Third Party & Independents

Critique the Message, Not the Messenger
June 2003 Archives

June 30, 2003

Public opinion, Iraq and 2004

As I predicted a few weeks ago, the US public is already losing interesting in Iraq.

Only 56 percent of Americans view the current fighting as going well in Iraq, according to a new CNN/USA Today Gallup poll. That is much lower than the 70 percent in late May and the 86 percent in early May who thought the fighting was going well.

That means in the last two months public support has dropped a jaw dropping 30%. Not a good sign considering Rumsfeld and most military experts say we're going to be there for a while. Not only do Americans feel the war/conflict/fight/whatever isn't going well, but more Americans now than ever feel that we shouldn't have gone to war in the first place.

» Continue reading "Public opinion, Iraq and 2004"

Posted by joestump at 9:41 PM

June 29, 2003

Iraq privatization and economic globalization

On recent news we all have seen the possibility of a privatization of all the state-owned companies, trying to achieve democracy through the arrival of a free market and the opening of Iraq to investment by foreign companies.
Although all this is presented in the spirit of democracy, this imposed globalization goes contrary to any perception of equality or respect for the vanquished country. More to the point, the possibility of selling the state-owned companies at give-away prices is bound to create more distrust and enmity among the population of Iraq, as well as further confirm the image that the United States is getting all over the world, that of an empire with little respect for local customs, laws and culture.

» Continue reading "Iraq privatization and economic globalization"

Posted by Camilo at 5:49 PM

Democracy Is Dying

It's a dark day when the self serving, status quo defending, two party establishment not only makes the rules but uses them to strangle Democracy.

It must have been the product placement and not the fascist tactics that made perrenial candidate America First Party and talking head, Pat, don't call me neoconservative, Buchanan, John Hagelin, the Natural Law Party candidate in 2000, Winona LaDuke and corporate goad Ralph Nader of the Green Party and Constitution Party 2000 candidate, Howard Phillips have filed a "complaint with the Federal Election Commission to block the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) from sponsoring, with corporate backing, the presidential debates in 2004."

Continuing from US Newswire, "The complaint also asks the FEC to require the CPD to return millions of dollars in corporate contributions made to the two major parties in the 2000 elections, arguing that the CPD is subject to the same ban on campaign contributions as other corporations."

The Devil made the CPD do it

Posted by grover at 12:50 PM

June 28, 2003

The Supreme Court's Gay Agenda

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's remarks from the bench yesterday really turned up the heat in the culture (and flame) wars. I've always wondered what that "homosexual agenda" Scalia refers to is all about? Could it be about monogamy or children raised in a loving family atmosphere? As is true in many familes, gay or straight. Is it about stereotypes of men wearing dresses and women with crewcuts as many on the right would have us believe. Is it about family values like divorce and spouse abuse that is as much a problem in straight relationships as it it is gay ones? Or is it about trying to bury the 60's?

As reported in the Straits Times (and many others, but the name of that daily caught my attention).

Where do the Democratic candidates stand? So far Kerry, Gephardt and Graham have made public comments on the ruling.

» Continue reading "The Supreme Court's Gay Agenda"

Posted by grover at 4:31 PM

Single Payer is Not a Dirty Word

How could any bureaucracy mismanage our health care system more than the one already in charge? How could the system be any worse off than it already is? Insurance and HMO profits are down and while costs rise and services are cut. Why do we continue down this same old rutted road?

The US spends more on health care and gets less than any other nation. Why is the health care bureaucracy in such shambles? Does it have anythng to do with putting profits over people's health?

Insurance companies, Big Pharma, associated financial institutions, health care professionals, and lawyers continue to profit while public health is jeopardized. They've been running the system for years. There's no one else to blame. Except for the politicians that are in their hip pocket. The size and inefficiency of this corporate bureaucracy dwarfs any government effort. Please explain to this aging boomer how Single Payer or socialized medicine could be worse?

» Continue reading "Single Payer is Not a Dirty Word"

Posted by grover at 9:02 AM

June 27, 2003

Just Kidding: Iraq War Not About WMDs

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R) came clean about the war against Iraq yesterday and stated that the war was not primarily about illegal weapons, stating that he was not suprised that weapons of mass destruction have not been found in Iraq. Pressed on the subject of the real cause, Frist offered this insight, "[...] to have him removed is something the American people want, they need and they feel much more secure with."

So if you're keeping score at home, this Republican leader is shying away from the perceived WMD threat and laying the blame for that nonsense, of all places, on the American public. He tried to salvage the argument by insisting that "The administration made decisions based on the very best intelligence that we have available today". Today senator? Perhaps the senator is not up to date with the latest headlines that intelligence was distorted. Let's not forget about such wonderful quotes of Sen. Frist in support of the war, "He [Saddam] has the capability today, in terms of his arsenal, to put the threat to Americans in the realm of reality"

Senator Bill Frist, you've been caught.

June 26, 2003

Buchanan on Constitutional Law.

I am amazed that Pat Buchanan once ran for US President. By describing his moral outrage today on the US Supreme Court decision that prohibits states to make laws concerning sexual privacy, he seems to put his personal opinions past that of equality and fairness. The court did not endorse any position on this decision except a right to privacy, something that should have been evident in the first place to the state of Texas and to Mr. Buchanan.

Posted by Beau Wade at 5:50 PM

Fox News vs Parody T-Shirt Site

Fox News Channel's lawyers have issued a cease and desist letter to a Agitproperties, a website that sells parody t-shirts poking fun at the network. A press release issued by the website has the full letter of the C&D and rebuttal. The Register is also has the story and interview. So far Agitproperties has not removed merchandise from their site or displayed intent to comply with Fox's request. The legal gambit may backfire on Fox since traffic (and presumably sales) are up dramatically and have reinvigorated the website's owner:

"Our site has been up since last April and to be honest we were averaging a pathetic 2500 page hits a day, and were seriously thinking about 'packing it in' once our inventory ran out [...] yesterday we logged 41,095 page hits, more in one 24-hour period than we have had since we went on line"

WMD Evidence: Grasping at Straws

In the latest incarnation of so-called "evidence" that Iraq had a WMD program capable of causing imminent harm to the US, the Whitehouse is trumpeting the discovery of centrifuge parts that were buried in someone's backyard for 12 years. The IAEA has already dispelled the assertions as rubbish however someone needs to pass the message on to Whitehouse Communications staff that it's already a dead-end, they still seem think it's the real McCoy. These stories are being dissected and properly debated much faster than the previous "evidence" (e.g. - mobile trailers, buried barrels, etc.)

Forget About the Issues... What's their Campaign Song?

Proving that culture and marketing can sway more voters than the issues themselves, campaign organizers are breaking out their CD collections in order to find that perfect song which best represents their candidate. Some work and some flop, but choosing candidate theme songs has become a necessity in the business of marketing the person running. Here's to hoping someone will pick Ludacris's Move Bitch and use it to encourage the other candidates to "get out the way".

IRS: The rich are getting richer, faster

Nothing amazes me more than Bush saying his recent divident tax cut actually helps stimulate the economy. I've talked about this before and now I have proof it's not helping from the IRS.

Indeed, the top 400 taxpayers paid 22.3 percent of their income in taxes in 2000, down from 26.4 percent in 1992 and well below the peak of 29.9 percent in 1995, according to the paper.
Had President Bush's tax cut been in effect in 2000, the amount of taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans would have dropped an additional 20 percent, the Times reported.
» Continue reading "IRS: The rich are getting richer, faster"

Posted by joestump at 11:13 AM

Bush Bumpin' to 50-cent in the Oval Office

President Bush has written a new proclamation declaring that June 2003 should be called "Black Music Month". The proclamation was written and signed at the end of the month, so everyone has five days to celebrate: there was no mention of extending this title to future Junes. And while we're on the semi-topic of the rap industry, does anyone else find it ironic that 50-cent (a black rapper) is being exploited by Eminem (a white rapper), who was in turn exploited by Dr. Dre (a black rapper)? The circle is complete.

June 25, 2003

Democrat Senator Publicly Denounces WMD "Cover-Up"

West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd (D) delivered a scathing oratory on the US Senate floor denouncing President Bush's perception of the immediate threat of WMDs in Iraq. At one point he asked whether America was safer than before the invasion (a prerequisite for a self-defense war stance):

The President told the American people that we were compelled to go to war to secure our country from a grave threat. Are we any safer today than we were on March 18, 2003? Our nation has been committed to rebuilding a country ravaged by war and tyranny, and the cost of that task is being paid in blood and treasure every day.

It will be interesting to see how the Whitehouse responds to these increasingly public questions about intelligence and hype surrounding Iraq's capabilities.

Not So Fast, Dr. Dean

Howard Dean isn't as progressive as he seems on the surface if you read Alexander Cockburns piece at Working For Change.

"It's another imperial Crusader, a death-penalty-loving, Bill-of-Rights-trashing, drug-war-advocating corporate serf. Only he's a Democrat, not a Republican. That changes everything."

It's a shame that the Democrats can't field a real progressive candidate. One who might unite the middle with the left. It doesn't appear that Howard Dean is that candidate.

Posted by grover at 3:36 PM

US Plans to Remove Troops from Korean DMZ A Cause for Concern

First of all, let me say that I have no idea how the powers that be are planning to tie North Korea to the War on Terrorism, but a good guess would be that they build weapons and sell them. Ignore the part where just about every country in the world does the same thing and remember that they (DPRK) are commies. It's also an interesting coincidence that every country that the US has hostile relations with has rebuffed open economic trade and foreign exploitation of their resources and people; that's something to ponder the next time some talking-head neo-conservative claims that war "X" has nothing to do with Imperialistic/Capitalistic gain or protection.

But I digress, and move on to the topic at hand. The US recently announced that it would be removing troops from the de-militarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas that has served as a "tripwire" for the past fifty years. If N. Korea had ever invaded again, US troops would be killed immediately and would require the US to enter the war (and would make it far more palpable to public opinion). It has served as a deterrent because N. Korea knows it would not possibly win against the US.

Both Koreas are nervous over this decision since it essentially leaves S. Korea left out to hang in a first wave onslaught in the event of a pre-emptive move by N. Korea. And N. Korea is nervous because it opens the door for the US to launch a pre-emptive attack from afar without risking US troops to danger from artillery and troops at the border, this leaves N. Korea with the standby option of turning Seoul into a "sea of fire", which could be a bluff. In any event, this change in tactics in the region is sure to put both sides on edge for a while and increase tensions throughout the region.

June 24, 2003

You Want the Truth? You Can't Handle the Truth!

Bush is playing the blame game by accusing the Dems of "gutting" the intelligence corps and national defense that led to 9/11 and the problems we're suffering from in the Middle East. For him, it's always someone else who is causing the problems. Like the spoiled son he is, he will not take any responsibility for his failures and missteps.

His handlers have done their best to give him every opportunity for deniability of his failing policies on Afghanistan, Iraq, the UN debacle, the inability to find Osama and Saddam, the WMD scandal, the recession and jobless "recovery", the myth of compassionate conservativism, his self described "uniter not a divider" persona, the farce of his No Child Left Behind educational policy, the Enron and corporate financial scandals, the trillion dollar deficits caused by his borrow and spend fiscal policy, the tax cut scam that benefitted his wealthy supporters and the so called "investigation" of 9/11 that Republicans continue to stifle. The list will continue to grow.

His handlers are carefully parsing his language to keep him from becoming a serial liar. No, he didn't actually lie, but he didn't tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Bush now "owns" the stalled economy, the rising quicksand in the Middle East, the loss of global comity and an increasingly restless home front. He's the one responsible. He's been president for more than two years and has a Republican congress and a conservative Supreme Court. The troubles we see, read and hear about are his and his administration's alone. He cannot continue to blame the past and those who disagree with him for his mistakes.

I wish he would give us some kind of signal so we can determine when he's telling the truth.

Posted by grover at 6:24 PM

Patriot Act II: American Totalitarianism

Some of you may remember the first PATRIOT Act, and if you're a constitutionally-aware citizen, you probably realized that it was an overt power-grab by the Executive Branch in a time of national crisis. Well, you may not be surprised to hear that PATRIOT II is making it's way stealthily into reality. Of course it's not called PATRIOT II, because that would be far too obvious, instead it's called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Alternet has a story on it and so does InfoWars. You can download the entire draft from the Public Integrity website (PDF). If this kind of power-grab sounds un-American and un-Constitutional, it's because it is, but don't say you weren't warned when you get a knock on your door (or have it kicked down) in a search for unregistered guns or to get a DNA sample for the security database.

As an American, I am disturbed that we have slid so far into the darkness of totalitarianism and away from a constitutional democracy. And I fear it will only get worse.

June 23, 2003

Greens, Natural Law to Endorse Kucinich?

At a local political meeting yesterday, a couple of folks who appear to be in the know in California said they had been led to understand that both the Green Party (actually, Ralph Nader) and the Natural Law Party intend to endorse Rep. Kucinich. In fact, they intend to ask their members to re-register as Democrats to vote in the California partisan primary to give Kucinich a decent shot at the nomination.

I'm not sure I agree these events will take place or even that they should,

» Continue reading "Greens, Natural Law to Endorse Kucinich?"

Posted by insiter at 12:56 AM

June 20, 2003

What about Iran?

There have been an increasing number of articles about Iranian youth lately. There has been little interest on the part of the major parties in addressing the problems in Iran, and less interest on the part of the media. Some 32 million Iranians who are contemporaneous with Generation X are beginning to make noise. We need to listen.

» Continue reading "What about Iran?"

Posted by rev_matt_y at 2:15 PM

June 19, 2003

Participation

Reading the values of the Green Party made me think of the policy recommendations that Herman Daly had made in the book Sustainable Planet. Mr. Daly is the ecological economist par excellence, backing his sometimes heterodox ideas with a solid academic background and a passion for debunking myths and false assumptions, and educating the public and politicians on alternatives to our consumerist economy.

» Continue reading "Participation"

Posted by Camilo at 4:30 PM

Follow The Money PT 2

Third party candidates have complained to the FEC that during the 2000 presidential debate in Boston, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) essentially conspired to lock out third party candidates from the debates and the hall by circulating a face book identifying the third party candidates, thus preventing them from even observing the debates.

The CPD board is made up of big shot Democrats and Republicans without any third party representation. Money talks, BS walks.

» Continue reading "Follow The Money PT 2"

Posted by grover at 3:55 PM

US keeps losing things

It always starts off with the little stuff; intelligence on an impending attack on US soil, or the names of people who put major "put" order on large airlines. Shortly after 9/11, bigger things started to disappear; muslims who had expired visas went missing, the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments to the bill of rights eloped and haven't been seen since, even Vice President Dick Cheney was missing. Things were certainly dire.

» Continue reading "US keeps losing things"

June 18, 2003

Don't say I told you so

Since the Vietnam "Conflict" (let's just come out and admit it was a war) the US public has been extremely sensitive to US involvement in foreign conflicts. They are even more sensitive to the loss of life in such conflicts.

With violence in Iraq escalating again how long will it be before the public becomes upset at what will most likely be our long-term involvement in Iraq? Coupled with the lack of WMD's one has to wonder how much the public can take.

Posted by joestump at 7:55 AM

June 17, 2003

Protests in Iran are a Yearn for Freedom; Protests in US are a Yearn for Tear-Gas

Bush and his administration are unable to rally support for any new "regime changes" in Iran or elsewhere for the time being. And there's an assured backlash against such "nukular" rhetoric that Iran is developing or seeking to develop or somebody's old roommate in college knows a guy who's friends with a guy who went to America to become a nuclear scientist.

So when there's a protest in Tehran against the government of Iran, out come the hordes of right-wing echo chambers to claim the oppression of these unfortunate souls by the evil tyrants who want nothing more than to kill babies, chop them up and put them in their Wheaties in the morning. Being the front-runner in this farce representation of diplomacy, President Bush said Sunday that the demonstrations showed a yearning for freedom. Whoa there Mr. President, when hundreds of thousands marched in DC, New York and San Francisco, where was your unbridled enthusiasm and eagerness to help encourage them? Unless tear-gas is a form of support for an opposing position, I may be missing something about the democratic process.

He went on to say: ''I believe that someday, freedom will prevail everywhere, because freedom is a powerful drive.'' Well, as one American to the rest of the world, I should warn everyone that some freedom is laser-guided and will flatten your house.

Joe Citizen doesn't really care

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to be political when so many of my fellow Americans are just plain ignorant (RealMedia Video). What's the point of laying out facts and proceeding to educate people when there is a large chance that they are going to regurgitate utter nonsense to their peers? About the only thing many of them can even agree on is who the current president is and what day it is. As for Bush getting re-elected, all he's really going to have to say to the mob is that he kicked Al Qaeda's butt in Afghanistan, Iraq and Florida (because they messed up the votes in 2000), passed some tax cuts so the economy is going to get rolling, and the World Trade Center is being rebuilt. He'll get re-elected, because as much as Liberals and some Conservatives label him a "moron" or an "idiot" they need to realize that the mob in power is itself no genius.

June 16, 2003

Bush denounces "revisionist historians"

Bush has finally come out to speak against the critics who have been voicing concern about the lack of WMD's coming out of Iraq. My favorite quote has to be:

"Saddam Hussein was a threat to America and the free world in '91, in '98, in 2003. He continually ignored the demands of the free world, so the United States and friends and allies acted."

So let me get this straight; Saddam has been a threat who ignores the demands of the free world for over 12 years? With so many WMD's, so much money and the safety of being the head of a nation Saddam was unable to strike? Give me a break.

Posted by joestump at 8:33 PM

Sweep the WMD Evidence Trail Under the Rug

Two top CIA analysts who compiled data on Iraqi WMD abilities are in "deep exile" as one unnamed agency official phrased it. This is disconcerting because such a move would only add to growing concern that evidence was hand-picked and presented to Congress and the UN. It also arouses suspicion that a cover-up of intelligence is occuring and that those who may have stepped forward are being sent a clear message that the issue is not to be discussed. This appears to be an indication of the Bush administration's stance that anyone with any knowledge is not to dispute or contradict orders and statements from the top, or even to think about it.

The Hindustan Times has the full article: CIA reassigns two top Iraq analysts: Report

Amnesty's Report

A month ago I covered Amnesty International's annual report which had a choice quote about the current war on terrorism.

"Far from making the world a safer place, [the war] has made it more dangerous by curtailing human rights, undermining the rule of international law and shielding governments from scrutiny. It has deepened divisions among people of different faiths and origins, sowing the seeds for more conflict"

In my previous blog I mention that as the leading Democratic nation we need to lead by example. Even if they are murdering terrorists they have rights. Food for thought: Jeffry Dahmer was allowed the basic rights of attorney and a speedy trial. I wonder if Americans will care more about the lack of WMDs or their diminishing rights when 2004 rolls through.

Posted by joestump at 5:23 PM

Follow The Money

Follow The Money:

If money is the mothers milk of politics, then Bush got milk

But Gephardt is sitting at the other teat

And here are the ten biggest mothers in the US

Then compare the groups with the top individual donors

Notice anything?

I see a strange disconnect between the top group donors (mostly Labor and Dem friendly) and the top individual donors (mostly wealthy barons of industry). Its obvious theres a lot at stake and savvy operators will play both sides against the middle.

The little guys have to bundle their influence, while the barons of industry can speak for themselves. Now, if you were running for national office, whose money would take? Who would you listen to?

Nader is right.

Posted by grover at 12:59 PM

Ex Security Aid Leaves NSC in Disgust to Join Kerry Campaign

Rand Beers, a veteran insider of security since the Reagan administration, has jumped ship and joined the presidential campaign of Democrat Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass). Beers lambasted the Bush administration on several security issues. Some notable snippets from the MSNBC.com article:

» Continue reading "Ex Security Aid Leaves NSC in Disgust to Join Kerry Campaign"

June 14, 2003

What happened to the middle?

As I look at the various candidates in both parties I become increasingly concerned that there is no middle anymore. On the left are the Democrats who are considered by many to be tree hugging hippies who aren't in touch with reality. On the right are the Republicans who are considered to be war mongering religious zealots who only care about corporations. To be perfectly honest I think both are accurate.

It worries me that Republicans and Democrats have all but given up on bipartisan politics, just as they did under Bill Clinton. So with a bunch of millionaires "representing" the other 98% of us who don't have more money than God, what are we to do?

Posted by joestump at 5:44 PM

US Wants to Remove Troops, Leave Corporations

In trying to prove that the "Coalition of the Willing" is not the hollow shell of rhetoric that many claim it is, US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to call upon 41 coalition ally countries to help in the peacekeeping mission in Iraq. On the other hand, replacements for American companies and contractors who were awarded billions of dollars in contracts (many of those contracts were not properly bid in the first place) have not yet been announced. It is not clear whether military reservists will return to the US or if they will await orders in the Gulf for deployment to another hostile regime who may or may not have weapons of mass destruction. Except that probably won't matter because US foreign policy can always resort to changing it's focus to freedom of oppressed peoples.

June 13, 2003

How to proceed?

There is no question that the activities of the Green Party had a real effect on the 2000 political campaigns. No, the Green Party is not to blame for the placement of George W. Bush in the White House. The Green Party did, however, show people that it is possible for strong and energetic third parties to get coverage, to win local and state offices, to bring important issues into the mainstream media. It should be the goal of the Green Party, and all third parties, to continue to press on issues that are ignored by the Democrats and Republicans and frequently the corporate media.

» Continue reading "How to proceed?"

Posted by rev_matt_y at 6:34 PM

Metallica vs. Iraqis

Lars Ulrich is upset that the US military is using Metallica music music to "torture" Iraqi POWS. Somehow he seems to missing the point that the military is, by definition, giving a concert to Iraqi prisoners and that this is obviously a case for the RIAA so that Metallica can get their royalties.

Of course, as Lars so eloqouently put it: "What am I supposed to do about it" [...] "get George Bush on the phone and tell him to get his generals to play some Venom?"

No Lars, we're trying to punish the prisoners.

June 5, 2003

Libertarian Group Plotting to Take Over U.S. State

MIAMI Libertarians who hope to take control of a U.S. state's government and then do away with most of it are looking at 10 states as possible targets and aim to make their selection by October.

Leaders of the almost 2-year-old Free State Project say membership is nearing a magic 5,000 mark, the number that the group has set as the trigger point for an internal vote on which U.S. state they should call home.

Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming are all in the running.

» Read more...

Posted by Editor at 1:00 PM

June 1, 2003

The Green Party and the Democrats: Fit to be tied

Republican operatives, cheered by the "liberation" of Iraq and TV shots of President Bush "flying" a Navy jet, think they're entering an era of unchallenged political dominance. "If you think about bombs and rockets most of the time, you're probably going to vote Republican," John J. Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont College, recently told The New York Times.

If the one-party era dawns, there'll be plenty of blame to go around. The Democrats have formed the most feckless opposition imaginable. But today's question is not about the Democrats. It's about the Green Party and what activists will do to save us from the not-yet-completely-inevitable transformation of our political system.

» Read more...

Posted by Editor at 2:00 PM