Turning Up the Heat on Bush

Also printed at Democratic Underground at http://www.democraticunderground.com.

Yesterday afternoon three elderly women out of a group of 50 protesters were arrested in Illinois Republican Party headquarters in Chicago where they had settled in with blankets and declared that they were spending the night. These families, many without heat in their homes, were demanding that President Bush release money for energy assistance and not slash funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program read more

Where's the Harm in Fictional Political Supporters?

If you have a terrific idea for a change in public policy that you’re convinced will benefit millions of people, but you don’t personally know any of the people it will benefit, what would be the harm in inventing a fictional family and presenting them to the public as real potential beneficiaries? Wouldn’t you be promoting the idea of democracy and public citizenship, even though it was a lie? Wouldn’t real families make themselves known soon enough and your made-up one read more

Polarizing Plutocrats

Also published at Democratic Underground at http://www.democraticunderground.com and at Bartcop Reader at http://www.bartcopnation.com.

Jan. 19, 2002

I listened to Bill Gates’ Dad talk last week at a D.C. hotel at an event put together by United for a Fair Economy. He wanted to further limit the number of estates touched by the estate tax and to make sure we recognized the benefits to the country of allowing a small number of people to live in a world of tremendous comfort unlike anything read more

Bill Frist Owes Me

I helped kill an innocent family. I helped destroy people’s medicine. I helped support terrorism.

Sad to say, I did all this without buying any drugs. I did it by working, earning money, and paying taxes.

But I’m not worried, because we now have a majority leader in the U.S. Senate who understands my concern. I’m not happy about my work going to fund the Pentagon’s attacks and provocations around the world. I had been considering stopping working, since I don’t know read more

Let Them Eat Cheeseburgers

Doug Besharov’s tastefully illustrated column in the Dec. 8 Outlook section of the Washington Post suggested that our government is giving poor people too much food. They’re not hungry, and yet we’re stuffing their faces and making them fat, he says.

In reality, many Americans are hungry (3 percent of households and rising, according to the conservative calculations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and declining wages and insufficient government assistance can explain read more

Fear Is No Excuse

Are you scared of terrorism? Do color-coded days of danger make you anxious for your children? I’m not going to tell you that your concern is understandable but that attacking another country would be counterproductive.

No, I think it’s more important to tell you that your fear is shameful, that it is exactly what the terrorists want, and that acting out of fear is what can lead to acceptance of quick and comforting beliefs that prove counterproductive.

Let’s go to the root of read more

It's the War, Stupid!

The Washington Post on Sunday, Nov. 10, printed an article (not a column) by David Von Drehle “reporting” on the alleged fact that snobby liberal elites lost the recent elections because folksy dumb guys like George W. are much more likable.

Von Drehle didn’t discuss any particular election, didn’t name a single liberal elitist (except Adlai Stevenson, who apparently lost to Eisenhower for the same reason), and didn’t even name a single likable down-to-earth Republican, read more

Why it Takes Years to Spot Fiction in the AP

Also published at AlterNet at http://www.alternet.org and in the Tacoma Reporter.

The Associated Press recently fired a “reporter” named Christopher Newton after learning that he had invented people and institutions for his articles for two-and-a-half years. Imaginary sources at imaginary and real organizations and universities provided quotes so boring that no one paid much attention. As Jack Shafer at Slate has pointed out, it wouldn’t have made much difference if the sources read more

Only One Way to Stop This War

What if there were a way to prevent a war on Iraq, know with certainty what the Iraqi government is up to, increase funding to a wide range of important programs, and let the Bush administration know that there are limits to its power? What if a single coordinated action could accomplish all of that?

I think that one can. Here’s my plan. It requires that you sacrifice some time, that you devote yourself fulltime to this for a matter of weeks or months. And it requires putting your life at read more

There Are No Low Wage Jobs, and the Poverty Line Does Not Exist

Also published on Alternet at www.alternet.org

Also published at Democratic Underground at http://www.democraticunderground.com.

On Tuesday, September 24, 2002, the Census Bureau is expected to release its 2001 data on poverty and income. No doubt we will see an increase in the number of families living below the so-called poverty line, and no doubt part of the explanation that experts will give for this is the continuing shift in our economy away from high-paying manufacturing jobs and toward read more