Saturday, January 31, 2004

A brief respite

Not from the matters of moment in the world, but in my posting. I'm switching to cable connection and have been struggling to get online. Hard to keep quiet as Bush runs us farther into the mire, but in a little bit I'm be posting like a madman (as usual)>

Thursday, January 29, 2004

A night already devoid of stars

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.… Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. ”
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The rich get richer and ...

After sustained "recovery" from recession, check out these numbers reflecting the income levels of those whose incomes increased versus those whose didn't. Somebody's gotta wake up the Americans who're financing the wealthy and the corporate robber barons.

If not me (and you), who? If not now, when?

Bush's Blue Dress

"...the Bush administration is complicit in arguably the greatest scandal in U.S. history."
says by Robert Scheer in today's LA Times.

It's time to talk about impeachment.


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I hate to say I told you so, but I don't

There's a legion of my acquaintances who'll confirm, as will the impenetrable archives of this weblog, that seven-plus months ago I predicted that Cheney would be dumped from Bush's 2004 ticket. My reasoning was that by doing so (with the fact-based cover of Cheney's weak vascular system) Bush could dampen the Democrats' summer nomination festival with speculation of who Bush's running mate might be. Elizabeth Dole? If male, perhaps Colin Powell? To drive the Democrats totally crazy, maybe Condi? Of course Bush will end up choosing a Christian Wasp, but no matter. He'll have shared the summer headlines with whoever the Democrats nominate.

Well, some may call me crazy, but here's the first of a cascade of drumbeats.

How much traction? Not even a rotation

I wondered, in my post entitled "Let's see if this story has legs," whether the alarm expressed by the US Comptroler General at the billowing deficits in US trade and federal budget, would find press coverage. Answer: No. Indeed, even Billmon, a sound reporter who's just finished covering the Davos conference, didn't remark on it in his departing post.
He did offer this cleverly incisive paragraph on the subject of America's excesses, however:

"The problem in trying to get a read on what's really going on -- and what kind of consensus is likely to emerge among the global power elite about the USA's vulnerability on the dollar-deficit question -- is the same as at every conference of this sort: The Americans say the sky is the limit, the Europeans say the sky is falling, and the Asians, whose views are in many ways the most important, say as little as possible."

comments are back!

The comments function has returned to our blog. Cry havoc!

Monday, January 26, 2004

Business Week on business

I'm posting this sanguine article from Business Week, not because of the accuracy of its prediction of a wholesale business upturn (including jobs), but so that later on I can say, I Told You So. The fact is, that nothing in the data recited in the article is supportive of a surge in meaningful jobs in the US. Check it out. The article touts higher stock prices based on higher corporate earnings (all so far obtained by belt-tightening measures and longer working hours by existing employees) and a spate of mergers and acquisitions, which usually lead to job-cutting and downsizing of unprofitable segments of the merged businesses. Not a whisper in the article about a basis for meaningful job growth except the usual exhortation that where there's money, there must be more work.

Not these days, not in America. We have no labor unions, no worker leverage, but rather a glut of unemployed and underemployed workers who have no might to demand decent pay and fair benefits. This recovery, unlike others, will benefit Bush's corporate donors, but will leave behind the people of America, the voters.

Let's hope they remember to register to vote when they pick up their welfare and unemployment checks.

(If you want another take on the future of well-paid jobs in America, check this article in the NYT.)

I know only fellow-travelers read this blog

But in case it snares a Google-errant, a Republican searching for "All That Arises" on a Vegas crap table or a porn site, do this one thing before you surf back to la la land. Read the last few posts by Riverbend, just so you may hereafter pause when you hear from Bush/Cheney/Powell/Rumsfeld/Rice/Bremer how swimmingly we're reconstructing Iraq.

Okay, I'm rolling up my sleeves, Dean-style

Howard Dean--he may not be the Democrats' nominee, but he's sure as hell their conscience--is absolutely right when he says that the only way to beat Bush is to empower (that is to say, to deliver--by "any means necessary"--to the polls in November) the enormous numbers of new voters who are--cutting through the bs here--of darker skin tones than we whitie liberals. We have the message, for God's sake.

Here's what's happening to jobs among young black males. Startling, eh? You'd think there'd be riots in the streets. But no. What there is is apathy. The black vote, overwhelmingly Democratic, will be once again overwhelmingly silent unless we--that's you and me and the candidate and his energies---can grab them by their necks, by their souls, by their instinct for self-preservation and self-fulfillment, and get them to vote!

Same thing with the brown vote. I've talked about the Nascar Dads. They're a hopelessly ignorant bunch, whose idea of "the news" is Hannity, Limbaugh and Faux News. No way to change their minds between now and November. Maybe never. They may be the residual blight of the failed capitalist system.

But their brown counterparts, whom I call the "Oakland Raider Dads," the Latino males with backward-worn ballcaps and big trucks. What about them? They're no better off under Bush (they're worse off, actually, under his new "let them eat cake" immigration policy, which allows the labor market in the border states to be swamped by low-paid foreigners). In fact, Latino males, many of whom react favorably to Bush's "macho-don't fuck with me, dude" attitude toward foreign policy are the hardest hit by his economic slant. He cuts programs in education, health care, transportation, daycare, insurance--all of which mean less income to the lower-paid segment of our culture, i.e., the newer arrivals, the browner skinned Americans.

Here's the deal: If we're going to Beat Bush it will only be by swamping the polls with new voters: blacks, browns, youths, who've not voted in earnest before. Otherwise, my fellow citizens, it's Four More Years.

The lunatics are running the asylum--and this voice of sanity responds

Stephen, a new contributor to this blog, speaks the following truths:

Keep standing up to the lies.

One way to subvert the system is to say to people, "I am really afraid that
they're (those damn liberals!) going to try to impeach Bush for all of the
conflict of interest laws his administration has broken. What can we do to
keep him and his cabinet out of jail?" This tactic of course makes the point
that he's a crook while assuring them you're on poor George W's side!

Ten Thoughts on How To Defeat Terrorism! (To Mr. Bush and his puppet

1. Make friends with the Arab world. This is done by having a balanced
foreign policy toward the Middle East. It also means reducing foreign aid to
Israel and not being their lap dog. Do you know Israel has a national health
plan that covers all its citizens? Wish we could afford one!
2. Seek alignment with Europe - stop insulting their intelligence and
bullying them into supporting ridiculous policies. Better to have lots of
friends - one day we'll need them!
3. Foreign aid and food are not supposed to be wielded like weapons.
Supporting bad leaders and toppling elected ones is unhealthy for us and the
4. Review the behavior, conflicts and demise of all previous imperialistic
civilizations. Look in mirror. Repeat.
5. Stop using Christianity as a club. Muslims and others find the modern
Crusade worrisome and zealots find it an easy target for their hatred.
Church and state are separate for a purpose. Don't suppose that intelligent
people don't notice the huge downside of blending the two.
6. Instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars creating Fortress
America, get the best minds on Arab culture and politics to work for the
State Dept. and build bridges of trust and friendship with this large slice
of humanity. Remember: they're not evil - we're just acting evil.
7. Keep in mind that there is a big gap between the industrialized northern
nations and the southern developing counties. Unless the wealthy nations
have a game plan to truly encourage and economically develop the Third
World, we'll always be a target for the discontented.
8. Eliminate childish, shortsighted ways of looking at reality: the war on
drugs is a joke, the war on terror is destined to fail and cheating other
countries out of resources is institutionalized imperialism.
9. Paste this to your bathroom mirror: The U.S. Military-Industrial Complex
creates more danger in the world every day than every 'terrorist' group or
nation combined.
10. Our elected officials are temporary custodians of our nation and its
citizens' trust. They will quickly pass, their actions will be judged
against time and the future will unfold without their influence.
Interesting Quote:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of
this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should
take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can
compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of
defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty
may prosper together.
--- A soldier said that. His name was Dwight D. Eisenhower

Davos Meets the Blogosphere

In this pithy analysis, Billmon reacts to a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that discussed the impact and future of blogging upon journalism and information dissemination in general. His demand and mine: Hands off the blogosphere, corporations!

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Outsourcing: The uneven playing field

This article is one of hundreds lately addressing the enormous impact on the US labor force of "outsourcing" of relatively well-paying jobs abroad. Ireland makes the most money from such jobs, followed closely by India. As I know from having recently called the 1-800 number to get a fixit for this laptop, New Delhi is the early-morning center for HP customer-service reps. (Who were polite, knowledgable and almost intelligible.)

So--Bush complains about uneven playing fields in manufactured goods, and as a result imposes tariffs to protect US manufacturers (read contributors). But meanwhile jobs flow abroad by the thousands, with not a peep from this Administration. It's part of the globalization of all forms of capital and labor, it is claimed; a natural result of the world being shrunk by quick and ready transport and communication. The American worker (not a Bush contributor) can suffer, but not a corporation. No siree, not when they save money by having their phones answered in India for one-fifth the expense. And we wonder why this is a jobless recovery.

A view from across the pond and a view from this side

A fine survey of the recent spate of books reviling Bush's foreign policy has been presented in the NYT, by an American residing now in France, with this conclusion:
"Though I have lived abroad for many years and regard myself as hardened to anti-Americanism, I confess I was taken aback to have my country depicted, page after page, book after book, as a dangerous empire in its last throes, as a failure of democracy, as militaristic, violent, hegemonic, evil, callous, arrogant, imperial and cruel."

I'm an American residing in America and I'm here to tell ya, I'm taken aback that the reviewer's taken aback. And it doesn't take book learnin' to know whazzup in America. It just takes a few afternoons.

As I've said before, I do an hour-long "peace march" on Saturdays with a handful of like-minded folks, and then about three afternoons a week I station myself at a well-traveled intersection here in SB with my protest sign that contains on one side an anti-war chant and on the other (recently revised) an anti-Bush message. I receive an equal number of favorable honks (including furtive displays of "peace signs") and furious glares accompanied, sometimes, by middle-finger signs.

The most troubling reactions, however, are those where the driver hangs out of the window and yells (this happened twice today, about average for an hour), "God Bless American and George W. Bush." I shit you not.

I'm not taken aback at how America is perceived abroad. Just like Nazi Germany was perceived.