Friday, January 02, 2004


From Drudge via Atrios:

The margin of error is +/- 3.1%. In direct matchups today against President George W. Bush in 2004, likely voters would choose:

# Bush over Dean 51% to 46%,
# Bush over Lieberman 52% to 46%,
# Bush over Kerry 54% to 43%,
# Bush over Gephardt 53% to 44%,
# Bush over Clark 53% to 43%,
# Bush over North Carolina Sen. John Edwards 53% to 43%.

Only 1-in-4 (25%) are paying "very close" attention to the 2004 presidential election right now. Another 22 percent are paying "fairly close" attention, and 25 percent are paying "some" attention, while 17 percent are paying "just a little" attention.

Interesting that Lieberman and Dean have the same support.

In another poll, Atrios directs us to this Kerry tidbit from the American Research Group: John Kerry's drop in the tracking over the past week is the result of a drop in ballot preference for Kerry among women. The drop coincides with Kerry's extensive use of a television spot in New Hampshire featuring children playing outdoors while Kerry delivers a message about not sending children to war for oil. The playback from the ad among women is negative for Kerry, with one respondent summing up the comments by saying that Kerry "voted to send them to Iraq." (c/o Daily Kos)

Pat Robertson Wants You to Know Something 

Pat Robertson of Christian TV's "700 Club" once nodded in agreement when Jerry Falwell told him that 9/11 was God's punishment for the "ACLU, abortionists, feminists, gays, and the People For the American Way". Now, he has a new message from a God that just can't stand the American Constitution:

"The Lord has just blessed him," Robertson said of Bush. "I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it. It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him."

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, a frequent Robertson critic and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said he had a prediction of his own: "Pat Robertson in 2004 will continue to use his multimillion broadcasting empire to promote George Bush and other Republican candidates."
-World Net Daily, 01/01/04

That stands on its own, though, doesn't it?

Conservative Logic 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Texas Rep. Ralph Hall switched parties Friday night, filing for re-election as a Republican after nearly a quarter-century as one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.

"I've always said that if being a Democrat hurt my district I would switch or I would resign," Hall said in an interview with The Associated Press. He said GOP leaders had recently refused to place money for his district in a spending bill and "the only reason I was given was I was a Democrat."

The GOP withholds money for absurdly partisan reasons, so you join the party. Brilliant.

John Kerry Wants You To Know Something 

Howard Dean announced another record breaking fundraising quarter last week, with $15 Million over the internet alone. John Kerry made $2.5 million. But Kerry has something that Dean doesn't have.

"Our $2.5 million is real,'' Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said, though offering no proof Dean's estimates were fudged. - Boston Globe, 1/02/04

John Kerry wants you to know that his $2.5 million is real money, because he cannot imagine how anyone could raise $15 million through excited supporters alone. Is your 6% poll rating real too, John? John Kerry absolutely cannot fathom the concept of grass roots support, and so he declares that Howard Dean's $15 Million is imaginary.

This, according to John Kerry, is "what it takes to be President."

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Al Qaeda Tapes Found in Baghdad 

Training Videos found in a Baghdad weapons cache have the NRO asking rhetorically, "How could they have gotten there?"

The NRO asks such brilliant questions; my guess is that they "got there" the same way the Paris Hilton sex tape made it from California to Bangor in less than a week. The people with copies of the Paris Hilton sex tape didn't necessarily have sex with Paris Hilton. They simply like sex. For Iraqi insurgents, hate of America is a very similar type of lust- and these videos are cultural emblems of that lust. It was dubbed and passed on- for a similar type of educational and entertainment value, I would suspect. Just like Gangsta rap and pornography, Al Qaeda videos and brochures are a sort of cheap entertainment for angry Iraqis. The idea that Iraqi Insurgents will watch tapes made by people who don't like America isn't huge news, but it does not in and of itself imply a longstanding alliance with them, just as having a copy of the Paris Hilton sex tape does not imply a lifetime interest in Ms. Hilton's career.

Al Qaeda "is a movement defined by adherence to bin Laden's virulent anti-Westernism/anti-Semitism and propensity for violence". If you want to say you found sympathy to anti-westernism and anti-semitism in Iraq, it's not much of a revelation. Nor would I say it isn't a problem. But it is very different from saying you've found Osama-trained fighters in Iraq, and even if you find them now, it doesn't mean they were there prior to the invasion. I wouldn't be shocked if I was told that certain numbers of Al Qaeda fighters are now in Iraq to secure it as a fundamentalist Islamic state. Not to support Saddam, who they despised as a secularist. "But they both hated America" is an overvalued idea launched back in the days of tenuous Osama-Hussein ties by the administration at the same time they told congressmen that Saddam could hit the east coast with missiles. Only Americans believe that the enemy of our enemies are ipso facto our friends, and that's why we had Saddam Hussein, it's why we had the Taliban, it is why we had supported god awful monsters against other god awful monsters and then declared it a victory. This is why our near complete abandonment of Afghanistan at the hands of Afghan warlords and Harmad Karzai was a terrible idea, especially since we dropped it only to go and create instability in Iraq with little to no direct authority to hand the nation to and even less of a plan for post-war success.

The spectacle will bring out Saddam Hussein from a hole and call it a success, but the spectacle will do this so you do not ask questions over who, exactly, has replaced him. You will also not ask about warlords remaining in power in Afghanistan- some of whom are murdering aid workers for distributing food- but you don't hear about them described as the "demon" that Hussein was. It is possibly because "rape room" is a better spectacle and a more "supernaturally pure", ie, sellable, form of evil than the mundane, dull and common evil of politically motivated starvation. A process Americans allow to happen in other places all the time, even when there is food available, such as in Zimbabwe. But when these warlords work with "democracy" in Afghanistan, it is a "success" of the United States in stabilizing the region, and not the gross neglect and abandonment of the actual hotbed of international terror where Osama Bin Laden rests with the support of huge throngs of its citizens. When the UN says, "The United Nations may have to abandon its effort to stabilize Afghanistan because of the rising violence", the Bush administration will tell you that Iraq did not divert attention or focus from that task.

Sure- and that's not Paris Hilton on that tape.

So, to answer the NRO's rhetorical question, that is how the Al Qaeda tapes got into Baghdad. They got there because Al Qaeda is clearly still a problem- so I ask in return, why were we in Iraq in the first place, when we have clearly failed to do enough about Al Qaeda or the Taliban to justify a second-priority invasion of a country that had nothing to do with September 11th, 2001?

Watergate Stopped WW3 

British spy chiefs warned after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war that they believed the United States might invade Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi to seize their oil fields, according to records released Thursday. -From CNN

The committee of intelligence service directors calculated that the United States could guarantee sufficient oil supplies for themselves and their allies by taking oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, with total reserves of more than 28 billion tons. It warned however that the American occupation would need to last 10 years, as western nations developed alternative energy sources, and would lead to the "total alienation" of Arab states and many developing countries, as well as "domestic dissension" in the United States.

Anyone else find it odd that back in 1973, western states were "10 years" away from an alternative fuel source?

Democratic Deju Vu 

"This is a year of turmoil and terror in the Democratic Party: Their likely presidential nominee battered, bloodied, and ridiculed even before the general election has begun. [...] Rarely, in contemporary American politics, has a prospective Democratic presidential standard-bearer emerged successfully from his early primaries burdened by so many deep public doubts about his character within his own party. [...] In over three decades of political reporting, I cannot recall a time when some of the Democratic Party's senior strategists and adviser have spoken with such brutal candor about their likely nominee and his perceived weaknesses. [...] It is little wonder, then, that a growing number of Democrats are openly questioning Clinton's electability in the fall."

That's from a 1992 "World and I" article on Clinton's primary run. It's really amazing how many parallels there are. In many ways, Dean is in a much better position than Clinton was at the end of the 92 primary. However, reading it you've also got to understand that Bush v2.0 is an improved model with better ratings; and that it is unlikely there will be a Republican-stealing third party candidate.

But what it does show is that Democrats are squeamish; they're afraid of whatever candidates they end up with. "Indeed, many Democrats fear that their primaries are about to deliver to them "the worst of all worlds, a bleeding front-runner stumbling over the finish line" to receive the Democratic presidential nomination, said Sawyer." And then: "Both of these candidates are so flawed that there is no possibility of their defeating President Bush," former New York Mayor Ed Koch said of both Clinton and former California Gov. Jerry Brown. "Bill Clinton has no credibility."

Lastly: "This is going to be a very depressing campaign--there's nothing uplifting about it. Bush is going to campaign on the fact that he's not Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton is going to campaign by saying that things are terrible in America."

We'll just have to wait and see if Bill Clinton wins.

c/o Buzzflash

Bush 2004 Ad  

Here's a little synopsis of a Bush 04 Ad entitled "Angry Democrats". What's interesting is the line they pick to make Dean look bad:

"I don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore."

Is Bush presenting himself as the "pro-listening to fundamentalist preachers" candidate? Apparently the only other "angry" and "pessimistic" line from Dean they could find to close with is, hilariously enough, "Thank you very much! Thank you very very much!" Clearly, pessimistic people are extraordinarily gracious.

Then there's a cut to the sound of synthesized harpsichord straight out of an elevator in 1960's San Francisco, and a voice asking, "Tired of the pessimism and angry protest?" and a picture of Bush with children waving flags. The only thing missing is a puppy. What's amazing about this commercial is it is almost literally saying, "Look How Mad I Got These Guys" and then "Don't Be Mad At Me- Just Go Back To Sleep."

My expectation is that the Bush ads for the bulk of the campaign are going to be "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" style; I don't think he'll go negative until the end, precisely because he knows that if he launches an attack ad first, he loses the right to call out Dean's "negativity." Of course, it's Karl "If McCain Slept With Your Mother, Would You Still Consider Him An Honest Man?" Rove we're talking about, and it's Bush- so, they could launch nothing but attack ads and then say Dean does nothing but attack Bush even if Dean never says Bush's name again for the remainder of 2004.

[edit for this afterthought: The "attack ad that shows how Bush doesn't do attack ads" idea is precisely what Rove is already doing, right in front of my stupid face. He's making an attack ad that makes Dean look angry and pessimistic in character, then he ends it by saying Bush doesn't make attacks and that he's "positive".]

No, No, Not Terrorist Related. At All.  

WASHINGTON (AP) - FBI and Homeland Security Department officials boarded a British Airways jet shortly after it landed at Washington Dulles International Airport Wednesday night and detained 247 passengers for about three hours, officials said. An FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the detention of the passengers was not terrorist-related. -AP, 1/01/04

"The detention of the passengers was not terrorist-related"? Did the Department of Homeland Security pull the plane over to ask them about the White House leaker? Or was it just to shoot the shit about sports and good tourist spots?

Neil Bush, Hero of the Working Class 

Cashing in stock options before the market crashed, presidential brother Neil Bush made at least $171,370 in a single day by buying and selling shares in a small U.S. high-tech firm where he had previously been a consultant, according to tax returns that give a glimpse into his business dealings.

The July 19, 1999 purchase and quick sale of stock from Kopin Corp. of Taunton, Mass., came on a day that the company received good news about a new Asian client that sent its stock value soaring.

"My timing on this transaction was very fortunate," Bush told The Associated Press.
-AP 01/01/04

Fortunate Indeed! Thank God he didn't lose money on the deal like some of the other people (haha, I mean, "dumb workin' stiffs") who might have had stock in that company and not had any way (albeit extremely unlikely ways) to know when they should sell their stock. I tell you, that Bush family is the luckiest alive! Do they even know how to lose money? I mean, besides the 374 Billion dollars.

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.

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