S.M.B. - Logic and Rhetoric
Friday, August 22, 2003

Rep. Dennis Kucinich does not accept the media script that portrays Democrats as groveling before unions and civil rights groups. Quite the contrary, he sees Democrats who often serve up vague and fuzzy rhetoric to loyal constituencies during campaigns and then govern against the interests of those voters once in office. That's why -- at the AFL-CIO forum in Chicago -- he tried to encourage fellow Democrats toward specificity.
What's there to say? I mean, the Clinton Presidency definitely comes to mind when I read this quote, destroying welfare, the healthcare retreat, the WTO, NAFTA, China Trade, it all does reak of sellout to me.

Why is it that when Republicans get into office they do everything they can to make their base, their supporters, stronger; but when Democrats get into office they voluntarily kill off their most loyal supporters. At this point in time a mere 13% of the country is organized. The Democrats, especially Bill Clinton and the dead congressional Dems, are partly to blame for this. The questions that Kucinich are important, because we have to make sure that when a Democrat gets into the White House, he doesn't turn around and screw the base of people who carried him into office. I would rather have Lieberman in office than a backbiter, who'll give us the lip-service but weaken our movement.


I actually watched Hannity and Colmes last night, and low and behold! General Wesley Clark was on, debating foreign policy with Sean Hannity, con-wingnut partisan. Wesley clark stared Hannity down and set him straight on the issues surrounding the invasion, conquest and occupation of Iraq. He looked good, and could be a compelling candidate for President. Rumor has it he's a "centrist" though... Hmm...


One of the many reasons Vietnam spiraled out of control was the fact that America's top political leaders never clearly defined the mission there, and were never straight with the public about what they were doing. Domestic political considerations led Kennedy, then Johnson, then Nixon to conceal the truth about a policy that was bankrupt from the beginning. They even concealed how much the war was costing.

Sound familiar?


Paul Krugman is right again, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Yet the candidate says he won't touch education. Sharp cuts in medical spending would be not only cruel but foolish, since in many cases they would mean losing federal matching funds. And prison spending is largely determined by the state's "three strikes" law. In short, he's not leveling with voters: there's no way to balance the budget while honoring all his promises.

So here's the question: Can a celebrity candidate muscle his way into public office without ever being held accountable for his statements?
Yeah Paul, he can, it looks very possible right now, the Republicans are gonna swallow the pill and go with him so he can carry them to victory.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I read a great analysis of the blackout and its causes in the Guardian today. It eloquently explains the central justifications for the existence of government controlled utility monopolies. These are arguments that are not even coming close to getting sufficient play around here. In an environment where who Kobe Bryant and Ben Affleck bone other than their significant others, and Andrew Cuomo's divorce can get page one and the top stories for week long blocks, why the hell can't we be informed about an issue that is so goddamn important?! Paul Foot of the Guardian:

Thank heaven such horrors could not happen here. More than half a century ago, a Labour government nationalised gas, coal and electricity. It was, [Labour ministers argued], nonsense to talk of competition and "free enterprise" in the field of fuel and power, on whose regular supply the entire nation depended - and which were more efficiently and fairly run by publicly accountable monopolies.

Such arguments were denounced in the US as communist, and the supply of power there stayed in the hands of free enterprise. Some of the results of that were on show at the weekend in New York, Ohio and even in poor old semi-social democratic Ontario.
The thing is, I always thought that Communist rule was shabby, and subjected all of its citizens to live in substandard conditions, sorta like the way the Repubs did by taking out the municipal utility trusts...


Ashcroft say:

"To abandon these tools [provided by PATRIOT Act]," Mr. Ashcroft said in a speech here at the start of a national tour, "would senselessly imperil American lives and American liberty, and it would ignore the lessons of Sept. 11."

Some members of Congress and civil liberties groups say the act has given federal agents too much power to pursue suspected terrorists, threatening the civil rights and privacy of Americans.

But Mr. Ashcroft said today that the law had been essential in preventing another terrorist attack in the United States. Expanding the powers of federal agents to use wiretaps, surveillance and other investigative methods and to share intelligence information "gives us the technological tools to anticipate, adapt and out-think our terrorist enemy," he said.
I'm glad that Ashcroft is a prophet and can see a terrorist attack coming, but the Patriot Act does not simply give him the power to "wire tap, spy, and use 'other investigative methods'" against just the terrorists. He has the power to come into my house and search, without telling me, regardless of whether he has a warrant. The PATRIOT Act already trashes our rights in a few key ways, the Government could possibly abuse its power and infringe on the basic rights of Americans from:

a) unreasonable searches and seizures (U.S. Constitution, Amendment IV)
b) to due process (U.S. Constitution, Amendment V)
c) to a speedy and public trial (U.S. Constitution, Amendment VI)
d) to a trial by jury (U.S. Constitution, Amendment VII).

We cannot mess around when we say, we want the PATRIOT Act cancelled, we must DEMAND this from the Democratic Presidential candidates, and even from every member of Congress, Republican, Democrat or Indie.


I bought it on Monday, and am halfway through it. If you've read What Liberal Media? by Eric Alterman or The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast there will be some overlap in the beginning, but let me tell you, Joe Conason is not afraid to give the wingnuts the proverbial middle finger while ripping to shreds their "facts" and credibility and exposing their true agenda.

Y'KNOW, IT SEEMS LIKE THE WINGNUTS ARE ON THE DEFENSIVE for the first time I can remember (I am 19 after all). I cannot remember a time when it seemed like the things the right wing stands for were being put to the fire, like their assumptions about the world had to be validated and justified all of a sudden. AWOL hasn't had to deal with this because he's been behind his gated estate in Texas, but just a few days back, about 8 miles from AWOL's estate, 1,000 veterans protested the closing of a Veterans hospital in Waco, TX.

Fox News has sued Al Franken for his book LIES and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. They say that Franken's use of the term "fair and balanced" is copyright infringement. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! These people are getting paranoid alright. Look at this book, now Fox says that normal, sane people could actually confuse this with a book that were promoted by them, hahaha:

You would have to be a retard to think that Fox promoted this book, in any case, BUY IT NOW, it'll be good.

All of a sudden at the end of summer 2003, everything that the Conservative movement has worked for since 1933 has gained them a razor thin political advantage in the Federal Government and favorable coverage in the News Media. Yet all of the money they have put into this operation, all of the blood sweat and tears, all of the rebounds from Hoover, MacArthur, McCarthy, Goldwater, Nixon, and Iran Contra, all of their bitching about Liberal bias, all of it culminated in the form of several successes at the end of last decade through 2002:

The Clinton Impeachment, the Bush Selection, the Neo-Con takeover of foreign policy, the Iraq War, the Republican victory in the midterm elections, Bush's ridiculously high popularity.

Those are their victories, but they're Republicans, so you can expect them to be greedy, and greedy they are. They imposed a recall in California, sued Al Franken, over bit in their victories and are losing legitimacy because money is tight, and Bush is insistent on giving more of the money to the rich. The Republicans' problem is that they are bitching and moaning about how the rich people pay most of the taxes in this country, well DUHHH they make most of the money!

So people are beginning to catch on, and Liberals are beginning to HIT BACK and now what these people stand for is being questioned for the first time since 1964. The important thing is that their incoherent ideology cannot simply be questioned, it must be rejected. Liberals, progressives and radicals have been the catalysts and champions of social change in the last 100 years, NOT conservatives. As Joe Conason points out in his book BIG LIES what has defined Conservatives over the past 100 years have been two realities:

A) Their massive resistance to every positive reform that equalizes and/or broadens opportunity for people (especially the disenfranchised)

B) Their crusade to undo every positive reform that equalizes and/or broadens opportunity for people (especially the disenfranchised).

Every once in a while you'll hear some blather about how liberals have no vision or ideas for America. Nonsense. Liberals simply lost their way, FORGOT their heritage and vision, conservatives have simply been about opposition and undoing, and always in favor of a world that protected the itty-bitty minority of rich people you know exist but have never met. When will conservatism actually be about protecting American heritage rather than destroying our resources for broadening Capitalism? When will it be about protecting American interests, infrastructure, workers and institutions rather than expanding the military and the financial base of the extremely rich based in New York and California? These are the questions Conservatives need to address, not the fluffy bullshit about "patriotism" and "loyalty."

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I noticed that Liselle's Blog is back. I missed it...


WASHINGTON – More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time there, according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday. That's 1 in 37 adults living in the United States, the highest incarceration level in the world.
5,600,000 American prisoners.

Only 15 states have more than 5,600,000 people; California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachussetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

If God randomly decided to double the population of American Indians and Alaskan Natives, there would still be fewer of them than there are current or former prisoners in the United States.

A matter of fact, there are more prisoners in the United States than there are Jews in Israel.

If current trends continue, it means that a black male in the United States would have about a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison during his lifetime. For a Hispanic male, it's 1 in 6; for a white male, 1 in 17.

"These new numbers are shocking enough, but what we don't see are the ripple effects of what they mean: For the generation of black children today, there's almost an inevitable aspect of going to prison," says Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington. "We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality."
This means that roughly 4,900,000 (among the 14.7 million living) African-American boys, men, and seniors have been, are in, or will be in prison at some point in their lives; fucked up... The United States imprisons it's people ata rate of 686 prisoners/100,000 people, the highest rate in the universe.

Let's put it this way: IN THE "UNITED STATES OF AFRICAN-AMERICA" WE INCARCERATE 13,317 MALE PRISONERS /100,000 PEOPLE IN THEIR LIFETIMES. That's not to mention the fact tha Black females have been the fastest rising prison population group since 1980.

The United States has roughly 1,962,220 prisoners/286,000,000 citizens, or seven tenths of 1% of the population. The continent of Asia has roughly 3,043,333 prisoners/3,772,103,000 inhabitants, or eight hundredths of 1% of all Asians (Asia includes Singapore, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Communist EEEEEVIL REPRESSORS, CHINA!) This doesn't stop us from throwing more of our people into prison, over a third of them for drug offenses, most of which are non-violent. Un the United States, the rate at which we imprison ourselves is almost 9 times that at which the Asians do so.

I'm afraid to compare us to the Europeans, Africans, Australians, South Americans...

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