The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Neocon dictionary

Electronic Communication Watch

Here are two sites that have done me a world of good. Check them out if you need a bit of a lift. SorryEverybody and ApologiesAccepted.

Turkey Watch

A little late for the holidays, here is the Turkey Dinner George W. Bush Action Figure. You Need This.

Wordplay Watch

For your educational enlightenment, here is the neocon dictionary:

BI-PARTISANSHIP, n. When conservative Republicans work together with moderate Republicans to pass legislation Democrats hate.

CLARIFY, v. Repeating the same lie over and over again.

CLEAN, adj. The word used to modify any aspect of the environment Republican legislation allows corporations to pollute, poison, or destroy.

FAIRER, adj. Regressive.

FAITH, n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary.

FAITH COMMUNITY, n. Evangelicals, because they are saved, and hawkish conservative Jews, because they are useful. Israel is the bait-on-the-hook just waiting for God to take that Rapturous bite.

FISCAL CONSERVATIVE, n. A Republican who is in the minority.

FREEDOM, n. What Arabs want but can't achieve on their own without Western military intervention. It bears a striking resemblance to chaos.

GROWTH, n. The justification for tax cuts for the rich. What happens to the deficits when Republicans cut taxes on the rich.

HONESTY, n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences: "Freedom is on the march."

HUMBLE FOREIGN POLICY, n. The invasion of any sovereign nation whose leadership Republicans don't like.

HUMBLED adj. What a Republican says right after a close election and right before he governs in an arrogant manner.

MORAL VALUES, n. Hatred of homosexuals dressed up in Biblical language.

MANDATE, n. What a Republican claims to possess when only 49 percent of the voting public loathes him instead of 51 percent.

THE MEDIA, n. Immoral elitist liberally-biased traitors who should leave Republicans alone so they can complete God's work on Earth in peace and quiet, behind closed doors.

PHILOSOPHY, n. Religion.

SIMPLIFY, tr. v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors.

SLAVE, n. A person without legal rights, e,g. a fetus.

BONUS DEFINITION: NEOCONSERVATIVES, n. Nerds with Napoleonic complexes.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The meaning of deficits

Tell Us Something We Didn’t Already Know Watch

Something that I’ve been meaning to write about for some time now is actually getting into the news, and that is the effects of our federal budget deficits and debts. Dick Cheney has been famously quoted as saying that what he learned from Reagan is that “deficits don’t matter”. He was right. Politically, it doesn’t seem that voters vote with or against politicians based on how they deal with deficit spending.

But people are wrong to take Cheney literally. Deficits and the national debt do matter, and in a way that would have our xenophobic countrymen quaking in their boots if they knew how. To put it simply, our debt means that other people, and to a large extent foreign countries, own us. The continuing existence of the USA depends on the good graces of countries like Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, and others that have bought our debt. They hold the mortgage on America, and if we don’t put our economic house in order, they may very well put their money elsewhere.

A word here about the Clinton era. Clinton spent a great deal of political capital in 1993 to alter the tax structure so that people of wealth would also have to take some responsibility for paying for running the country. He passed his plan in 1993, without a single Republican vote. Al Gore broke the tie in the Senate to pass that plan. And Clinton paid for it, by losing the House to the Republicans and with the continual witch hunt against him after that. Aided by the booming economy (which was probably also helped by the fact that Wall Street recognized that someone who was serious about the national debt was in the White House), the deficit was eliminated in about 4 years, with continuously rising surpluses after that. Clinton had a lot of faults, but he was an excellent steward of our economic house.

This is why when “Old Europe” tells us not to break international law and invade a sovereign country, we shouldn’t give them the finger and a raspberry. We are like the town drunk, violent, armed, and itching for a fight. The rest of the world is our banker, and they own our home, our cars, and everything else we have, all of which is mortgaged to the hilt. If there is a better reason that we should listen, politely, when the rest of the world speaks, I cannot think of it.

As I said, this view is finally getting some airtime. And who should be putting it out there for the masses to understand, but Alan Greenspan, tool of the very wealthy. As he warns us, weeks after the election (naturally), how dangerous it is for us to have such massive debt, one has to wonder where he was in all of those months before the election. Thanks for crawling out of the woodwork to tell us that, Alan, now that it is again too late.

Reverse Robin Hood Watch

And speaking of Greenspan, and how every time he opens his mouth you should hold on to your wallet, I note that he is starting to go on and on again about the need for Social Security reform. Remember this, whenever you hear it: Social Security reform now is a sham. It is the “2” in the 1-2 punch of stealing from the poor and giving to the rich that has been going on now for some decades, and is only possible because our press corps and national memory only go back about 2 years.

The reason this bit of theft is even possible is that in order to see it happen you have to be able to remember all the way back to the Reagan era. In those days, people were very worried about the strain that the approaching retirement of the Baby Boomers would cause on the Social Security system. (Remember the days when our leaders perceived problems and actually pretended to do something about them? Good times, good times.) The solution they came up with at the time was to massively increase the amount of wage taxes they would take out from working people’s paychecks to keep Social Security solvent, even through the retirement of the Baby Boom. People’s wage taxes went way up, and they sacrificed to preserve the safety net for older citizens, for themselves, and for future generations. Social Security is solvent and funded through 2044 because of those changes.

This little bit of history is never mentioned in the GOP- and Corporate Media-Officially Sanctioned Hagiography of Reagan because Reagan must always be associated with tax CUTS, ad infinitum nauseum, ad astra, amen. This move essentially solved the Social Security issue, at the cost of much sacrifice by the working class, and was also part of the widening gap between rich and poor that really built up steam during the Reagan era. At this point, massive new revenue streams from the working class are pouring into Washington’s coffers. This money is supposed to be used to fund Social Security, but it is spent immediately on current spending, as is all Social Security money. The wealthy begin thinking how nice it is to have all of that wage tax money coming into the government, and wouldn’t it be nice to have it fund more and more of the government? All that would be required is to get rid of Social Security. Then all that money could be used to pay for other government spending, and the rich could lobby for lower taxes for them. The con would be ruined, however, if people remembered that the money was for Social Security.

Fast forward to the Clinton years. Gore is campaigning for president in 2000, and he can hear the wealth and corporate class clamoring for tax cuts and he knows that most people have forgotten what was up with their wage taxes. After all, there hasn’t been talk about a Social Security crisis for years, and the government is flush with revenues. He endeavors to remind voters that the US now has the means to not only continue paying current Social Security, but to really put the money earmarked for Social Security aside to make sure we can pay for the Baby Boomers and their strain on SS. He talks about a lockbox, so that the extra money coming from their wage taxes can be put to the use it was originally intended for, keeping Social Security solvent until 2044. The whorporate press, in their glee at having something else besides GOP slander and calumny with which to mock and ridicule Gore, now use this phrase as part of the Atomic Media Wedgy they are applying to him. “Ha ha ha”, they laugh. “Gore said ‘lockbox’. What a loouooser.”

Fast forward to 2004. The money earmarked for Social Security is long gone, and then some. The working class is still paying higher taxes, and the money is being spent to buy tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, and to run the government. Even though people thought they were paying higher taxes in the 80’s to save Social Security, that goal has disappeared under a walnut shell. Once again, Alan Greenspan crawls out of the woodwork to start talking about the ‘impending crisis’ in Social Security, how everyone should expect to have their benefits cut (and also talks about how dangerous our deficit and debts are, see “Why You Shouldn’t Act Like an International A-Hole”, above).

Now, Greenspan is no dummy. He remembers perfectly well that the much larger payroll tax that people are paying already saved Social Security until 2044, if our leaders would use other revenue sources for other expenses. Social Security will take care of itself. But “other revenue sources” includes taxes on wealth, and gee, wealthy people are tired of paying taxes. Wouldn’t it be better to just get rid of Social Security, lower the benefits, just kill it quietly in the corner, and continue to get those payroll taxes?

The only thing that could stop them from doing this is a media which is not lazy, ignorant, foolish, and in the pocket of corporations. In others words, we are screwed. And Greenspan, apparently, is happy to help.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


This "outcome" is about the worst anyone could hope for. Even a clear Bush win would have been preferable. Now more bullshit, lawyers, courts, provisional ballots. I don't have the stomach for it. I think I'm going to have to quit caring for quite a long time and go cold turkey on the news. What was once a pretty nice democracy/representative republic has been turned into a plutocracy/kleptocracy/theocracy.

The specter of black box voting has again reared its head. We are to believe, somehow, that 20 million or more Americans voted in this election than the last one, and that they voted overwhelmingly in favor of the incumbent? That people came out in record numbers, waited in lines for hours and hours in Florida alone, only to give Bush a ten point advantage in that state? Someone needs to check the exit polling data for those states that have electronic voting with no paper trail and compare it to those states that do. This process has been befouled and cannot be trusted. I simply cannot believe the numbers being reported for Florida, which had a Kerry lead going into the vote (and a huge Kerry margin coming out of early voting), swung to a 10 point lead for Bush. It defies rationality, and not only because it is not the outcome I would have hoped for.

Take care of yourselves, all of you. I hope you each find joy and fulfillment in your lives personally. Thanks for letting me vent from time to time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

GOP thuggery

Dirty Tricks and Thuggery Watch

Because it is not in the GOP's best interest to have everyone vote, there is of course a nationwide GOP effort to suppress Democratic turnout. This is especially the case in Ohio (thanks RS!), where they will be allowing thousands of gorillas to "challenge" voters, and Florida. But, note that this is happening everywhere. Here is an eyewitness report from Marti:

As I was waiting in the 35-minute line at my polling place, there were two women who were voting at that polling place for the first time, one caucasian, one hispanic. Which one do you think had their vote challenged? Yes, the Republican party is running scared even in the 'burbs in Pennsylvania.

The woman in question had a driver's license, a voter registration card, and her name was listed in the big white book. There are post-it notes over some of the names, and her name was one of those. When the woman at the desk comes across a name with a post-it, she calls for the "manager", a very tall (well over 6 ft) man affiliated with the Republicans. As I was leaving he was finally allowing her to cast a provisional vote (which is her legal right, whether he "lets" her or not) and chastising her for daring to register to vote at the post office.

As I left, I alerted the two guys at the Kerry/Edwards desk, and then once I got to work I called the committee chair of the Tredyfferin Township Democrats and reported the situation (and she was calling their lawyers).

I didn't see anything like this at my polling place, but it was early. What makes it even worse is that you know that the challenges must be visually based. Whether it is black voters in Florida or native americans in South Dakota, or young voters, the challenges are being issued because some goon looked at another person, decided they would most likely vote Democratic BASED ON THEIR APPEARANCE, and therefore challenged their vote. Words cannot describe how wrong that is.

This website is collecting incidents of voting fraud and suppression. David Neiwert is collecting incidents of GOP intimidation and thuggery. Abnormalities with electronic voting machines (which do not leave a paper trail) are being collected.

Pardons Watch

Can you imagine the frenzy of activity which is going to be going on at the White House and in the Pentagon if Kerry wins? All the shredding, all the intimidation of witnesses, burying of bodies. They'd better be quick! They'll have less than three months to cover their dirty tracks. And expect a boatload of outrageous pardons (many of the pre-emptive, since no one has been charged with anything yet) in an attempt to protect their criminal asses. The media won't make much of a noise about that, though.

Job One If We Win Watch

Go here to sign a petition demanding that the Fairness Doctrine be restored. This directive for the FCC, together with some strong media de-consolidation legislation, will begin us on the path to healing our diseased media.

Hard To Beat Because He's So Bad Watch

I have long thought that if the Chimpleton and his crew were more competant, maybe even slightly decent people, we would have a really hard time beating them in this election. I mean, if they were a little more circumspect, a little more principled, a little less thoroughly awful, then it would be harder for the American people to make a choice tomorrow.

Yet . . . it also seems that, because Bushco is SO bad, so clearly and thoroughly terrible at policy, planning, governance in general, that if you support them you have to go into a kind of state of doublethink; to ignore facts, to not use logic, to simply let the projected images hit your mind and respond in the most basic, reptilian manner.

Is it the complete failure of this administration that actually makes them HARDER to beat? Because a thoughtful analysis of their actions is antithetical to them, because a real discussion on the merits of their term would destroy them, they are insulated from such a discussion?

It is a strange phenomenon, but I actually think if this were a _principled_ GOP administration, that governed in the land of reality instead of Fantasyland, they would be easier to beat. But because they have left the realm of reality altogether, that their devotees are guided only by "faith", and are therefore much harder to dissuade.

Dan Rather would say I'm more nervous than a long-tailed polecat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Fiscal vs. social conservatives

OBL Watch

So we had an early Halloween on Friday, with OBL popping up out of his hole to deliver a message to the US. He looked healthy and rested. The TV pundits quickly ran to declare this some kind of boon for Bush, and then proceeded to try to read Osama's mind about his motivations, what he wants, etc. My only question, and the only question I which I think is relevant to this event, is: "Why is this a-hole still free to appear on my TV screen and threaten America?" It seems Mr. Bin Laden was able both run and hide, and that we didn't, in fact, get him dead or alive. Maybe we should have tried to smoke him out.

Or you could look at this from the logic of Bush supporters: George W. Bush is the only person who can protect from Bin Laden, even though he failed to protect us in 2001, failed to capture him in 2002, invaded an entirely unrelated county in 2003, and forgot that he had said OBL wasn't very important in 2004. Whatever.

GOP Civil War Watch

As we see more and more GOP members jump from the sinking HMS Bushtanic, we are beginning to see the rift in the GOP between the "movement conservatives" and real conservatives. Here is the fundamental difference: movement conservatives are interested in obtaining and retaining power, period. Others in the GOP actually have some kind of principles-based stake in governance.

Take fiscal conservatives as an example. They recognize that government is a necessary evil, and that it must be funded, and that we should try to get as much government from our money as we can. Bush and the current GOP, by turning surpluses into vast deficits, have accomplished a number of things antithetical to fiscal conservatism. First, they have tremendously weakened our government. As a debtor nation, we are at the mercy of those powers and economies which hold our bonds. Many of these are currently Asian economies. If China or Japan or the EU decide that the US is not a good investment anymore, and they pull their money out of the US, our country will simply collapse. We will fold like Argentina. (Note that Bush has weakened our economic position while simultaneously antagonizing our allies upon whose economic good faith we rely. Quite a maneuver.) This also deprives the government of the funds it needs to continue, weakening it with respect to corporate power. Finally, creating a deficit funnels even more public money (in the form of taxes) into private, wealthy hands (in the form of interest paid to those who hold T bills). The reverse Robin Hood effect is devastating on the amount of government we can get from the taxes we pay.

But, Bush thinks that rewarded multimillionaires is a better way to hold onto power, so conservative ideology be damned.

Fundamental Christians want a ban on abortion. Though the GOP is in de facto control of all three branches of the federal government, there has been no move to do away with the right to choose. Analysis? They know that a vast majority of the country favors preserving choice, therefore they stonewall their constiuency on this issue. Better to keep it alive to rally the troops with.

Libertarians with principles get very heated up about our constitutional rights. While paying lip service to the importance of "strict constructionist" judges, this administration has hastened the dismantling of our civil rights.

Participatory democracy is a wonderful thing, we are told. So wonderful, we are obliged to export it to the world (or vulnerable, oil-rich parts of the world) at gunpoint, if necessary. But as far as bringing democracy to our own country, the GOP wants to suppress voter turnout, and are actively colluding to do just that.

This group of people which have hijacked the GOP have a very small set of principles: 1) tax cuts for the very wealthy (themselves included) are a great thing 2) they should be in power 3) they will go to any lengths to villify their opponents, or any threat to their power.

If you don't share those principles, the modern GOP is not for you. Many prinicipled people who belong to the GOP are going to start waking up, and soon, and start to wonder just exactly what is going on with their party. It is going to be a strange and possibly scary thing to watch.

Taxachussets Watch

Here is an article about a weird kind of reverse discrimination in the media. While it is of course not politic to disparage Red State voters, even though they consistently vote against their own interests, it seems to be perfectly OK, in fact expected, for GOP candidates to routinely disparage the northeast. Massachussets, New York. Why is that OK to do publicly?

Conservative Idiots Watch

This being Monday, please check out Democratic Undergrounds Top Ten conservative idiots. This week, the idiocy does not fit into ten neat episodes, and so we find an invaluable resource detailing Bush running on scare tactics, the complete story (so far) on the explosives story (included all of the White House's failed attempts to shift the blame), outrageous GOP talking points, and even more outrageous GOP vote suppressing tactics. Other bonuses include a link to Dubya flipping the bird to a TV camera, Jerry Falwell deciding on the insurgents that we should "blow them all away in the name of the Lord", and a link to a charming story about a "loyalty oath" that people now have to say to get into Bush political rallies. It is brimming with goodness.

Media Dogs, Old Tricks Watch

Today's Howler shows that the presstitutes are licking their chops with the thought of another Democratic administration to libel. The deliberately shallow, misleading portraits of Democratic leaders continues apace. Here is Frank Rich: "John Kerry is a flip-flopper. He's “French.” Whether he's asserting his non-girlie-boy bona fides by riding a Harley onto Jay Leno's set, “reporting for duty” at the Democratic convention or hunting geese in Ohio, he comes off like a second-rung James Brolin auditioning for a Levitra ad." (Frank Rich, like fellow snarky bitch Maureen Dowd, is not one to be trusted. Though both of them have recently been writing snarky columns about the Chimpleton, they both also participated in every GOP-lie-fax scandal coming down the pike in 1999/2000. They lied about Gore's farm chores, about "invented the internet", about Love Story, about Love Canal, about Gore's doggy pills, about Hillary's fictional "gift registry", about the Clintons stealing from Air Force One, about the White House being trashed. There was no lie coming from the GOP which was too stupid, banal, or false for them to not write a snarling, cynical column about what bad people Gore/Hillary/Bill were. And they have, to my knowledge, never apologized, never pointed out that those columns were based on tall tales fomented by the GOP itself. Their quest for snarkiness has real consequences, as the relatives of our dead soldiers, and those dead because Bush dropped the ball on 9/11 can attest. )

Here is Tom Shales on Kerry: "Something is wrong when, the minute a candidate is chosen as his party's nominee, he is shunted off to some mysterious laboratory in a valiant if vain effort to make him less stiff (the one word that always comes up when people describe Kerry) and spooky, to make him somehow camera-worthy in time for the convention."

"Stiff", of course, is the word that all the telepundits used about Gore, and apparently the rich multimillionaires who control our public discourse use it about Kerry, too. But I've never heard any else describe him as stiff. But Shales has the corporate agenda to follow. It seems our media has not improved from four years ago. Let's hope we see some significant reform for media ownership and the restoration of the fairness doctrine with a new administration.

Chickenhawk Watch

Finally, as this election has centered so much on military action and the fighting of a media stunt (oops, I mean "war", of course), I would just like to point out once again which party can boast of a high percentage of people who gave of themselves for the greater good of their country (and remember, the GOP are adamant that Bush's War is a great thing for all involved):


Tom Daschle, Air Force, 1969-72
Al Gore, Army journalist
Bob Kerrey, Navy, 1966-69
John Kerry, Navy, 1966-70
Charlie Rangel, Army, 1948-52
Max Cleland, Army 1965-68
Ted Kennedy, Army, 1951-53 (What? That LIBERAL??)
Wes Clark, Army 1962-2000
Bill Clinton, did not serve
John Edwards, did not serve
Walter Mondale, Army, 1951-53
Jimmy Carter, Navy, 7 years
Gray Davis, Army captain in Vietnam


*George W. Bush, "served" in TANG, sort of
Dennis Hastert, did not serve
Dick Armey, did not serve
Colin Powll, Army, long career
Tom Delay, did not serve
*Andy Card, did not serve
John McCain, Navy, long career
Dan Quayle, Indiana National Guard
Roy Blunt, did not serve
*Lewis "Scooter" Libby, did not serve
*Dick Cheney, did not serve
Rick Santorum, did not serve
Trent Lott, did not serve
Don Rumsfeld, Navy, 1954-57
John Ashcroft, did not serve
*Karl Rove, did not serve
Newt Gingrich, did not serve
Phil Gramm, did not serve
Jack Kemp, did not serve
*Paul Wolfowitz, did not serve
*Douglas Feith, did not serve
Rudy Guiliani, did not serve
George Pataki, did not serve
Jerry Fallwell, did not serve
*Richard Perle, did not serve
George Will, did not serve
Bill O'Reilly, did not serve
Bill Bennett, did not serve
*Rush Limbaugh, did not serve
*Sean Hannity, did not serve
Antonin Scalia, did not serve
Clarence Thomas, did not serve
Saxby Chambliss, did not serve
Oliver North, Marines, 22 years
Jeb Bush, did not serve
*Ann Coulter, did not serve
*Ken Adelman, did not serve
*Roger Ailes, did not serve
*Brit Hume, did not serve
Clarence Thomas, did not serve

*Deserve special contempt for being chief architects and/or cheerleaders to our invasion of Iraq, letting other Americans' children die for their pipe dreams, when they never saw combat themselves.