been achieved through a well-funded and well-coordinated organizational infrastructure that follows a long-term, disciplined communications strategy. In order for moderates and progressives to maximize the power of their own ideas and values, and to compete effectively with the right wing over the coming decades, they must develop, without delay, their own infrastructural capacity and practices. This paper suggests how to get started.



 



Sistani outsmarts Bush

Writing in the Toronto Star, Haroon Siddiqui explains why the apparent victory of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in Iraq’s elections is bad for Bush regardless of how the White House spins it. If Sistani’s party wins, they will install an independent (of Iran as well as of the US) government that will force the Americans to leave. After that, who knows? Sistani wants what is best for Iraq, and he gets things done, his way, according to Dr. Juan Cole of U. Michigan. US control over oil and military bases in Iraq, two of the three objectives of the war (the third being reconstruction contracts for Halliburton et. al.) are not guranteed.

Sistani was able to force Bush to ignore Iyad Allawi’s warnings that the Shia would win direct elections which they did because Sistani organized local committees to get out the Shia vote. The result will be either a tough, clever, Islamic-rooted regime that thwarts the US’s goals, or an Algeria-like situation with the Americans canceling an election whose outcome they cannot accept. My money is on the former with Bush denying he got outsmarted and rewarding Rumsfeld and Rice et. al. for a job well-done while Sistani’s government systematically erases the US influence in Iraq so many Americans and Iraqis died for.




 



CEO Prayer

Wealth Bondage: Don't Blame Me, I'm Born Again:
O I have been a bad bad girl. I raped the commons. I turned the airways into a river of filth. I seared Wealth Bondage into the brains of innocent children. I wrapped the wrists of pre-teens in Yellow Bracelets and led them by the nose. I freed polluters to poison the air and the water. I murdered thousand of species and wrecked God's Creation. I privatized folklore, song, dance, literature. I sold off the parks to my pals. I corrupted your legislators and stole your democacy. I have bankrupted the nation, and will now scuttle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. No safety net for you. No taxes for me. Live in fear; live in Terror. Huddle for safety around my boots. I have grown so rich that none, but the massed fury of the multitude could tell me, No. But, hey, I feel bad about it. I'm born again so kiss my ass. Heaven is mine, saith the CEO.

What am I? I am the Goddess of the Market. God loves me. You should too. Don't blame me you are so completely fucked. It is the will of God. The Godless liberals did it. Blame them, Stupid. God and Market fuck you over in mysterious ways. Bretherin, let us pray.
From Wealth Bondage.


 



YOU Will Be Called A Terrorist

I think it is important to read Digby's post Death In Life. If I have ever asked my readers to read something before, this is more important. Please go read the post.

I'm going to reveal the ending here:
It is a law of human nature that if you build it, they will come. This infrastructure will be expanded and bureaucratized. It's already happening. And when they decide, as Professor Yoo has already decided, that an election is a sanctioning of anything the President chooses to do in the War on Terror, it is only a matter of time before internal political enemies become a threat.

And then it will be us.
And now I am going to quote from an e-mail I received today from the Heritage Foundation's TownHall. (The Heritage Foundation is the core of the Republican Party now. And The Party controls the state.)
Dear Conservative Friend,

[. . .] While most of our national discussion about Homeland Security has focused on threats from outside the United States, we’ve overlooked the dangerous threat of domestic terrorism. Since 1990, attacks by home-grown arsonists and bomb-throwers have caused over $150 million in damage. The FBI calls these animal-rights zealots and extreme environmentalists “the most dangerous and prolific domestic terrorists” in the United States today.

[. . .] If PETA were financially supporting Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, or Al Qaeda, it would be laughable to argue that it’s possible to bankroll terrorists without supporting terrorism.

[. . .] P.S. If you agree that PETA’s habit of funding domestic terrorists makes the group an unusual danger to American society, please help us spread the word. ...
I know you have heard right-wingers claiming that environmentalists are "terrorists." And now PETA are terrorists.

"And then it will be us."

Watch your backs.


 



Who Else and What Else?

By now you have read about the far-right militia-type who infiltrated the White House, using the alias "Gannon," and got hold of classified CIA documents - with help from someone in the White House.

I received an e-mail from the office of Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules that includes this quote:
"This matter is growing more serious by the day. We now know that 'Jeff Gannon' had access to classified CIA documents that contained the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. This is more than an issue of media manipulation by the White House... this is now an issue of national security," said Rep. Slaughter. "What is the White House hiding? This man, Mr. Gannon, should never have been admitted into the White House briefing room in the first place. Someone let him in day after day. Someone gave him access to classified CIA documents. Someone must answer for this. It is critical that we uncover the exact nature of the relationship between Gannon and this White House," added Slaughter."
Also,
In addition, Reps. Slaughter and Conyers wrote W. Ralph Basham, Director of the Secret Service, calling on his office to provide details on the security clearance of day pass holders in the White House briefing room as well as any and all information they can provide on Mr. Gannon.
This is REALLY serious stuff. The questions to ask are: who let this guy in and gave him classified CIA documents, what other kinds of documents was he given (tax records and addresses of prominent liberals and Bush opponents?), what other militia-types are getting into the White House and other parts of our government, and what kinds of classified information are they getting access to? (Maybe floor plans of government buildings - like the one in Oklahoma City?)


 



Question Of The Day

Democrats Ask Their Question of the Day on Social Security: $754 Billion?

With the Republican Medicare prescription drug bill now expected to cost more than $700 billion, are we certain that the Republican Social Security privatization plan will cost its reported $754 billion?”

Republican Privatization Plan Would Cost $5 Trillion. A Senior Administration Official stated in a briefing that the president’s plan would cost $754 billion over ten years. “These figures are misleadingly low. They are generated by using a ten-year budget window (2006- 2015) that includes only five years of the fully phased-in plan. The plan would not be launched until 2009 and not be in full effect until 2011. Over the first ten years that the plan actually was in effect (2009-18), it would add about $1.4 trillion to the debt. Over the next ten years (2019- 28), it would add about $3.5 trillion more to the debt. All told, the plan would add $4.9 trillion (14 percent of GDP in 2028) to the debt over its first 20 years.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “An Overview of Issues Raised by the Administration’s Social Security Plan,” 2/7/05 http://www.cbpp.org/2-2-05socsec4.htm]
Yes, I know, the wording is ... sort of ... Senatorial.




2/10/2005
 



A Student Think Tank

Know any students? Tell them about The Roosevelt Institution, "the nation's first student think tank".

By the way, let me give you a hint. The mysterious "University A" is Stanford located in Palo Alto, California.


 



We Have Work To Do

Senate OKs Bill Curbing Class Action Suits,
In the end, 18 Democrats and one independent, Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont, joined 53 Republicans in passing the bill.

[. . .] Senate opponents poured scorn on the class action bill.

"This bill is one of the most unfair, anti-consumer proposals to come before the Senate in years," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada. "It slams the courthouse doors on a wide range of injured plaintiffs."

"It turns federalism upside down by preventing state courts from hearing state law claims. And it limits corporate accountability at a time of rampant corporate scandals."

The American Association of Trial Lawyers derided the bill as "dreadful public policy" sought by insurers, tobacco, drug, and chemical industries that spent millions on lobbying.
So there are still 18 Democratic Senators we have to oppose in the primaries, when they come up for re-election. We have work to do.

I know who one of them is. From a different report,
One Democrat who voted yes, Dianne Feinstein of California, said afterward that the bill was "not perfect" but that it addressed problems in the legal system.
And here are the heros:
Besides Senators Reid and Kennedy, the Democrats who voted no were Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Barbara Boxer of California, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Patty Murray of Washington, Max Baucus of Montana, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Carl Levin of Michigan, Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine, both of New Jersey, Richard Durbin of Illinois, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, both of Hawaii, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, both of Maryland, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Bill Nelson of Florida.
Leave comments as you figure out who the rest of the 18 are. (I have to make dinner now.)

Update - THE LIST OF SHAME -- Democrats voting Yes:

Bayh (D-IN)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Schumer (D-NY)


 



Demand a Special Prosecutor

At Democrats.com, a petition: We Demand a Special Prosecutor for "Jeff Gannon"


 



The Party In Control At Chamber of Commerce

Mary at Pacific Views discovers that The Party is in control now at the Chamber of Commerce.


 



Massive Progressive Blog Index

Did you bookmark the massive Massive Blog Index at The American Street the other day? Here's another chance.


 



Read It Again

In case you missed it, the other day Alternet posted one of the most important stories you'll read for some time. Go read The Right-Wing Express. Please.


 



The F-word

Chris at MyDD sums it up:
A new storm is rising. These are dangerous times for our country.
Go ready why. Watch your backs.


 



Great Line

On the same subject as my previous post on Bush saying US Government Bonds are worthless, Matthew Yglesias has a great line:
"When I was living in Russia, the family I stayed with, like many Russian families, actually did save money by accumulating rolls of dollar bills and sticking them at the bottom of a dresser drawer."



 



Born to Lose

Over the course of the past several years, we’ve been troubled by the liberal web’s failure to focus on sound-bites that matter—the sound-bites that actually drive our debates. Some of you are deeply offended that we would dare to say such a thing. Born to lose, we say in reply. The Democratic Party is too inept to form a winning set of messages, and the mainstream press corps is store-bought, asleep. The liberal web must take the lead if liberals and centrists will form useful messages. Next week, we’ll note a few of the basic ways we think we have all failed to do that.

(Daily Howler February 10, 2005)


Bob Somerby is the sharpest guy on the web. He has documented the careers of the most influential political media people for the last six or eight years, and when he gets on someone, he's able to cite chapter and verse. (And so can you, using his searchable archive).

Everybody should read Somerby daily anyway, but especially next week.




 



Bush Says US Bonds Are Worthless!

From the important and excellent There Is No Crisis, Bush Implies National Default: (I'm just going to snarf the whole thing, but go visit the site)
Mr. Bush says the Trust Fund doesn't exist:
Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund -- in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money -- payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They're spent on benefits and they're spent on government programs. There is no trust. We're on the ultimate pay-as-you-go system -- what goes in comes out. And so, starting in 2018, what's going in -- what's coming out is greater than what's going in. It says we've got a problem. And we'd better start dealing with it now. The longer we wait, the harder it is to fix the problem.
As we've explained previously, saying there's no trust fund is the same thing as saying the government will default on its debt. There is a trust fund, filled with government bonds, the safest asset that has ever existed. Saying those bonds are worthless means that the full faith and credit of the US isn't worth anything. Now what political leader would say that?
So Bush says that US bonds are worthless! In fact, the basic argument for his whole scheme is that stocks are somehow a better investment than bonds. Now, keep in mind that Bush himself has most of HIS money in government bonds, AND that he plans to finance his whole privatization sceme by selling ... wait for it ... here it comes ... you're going to be surprised ... yes, it's ... GOVERNMENT BONDS!

And Josh Marshall weighs in:
Following up on our earlier posts about the president's apparent desire to default on the US Treasury notes held by the Social Security Administration, two points ...

First, most of President Bush's personal wealth appears to be tied up in bonds. Do his get honored? Or is he out of luck too?

Second, what the president said today almost certainly violates his oath of office in which he swears to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

That would be the Constitution which reads (Am.XIV, Section 4): "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
Such statements are designed to reinforce a "narrative," or "bigger story." MOST people don't pay attention to details, and "hear" only a bigger picture kind of story. In this case that bigger story is that "Social Security is going broke and we have to 'fix' it." THAT is why Bush and the others feel they can get away with repeating such trash. But at what point do Bush's lies and contradictions reach public conciousness and outweigh the "narrative"? It just might be starting to happen.



 



Shut This Company Down

Wal-Mart to close store aiming for 1st union contract:
"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Wednesday it will close a Canadian store where about 200 workers are near winning the first union contract from the world's largest retailer."
Canada is a bit different from the United States. It is rumoured that the corporations do not yet completely control the Canadian government and the people still have a degree of input. So here is a test: Will Canada shut this outlaw corporation down?

And YOU aren't shopping at Wal-Mart are you? Ever? Please don't, this is serious.




2/09/2005
 



Warning After Warning

Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning you are going to learn that Bush knew EVEN MORE than you thought he knew. 9/11 Report Cites Many Warnings About Hijackings:
In the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed airline hijackings and suicide operations, according to a previously undisclosed report from the 9/11 commission.
This was withheld from us before the election:
The Bush administration has blocked the public release of the full, classified version of the report for more than five months, officials said [. . .] the declassified version provides the firmest evidence to date about the warnings that aviation officials received concerning the threat of an attack on airliners and the failure to take steps to deter it.

Among other things, the report says that leaders of the F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their security branch that mentioned Mr. Bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence summaries in that time.
And Rice was confirmed as Secretary of State without the public being told of this.


 



Wanna Bet?

Court Rejects $15 Mln Award in Kansas Smoker Case.

OK, no more facts are available yet, but how much do you want to bet this is Federalist Society judges?


 



Living In The Past

Bush: World Must Speak with One Voice on Iran Nukes:
"The Iranians just need to know that the free world is working together to send a very clear message: Don't develop a nuclear weapon,' Bush said."
The "free world?" And I suppose they're the Soviets?


 



This Is Serious

Over at Kos, this question:
" Why should we care about Jeff Gannon?

A potential male prostitute gets White House credentials using a fake name, provides McClellan a welcome ideological lifeline during press conferences, and somehow gets access to classified CIA documents that outs an undercover CIA operative. "
National Security means NOTHING to these people. It is all about Party control of the State at this point.

When I write "National Security" there, I am talking about the safety of you and me. Seriously. We've got Moonies in positions of influence (and the Federal Government handing them "faith-based" checks for millions). We've got militia types and serious crazed wingnuts getting important jobs in the government. We've got a CIA agent who was in charge of keeping WMDs from reaching terrorists, who is outed in a political retaliation -- which means her work ends and all of her contacts in other countries potentially tracked down and jailed or killed. And we've got the President participating in the cover-up of that because it would embarrass The Party. We've got an illegal invasion of a country based on lies about WMDs, and then when we invade WE DON'T EVEN GUARD THE SUPPOSED WMD SITES so they get looted of tons of very dangerous high explosives!!!

I mean, ALL KINDS of stuff like this is going on, and no mechanisms remain for doing something about it! All controls have been removed to protect The Party. No one in the government will investigate because it would harm the interests of The Party, and those controlling the Congress won't investigate for the same reason. (Has there been even ONE Congressional oversight hearing looking into ANY wrongdoing by this administration? Has even ONE Justice Department investigation of wrongdoing by ANY Republican reached a conclusion? And all those involved in the Congressional Ethics Committee that scolded DeLay have been removed and punished.) Meanwhile we have Federalist Society judges infiltrating the courts to protect The Party. And don't even ask about the mainstream press... There are no controls or checks or balances in place now to protect us.

I wrote about this in my depressing piece at American Street earlier today... This is serious.

Also, Kos added this:
Update: "Gannon" claims he quit because he was receiving death threats. Coward. For the record, I've been getting such threats for years amongst all the hate mail I get. It's an unfortunate part of being a partisan writer, but a reality nonetheless. Probably every partisan writer in this country gets scary emails. It comes with the territory.
This is just bullshit. The "death threats" lie is intended to make him a victim. This is standard RW propaganda. Just like when that Homeland Security nominee had to quit, and said it was because the liberals were going to be "politically correct" because he had an illegal immigrant working for him, and it turned out that was just another lie. There was no nanny. Propaganda to make people think he is a victim and promote hatred of liberals. And now we're told this guy Gannon quits because he's the victim of liberals, not because he's a RW operative caught infiltrating the White House. (I guess "infiltrating" is the wrong word when the RW operatives RUNNING the White House got him in...) THEY JUST LIE.

Watch your backs.



 



Another Gallup Poll With More Republicans Than Democrats

Steve at Left Coaster is on this one, too: Yesterday's Gallup Poll Showing Bush Approval At 57% Had 9% More Republicans Than Democrats.


 



Get Depressed

I have a depressing new piece at American Street, titled The Party In Control Now.


 



More White House Manipulation of News

If you are a regular blog reader you know the story of a supposed "reporter" with access to the White House who turns out to be an operative of the Right. Steve at Left Coaster puts it in perspective: The Left Coaster: The Blogosphere Exposes Another Fraudulent White House Media Operation:
Apparently Gannon would sit in on the press gaggles each day and when needed steer the direction of the press briefings away from troubling areas when reporters started to lock onto vulnerabilities in what [Press Secretary] Scott McClellan was saying.

[. . .] This sorry episode, so soon after the propaganda debacle with Armstrong Williams among others, leads me to question what else is the White House doing to manufacture news and news coverage?



 



Wal-Mart Fact Checker

Spread The Facts On Wal-Mart.

(thanks to skippy)




2/08/2005
 



Elevator Speech

Frameshop: Elevator Speech. Worth reading.


 



Responding to the Right's Machine

I wrote a diary entry at DailyKos titled, Responding to the Right's Machine. Excerpts,
This infrastructure of organizations does almost everything for the Republican Party. I'll go as far as to say that this "infrastructure" of organizations IS the Republican party now. It provides education and training, issue research, message development, constant outreach to the general public, materials and talking points for candidates and media pundits, and other services too numerous to put in this short post. One key feature I would like to point out is that they employ thousands of well-paid political operatives, which all by itself gives them an advantage.

[. . .] The Right talks to the general public, pushing their UNDERLYING ideology, and only then tying specific issues to it. Progressives need to learn to do this as well.
Go read. (And remember to "recommend" by clicking the button in the right column.)

Update - changed from MyDD to DailyKos after MyDD elevated the diary to the front page.


 



The Right-Wing Express

AlterNet: MediaCulture: The Right-Wing Express:
[. . .] Consider that the conservative political movement, which now has a hammerlock on every aspect of federal government, has a media message machine fed by more than 80 large non-profit organizations ? let's call them the Big 80 ? funded by a gaggle of right-wing family foundations and wealthy individuals to the tune of $400 million a year.

And the Big 80 groups are just the "non-partisan" 501(c)(3) groups. These do not include groups like the NRA, the anti-gay and anti-abortion groups, nor do they include the political action committees (PACs) or the "527" groups (so named for the section of the tax code they fall under), like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which so effectively slammed John Kerry's campaign in 2004.

[. . .] Stein describes how the message machine works. If Rush Limbaugh wants something on vouchers – it's immediately in his hands; if Fox News' Bill O'Reilly needs a guest to talk about the "death tax," he's got him from one of the think tanks. Stein estimates that 36,000 conservatives have been trained on values, issues, leadership, use of media and agenda development. These are not the elected officials, but rather the cadre of the conservative network. Stein figures that the core leaders of the Big 80 groups he studied are about 2,000 people who make between $75,000 and $200,000 and have all been trained in the Leadership Institute.
And, evaluating "our side" in light of this competition,
[. . .] "Our major obstacles are atomization, balkanization and minimalization of our grassroots and national groups, our donors and our political operations," Stein adds. "We have very few effective strategic alliances among existing organizations (more this time electorally than ever before); very few organizations with the scale necessary to make a major impact; too few passionately progressive, politically motivated individual donors who know one another and work together; lack of long-term strategic thinking; lack of appropriate and necessary coordination and discipline; to name a few."
Go read the rest.

If you find this subject interesting and important, I'd like to put in a good word for some of the people who have done a lot of the background research that helps bring this to light. Much of my own work and the work of people like Rob Stein (from the linked article) was made possible by the information collected and put online over at Cursor's Media Transparency. (I am on their Advisory Board.) Go over there and scroll down through the articles they have been putting up. Then click on the Movement button and read for a while. It's all there.

So what I'm getting at here is that it takes money to be able to continue work like this. Think about helping them out by contributing. Small amounts are OK, because there are a lot of us.




2/07/2005
 



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.










2/06/2005
 



watch whose money you pick up

Old advice:
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.

If you're doing business with a religious son of a bitch, get it in writing; his word isn't worth shit, not with the good lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.

[. . .] Avoid fuck-ups. Fools, I call them. You all know the type -- no matter how good it sounds, everything they have anything to do with turns into a disaster. Trouble for themselves and everyone connected with them. A fool is bad news, and it rubs off -- don't let it rub off on you.

Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill; it is a bottomless pit. Tell them firmly, "I am not paid to listen to this drivel -- you are a terminal fool!" Otherwise, they make you as crazy as they are.

Above all, avoid confirmed criminals. They are a special malignant strain of fool.
From someone who saw Bush coming a mile away.




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