Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, September 2nd, 2006.

Good Reads

Bush Administration

Several items:

☻Once again, the righties are celebrating the end of Plamegate, and once again they have their facts wrong. John Amato links to several blog posts that get the facts right and explain why all righties are wankers.

London police have rounded up fourteen alleged terrorists, proving once again the superiority of police work over war as an anti-terrorism tool.

☻Well, unless the police work is performed by our FBI. Walter Pincus writes in today’s Washington Post that the deadly evil Sears Tower islamofascist terrorist plot was, um, not really a plot. Not only was it a fantasy, but it was a fantasy created by the government:

Not only did government informants provide money and a meeting place for Batiste and his followers, but they also gave them video cameras for conducting surveillance, as well as cellphones, and suggested that their first target be a Miami FBI office, court records show.

At the hearing, Batiste’s attorney, John Wylie, showed that the FBI’s investigation found no evidence that his client had met with any real terrorist, received e-mails or wire transfers from the Middle East, possessed any al-Qaeda literature, or had even a picture of bin Laden.

OK, so if the cops give some guys tools for robbing a bank, and suggest which bank to rob, and then arrest them for planning to rob a bank — isn’t that entrapment?

☻Is Karl Rove losing power within the GOP? (Couldn’t happen to a creepier guy …)

☻The Pentagon says violence in Iraq is at its highest level in more than two years, but our President assures us Iraq has not fallen into civil war. I feel so much better.

☻John Dickerson explains why Rudy Giuliani will not be the GOP presidential nominee in 2008.

Robert Kuttner, on Labor Day:

LABOR DAY was created by the machinists union in New York in 1882 as a “workingmen’s holiday.” Unions all over America adopted the idea. By 1894, Congress passed legislation making Labor Day an official holiday. The day also celebrated the act of organizing, politically and in the workplace, to improve livelihoods and lives.

Try doing that now. In most places the corporatist overlords would downsize your ass faster than you could say “fair labor standards.”

Politically, it’s evident what is occurring. Those in a position to capture astronomical incomes are awarding themselves an ever-larger share of the national economic pie. Meanwhile, ordinary incomes, job security, health security, and retirement security are eroding.

The political mystery is why everyone else is not kicking up a fuss. After all, as the Pew report suggests, it’s not as if people are unaware of what’s happening. Here’s a clue to some of the puzzle: Polls show that people do want more reliable wages, pensions, and health insurance. But too many people have given up on the idea that the political process can be used to restore the American dream. …

… But that was not always so. Social Security, Medicare, college aid, the GI Bill, government wage-and-hour laws, and government protection of the right to unionize made a real difference in people’s lives.

These policies, which benefited the vast middle class (and helped to create it), did not just happen. They were the result of political organizing and a public awareness that government could affect the economic opportunity and security of ordinary Americans, for better or worse.

It’s understandable why politics today is often a turnoff. But if a great many middle-class and poor Americans have given up on politics, you can be sure that the economic elite is invested in politics as never before. The changes in the tax code and regulatory laws and workplace practices that benefit America’s super-rich did not just happen, either. They are the result of relentless maneuvering by the financial elite and its political allies.

I don’t know how much time we’ve got left before our descent into third-world shithole status is irreversible. But the first task is to persuade America’s workers — most of the middle class — that we can take back our country and our government from the corporatists. I don’t think it’s hopeless, yet.

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