Is It Legal?

GOP.gov? Is that even legal?

Precinct Work

There's a guest post at Interesting Times, talking about how to do precinct work. THIS is how you win elections! Please go read this, and start thinking about it.

If YOU could do this where YOU live, starting soon, getting your neighbors registered to vote, and then getting them to the polls on election day, it really can make enough of a difference to change the election results! This is the old-fashioned way, and it works.

It's Not Just The Information

In previous posts I have said that if more Americans were getting actual news they might change their opinion of President Bush and the far right. Recent polls showing that Americans still believe that Iraq was at least partly behind 9/11 are examples of beliefs based on lack of information or misinformation.

Today I was reading the comments over at tacitus' blog. In particular this post. And in particular there look for comments from "carter." Or, if you can stand it, go read any comments over at Free Republic on any given day. I think the problem is deeper than just information, it goes to the context for understanding the information. For some, simply being told (by the right people, with the right code words) that Bush is "a good Christian" is enough, and after that it simply does not matter what he does or says, they'll support him.

For others, knowing that Bush supports the correct policies of the right is enough, and it simply does not matter what else he does or says - even if he publicly says something completely opposite of what they know his position to be; the lying doesn't matter, doesn't bother them at all. An example of this is in the comments is AmeriCorps where the commenter faults Bush for starving AmeriCorps rather than killing it. So he understands that Bush is starving it - but in public Bush SUPPORTS AmeriCorps! I guess that's OK. That's something I have noticed - the lying is OK as long as you they think Bush is on "their side."

Virtual Journalist

Virtual Journalist


Gary Hart

Gary Hart on patriotism.

Big Mistake

In the Ideologues piece below I linked to the wrong article. What's interesting is that I linked to a Democratic Leadership Council (Lieberman supporters) piece where they call Dean supporters ideologues. I meant to link to a right-wing piece that called Democrats "ideologues," because I have been seeing more and more from the far right types calling people who oppose them "ideologues" which I thought was interesting. Inoculation - accusing someone of being what you are, to divert the public from seeing what you are up to. A favorite Republican tactic.

It's an interesting mistake, though.



Considering that MoveOn.org was started by people fed up with the impeachment drive against President Clinton, I wonder how Rep. Kucinich explains the following?
House Votes on the Impeachment Inquiry

Friday, October 9, 1998

Following are the 31 Democrats who voted with 227 Republicans yesterday to launch an impeachment inquiry of President Clinton:

Boswell (Iowa), Condit (Calif.), Cramer (Ala.), Danner (Mo.), Etheridge (N.C.), Evans (Ill.), Goode (Va.), Hall (Tex.), Hamilton (Ind.), John (La.), Kind (Wis.), Kucinich (Ohio), Lampson (Tex.), Lipinski (Ill.), Maloney (Conn.), McCarthy (N.Y.), McHale (Pa.), McIntyre (N.C.), Minge (Minn.), Moran (Va.), Peterson (Minn.), Pickett (Va.), Roemer (Ind.), Sisisky (Va.), Skelton (Mo.), Spratt (S.C.), Stenholm (Tex.), Tauscher (Calif.), Taylor (Miss.), Turner (Tex.), Weygand (R.I.).
I wonder how many MoveOn primary voters knew this?

Update - "I am happy that I was able to play such a key role in bringing about the formation of this fine organization." Does that work?

Update 2 - Seriously, I agree with almost all of Rep. Kucinich's positions and I respect him and recognize his courage and commitment in running for President. But the investigation and impeachment of President Clinton - and the terrible hounding of so many others who were dragged into that terrible witchhunt - was wrong, and was an entirely partisan act. Rep. Kucinich had no business lending any support to the Republicans on this, and should not have contributed his name to any claim the Republicans might have made of any degree of bipartisan support whatsoever for their attempted overthrow of our last legitimately elected President.

Voting Machines Article

Newsday.com - In Computerizing Voting, Memory Would Help.

I Feel A Draft

I feel a draft coming.

Bring Them On

Bring Them On. (High bandwidth necessary)

Howard Dean Is Not A TV Show

Now that Governor Dean is a front-runner, the press is spinning its conventional wisdom that he is a creation of the Internet. This is more of their just not getting it.

Saying that the Internet is behind Dean's popularity is like saying that Jerry Brown's 1992 grassroots surge was due to his having an 800 number. Dean's popularity comes from a public hungry for a leader who will take on Bush and the right, challenge the lies, and fight for them against the terrible right-wing assault that is going on.

My experience has been that people see Dean's speech to the California Democratic Convention, and they immediately are a Dean supporter. That is not because of the Internet, it is because of the appeal of finally knowing that there is a leader who is on their side. Watch the speech. (Watch it again, it's just great every time.) Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren wrote that "Quite a few of the delegates actually cried as they heard him speak." THAT is why people are supporting Dean - because of what he says and what he stands for.

Gov. Dean's campaign is not the usual Washington-based political phenomenon, which leaves many in the "establishment" bewildered. It is an honest grassroots campaign. His appeal is that he seems to understand what is happening in the country, wants to do something about it, and is not "spinning" what he says in an attempt to appeal to some imagined "voting block." There is no sense of a "wink and a nod" as the candidate says something that everyone is supposed to understand he does not really mean, but is saying it so he can get elected. That's how the "game" is supposed to be "played", but he just isn't going along with that. I had met both Gore and Clinton, as well as been to events, and there was a bit of a sense of understanding that there are some things they were saying because they have to, to get elected. Not that it was a bad thing - more of a feeling of a necessary evil. But I have NO sense of that with Dean, yet I come away with a feeling that he CAN (and will) get elected.

The cynical mainstream media and politicos say that Dean has "veered left" (as if an A rating from the NRA is a mark of a "leftist.") They say he is "positioning" himself to the left for the primaries, and will "move to the right" for the election. They can not comprehend a candidate who is not spinning, not positioning, not "portraying himself as...," and not saying what he needs to say instead of what he thinks. And they cannot seem to cope with a candidate who can't easily be pigeonholed with a label, like "leftist." Dean's supporters understand that it's not about being a "leftist" or a progressive to say you support "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" - it's about caring about your country, and wanting to stand up and challenge the corporate takeover, and the bush intimidation tactics, and the reluctance to exercise oversight responsibilities, and wondering why the leadership has been compromising with Bush on so many important issues!

The establishment also cannot grasp the possibility that Gov. Dean chooses his positions by analyzing the merits of the issues instead of looking at how his answer will make him "appear." So many in the Washington establishment just don't understand this because they are so used to looking for (and using) the gimmick, the "real" agenda, and they can't believe and won't accept that there could be a candidate who isn't doing that. It is outside of their experience. It is not something that is in their worldview.

Why are they so blind to what's really going on? I think because of the nature of their position in the media or the political structure they are in a controlled-perception zone. The right has put a great deal of effort into controlling the information environment of these people, because of their position as opinion leaders and their ability to influence legislation. The right knows how to generate "conventional wisdom" and project it to the right people. I wrote about this in Getting Rolled and I think it is a good read to help understand the Washington environment.
The phony Republican news events, the "independent" media playing along & following their script, the AM radio 24-hour-a-day Republican drumbeat pounding out the lies, the slurry of misleading or blatantly deceitful op-ed pieces filling the editorial pages, the dittohead letters to the editor (or "astroturf" - phony grassroots letters generated by a marketing firm), the pack of columnists writing according to instructions FAXed over from the Heritage Foundation ) [...], pretty soon all the news stories reflect the Republican line and repeat the Republican falsehoods.

It becomes a drumbeat of constant repetition of the same lines over and over and over until they become "conventional wisdom." "Everybody knows that" so-and-so is true so there's no point wasting your energy trying to say it ain't so. Polls then show that the public (deprived of any contrasting information) solidly favors the Republican position. Calls and letters flood in to Congressional offices (from Christian Coalition phone banks). Democrats start to worry about their chances of holding office if they oppose the Republicans on this one vote.
Manipulate their information sources and you control what they perceive.

So many of the Washington establishment gets their information secondhand instead of being out here where the people are, and listening to what people are saying. When you live your life through the filter of the media world you come to accept the premises of that world as the premises of life. This leads to a simplified way of looking at the world, with a need to place everything in a stereotyped category. Experiencing the rest of America through the TV brings acceptance of the premises of TV - everyone is playing a part, everything follows a preset script, everyone fits neatly into casting department view of how people behave.

Well Howard Dean is not a TV show! Get used to it.


Has anyone else noticed that the latest tactic of the far-right is to call Democrats "ideologues?"

Update - I linked to the wrong article! I really did not intend to link to the DLC piece (that calls Dean supporters ideologues.) I was reading a different article! I'll try to find it. Wow.


Jesse Tafero

Support the death penalty? Read The Innocent Are Victims, Too.

Nine Point Seven

From this story, Little relief in unemployment expected soon:
Furthermore, many of the people who do have jobs are working only part-time. According to the Labor Department, if you add all the workers "marginally attached" to the labor force -- out of work and not looking for work -- to all those working part-time and those unemployed and looking for work, the unemployment rate rises to 9.7 percent.

Not included in this group are the untold number of people who have had to take lower-paying jobs because they can't find work in their chosen profession.

'Bring Them On'

President Bush wants Iraqis to continue to attack Americans. 'Bring Them On', says the cowboy.

I wonder if this phrase was tested by focus groups for maximum effect on the voting public?

Commonweal Institute News

Peter Coyote has joined Commonweal Institute's Board of Advisors. There are other items of interest at Commonweal's What's New page.

Check out Commonweal's collection of articles and reports discussing problems with electronic voting machines, and their collection of links to articles, reports and resources for learning about the right-wing movement, its history, how it is funded and how it operates. These are great resources for studying these issues.

Sign up for Comonweal Institute's free newsletter. The latest issue can be read here.


Screwing with Army Times?

Democratic Veteran might have caught the administration screwing with the Army Times for political purposes. An editorial that was critical of the Bush administration has disappeared from the Army Times website.

It's A Lie

When will the press call Bush on this, and call it what it is: a big, fat LIE?

Dana Milbank wrote the story for the Washington Post, and he IS the press, and he IS pointing this out. Good for him!

Thanks to Thinking It Through.

Prospect Gets It

The American Prospect Gets It. This is the first press story about Dean that I have seen that "gets it." Maybe its because the writer did some actual research - reading the comments at Dean's blog.

Bush Snubs Mandela

President Bush becomes the first world leader to visit South Africa and not visit Nelson Mandela.

Coulter's Book

In the Washington Post today Richard Cohen writes about Ann Coulter's book, "Treason", that he is "happy" that the book is so far over the edge:
My glee in reporting that Coulter is daft is predicated on the prediction that her book, like her previous one, will be a bestseller.

It is also good news for liberals. It suggests that the right, at least the hard right, has finally dumbed out. This is the predictable cycle for all movements. They start with a genuine grievance and proceed from there to the totally ridiculous -- or, in some cases, to the downright macabre.
Cohen doesn't get it about the right. He ALMOST gets it in the next paragraph,
In some ways, the nutso American brand of archconservatism mirrors traditional anti-Semitism. Jew-haters proclaim that Jews control the media, international finance and almost everything else of importance -- but, somehow, Jews have accumulated a 2,000-year history of expulsions, pogroms and, finally, the mass murder of the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, I'm listening to Thom Hartmann's radio show, and he DOES get it. He says this book is "dangerous." and I agree completely. He says the book reminds him of "Mein Kampf," and he draws a parallel between how the right talks about "Liberals" and how Germany's right talked about Jews.

The right has destroyed the civility of our society. They have made it OK to be nasty, insulting, mocking and dismissive of more than half of all Americans. And they are proud of it. Now this book takes their anti-civility campaign a lot further. The book accuses everyone left of the Christian Coalition of hating and conspiring to destroy America. The title of the book is "Treason."

And what is the punishment for treason? As I type this, a caller on the Hartmann show asks, "Quite frankly, what are they going to do with all of us treasonous liberals?"

A New Poll

Poll Says Most Believe Saddam-9/11 Link :
Seven in 10 people in a poll say the Bush administration implied that Iraq (news - web sites) and its leader Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States.
And a majority, 52 percent, say they believe the United States has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization.

The number that believes this country has found weapons of mass destruction is 23 percent, down from 34 percent in May, according to a poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Prewar assertions by the Bush administration about al-Qaida's ties to the Iraqi government have not been proven, and weapons of mass destruction have not been found since the invasion of Iraq.
In case I haven't mentioned it, it's obvious that people who get their news from the Internet - namely us - are getting a very different picture of reality. People who get their news from the corporate media - namely most of America - are not getting accurate information. This does not serve democracy.