Friday, January 28, 2005

Who’s Afraid of the Deaniacs?

The only people who are afraid of Howard Dean becoming the next chairman of the DNC are the old school, inside the beltway, top down, move to the middle, democrats. We sense your fear, and we understand that change is hard, and ask that you please GET OVER IT!

The only people who should be afraid of Governor Dean are republicans. His clear, concise, and visionary plan to revamp the Democratic Party is giving hope and inspiration to the befuddled masses of lifelong democrats.

I have heard through the grapevine that voting DNC members are talking about how they aren’t going to let so called Deaniacs take over the Democratic Party. All I can say is, they should be so lucky.

What is a Deaniac you ask? Well, first, Deaniac is a silly name given to us by the media, not one we gave ourselves. Originally we were supporters of Howard Dean’s lambasted presidential campaign. We come in all ages, all income brackets, from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and various levels of education; we are black, white and everything in between. We care deeply about our country and have tremendous concerns about the policies and proclamations of the current administration. We are extremely dedicated to the cause of democracy, we are organized, determined, and collectively hold more wealth than any group of corporate donors or lobbyists.

Those of you who think you can sum us up as a bunch of young, rabid, radically left wing yahoos, frankly, you need to stop relying on the corporate media to form your opinions, because you could not be further off the mark.

We are a vigorous and growing group of active democrats, did you catch the ACTIVE part? First and foremost, make no mistake: Dean Democrats are REAL Democrats. In fact, some of us are also REAL Independents and REAL Green Party members, and even REAL Republicans. Howard Dean's appeal is broad and it is REAL.

As a group, Democracy for America members are concerned citizens. Many of us have never been involved in politics before. By the sheer force of his message, we find ourselves energized and inspired by Howard Dean and his plain spoken, sensible, bottom up, empowering ways. We are attracted to Dean because he has the courage of his convictions. We are teachers, mothers, computer programmers, bankers, writers, union workers, ministers, veterans, college students, lawyers, retired senior citizens, and kids just graduating high school (and ready to cast their first votes). In short, we are the heart and soul of America.

We find your fear of Howard Dean and his supporters disturbing and sometimes unnecessarily contentious. You blatantly misrepresent his appeal, constantly reinforcing the corporate media’s labeling. Furthermore, your negative assessment about those who place their faith in grassroots efforts is especially irksome now, in these times of troubling conservatism, these post election months when Democrats are so desperately in need of unity.

We are not activist elites; clearly, we are rank-and-file Democrats who desire - as you do - to take back our country. We also seek to reclaim the Democratic Party from timid, ineffective leadership that leaves many Democrats feeling cold and embittered. We long for strong voices that articulate our concerns on major issues such as health care, education, diplomacy, civil and human rights, environment, and of course, fiscal responsibility. Contrary to the corporate media’s insinuations, Dean is our strongest ally in the fight for a strong, sustainable democratic party that will ensure us a balanced budget, a health care plan inclusive of all Americans, and the restoration and protection of civil liberties. We also hail Dean as a staunch advocate for military operations WHEN THEY ARE JUSTIFIED.

Therefore, as Deaniacs, we urge you to support Howard Dean's relentless, passionate call for unity and reform. You must admit the national response to his message among Democrats is nothing short of amazing. And rightly so! Where would the Democratic Party be without involvement from the grassroots sector? Please no longer assume that we who ultimately work our hearts out for the future success of this party -- are merely an "aberration" among Democrats? What more could the DNC ask for, if not a growing base of involved, inspired, and loyal constituents?

We urge the voting DNC members to open your minds to Howard Dean, the doctor of democracy. If you select him, we will come. WE STILL WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK!


Dyan Ortbal-Avalos
http://www.changeformissouri.com

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tuesday, Paul Krugman's column gave us the lowdown on likely Greenspan replacements:
Alan Greenspan is expected to retire next year. The Bush administration, because of its nature, will have a hard time finding a successor.
One Fed chairman famously described his job as being to "take away the punch bowl just when the party gets going." Bond and currency markets want monetary policy in the hands of someone who will say no to politicians. When a country's central banker is suspected of having insufficient spine, the result is higher interest rates and a weaker currency.
Today it's even more crucial than usual that the Fed chairman have the markets' trust. The United States is running record budget and trade deficits, and the foreigners we depend on to cover those deficits are losing faith. According to yesterday's Financial Times, central banks around the world have already started shifting into euros. If Mr. Greenspan is replaced with someone who looks like a partisan hack, capital will rush to the exits, the dollar will plunge, and interest rates will soar.
Yet President Bush, as you may have noticed, only appoints yes-men (or yes-women). This is most obvious on the national security front, but it's equally true with regard to economic policy. The current Treasury secretary has no obvious qualifications other than loyalty. The new head of the National Economic Council apparently got the job because he is a Bush classmate and fund-raiser.
Of course, Mr. Greenspan himself has become a Bush yes-man. The chairman acted as a stern father figure, demanding fiscal rectitude, when Democrats held the White House. But he turned into an indulgent uncle when Mr. Bush took office. First, he urged Congress to cut taxes in order, he said, to prevent an excessively large budget surplus. Then, when surpluses were replaced by huge deficits, he supported a highly irresponsible second round of tax cuts.
Nonetheless, Mr. Greenspan retains considerable credibility with the markets. Who else can satisfy both Mr. Bush and foreign investors?

Click here to see who is on the A list and whether any of them can resolve the conundrum.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Last January, I discussed the Dem nominees with a local storeowner. He favored Kerry; I wanted Dean. I stopped in there Tuesday, and he was eager to tell me that I had been right. He saw Dean on the Stephanopoulos program Sunday, and had this to say: "The media sold us a bunch of bull about Dean last winter. They painted him as loopy and angry. Well, when I saw him Sunday, I was very impressed. Why didn't I ever see interviews that showed how intelligent and reasonable he was?" Right on, Bud.
Unfortunately, I missed ABC's This Week, but here's a segment of it and a link to the whole interview. I understand why Bud was so impressed. I'm impressed by what Dean said...always...and again.

Stephanopoulos: You know, we heard from a DNC member who loves what you're doing with that organization, he also says he expects you're going to bring a lot of energy to the party. In the email he also raises some concerns about you, I want to show them. He said, "1) He's worried that you're going to perform the role of a punching bag for the right as the embodiment of Democratic detachment and 2) That your candidacy is enforcing the press' view the Democrats are lost and dispirited by turning to a madman to lead us." You're talking to all of these delegates, and I assume that many are raising similar questions. How do you answer them?
Dean: [Laughs] Well actually, many aren't raising similar questions. Many believe that the way to win races is to run a 50-state strategy and build grassroots efforts and put money into all 50 states and the territories. The other thing that they believe is that we need a clear message.
Look, Newt Gingrich-who I'd agree with almost nothing about in terms of policy-but Newt Gingrich decided that he was going to try to take back the Congress by drawing a clear distinction between Democrats and Republicans. And he succeeded. Before that, the minority in the House-Republicans-were really kind of around the edges of what the Democrats were doing and they weren't getting anywhere. I think we've got to draw a clear distinction.
We have different moral values than what the Republicans say they have. They say their moral values are about making sure gay people don't get ahead and making sure that women can't make up their mind about their own kind of health care. I say our moral values are feeding hungry children, having job opportunities and educational opportunities for every single American, and restoring a foreign policy which is not just based on a very strong military-which I'm very proud of-but also strong moral authority, which this president has abdicated in the world.
Stephanopoulos: In the short term, does that mean opposing the President's agenda?
Dean: It means opposing the President when he's wrong, and the President is frequently wrong. The President says nice words, but there's little follow up or the follow up is inconsistent with what Americans want. Which, as I said, is job opportunities and better opportunities for their children in education. And we need to do something serious about health care. We are the last industrialized country on the face of the earth that does not have some sort of health insurance for all of its people. There's no reason we shouldn't join the rest of the civilized world in that area.
Stephanopoulos: You mention the President's nice words. What did you think of the Inaugural?
Dean: I thought it was nice words. Who could possibly disagree with "freedom" and "liberty"? Of course we want freedom and liberty around the world. I didn't hear anything about the mess he's created in Iraq, I didn't hear anything about health care, I didn't hear anything about jobs. You know, the stock market is doing okay, but ordinary people are not doing okay in this country and I think the Democrats are the ones that can fix that.

Here's a summary of the Senate Democrat's voting reform - Bill 17 from
The Left Coaster blog. Please comment if and how this fits in with our VOICES petition (see
Change for missouri homepage for the petition itself.)

Senate 17 deals with voting reform, through a broad range of measures including among other things: requiring that all voting systems used in Federal elections provide a voter verified ballot that is fully accessible to the disabled and ensures privacy and independence; requiring each state to adopt Election Day registration procedures for Federal elections; creates a National Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (NFWAB) for Federal offices that every and any eligible voter is entitled to cast from anywhere inside or outside the United States and requires the NFWAB be counted without regard to which polling place, precinct, local unit of government, state, or country the NFWAB is cast in; requires states to provide public notice of all proposed purged names from voting rolls 60 days in advance of a Federal election. It also prohibits states from purging names of voters from the list without specific notice provided in accordance with National Voting Rights Act (NVRA); requires states to establish early voting periods for a minimum of fifteen calendar days prior to a Federal election, with uniform mandatory Saturday hours, and a minimum of four hours per day, including Saturdays; requires punch card voting systems to provide in-person notice of over-votes; and prohibits central count optical scan systems from meeting the voter verification requirements without the public's knowledge or accountability; and requires notice provisions, public statements, and other transparency/accountability measures with regard to election administrators.


Monday, January 24, 2005

The comic strip Non Sequitur offered a new version today of the Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the corporate states of America and to the Republicans for which it stands, one nation, under debt, easily divisible, with liberty and justice for oil.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Now that Bush has shifted his focus from WMD to freedom (he used the word 27 times in his inaugural address), Jonathan Alter of Newsweek makes some trenchant observations about Bush's idealism:
Can a suspiciously convenient, third-string rationale for war also be sincere? Yes, because it's connected to how Bush sees his legacy, which is always the preoccupation of second-term presidents. Bush is a Woodrow Wilsonian idealist, not a Poppy Bush realist. While the president of Princeton and the president of DKE don't seem to have much in common (and the neocons would have thought the League of Nations was full of pantywaists), Bush, too, seeks to "make the world safe for democracy."
I found Alter's column engaging. Click here if you'd like to read it.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Democrats are less interested in the DNC Chair election than they were in the November election, of course, but as far as the future of the party is concerned, the DNC election might turn out to be as important. To my surprise, Dean actually has a shot at winning it. I knew the party establishment would oppose him--and they may yet prevail--but here are two interesting pieces of news on the question.
An L.A. Weekly article by Doug Ireland analyzes the nominees and their backgrounds. The final paragraph is the most relevant. Despite continued efforts by the "center-right leaning power elite" to rally DNC voters behind one centrist candidate after another:
Dean is the man to beat. At a regional forum for the candidates for DNC chair in Missouri on Saturday, it was Dean whose every sally drew enthusiastic applause from those in attendance. And a poll for The Hotline of 187 of the 447 DNC members released late last week showed a clear Dean-Frost contest - with a first ballot choice of 58 for Dean, 30 for Frost, eight for Roemer, four each for Fowler, Rosenberg and Webb, and one lone vote for Leland, with the rest undecided. (But add all the votes in this poll for the other centrist candidates to Frost, and he edges out Dean.) The DNC meets February 12 to make its choice.
You can click here to read the article.
Further good news was reported on the ListServ on Friday by Jeannette Ward:
I just heard Robert Novak tell Paula Zahn on CNN that word was that Howard Dean pretty much had the DNC Chair position locked up. He said that the DNC establishment's attempt to push Martin Frost was not working. He further said that this had many of the DNC's big money contributors really angry and some were saying that they would no longer contribute to the Dems if Dean were Chair. Then he said that of course the Dems would still have Dean's little contributors, but many of the big boys were jumping ship. I consider this very, very good news. Having the big corporate dollars out of the Democratic Party can only bode well for the future.
Do you agree with Jeannette's assessment? Like her, I'm sick of the Democrats being bought by the big boys. On the other hand, without some of the big money, can we compete against those rich Republicans?
Regardless of your take on that question, Dean hasn't been elected yet, so, as Ireland said at the end of his article: "Stay tuned."

Friday, January 21, 2005

From NBC Nightly News, Wednesday, January 19, 2005 -- Referring to complaints about special-interest corporate funding of the $40,000,000 inauguration festivities (and the special bribes such funding buys), James Gibbons, Republican Congressman from Nevada said, "Anybody who is against that, obviously must be a communist!"

So there you have it. Trent Lott calls political payola free speech, and James Gibbons calls the questioning of it "communism." This, from the party of "character, honor and integrity." Hmmmm...

And today, Bush shifted his marketing strategy by NOT referring to a war on terror; NOW it's a war for our freedom — not the Iraqi's freedom, OUR freedom. Know why he said this? Because he SCREWED UP the war on terror, so now he's got to move on to the war for our freedom. See, he can say he's WINNING that war. Kind of like selling elephant repellent. "Does it WORK? Of COURSE it works! You don't see any elephants around here, do ya?"

All this leads me to assume that there's a bet going on in the White House as to JUST HOW FREAKIN' FAR THEY CAN STRETCH AN AUDACIOUS LIE before even Wal-Mart shoppers in redneck slave states say, "Wwwwwhat the f....?"

I can just envision Bush and Rove after a press conference, walking together through the halls of the White House on their way back to The Oval Office. They're barely able to control their giggling so they pick up speed and break into a trot before anyone sees them snickering. They burst through the Oval Office door just as Karl Rove loses it and starts rolling on his back on the carpet. Then George bends down to give him a good ol' boy pink belly while Rove kicks his feet in the air. And between their guffaws they catch their breaths and Bush blurts out, "Can you believe that Karl!!??? You owe me $1000 bucks you big, beautiful lying fat sack of crap! I KNEW they'd buy it! I KNEW it! KNEW it! KNEW it! Now what's next? What'll we do NEXT? It's gotta be bigger, 'cause I just love ta see them liberals' jaws drop as if I said I'm calling my weakening of air-pollution regulations my 'Clear Skies Initiative' or something."

Then Karl Rove reminds Bush that they already DID that one.

Michael Ankelman

Monday, January 17, 2005

I've been reading as much as I could get my hands on the past 2 to 3 weeks on the Administration's plans for the Social Security system and I'm shocked at what the mainstream press is writing about the system. It's full of incredible inaccuracies and Administration spin -- all published as "facts".

I've read the Office of Management and Budget July 04 report to Congress and sought out any other information I could get from "independent sources", including Columbia University Journalism School's fact reporting web-site as well as the Media Matters site managed by David Brock the ex-conservative, propagandist of the 90's turned media watch-dog. I'm certain that Social Security is in no more danger of default than at 2 or 3 other times in it's history when a simple "bi-partisan" adjustment was necessary to correct it's "projected" future solvency.

This has all the feel of the buildup to the war in Iraq. I already feel the country slipping in behind the Bush Administration's multi-million dollar propaganda effort to portray that the Social Security system is in crisis. It absolutely is not.

For philosophical reasons this administration simply wants to gut the biggest, most successful, entitlement in the history of our government because right-wing conservatives are abhorrent to the idea of any government entitlement program. This is not about saving it or making it better it's about ending it.

Conservatives have been loudly claiming the imminent insolvency of the Social Security system every year since it's beginning. If you take their rhetoric from just 3 years after it's inception you could publish it toay by just changing the date and it would sound the same.

As an example, USA Today ran an article on January 14th, written by a former Heritage Foundation member who is now a Harvard Law student, that simply echoed the Administration's misinformation while completely ignoring the Office of Management and Budget's recent analysis of the status of the Social Security System which projects solvency out to at least 2048 and beyond.

We're about to all get collectively screwed here so that conservatives can adhere to their mantra of "killing big government" even if it means ending the most successful program in our history. An oh yes, Wall Street brokers (primarily Republican supporters) stand to receive a windfall of mammoth proportions if Social Security can be gutted and every American forced into the stock market to seek safety.

Does this Administration and Republican's honestly believe that young teenagers, married couples; parents with kids in college or disabled dependents are going to open and fund Retirement accounts vs putting food on the table. They don't do it now, why would they suddenly start?

You continually hear that the market has been the safest place to invest for the past 70+ years. What you don't hear is that it was "under-funded" for most of those years and therefore "under-valued". Now that almost everyone has a 401K or IRA, money has flooded the market at it's no longer under-valued, and may in fact be over-valued. The history of the Stock Market's performance is not what it appears and no serious economist would use it to benchmark performance over the next 70 years.

The Stock Market is a jungle. Today it's the free market place's most ruthless taskmaster and it's neither, safe, just or fair! For the average citizen, with no extraordinary knowledge of business, it's ridiculously absurd to try and beat.

Also, Social Security has the lowest overhead of any major investment organization in history. Less than 1% goes to administration. How many Brokers take less than 1%?

Not one single government program from Education to Social Security to the Environment has been initiated or backed by conservatives. Their long-term history is that they block, gut or kill these programs and that's what is going on here.

What do they say, "if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck and sounds like a duck -- it's prbably a duck! This is just another "kill big government initiative" that has nothing whatsoever to do with what's good for the average citezen.

Well, Social Security looks like a Dead Duck to me if we don't collectively voice our outrage over the lie that it's in crisis. The only crisis is that the average citezen will believe this lie!

Greg Wiley

This has all the feel of the buildup to the war in Iraq. I already feel the country slipping in behind the Bush Administration's multi-million dollar propaganda effort. I also believe that they're using this issue to keep the daily killing in Iraq off the front page.

It's going to take a grassroots effort, especially in fund raising, to have any hope of heading this disaster off. The Democrats in Congress cannot protect Social Security without massive support.

JoEtta's comments about "trading Grocery money for Lottery Tickets" is right on target. Also, Ruth's Insurance company comparison is extremely valid as well. Interestingly enough the key to selling insurance has always been "creating doubt and fear"

I was a little concerned when I listened to the various speaker's that introduced Howard Dean Friday evening in St. Louis. They were talking about the Lakoff/Luntz approach but they're not quite there yet. We've got to get down to "one and 2 word phrases" that evoke strong emotions. They were using 5 and 6 word phrasing. They don't quite get it yet but it's good to at least see that the message is getting through.

Greg Wiley

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Bush administration is expert at fear mongering. Their latest such campaign is characterizing our basically sound Social Security system with such metaphors as "train wreck," "cancer," and "bankrupt." Their campaign has succeeded at frightening me, but what I fear is that their "sky is falling" mantra will stampede people into a costly mistake. Social Security is basically sound, so urging participants to invest privately is like luring them to take money out of their pensions to buy lots of lottery tickets. Social Security means grocery money for their retirement. How many of you think buying lottery tickets with the grocery money is a smart move?
For seven decades now, conservatives have wanted to destroy Social Security, and this administration, unfortunately, has a chance to succeed. In the process, Bush's friends on Wall Street stand to make a killing, and what's to worry, say they all. He'll be long gone from office and they'll be retired in their mansions when masses of older Americans are eating Alpo because they got shilled out of their old age insurance.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

For at least a couple of years, Paul Krugman has been deriding Bush's Social Security privatization plan. His latest column compares it to a similar--failed--Brit attempt.
We must end Social Security as we know it, the Bush administration says, to meet the fiscal burden of paying benefits to the baby boomers. But the most likely privatization scheme would actually increase the budget deficit until 2050. By then the youngest surviving baby boomer will be 86 years old.
Even then, would we have a sustainable retirement system? Not bloody likely.
Pardon my Britishism, but Britain's 20-year experience with privatization is a cautionary tale Americans should know about.

Click here to read his column.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

After the election, I got a little bit crazy. I kept eyeing strangers in stores and on parking lots, wondering if I could tell by looking whether they had voted Republican or Democratic. I'm back to sanity now, and I've given up that fruitless habit. But still, wouldn't it be nice if you could look at someone on the street and KNOW they were a Democrat? My orthopedist, Katharine Burns, has a solution. She told me about it when I saw her for an office visit on Monday. She is aware of my political leanings, and after she examined me, she gave me a big smile and said she'd be back in a minute with a gift. When she returned, she handed me a small cellophane package with a royal blue plastic bracelet in it on which was stamped the word "LIBERAL". Dr. Burns explained that after the election, she and her husband and his brother were so depressed that they cast about for something constructive they could do to lift themselves out of the slough of despond. They came up with the idea of selling bracelets to "true blue liberals" online--as a way of helping us identify each other in public. They notified the Post-Dispatch of their new enterprise and were rewarded, if that's the word, with a "Rimshot" editorial last Sunday. It was left handed praise at best, as you'll see if you still have the Sunday "Newswatch" section. The Post criticized them for having the bracelets made in China, for charging $3.95 plus $1 shipping and handling, and for being vague about how much of the proceeds go to charity. But the nice part is that a local manufacturer contacted them to say he could make the bracelets. (They hadn't known whom to contact here.) Dr. Burns says they're still settling on which charities will receive some of the proceeds. She tells me that this isn't a nonprofit venture, so not all of the proceeds will go to charity. Still, it seems like a good idea if it were to catch on. You can click here if you're interested in ordering a bracelet. Once you're on the site, look for the blue line that says "Order your True Blue "Liberal" Awareness band today."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I love living in Ferguson, but here's a drawback: if I want a bargain department store, I can choose from Wal-Mart (As If!), Target, or K-Mart. All three are big Republican donors. What I want in North County is a Costco. Jim Hightower explains that company's virtues:
THE COSTCO MODEL
12/28/2004
Costco is different... and that really POs Wall Street.
The nationwide retailer treats its 100,000 clerks, forklift operators, and other workers as valued assets to be invested in and nurtured – unlike the Wal-Mart model of paying the least you can to rank &file employees, squeezing the last ounce of toil out of each of them, busting any whisper of unionization, and causing a workforce turnover like employees are nothing but disposable coffee cups.
How different is Costco? Starting pay is $10 an hour, workers typically earn $40,000-a-year after three years on the job, the company covers 92 percent of employees' health care costs, and the Teamsters union provides strong bargaining representation for the workers. Also, while CEOs at other major corporations average 531 times the pay of their lowest-paid employees, Costco's top boss takes only 10 times the pay of his typical rank &filer. His annual salary $350,000 – compared to some $5 million a year hauled off by Wal-Mart's honcho.
"From day one," says the chief financial officer at Costco, "we've run the company with the philosophy that if we pay better than average, provide a salary people can live on, have a positive environment and good benefits, we'll be able to hire better people, they'll stay longer and be more efficient." It works. Costco's turnover is minimal, its profits are consistently strong, and its stock price has quadrupled in 10 years.
But Wall Street analysts are sourpusses when it comes to this remarkable corporate maverick, which is defying the contrived wisdom that worker exploitation is the only way to succeed. "Costco's benefits are overly generous," sniffs one Wall-Streeter, asserting that stockholders could do even better if only Costco would conform to the Wal-Mart model.
Come on! Costco is richly profitiable for stockholders, while also providing middle-class possibilities for our communities. Isn't that the best model of all?
"Costco's Dilemma: Be Kind to Its Workers, or Wall Street?" Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2004.
"Two Different Pay Packages, Two Different Galaxies," New York Times, April 4. 2004.

Costco's philosophy reminds me of Henry Ford, who outraged the automobile industry back in the day by paying his workers $5 a day, which was double the existing pay. He wanted his workers to be able to buy the cars they were making. His wage scale influenced the wages all factory workers were paid in this country at that time. In other words, he understood that the economy works best when the money doesn't all stagnate at the top. Costco understands the same lesson.

Monday, January 10, 2005

AlterNet posted "The 25 Dumbest Quotes of 2004". You can enjoy them by just clicking here.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Morality, schmorality. Okay, so Jim Hightower's website provides stats showing higher divorce rates in red states and lower rates in the Northeast. Furthermore, higher divorce rates exist among evangelicals than among moderate Christians, with the lowest rates belonging to agnostics. I've seen (but not saved, unfortunately) stats showing that the Southern states have the highest murder rates. Now let's add Hightower's analysis of how the tax burden is distributed: basically, red states get a lot of federal money and pay low taxes. Blue states pay the most (because they produce the most) and get little in return. Here's Hightower's information:
Red States Feed at Federal Trough, Blue States Supply the Feed
Monday, September 27, 2004
The Tax Foundation has released a fascinating report showing which states benefit from federal tax and spending policies, and which states foot the bill.
The report shows that of the 32 states (and the District of Columbia) that are "winners" -- receiving more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 76% are Red States that voted for George Bush in 2000. Indeed, 17 of the 20 (85%) states receiving the most federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Red States. Here are the Top 10 states that feed at the federal trough (with Red States highlighted in bold):
States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:
1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)
In contrast, of the 16 states that are "losers" -- receiving less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 69% are Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000. Indeed, 11 of the 14 (79%) of the states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here are the Top 10 states that supply feed for the federal trough (with Blue States highlighted in bold):
States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:
1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)
Two states -- Florida and Oregon (coincidentally, the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election) -- received $1.00 in federal spending for each $1.00 in federal taxes paid.
September 27, 2004 in Think Tank Reports | Permalink

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Progressives were complacent far too many years. As a result we're how fighting a hydra-headed monster, and here's an example of another tentacle. truthout.org reprinted the following article:
Business Lobby to Get behind Judicial Bids
By Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten
The Los Angeles Times
Thursday 06 January 2005
An industry group's plan to spend millions promoting conservative nominees brings a new dimension to the divisive confirmation battles.
Washington - A powerful business lobby is preparing a multimillion-dollar campaign to aid the White House in its quest to win approval for conservative judges, a move that could transform the ideological battles over the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court.
The new effort on behalf of some of the nation's biggest manufacturers will increase the cost, visibility and intensity of an already divisive confirmation process, one that has been dominated by social issues.
The shift puts the business lobby on the same side as social conservatives. The corporate world has long shied away from such controversial issues as abortion, but enthusiastically supports the Bush administration's campaign to rein in what it considers frivolous lawsuits against businesses and physicians.

Click here to read the rest.

Friday, January 07, 2005

While it's likely you've already seen the info below, I wouldn't want anybody to miss it. It's been all over the internet for a couple of weeks now, so if you've seen it, just consider this a reminder:

Not One Damn Dime Day - Jan 20, 2005

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America.
On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending.
During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases.
Not one damn dime for nothing for 24 hours.
On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target.
Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter).
For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down.
The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it.
"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics.
"Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm's way.
Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan - a way to come home.
There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing.
You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.
For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.
Mark it on your calendar now.
And please share this email with as many people as possible.
David Orth
615/665-1014 (voicemail)
615/665-8276 (fax)
orthdn@comcast.net (e-mail)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

From Jim Hightower's website:
COLOR-CODED MORALITY
12/20/2004

One thing we learned from the recent unpleasantness––otherwise known as the presidential election––is that folks in the Red States live lives centered around family values that are stronger and fundamentally more moral than the liberal lifestyles of those Blue State people in, say, Massachusetts. Right?
The political pundits insist that this regional morality gap explains George W's Red-State victory and has altered American politics for the foreseeable future. Democrats, they say, are hopelessly out of touch with the deep family values practiced by born-again Christians in the South and Midwestern heartland.
Interesting if true. But, quick: Name the state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation. It's the very state that Bush, the Pat Robertson-style political preachers, and others on the ultra-right constantly denounce as the absolute nadir of decadent liberalism: Massachusetts. It's divorce rate is barely half that of George's home state of Texas, for example.
Nor is Massachusetts some sort of statistical anomaly. The region with the lowest rate of family breakups in America is the Northeast, including such blue, blue states as New York, New Jersey, Maine, and leftie-crunchie Vermont. The highest rates are in, of all places, the Bible Belt, where you still see billboards piously proclaiming: "The family that prays together, stays together." George Barna, a born-again Christian and the head of a research group that does surveys among faith groups, finds that only 19 percent of Northeasterners have divorced, compared to 27 percent of Southerners and Midwesterners.
Barna's surveys also revealed another surprise––the divorce rate among conservative Christians is much higher than for other faith groups. Twenty-seven percent of born-again Christians have been divorced, as opposed to 24 percent of other Christians, and––Holy Moly!––only 21 percent of atheists and agnostics.
Maybe the pundits should just quit trying to color-code America.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Republicans have found a way to completely protect corporations who don't give a fig about harming individuals: gut the regulatory agencies, then make suing corporations all but impossible and voila, corporations can tread on us in any way they please. Robert Reich's article, "Toothless Tigers and 'Tort Reform'", in American Prospect, examines the strategy. After describing the recent malfeasance of the FDA in not warning consumers about the dangers of Vioxx and Celebrex, Reich explains the consequence of a $250,000 cap on tort reform.
Meanwhile, new legislation is winding its way through Congress that would prevent people who are hurt by drugs approved by the FDA from winning large damage awards against companies that made them. FDA approval would shield drug makers from having to pay anything more than $250,000 even when it's proven that they negligently caused someone more than $250,000 of harm. Congressional sponsors understand this cap on damages will end lawsuits against drug companies because personal-injury lawyers won't want to take on the risks and costs of such cases. If this bill passes, companies like Pfizer and Merck, now facing a flood of lawsuits because of Celebrex and Vioxx, won't have to worry.
Of course, the problems with the FDA are just for starters. Budgets have been cut and foxes put in charge of the Securities and Exchange Henhouse, the Environmental Protection Henhouse, the Federal Trade Henhouse, and so on.
Click here to read Reich's article.