From the Cincinnati Enquirer:The two candidates in the 1st Congressional District, Republican incumbent Steve Chabot and Democratic challenger John Cranley, will tangle in a Delhi Township debate Wednesday night.The hourlong forum begins at 7 p.m. at the Delhi Township Senior Center, 647 Neeb Road. The public is invited.For the candidates, it will be a tune-up [...]
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Still no debate for Robert Rodriguez and Howard "Cluck" McKeon in the CA-25. But we did get some footage of the encouragement that McKeon has been given by a certain Rodriguez supporter that doesn't lay an egg. (So to[...]
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“Ten U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Tuesday, one of the bloodiest days of the war for American forces outside of major combat operations.” At least 68 soldiers have been killed in October, on pace to “make it the deadliest month for U.S. forces since January 2005.”“Gerry Studds, the nation’s first openly gay congressman, [...]
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The Republicans are having an Oktoberfest of surprises - the kind that change the outcome an election. But not in the favor of the Republicans.
Republican ex-Rep. Cunningham steered $70 million of national security work to favored military contractors. The party that pounds anyone who they don't like as traitors, appeasers and soft on military defense turns out to be war profiteering. And this is one Republican Congressman. Clerk of the House Trandahl stands at the center of the Foley scandal. A protective servant? Or player in the machine? Iraqi government removes secret police. Things are clearly going extremely well there. Meanwhile, North Korea is planning another nuclear test. That's why alarm bells are sounding - of Bush being a lame duck.
But there is another factor - one that is the chatter of right wing around the filter media. The Economy.
CBN views James Webb's campaign as an attempt to bring "Reagan Democrats" back to being Democrats over the question of "their disenfranchisement from the economy". Rather than chortling and attacking - CBN's commentators take this challenge seriously.
Foley is the spark that has ignited a powder keg of discontent - but the powder is an economy which can't seem to generate good jobs at good wages and which is watching the housing market implode. The housing market was propping up, not the economy as a whole - that is being done with massive borrowing - but it was the only thread by which the benefits of that borrowed money were flowing down to the rest of the population. In an era where people's stock portfolios are, in general, below where they were in the last year of Clinton's administration - the house is how people planned for retirement.
Many of us have been warning that home appreciation equity isn't savings - it is a bet that you can force someone else to save. And you can't do that if real wages are falling, let alone the Keynesian norm of rising with inflation and productivity. Housing advocates say "they aren't making any more land" Sure they are - or rather, we are knocking down trees to put up houses, and we are building roads to go farther and farther out. Land that is viable as development is new land. More over, people in cities where developers and not residents rule the roost see their home values drop as developers shove units into every nook and cranny. More supply means that it is developers, not home owners, who get to extract the value. Home owners seemed not to have realized these facts, and instead bet that the old system of cut throat competition between school systems would continue to drive housing prices. However, almost all American pre-secondary education is below global standards, and the way we admit to college has helped drive that - with the focus of many top districts on generating a stream of elective and extra-curicular activities that are the difference between one 4.0 student and another.
Americans have failed to realize that while land is not subject to global competition educated labor is. And that global market is far more competitive than it was at the beginning of the computer and corporate build out boom that started in the early 1990s. Many people who rode that upwards - are not going to any longer.
This reality, of the implosion of the middle class dream, is the result of long standing voting habits of the American public. This is the economy we have repeatedly voted for - one which forgoes general improvements in welfare, in return for allowing more people to get way ahead. The casino economy.
However, while this was packaged as a win-win, it is, in fact, a win-lose-lose. Production is, in fact, lower than what it could be, and the ability for there to be a winner take all is a zero-sum game. This too was not clear to people for a long time, it didn't look like Bill Gates was competing with middle class people for a job. Instead middle class people saw other middle class people, and working class people, and poor people, as the threats to their existence - taxes, immigration and crime where the three code words for "other people getting ahead of me, people below me moving up, people way below me breaking in". And a country that votes on a tight treadmill of taxes, immigration and crime votes conservative when they aren't voting reactionary.
This economy doesn't generate the returns, because there is no mystical mana in the US that you can seal other people out of. The value of the dollar isn't because of anything we dig up, or grow, here. The US is no longer an oil producer. Hence neo-isolationism and neo-protectionism are roads to economic ruin. America's power comes from our ability to lead globalization. However globalization has not benefitted most people. Let's take the simplest example - supposed "lower prices". Compare the PPI plus ECI - that is the Producer Price Index plus the Employment Cost Index - that is the cost of producing goods - with the CPI - that is the cost of buying goods. What do you see? CPI has gone up faster than ECI and PPI. Take out health care and the margin is even bigger.
In short globalization has not delivered "lower prices", it has, instead, delivered slightly less high prices than before. The only people still living in the Keynesian economy, are the very wealthy. Keynesianism for the rich, Thatcherism for everyone else. Simple example: 50% down payments on "affordable" housing. Yes, you read that right. 50%.
The housing boom was the last popular thread upwards, it provided construction jobs - that is, jobs for people who don't want to work in an office and are good with their hands - and it provided a way for middle class people to cash in on the inflationary monetary policy. Take this away from the US economy, and we never really left recession, and we've had inflation on top of it. Stagflation is never popular, and yet that is exactly what most Americans have seen - a massive shift of earning power away from them, and to other people.
In economic analytic terms there is a simple reason for this, most of the American economy is no more productive than it was 20 years ago. The real productivity of much of what we do has been just slightly ahead of zero, particularly when you take out Wal*Mart's wage reduction strategies and the offshoring to China. The reason Americans aren't being paid more - is because we are doing the same things, in more or less the same ways - that we did 20 years ago. No improvements to labor and capital, no productivity rises. American wages are not going up, because American labor is not getting better, and certainly not getting better relative to the rest of the world.
Americans haven't come to a full awareness of the fact that China and India are catching up to 1980, and doing so quickly. It will take another decade before they have equalized large chunks of their economies - but that will mean that there will be more middle class people in China, than there are people in the US. More middle class people in India, than there are people in the US. The challenges that India and China face are large, but they are also known - the are following what Europe and the US-Canada economic areas have already done.
What they do know is that the last ladder out of steerage just got pulled up. And water is coming in from the sides.
But why the last few weeks? In no small part, because the top - led by Ben Bernanke more than George Bush - has decided to stand pat. At the very moment that Americans feel the land give way beneath their bank accounts - and I mean that literally - the word from the top has been a deafening silence. Congress and the Fed are involved in an intensive campaign of doing nothing. From the Fed's view point, they have killed enough of inflation to keep China and Saudi Arabia and Europe from dumping more of our dollars, without constricting business demand enough to send the economy into declared recession. However, this is playing into Bob Reich's favorite quip - "If you take John Kenneth Galbraith (then 6' 8") and I (Bob is 5' 4" on a good day) we average 6 feet tall".
Thus while Americans see a crisis - their pensions are pillaged, their home equity hacked, their health insurance booming in costs, their 401k plans pillaged - they hear no sound of urgency from Bush, the Republican Congress, or indeed any other leader from the right wing. They want Reagan to come bouncing along and give them a tax cut - that is how they scraped through before - slightly lower federal taxes and sending the wife to work. Neither is happening now.
Instead, the fear on Wall Street is that they may suffer the landing as well. It is almost to the point where we are going to have to release two sets of statistics - one for the bottom 99%, and one for the top 1%.
If the Democrats want to win power, and keep it, they are going to have to face a simple fact: to end the economic problems, the US needs to find a way to effectively tax China and the OPEC oilarchies, because this will open the log jam and allow the US and Europe to start taxing the rich - who are taxed as if they were Saudi royalty right now. Tax the concentrations of money that have piled up on the conservative "let Rome burn" economic policies of the last 30 years, and everything else gets easier. There will be painful dislocations, as many people find out that the money they thought they had gamed out of the system isn't there - but the alternative is a period of political instability culminating in a currency melt down for the US dollar.
The Chinese and the oil archies have piled up dollars as a bulwark against future dollar costs - it's time to make it so those costs come sooner, rather than later. Because if they come later, we will have to pay for them with our national forests, our economic autonomy and, in essence, our political sovereignty. This is the fate of most failed superpowers - having to sell their destiny to pay for their fate.
Olbermann: And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.
We have lived as if in a trance. We have lived… as people in fear.
And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.
Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy. For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.
We have lived as if in a trance.
We have lived… as people in fear.
And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.
Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.
For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.
We have been here before — and we have been here before led here — by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.
We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors.
American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.
We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.
American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.
And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans…
While his man-in-charge…
General DeWitt, told Congress: "It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen — he is still a Japanese."
American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did — but for the choices they or their ancestors had made, about coming to America.
Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And each, was a betrayal of that for which the President who advocated them, claimed to be fighting.
Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.
Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and…
…one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes… though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely… from his jail cell.
And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.
The most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.
In times of fright, we have been, only human.
We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.
We have listened to the little voice inside that has said "the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass."
We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.
Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets, was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.
Or substitute… the Japanese.
Or the Germans.
Or the Socialists.
Or the Anarchists.
Or the Immigrants.
Or the British.
Or the Aliens.
The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And, always, always… wrong.
"With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"
And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.
Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.
You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.
Sadly — of course — the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously… was you.
We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
But even within this history, we have not before codified, the poisoning of Habeas Corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.
You, sir, have now befouled that spring.
You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.
You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.
For the most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.
And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done, to anything the terrorists have ever done.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that "the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values" and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens "Unlawful Enemy Combatants" and ship them somewhere — anywhere — but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere.
And if you think this, hyperbole or hysteria… ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was President, or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was President, or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was President.
And if you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant" — exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?
This President now has his blank check.
He lied to get it.
He lied as he received it.
Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?
"These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush. "In which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney, and can hear all the evidence against them."
'Presumed innocent,' Mr. Bush?
The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.
'Access to an attorney,' Mr. Bush?
Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant, on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.
'Hearing all the evidence,' Mr. Bush?
The Military Commissions act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.
Your words are lies, Sir.
They are lies, that imperil us all.
"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," …you told us yesterday… "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."
That terrorist, sir, could only hope.
Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.
Habeas Corpus? Gone.
The Geneva Conventions? Optional.
The Moral Force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.
These things you have done, Mr. Bush… they would be "the beginning of the end of America."
And did it even occur to you once sir — somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 — that with only a little further shift in this world we now know — just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died —
Did it ever occur to you once, that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future President and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" for… and convene a Military Commission to try… not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?
For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And doubtless, sir, all of them — as always — wrong.
An updated, all wanker edition, of "On the Town", set in Baghdad. And what a catchy refrain...
Iraq, Iraq, it?s a helluva mess.
The Green Zone?s bad, and we?ve fucked up the rest.
600,000 dead means 40 games of chess.
Iraq, Iraq, it's a helluva mess!!
BAGHDAD, Oct. 18-Ten U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Tuesday, one of the bloodiest days of the war for American forces outside of major combat operations.
October is on track to become one of the deadliest of the conflict for U.S. soldiers, with at least 60 soldiers killed so far this month. More than 2,700 American troops and Defense Department employees have died since the war began 3 1/2 years ago.
Then in early January 2005, Lieberman wanted to convene his bipartisan centrist Senate group, which usually met once a week, to talk about all Social Security options, and said that he was taking no position on any of them.
"This is an ongoing problem and we'd be wise to deal with it," Lieberman said. "I hope we can get something done."
He would not rule out personal accounts, although he said "it's important Social Security remain what it is," a social insurance program that "provides a floor of income." And, Lieberman said, "if we can figure out a way to help people through private accounts or something else, great."
On Tuesday, Gerstein acknowledged that Lieberman's comment at the time "was not clear."
But Lieberman, who is trying to keep his Republican support intact, said a vote for Schlesinger would be wasted.
"In the end, the race is going to come down to Ned Lamont or Joe Lieberman for the U.S. Senate, and I think the voters in the state know that," Lieberman said.
Schlesinger called Lieberman's remarks insulting.
"It is another example of Joe Lieberman's patronizing attitude, that he owns the Senate seat, that it personally belongs to him," Schlesinger said.
With the President?s signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, America took a step backward in our fight for democratic values and freedoms in the war on terror. The bill is wrong for America, and does not make us safer. I believe it violates the constitution, is at odds with our values, puts our troops in jeopardy, and will lead to further delays in bringing terrorists to justice. This Administration and those that support it have made grave mistakes in protecting this country. As a result, we are less safe and, as Colin Powell stated last week, we are losing our ?moral authority? to fight the war on terror. It?s time for a change in Washington. It?s time for us to get this right. Our security depends on it.
Hey, some religious leaders think torture is bad. Glad to know.
MyDD:Paul Evans is the real deal. City Councilman in Monmouth, Oregon at age 18, Evans has been twice elected as the city's mayor, served in the Air Force and the Air National Guard and been a teacher at Western Oregon University and Oregon State University. Evans is currently running as a Democrat for the State [...]
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