Bob Higgins

Class Warfare-Making Sure That The Wealthy Get Their Share, And Yours Too

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 28, 2007

I’m on dozens of Email lists, everybody from the New York Times to Victoria’s Secret (great articles over there) sends me Email and I spend way too much time scanning and deleting most of it daily. I subscribe to Email lists from news organizations, campaign committees, government watchdog groups and all kinds of public service organizations. I also get stuff addressing me as Dear One, with great investment opportunities in Nigeria and missives that promise to make me larger, but I delete them all summarily as I have nothing to invest and…, never mind.

Most of what I receive is of a “progressive” or “liberal” nature but in the interest of knowing what the adversary is up to, I also subscribe to publications from conservative groups, the spectrum runs from the Coulter, Limbaugh breed of invertebrates to the American Enterprise Institute and other large lizards. I”ll tell you, a little of this stuff goes a long way.

I got a real dandy this morning from the Heritage Foundation, you know, the conservative think tank that has worked so tirelessly for the Bush administration, embroiling us in various wars of empire and providing invaluable aid and advice in support of administration efforts to relieve American citizens of such pesky irritants as habeas corpus, civil liberties and due process of law, while conducting additional studies aimed at relieving us of our money.

Heritage has long fought the good fight for corporate rights and limited government. These are the guys who burn the midnight oil to come up with ways to help corporations pocket employee pension funds without exposing themselves to criminal liability while working diligently to ensure that federal regulatory agencies are toothless, and in all ways impotent. The effectiveness of their efforts on behalf of corporate America can be measured in such events as the Crandall Canyon mine collapse.


Crandall Canyon, The King of the Mountain , The Fox in the Coop

Posted in Environment, Labor Health and Safety, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on August 22, 2007

A rumble a loud crack, like thunder, rocks, dirt and chocking dust rain down.
A rock fall is imminent. So what is a miner to do?
“You run for your life,” said Tim Miller, who toiled in Kentucky’s mines for more than two decades.

… The goal is to eliminate the coal industry. Of course the goal is to eliminate the coal industry. Coal is filthy. It destroys ecosystems to dig it up. It kills the people who work around it. Coal plants throw particulates in the air and causes respiratory ailments. They throw mercury in the water and cause birth defects. They throw CO2 into the atmosphere and cause global warming. The coal industry corrupts the political process. It lies to the public about global warming, and mine safety, and coal reserves, and everything else. It leeches money and opportunity out of the states where it is based.
The only reason we think of coal as “cheap” is that we don’t tally all those costs in the debit column.
From David Roberts Coal is the enemy of the human race…

During the winter of my fourteenth year I had a part time job. Every morning I would get up at 5 o”clock and walk up the hill to the ancient brick home of an elderly widow where I would descend to the dimly lit basement and remove the previous day’s supply of clinkers from the firebox of an equally ancient and frightening looking furnace, shovel in a supply of fresh coal and get a good fire roaring. That was it, home to shower and head to school. She payed me two dollars a day and in 1958 when a gallon of gas was a quarter, that was a good sum of money. That is also the sum total of my life’s experience with coal.

David Roberts wrote the brief but engaging piece quoted above earlier in the summer at Huff Post, he wrote his rant in reference to a coal industry mogul who for several months had been preaching to anyone who would listen about the evils that congress, in league with environmentalists, were plotting to perpetrate on the coal industry. I had heard the name of the subject of his rant before but at the time I didn’t recognize it.

It wasn’t until two weeks ago when a mine in central Utah’s Emery County in Crandall Canyon, one of the deepest coal mines in the country collapsed, burying six miners 1500 to 1800 feet below the surface and 3 1/2 miles from the entrance point, that the name and the reason the it rang a bell popped back into my mind.

Robert Murray. The name was familiar because I had read a Washington Post article about his testimony before a congressional committee in the spring in which he took congress to task over the Clean Air Act of 1990 and declaimed on the perils of listening to the purveyors of Global warming science, which he has since referred to as “global goofiness.” (as quoted below in the New York Sun)


John Doe Padilla Convicted of Conspiracy

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 19, 2007

Jose Padilla, center, is escorted to a waiting police vechicle by federal marshals in this Jan. 5, 2006, file photo. He has been on trial in Miami for most of this year, charged with conspiring with al Qaeda to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States. Photo by J. Pat Carter, AP

On Thurday August 16 2007 A federal jury convicted Jose Padilla of three counts of conspiracy in a trial that was the culmination of five years of a criminal proceeding that is among the most shameful in the history of the United States justice system.

I am not an apologist for Jose Padilla, I belong to no “Free Jose” organizations nor am I a member of any “Jose Padilla defense funds,” although maybe I should have been, maybe we all should have been because when they throw away the keys to Padilla’s cell we will also throw away any pretense to being a nation of laws, a nation that respects human rights, we will throw away a large measure of what once made us a great and civilized nation.


See You In September, With A Report We Wrote In July

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 15, 2007

In a story in the LA Times this morning “Top general may propose pullbacks” Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel report that Petraeus may announce pullbacks from some areas in Iraq, including al Anbar province and a turnover of those ares to Iraqi forces.

I’m somewhat mystified by this process as it appears that, at the White House, they seem to know already, in other words, today, what they are going to report in September, in other words, a month from today. In fact it seems that they began writing their “field report” weeks ago… in the White House.

I’m not sure why exactly, but this somehow reminds me of reports I hear from teachers with experience in the “no child left behind” follies, who have described to me the specter of spending weeks and weeks of classroom time devoted to “teaching to the test” in order to maintain mandated academic ratings and the flow of federal funds. Taking the test is mostly a charade, passing the test, a foregone conclusion, an exercise in making things look good on paper.

In other words, as Junior might say every few seconds, in the case of Iraq they are writing a “report” which will contain recommendations that will allow us to draw conclusions, that were decided on in the White House more than a month ago.


Did The Rooster Call Up the Sun or Did Rove Get the Last Laugh?

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 13, 2007

Did The Rooster Call Up the Sun or Did Rove Get the Last Laugh?
The only certainty my grasshoppers is that the cherry blossoms of spring will become the turd blossoms of summer

Karl Rove also known as “Turd Blossom” in that colorful native patois spoken by the Texas Chicken hawks announced today that he is leaving the rapidly sinking Scow of State that is the Bush administration effective the end of August.

His reason for leaving, taken verbatim from the official Washington departing rats exit speech is of course, to spend more time with his family.

When asked by one of the fully interchangeable talking heads of the White House press horde if he was being forced out, TB replied, “that sounds like the rooster calling up the sun” which I believe is another expression in that curious Pecos dialect that these birds use among themselves. Only Molly Ivins could decipher and translate the curious Texas Pig Latin these guys speak in private. I miss Molly.

In the weeks ahead there will be endless testimonials to Rove as the master architect of two successive (if not successful) terms in the White House and hundreds of references to his intellect and political genius. Genius, when used to describe any aspect of the Bush administration, in any context, I feel, seriously dilutes the term.


They’re Talking Draft, That Ought To End The War, Right

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 12, 2007

Draftees At Drill Preparing For The War To End All Wars 1917

Lieutenant General Doug Lute, the “War Czar” known around the White House as the “General of least reluctance” is talking “Draft.” Expressing his concern at the stress and strain of repeated lengthy deployments on the troops as well as their families the General said:

As an Army officer, this is a matter of real concern to me. Ultimately, the American army, and any other all-volunteer force, rests with the support and the morale and the willingness to serve demonstrated by our ? especially our young men and women in uniform. And I am concerned that those men and women and the families they represent are under stress as a result of repeated deployments.

General Lute, who accepted the position of War Czar after the rest of the General Staff either fled in stark terror at the prospect of accepting such a potentially career ending position or simply hid out in the Senior Officer’s head in the Pentagon until the position was safely filled, did not actually use the “D” word, but, in response to questions from National Public Radio’s Michele Norris on Friday in an interview for “All Things Considered” he definitely left the door wide open in this exchange:


This Dark Age Must End

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 6, 2007

Illustration: Kollwitz, The Propeller

Having shown over the last seven months, since taking control of the legislative branch that they are at least equal to the Republicans when it comes to avarice, the Democrats set out this past weekend to demonstrate that, when it comes to cowardice, to blatant, unmitigated, ass covering politics they are every bit a match for Republicans.

Who impeaches the Congress? What in our Constitution protects the citizens of this country from a completely rogue government? When all three branches have abrogated their constitutional obligations, who will stand up for, who will represent the people of the United States?

Where must we search, to whom do we go for protection from the power of the wealthy corporate classes who are stealing our wealth, our livelihoods, and our future, who are spitting on our laws and our history as they sacrifice our Children and Grandchildren on the profane altar of their greed, in their eternal wars for profit and power?

Where is the opposition? Where do we go for redress of grievances when every institution of government is in the hands of the enemies of the people?

After suffering through five long years of watching a rogue executive blow it’s nose on the American Constitution and wipe it’s feet on our laws and bill of rights, it was with some relief and a glimmer of hope that I watched the election results last November as the Democratic party was returned to control of the legislative branch of the federal government. The pendulum is returning to the center I told myself, surely it will soon move to the left and show benefits to the working people of this country again.