Daily Archives: February 14, 2004

Bernie Sanders Burns the Corporatocracy

Bernie Sanders has an idea about what American progressives need to say to get the attention of the people who haven’t been paying much attention lately. Listen up.

Corporate America essentially is saying the hell with the American worker, the hell with the United States of America. We will do anything we want in order to make more and more profits.And my friends, it is not only manufacturing jobs that are going abroad. If some of you say, “Well, I went to college, man, I know how to work that computer. I have a good job,” think twice. They’re after your jobs, as well. If there’s a computer or a telephone job, it could be done any place in the world at a fraction of the wages that are paid in America. And that’s where corporate America is moving.

We want the people in China, in India, all over the world, to do well, but we want a globalization that does not lead to a race to the bottom but uplifts all of the people of the world.

Now when we talk about what’s happening in the middle class today, hear this. A hundred years ago, workers all over this country held huge demonstrations, and they had big banners that said, “Give us a forty-hour week. We’re not animals. We’re not beasts of burden. We want to spend time with our families. We want to get more education. We want some vacation time.”

Now how many of you know that today the American worker is working longer hours by far than the people in any other industrialized country? Today, 40 percent of American workers are working fifty hours a week or more. That’s the collapse of the middle class, and we have got to turn that around.

The scandal of our time is that with all the explosion of technology and productivity the average American is not working fewer hours and making more money. We are not down to a thirty-hour week. The middle class is not expanding, and poverty has not been eliminated. On the contrary, it has increased.

Because of the greed of corporate America, real wages in the private sector are 8 percent less than they were thirty years ago. And where has all of that accumulated wealth gone? It has gone to the people on top, who have seen a huge increase in the percentage of wealth and income they receive.

Ain’t it the truth. Go read the rest. It’s inspiring–and he’s right. It’ll work.

I Am a Halo

What Sort of Hat Are You? I am a Halo.I am a Halo.I believe I am perfect. Others may not think so, but those others are wrong. What Sort of Hat Are You?

Nailed it this time.

Saturday Blog-Browsing (Update)

*Phaedrus at No Fear of Freedom links to the Time Magazine story on Junior’s “credibility gap” and pulls out a quote from RNC Chair Ed Gillespie complaining about Democratic campaigning:

“It’s only February and they [Editor’s emphasis] have made clear they intend to run the dirtiest campaign in modern presidential politics.”

That’s right, the Dems are the dirty fighters. I keep forgetting.

BTW, re that cover: “Does Bush Have A Credibility Gap?” is a question, after 3 years of lies, distortions, misdirection and mendacity, that could only be asked seriously by a total moroon or by somebody who’s been trapped underground in a cave since July of 2000. It’s a “Does a bear shit in the woods?”, “Is the Pope Catholic?”, “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?” kind of question, and the fact that it has taken this friggin’ long for a major newsmagazine to notice it says a good deal about the parlous state of our news media.

*Benedict Spinoza of Benedict@Large links to John Dean’s dissection of Bush’s Executive Order creating the new commission that’s supposed to study the role of the intelligence community in the Iraq War, and it’s even worse than we thought. The order specifically forbids the Commission from looking at the stove-piping question by putting the two major potential culprits–Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) and the little internal operation Cheney ran out of the Veep’s office that gave us Ahmad Chalabi and his Fantasy Follies–off-limits. Well, I mean, you didn’t think Junior was serious, did you?

*Frank Mayhar at I Protest has a withering denunciation of Rich Lowry’s NRO column ascribing poverty to, well, I better let Rich tell it. He says it so much better than I could.

Poverty in America is primarily a cultural phenomenon, driven by a shattered work ethic and sexual irresponsibility…..Child poverty would be nearly obliterated if every household had one adult working full time and married parents.

Uh-huh. Here’s Frank on this right-wing claptrap:

So. The reason these families are poor is because the parents don’t want to work. Pretty amazing. I wish that someone had told my parents that, when I was growing up. Oh, wait, my parents did work. Both of them. My father fulltime and my mother varying between part-time and fulltime. And somehow, in spite of them working so much, we were still poor.Rich Lowry is a pig-ignorant moron who not only has obviously not had to do an honest day’s work in his life, but who has no experience whatsoever with poverty in any way, shape or form. It’s blindingly obvious that this idiot doesn’t even know any poor people.

*Jeanne at Body and Soul has a brilliant post in which she pulls nuggets of meaning out of recent articles in which people who knew Bush in the days of his supposed service talk about what they thought of him. Among other overlooked observations, Jeanne notes that Junior was actually ambitious! But wait…isn’t that supposed to be BAD? I mean, the Echo Chamber is attacking Kerry for the exact same thing.

How many times have I heard [Bush] contrasted with Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and now John Kerry, all of whom were supposed to have been planning political careers since childhood? The implication is always that there is something twisted about ambitious young men, and that you can never really trust their good deeds and accomplishments because they only did those things in service to their own raging ambition. Great men — like our fearless leader — have greatness thrust upon them.Well, excuse me, but here we have someone who’s trying to help Bush out telling us that Bush had exactly the same ambition as a young man, that — like Bill Clinton — he was planning this career for a good part of his life. The difference, of course, is that even while he was planning to go into politics, he felt no need to do anything that would make him worthy of leadership.

And still doesn’t.

*At the american street, skippy catches Ann Coulter perpetrating a particularly nasty slander against Viet Nam war vet Max Cleland. This is going too far even for her–she claims Max lost his limbs in an “accident” when he was on his way to ” to drink beer with friends.” In fact, of course, Cleland was alighting from a helicopter on a combat mission to set up a radio relay station. Coulter is completely off the reservation and if the radcons want to salvage any credibility at all, they need to muzzle this hateful pea-brain’s yawp. Soon.

Update, 4/10/07:  They didn’t muzzle her and their credibility is in the toilet.

The War on Kerry, Part 3

Mother Jones just started a blog. It’s called, fittingly enough, The MoJo Blog, and while it’s gotten off to what I would call a slow start, it’s still worth checking for little gems like the “Mass Hysteria” post that outs the new Weekly Standard “Get Kerry” column called–shades of the “X”–The Kerry Files. It specifically promises to provide right-wing radio talk show hosts with “talking points” to use against him in the coming months “as a service to my broadcasting colleagues.”

NATIONAL SECURITY. Voters cannot trust John Kerry’s judgment or his resolve on issues of national security. From his April, 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to his statement on January 29, 2003, in a Democratic candidates’ debate that the war on terror is “primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation,” Kerry has fundamentally misunderstood threats to national security and the best means to defend the United States against them.MULTILATERAL MAN. The “Swiss-educated son of a foreign service officer,” as Time Magazine described Kerry in its February 9 issue, is a fully-formed U.N. man, for whom the opposition of the U.N. to any proposed American initiative would mean at least temporary and perhaps permanent paralysis.

DEFENSE RECORD. As a senator, John Kerry has voted against the full funding of most major weapons systems of the past two decades, including the MX missile, the Patriot inteceptor, and missile defense deployment.

THE L-WORD. According to Kerry-friendly Time Magazine’s profile, there is “plenty to support the notion that Kerry [is] just a classic bleeding heart: his ratings from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action have always hovered in the 90%-to-95% range.”

There’s two pages of this. Nothing John Kerry has done in his entire life is worth the spit you shine your shoes with; he’s been wrong on every single issue every single year. Hewitt won’t even give him any credit for voting for Junior’s radcon-inspired Holy War. This is how the Rove Machine works: they develop these arguments and then pass them around to each other. The only thing that’s new about this is that Hewitt is bragging about it. At the beginning he says:

WITH LESS THAN 38 WEEKS until the November 2nd vote, radio hosts have got to sharpen the message. That’s less than 200 broadcast days, and even with 15 segments per three hour show, that’s only 3,000 opportunities to present a four- to twelve-minute segment that focuses on some aspect of John Kerry’s record.

–and after 2 pages of innuendo and snarky personal attacks (“Kerry’s personal arrogance is legendary, and his nickname–‘Live Shot Kerry’–conveys that his arrogance is without even the mediating aristocratic virtue of reserve.”), he finishes with:

THERE’S A SHOW’S-WORTH OF TALKING POINTS with which to start. Did I mention the photos of Kerry and Jane Fonda? Or that he’s voted against cutting taxes a gazillion times and wants to raise them in 2005? Or his opposition to parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion?Against this hour’s work the Democrats have Ambassador Joe Wilson, their feverish attempt to distort the president’s national guard service, and the possibility that Saddam fooled the world into believing he had WMD.

No wonder liberal talk radio can’t succeed. Those hosts have no ammunition.

My goodness, no. No ammunition at all. Well, maybe the deficit. I hear it’s getting pretty big. Oh, and I guess maybe there was that pre-emptive war Bush started over NOTHING. But that’s pretty much it–except for the BA’s wholesale surrender to corporate interests, their trashing of what was once a healthy economy, their willingness to help those corps move jobs overseas instead of fighting to keep them here to cut the jobless rate which has risen barely a notch since the economy supposedly “recovered.” And oh yeah, their steady embezzlement of SocSec funds, their Scrooge-like treatment of the troops they’re sending to die for Halliburton’s oil fields, their trashing of environmental regs that have made our air and water cleaner in the last 30 years, the hatred of us abroad that they’ve engendered with their arrogance and snobby unilateralism…. Hell, I don’t think I could get more than 4 or 500 pages of stuff like that. And certainly none of it is anything like as evil as Kerry refusing to vote for a missile defense boondoggle system which has been “in development” for 25 years to the tune of $$$Tens of Billions$$$ and still doesn’t work. How dare he? Clearly he hates America.

No, I can see where liberal talk shows won’t have hardly anything worthwhile to chew on, alright. Just that unimportant blowing of a covert op’s cover in order to punish a guy who dared to depart from the Rive script and tell the truth, and that outrageous distortion of the President’s National Guard non-service (hey, he was working on a Republican political campaign, and a guy’s gotta have priorities), oh, and that little boo-boo with WMD? Hell, that was all Saddam’s fault–and the CIA’s–and Tony Blair’s–and Scott Ridder’s–and most of all, Bill Clinton’s! But not Bush’s. No no NOT Bush’s.

They got so little to talk about they might as well shut down, ay?

KerryAttacks II: The Third Front

After establishing the first two beach-heads in their War on Kerry–that the war hero is really an ambitious traitor who hung out with Hanoi Jane and a Taxachusetts elitist liberal who voted against the GOP’s valiant attempts to beef up our nation’s security–Karl Rove’s Echo Chamber has just opened up its Third Front: he’s a tool of the “special interests”.

The Bush campaign sent an e-mail Feb. 12 to six million supporters with a link to an Internet video attacking Kerry for being “unprincipled.” The ad claims Kerry got “more special interest money than any other senator,” which is false.While it is true that Kerry got $640,000 over the past 15 years from individual lobbyists, that’s only one type of special-interest money. And the Bush campaign itself has reported raising $960,000 from individual lobbyists in the past year alone.

The ad says Kerry got “millions from executives at HMO’s, telecoms, drug companies,” which is true — for Kerry’s entire political career. But so far Kerry’s presidential campaign has received a small fraction of what the Bush campaign has received from those particular sources. By any definition, Bush’s “special interest” money greatly exceeds Kerry’s.

But this does not, of course, make Bush “unprincipled.” So it took Kerry 15 years to collect 2/3 of the money Bush collected from lobbyists this year alone, so what? Kerry is “unprincipled”, Bush is not. Why? Read my lips: Kerry, Democrat; Bush, Republican.

Blatant hypocrisy has been a Republican campaign trademark for generations, but rarely has it risen to the Olympian heights to which the radical neocons have brought it. As Krugman (and I) pointed out, the Cult of Personality strategy demands that the leader appear to be pure, above the fray, thinking only of the welfare of his children, honest, forthright, and humble: a Good Man Battling the Forces of Evil. The corollary, therefore, has to be that anyone who opposes his Wise and Just Rule is impure, willing to roll in the mud, so ambitious that he thinks only of himself, dishonest, deceitful, and arrogant: an Evil Man trying to Destroy the Forces of Good.

This bi-polar script doesn’t allow for shades of good or evil because, in America, nuance doesn’t sell. We like our problems simple, uncomplicated, and easy to digest, and our decisions certain and unambiguous: black vs white, heroes vs villains, day vs night, good vs evil. Put it like that and we all know where we stand, and without the nagging discomfort of engaging in any actual thought.

The GOP knows how to package simple-minded campaigns, we don’t.

(Thanx to regular reader–and commenter–eagle2 for the tip)