Sunday, August 31, 2003

Why the two major parties are the problem, Part who knows what ...
Now there is a recall movement against a Republican governor - in Nevada: ["Group Seeks to Recall Nevada Governor"]. While the recall is an interesting provision, unless elected officials are charged with serious crimes, why bother? It is all so ... partisan.

Dean's Sleepless Summer tour connects ...
Check out some of the highlights from Dean's Sleepless Summer tour tonight on CSPAN: ["2004 Vote"]. It is pretty clear that Dean is starting to connect with the voters beyond just New England and Iowa [Leading in NH with 38 percent; leading in Iowa with 25 percent; leading in Maryland with 25 percent; fourth in Michigan and South Carolina with 13 and 4 percent, respectively]. He has earned his front-runner status. The 2004 Vote series is always a good eye opener to behind the scenes stuff. However, I couldn't help but think how similar these Dean events were to Nader's 2000 stadium speaking tour, although, people paid to hear Nader speak.

... most others don't
Two-thirds of American voters can't name any of the candidates: ["Few Paying Mind to Democratic Candidates"].

Delivering the votes
So, here is the head of Diebolt not really being careful about picking his words: ["Voting machine controversy"]. With all the conspiracies swirling around about electronic voting you would think these guys would wise up a little. It could put their business in jeopardy.

Take Back The Media makes FoxNews
["National Review, Fox News, and "Bush Haters"]

Friday, August 29, 2003

Clinton in 2004? Well, probably not ...
After a whole lot of speculation, Clinton dismisses the prez talk: ["Sen. Clinton Dismisses 2004 Speculation"].
"I am absolutely ruling it out," Clinton said during a visit to the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y.
Harold Ickes: "She ain't going to run."
"Senator Clinton has repeatedly said that she will serve out her full, six-year term," said Philippe Reines.
Alright, alright, enough of the denials. Can we move on now?

The reason we need a safety net
Because charities can not be counted on: ["Foundations Paying Millions of Dollars to Their Own Well-To-Do Trustees Instead of Charities, Study Shows"].

The Ten Commandments -- Are They Fair and Balanced?
More great stuff from Norman Solomon.

Is Kerry in trouble at home?
David Guarino reported in the Herald today that the campaign is auto-calling people to come to his announcement: ["Candidate's phone blitz aims to build up crowd"].

Edwards turns on the southern charm

By Anthony Schinella/Staff Writer

Thursday, August 28, 2003

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Hot dogs, hamburgers, and hardball politics were served up to an early evening crowd Wednesday night outside of Manchester City Hall where Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards brought his "Real Solutions Express" to the voters of New Hampshire.

To the tune of John Mellencamp's "Small Town," Edwards welcomed about 150 people - including many of Manchester's homeless community who had come for the free food - to the event, saying he would hold over 100 similar town hall meetings across the state in the coming weeks.

"As you can probably see already, this is a family thing for us," he said, while his 5-year-old daughter Emma Claire grabbed the candidate's pant legs, waving at the crowd.

While Edwards did talk about some issues, he spent the bulk of his time chatting about his working class family background, while at the same time, lodging a number of attacks against President George W. Bush.

Standing in front of a semi-circle of chairs, acting as if he were part of an old time revival meeting, Edwards said he was the first member of his family to attend college. His grandmother came from a family of sharecroppers in South Carolina, while his father worked in a mill and his mother worked at the local post office. Edwards' younger brother, an electrical worker, is a card carrying member of the IBEW.

"I believe there are some simple fundamental differences between George Bush and most of us, and most of America," Edwards said. "[He] honors one thing: wealth. Because of the way I grew up, and because of the world I grew up in, instead of honoring and respecting wealth, what I honor and respect is hard work, and responsibility. Those are the values that most of us grew up with."

Edwards believed the problems with the American economy were because the president didn't understand what the rest of the public understood. He said the country could not continue on the same path - losing three million jobs in the last two years - and continue with Bush's "jobless economic recovery."

"A job is more than a paycheck - it is about self-worth and dignity," he said.

Two issues Edwards would address as president would be to create a fair trade economy and change the corporate tax code. Edwards would encourage companies to locate factories to communities hit hardest by closures, adding that incentive programs with startup seed money and tax breaks would create new jobs. At the same time, Edwards would establish corporate responsible policies, including closing overseas tax shelters and keeping corporations from raiding worker pensions, as well as addressing the growing gap between worker and CEO compensation.

On education, Edwards said Bush's No Child Left Behind was under-funded by over $10 billion and didn't address the fundamental problem with education in America.

"We still have two public school systems in America," he said. "One for the haves and one for the have-nots. You live in an affluent community? The odds are your child can get a pretty good public school education. If you don't, the odds go down dramatically. What is he going to do about it? Nothing ... it's nothing but a political slogan. I would have no chance of being here today without great teachers, and a great public school system."

Instead, Edwards would fully fund special education mandates and lead a national initiative to increase teacher pay. He said he would also reward teachers with bonuses and sponsor a scholarship program to encourage placement of teachers in areas where they were needed most.

Edwards called health care "a critical issue" and promoted three simple ideas to fix the problem. Guaranteeing health care as "a birth right" would be a start, he said. Tax credits for families with high premiums and curbing the cost of prescriptions and insurance companies would also be sponsored.

"The cost of health care in America it is completely out of control," he said. "And the reason is exactly what most of you think: The HMOs, the insurance companies, the big drug companies have a strangle-hold on Washington, D.C. I have seen it up close. There are more lobbyists for those industries than people who live in my hometown."

But at least two major health care issues were ignored by the candidate Wednesday: Medicinal marijuana use and tort reform.

A small group of protesters, including advocates of marijuana usage, complained about the candidate's reported lack of sympathy towards people with severe illnesses.

Aaron Houston, a member of Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana, said Edwards wanted to jail seriously ill patients who might be using marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of their treatments. Edwards' wife Elizabeth later talked to Houston and others about the issue, while staffers attempted to get the protesters to leave and later, blocked their signs from the view of cameras and attendees.

"[Edwards] would not change the law," Houston said. "If he says he won't jail seriously ill patients ... sure, we'll leave."

Another protester was dressed up in a shark suit - a disguised reference to Edwards' career as a malpractice lawyer which has earned him millions of dollars from class-action lawsuits.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

"Edwards turns on the southern charm"
Here is my piece about the Edwards rally in Manchester last week.

The secret is out ...
CNN reveals how the RIAA is nailing downloaders: ["Revealed: How RIAA tracks downloaders"].
For example, the industry disclosed its use of a library of digital fingerprints, called "hashes," that it said can uniquely identify MP3 music files that had been traded on the Napster service as far back as May 2000. Examining hashes is commonly used by the FBI and other computer investigators in hacker cases.
Must be nice ...
Guess who won the lottery? ["US stock exchange chairman gets his share - $140m nest egg"].

How embarrassing is this?
You gotta love the BBC: ["Is This The Reason Bush Is Our President?"].

Clinton in 2004? Please God - No!
Rumors have been swirling in the rightwing press [, Washington Times, etc.] that Sen. Hillary Clinton is planning on jumping into the 2004 presidential race. Personally, I doubt she will run. But this weekend, it looks like the pow wow is on: ["Bush's vulnerability may yet tempt Hillary"] ["Reeves: Hillary Will Decide Presidential Plans Within Days"] ["INTRIGUE AROUND HILLARY '04 OPTIONS"]
Holy sh*t!
"U.S. misled by bogus pre-war intelligence? Allied agencies investigating possibly fake defectors, data"

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

FLASH: Dean takes 21 point lead in NH!
Polling 500 people isn't enough to make a huge difference but "holy cow" is right: ["Dean Takes Double-Digit Lead Over Kerry"].

Monday, August 25, 2003

Are we going to Lebanon next?
["Report: U.S. suspects Iraqi WMD in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley"].

Dean packs them in ...
10,000 thousand in Seattle: ["Thousands turn out for Howard Dean rally"].
900 pack a town hall in Spokane: ["Spokane crowds overwhelm Dean campaign"].

And who would Jesus tax?
Gov. Riley in Alabama takes Jesus' words to heart and promotes changing the tax code: ["Alabama tax plan causes unholy outrage"].
"I've spent a lot of time reading the New Testament and it has three philosophies: Love God, love each other, and take care of the least among you. It is immoral to charge somebody making $5,000 a year an income tax." - Gov. Bob Riley
No income taxes to all below $20,000 in income. Wow, what a concept?

To Dean or not to Dean: that is the question
["A Progressive Case for Dean? Not Yet, Kucinich Is Still Our Man"].

'Louie, Louie'
Guitarists rock out and break a record: ["754 guitars rock into the record book with 'Louie Louie'"].

Sunday, August 24, 2003

American soldiers using AK-47s ...
... because they are short on rifles: ["U.S. troops using confiscated Iraqi AK-47s"]. This is the most powerful military in the world? What the hell are we spending $396 billion dollars on?
Political celebs
On Thursday, after coming back from the Edwards event, I put together a quick piece about the candidate having the "Clinton mojo." However, I spaced out talking about a strange anomaly of the event: The attendance of the political celebrities.
This was the first campaign event where I saw some of the more serious political "reporters" in the audience.
George Stephanopoulous of ABCNews' "This Week," Jeff Greenfield of CNN, and Carl Cameron, of FoxNews, were all at the event. John Wagner of the Raleigh News & Observer was also there, and his stories have been linked to The Note: ["Edwards sets 100 N.H. meetings"].
Greenfield was friendly with some of the cameramen and reporters and chatted with attendees who recognized him. Cameron – who is shockingly thinner in person than on TV – was a social butterfly. Almost everyone recognized him, and a number of people said positive things about FoxNews. He even greeted Manchester Mayor Bob Baines and some of the other old-school Democratic powerbrokers like former state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, like they were old friends – showing all that Cameron knew the Manchester political landscape. Cameron was also later seen sneaking a ciggie in the corner where no one could see him.
Stephanopoulous had all the pomp and circumstance of a Greek god, with young female aides in tow and a self-important scowl on his face as he strolled down Elm Street, probably from his hotel room. Dressed in a black suit with open collared, blue button-down shirt, he had all the personality of a soap dish – glaring blankly at other reporters, including me for about 30 seconds, like we were supposed to fawn all over him or something [I wonder if he recognized me from the 1992 Brown effort. Probably not]. He barely talked to anyone at the event but did make on-camera time for the local ABC affiliate, WMUR, which did a quick interview with him. He was pretty weird.
But this got me to thinking.
I have been to four of these events so far, and with the exception of David Shuster of MSNBC at Dean’s Nashua event and various local reporters [including the excellent Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph], the national political press has been nowhere. What is it that attracted these reporters to the Edwards event? Edwards is in the bottom tier of polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and most national polls. Most politicos think he will end his presidential campaign and go back to North Carolina to run for reelection. BTW, Edwards is discouraging this kinda talk: ["Edwards quizzed about Senate"]. So why were they there? Could it be the "Clinton mojo?" Seeing Stephanopoulous – who ran Clinton's campaign with James Carville – would lend some credence to this theory. I guess I should have asked each of them why their news directors thought Edwards was important enough to cover, while Dean, Gephardt, and Kerry were not, but I didn’t think of it at the time.

Voter regret ...
There have been a billion articles on Nader voters' regrets in the last two years. Well, polls say Bush voter regret is simmering: ["Nearly half of Americans wouldn't vote for Bush again"].

'Bring my daddy home alive'
You can't help but get choked up looking at this little girl holding a sign at a Bush protest yesterday in the Dallas Morning News, via Common Dreams: ["Protesters Near Bush Ranch Demand Withdrawal of Troops from Iraq "].

Dean not so green
The Concord Monitor had a pretty good piece Friday on Howard Dean who was in Nashua visiting Superfund sites: ["Dean green on trail, but Vermont knows better"].

"In his five campaigns for governor, the Sierra Club's Vermont chapter never endorsed him. Even in 2000, when he faced the most difficult election of his career after signing the country's first civil unions bill, 40 prominent environmentalists publicly backed Progressive Party candidate Anthony Pollina.
"The privilege to earn a profit in Vermont does not automatically come, as Dean apparently believes, with a free pass to pollute our waters, despoil our natural resources or destroy our communities," Conservation Law Foundation lawyer Chris Kilian wrote in the Rutland Herald in September 2000."
Whoa. Then, there is this:

"In an appearance on a radio show in 2001, when California's energy crisis peaked in weeks of rolling blackouts, Dean pointed out that Vermont was facing a major future megawatt shortage. Within 15 years, both Vermont's nuclear plant's license and the state's contract with a Canadian hydroelectric plant would expire, leaving Vermonters in jeopardy of losing two-thirds of their electric power.
Dean suggested the state consider building a clean coal-fired plant. Though he emphasized he wasn't necessarily proposing anything - "this is intended to spur discussion," he said - the environmental community flew into an uproar. What about renewables? What about conservation?
"The resulting hue and cry . . . was so strident that he might as well have proposed a state holiday celebrating child molesters," economist Jonathan Lesser wrote in an opinion piece in the Burlington Free Press.
Dean quickly cancelled that short-lived discussion. But in a move that enraged progressives even further, he ousted one of his environmental advisers, respected Conservation Law Foundation attorney Elizabeth Courtney, for publishing an opinion piece criticizing Dean. The governor was clearly annoyed that she had pressed the issue even after he had backed away from it. Some Vermont environmentalists still haven't forgiven him."

And they shouldn't. Candidates have to think through some of their ideas before they just spout off anything. Kerry did something similar last year when he started talking about building more nuclear power plants - the worst thing our nation could do to address its energy problems - and something all voters should worry about.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

More 'fair and balanced' ...
Former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart has helped found a Bush recall effort ["Dem Start Group to Try to 'Recall' Bush"]. Note the name of the PAC: The Fair and Balanced PAC. Hah!
Also, another look at the lawsuit by Dan Kennedy: ["Crazy like a Fox"].

Electronic voting critic worked for competitor
"A Johns Hopkins University researcher who criticized Diebold Inc.'s electronic voting system revealed this week that he worked for an industry rival until a few days ago." ["Diebold critic faces scrutiny"]

Speaking of the Phoenix ...
Check out this great piece by Trudy Lieberman about hunger in America: ["Hungry in America"].

Gephardt talks to small business

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

By Anthony Schinella / Staff Writer

This is the third in a series of articles about the Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

CONCORD, N.H. - A shoe store might not be the first place considered for a presidential campaign stop. But if the candidate is meeting with business owners and activists worried about the survival of small businesses during a down economy, the reason becomes clear.

Seated in front of a New Balance display at Joe King's Shoes in downtown Concord two Fridays ago, Rep. Dick Gephardt made the pitch to a small crowd eager to hear about his proposals for boosting the economy.

"We need your foot size and depth," he joked before meeting the panel. "We'll get you a good pair of shoes here - hopefully made in America - we'll see what we can do."

Despite the humor, Gephardt heard many fears and worries from business owners and residents, all looking for solutions to the economic problems.

Lorrie Carey, the owner of Marshall's Flowers, said her property taxes and electric bills have increased about $300 per month recently, adding that health care costs made it challenging for her to keep employees hired at her store.

"I have never in all my life been this close to the edge," she said. "It has been really tough. We find ourselves losing ground. I liken our economy to a 2-year-old with his shoelaces untied running down Main Street. You know what happens in that situation."

City Councilor Doris Ballard and her husband have owned Ballard's Novelty & Party Shop for the last 23 years in Concord's South End neighborhood. She said she was "very worried for the future" and pointed to rising health insurance costs as one of her biggest concerns. Two years ago, she took a part-time job in order to cover expenses. This year, she was notified that the couple's health insurance had reached $950 a month, and now the company had to consider cutting staff.

"I cannot stay with our company and pay that, and still draw a salary without laying off two people," she said. "I see a drop in business, not only our business, but nation-wide. There seems to be a fear - a lack of confidence in the economy - people are being very cautious on how they are spending their dollars, and the ripple effect is affecting everyone from the top on down. Health insurance is a crisis - the cost is a real crisis."

Community Services Council of N.H. Executive Director Dalia Vidunas said the organization had seen a sharp increase in requests for services since the economy turned but, at the same time, was working with less money than in the past. The non-profit specializes in assisting families with emergency housing needs as well as drug and alcohol intervention.

"It has been on a steady increase for about the last six months or so - we had a 200 percent increase in our hotline," she said. "But the problem is ... we aren't getting more money. The safety net for people in New Hampshire is really falling away."

Gephardt called Bush's economic program "a failure and a mess," adding that "he has declared war on the middle class, through his policies." The candidate pointed to 3.1 million jobs lost in a little over three years which elevated the unemployment rate to 6 percent. He said national deficits and debts have also risen since Bush was elected.

"This is not working," he said. "How dumb do they think we are? We need to get back to a set of policies that will grow the economy, get better paying jobs recreated in this country, and move everybody ahead together."

As majority leader in the Congress in 1993, Gephardt said he was able to get the difficult Clinton economic package passed without a single republican vote. What followed, he said, was "a sensible and balanced" program which created surpluses and a booming economy. As deficits dropped, Gephardt said, people saw interest rates fall and made investments in businesses, and the economy moved forward. During that time, 22 million new jobs were created, and unemployment dropped to its lowest level in decades.

"You, the American people, created the best economy we have had in 50 years," he said. "The combination of actions created a positive psychology in the country."

Gephardt called the health care problem "a moral issue," adding that he would work to insure everyone in the country by requiring every employer to offer plans to employees. At the same time, companies would get a refundable tax credit equal to 60 percent of the cost of the offered plan. The higher coverage offered by companies, the higher the tax credit, he said. Gephardt said his health care plan would do more than the Bush tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

Gephardt also promoted environmental protection and expansion of technology to create a national sustainable energy policy and decrease the country's dependency on foreign oil. On trade policy, Gephardt said he would promote "a free and fair trade policy" which would improve labor standards overseas. He said he would lobby the World Trade Organization for an international minimum wage geared toward each country. Gephardt added that if America didn't improve its trade policy soon, it could lose more software and manufacturing jobs.

"I don't know how we are going to support all these good, small businesses, if people don't have good jobs," he said. "You have to have workers with money in their pocket to make the economy grow."

After hearing from the panelists, Gephardt thanked them saying, "It takes a lot of courage to do this. It helps us all understand what is happening out in Main Street America which is what we need to know."

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

"Gephardt talks to small business"
Here is my article from the Gephardt event last week.
Drugless Douglas says goodbye
You couldn't help but get choked up a little while listening to the tail end of the "Old Fart at Play" show on WMFO tonight. After 16 years of air at WMFO, DJ Drugless Douglas played one last show and will be heading to Denver on Monday. For the last few years, Douglas was sitting in for the ailing Mikey Dee, booking "On the Town with Mikey Dee," and covering for Mikey. However, in order to grow in life, change is sometimes necessary, and Douglas decided to leave WMFO, just as I did earlier this summer after 10 years on and off at the station. On the verge of tears, Douglas read from an email he sent out to people on his list earlier tonight:

"Tonight, I host my 769th and final regularly scheduled radio show on WMFO. The last edition of "Old Fart At Play" will run from 7-9pm, Eastern Time.

This marks the cutting of the final, and in many ways, most difficult, cord to cut before I head to Denver on Monday. For me, it's always been about more than spinning tunes. I wanted to be a dj since I was a little kid, and this has been one of those rare experiences where the reality was better than the fantasy.

I LOVE being a WMFO dj. Years ago, I adopted a policy of always leaving the station a little bit better than it was when I got there. Sometimes that meant filing LPs or CDs, repairing equipment, etc.; sometimes it meant picking up a piece of trash off the floor and putting in the wastebasket. I'd like to think after more that 16 years at The Mighty MOFO, my efforts will have left the station just a little bit better than it was when I got there.

The first song that I ever played on the radio was Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage." What will be the last one? I've had a long time to contemplate that question. You can get the answer tonight.

So please tune WMFO in tonight between 7-9pm ET at 91.5 if you're downwind, or if you're outside the signal range. And why not make a night of it? Check out Paul Day's super fine HBee, Inc. show directly preceding me from 5-7, and "On The Town With Mikey Dee" directly following from 9pm - Midnight. Jay Schuster hosts, and Verona Downs performs a live set from the legendary Studio Dee.

I'll be maintaining this email address, as well as the web site for the foreseeable future. I still have several live performances I'd like to put up, as well as zillions of photos. That's the plan, anyway.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for your support. It's been a blast!


Douglas did an eclectic freeform show for WMFO and every week it was different. He will be missed at the station and will be missed by Boston rockers for all the work he did to promote local music. Good luck Douglas and drive carefully.

Edwards starts up the Clinton mojo
Earlier today, I was at Sen. John Edward’s open BBQ/rally at Manchester City Hall, and I am still puzzled by the event. It was part revival tent, part snake oil salesman, and part Clinton.
In fact, the similarities between Edwards and Clinton were pretty astounding. That same “awe shucks” grin, the southern charm, the populist overtones with little substance underneath, the one-on-one, hand-holding, look in to the eyes of the voter routine that comes with all good politicians – and people who can’t be trusted.
Edwards said a lot of good things today and from his remarks, he has learned from people he has already met. He also realizes the current trade problems America has. At a debate last week, he said he would not have voted for NAFTA. That is a start. It will be good to see if he learns anything else along the way.
One thing I learned from being in Manchester both today and two weeks ago at Kerry’s event – is that there is a serious problem in America. There were scads of homeless people in Manchester. The free food drew them to the rally. But from their worn faces – from the sun, smokes, booze, and whatever – were showing the strains of some tough lives. Things are not working in America, and something must be done.
Rumors have been circulating and Edwards has not tried to quash them. He is going to keep testing the waters in N.H. and make a decision some time after Labor Day whether he will stay in the race for the Democratic nomination or go home to North Carolina and run for reelection to the Senate. From the crowd response he received today, who knows where his head will be at.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Fusion ballot question
I missed this earlier this week: Labor weasel Rand Wilson, of Mass. SEIU and Jobs with Justice, is forwarding a ballot question to allow fusion tickets in Massachusetts: ["Ballot initiative seeks to boost political clout of third parties"]. Once again, Dr. Jill Stein nails the problem right on the head:

"Fusion voting encourages back room deals between parties," said former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein, who won about 3.5 percent of the vote in last year's election. "It's not the parties that need more power, it's the people who need a bigger voice."
Absolutely. The article continues:

A better alternative, Stein said, is "instant run-off" elections, which allow voters to cast ballots for more than one candidate. If their first choice doesn't win, the vote transfers to their second choice. Under the plan, a liberal voter could cast their first vote for the Green Party candidate and their second for the Democratic candidate. If the Green Party candidate lost, the vote would go to the Democratic candidate rather than being lost, said Stein.
'You are correct sir,' as Ed McMahon used to say. IRV would not only increase the power of voters but it would also increase the power of the third parties at the same time. IRV allows voters to do what they want, without being scared. And, if they choose to, the voters can give the lesser of two evil candidates their second vote or third votes. It is as simple as that. With IRV, there is no need for tricky fusion schemes or power-plays between the powerful players.
So why call Rand a weasel?
Well, you see, Rand and his ilk don't want to increase the power of third parties. Actually, they want to thwart the power of independents and have done so on any number of occasions.
The SEIU, along with many of the other unions, has done everything it could to keep third party and independent candidates down in Massachusetts. I know this from firsthand experience in my 1998 congressional race, and I have seen how the unions attacked the Greens in 2000 and 2002.
In 1998, I was kept out of at least two labor sponsored forums because I was an independent candidate, even though I had a better labor record than half the Democrats running! I was also the only candidate running who actually worked to stop job stealing trade deals like NAFTA and GATT. I possessed copies of the treaties! But my candidacy - and that of Republican Phil Hyde - was silenced by the labor organizers.
In 2000, everyone knows how Nader was treated by organized labor. Sure, he got a couple of endorsements. But otherwise, he was treated like a pariah even after all he had done for workers in his 35-plus years of activism.
The Greens were the only political body to stand with the striking office cleaning workers last year while - for the most part - the Democrats didn't do jack shit.
After the strike was settled, members of the SEIU fawned all over the Democratic nominee for governor, Shannon O’Brien, and all the help she supposedly gave, yet ignored the Greens like they had a disease or something. I will never forget this female Latina organizer going on and on during a television news program about O'Brien for all she did for the effort when she was nowhere in sight! However, Jill Stein and James O'Keefe, both statewide Green Party candidates, marched with the strikers and even mentioned their cause in debates and press releases and yet were ignored by labor after everything was settled.

I will never forget a meeting I - and other members of the New England Fair Trade Council - attended with Rand and others organizing the effort to kill GATT in 1994. Bob Baughman and I made the push that we should threaten and even take on the Democrats in the next election cycle if they didn't try to stop President Bill Clinton, and the free trade Democrats and Republicans. Rand had a hissy fit, saying we couldn't challenge the Democrats because they did so many other good things. Bob and I looked at each other, thinking, 'What the hell are we doing here then?' The meeting was about trade; not other issues. All the other labor folks sat silently and followed Rand's lead. In the end, the unions didn't do anything, the Democrats were protected, and GATT passed - costing our country millions of union jobs.

I have never supported fusion. The Rainbow Coalition’s Mel King always promoted it as one of the solutions to the progressive’s dilemma. But I have always felt that it would be a distraction - even if it were politically interesting. Fusion would cause disruption within the third parties - yes, even more than the Gore loss in 2000. Voters should have the guts and integrity to stand by the candidate they want to vote for and not be distracted by the schemes to merge the minor parties with the major parties. And the major parties should do what they can to give us reasons to vote for them.
However, I admit that I have warmed to the idea of some proportional representation strategy like IRV in order to remove the stigma from casting a vote for third party and independent candidates.
However, the people sponsoring this petition cannot be trusted, and this proposal should be defeated.

Fair & Balanced
From Dan Kennedy this morning, blog has posted a number of Web sites that have decided to name their Web sites "Fair & Balanced" in honor of FoxNews' supposed trademark of the slogan: ["Who's Fair & Balanced"].

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Ah Kerry, the common man ...
Poor John Kerry – he just can’t get a break.
He seems to have the goods to make a classic president: Decent appearance, award-winning military service, tons of cash, a funny, smart-ass second wife, and a good grasp of some issues. While his campaign is doing well in New Hampshire [20-23 percent, in a virtual tie with Dean], he is rudderless everywhere else [Fourth in most national polls; third in both Iowa and Michigan with 12 percent; 5 percent in South Carolina; 8 percent in Illinois - 20 points behind Carol Moseley Braun(!)].
What's the problem then? Well, the Washington Post kinda nails it on the head in this piece about the steak bomb flap: ["Steak Raises Stakes for Kerry in Philly"].

"For Kerry, a Boston Brahmin, this is something of a sore spot. As he seeks to lose his reputation for $75 Salon Cristophe haircuts, Turnbull & Asser shirts and long fingernails to play classical guitar, he has been seen riding a motorcycle and doing other regular-guy things. Appearing out of touch with the common man can be deadly for a candidate. Recall George H.W. Bush's wonderment in the 1992 campaign upon coming across a supermarket scanner, and Sargent Shriver's legendary request for a Courvoisier while visiting a milltown bar in 1972."

Boy, doesn't that say it all, especially for those of us who have any experience with Kerry? But John, I can’t blame you. Who can eat that processed cheese "stuff?" I don’t care what the food critic says, Cheez Whiz is disgusting. However, your wife should worry: Swiss cheese is very high in cholesterol but it is also very delish.
Also, Howie Carr was all over the airwaves this afternoon with his low brow impression of Kerry, complete with the huffing and puffing and Biff and Buffy routine. And no, he didn’t use Kerry’s now classic pick-up line to young women, "I’m ready to make a commitment to you right now."

It had to happen some time, Part 2
More on Nader getting a pie in the face: ["Nader Takes Pie For Green Party As He Endorses Recall Candidate"]. I tried to get to the KTXL-TV Web site but it isn't up for some reason. I wonder if they have video of this.

A writer makes the case for Kucinich ...
Salem, Mass. resident Daniel Welch talks about supporting Kucinich on his blog: ["We Were Just Talking: (Yet ) another conversation about Dennis Kucinich"].

... while The Philadelphia Daily New's John Baer says it's Dean or Kerry
["It's Dean or Kerry, and not much else"].

Franken at #4 with a bullet
["Franken Makes Light of Fox Slogan Lawsuit"].

At 'Fresh Air Forum,' voters query Kerry

By Anthony Schinella / Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

This is the second in a series of articles about the democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

MANCHESTER, N.H. - A late afternoon thunderstorm may have forced Sen. John Kerry's "Fresh Air Forum" from Victory Park - a small, green space in the heart of the state's largest city - to an auditorium at the N.H. Institute of Art. But it didn't stop residents from grilling the senator on many issues ranging from international trade and health care, to civil liberties and the economy.

Entering to the Thin Lizzy tune, "The Boys are Back in Town," played by one of the art school's rock bands, Kerry spent a short time talking about his 35 years in public life and the reasons he was running for the highest office in the land. He called his life "a journey" - fighting in Vietnam as a soldier and later, protesting against the war. Kerry was also a county prosecutor, lieutenant governor, and senator for the last 19 years in Massachusetts. He said it led him to a "moment in history as critical as anything I have seen in that entire journey."

"Never since I returned from Vietnam in 1969 have I believed that it was so urgent for us as citizens of our country to become involved again, revitalizing our own democracy," he said.

Kerry was critical of President George W. Bush's administration calling it "the greatest say one thing do another administration in recent history." He added that Bush had failed on all his campaign promises and ruined the economy.

"The only jobs George Bush has created are the nine of us running for president," Kerry joked. "Every American I'm meeting in this country is tired of being trickled on by George W. Bush. When you add it all up, the one person in the United States of America that deserves to be laid off is George W. Bush."

When asked about tobacco issues, Kerry agreed to support better Food & Drug Administration regulations of cigarettes, and possibly a $1 increase in the federal tobacco tax.

Another questioner encouraged Kerry to make Wal-Mart buy American products "instead of being a communist dictatorship's [China's] eighth largest trading partner." While Kerry said a president shouldn't regulate what countries retailers buy from, he did say the company should provide health benefits to employees and be better controlled by local zoning and planning boards.

"There are a lot of issues with Wal-Mart," he said. "I think there ought to be a tougher effort to try and restrict the growth [of Wal-Mart] in a way that, in many places, is undoing local economies, and Main Street America, as a result, is under great pressure."

Barry, an unemployed grocery clerk from Manchester, questioned what Kerry would do for working families. Kerry recently met a number of unemployed workers, including those in the technology sector, and many were worried about losing health care benefits. He said his health care plan would allow citizens to buy into the same plan that the president, congressmen and senators have.

"If it is good enough for us, it is good enough for everyone in America," he said, adding that he would work to improve corporate responsibility and preserve workers' pensions.

Another resident asked about Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was declared an enemy combatant by the Bush Administration and has been held in a federal prison without being charged with a crime. Kerry said he voted for the USA PATRIOT Act because it improved the communication between law enforcement officials. But he admitted the law had been abused by Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

"We cannot be the country that we are, if we allow terrorists to walk us back on the freedoms and the constitutional rights of Americans themselves," he said.

Jay Travis, an IBEW Verizon worker in Manchester, challenged Kerry's support of free trade agreements, saying Americans couldn't compete with laborers from India, and other low wage countries.

"You keep talking about trade policy, training, and new jobs ... but we can't compete with a globalizing economy," he said. "Middle class Americans are getting destroyed. How can we change our trade policies?"

"That's exactly what I am talking about when I talk about negotiating better trade relationships," he said. "What we can do is have better trade agreements, where we guarantee that we have labor standards, [environmental] standards, and a fairness in the working relations with those countries, so you don't have the kind of imbalance, outsourcing, and rush of jobs that is taking place now. We have this incredible rush to the bottom. [But] if you become protectionist, in a knee-jerk way, you can actually excite a worse economic situation. What we want is fair competition."

Kerry also advocated a payroll tax cut and investment in states and cities, including the preservation of fire department personnel, which had been hit by layoffs in almost every community across the nation.

"Bill Clinton said it best about three months ago," Kerry said. "He said that 2002 proved that strong and wrong beats weak and right. And what I bring to our party and this country is the ability to be strong and right at the same time."

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

It had to happen some time ...
["Nader Takes a Pie in the Face in California"]

Franken's book shoots up the charts
Talk about frivolous lawsuits, FoxNews decides to sue Al Franken over his new book, "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," over the words "fair and balanced." But Franken doesn't mind ["Franken Says He Doesn't Mind Fox Lawsuit "] - the book is shooting up the charts and it hasn't been released yet! ["JungleSearch"]. But hey, Franken says he has trademarked the word "funny."

Thousands rally for Dean ...
These are some pretty amazing shots from Dean's rally last night: [4,000 rally for Dean].

Saturday, August 9, 2003

A Boston federal judge reins in the RIAA: ["Judge rejects subpoenas in music-use case"].
Jim Hightower has a new book! Here is an excerpt: ["Under the Radar"].
A Vermonter gives advice to the Democrat Leadership Council: ["Some advice to the DLC: Who dares, wins"].
Should I or shouldn't I?
Subject: California recall. The California recall shenanigans are leaving me dumbfounded. I know, shocker, eh? I really want to go on a tear about the ridiculousness of it all. But, the other side of me says, 'who friggin' cares?' It is such a joke do I really want to waste my time?
Note: The media has totally bought into the fiasco and is, once again, distracting the minds of Americans instead of reporting on a multitude of issues the country – including California – faces.

Kerry blasted over medical marijuana flip
I was at this event on Wednesday and he did stammer over the question: ["Kerry Retreats on Medical Marijuana"].

Friday, August 8, 2003

'The Cancellation of Democracy'

Here's an extremely interesting column by Bob Guldin in the Baltimore Sun, "The Cancellation of Democracy," which, unfortunately, misses some important points.
First off, canceling any election is a bad thing, especially if it is for financial reasons, so don’t get me wrong here. Budgetary times are bad; cancel elections! How insane is that?
However, in most cases, primary and preliminary elections, especially at the local level, have been cancelled left and right due mostly to non-interest – by candidates and voters. So, it isn’t an unusual thing, and we should probably get used to this happening more and more.
Disturbing? Yes. Extraordinary? No.

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Dean tells voters he knows how to win the presidency

By Anthony Schinella/Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

This is the first in a series of occasional articles following the democratic candidates for president on the campaign trail.

NASHUA, N.H. - Despite the soggy Saturday morning, hundreds of people packed Pete and Gloria Henry's small backyard to meet former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. The democratic presidential candidate came to Nashua after meeting voters at a breakfast event in Salem.

Running almost an hour behind schedule, Dean quickly greeted the enthusiastic crowd, launching into a fiery speech criticizing President George W. Bush, and trying to convince attendees that he was the only democrat who could beat the president. The tenor of the presentation illustrated why Dean has catapulted from obscure small state governor, to what some are calling the frontrunner for the democratic presidential nomination.

"Here's how we are going to win," Dean started out. "If you look at your neighbors; you're how we are going to win. And we are going to bring this country back together again. The way we are going to beat George Bush is to stand up to him - instead of trying to be like him. And this time, the person with the most votes is going to be the next president."

New employment statistics released by the Labor Department last week revealed more bad economic news: 44,000 more unemployed in July and over half a million no longer collecting benefits. Many of these job losses were from the manufacturing sector which has lost 2.5 million jobs since Bush took office.

In order to promote new job growth, Dean said he would work to balance the budget - something republican presidents had been unable to do. Restoring confidence with American investors would be a good first step, he said.

"I am tired of having an economy where our best jobs are shipped elsewhere in the world," Dean said. "I want an economy where we can grow again and have real jobs [where] people can support themselves."

In Vermont, where Dean was governor for almost twelve years, the state put money in a rainy day fund and paid off the debt during the good years, he said. This raised the state's bond rating from one of the worst to one of the best in the eastern part of the country. When the economy turned, the state was still able to fund important programs like education, health care for children, and aid to cities and towns.

"When revenues go down, that is exactly the time that people who depend on state government need more help," he said. "We are not just talking about poor people; we are talking about the middle class [people]."

According to Dean, Vermont was able to create an insurance program where all children under 18 and all families under 150 percent of poverty are covered, even though Vermont is rural and ranked 26th in income. He wondered why the United States was still unable to provide health insurance for all its citizens even though every other industrialized nation in the world had a program.

"Even the Costa Ricans have health insurance that everyone else has. Why do we have to be second-class citizens in our own country?" he asked.

Dean also lashed out at Bush's multi-trillion dollar tax cuts and unfunded federal mandates like the No Child Left Behind Act and the lack of funds for homeland security. He said many residents of New Hampshire and other states have seen higher property taxes because the costs for federal programs have been passed on to state and local governments.

"The people who paid for this tax cut are right here in this tent," he said. "You tell me - did your property taxes go up more than the check you got from the federal government? I think they did."

Dean was also critical of the president's invasion of Iraq, criticizing Bush's foreign policy as "based on humiliation." Bush sent the troops in under the false pretense that Iraq was trying to build a nuclear weapon, he said, while adding praise for United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix, who also was unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Dean said the United States can't abandon Iraq now but instead needed to "internationalize" the effort "and start to bring our people home."

"This president talks so big about defense; he's so tough - but how come he forgets the veterans once they come home?" Dean asked.

On education, Dean said he would fully-fund special education while at the same time letting local school committees retain local control, adding "I am tired of unfunded mandates and you won't see any in the Dean administration."

Dean would also support small business, better inspection of cargo containers coming into the country, infrastructure repairs and construction, and the creation of a national renewal energy program to make the nation more energy self-sufficient.

"We are not going to beat George Bush by trying to be like him," he said. "Fifty percent of the Americans don't vote in this country because we don't give them a reason to. This campaign is not going to be based [on] being like him. We are going to give people a reason to vote again. I think it is time for a campaign based on hope, not on fear."

Host Pete Henry was impressed with Dean while seeing him on C-SPAN as head of the National Governor's Association. When he saw Dean was running for president, Henry knew who he would be supporting.

"When I found out he was running for president, it was a no-brainer," he said. "This is a smart guy - I'm glad that he is out there fighting for the issues that I care about."

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

"Dean tells voters he knows how to win the presidency"
Here is my first installment on the presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

The burgeoning trade issue ...
I hate to sound like a broken record and I hate to say I told you so but ... the trade and manufacturing issue is building like a runaway freight train and frankly, it is about time. At the dawn of the tenth anniversary of NAFTA, the democratic presidential candidates are now having to face the music over millions of lost manufacturing jobs – especially those candidates who have been brainwashed by the free trade cult.
Did anyone see the AFL-CIO presidential forum on C-SPAN last night? Did you hear the massive cheers for Dennis Kucinich and to a lesser extent, the Rev. Al Sharpton, easily the best candidates for labor? Did you hear the mild polite applause for the other candidates who kept ignoring the fact that bad trade deals - passed by democrats - are the reason the manufacturing sector is hemorrhaging, not the tepid Bush economy?
And then we get these articles, forwarded by readers: [“Jobless in the USA”].

"Eventually, as China and India become fully employed first world economies, wages will be bid up and labor will be paid according to its productivity. By then the U.S. might be a third world country … When jobs move out, skills move with them. At the rate at which the United States is losing software and computer engineering jobs, for example, how much longer will U.S. engineering schools be offering this major? When manufacturing jobs are lost, so are jobs in trucking, warehousing, banking and insurance. There is a chain effect that reduces the overall productivity of the United States as a location of economic activity …"
And this piece by the amazing American hero Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch: ["Turning the Trade Tables"].

"So, the dog has come back to bite the owner. While lawmakers are scambling [sic] and lobbyists are sweating, the FSC [U.S. Foreign Sales Corporation tax break] case illustrates the blatant hypocrisy of the corporate-managed trade lobby that has dominated U.S. trade policy and attacked labor, consumer and environmental critics. U.S.-based multinationals embrace the WTO when it attacks public interest regulatory policies they view as impeding their "free trade." But if the WTO strikes at a corporate welfare provisions of the tax code, talking heads on business news shows and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal howl about the WTO's infringement on democracy."
And then Kerry gets nailed at Manchester’s "Fresh Air Forum" this afternoon … but you will have to wait to read my article on it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

"...except Lieberman ..."
John Nichols has a pretty good - and relevant - piece in The Nation about the fear democrats have with the prospect that Sen. Joe Lieberman will be their nominee: ["For Democrats, Mr. Right is Mr. Wrong"].
"'I share the anger of my fellow Democrats with George Bush and the direction he has taken this nation. But the answer to his outdated, extremist ideology is not to be found in the outdated extremes of our own,' Lieberman declared. 'That path will not solve the challenges of our time, and could send us back to the political wilderness for years to come.' Lieberman is, of course, wrong. Democrats were consigned to the political wilderness in 2002, when party leaders chose to follow his counsel and cosy up to the Bush administration on issues such as war and peace, the USA Patriot Act and corporate welfare bailouts for the airline industry. While Republican turnout went up in 2002, Democratic turnout slackened. A quick analysis of the results led most Democrats -- from presidential prospects to grassroots activists -- to recognize that any further fuzzing of the margins between the parties in 2004 would be disastrous. So it comes as no surprise that the greatest applause line on the campaign trail has been Dean's pledge to represent 'the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.'
Don't forget the negativism, too. The advertising by the democratic candidates in 2002 was downright reprehensible.

Napalm ...
The San Diego Union-Tribune - via Common Dreams - is reporting that yeah, napalm was actually used in Iraq: ["Officials Confirm Dropping Firebombs on Iraqi Troops"]

Monday, August 4, 2003

Hollings to retire ...
Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., has announced that he will step down after 36 years in the senate: ["Sources: S.C. Senator Hollings to Retire"]. He had previously been governor of the state. I caught some of his retirement news conference on C-SPAN in repeat this evening and he is still as impressive and hilarious as ever: [Transcript].
"They just don't worry about the 60,100 textile jobs alone we have lost since NAFTA. We always brag on BMW in Spartanburg County. Ten years ago we were down to 3.2 percent unemployment there, and now we're at 8.5 percent unemployment. And in the country this is endemic. In the country itself, we don't make anything any more ... I had to make a talk on trade last week, and I looked it up and found out that at the end of World War II we had 40 percent of our workforce in manufacturing. And now we're down to 10 percent. We've got 10 percent of the country working and producing, and we've got the other 90 percent talking and eating. That's all they're doing."
I got to meet him when he ran for president in 1984 and volunteered on his campaign for a short stint before the New Hampshire primary. Here is a reprint of his campaign flyer: [Hollings 1984]. Hollings only received 3.5 percent of the vote, almost 3,600 votes. However, looking at the flyer and issues he campaigned on, I would bet that the nation would be a better place if he had been elected back then.

Kerry in sweat flap
Drudge is reporting that one of Kerry's biggest supporters has some sweatshop problems: ["KERRY IN SWEAT FLAP ON EVE OF UNION CONVENTION"].

"...into the political wilderness ..."
Lieberman trashes opponents at the National Press Club: ["Lieberman: Dems Must Shun Gov't Programs"].

Sunday, August 3, 2003

More on trade and manufacturing
Catching up on Saturday’s newspapers led me to a couple of more stories about what I predicted would eventually become the issue of the 2004 democratic primaries, trade and manufacturing.
In the Concord Monitor ["Lieberman touts economic revival," no Web link], Sen. Joe Lieberman sat down with the editorial board of the newspaper. Here are some excerpts from staffer Anne Ruderman:

"If you ask Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the faltering U.S. economy has a lot to do with China. Manufacturing jobs are going there. Whole industries, like semi-conductors, are going there. A ballooning trade deficit is coming here."
OK, so far, so good.

"And the Chinese government is supporting its manufacturing in a way the American government is not, Lieberman told a Monitor editorial board yesterday, meaning America is not doing enough in the way of tax incentives to prevent companies from moving manufacturing sites to Asia, rather than keep them at home."

No, no, no! Wrong. This is a complete lie that is being perpetuated over and over by these free trade cultists.
Chinese manufacturing is beating Americans because the average wage in China is 19 cents per hour [1994, it may be slightly higher now]. Goods are also produced by prisoners. Essentially, the majority of Chinese workers are free trade slaves. There are also protective tariffs on exports to China meaning that American goods coming into China are more expensive than the domestic goods produced there, hence the trade deficit emerges.
These problems are everlasting because Lieberman - as well as other presidential candidates like Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John Edwards - voted for Permanent Most Favored Nation Trade status with China. But don’t worry, folks, Lieberman has the answer: Give businesses research and development incentives, eliminate trade barriers but hold countries – like China – accountable for their trading practices.
More business tax breaks? Give me a break!
Of course, Lieberman is not alone in this mentality, even if it is flawed, according to Jonathan Weisman of The Washington Post - also in the Manchester Union Leader on Saturday - ["In Rust Belt, Industrial Plight Drives Campaigns"].
"Manufacturing has lost 2.5 million jobs since President Bush took office, and 2.7 million since the slide began in August 2000. The Labor Department said Friday that the sector shed another 71,000 jobs just last month … The administration is creating a new 'manufacturing czar' in the Commerce Department, under whom all trade promotion, compliance and enforcement activities and sector analysis would be consolidated. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow will press trade issues while in China next month, and he will be followed by Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans in October … Reps. Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.), Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), and 133 other Republicans and Democrats, are backing new legislation that would slash the corporate income tax rate for U.S. production activities.' The more a company produces in the United States, the lower its tax rate would be. House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) has drafted competing legislation that would cut the corporate income tax rate to 32 percent, from 35 percent, for companies with less than $10 million of taxable income and increase the tax break for manufacturing equipment."
[Sidebar: Crane, Rangel, and Thomas all voted for PMFN for China, NAFTA and GATT, so they are directly to blame for our crumbling manufacturing sector.]
Now, a slight reduction in the corporate income tax rate isn’t such a bad idea, especially if it is based on American production and enforced as such. But without protective tariffs, it is meaningless. The difference in labor costs between China – and to a lesser extent, Mexico and eastern Europe – and the United States is so massive that a few percentage cuts in the corporate income tax isn’t going to save jobs. In fact, I would contend, that corporations will figure out a way to enjoy the cut through some loophole and still continue their overseas production.
But back to Lieberman:
"You can’t grow an economy by being protectionist. We’ve got to have a national policy to break down barriers … so we can sell the stuff we make here to the other 96 percent of the globe. [Fair trade] ought to be putting labor and environmental standards in trade agreement so that this does not become a race to the bottom."
Complete hypocritical nonsense.
Not only is Lieberman trying to have it both ways, his logic goes against 170 years of American history in which the government used import tariffs to secure American jobs, raise revenue, and protect manufacturing - and national security - at limited cost to the consumer. Go back and look at the figures. Up until the early 1900s, we never had a federal income tax. Import tariffs and corporate taxes paid for the entire federal government, including protecting the borders and paying for the national defense. Everything else was taken care of on the local level. When the income tax was implemented, it was mostly tendered to the higher wage earners and wealth holders, not the working classes. This, along with the tariffs, allowed the middle class to grow. The middle class was built on a low-skilled, decent wage manufacturing job and the introduction of the interstate highway system. In addition, the massive domestic federal outlays in the few years after World War II via the G.I. Bill created stability and sometimes prosperity for at least 20 years after that. During this time, for the most part, families were stronger; there was less crime, very few latchkey kids, and not as much hopelessness as there is now. Were there other social problems? Sure, the nation wasn’t perfect back in the good ole' days. But some time after the early 1970s, a whole bunch of powerbrokers got together and decided that Americans had it too good and the slide started. Now, all the white collar jobs are starting to leave. In some ways, the white collar people are reaping what they sowed. Generalizing, few white collar workers stood up to the free trade cultists when the factories were fleeing to the countries with cheap labor. We didn’t stand together, so now we are sinking together; or - the white collar workers are now sinking with the rest of us blue collar folks who were already at the bottom.
The most shocking thing about all of this is that the free trade theory is still being indoctrinated into the minds of our young people, with no balance being taught and an ignorance of the true history of how our nation was founded and built. Over the years, when I have talked to younger people about this, I am shocked about the brainwashing they have received from their schooling, mostly at the college economics level. It is never about our country or the economic preservation of the family, it is all about cheap consumer goods and glories of shopping.
I would contend that the importance of balance in the teaching of trade and economics is on par with the over-debated issue of Creationism versus Darwinism being taught in schools.
However, the silence is deafening.
In reality, the chances of rescinding NAFTA and GATT are minimal. A bill to repeal NAFTA sponsored by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, languishes in Congress every year despite the hemorrhaging of the American manufacturing sector. However, understanding the history and how we got to where we are is more important. Slowly, and hopefully surely, I and others will continue to make the case to readers and voters that there is another way of looking at things, especially when it comes to history and economics.
College professors, economists, and politicians don’t always know what is best for us.
Greens quietly supporting Kucinich
In Thursday's San Francisco Examiner, via the Polizero blog, it was reported that Rep. Dennis Kucinich is getting support from some California greens: ["Kucinich gets Green support"].
These kinds of stories and reports should be a wake up call for the democrats.

"If Kucinich is the Democratic nominee, I am sure the Democrats and the Greens will work collaboratively to oust George Bush in next year's election," said Matt Gonzalez, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who introduced the candidate at a breakfast for his supporters. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink Women for Peace and U.S. Senate candidate for the Greens in 2000, told The Examiner that Kucinich is "as green as you can get. He's so genuine; you wonder how this guy ever got to Congress."

Well that is easy Medea - he ran as a pro-life, economic populist candidate in a working class, Catholic district. He was also a mayor and city councilor in Cleveland. He started small and moved up and never lost his ethics. It really is as simple as that.

Saturday, August 2, 2003

Story ignored by FoxNews ...
Surprisingly, or not so, Saturday's New York Times story reporting that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers may have been Saudi intelligence agents has been completely ignored all day by FoxNews. This is easily the story of the week, if not the year, and not a word on the "fair and balanced" cable network.
I overhead David Schuster of MSNBC tell Howard Dean spokesman Dorie Clark that he wanted comment from the candidate about the story at an event in Nashua this morning but I don't know if he actually asked the question during his live shot after the event. I will post the Dean story later on this week.
So what has FoxNews been reporting for most of the day?
Well, an environmental group allegedly torched an apartment building in California. Then, there was Kobe news and more about that crazy woman who said she was the missing kid of a Kansas family. And, the FDA will allow food companies to use the gut-ripping Olestra in products without labeling the product. So now, no one will know if the crap - no pun intended - is in a product. Well, at least they won't know until they get the runs the next day. But nothing about the Saudi/Sept. 11 connection. Makes you think, eh?

Speaking of Dean ...
Some hot news from political reporter Roger Simon US News and World Report last night: ["Dean Campaign to Run TV Ads--in Texas"]. It seems just a tad early to start running TV ads. But when you are sitting on millions - and millions more are rolling in - why not spend a little of that money? Plus, on prank value alone this is pretty great. As well, by broadcasting in the Austin area, Dean's admen are targeting the most liberal area of the state - early. And 226,000 volunteers? Wow, that is impressive. However, check out this little note at the bottom of the story and it tells you a lot about the current state of the Democratic Party and why Terry McAuliffe has got to go:

"Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe secretly went to all the campaigns a few weeks ago and said that when it was "mathematically clear" that the party had a nominee (a date he estimated would be no later than March 9) he wanted the losers to drop out, release their delegates and endorse the presumptive winner. Dean refused. He is going to the convention with his delegates pledged to him no matter what."

Go down to the link from The Washington Times earlier this week. It is shameful that the leadership within the Democratic Party is stealing the opportunity from voters to choose who they want to be the nominee. If they are going to rig the process, then have the guts and integrity to stop having primaries and go back to the "good ol' days" of smoke-filled rooms and rigged conventions. It is bad enough that the primaries are all lumped together in the beginning of the process, never mind McAuliffe twisting arms and ordering candidates around. For now, I will stand by my previous analysis of the primary process 2004: [1-5-3 "Contenders scramble: But which Democrat can lead the nation?"] [3-23-3 "Woodlief 2004 piece in the Boston Herald"]. Here is hoping that the primaries drag on and on and there isn't a clear winner until the convention!

"Where the Good Jobs Are Going"
Since I don't read the mainstream magazines, I missed this TIME magazine article about software jobs being sent overseas [link above]. I have posted and written about the subject before, but it is always good to revisit.
However, let's not forget this - Remember what all the free trade cultists said during the NAFTA and GATT discussions: These were the jobs of the future, the experts told us. The jobs that were going to save our country after the manufacturing jobs left for cheaper labor. Now, the high wage jobs are leaving for nations where the labor is cheaper.
When are our leaders going to wake up?

Saudis linked to Sept. 11
It was only a matter of time until some of the censored parts of the 9/11 report got out. The New York Times is reporting that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers may have been Saudi intelligence agents reporting to the Saudi government: ["Report on 9/11 Suggests a Role by Saudi Spies"].
I guess the next question to our president is "Eh, when does the regime change operation start in Saudi Arabia?" It is too bad that we have spent billions and needless American deaths have occured to topple Saddam because now we don't have the cash - or wherewithal - to take out a greater enemy in Saudi Arabia. But or course, the invasion of Iraq was never really about Sept. 11, as we have seen. It was about controlling the oil market for the next century.

Friday, August 1, 2003

Add Traficant to the list ...
NewsMax and FoxNews are reporting that railroaded ex-Democrat Rep. Jim Traficant, now sitting in Allenwood, has given the okay to supporters to form a presidential exploratory committee: ["Imprisoned Traficant Runs for President"] ["Traficant Approves Presidential Exploratory Committee"]. This is great; the more, the merrier. Beam me up Scotty!

... and Larry Flynt too
FoxNews is also reporting that Hustler publisher Larry Flynt has taken out papers to run for governor in Cailfornia's recall debacle: ["Hustler Publisher Flynt to Run For California Governor"]. I can almost hear his slogans now ... "A porn mag in every pot ..." Hah!

Kucinich gets a letter
Last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, posted a letter on Common Dreams exhorting help from greens and Naderites in his uphill campaign for president. Well, Kenny Mostern, a political consultant from Oakland, wrote a letter back: ["An Open Letter to Congressman Dennis Kucinich"].
"More Democrats voted for George Bush than voted for Ralph Nader. Al Gore was stiff in the debates. Al Gore was so unpopular that even as the Vice President of a party in power during an economic boom, he lost. Al Gore lost his home state – decisively. Our electoral system allowed a minority vote getter to win. Our electoral system does not include runoffs, instant or otherwise. When Bush declared himself the victor, Al Gore did not act like a President or an opposition leader – he just let it happen."