Yeah, I'll Just Bet

Bush, "I would like to express my deep condolences for the loss of the Senate," Bush said shortly after hearing of Wellstone's death Friday. "And also, I would like to express my condolences to the bereaved family."

Yeah, right. If grief for Wellstone is what's on your mind here, how come you said "loss of the Senate?"

Update:Bush might not have said it.


This year is starting to remind me of 1968. A lot has happened. I feel like I felt after Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed.


Blog Recommendation

I want to recommend a blog called Thinking It Through. Seems to agree with me on many issues: must be brilliant. He does some good in-depth writing.

Read his column, Does the NRA Mistrust Democracy?


MoveOn's New Website

MoveOn.org has a new website!

More No Law

Thanks to Tapped, here's a press release from the Dept. of Education, announcing a $600,000 government grant for a PR campaign to help The Party gain votes from black people.

A previous entry about Bush's education legislation.

Go Read

William Burton is writing some good stuff.

No Law Anymore

Today's Washington Post, Bush Enlists Government in GOP Campaign.

Most of it, of course, illegal. Blatantly illegal. Not only that, but much of it is being paid for by the government, not The Party.

The 24/7 use of AM radio as a full-time Republicans Party advertisement is, of course, illegal as well.

But who is going to enforce these laws, the Bush Justice Department? HA!

Update - Imagine the uproar if Clinton were doing any of this.


Voter Fraud

I've said a few times that I see the Republicans often using a sophisticated trick, where they accuse their opponents of doing something that they are actually doing themselves. It's called "inoculation." It masks their own activities, and makes the opponent look silly if they come back with an accusation of the Republicans doing the same thing they're accusing the opponent of. Like Bush accusing Gore of being willing to say or do anything to win, or Bush accusing Gore of being a liar.

They've become such smokescreen specialists, because they're usually trying to do things that they know the voters don't want. So sometimes to understand what the Republicans are up to you need to listen to what they're accusing the Democrats of being up to. (I said it's sophisticated, but maybe I meant it takes a lot of words to explain it.)

The Republicans have been making lots of accusations of voter fraud, and it's building up. Right now Drudge has no fewer than 5 voter fraud stories posted. Meanwhile, in Dallas the voting machines are acting funny. (Eschaton again.) Remember, these are machines that do not generate paper which can be checked against the totals! These are voting machines from one of the companies in the story I wrote about a ways back, about how right-wingers are quietly buying up all the voting machine companies.

More on Here It Comes

TBOGG has a story about Americans for Job Security, which I wrote about earlier.

Blogger Not Publishing

I don't know when you-all are reading this. Blogger is not publishing posts today. (Maybe it's the same thing that happened to Eschaton.) I suppose at some point it will publish all the posts I've written and can see here - and then you'll read this and understand what's going on.

But until then, you're not even seeing this.

Long List of Bush Lies

PLA published a long list and discussion of Bush lies here. (Thanks Eschaton.)

The Mighty Wurlitzer

Have I pointed to this article, The Mighty Wurlitzer, before? Robert Borosage describes how the right-wingers are able to accomplish so much.

Here It Comes

Most of the public doesn't realize that this is a crucial election. The Republicans do. So far they've taken advantage of the terrorist attack to push their agenda (examples - phony Dept. of Fatherland Security to get rid of public employee unions and employee protections, phony Terrorism Insurance bill to get rid of corporate liability laws...), terrified the public with phony terrorist alerts just as the President or Vice President are implicated in corporate scandals, and most recently blatantly timed a war scare to manipulate the campaign.

What's next? Here's a sign that things are starting: Mysterious group spends $1 million on anti-Wellstone campaign

FBI Whistle Blower Being Fired

Not THAT whistle-blower - yet. MN Star Tribune: Minneapolis whistle-blower may face dismissal from FBI



Bush Declares U.S. Is Using Diplomacy to Disarm Hussein, "if the Iraqi leader complied with every United Nations mandate it would "signal the regime has changed."

The Iraq scare is over. It has served its purpose: the election.

I look at the opinion columns in the NY Times, and see, "The Price of Stability By MICHAEL O'HANLON Until we face up to the possibility that a multiyear occupation will be needed, we have not yet accepted what war to overthrow Saddam Hussein could entail." I think, "What's this guy writing about IRAQ for? Occupation? Doesn't he GET it? That's OVER. That's so last week.



Pensions, Again

I've been writing about the corporate pension fund problem.

Today: Alcoa pension liability to jump $700 mln-$1 bln. Wow! And check this, "Pittsburgh-based Alcoa is also lowering its expected rate of return on its pension assets from 9.5 percent, but did not provide a new figure. Uncertainty over future stock market returns is leading many companies to reduce their fund expectations from recent high levels." That means that they've been reporting an expectation of a 9.5% return. Yeah, right.
"Alcoa's comments are the latest in a string of corporate warnings over the health of their pension plans, as company after company discloses huge funding shortfalls.

To make up for this funding gap, executives are being forced to divert billions of dollars to pension plans in moves that will lower earnings, limit spending and choke expansion plans.

Pension fund troubles also raise the specter of debt downgrades, which will put additional pressure on profits by raising borrowing costs.

3M Co. (NYSE:MMM - News), the diversified manufacturer whose products range from Post-It notes and Scotch tape to industrial adhesives, said on Monday it would take a $1 billion charge in the fourth quarter against shareholder equity -- essentially a measure of its net worth -- because of a funding shortfall in its pension plan.

Also on Monday, United States Steel Corp. (NYSE:X - News), the largest domestic steelmaker, said it may have to take a $750 million charge against equity later this year to account for possible shortfalls in its union employee pension plan.

A recent study by Credit Suisse First Boston estimates that of the 360 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index that have pension plans, 325 will have shortfalls by year end. Only 33 will be overfunded. The airline and automobile industries are the hardest hit. "
This is a big one, folks. Pay attention.

Estate Tax

Just want to get this out there. The Republicans came up with the cute name, "Death Tax," for the Estate Tax. This probably took a few focus groups and polls to come up with.

The Estate Tax is paid on the transfer of assets when a zillionaire dies. It is AN INCOME TAX on the income received by heirs of someone who is really, really rich. The Republicans cast it as a tax that causes farms and small businesses to be sold to pay the tax, but this is yet another lie. From NYTimes, Focus on Farms Masks Estate Tax Confusion,
While 17 percent of Americans in a recent Gallup survey think they will owe estate taxes, in fact only the richest 2 percent of Americans do. That amounted to 49,870 Americans in 1999. And nearly half the estate tax is paid by the 3,000 or so people who each year leave taxable estates of more than $5 million.
Let's be clear on this. You and I pay income taxes on OUR income, but Bush and the Republicans repealed the Estate Tax and now rich kids won't have to pay taxes on THEIR (inherited) incomes. People are not as upset about this as they should be, probably because of the cute name the Republicans were able to apply to the debate.


Earlier I wrote that Enron was paying for the anti-Davis ads. Articles I found point to Reliant Energy more than Enron. The problem is that the group placing the ads, American Taxpayer Alliance, has been allowed to conceal their donors.

From Organized Labor: (scroll down to "Hard Hat Rally")
The American Taxpayer Alliance is paying for the ads with money from energy companies like Reliant, and money raised by Enron lobbyists. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Reliant Energy of Houston, the largest independent generator of electricity, reported earnings in the first quarter of 2001 that were double those for the first quarter of the previous year, (4/17/01). Two of the directors of Reliant Energy, James Baker and Steve Letbetter have strong ties to the Bush White House. Looking at the Enron Corporation of Houston, we find that revenue increased by 500% over the three-year period from 1997 to 2000, from $20.3 billion to $100.8 billion. Even more interesting, Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, energy advisor to the Bush administration, made $27.2 million through insider trading of Enron stock in the 12-month period ending April 2001. Not bad for a years work, and this is only his bonus money.
From the Davis Campaign:
California Superior Court Judge David Garcia granted an injunction requested by the Governor Gray Davis Committee requiring the American Taxpayers Alliance, which had been airing anti-Davis television commercials, to abide by the State’s Political Reform Act by registering as a political committee with the Secretary of State and filing a list of its contributors. “California law – and basic fairness – demand that organizations making campaign attacks identify themselves so the voters can evaluate the message against those who are funding it,” said Joseph Remcho, the attorney representing the Governor’s political committee. “It is gratifying that Judge Garcia agreed such groups must tell California voters who their donors are. They can say whatever they want, but they have to play by California’s rules.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the American Taxpayers Alliance is a tax-exempt entity headed by former Republican National Committee executive director Scott Reed. The group adamantly has refused to reveal who paid for the media campaign, although Time magazine reported in June that Reliant Energy Inc., one of the Houston-based energy suppliers Davis has accused of gouging consumers, is one of its major contributors. A July analysis by the D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics also said the group’s prime donors were from the oil and gas industry.
Democratic Underground:
American Taxpayers Alliance - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - The American Taxpayers Alliance started running a TV ad in California last week attacking Governor Gray Davis for failing to protect the public from rising energy costs. The campaign-style ad doesn't promote a rival candidate, but features fuzzy, unflattering close-ups of Davis while assailing his record. So who are the American Taxpayers Alliance? Surely they're a group of concerned citizens who are worried about spiraling energy prices in California, right? Um, wrong. The "American Taxpayers Alliance" is actually a front group for hundreds of corporations, including Texas-based Reliant Energy. Reliant Energy are proud to list James "rent-a-hatchet" Baker and Bush fundraiser Steve Ledbetter on their board of directors. So, Californians - energy companies are selling electricity to you at vastly over-inflated prices, then spending the profits on TV ads attacking your governor for failing to stop them. How do you feel?
And the whole story at CorpWatch.

Best I've Ever Seen

Last year the "energy crisis" hit California. Big coincidence, the country had just "elected" two corrupt oil-industry men to "lead" the country and suddenly energy prices shot through the roof. (Remember the gas crisis in the Chicago area that ended immediately as soon as the Senate announced they would investigate?)

In California we had "rolling blackouts" and a huge surge in electricity, natural gas and gasoline prices. The Bush FERC, of course, refused to intervene. The Governor had to start purchasing energy on the spot market to try to stop the blackouts.

Then nasty TV ads started appearing, blaming Governor Davis. Davis had been a sort-of invisible Governor until then. No one really knew what to think of him. He was "undefined."

Those ads stuck, like nothing I've ever seen before. They completely defined Davis, his poll numbers fell through the floor, even good Democrats I knew were blaming Davis for "bungling the energy crisis." He has not recovered from those ads. Those ads were the best I've ever seen. They took that guy and defined him and the public STILL blames him for the energy crisis. When you ask people why they don't like Davis, they'll tell you it is because he bungled the energy crisis, they're not sure about the details. It was later that other ads tagged him with accepting too many campaign contributions. (Imagine, a Democrat being tagged with that, in the Bush era! Shows the power of propaganda, doesn't it?)

Turns out that Enron was paying for those ads, while Enron and a few other energy companies were manipulating the energy supply and raking in a huge bundle. (How much of that cash was funneled to The Party?) And now that is part of the public record. Doesn't matter, though. The public blames Davis.

Read Everything

I've been meaning to say that everything over at The Sideshow lately has been a great read.

Dick and George Take Over the World

Over at Counterspin Central they've posted a GREAT cartoon.


What He Wrote

I was asked to post the message I received from a reader that led to this entry. Here it is:
Recently I've discovered the world of Blogs and yours is one of my daily reads. I've been running around the idea of a journal on our website (I used to always keep a journal when I traveled after high school) but obviously the blog is the way to go.

Anyway, I got an email link from a friend in NY (worked across the street from the WTC, all his buddies worked at Cantor-Fitzgerald) that was obviously written by what you call a chickenwarblogger. I whipped out a response (I had a tee time approaching) and sent it without much thought. I think it really got to him. He wants me to be running for office now [laughable]. When I reread today what I had written yesterday morning I couldn't believe I had written it. Reading blogs like yours has definitly sharpened my knife.

I'm still a ways off from starting my own blog (gotta blow a lot of glass for the coming holiday season) but I wanted to pass on what you helped inspire. (Feel free to use any of it)

[my friend] > I liked what this guy had to say [link any typical chickenwarblogger rant], just wanted your take on it.
[my response]

I feel like a mosquito at a nudist camp, I don't even know where to begin. I'll try and avoid going into it point by excruciating point and instead give my general reaction.

First, the fact that the writer continues to frame this as a "Lefty" issue ignores the reality that a lot of conservatives have serious misgivings about staging this war and instead it comes across as little more than a heavy handed diatribe against the left. I refer you to a recent speech by General Zinni http://www.mideasti.org/html/zinnispeech.htm . I don't think anyone, including the writer, could mistake this person for a Lefty. For my own part, though I come across as left-center to most, if not all, of my right-center friends, I have in reality voted for more GOP candidates than DFL in my lifetime and still morn the loss McCain suffered in SC. If you could remove all the republicans with a gun in one hand and a bible in the other I would be comfortable back in the 'Big Tent".

If it helps, I was just making the case for going to war with Iraq to someone yesterday (I really can play both sides of the isle). My rational was that because the US in essence created Saddam in the first place we owed it to the world to go in and clean up after ourselves, followed by a big apology and a promise to stop installing brutal regimes just because they suit some short term geopolitical purpose. They always seem to end up embarrassing us or somehow coming back to bit us on the butt. I believe in democracy but too often it seems that our government is more concerned with spreading capitalism than democracy, confusing the two and pissing off a lot of people who get left out.

I've never heard a lefty advocate assassinating Saddam, but I did hear Ari go there (is Ari a closet lefty?).

For more reasons than I care to delve into, comparing Saddam to Hitler is a gross disservice to history. For one thing, Hitler never asked our position on attacking Poland whereas Saddam checked with our envoy as to the position of the US regarding Kuwait. The day after we responded that we had no official position on middle east boarders Saddam attacked. I have a whole group of in-laws that survived Nazi Germany (concentration camps and all) and I see firsthand how that effects the next two, three generations. Nobody who has any idea what really happened during WWII would seriously put forth such an insulting comparison. That the world joined forces and repelled Saddam out of Kuwait shortly after his invasion shows that we have indeed learned the lesson that ignoring the takeover of Poland taught us.

Likewise, the example of postwar Japan to Iraq is another put forward by people ignorant of history. Again, for more reasons than I care to delve into, Tommy Franks is no MacArthur, and the Iraqis of today are nothing like the Japanese of the 1930s - 1950s.

We're talking about a battle between Judeo/Christian-fascism (Jerry Falwell, Ann Coulter anyone?) and Islamo-fascism that's been going on for over 1500 years. To think that by simply going in and installing a pro-western government we can make everything better (as in Panama, Grenada? Please) displays ignorance of recent history. We tried that in Iran in the 50's when their newly elected - democratically elected I might add - government wanted to nationalize their oil industry. The US helped stage an overthrow and installed the Shaw of Iran. This radicalized their religious leaders which lead directly to their takeover in the 70's, which in turn lead to our creation of Saddam (and now we've gone full circle). Now anti-Americanism is again fueling insurgencies in simi-stable regimes otherwise friendly to the US (see Pakistan, see Brazil).

If dropping bombs doesn't create terrorists, why is it that the US (and immediate allies) are the only countries to suffer terrorists? There are a lot of flourishing democracies around the world who don't worry about terrorists.

Near the beginning of this I said that I was making a case for war with Iraq yesterday. My other reason for going to war was that too many people have obviously forgotten what war is really like. In some religions it's said that you have to be 'reborn' to be saved. Well, if we're really going to ever have true world peace we'll have to have that final big battle. Hawks are quick to point out that if the pacifists are wrong the worst case outcome is a nuke in NY or Washington. I’d like to point out that if we go to war and the Hawks are wrong, the worst case outcome is Armageddon.

How many US lives are you willing to forfeit? How many foreign lives? How many is too many? If this really was a viable route to peace we wouldn’t still be trying this same approach for the last 2-3,000 years. But what the hell, let’s give it another try. It’s not like it’s you or me or our children that will have to give their lives in this battle.
Oh yeah, and the Subject line of his message was, "If I had a blog."