Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Bush Doctrine 

Regarding David Kay's Statement That There Are No WMD's in Iraq:
"President Bush said Friday "I want to know the facts" about any intelligence failures concerning Saddam Hussein's alleged cache of forbidden weapons but he declined to endorse calls for an independent investigation." -AP

Regarding the Leak of Valerie Plame's CIA Status:
"I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing." - and - "The vow came as numerous Democratic leaders demanded the administration appoint a special counsel to investigate the charges [...] The White House rejected those calls, also saying it has no evidence of wrongdoing by Bush adviser Karl Rove or others and therefore no reason to begin an internal investigation."

Regarding the 9/11 Investigation:
"Members of both parties are accusing the White House of stonewalling the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by blocking its demands for documents despite threats of a subpoena." - AP Newswire (also see: Time Magazine).

Regarding Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force:
Congressional investigators made good on a months-old threat and sued Vice President Dick Cheney to force release of names of Enron and other industry figures who met with Cheney's energy task force. [...] Bush has refused to hand over the information demanded by the GAO.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Albert Camus 

"On important issues, like the balance between liberty and security, if the public doesn't care, then the security side is going to overweigh the other,'' she said. That would change, Ginsburg said, "if people come forward and say we are proud to live in the USA, a land that has been more free, and we want to keep it that way.'' - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"After all, if Freedom had always had to rely on Governments to encourage her growth, she would probably be still in her infancy or else definitely buried with the inscription, "another angel in heaven." The society of money and exploitation has never been charged, so far as I know, with assuring the triumph of freedom and justice. Police states have never been suspected of opening up schools of law in the basements where they interrogate their suspects. So, when they oppress and exploit, they are merely doing their job, and whoever blindly entrusts them with the care of freedom has no right to be surprised when she is immediately dishonored. If freedom is humiliated or in chains today, it is because she has lost her natural protector. Yes, freedom is widowed, but it must be added because it is true: she has been widowed of us." - Albert Camus, "Bread and Freedom"

Thursday, January 29, 2004


"We have a variety of intelligence and we're sure we're going to catch Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar this year" says U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty.

Oh wow! You know what I just realized? Is what a totally great thing for Bush it would be if Osama got captured during an election year! Wouldn't that be great news? I am totally looking forward to 2005, because I have a feeling I'm gonna start getting drunk and sleeping soooooo much more than ever before in my entire fucking life.

Democratic Debate Rhetoric Scavenger Hunt 

1 point for Wesley Clark smiling without really answering.
2 points if Al Sharpton answers a question with a joke that eats half his response time
1 point for every time one of the candidates "agrees with Al Sharpton"
3 points for every time Al Sharpton race baits
1 point for every time John Edwards mentions he's from the South
2 points if he "understands" the South
1 point everytime anyone says "affirmative action" and gets applause
2 points every time Lieberman gets booed
2 points if Lieberman says "It wasn't a popular decision, but it was the right thing to do."
Bonus! 5 points if Lieberman gets booed and says "It wasn't a popular decision etc..."
1 point for whenever Brokaw says "Republicans are getting ready to paint you as _______, what do you say to that?" (2 points if the blank is "unpatriotic", 3 points if the blank is "liberal")
2 points every time Brokaw says "Northeastern Liberal"
3 points every time Joe Lieberman says it
1 point for every time Kerry mentions Vietnam
2 points every time Kerry says "Kennedy" (-2 points if it's Ted Kennedy)
1 point for every time someone mentions "Clinton" (-2 points if it's Hillary)
1 point for every time Clark says "Arkansas"
1 point for every time Dean says "Iraq" and "Kucinich" in the same answer
5 points if Kucinich uses a question to ask the other candidates will they or won't they withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO? (Bonus Point if Kucinich has a graph, Bonus Point if Brokaw makes them raise their hands.)
15 points if Tom Brokaw says "Joe-mentum"
30 points if John Kerry says "Joe-mentum"
-10 if Joe Lieberman does

I'll come back to tell you how many points are rewarded.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Joe Trippi Out of Dean Campaign 

Part of me was voting for Joe Trippi when I was voting for Howard Dean. I hope we see something new from him soon.

German Secret Service: "Blah Blah Blah"  

The United States was warned of impending September 11 terrorist attacks by an Iranian spy, but ignored him, German secret service agents testified yesterday in the trial of an alleged al-Qaida terrorist. - the Guardian

Clearly it's not true. The President said so. Nevermind, I shouldn't have brought it up. Sorry everyone.

What Happened to the Youth Vote 

Here's an amazingly lucid theory from

Because the two political parties have become polarized on abortion, it seems reasonable to assume that more potential Democrats than potential Republicans have been aborted. After all, their would-have-been mothers show through their actions that they agree with the Democratic position on the issue. Result: fewer younger voters in Democratic primaries, as we saw last night, and probably a boost for Republican candidates in the general election.

Who Put The Media Spin Chocolate in my Job-Hemorrhaging Peanut Butter?  

Now you can watch Fox News inside Walmart.

Fox News will supply live breaking-news segments and alerts for retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s in-store network, which has multiple monitors in some 2,450 stores nationwide and generates more than 150 million impressions monthly, according to Nielsen Media Research. -c/o cablenewser

A corporate marketer that pressures American companies to export jobs to stay "competitively priced", and a corporate media giant that favors the administration that favors that corporate strategy, then: synergize! America doesn't have a chance.

While I Was Busy 

Here's some stuff that happened while I was busy running around pretending I was a journalist:

1. David Kay, the guy in charge of finding Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction, says: "I don't think they existed. What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the [1991] Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s." What the fuck? Haven't we heard this four thousand times so far? Powell said it, Kay said it, Hans Blix said it, Joseph Wilson said it. By the way, remember the links to Al Qaida? So far, debunked by Colin Powell, George W Bush, and the papers Saddam had on him when he was captured. But don't worry, your tax dollars won't be wasted investigating all this nonsense:

Democrats demanded that an independent panel examine how the National Intelligence Estimate — the 2002 document that Mr. Bush used as the basis of his comments that Iraq posed a direct threat to the United States and its allies — could have been so flawed. The White House expressed no interest in the formation of such a panel. - NY Times (my emphasis)

Furthermore, Dick Cheney says, "There's still work to be done to ascertain exactly what's there, and I am not prepared to make a final judgment until they (inspectors) have completed their work."

2. By 7:35 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, all five hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77 had been tagged by a passenger pre-screening program as "a risk to aircraft safety," and four of them had set off magnetometer alarms at airport checkpoints, according to staff reports presented Tuesday to the independent 9/11 Commission. - Newsday


According to President Match, my ideal candidate is Dennis Kucinich, followed by Al Sharpton, followed by, yes, yes: John Kerry, with 84% compatibility, then Dean with 76%.

But if Kucinich is 100%, then what happens when a candidate finally comes who advocates a division of productivity increases from new technology between industry and labor, until the work week is abolished and all labor is controlled by autonomous robots who are maintained by a voluntary military/service structure?

Because that guy? He's my guy.

Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Republican Victories 

I've come up with an idea. Listen up: If you're like me, you have friends, relatives, or work associates who happen to think that the Republican party, and President Bush in particular, are good for America. You also know where this person lives, and what kind of car they drive. So here is my humble suggestion to you for November 1st, 2004: "Misplace" their car keys.

Make plans to visit as many of these friends as possible on the eve of the general election. "Accidentally" take their car keys with you. Or perhaps, go out to a bar, and act as the designated driver, and don't give back their keys until November 3rd. One person may not be all that many. But if fifty democrats did this to eleven republican friends, that would be the margin of victory in the last Florida election.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Kerry Takes It 

Very good news for John Kerry and Howard Dean in NH. Bad news for Clark, Lieberman, and Edwards, but Edwards can call it a safe loss. The race is back where I expected it to be, with Dean facing off with an untested Kerry instead of Clark. Dean is facing upwards momentum, Kerry is coasting on the glory phase of frontrunnership which will have its brakes slammed as soon as he gets the test by fire that Dean got.

Just for your own information, here's the real results, compared to the ARG poll and the Zogby polls from yesterday:

Kerry 38.5% (ARG: 35%) (Zogby: 37%)
Dean 26.2% (A: 25%) (Z: 24%)
Clark 12.4% (A: 13%) (Z: 9%)
Edwards 12.1 % (A: 15%) (Z: 12%)
Lieberman 8.6% (A: 6%) (Z: 9%)
Kucinich 1.4% (A: 1%) (Z: 3%)

Also interesting, in NH, if you want to change party affiliation, you have to write in a Republican name on the Democratic Party Ballot, or the other way around. There were 103 Write In's for GW on the Democratic Ballot, and about 4300 total write ins for Democrats on the Republican ballot (nearly 1400 for Kerry alone). Bush won New Hampshire by only 7200 votes in 2000. Maybe this is meaningless, but it could be a signal of a greater siphoning of Republican votes than Democratic votes. GW only got 85% of Republican votes cast.

The New Hampshire Primary 

Here's some direct links to past coverage of the week leading up to the NH Primary. An asterix indicates on the ground reports by yours truly:

Howard Dean, 2AM Monday*
Lieberman and the Union Leader Endorsement
Wesley Clark on the State of the Union*
John Edwards, Portsmouth*
NH Ballot's Republican Roundup
Dennis Kucinich at the Catholic Voters Forum*
Joe Lieberman in Salem*
John Kerry in Hampton*

Dixville Notch, NH: First In The Nation Primary 

If you don't know why Dixville Notch and Hart's Location matter, it's probably because they don't. Dixville Notch is the first primary in the country since 1960, with 26 registered voters. They don't even have a record of prediction. The reason it matters, outside of any town with only 30 voters needs some spark every four years, is because they start off election day, and the only numbers the morning voters are going to see or hear are the following:

Dixville Notch: 26 Voters

Bush: 11
Clark: 8
Kerry: 3
Edwards: 2
Dean: 1
Lieberman: 1

Hart's Location: 30 Voters

Bush: 13
Clark: 6
Kerry: 5
Dean: 3
Edwards: 2
Vincent Hamm: 1

Monday, January 26, 2004

Kerry "Connects"  

From the Kerry Campaign:

"Voting in New Hampshire starts in a matter of hours and John Kerry is working overtime, fighting for every vote from Derry to Salem and back again."

The thing is, Derry is about a 12 minute drive from Salem. Round trip takes about a half hour. It's almost as good as saying "We're calling every voter from A to C."

Kerry: Hampton Fire Department, Hampton, NH 


The line for John Kerry was the largest I'd seen for any single candidate. According to the announcer, they had to turn people away, fire code being a major concern at a fire department, I'd imagine. The inside of the fire department is pretty big, too, so it wasn't a "packed room" in the Joe Lieberman sense.

The problem was that John Kerry wasn't showing up. By the time they ran through their A-list speakers (Whom I didn't recognize) they were left with two local representatives who struggled to fill dead space. My notes simply have the word: "Pledge Drive-esque." They got a local guy up to start telling jokes, in the famed "groaner" style beloved by all politicians. We were then told that Kerry would be about a half an hour. So they started getting anyone in the crowd who had any connection to the campaign to get up and speak: the guy who organized a "draft Kerry" movement back in California in the early 80's, more local representatives, a New Jersey Kerry supporter. The in between banter was totally great. At one point, in a desperate bid to kill time, they invited one of the 12 year old daughters of a local rep to come up and tell a joke with a sincere, "Because we're Democrats, and we all know that Democrats support the children." They spent some time talking about the quality of Kerry's bumper stickers, "They're real convenient, you just peel them off and they'll stay." As a reward for enduring this, an announcement was made that certain cars were about to be towed.

After an hour, I was about to leave. A few people did, apparently. But then Kerry bounded on stage to U2's "Beautiful Day". He gave a shorter version of his stump speech, and for whatever reason, looked directly into my eyes for a good while at the start of it (here's a picture). Then he asked for questions.

A man with an "X" on his hat asked John Kerry about resonating outside of New England, and he said that Kerry could prove it to him by explaining the relevance of the cultural icon on his hat. He was a white guy, and John Kerry didn't know what it was. "The Roman Numeral 10?" he asked. "I don't know, tell me?"

It was Malcolm X! Of course.

John Kerry then explained what Howard Deans ideas on race are, without giving any direct credit to Howard Dean. He did this on "Face the Nation" as well, talking about the South, literally everything Dean said on the subject, except Kerry didn't say "Confederate Flag." Later on he stole an Edwards line on "banning Government lobbyists". Kerry morphed the Malcolm X question into an answer that incorporated "anger against institutions" and then he incorporated Halliburton and presto, Malcolm X turned into "kicking out corporate cronyism." It was a not so subtle switch from a raw question into a talking point.

I should probably add that Kerry has passed "The LaRouche Test". When he was interrupted by a lone LaRouche supporter who was greeted with Boos, Kerry asked the crowd to hear the man out. He gave the man a fair amount of time, and when asked if he would debate LaRouche, he said no. Then he wrapped up.

Kerry's policies and ideas aren't all that bad. They are pretty much the standard Democratic line, he's no revolutionary but he'd do fine as a President. What worries me is that his ideas seem picked up from other candidates, a sort of "Democratic Primary Greatest Hits." A lot of the undecideds that I talked to at events said they'd love to see all the candidates rolled up into one, I think that's what Kerry is going for. But how long can imitating Dean and Edwards work? How does that reflect the decisions he'll make as President? It's all fine and good if he can promise to ask himself "WWDD?" before every policy decision, but something tells me Howard Dean is not going to be Kerry's chief of staff.

I've been forced to accept Kerry by default, even as I have no idea how he can get away with statements like "We're not going to send Americans to war over oil"- a sort of hollow, amorphous anti-war line for a war he voted for. I want to teach Kerry a lesson for not standing up and representing my interests for a war I knew was full of shit. My question to him would have been: "The Democratic Party lent its support to Dean last year in order to teach you a lesson. What lesson did you learn?" Clearly, one lesson he learned is that he ought to start pretending he's an "anti-war candidate", but that doesn't resolve the question of judgment. We all know Iraq is fucked, now. How can a candidate that got us into it get elected simply by pretending he didn't?

He also seems like he wants to convince me that he's a Kennedy. Kennedy was mentioned in Kerry's answer on faith, Ted Kennedy travels with him, the opening speakers talked about how Kennedy and Kerry are both from Massachusetts and both named John, as if this was a valid concern among voters. He also seems completely self conscious of any appearance of arrogance, but that doesn't stop it from coming out: "If I am president- I say when I am president...", he jokes, then turns somber and mumbles a forced "No, nah. We have a long way to go, and we all know that."

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Lieberman: Salem, NH American Legion 


Joe Lieberman wants you to know that he has integrity. The bus he travels on says it on the side, next to his picture, and then on the door the bus is labeled "Integrity One." But outside of integrity, what is there to really say about Joe Lieberman? Lieberman is a "slow down" Democrat, which is certain to appeal to most Americans. But when I look at his vision for America, it doesn't seem inspiring to me. It's a vision where the entire country is ruled reasonably and new laws aren't passed and old ones aren't repealed, an Opinion-Pollocracy. But while that could kill some candidates, it works for Lieberman because he seems to have grown up with a very sincere position that completely reflects the absolute middle of the road on every subject imaginable. He's not the guy who says he's rooting for the team of whatever state he's in, he's the guy who genuinely grew up with a love of every team from every state in the union. I wanted to ask him about bold visions, his ideas for what America can be, but the Lieberman agenda sits down and says that this is pretty much it, that Bill Clinton is as good as it gets. Jobs moving overseas? "The world changes," says Joe Lieberman. "And I hate to say it, but we aren't going to get those jobs back." That's not really what works as a solution for me. No mention of race or gay rights. Some words thrown at the environmentalists that showed up in bright orange jumpsuits, but nothing too inspiring.

The crowd was small, about 1/4th of it was the press, but the venue was small too. Politicians would love to hold these rallies in a broom closet if they could so the pictures look better, and Lieberman found a dream venue with the American Legion hall. In high school, the American Legion was barely enough to hold the hardcore straightedge kids who would go there for shows, inevitably the place ended up destroyed every Friday night. The Lieberman crowd didn't have to worry about that.

He supports the war, and so did the room. Lieberman talked about John McCain supporters who are now endorsing him. But in spite of all those trappings, you still get the feeling that Joe Lieberman is a pure blood Democrat. He's certainly on the right wing of the Democratic party, but he is still miles away from Republican values, and it probably made the room full of anti-Bush Republicans nervous. Excepting his stump speech, most of the people in the room barely applauded, but that may have been because there was no room to move your arms. At no one point can I recall everyone applauding at once for any given answer. I got the sense that the room wasn't filled with enthusiastic Democrats, it was filled with Republicans who wanted a Republican primary and instead were forced to find the least offensive Democrat. One of the people made sure to mention that people could write Joe Lieberman in on the NH Republican ballot.

That's all I got for Joe. He looks like he does on television. He talks like he does on television. The room full of supporters mostly identified as Independents or Republicans who are switching parties to vote for Joe Lieberman: Just like you see on television.

Radio-Blog Outsourcing (With Pledge Drive) 

It appears I am the sole ground blogger for the New Hampshire primary on the Dean for America blog. Hi, Howard! As a result of my shenanigans with Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark and John Edwards, I've not been keeping up with the blogs so much this week, so blog outsourcing will be short and interestingly enough, it's all radio links. So, in the spirit of NPR, I'm also going to interject a pledge drive.

Starting now:

So far, I've seen pretty much everyone running for President. The guy who makes the most sense to me is still Howard Dean. If you're at all like me, then you're having some doubts, but I have been hitting the concrete in a search for a man who can do half the job that Dean can do, and I haven't seen him yet. Dean is a candidate that can do it. So, I am making my first unabashed pitch:

Donate, Already. If you haven't given money to the Dean campaign, do it! Then you can tell all your friends when you're retired about how you gave to the grassroots insurgency. A dollar not spent on Dean is a dollar for Bush. They've brought out the bat and it is crucial at this point to throw some change into the Democracy column of campaign financing. I know this might sound dramatic? But here it is anyway: This might be the last chance we've got. The next primary is in Edwards territory, and Dean is going to need some serious mo. Give now, or you have no right to complain when you're forced to look at a Kerry/Lieberman 2004 bumper sticker. Dick Cheney said it best today, in a speech to the WEF this week: "There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve."

Okay, end of pledge drive.

Next: the two most important media of the new millennium collide when Christopher Lydon hosts a radio show and sustained blog conversation tonight (Sunday) at 9PM. It is meta-blogging to be certain, a look at what blogs are and can be, in politics and beyond. (I'm guessing). Make sure to call in, and check out this post for some links to great and essential reading on the new politics.

On the Media has got a radio piece this week about the Wilgoren Watch and watchblogging in general.

Is it a coincidence that during the Dean Scream blitz, the theme for This American Life this week was: "People return to the scene of the crime where they should have spoken clearly, plainly, forcefully ... to review what the hell went wrong, and in a few cases, to fix it" ?

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