The Half-Baked Baker Carter Commission

April 19, 2005

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So, Jimmy Carter and James Baker are sitting at a table, and Carter starts talking about the disastrous election of 2000 in Florida…. It sounds like the start of a joke. It was actually the start of the first meeting of the Baker-Carter Commission on Federal Election Reform in Washington, D.C., on April 18th. Baker didn’t do much bragging about his role in Florida. In fact, there was more than one occasion during the meeting on which Baker read more

God No

Nov. 5, 2004
Already the strategists are advising the Democrats to go to church more, hunt more, and become more like the Republicans. This strategy has, however, been pushed just about as far as it will go, and in a quarter century of trying has worked only for Bill Clinton, and then only with a lot of help from Ross Perot and a number of lucky breaks.

With over 40 percent of the country still not interested in voting despite massive Get-Out-the-Vote efforts, record turnouts, and endless lines read more

Cable Television Perfects Presidential Coverage

June 9, 2004

It’s official. Cable television has now completely and thoroughly covered presidential politics, fully informing all Americans of all the issues, positions, promises, and disputes. That job completed, one cable channel has moved on to the important public function of making shit up.

No, I don’t mean Fox News. I’m referring to Showtime’s new presidential election reality TV show, in which 12 “candidates” will pretend to run for president. What could read more

Letter to a Non-Wealthy Republican

Also published at

I have often heard Democrats accuse Republicans of being selfish. That’s nonsense. The economic policies of the Bush Administration have dramatically benefited only the wealthiest two percent of Americans. There are a lot of Republicans nowhere near that level of wealth. To my mind, most people who have voted Republican have not been selfish enough. I encourage everyone to vote their economic self-interest.

By voting Republican, you are voting for read more

The Scandal is Somewhere Else

Also published, in a slightly longer version, at

Even Ralph Nader is saying that the current rash of corporate accounting scandals is uncovering more than he expected. There’s not just feigned and willful shock and surprise out there. Some honest and intelligent commentators are dumbfounded. Why?

Perhaps I’m just a cynic and always expect the worst and sometimes end up being right. Or perhaps my reasoning is oversimplifying. But I am not surprised by the read more

More Bush Talks, Less Popular Privatization Becomes

March 22, 2005
Has anyone noticed that the more the Bush Administration and its corporate allies promote their plan to partially privatize Social Security, the more the public opposes it? Is it any wonder the President kept his proposals vague until after the election?

A Harris poll released this week found the Bush proposal for Social Security opposed by 58 percent and approved by 35, while proposals on five less-talked-about issues had support or mixed results. Newsweek’s findings are read more

Note to Jim Lehrer

If you fail to ask substantive questions about what it will mean to people for each candidate to win, the slightest criticism of you by the candidates can result in thunderous applause, and you can end up looking shame-faced and horribly uncomfortable.

Don’t believe me?

Watch this clip from last December of Ted Koppel and Dennis Kucinich:

Or read this transcript:

KOPPEL: When you hear some of your colleagues here-you know, I get a little bit of a sense of sour grapes here, that if anyone else read more

Wave Your Program, Flap Your Arms, and Blow: Kerry Can't Feel the Draft

April 25, 2004

Last week Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said in support of a military draft for the war on Iraq: “Should we continue to burden the middle class who represents most all of our soldiers, and the lower-middle class? Should we burden them with the fighting and the dying if in fact this is a generational — probably 25-year — war?”

The problem with this is that if we pour $1 billion a day into Iraq or other new pieces of the empire for 25 years, we read more

Positive Proposals from the Left

Left wing activists are pouring everything they have into stopping Bush’s policies, and are declaring victory when the President only gets through Congress a fraction of what he proposes. Many of them consider it na

Jim Forman and the Liberal-Labor Syndrome

Jan. 20, 2005
“Any revolutionary movement cannot succeed if the power of that movement is not in the hands of the poor.” – James Forman

Jim Forman died last week at age 76, the same age Martin Luther King Jr. would have been this week if he had not been assassinated. These two allies and rivals in the most dramatic and effective social movement of this country’s last century still have much to teach us. And, although Forman is much less well known, he in particular may read more