Featuring new fiction from Ken Brosky and author authors, as well as occasional political commentary whenever something really important happens. But mostly fiction.
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What's changed so far this year? I'll tell you exactly what's changed: the rich are getting pinched. Now, all of a sudden, it's a massive issue. Money is falling out of the hands of the wealthiest one percent and now we're suddently facing a crisis. I've got news for our government: this has been a crisis ever since Ronald Reagan took office, ever since he began applying free market policies like cutting taxes for the wealthiest of the wealthy in order to let it "Trickle Down" while raising taxes for the rest of us and shutting down as many government programs as possible, including the Department of Labor which now almost always sides with corporations. And then Clinton pushes through "Free Trade" that cuts American jobs and forces the rest of the working class to compete with desperate third-world individuals who are more than happy to work in sweatshop-like conditions for dollars a day simply to survive in their deregulated economies pushed through by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Conditions have been getting worse since the 80's, and now anytime anyone suggests actually taxing the rich at a fair level, conservatives demonize them as "Socialists." Anything that could actually level the playing field, any regulations or fair taxes on the rich are demonized immediately by conservative think tanks who pretend to be defending "Freedom."
"Freedom!" they say, "Freedom for the market to regulate itself! Freedom for individuals who reject BIG GOVERNMENT, Freedom for all!"
Who are these people who claim to fight for freedom? Why, they're the freest people on the planet:
Rich. White. Men.
When they cry "Freedom!" they mean only freedom for themselves and their friends, to accumulate more wealth and push down more workers. The free market has failed miserably a number of times since the 70's, which is why these conservative think tanks focus on demonizing all criticism as "Socialism" and shove the word "Freedom" down our collective mouth without a spoonful of sugar.
Now all of a sudden the market is stumbling and the rich are losing money. And NOW, only now, it becomes a problem. I've got news for Bush and the Democrats: I'm taking my rebate and paying off my debt ... let this corrupt economy continue its freefall. You think this is bad? Just wait until the security bubble bursts. The Bush administration has spent close to 1 trillion dollars propping up the military industrial complex, pouring money in that doesn't provide a return on investment (like, say, a new highway or better schools). You think this is bad? It's gonna get a lot worse.
Dupont, it seems, has been attempting to buy up all recorded copies of the military marching tune "Napalm Sticks to Kids."
Dupont, a maker of napalm, most likely sees this type of song as a
threat to its consumer-friendly image. After all, Dupont has its
fingers in every aspect of our society, and you better believe it's
still profiting on the death of human beings. In 2003, before the U.S.
could "sanitize" Saddam Hussein's report to the United Nations, DuPont was listed as one of the companies that supplied Saddam with materials necessary for his chemical, biological and early nuclear weapons programs.
Why should this bother you? Well, if you enjoy smoking pot and wonder why it's illegal, you can partially blame DuPont. If you're wondering why hemp is illegal, you can partially blame DuPont. While FDR was trying to improve working conditions, DuPont/General Motors was working its employees to death and assembling a terrorist group known as the "Black Legion" to fight unionization efforts in the American Midwest.
DuPont also helped those nefarious bigots in Germany (I can't actually say the real word, but it rhymes with "hotsies").
Scary? You bet. For more history of the company, click here.
How does this relate to you? Because this company is so streamlined into our culture that it's impossible to boycott. How do we quantify or qualify the positive contributions of a corporation or the negative contributions? DuPont's war profiteering may be bad, its collaborations with Germany during and before World War II may be horrendous, but this IS the same company that gave us Spandex. Sure, DuPont poisoned babies on a regular basis (then covered it up), but they also invented Teflon. Your call.
In honor of our local conservative radio hosts, I thought I would pass along this little story that I originally found on Media Matters. Read it, because I'll comment more below:
"A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN"
Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.
All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.
He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.
Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.
If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.
Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.
Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.
He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.
The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.
He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.
Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."
"Suppose a new law requires the President to act in a certain manner - for instance, to report to Congress on how he is dealing with terrorism. Bush's signing statement will flat out reject the law, and state that he will construe the law "in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties."
The upshot? It is as if no law had been passed on the matter at all."
This is especially troubling when it comes to torture, which you should definitely be upset about.
But most importantly, this has a giant impact on the occupation of Iraq. Bush's most recent signing statement suggests he might consider putting permanent bases inside Iraq in the future, suggesting he has absolutely NO INTEREST in bringing our troops home anytime soon, or ending this war. This is the same president who talked extensively about not "passing the buck" to the next president, and yet what we have now is an absolute quagmire and another state--Afghanistan--teetering on the brink, economic instability and a slew of other problems that the next president will have to tackle.
I say this with absolute confidence: The president is an authoritarian. He is a monarch. He does not care what laws Congress passes, because he will simply sidestep them when needed.
Click here to contact Gwen Moore, our representative. Tell her that she should focus on bringing this into the public light. Tell her this issue is important.
Want to learn more about Bush's many, many, many signing statements? Click here.
John Edwards has officially dropped out of the race. It's a disappointment because this was without a doubt the most progressive candidate we've had in a long time, and the only one with the guts to literally stand up against our corporate elite. As a result, the corporate elite--especially the corporate media--did little to promote his presidency in the way they do with Obama and Clinton. I know Russ Feingold and others have criticized Edwards for a number of votes he made while senator, but--and it pains me to say this because I have nothing but respect for Feingold--I disagree with such criticism. Edwards voted poorly a few times, but he has since demonstrated that he's learned from those mistakes, and understands why those were mistakes.
Worse, Edwards was the only Democratic candidate who overwhelmingly defeated every single Republican in a mock-presidential poll. What does this mean? It means Obama and Clinton both have a long, long road ahead of them.