Saturday, November 27, 2004

Close the School of the Americas

from Sojourners
The School of the Americas (SOA) - renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 - is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers located at Fort Benning, Georgia. During its 56 years of existence, the SOA has used U.S. tax dollars to train more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage war against their own countries' civilians. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, "disappeared," massacred, and forced into exile by those trained at this "School of Assassins."

Please support HR 1258, a bill to close, investigate, and prevent another cosmetic remake of the SOA.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A "Spectator's Guide" to Social Security

from The Wall Street Journal
If there's no pain, there's no gain. To fix Social Security without raising taxes, benefits promised for the future must be cut. The president's Commission on Strengthening Social Security found a clever way of doing that. It proposed adjusting the initial benefit given to new recipients each year by the rate of price inflation, instead of by the rate of wage inflation. That enabled the commission to claim correctly that future recipients would receive exactly the same benefit, adjusted for inflation, that today's recipients receive.

from The New York Times
Dispensing with legislative niceties like holding hearings or full and open debate, President Bush and the Republican Congress have used the cover of a must-pass spending bill to mount a disgraceful sneak attack on women's health and freedom.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Election 2004: "Necks Elect Noose"

from The Philadelphia Independent
America is the greatest damned mass of foolish, ignorant peasantry the world has ever produced. Not once before in the human race's mutable existence has there been a nation of such monumental idiocy; and what's more astounding is that history has given these dopes self-determination. In the exercise of this self-determination, America (if we are not so skeptical but as to actually believe the tally) has chosen to let George W. Bush lead it for another four critical years, and we are at once given a demonstration of our extraordinary mass moronism, and of the stunning depth of our ancestors' genius.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Gospel According to Michael Moore

by Richard Rohr, OFM
  • Every viewpoint is a view from a point, and that includes the viewpoint from the side of George Bush, from the side of Michael Moore, and I would like to propose a third: the viewpoint from the side of the poor and excluded in any system. If we are to be people transformed by the Biblical text, it is always from this deliberate bias that we must read reality...

  • From the very beginning and throughout the Bible, God’s privileged one is consistently the enslaved instead of the supposed free, the outsider instead of the insider, the sinner instead of the righteous, the wounded instead of the healthy, the lay instead of the clergy, the poor instead of the rich. I dare you to try to disprove that. It is the “theme of themes,” so consistent and so demanding, that it has been ignored and avoided throughout most of Christian and Jewish history.

  • The true Biblical text will always be a subtext in history.

  • The Right seems largely incapable of any self criticism, as we see personified in Rush Limbaugh, or George Bush who cannot think of any mistakes he made his first two years in office. That, of itself, puts their ideology totally outside the prophetic and Jesus tradition. The Right is usually the glorification of self interest, while frequently hiding behind the language of religion and patriotism.
  • Saturday, November 20, 2004


    Friday, November 19, 2004

    Abortions for the Religious Right

    commentary from
    Abortion is a serious moral issue, but the prospect of making abortion illegal is also a serious moral issue, and I think it's important to have no illusion about its effects. It's not going to stop abortions. What it will do is increase health risks to poor women who cannot afford to have the procedure done safely. Having said that, women will continue to do with their bodies what they want; they are their bodies after all.

    For any woman to face unwanted pregnancy is a tragedy no matter what way we want to look at it. There is no obvious solution besides trying to avoid the situation in the first place. But it happens, and has always happened. And women have always pursued abortion in response, legally or not. Roe Vs. Wade is important in guaranteeing that no woman has to lose more than she already is in pursuing an abortion--namely, her own life. I think a moral perspective on abortion dictates that we look not only at the objectionable acts we oppose but also at the practical effects of how we oppose them. I don't think any moral person would argue that losing both the mother and the child is an acceptable risk for trying to save the child.
    The Catholic Challenge

    from NOW with Bill Moyers
  • I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking. If all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed and why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.

  • [The Pope] said, if you read the text later, he said to the President, "Thank you very much for the medal, but you know that you and I disagree on this Iraq thing. I have told you three times." That's in the text.

  • The religion threw Galileo into house arrest for two or three years. Why? Not because of his science, that's silliness. Because of his theology. The theology taught that we were the center of the universe. We were God's rational and best creatures. When the little telescope, when he handed the Pope a telescope and said, "Look, we're not the center," they wouldn't even pick up the telescope. That's dogmatism. And that's what we have to be very careful of.
  • Thursday, November 18, 2004

    A Pre-Modern Presidency

    from The Boston Globe
    What is uniquely alarming in the United States today, among all the democracies and in our own history, is that a president of the United States is explicitly on the side of antimodernism. Never before has an American chief executive worked deliberately to foment a fundamentalist absolutism that is ultimately tribal, theocratic, antiscientific, and incompatible with pluralist democracy.
    Iraq Veteran Speaks Out Against War

    from The South Bend Tribune
    "The smell, the sight, it's something you never forget," Sarra told a packed lecture hall Tuesday night at the University of Notre Dame. "If people want to support this war and think it's a good thing, they need to take a second look."

    For Sarra, 32, one look was enough.

    After he shot an innocent Iraqi woman because he thought the package she was hiding was an explosive, he "freaked out." He began to question the war and wondered why U.S. soldiers, his buddies, were getting killed in Iraq.
    Donna Frye Upsets San Diego Mayoral Election

    from The London Times
    “Donna Frye is a populist, grassroots candidate, and she’s completely upset the race between the old male Republican guys,” Roger Hedgecock, a San Diego radio talk show host and a former Republican mayor, told USA Today. “No matter what happens, it looks like this thing is going to a lawsuit.”

    Republican legal challenges have failed: US District Judge Irma Gonzalez refused to stop the city from certifying the election results on the ground that “write-in” candidates — those, such as Mrs Frye, whose names have to be written on the ballot by voters — were not legitimate.
    Donna Frye still faces lawsuits; visit her webpage to help.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2004



    Vote and Die!

    from Twenty-nine Days
    Contrary to election night reporting, the youth vote was a real phenomenon, though the data indicates a reason the right wants you to think otherwise: "Under-30 voters came through in big numbers this year, with more than 20 million casting a ballot for president...[t]he turnout bested their 2000 showing by more than nine percentage points...[t]he AP's exit polls found that under-30s favored Kerry over Bush, 55 percent to 44 percent."
    Daily War News

    from Today In Iraq
    Bring ‘em on: Air strikes, artillery fire, ground fighting continue in Fallujah.

    Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting breaks out in Baquba.

    Bring ‘em on: Insurgents attack police stations, ING base near Suwayrah, seven ING soldiers and police killed.

    Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting continues in Ramadi.

    Bring ‘em on: Six ING soldiers killed as insurgents storm two police stations in Mosul.

    Bring ‘em on: Insurgents seize and destroy governor’s mansion in Mosul.

    Bring ‘em on: US air strikes reported near Baquba.

    Bring ‘em on: Oil wells ablaze near Kirkuk.

    Bring ‘em on: Insurgents destroy main highway bridge near Beiji.

    Bring ‘em on: Insurgents attack Polish embassy in Baghdad.

    Bring ‘em on: Central Baghdad hotels under rocket fire.
    The Offensive Tet

    from Whatever It Is, I'm Against It
    Speaking of the world seeing the strength, grace & decency of our country, I can’t help noticing that we haven’t heard a word from Rummy on the subject of the prisoner execution in Fallujah. Or from Bush. Or from anyone with a familiar name. That incident badly needs a name, to help ensure it doesn’t get swept under the rug. Pending somebody offering a better name, I suggest the alliterative Murder in the Mosque, with apologies to T.S. Eliot. Also, we still haven’t heard from any US member of Congress willing to go on record against the summary execution of wounded prisoners. There was a time when such a shooting bothered people just a little.
    Fun with Murderous Historical Revisionism!

    from Remain Calm
    Before the assault on Fallujah...

    "If they do not turn in al-Zarqawi and his group, we will carry out operations in Fallujah," [US-selected Iraqi "interim" Prime Minister Iyad] Allawi told the interim National Council on Wednesday. "We will not be lenient."

    After the assault on Fallujah

    "We never expected them to be there. We're not after Zarqawi. We're after insurgents in general," [Marine Major General Richard] Natonski[, who designed the ground attack,] said.
    Margaret Hassan

    from Under the Same Sun
    The reports are that Margaret Hassan may have been murdered. Watch the very politicians that spent their lives killing the people she tried desperately to save weep crocodile tears for her, as they read eulogies from teleprompters.

    I believe this picture of her that's been making the rounds dates from the sanctions era... [She] opposed those sanctions vociferously -- don't expect either Bush nor Blair, who supported those sanctions to mention that fact.
    Congressional Vote on Overtime This Week

    from the AFL-CIO
    This is urgent: Please urge your members of Congress to restore overtime pay.

    They have a chance to save overtime pay this week as they vote on 2005 spending bills. Some of those budget measures have amendments that would restore overtime pay for the 6 million workers who stand to lose it under President George W. Bush's overtime pay take-away.

    Your continued action to restore overtime pay is extremely important now. Help us make sure President Bush and his allies in Congress know the president's re-election doesn't mean he can cut our paychecks. We're going to keep fighting this overtime pay cut until we win.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    "Self-Made" Rich Folks Owe the Rest of Us Big-Time

    from The Seattle Times
    Responsible Wealth ( says, "Everyone on the Forbes 400 owes their wealth partly to a taxpayer-financed inheritance of public research and contracts; public schools and universities; communications, transportation and other critical infrastructure; and myriad government institutions from the Federal Reserve and the courts to the Treasury, Defense and Commerce Departments."
    The Bush Zone

    by The Angry Arab
  • I am outraged by US war crimes in Fallujah, and am more outraged by the lack of outrage that I encounter here in the US, and the silence of the corrupt and tyrannical Arab governments (and I am not excluding any one government; I include them all: Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, puppet Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc). All are scared of the US government, and are willing to butcher their people to win points with Bush.

  • Whenever you hear the word "democracy" in relation with the Middle East, especially from the mouth of Israelis or Americans, place it between quotation marks. They mean something else by it.

  • NBC aired the report of the shooting of the injured and unarmed Iraqi man. But NBC had to preface it with a "context" report that all but justified the killing.

  • Somebody was talking about how the Arab world would receive a female secretary of state. Give me a break or a potato. I really hate it when some American male pontificates about sexism of Arab/Muslim men. I say: excuse me? You are giving lessons in feminism?

  • They talk about [the] "window of opportunity" now presented by the death of Arafat. What kind of bankrupt policy it is that is predicated on the death of one man?
  • U.N. Chief for Human Rights Raises Concern on Falluja

    from The New York Times
    The United Nations' high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour, said today that she was concerned that the rules of war intended to protect civilians and combatants had been violated in Falluja during the fighting between American-led forces and insurgents...

    The number of Iraqi casualties has not been officially announced. The Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, has said he does not believe any civilians were killed in the offensive, which has left more than 1,200 insurgents dead, according to a Reuters report.
    Teamster Pensions Fair Worse with Wall St. than the Mob

    from The New York Times
    Since 1982, under a consent decree with the federal government, the fund has been run by prominent Wall Street firms and monitored by a federal court and the Labor Department. There have been no more shadowy investments, no more loans to crime bosses. Yet in these expert hands, the aging fund has fallen into greater financial peril than when James R. Hoffa, who built the Teamsters into a national power, used it as a slush fund.

    Monday, November 15, 2004

    Saturday, November 13, 2004

    Progress in Falluja

    from Under the Same Sun
    Whoever is allowing the marines or any American soldiers "rest" on that "plush red carpet" with their shoes, uniforms and machines guns is insane. Does anyone understand anything about religious feelings in general or about Islam in particular? Have they spent even half a day watching a documentary or two about Islam and noticed that people carefully and respectfully take their shoes off before entering a mosque, where they will kneel and put their head on that carpet? (Those "plush red carpets", by the way, are prayer rugs, or"sajjade." And you don't step on them with your combat boots, especially inside a mosque, and smile for the cameras unless you really want to fight to the death with up to a billion people.)

    Friday, November 12, 2004

    Obstructing the Peace Process

    from Informed Comment
    In the weeks leading up to Palestinian President Yassir Arafat’s death American politicians and pundits have repeatedly called on the Palestinian people to use the opportunity of his passing to transform the intifada from a violent uprising into a non-violent, democratic and pragmatic program for achieving independence. This is very good advice, needless to say, except for one small problem: Palestinians have been trying to build such a movement for the last two decades, and the Israeli Government, IDF and American policy-makers have done everything possible to make sure it could not be heeded.
    Remembering Arafat, Without the Palestinians

    from The Angry Arab
    The New York Times devotes its op-ed page today to the death of Arafat. For the Israeli point of view, Benni Morris (who is now candid about his support for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians) writes, and Jimmy Carter writes the American perspective. For the Palestinian perspective, the New York Times has an article by the...Jordanian King, of all people. As if there is anybody who is more despised by Palestinians than the Jordanian royal family. There is also a sinister and nasty obituary of Arafat in the Times today by anti-Arab fanatic (and Iraqi WMD fabricator) Judith Miller.
    Bev Harris Wins Lawsuit Against Diebold

    from The San Francisco Chronicle
    Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced a $2.6 million settlement Wednesday with Texas-based Diebold Elections Systems, seeking to end a lawsuit that alleged the company made false claims about one of its electronic voting systems.
    Bloggers Spread "Dark Ideas" about Voting Problems

    from The New York Times
    The e-mail messages and Web postings had all the twitchy cloak-and-dagger thrust of a Hollywood blockbuster. "Evidence mounts that the vote may have been hacked," trumpeted a headline on the Web site "Fraud took place in the 2004 election through electronic voting machines," declared

    In the space of seven days, an online market of dark ideas surrounding last week's presidential election took root and multiplied.

    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    The Iron Law of Generosity

    from A Tiny Revolution
    The death of Yasser Arafat is a good time to bring up one of my favorite subjects: geopolitical generosity.

    After the peace talks at Camp David ended in 2000 without an agreement, everyone in the US media starting talking about how Arafat had inexplicably turned down Israel's "generous offer." For instance, here's Charles Krauthammer:

    At Camp David, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians an astonishingly generous peace with dignity and statehood. Arafat not only turned it down, he refused even to make a counter offer!

    At the time, I didn't know exactly what had happened at Camp David. But hearing about Israeli generosity, I thought -- oh man, the poor Palestinians. That's because of what I call the Iron Law of Generosity: whenever one group of people talks about being "generous" to another, it means they're BEATING THE CRAP OUT OF THEM.

    Take Andrew Jackson. Here's what Jackson said in a famous address to Congress in 1830...
    Congressional Investigation on Voter Fraud

    from MoveOn
    Questions are swirling around whether the election was conducted honestly or not. We need to know--was it or wasn't it?

    If people were wrongly prevented from voting, or if legitimate votes were mis-counted or not counted at all, we need to know so the wrongdoers can be held accountable, and so we can prevent this from happening again.

    Members of Congress are demanding an investigation to answer this question. The decision on whether or not there will be an investigation could come as soon as Monday. Join us in supporting the call for one now, at:
    Video: Noam Chomsky on the Elections

    from Democracy Now
    You can’t ignore the election. It’s there. But it’s designed as a method of essentially marginalizing the population. There’s a huge propaganda campaign to get people to focus on these personalized extravaganzas, and make them think ‘That’s politics.” Well, it isn’t.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    We Need 1,2,3 Voting Now!

    from USA Today (2001)
    Two California cities, Oakland and San Leandro, just adopted a better way for local elections, called ''instant runoff voting.'' Under it, voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3 in order of preference. Voters thus could support both a Nader and a Gore, both a Buchanan and a Bush, or any other combination.

    If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the count is over and that candidate wins. If not, the last-place finisher is eliminated. Ballots cast for that candidate are counted for voters' next choice, until someone has a clear majority. Australia and Ireland have used the system for decades.
    When Christians Worship the Rich

    from The Philadelphia Weekly
    Among the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who turned out last Tuesday to vote their opposition to George W. Bush's and his "moral" agenda, Tony Campolo is a uniquely credible voice. Like most of those blamed for putting the White House in Republican hands for another four years, Campolo is an evangelical Christian.
    "[Bush proposed cutting] 500,000 after-school slots for tutoring children in the city in order to nurture this tax relief for the rich. This is a moral issue. If we're gonna be concerned about biblical issues, we have to ask ourselves the question: Is it right to give money to the rich at the expense of services to the poor? And I'm dealing with the question of healthcare for the elderly. The Bible says we're supposed to take care of the elderly, and I find that in today's world we have people who are trying to choose between buying medicine and buying food. And this is no exaggeration. It's a moral issue. When the president of the United States promises to deliver, as he has, complete medical coverage for every man, woman and child in Iraq, I have to ask the question: Can't you provide complete medical coverage for every man, woman and child here in the States?"
    EPA "CHEERS" Study of Pesticide on Infants and Toddlers (for Cash and Camcorders)

    from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
    EPA is paying families in Jacksonville, Florida (Duval County) who “spray or have pesticides sprayed inside your home routinely” to study the resulting chemical exposure in their infant children. The study, called the Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study or CHEERS, pays participating families $970 for participating throughout the entire two-year study period. Families who complete the study also get to keep the camcorder they are provided to record their babies’ behavior. In addition, families are given bibs, t-shirts and other promotional items. The families are recruited from public clinics and hospitals. EPA selects infants based upon pesticide residue levels detected in “a surface wipe sample in the primary room where the child spends time.”
    See also The Washington Post

    Ralph Nader Holds Press Conference in Washington, DC 1:00 PM, November 10, 2004
    Was Every Vote Counted Accurately?
    Nader/Camejo Goes Forward with Hand Recount in New Hampshire

    Washington, DC: Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader will be holding a press conference at 1:00 in at 1616 P Street, NW, 7th Floor. The press conference will focus on widespread reports of voting problems that raise questions about vote counting. The United States needs to face up to serious shortcomings in its electoral process so that we can have trust in the results of the vote.

    Nader/Camejo has requested a hand recount of the vote in New Hampshire because of reports of anomalies favoring President Bush in towns that used the Diebold AccuVote optical scan machines. A hand recount will either rule out the possibility of machine error or show a discrepancy in the Diebold machine and the actual vote—either way voters need to know. To review the request for a hand recount in New Hampshire visit Similar inexplicable results have been found in other states, including Ohio. Nader has called on John Kerry to demand that every vote be counted accurately. His campaign has remained strangely silent on the matter.

    This election has highlighted the need for electoral reform including federal standards for federal offices and non-partisan administration of the elections from ballot access, through debate participation and to how the vote is cast and counted.

    Tuesday, November 09, 2004

    Ashcroft Resigns

    from The Associated Press
    Ashcroft, in a five-page, handwritten letter to Bush, said, "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."
    The Organ Album Review

    Finally some American press for my friends in Canada.

    from The New York Times
    On "Grab That Gun" (Mint), Deborah Cohen's guitar melodies are as hooky and sad as Katie Sketch's vocals, forming an awkward reply to each chorus. Comparisons to the Smiths and Joy Division are easy, but Ms. Sketch's lyrics have a remarkable way of being aloof without sounding arrogant. Anchored by a pumping Hammond organ, the songs on "Grab That Gun" are often quirky and unconventional, a record for daydreaming about breaking hearts and basement suites in the winter. We wish we had had this intelligent and subtle music in high school, when we needed something to explain what we would be feeling through most of our 20's.
    CIA Official Defies Order to Stop Criticizing Agency

    from The Chicago Tribune
    A senior CIA counterterrorism official has defied orders to stop publicly criticizing the U.S. government's response to Al Qaeda, complaining that no one has been held accountable for failures that helped lead to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and warning that management problems continue to put Americans at risk.

    Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA and former chief of its Osama bin Laden operation, acknowledged Monday that he might be putting his job in jeopardy by discussing details of a memo in which he cited 10 examples of the agency's failures against Al Qaeda.

    Monday, November 08, 2004

    In Defense of the Pro-Choice Republican

    from Planned Parenthood
    Right-wing conservatives are demanding that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) be prevented from chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee because of published comments regarding likely anti-choice Supreme Court nominees. Specter remarked in a press conference on Wednesday that nominees who would attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade would be too conservative to be confirmed.
    Meanwhile, in Iraq...

    November 5, 2004
    Via fax: 603-271-6316

    To The Secretary of State of New Hampshire:

    The Nader/Camejo campaign requests a hand recount of the ballots in the presidential election in New Hampshire. Numerous voting rights activists have requested that we seek a recount of this vote.

    We have received reports of irregularities in the vote reported on the AccuVote Diebold Machines in comparison to exit polls and trends in voting in New Hampshire. These irregularities favor President George W. Bush by 5% to 15% over what was expected. Problems in these electronic voting machines and optical scanners are being reported in machines in a variety of states.

    We are requesting that the state undertake this recount or a statistically significant sample audit of these vote counts.

    We would like to make sure every vote counts and is counted accurately.


    Ralph Nader
    Have Nader Challenge the Votes!

    There is hope! Voters fraud has been exposed in Ohio and NH. Nader was on the ballot in both of those states. Although Kerry conceded, Nader can still challenge/contest the votes, call for a re-count and possible sway the election.

    There is evidence of MASSIVE fraud from republican districts. Check out Randy Rhodes' website from Air America radio - she goes more into it, but the fact is, if we can convince Nader to contest those votes, we may still have, if only slightly, a chance. Below is a sample email to send...draft your own if it suits you. Nader can be reached at: (email) OR(ph) 202-265-4000 OR (fax) 202-265-0183 OR PO Box 18002; Washington, DC 20026

    Dear Mr. Nader,
    I am writing to you concering voter fraud in Ohio and New Hampshire. Evidence is coming forth that Republican districts cheated by falsifying voter returns in these two states. Although John Kerry has conceded, you could still challenge those results and influence a very close and very crucial election.

    Please do not let your spirit of democracy, justice and truth die with this election. Chllenge the results in those states you were on the ballot!

    Sunday, November 07, 2004

    Why They Won, by Thomas Frank

    from The New York Times
    Like many such movements, this long-running conservative revolt is rife with contradictions. It is an uprising of the common people whose long-term economic effect has been to shower riches upon the already wealthy and degrade the lives of the very people who are rising up. It is a reaction against mass culture that refuses to call into question the basic institutions of corporate America that make mass culture what it is. It is a revolution that plans to overthrow the aristocrats by cutting their taxes.

    Friday, November 05, 2004

    Seeing Through the Great Divide

    I don't own a television, but from what I hear of the post-election coverage it's probably the best thing for my recovery. There is some patent nonsense being thrown around about what the election means and how America is deeply divided along party lines. A lot of the talk seems to have suddenly shifted to "moral values," something I don't remember hearing articulated before, at least in that way. My belief is that people are capable of coming to their own conclusions about what the election means, and that listening too closely to the "experts" has the effect of stultifying our impulse to do so. The news networks are highly concentrated conglomerates, closely linked to the political system, and they tend to reflect it in their programming. So if what you hear coming out of the four or five "official" news networks makes you feel like you're living in an alternate reality, it's only because you're still capable of independent thought, and what you hear does not match-up with what you see.

    Regarding the election, I think there are some common sense observations one can make. The first is that it was very close, and could easily have had a different outcome. Secondly, we have a deeply flawed voting system, unverifiable in large parts and highly inefficient in others. Thirdly, the "moral" dimension the election has taken after the fact should be considered closely in the light of professional politics, where morals have not traditionally fared so well.

    The idea that the country is divided is an indulgence taken by two parties who enjoy a monopoly over the political system, and who see America divided in their own image. The fact is that ordinary liberals and conservatives both perceive themselves in a pitched battle against entrenched elites, championing the little man against oppressive concentrations of power within the society. That strikes me as an overwhelming unity amongst ordinary people, who all suffer the same decline in real wages, benefits, and living standards regardless of their religious views or political beliefs, but who, thanks to the binary nature of the political process, attribute them to completely different things--a breakdown in values on the one hand, and a lack of regulation on the other. The actual elites--the ones within the Democratic and Republican parties, and their corporate backers--know this and play each constituency accordingly, and this election was largely a function of whose propaganda was more effective. That's not to say there aren't real policy differences between the parties, but rather that neither wants an actual shift of power from elites to the general population. That's something which can only come from below, by people recognizing the real, horizontal divide that separates their shared lot in life as increasingly impoverished liberals and conservatives vs. the ownership classes (both liberal and conservative, by the way) who run the country.

    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    Our Social Security Crisis: Bush

    If you want a sense of how our grief might serve us best in abbreviated form, President Bush announced today his intention to begin reforming Social Security through privatization, as part of the continued campaign to shift wealth from the population back to its rightful heirs. Social Security, probably the most successful government program in American history, is also one of the last remaining that directly benefits people. This concept--that tax money be used for people--is basically unacceptable in the contemporary political climate. Bush has sold his economic plan as one which frees America from the burden of taxes. From his perspective, this is not inaccurate: "America" means the owner and investor classes. According to this logic, things are going very well for "America," and there's great reason for optimism. The progressive income tax, all but dismantled last term, will be gone completely under Bush's "income-neutral" tax plans this term. Missile defense, that great tax-payer gift to defense contractors, will cost upwards of a trillion dollars. And now Social Security, the last great tax reserve outside Medicare dedicated to people is to be handed back to the captains of industry.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    The Best Man Wins

    In his first term as president, George Bush killed nearly half as many Americans in Iraq as Osama bin Laden did in Manhattan. Yesterday, Americans re-elected him; maybe another term will give him a chance to make up the difference.
    What Would Frodo Do?


    Monday, November 01, 2004

    Election Predictions

    I'm calling the election for Kerry by a reasonable margin. My hunch is that the other camp has simply been out-mobilized.
    The October Surprise

    I have to say I'm somewhat alarmed that Osama bin Laden has a better plan for American security than either of the presidential candidates.