BOTU

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SOTU gallery

Except this time, all of it from the gallery [Paul Morse / whitehouse.gov]

State of the Union coming, January 31st. On this day of ritual, when the Speaker of the House announces the President and Congress stands and applauds — half of it emphatically, the other half slightly embarrassed — we are turning not to dais or to Congress, but outside the building. To the Blogs of the Union.

BOTU. And out of the Blogs of the Union, an hour of radio. A picture of what we are, on the same day the President tells us what’s next.

IF YOU HAVE A BLOG, write your State of the Union — a paragraph, a post, your description of how America’s doing — and include somewhere the acronym “BOTU.” Leave a link in the comment thread below, or we’ll find it on Technorati.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BLOG, write it in the comment thread below.

OR PHONE IT IN:

  1. Call (415) 856-0205.
  2. Enter (877) 673-6767 as your primary number.
  3. The pin is 6767.
  4. Press #, then 1 when you’re done talking.
  5. Press 2 to exit.

Without these last two steps it won’t work.

You can hear all of the phoned-in states-of-the-union here. We’ll be featuring these sound clips throughout the show. (Thanks to Odeo for the phone-in tool.)

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU WRITE OR PHONE IT IN, WHEN COMPOSING YOUR STATE OF THE UNION YOU MAY NOT USE THE FOLLOWING WORDS OR PHRASES.

Words and phrases you may not use

Bush, Administration, Iraq, Liberal, Conservative, Progressive, Republican, Democrat, FISA, Abramoff, Culture of Corruption, Culture of Life, Cultural Inheritance, Inheritance Tax, Treason, Kerry, Rove, Israel, Palestine, Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Shari’a, Gore, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, MSM, CIA, FBI, Dean, James Frey, Kanye West, Katrina, Fox, Liberal Bias, Mehlman, Delay, Unemployment, Interest Rates, Housing Starts, Schwarzenegger, Kennedy, Adjustable-Rate Mortgage, Red State, Blue State, Shriver, Darwin, Cindy Sheehan, Freedom on the March, Cut and Run, Boots on the Ground, Michelle Malkin, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Flyover States, East-Coast Elite, Middle America, the American People or Synergy.

If your name happens to be Michelle Malkin, you may use the phrase “Michelle Malkin.” We really do hate the word “synergy.”

Update

We’ll be booking this show a little differently; Steve Almond will be helping Chris out with color commentary in the studio, and we’ll be calling out to a couple of bloggers who answered our BOTU call.

Steve Almond

Author, The Evil BB Chow and Other Stories,

My Life in Heavy Metal and Candyfreak.

Debbie Galant

Editor, Baristanet

Author, Rattled

Jon Donley

Editor, nola.com

Open Source guest, nola.com and The New Plan for New Orleans

Matt Stoller

Blogger, MyDD

Arianna Huffington

Publisher, The Huffington Post

Gordon Atkinson

Real Live Preacher

Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church

Amardeep Singh

Professor of postcolonial literature, Lehigh University

blogger, Amardeep Singh

Amanda Jones

Wife of Randal “Lee” Jones, B Company, 150th Dixie Sappers, recently returned from Iraq. Amanda was a guest on Soldiers and Families: Life in the 150th

Dave Winer

Blogger, Scripting News

Standard Author, RSS 2.0

Inventor, Podcasting

Brian Conley

Alive in Baghdad

Update, 1/31/06 5:57 pm

Our cup runneth, and keeps running. Here’s part of the volume of response we’ve gotten on this, and there are more coming.

To the honorable assembly of Congress,

Eminencies, Reverends, Highnesses,

Gods, Hemigods, Semigods and Demigods,

Publicans, Publicists, Re-publicists, Re-publicans,

Cloven hooved, Invertebrates, Household pets of all Distinction,

Higher Botanies, Hardwoods, Potted Plants, Herbs, Humble Fungi,

Plankton, Ameobae, Paramecia, BOTUlinus, Certain Strains of Viruses, Prions,

and My Fellow Americans:

plaintext , comment to Open Source

It is in some ways a credit to the American spirit of optimism and our belief that we as individuals and a nation can accomplish anything, that we borrow today firm in our belief that we will be able to pay tomorrow. But for some time now we have forgotten that tomorrow will come, and those debts will come due.

Stephen Macklin, Hold the Mayo, State of The Union

BOTU’-ism: a deadly toxin assaulting the body politic and causing a violent immune reaction… We the people have developed a marked immunodeficiency over time by not keeping our fledgling republic up-to-date on its vaccinations and check(-ups) and balances!

A little yellow bird, comment to Open Source

There is an end to the public purse and the public patience. We are Better Off Throwing Up (BOTU). Our States need to throw up the functions of religion that they have usurped, and clean their systems of the corruption of forced education, forced holiness, and forced charity.

Rycke, comment to Open Source

F IS FOR FREEDOM, that precious commodity coveted by people around the world, in countries run by oppressive forms of government, including one form discredited, and defeated, when Ronald Reagan won the Cold War in the 1980′s, and I pledge to continue this country’s efforts to support the fight for it around the globe in my final years in office.

Kiril Kundurazieff, Sneakeasy’s Joint, A Sneakeasy State of the Union

Like all Americans, we are survivors. With or without help, we struggle through the day, enduring brutal living conditions and rebuilding what we can. We bury ourselves in our work to forget, and collapse in tears during the mind-numbing commute to our makeshift homes. Some of us live in tiny temporary apartments, some live in the second stories of gutted homes, some live in the rare trailers, and some sleep in tents in the rubble of their homes. From above, we are a checkerboard of blue roofs, even in the areas least damaged.

John Donley, Voices of Katrina, The state of our union

We should appreciate the lives we lead because it seems likely that our generation is the bridge between the vast epochs of man’s past when he was still a creature of his nature, limited by the tools that evolution provided, and the post-human future when the melange of bioengineering and cybernetics consumes us. Let us give thanks for the affluence that technology affords us.

razib, Gene Expression, Blogs of the Union

But now, grudgingly, Americans are getting up, taking their bearings, and restarting the drive to America’s ideals.

America is reawakening.

Slowly the the problems are being identified. Slowly the plans of action being drafted. Slowly the leaders are mobilizing. Slowly the people are heeding the calls to action.

mulp, comment to Open Source

The State of the Union AS COMPARED TO……..

Katrina – Rescue completed in 4 days

Compared to Pakistan – 5 months after their Earthquake many still are waiting for medical treatment. The winter weather will lead to more deaths for people reside in canvas tents without insulation.

ConstructiveFeedback, comment to Open Source

No, the State of our Union is not good. And it is worsened by the river of apathy that overflows among all of us. But we can get through it, and rebuild the moral prosperity that undergirds who we are. That is our purpose, and that has always been our purpose.

Matt Stoller, MyDD, Blog of the Union

Like it or not, it’s a new country now, a land where one leader will have absolute, unchecked power over each citizen’s life and freedom. The fact that said leader may change every four to eight years, and may even be a member of the Democratic party on occasion, does not lessen the magnitude of the sea-change we’ve gone through.

JDWalley, from a comment to “Blog of the Union” on MyDD,
Update, 2/01/06 12:16 pm

And more, and more, and more. Thanks, everyone, the response has been great.

I believe it’s Craigslist, with its bewildering main page array of activities, jobs, real estate, stuff for sale, and personals, that makes the best metaphor for America’s current state of disunion. … You have dog-clubs and tennis-clubs; sperm donors wanted, and sperm donors offering. You see want ads for potential spouses and some for fiddlers (and some that are both at once!).

Amardeep Singh, Amardeep Singh, Craigslist as a Metaphor For America

Why are people like myself so anxious to continue a fictional presidency, even willing to consider a fictional Republican presidency, as an alternative to the real President of the United States? Well, perhaps its because we can see into the machinations of the fictional one and like what we see. Sure, they’re human beings, but they labor over the big quesitons, make the thoughtful compromises we’d like to see our leaders make, hell, they’re actually leaders. …having the TV show to compare against reality gives me hope that at least some Americans share a hope for the greatness of our country.

Dave Winer, Dave’s WordPress Blog, Television, U.S. Politics

This might be how the world looks to Tony the Barber: quilted in reliable gloom, but smooth, like Sinatra in the wee small hours, or talc. Two doors down, in the Winter Hill Bakery, sweetrolls cuddle the racks, bakers wear thick mitts to yawn the ovens open. The fellow who sells liquor across Broadway has spent time in jail (let’s be honest) but emerged calm before the hours.

email from Steve Almond in Winter Hill, Somerville MA

I’m not sure what the state of the Union is, but I feel the state of our hearts, and many of us are afraid. I don’t remember fear like this since the days when we used to worry about the Soviet Union. Our preemptive strike has not only proved to be unprovoked, but now we have poked a big stick into the worst hornets’ nest on the planet, and that’s a scary thing indeed.

And our budget is suddenly frightening again. I thought the Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility. If we’re going to spend more money than we have, I wish we had a Democrat in the oval office. At least he would spend more than we have on something nice, like children or midnight basketball.

from an email from Gordon Atkinson, Real Live Preacher

We live in a pretty damn good place. We have big trees, which only fall and kill people once in a while, and nice old interesting houses. The houses may be expensive to maintain and may be taxed beyond the pale, but at least they’re not aesthetically deadening, and many have welcoming front porches that foster a sense of community. We’re surrounded, for the most part, by smart people (though not smart enough to stay off their cell phones while driving) and, as Baristanet and the front-yard flamingo flocks prove, by people with a sense of humor. For all these things — but for the falling trees, the taxes and the distracted drivers — we are blessed.

Debbie Galant, Baristanet, The State of Baristaville

The opportunities for average citizens to participate in the decisions that impact their civic, social and economic lives are probably fewer and less meaningful today than they have been since the Gilded Age. At all levels, government is for sale. Millionaire candidates solicit donations from millionaire supporters and then create policy in partnership with millionaire lobbyists who represent multi-billion dollar corporate interests. Only in America could such a process be called free speech.

Paul, Pandachews, BOTU for OpenSource with Christopher Lydon

In 2005, there is no longer a nation. The government is in shambles and all appearances of forward momentum reflect individual gains by individual parties. Each party considers the interests of its members or its tribe first, and the interests of a unified nation second.

Brian, Alive in Baghdad, State of a Lack of Union in Iraq, A Preview of Tonight’s Address

We have, at this moment, a choice between two paths. We can continue down the path that we have been – a path of ten-word policy soundbites, a path where distorting the arguments of your opponents is the norm, a path where every policy decision is treated as a win or lose contest by the two main parties.

That is the path to national destruction, but we can continue along it until it reaches its end. We can choose to fail.

TQA, One Nation, Divided, One Nation, Divided.

The State of the Union is bruised, bloodied and sore. We have been tread upon in secret: behind closed doors, by parties unknown, in the deep of night, singly and in groups. We have been deceived by our leaders, by our proxies and by ourselves. We have lingered too long at the trough, and now pay with our liberty, sated and lazy with rhetoric and a false sense of security.

drspiffy, doctor spiffy: MD in training, Open Source » Blog Archive » BOTU

Comments

88 thoughts on “BOTU

  1. “BOTU”-ism: a deadly toxin assaulting the body politic and causing a violent immune reaction by the neocon “laptop bombardier” antibodies, and by a senator from Nueva Jork who shall remain nameless (but her initials are…). One could call these true enemies of freedom “lucre-cytes”: money-mad human versions of infection-fighting white blood cells, or leucocytes. But the invading cells these parties are attacking are we, the people, who are on our own offensive against these pretenders to the throne of constitutional health, though our defenses are weak, apparently. We the people have developed a marked immunodeficiency over time by not keeping our fledgling republic up-to-date on its vaccinations and check(-ups) and balances! This ferociously sore throat is the result of too many late nights in front of the Sony Lobotomax, and too little adoration of purple mountains’ majesty, above the fruited plain! Not to mention failing to read history–all of it, not just some selected by the PC powers that be in our public indoctrination and enstupidation centers, commonly called schools The patient has a reasonable shot still, although another attack by Osama bin Dead for Years “Goldstein” may allow the disease to reach the rest of the major organs, causing an irreversible vegetative state and Schiavo-like decay.

  2. The State of the Union of our United State Church is dispeptic, to say the least. It has swallowed too much, taken too many functions away from the lesser churches, those without a legal monopoly on the use of force. They are reduced to lobbying the priesthood of the United State for crumbs from its table.

    First, the states took our children out of church and home schools and mandated that they be taught in state schools by state rules. Then, they started deciding what is clean or unclean to put in our bodies, and made laws to enforce their new taboos. They started funding their pet causes with the people’s money, finding no end of ways to spend it. Then the United State started horning in on the state’s action, spending even more of the people’s money than it could take at any one time, putting the people deep into debt.

    But institutions are built around a guiding principal. Government, being force, has one proper function, to secure rights. When it started taking on the role of churches, it lost its focus on that principal. Government being force, if it does anything but defending rights, it can only violate rights. And as the agency charged with punishing fraud, it has an inherent conflict on interest in funding anything but the police function. Who guards the guardians?

    We have so little order because we have so many laws that no one can know even a small fraction of them, or even the ones that apply to him. We have so many laws widely acknowledged to be stupid that disrespect for law is rampant.

    There is an end to the public purse and the public patience. We are Better Off Throwing Up (BOTU). Our States need to throw up the functions of religion that they have usurped, and clean their systems of the corruption of forced education, forced holiness, and forced charity. They need to cleanse their constitutions, where necessary, to remove requirements contrary to the proper use of force, such as “free” anything, especially education. Only then can we have true freedom of religion, speech, and assembly, and security in our homes.

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  4. 15,517 murders.

    42,800 traffic deaths (16,694 alcohol-related) [2004 data]

    $420.7 billion: 2005 US Military Budget (excluding Iraq & Afghanistan wars) 43% of world total miltary spending

    18 out of 100 children graduate from college

    35.9 million below poverty line (up 1.3 million in 2004 and 5 million since 2000)

    1% of population received 12% of after-tax income

    2,135,901 people in U.S. prisons (724 per 100,000 residents–highest rate in the world)

    *Whites: 393 per 100,000

    *Latinos: 957 per 100,000

    *Blacks: 2,531 per 100,000

    #1 exporter of cigarettes

    60 million people obese

    (BOTU) should be (BOTdisU) The facts (well, just some of them) speak for the state of union.

    Cost of the War in Iraq

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    Link

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  5. To the honorable assembly of Congress,

    Eminencies, Reverends, Highnesses,

    Gods, Hemigods, Semigods and Demigods,

    Publicans, Publicists, Re-publicists, Re-publicans,

    Cloven hooved, Invertebrates, Household pets of all Distinction,

    Higher Botanies, Hardwoods, Potted Plants, Herbs, Humble Fungi,

    Plankton, Ameobae, Paramecia, BOTUlinus, Certain Strains of Viruses, Prions,

    and My Fellow Americans:

    It is customary and I am greatly blessed to be so charged,

    to come before you to recall

    our great triumph, our boundless greatness, our ultimate conquest.

    In spite of all the efforts of our greatest enemies,

    we sleep in peaceful bliss,

    satisfied in all the appetites.

    Our children are strong, rightly grown, they are able to sprout extra organs

    and smarter than those of the other race.

    All the prophecies of the oracles were shown to be true.

    Nothing went unseen, unheard of, or unconsumed.

    There were no controversies, no untruths were spoken,

    All was agreed upon, every eye and finger was crossed;

    The vile thinkers, perverted creators, and those who burned incense

    have been supplanted with race car drivers, survivors and gunsmiths

    as it should be.

    There are no towers of Hanoi, no bells, no spirits; in short, nothing to stop us.

    We are of one mind, unified, strong, conformed.

    And so it is with gleeful pleasure that I do hereby decree

    that never again will there be any need for the State of the Union Address.

    Go now, be positive, and may God Bless You All.

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  7. “To my fellow Uninformed Swarms of Amnesiacs” by Willingham Amadollars Shakesaber: I come before you to stand behind you and tell of something I know nothing about. Whether ’tis feebler in the mind to offer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes spent on neocon fever-dreams of The Project For A New American Century as a panacea for what aileth a nation of halfwits cultivated by a century and a day of new math and cathode-ray alchemy; or to take up arms against an apparition swaddled about the crown with sheeting from a lady’s chamber who hath crossed the sea bringing flying galleons of troubles, and by opposing, end them? The heartache and the thousand unnatural shocks and awe the republick and the body politic is heir to, ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d. To sleep, perchance to wake and find it was but a nightmare, but soft! What terr’is’ threat through yonder false security edifice breaks?! ‘Tis Osama bin Goldstein! Nay, ’tis a ruse to commit yet more murder most foul, as in the best it is… O, Hamlet! what a falling off was there. Goodnight, sweet New World, and caravans of garbage trucks spirit thee to thy rest, as the carrion crows of the Orient repossess thine hearth, thy chariot, and thy baubles. (With heartfelt thanks and apologies to the bard of Avon, and all y’alla mah homeez for providing riffing space.)

  8. Sneakeasy’s Joint Says:

    January 29th, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    OK, all you armchair Politicians,

    I like this phrase! We need more activism

  9. Perhaps no American city has faced such an uncertain future as metro New Orleans faces at the beginning of this year. So as the nation prepares to hear the president’s State of the Union address, it’s time for us to do likewise. Unfortunately it’s hard to focus on the state of anything outside our own Big Ol’ Terrible Unpleasantness (BOTU) . . .

    Blog post follows:

    http://www.nola.com/weblogs/bourbon/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_bstdiaries/archives/2006_01_30.html#108854

  10. I’ve drafted a few paragraphs that lacked all soul, and with JFK and MLK through Obama ringing in my mind, I retreat to simple phrases.

    America is reawakening.

    For the boomers, the change and conflict of the 50s and 60s yielded both big steps toward the idealism so patriotically proclaimed to justify America’s superiority over the original Axis of Evil and over the communist threat to peace and freedom, and the weariness of a changing society, of brother against brother, and the constant repetition of the same debates repeated over and over. Whether a great locomotive or a herd of cattle, once started, it continues to move of its own, and one begins to believe it will continue on without further urging.

    The next generation came along, and much seemed well, and there seemed to be no need to take much care. Besides, the prior generation were a stubborn and formidable bunch, and nothing could match their passions, their accomplisments, or the fires they had lit. If any change was possible, it was only to embrace darkness make black the statement.

    Then in the spirit of moderation and compromise, the great boomer generation tried to get along, and Clinton was the master of moderation and compromise.

    But a group of idealists had long been seething over the changes that had occurred and the side effects of some of them. These idealists wished to create the perfect society, but they would not rely on the good will of the people, but on the strength and morality of the leadership that would mold the people to the good. But one of the tools squandered in the 60s was to tool of war, this tool of idealism had acquired the tarnish of futility. In recent years, these idealists have come to the fore and set the course of the nation.

    The result has been a nightmare. Or rather a series of nightmares, cold sweats, bad dreams, and for some, waking in terror. Many have pulled the covers over their heads. Or tried to go back to sleep.

    But now, grudgingly, Americans are getting up, taking their bearings, and restarting the drive to America’s ideals.

    America is reawakening.

    Slowly the the problems are being identified. Slowly the plans of action being drafted. Slowly the leaders are mobilizing. Slowly the people are heeding the calls to action.

    The challenges are great. One, in particular, fossil fuels, is a triple theat. First is its increasing scarcity. Second is the climate change it causes. Third is the ethnic conflict it fosters and fuels. But others are just as real and as critical to address. The denial of science, just as science is offering us the most exciting insights into ourselves and our earth, feeds into the confusion of fossil fuel truth. The boat of education that lifts all those in the boat, while too many Americans are happier just playing in the bath water, just as the rest of the world is frantically building boats and rafts to lift their children.

    America is reawakening.

    We hear the same themes repeated by many voices. Energy policy. Invest in science and technology. Invest in education. Invest in the future. Renewable energy and sustainable economy is the future. Sustainable economy is Americas future only if we awake to the need for education to meet the challange of science and engineering.

    America is reawakening.

    Unless you are the future of America: you are awakening to a new world of both incredible challenges and of incredible opportunity and reward.

    America is awakening and I have great faith in the spirit of the American people.

  11. “mulp”: I hope the power of incantation is with us, because slogans come and go as thay help sell t-shirts, mugs, and bumperstickers. I wish I had your level of faith, because if James Bovard’s new book, “Attention Deficit Democracy”, is anything to judge by, we’re doomed. The Unconscious Subjects of Amnesia-ca are comatose, or terrified blind, I think, and are ready to shout, Sir! How high, sir?!” when finally ordered to leap after the next staged “turris attack”. Love to be wrong…

  12. The State of the Union AS COMPARED TO……..

    Katrina – Rescue completed in 4 days

    Compared to Pakistan – 5 months after their Earthquake many still are waiting for medical treatment. The winter weather will lead to more deaths for people reside in canvas tents without insulation.

    *******

    US Manufacturing – declining. Ford and GM workers who used to make $30 per hour and up are losing their jobs.

    Textile Plants in Honduras, Guatemala and elsewhere are providing jobs to people who had little opportunity for jobs ever before. (Of course the evil US companies are exploiting them rather than providing for their living)

    *******

    12 US Miners died in WVA due to Bush’s lax regulation

    As compared to – 2005 goes down as the least deadly year in recorded history with 24 miners having died including the 12 from WVa.

    As compared to China where in 2005 over 6000 miners have died.

    ****

    Senator Ted Kennedy said deaths from Asthma have doubled in the past 5 years (Bush years).

    The government, however seeks to ban aresol inhalers used by asthmatics because they harm the environment one squirt at a time. Those asthematics will just have to wait for the pill to kick in. Hope they survive.

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  14. The State of Baristaville:

    The State of Baristaville

    http://www.baristanet.com/barista/2006/01/the_state_of_ba.html

    Excerpt:

    We live in a pretty damn good place. We have big trees, which only fall and kill people once in a while, and nice old interesting houses. The houses may be expensive to maintain and may be taxed beyond the pale, but at least they’re not aesthetically deadening, and many have welcoming front porches that foster a sense of community. We’re surrounded, for the most part, by smart people (though not smart enough to stay off their cell phones while driving) and, as Baristanet and the front-yard flamingo flocks prove, by people with a sense of humor. For all these things — but for the falling trees, the taxes and the distracted drivers — we are blessed. And to top it off, we have something like eight sushi places, five Thai restaurants and one Vietnamese.

    And yet. We have turned childhood into an arms race of playdates, traveling soccer teams, SAT prep classes, and have turned the very act of growing up into a matter of serious competition. We’ve turned our kitchens and bathrooms into mausoleums, our parks into plastic playing fields and our graduations into orgies of fundraising and overindulgence, where money flows as freely as the alcohol it is meant to replace.

  15. You cheer me up.

    Turn off the news.

    Gather here around a roaring campfire to sing songs, tell stories, joke, mock.

    Do NOT say any of those words in the green box.

    The password is BOTU.

    Then we’ll gaze at the moon, let the tears roll off our warmed faces, in the freezing rain.

    And say that the state of our union is fine.

    .

  16. I’m assuming either the list of ‘thou shalt nots” at the top of this page was either a joke or some of the other “posters” didn’t read them…Nonetheless, here’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. So that this will be “official”, here it is….BOTU.

    Ok. The state of my particular “union” (as I have no blogsite) is really one of gratitude. The previous year has been long, yet brought many opportunities for personal growth, and even more things to be thankful for. For starters, my husband came home from war after serving with the BEST and hardest working unit in this country, the 150th Combat Engineer Batallion. He returned home 2 days before Christmas. As he says, nothing will make you more grateful for this country than a year “over there.” Besides that, we survived the biggest hurricane to hit the country in my lifetime. (though I am only 31) I have seen more kindness, more selflessness, more love poured out on those affected in our area than I would ever have dreamed. I have been overwhelmed as the nation stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park. Sure, we have a ton of room for improvement. I have a list of things that bug me about our nation. Just to name a few, we have forgotten many of the standards and Godly principles we were founded on. It’s frightening to see judges redefining the law instead of upholding it. It saddens me that praying, saying the name of Jesus, or defending the “right to life” will get a person the title of a biggot or extremist. I do have much hope, however, for our country. As long as we are a nation that embraces freedom and are willing to listen to each other, help each other, and stand by that which we were founded upon, that which is RIGHT, (and yes, there is absolute truth,) we will remain the greatest nation in the world. If we do not, and continue to allow the current trend of “anti-Godliness” then God owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.

    God Bless Yall…

  17. It is rumored that there is a set of services given to some, the fortunate among us, called collectively “health care.” Politicians, even some with apparent acquaintance with the issues, talk about something else: an insurance product line called “healthcare.” The United States produces a number of excellent services and interventions in the category of health care, and any number of deceptive, obscure, and incredibly complex products in the latter. it is a tribute to the pervasive strength of the insurance industry that we rarely discuss health care in the public forum, and deal almost exclusively with the insurance contracts. We are all but bankrupt in the realm of actually providing services to people, thanks to a mentality that insists, despite abundant reality to the contrary, that a market of insurance products can somehow become a venue to reduce the cost of the services. This is an obvious impossiblity; the insurance products generate only jobs in the insurance industry and a bit of profit for the insurance companies.

    Is it possible to find a discussion, let alone a path to relief, of this problem, our national failure to deliver health services, anywhere in the political gabfest tonight?

  18. I am a middle-class American. I struggle to buy USA manufactured items. I often choose to buy nothing at all because I can only find “made in China.” I do not shop at Walmart. I buy gently-used items. I recycle. I vote. I drive a small car at a gas-conserving speed. I drive less when gas prices rise. I say hello to strangers. I worry about the future of our children. I worry about global warming. I do not buy Chilean grapes at the market. I am not a radical, I’m just a conscious consumer. I “pray” for peace.

  19. “debragalant”, the Baristaville Blogger: Your description of sudden surprises in your community made me flash instantly to Malcolm Gladwell’s 2000 book, “The Tipping Point”. I hope I’m wrong about it being apropos to your situation, but if you’re not familiar with the book, I’m suggesting it.

  20. To the woman on the show with the Southern accent whose husband has fought in Iraq: I find it distressing that you, and many others, still think that if we just stay there long enough, we will squelch the insurrection–when we are the cause of it. They didn’t come here and attack us–they began to blow us to bits when we invaded and began to murder, rape and torture.

  21. “A little yellow bird”: I understand your gloom. I write at the half-way point in the show, and what I hear is all the facts that justify the doom you see.

    In fact, I hear the echos of the words I write and then erase, the words running through my mind: comparisons to the Eisenhower years and the cold war. And just now mention of the hippies – I still have my pony tail and beard. And all the doom in New Orleans. The wars. The fear. The misdirection of energy to war and not to addressing the suffering everywhere in the world.

    Yet, people from all experiences and all corners are speaking out. All have a negative view of the state of the union, and all are upset by it.

    The first step to change is admitting that where we are is not where we want to be. The second step to change is deciding that we are willing to make the effort.

    Change is not easy. And often major changes in direction require significant investment, both in time, thought, planning, arguing, debating, rallying, and then in actually doing.

    I worked for a great company called DEC whose founder and President said that he worried the most when everyone thought all was well, and worried least when everyone thought the company was doomed. During former he held is breath hoping the mood would change, during the latter, he gave his employees the authority to deal with the problems they saw – effectively increasing investments. This worked well as long as he was in control – when he lost control, the investments in useless projects soared during the good times, and when the bad times set in, investments were chopped, and the company suffered greatly and has virtually vanished.

    The lesson of good times/bad times is one that I hold to firmly. The current bad times are motivating so many to seek solutions. And for many Americans. disaster spurs action for what more do we have to lose.

    I have many more threads and thoughts – for example, Bush has reminded us all of the folly of war for “ideals”, resetting the clock to the end of Vietnam in just a few short years. Yes, getting out of the quagmire is still ahead of us, but neither Bush nor the next president will increase the American presence in Iraq or any other country. Reaching that point with Vietnam took a decade.

    Katrina proved that if a terrorist strike occurred, it would be totally up to the local authorities to handle the problem. Bush has not been able to organize any response. (In fact, the day after 911, I argued that the next target of smart terrorists would be the levees of New Orleans because it was so vulnerable the way the levees were being maintained. So it wasn’t Osama that struck, but global warming – the damage is the same.)

    The response to the problems include Radio Open Source and all those who participate. Not all of America is down for the count and ready to be pushed into the trench for burial.

  22. “mulp”: I speak about my fears to get them into the open. I don’t believe America is down for the count, either. It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. We must leave Iraq and make reparations to them, and stay away from everyone else.

  23. Pingback: Everything Between
  24. State of the Union is bad compared to what, France, China, India, Venezuela,

    Iran, Russia?

    How many of you would rather live in any of these countries rather than in the US?

  25. “fiddlesticks”: Love it or leave it’s a bit tired and simple-minded, isn’t it, buddy? How about: love it, discuss what’s wrong or improvable about it (since we’re free–remember?), work to change it. We should suck it up and take it, until it really IS better to live in a place like those you mentioned? (All of which have far fewer people in prison than the USA does…)

  26. To all the patriotic Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The posters here are not typical Americans, but digrantled leftists.

    Most Americans are proud of your courageous service. keep up the great work you are doing there.

    God bless you all.

  27. “(All of which have far fewer people in prison than the USA does…)”

    and you called me “simple minded.”

    There are fewer people in jail in France they just let them run amok burning cars.

    In China where they use prisoners for spare parts.

    In Iran where the whole country is just one prison.

  28. Right, “Disgrantled”…typical Americans are a bunch of goose-stepping dittoheads who, in a free land, murder in the name of Christ for their Fuhrer, George “i can’t form a thought” Bush. You’ve taken a poll, I’m sure, of all the people you know who already agree with you…

  29. “Right, “Disgrantledâ€?…typical Americans are a bunch of goose-stepping dittoheads”

    as opposed to the typical Iranian which are freedom loving individualists who tolerate freedom of speech and religious diversity.

    “I’m sorry– I mean, “digrantledâ€?!”

    But this how it’s spelled in Iran, isn’t it?

  30. That’s how you spelled it here, friend… Also: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech… or the right of the people peacably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (About a half of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for anyone who may have missed it, or deliberately “crimestopped” it out of their mind.)

  31. And you just love the freedom to speak your own words denying those who disagree with you the right to speak freely without denigration what is on their minds.

  32. As Bush speaks, I count only negative attributes proclaimed and applauded.

    What a vision for America:

    We are fighting. We will fight. We will continue fighting. We will continue to blame others for the striff in Iraq. We will continue to go out into the world and fight. It is essential that we fight. I claim the authority to assume that all are possible enemies so I will violate the Constitution and the law to justify more fighting. And fighting justifies ignoring the Constitution. The world is dangerous, so we must go into the world and fight. We must bring freedom by marching to war. War is on the march. Freedom is on the march. War is Freedom. Freedom is war. Why do we fight? Because the world is dangerous as we can see everywhere we fight how dangerous the world is so that means we must fight.

    Fear. We must fear the world. And by fearing the world, we must go to war. We must go to war with guns and bombs. Fear must drive us to not centralize the control over the economy the way the liberals want to do, we must centralize the control over the economy by putting it in the hands of corporations and the rich. As long as the corporations and rich are doing well, then all is well, and we must fight those who fear that the deficit or the poor or the sick will need the help of the government.

    Ah, Bush is so tiresome because he always speaks so negatively. I’m sure that if I were watching, he would be making a statement like “we must bring peace by going to war” and then grinning as it that statement makes sense.

    As a person without a job and thus without a company health plan, buying insurance on my own, I know how unlikely it is that Bush’s proposal will lower the cost of my insurance with his program that would allow me to buy it just as the big companies do. Yeah, right!

    After railing on about big government programs and how they fail, and not having the government involved, he then lays out a command and control energy plan that focuses all the effort in government directed programs, rather than simply placing fossil fuel on equal footing with all the other means of energy production by including the costs of pollution and global warming – a hydrocarbon tax.

    And he talks of science education even as funding for college loan programs are being cut. When I dropped out of college in 1968, my cost for one year of tuition, room, and board at a private school was equivalent to about $2500 in today’s dollars. I paid that much last spring for one semester just for tuition at a NH technical college; if I took the same course this year, the tuition would exceed $3000 due to a 20% increase.

    Ah, Bush got in the cadence of Galaxy Quest: “Never Give Up, Never Surrender”, but this time in the context of technology leadership, instead of when speaking of winning in Iraq.

    Ok, so its over, and the comment from Mora Liason(sp?) is that the first half was the strongest. The totally negative part of Bush’s speech which emphasizes how fearful Americans should be and how this fear must be responded by marching to war, marching to freedom by marching to war.

    Unless you are a Doom player who loves the idea of combat, nothing that Bush spoke of has any positive value. The forever war is Bush’s future for America?

  33. “Buddy, you’re out of your league.”

    Wrong I am out of YOUR league, the bush league (no pun intended).

    I am definitely not out of my league.

  34. Tim Cain’s response was a far more positive message.

    Instead of my “America is awakening”, his refrain was “There is a better way”.

    This phrase was the exclamation point on a brief statement of how the bipartisans in the States are working together toward solutions to a long list of problems that Bush would not acknowledge.

    Perhaps the most important point is the measured response of the “loyal opposition”, listing the problems, then giving the method of bipartisan cooperation to find solutions, emphasizing the successes that this approach has seen, when not thwarted by the administration and partisan Congress.

    And between the lines we have the truth that we must accept, we must all sacrifice for the good of all, for that is what “service” entails.

  35. Little Yellow Bird and Fiddlesticks:

    Enough is enough. Enough was enough a while ago, but I’ve just finished watching the version of the State of the Union that they carried on television and I’ve only now turned back to our blog… only to find how far down it has descended.

    As for “being out of a league,” you’ll both be out of the R.O.S. league if you can’t be civil. I’m serious. There are plenty of places on the dial and in the blogosphere for unconstructive sniping, but we aim higher — both for ourselves and the rest of our community. We’re all for debate, for diversity of viewpoints, for passion. But not for schoolyard taunts.

    It’s not a coincidence that you’re the only two who are left on this post.

  36. mulp: good work.

    Why hasn’t anyone (since Eisenhower) noted that the biggest ‘big government program’ is the military and its supporting network of corporate industrial contractors? And that its primary post WWII function has been the worldwide safeguarding of exploitative American-led transnational (and not only the clichéd Haliburtons and KBR’s, either) corporate interests?

    Free press?

    Are you out there somewhere?

    Or has the Fox(Fictional News Network) wholly stolen your tongue?

  37. David: it might only be because my cranium sports packing peanuts where most folks have brains, but I don’t think people always stop their contributions to ROS threads because school- (or barn-) yard fights seem to be constipating the pipeline.

    We can choose to post amidst the meelees, and some of us do. I offer this only because I’ve seen this worry of yours posed before by Brendan. Yes, we’d prefer a less Three-Stooges environment, but those of us (although not necessarily me) with smart things to say can feel free to post over the clutter.

    Or so say my packing peanuts.

  38. In fact, what really ticks ME off is that all you East coast Noo Inglanders quit blogging and go to bed around 9:00PM PST — just when I’m warming up!

    Sheesh!
    ;-)

  39. Waiting in the rain in Tokyo to pick up my son after one of those famous HS tests that you might have heard of and while tuning the radio I heard the unmistakable southern-Yale drawl of your President (unelect) spouting off on the state of his union. Of course there was the usual hype and self congratulation that we expect from that pulpit. And the usual breaks for the cheerleaders to clap. Church or at a college football game, it’s anyone’s call. There was the tough talk to appease the military industry and the moralizing for the born agains. There was even a tip of the hat to that Freedom fry guy–John McCain–and his anti-corruption campaign. The Big Energy boys won’t get Alaska wilderness, but they are sure to pick up huge grants if they buy up some alternative energy firms. Oh, yes, there was also his favorite theme, besides terror and… what was that date?…That’s right, COMPASSION!!!! Reminds me of what they say about Jean-Jacques Rousseau: that he loved humanity but hated humans. George indeed loves the unborn and life itself, which should never be tampered with by mad scientist (don’t tell him about GMO foods). The problem he seems to have is with the living, or at least those NOT living the Miller High Life. I guess Compassion starts at home, anyway. New Orleans? Too far. Iraq? Even farther. Permanent tax breaks for his rich buddies–compassion right there in the back pocket. Who would doubt his earnestness? That good old boy. Finally, the President told us not to believe those who would say America is like a wounded cowboy on an old mare with gimpy hind legs. That’s right. Let’s giddy up and get home in time for hot fast-food fixins and victory proclamations on Fox news. And God bless America.

    Anyway, it was either listening to George or some spin-off Japanese hip hop or rap band. Turn, turn, turn, tis the season…

  40. sidewalker: you’re braver than me. Here in WA the speech began at 6PM PST, at which point I switched of NPR (unitl ROS @ 9, of course!), and switched on some Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart while treating myself to an uncommon series of midweek cocktails.

    ‘Cuz even tho he’z the prez…I just can’t bear to hear the man speak.

    Besides, all he ever speaks of is the Karls-bad cavern of deceptions: of how his policies aren’t corporate enriching scams (as claimed by his pinko critics) but: In The Best Interest Of The American Union.

    How many Americans, I wonder, know that the founders (who I often deride, but not this time) banned corporations? And that only after outlawing corporations did they agree to the constitution’s legislative-electoral arrangements — because only then did they consider it safe to allow the ‘commons’ to vote for individual representatives whose campaigns could be popularly but not corporately funded?

    Federalist Papers, anyone?

    How many Americans know that the ‘founders’ would have expected their decendants to recognize and revolt against any government that had ceased to reflect the needs and will of the enfranchised majority in favor of the interests of a very small internationally vested minority?

    So, can we EVER open a discussion on whether the nation (and the world it resides within) has perhaps outgrown the founders’ constitutional product?

    Sheesh!

    C’mon, my fellow ‘mericans!

    Can we be brave enough to rigorously examine the sacred cow called (In Sanctifying Capital Letters) The Constitution?

  41. While fumbling through my zillion books to find sources for the sure-to-be (or ought-to-be) challenged contentions of my previous post, I found this gem:

    (1) “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

    Any guess as to which pinko-commie-liberal spewed such effeminate garbage from her/his mouth? (Not you, ALYB — I’m suspect you already know, and no, it’s not Mencken.)

    Before I give the answer, here’s another:

    (2) “(The corporation) penetrating its every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities.”

    Okay, time’s up!

    1: Eisenhower.

    2: Thomas Jefferson.

    So, do we STILL care to pretend that we’re governing ourselves in accord with what our founders and forebears intended?

    Do we still care to pretend that the rich haven’t fully corrupted the government-as-constituted? Do we shrink from the Jeffersonian (and Madisonite) challenge to, when necessitated by tyrrany, create a constitution that reflects the needs and best interests of the many over the vested interests of the (Tory) few?

    Do any of you know what the hell I’m talking about?

  42. In 1886 — the Gilded Age — corporations were granted by court fiat all the rights of individual living humans — despite the obvious fact that these entities are effectively immortal (not to mention amoral) and impersonal.

    This court decision has never since been successfully challenged. (Makes me wonder what shenanigans the Roberts/Alito court might orchestrate…)

    Hence we have a government of the Union “of the corporation, for the corporation, and (funded) by the corporation”.

    These entities select, through long-standing conventions of societal/party machination, the candidates for office, and then fund their electoral races — not coinicidentally underfunding (comparitively) the more populist candidates.

    And we, the prideful descendants of Jefferson, have the nerve to call our plutocratic republic a ‘democracy’?

    Even the heathen Athenians would laugh at us!

  43. Sadly, I can’t go to bed (or leave you all alone) before setting something straight: the founders, much as they loathed corporations, didn’t ban them outright.

    They severely limited them, and here’s how:

    Corporations were limited to 40 year life-spans, to operations within single states ONLY, were prevented from owning stock in other corporations, and were enjoined to prove annually that they were operating ‘In the public interest’ — which in the language of the founders would today mean ‘in the interest of the people’ — and this people EMPHATICALLY DID NOT INCLUDE CORPORATIONS AS PEOPLE. Nor, for that matter, were guilds or churches (or any other forms of association) granted the rights of people. Such associations were granted probationary privileges BY the people.

    Futhermore, a corporation engaged in mining was prevented from refining the ore; the refining corporation was likewise prevented from shipping the metal; and yet another made the metals into products.

    This, not modern day ‘Republicanism’, was the Jeffersonian and Madisonite vision.

    Corporations were so draconianly limited SPECIFICALLY to keep their malignant self-interests from corrupting the governments of the states and of the Union.

    Wha’ happend?

  44. This was a wonderful and creative experiment. It could be a tradition.

    Sidewalker good post from Tokyo. And Mulp 10:58 PM.

    My favorite part of the show tonight was the poem “Winterhill” read at the end. It would be great to have that written out here or linked. There is solace in focussing on the local.

    I could not bare (bear?) to watch or listen to SOTU either last night.

    I fell into the Frontline program being broadcast at the same time, Al Qaeda’s New Front which you can watch online, The “new front” is Europe and it IS quite scary.

    There was as much proof as anyone would need that planting ourselves in the middle of a resurrected-caliphate-to-be has given alot of energy and recruits to the movement which has metastasized considerably. And it was pointed out that one can get into a car in Iraq and drive through Turkey to Europe in just a few days ( and back the other way). And it was also pointed out that 35 or so major plots have been foiled in Europe some the size of 9/11.

  45. “Nikos”: “Wha’ happened” to corporations was this case from 1886: Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad. It, in effect, made corporations into citizens instead of abstractions constructed to serve a well-defined, and therefore limited, purpose. This guy covers it well: http://www.thomhartmann.com/theft.shtml, and here’s a review of his book about it: http://www.feasta.org/documents/review2/unequal_protection.htm.

  46. Nikos and ALYB, thanks for the interesting links and information. I had often wondered how corporations had become friendly citizens. Speaking of which, did you hear about this nice if a bit greasy guy living down south in Dallas, Mr. E.M.Corp, that just so happen to work his tail-pipe off and only take home $36.13 in profits for his yearly efforts. Now I hear that the authorities want to look into his business and see if he did something wrong, like overcharge his customers. If he has to give some back and if the tax man puts his hand out, poor old Mr. Corp might only have $20.13 left to feed all the fat cats at home. Good thing he is able to fight for his rights like the rest of us wage earners.

  47. “I fell into the Frontline program being broadcast at the same time, Al Qaeda’s New Front which you can watch online, The “new frontâ€? is Europe and it IS quite scary.”

    Thanks Potter, I’ll look up that program.

  48. I woke up this morning thinking of fiddlesticks’ comments and the back and forth between he/she and “a little yellow bird.” I thought of jumping in (piling on?), but then thought better of it, because it’s not a discussion. It’s a tug of war. I’m sure (or at least I hope) fiddlesticks doesn’t really believe that free speech really means never criticizing one’s government. I’m sure a little yellow bird wasn’t saying that you can extrapolate quality of life – or even liberty – in a country solely from the per capita prison statistics.

    This is what I was talking about at the end of my own BOTU when I referred to the need for a new type of politics. We’re sitting here having these run of the mill right versus left catfights about foreign policy, when the real issue is the continued existence of our democracy.

    I don’t know how any conservative who believes in small government and democracy could get behind the NSA spying program, or believe that the government should be in the business of telling people who they can marry or what they can do with their bodies. And I don’t know how any progressive wouldn’t believe that an activist government shouldn’t be trying to support the liberation of oppressed peoples (although, might be nice to go through the UN, no?). People can have discussions, even heated discussions, about policy, and we can make decisions as a nation. But until we do something about the power of money and media in politics, we’re just wasting our breath, and our arguments are mostly manifestations of the frustration of being disenfranchised.

    We need to stop bickering, start talking and get our democracy back!

  49. pmassari Says:

    “We need to stop bickering, start talking and get our democracy back!�

    “I don’t know how any conservative who believes in small government and democracy could get behind the NSA spying program, or believe that the government should be in the business of telling people who they can marry or what they can do with their bodies. And I don’t know how any progressive wouldn’t believe that an activist government shouldn’t be trying to support the liberation of oppressed peoples (although, might be nice to go through the UN, no?). People can have discussions, even heated discussions, about policy, and we can make decisions as a nation. But until we do something about the power of money and media in politics, we’re just wasting our breath, and our arguments are mostly manifestations of the frustration of being disenfranchised.�

    I would love to answer your post, pmassari, but I don’t know what you are asking. As I read your comments there are just a series of statements about your beliefs and opinions. Is there a question in there, somewhere?

  50. just in case it’s useful:

    I’ve had my share of sloppily thought out posts to this site’s many threads, but the ones I most regret — by far — are the ones where I verged towards incivility.

    Look, warriors, our egos are protected by the anonymity of our ROS-tags. So, this tit-for-tat sniping is as unnecessary as it is repugnant.

    IMHO, anyway.

  51. Nikos, pmassari asked an interesting question about conservative belief when he said “I don’t know how any conservative who believes in small government and democracy could get behind the NSA spying program…,”

    The problem is that the question was stated as a comment so I don’t know if he meant it as a question or if it was his way of stating his own opinion about what conservatives believe.

    This has nothing to do with ego and I was certainly being civil in my own response to his comment.

  52. fiddlesticks: point taken.

    I feared that the way you posed your question was perhaps a bit…hmmm…brusque? Or almost snide?

    I’m quite happy to stand corrected.

    Apologies.

  53. “fiddlesticks: point taken.

    I feared that the way you posed your question was perhaps a bit…hmmm…brusque? Or almost snide?

    I’m quite happy to stand corrected.”

    Wow, Nikos, I had the same feeling about your post.

    “They severely limited them, and here’s how:

    Corporations were limited to 40 year life-spans, to operations within single states ONLY,”

    when and where were these limits set, Nikos?

  54. fiddlesticks: I’ll have a proper answer for you within a couple of days (time needed for thoroughgoing ‘discovery’).

    As for my mistaken take on the tenor of your post, I’m wearied, pained, and fogged today by a post-SOTU and uncustomarily mid-week hangover — which ain’t good for perceptiveness or clear thinking. Or for combativeness, ftm. And I’d winced a lot last night at certain exchanges involving you that I’m sure we all wish we could erase today. (Not that I’m any angel. It’s admittedly a fine line between endowing one’s blog-offerings with ‘personality’ (admirable) and ‘self-serving obnoxiousness’ (regrettable). Take it from someone with lots of regrets.

    And you know, it’s harder to write hungover than it is while intoxicated, because at least one’s enthusiasm isn’t damaged while under the nasty influence of demon-vodka! It sure puts one’s JUDGMENT into the car-crusher, though. Yech.)

    Anyway, and in the meantime…

    ‘To The Point’, a west coast public radio show, gave itself over today to a fine SOTU post-game, including an interesting take from Britain, followed by a ten minute discussion of the nasty fracas in Europe over the Mohammed-crowned-by-a-bomb cartoons. I recommend it at:

    http://www.kcrw.org/cgi-bin/db/kcrw.pl?tmplt_type=program&show_code=tp

    (look for the ‘State of the Union in an Election Year’ show.)

    To all you former-fellow east-coasters: I’d never heard To The Point before moving out into the Pacific Time Zone last year; and now I wonder how I ever lived without it. Give it a spin. They rarely air a clunker.

  55. I have refrained from posting on Bush’s SOTU speech last night because I dislike “instant� analysis.

    However, I just read some interesting critiques of the speech on The New Republic web site

    http://www.tnr.com/

    there was one article though that made a point that I too had been thinking:

    http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w060130&s=forsyth020106

    BUSH V. CONSERVATIVES

    Turf War

    by James Forsyth

    Only at TNR Online

    Post date: 02.01.06

    It says in part that:

    “The two words of the night that probably weren’t in anyone’s State of the Union drinking game were “isolationism” and “protectionism.” At first glance, it might seem like President Bush was building up left-wing strawmen to knock down: the isolationists being the Jack Murthas and Nancy Pelosis who want to get out of Iraq now; and the protectionists being the John Edwards and Dick Gephardts who think American prosperity can be achieved behind trade barriers. But the real target of these jibes may have been members of the president’s own party. And so, far from decrying Bush’s use of these strawmen, perhaps liberals should be cheering it.

    Washington woke up yesterday to find a caustic assessment of Bush’s foreign policy, combined with a mockery of his last State of the Union, sitting in the middle of The Washington Post’s op-ed page. It was a no-holds-barred attack from a member of a group that feels both empowered and vindicated by Hamas’s landslide in the Palestinian elections: foreign policy conservatives. The column, by George Will, argued that the result demonstrated the folly of Bush’s plans to democratize the Middle East.â€?

    Will’s assault is evidence of rising conservative disenchantment with the president’s foreign policy. Of course, there have been conservative critics of Bush ever since September 11. But previously those leading the charge were fringe figures such as Pat Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos, who could be easily dismissed. Hamas’s victory last week has handed conservative realists and isolations the cudgel they have been lacking since September 11….â€?

    I too had thought that Bush’s attack on isolationism was more of an attack on Republican ultra conservatives like Buchanan than on the Democrats.

  56. When he said, “We will never surrender to evil” I thought, hell, we surrendered to evil in 2000 when we let him in the White House.

  57. What a lost opportunity. Coretta Scott king Died. What not remember the dream rooted in the American Dream. After 9/11 Bush had a chance to be a unitor not a divider. After the 2004 election he might have reunited the nation.

  58. Fiddlesticks: I’m writing this under a bit of pressure (a Pacific gale-storm that threatens to knock out power all around the Puget Sound region), but I promised a timely answer and will deliver as best I can (unless the battery back-up kicks in and I must abbreviate until the harried crews repair the lines—which could be days instead of hours).

    I live in a county of 30,000, which makes niceties like the local libraries near miracles. It also makes them small. I set out to offer you primary sources to back my information, but alas, I can’t get at that kind of stuff like I could in Ann Arbor (where I lived until late 2004) with its mammoth university libraries. Instead, I’m stuck with the secondary source I’d hoped to better: ‘Unequal Protection’, Thom Hartmann, Rodale/St. Martin’s, 2002.

    Now, don’t get me wrong—it’s a fine book, and written by a real patriot (who lives, I believe, somewhere in New England). And the chapter (5) relevant to our discourse is the book’s most heavily footnoted. But I wanted to be able to quote actual state and national laws from the late 18th Century, and this book doesn’t help me there.

    Instead Hartmann cites Jane Anne Morris, notes that she is affiliated with the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy, and then lists her many discoveries without citing the exact papers as I’d have preferred.

    Nevertheless, the chapter’s opening is worth quoting:

    (Jane Anne Morris) discovered that on the eve of his becoming Chief Justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, Edward G. Ryan said ominously in his 1873 address to the graduating class of the University of Wisconsin Law School, “(There) is looming up a new and dark power…the enterprises of the country are aggregating vast corporate combinations of unexampled capital, boldly marching, not for economical conquests only, but for political power… The question will arise and arise in your day, though not perhaps fully in mine, which shall rule—wealth or man [sic]; which shall lead—money or intellect; who shall fill public stations—educated and patriotic freemen, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital…�

    In researching 19th Century laws regulating corporations, Morris found that in Wisconsin—as in most other states at the time:

    - Corporations’ licenses to do business were revocable by the state legislature if they exceeded or did not fill their chartered purpose(s).

    - The state legislature could revoke a corporation’s charter if it misbehaved.

    - The act of incorporation did not relieve corporate management or stockholders/owners of responsibility or liability for corporate acts.

    - As a matter of course, corporate officers, directors, or agents couldn’t break the law and avoid punishment by claiming they were “just doing their job� when committing crimes, but instead could be held criminally liable for violating the law.

    - State (not federal) courts heard cases where corporations or their agents were accused of breaking the law or harming the public.

    - Directors of corporations were required to come from among the stockholders.

    - Corporations had to have their headquarters and meetings in the state where their principal place of business was located.

    - Corporation charters were granted for a specific period of time, like 20 or 30 years (instead of “in perpetuity�, as is now the practice).

    - Corporations were prohibited from owning stock in other corporations in order to prevent them from extending their power inappropriately.

    - Corporations’ real estate holdings were limited to wheat was necessary to carry out their specific purpose(s).

    - Corporations were prohibited from making any political contributions, direct or indirect.

    - Corporations were prohibited from making charitable or civic contributions/donations outside of their specific purposes.

    - State legislatures could set the rates that some monopoly corporations could charge for their products or services.

    - All corporation records and documents were open to the legislature or the state attorney general.

    End quotation.

    This, however illuminating, isn’t as decisive as I’d have preferred. Therefore anyone with access to a large library is welcome to either second or debunk my admittedly limited source.

    Better yet, I implore anyone with knowledge of an internet resource concerning early American corporate law to share it!

    In summary, the book is worth reading (if only to argue with it, although to me its premise and conclusions seem indisputable).

    The explosive growth of corporate power in the Gilded Age and since has drastically altered—some of us would say ‘corrupted’—the founders’ 18th Century republic.

    Well, we’ve still got power (fingers crossed!). Maybe we’ll get to view that little sporting event in Detroit tomorrow after all. (But I think I’ll skip the corporate adverts!)

    Cheers.

  59. Check out the BOTU at: deadguylives.blogspot.com

    This blog makes gloves-off, pointed, possibly offensive comments about the State of the Union – and it’s funny.

  60. Pingback: Alive In Baghdad

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