Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Mark Twain said, "A lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is getting its shoes on." A big public lie is especially fleet of foot when the media do not challenge it. Paul Krugman's Tuesday column in the New York Times reminds us that in the first Gore/Bush debate, Bush told a series of whoppers, but the media barely noticed:
[A]s Adam Clymer pointed out yesterday on the Op-Ed page of The Times, front-page coverage of the 2000 debates emphasized not what the candidates said but their "body language." After the debate, the lead stories said a lot about Mr. Gore's sighs, but nothing about Mr. Bush's lies. And even the fact-checking pieces "buried inside the newspaper" were, as Mr. Clymer delicately puts it, "constrained by an effort to balance one candidate's big mistakes" - that is, Mr. Bush's lies - "against the other's minor errors."
The result of this emphasis on the candidates' acting skills rather than their substance was that after a few days, Mr. Bush's defeat in the debate had been spun into a victory.
During the [Thursday] debate, Mr. Bush will try to cover for [his] dismal [foreign policy] record with swagger, and with attacks on his opponent. Will the press play Karl Rove's game by, as Mr. Clymer puts it, confusing political coverage with drama criticism, or will it do its job and check the candidates' facts?

Under the heading "More Lies Countenanced" is the latest Gallup poll, which reports a 55 to 42 percent Bush lead. Baloney. Of course Bush will lead if 44 percent of the interviewees are Republicans as opposed to 33 percent Democrats. But the newspapers quoting this poll don't point out the inherent lie--a deliberate one, no doubt, since the Gallup CEO is a GOP contributor.
Liberal Bias in the Media my sweet patootie!
Furthermore, the truth has trouble lacing its shoes when the only Town Forum debate has effectively gotten its laces tied in knots. To begin with, the participants in the forum will be picked by the Gallup organization. Questions will be picked in advance. Anyone who deviates from the written question will have his microphone cut off. Unlike past forums, this one will not allow follow up questions. Alan Schroeder, in an op-ed piece in the Monday Post-Dispatch, said:
Debates are not--and are not supposed to be--partisan rallies. They are the one element of the campaign that belongs to the people, not to the candidates or the media. Presidential debates serve as a kind of national job interview, with citizens screening the applicants and deciding whom to hire. Imagine a job-seeker who will agree to an interview only if he determines the ground rules and picks the interviewers. No employer in America would hire him.
Sometimes fighting Republican propaganda is akin to those dreams where you're being chased and your feet won't move. If we could just get our laces tied and doubleknotted, we could leave those liars in the dust.

Yesterday's blog reassured us that the Gallup poll's 55-42 percent Bush lead was baloney. Today's news is better--not just that the race is a tie, but that Kerry might have a stealth lead. I've been wondering, with all these groups like America Coming Together and ProVote registering millions of people, why no one had written about the effect of newly registered Democrats on the election. The New York Times has finally done so, and the news will lift your spirits. It's long, but even if you don't read it all, you can read enough to make you ball up a fist, punch the air, and yell "YE-E-S-S". Click here to lower your blood pressure and smooth out some of the worry lines.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I wish I could have found a link to the editorial cartoon in this Sunday's Post-Dispatch. If you've got a copy, take a look at the way George Bush is pictured. Despite my revulsion of Jr., I have to admit a couple of items in his favor: for his age, he's a good looking man, and he's perfected a down-home, sincere persona. The way he's pictured in that cartoon bears no resemblance to the man. I can only assume that the artist wants to portray the soul of our rat bastard in chief because the president looks like nothing so much as a huge eared rat. Is it productive to be so far off the literal mark, to make Bush that ugly?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I attended the candidates' forum in Clayton this morning. Afterwards, as I walked to my car, I heard a woman behind me say to her companion, "Catharine was superb. She makes me so proud to be a Republican. Every time she opens her mouth, she makes me proud." Not my take on it, exactly, but I could understand her approval. Both Carnahan and Hanaway are excellent speakers: cogent, concise and articulate. By the way, Carnahan is well ahead in the polls right now. I think Hanaway is finding herself battling the same name recognition that Jeff Smith was up against with Russ Carnahan. But I don't mean to denigrate Robin. She acquitted herself well this morning, and she did make me proud to be a Democrat.
I confess that one reason I attended was that I wanted to see how hardhearted Hanaway comports herself in public. I've gotten the impression, these last couple of years, that she would strike me as someone who could have been a guard at a women's prison in her last life, a kindred soul with General Janis Karpinski. Hanaway was too savvy, though, to reveal more than hints of her fang and claw side. She talked the talk of the bipartisan guardian of fair voting in our state.
Each candidate laid out her ideas for handling the various duties of the Secretary of State, but the questions usually focused on fair voting. When they were asked their opinions of early voting, Carnahan registered a resounding YES for no fault absentee balloting (which is already legal in 32 states). She pointed out that if her opponent were in favor of it, the Republican legislature could surely have enacted it. Hanaway thought early voting would be okay . . .someday--after she's ferreted out all the cheats who try to vote twice. She returned to that theme several times. Did she wink when she promised to make sure ALL the polls open and close at the same time? Whether the wink was literal or not hardly mattered because the predominantly Republican (Clayton!) crowd loved it. They understand code words implying that underhanded Democrats cannot be trusted at the polls.
Most of the debate was civil. Carnahan stressed her experience as a small businesswoman who understands the frustration of dealing with red tape at the Secretary of State's office, and she would simplify that process in a number of ways, especially by making all the filings available online. Hanaway concurred about the necessity of cutting red tape and implementing computerizing filings. She mentioned twice the importance of investor education as a means of preventing securities fraud. Another of Carnahan's qualifications is that she helped set up democratic elections in several Eastern European nations. Carnahan probably set off her rival by observing that she (Carnahan) was "guilty" of not being in the legislature during its recent gridlock. Hanaway shot back that standing up for what's right is leadership, not partisanship. Furthermore, she said, "I own a small business. I don't talk about it every time I step to the podium. I have legislative as well as business and legal experience." She accused Carnahan of being completely partisan because Robin's only political experience has been working in Democratic campaigns and being sent to Europe by Democrats to help set up elections there. Robin responded, smiling, by describing how gratifying it was to see a country have its first election.
The only other overt hint of Hanaway's nasty nature occurred after Carnahan spoke fondly of having been raised in Missouri. Hanaway's response intrigued me. "As many of you know, I wasn't raised here. I came here for a job," she said, with a Cheneyesque sneer. I'm not sure why that statement rated a sneer, but it was entertaining to watch her flex her claws. Carnahan's disposition is sunny in comparison.
In a way, I wish I could have attended the forum knowing nothing about the two women. Now I'll never know if I would have picked up readily on Hanaway's veiled prison guard mentality.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Do Yard Signs Really Help?
> I have an observation and a question. There have been
> occassional postings in which someone mentioned seeing
> a bumper sticker or yard sign which made them feel
> anger and frustration. How does that manifest itself?
> It makes us want to go to the polls and vote for our
> candidate. The more bush signs I see in Webster
> Groves, and there are loads of them, the more I feel
> that we are in trouble and every vote on our side
> counts. Putting aside for a moment the deepseated
> desire for a bumber mounted flamethrower, it
> galvanizes my feelings, and makes me want to find
> three more students who are not yet registered to vote
> so I can sign them up. If I were to see a whole mess
> of Kerry signs in the neighborhood I might get
> complacent, and think we're doing pretty well.
> The bushistas are at least as serious about the little
> idiot as we are about the guy from Massachusetts. Make
> no mistake about that. So if I were to post a Kerry
> sign on my highly visible lawn (as opposed to in my
> window where it now lives), would I be helping us or
> hurting us? The forces of evil, upon seeing more Kerry
> signs, would become more galvanized, attempt to do
> more organizing, rather than becoming complacent by
> seeing more signs for the shrub than for Kerry. Would
> I in fact be hurting our cause by flying my colors? I
> still have a "If you don't vote people like Bush and
> Cheney get selected" bumper sticker on my white Toyota
> (right next to the one that says, "I Do Understand,
> That's Why I Drive A Toyota" - wave next time you pass
> me), but I am reluctant to turn my yard into a sign
> farm because I may just be galvanizing the opposition.
> Personally I don't believe for a second that
> fence-sitters are swayed by lawn signs.
> Opinions?
Gary Gottlieb

Monday, September 20, 2004

I'll write later this week about planting the seeds of liberal talk radio in St. Louis. For now, let me point you to some encouraging election news. And don't we need that? Despite my less than fervid approval of John Kerry, I do, do, do want him elected. But the sheer numbskulledness of many American voters--as evidenced in recent polls--dismays me. The most seasoned Democrats in the country, though--members of the House--are less worried than I am. And I'm such a neophyte at politics that it's easy to take me on an emotional roller coaster ride. Perhaps folks who've been through the mill before are steadier. Click here to take a look at their thinking.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Advertising money has no conscience. Neither does KMOX, which depends on its advertising to survive. Knowing those facts, some of us have been trying to cajole and threaten KMOX into at least providing a liberal balance to Rush's voice: "We'd listen to your station again if you also had a liberal voice." "We'll boycott your advertisers if you insist on carrying only Rush." Carrot and stick--and completely wasted effort on our part. Worse yet, any concerted effort at a boycott would play right into Rush's hands.
I'm NOT saying we should cede the airwaves to Limbaugh. God No! I'm just saying we can be smarter about it. My friend, Jackie Mims, has a masters in communications and marketing. She tells me that KMOX has to survive on a slim margin of profit, so forget persuading them to give up a money maker like Rush. A recent campaign of complaint letters to KMOX netted us this response:
Thanks for your note. We are often criticized for being to liberal or too conservative. We don't feel there is a need to make a programming change to provide balance. KMOX employs hosts that provide diverse opinions on a wide variety of topics. At this time, we have no plans to add Al Franken to the lineup.
Steve Moore
Program Director, KMOX

Mr. Moore didn't come right and say "Go jump in a lake," but . . . .
Now consider that there are worse consequences than his apathetic reaction. Jackie tells me that Rush just lo-o-o-ves it when groups organize boycotts because it gives him an excuse to rile up the dittoheads. He sells it as an infringment on the right to free speech. In righteous indignation, his fans buy ALL the sponsors' products. Sponsors eat this up, and when they're happy, so is KMOX. Meanwhile, our boycott is worthless because this advertising is sold a year in advance. We're boycotting someone who couldn't get out of his contract even if he wanted to--which he doesn't.
It used to be that this lopsided KMOX situation could have been challenged in court under the Fairness Doctrine, a law which mandated a balance in the political stances of particular stations. But that doctrine was gutted under Reagan.
Which leaves us . . . where? First of all, obviously, we scrap the boycott notion. The remaining alternative is to find ways to get liberal talk shows on the radio waves. I'll write about that next time.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Earlier this week, Bill Maher was saying on "Larry King Live" that he's almost tempted to wish Bush would be reelected just so, for the first time in his life, he'd be forced to clean up his own mess--Iraq. Even if we get Kerry into office, that quagmire will be there, and Kerry won't take us out of it. The deaths and the expense will drag on for years, damaging not only the country, but the Democratic Party in the process. It will become Kerry's mess, the Democratic Party's mess. The Dems will likely be divided between those who urge withdrawal and those who think we should stay. Such turmoil won't lend itself to us building a strong progressive vision. And it's not like Kerry's a Dean, Kucinich, or Nader. He'll pretty much do business as usual--or what passed as usual before Bush came along.
So, if it weren't for the Supreme Court issue and the way Bush puts foxes in charge of every regulatory henhouse, I'd be very tempted to let Dubya find his own way to let go of this particular tiger's tail. Other than Bush's fiscal rape of the country, what would we have to worry about? Hmmm? Besides four more years of Ashcroft and a ruinous energy policy, what's the problem? Who knows, maybe four more years of this crap would backfire on them--or not.
We'd better get Kerry elected.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Our own Baghdad Bob, aka Donald Rumsfeld, has been waxing optimistic about Iraq. You know how focused the Republicans are at being on message, and Rumsfeld was. He's upbeat about the 160,000 Iraqi security forces. And he's still Rummy, speaking as always in rhetorical questions: "Is it going to take more than that? Yes." And like the rest of the Bushies--who feel free to lambaste Kerry as a flip-flopper--he flip-flopped, confident that most of the American public don't know enough to notice it.
Remember how Bush wanted to take revenge in Fallujah for the death and mutilation of private security guards? He wanted "heads to roll". Then, once forces were engaged in battle, remember how he ordered a pullout? Even the general in charge was irate at the vacillation. So was Ike Skelton, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. He wrote Rumsfeld a blistering letter. Today's Post-Dispatch article says:
Rumsfeld said he had not seen the letter, but said Skelton is "exactly right, and the military there will not allow the sanctuaries."
"You cannot have [Fallujah and Ramadi] in the hands of people who are determined to overthrow the Iraqi government."

Tough talk. The Bushies excel at tough talk. What they don't excel at is wisdom or honesty--nor at steadfastness, either.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

A conscience is such a handicap. Look what Katharine Harris accomplished in Florida in 2000--sans scruples. This campaign season, Democrats have to expend a lot of energy just trying to parry Repug dirty tricks, and the G.O.P. is worried enough to invent a variety of them. First, of course, they started with the tried and true: a huge Florida list of registered voters about to be purged from the rolls as supposed felons--mainly black (i.e. Democratic) voters, what else? Republicans refused to divulge who was on the list until the Dems took them to court. As I said, their sleazy tactics waste our energy. Oh, and don't forget how they sent police officers to question and intimidate elderly black voters in Florida--voters who remember with fear the days before the Civil Rights Movement.
Apparently, the Republicans are concerned about Democratic registration drives--as well they should be. A Houston Democrat who is a deputized voter registrar is suddenly being denied voter registration forms. When he pressed the head supervisor at the courthouse for reasons, she offered to let him speak to a police officer (there's the intimidation factor again). A more organized attempt to stop voter registration occurred this week at the University of Arizona. A campus voter registration drive was interrupted when a van from the local Fox affiliate pulled up, cameras rolling, and said it was a felony to register out-of-state students. As the workers pointed out, that's not true; the law says that, to register, voters have to have lived in Arizona 29 days. That evening the Fox station repeated the felony nonsense in an attempt to frighten student voters. And the Arizona Secretary of State won't back up the student registrars.
During the South Dakota primary, Native American voters were sent to the wrong polling places, and given misleading information about the ID they need to vote.
Naturally, blacks are being disproportionately targeted since they vote Democratic so consistently. Bob Herbert's New York Times column today opens this way:
More than 80 percent of the population of Detroit is black. This is very well understood by John Pappageorge, who is white and a Republican state legislator in Michigan. "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote," said Mr. Pappageorge, "we're going to have a tough time in this election."
Herbert offers a hotline number--1-866-OUR-VOTE. He explains that "That's a hot line set up by the Election Protection Coalition, a group that was formed to identify and stamp out attempts to disenfranchise voters, especially in predominantly black and Latino precincts around the country."
Click here if you want to see the article.
We can do more than gasp in disbelief. If you would like to work monitoring a polling site on November 2, you can volunteer--with a friend, if you want to--at Election Protection Volunteer. I'm going to volunteer in St. Louis. Anybody want to join me?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

For someone who can barely balance the checkbook, I'm surprised to find myself fascinated these last three years with Paul Krugman's analysis of Bush administration budget scams. Here's a nifty little trick:
The administration claims to have a plan to cut the deficit in half over the next five years. But even Bruce Bartlett, a longtime tax-cut advocate, points out that "projections showing deficits falling assume that Bush's tax cuts expire on schedule." But Mr. Bush wants those tax cuts made permanent. That is, the administration has a "plan" to reduce the deficit that depends on Congress's not passing its own legislation.
Nor is that the only con game Krugman describes. The Bushies are so unbelievably slimey. Click here to read it all.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Paul Krugman has a credible theory about how Bush could possibly be ahead in the polls given his dismal economic record, not to mention Iraq, which is "a slow-motion disaster brought on by wishful thinking, cronyism and epic incompetence."
So how does Bush do it? Krugman summarizes "War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning" by Chris Hedges.
War, Mr. Hedges says, plays to some fundamental urges. "Lurking beneath the surface of every society, including ours," he says, "is the passionate yearning for a nationalist cause that exalts us, the kind that war alone is able to deliver." When war psychology takes hold, the public believes, temporarily, in a "mythic reality" in which our nation is purely good, our enemies are purely evil, and anyone who isn't our ally is our enemy.
This state of mind works greatly to the benefit of those in power.

Krugman believes that "To win, the Kerry campaign has to . . . ." You'll have to click here to read the rest of that sentence and the rest of the column.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The most thorough summary of the proof that Bush didn't show up for his National Guard duty in Alabama is in Nicholas Kristoff's New York Times column today. The chutzpah of pretending Kerry lied when in fact Bush DID lie gets my dander up. So I gave MoveOn some money to air an ad exposing Bush's dereliction and lies.
Here's what I'd suggest you do:
Read Kristoff's column by clicking here.
Then give MoveOn a little bit of cash by clicking here.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Check out this Michael Moore message; its sarcastic wit is worthy of Johnathan Swift, and make sure you read his two suggested ads at the end. Though they may sound farcical, they actually demonstrate the strategy of many anti-Kerry ads and speeches. The sad thing is, people fall for this crap -- the same people who think chain letters have magic power, the same people who think that Bill Gates will give you $245 for every one of his e-mails you forward, and the same people who think you can beat the house at the casino if you wear your lucky shirt.
Is it any wonder the Republicans try to disguise Bush's failures as RESULTS and trot out comic-book heroes like Arnold at their convention? And court the black vote with Don King? Don King? As my friend,Bill, said, "Are they going for the 10-year-old vote?" No, just the10-year-old mind.
I deserve a better president. You deserve a better president. America deserves a better president. The world deserves a better president. The only people who don't deserve a better president are the people who vote for Bush. Each and every one of them should be forced to have George Bush be their financial planner. He's done soooooo well forecasting what will happen in Iraq and with America's economy, he should be able to do wonnnnnderful things with their portfolios.
Hey, come to think of it, there's an idea for an ad.

Would you hire this man to be your financial planner? He turned record surpluses into record deficits. He gave Halliburton a bid-free blank check with no oversight, and your children will pay for the billions in waste and over charges. He "misunderestimated" economic performance by billions and job growth by millions. Every business he controlled failed. Would you hire this man to be your financial planner? Well, wake up and smell the red ink, he already is. Terminate George Bush's involvement in your economic future. Vote for a man who can balance a checkbook, run a country, finish a war and eat a pretzel -- all at the same time. John Kerry will be a better president, and America deserves a better president.
Please feel free to copy, paste and pass along.
Michael Ankelman
Now, from Michael Moore:
It Takes Real Courage to Desert Your Post and Then Attack a Wounded Vet
August 26, 2004
Dear Mr. Bush,
I know you and I have had our differences in the past, and I realize I am the one who started this whole mess about "who did whatduring Vietnam when I brought up that "deserter" nonsense back in January. But I have to hand it to you on what you have uncovered about John Kerry and his record in Vietnam. Kerry has tried to pass himself off as a war hero, but thanks to you and your friends, we now know the truth.
First of all, thank you for pointing out to all of us that Mr. Kerry was never struck by a BULLET. It was only SHRAPNEL that entered his body! I did not know that! Hell, what's the big deal about a bunch of large, sharp, metal shards ripping open your flesh? That happens to all of us! In my opinion, if you want a purple heart, you'd better be hit by a bullet -- with your name on it!
Secondly, thank you for sending Bob Dole out there and letting us know that Mr. Kerry, though wounded three times, actually "never spilled blood." When you are in the debates with Kerry, turn to him and say,"Dammit, Mr. Kerry, next time you want a purple heart, you better spill some American red blood! And I don't mean a few specks like those on O.J.'s socks-- we want to see a good pint or two of blood for each medal. In fact, I would have preferred that you had bled profusely, a big geyser of blood spewing out of your neck or something!" Then throw this one at him: "Senator Kerry, over 58,000 brave Americans gave their lives in Vietnam -- but YOU didn't. You only got WOUNDED! What do you have to say for yourself???" Lay that one on him and he won't know what to do.
And thanks, also, Mr. Bush, for exposing the fact that Mr. Kerry might have actually WOUNDED HIMSELF in order to get those shiny medals. Of course he did! How could the Viet Cong have hit him -- he was on a SWIFT boat! He was going too fast to be hit by enemy fire. He tried to blow himself up three different times just so he could go home and run for president someday. It's all so easy to see, now, what he was up to.
What would we do without you, Mr. Bush? Criticize you as we might, when it comes to pointing out other men's military records, there is no one who can touch your prowess. In 2000, you let out the rumor that your opponent John McCain might be "nuts" from the 5 years he spent in a POW camp. Then, in the 2002 elections, your team compared triple-amputee Sen. Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden, and that cost him the election. And now you are having the same impact on war hero John Kerry. Since you (oops, I mean "The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth!") started running those ads, Kerry's poll numbers have dropped (with veterans, he has lost 18 points in the last few weeks). Some people have said "Who are you, Mr. Bush, to attack these brave men considering you yourself have never seen combat -- in fact, you actively sought to avoid it." What your critics fail to understand is that even though your dad got you into a unit that would never be sent to Vietnam -- and even though you didn't show up for Guard duty for at least a year -- at least you were still IN FAVOR of the Vietnam War! Cowards like Clinton felt it was more important to be consistent (he opposed the war, thus he refused to go) than to be patriotic and two-faced. The reason that I think you know so much about other men's war wounds is because, during your time in the Texas Air National Guard, you suffered so many of them yourself. Consider the paper cut you received on September 22, 1972, while stationed in Alabama, working on a Senate campaign for your dad's friend (when you were supposed to be on the Guard base). A campaign brochure appeared from nowhere, ambushing your right index finger, and blood trickled out onto your brand new argyle sweater. Then there was the incident with the Crazy Glue when your fraternity brothers visited you one weekend at the base and glued your lips together while you were "passed out." Though initially considered "friendly fire," it was later ruled that you suffered severe post traumatic stress disorder from the assault and required certain medicinal attention -- which, it seems, was provided by those same fraternity brethren. But nothing matched your heroism when, on July 2,1969, you sustained a massive head injury when enemy combatants from another Guard unit dropped a keg of Coors on your head during a reconnaissance mission at a nearby all-girls college. Fortunately, the cool, smooth fluids that poured out of the keg were exactly what was needed to revive you.
That you never got a purple heart for any of these incidents is a shame. I can fully appreciate your anger at Senator Kerry for the three he received. I mean, Kerry was a man of privilege, he could have gotten out just like you. Instead, he thinks he's going to gain points with the American people bragging about how he was getting shot at every day in the Mekong Delta. Ha! Is that the best he can do? Hell, I hear gunfire every night outside my apartment window! If he thinks he is going to impress anyone with the fact that he volunteered to go when he could have spent the Vietnam years on the family yacht, he should think again. That only shows how stupid he was! True-blue Americans want a president who knows how to pull strings and work the system and get away with doing as little work as possible!
So, to make it up to you, I have written some new ads you can use on TV. People will soon tire of the swift boat veterans and you are going to need some fresh, punchier material. Feel free to use any of these:
ANNOUNCER: "When the bullets were flying all around him in Vietnam, what did John Kerry do? He said he leaned over the boat and 'pulled a man out of the river.' But, as we all know, men don't live in the river -- fish do. John Kerry knows how to tell a big fish tale. What he won't tell you is that when the enemy was shooting at him, he ducked. Do you want a president who will duck? Vote Bush."
ANNOUNCER: "Mr. Kerry's biggest supporter, Sen. Max Cleland, claims to have lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam. But he still has one arm! How did that happen? One word: Cowardice. When duty called, he was unwilling to give his last limb. Is that the type of selfishness you want hanging out in the White House? We think not. Vote for the man who would be willing to give America his right frontal lobe. Vote Bush."
Hope these help, Mr. Bush. And remember, when the American death toll in Iraq hits 1,000 during the Republican convention, be sure to question whether those who died really did indeed "die" -- or were they just trying to get their faces on CNN's nightly tribute to fallen heroes? The sixteen who've died so far
this week were probably working hand in hand with the Kerry campaign to ruin your good time in New York. Stay consistent, sir, and always, ALWAYS question the veracity of anyone who risks his or her life for this country. It's the least that person deserves.

Michael Moore


Unless you're rich, the bottom economic line these days is that you're losing ground. Now if you're in the top 1 percent, of course, it's a hallelujah hoedown, and the prez is assuring that the money rains down on you. But the rest of us lost 3.4 percent of our income (adjusted for inflation) in the last three years. That's an average of about $1500 less spending power a year.
Bob Herbert's New York Times column today quotes a study by the Economic Policy Institute. In part, he says:
"Between 1947 and 1973 productivity and real median family income both grew 104 percent, a golden age of growth for both variables." That parallel relationship began to break down in the 1970's, but it is only recently that it fell apart altogether, leaving us with the following evidence of unrestrained inequity:
"In the 2000-03 period income shifted extremely rapidly and extensively from labor compensation to capital income (profits and interest)," so that the "benefits of faster productivity growth" went overwhelmingly to capital.

If you'd like to see Herbert's column, click here.
Even more worth reading than Herbert is today's Post-Dispatch editorial "Girlie Men", which also refers to Economic Policy Institute information:
With wages weak, 85 percent of the profits from the rising economy are flowing to the owners of capital - the wealthy, generally - and only 15 percent to labor. That's the opposite of what normally happens at this stage in an economic recovery.
If you must choose between the two links, I'd recommend The Post-Dispatch piece because it assesses what is and isn't Bush's fault in the increasingly lopsided distribution of wealth.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

I don't know where George Soros gets his money," one man said. "I don't know where - if it comes from overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from." George Soros, another declared, "wants to spend $75 million defeating George W. Bush because Soros wants to legalize heroin." After all, a third said, Mr. Soros "is a self-admitted atheist; he was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust."
They aren't LaRouchies - they're Republicans.

The opening paragraph of Paul Krugman's Friday New York Times column illustrates his title: "Feel the Hate".
Click here to read the rest of the column.

Friday, September 03, 2004

George Bush's Convention Speech (Spin-Free Version)

George Bush has been giving the same stump speech across America for so long
now, that even he's beginning to believe Karl Rove's tortured rhetoric. So, I've
taken it upon myself to write good ol' affable #43's convention speech for
him, at no charge. And if Bush actually had the honor and integrity he so often
espoused in his 2000 campaign, ol' Dubya would give it as written and save
half the voters in America the eye rolling, the head shaking, and those
inevitable "do-I-really-hear-what-I-think-I'm-hearing" brain hernias triggered by the mind-wrenching audacity of a man attempting to spin horse hockey into cupcakes.
Here's the speech:
My fellow Americans, and you middle-class people, too, the record of my
administration speaks for itself. I know I spent 42% of my first eight months in
office on vacation, ignoring warnings that presaged the single greatest attack
on American soil for which I refuse any accountability, but I'm the guy that
can best protect you. I know The Terminator personally. I talk tough. I walk
tough. Heck, I flew fighter jets over Texas in the Vietnam War.
My administration has been a treasonous and fiercely secretive one, fighting
against your right to know and against virtually every investigative commission, even though I said I trust the American people. But I can truthfully say,
the irony of this has never dawned on me.
Political vilification and retribution have been the hallmarks of my term,
but I warned you about that when I said, "You're either with me or against me,"
I also said I was a uniter, not a divider, and though no one thought it was
possible, I further divided America. But I didn't stop there. I divided the
entire world by misleading it so horrendously, that few countries will ever believe
America as long as I'm in office. Hey, the bull plops here.
At the same time, however, I did manage to unite our enemies, getting them to
converge in the hell-hole of Iraq. And I urged those evil-doers to take
rocket-propelled pot shots at our fine, young servicemen and women when I so
recklessly invited them to "bring it on." Well, they did, big time.
Ooops. My bad.
But I don't allow pictures to be taken of any flag-draped coffins, 'cause I
trust the American people to be able to imagine what those coffins look like.
No pictures needed. See how that works? I trust the people more than the
Almost every single prediction my administration made about Iraq turned out
to be wrong, but yet I go around the country ridiculing John Kerry for not
giving me an $87 billion check with no oversight. Ain't politics beautiful? Like
I said, "Never misunderestimate me."
I scattered our nation's worst enemy throughout the world while diverting
resources and wasting lives to depose, illegally, a pathetically crippled
dictator hated by his own people until we invaded and occupied them. Now they hate
us. Heck, just about everyone does.
In fact, I'm the most hated man on the face of the earth, making me one of
the most hated men in all of history. You have to work real damn hard to
accomplish that in just four years.
Then there was the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction, but that subject is
so over the bridge. Besides, Donald Rumsfeld still assures me he knows
exactly where they are; they're still somewhere up around Tikrit.
But enough about that, let's turn to domestic issues where I magically
transformed record surpluses into record deficits, 'cause I'm the
record-settin' president, and I now tour the country touting the meager cessation of huge job losses as a "rejuvenatin' economy."
I gave my big business buddies like Kenny-Boy Lay of Enron audacious
political paybacks at the risks and costs of the health, safety, resources and
financial well being of the common American. In fact, I sat by and watched my
buddies in the energy industry conspire to bankrupt the state of California, 'cause
you always gotta help America's big companies first, even at the expense of
the little guy. It's that trickle-down thingy my daddy used to call "Voodoo
Economics." My version's more like Voo Doo-doo Economics. Heh, heh, heh.
My administration misunderestimated the cost of my Medicare Bill by about
$150 billion. Technically it's a criminal offense to lie to Congress, but
they're mostly Republican and I'm Republican, so it's all in the family, so it's a
wash. No harm; no foul. No investigation. Ain't politics beautiful? By
the way, you might not know that my bill also prohibits negotiating with drug
companies for lower-cost prescriptions. See, I was feeling compassionate
toward the drug companies; there's billions of dollars of compassion there, 'cause
I'm a compassionate conservative. Heh, heh, heh.
Oh yeah, and when asked, I could not think of a single mistake I've made, but
I've been going around the country giving speeches about my "results." I'm
the "results" president, not like John Kerry, who would be the "thinking"
president, or the "wise" president. I'm the "fire-ready-aim" president. Used to
be the "war" president. Want to be the "peace" president. Now I'm the
"results" president. Better yet, the "action-figure" president.
There ya have it. I could go on, but, heck, I've already exceeded my own
attention span, and no one likes an intellectual, academic egghead, unless, of
course, she looks like Condi Rice.
Don't forget, I'm a real likeable guy. Please don't defeat me at the polls,
Your Commando-In-Chief,
George W. Bush


Okay, now I know why the New York firefighters association endorsed Bush. The answer is in a Progressive Online piece titled "Does a Pink Slip Make You a Girlie Man?" The posting describes a three mile long unemployment line that the AFL-CIO organized in New York Wednesday night. So why did the firefighters break with the other unions? Read the brief posting to find out.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Can someone please explain to me why the Firefighters Association of Greater New York endorsed Bush yesterday? He reneged on funding promises to the city of New York, and has shamelessly used post 9/11 footage for political capital. New York is a Democratic stronghold where I thought Bush was widely disliked. What gives?