Monday, June 14, 2004

Worker Rights In The US

The record of the US for labor rights. Take a look at how the US compares to other counties in this comprehensive look at workers rights internationally.

Frog Films

Watched two pretty good films this weekend particularly The Town is Quiet. The other was My Wife is an Actress.

Did Reagan Topple Communism?

Liberals and reactionaries seem to agree that the Reagan administration was the main reason for the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe. I have my doubts. Of course the West's encirclement of the region had a lot to do with its collapse, necessitating a huge investment in the military (which isn't always a bad thing for the economy as Reagan knew) and helping to prop up the dictatorship by creating a viable threat (NATO) a la Cuba. But Trotsky talked about the bureaucracy's capacity to sell out long ago. In Revolution Betrayed and other works Trotsky pretty much predicted that the Soviet ruling elite would hand over economic power to themselves in a capitalist regime because Stalinism had already capitulated a central tenant of socialism, workers democracy, and thus would give up without much of fight because they would probably be better able to keep more surplus for themselves under capitalism.

Here's a discussion of the issue on Maxspeak.

Is Bush Losing It?

Here's the source for the A Cockburn article about Bush's increasingly eratic behavior.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

David Brooks

One of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits had Tommy Lasorda and Mike Schmitt beating the tar out of George Will after a discussion of baseball. Whenever I read David Brooks I think of this skit. By the way, his ideas come very close to those of Thomas Frank and the Baffler (THIEF!) from a right wing opportunist perspective. Here's a look at Brooks from the Nation.


A FAQ and guide on outsourcing from the Economic Policy Institute.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Was Reagan the Most Popular Post-war President?

Extra! article on how popular Reagan actually was.


Check this error message very closely.

Nation Building

This article from the Washington Post reminds me of an email I read at the beginning of the occupation of Iraq from a colleague. Her cousin was a low level State Department functionary who was sleeping in one of the palaces in Baghdad. The thrust of the email was, we have no idea what we are doing! It was incredible in many of assumptions and its honesty. This is not to say that they don't know how to plunder, privatize, establish death squads, and build military bases but there is lots of incompetence along with the master plan. I think the article in the Post was suposed to be flattering!

Ashcroft Lies To Congress

Nina Totenberg actually had a half way decent story on Morning Edition this morning. Ashcroft did not want to admit that Bush OK'd torture for his indefinate war. So he LIED. You would hope this sort of thing would be thier undoing. It was actually the Wall Street Journal that broke this story (see link below).

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Very Funny

Fat Asian Kid.

Hitchens on Ronnie

Not even a hedgehog.

Reagan, One Word: Mean

Ronald Reagan was a rat from the beginning. He was a bad actor, ratted for the House Un-American Activities Committee, he shilled for General Electric, and then represented the reactionary forces in the 60's that saw an opening to role back the New Deal and the Great Society as well as the gains of the individualist movements (free speech, civil rights, black power, gay rights, feminism, etc..) of the latter part of the 20th century. He did this by appealling to the American people's worst values; mysticism, selfishness, racism, and extreme nationalism. His was a slick George Wallace, a right wing populist sans the OVERT racism. But we all knew what he was talking about when he talked about "welfare queens," crime and lawlessness. He and Mike Deaver understood that the white ethnics and southerners who were the backbone of the New Deal/Democratic coalition could be split off from blacks and Jews and their labor allies by talking about social issues and taxes. It worked, particularly in the areas of the country where the industrial economy was in decline. Thus the creation of the Reagan Democrat. In the south the process was already underway when the Democratic Party embraced civil rights.

Internationally he allied himself with the most right wing reactionary killers in the world. In Southern Africa they allied with aparthied supporters, supported the prolongeed imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, and funded the UNITA killers in Angola. In Mozambique the RENAMO forces that Reagan funded at the time were known to be the most vicious killers in the world. Funded by the US and South Africa their main goal was to terrorize the entire Mozambique population because they had chosen independence and a left wing goverment.

In Central America and the Caribbean the late 1970's were a time of hope and struggle for human rights and liberation. The Reagan clan said that at all costs, hundreds of thousands of lives and devastated societies, the movement against dictatorship would be crushed. They won. Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Slavador, Grenada, and the region as a whole have returned to their traditional subservient role in the world economy with the requisite dismal life expectancies, infant mortalilty, and lack of economic opportunity.

In Afghanistan the Carter and Reagan administrations helped create 9/11. They sought out the most reactionary Islamic forces to fight the Afghan government and the Soviets including Osama bin Laden. Their thuggish medieval allies would eventually prevail which gave hope to some of the most reactionary people on the planet. Which is the main reason for Al Queda's success. Billions were given in aid in the name of anti-communism, Reagan's clarion call. Anything in the name of anti-communism.

The big lie is that he hated "big" government. This was and is a propoganda tool the right wing populists use. They actually use government to discipline the population and redistribute wealth upward. You need a strong state to do this. He increased the size and scope of goverment not the opposite. Reagan was an expert at this. They claimed that tax cuts got the economy going. Actually the effect of their policies was to lower taxes for the rich and powerful and raise them for working class. State, local, city taxes, fees, tolls, etc... all were raised as result of Reaganomics. Funding for the poor decreased and monies for upper class folks (this was done through tax policy and direct subsidy) and coporations radically skyrocketed giving them the ability to invest where-ever they wanted to in the new Reagan/Thatcher deregulated world.

He also represented the massive assault on organized labor that gained steam in the 70's. He and his masters wanted to eliminate the power of labor unions at home and abroad. He saw them as an impediment to unchecked capital accumulation and he did everything in his power, including destroying PATCO, to lessen the power of workers. This development is probably his most long lasting, the fall of the Soviet Union had less to do with him than is claimed.

I had to cringe yesterday when NPR was hailing Ron and Nancy for their "corageous" outspoken views on public health in regard to stem cell research. These are people, because of their bigotry towards gays, stood by while the pandemic of AIDS germinated under their powerful noses. They actually blocked monies for AIDS reseach and purposfully down played the devastating potential of AIDS. They were in a position to do something, they did nothing because of their bigoted views. In the near future millions will die around the world because of their deliberate negligence.

His legacy is a powerful one. He represents the counter-revolution that we are going through throughout the world. His world was a Hollywood vision of individualism, if you just work hard enough you'll get ahead. From Soweto to Managua millions of people died and will die because in his crony-capitalist world power is highly centralized in private hands and capital trickels up because the state is on the side of the powerful and if you step out of line don't be suprised if La Mano Blanca, a Central American death squad helped by the CIA, puts a cap in your *ss.

In a word, Ronald Reagan: mean.

Monday, June 07, 2004

US Not Bound By Torture laws

The radical muckraking journal, the Wall Street Journal says that some in the Pentagon thought that the torture laws could be over looked given the current "war."

Read This Article

Monthly Review discusses the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, the reasons for war and the major problem now confronting US imperilaism, the lack of troops.

Swing States

Here's a map of the swing states for the 2004 presidential elections. It's still very close.

The Bush Game

Play the Bush game.

Gerry Adams Was Also Photographed While Being Tortured

Gerry Adams on torture by the British during their dirty war in Ireland.

Is Bush Coming Undone?

Cockburn having some fun here describing the now eratic W?

Thursday, June 03, 2004


"Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace."—Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003

"[T]he illiteracy level of our children are appalling."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2004

President of the United States George W. Bush

More Bushisms.

The Slow Progress of the Slow Food Movement


Should Iran Have Nukes?

Here's an affirmative argument.

Swedes Build Cardboard Piano

Why is this interesting?

The Jose Padilla Case

Jose Padilla, a US citizen, has been held in solitary confinement for 2 years. No attorney until this spring. Sound unconstitutional? Here's the blow by blow of why.

Mean People

Maxspeak blog is having a contest. The contest gives a reward for the most viscous and mean email found on a prominent right wing blog. Read this stuff at your own risk, it's revolting.

Who Has Power?

From a BBC report on how the "leftist" Brazilian government fought a rise in the minimum wage. Why might the Worker's Party be on the wrong side of the debate? Because...

"The problem is that Lula signed a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) soon after he came to power which has meant that his government has had to keep a tight rein on public spending."

This is why John Kerry is bad. Also his Iraq policy but when it comes down to it Kerry means lower wages for Brazilians and billions of other workers because in no way will he break with institutions like the World Bank and IMF.

Here's the entire article.

This is THE issue today. We talk about social justice and real change but liberals don't, either willfully or by not wanting to upset their comfortable lifes, make the connections between their government and things like the minimum wage in Brazil.

Smoking Gun!

Enron traders have been caught on tape yucking it up over how they would rip of granny in Pasadena. What is disturbing about the entire scandal is not hearing the evidence or seeing the pictures of Abu Ghraib for that matter but that there is so little political fallout for either.

In both instances political decisions were made in state legislatures and in Washington by Democrats and Republicans that led to lower downs doing what logically followed from the decisions and directives of higher ups. And who will take the fall?

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Robert Jensen: The US Lost the War in Iraq, and That's a Good Thing

Here's the article.

Bush Ad

Here's an anti-Bush ad from the Dave Chapelle/National Lampoon set. Be warned: profanity alert. From this article on the non-official political ads of the campaign.

Death Squads in Iraq?

Remember the Phoenix Program? In Iraq today?

Remind Us

The Bush regime in their own words. Why did the US go to war in Iraq?

When's a High Crime (Or War Crime For That Matter) a High Crime?

The Nation argues Abu Ghraib shows complicity at the top for a war crime and thus a high crime and impeachable. It's no Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Yesterday I Said PJ O'Rourke is a Decent Writer and is Somewhat Entertaining Although an Opportunist

"Fascism, however, is a pointless ideology -- the graps (sic) of power for power's sake. The fight against fascism seems like Dad's war, Granddad's war. Fascism should be out of date in the purposeful, task-oriented world of today. Never mind Slobodan Milosevic, Vladimir Putin, Yasir Arafat, Somali warlords, Charles Taylor, China's politburo, the Saudi royal family, murderous Hutu rabble, and New Gringrich's career arc. . . . Fascists do bad things just to be bad. . . . "

P.J. O'Rourke, Peace Kills

I take it back.

A discussion here of the links made on Memorial Day between WWII and Iraq.

They got the reference from this idiotic blog.

The Concorde

The yuppie expresses last hurrah. Actually, some amazing photography.

Thinkable Thought From Time on Cheney and Halliburton

Time's version of investigative journalism. We got if from Judicial Watch.

Clash of Barbarians

One of my favorite writers when I was in NJ. He wrote for the Bergen Record. Daniel Lazare on the reactionary ideas of Samuel Huntington.

Bombies: The Aftermath of the Bombing of Laos Today

Here's a film that I am showing my students this week. As Ann Richard's once said, "it ain't pretty."

Torture Something New?

Al McCoy on the history of US involvement with torture.

David Dellinger: I Doubt He'll Ever Rest

Obit for DD.

Norm Solomon on the "Liberal" New YorkTimes and NPR

"Tardy by more than a year, the semi-mea-culpa article by the Times editors -- while failing to provide any forthright explanation of Chalabi's role as a chronic source for Miller's prewar stories -- appeared a week after the U.S. government turned definitively and publicly against its exile ally Chalabi. Only then were the top New York Times editors willing to turn definitively and publicly against key Times stories spun by the Chalabi-Miller duo."

See the entire article.

I also thought the timming of the mea culpa odd. The same week the US turned on Chalabi. It's similar to state controlled media, criticism that is allowed and that which is not. The talk of Chalabi as crook and criminal and purveyor of lousy intelligence has been around in the left wing press for years but the week the US government turn on him the NY Times gives its "apology."