Talking About Race

Was Dean correct when he said he is the only white politician who talks about race to white audiences? From Dean Faces Uphill Battle in Courting S.C. Blacks:
"Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) fired off a statement on his chats with audiences about marching with Martin Luther King Jr. Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) released a statement about growing up in the segregated South, watching black people get shoved aside for jobs, education and health care.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) appeared to be more upset than the rest. 'We hit the roof when we heard that,' said Jeff Cohen, Kucinich's campaign spokesman. 'I think Dean's deluded. Representative Kucinich brings up racial issues that Dean hasn't even touched. He talks about the racially biased death penalty at campaign stop after campaign stop. He talks about the drug war and the racially unjust 'three strikes you're out' law."
Lieberman only makes Dean's point -- as if talking about having walked with MLK is talking about race. Earlier Edwards said he talks about civil rights, which again makes Dean's point. Edwards words it differently here, and does a much better job -- here he's starting to talk about race, not civil rights -- but because of his earlier response it feels like someone explained it to him. Kucinich gets it, except I've heard Dean talk about these things.


The Economy

Econo-eyes animation.

Who is our economy FOR?

Too Ugly?

I've been fiddling with things, trying to make Seeing the Forest more readable. Have I made it better, or is it too ugly now?

I'll be investigating new templates, and maybe Movable Type instead of Blogger...

Subscribing to Seeing the Forest

You can subscribe to Seeing the Forest, and receive a daily e-mail with links to and summaries of that day's posts, at Bloglet. It is very convenient, and speeds up your day.

To subscribe, scroll down until you see the following on the left. For now you can just use the following.

Enter your email address below to subscribe to Seeing the Forest!

powered by Bloglet

AOL Bribes The Right

Newsday.com: AOL to Buy Post for a Day to Plug New Service
The unusual move also is designed to draw attention to a free concert by the Dave Matthews Band in Central Park to benefit New York City public schools; it is underwritten by AOL.
The right wing New York Post? All it draws attention to for me is that AOL-Time-Warner is giving a huge wad of cash to the right - just as the Congress is considering replealing the FCC's media consolidation decision.

No Smallpox

U.S. weapons hunters find no evidence Iraq had smallpox.

No weapons of mass destruction?

No al-Queda link?

No nuclear bombs?

Then what did Iraq have?

Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

Operation Beat Hasty Retreat

The other day in What They're Going To Do I wrote, "It's starting to look to me like the Bush adminstration is going to simply declare victory in Iraq and go home soon.

Billmon agrees.


Show Up At Democratic Party Meetings

The comments following this post at Brad DeLong's weblog are talking about Eric Alterman's words about Ralph Nader, which I wrote about earlier. Nader had said he wanted to throw the election to Bush to "force" the Democrats to move to the left. I left a comment:

There IS a way to "force" the Democratic party to the left and that is to show up at meetings and vote. That's all there is to it. That's how the Christian Right has taken over the Republican Party, so you can see for yourself how effective it can be.

The Democratic Party is nothing more than who shows up and votes. It is not some "they" who run everything and work with corporations and decide who does what and where. You show up at your county meetings and you VOTE and that's all there is to it.

Imagine if instead of leaving the party, the Greens had done THAT! Where would we be today? Where would the country be today?

And by the way, people reading this, have YOU been to YOUR local Democratic club, or county central committee meetings? Try it. You'll be surprised.

Go here, look for "Get Local" and choose your state.

DNC Weblog

I pointed to the new Democratic National Committee weblog, DNC: Kicking Ass, yesterday. But I wanted to point to it again today. Good work!

I'll Just Steal It

I'm going to just steal something from Altercation, instead of quoting pieces of it. Here it is, just to piss off all my Green friends:

Speaking of people who need their (metaphorical) butts kicked, but good, Ralph Nader whines, “Old-timers years ago would have wondered what the Mayor means by marketing NYC. Cities were viewed more benignly when they were more livable, more employable at good wages, more replete with public institutions like good libraries, good public transit, good schools, good hospitals and clinics and good recreational facilities in the neighborhoods. New York City is crumbling on these measurements.”

Hey Ralph, no one, and I mean no one on the planet, is more responsible for the deterioration in the quality of life of my city than you are, bud. All you had to do was say, “I ran a great race and thanks for your support but this guy Bush is scary. Vote for Al, not me and we’ll we what we can get at the bargaining table….” But no, you wanted to elect Bush. And you did. Congrats."
Update - All I had to do was scroll down and I would have seen that I wasn't stealing the whole thing... So go read the rest.

Clark -- A Comment I Left

I left a comment about Clark's candidacy over at annatopia. Here it is (heavily edited to make me look better.)

I think Clark's a great guy, and if he's giving Dean's speech that's all the better. Clark is for the Washington-type people who think that image and perception are the ONLY thing that matters. And as far as it DOES matter it's great to have a 4-star general out there supporting everything Dean is saying. Because that alone gets rid of the "McGovern" problem. THE non-McGovern says the same things as Dean does.

But in my opinion Clark can't win the nomination. The Washington/Perception/Image people hope that just having a general running will cause everyone to rush away from Dean and over to Clark. I just don't see it happening. Dean is about substance, issues, honesty and respecting the public. And THAT is what is driving Dean. The people behind Clark (not Clark himself) are not about that - they are about presenting an image, and essentially using it to trick the public. It's the very same people who screwed up Gore in 2000 by stopping him from speaking his mind and making him act like a phony. I mean the very same individual people that screwed up the Gore campaign are running the Clark campaign.

I think Dean is inoculating the body politic against that sort of thing now. He is speaking frankly, he is involving the public in his campaign, he is actually speaking about the issues that matter and talking about the reality of what has to be done - previously forbidden in politics - and he is acting like an adult. This is inoculating the public against the phony, poll- and consultant-driven conventional wisdom of campaigning.

And Clark doesn't even HAVE positions on issues - at least that I know about, and I am heavily following these things. I mean he probably does but they are not articulated, or known, or on his web site, etc... and issues will drive this primary. He can't have thought through the issues, or even be aware of all the issues that matter - and if he WAS aware and HAD thought them through he would have been spending a lot more time publicly talking about his ideas. So he doesn't have time or experience to formulate the issues into policies. He doesn't have the background of public office to translate the issues into realistic positions that reflect the needs of the nation.

Clark also doesn't have experience delivering a stump speech six or seven times a day. He doesn't have the background of dealing with crowds, and crowds of reporters, and all the other things that make a campaign. Put simply, he doesn't have ANY experience in politics and that is no place to be coming from and running for President. Especially THIS campaign, with Dean in the race, raising more than any previous Democratic primary candidagte, with his HUGE well-organized base of support. It will show. He can't win the nomination.

But if he does win the nomination and win the Presidency the country will be better off than it is now by far. He is a good man, he is on the right side, he clearly has the right instincts and certainly has a background of leadership.

Those are my thoughts.


From A Soldier

Paths of Glory Lead to a Soldier's Doubt - a moving testimony from one soldier in Iraq.

From The DNC

The GOP Record of Negative Attacks


Lean Left found it.

THE Follow-Up Question

Today Bush admitted "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."

Combine that with the fact that it looks like there have not been any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq for 12 years, and one of these days maybe some reporter will ask Bush the obvious follow-up question:

Then why, Mr. President, DID we go to war with Iraq?


Someone wrote me a message about this commentary talking about the "social contract." I replied:

Something that the public doesn't understand yet - the huge deficits that the government is running now means that we likely will not be able to get Social Security and Medicare when we retire. That money is going out now, mostly as tax cuts, military spending increases, and to the war in Iraq.

And there's another factor at work. Companies used to provide pensions - the company sets aside money for the employee's retirement. It's called a "defined benefit" system. But in the early 80's the government passed the 401K idea. That means that the employee is supposed to set aside the money, not the company. It's called a "defined contribution" system. Some companies also put some money in as "matching contributions," where they match some percentage of the money an employee puts in, but that is happening less and less often.

So where did that money go that used to be set aside for employee pensions? The great stock run-up started at the same time. (Because money that used to go to pensions was now reported as profits.) So in essence what happened was that all the pensions of people from then on instead went to the owners of stocks. (Almost all stock is owned by the top few percent of wealthy people.) One of the great Reagan tricks from the 80's that people still haven't figured out - employee pensions were instead handed off to the really, really rich.

And, of course, many employees are not setting aside enough money in these plans - 401K plans are usually only in larger companies and IRAs don't let you put very much away - for their own retirement. Not to mention the amount of money in 401K plans and IRAs that went away in the crash. So along with the problem of the deficits risking wiping out the government's ability to pay our Social Security and Medicare, few people are saving enough to provide for their retirement.

BUT WAIT -- there's more. Those companies that DO still have pension plans are in trouble. During the stock boom the value of their pension funds was going up, so they stopped putting money into the pension plans. And then the market dropped, and the companies found themselves way short of what is supposed to be in the pensions plans and do not have money to put into the plans to make up the difference. This is called "underfunded" pension plans. If you go to Google and search for that, you'll see what's going on. (Really, look at a few pages of the Google listings.)

This problem is so bad that several large companies are technically nearly insolvent, if they had to report this shortfall. But the government is doing a few things to keep this under wraps because of the damage this could do to the economy. Currently the government is allowing these companies to pretend they are getting 5%, 6%, even 10% return on their pension holdings, as a way of letting them off the hook until things get better. But, of course, they are not getting that kind of a return right now. AND when they have to put money into the plans, this money comes out of profits, so these companies will see their stock values drop, and this will bring the market down more, which means they are even MORE underfunded in the pension plans...

Several state pension plans are also in trouble.
"As of last year, 79 percent of state pension plans were underfunded, up from 51 percent in 2001 and 31 percent in 2000, according to a survey of 123 state plans by Wilshire Associates of Santa Monica, Calif."
It really, really does matter who you elect.


Yahoo! News - Congress Watchdog Warns on Budget Deficit:
"Earlier on Wednesday, the Treasury said in its August budget statement that the year-to-date deficit was a record $400.46 billion dollars. With less than a month left in the fiscal year, the fiscal 2003 deficit will likely handily outstrip the previous record of $290 billion seen in 1992."
"Likely." The deficit is ALREADY over $400 billion. Yes, it is likely that the deficit will break the previous record of $290 billion.

Do we have the reporters we deserve?

Good For Them!

Labor activists picket outsourcing event.

People in unions are paid more. They have better benefits. They have greater job security. Have YOU thought about joining a union?

White House denies tying Iraq to September 11 attacks

White House denies tying Iraq to September 11 attacks.
His comments came a week after a public opinion poll found that nearly 70 percent of Americans believe that Saddam's regime, which US-led forces toppled in April, was linked to the attacks that prompted the global war on terrorism.

Asked how that could be, McClellan dismissively replied that he was not a pollster and could not explain those findings, but said Saddam had a "long history" of ties to terrorism.

"We learn more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the (19)90s," he said in the interview.
Oh, please! GIVE. ME. A. BREAK. Not a pollster. JUST LAST SUNDAY Cheney said Iraq was tied to 9/11.
On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney told NBC television "it's not surprising that people make that connection" and hinted at a growing body of evidence tying Saddam's regime to Osama bin Laden's network.
My friend Ron says, "The most troubling quotes I read came from soldiers in Iraq ready to kill any Iraqi they saw to avenge 9/11. I dont care if he lied to me but to lie to the soldiers to ge them to fight thats beyond the pale." I replied, "Show that White House quote to soldiers with friends who died." Ron replied, "Imagine the rage a brave soldier will feel when he realizes how many fellow soldiers died or were seriously wounded because of this lie."

Democrats Weenie Out Again

Dems Scrap Plans To Look Into Claims White House Manipulated Intel On Iraqi Threat:
David Helfert, a spokesman for Congressman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, who criticized the White House for relying too heavily on murky intelligence to get support for the war, said Friday that Congressional Democrats would no longer pursue hearings on the intelligence matter.

"WeÂ’re past that," Helfert said, referring to the intelligence issue. "Those questions were eclipsed by the supplemental request by President Bush for $87 billion" to fund the Iraq war. "Congress is focusing on asking questions about the $87 billion, what it will be used for and whether itÂ’s worth it. It would be a good characterization to say that the intelligence questions on Iraq and how the President came to believe that it had weapons of mass destruction are no longer an issue."


Don't they get ANYTHING? Don't they take their jobs even a LITTLE bit seriously?

Both historically and politically this is THE most important question I can imagine. Historically, lying to the country in order to get us into a war -- what could be more serious? This MUST be investigated!

Politically, 70% of the public believes that Iraq was behind 9/11. Imagine what would happen to the Republican Party if the public came to understand that this is a lie, that they were tricked, that the Republicans USED the 9/11 tragedy for their own gain, that they DROPPED the war on terrorism to invade Iraq (and dropped doing what's needed to protect the public), that Iraq was NOT about terrorism, was NOT about weapons of mass destruction and was NOT about an imminent threat to the public? !!

Update - I left a nasty comment over at the DNC'S EXCELLENT NEW WEBLOG.

What You'll Lose

I'm a little behind on this, but Nathan Newman has a weblog entry pointing out what we lose if California recalls the governor.

SBC DSL And Really, Really, Really, Really Bad Service

At home I have a cable modem, and I love it. It's fast and never has problems.

But at work we have DSL from SBC. It used to work OK, but in the last few months we have had intermittent service problems. All day long the connection is off and on. It will go off for a few seconds, then come back for a while. Sometimes it goes off for 10 second three times a minute. Sometimes it goes off for a minute, comes on for ten seconds, then goes out again. Like I said, this has been going on for months.

I call SBC tech support, and they "ping" the modem and tell me everything is working OK. We must have a virus. I e-mail tech support and get back a form letter telling us we must have a virus. They have a tech support chat room, but it never connects. For a while they took tech support off of their phone system, instead providing a message telling everyone they have a virus.

Yesterday I finally got through to a tech support person who cared, and spent quite a bit of time with her, working on this. It turns out we have a line problem. (Duh!) But after quite some time, she informed me that the "Line Department" refuses to "open a ticket" to fix intermittent line problems. New policy - they just don't fix intermittent line problems. Period. She said she went past procedure to talk to the line department at all and couldn't take this any further without risking her job.

Anyone reading this, don't get DSL. Try not to do business with SBC (except that they are the phone company here.) Get a cable modem - DSL sucks, and is much slower than cable. Pass this on.

Why Did J. Lo and Ben Split?

Go add your reason to Max's "TOP TEN REASONS FOR J. LO/BEN SPLIT"



This one's fun. This SPAM came in just now. I received another the other day, too...
Dear eBay User,

During our regular udpate and verification of the accounts, we couldn't verify your current information. Either your information has changed or it is incomplete.

As a result, your access to bid or buy on Ebay has been restricted. To start using your eBay account fully, please update and verify your information by clicking below :




**Please Do Not Reply To This E-Mail As You Will Not Receive A Responce**
DON'T ACTUALLY DO IT! It's a scam. I'm just posting it for your viewing pleasure. Note that the address you are taken to is NOT the address you see. They actually ask for your credit card number, Social Security number, birthday, password and PIN number!

Where's Bush?

Play this funny game.

Voting Machines

Here is where you can find the transcript, audio and video of yesterday's Lehrer Newshour segment on voting machines. I mentioned this yesterday.


The Federal Reserve decided today that the economy is in so much trouble that they had better keep interest rates at the lowest rates since 1958. In response the stock market posted its biggest gains in more than a month. n (Or maybe they see this as the Fed trying to pump up the economy at any cost before the next election.)


What They're Going To Do

It's starting to look to me like the Bush adminstration is going to simply declare victory in Iraq and go home soon. The problems are growing, and the Bush people are not the type to stick with anything if it gets tough.

They will blame the resulting chaos and huge national security threat on Democrats "for insisting on bringing the troops home," which is, of course, a lie.

Excellent Voting Machines Story Coverage On The Jim Lehrer NewsHour

The Jim Lehrer NewsHour just finished an excellent story on the problems with electronic voting machines. It is likely to be repeated at different times on different stations, so look for it tonite! I believe that transcripts of the NewsHour will be available here soon as well.

More On Where Your Job Is Going

Zeitgeist: Backlash? You bet.
What exactly will it be that America does when the IT industry is destroyed?
  • Almost all of our light manufacturing fled this country in the 70s and 80s.
  • The US is clearly not a dominant manufacturer of automobiles anywhere except in America (and that's slipping fast).
  • We don't have a viable steel or metals Industry any more.
  • The vast majority of electronics in the world is built (and designed!) overseas
    And now, with the implosion of the IT market thanks to a bunch of very clever, self-serving, short-sighted and fatally unpatriotic so-called "American" companies, the last of what could be described as America's home-grown talents is going away.
  • He has a great quote from Neal Stephenson's great book, Snow Crash.

    And you know what I always ask: "Who is our economy FOR?" It's a good question to repeat to others.

    More Blatant Corruption

    Through Atrios, we find this at Orcinus. The woman who started the Whitewater investigation as a partisan Republican operation to smear the 1992 Democratic Presidential candidate -- and was caught violating agency polices and perjuring herself -- is now appointed to a job as chief of staff in the traditionally nonpartisan Defense Department's inspector general office. Yes, she is now in charge of watching out for corruption in Defense Dept. contracts -- like the no-bid contracts being given to companies with ties to The Party and to cronies of the President and Vice President. (Not to mention $50 million bridge contracts awarded in spite of $300,000 bids from other companies.)
    "The really germane question is this: How exactly did L. Jean Lewis rise suddenly from the ranks of minor RTC investigator to the overseer of a massive Defense Department bureau? What exactly were her qualifications? The ones she put on display for the RTC: Namely, ginning up scandals against Democrats, and covering up scandals against Republicans.

    Where there is smoke, there is fire. If I were a Beltway reporter, I know I would be immediately sniffing around Lewis' department to figure just what kind of fraud vis a vis corporate dealings in Iraq she may now be in charge of covering up. Are there any real journalists left there?"
    Appointing an operative like this to the job of investigating corruption in the awarding of Defense contracts can ONLY mean one thing: THEY ARE STEALING MONEY. The Party knows it is operating with impunity now, and is becoming more overt and blatant with its corrupt practices. Just two more examples: The Party appoints CONVICTED FELONS John Poindexter and Elliott Abrams to key positions.

    How much of the Defense budget is being funneled straight into the pockets of the Bush Crime Family? (Haliburton, Carlyle Group, etc.) How much is being funneled into The Party. (Remember, Bush is raising $170 million to campaign during the PRIMARIES - even though he has NO OPPOSITION.)

    Here is the action question -- What are you doing about this? Are you telling people? Are you writing to people and letting them know they can get news at websites like BuzzFlash and Seeing the Forest? Are you registering people to vote? Have you committed to bring at least one new voter to the polls?