Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Fighting Fires With Tax Cuts

We're fighting a nasty flu here in Canyon Country, while firefighters battle the fires all around us. Our air is full of fine particles, which are dangerous to breathe. Our kids aren't going out to recess. And as I read this morning's news, I find that many people are being told the firefighters simply don't have enough people to protect homes. Why? Because a great many firefighters are in Iraq—called up as reservists.

While they're over there protecting us from the dangerous weapons of mass destruction, over a thousand homes (and counting) have been destroyed, and our air quality resembles a chemical attack. Fire, the oldest weapon of mass destruction, is plowing through these neighborhoods, which are, ironically, mostly Republican. These people, whose homes are now being destroyed, mostly supported the action in Iraq, which destroyed so many Iraqi homes. These people, most of whom will probably vote for Bush again, probably don't make the connection between the man telling them there's not enough resources to save their home and the reservists sent to Iraq. They probably don't make the connection between their vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger and how his cut in the car tax will mean massive layoffs of the very firefighters he's praising today.

While these people sleep in gyms or in their cars packed with what they could save from their houses, will it sink in that we have to pay for all this? Or will they continue to buy the slickly marketed Republican snake oil tax cuts?

We have a friend in San Bernardino who's family lost their home to fire yesterday. She has breast cancer. Her son has health problems too. They barely get by, and now they have to suffer this. So when I hear talk of laying off firefighters and cops to pay for Arnold's tax cut, or when I hear that more reservists are going to be sent to Iraq, it makes me wonder how greedy Republicans can actually be. It makes me wonder how the party that likes to talk about values and safety and community could actually say "Screw all that, I want my tax cut." It makes me wonder if they can ever admit they were wrong about anything.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Ain't Killing Palestinian Children And Destroying Houses By American Jets Terrorism?

Here's the picture. I like to vote pictures like that onto the top of Yahoo's highest rated sights list. Five votes gets a story or picture up there, so all you need is 5 Yahoo user profiles. If it's a great shot like that one, the kind that makes a point Fox news won't, it will get voted down viscously by a group of about 50 that watches that thing like a hawk for anything really pertinent. Like, during the war, you'd never find a story about little Ali (whose family was killed and arms were blown off) up there, no pictures of bleeding or dead children. Only arguments that it must have been an Iraqi bomb that did it.

The terror we spread there will come back to us. Because the US is the world's largest arms dealer many times over, there's a lot of killing with "made in the USA" written on it. Predictably, the people who create war in this country are the same people who profit the most from it. Dick Cheney, who made millions at Halliburton where government contracts increased 90% during his tenure as CEO, and the Project for a New American Century posse (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle), advocated attacking Iraq since 1999, and got their chance after 9-11. Now, through no bid contracts, the companies they work for (Cheney still receives $150,000 a year from Halliburton, and the George HW Bush owns an undisclosed chunk of the Carlisle Group, which W would inherit) are being paid in borrowed dollars by the Bush administration to rebuild what they just blew up.

In this month's Harper's magazine, Chalmers Johnson writes, in The War Business Squeezing a profit from the wreckage in Iraq, "When war becomes the most profitable course of action, we can certainly expect more of it." I'll be checking out Johnson's new book, The Sorrows of Empire: How the Americans Lost Their Country.

"Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he 'didn't want to see any stories' quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used." — Article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, October 16, 2003

Thursday, October 16, 2003

My God Can Beat Up Your God

Lieutenant General William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said the reason Osama and his cabal hate us is because we're Christians. Huh. Maybe they hate us because our right-wing, ultra-conservative, evangelical Christian cabal, headed by born-again coke-head AWOL Bush, makes the kind of statements that Boykin, and Pat Robertson, make. Last week, Pat Robertson suggested we should blow up the US State Department with a nuclear weapon. Today, the LA Times reported that Boykin, while in uniform, said to the Good Shepherd Community Church in Sandy, Oregon, “I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.” He also stated that President George W. Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters: “He was appointed by God.”

And I thought it was the Supreme Court.

First of all, we're not a Christian nation. We have many faiths and non-faiths. We have believers and brights. We have many Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, Seiks, and others. The Christian right is forcing their god down everyone's throat and for some reason nobody seems to mind much. Pat Robertson asked God to kill Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize Sodomy. Jerry Falwell, well, I think you get the picture. And when W gives a speech at Bob Jones University, as he did in the campaign of 2000, we all know where he stands. He agrees with these people. In fact, in a well known exchange with his mother, he said only evangelical Christians will get into heaven. As he said when he first set foot on Israeli soil and was asked what he had to say to the Jews, he responded, “You're all going to hell.”

James Watt, when he was Reagan's interior secretary (and mentor to current interior secretary Gail Norton), said "We don't have to protect the environment -- the Second Coming is at hand." Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum recently made remarks to the same effect. This kind of Rapture Logic is rampant among the neo-cons in Washington these days, and it should scare the hell out of each and everyone of us. After all, if the man with his finger on the button thinks the Book of Revelation is actual prophecy, then who can stop him from raining fire from the sky on us all? What's to stop this man from thinking he is the second coming? After all, God talks to him. God picked him to be president. His generals go around preaching it. He preaches it. They do what they want to whoever they want and keep the details secret.

Meanwhile, we can't find the truth about Bush's Saudi friends, like Bandar Bush, and the Bin Laden family, and how they were secretly scurried out of the country after 911, without the FBI or anyone interviewing them. We can't find out about the connection between Bush, Cheney, the Carlyle Group, Unocal, Enron, and the Afghan pipeline. We can't find out about Ken Lay writing energy policy that causes environmental Armageddon. The press plays dumb, or worse. And I write away in this political blog that no one reads.

What's the point? Why bother? Who cares?

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Bush Creates Hostile Environment

responding to "Bush Faces Hostile Environment," by Gregg Easterbrook, LA Times, Oct. 14, 2003

Gregg Easterbrook put so much spin on Bush's environmental record that I got dizzy reading it. Using statistics from the last 30 years of successful regulation and enforcement as proof that Bush's recent changes to those very laws are responsible for our cleaner environment is the utmost in neo-con double-speak. The steady decline of air and water pollution stats since 1970 actually prove that the policy of tough regulation and suing environmental evil-doers worked. Those policies have been abandoned under Bush, and it will take some time to measure the impact. We can, however, look at the record in Texas, where his voluntary emissions-control programs managed to sign up 3 of the 8,645 worst polluters, and pollution has gotten much worse. As new studies show an even more direct correlation between pollution and breathing disorders, especially asthma in children, we know that the results of Bush's laissez faire approach to pollution will result in more pain, sickness, and death.

People like Bush have spent decades fighting for land-owner rights over the rights of endangered species, and the rights of people to have protected wilderness areas. The fact that forested acreage has expanded in the last decade, or that no US animal has gone extinct in the last 20 some years is reason to applaud the brave people who have spent their lives fighting for these issues. To suggest that Bush be given credit for these facts is sickening.

While Bush's new regulations on diesel emissions are laudable, they are a miniscule portion of air-pollution, and will be flash-flooded away by the changes being made to allow more pollution elsewhere. Easterbrook doesn't mention the shift away from making polluters pay for Superfund, cutbacks in offshore oil well inspections, or Bush's under funding national parks. Bush has stopped farmers from suing pesticide makers, removed Clean Water Act protections from streams and wetlands, allowed factory farm pollution (from agribusinesses that give him millions) to foul the waterways with animal waste, and imposed a regulatory freeze that is holding up regulations to minimize raw sewage discharges. Easterbrook does mention an increase in smog in southern California, but he fails to explain how this "blip" isn't going to keep getting larger when, as he admits, SUVs aren't required to get better mileage, and there are more SUVs on the So Cal roads everyday. He ignores the fact that So Cal's success in fighting smog has been the direct result of the kind of tough regulations that Bush and the lobbyists he's put in power are against!

Easterbrook's assertion that we "...can't demand no oil drilling and also demand no mileage restrictions on SUVs," is convoluted logic. First of all, most Americans support strict mileage standards on all vehicles. It is the auto industry, well represented in the Bush administration by Andy Card, Bush's chief of staff and former auto industry lobbyist, that fights mileage standards. Spoiling our natural places with oil wells for a drop in the bucket of demand is an insult to and an assault on our children and grandchildren. Suggesting that Bush gives a damn about these environmental issues when his record in Texas and as president prove the exact opposite is the biggest insult of all.

Eric Schaeffer quit as an EPA enforcer when he realized the Bush administration, and the lobbyists they put in positions of power, were not only going to stop suing polluting industries, but actually relax the rules that regulate them. Bush also slashed the EPAs enforcement budget, and directed the EPA to expand loopholes that allow old power plants to continue pumping out 12 million tons of sulfur dioxide a year, without implementing modern pollution controls. Pending lawsuits were dropped. Polluting industries dropped out of agreements reached before Bush. All of these tools for reducing pollution were eliminated, resulting in a pollution increase compared to where we would be if Bush had not been "elected." Modest estimates of the results of Bush's changes to new source review show 20,000 more premature deaths per year as a result. Now that's eco-terrorism.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Arnold's comments to female bodybuilder Lisa Lyons.

A few years back, while posing for photographs with female body builder Lisa Lyons, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a question about her racial preference in sexual partners. Apparently, Arnold had a problem with Lisa preferring to have sex with black men. He asked her point blank, "Why do you fuck all these niggers?"

Of course, this doesn't have anything to do with whether he can balance the state budget without raising taxes, as promised. But perhaps it does have something to do with who will suffer the most under his budget cuts.

So far, that's two Arnold stories we've published in this political blog that have not been picked up by "mainstream press." They've both come from credible sources who prefer not to be named (for fear of retribution from Arnold and his powerful friends in Hollywood, and now Sacramento). If you know someone in the press, pass this on to them. Tell them you heard it from us. We'll point them in the right direction.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

“Today, somebody who has worked his whole life to save for his son’s college has to pay taxes at more than twice the rate of his boss. Where I come from, that man’s hard work means at least as much to the future of the country—not half as much as his boss. Mr. President, I challenge you. Explain why you think a multimillionaire should pay 15 percent on his next million on stock profits, while a fireman has to pay over 30 percent for each extra dollar of overtime. Mr. President, explain how you square that with America’s values.”— John Edwards

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Recall Arnold

I don't care if you're family, union, or what, but any of you who bought the Pete Wilson run Arnold show are dead to me. Good luck with these assholes back in charge. More deregulation. More screwing the working guy. More blaming someone else for Bush's problems. More me writing in a political blog to vent anger. But now, with Arnie surely helping Bush get his hands on California's 55 electoral votes, I've taken it personally. My anger is going to start leaking out of this political blog, and into the lives of every single person I know who voted for this.

Arnold Unplugged - It's Hasta la vista to $9 Billion if the Governator is Selected By Greg Palast

Too bad this came in so late. Greg Pallast finally tracked down something that really stinks. I mean, groping a woman is a misdemeanor. What Mr. Palast has dug up is a felony of massive pumpitude. Seems Arnold has been seeing some men in hotel rooms for some evil doing. The two men he has not denied meeting with? Ken Lay and Michael Milken. Yup. Enron and Junk Bonds. Arnold and Kenny Boy, George W Bush's right-hand man. No wonder Arnold had the ready New Hampshire line for Arianna. But no body pushed him. Nobody pointed out that as Governor, Arnold could force a settlement with the Energy companies that not only ripped us off, but also, so far successfully, blamed Gray Davis for their mess. Please send this to anyone you know. Now. Knowledge is power. And while it may not stop Arnold now, it will sure slow him down in 2006, when we vote for Governor again, if there's not a recall on him. And it will definitely slow down Arnold's buddy George W in 2004.

For the latest on this, visit Greg Palast's site. Get Greg Palast books here.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

My Reply Is All You Need to Read to Know What This Guy Said

The names may have been changed to protect the idiots.

Wow. Right out of the Limbaugh book of bullshit there, Fred. First, your cries about the liberal media are as old and stale as your typical Republican dodging of what I was talking about. Where are your answers to the points I made about the people who own the businesses that used illegal labor to put you out of business? I asked why you blame the immigrants when it's the people who hired them who unfairly undercut you, much as Wal-Mart does. I'll take your silence on that one to mean that you were too busy with your racist blame games to realize that the greedy business owners who hired the illegals are really responsible. And, ironically, those business owners are by and large Republicans. Hey, I'd love to shut off their illegal cheap supply of labor. But if you think that the people who benefit most from their labor, i.e. construction and agri-business owners, and the Republicans they give their contributions to, are actually going to do something about it, then you really do need to get your head out of your ass.

The answer, as I said before, is to document and legalize all these people here doing jobs no one else wants. Then those business owners would have to pay workers comp and other benefits on every single employee. Republicans argue we should deport them all because they know that will never happen. Want to extend a wall all the way along the border? The one in Berlin didn't work. The one in Israel won't either. Until you address the underlying economic issues, the immigration problem will remain, and the greedy people who profit from it, like drug dealers who don't want marijuana decriminalized, do not want anything changed. Your problem is you buy into their crap.

And then you just ignore it and go off on the LA Times.

OK, let's go there. Are you calling the 15 women who so far have come forward liars? I've been in this business for 15 years. I have many friends in the business. And we all know how it works. If a woman, especially a production assistant, came forward with accusations against one of the town's biggest money makers, they'd never work again. But now it's a different game. And if Arnold wins, I won't feel sorry at all when the shit hits the fan. Arnold is a whoremongering womanizer. Plenty of people in this town know this. I personally know people who have heard him scream "Bring me another whore" right after one left his trailer. And that was in the nineties, not the 70's. These women are coming out now because they, like many of us, can't believe that Arnold has gotten this far with his vague bullshit. He can't answer questions. The scripted plan that he has come out with exposes how he feels about unions, and yet people like you ignore this fact. And, I bet you will again. In fact, I bet you aren't even reading this. You'll just fire back with some more right-wing crap. You'll refuse, like Arnold, to answer direct questions. And then you'll try to find a way to blame me, or the women who were sexually harassed. Fine, forget the Nazi crap. I don't care about that. I do care about some asshole who has been groping peoples daughters for years, and all you right wingers just ignore it. If one of those girls was your daughter, you'd feel a lot differently.

Oh, and by the way, which is it? Did he do something bad or did he not? He says their liars and then he apologizes for bad behavior? Which is it, Fred? I'll wait while you consult your right wing sources on that one. Maybe your boy could get back to me on the shit he wrote. The fact that you've taken over and we don't hear from Cris anymore is kind of sad. I was so looking forward to his explanations.

And your little Limbaugh attacks on me and my reading habits are just pitiful, Fred. I read Yahoo News every day. I write a blog (http://supak.blogspot.com). I read google news. I get so many news sources, my family laments the little time I leave for them on the computer. So don't you dare tell me I don't look at all sides of an issue. I got a BA in philosophy. I'm trained in looking into both sides of an issue. My wife and I play devils advocate all the time to try to sound out the truth on things. My Dad was a Republican and he made some good arguments for some of what they stand for. There are plenty of issues where you'd be surprised where I stand. But I think them through and try to see the deeper truths in these issues. And the one issue that keeps showing up is how money ruins politics. It's Davis's problem, it's Bush's problem, and now it's Arnold's problem too. He's taking money from (surprise, surprise) developers (including one from Montana with big environmental problems) and agribusiness, the two industries that benefit most from illegal laborers.

Arianna's Clean Elections Initiative is the way to go. It's worked in Maine and Arizona.

Tell me how many times you voted for someone besides a Republican. As far as Davis's Republican-like dealings with Enron and the power crooks, yeah, that's some serious shit. He should be investigated. Tell me what laws exactly that he broke. Right. I'm sure you'll get back to me on that one.

I'm not about to vote for the groper that Pete Wilson is handling, because Pete Wilson is the miserable son of a bitch that got us into the power mess to begin with. Not to mention that the Bush appointees on FERC wouldn't set price caps, which is why we had to sign those damn long term deals to begin with. Furthermore, if using consultants from the power companies to negotiate contracts and set policy is a jailable offense, then why are George Bush and Dick Cheney not in jail?!?!? We all see through your bullshit about not talking about Bush in this debate. The whole damn country is screwed because of him and his cabal, and yet short-sited people like you, while trying to feed the power grab, try to turn it on Davis. Amazing.

And why do you Republicans refuse to acknowledge the Bush Corporation's malfeasance in all this? From Enron to FERC, from Dynergy to the deficit, the Bush administration is guilty of all, and more, of the same things you blame Davis for. I think it's a shame that the Bush boys illegally exposed Wilson's wife, because now they can be impeached for that crime instead of the ones they committed with Ken Lay and their Halliburton and Enron buddies.

You're the one who needs to do his homework. When you read Limbaugh's site and listen to Bill O'Reilly, that's not two sources. If I want to know what they think, I'll just go get the Republican National Committee's talking points for the day.

Try answering the points I made in the first mail before you condescend to me about doing my homework. Just answer the questions Fred, because I don't think you can. That's why you came back at me with this liberal press bullshit that is so old and stale.

As for you not holding any bad feelings, I don't believe you. Your condescending avoidance of the issues I put forth in the mail you answered prove how little you think of anyone who doesn't have your views. The fact that you can't defend Bush from the same charges you level on Davis is hilarious. And I'll tell you right now, I do harbor bad feelings toward people like you. You have not done your homework. You couldn't argue with me, Peter Camejo, or Arrianna (whose poll numbers didn't change at all after the debate). The reason I can't stand people like you is that you make these racist anti-immigrant statements, and then when confronted with them, you simply change the subject.

Furthermore, you support things like telling women what they can do with their bodies (like forcing them to die instead of getting an abortion, like the late term bill that just passed the US House does), like forcing terminally ill patients to die in pain when their jack-booted Ashcroft thugs bust medicinal marijuana users, like saying these poor immigrants ruined your business when it was the greedy business owners who illegally used that undocumented labor who did it. You and your kind, like Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the FOX news ilk are nothing more than vicious thugs who preach about libertarian ideas while trying to regulate private behavior. You spew out garbage as fact and then claim everyone else's fact is garbage. You call anyone who disagrees with you a traitor or treasonous or commie bastards because we think working people need to be protected from the greedy rich scumbags you support.

You've really got something coming, man. Working people are going to get a lot smarter. We're going to see through this crap. And once Arnold is Governor and everything is better in California (Ha!), I look forward to hearing your defense of Bush.

Scott Supak

Saturday, October 04, 2003

The anti-labor people are out in force.

When Arnold says "business friendly" he means "management friendly." As in right-to-work state. As in, the Bush plan. Trickle-down. Supply side. Tax cuts for the rich in hope that they will re-invest. Well, when you dis-invest in people by cutting wages, isn't that like a tax hike? Isn't it worse, really? When your kids will paying off the debt of a stupid war, when the feds stick states with billions in unfunded mandates, those are tax HIKES on the middle class. When they deregulate everything, but especially energy, you get more pollution and less control over the price of the energy.
"Deregulation will leave a lasting legacy for California." -- then Governor Pete Wilson (Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign manager)
I get a lot of letters with very smart people who want to argue this. They blame "illegals" for their woes, and yet they fail to see the connection to the Wal-Mart mentality.

Most often, the explanation is that their business has been ruined by illegals who under price them. And yet these same people shop at wal-mart. I shop at Target, which has union employees and costs about the same. Apparently, their CEOs don't make as much as Wal Mart's. But the people who support these CEOs with Wal-Mart mentalities are invariably Republicans, who are anti-union. Arnold has said unions are ruining Hollywood, as have Bruce Willis and others. They envision a Hollywood without IATSE or Teamsters. They envision the Wal-Martization of America.

When someone under-cuts you on price in America, Republicans have told us, that's because they're more competitive. It's good for everybody. It keeps inflation down.

What it really does is put small business out of business, puts union workers out of business, imports tons of crap from countries that have slave labor conditions (which further puts mostly union manufacturing jobs out of the country), and rewards greedy CEOs like Ken Lay and Dick Cheney who avoid paying taxes and move money offshore.

At the same time, in order to keep your blame off them, they point to immigrants. "Illegal Immigrants." Yes, the same ones who work for very little money, get no benefits, AND PAY TAXES. And who do they work for? Large agri-businesses and construction businesses (big Republican supporters), for starters. While no doubt some small businesses have found it hard to compete with immigrants in some areas, for the most part they just don't see the bigger picture: where rich Republicans use the "illegals" for the cheap, non-union labor with no benefits in order to run people who do it "legally" out of business. They get people to blame the immigrants instead of blaming their rich campaign contributors and fellow back-room cigar smokers and womanizers.

And that's not to say that Democrats are a whole lot better. They take plenty of money from people who want something in return. But they also take more money form working people who believe in the right to collective bargaining, the right to a livable wage, the right to health care, the right to a clean environment. The last one is dearest to me because we all need a clean environment. Even Republicans need clean air and water. And while Arnold will probable do some Jeb Bush kind of song and dance on off-shore drilling, he'll be quietly pushing for the same kind of cross-your-fingers, voluntary approach that worked so well for W when he was Governor of Texas. For the record, only three of the 8,645 most polluting companies in Texas have signed up for W's voluntary plan. For the record, Pete Wilson was the God-father of California's deregulation which, along with Enron (Bush's biggest 2000 contributor), was the real culprit in the "energy crisis."

All the crap that Arnold and all the other Pete Wilson Republicans tell us about costing too much is the same ploy they use on a national level to take away people's right to overtime pay (like Bush is trying to do). They keep telling us that if we make it cheaper for businesses and the rich people who own them, then there will be more for all. Supply side. It just doesn't work. How many times do we have to watch a supply-side president run the economy into the ground, run up the deficit, and then try to blame everyone but himself? And why do so many people, especially union workers, fail to see the connection between Bush and the people who are putting Arnold in office?

There should be help for small businesses and small business owners. Think of what small businesses would save if we had universal health care. Ask Peter Camejo about that one. It will boggle your mind, and even the right-wing-nuts I know would wonder why the Republican Corporation of America fights that one so hard... While you're at Camejo's site (Peter used to be an economist), check out the actual tax rates on Californians and you'll see that the tax burden is shifting from wealth to work, and that's just not fair.

When Bush, or Pete Wilson, or Arnold try to tell you that their tax cuts for the rich, or their "renegotiations of union contracts" are going to save the economy, remember that this is coming from the people who brought you Enron, deregulation, increased pollution, increased poverty, 3 million jobs lost (and counting, first net loss of jobs since Hoover) and the largest deficit in the history of America. When will we learn that the only thing that trickles down from these people is the crap on their chin that just spilled out of their mouths?

Thursday, October 02, 2003

"Bring Me Another Whore!"

According to an associate of mine (who prefers not to be named for fear of retaliation and blacklisting), while working on the movie "True Lies," he witnessed a young woman come out of Arnold Schwarzenegger's trailer, get in a car, and leave. Seconds later, Arnold came out of the trailer and yelled to one of his production assistants, "Bring me another whore!" After today's allegations of groping by six women, and Arnold's subsequent admission that he'd been a bad boy, I thought his apparent hiring of prostitutes might help change the minds of some women who think this guy is OK. Besides his anti-union ("business friendly") positions, his taking of money from developers with inherent anti-environmental agendas, and his stated goal of huge budget cuts (which, by definition under California budget rules will come from services to the poor), this man's attitude toward women (as late as 2000 in one of the groping cases) should tell us that he is a mere big name shill for the Wilson forces who so desperately want to renew their deregulatory, anti-worker, pro-rich agenda.