Friday, October 22, 2004

Real conservatives don't support Bush 
American Conservative magazine has endorsed John Kerry for President:
The libertarian writer Lew Rockwell has mischievously noted parallels between Bush and Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II: both gained office as a result of family connections, both initiated an unnecessary war that shattered their countries' budgets.(...)

Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation's children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy. Add to this his nation-breaking immigration proposal--Bush has laid out a mad scheme to import immigrants to fill any job where the wage is so low that an American can't be found to do it--and you have a presidency that combines imperialist Right and open-borders Left in a uniquely noxious cocktail.

via MyDD

Yet Another Bush Tax Giveaway  
This story speaks for itself:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Without fanfare, President Bush signed into law on Friday a nearly $140 billion corporate tax cut bill derided by both Democratic presidential rival John Kerry and Republican Sen. John McCain as a giveaway to special interests.

Bush signed the measure into law aboard Air Force One en route to a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, forgoing a public signing ceremony that would have attracted attention to the tax cuts less than two weeks before Election Day.

The White House had marked the signing of Bush's other major tax bills with lavish public ceremonies. This one was marked with a one-paragraph statement by the press secretary.

Asked why there was no signing ceremony for the corporate tax bill, White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said: "There are a variety of ways the president signs legislation."

The corporate tax bill aims to end a trade fight with the European Union by repealing U.S. export tax subsidies that violate global trade rules.

But the $140 billion in new business tax breaks included many special interest provisions sharply criticized by public interest groups and fiscal conservatives, which congressional aides said explained Bush's decision to sign it in private.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who is campaigning for Bush, had called the measure "the worst example of the influence of special interests that I have ever seen."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

No, No, Nader 
Remember Nader's Raiders? They were the first wave of people motivated to public service and consumer protection following the lead of Ralph Nader, organizing and staffing PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups) nationwide. They want you NOT to vote for Ralph this year. In a letter signed by 75 of them, including former NJ PIRG executive director Ken Ward, they wrote:
Dear Voters,

Many of us -- former Nader's Raiders and leaders of his organizations -- voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Many did not. This November, none of us will vote for Ralph. We believe there is nothing more important than defeating George W. Bush. Ralph argues that he is creating an independent political voice. In 2000, when he ran as the Green Party candidate, that may have been true.

In 2004, as the candidate of the increasingly reactionary, anti-immigrant Reform Party, and the recipient of financial and political support from right-wing funders and operatives, it is not credible. Unfortunately, Ralph is party to a disingenuous effort to split the progressive vote in key states.

With the major party candidates in a dead heat, Nader is poised to tip the election to Bush -- again. We do not agree with Ralph that there is little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. We know that the country cannot afford another four years of Republicans controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and the entire federal Judiciary. The price of a protest vote is too high for families who live from paycheck to paycheck, for those concerned about the realities of war, for those who lack decent jobs and access to health care, and for the environment. ....

Join us. Cast your vote for a progressive future and support John Kerry.

from Salon, via Corrente
Note to potential Nader voters - Even if you live in a Kerry slam-dunk state like NY or CA, do NOT vote for Nader. Pull the lever for Kerry. We don't just want an electoral college victory, nor a marginal popular vote majority. To withstand challenges both electoral and legislative, John Kerry needs as large a popular vote count as we can muster. If he doesn't get it, we'll be in for a replay (politically, anyway) of the Clinton administration - obstruction and destruction as far as the eye can see. Give Kerry the mandate he'll need to reverse the worst of the Bush nightmare. Save your protest vote for another year. Maybe after a few years with responsible, intelligent leadership, we'll be able to afford it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Sinclair Broadcasting, with onion rings and a large shake 
Go buy a Whopper. No, buy two, with an extra large order of fries.

Burger King has withdrawn its advertising from all Sinclair stations on the day (now scheduled for Friday 10/22) that Stolen Honor is to air.

And Alan Hevesi, New York State Comptroller, responsible for the NY Retirement Fund and its 250,000 shares of Sinclair stock, wrote a stern letter of warning to David Smith, Sinclair's CEO.

Sinclair's stock price is turning it into Sink-lair - keep the pressure on.

via Pandagon

The Bush campaign thinks these shirts, and civil liberties themselves, are "obscene."

via Digby

Heroism and Shame 
Yesterday I wrote about the President's desk, and how the buck doesn't stop there anymore.

What also doesn't stop there is any regard for US service men and women. Dover AFB is still off-limits. Bush has yet to attend an Iraq-casualty funeral. Our soldiers do a dirty, dangerous job, with no clear mission, which pays little (and even less under Bush than it used to). Some of them are, indeed, heroes - and out of Iraq, none more heroic than Joe Darby, who not only risked his life but sacrificed so much more, when he told his commanding officers what was going on at Abu Ghraib. Joe Darby seems to have a much more visceral understanding of what service to America means - "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor" than George W Bush has, or will ever have. That Bush continues to ignore Darby's heroism is as shameful as anything else he has done.

An endorsement 
George W Bush - Official Candidate of the Axis of Evil

NJ, a safe blue state 
I was sure that the recent polls that showed NJ as a possible swing state were bogus. It looks like I was right.
October 19, 2004

New Poll Shows New Jersey Is Not in Play

By Alan Abramowitz

This poll of New Jersey likely voters is by the Eagleton Institute of Politics, a long-established, very reputable polling organization. Kerry leads by 13 among likely voters. Kerry's firm support is 48 percent; Bush's firm support is 36. Kerry is likely to carry NJ by about the same margin as Gore did four years ago. This state is not in play.

Whew! That's a relief. While a little attention from the candidates is nice, I'd rather see the Kerry campaign spend its money where it'll really count - Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania.

Sinclair Broadcasting 
Sinclair is backing off, a little bit. They now say they're only going to excerpt their anti-Kerry film instead of broadcasting it in its entirety.

It's not enough. Their intent is still clear, and it has nothing to do with "news," about which they have never before given a rat's ass...

We in the NY metro area don't have any Sinclair stations to aim at, but that doesn't mean we can't use whatever power we can muster. And that means financial power - power to affect their stock price and their market capitalization - power that will go straight to the Smith family pocketbooks. Express your displeasure to the TV networks. Tell national advertisers that their presence on Sinclair outlets will affect your buying decisions. Sell mutual funds that hold Sinclair stock, and tell them why you're selling. Contact your pension funds and ask them to sell the Sinclair stock they hold.

If Sinclair were in the newspaper business instead of broadcasting, I'd leave 'em be - but they, as FCC licensees, are expected to be fair stewards of public property, i.e. the broadcast spectrum. Since the FCC itself is currently in thrall to the Republican oligarchy, the only power we citizens have in this matter is economic. Let's keep the pressure on.

I'm very ambivalent about using tactics like this, but the Republican propaganda machine has been using them, very successfully, for thirty years. It's not just the Richard Mellon Scaifes of the world who hold the cards. (Can a pair of Johns beat a handful of Jokers?) I'm too old and too cynical to believe in "the people" in the idealistic way we meant it in the '60's (and the way hopeful young people in every generation seem to) but still, Patti Smith's lyrics strike a chord that can't entirely be silenced by the passage of time and innocence:
The power to dream / to rule
to wrestle the world from fools
it's decreed the people rule
it's decreed the people rule
I believe everything we dream
can come to pass through our union
we can turn the world around
we can turn the earth's revolution
we have the power
People have the power ...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The buck stops where? 
The Pentagon (and, presumably, The White House) knew the evil that was going on at Abu Ghraib Prison in November of 2003.

It's now almost a year later, and who has been brought to account? Chain of command is supposed to work in both directions - commanders are responsible for what their subordinates do. This is as much true in the civilian sector as the military, and George Bush is both the civilian CEO AND the military Commander-in-Chief, yet beyond those few show-trials of enlisted men (and woman), not one member of the command staff has been so much as reprimanded publicly for this.

Where is Harry Truman's famous desk sign when we need it? When CEOs fail so badly, and cast such a bad light on their companies, they get fired. When military commanders screw up so spectacularly, they are cashiered, if not court-martial'ed. I think it's time to send a few pink slips.

See the rest of Oscar-winner Errol Morris' campaign ads

Sinclair Broadcasting 
I was just starting to post here about the Sinclair Broadcast Group's current stock slide. Sinclair management have been so busy hushing up news that reflects badly on Bush and presenting fake "news" that trashes Kerry, that they forgot that they run a publicly held company and have fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders. I was going to suggest that it was time for a shareholder lawsuit when I read a blog post by Josh Marshall on the same topic. And he's telling us about some real, live shareholder lawsuits against Sinclair. Huzzah!

The way to effect change in corporate behavior is, of course, economic pressure. Besides the stock-price free fall (down over 50%) and the shareholder lawsuits, SBG sales are also being hit - almost 80 advertisers have withdrawn their ads from Sinclair TV outlets.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Canadian flu 
Remember when the Republican argument against national health care was that it would cause health care to be rationed?
With only 300 doses of the flu shot for the township, Bloomfield will distribute them, by lottery, to residents in high-risk groups.

Concert success 
Last night's Concert For Victory '04 at the Maplewood Women's Club was a great success, raising over $43,000 for the Kerry/Edwards campaign. The music was fabulous, including a surprise appearance by a favorite of mine, Nellie McKay, who came up for one song and stayed for the finale.

Congratulations and thanks to the organizers - now we just have to win.

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