S.M.B. - Logic and Rhetoric
Saturday, August 09, 2003
 
LIEBERMAN'S SPEECH ON ENRON FROM APRIL FOOLS DAY 2002



Well, happy weekend friends. As those of you who actually care know, Joe Lieberman has declared war on the Democrats seeking the presidential nomination. Lieberman must be stopped, and whatever I can do to pass the ammunition helps me clear my conscience and feel holy, so here we go friends.

I've been reading Lieberman's speeches and looking through the guy's voting record, and this guy is openly pro BIG OPPRESSIVE business. His defenses of Enron and Arthur Anderson are thinly veiled under a mask of DLC caution and deliberation (if that's what you wanna call it).

The Enron earthquake and its aftershocks have shaken public confidence in the capital markets which are the lifeblood of our economic system, put thousands of people out of work, and caused thousands more to lose billions of dollars in investments and retirement security.
OK so he at least admits that something went wrong, that's a start Joe, no complaints from this liberal quarter...

But there's another, more important message I want to convey to you. We cannot put the business ethics police on every corner that might be cut—nor would we want to. Government will never be able to legislate or regulate morals into every part of our markets. Businesspeople and businesses must do that themselves.
Hmm. Let's consider this whopper. This is always how conservatives make arguments; they mischaracterize the premise of the other side's argument, either outright, or in this instance, by implication ("We cannot put the business ethics police on every corner that might be cut").

By making the other side's case seem extreme or impractical, they are better able to justify their own positions, and thus propose soft ball, hollow, or simply non-existent solutions to legitimate problems; which is what good ole Joe "Arthur Anderson" Lieberman's going to do.

Let me begin with a personal statement of full disclosure. I am pro-business. That's been true, really, since my birth...
OK, I value the honesty, but this position is why Lieberman will never get my vote, he's too pro-business, he'd rather trade with China than even CONSIDER rules that make organizing easier; he'd rather create conditions that result in U.S. jobs being shipped to Mexico or Canada than create conditions that keep American manufacturing viable long enough for those manufacturing workers to have jobs and make their living.

It is the members of that new investor middle class who have been reeling in the ruins of Enron. They're wondering whether the intense pressure on other CEOs to meet and beat short-term expectations, the pressure on their deputies to increase profits, the pressure on accountants and consultants and analysts to help these executives show us the reported money—whether all of this pressure has artificially and unsustainably inflated the value of their investments.
Is it me, or does this paragraph seem like a veiled excuse for the evil-doers? You be the judge.

We've seen too many companies bending rules, pushing through loopholes, defining ethical deviancy down, and replacing honesty with hokum and hype. In the process, they don't just distort our values. They distort the markets, they taint the system, and they threatening the free flow of capital to other, deserving enterprises.

Some businesses aren't just crossing lines; they're crossing borders. The story that some American companies are reincorporating in Bermuda to avoid paying taxes is disgusting.
All true, very true, Lieberman puts the problem out there.

The Enron scandal cries out for governmental action, but we must acknowledge before we act that there are twin dangers—of doing too little and doing too much.
He thinks regulating the markets to prevent abuse is as bad as doing nothing because Enron went bankrupt? Those are the excerpts my friends, make of them what you will. If you're a center-right Neocon, I hope you admired Lieberman's tippy-toe logic. If you're a wingnut, I hope you screamed twice as loud--Lieberman didn't go far enough, and I'm just a liberal hack with an anti-Lieberman axe to grind. It's all true, but I'm not running for president saying that I'm going to serve on behalf of the middle-class when I've served big business my entire life, thank ya very much.


Thursday, August 07, 2003
 
THANKS

We just want to thank you for visiting the blog and contributing through your opinions, hate mail, and reading. We're up to 1,000 hits and counting, so thanks for making this forum yours, your presence makes this modest page better (that goes for Republicans and wingnuts too we luvs ya!)

 
STEPHEN CITES A GOOD INVESTIGATIVE REPORT ABOUT MUSIC PIRACY

Stephen is a dear friend of mine and I expect you all to just take a peek at his casual, informal (apolitical) blog, he's a good guy with a good blog; his site is life itself.

So Stephen posts a story and it's rather interesting. Of course the story's from the British Broadcasting Corp.

Last month, the association began suing hundreds of its customers. For the RIAA - which represents the major US recording companies - this makes perfect sense.

The people being sued are sharing music with millions of others via peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus.

This tidal wave of subpoenas is the latest in a series of steps the RIAA has taken to stop "file-sharing" which, it believes, is causing CD sales to fall through the floor.

According to the RIAA, CD sales dropped by 10% in 2001 and a further 6.8% last year, largely because of file sharing.


But the figures tell a different story.

In America and the rest of the world the biggest culprit in falling music sales is large-scale CD piracy by organised crime.

In just three years, sales of pirate CDs have more than doubled, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
So who exactly would the Recording Industry rather take on, Joe Average, or the Mafia?

Every third CD sold is a pirate copy, says the federation.

The IFPI's Commercial Music Piracy 2003 report, produced in early July, reveals pirate CD sales rose 14% in 2002 and exceeded one billion units for the first time.

The pirate CD market is now so big, $4.6bn (£2.86bn), it is "of greater value than the legitimate music market of every country in the world, except the USA and Japan".

In some countries it is hard to find legitimately produced CDs. Ninety percent of CDs in China, for instance, are pirate copies.
The RIAA probably knows this, but they're not gonna mess with the mafia. They'll just sue 80 million people for 10,000 bucks or something and maybe they'll make a decent profit through extorting citizens.

 
HOMELESS I'VE SEEN LATELY ARE COMING FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE



Is it me, or are the numerous homeless amd beggars on the subways in New York coming from the most random quarters. Typically, I'd see an old war vet, a junkie or crackhead, a dirty smelly old man it would be easy to feel no sympathy for. There are more younger people, 30-somethings, "parents" who are begging on behalf of their children, cancer patients. You never know whose who and peoples' reliability or agenda but this is an unprecedented phenomenon in my short life.

 
RACIAL DOUBLE STANDARDS AND AL SHARPTON



Reverend Al Sharpton is running for president, in case you didn't know. And the man makes some interesting points when he points out the racial double standards that the "liberal" media has with regards to their expectation that Sharpton ought to cater to white voters as opposed to the white candidates catering to voters of color.

It always cracks me up when conservatives try to claim that the news media have a pro-black/anti-white bias. How many people do you know who hate white people? How many of them are white? As you may remember, Eric Alterman has already done alot of my blogging for me, as far as this topic goes he sure knows his stuff when he talks about racial bias in the media.

As Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki demonstrate at length in their important study, The Black Image in the White Mind, a sampling of the network news drawn from 1997 shows blacks in basically three ways: "entertainer, sports figure or object of discrimination." A more detailed study of just ABC News found that the network "mainly discusses blacks as such when they suffer or commit crime, or otherwise fall victim and require attention from government." As a result, "the news constructs African-Americans as a distinct source of disruptioin."

The authors note that since Caucasians are rarely featured this way--relative to the number of times they are shown, "the news can easily imply a baseline or ideal social condition in which far fewer serious problems would plague the society if only everyone in the United States were native-born whites. (Eric Alterman, What Liberal Media? The Truth About BIAS and the News pp. 115-116 hard cover).
So what does this have to do with media coverage of Al Sharpton's campaign? Well, first of all the media have limited talk of the early primaries to Iowa and New Hampshire, knowing full well that the Republican primary season was not decided until George Bush killed John McCain in SOUTH CAROLINA. Incidentally, Sharpton may very well come in first or second in South Carolina next year. Lest you forget, the Southern Democratic primaries will involve HUGE numbers of African-American voters, the South is where most blacks in this country live, and by default where most vote too.

In spite of this reality (certainly not because of it) the white/corporate/"liberal" news media have condemned Al Sharpton as a candidate "not in the first tier." It is no coincidence that the 3 most progressive Democrats in the race have been the 3 condemned to hell by the news media. Sharpton, Moseley-Braun and Kucinich do not accept big money contributions, and are demonized and damned by the corporate media because they haven't raised enough money. SINCE WHEN should a candidacy for our nation's highest office center on money? Is Howard Dean the best candidate because he is the best at sucking the tit of the money cow? I SAY THIS AS A DEAN SUPPORTER!

This is exactly why we want money out of politics. This is not a race of ideas and building support based on that, it's a race for money, enough money to build the strongest fort, the fort that'll be left standing after the attack adds between John Kerry and Howard Dean and between Joe Lieberman and everybody. By making the race about money, the media can kiss off those candidates who do not have the support of the big corporations and the wealthy fat cat contributors.

Ladies and gentlemen, Reverend Al Sharpton:

"I think when you look at the lack of diversity in the newsrooms, when you look at the lack of diversity from the editors and those in power, then you see them as automatically dismissive of anything that is not like them, which is white males," said Sharpton.

He noted that many commentators have compared Dean to former presidents Carter and Clinton, both governors of relatively small states, without mentioning that both Georgia and Arkansas have sizable minority populations, while Vermont is nearly all white.

In addition, Sharpton said he is often asked about how he can hope to lure white voters in key early states like Iowa and New Hampshire, while Dean is never pressed on how he will appeal to minorities.

"When I come to Iowa, they ask how can Sharpton get the white vote," said Sharpton. "I've run in New York and gotten more white votes in my races than he's gotten black votes in Vermont? Why aren't we talking about that?"
As a Dean supporter, I believe that Howard Dean appeals to all sorts of people by being himself. The guy stands up tall for all of his allies, at least it seems that way at this point. As a person of color, I must say, only the "liberal" media would ask a black candidate how he expects to get white people to vote for him (as if Sharpton has led a 'kill whitey' movement or something) but then never ask the corresponding question to white candidates. They shouldn't be asking this question, but they do because they could give a rats arse about the real issues that Sharpton or any other candidate is concerned with.

The media have learned nothing since their tainted coverage of the 2000 presidential race. They're still going to run coverage based on personalities and not on substance, on whether you'd rather wanna smoke a J with aWol or the angry Democrats. What a wonderful fucking world for a young impressionable optimist like me to be stepping into right now; for the first time ever, just now, I wondered, 'do I see myself voting in 5 years? 10 years?' I don't know anymore.

 
BOB HERBERT ON BUSH'S ANTI-JOBS PLAN

There's another good column from Bob Herbert, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Working Americans need jobs just to survive. But the Bush administration equates the national interest with corporate interests, and in that equation workers can only lose.
Hmm, a revolutionary idea of sorts. Corporate and worker interests DON'T coincide?!?!

Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
REMEMBERING THE COALITION OF THE WILLING: OUR POST FROM TUESDAY MARCH 25TH 2003



This was our shining hour, just a bunch of citizens gathering important information. I just thought it'd be interesting to remember who lent their moral support to the invasion of Iraq.

ALSO NOTE, Eritrea and Ethiopia are two nations on the last that were (and still are) at war with eachother. Machiavelli was proven wrong, a nation can both be at war against and allied with another country...

Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Britain, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and Uzbekistan make up the United States led "coalition of the willing."

Here are their digits (not including the United States, except where noted):

Number of nations willing to publicly associate with the U.S. invasion of Iraq: 30

Number of industrialized, "first world," nations in the coalition: 7
Australia, Britain, Denmark, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain.

Number of coalition members with a higher population than metropolitan New York City: 13
Australia, Britain, Colombia, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Phillipines, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan.

Population of metropolitan New York City (2000): 21,199,865

Number of coalition members on the United Nations Security Council: 4
Britain, Bulgaria, Spain, United States.

Number of seats on the United Nations Security Council: 15

Number of coalition nations in which a majority of the population support the U.S. invasion of Iraq: 0
All information was gathered from the United States Census Bureau.

This is a broad coalition that represents a cross section of the world community. The public should be confident that the United States consulted with Eritrea and Ethiopia, bordering nations in northeastern Africa that are at war with eachother, but have joined forces just to support the killing of Iraqis and American soldiers. Warring nations never looked better in the same international coalition. Should we not rest assured knowing that nations ranging from Latvia and Albania to Afghanistan and Columbia (involved in a 40-year-old civil war) all have something unique and special to offer our defensive war coalition against Saddam "axe of evil" Hussein.

To be in a war coalition with the U.S. these nations need not provide money, soldiers, humanitarian aid, missionaries or toilet paper. They only need to cash their checks and sign the dotted line

The conservatives are fond of comparing Saddam to Hitler, but can they name one country that had to be paid to fight against Hitler?

 
IS IT ME...



I was watching the Democratic Presidential debate on c-span.

I could've sworn that Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean didn't even shake hands or acknowledge eachother at the end of the debate when all the candidates look all pretty for the camera. Maybe its just me...

 
EPISCOPALS APPOINT OPENLY GAY BISHOP

I'm not sure he's the first gay Bishop in the history of the church. Maybe he's just more honest than the closeted rest.

Does anybody know if the Anglicans/Episcopals are the first Christian church to allow an open homosexual into the top tier hierarchy?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003
 
LIEBERMAN, SETTING FIRES



If Joe Lieberman is the Democratic nominee, I will stay home. I've gotten into many arguments about this, but my mind is made up. This guy is against affirmative action, against unions, against free trade, decent on the environment, but for big insurance. Joe Lieberman is a soft DLC neo-conservative center-right candidate. Starting fires. Anyone who agrees with aWol more than he agrees with Howard Dean is a de facto Republican.

Joe Lieberman has attacked Howard Dean, and other Democrats on important issues more forcefully than he attacked George Bush on the war, on tax cuts for the rich, on "No Child Left Behind," on anti-Gay government bigotry, and on killing public schools with vouchers.

"Some Democrats, on the contrary, still prefer the old, big government solutions to our problems," Lieberman said in a speech to the National Press Club.

He criticized Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt's plan to provide health care for nearly all Americans and his opposition to trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He assailed those who opposed the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

"If George Bush and his bankrupt ideology are the problem, believe me, old Democratic policies like higher taxes and weakness on defense are not the solution," Lieberman said.
OLD DEMOCRATIC POLICIES LIKE HIGHER TAXES AND WEAKNESS ON DEFENSE? Snagglepuss needs to stop.

WEAKNESS--The quality or condition of being weak, in any sense of the adj.; deficiency of strength, power, or force.

Dean is weak on defense because he stands on sound principles and basic logic... Translation (given that Bush and Dean's positions are diametrically opposed): Bush's defense position is strong, even though he didn't employ his 3rd grade reading ability to skim the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq or objectively consider any of the evidence that he, and not Howard Dean, had access to.

Joe Lieberman is so full of shit.

I would like Mr. Lieberman to find, cite and quote a single Democratic platform that calls for weakness on defense. Is he talking about George McGovern's opposition to the Vietnam War? Is he talking about the opposition to Iran Contra? What exactly could Joe Lieberman be hinting at? The Democrats would be all mighty, super duper powerful if we were in favor of nukeing North Korea and China, Like MacArthur?

 
SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR ERNEST "FRITZ" HOLLINGS SAYIN IT LIKE IT IS

"I said no I can tell you this categorically, we've got the weakest president and weakest government in the history of my 50 years of public service.I say weak president in that the poor boy campaigns all the time and pays no attention to what's going on in the Congress.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's just a taste, read his entire (sorta) farewell speech.

 
U.S. PRESSURE BRINGS RELIGIOUS CENSORSHIP TO EGYPT

According to the International Press Service Egypt's Government now hands out a sermon that must be read by every single preacher in the country during mosque worship services. There is no indication that this will (or will not) affect other religious (mainly Christian) communities in Egypt...

CAIRO, Jul 24 (IPS) - The same official sermon will be delivered in 88,000 mosques across Egypt from this week. The government move is a part of extensive new censorship, and penalization for mosques and preachers that do not toe the official line.

The sermon will now be written and distributed by officials from the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. The regime has been fighting Islamic groups trying to topple his secular pro-Western rule for the past 15 years.

"Preachers who do not stick to the text (provided every Friday) would be deprived of bonuses and will be subject to an investigation by the legal affairs department at the ministry," according to the statement from the Awaqaf ministry.

The campaign is "a part and parcel of the pressure the United States places on our regimes to try and limit the Islamic movement," he told IPS. "At the same time as the government and foreign countries are calling for economic liberalization and economic freedom, they want to place restrictions on freedom of expression and religious freedoms in mosques."

Under the authoritarian regime of Mubarak, mosques were among the few venues available for expressing views that do not conform to the official line. The government, increasingly intolerant of opposition, says mosques have become hotbeds for extremist views.
Egypt, "theocracy."

Monday, August 04, 2003
 
THE HOWLER GETS IT RIGHT ON CHICKENHAWK CONDI RICE

The Howler takes the Condi matters a bit farther than we have here. This woman is truly fond of lying. The frustrating thing is that nobody ever points it out. TAKE A GOOD READ OF THIS ARTICLE FRIENDS, you will emerge smarter:

On May 15, 2002, CBS News reported that President Bush had been warned about possible al Qaeda hijackings on August 6, 2001. The Washington Post reported the story on May 16. “President Bush and his top advisers were informed by the CIA early last August that terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden had discussed the possibility of hijacking airplanes,” the paper reported.

“White House spokesman Ari Fleischer confirmed that Bush had been told about the possibility of hijackings but he declined to say what had been revealed during his intelligence briefings.” On May 16, Rice held a press briefing; she insisted that no one could have envisioned the events of September 11.

“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people…would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile,” Rice said.
HOOWWWWL.


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