Anti-right rants from an obnoxious lumpen proletarian. Aiming to Arm the Choir.
December 31, 2003
Science, Shmience, We'll Bushitize Everything!
Bush said during the campaign, and also I believe, since becoming President, that his administration would rely on science in making decisions. Just one more horrendous lie, as it turns out. Yet even that is not the biggest sin here.
The administration's biggest sin is that in putting ideology above competent science they have revealed their distressing, utter stupidity. They've done it with condoms, the air in New York after 9/11, and who knows what all else. Now Confined Space reports on ergonomics scientists boycotting in protest.
If You Try To Re-Build It, They Still Won't Come
Ergonomics Expert Boycott OSHA Symposium
The nation's leading ergonomics experts have announced that they will boycott an upcoming ergonomics research symposium called by OSHA as part of its COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO ERGONOMICS.
One of the leading lies that the anti-ergonomics industry, Congressional Republicans and the Bush Administration used in their campaign to repeal the ergonomics standard was that there was no science behind ergonomics. Despite the fact that there were more good studies done on ergonomics than any other health or safety standard ever issued by OSHA, and despite a comprehensive review of the literature by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 1997, Republicans in Congress called for another review by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
I said to my dear heart just t'other day, "WHY can't I live in a world where I'm the dumbest person?" I can't stand the wickedly high number of idiots in this world.
Recently, however, leading scientific journals have begun to question whether scientific integrity at federal agencies has been sacrificed to further a political and ideological agenda. As the editor of Science wrote earlier this year, there is growing evidence that the Bush Administration “invades areas once immune to this kind of manipulation.”
At the request of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, this report assesses the treatment of science and scientists by the Bush Administration. It finds numerous instances where the Administration has manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings.
I have slowly come to accept that for a democracy to truly represent all the people, serious limits on inequality are a necessity. I tried to see if Mickey Kaus's neoliberal thought had found a way to get around it, but it only took a couple dozen pages to realize that Kaus can't reason his way out of a paper bag.
So it's nice to learn from my friends at The Right Christians that God is on my side. (Actually, I don't know that they're my friends, but whether they know it or not, I'm one of theirs.)
In my vision of an America the beautiful, our nation would be a place where equality is highly valued. By equality, I mean not only an absence of discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, but a remedying of the growing inequality in this country as measured by wealth, income, education and other measures of social and economic well-being.
This dream is consistent with much of biblical teaching. There are three major strands in the Hebrew Bible that support the idea that a society marked by equality is more God-pleasing than one exhibiting significant inequality. For the writers who produced the material we label as the "Priestly source," social and economic equality was commanded by God as a matter of written and oral law in a theocratic society. The chief source of wealth -- land -- was distributed on what was basically a per capita basis. Inequalities that arose because of skill, industry or "luck" were to be erased every fifty years by the Jubilee. The code handed down in written and oral form through Moses restricted the ability of either the state, i.e. the king, or private parties acting individually or in concert to preserve inequalities in land ownership or social status.
I'm no fan of Ronnie Raygun (try to contain your quivering dismay) but I've always liked his 11th commandment: Thou shall speak no ill of a fellow Republican. Substitute the word Democrat, and I'm there.
Too bad the Democratic contenders didn't get the memo. The Repukes are positively giddy about the campaign commercials they'll be able to run if Dean (who surely must be considered the favorite) wins the nomination; commercials chock full o'quotes from Lieberman (Why isn't there a way to throw him out of the party? Only a Republican could mistake him for a Democrat.), Kerry, and Clark.
Kerry has no chance to win, Lieberman never had a chance, and Clark's got two chances at this point: Slim and none, and Slim's packin' to leave town. Yet, in their desperation, they're doing all they can to make sure the Democrats can't win in November. Disgusting.
So get good and goddamned angry and stay that way! The "new" right has lied and bullied and cheated its way to power and seriously distorted democracy in the process. They deserve your anger, as P.M. Carpenter points out at History News Network.
Let's fight to take back our country, not for liberalism or progressivism or leftism or whatever ism you subscribe to, but more for the sake of sanity and real democracy. Let's move the center back where it belongs, back to true center.
Let's do it not by imitating the movement right's tactics, but by exposing their tactics, exposing their lies and exposing the enormous funding behind their pseudo-conservative propaganda machine.
Indeed, among most Americans, Bush doesn't [inspire the H-word] either. Because surveys didn't ask, we don't know how many Americans hated past presidents. But now the question is being asked, and the answers show that only a small minority -- millions, to be sure -- claim to hate Bush. One poll in December found that 3 percent did. The hating may have been slightly higher in the Clinton presidency, because the same poll asked respondents whether they now hate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and 5 percent said they did. But the central conclusion is striking: Most Americans don't see themselves as haters.
What in the hell is striking about that conclusion? I'm gonna say it again. I don't hate Bush. I don't know what kind of man he is personally. I've never met Bush nor do I ever expect to. I don't care. I only care about his policies, and those I do hate.
I've never met any politician. The closest I ever came is I saw Alan Cranston up close once. To me, they're just politicians. I don't want to say they have one-track minds, but I do think they have minds with one big ol' urban highway and a bunch of little dirt roads. The highway concentrates on getting elected. That's what politicians really care about. Policies, personal behavior, everything else travels the dusty lttle tracks.
Probably no pollster asked the question, but I sure would like to know what the level of Bill Clinton hatred was. I gar-own-tee it was higher than any Bush hatred today. The "Bush hatred" claim is just another classic example of right wing projection. See Dave Neiwert (pronounced Nye-wert-- I hate having my own name mispronounced) at Orcinus for a good discussion of this ( type "projection" into Find to get to the right spot on the page).
Whatever nasty accusation the right makes against the left, it's usually indicative of the kind of nastiness that lies within them. (I'm rubber and your--STOP THAT!)
AngrySam's Take on FCC Actions, More Media Monopoly
Ben Bagdikian's book, The Media Monopoly, has turned out to be prophetic, as I expected it would when I read the first edition back in the 80s.
AngrySam has a chart showing the degree of media consolidation over the years, and it's frightening. I've said for many years that the difference between the citizens of the USSR (when it existed) and the citizens of the US was that people in the USSR knew the media were propaganda tools.
I'm gonna make a prediction. I hate making predictions, but I don't think I'm going out on much of a limb here. The major national media are going to destroy whichever Democrat wins the nomination with innuendo, distortion, and outright lies, much like what they did to Al Gore. If Dean wins, they will truly go all out.
It's not (so far as I know) a conspiracy, and the big media aren't necessarily Republican. It's that the media want FCC regs that allow them to consolidate (monopolize) further, and they know Bush and Michael (Whaddaya mean, nepotism?) Powell will deliver. Dean has openly said that he would break up big media. I doubt he really would, but the media moguls aren't about to take that chance. They will destroy Dean.
If you want to get a good look at the lies and distortions used to severely wound Gore and make the theft of the Presidency possible, I strongly suggest a search of the Daily Howler archives.
Ring The Bells, Tell The Swells, Economy Booming Again
Or not. The Bushies are braggin' on the economy, and those nasty, negative Dems continue to be pessimistic for no reason.
Except, Bush is certain to end his term with the worst performance on jobs of any prez since Hoover. That ought to be embarassing. On top of that, things aren't nearly as good as the official government statistics make them seem.
To begin with, there are the 8.7 million unemployed, defined as those without a job who are actively looking for work. But lurking behind that group are 4.9 million part-time workers such as Gluskin who say they would rather be working full time — the highest number in a decade.
There are also the 1.5 million people who want a job but didn't look for one in the last month. Nearly a third of this group say they stopped the search because they were too depressed about the prospect of finding anything. Officially termed "discouraged," their number has surged 20% in a year.
Add these three groups together and the jobless total for the U.S. hits 9.7%, up from 9.4% a year ago.
True to form, the percentage of adult Americans with jobs dropped from a high of 64.8% in April 2000, just as the stock market was cresting, to 62% in September — the lowest level in a decade. If past recessions are any guide, those 5 million people who found themselves jobless should have driven the unemployment rate up to about 8%.
"More than half of the additional people who would have reported themselves as unemployed in a previous big recessionary period aren't," a puzzled UC Berkeley economist, Brad DeLong, wrote on his website. "They're reporting themselves as out of the labor force instead."
From 1983 to 2000, economists David Autor and Mark Duggan wrote in a recent study, the number of non-elderly adults receiving government disability payments doubled from 3.8 million to 7.7 million.
Autor and Duggan concluded that if disability payments weren't so appealing, many more people would be unemployed, boosting the jobless rate two-thirds of a point.
So the real unemployment rate is as bad as in those nasty, socialist dictatorships (where more people voluntarily vote than here, for some reason) of Western Europe.
We got to remember, chilluns, the government lies to us. Not all the time, of course. Only when they can figure a way to get away with it.
The CPI added a "quality" component. How do you measure quality? Oh, right, it's a judgment call, and so can be manipulated any way you want. The poverty measure is totally out of date. All they do is multiply the cost of food by three, though housing and other costs have gone up much more than food. Even the woman who designed the measure says it's out of date.
There's gotta be more, I just haven't been able to track it down yet. You catch a burglar, you can be pretty sure it's not his first burglary. And I'm not talkin' bout Repukelicans, here. Whichever party is in power does it. Don't act like a Repukelican! Never trust the government!
(Updated 12/31/03) Uncommon Thought Journal has more on how global "outsourcing" contributes to unemployment and grinds down wages. The economy is adding jobs, but they ain't good jobs and that hurts not only the individuals who lose income but the economy as a whole. Things don' luke gude.
Here's a big fuckin' surprise: I'm not a neoconman. On the other hand, I'm not a damn isolationist, either, no matter what their unscientific quiz score shows. According to their sketches of each ideology's foreign policy views, I'm a liberal. Maybe I am. On foreign policy.
"But Dean is more than a liberal, he is a liar and a narcissist. So if he is nominated, it's going to be long, long year."
Takes one to know one you simpering twit. Nyah nah na na nah.
Okay, back to the adults. I highly recommend Orcinus (and Atrios is no slouch either). He's a journalist, a fine writer, a student of the extreme right wing, and would not, IMO, be considered a liberal if we didn't have such a severely skewed political spectrum in this country.
This is a man who would like nothing more than to go back to voting a split ticket. He hardly strikes me as a confirmed leftist, not even a center-leftist. I heartily hope that some day he can.
More proof that the hard right is just as crazy if not crazier than the hard left. Atrios links to two sick, Brownshirt "utopian" visions, one by Adam Yoshida, the other by William Lind. (Scroll down to "Brownshirt States of America.")
My favorite part in Yoshida's essay is the concluding paragraph:
All things considered, the people of the 22nd Century are healthier, better-educated, better-defended, richer, and happier than their ancestors. While things are far from perfect- theyâ€™re going alright.
Does this half-wit know what the word Utopia means? Obviously not.
Left wing Utopias, right wing Utopias, do these people realize that believing in Utopia puts you on the lunatic fringe?
Counterspin Central has the latest on Blair's recent lie. The weapons labs have been found, Blair said. Red herring, too-many-damn-names Bremer said, then backpedaled when he found out who said it.
"We've found them! We've found the WMD!" Bush said some months ago. "When has Bush ever lied?" Whine the wingnuts?
Well, constantly. First let me say that anytime someone is intending to deceive, in any way (exaggeration, equivocation, distortion, hyperbole, whatever) they're lying. Semantics games don't get Bush of the hook. Second, if anyone in the administration lies, Bush is lying. He's responsible, no matter how hard he tries to evade it.
By that standard, Bush has lied a lot. That's why there are several books about Bush's lies. That's why when you type "bush lies" into google you get over 1.8 million results (not all bush lies, but a lot). That's why I have a folder with 73 stories pertaining to Bush's lies, and I got tired of collecting them.
The man is either a pathological liar, he's delusional or he's stupid. I don't see any other possibilities. I know all politicians lie, but this is ridiculous. Bush lied us into war, and, especially in an alleged democracy, that's reprehensible.
This, it appears, is what compassionate conservatism really means. The conservative part is a stern and sometimes intrusive government to regulate the citizenry, but with a hands-off attitude toward business. The compassionate end involves some large federal programs combined with unending sympathy for the demands of special interests. If only it all added up.
They sum up much of the seemingly bizarre behavior of the Bushies (seemingly bizarre until you realize they're not conservatives at all, but corporatists who merely pander to the religious right) and they almost say it: CORPORATOCRACY.
Why are right wingnuts so fond of saying, "Life's not fair?" Of course life's not fair. Any idiot can see that. Even a wingnut.
It's the sort of fact that oughtta make a rational person wonder exactly what kinda God is runnin' this joint. But, whatever, that ain't my point.
My point would be that people are supposed to be fair. Didn' them wingnuts' mamas teach 'em nothin'? Whadda fock? I'd be afraid to meet my maker if I was them. Hell, I am afraid to meet my maker, and I actually try to be fair.
Whatever happened to: "There but for the grace of God go I?" That used to be a pretty popular phrase back before wimpy notions like empathy and sympathy went out of style. Back before the Goldwater pseudo-conservatives took over the world.
Ya know, social Darwinism only makes any kind of sense if you know for sure that the problem is genetic. (Even then it's a nasty-mean attitude suitable only for the kind of jerks who might need to be weeded out of the species themselves, though I don't really know. There but for the grace, and all that.)
People wind up broken and dysfunctional for a lot of reasons, most of them not genetic.
If the prob is not genetic, you could be allowing the parent or grandparent or great-grandparent of the genius who someday saves all our asses to die, and now we're doomed, because of you social Darwinists. Jackasses!
And while I'm at it, whatever happened to "Judge not, that ye be not judged?" It's in Matthew and Luke. Whoops, I forgot, we're not supposed to pay any attention to anything Jesus said, we're just s'posed to worship him as kind of a meaningless icon, our faith in the existence of which guarantees our entry into heaven. Sorta like an E ticket.
Another thing I wonder about: Can Iraq be governed democratically? Not for racial reasons do I wonder (He says before the more-politically-correct-than-the-left-ever-thought-about-bein' wingnuts jump his ass -- jump it for some other reason, ya dingle-balls.), because I only recognize one race: human. Not because Iraqis are mostly Muslims. Turkey seems to be doing fairly well.
It's just the seemingly deep divisions in the country. Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, and it doesn't seem like all of them want to get along. Not a bunch of live and let live types. I could easily be wrong about that. I'm no expert on Iraq, but this does lead me to another wonderment o'mine.
Can the U.S. still be governed democratically (if it ever was)? The far right and their allies in the Evangelica-Fundy Christo-fascist right don't seem like real live and let live types either. (HEY! If wingnuts can call Islamists Islamo-fascists, I can call people who really believe the world is only 6,000 years old and think they have a right to insert religion into government Christo-fascists.)
Actually they seem to be my way or the highway types. And I know those of us left of center ain't backin' down on our beliefs (Which, unlike their beliefs, don't force anything down anyone's throat, except in the minds of paranoids who actually think Christians are persecuted in America.).
So is it time to split the country up? Everybody who can tolerate living with people who aren't just like them on one side, all the monocultural authoritarians on the other? Whaddaya think?
Send 'em to Christian Schools!
Raise a Generation of Idiots!
Satan's Public School for Girls (and Boys) (scroll down a bit)
World O'Crap dissects Judson Cox's take on the awful, leftist, blaspheming public schools. Judson had the inestimable benefit of Christian home-schooling, ya know.
Now I have to go wipe the blood off my forehead cuz I've been bashing my head into the door frame just because such people exist.
QUIT WHINING, you little snots. A little inflation won't kill you. Poverty is killing low-wage workers. Jesus! Me, me, me, is that all anyone thinks about anymore? It's capitalism that's destroying our morals. If Jesus does the judging, I think the me, me, me-ers are going to hell.
Jesus was a man, who traveled through this land,
a carpenter true and brave,
but he said to the rich give your goods to the poor,
so they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
For at least 30 years this country's been goin' downhill in almost every way. Healthcare. Environment. Wages. Inequality. Lost democracy. Number of people who actually give a shit about fairness or justice.
And for 30 years, basically, the Cons have been in charge, even if occasionally they called themselves Democrats. Nixon was the last liberal President. That SERIOUSLY irritates me. Now when are people gonna wise up?
Gary Hufbauer, a senior analyst at the Institute for International Economics, a Washington research group that supports free trade, said the gains for the United States — lower priced consumer goods and increased corporate earnings — are large compared to the losses.
"However, the gains are so thinly spread across the country that people don't thank Nafta when they buy a mango or inexpensive auto parts," he said.
"We're the losers," said Bonnie Long, one of at least half a million American manufacturing workers who lost their jobs due to Nafta, despite the surge in trade. "We lost our health care, our living wages. The winners are the corporate executives who don't even live here and can locate their factories wherever they find the cheapest labor."
After five years, Ms. Vázquez takes home $45 for a 48-hour week, after deductions for the costs of her government-built house. Though her income is higher than it was back home, what she has left after paying the bills is about the same. "Life is different," she said, "but just as hard."
But by every measurable standard, the gap between rich and poor in Mexico widened. Unemployment is up and real wages, eroded by a collapse of the peso in 1995, are flat or down for many millions of workers.
Many of these maquiladora jobs are now disappearing, as the one relative advantage Mexico once had — cheap labor — erodes in an expanding global marketplace. Of the 700,000 new maquiladora jobs generated in Nafta's first seven years, 300,000 have been eliminated since 2000.
But in Canada, as in Europe, the social safety net eased that transformation. The European Union handled free trade differently. It has allowed the free movement of workers, not just capital. It protected wage standards. It closed the gap between a richer country like Germany and a poorer one like Greece with money and technology. European governments, not employers, provide health care and pensions.
"It is easier when people don't have to worry about the social safety networks and can accept a connection between improving competition and economic growth," said Pascal Lamy, Europe's top trade minister and a staunch free trader. When Americans are thrown out of work because of a fundamental shift caused by new global trade rules, he said, they risk losing everything.
The Times article is a little too "balanced" for my tastes. That's one of my pet peeves. The news is not supposed to be balanced. It's supposed to be factual. Splitting the difference between the opinion of a PhD. and an ignoramus is not balance. It's stupid.
The American people were strongly opposed to NAFTA and it passed anyway, thanks to the real elitests in this country, CEOs, economists, the media, the right wing "think" tanks (propaganda mills). Basically, the corporatists who know better than the people. It passed over the objections of Democrats in the House, but with strong support from Republicans.
That famous corporatist conservative masquerading as a Democrat (much like Joe Lieberman today), Billus Clintonus, cheered the Repukes on and signed it into law. Over the objections of the people. Tell me again how we live in a Democracy. Oh, yeah, and as it turns out the American people were right, the elitists and their pet politicians wrong (although NAFTA has helped the elite). Huh. Imagine that.
"According to the December 16, 1998 issue of Mexican Labor News and Analysis, in 1987 a worker had to work 8 hours and 47 minutes to buy the basic food basket for a family of four. Today it takes 34 hours."
"In December 1998, the Mexican government increased the minimum wage by 14%. However, government figures show that the consumer price index rose 18.6% in 1998. Mexican government statistics show that real wages have dropped to a 30-year low and are likely to sink even further as the 1999 budget takes effect."
Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras Annual Report 1998, Newsletter Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 1999. Pg. 13
THE TEN YEAR TRACK RECORD OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT U.S. WORKERS’ JOBS, WAGES AND ECONOMIC SECURITY
Note the excerpt discussing the social safety net in Europe and Canada. But nooo. We can't have a decent safety net in this country because it's SOCIALIST, dammit, SOCIALIST. Never mind whether it works or is a good thing. What matters is that it violates the right's rigid, simplistic ideology.
Ideology uber alles, say the would be fuhrers of the right. I say seig heil, splll! Seig heil, splll. Right in der fuhrers' face(s)!
I'm not against trade, I'm not against globalization. I'm against trade agreements that help the corporations while hurting people. I'm against trade agreements that don't raise standards on labor rights (the US could use some), environmental protections, and democracy. I'm against the growing world-wide corporatocracy. Nuff sed.
"Monuments are not "laws," the Plattsmouth, Neb., public park is not "Congress," and the Ten Commandments are not a religion."
The Ten Commandments are not a religion? The first four commandments are all about a religion. I just checked. Oddly enough, I got 'em hanging on my living room wall.
"To the contrary, all three major religions believe in Moses and the Ten Commandments."
There are only three major religions and all of them believe in The Ten Commandments? What three religions could she mean, pray tell?
Christianity: 2 billion
Islam: 1.3 billion
Hinduism: 900 million
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 850 million
Buddhism: 360 million
Chinese traditional religion: 225 million
primal-indigenous: 150 million
African Traditional & Diasporic: 95 million
Sikhism: 23 million
Juche: 19 million
Spiritism: 14 million
Judaism: 14 million
Okay, it's easy to see who one and two are, and they believe in the great Ten, but you don't reach another group of believers in the Commandments until the tie at number eleven. Rave on, chillun, let's all get Dixie fried.
"Some, however, like the "radical socialist" shopper -- and my neighbor's cat, Moonie -- seem oblivious to the comfort, freedom and abundance that flow from America's historically unparalleled opportunities."
Yep, the comfort, freedom and abundance that flow from the Walmart nation.
If the UFCW loses its fight with the grocery stores, it will be because of Walmart. Middle class grocery workers will be headed toward the lower classes. Costco, which also pays near middle class wages, is under pressure from Wall Street to cut wages and benefits. See: Unions and Wall Street.
Manufacturing jobs are steadily heading out for parts cheaper, Mexico or China or Bangladesh or anywhere that the lowest standards prevail (no unions, no taxes, no environmental regs., etc.). Now highpaying white collar jobs (computer programmer, engineer, etc.) are heading out for India.
It's a race to the bottom. Middle class income has been stagnant for 30 years. The lower middle class has been dropping, the lower class has dropped more than that, and now it even looks like the upper middle class may get hurt.
I'm not a radical socialist, but I sure as hell think the people deserve a cut of all this "abundance," and the so-called free market (ain't no such a thing, never has been, never will be) ain't cuttin' it.
"Chuck" (not his real name), who used to consider himself a liberal (a "bubble-headed liberal) until he wised, up demonstrates his newly acquired wisdom:
"I met people from all over the country and I'm telling you they're regular people, they've got families and they're worried--some of them are downright scared. They're worried that it's going to get so bad that blacks are going to start mass killings of whites. If you don't believe me, you need to look at Rhodesia and South Africa."
Hmm, lemme see hyar, South Africa and Rhodesia were originally all black areas that were invaded by whites who, as a well-armed minority, oppressed the black majority. Who'd a ever thunk that would work out badly? Both areas are around 75 to 85% black to this day. And, actually, whites seem to be doing okay in South Africa. Better than the blacks, still.
Gee, and the United States. . . .has a somewhat different history. When these sorts of people considered themselves liberal, were they sniffing a lot of glue? Does that explain the rise of the right?
And so is anyone left of center-right who dares to criticize the Bush machine. Only a conspiracy nut would imply that the Administration had any warning prior to 9/11.
"I don't believe any longer that it's a matter of connecting the dots. I think they had a veritable blueprint, and we want to know why they didn't act on it." -- Senator Arlen Specter ("FBI, CIA Brass in a Sling," New York Daily News, June 6, 2002).
"They don't have any excuse because the information was in their lap, and they didn't do anything to prevent it." -- Senator Richard Shelby, member of the joint intelligence committee investigating 9/11 ("Another Dot That Didn't Get Connected," San Francisco Chronicle, June 3, 2002).
Wednesday night, a Fox Watch monitor caught an outright lie during one of Fox News' flagship programs, The O'Reilly Factor. In a discussion of progressive websites, host Bill O'Reilly called TomPaine.com "the most rank propaganda in the world."
I'm thinking, if true, the would make TomPaine.com different from O'Leilly and Fox News how?
Fox News analyst Liz Trotta responded:
"Well, how many people do you think -- who look at MoveOn.org, know it's affiliated with the World Socialist Movement..."
This outrageous and false charge could only have been intended to discredit the work of MoveOn.org and its members. It is akin to the tactics of the McCarthy era.
Call on Fox News to dismiss Liz Trotta for such an utter lack of journalistic scruples.
I can't find a transcript, but how much would you like to bet at, say, 2-5 odds that she didn't cite a lick of evidence? I'll bet she made Annie "mean, drunken liars are my heroes" Coultergeist proud.
Barb Boxer, Sen. from California, sent me an email, part of which reads:
I will be introducing legislation, similar to a bill introduced
by Congressman Holt earlier this year, requiring that paper
verification and auditing capabilities are built into touch
screen systems. My bill would also provide greater security
standards by making sure that access to the machines is limited
to approved personnel who have had background checks. This
will decrease the possibility of tampering with the machines
and program codes.
All these wingnuts who claim anyone who wants a voter verifiable paper trail is a conspiracy nut, do you think they'd be happy if their ATMs didn't print out a receipt? Maybe just put up a line on the screen that says, "Trust us!"
If they would, then they're even dumber than I think. Hot flash, peebles, your vote is more important than your bank account. Hard to believe in the land of Mammon uber alles, I know, but true just the same.
And happy Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and whatever else anyone celebrates around this time of year. That's right, f'right wingers, I'm multiculturalist and proud. How can a free country be anything else?
YOkay, is that good enough? Have I spread enough holiday cheer? Believe me, that much was a strain. I hate holidays, especially Christmas. The way we celebrate Christmas is an affront to Jesus. I like the days off, but that's all I like. I make a moderate exception for stuff like Labor Day and Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but that's about it. Everybody I know agrees with you. They think I'm weird. I am.
But this is America. You got a right to be weird, you got a right to be yourself, hell, you even got a right to be wrong. So far.
Or far right-wing at least. I love these people. If there's one "bad" poor person, then all poor people must be "bad". Never mind how they got that way, and screw the kids.
The far right rejects the theory of evolution, yet embraces social Darwinism. Is there a parallel universe where that makes sense? Even if you accept Darwinism, social Darwinism is pseudo-science. Human beings have survived through group cooperation, not individual cutthroat competition.
But what the hell. Live by the anecdote and pound that nasty conscience into submission!
To hear the media, the Republicans, and the DLC tell it. Hmmm, why's the DLC always siding with the Republicans? Maybe because they really are the Republican wing of the Democratic party?
The Dems seriously need to understand something.
I was kickin' around some of the many things wrong with this country with my Sig Other's cousin, and she said, "Let's not talk about this, it's too depressing. Nothin' we can do about it anyway." I hear these same sentiments from people all the time.
They're largely right. As long as we have only one political party, the Corporo-Demo-Repulicats, there's not a whole lot we can do.
The Dems can never be the dominant party by being "me too" conservatives who are sort of liberal on a few social issues. They need to provide an alternative, not an echo, even though doing that will cost them a lot of money.
They need to wean themselves off that corporate tit, which rightfully belongs to the Repukelicans, and get their feet into the streets and become the people's party again.
They need to get out in the streets and organize at the grassroots level in poor and working-class and middle-class neighborhoods, right down to the precinct and council district level. And not just during election season. Year 'round.
They need to be educating and helping people, they need to make sure people who might not otherwise vote get absentee ballots, and get them in. And they need to actually represent those people against powerful interests. They need to counter organized money with organized people.
From the middle-class right down to the bottom, we all know we're getting screwed, but we also know neither party gives a damn. So those who vote make decisions on the few issues the corporations really don't care about.
The Dems have been living on their reputation as the people's party, but they done wore that reputation out.
Is Howard Dean the man to change that? I don't know, and I have real doubts, but has anyone else who has a chance to win the presidency even hinted that they'll try?
Annie the Anorexic Rottweiler Bitch Coulter (how you like that ad hominy, babee?) hates Vermont's program of visiting every new mother in the hospital. It violates her anti-government, "pro-family" ideology, you see.
But what effect has the program had, according to Howard Dean? A 48% decline in child abuse, a 70% decline in child sexual abuse. I haven't researched it, but it sounds like the program gets results. If it does, then I'm all for it. I'm funny that way.
Now if Annie the "I don't do REAL research" right wing ideologue had argued that these were false claims, that might have been a legitimate argument. Argument based on ideology alone, however, is just lazy anti-reason garbage. There's really only a marginal difference between an ideologue (right or left) and an idiologue.
I've been reading Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities. They couldn't have picked a better title for this book. The book was researched and written from 1986 to 1990, and then things have changed a little bit for the better, but certainly not dramatically and certainly not nearly enough. A few quotes:
Principal James Carter of P.S. 79, where class sizes run up to 37 students, says, "Ideal class size for these kids would be 15 to 20. Will these children ever get what white kids in the suburbs take for granted? I don't think so. If you ask me why, I'd have to speak of race and social class. I don't think the powers that be in New York City understand, or want to understand, that if they do not give these children a sufficient education to lead healthy and productive lives, we will be their victims later on. We'll pay the price someday--in violence, in economic costs. I despair of making this appeal in any terms but these. You cannot issue an appeal to conscience in New York today. The fair-play argument won't be accepted. So you speak of violence and hope that it will scare the city into action."
The right wing is right. Our morality is deteriorating. They're just focusing too much attention on the wrong morals, is all. "You cannot issue an appeal conscience..."
Peebles, they's a word for people whose consciences can't be appealed to. Sociopaths.
Mr. Carter continues, "It's amazing to me that these children ever make it with the obstacles they face. Many do care and they do try, but there's a feeling of despair. The parents of these children want the same things for their children that parents in the suburbs want. Drugs are not the cause of this. They are the symptom."
Oh, but wait, he's just making an excuse for them to avoid taking personal responsibility. Except putting the onus on personal responsibility is just an excuse for avoiding social responsibility, just another way of switching off that annoying call of conscience.
A student, Israel, says, "If you threw us all into some different place, some ugly land, and put white children in this building in our place, this school would start to shine. No question. The parents would say: 'This building sucks. It's ugly. Fix it up.' They'd fix it fast, no question."
And: "Most of the students in this school won't go to college. Many of them will join the military. If there's a war, we have to fight. Why should I go to war and fight for opportunities I can't enjoy--for things rich people value, for their freedom, but I do not have that freedom and I can't go to their schools?"
I know for sure I got sick of hearing about kids, including Jessica Lynch, who joined the military primarily for a chance to get a college education and then were injured or killed in Afghanistan or Iraq. If it has to be done then how 'bout we make the wealthier do some of the dyin' and quit forcing lower class and poor kids to risk their lives to get an education? Lastly, a school counselor says:
"It's quite remarkable how much these children see. You wouldn't know it from their academic work. Most of them write poorly. There is a tremendous gulf between their skills and capabilities. This gulf, this dissonance, is frightening. I mean it says so much about the squandering of human worth. . . ."
What was that Jesus said about how we treat the least among us? Oh, well, doesn't matter. As long as you believe in Jesus you'll go to heaven no matter how big a jackass you are. Although . . . didn't Jesus say sumpin' 'bout never knowin" some people?
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I took the name Phaedrus from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Not that I'm as smart as that Phaedrus, but I am a ghost. Sort of.
I started doing odd jobs at a motel when I was 14. I lasted one day at a McDonald's, quit, lasted a lot longer at Taco Bell. I've been a gas station attendant, janitor, die cast production worker, day laborer, course maintenance at a miniature golf course, warehouse, union janitor, cabbie, statistical clerk, pool cleaner, working homeless for a few weeks (day labor), and several other things I can't remember. And I've survived. Sort of. I'm not a Marxist, but I am a genuine member of the lumpen proletariat.
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