Bob's Links and Rants
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Bush supporters abandoning the s(t)inking ship

While sharing a sandwich at the stylish Beachwood Mall in this Cleveland suburb, one older couple a judge and a teacher reluctantly divulged their secret: though they are stalwarts in the local Republican Party, they are planning to vote Democratic this year.

"I feel like a complete traitor, and if you'd asked me four months ago, the answer would have been different," said the judge, after assurances of anonymity. "But we are really disgusted. It's the lies, the war, the economy. We have very good friends who are staunch Republicans, who don't even want to hear the name George Bush anymore."
-- NY Times

The article continues:
A nationwide CBS News poll released Feb. 16 found that 11 percent of people who voted for Mr. Bush in 2000 now say they will vote for the Democratic candidate this fall. But there was some falloff among those who voted against him as well. Five percent of people who said they voted for Mr. Gore in 2000 say this time they will back Mr. Bush.

On individual issues, the poll found some discontent among Republicans but substantial discontent among independents. For instance, on handling the nation's economy, 19 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independents said they disapproved of the job Mr. Bush was doing.

"As the president's job rating has fallen, his Democratic supporters have pulled away first, then the independents and now we're starting to see a bit of erosion among the Republicans, who used to support him pretty unanimously," said Evans Witt, the chief executive of Princeton Survey Research Associates. "If 10 to 15 percent of Republicans do not support him anymore, that is not trivial for Bush's re-election."

Poor Delusional William Safire
His main partner in conversation is the late Richard Nixon, and his most cherished belief that there were ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden keeps getting smashed by the facts. A week and a half ago, Safire was claiming that a supsiciously convenient CD discovered in Iraq showed ties between a Saddam-connected group called Ansar al-Islam and al Qaeda. Well, according to the NY Times, "senior American officials" are saying that al Qaeda rebuffed requests for assistance from Ansar al-Islam.

While Safire consoles himself by having another long chat with Nixon, I'm starting to feel sorry for him. In fact, I'm going to give him what he has been craving for so long--the link between Saddam and Osama. Here it is, Bill: Check out the names Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld, George H. W. Bush, and Colin Powell. I think you'll find the connections you are looking for. You're welcome, and say "Hi!" to Dick!
Friday, February 20, 2004
Defining our way out of a recession
Courtesy of Big Brother YOUR government!

Is cooking a hamburger patty and inserting the meat, lettuce and ketchup inside a bun a manufacturing job, like assembling automobiles?

That question is posed in the new Economic Report of the President, a thick annual compendium of observations and statistics on the health of the United States economy.

The latest edition, sent to Congress last week, questions whether fast-food restaurants should continue to be counted as part of the service sector or should be reclassified as manufacturers. No answers were offered.
-- NY Times

Notify the UAW--let's get those Big Macufacturers unionized right away! While we're at it, we might as well classify the whole Bush administration as manufacturers as well. What they've done in the past three years certainly isn't a service, and doesn't qualify as governing either, but they've done quite a bit of manufacturing: lies, wars, hatred. And don't forget their economists, manufacturing definitions of manufacturing so we won't lose manufacturing jobs. But if all the burger flippers are now in manufacturing, how will they explain the declining service sector?
So what happens to state security thugs when a racist government gets overthrown?
They get hired by our government to help with racist oppression elsewhere:

In its effort to relieve overstretched U.S. troops in Iraq, the Bush administration has hired a private security company staffed with former henchmen of South Africa's apartheid regime.

The reliance on apartheid enforcers was highlighted by an attack in Iraq last month that killed one South African security officer and wounded another who worked for the subsidiary of a firm called Erinys International. Both men once served in South African paramilitary units dedicated to the violent repression of apartheid opponents.
-- from Billmon, who has a lot more on the subject.

Chavez points his finger at Washington
The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, yesterday angrily accused the United States of being behind a 2002 coup and of helping continuing opposition attempts to overthrow him. -- from the Daily News Online

Meanwhile, back in the Western Hemisphere
The world would be better off if Saddam Hussein were still in power. W claims that "the world is a safer and better place as a result of Saddam Hussein not being in power." I disagree. The world was in a better situation one year ago than it is today. Certainly it is hard to claim that Iraq is better off, with tens of thousands having been killed and many more wounded, with their infrastructure apparently in even worse disarray than before, with bombings and shootouts occurring daily. The US certainly isn't better off, having lost 540-some soldiers, with thousands more wounded, and having spent over $100 billion we don't have to steal somebody's oil.

One place that may be better off, however, is Venezuela. Bush detests democratically-elected Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. There is evidence that the Bushies were supporting the failed coup against Chavez in 2002, and are backing current attempts to oust him. Fortunately for Chavez and the people of Venezuela, most of the available US military might is bogged down in Iraq, unable to seriously threaten to invade Venezuela and take ITS oil. So Chavez and Brazil's Lula have a little breathing room to stand up against the Washington monster, fight against the FTAA, and generally stake a claim to controlling their own destinies.

I'll be going to Venezuela in April on a Global Exchange tour, so I should know a lot more about what's going on there after that. Michelle at You Will Anyway has been keeping much better track of the Venezuelan goings-on than I have, and has a fine collection of Venezuela links. She is also going on the Global Exchange tour, which according to the web site still has spaces available. Come join us in sunny Caracas! (Or cloudy Caracas--I haven't checked the weather there--should be warm, though!)

And then there's Haiti. All sorts of crap going on down there, but I'm just starting to read about it. It sounds like the the Bushies are once again supporting the opposition against a democratically-elected president. They overthrew Gore, they tried to overthrow Chavez, and now Aristide. Why does George W. Bush hate democracy?

From Dan Wasserman.
NOW trade is an issue!
In the original ten candidates running for the Democratic nomination, only two took strong fair trade, as opposed to so-called "free trade," positions: Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich. If the media had focused on plant closings and outsourcing last fall, Gephardt would probably still be in the race and Kucinich would have much more respectable numbers. Instead, they wait until the field is effectively narrowed to two candidates before seriously raising the issue. Today's NY Times main web page (and I assume the paper's front page) has two articles on the issue: One a piece about how Edwards is now the fair-trade candidate, and the other another fine Bob Herbert column. Keep it up folks, but why did you wait until now?
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Kerry and Edwards both leading Bush solidly in polls
Like everyone, I think, I hate polls, except when they show good news! Although I think that everything going on lately is just further confirmation of my suspicion that the powers that be waited until all of the anti-war candidates were effectively eliminated before turning the harsh media spotlight on Bush, three years too late, but better late than never. Unless, of course, you were one of the hundreds killed or thousands wounded in Iraq, or knew someone who was.
Bush's Nascar support is slipping
From The American Prospect, reporting from the Daytona 500:

Overhead, Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the USA." The crowd started chanting obscenities.

After LeAnn Rimes sang the national anthem, the crowd above the grandstands started cheering; those below booed.

Then Bush's motorcade drove by. One middle finger went up in the crowd, then another, and soon they were everywhere.

As the crowd scattered to their seats, one of the few black fans I spotted at the racetrack ran by and saw me scribbling in my notepad. "Writing for a newspaper?" she asked. Before I could respond, she shouted, "Tell them Bush sucks!" Then she disappeared back into the fray.

Okay, "Free Trade" is good for somebody
Wal-Mart Profit Up for Fourth Quarter

Americans continue to buy themselves out of jobs.

[Wal-mart] sales rose to $75.2 billion for the quarter from $66.9 billion a year ago. (three months ending Jan. 31)
Support the troops--fire Bush now!
Many of the soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq were riding in Humvees when they were attacked; many of these Hummers were inadequately armored. And the Bushies are taking their own sweet time about correcting the situation.

From Clay Bennett.

From Doonesbury.
Too late for Valentine's Day...
But you can still give Ebola as a birthday present!

The Ebola plush doll, that is.

The carnage continues
Two soldiers and one Iraqi killed, one soldier wounded in Iraq today. (AP)
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Fun with Photos!
Michelle tells us that the Guardian is having a fake photo contest. Here are a couple of ideas:

Dean is out
Working those many months, I resented Howard Dean and his legions of supporters who thought they were supporting a progressive candidate. The media effectively built him up as the left edge of the party because real change is not welcome to the powers that be. Then they dashed him to pieces in Iowa, and now he's out. And I'm sad about it! Because we're left with the two leading candidates having both voted for the war, having voted for the Patriot Act, and whose only real qualifications as far as I'm concerned are that they aren't George W. Bush. As I said below, I like Edwards much better than Kerry, so I'm semi-endorsing him, as if it mattered.

I didn't explain myself fully in my Edwards post because I had a meeting to go to. So I'll try to catch up now. I don't like Edwards for most of his positions. Not only did he vote for the Iraq war, according to his web site, he actually co-sponsored the resolution. He voted for the Patriot Act. So I'm gagging already. But Kerry voted for both, as well. However, I think Edwards' "two Americas" speech is the right approach to winning the election; bring on the class warfare, I say! The rich have been fighting the battle for 25 years--it's time to fight back. And it sounds like he'll do more to fix "free trade" than Kerry; Edwards claims that he would have voted against NAFTA if he had been in the Senate in 1993. If he would just endorse Kucinich's promise to withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO, I'd have one firm issue on which to prefer Edwards over Kerry. And although they differ widely on the issues, Kucinich seems to genuinely like Edwards, and vice versa. Edwards also stood up for Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley-Braun when debate moderators were short-changing them on time.

I think we can compare Edwards and Kerry to Clinton and Gore. Edwards, like Clinton, is highly articulate and works well in impromptu question-and-answer sessions. He also seems to have few hard-and-fast principles, and seems willing to change them to suit the political winds. Kerry, like Gore, is stiff and awkward, and not good in impromptu sessions (I thought he was just terrible in all of the debates I watched). He seems to be willing to take some strong stands, like his anti-war position in the '70's (and like Gore's position on the environment), but he's also willing to abandon them when the political winds are blowing the other way (his vote for the Iraq war, and Gore's calling for opening up the strategic oil reserve to keep gas prices low shortly before the 2000 election).

I don't think either approach is particularly appealing--somebody who doesn't take strong stands, or someone who does but then abandons them under political pressure. But if Kucinich or someone else can get Edwards to adopt a few good positions on some issues (like NAFTA), he'll do a much better job of selling them than Kerry could. And while I think the "electability" issue sucks, I think Edwards would do a better job of selling himself to the voters than Kerry, at least to both the swing voters and the previous nonvoters, if not the core Democrats who have consistently voted for Kerry in the primaries so far. So, with Dean out and reluctantly feeling that Kucinich and Sharpton no longer have a chance, I'll support Edwards over Kerry.
Taking back the House, one seat at a time
Democrat Ben Chandler easily won a seat in the US House of Representatives yesterday in a special election in Kentucky. His Republican opponent "based her campaign in large part on her support of President Bush," according to AP.

There will be another special election for an open House seat on June 1. Democrat Stephanie Herseth currently leads her Republican opponent in the polls in South Dakota. Maybe you could throw a few bucks her way?

Stephanie Herseth
Auf Wiedersehen, Arbeiten!
German company Siemens will move most of the 15,000 software programming jobs from its offices in the United States and Western Europe to locations such as India, China and Eastern Europe, a company official has said. -- The Straits Times

I used to work for Siemens in Novi, Michigan, developing mail-sorting systems for the US Postal Service. That operation got bought out and closed down about a year after I left, leaving many of the employees out of work. I do recall going to Johnson City, Tennessee for training in how to program Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC's). Siemens had bought that operation from Texas Instruments a few years earlier. They made the PLC's there, but there were also probably hundreds of programmers at that facility. I'm guessing that Johnson City will be hit with a sizeable loss of jobs that it can't really handle right now. But chances are that there will be no repercussions for Siemens on the contracting side. The USPS, the Pentagon, and numerous other government agencies will continue to buy from Siemens, with an even larger extent of the proceeds going into the pockets of the wealthy shareholders.

The race to the bottom continues.
Off the deep end
Nicholas Kristof is one of the more liberal columnists at the New York Times, which unfortunately isn't saying much. Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert definitely are. William Safire and David Brooks definitely aren't (Safire could personally witness Saddam and Osama kill each other in a knife fight and would still believe they were working together). Thomas Friedman is supposedly a liberal, unless you consider his positions on the issues, especially Iraq. Maureen Dowd is the cutesy liberal--everything is a silly turn of phrase in her columns. If there's something important to say that she can't figure out how to say in a cutesy fashion, she won't say it.

Kristof, to his credit, usually provides some useful information in his columns. But his conclusions are frequently befuddling, and sometimes just completely absurd. Today's column, for instance (you knew I had a point coming sooner or later here!). Kristof argues that snowmobiles should be allowed in Yellowstone National Park:

President Bush's policy toward the environment has been to drill, mine and pave it, so it's understandable that environmentalists shriek when he pulls out a whetstone and announces grand plans for Yellowstone National Park.

Yet in the battle over snowmobiling in Yellowstone, it's Mr. Bush who is right. And, to me at least, the dispute raises a larger philosophical question: should we be trying to save nature for its own sake or for human enjoyment? Forgive my anthropocentrism, but I think humans trump the bison and moose.
Putting human interests first doesn't mean that we should despoil Yellowstone, or that we should drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or that we should allow global warming. We have a strong human interest in preserving our planet. But we should also allow ourselves to enjoy this natural world around us including the grandeur of Yellowstone in winter instead of protecting nature so thoroughly that it can be seen only on television specials.

Nick--we used to have nature all around us, and didn't need to go to Yellowstone or watch TV specials to see it. Human "enjoyment" has already trumped the bison and moose almost everywhere on the planet. Places like Yellowstone where wildlife has a fighting chance are few and far between. If people want to experience it, let them do so on nature's terms--on foot. Leave the friggin' snowmobiles out of there, even the cleaner, quieter four-cylinder models. We've overrun most of the planet; let the other species have something.
Tyson loses
Not Mike Tyson, the ear-biting rapist boxer, but Tyson Foods, whose crimes are on a much larger scale. The leading meat packer in the country, Tyson has used anti-competitive practices which restrict independent ranchers access to markets in order to hold down the prices Tyson pays for cattle. Since neither the Clinton nor the Bush Jr. administration was willing to enforce the antitrust laws, six independent ranchers filed a civil action against Tyson. Yesterday, a jury in Montgomery, Alabama awarded the ranchers a $1.28 billion judgment against Tyson.

Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, as I recall (it has been about two years since I read it), had quite a bit about Tyson's practices. Like Wal-Mart, Tyson is based in Arkansas, and like Wal-Mart, they are willing to resort to just about anything to dominate their industry.
Half-hearted semi-endorsement
I have been fairly despondent about presidential politics since Kucinich's 3% showing here in Michigan. Others tried to build some excitement around his 15% in Maine, but it was still just third place, and, no offense to downeasters, but it was just Maine. Maybe he'll have a similar showing in California, but it won't get him the nomination, and it won't get him much leverage at the convention unless the race somehow gets close.

Well, the press at least seems to be playing up John Edwards' strong second in Wisconsin as big news. Edwards now seems to be the only obstacle to John Kerry getting the nomination, and try as I might, I have been able to generate zero enthusiasm for Kerry. I watched several of the debates, and I was not once impressed by Kerry. Ranking the candidates on the issues, I would always have Kucinich at the top, and Kerry at the bottom, only ahead of Lieberman. Ranking the candidates on style, I had Edwards on top and Kerry in a dead heat for last with Lieberman.

Edwards is very smooth and thinks well on his feet. He answers questions clearly. I still think that the Democrats' best hope for winning in November is to bring in millions of people who didn't vote in the last election. Kucinich and Dean offered the best hopes for doing that, but it doesn't look like they'll make it. Between Edwards and Kerry, I think Edwards offers far more appeal to the former non-voters, and he is also much more likely to pry a few southern states out of Bush's grasp. So I'm offering Bob's Links and Rants half-hearted semi-endorsement to Senator John Edwards.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Fear the Mouse!
George Monbiot sees a silver lining in Comcast's attempt to take over Disney--maybe Disney's hold on the minds of children is weakening:

Walt Disney's characters are sinister because they encourage us... to promote the hegemony of the corporations even when we have no intention of doing so. He captured a deep stream of human consciousness, branded it and, when we were too young to understand the implications, sold it back to us. Comcast's hostile takeover bid suggests that the power of his company to seize our imaginations is declining. A giant media corporation may be about to become even bigger, but if the attack means that Disney is losing its ability to shape the minds of the world's children, this is something we should celebrate.
Don't forget those voting machines!
Jack at Ruminate This has a list of electronic voting machine screw-ups which couldn't be fixed because there was no paper trail. He suggests that we inundate local election officials with requests to provide verifiable voting methods, and if they won't, we inundate them with absentee ballots.

I will add that we shouldn't reject electronic voting machines entirely. They have the potential for making voting simpler, and eliminating overvotes and unintended undervotes. They also will be almost required if we are ever to implement instant-runoff voting in a large way. What we need to do is require that each machine produce two identical pieces of paper which document how the voter voted. The voter could review these, and if they were satisfactory then she would give one to an election official and keep one for herself. She could keep this copy private, or she could share it with party officials, journalists, or anyone else interested in verifying the election. If an error was found, she could ask for another opportunity to vote by machine, or request a hand-countable paper ballot.

Touchscreen voting should be viewed as a means to simplify and error-proof voting, not primarily as a way to more quickly count the votes. Perhaps the touchscreen machines should not even be directly connected to tallying computers--they could simply produce paper ballots which are both human- and machine-readable, and error free. These ballots would be run through scanners, and the scanners would be spot checked for accuracy.
Quote du Jour number two
This is the arsonist in your house telling you that stranger outside with the hose can't be trusted. -- Josh Marshall, referring to yesterday's CNN headline: "Bush says Democrats would threaten fiscal health."
But that is its purpose!
The United States' "war on terror" has been "extremely damaging" for human rights, and has been used as an excuse by totalitarian regimes to impose oppressive laws, a leading think tank said yesterday.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), traditionally viewed as an establishment body, concluded in a report that issues such as Guantanamo Bay mean that Washington can no longer "assume a high moral position".

Countries such as Pakistan and Uzbekistan have brought in so-called anti-terrorist laws insisting that they are not much different to the Patriot Act enacted by the Bush administration, said the report's author, Professor Rosemary Foot.
-- from Common Dreams

The wealthy few require endless supplies of cheap labor and natural resources to maintain their status. Corrupt dictatorships supply these more readily than do liberal democracies. The "war on terror" favors the former over the latter.

Quote du Jour
We cannot buy into the proposition that the elected president must be forced out of office by thugs and those who do not respect the law. -- Colin Powell. He's talking about Haiti. Too bad he didn't/doesn't have the same scruples when applied to Venezuela, or the U.S. for that matter. Wouldn't you agree, President Gore?
Daily News Online
I just posted a new commentary on the Daily News Online. Stop by and leave a comment!
National Guard, shmational guard
George W. Bush has committed real crimes in his three stolen years in the White House. South Knox Bubba provides a pretty thorough list of the miserable failure that is the 43rd pResident.
Monday, February 16, 2004
Letter to the editor
From Friday's Ann Arbor News:

We have wasted 500-plus American lives, 10,000-plus Iraqi civilian lives, 3,000-plus wounded Americans, and who knows how many Iraqi wounded and more than $100 billion. For what? George W. Bush said there were stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Now that it is clear there were not, he says, "Oh, well, it doesn't matter." Doesn't matter? He claims absolutely no responsibility, doesn't even issue an apology. What arrogance! What total lack of compassion!

Our president is as much of a coward as Saddam Hussein except his "spider hole" is the White House. Where is the outrage? Will the true patriots please speak out?

Ed W. Saunders, Chelsea

I hope Ed will be joining us in Ann Arbor on March 20 as "The World Still Says No to War!" You, too!
Soldiers, children killed in Iraq
Two Iraqi children and two U.S. soldiers died in three separate explosions Monday in Iraq, coalition and Iraqi officials said. -- From CNN.

From Doonesbury.
Reading backwards
All of my earlier posts today (the six below) are based on last night's debate in Milwaukee. I wrote them while reading through the transcript, so they are kind of in reverse order. You'll figure it out, I'm sure!

And isn't it curious that the two candidates who are given no chance of winning the nomination are the only ones who get any applause? There sure are a lot more people voting for Kerry than there are people who like him!

[Update] I just did a search through the debate transcript. Not counting going to commercials, the audience in Milwaukee applauded only seven times during the debate: five times for Sharpton and twice for Kucinich.
You go, Al!
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I think that if he did know he was lying and was lying, that's even worse.


Clearly, he lied. Now if he is an unconscious liar, and doesn't realize when he's lying, then we're really in trouble.


Because, absolutely, it was a lie. They said they knew the weapons were there. He had members of the administration say they knew where the weapons were. So we're not just talking about something passing here. We're talking about 500 lives. We're talking about billions of dollars.

So I hope he knew he was lying, because if he didn't, and just went in some kind of crazy, psychological breakdown, then we are really in trouble.

Getting to the point!
KUCINICH: The president lied to the American people.
The core reason why I don't like Kerry
He's still defending his vote for the Iraq war:

GILBERT: Let me turn to you, Senator Kerry, because you said your vote wasn't a vote for what the president ultimately did. But you did vote to give him the authority, so do you feel any degree, any degree of responsibility for the war and its costs and casualties?

KERRY: This is one of the reasons why I am so intent on beating George Bush and why I believe I will beat George Bush, because one of the lessons that I learned -- when I was an instrument of American foreign policy, I was that cutting-edge instrument. I carried that M- 16.

I know what it's like to try to choose between friend and foe in a foreign country when you're carrying out the policy of your nation.

KERRY: And I know what it's like when you lose the consent and the legitimacy of that war. And that is why I said specifically on the floor of the Senate that what I was voting for was the process the president promised.

There was a right way to do this and there was a wrong way to do it. And the president chose the wrong way because he turned his back on his own pledge to build a legitimate international coalition, to exhaust the remedies of the United Nations in the inspections and to go to war as a matter of last resort.

Last resort means something to me. Obviously, it doesn't mean something to this president. I think it means something to the American people.

And the great burden of the commander in chief is to be able to look into the eyes of any parent or loved one and say to them, "I did everything in my power to prevent the loss of your son and daughter, but we had to do what we had to do because of the imminency of the threat and the nature of our security. "

I don't think the president passes that test.

GILBERT: But what about you? I mean, let me repeat the question. Do you have any degree of responsibility having voted to give him the authority to go to war?

KERRY: The president had the authority to do what he was going to do without the vote of the United States Congress. President Clinton went to Kosovo without the Congress. President Clinton went to Haiti without the Congress.

That's why we have a War Powers Act. What we did was vote with one voice of the United States Congress for a process. And remember, until the Congress asserted itself, this president wasn't intending to go to the United Nations. In fact, it was Jim Baker and Brent Scowcroft and others and the Congress who got him to agree to a specific process. The process was to build a legitimate international coalition, go through the inspections process and go to war as a last resort.

He didn't do it. My regret is not the vote. It was appropriate to stand up to Saddam Hussein. There was a right way to do it, a wrong way to do it.

My regret is this president chose the wrong way, rushed to war, is now spending billions of American taxpayers' dollars that we didn't need to spend this way had he built a legitimate coalition, and has put our troops at greater risk.

I'm sorry, Senator, but if you weren't aware in October 2002 that Bush was going to chose the "wrong way" and rush to war, you really aren't qualified to be a senator, much less president. And the reason we a have the unconstitutional War Powers Act is because of wussy senators like you. Sir.
The best answer on trade
Usually comes from Kucinich, but last night it came from Rev. Al Sharpton:

But let me say this: Not only would I cancel NAFTA, I've participated in those movements that opposed NAFTA in the beginning when Democrats were passing it and we raised the issue then that human rights was not part of what was being globalized.

So not only would I rescind NAFTA and the WTO, we were against it and had rallied against it in the beginning.

And the argument used that if you protect American workers it's protectionism, but if you protect American corporations it's patriotism -- I think it's patriotism to protect American workers.

And I think that it is some kind of jaded proposition to say, "Should Americans want to pay more to not get products at a K-Mart from cheap labor, or even in some cases, slave labor abroad? "

That's, to me, as a descendent of slaves, like saying, "Well, let's not end slavery because the product will be where we can afford it better. " It is immoral it is against our interests it is outright indecent to work people around the world at those wages to justify K-Mart prices.


HOLT: But back to my original question: Can you bring those jobs back, and can you be specific as how you would bring them back beyond canceling NAFTA?

SHARPTON: I think we bring the jobs back, one, by canceling NAFTA two, by creating manufacturing jobs three -- which would save those corporations where they can begin hiring people back -- three, by creating jobs.

SHARPTON: I've proposed throughout this campaign a $250 billion- a-year infrastructure redevelopment plan: Rebuild highways, roadways, bridges, tunnels in the name of homeland security. Rebuild the ports.

I think if you create jobs, if you cut off these trade agreements and you bring these manufacturing companies back, you can bring some of those workers back. But I think you cannot do it without an unequivocal end to these free trade agreements that have exported American jobs and that have put laborers around the world at below human rights standards.

Hey! I found something Kerry said that I like!!
I will not sign a trade agreement like the Central American Free Trade Agreement or the Free Trade of Americas Act that does not now embrace enforceable labor and environment standards. -- From last night's debate.

If Kerry will be willing to run against large parts of his voting record--NAFTA, Patriot Act, Iraq war--I could support him. And if the US president joined Chavez in Venezuela and Lula in Brazil in opposing FTAA, that fetid piece of proposed organized crime would be truly dead.

Of course, he's still John Kerry. The followup question asked him if he had any regrets about his votes in favor of NAFTA and China's entry into the WTO. His response:

I regret the way that they haven't been enforced, sure. I think...

Of course, we all remember Senator Kerry's fiery speeches in the late '90's attacking President Clinton and Vice President Gore for their failure to enforce NAFTA, don't we? How he mounted a challege to Gore for the nomination in 2000 because Gore had failed to see that NAFTA was enforced after he had sold it to the American people? Heck, Ken Starr and the Monica story could hardly get a minute's time on the evening news because of all those great Kerry speeches! John "Fair Trade" Kerry, we all called him. Remember?
Is Kucinich reading my blog?
Or do great minds just think alike? I wrote the post below (Some perspective, please?) at 4:37 PM EST, and the debate in Milwaukee started at 5:30 EST.

In the debate, Dennis Kucinich was asked about the likely tone of the political debate. Here is part of his response:

I want to say further that if the debate ends up being about the president's service record, you know, we should be worried about the National Guardsmen and Guardswomen who are in Iraq right now, who shouldn't be there.

We should be worried about bringing them home, not worrying about what the president did or didn't do 30 years ago. We have to be concerned about what he's doing now. He sent those men and women there on a lie, and we have to bring them home.

Sunday, February 15, 2004
Some perspective, please?
What Bush did or didn't do in 1972 and 1973 is a lot less important than what he did in 2002 and 2003. Whether or not he showed up here or there in Alabama or Texas on such and such a date really doesn't matter. Of course the wealthy and connected got breaks that the poor didn't; if anything, Bush's AWOL-ness is an indictment of the system more than it is of him. But the National Guard obviously didn't care much whether he showed up or not, or they would have tracked him down.

And whether or not John Kerry was hanging around with "Hanoi" Jane Fonda means a lot less about his ability to be president than does Bush's continuing to hang around with "Baghdad" Don:

Bush presented false evidence to Congress, then proceeded with his war even after that evidence had been clearly demonstrated to be false. And Kerry supported him. Bush should be impeached and Kerry rejected for these crimes of the past two years, not for whatever they did in the early seventies. I mean, jeesh! Why is the trivia overwhelming the substance? Are there no standards of judgment and common sense out there? Unfortunately, I'm afraid I already know the answer.

From Daryl Cagle.
He's toast!
Bush's Campaign to Intensify, With Emphasis on His Record -- NY Times

Bush running on his record. That's as smart as...

Let's take a quick look at that record shall we? Oh, it's a record, alright.

A record number of Americans killed in a single terrorist attack just a few days after the pResident set a pResidential record for the longest vacation.

A record number of wars started, two, using one terrorist attack as justification, with no evidence that either war brought anyone connected with the attacks to justice (I'm sorry, but killing six people with a missile from an unmanned aircraft in the middle of the Yemeni desert isn't "bringing them to justice," it's terrorism), and no evidence that another attack is any less likely because of those wars.

A record deficit. A record number of jobs lost. A record number of treaties and international agreements broken. A record trade deficit. A record number of protesters before a war. A record-tying low number of valid reasons, zero, for starting that war.

Yeah, dimWit. Run on your record. You'll be back in Crawford in no time!

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