Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Sam Nunn 

Today I saw a talking head on CNN with predictions for Dean's Vice Presidency slot. One was obviously Wesley Clark- though his actions in the broader political sphere have indicated that it would be unlikely. Another one was Sam Nunn.

Sam Nunn is dangerous because he's a Democratic Dick Cheney. All that stuff about grass roots, small donations, etc, you can throw out the window if Nunn gets on board with the Dean Campaign. Nunn has been on the board of directors for some of the largest corporations in the world; including Coca Cola, Dell Computers, and, most frighteningly, General Electric and Texaco. GE, if you didn't know, makes its money off of refridgerators, bombs, weapons of mass destruction and television programming. Texaco is, well- a Texas based oil company. Apparently, because the man is from Georgia, and because Dean has been talking to him in regards to foreign policy, the talking head thought it might make political sense. He's also very strong on foreign policy, having worked to end the cold war by way of a mutual disarmament agreement w/ the USSR. But Nunn is everything Howard Dean is running against. It makes as much sense as JFK/LBJ, I guess.

Clearly, a lot of Dean's chances depend on a good running mate- and I would say that, given the circumstances, the odds of his choosing any of the current nominees are slim, though we can always dream of a Dean/Clark ticket, or, even, a Dean/Edwards ticket (and the way Edwards has piped down about Dean may be a sign of something.) Max Cleland coupled with Dean would be "too much" for the centrists, I think, though people who are smarter than me seem to think it's possible. It just doesn't seem like a guy with a liberal reputation needs another guy with a liberal reputation. Especially since Arizona isn't "The South."

The most outlandish choice that still resides within the realm of possibility is, of course, Al Gore. The 16 year Vice President. It would be a whole new race then. But why not go all out: What's the best thing for Howard Dean? Even better for Dean than Dean/Clinton (as in Hillary) would be, I think, Dean/McCain. Find me a planet where that happens and I'll show you a planet where Dean beats Bush in a landslide.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Media, Media, Media.  

I needed good news. This is it: Wilgoren Watch is an ongoing deconstruction of the New York Times' coverage of the Dean campaign.

Having watched Hardball last night with Hitchins and Mike Barnacle, I have been frothing over the sloppiness of the news media, particularly when it comes to covering sound bites as opposed to actual politics. I'm certainly going to keep up on my "Champions of the Right Wing Media" notices from now on- and will probably write with a more careful, closer eye on these subjects from now on.

The primaries are a pissing contest compared to what's going to happen from now on. Just now on Fox News a talking head reported matter of factly that Dean stated that he "didn't know if Osama was guilty". The reason he says that is because Dean said the following:

"I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials."

In other words, Dean made the "outrageous" statement that Osama bin Laden should be tried by a jury. And why not? That's the point of the justice system, is it not? It's the point of an international court that this country has stayed out of to avoid having Henry Kissinger executed. What is it that all of a sudden executing people without even the luxury of a trial is an idea that has any currency with American Citizens?

Of course you try someone even if you "know" they're guilty. You try them because the difference between Democracy and Terrorism is the rule of law, the respect of law, and a belief and faith in the rule of law and the outcome of that law. Trying Saddam and trying Bin Laden isn't an issue of Dean not "believing they are guilty," it's an issue of believing in the rule of law above the rule of emotions.

Ashcroft Bullshit Flag  

Ashcroft removed himself from the Plame investigation "out of an abundance of caution" he said today, according to the NY Times. That "abundance of caution" must have been real heavy after waiting since September 29th to remove himself. That "abundance of caution" must have been what kept him saying over and over again that there was no conflict of interest. What happened? Suddenly a conflict of interest happened?

How's this for an "abundance of caution": "It's fair to say that an accumulation of facts throughout the course of the investigation over the last several months has led us to this point." Well that's just great. Thank fucking god for that chunk of information.

That "abundance of caution" might have been useful in the three days between the announcement of your investigation and the serving of papers telling people not to destroy materials, too, Mr. Ashcroft. But I'm sure the leaker had those emails sitting there for three days and just didn't get around to hitting the delete key. You're doing such a great job! Thank god I gave every single one of my civil liberties to you! (Is there a reason for me to quarter soldiers in my home against my consent yet, Mr. Ashcroft?)

The new guy in charge will be Patrick Fitzgerald, who the administration is already showering in spectacle, as is their forte: "Elliot Ness with a Harvard law degree and a sense of humor," is how he was described today, and Fox News leads with it. "Chicago's top federal prosecutor takes his reputation as a tough, aggressive crime buster to Washington and the politically sensitive job of trying to find out who leaked the name of a CIA operative to a columnist." When the administration is already trying to show how "tough" the new guy is gonna be on them, and praising him for it, you know we're walking in bullshit up to our earlobes.

By the way, has anyone been to the White House Website Lately? It's like nothing happens in the world except for Christmas. Terrorist Alert at Orange, Las Vegas supposedly under attack, and what do you get at the White House? Karl Rove reading "Santa's New Reindeer". And there's a Presidential Holiday Photo that appears to have been taken inside of the First Ladies head.

Searching for Wesley Clark's Eyelids 

I am looking for pictures or information about Wesley Clark's eyelids. I can't remember seeing him blink for at least as long as he's been running for President. I swear I watched him at a big campaign breakfast in New Hampshire and his eyes were wide open non stop for the entire three hours.

Short stories or poems about the escape of Wesley Clark's eyelids are welcome in the comments section, as long as they contain no political allegory whatsoever.

Ashcroft Backs Out of Plame Investigation 

John Ashcroft, who was asked to do so at the start of the investigation, has finally removed himself from the Valerie Plame investigation and will instead appoint an independent special counsel.

In case you forgot who Valerie Plame is- and, the way the media has dropped this story, which was once considered "Bush's Watergate" (as if Bush hasn't had enough Watergates) I don't blame you if you did-

"Ms. Plame was an operative under deep cover -- the CIA had created an entire company just so that Ms. Plame could claim that she worked there. Yet once Joseph Wilson broke his silence and announced that the White House was lying, Karl Rove decided that Wilson needed to be punished and that his wife was "fair game." Two top government officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of WilsonÂ’s wife. But only the ever-ready apologist for the Republican Party, Robert Novak, took the bait. On July 14, 2003, Novak wrote a piece outing Ms. Plame as an operative." - C/O Buzzflash (I encourage reading the whole thing.)

No word on whether Missy Elliot is going to drop Plame's name on her next album. Suggestions for rap lyrics using the Plame Scenario as a premise are encouraged in the comments section.

It's Not Easy Being Dean (AKA "Pull The Fucking Lever")  

From Reuters (c/o Blog For America:

Among political pizza findings, people with "Dean for President" bumper stickers on cars in their driveways tipped 22% higher than people with "Bush for President" bumper stickers.

No doubt it's because we're all communists.

I do tip better than most people, and I find that having the Dean for America bumper sticker (which is, by the way, the actual bumper sticker) makes me a nicer driver. I think I'm so on the defensive that everyone who sees it wants to drive me off the road that I overcompensate, but everytime I want to cut someone off or give someone the finger I remember that I "represent" Howard Dean on the expressway. Maybe we are all totally fucking crazy. Seriously, I don't know why there's so much hostility towards my political choice- he's a good guy, he stands up for what he believes, and the people who like him give better tips. What's not to like? But you say you support Howard Dean and all of a sudden 19 year old Connecticut college girls (democrats!) are holding up signs that say "Go Home Hippie!" and Chris Hitchins is coughing up phlegm and vitriol with a chuckling, lying Mike Barnacle on "Hardball".

Here's the deal, Libermenenites, Kerry-manderers, Clark supporters and the like. I am making a deal with you today: Despite the fact that I support Howard Dean, I want to make a straight up promise that I will vote for anyone who wins the Democratic nomination.

The emotions might be running a little high right now; and you all might want to throw pennies at my car or call me a birkenstocked communist hippie cultist; (though, I promise, I never owned a pair of sandals in my life, though I do have a great love of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I hope you can forgive me for that.) Yes, yes, I'm a vegetarian. Maybe that means my opinions are all asinine and absurd, maybe that does it for you and I, too, am a "worthless human being." But whatever. I'll vote for your guy if he wins. Because Bush is the guy who needs his ass kicked, not me. It means I'll vote for Lieberman, despite the fact that I think he's a total opportunistic, hollowed out shell of a man with no ideals except party centrism. It means I'll vote for Kerry even though I think he's a smug rich guy with no ideas who betrayed his own conscience on the war in order to gain political leverage when he ran for POTUS. But honestly, no ideas is better than Bush's ideas.

Dick Gephardt, I like Chrissy, so I would vote for you in a second if you had the nomination. You look like a vanilla bean crossed with a space alien, but you're a smart guy, you worked hard enough for good causes for years on behalf of unions, workers, and health care, and I would give you my support.

You too, Dennis Kucinich. Even though I know your magic unicorn that you and Ralph Nader fly around the country in is powered by love and wind energy- and even though I know votes make that unicorn weaker- I would kill the Unicorn if it meant Bush would be out of office in 2004.

Wesley Clark, well, I mean, that's not going to be all that difficult really. Even though you decided that the people who lost Al Gore's campaign even after they won it would be good for you, you still deserve my vote over America's #1 Alpha Monkey. Carol Mosely Braun, should you win the nomination, I would be honored to vote for you for President.

Al Sharpton- uhm. Well, never mind, Al Sharpton. Forget I said anything.

You see, Democrats, it's not about Howard Dean, or John Kerry, or Joseph Lieberman, or whoever else is running. This is what I know: I know that GW Bush has got a lot of beer drinkin and ass slapping to get back to down in Texas, and I know that it's my job to make sure he does it. So, while I think most of you have run despicable, arrogant or just idiotic campaigns, I want you to know that you will have my full fledged support in 2004, should you win the nomination.

And I don't care how much you hate Howard Dean. You can hold me personally responsible if he fucks this country up worse than you thought GW's zero-accountability second term would have. If you're against Bush, you have a job in 2004, and that is to vote for the Democratic nominee. Not a Green, or some weird third party "principle" vote. Yeah, we all know the Natural Law Party has a chance for a huge sweep in 2004, but we're just gonna have to put that one aside for now. I can hand you every ounce of my remorse over my decision to go third party in 2000.

Let's do what Republicans do: It doesn't matter how much you hate the son of a bitch you're voting for, just pull the fucking lever. He's for your goddamned party and he's for your goddamned country, so just shut up and pull the fucking lever!*

*= unless it's for Al Sharpton.

So Now We Know What "Compassionate Conservativism" Means... 

[Staff Sgt. Georg-Andreas] Pogany, an Army interrogator assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group, was charged with cowardice Oct. 14 after suffering what he described as a panic attack from seeing a mangled body of an Iraqi man who had been cut in half by American gunfire in Iraq. After he asked for counseling, Pogany's commanders sent him back to Fort Carson to face a court-martial on a cowardice charge, which can be punishable by death. - AP, 12/30/03

On his second night in Iraq, one month ago, Sergeant Pogany, 32, saw an Iraqi cut in half by a machine gun. The sight disturbed him so much, he said, he threw up and shook for hours. His head pounded and his chest hurt. [...] "I couldn't function," Sergeant Pogany said in an interview on Tuesday in his lawyer's office in Colorado Springs, not far from Fort Carson. "I had this overwhelming sense of my own mortality. I kept looking at that body thinking that could be me two seconds from now." [...] A few days later, after he was confined to his room and put on a suicide watch, he was taken to a bigger base where he met with a psychologist who evaluated him and wrote, "the soldier reported signs and symptoms consistent with those of a normal combat stress reaction." - New York Times

Then, apparently, he was told he would be tried. They dropped the charges for "cowardice", and were giving him "dereliction of duty" which is punishable by a six month jail sentence, but those charges were dropped today.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Today's Champion of Right Wing Media: Christopher Hitchens 

Today on Hardball, Christopher Hitchins- of the world famously awful "Daily Mirror" as well as Vanity Fair- was looking and sounding belligerently drunk, as usual. He went on and on without stopping about how Howard Dean was a "worthless human being". Hitchins has a serious problem with Howard Dean- he hates Dean so much, he sounds like he's trying to win the Democratic nomination. While Hitchins and I agree on one thing: that Bob Hope isn't funny- the man has got to take some responsibility for his intellectual dishonesty.

Hitchins apparently has some bills to pay to earn respect from the media that went Right Wing on him- considering that the big H is a former Trotskyite, who seems to view the fall of Saddam as his long lost (and even longer abandoned) realization of "revolution" and "liberation"- so long as it's understood through the context of his student days touring Europe, and not as a nation that has actually been occupied. Reading interviews with the guy, I came across an article that was quoted by Atrios, as to what turned him "off" of the left. It's a brilliantly stupid explanation:

"Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn’t analyze at first and didn’t fully grasp (partly because I was far from my family in Washington, who had a very grueling day) until the day itself was nearly over. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they will lose."

Now, that's enough to confirm he's a right winger, but keep reading so you can realize that he's actually completely incomprehensible. I mean, I'm in total agreement with him until the second to last sentence below. Now, read on, and keep in mind that Hitchins blathers on every night on Hardball now about how horrible Howard Dean is:

"As to the “Left” I’ll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our “national security” calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of “Left” intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush’s legitimacy. So I don’t even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction.

Where the fuck does that come from? Everyone got that? Hitchins gave up on the left because the right should have been cleaned out, and since the right wasn't cleaned out he gave up and joined the right. What's even funnier is that they have this guy talking to Mike Barnacle. Two real intellectual heavyweights.

I Knew Bush Didn't Read Newspapers, but This is Ridiculous 

The FBI has issued a warning to law enforcement officials that they should be on the look out for "people carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways."

For example, if the book is dog-eared at the page citing the 2000 popular election results, the person should be shot on sight. The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, "the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities."

Yes, folks, remember- if someone owns an Almanac, they "may be innocent."

Blog Round Up 

Corrente on The hidden economy- despite huge increases in productivity, there's still the biggest job loss since Hoover at the onset of the Great Depression. But you don't hear that mentioned in CNN's "year end round up" commercial, which I honestly thought was a Bush/Cheney commercial until the CNN logo came up. There's mountains and fog, and then the words "This year...a war was waged... a dictator was captured... a nation was liberated... the economy was strong..." blah blah blah. Strong my ass. It's the Jobs, stupid!

Steve Gilliard! Ah, Steve is this weeks hero. His coverage of the Atrios/Nedra Pickler feud is something I didn't know about, and I steal all my links from Atrios. The article here is the must-read of today's blog round up. The idea of setting up 527 media watchdogs that would air commercials criticizing the media for factual inaccuracy- such as any reporter who states "Al Gore claimed to invent the internet" is brilliant and I hope it happens. What are the odds that 527's could save the world?

NTodd has a link-extensive write up on comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam. I am wary of the Vietnam rhetoric, if only because it sets itself up as "the" argument, and it will, I think, prove not to be. Ie; We'll win in Iraq, we won't lose as many troops, and, as of yet, there's no draft required to sustain it. But Bush is looking to withdraw US troops by the summer, which does lead me to believe that this war was pure politics. I also suspect there is some sort of draft-board operation going on (the re-activation and active recruitment of volunteers for draft boards is, well, a relatively easy thing to point to). I think the "Iraq is Vietnam" issue gets too close to the "Saddam was Hitler" argument. But who am I to talk- as a Liberal, I was a big fan of rape rooms and torture chambers. Just ask Sean Hannity.

Bark Bark Woof Woof has something on the "Blame Canada First" trend, in this case referring specifically to Mad Cow Disease. I don't eat meat, and that's a good enough reason right there. But if anyone else was watching the news reports, they got to see it mentioned quite casually that a "downer" animal was simply cut up and thrown into the American meat supply, and then they tested it. Now, I don't know about you, but my feeling is that if a cow is so sick that it can't walk into a slaughterhouse, I don't think it should be eaten. But that's just me.

New LC Member Echidne brings us a round up of feminist news for 2003. One that I found interesting: Prodded by an ACLU lawsuit, Michigan stopped drug-testing welfare recipients (only 7.8 percent came up positive, by the way--the same as at your office) as well as applicants. I always hear people talk about welfare mothers buying television sets. I sell television sets. I fill out credit applications for the people who want to buy them, and I have never once filled out a credit application for anyone who makes less than $15,000 a year in combined income.

The allegedly "liberal" dowingba, who is a member of the Liberal Coalition, decides that a website with a tank as its logo is a reliable source of information and that Liberals are too stupid to pay attention to the "World Peace" that has dominated the planet since 9/11/01 thanks to American Intervention. But that's just stupid liberal me wondering just how exactly "world peace" is defined when it includes places like Israel. But apparently, in a clear thinking moment of rationality at odds with us deluded liberals, they explain how it is, exactly, that Israel is at peace, only we just don't know it yet: "The ONLY thing "shocking" about Palestinian civilian casualties are: 1)That you are the umpteenth person to make these stupid, knee-jerk claims about the dreaded bad Israelis beating up on the poor defenseless PALIS, without reading previous threads that have explained AD NAUSEUM what the real casualty pictures are; and 2) how extremely LOW the actual civilian deaths have been, when you consider that nearly 100% of Israeli casualties are caused by deliberate attacks on civilians." Charming, and definitely a "reliable news source."

The Quote Unquote Democrats 

C/O Atrios

White Men 

This article requires free registration, but to summarize:

In an ABC/Washington Post survey released last week, white men preferred Bush over an unnamed Democrat in 2004 by 62 percent to 29 percent, a head-turning 33-point margin; by contrast, white women gave Bush just a 10-point lead.

Bush's strength among white men derives as much from his personal style as his policy choices, most analysts agree. Sparse yet blunt in his words, comfortable on his ranch, dismissive of ceremony, impatient with diplomacy, Bush fits "an old-fashioned male ideal, deeply embedded in our cultural mythology," said Bill Galston, a former Clinton adviser, now a professor of public affairs at the University of Maryland.

The ideal "is that a real man is a man of few words and determined, resolute action: like in [the movie] `High Noon.' And Bush captures this almost perfectly and effortlessly."

"He kind of runs a testosterone-driven White House, in terms of both the rhetoric and the dominant issue, which is war," said John Anzalone, an Alabama-based Democratic pollster. "It's a natural resonance with men, particularly white men. Usually the only thing that knocks that down for a Democrat is the economy."

Basically, Bush needs the Tarzan electorate. It only brings home the point: single women need to vote this year in droves. Women represent 54% of the voters in this country. And, according to economists for Dean, "54% of women overall voted for Al Gore versus 43% for Bush. And, most compelling of all for the Dean campaign, 58% of working women voted for Al Gore compared to just 39% for Bush."

[edit: this threads been getting attention, so I want to mention another related link: Arlie Hochschild w/ "Let Them Eat War" has some really good theories on "why" white men are so enamoured with Bush.]

We Don't Want the Smoking Gun to be a Leaked NSA Memo Detailing Espionage Against Our Allies 

Maybe you never heard of Katherine Gun, but you definitely should have. During the build up to the War in Iraq- when Bush was trying to win UN approval by, among other things, showing up to make a speech but not listen to anyone else's- there was a revelation made by Gun that should have been a lot louder. This had to do with an American National Security Agency memo about putting wire taps in the homes and offices of six "swing" UN delegates. Gun leaked the memo. It didn't stop the war but some say it stopped the UN from agreeing to back it- and, true to form, Katharine Gun now faces up to two years in prison for revealing American and British dirty tricks.

Of course, the right will argue that she "sided" with "Saddam Hussein's Rape Rooms" just like they say about Howard Dean, but I have to wonder. If America had to resort to full blown espionage and later, blackmail (re: Valerie Plame*) to justify a war- well, what if we had just done it honestly? I would venture to say that we could have, through making an honest case with the UN and the world at large, caught and tried Saddam Hussein with far fewer casualties and a much broader international coalition, had we done it on the premise of Human Rights, and, had we done it with a new doctrine of military intervention on behalf of all future human rights violations.

Maybe that's just not as much fun to watch on TV?

*= How long before Valerie Plame gets mentioned in a rap lyric? Anyone want to take any bets on this one? My bet is that it will be Missy Elliot, but I'm not putting any money down on it.

[edit: I could have sworn I got this off of Buzzflash, but I can't find it there anymore. So, I'm linking to Buzzflash anyway.]

Light Blogging 

I have been smitten by God with illness as a result of taking Baron Von Spectacles name, and that of the right wing, in vain. Light blogging until my sacreligious heart (and congested throat) heals.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

The Bush Shell Game 

Well, if you remember when we caught Saddam Hussein, you will remember that it was pretty much 24 hour news coverage of the man being checked for head lice. So you may have missed out on another important event that took place that day- Bush passed an expansion of the Patriot Act.

It used to be that the Government could look into the records of financial institutions you were involved in, limited, as it were, to banks. Now, however, "The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of "financial institution," which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters." They can do it without your permission (obviously) but also without your knowledge.

What it means that the act was signed on the weekend of Saddam's capture is beyond dirty tricks; it's that there was no sufficient debate on whether it would be signed or not. It was voted in with a voice vote so that no senator had to be individually accountable for their vote- a tactic I think ought to be illegal. There is, of course, no debate on anything Bush does, since there is a dominant Republican presence in Washington and because the Minority Leader, Tom Daschle, depends on Republican votes for his re-election. What it means, essentially, is that there is no debate and there is no discussion of any of the laws Bush wants- they get passed because that's what Bush wants. It means that I have no representation in my own government.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

So This Is Christmas...  

As of Wednesday, Dec. 24, 464 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense. Of those, 317 died as a result of hostile action and 147 died of non-hostile causes, the department said. The department did not provide an update Thursday.

The British military has reported 52 deaths; Italy, 17; Spain, eight; Denmark, Ukraine and Poland have reported one each.

Since the start of military operations, 2,326 U.S. service members have been injured as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department's figures as of Wednesday. Non-hostile injured numbered 370.
-AP, 12/25/03

Air France flights between Los Angeles and Paris were canceled for a second straight day on Thursday, after American authorities notified France that suspicious people were planning to board the flights. The airline said flights were to resume normal service Friday.


Officials worried that terrorists might try to use biological, chemical or radiological weapons, installed more sensors around urban areas in California and elsewhere to detect dangerous microbes in the air.

The U.S. Coast Guard has upped its surveillance to 24 hours a day at ports such as San Francisco, where foreign merchant ships dock daily.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Tom Marshall said 28 helicopters and planes were flying patrols over electrical grids, aqueducts, major bridges, power plants and state buildings.
- AP, 12/25/03

A federal appeals court temporarily blocked some of the Bush administration's changes to the Clean Air Act, agreeing with more than a dozen states and cities that claimed the changes could cause irreparable harm to their environments and public health.

Wednesday's ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was a major setback to one of the White House's biggest environmental decisions.
AP, 12/25/03

I.B.M. has sent a holiday chill through its American employees with its plans to ship thousands of high-paying white-collar jobs overseas to lower-paid foreign workers.

"People are upset and angry," said Arnie Marchetti, a 37-year-old computer technician at I.B.M.'s Southbury, Conn., office whose wife gave birth to their first child in August.
-New York Times, 12/25/03

President Bush's campaign has settled on a plan to run against Howard Dean that would portray him as reckless, angry and pessimistic, while framing the 2004 election as a referendum on the direction of the nation more than on the president himself, Mr. Bush's aides say. - New York Times, 12/25/03

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will issue the next of his video messages after a massive attack on US territory, Saudi weekly Al-Majallah quotes an official of the terror network as saying, in its next edition.

Quoting an e-mail received from a man who goes by the name of Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, the weekly reports that "an emissary of bin Laden has informed me that the al-Qaeda chief's (next) appearance (on video cassette) will come after a deadly, far-reaching operation on American territory.
The Age, 12/26/03

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Who Would Have Guessed This Was The New War?  

"It will probably not get to the point where the U.S. will actually invade the Netherlands, but it is serious in the way that it is a warning the U.S. under no circumstances wants a trial of U.S. citizens" at the court, said Tom van der Lee, a spokesman for the Green Left party. -Washington Post

Yes, yes, I swear it's true: The Senate has authorized President Spectacle to invade the Netherlands, should they ever attempt to try an American for War Crimes. C/O Atrios


Everyone knows by now that Polls are more or less meaningless except as general barometers of rapidly fluctuating public opinion- and, I humbly submit, affects the "color" of political reporting on the news networks- But I have seen nothing weirder than the new slew of polls that have come out since the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Yesterday, a Harris Poll, shows Bush at the lowest he's been since he took office, with 48%. Today, however, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found Bush at his highest ratings since August with 59% approval. An Ipsos-AP poll found the same thing. Meanwhile. James Zogby reports "At week's end, polls showed the president still tied in a contest with “any Democrat”. And his approval rating, while up, was still in the mid- 50 per cent range."

Coming Soon to the NRO: "Men's Rights" Lobbies 

CHICAGO, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- For the first time since tracking began 20 years ago, U.S. women outnumber men in higher paying, white collar managerial and professional occupations.

The NRO says, "Somehow I doubt this is the end of the complaints". Am I the only one who thinks Jonah Goldberg may as well have just said "I bet this doesn't shut those whiny bitches up"? The NRO's statue of liberty would be home in the kitchen and inscribed with "Give Us Your War, Your Patriarchy... Give Us Your Glass Ceiling."

I Pledge [Classified] to the Flag, of the [Classified] States of [Classified]... 

A must read article concerning the Bush Administrations creepy penchant for secrecy. I would quote it, but the stuff kept secret last week alone takes up three paragraphs of the news story. In brief:

- Cheney wants his energy policy meetings kept secret, and has taken it to the Supreme Court.
- The White House knew two weeks prior to revealing it to the public that Paul Bremer's convey in Iraq had been attacked.
- A (forgivable) 9 months of secrecy regarding talks with Libya regarding disarmament.
- "removed from the U.S. Agency for International Development Web site remarks by an administration official that had badly understated the cost of Iraqi reconstruction."
- " the chairman of the federal Sept. 11, 2001, commission, in remarks released last week, criticized needless government secrecy [...] "I've been reading these highly, highly classified documents. In most cases, I finish with them, I look up and say, 'Why is this classified?"

Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, says it is nothing less than a "mutation in American politics" away from open government. "There is an unwholesome change in the deliberative process unfolding before our eyes," he said. "These are not technicalities. These are fundamental issues of American government that are now up for grabs."

Regarding the two week wait to release info about the convoy attack: "A day or two you could understand," [Morton Halperin] said. "Two weeks? It's part of an effort to portray things as getting better when they're not."

Just read the article.


Ralph Nader has announced he will not run for President as the Green Party candidate, but has not ruled out an independent run, as he did in 1996.

Apparently, Nader is annoyed by the variety in opinions within the Green Party as far as how to go about the 2004 Presidential campaign, with Green party members mostly cautious about how to go about running a Liberal alternative for President without destroying all chances of getting a Liberal-leaning Democrat in. Ideas floated by were running a Green candidate only in Republican-dominated areas, as well as simply not running a Green for President. I hope they don't run anyone. The last paragraph in the article sums it up:

In Florida, which decided the election after the Supreme Court halted a vote recount, Bush defeated Gore by 537 votes. Nader won 97,488 votes in Florida.

I voted Green in 2000; I am acknowledging my error. However, I do think the Greens in 2000 have motivated a push left for the major candidates, including Clark and Dean. I think that may be worth it, if, and only if, Dean/Clark (or, I guess, Braun or Kucinich) gets the White House in 04. If the choice was Bush v Lieberman, I would go Green as a protest vote.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Final Bash For Cash Fundraiser Roundup 

Today's Hardball cited Clark, Gephardt and Kerry attacking Dean over the weekend. My favorite was this, from Kerry spokeswoman Laura Capps: "This is anger-powered Howard trying to have it both ways. ... He's trying to make it a war of words rather than a contest of ideas."

I'm sure he is, John Kerry, and that is why I haven't seen you on the news once without saying his name.

The end result: 12 X P (Where P= Your Pledge.)

On the Record:
NTodd has bid $1.50 per attack for $18.00.
Jim Shirk has pledged $1.00 an attack for $12.00.
Ornj has a whopping $5.00 each for $60.00!
I put in $.50 but am going with a $1.00 per for $12.00.

That's a total of $102.00, which is a perfect fit for Dean's $100.00 Revolution!

Everyone who pledged is, of course, on the honor system, but feel free to comment here if you do.
I know some people have emailed me offsite with a pledge once the numbers are in, so there it is: 12. Also, anyone who wants to jump in with a donation for "Bash for Cash" fundraising can do the same- just make sure you write in "Bash for Cash Fundraiser-" on the "Fundraiser" comment section of the donation page online.

It's An Orange Alert Level Christmas 

Yes, yes, a fake commercial followed by a novelty Xmas song- what has this blog become?

To the tune of "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas":

It's an Orange Alert Level Christmas
Everywhere you go,
Take a look at all your cards
in case the Anthrax bomber starts-
only open letters from the people that you know!

It’s an Orange Alert Level Christmas,
Toys in every store,
But the scariest sight to see,
Is the police that will be
right there on your own front door!

It’s an Orange Alert Level Christmas,
Soon they'll close the mall,
the backpack that you bring,
will single you out for questioning
because you left it in the bathroom stall...

Radiation suits and a pistol that shoots,
Is the wish of Barney and Ben,
Masks that let you talk and go out for a walk,
Is the hope of Janice and Jen . . .
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait
for school to start again!

It’s an Orange Alert Level Christmas,
Everywhere you go . . .
Now there’s a raid in the Grand Hotel,
With white powder you can't tell,
We couldn't be too sure that it was snow!

It’s an Orange Alert Level Christmas,
The airport gates will close,
And the package that you bring,
will be sent for x-raying
when the dogs get something in thier nose!

It’s an Orange Alert Level Christmas
Soon the bells will start . . .
And the thing that will make them ring,
Is the risk the season brings,
and the fear that strikes within your heart!

From The Near Future 

Screen flashes Orange, serious government-announcement voice comes on:

The Government has issued an Orange Alert...The Government has issued an Orange Alert...(Sound of a record needle scratching) For savings!

Cut to scene of a mall where shoppers all turn and look at the camera with excited faces.

All this week come in for our Orange Alert Sale! Half off all sweaters, jeans and men's slacks! The terrorists want you to stay inside- help our economy and show them you're not afraid of a bargain!

It's Terror-ific!

So come in and spend, spend spend: You never know! (Chuckles) You may not be here to spend it tomorrow! (Shot of Usama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Howard Dean)

I'm George W Bush, and I- I- I- approved this message because a weak ecomical- economal- (rushed) because a weaker spending is a weak America.

Cut to shot of customer surrounded by clothes that are being thrown around by customers searching for a deal:

This place looks like a bomb hit it!

Bush/Cheney 04 Logo onscreen.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Maybe Nothing, Maybe Everything 

There's news reports from Al Jazeera, as well as Pravda, concerning the capture of Saddam Hussein. I know these news sources are not the most reliable, but it is not the first report of a theory that Saddam had been held prisoner prior to capture. The new reports indicate that Saddam was captured by Kurds, one of whom had a daughter raped by one of Saddam's sons.

I'm waiting for the story to break domestically (or at least somewhere with "reputable" western-culture journalistic standards) but it might not, ever.

[Corrente has it covered, too, with much more detail.]

In slightly related news, a new poll finds that, despite much screaming and yelling from John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, 61% of Americans agree that America is no safer after the capture of Saddam Hussein, while 17% of voters think we are actually in more danger- the same number of people who believe that the risk has gone down. But that's 78% of people who fundamentally believe Saddam's capture has done nothing to protect the safety of America.

It's good news for me because it means America is smarter than its bumper stickers look.

Arlie Hochschild Nails It 

More on the political crisis posed by ignorant white trash by Arlie Hochschild, the author of the brilliantly titled book, "Let Them Eat War."

The surprise is that the people most hurt by Bush's policies are his strongest supporters. We know that there have been 2.5 million jobs lost in his presidency. He's kind of got a "bleed 'em dry" approach to the non-Pentagon part of government spending. He's not doing anything to help blue-collar workers learn new trades, or get a house, or help their kids go to college. He's loosening the Occupation Health and Safety regulations. The plants the guys work at are less safe. His agricultural policies are putting small farmers out of business. So we have to ask: why would they vote Republican?

Because they love watchin' the war on the big TV, and because they love seein' a "man in charge." This article nails it for me. People who are losing more and more power to "progressive values"- the "white male"- are starting to feel ostracized from mainstream culture the more accepting it becomes. You want to know what pisses off the NASCAR dads? Immigrants, Gays, and Liberals who like immigrants and gays. The "oppressed" white male has to "kick some ass" to maintain his position in the hierarchy, and the Bush Spectacle is exactly the series of images they need to see: Fuck the liberals at the UN, we'll kick ass on our own. Fuck the terrorists, we'll kick their ass- and anyone who says it breeds more terrorism is talking about Liberal stuff, like "feelings" and "psychology". It's exactly what I've been trying to get at with Angry 15 Year Olds for Bush.

I think this is why I have such a visceral response to The Spectacle. Because as much social progress gets made, the stronger the pro-Republican voting is going to be, and the more aggressive the White Male is going to be in defending his social position psychologically- all the while, ironically, losing economic power and the freedom that goes with it, and the more angry the NASCAR dad gets.

That's what Dean tried to address with his "Confederate Flag" speech. I hope he gets it out, because judging from John Edwards' response, America isn't smart enough to "get" Howard Dean.

Hochschild also says about Bush; he is doing nothing to change the causes of fear and everything to channel the feeling and expression of it. He speaks to a working man's lost pride and his fear of the future by offering an image of fearlessness [...] he's luring them to vote for him by offering them the emotional security of being a screw-up white-male who remains on top and gets to wear the trappings of a "real man," even though he avoided serving in Vietnam and went AWOL.

Blog Round Up 

"What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Higher Taxes?" is a really great title, and the entry is interesting, too. One of my favorite bits from "The West Wing" concerning "tax cuts":

Donna: What's wrong with me getting my money back�
Josh: You won't spend it right.
Donna: What do you mean?
Josh: Let's say your cut of the surplus is $700. I want to take your money and combine it with everybody else's money and use it to pay down the debt and further endow social security. What do you want to do with it?
Donna: Buy a DVD player.
Josh: See?
Donna: But my $700 is helping employ the people who manufacture and sell DVD players. Not to mention the people who manufacture and sell DVDs. It's the natural evolution of a market economy.
Josh: The problem is the DVD player you buy might be made in Japan.
Donna: I'll buy an American one.
Josh: We don't trust you.
Donna: Why not?
Josh: We're Democrats.
Donna: I want my money back!
Josh: Then you shouldn't have voted for us! How much were the sandwiches?
Donna: $12.95.
Josh: I gave you a twenty.
Donna: Yes. As it turns out, you actually gave me more money than I needed to buy what you asked for. However, knowing you as I do, I'm afraid I can't trust you to spend the change wisely. I've decided to invest it for you.
Josh: That was nice. That was a little parable.

I want Sorkin back!

Quick Blog Round Up:

Corrente points out a new statistic: 38% of Americans don't think Bush was legitimately elected. That's more than a fair share of "sore losers" and "Democratic activists." Corrente also has some soon to be bronzed Light Bulb Jokes:

Q: How many Republicans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: At least 3:

1 to give the order
1 to award the non-competitive/no bid government contract
1 to have a financial relationship or connection to the company awarded the contract, such as CEO, past/current president or board member,substantial pension/stock options in said company. This person may also be a former government employee whose family is closely connected with person number 1 or his administration, or may be a large donor to the election campaign of person number 1.

NTodd's blog has a great analysis of the NYTimes article "Napster Runs for President" concerning the Dean campaign's "Internet Judo." Bark Bark looks at the same article and focuses on the blog element of it: how sites like his (and this one) are changing the face of politics. I think it's a bit presumptuous to say "changing the face of politics" but blogs are able to get information organized and disseminated in such a way as to inspire mobilization. Who would have guessed there was so much stuff to be pissed off about?

Finally, Steve Gilliard writes that we have some issues to face in regards to Homosexuals having full legal rights, which some of us mistakenly believe are entitled to all Americans.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Simple Enough 

DERRY, N.H. (AP) - Moments after praising his opponents in the Democratic presidential race as worthy running mates, Wesley Clark said, in no uncertain terms, how he would respond if they or anyone else criticized his patriotism or military record. "I'll beat the s--- out of them," Clark told a questioner as he walked through the crowd after a town hall meeting Saturday.

That's what Derry, NH does to people.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Don't They Know We Caught Saddam? 

Someone should tell al-Qaeda that Americans are safer because Saddam Hussein was captured. Because they seem to have a different opinion.

- Authorities are evaluating a surge of information related to possible terrorist threats to a number of cities in the United States, including New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. -ABC News

- An audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden's deputy in al-Qaida, aired on Arab television Friday, warned that the terror group would target Americans "in their homeland" and would drive U.S. forces from bases in the region [...] "We are still chasing the Americans and their allies everywhere, even in their homeland," he said. - ABC News

Bash For Cash Fundraiser for Friday 

Daily Lieberman Attack on Dean:

Presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman warned Friday against replacing "one divisive leader with another divisive leader," a swipe at both President Bush and the front-runner for the Democratic Party's nomination, Howard Dean.

I like how the Liebester attacks Dean when he says we need to go after the NASCAR Dads and then Lieberman calls Dean "divisive."

Dean's response today:

"Washington candidates know all about divisiveness. They get more desperate every day and they continue to distort the truth because they have almost nothing positive to say about anything."

Daily Kerry Attack on Dean:

Rival John Kerry continued his criticism of Dean's foreign policy credentials Friday, saying his comments this week have "added immeasurably to the already significant doubts about his ability to be commander in chief." Kerry challenged Dean to a debate on national security.

John Kerry just had to mortgage his goddamned house to pay for his campaign because no one wants to give him any money, and he wants a debate with the guy leading him by 32 points in the NH Polls. I'm sure that if Kerry was the front runner he'd be giving Kucinich a one on one debate.


9 x P (where P = your pledge)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Not Convinced.  

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) - Osama bin Laden will "with absolute certainty" be caught if he's still alive, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Thursday.

Well, I don't know how much "absolute certainty" you can have about catching a guy when you don't even know if he's alive or dead. It's sort of like saying we will "most certainly" find the Sasquatch "If it, in fact, exists."

Single Women, Where Are You?  

"Using census and other voting data analyzed by two Democratic polling firms, the study released Tuesday found there would have been 6 million more ballots to count in 2000 if single women had voted at the same rate as their married counterparts. The study, the first phase of a project designed to help get single women to the polls, showed that they are the largest nonvoting group and also one of the most dissatisfied with the country's direction." - Newsday

I always found it interesting that the majority of political lines has been about "families" and "the children", but talk about single non-parents is virtually invisible. I think we saw this at work with the Dan Quayle "Murphy Brown" gaffe, but it's also an interesting conservative definition of the political machine. Democrats have to talk family and children because Republicans are; and the mostly left-leaning young Americans and unmarried women get written out of the discourse.

The untapped voter source for the Republicans, by the way, is the "Nascar Dad," which is why Bush had the NASCAR team at the White House. Where I'm from, we call NASCAR Dads "White Trash." But they're the exact demographic that Dean argued was voting against their own best economic interests and the interests of their children's (there it is!) health and education by voting Republican based on car-culture, confederate flags and gay-bashing. Who would you prefer to have for your untapped demographic?

"Bash For Cash" Fundraiser Update for Thursday 

Today's attacks all come from Mr. Deans speech wherein he: "called for American business to accept stricter accountability, but said he would offer greater access to capital for small businesses and national investment in growth industries of the future, like renewable energy." (Source: AP, 12/08/03)

In other words, Dean would support local independent businesses ("Local companies stay local, big companies go offshore"), increase the accountability of big bushiness by eliminating Clinton-era deregulation (which led directly to Enron and the current flock of scandals- sorry, fellow Clintonistas), and investing in renewable energy. But of course, people who aren't the front runner don't like these ideas because the front runner has them.

Today's Kerry Attack on Howard Dean:

"It's really interesting to see Howard Dean campaign against tax shelters and corporate abuse when he spent time as governor creating tax shelters for companies like Enron," Kerry said Thursday.

Of course, Dean "invited Enron" to take advantage of tax breaks offered to non-polluting companies. Howard Dean did not personally create tax shelters for Enron.

Today's Lieberman Attack on Howard Dean

"I want to build on the Clinton record and Howard Dean seems to want to tear it down. We're not going to lift up America or the Democratic party by tearing down Bill Clinton's extraordinary record of economic success..."

The Liebster might want to let Al Gore know about how Dean wants to tear down Clinton's legacy. Also, Dean suggests going back to Clinton-era tax rates, whereas Lieberman favors keeping The Spectacle's middle class tax cuts intact, at the expense of, oh; education, health care, and the like, and increasing the burden on local governments to pay for services (ironically, raising the money the middle class spends on taxes.)

Also, how did I miss these from earlier in the week? Sen. Joe Lieberman said Dean had crawled into a "spider hole of denial," and Kerry said Dean showed a lack of "leadership skills or diplomatic temperament" to be president. That came from Deans statement that "The capture of one bad man doesn't mean the president and Washington Democrats can declare victory in the war on terrorism" and his assertion (or statement of fact, depending on how much you like Lieberman) that Americans are "no safer" from terrorism now that we caught Saddam Hussein.

So today's formula for your end of the week Bash For Cash fundraiser:

3 (tuesday) + 2 (thursday) + 2 (retroactive) = 7 X P (where P = your pledge).

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

User Notification 

People who are linking to this website via should change their links directly to


"Iraqi Missile Crisis": Thwarted! 

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities. Full Story Here.

Insert another sarcastic remark about how this sort of thing never seems to matter to anybody. C/O Buzzflash.

Bash For Cash Roundup for Tuesday, Dec 17th 

Today's Daily Lieberman Attack on Dean:

"He seems to believe if you are just against everything, that's enough. Against removing Saddam Hussein, against middle-class tax cuts, against knocking down the walls of protection around the world so we can sell more products made in America," Lieberman said. "Dr. Dean has become Dr. No." Lieberman earlier also stated: "To me, this race has crystalized between Howard Dean and me."

The AP Reporter then writes: "But Lieberman said it's Dean who is focused on the negative" and remarks that Lieberman is polling in the single digits in New Hampshire.

Today's Daily Gephardt Attack on Dean:

On top of new links found between the "Dean Loves Osama" ad in Iowa and the Gephardt campaign, he also made statements today: Gephardt said Saddam's capture and Dean's comments "make one thing pretty clear. And that is a candidate with no foreign policy experience is not going to beat George Bush."

How much foreign policy experience does it take to know Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, and was simply a reprisal of the "enemy of the week" approach to politics embraced by the GOP since the 1980's with Noriega, Khadaffi, etc etc etc. Defense budgets need to be justified, and quite simply put, the military cannot protect us from suicide bombers on airplanes. If anything, the war in Iraq was designed to prove the use of the "large" military was still vital, when in fact, the new way to fight our domestic wars is through intelligence and data analysis.

Today's Daily Kerry Attack on Dean:

"When American needed leadership on Iraq, Howard Dean was all over the lot," he said. "One moment he supported authorizing the use force. The next, he criticized those who did." Kerry noted that Dean, bunched atop the field of Democratic contenders in most polls, supported the war in Iraq only with UN Security Council authorization. Dean embraces a "'Simon Says' foreign policy where America only moves if others move first," Kerry said. "That is just as wrong as George Bush's policy of school yard taunts and cowboy swagger."

What's hilarious about John Kerry's attack is that it makes no sense whatsoever. He's saying that going into the war with UN support and a broad coalition of troops is just as bad as Bush's "cowboy swagger" which I can only take to mean his unilateral attitude. So Kerry is saying he wouldn't have gone to war unilaterally or multilaterally, but he certainly would have gone to war, (I guess, since it's popular this week) in whatever way each separate and individual voter wishes to imagine the best approach to be. Brilliant!

Todays Bash for Cash Formula:

3 X P = _____

Where P = Your pledge amount. That means $1.50 from me, $3.00 from commenter J. Shirk (If I am not mistaken- I don't know if JShirk is embracing a Lieberman-only Bash for Cash fundraiser or a full party one?), and 12 bits [not sure what that means yet :) ] from Mr. NTodd. If you're pledging, let us know in the comments section!

That means the Dean campaign made at least $4.50 today plus whatever "12 bits" is. At this rate, it's $25.00 by next monday- but let's get more of you to join the fun!

No Comment.  

Bush reiterated that he doesn't read newspapers and prefers getting the news - without opinion, he said - from White House chief of staff Andrew Card and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. First Lady Laura Bush, who appeared briefly during the interview, said she does read the papers and often discusses them with her husband. -AP News Report on the Spectacle's interview with Diane Sawyer.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

An "Absurd Insinuation" 

When asked by reporters if he had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, as Dean "crazily" "claimed", GW Spectacle said: "There's time for politics, and I - it's an absurd insinuation." And about the war, "There will be ample time to have the debate about whether or not it's the right strategy or not,'' Bush said. "I look forward to the debate. I look forward to making my case to the American people about why America is more secure today, based upon the decisions that I've made.''

Now, never minding that Dean never said it (there was a "well, the most interesting theory I have heard so far..." qualifier) there's the little matter that Bush did have advanced warning:

ABC News:
"White House officials acknowledged that U.S. intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks that bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack American planes, and that information prompted administration officials to issue a private warning to transportation officials and national security agencies." (May 16th, 2002)

CBS News:
"Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House," the September 1999 report said. The Bush administration has asserted that no one in government had envisioned a suicide hijacking before it happened.

Well, the "most interesting" article I have seen so far, is this article on CBS News, written a month before the 9/11 attacks, where John Ashcroft is quoted as saying he had to fly in a Government Jet because of a "threat assessment" that would make flying in commercial air craft too dangerous.

All by way of the Daily Misleader, more "Liberal Activists" out to destroy Democracy by pointing out when Democracy is getting destroyed.

Don't Listen to Him, He's A Liberal 

Paul Krugman in the New York Times today with an editorial on Halliburton and Bechtel and all the good things they do for the children and people of Iraq.

But hardcore conservatives don't have to listen to Paul Krugman- he has reasoned out his position against the Bush administration, so he's a "tainted liberal activist"- as is anyone who uses reason to come to conclusions contrary to the Bush regime's system of governance. Or, I am beginning to suspect, anyone who uses reason.

Vote for Empty Spectacle in 2004!  

By way of ABC's News Note, The Washington Post has this hilarious piece of "journalism":

The headline says Hillary Clinton offered "faint praise" for catching Hussein; what she said: "I was thrilled that Saddam Hussein had finally been captured [...] We owe a great debt of gratitude to our troops, to the President, to our intelligence services, to all who had a hand in apprehending Saddam. Now he will be brought to justice, and we hope that the prospects for peace and stability in Iraq will improve."

It's been interesting. I got a search hit on my sitemeter stats yesterday for "Leftist Response to Saddam Capture," and it seems a lot of right wing bloggers have declared themselves "excitement police" and are chastising any left wing bloggers who didn't show proper excitement over the news.

You're right: I'm not excited. I am saving my excitement for the Super Bowl Half time show, where I predict we will see GW carry a naked Saddam into the stadium on a leash, where GW will present him to his father and ask for his fathers acceptance. Bush the elder will bestow it, and they will single handedly fire shots into Saddams face in front of a cheering crowd, televised across America. Then, of course, GW gets not only re-elected but appointed emperor by a Supreme Court, empowered by the gratitude of the American people for, as the daily show put it, "catching the guy who had nothing to do with September 11th".

Vote for Spectacle in 2004! The winner of this election will be the one who can give us the biggest images to wipe away the memory of September 11th. It bodes well for Bush, the master of empty gesture and hollow spectacle, but Dean could cut through the need for synthesized reality and win if he gives us a bold enough vision of what the country could be. But god damn, it's going to be tough: Americans love their blockbuster.

Monday, December 15, 2003

GOP says "Bring The Mothafuckin Ruckus!"  

Aw shit, Wu-Tang Clan spark the wicks an' however, I master the trick just like Nixon:

"Once again McDermott has embarrassed this state with his irresponsible ranting," GOP state Chairman Chris Vance said in a news release. "Calling on him to apologize is useless, but I call on other Democrats to let the public know if they agree with McDermott - and Howard Dean, who recently said he thought it was possible that President Bush had advance knowledge about 9/11. The voters deserve to know if the entire Democratic Party believes in these sorts of bitter, paranoid conspiracy theories."

Bring da mother, bring da motherfuckin ruckus!

It's hilarious when Republicans give snaps. McDermott made the mistake of saying Bush and co probably knew where Saddam was for a while and that "when they're having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something."

Special Bonus Track for "Write Like Nedra Pickler Day": When GOP state chairman Chris Vance says Howard Dean claimed Bush had advanced knowledge of 9/11, he fails to state that Howard Dean said it like this: "The most interesting theory that I've heard so far - which is nothing more than a theory, it can't be proved - is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is?" He also fails to mention that Howard Dean proposed the idea as evidence of theories that will persist until Bush released his secret 9/11 documents.

Unofficial "Bash for Cash" Fundraiser 

Okay. This post concerns something a lot of people find annoying: Politics and Money.

Today I donated an additional $25.00 to the Dean campaign, on top of my previous contributions. The reason was simple: Yesterday, Saddam Hussein was captured. Howard Dean was quoted on the CNN news ticker as simply saying, "Today is a day of celebration." But if you saw Joe Lieberman or John Kerry, it was politics, politics, politics. Lieberman and Kerry both went so far as to assert that this vindicated their pro-war vote, as if the capture of Saddam Hussein meant that he was captured in the best possible way, and that his capture nullified any other problems that have come out of this war. Did they really believe that people were only against the war because Saddam was still on the loose? Please.

But then there is the new, anonymous-democrat-sponsored attack ad on Dean, which shows a picture of Osama Bin Laden and calls Dean weak on National Security. It's a 527 ad, so no one knows everybody who is behind it, but who we do know is involved happens to include former members of the Gephardt and Kerry campaigns.

It is my firm belief that people attack Howard Dean simply because their own ideas are not strong enough for them to win on. Howard Dean has captured a spirit of possibility for what this country can be, and he carries with it the hope that it is possible. He has addressed the issues of Gay Rights and Racism head on, intelligently and compassionately, and he was attacked for doing it by soundbite-hungry campaigns.

I am sick of dirty politics, I am sick of in-party mud slinging. It is this crap that keeps voters away from the booths on election day, it's what keeps decent people out of politics. It's what keeps fresh ideas and intelligence from being communicated in the media.

So here is what I propose: I am going to keep an eye out for one week, to be announced later, for any new attacks from any of the candidates for the Democratic Nomination. For every new attack, I am going to donate $.50 cents to the Dean campaign. If I get 50 other people to join me, that means $25.00 for every new attack on Howard Dean. If we can get 100 to join, that means $50.00 for every new attack.

I am doing this to drive home that to many of us, negative campaigning does nothing but strengthen the support of a candidate and hurt the campaign of the one slinging the mud. It will also help provide a small amount of the campaign money that gets diverted from spreading ideas and information to defending a candidate against ridiculous and petty attacks.

You can use the comments section below to post your pledge, if you want to join me, or, when I post the results, you can use that to formulate your own response. But let Dean know you are doing it as part of the "Bash for Cash" fundraiser so we can send the message to Dean and every other candidate that dirty politics doesn't work anymore.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Saddam Captured "Peacefully" After Only 450 American Deaths 

Remember when the statue came down and all the warhawks claimed they were vindicated? Yeah. Well, everything I would have to say about the newest distraction from the wars failures is said here brilliantly. Read it. Read it. Read it.

Friday, December 12, 2003

In Defense of War Crimes 

CNN and the American Military unwittingly film Al-Qaeda's New Recruitment Video.

The next time some Neoconservative Warblogger or "policy official" decides that they are going to use the testimony of soldiers in Iraq as a counterbalance to criticisms of the war, I want you to watch that. But not at work, and not if you're opposed to seeing wounded Iraqis executed by cheering American Soldiers, and telling the camera that "It was awesome, I want to do it again."

And not for the reasons you might expect an anti-war liberal to have. That video does NOT speak for itself.

I don't think the video is presented in its full context- the man could have been killed after an attempted ambush of American Soldiers, we don't know because that website uses this event as cheap agit prop. But it is pretty likely that no matter what the context, what's on that video is a war crime. But the scary thing is, even if it is a war crime, I can understand why it happened.

It is very easy to look at this stuff and be shocked and outraged, here in our day to day, shopping mall world of normality. It's always thrown at the leftist anti-war crowd: "You don't know what war is, you don't know what it's like over there" etc. It's true.

But that's the whole point.

I want you to look at that video and remember the state of mind these soldiers are writing from. Remember that soldiers are reprimanded for criticizing their superiors, and that soldiers are not policy experts or experts in foreign affairs or experts in how to run the country. They're human beings, young kids, usually, serving time in a fucking hell hole for purposes that are getting more and more questionable every day, and no matter how sketchy their reasons for being there are, and no matter how much they believe or don't believe in this war, they are one ambush away from getting killed or injured. I don't think it's fair to say that these people are the ones who should be making the decisions. Because in that state of mind, rationality is gone. It has to be for you to function.

I want you to look at this video because it shows you what war actually is. It's taking humanity out, putting nationality/religion in, it's switching compassion for relief that you survived, it's taking hope and switching it with adrenaline. I'm not saying I'm above it- I'm not. That's precisely the thing. I try to imagine myself in a situation where I am getting shot at by soldiers and the only way I live is to shoot back. If I don't shoot back I die. If I don't shoot back and kill, I stay in a situation that costs me my life or limbs or the life of my friends. If that happens and you ask me what I think of the war, I don't think I could tell you, by my current, non-warfare status, if my opinion would make good policy. It would reflect either one of two things:

a) Flight: Get me the fuck out, or
b) Fight: These guys are terrorists and have to be stopped, and thank god I am here to do it.

I have seen first hand how war will stay with its soldiers for the rest of thier lives. I know that guy in that video is going to come home with PTSD and fucked up with regret and remorse when he gets back to a "good ol' American shopping" type of existence. I know what war is when it's over, because I know it lives forever in everyone who experiences it, it deadens something, and it keeps you from talking, it keeps you from being fully alive in our allegedly normal world. War doesn't end. The people who go into that world are either heroes or psychopaths, and I certainly think we have more heroes than we do psychopaths in the US Military.

But if I hear one more fucking right wing nutjob in his middle class home writing on a computer about how his brother got a letter from a soldier that knows his roommate and he says the war is going great and people questioning the war are all assholes, well, I'm just going to take a look at that video to remind myself that when you're in the middle of fighting a war, it doesn't mean you're aware or compassionate or capable of writing good foreign policy. That's fine. But I can't sit there and watch anyone turn into that guy in that video, thrilled to be killing because it means that he's surviving, and I don't care if he tells me he loves it more than his mother. It's got to fucking stop.

If Dean is the New McGovern... 

Does that make Bush the new Nixon?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

One More Thing To Ignore When You Vote Bush in '04 

Surprise! Peace Loving Liberals have apparently infiltrated the Pentagon.

A Pentagon investigation has found evidence of overcharging and other violations in billions of dollars worth of reconstruction contracts for Iraq that were awarded to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, military officials said today. - New York Times

Violations include overcharging for fuel (importing oil into Iraq) and also delaying cost estimates until projects were already underway.

What always shocks me is the flagrant nature of the Cheney Money Grab. It's not like they're even trying to be subtle about it, and it's not like they ever were. But literal dollar values, body counts, and broken laws are coming in by the oil tanker and it's suddenly unpatriotic to say anything about it. Why? Because Dick "No Comment From Vice President" Cheney stopped working there four years ago (even though he still recieves checks from them). Also, there's nothing, to my knowledge, that prevents him from going back to Halliburton once he's out of office, but feel free to correct me if I am missing some sort of "can't work at your old job after you're Vice President" law.

In the meantime, they're pulling this shit: Across Europe, response was swift and angry Wednesday to the U.S. order barring firms based in important allied countries -- opponents of the Iraq war -- from bidding on Iraqi reconstruction projects. And the next day, Bush had to call and ask those same countries to forgive Iraq's debts.

You'll hear the right talk about how "if they were against the war, why should they profit from it?"

It's a simple argument, except that we're not talking purely about profit. We're talking about steps towards international presence in Iraq militarily, meaning fewer American troops getting slaughtered. We're talking about international aid and assistance as far as restructuring Iraqi debt. We're talking about Canada giving $225,000,000 but no troops and being told we don't want it.

"Why should they profit from it?" is the wrong question; a question phrased by the right wing to trap people into agreement. The actual question is: "Why should other nations send troops to help us in a war they believed was unjustified? If getting less of our own people killed means organizing a larger coalition, how do we do it? We tried handing it over to the Iraqis, and look how that worked out: Half of them just quit. So how do we get an international presence on the ground there- our last resort- when the fact of the matter is that we're asking them, literally, to send people to get killed in place of our own soldiers?

It's a hell of a thing when money is the real bargaining chip for getting other countries to send their men and women to die for our war. But it's a real thing. If this Administration keeps Halliburton and other big American firms in business at the expense of an international coalition then it's just one more failure of Bush policy.

Go Away 

Blogs of Interest:

A good blog post about the effects that the new Medicaid bill will have on HIV Treatment. I think we've heard the debate discussed in a really bland way that doesn't connect it to anything, but this post helps us understand one aspect of why this bill is bad- something the DNC should consider, as opposed to saying "But guys, this is really bad, really..." over and over again.

There's also a good post over here comparing the death penalty with the war in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Al Gore's Dean Endorsement 

Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean yesterday. It's kind of surprising, considering Gore's centrism in the 2000 election, but I guess between his speeches to Move On and his earlier appearances on Saturday Night Live, Gore has done very well without his 693 image consultants (who all work for Clark now, and have transformed yet another left leaning should-have-been into a centrist tabula rasa).

It's also indisputable proof that everyone thinks Joe Lieberman is an asshole.

But most of you are probably wondering: "How does this effect the Kucinich stranglehold on the nomination?" Well, Dennis Kucinich's campaign manager commented that they're "delighted that Al Gore is returning to the political arena and will be a strong voice for change. I look forward to working closely with both Al and Howard after we win the nomination." Keep the dream alive, Dennis! Once you knock out Al Sharpton, there's only 7 more candidates to go, and you've got an entire month!

Sharpton, at least, played it straight on Crossfire: "I don't want to shock you, but I was not expecting Al Gore's endorsement."


There's a debate tonight, the last one before the NH Primary and Iowa Caucus, 7PM on ABC and CSPAN. It's being held on the Durham Campus of UNH, and my token Republican Friend is going to be pissed about the inevitable loss of campus parking spaces that results from a double whammy of two blizzards and the descending of the National Press Corp (Especially since Gore and Nader will be at the event.)

Speaking of Nader, he's thinking of running. Message to Nader: Please don't.

Neoconservative Fox News Monkey: Dean Could Beat Bush 

William Kristol, chief media (well, Fox News, anyway) warhawk, says that Bush is definitely beatable, and especially by Howard Dean.

But surely the fact that Bush is now a proven president running for reelection changes everything? Sort of. Bush is also likely to be the first president since Herbert Hoover under whom there will have been no net job creation, and the first since Lyndon Johnson whose core justification for sending U.S. soldiers to war could be widely (if unfairly) judged to have been misleading.


It's true that, unlike Carter (and Clinton), Dean is a Northeastern liberal. But he's no Dukakis. Does anyone expect Dean to be a patsy for a Bush assault, as the Massachusetts governor was?

Monday, December 08, 2003


Despite insecure ports and the recent mailing of Uranium, despite the Anthrax Mailer still at large, despite that a college student was recently able to smuggle bleach and other banned materials onto airplanes, the Department of Homeland Security has finally accomplished something on the homefront: A new set of ads.

The "Listo" - or "ready" - campaign includes TV, radio, print, billboard and Internet advertisements in Spanish encouraging people to prepare emergency kits with three days' worth of food and water, develop a family communication plan and stay informed.

So we re-organized the FBI, CIA and cut funding to our police force, and all we got out of it are ads telling us to get "ready" for the organization to fail? And really, do we need to be told to call our family if there's a terrorist attack? For that matter, do we need to be told to watch the news in case it happens? But best of all is the three days worth of food in case of a terrorist attack suggestion. Do they think anyone who can afford it doesn't have at least three days worth of food in their house?

There's other news today too, from the "Republicans are the Homeland Security Party" Department: (I am all about departments today) Guess how many terrorist charges resulted in five year prison terms (or greater) for arrests between 1999 and 2001? The answer: 24. Then guess how many similar examples there have been for terrorists between 2001 and today? Answer: 23.

But let's have some abacus fun. How many arrests were there between 2001 and today? 6,400. Of those, 2,001 were prosecuted. 1,802 were closed without conviction- either dismissed or never processed. Only 879 were convicted. Only 373 of those served a day or more in prison (indicating that the crimes were not a "major" threat to American National Security) and only 23 received a sentence of five years or more- including five Ku Klux Klan members, and one guy busted for terrorism for blowing up a pipe bomb in his girlfriends car. If it was the Department of Stupid Asshole Roundups, they'd be doing their job.

All this by way of a fascinating website by TRAC, a non-partisan group that monitors the financial effectiveness of law enforcement strategies.

Looks Like Somebody Hates America!  

New in the "Are You Better Off Today Than Four Years Ago" Department:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - As a precaution, American track and field athletes at the 2004 Athens Olympics might be discouraged from wearing red, white and blue or anything with "USA" when they are not competing. "For security reasons, if that's the way they want to go, that's what we'll do," said U.S. men's track coach George Williams, also track and field coach at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh.

But hey, thank God George Bush has done such a great job reducing the terrorist threat, because now track and field runners in Greece aren't safe. Think about that for a second: Track and Field Runners in Greece are worried about being targeted for a terrorist attack.

Williams said track officials have suggested ways to lower the profile of American athletes around Athens. "They said it would be good if we low-keyed it," he said. But he added: "Some of us are going to look American. We're going to have our Bermuda shorts on and our white tennis shoes. It's going to be hard to do."

Yeah, I pity any European put in charge of teaching Americans how to dress. At least they don't have to worry about spotting American Tourists in town for the games: If they're not wearing an American Flag on every part of their body and singing "Proud To Be An American" in the streets of Athens, then they'll be wearing sweatpants that say "champ" on them and driving an SUV rental 10 feet to a bar where they'll be the only ones screaming for no reason.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Hey, Look! It's My Blog Showcase Vote! 

Here is my vote for this weeks new blog showcase, by way of BBWW, for short. It's a sort of primer on Religious elements betrayed by the Ten Commandments statue in a courthouse, with historical precedents. It's good if you like your British Monarchy history, and your separation of church and state controversy. My votes never seem to register, for whatever reason, so I am making it loud and clear this time.

It's in competition against another tired slam on Al Franken. I think Al Franken is more famous with Conservatives than Liberals, because Liberals laugh at his book titles and say "he's a swell guy," but Conservatives must have bought the book because otherwise the annotation would be wrong when they're bashing it (while pretending they read it with an open mind- you know, for balance?). Another writes about Amnesty internationals complaints about Bush. It was so well researched and made a clear and concise counter argument: "When have you ever had a job besides running some lame "human rights" group?" and regarding the thousands of British war protesters in the streets, well: "What about the millions of people who aren't complaining and have jobs?" What's with the idea that the only people against the war are people who don't have jobs? I'd link to them so you could mock them, but that's a vote. So just read the phenomenal Angry 15 Year Olds For Bush instead, it's all you need for your fix of angry Bush loving teenagers. (Hello Google Hits!)

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Finally, More Guns on TV! 

In case you ever said to yourself, "You know, there's just not enough hand gun advocacy on TV these days", the National Rifle Association is here to save the day. It's looking to buy a radio or television station, and pretend it's a real news network, according to the AP. They want to advocate gun issues until they get sued for breaking campaign finance laws, at which point they will defend themselves as a "legitimate" news organization.

The NRA isn't allowed to run issue ads targeting a particular candidate by name, because they have union and/or corporate money in their funding. If they started their own television station, they could. Which makes for a really startling revelation: If a group takes out advertisements to advocate a position with corporate sponsors, it's illegal. But if a group buys a television station to advocate a position with corporate money, "It's all good."

Here's what I'd do as Senator: Write a bill targeting News Outlets with a "Truth Tax" whereas, for every false statistic, misrepresentation or provable mistruth broadcast on the airwaves, a corporation pays a $5000 fee for each state the lies were broadcast in. (Taxes as a means of encouraging positive social conditions doesn't seem that crazy. For example: Taxing Pollution, Not Income.)

From the AP: The NRA and its lawyers will "look at every option to continue to exercise our First Amendment rights," even anchoring a ship "in international waters and beaming in" if necessary to get its gun-rights message on the air at election time, LaPierre said.

Republicans love boats! Bill Frist was pushing for the "ship far away from everyone else" idea for when the RNC goes to New York for it's convention, but has been overturned, because it would be about as good at convincing moderates to vote Republican as an Ann Coulter appearance on Bill Moyers.

Unemployment Figures 

Bush needs 200,000 to 300,000 jobs a month to actually tout a recovery, and 150,000 is what most economists predicted. The figures for November gave us 57,000. But that doesn't stop Bush from calling it a recovery anyway: "The American economy continues on a solid path of recovery. With strong sales and improving profits, companies will continue to hire new workers in the coming year." Right, right. The jobs will be here next year.

18 Inches Of Snow and Not A Snowman To Be Found 

One of the best opportunities to get insight into the psyche of minds programmatically assaulted by consumption-capitalism is to work at an electronics store during a blizzard.

There is no short supply of people willing to pack their children into a car during a Noreaster, drive on a highway coated with ice, risking the lives of their families and other motorists, all to come and look at a big screen tv, remark at how nice it is, and then go home.

The Consumption Class does not know how to sled, and neither does its children. It only knows how to buy gas, use gas, stare at potential purchases and encourage its children to stare with them.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I Shit You Not.  

Yes, this is real. This was released by the ACLU in the case regarding the boy sent home for telling his classmates his mother was gay.

Turkeygate, Steel Gates, 527's and You 

Bush is having a bad week.

1. Bush decided to avoid European sanctions on Florida Oranges and Harleys, instead opting to lift the tariffs on international steel. Good news: Cars and good knives will be cheaper. Bad News: Your 1985 DeLorean is worth less, and probably big layoffs in the steel industry, including votes in states that went only slightly red in 2000. Bush's decision [on steel] is "clear evidence of capitulating to European blackmail and a sorry betrayal of American steelworkers and steel communities." - Leo W. Gerard, president, United Steelworkers of America. It was, in all fairness, a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" decision, and it did end what were illegal tariffs to begin with. But it was one more broken promise.

2. The AP starts an article about Turkeygate (I think I coined that one) with: "The White House offered its third version Thursday of a pilot who spotted Air Force One while it flew to Iraq..." You have to love that. Apparently now, it wasn't British Airways, it was a "British Accent". You would think Air Force One would be aware of flight plans, lest it crash into another plane, but I really don't know.

3.'s ads in West Virginia might have had something to do with the states 4% decrease in public support for Bush. Now, they're going bigger, or trying, with your help- but probably not mine. (I have two candidates to support!) Remember, donations make great Christmas presents. I'm thinking of starting a grassroots campaign myself: "This Christmas, Give The Gift Of Democracy".

4. In the RNC's 527 camp, you have the "Club for Growth" airing attack ads on Howard Dean's fiscal conservativism in Vermont. This is great. If the RNC's 527's keep spreading really blatant lies about the candidates, Americans are going to just recognize it and filter it out. Dean was recently referred to as "The Only Teflon Coated Democrat" because any criticism of him only seems to make him stronger. The Media is at a loss to explain this trend, but I think it's stems mostly because Dean is a successful Bullshit-filter candidate, and so when people fling nonsensical allegations at him (that he's a racist, that he's too liberal, that he's too conservative) people know the truth and disregard the bullshit. His response ad, the "club for truth" ad, says it best- albeit in a kind of way that could get really annoying as a full fledged campaign tone- "I'm Howard Dean and I support this message because they're not trying to stop me, they're trying to stop you."

5. Notice how I dropped the term "527's" in there and you were all like "wha?" That's cuz I am getting down with the poli-sci lingo, kids. 527's are the indie (well, let's just say party-separate) political activist groups that were allowed to be set up, with unlimited funding in order to promote issues they're interested in. Moveon is one, which is why Soros' $15 Million is possible, and the "Club For Growth" is one, for the Republican National Committee. Fox News, as far as I know, is not filed under 527 status.

6. In other Dean news: I burst out laughing today when I read he has 45% support in the New Hampshire primary. In a crowd of 10 candidates, that's pretty good. Kerry is number 2, with 11%. Clark is at 10%, and everyone else should quit and go home.

7. Unemployment figures for October come out tomorrow. If they're good, Bush has a "solid economy" feather in his cap. But will they be good, I wonder?

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Ridiculous, Part II 

There was the Air Force One hoax, and now there's more.

Oppressionism Vs Playfulness 

To rely on oppressive conditions to radicalize people is unwise; to intentionally worsen them in order to accelerate this process is unacceptable. The repression of certain radical projects may incidentally expose the absurdity of the ruling order; but such projects should be worthwhile for their own sake — they lose their credibility if they are merely pretexts designed to provoke repression. Even in the most “privileged” milieus there are usually more than enough problems without needing to add to them. The point is to reveal the contrast between present conditions and present possibilities; to give people enough taste of real life that they’ll want more.

Leftists often imply that a lot of simplification, exaggeration and repetition is necessary in order to counteract all the ruling propaganda in the other direction. This is like saying that a boxer who has been made groggy by a right hook will be restored to lucidity by a left hook.

People’s consciousness is not “raised” by burying them under an avalanche of horror stories, or even under an avalanche of information. Information that is not critically assimilated and used is soon forgotten. Mental as well as physical health requires some balance between what we take in and what we do with it. It may sometimes be necessary to force complacent people to face some outrage they are unaware of, but even in such cases harping on the same thing ad nauseam usually accomplishes nothing more than driving them to escape to less boring and depressing spectacles.

One of the main things that keeps us from understanding our situation is the spectacle of other people’s apparent happiness, which makes us see our own unhappiness as a shameful sign of failure. But an omnipresent spectacle of misery also keeps us from seeing our positive potentials. The constant broadcasting of delirious ideas and nauseating atrocities paralyzes us, turns us into paranoids and compulsive cynics.

Strident leftist propaganda, fixating on the insidiousness and loathsomeness of “oppressors,” often feeds this delirium, appealing to the most morbid and mean-spirited side of people. If we get caught up in brooding on evils, if we let the sickness and ugliness of this society pervade even our rebellion against it, we forget what we are fighting for and end up losing the very capacity to love, to create, to enjoy.

The best “radical art” cuts both ways. If it attacks the alienation of modern life, it simultaneously reminds us of the poetic potentialities hidden within it. Rather than reinforcing our tendency to wallow in self-pity, it encourages our resilience, enables us to laugh at our own troubles as well as at the asininities of the forces of “order.”


Humor is a healthy antidote to all types of orthodoxy, left as well as right. It’s highly contagious and it reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. But it can easily become a mere safety valve, channeling dissatisfaction into glib, passive cynicism. Spectacle society thrives on delirious reactions against its most delirious aspects. Satirists often have a dependent, love-hate relation with their targets; parodies become indistinguishable from what they are parodying, giving the impression that everything is equally bizarre, meaningless and hopeless.

In a society based on artificially maintained confusion, the first task is not to add to it. Chaotic disruptions usually generate nothing but annoyance or panic, provoking people to support whatever measures the government takes to restore order. A radical intervention may at first seem strange and incomprehensible; but if it has been worked out with sufficient lucidity, people will soon understand it well enough.

-Ken Knabb

PS: Is Blackhawk Down? ( ...?

Okay, This Is Getting Ridiculous 

Seriously, can George Bush tell the truth about anything?

I may have attacked Bush at first for his Thanksgiving day visit, but then I realized the goodness of the action, despite believing in its mixed meanings, and I retracted. Now it seems the story was pre-fabbed for the press, including an imagined story about a run in with a British Airways jet, which never actually happened.

It's like there's always one thing that takes it over the top. Like, 200 people knock down a statue in Baghdad and they say the war is over, fine. (We've seen how "over" the war is, or, sorry, how "over" the major military operations are, but whatever, I'll give it to him- Saddam was out.) But then why go on a photo op to an Aircraft Carrier with a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner at what was arguably the halfway point of the war, and what now seems to have only been the beginning?

Now, Bush does the one genuinely admirable thing of his administration since standing on the rubble of the World Trade Center, and he goes and makes up a story about a fake encounter with a British Airways jet running into him on his "top secret mission". How does anyone trust him with anything? He can't even tell the truth about his own god damned honorable acts!

Note To San Francisco 

Vote Green on Tuesday. No, It's Not Suicide.

Apparently, there's a Green Party Candidate running for mayor of San Francisco in Tuesday's run-off, and he's actually got a good chance of becoming the first Green to run a major city in the US.

The Democrat- the guy who started the "care not cash" program that is so beloved- is not getting much liberal support in the most liberal city in the country, and it seems that the Green and the Democrat are in a "statistical dead heat", meaning that any of you San Franciscans reading this (you know who you are) who weren't planning on voting because you hate Gavin Newsom, still have an option for Matt Gonzalez, a progressive candidate, and your vote can actually make a difference.

The USA Today- and the Democratic party- will try to scare you by bringing up the specter of "The Feeling You Got When You Voted For Nader And Watched Gore Lose" by declaring that if Democrats lose the Mayor's seat in San Francisco, then the State of California would go Red for Bush in 2004. I have no idea how a city voting for the most Liberal candidate imaginable would result in voting for the most anti-liberal candidate possible, but apparently that's the scare tactic being brought out by the DNC.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Giant Worm Destroys Democracy 

Diebold, the folks making the needlessly-paperless electronic voting machines for most of the country's 2004 e-lection, also manufactures ATM machines. And lo and behold, a worm similar to the worm that infected thousands of computers (including my own) a few months ago has managed to eat away at ATM security because Diebold took its sweet, sweet, election-riskin' time to install the patch.

But hey! I'm sure the voting machines will be fine, right? No one needs to worry since it was only a few thousands to millions of dollars that could have been lost in the ATM hold ups, and Democracy is priceless. So who would want to steal it? Go back to sleep, everyone! False alarm!

Bush declares "No More COPS" 

Clinton's COPS program, which helped bring more direct community involvement in law enforcement, added over 100,000 new cops to the streets, and brought down crime rates in the 90's, is being phased out by the Bush Administration. Apparently, when terrorists attacked, all other types of crime simply ceased to exist. Local police forces are now useless, and terrorism prevention is clearly best left to the Military, and not local policemen working day to day within communities.

The program encouraged "community policing", in which more police worked in individual neighborhoods alongside citizens who reported suspicious, gang related, and violent activity, all the way down to landlords who were acting illegally. All of this resulted in a cut down on crime. This article has a good history of it, and what it means that it's going away at a time when unemployment is at its highest in a decade. But remember, GW is totally awesome and it's the liberals who are "soft on crime".

I have to wonder why this program isn't being expanded upon in regards to the Homeland Security department. I mean, you have cops working with the community in high risk neighborhoods, breaking down drug rings and gang activity already- why not make slight modifications to enroll local police forces in counter-terrorism efforts? It seems to me that local enforcement and community policing could do better in preventing another terrorist attack in this country than Bush's War in Iraq has been.

But ironically, it's homeland security that is causing the cuts. Take a look at this: Some police officials say the needs of local cops are being overlooked because of broader, albeit warranted, concerns about national security. The U.S. government has sent $6 billion to state and local agencies for emergency equipment, training and planning, and officials plan to send nearly $3 billion more in grants. But none of that money can be used to hire additional police officers or emergency workers.

Am I the only one who sees this trend resulting in a smaller, more specialized police force, capable only of responding to (but not preventing) terrorist attacks? Who would have guessed Bush would have been such a closet Anarchist?

Bush Steel Tariffs Debate: Not As Boring As It Sounds 

The World Trade Organization has ruled that the tariffs, which increased prices on various kinds of imported steel by 8% to 30%, are illegal. The European Union has threatened to impose $2.2 billion in sanctions on U.S. exports unless the steel tariffs are abolished. - USA Today

What's interesting is, if Bush keeps them, the 2.2 billion in sanctions is being organized by Europe to get Bush out of office. Targets of the sanctions include Florida Oranges- Florida being the crucial (and most notoriously close) Bush win in 2000. They're also targeting Harley Davidson motorcycles, and, according to NPR, they have essentially been selecting industries by the voting records of each state. If it went red in 2000 or 2002, sanctions.

Then, if he removes them, he loses the steel industry. Even with tariffs on steel, manufacturing jobs have decreased (while manufacturing itself has ramped up to record highs). He lost Pennsylvania in 2000, and won two other industrial steel-reliant states by thin margins in 2000, West Virginia and Ohio.

Whichever way he plays the game, he loses, and ironically it's all because of the WTO. If Bush loses in 2004, make sure you leave a thank you note after smashing in that Starbucks window.

Monday (Is/Was) World AIDS Day 

In case no one has heard of AIDS yet, this is the day we set aside for everyone to learn that wearing a condom is a good idea if you're having sex. Then we giggle nervously and stop talking about World AIDS Day before we get too depressed. Unless, of course, you are attending one of the "celebrate sexuality" World AIDS day events, which freak me out, because if there's anything that world AIDS day should not do, it is make me want to go have sex with every girl I meet at the AIDS Charity dance when they're putting condoms on bananas with their mouths. Seriously, shouldn't they be broadcasting pictures of syphilis or something? Why are AIDS charity dances always so randy?

You know what is not a good idea? Using a balloon as a condom. The BBC World Service had a good history of the condom, and it let us know that, when people grew weary of wrapping their sexual parts in the soaked intestines of goats, they started using rubber balloons. That is how the condom came to be. However, I personally suggest that, if you are about to have sex and don't have a condom but do have a package of balloons, just don't even think about it.

That said, feel free to donate money to a local AIDS charity, and don't forget: donations make great Christmas presents. Believe me, I have seen that $29.00 DVD player, and it's a piece of shit. Ask your family what charities are important to them, write them down and make a donation in their name. It makes for an interesting conversation starter, too.

That Evil, Evil ACLU  

So this is why Howard Dean "can't win in 2004". I'd say it's why he needs to win in 2004.

A 7-year-old boy was scolded and forced to write "I will never use the word `gay' in school again" after he told a classmate about his lesbian mother, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged Monday. [...]
"I was concerned when the assistant principal called and told me my son had said a word so bad that he didn't want to repeat it over the phone," Huff said. "But that was nothing compared to the shock I felt when my little boy came home and told me that his teacher had told him his family is a dirty word."

On Salon, by way of Atrios (but what isn't?).

Good Thing You Read This Blog 

It's a good thing you read this blog, because it took Spinsanity almost two weeks to un-spin the collusion memos, which were unspun here first.

I so fuckin' rule.

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