Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dodd and The Doddering Dems

I have been waiting for a candidate to ignite the Netroots' passion. I wonder if that man is Chris Dodd? Over the last week or so he has singlehandedly railed against the telecom immunity included in the FISA bill. Now, those ahead of him in the polls will ultimately try to co-opt the success he is having with standing up for this, but it needs to be acknowledged right now the job that Dodd is doing.

He has pledged to wrestle this legislation down to the mat by placing a hold on it and by ultimately using the filibuster to stop it. Not only does he need support and encouragement, but other candidates need to be pressured and told that to ignore Dodd's effort will be a grave mistake.

Please act now and encourage Senator Dodd to stand up for you and your rights against the corporations who have conspired with the Bush Administration's lawbreaking and subversion of our Constitution and Rule of Law. The public is with him.

Giving ANY lawbreaker retroactive immunity is wholly unacceptable and threatens to undermine our institutions and systems. These companies were well aware that setting up special rooms and giving Bush unfettered and unsupervised access to all the information flowing through their systems was clearly illegal. The argument that is coming from the usual rightwing opinion prostitutes is that these companies should not be punished because although they knowingly broke the law, it was patriotic in nature. Since when do giant corporations do ANYTHING which does not result in their profit or gain? The answer is that they do not. Ever. Companies are not "patriotic" or benevolent or generous. They exist to sustain and generate profit for themselves and their shareholders. PERIOD. There simply are no other motivations whatsoever and believing otherwise is either stunningly stupid or stunning dishonest.

I have long wondered if this administration had something on certain congressman who seem to have no backbone whatsoever and cave in time and time again. Given our government's history of using intelligence organizations like the CIA and FBI to blackmail political opponents (MLK), is it really so wild of an idea to think that one of the purposes of this surveillance could be to shake down the opposition as well as enforce party unity?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Irony is Dead

The same crowd who get downright militant about abortion and saving fetuses are downright militant about helping children whose parents don't have the means to afford decent healthcare!

They're now going after
the family of a 2-year old girl whose story was featured in a political ad supporting SCHIP.

So they want all these poor or unfit parents who can't handle the cost and responsibility of having a child (for whatever reason) to HAVE to carry the baby, then act like the world is coming apart when someone wants to help that child's parents afford healthcare FOR THE SAME CHILD. I've said this many times before, but this is beyond hypocrisy, this is madness.

What a sick freaking place this country is.

Glenn Greenwald has been all over the telecom/Bush administration skulduggery.
• Keith Olbermann discusses as well.

The New Three Branches

The distinctions between the corporations, the media and the government have melted away. This is mainly due to the erosion of all checks and firewalls intended to prevent the cross-pollination of corruption between the institutions. Of course those firewalls have not been simply eroded over time like limestone formations in the wind, but they have been deliberately dismantled piece by piece, primarily by the corporations. The primary goal of any corporation is to simultaneously grow and maintain profit. Over recent decades, those who lead and manage these giant corporations have become more overtly political.

This is not necessarily due to these individuals' inherent partisanship, but more likely due to the simple idea that in order to maximize profits at all costs, political considerations should be factored into any business goal. And so the mentality develops among managers and in the boardroom that Republican control will DIRECTLY result in increased revenues and profits.

The mouthpieces like Rush, Coulter, O'Reilly and Hannity are not philosophers concerned about the state of the human soul. Rather, they are simply salesmen, working to create demand for rightwing products while at the same time working to frame the competition's products as defective and harmful. The rise in demand for conservative leadership had more to do with marketing than anything else. It has long been established on Madison Avenue that marketing creates demand for products that one would never think of purchasing. This is fact.

And so what has happened over time is that the giant corporations realized that acquiring news companies was worth far more in terms of overall market value than in whatever profits they could wring out of dead industries like radio and newspapers. Combine that with the infiltration of the government by pro-corporate forces or outright agents and you have domination of political opinion and promotion of the rightwing agenda.

Privatization is simply the attempt to substitute corporations for the government. And the media companies, whose duties used to be to provide a check on the government are now owned and operated by the same corporations who are attempting to seize permanent control of the government.

Which brings us to FISA. The Democrats are trying to pass RESTORE, an attempt to restore some of our legal protections against domestic spying. People seem to be missing the forest for the trees here. Bush is seeking to protect his corporate conspirators in illegally spying on U.S. citizens by pushing for immunity for those telecommunications companies who cooperated with him in handing over the phone and internet records of the entire country. I haven't seen any proof just yet, but I think it doesn't take much connecting the dots to realize that this is the government outsourcing the job of spying on the American citizens to the corporations. And the one thing I know about corporations is that they have some very sophisticated tools for data mining. It's not the mere fact that every single bit of digital information about you is being stored and archived, but how is that information being used. The government has used information in the past to blackmail it's political enemies. Do you think the Bush Administration would hesitate to use the advantage of knowing everything about you?

The internal politics of a corporation do not contain a shred of democracy in them - they are dicatorships. So when these same companies execute a takeover of the government, they're going to institute the methods and practices that keep the cash flowing.

The eradication of checks and balances, the control of information, the dissemination of propaganda and misinformation, the domestic spying and blinding loyalty to an all-powerful leader constitute the primordial ooze from which fascism evolves. But in the end, it's just business. And all three players in the dynamic - corporations, government and the media - seek to protect each other's interests and jobs as they are really three separate, but equal branches of the same ruling body: Finance (Corporations), Administrative (U.S. Government) and Public Relations/Marketing (Media).

Friday, October 5, 2007

Personality Crisis

Apparently we on the left are Stalinists today. A few weeks ago, according to Bill O'Reilly, we were the KKK and the Nazis. And after that, FOX's Tammy Bruce said we are the Gestapo. I'm not sure what we'll be tomorrow but I'm sure it's bad. Let's see, most of the 20th Century Villans have been mined, so where will this go next?

Maybe science fiction? I would love it if we were the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. No, that's probably too obscure. Let's see... I know - we're the orcs from Lord of the Rings! Ah crap, we can't be orcs, because we like trees. OK, scratch that. Let's just hear from the chickenhawk himself (full transcript here):

RUSH: In fact, folks, I'm going to say something that might surprise you a bit. I'm beginning to consider the possibility that the Democrats have just moved beyond ideology, in terms of what propels them. And by that I mean, I don't think that it's just liberalism that's propelling them. There is something further and more disastrous and more dangerous going on, and I think they've become Stalinist-like. What we're seeing here from Wesley Clark, Media Matters for America, all the Democrats on the floor of the House and Senate, denouncing me, a private citizen, this is not just liberalism. It's Stalinist, using the power of the state to intimidate citizens. I have mentioned to you I don't know how many times, and I've asked you to conduct this experiment: When you are with a group of people at a party, I don't care where, even your friends and maybe some in the group you don't know but most of the people you do -- notice how scared everybody is to say anything for fear of making others uncomfortable, or for fear of offending somebody, or for fear of being ripped to shreds for making somebody uncomfortable, or offending them.

They rail against Political Correctness because they don't want to ever be ashamed of what they have to say. They want to be proud of their bigotry and selfishness. They want to be proud of their greed and their cruelty. One of the main spearheads of Bushism is to break down all barriers to their conduct. To subvert the law, to undermine any institution which provides oversight, to generally attack any body which would seek to impose any kind of accountability or regulation on their activities.

But the dirty little secret here (of many) is that they have their own version of Political Correctness, on display for all the world just last week in the form of the MoveOn ad "controversy". Clearly, it was deemed a bad thing to use language that supposedly questioned the loyalty of a sitting general. The rightwing version of "patriotism" is merely a tool to enforce their own restrictions on speech. Look at the labels applied to war critics - Anti-American, America Haters, Unpatriotic and Traitors. This is clearly intended to shame the opposition into silence. You can't call an Asian an Oriental and you can't call Petraeus Betrayus.

What do you think we'll be next week?