Sunday, February 29, 2004


Judge Scalia, speaking on the Supreme Court's decision to allow states to refuse financing students seeking thology degrees: "When the public's freedom of conscience is invoked to justify denial of equal treatment, benevolent motives shade into indifference and ultimately into repression."

Judge Scalia's dissenting opinion on the SCOTUS allowing ass sex in Texas:
"Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct. I noted in an earlier opinion the fact that the American Association of Law Schools (to which any reputable law school must seek to belong) excludes from membership any school that refuses to ban from its job-interview facilities a law firm (no matter how small) that does not wish to hire as a prospective partner a person who openly engages in homosexual conduct. [...] One of the most revealing statements in today’s opinion is the Court’s grim warning that the criminalization of homosexual conduct is “an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres.” [..] It is clear from this that the Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed. Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive. The Court views it as “discrimination” which it is the function of our judgments to deter."

Oh I Bet It's Probably Nothing! 

Hey, my guess is that this little bill, up for vote in congress, isn't really anything, eh? I mean, what could this mean: To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes? What's all that crap supposed to mean? Probably nothin, eh?

Did I happen to mention, by the way, that I am a Liberal Quaker?

Oh and I have no idea what this could be, either, which is being passed around the senate oh-so-quietly (don't wake up the election year!) and says, enigmatically, that "it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a two-year period of national service, unless exempted, either as a member of an active or reserve component of the armed forces or in a civilian capacity that promotes national defense."

I said I was a Liberal Quaker, right, guys?


Today, "And Then..." is gonna reach a landmark of 10,000 visits. Thanks everybody!

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Sunday Blog Outsourcing 

First off, just wanted to mention that on "Songs in the Key of Springfield", the Simpsons have a wonderful song about Constitutional Amendments. I heard it on the local college station recently and thought it was from "School House Rock" because it was so dead on. It's called "The Day the Violence Died."

"I'm an amendment to be/ yes, an amendment to be/ and I'm hoping that they'll ratify me/ there's a lot flag burners who have got too much freedom/ I want to make it legal for policemen to beat'em/ cuz there's limits to our liberties/ at least I hope and pray that there are/ because the liberal freaks have gone too far!" (spoken: Child: why don't we just make a law against flag burning? The Singing Amendment: because that law would be unconstitutional! But if we change the constitution then.... Child: Then we can make all sorts of crazy laws!) [note: oh pisser! looks like craptastic has beat me to the punch!]

Meanwhile, friends, there is a dying fairy that can only be saved by your clicks.

New blog alert: New World Blogger, say hello.

Make Me A Commentator has a post that is not only delightfully challenging to liberal orthodoxy on free trade, but also references Toby Zeigler and Paul Krugman, so how can you go wrong?

Chris Brown runs into John Edwards in the food court. Sort of. I actually ran into Dennis Kucinich in downtown Cambridge, Massachusetts the other day. Harvard does not like Ralph Nader this year, it seems like, and it's interesting and kind of telling. When I volunteered for the Greens it was in Cambridge, and in fact, I think Nader won in Cambridge in 2000. But I could be wrong. Anyway, Dennis Kucinich had an overflow crowd at the Unitarian Church. People were talking about Nader as they were leaving- they don't like him. Take it as a litmus test. Or else, you can take the vast majority of blogs that are angry at Nader for running this week. Words on a Page for example.

Nader mentioned the creative potential of the third world, and Rivka has a classic example.

Obviously, the big news is the Gay Marriage Amendment. Mercury 23, and Rubberhose have some comments.

Echidne has got a post on the matter of Germans hating America. The old joke is, "If we're pissing off the ______, we must be doing something right!" (Guffaw, guffaw). So the current joke is: "If we're pissing off the Germans, French, Russians, British, Mexicans, Canadians, Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Australians, we must be doing something right!" (guffaw, guffaw).

Corrente with some news on the little matter of importing books from the Nation's enemies. It is now illegal to edit them for clarity, since that would, you know, provide a service to a country with which trade is illegal.

Edward Pig is just really great this week. An open letter on the Constitutional Amendment, some words of assurance on JFK2, an update on Katherine Gun (she's free!) and more.

Archy is keeping tabs on Roy Moore so I don't have to.

Sunday Morning Laptop Reading: Blogamay has clearly done a lot of research on the matter of Roe v Wade.

PS: Transformers.

Oh Lord 

It seems an entry on Bill Frist is now on the very first page of search results for his name on google. As a result, my blog now gets something like 300 hits a day for people searching for Bill Fucking Frist.

I've got to say though, there's something that gives me a warm feeling about having my blog be a top search result for both "Bill Frist" and "Gay Penguin".

Friday, February 27, 2004

Is Idaho Under Gay Attack? No! 

In Idaho, a state Senate committee voted 5-4 to kill a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have banned same-sex marriages. "If I thought for one minute that this would threaten marriage in Idaho, I would vote for it," said Sen. Brad Little, one of three Republicans to reject the measure. "The sanctity of marriage is not under attack in Idaho." - AP

I Failed You 

Readers, I failed you: I knew about The Grey Album weeks ago, and never posted it, because it isn't entirely political. But now we're in the middle of the new culture wars, it's might be worth mentioning an album you can download (legally in that the artist is okay with it, illegally in that the album consists entirely of uncleared samples) that combines rapper Jay Z's accappella raps over sample of the Beatles "White Album." It all comes full circle, it seems like.

"Encore" is the only song on it that isn't brilliant, and maybe "Dirt Off Your Shoulders." Everything else on there would qualify as one of the best hip hop songs I've heard this year. If you're into it, you can also check out cuechamps' mp3 blog, which is a good source for IDM / Hip Hop etc in this vein (and where I was originally tipped off to this whole project.)

Log Cabin's Burnin', Log Cabin's On Fire 

In a letter to the chair of the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, [Ohio -ed] John Farina, a former official in the county's party organization and former president of the Cleveland chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, ended his 20-year association with the GOP. He also withdrew his candidacy for the Board of Elections' central committee in the March 2 primary. Farina, 35, said in the letter that the president's announcement on Tuesday forced his decision.

"Quite frankly I'm sick over it," Farina wrote. "It is an insult to me as a lifelong Republican and it does nothing to strengthen marriage. It is an obviously political move that will do nothing but divide the nation even further. So much for Mr. Bush being a uniter."
- c/o by way of Buzzflash.

The Log Cabin Republicans in New Hampshire are still endorsing Bush, apparently. One wonders just what Bush has to do to them before they withdraw support?


The best/worst moments of the debate:


SHARPTON: The issue in 2004 is not if gays marry. The issue is not who you go to bed with. The issue is whether either of you have a job when you get up in the morning.


SHARPTON: Senator Edwards, are you saying, since you agree that there's a lot of problems in the death penalty -- and no one has mentioned the racial disparity about those on death row -- that therefore, you would suspend your support of capital punishment until we dealt with those problems?

EDWARDS: No, I would not.

SHARPTON: So you would proceed even with the flaws?

EDWARDS: I think those changes need to be made in the system. We need to make those changes. I've been fighting for those changes in the United States Senate. But that does not...

SHARPTON: But you would let them continue?

EDWARDS: But that does not mean -- and I think states can -- for example, North Carolina can evaluate whether its own system is working. I think they vary from state-to-state. The state of Illinois did that and came to a conclusion that their system was not working. I think we should support that if they make that determination.

SHARPTON: That sounds like states' rights again. I don't agree with that.

EDWARDS: No, it is not.

Sigh. It seems like Kerry really is the best guy, and I'm rooting for him. I like that Edwards is against NAFTA, but I don't like that he's pro-death penalty (and yeah, I know Dean was. I traded that issue in for the sake of Dean, but I can't for Edwards.)

And no more money to candidates until the general election. I gave to Edwards and second guessed it, and then I gave money to a Democrat running to take a Republican seat in South Dakota, who, two days later, came out in favor of the Hate Amendment. That's about $80.00 down the toilet to candidates I don't even like. I'm all for getting a Democratic Majority, but I would like it to be a progressive Democratic Majority.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Invisible Homosexuals Cause Conservative Panic 

Never mind the War in Iraq, or the Terror Threat, or the oncoming oil crisis, forget the deficit spiraling out of control to the point where Greenspan is saying we need to cut social security benefits. No, no, what has people up in arms across the country is this:

The newly elected president of the Rose Parade says he was not trying to put himself in the middle of the furor over gay rights. But that is exactly what happened when he picked as the parade theme for next year "Celebrate Family."

What happened then is amazing. Read this story carefully. Conservative groups started emailing the Rose Bowl concerned that Gay Rights Groups would try to enter the parade. None of them are, so far, and none of them did. But then, our good friend Randy Thomassen of the Coalition for California's families didn't seem to care. He issued a statement claiming that Gay Groups were trying to get a float into the parade.

"Homosexual activist groups are now trying to hijack the Rose Parade and are pushing themselves into this as a public relations stunt to try to switch topics away from family and toward the homosexual agenda," warned Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for California Families.

Accurate, of course, except in that it is a lie, writ large on an agenda of "morality". As you see, a few paragraphs down, the article casually mentions that, in fact, "So far, no gay organizations have stepped forward to say they will enter floats."

Later, "Focus on the Family founder James Dobson also urged listeners of his daily radio broadcast to express their outrage." Outrage, that is, over there being a parade that Gay Groups might be able to participate in, but aren't. What is the outrage that people are supposed to be registering?

Shameful Plea 

It seems that has decided that the "Gay Penguin for America" website qualifies as humor. They've linked to it, and now I am being bombarded with 250 page views per hour, and it's two in the freakin' morning (by comparison, the website you're reading now gets 174 hits a day at its peak). So. What does this mean?

It means, if this goes at all like the New York Times mention a while ago, that I may be shelling out up to $1500 in server overuse fees.

So. Do me a favor, if you will: go buy some Gay Penguin for America Merchandise. You totally know you want it anyway. (I suggest the sweatshirt?) Or better yet, help me out by donating to me directly here.

Or just let me know you've contributed to some worthy charity so I can feel better about displacing my massive charitable/political donation schedule for a few months.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Seems that the DU has individually contacted members of the House to ask if they support the Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage. It looks like they don't have the numbers to pass it. (c/o Atrios).

Just so y'all know, the legislation is here and it has a handy little wording that could be used to ban civil unions, too: Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Hey, Minnesota: What are you going to do to get this asshole out of office? Here's a complete list of all the Nazi Motherfuckers (including some very confused Democrats) you can "thank" for being in favor of the amendment.

Letters to Congresswoman Musgrave, Part One 

I'm going to start a little side project here, called "Letters to Congresswoman Musgrave." She's the woman introducing the bill to the House concerning the Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment. This is the first one:

Dear Representative Musgrave,

While we are looking at a proposed Constitutional Amendment banning Homosexuals from Marriage, I would also encourage you to act to ban the practice known as Homosexual Recruitment. As we know, Homosexuals are constantly trying to undermine American Values, and this is done partly by way of training children not to reproduce, and instead to come over to the side of gays. Every year, more and more children announce that they are homosexual, at a staggering pace. By the end of 2045, we may no longer have any children interested in God's Blessed Gift of Procreation. The end result for America is obvious: A deadlock on population growth, a devastated economy, and an influx of Immigrants taking this soil from its native born sons. I am on your side, Congresswoman Musgrave: Gays are terrorists who launch slow-detonating population bombs of homosexual non-reproductive sex on the streets of San Francisco, instead of dirty bombs of nuclear chaos in New York.

The Homosexual Recruitment must end. In so doing, I encourage you to support legislation banning Homosexuals from recruitment, including an immediate withdrawal of television shows which spread the propaganda of the enemy, such as "Q*eer Eye for the Straight Guy"- a show which, though I have never seen, I am told is based on the notion of converting straight American men to the side of Pagan Homosexuality. Such a Bill would require that Homosexuals not only be banned from marriage, but also from teaching in our schools, our sports, and in our boardrooms. As we all know, teachers and businessmen are models for our children, and should they be able to see a Homosexual score a homerun, or teach them physics, they may inadvertently begin to favor homosexual urges in their own susceptible, developing bodies and minds, by associating the excitement of sports or math with the excitement of the Gay Lifestyle.

But we are also faced with another daunting task- terrorist "sleeper cells" of Homosexuals, Homosexuals that are not "out of the closet." Here, I have a question for you. Given the problems faced by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in which closeted Homosexuals can still derive perverted pleasures while watching our brother soldiers die on the battlefield, how do we know if someone is part of the Gay Menace? Are there any distinguishing characteristics or cultural cues to determine if someone is a gay? Perhaps, once we complete our missions to insure that homosexuals are eventually classified as terrorists, we can extend some of our civil corps to do research on individuals suspect of having Gay leanings. Since our terror alert level color chart has been so effective in this Brave President's lead in the war on terror, perhaps we can have a color status for people who are suspected of homosexual tendencies, which could be marked on job applications for Federal Service and Teaching Positions? John Ashcroft is a fine Christian who I am sure would support such legislation. Perhaps, much like the liberal thwarted TIPS program, we could train communities to report on each others homosexuality. If you need agents to go into the field and attempt to seduce men as tests of their Heterosexual will and rigor against gay temptations, I would volunteer in a heartbeat. For work, so degrading, done for the sake of my God and my country becomes an honor.

Yours In Jesus,
Alphonso Heteroni

Siding With Scalia 

I'm on the same side of an issue today with Judge Scalia and Thomas. Who would have guessed that would have happened?

I was watching this one, and Atrios posted the Supreme Court's decision today. The case involved a student with an academic and economic standing that qualified him for a State Promise Scholarship, which was then denied when he decided he wanted to go into the Ministry. The court decided that that's okay, because forcing the state to pay for theology classes constitutes an endorsement of Religion, and because "denying state funding to Davey didn't keep him from practicing his religion." Scalia dissented saying it "discriminates against religion." Which, while true, is also what the Constitution does when it says that there shall be no formal endorsements of Religion. As a nation, we can endorse a language, a law, a constitutional amendment, or a football team, but we cannot endorse a Religion or a religious value.

But I do find it interesting just when the Supreme Court decides on separation of Church and State and when it does not. If, ultimately, having state scholarship money used for Theology classes is a violation of the division between Church and State, then I wait with baited breath to see if they allow a Gay Marriage ban to be ruled Constitutionally Valid.

Personally, I think that if a student is eligible for state money for college tuition, he should be able to pursue what s/he wants with it. I don't think the state should have been required to give him that scholarship, as Scalia and Thomas wanted, I just think the state should have chosen to. While it could be said that taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill for Religious training, they already do in some states-- by paying for school vouchers that send students to Private Religious Schools-- and we already give tax payer's money to Religious Charities. (Unless they're Islamic, in which case we close them down and investigate them for terror ties). All of which is stuff I think is far more threatening to the separation of Church and State than allowing a poor kid, who already qualifies for the scholarship, to become a minister. Paradoxically, a Philosophy degree would be permissible.

I certainly don't like the idea of paying people to become Ministers or Priests, but I am sure there's plenty who don't like the idea of their tax dollars going towards a Grad Students research paper on Existentialism, or Marxist Criticisms of the Catholic Hierarchy. You know this country is on the right course when everyone is annoyed in equal share.

Don't weep too hard for the student involved, however. He's now a first year Law Student at Harvard University. Precisely what we need in this world: A Harvard Educated Lawyer with a Religious Axe to Grind against the Supreme Court.

Sorry For Trashing The Discourse Again 

A purely idiotic write up of a plan to keep "The Vagina Monologues" from being performed in Catholic Universities. By Students. Makes sense:

"...I have a suggestion for bringing the "V Monologues" to a halt. You get jock fraternities to put on the play, casting their "little sisters" as the performers. No changes necessary; keep the script intact. [...] Overnight, from being a bold and disturbing exploration of emerging values, the "V Monologues" will become a threat to women's safety and an insult to feminists everywhere."

But I'm the one "trashing the discourse" by calling them idiots. Such a brilliant trap they've made, eh?

The Rhetorical Staring Contest 

I should be clear, when I say "go fuck yourself", it's not a matter of anger at the opposed position. I like Republicans, I like Democrats, it's all fine and good. I respect people when they make conclusions that lead them somewhere, and are open to having them challenged in order to define where we end up. I can handle that kind of dialogue.

What I don't like is people who set up some political goal they want to achieve- such as, say, making sure gays don't get married- and then reverse engineer the positions they would have to take to get there. When one of those positions falls through or is exposed as ridiculous, and they keep harping on talking points to frustrate whoever they're arguing with. Because, in the broken excuse for modern day political discourse, we don't actually debate anymore. We see who can hold on to their point the longest on national television. The first one to lose their cool with frustration, apparently, is the "loser."

Today some fascist Republican Congresswoman Musgrove, sponsor of the Gay Marriage Amendment Bill, was on Larry King Live with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Here's the conversation:

NEWSOM: Well, she didn't say what either presidential candidate said. She said separate but unequal. At least there's an argument being made by the presidential candidates that the thousand-plus benefits afforded opposite-gender couples, married couples, can at least be considered as an extended benefit with civil unions. The bottom line is, visitation, the rights of pension benefits, health care benefits, inheritance rights are not afforded opposite-gender -- are afforded opposite-gender couples but not same-sex couples. So to say that's not discriminatory to me is abjectly remarkable when, in fact, it is discriminatory. And she's preaching, at least, a separate but unequal standard, and it's just simply not the world that I represent out here in the great state of California.

MUSGRAVE: Are you going to have polygamy day? Are you going to have a polygamy day? Are you going to have a group marriage day? How far is this going to go, Mr. Mayor? I'd just like to know how far you're going to go in defining the law. And please answer that. Is polygamy OK?

NEWSOM: It's -- you know, it's the typical red herring, and it's almost stale rhetoric. It's the same rhetoric to get off the fundamental...

MUSGRAVE: It's a legitimate question.

NEWSOM: ... the right of two -- the right of two people...

MUSGRAVE: Is polygamy OK?

NEWSOM: ... to come together...

MUSGRAVE: If you blur the lines of the definition of marriage, Mr. Mayor, how far do you go? I'm really interested. Do you support polygamy?

NEWSOM: I don't support discrimination, and I feel I have an obligation to protect and preserve...

MUSGRAVE: You haven't answered the question.

NEWSOM: Because it's a red herring and it's stale, divisive rhetoric.

MUSGRAVE: If you think it's discrimination...

NEWSOM: You can do better.

MUSGRAVE: Do you support polygamy? How about group marriage? I'd like an answer.

So, the right wing has their own version of "Go Fuck Yourself". Musgrave's response to a Gay Man on the panel, later on:

CALLER: My question is directed to everybody. Seems to me that the problem is the word marriage. What role does the state play dictating what a marriage is? [...]

ALLEN: To me the debate goes two ways, you either take away the special rights and privileges that go along with a marriage for everybody or allow it for everybody. If we can get civil union under the law, than I can decide whether I'm allowed to marry in a church.

MUSGRAVE: What about incest? What about incest? What about group marriage. What about polygamy.

Really elevating the discourse by totally not saying "go fuck yourself" to anybody.

Political Discourse in this country is usually nothing more than a rhetorical staring contest. That's the kind of debate that Musgrave was trying to have- the kind of debate where if Newsom blinked, said something hasty out of frustration, she could claim a victory. When it gets to that point, I think I'd rather not pretend that Musgrave is engaging in some sort of "important political discourse", I'd rather they just say, "Go Fuck Yourself."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Bush Expands Fear-based Campaign to Include Hate 

Bush's Amendment

Captain Spectacular announced today that marriage is "the most fundamental institution of civilization." And he wants an amendment to codify it.

So he's heeding to activists (known for being activists) who say that judges (who are hired and promoted based on their records of impartiality) were being "activists" by interpreting "liberty and justice for all" to mean that all people are to be given liberty and justice, not just straight people.

But you know, why not help Bush out? Here's a recommendation for the parts of the Constitution that ought to be amended. If we're going to ban gay marriage, let's do it all out. So here we go, with the suggested changes in italics:


"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice for all heterosexuals, insure domestic heterosexual tranquility, provide for the common defense of marriage, promote the general welfare of heterosexuals, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our heterosexual posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article IV:

Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state unless a state chooses to honor the marriage of homosexuals. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

Section 2. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all heterosexual privileges and immunities of heterosexual citizens in the several states.

Amendment IX:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, unless they are homosexuals wishing to be married.

Amendment X:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the heterosexual people not seeking to marry a person of the same gender.

Make sense? Yeah, me neither.

I Am An Angry Young Man.  

I think that I need to decide, once and for all, whether or not telling people to "go fuck yourself" is endearing somehow. I think it's important for people who come over to blogs and post bullshit to be told to go fuck themselves, because I don't think people who don't think about things or do research on the subjects they try to condescend me with should be able to get away without direct confrontation. The facts are on the table and I am tired of being polite. I am tired of being on the defensive. Our ideas are better. Our fundamental framework is more fair. We have a better heritage.

The Bush admin likes Leo Strauss. They admit it. Leo Strauss believed in the "noble lie," the idea that you can rightfully deceive people if it is for their own good, but are unwilling to do something based on the truth. So then we have an organization running this country that sincerely does not trust the public to make it's own decisions on matters of war and peace. I look through the news and three times a day, at least, there is something that infuriates me coming out of the White House. While this administration is in office, I will suffer no apologies for it. I am no longer interested in a debate on whether or not George W Bush is a good leader. The time for that has passed, and so I say, these trolls can take their ignorant little defenses elsewhere. The period of debate has ended. From now on, Bush supporters, you are going to be told, quite simply, to go fuck yourself.

I only worry that you, dear reader, won't like that about me, because it means I am mean or something. Intolerant. Mostly: I worry it means I am "as bad as they are." But I seriously don't see the point of "fair minded debate" with some of these people. I already did the research. The evidence is on my side, the facts are on my side. I don't need to be dishonest to humiliate them. I know what I am talking about, I already know the good and the bad of what I believe.

I have to ask myself about who I am as a person, I guess. I think giving up the pretense of "engaging" / "convincing" the right is better for me. Because there's plenty of reasons to engage with the fascist new wave, but conversion takes more energy than I care to extend to that purpose. Convincing people really isn't my strength. I get furious and throw tantrums, and I think maybe instead of trying not to throw tantrums (and then losing whenever the tantrum gets thrown) that maybe I just ought to focus on throwing tantrums in a really constructive way. Certainly engagement is the more noble option. But anger is an important energy too. Perhaps there is such a thing as constructive progressive anger after all- and maybe that's why the right wants to put "anger" into a box.

I'm not advocating violence, or emotional abuse. I'm just saying, go fuck yourself, troll. Your attempt to annoy me only mobilizes me, and your condescension only reinforces my intellectual rigor. And, you're a shit head.

Al Franken says "fuck" a lot, so I think it's okay. Can I be smart and hostile at the same time? Can one be taken seriously and still tell people to go fuck themselves? What do you think? It's the old tolerance vs intolerance question, it's a question of who to be tolerant of and who not to tolerate. Tolerating everything is tolerating nothing, or whatever. What do you think? Is there a need for a passionate progressive movement that has no real interest in engaging the complete, undressed absurdity of the opposition and focuses on its own alternatives instead? Particularly when the opposition is such a condescending group that shares a legacy of fact-crushing with Nazis? I'm not the one who degraded the discourse, am I? I was born to be pragmatically idealistic.

It's not even like I hate Republicans. I don't even particularly like Democrats. What I cannot stand is the way these distinctions blind everyone to the godamned truth. It's like, John McCain, maybe I'd love John McCain. I don't care what party he's in. What if Bill O'Reilly wasn't a fucking liar? It'd be great. "No Spin". But can't I be righteously angry at peoples denial of reality? "Well I voted republican, so I'd better make sure that I denounce anything negative that is said about my president." Look at the facts. Look at the fucking facts!

I'd like your comments, because I have no idea if what I am saying is liberal blasphemy, trite vitriol, or cliche angry liberal ranting. Cast your votes, please.

[edited to remove a comment that made it look like this rant was directed at Christopher Lydon's Blog, which it absolutely wasn't.]

George W Bush Wants You To Know Something, Part Two 

We saw war and grief arrive on a quiet September morning -- and from that day to this, we have pursued terrorists across the world. We've captured or killed many of the key leaders of the al Qaeda network, and the rest of them know we're on their trail. There is no cave or hole deep enough to hide them.

Well it sure is comforting to know that Osama Bin Laden "knows we're on his trail." I'd have to say it would be a huge failure if Bin laden didn't even know we were looking for him. I can see how he might think that though, since we really should have had him about two years ago.

We confronted the dangers of state-sponsored terror, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. We have used the power of this country to end forever two of the most violent and dangerous regimes on Earth. More than 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq are reclaiming the rights and dignity of free men and women -- and America has been proud, once again, to lead the armies of liberation.

Wait, weapons of mass destruction? Did anyone tell Bush that we have not, in fact, found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Or is he talking about how Tony Blair got Libya to disarm? As for the rest of it, well- yeah. You better milk the hell out of those 50 million liberated Muslims, because they can't vote in this election, and something tells me they sure as hell wouldn't vote Bush-Cheney.

When Dick Cheney and I came to Washington, we found a military that was under-funded and under-appreciated. So we increased the defense budget to give our men and women the tools and training they need to win the war on terror. And today, no one in the world can question the skill, the strength, and the spirit of the United States military.

One problem, is that Clinton built the Military that won in Afghanistan. Bush was only in office for 9 months when we invaded Afghanistan. And, you're not even giving the military proper body armor- families of soldiers have had to raise the money themselves to send it to them. Neither does Bush provide proper care for the Military Wounded. Bush is also rewarding the military by cutting funding to the schools on Military bases. But, to be fair, Bush did land on an air craft carrier and he does appear with a lot of American Flags. Oh! And Turkey with the troops. Can't forget the turkey with the troops.

We passed major reforms to raise the standards of public schools.


We passed reforms in Medicare to give prescription drugs and choice to our seniors.

He says this after saying "when we came to Washington [...] old problems were politicized, debated, and just passed on from year to year." Well Bush on Medicaid is pretty much that, in a nutshell. It shifts the burden to states. It boosts costs to states and cuts state funding. That's about the end of the Medicaid bill.

It's the President's job to confront problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and future generations.

Oh I love that. That's fucking precious.

In the next four years, we'll keep our enemies on the run, and extend the frontiers of liberty.

I really hope we actually catch our enemies sometime in the next four years, Mr. President.

"I trust the people, not Washington politicians, to make the best decisions for their own money, their own health, their own retirement, and their own lives."

Isn't it a little weird for Bush, who is the President with the party that controls both the house and the senate, to trash "Washington politicians?"

America and our allies gave an ultimatum to the terror regime in Iraq. The dictator chose defiance, and now the dictator sits in a prison cell.

Can Bush please define the defiance of Saddam Hussein? He said he had no weapons, he had no weapons. We wanted inspectors let in, he let the inspectors in. What exactly was the ultimatum that Hussein defied? I'll say again, it's not like I'm not happy he's out. But shouldn't Bush be saying "well we screwed up on what that guy was doing, but he was kind of a prick anyway right guys?" That would get applause at your NASCAR rally.

They now agree that the world is better off with Saddam Hussein out of power; they just didn't support removing Saddam from power. (Laughter.) Maybe they were hoping he'd lose the next Iraqi election.

Wait, which candidate is he talking about? Because they both supported the war. Is that what the audience is laughing about? Kind of ironic, too, that Bush can talk about rigged elections for a laugh.

After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States -- and war is what they got.

So you know, since war was what the terrorists wanted, and since we are a civilized society that operates on the rule of law instead of the rule of force, what real virtue is there in giving the terrorists precisely what they want? Do suicide bombers really care what flag is on the bomb that kills them? I would argue, no. But Bush can campaign on the notion that stooping to violence, as Terrorists do, is somehow a virtue.

Oh, it's all too much. You can read the rest of it at if you're interested.

Monday, February 23, 2004

George Bush Wants You To Know Something: Part One 

Mr. Bush unveiled his campaign season stump speech today. He's got some stuff he wants you to know.

This upcoming election? "It's a choice between an America that leads the world with strength and confidence, or an America that is uncertain in the face of danger. The American people will decide between two visions of government: a government that encourages ownership and opportunity and responsibility, or a government that takes your money and makes your choices."

Okay forgive me here, but I'm not too sure I'm going to let Bush get away with that. "Encourages Ownership?" Is he literally starting the campaign season by calling the Democrats Communists? Brilliant. And such a positive message for America! Then there's the charge that Bush advocates "opportunity", such as, I imagine, the opportunity to lose your job to actual Communists in China. Responsibility, as we all know, is the Republican code word for "gutting social programs".

What choices are the Democrats making for us? I seem to have missed that. Is it the choice to have an abortion or not? Is it the choice to allow states to decide on the issue of Gay Marriage? Is it the choice of a nation to go to war based on facts instead of a "noble lie"? Ahhh, no. It wouldn't be any of those things. And in fact, Bush doesn't seem to really tell us what choices Democrats want to make for us.

"We have a record of historic achievement. And most important, we have a positive vision for the years ahead -- for winning the war against terror, for extending peace and freedom, and creating jobs and opportunity here at home."

Brilliant Wit alert: "A positively stupid vision for the years ahead!" Winning the War on Terror, sure. It's not like Democrats will "lose" the war on terror. Extending Peace and Freedom, yeah. I don't know. Creating Jobs and Opportunity? No. Sorry buddy. But we know that you just backed off your initial claim that 2.6 million jobs would be created this year. We know that not since Herbert Hoover has there been net job loss under any sitting President. We know that, when you were backing off of that prediction only three days after you made it, your grand economic plan was, "there are some things we need to do." Thanks for that steady leadership in a time of change.

We've given serious answers, and the strong leadership these times of extraordinary change demand. We came to office with an economy heading into recession. We delivered historic tax relief, and the consumer spending and investment that resulted helped lift our economy back to growth, so that people are getting hired again. At a time when competition is not just across town, but across borders and continents, America's productive workers have made this economy the fastest growing of any major industrialized nation.

Seriously stupid answers. There's that strong leadership in times of change again! Man oh man, thank God for that steady leadership in these times of change. I mean, if there's one thing a President should brag about in his campaign slogan, it's that times are changing, and he isn't. Such a great idea. But, let's get to what he's "saying". One, that he inherited a recession from Bill Clinton. Steady Buck Passing in Times of change? But the best part is that Bush is, once again, lying. No less a Liberal Watershed publication as "Buisiness Week" Magazine has called him on this. There is no Clinton Recession. While Bush didn't necessarily cause the recession, he did nothing to prevent it. But one thing we know he is doing, is trying to say that the recession started under Clinton, when, in fact, it started under Bush. Getting people hired again- well, we've covered that ground. They aren't, or at least, not in the numbers that are worth bragging about. Yes, competition is moving across borders, thanks to lax regulation by the Bush Administration that actually rewards companies for going overseas- a phenomenon Bush economic cheese Gregory Mankiw just said was "probably a plus for the economy in the long run."

About that "historic tax relief." When the Government had a surplus, Bush said to give it back to the people. Now that we're running the worst deficits in American History, Bush is saying to give it back to the people. "Steady Leadership In a Time of Change", indeed. But we don't have it any more, Mr. Bush. You see- we don't have that surplus any more. You gave it all back to us already. I got $14.00.

We had to confront corporate crimes that cost people jobs and savings. So we passed the strongest corporate reforms since Franklin Roosevelt, and made it clear that we will not tolerate dishonesty in the boardrooms of America.

How's this record for Corporate Reform: After signing the bill he's talking about above, he then issued an "interpretation" of the same law which cut protections on corporate whistleblowers. The original intent was, you couldn't be fired for reporting crimes that went on in your workplace by your superiors. Now you can, unless there is already an investigation going on into your workplace. You can imagine the benefits this has had for Democracy. Nevermind that Mr. Dick Cheney's old megalith toy, Halliburton, is under investigation for overcharging American taxpayers for food and oil in Iraq.

So This Is How We Win 

Well now we know why the FBI was cracking down on Almanacs a while ago.

Education Secretary Rod Paige called the nation's largest teachers union a "terrorist organization" during a private White House meeting with governors on Monday. -AP

Maybe this is all part of the Bush strategy? First of all, there was the economic report that advocated the re-classification of fast food workers as "manufacturing jobs" so we'd instantly have some manufacturing jobs back. Now, it seems that underfunding the "No Child Left Behind" bill is just the newest front on the War on Terror. I'm so grateful that Bush tells us like it is. What an honest, honest man.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

From Nader To Democrats- With Love 

So, Nader is running. You'll hear the chorus of (rightfully) angry Democrats raising arms in protest, in an attempt to keep him from saying anything that reveals what a sham the DLC arm of the Democratic Party is. While I won't vote for him, unless by some chance he is beating Bush and Kerry in the polls, I certainly can't hate Ralph Nader. It seems to me that, though counter intuitive, the basic premise of his decision to run is rooted in a Dean-esque sort of fire-branding on the ass of Democrats. One comment in particular, on "Meet the Press" today, made me think Nader might be good for Democrats in the end:

Democrats better look at themselves. They'd better brag a little bit more, which they hardly do, about bringing Social Security and Medicare and environmental laws to the country before 20, 25 years ago they turned into a corporate paymaster minion.

He's right. The DLC has "moved to the center", and I think Dean made the same point- they did it because they are too lazy to actually make the case for a progressive agenda. He's right to point out the irony that Democrats don't want him to run because he represents Democratic values far better than the Democratic party itself does. There's got to be some point in this upcoming election where progressives can say, you know- we really ought not to be afraid of beating Bush. We ought to beat Bush handily, and if we cannot win by a wider margin than 537 votes in Florida, then we ought to be ashamed of the job we have done with our candidate and with our message.

Nader is also running on an impeachment platform, which is fantastic, particularly if he makes it his primary talking point. It keeps the war front and center- and out of the hands of the Democrats, who could be damaged by criticizing it. He points out that the press "has documented ad infinitum" the lies and misleading principles Bush offered for war, "I think this country deserves a serious explanation of why, how, when this country was plunged into war against a brutal dictator tottering over an antiquated, non-loyal army, surrounded by hostile neighbors who, if he made one move against, would have obliterated him. It was oil. And oil has ruined so much of our foreign policy and antagonized so many people in the Third World, when we should be converting to renewable energy and solar energy and energy efficiency, all of which creates jobs in this country. So I think it is very important for the American people to take what happened last year very, very seriously."

So, don't be mad at Ralph Nader. If he gets enough attention, he'll be able to bring up some of the issues that Dems can't touch, which may trigger more people to want to move against Bush. Because voters are actually capable of independent thought, they will realize that voting Democrat has a greater chance of getting Bush out than voting for Nader. It's the same thing that happened with Howard Dean- Dean mobilized the party, set the table for the issues, got new people into the booths and caucuses and then they all voted for "electable" John Kerry. We can only assume that a good portion of the people listening to Nader will understand that voting for him is "beautiful but stupid".

Oh, and let's get this "egoist" label off of him, please. This line was manufactured, you can be sure, by the same democrats that echoed the "angry" label for Howard Dean. Ralph Nader is not an egomaniac. Most of what could have been a vast personal fortune has gone into non profit organizations. Just look at the man's suits. So is this bullshit rumor about him being a paid Republican operative. Yes, Republicans paid for pro-Green Party advertisements in 2000, but that doesn't mean the Green Party was corrupted by Republicanism any more than it means Roy Moore is being "corrupted" by Liberal Bloggers.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I think Nader will be good for the Democrats, albeit inconvenient.

Sunday Blog Outsourcing 

This morning, don't forget to watch "Meet The Press" to see if Ralph Nader will speak brilliantly, as he is more than capable of doing, about the obstacles facing our Government and our Democracy, or if, instead, he will become an obstacle facing our Government and Democracy.

When that's done, help yourself to some strawberry and cream oatmeal and click blindly:

Orcinus has an expose (part one, part two) on conservatives' "eliminationist rhetoric", ie, conservatives calling for the mass extermination of Liberals. I tend to fight back with brilliant wit and tremendous vigor against the occasional moronic conservative comments on this blog. But you don't see many violent progressives in this country these days, excepting the widely disowned ELF.

Progressives don't fight, they just try to get married. Which brings us to the Gay Marriage issue that has blazed the blogosphere this week, no doubt following the lead of yours truly, whose "Gay Marriage Week" lasted a full three days.

Corrente has a good long post on Gay Marriage, comparing actual, documented rhetoric of the 1950's with the rhetoric of today. Edward Pig refutes, in a few paragraphs, what took me a full week (and was already forgotten/ignored by our resident troll), Elayne Riggs has got another post on the issue, calling out for a lot more tolerance than I have for the gay-bashing imbeciles of the right wing, and much to her credit. Steve Gilliard has a post on it too.

Some last minute ideas on this subject. I was talking to a gay co-worker who had a brilliant comment. "It's not like they're going to give away all the marriage to the gays." Which is dead on. It's not like marriage is a finite entity that there's only so much of. For that matter, I also wanted to address the new complaint I've been hearing on gay marriage, which is that "marriage is defined as between a man and a woman." If someone really argues that this is the reason they're against gay marriage, can I propose that this may be the most divisive grammatical argument of all American History? We used to argue over whether "ain't" was a word or we're in an all out cultural war over the correct grammatical use of the word "marriage?" But I went to no less a Patriotic source than the American Heritage Dictionary (American Heritage, people- this ain't no pinko commie dictionary) to settle the grammatical debate at the heart of the gay marriage issue: It allows for marriage to be defined either as "The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife" or as "A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage." Oh, coy dictionary, don't play politician with me!

The Orgy of Godlessness continues: Trish Wilson has a post on abortion rights, Otters has a feminist blog round up, and archy endorses Gay Penguin for President. Surely Mao would be proud.

Chris Brown said nice things about me in his last blog round up, and I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. Also, Make Me A Commentator has come up with a mix tape of sorts, for protest songs. What is remarkable is that before reading it, I had this great idea of making Pulp's "Common People" a theme song for the ABB crowd- and poof! There he went and gone dunnit.

In self-promotion news, Gay Penguin for America has some new bumper stickers and tee shirts, not to mention a transcript from his appearance on CNN's "Crossfire."

Saturday, February 21, 2004


Guess who wasn't co-operating with UN Weapons Inspectors? Yep. The White House! The White House had withheld "information about 21 of the 105 sites in Iraq singled out by American intelligence before the war as the most highly suspected of housing illicit weapons."

"The contradiction is significant because Congressional opponents of the war were arguing a year ago that the United Nations inspectors should be given more time to complete their search before the United States and its allies began the invasion. The White House, bolstered by Mr. Tenet, insisted that it was fully cooperating with the inspectors, and at daily briefings the White House issued assurances that the administration was providing the inspectors with the best information possible."

Yawn. Bush should try telling the truth sometime, it might make my blog more interesting.

Bush Opinion Polls 

Meaningless this early, but a Pew Research Center poll has Bush down to only 48%, which is the lowest ever recorded for the Spectacle in Chief. As the EDM blog summarizes the poll, "His approval rating in the last month has dropped 9 points among white women, 10 points among those 30-49 years of age, 11 points among women under 50, 11 points among white Catholics (a critical swing group), 12 points among high school graduates, 12 points among white non-evangelical protestants and 16 points among those in rural areas." Bush's strength with White Men is also lower now vs Kerry than it was for Bush v Gore in 2000, by 8 points. Also, "65 percent of independents rate the Democratic party favorably, compared to just 50 percent favorable for the Republicans." And read the blog directly if you're interested in how Independents rate Massachusetts as opposed to Texas.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Roy Moore in Oh-Four 

Never mind Nader. Contact Chief Justice Roy Moore and encourage him to run for President. He's our best chance to beat George Bush. Why? Because he's the Republican that was forced to take the ten commandments out of that Alabama Courthouse. And he's pissed! He's a hardcore Religious Right Republican that would siphon votes from Bush (particularly in the South) but have absolutely no chance of winning.

He is what we've been waiting for. Write him a letter urging him to run. Here's my ambiguously worded yet completely honest template:

Dear Chief Justice Roy Moore,

I am writing to encourage you to run for President. You have shown your passion for Religious Conviction in the face of the Bush Administrations Hypocrisy. You have stood up for what you believe, and that itself is a noble cause. I want you to know that I would help to fund your campaign and tell every Republican I know about your positions and what you stand for as a candidate for Religious America. We Need Moore in 04!

Yours In Jesus,

Maybe the "Yours in Jesus" is a little over the top. But whatever. Go send him a copy. Then, make sure to send him a couple of bucks when/if he does, so he can mobilize the Religious Southern vote against Bush. (I'll let you know if and when he does.)

Start Praying for New Mexico 

By way of Atrios, we find that New Mexico has allowed Gay Marriages, uhm, forever. And they're already starting to perform them en masse.

"This has nothing to do with politics or morals," [county clerk Victoria Dunlap] said. "If there are no legal grounds that say this should be prohibited, I can't withhold it. This office won't say no until shown it's not permissible."

God must be totally pissed.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Semi Colon and Gay Marriage 

Conservative Groups in San Francisco are in court trying to ban "the persuit of happiness" from taking place amongst homosexuals performing illegal marriages. But one judge has postponed hearings on the matter:

The second judge told the plaintiffs that they would likely succeed on the merits eventually but that for now, he couldn't accept their proposed court order because of a punctuation error. It all came down to a semicolon, the judge said.

"I am not trying to be petty here but it is a big deal...That semicolon is a big deal," said San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren. The Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund had asked the judge to issue an order commanding the city to "cease and desist issuing marriage licenses to and/or solemnizing marriages of same-sex couples; to show cause before this court."

"The way you've written this it has a semicolon where it should have the word 'or,"' the judge told them. "I don't have the authority to issue it under these circumstances."

Until they write their proposed court order correctly, Warren indicated he would not order an immediate halt to the marriages of gays and lesbians that continued throughout the day across the street at City Hall. Lawyers for both sides then spent hours arguing about punctuation and court procedures; the hearing was still continuing late Tuesday afternoon.

The Case Against Nader: Expiring for Love is Beautiful but Stupid 

Something gets lost, sometimes, in the passions that come out during a Democratic Primary. Because we pick a candidate and move forward with that candidate to strike out other candidates, we tend to get a bit too attached, we tend to think that the other democrats are "against us." They're not. What happens then, especially with a third party-favored candidate like Howard Dean, is that when one of our candidates drops out, there's a disillusionment. Like we're stuck with two assholes now that our guy is out. Which gives us the notion of going to a third party, or writing in our guys name in the general election.

I've voted third party every chance I had, since my first election. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, one of two votes that tipped the city I was in from Gore to Bush (The other vote was a friend of mine). That was a tremendous wake up call over the power of one vote, and also, about the risky luxury of voting on principle instead of voting strategically.

In an ideal democracy, we vote on our principles. But thanks to GW, we are no longer in an ideal Democracy. We are in a nation that is literally fighting for its life under the strain of an exhausted military, buckling under the strain of mounting deficits that will kill every social program since Social Security, and throwing away jobs to foreign labor at a rate where, in ten or fifteen years, we will have no manufacturing base, and even a college degree won't assure your job will not be outsourced. It's already happening to nurses and engineers.

A vote for John Kerry or John Edwards in the general election is a vote against unilateral pre-emptive war, less so than it is a vote for the candidate. A third party vote or a write in doesn't offer the same protection. To stop the next war, to stop a potential military conscription, to stop America from a literal implosion requires some sacrifice, and if that sacrifice merely consists of swallowing my pride at the voting booth? Then count me in. John Kerry may not be the "best" candidate but he has the best chance to stop all of this. In all honesty, he's not really a bad candidate. He's sort of a prick, but his voting record, if you look at it, is almost unblemished, excepting only the War vote, which he is apologizing for. There is something I can't stand about him, but I can't put my finger on it. His voting record is everything a Green would want in a candidate.

Voting on principles this year is sort of like Jenny Holzer's truism, "Expiring for Love is Beautiful but Stupid." You can vote on principle if you want to, but it's a suicide pact. You shouldn't allow yourself, just because we're enmeshed in a Democratic competition, to forget just how bad GW is. Neither should anyone really consider, in the face of what Bush is, that we have the Luxury of voting on principle. Those same principles are under direct threat from Bush, and most, if not all of those principles, are favored by Kerry.

But in the general election, writing in or going third party, is "Expiring for Love." Democrats have their liabilities, but there's a lot of amazing Democrats. My local Representative, Tom Allen, is amazing. There's a lot to be said for the Democratic party, as much as there is to be said against it. But if you have ever worked with Greens, you will know that the organization is just as problematic, has its share of zealots and power brokers. It's inherent in any organization. The best you can hope for is that your ideals get represented in some way, shape, or form. You can run for office. You can write to your senators and congressmen, in fact, most of them you can just go visit. You can volunteer and talk to them, and you would be amazed at what happens. Government is not a closed off box filled with people who don't care, it's the opposite: it's people, for the most part, that do care and end up in this closed off box. The best candidates know it, and are desperate for people outside the box to come in.

"We Have The Power to Take This Country Back" means just that. It means that you have the choice to get involved with politics and Government to change it for the better, or you stay disenfranchised and alienated. I voted Green because I believe in expanding the political dialogue, I believed in getting more people heard, but now it's happened.

Write in Dean/Kucinich in the primary. That means more progressives go to the convention. That means that, while Democrats are all together in Boston, deciding what happens for the campaign, Dean has a voice, and Kucinich has a voice, and progressives have some control over the campaign. By voting for Kerry in the general election, I'm voting for a Dean legacy, a legacy of progressive Democrats. I'm saying "thank you for getting a spine, Democratic party." If Kerry loses, this little Democratic Party experiment of standing up for itself, and saying things that need to be said, is going to die off, and in 2008 we will have a party of Joe Liebermans.

Dean's Email Statement to Supporters 

One of the things that I realized a long time ago is that change is very difficult. There is enormous institutional resistance to change in this country. You cannot expect people with great privileges taken at the
expense of ordinary working people to surrender them lightly. Change is hard work. Change does not happen simply because you go to a rally and simply because you make phone calls -- and I know how hard
everybody has worked. But change is a process that you can never give up on. Change is the state of America and change is the state of humankind. The history of humanity is that determined people overcome obstacles. It is natural for people to resist, but it is also inevitable that we will win."

For what it's worth.


Why the hell did I give $55.02 to John Edwards?

I keep forgetting that just because John Edwards isn't John Kerry doesn't mean he doesn't suck. It is hard not to forget that John Kerry sucks less than John Edwards. I can't believe that I "acted impulsively" by donating money to the wrong candidate. Some people, when they are upset, go get drunk and wake up with someone they don't recognize. Me, I donate money to a campaign and I can't remember why a few hours later. Call it a Deaniacal Blackout.

Anyway, my back up reasoning for this is that I am so used to donating money to Dean when something unfair happened to him, that I gave money to Edwards because of what Kerry did to his concession speech. So it was all on behalf of political dignity.

But then I remembered the real reason: John Edwards is against NAFTA. That, so far, is the only thing I like about him. But maybe I shouldn't pontificate politically until I cool down.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

What Now?  

I watched Deans speech withdrawing from his Presidential bid with a cross between fury and heartbreak. While the Democrats will keep precisely the establishment traction that I voted against when I joined the Green Party in 2000, America loses it's one golden opportunity to put in a guy who was owned 100% by the American People. This is literal- Dean took no lobbying money, no "special interest" money. It was 640,000 Americans giving an average of $77.00 a piece. As Joe Trippi said, it was a campaign built on "Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope."

While Dean is out, he's still on the ballot, and urges people to vote for him if they want to get progressive delegates into Boston for the Democratic Convention. It's a good idea, to go with Dean or Kucinich in a primary or caucus, since the people running would need to appeal to progressive delegates to get the vote out. Part of why the DNC isn't urging Edwards to drop out, I think, is because the more delegates he picks up in partial victories (you get delegates in most states for any showing above 15%) the more "centrist" delegates there will be at the convention, and so less movement towards the left and fewer "embarrassing" progressive speakers on national television come convention time. So a Vote Dean or Kucinich still does something.

But then, the main question comes down to: What do I do with my money? I plan on donating money to any cause that can oust GW Bush. I'm not rich, but I am zealous. The question for me is: Do I donate money to an establishment candidate, like Kerry or Edwards, in order to show them that they can run without trading "Joe Liberal, Anytown USA" in favor of special interests? Or do I withhold my money, threatening a Bush victory, until the candidates make overtures to me? The remaining candidates, save Dennis Kucinich, are certainly cowards when it comes to progressive convictions. They are either cowards, or they're disinterested.

My sense is that Kerry doesn't really give a shit about grassroots progressives. While his voting record is right on, as far as I am concerned, he's also so afraid of looking liberal that he is pretending not to be, and always has. While it's the voting record that counts, to an extent, I am not terrified of a Kerry Presidency, but I am worried about the manner by which he gets there- ie, whose money puts him in the oval office will determine what his administration looks like, more so than any voting record. My take is that Edwards is afraid he can't win without special interests. My money has to go somewhere, because any money I don't give to a progressive cause means a greater disparity between the Bush war chest and ours. In other words: If I don't give my money, Bush's money is worth more, because we can't defend ourselves, or our platform.

So, I gave some money to Edwards today. I gave $55.02. The two cents is "my two cents worth" for John Edwards, it's something I posted at the Dean Blog today: If Dean supporters give Edwards donations ending in "two cents", he'll know he has some room to move away from the special interests. I'd advocate doing this for either of them. If you've donated to Dean in the past, I would recommend sending a contribution ending in two-cents to your second favorite candidate, just to let them know that you would support a move away from establishment credibility. (The alternative is to give them a donation of $76.99 cents- always one cent away from the Dean Mean). Then, don't donate again until they embrace us, and give whenever they do. Think of it as Pavlovian Conditioning for Presidential Candidates.

Dean Out.  

So much for Democracy.

Cynic or Psychic, Predictions Come True.  

Two posts or so ago I wrote about the Spectacle in Chief's visit to the National Guard at Fort Polk. The White House said that the visit had been scheduled "weeks ago", ie, in advance of the AWOL rumors. I happened to remark, "How long until it comes out that the visit was scheduled after the AWOL controversy swelled up?"

The answer is one day. "But one officer at the base said Fort Polk received orders last week to begin preparing for the president's visit."

The LA Times claims two officials said the same thing, and has a nice little statistical breakdown of the speech:

"Bush mentioned the Sept. 11 attacks six times in the 25-minute speech. The president also emphasized his "resolve" — a word he used four times and a theme reprised in various ways throughout the speech. [...] He used the words "danger" or "dangerous" 11 times during the speech."

So it's safe to say, from this statistical sample, that Bush says "9/11" just about every five minutes, and says "danger" every 150 seconds.

Bush also met with the families of some of the soldiers whom he personally sent to their deaths. Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary, described the meeting as if it were a new mini series for Lifetime: "There were tears, a lot of hugs and a lot of laughter."

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"An All American Candidate for All America."  

That's Max Cleland on Wisconsin Winner by a Squeak, John Kerry. It seems about right: earlier tonight on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa (not that Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa) announced that while John Kerry isn't going to drill ANWAR, he promised the Teamsters that he would "drill everywhere else". Matthews burst out laughing and so did his panel. The idea is either that Kerry would either a) do anything to get elected, or b) say anything to get elected. Or that Jimmy Hoffa is out of his mind, which is likely, since Hoffa backed Bush in 2000 and seems surprised that workers got betrayed by a Republican with Dick Cheney on his ticket.

Later on, in what Matthews called "political choreography", Kerry came out almost instantaneously after Edwards started talking, effectively killing Edwards' moment in the sun after a huge, close race in Wisconsin. Kerry's a professional, he knows how to kill his opposition. Kerry's speech including my favorite Kerry line: "No American soldier will be held hostage to America's dependency on Foreign Oil." It's almost like he forgot that he sent us to war. Which is sort of important. "This was the last time we'll trade blood for oil, guys- I promise."

"Our Generation is called on to write it's portion of history", says John Kerry. Uhh. Thanks for letting us know, John. But maybe the quote ought to be written more in line with the spirit of the Dean Press Corp's official tee-shirts? (In the front, "Establishment Media." On the back, "We Have The Power.") John Kerry, probably should have said, "Those with a mutual interest with the corporate funded media are called on to write it's portion of history as that corporate interest mandates."

I might make a donation to the Edwards campaign today. We'll see. He did pretty well tonight, speech wise. I'm just mostly worried that Kerry speaks to make sounds that pass for ideas, and resorts to that out of fear of saying anything "offensive" that might lose his front runner status.

My relationship with Democrats? It's complicated.

Spectacle Watch 

Another Military Photo Op for the Spectacle in Chief:

"Bush's appearance provided a TV-ready opportunity to emphasize his national security responsibilities and leadership of the war against terror, a role the White House wants to emphasize with voters as he heads into a re-election battle. While officials said the visit had been planned for several weeks, it put Bush in a friendly military setting after a bruising week of allegations that put him on the defensive."

Okay, start your clocks: How long until we find out that the appearance was planned after the AWOL allegations surged? Bush debuts his new slogan: "9/11. 9/11, 9/11, 9/11. 9/11? Me."

Bush is clearly trying to be a celebrity, not a politician. Clinton did the same thing, Kerry is doing the same thing. Dean, McCain, Nader, all of them failed to play the "role" of "politician." Bush is the "War President." He gets the images going, Debord's "ultimate goals" of "power and vacations". That's his meme, that's his movie. Kerry always wins elections on narratives, and says essentially nothing on the campaign trail. He's a war hero and anti war hero, maybe an icon of Liberal Complexity. He's not a bad candidate. You can't say something and win an election.

"My resolve is the same as it was on the day when I walked in the rubble of the twin towers," Bush said. "I will not relent until this threat to America is removed. And neither will you."

Oh, that "and neither will you" line sends a chill down my apparently insufficiently patriotic liberal spine. As if the National Guard has a choice to "relent", as if the 23 year old kids getting drafted in 2005 will have a choice. Thanks for being "my hero", George Bush, saving me from the state of perpetual victimhood you've hoisted upon us all. Bush showing up with the national guard is just a little bit like the abusive husband coming home with flowers after beating his wife, isn't it?

Monday, February 16, 2004

Bush's "Special Interests" Want You To Know About Kerry's "Special Interests" 

In case you didn't hear about how Bush shelved MTBE pollutants restrictions on our water supply, you can read all about it here. The first paragraph says it all:

The Bush administration quietly shelved a proposal to ban a gasoline additive that contaminates drinking water in many communities, helping an industry that has donated more than $1 million to Republicans.

As a result of this oversight, the Bush Campaign is at war with special interests- especially the exaggerated special interests of Democratic challengers. Over at the Bush campaign site, there's this ad, criticizing John Kerry's special interest ties. (Bush also seems to be meeting up with the newly recognized focus group, Hobbit Moms).

But if you do what the serpentine voice in the ad actually suggests- look up "special interests" on the internet- you'll find some surprising information about not just John Kerry, but the Presidential Spectacle himself.

Starting with Mr. Kerry: The Bush ad says, "more special interest money than any other senator," but that's not actually true. Not that it's ever stopped the Bush Administration from making claims. Kerry received less that $640,000 in 15 years, whereas Bush has received $960,000 in 2003. This year, Kerry only got $234,000. So, Bush received three times more "special interest" money than Kerry.

You could say it was the pot calling the kettle black, but in this case it's a pot calling a tea cup a kettle and then calling itself a tea cup. Also, "Hollywood Liberals" are giving just about the same level of cash to Bush as they are to Kerry. In fact, so far, $50,000 more.

But when it comes to "problematic" special interests, Bush got $1,850,532 from the insurance lobbies. Kerry got a whopping 1/10th of it, $134,250. You wonder why Medicaid and Health Care are so fucked up? Bush got nearly 8 times more lobbyist money from big pharma than Kerry did.

Now, granted- Kerry doesn't have a lot of money, period. In fact, the most important "special interest" to Kerry is the mortgage he got for his house to save his campaign, and the, you know- Heinz Ketchup fortune.

Oh and by the way- Howard Dean didn't receive any money from lobbyists. Neither, though, has a certain Gay Penguin.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

"Vice" Magazine and "Youth" "Culture" 

This may be old news, but I've been urged to repost it anyway.

Vice Magazine has been set up to put a "hip" edge on Neo-Conservativism. The editor has a column over at American Conservative Magazine, where he spews his fashion-coated vitriol:

"These kids, the New Conservatives, don’t have the luxury of idealism that even the youth of the 1980s had. Due to the overwhelming glut of information on the Internet and an unprecedented barrage of marketing, these young people are more aware and more cynical than any generation that came before. Within this group, more and more are embracing conservatism."

This is the aim of the VICE brand, we can assume, but don't expect them to tell it's audience that. They published a book, too: "The VICE Guide to Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll", which has a chapter called "Fags Go Home" in which it illuminates straight men on how to have Anal sex (with a female, obviously.) In regards to one indie bookstore refusing to carry the book, and his crusade to get others to stop it, the founder of VICE made the following statement:

"It's funny, because homosexuals aren't from anywhere. It's a parody of all that 'go back where you came' racist shit. But there's no talking to knee-jerk liberals. We call them 'the dumb community.'

Pretty insightful stuff. Anyway, hipsters, make sure you know what VICE is before you embrace it. I don't know if it's cool anymore or not, but over at, it's pushed with this review: "Imagine what might happen if a bunch of skater punks and cynical DJs discovered the publishing industry, and you'll have a pretty good sense of what Vice is all about. Regular features include Vice Guides (e.g. The Vice Guide to Surviving Junior High) and Do's & Don'ts, all of which satirize current fashion trends and hipsterism. Also included are a variety of media reviews. Vice reminds me of the late Might Magazine in tone, with an up-to-date approach and less self-indulgent posturing. Highly recommended!"

Like "Might Magazine" my fuckin' ass. I ask you, is this really what we want: angry Nazi hipsters? And am I right or wrong that the entire "skater" scene just reeks of neoconservativism these days? (I'm serious). I remember in high school, the most Nazi-esque people I knew were "skatercore" or whatever it was. I know there's a lot of good punks in the world, and that skaters aren't neccesarily punks, obviously. I could even argue that the only good people are the ones who go punk for some period of their lives. But when you get out to the suburban skate scene, it's not fueled by revolution or active, real rebellion, it's fueled by a self-centered hostility (and it's got it's share of masochistic stuff, too- the self piercings, mutilations, etc). Anyway, that appears to be who "Vice" is perfect for: Suburban High School Skater kids with a lot of unfocused anger and unexamined hatred.

Sunday Blog Outsourcing 

Well it has been Gay Marriage Week here at And Then..., so here's some interesting tidbits from around the Blogorium:

First off, I owe an apology to Amy for stealing her Belief-o-matic link without giving her credit for it. I clicked blindly and forgot after taking the quiz. So, belated props to Amy.

In the "How Did I Miss This" column, Andante has got the story on how certain programs won't receive funding for closed captioning on programs deemed "inappropriate" by the Department of Education. Such as The Simpsons. This is a must read.

American Amnesia has an interview with Howard Zinn. Good stuff, as usual, from this blog.

Otters has got a Valentines Day special on the Neurochemistry of Love. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

Archy has a post I meant to mention last week on our ideal right wing third party candidate.

Corrente does some anagrams of "Steady Leadership in a Time of Change", the GW Bush campaign slogan. My favorite: "I'm a hypertense, death-dealing fiasco".

NTodd has a post (by way of Atrios) concerning the Kerry campaign's desire to "punish" the establishment Dems who backed Dean. Which means that, come a Kerry nomination and election to President, I'll be switching my party registration to Independent, and I will not be donating a penny to the DNC or DLC. Petty? Maybe, but I don't see why I should support a party that wants to see me "punished" for supporting Howard Dean over Ralph Nader. Steve Gilliard has a post on the same sort of subject.

Craptastic has got the rundown on Ann Coulter's recent gaffe. Speaking of Ann Coulter, I've got copies of Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" and Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country?" and I can officially say that Michael Moore- if he was solely a writer, and not a filmmaker- might just be the Left's Ann Coulter. Which isn't a good thing for anyone, excepting the occasional perks (the AWOL issue, for example.) Franken, on the other hand, is highly recommended, and I like him more and more the more I listen to him. (I've got the audio book, because reading is too hard. No, actually, it's because I like Franken's delivery so much, it's worth it.)

Echidne has the longest post I've ever care to read on the subject of "Buttocks." She also covers a story I didn't cover, because I was afraid of handling Gay Marriage and Abortion in the same two day span: Lord Ashcroft of the Sith now has the right to request the medical records of women who have had abortions, so he can determine if the abortions were legal or not. I've already written a post on this subject and was saving it for later, but it is certainly news. (And yet, I mention it only after the Buttocks post. Have I no integrity?)

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Just About the Same, Really.  

In case you're thinking that Civil Unions are just as good as Gay Marriage, just wanted to mention a few things.

For one, let's say a "married" couple is the victim of a natural disaster. They're eligible for tax relief as a family to cope with the financial burdens. People in Civil Unions aren't.

People getting married can sign a prenuptual agreement. There is nothing of the type for civil unions. Why? Because under Civil Unions, there is no such thing as Divorce, unless both parties move to Vermont (specifically) for six months prior to dissolving the union. But hell, why do they want to get married so hard if they're only gonna get divorced anyway, right guys? Hahaha, right, guys? Right?!?

One other issue is parental rights. In the case of civil unions, let's say one half of a lesbian couple gets artificially inseminated, and they raise a child. On all government documents, the "father" of the child is "unknown" (or, if known, the name of the donor is the "father.") But then, it's really not all that important to be claimed as the parent of a child you've raised your entire life, really. The same applies to adoption. Oh, and if the couple does somehow or other dissolve the union, there is no way that one partner can claim child custody, only the biological mother or father can. Also, forget social security "surviving parents" assistance benefits if one of the parents dies.

There's only a few more distinctions:

Under Marriage, a wife cannot unwillingly testify against her husband or a husband against his wife. With a civil union, one partner can be forced to testify against another.

Under marriage, a husband or wife has full access to their partner and is deferred to in the case of any questions regarding emergency care. Under Civil Unions, they don't. But really, who needs to visit someone they love when they're dying in the hospital?

Married couples can inherit the property of their spouses. Under civil unions, they can't. Marriage can be given as a reason to change your name. A Civil Union can't. Married people can handle death rites, ie, burial and cremation services. People in a Civil Union can't.

Married people can collect social security, worker's compensation, and wages in the case of a spouse's death. In a Civil Union, however, you cannot. You know how there's an Income tax reduction for Married people? Well there's no "civil union" tax benefit. The government doesn't let a spouse in a civil union collect wages for attending the funeral of their partner. It's fine for married people.

That's most of it, really. There's only about 1,049 differences between marriage and civil unions, but it's mostly small stuff, like being able to leave work if your spouse gets sick, or impact the naturalization process of an legal / resident alien, or Social Security benefits (which only add up to about $10,000 a year for the surviving spouse in a civil union.) Insurance policies don't cover civil unions, and that's a shame because neither does Medicaid. Should a state ever allow any of these things to happen, it can be blocked on the federal level.

Full Disclosure on My Religion 

Since I've been talking, and will continue to talk, about Religion in light of this Gay Marriage controversy, I decided it might be a good idea to find out what religion I actually believe in. I've pretty much considered myself a Secular Humanist for most of my recent life, but I was raised Protestant and later under the Jehovah's Witnesses. So I mean, I know my Sunday School curriculum. Late, I personally have studied Sufism and Zen Buddhism, and Salingerian Catholicism. But mostly, Secular Humanism. The problem being that I wasn't a totally converted atheist.

Luckily, this handy quiz has taken the heat off my back for uncovering my own existential revelation, and provided me with a quick and easy answer to my religious purpose. It would appear that my dabbling in Liberal Islamic Mysticism was way off course- apparently, I am a "Liberal Quaker". So there you go. Before anyone attacks my positions on religion, remember: I am a Quaker, according to a fun and easy online quiz. Quakers are clearly the best religion ever, because I believe in it. From now on, all my political views will reflect my Quaker beliefs, and if they impose on yours, I apologize. I have to do it, because now that I believe wholeheartedly in a religion that I am only moderately familiar with by way of online test results, I believe that my way is the only way, for everyone, forever.

Elephants in the Press Room 

Big Media admits it has lost control, but for all the wrong reasons. (Search for "elephant in the room", then keep reading.)

I haven't mentioned this, for precisely the reasons I will explain below, but recently Matt Drudge posted a story asserting that John Kerry had an affair on the campaign trail. First of all, it is completely bogus. But of course, you can't believe that from reading this blog any more than you can believe that it happened because of Matt Drudge. Here, then, is the sleaze mechanism at work, the legendary "media echo chamber."

An idea can be put forward, and it has to be addressed, denied, or admitted. Matt Drudge posted the story to his website. It was picked up by Fox News. It was then picked up by the British Press, and then Matt Drudge linked to it, as if it was verification of his initial report. But it wasn't. It was a report on the report. And reports on the reports started coming hard and fast. Until today, when John Kerry spoke on Don Imus' program, forced to deny allegations that he had an affair.

On News Night tonight, Aaron Brown carefully dissected the rumor- in the precise context of understanding a smear campaign, and on the complexities of not reporting a story.

Jeff Greenfield: In another time the press would know what to do with this kind of story, run it down, check it out, try to find out who is spreading the rumor and why, maybe even ask, "if it is true, does it matter?" But this is our time and in this brave new world of instant communications, literally tens of millions of people will know about the story no matter what the networks and top tier newspapers do. The press loves to talk about its gatekeeper function, separating fact from rumor from falsehood but the truth is this role of the media has been effectively wiped out. As this and countless other stories demonstrate, Aaron, there is no more gate.

So ultimately, Matt Drudge may have done a huge favor to all of us by illuminating the methodology of a smear- ie, Fox quotes Drudge, Bloggers quote Fox, Limbaugh talks to callers who read the blogs, and then the story has "three sources of verification," enough to call it a story of "an allegation". And as soon as Kerry is asked about it directly, the headline appears, scrolling all day long on the CNN Scroll: "Kerry Denies Allegation of Sexual Misconduct." Aaron Brown asked a very serious question: how does the media play a role in these rumors, how can they correct the mistaken notions of the public without giving a fake story "legs"? Since we cannot prove that the story is true or false, said one commentator, what matters now is only if the story is plausible, and if it is plausible, then there is nothing the media can really do, in its traditional role, even if the story is baseless. But alas, in a conversation that should have come out in the lead up to the Iraq War- when we knew that a majority of Americans thought Iraqis were among the 9/11 hijackers, when a majority of Americans thought there was a link between Saddam and Osama, and the media sat by and did nothing. But today, we hear this, not about war, but about a fake story posted on the internet about a candidates sex life:

BROWN: Should they have reported -- Chuck should they have reported that [the unacknowledged rumors were false]?

TODD: I would argue that you could have figured out a way. I think in this new media that the mainstream media may now have to take on an ombudsman role the way you have a regular ombudsman at newspapers, may have to take on this ombudsman role and say, OK, look this gossip is wrong. And now because so many -- talk radio just repeats this stuff, you know six straight hours. If you have Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, six straight hours on the radio here in Washington this story was talked about on one of the biggest talk radio stations in town. So, it's probably the responsibility of the mainstream media to debunk a story if it's not true when millions of people are hearing this stuff. It's probably some sort of new convergence that we have to figure out.

Or, I would say, probably should have figured out by now, before we ended up in a war. Props to Aaron Brown for raising this subject. By the way, the Bush AWOL story is not baseless, and not only "merely plausible," it is, in fact, entirely true, so far, in the presence of all the "evidence" that the White House claims settles the question. (Whether it itself is relevant is less a question for me, what is more of the issue for me is how long it takes for him to admit it, and how many lies it takes before he does.)

Of the 400 pages finally released by Bush, not one has anything to do with May 1972 to May 1973, the time period in question. How that's supposed to answer questions, I can only guess. (And PS: Did you know that, when he "released" "all" of his medical records, he, in fact, only released them to the press pool for twenty minutes, according to a Reuters article? And that, in fact, it only affirmed that Bush was suspended from flying because he refused to take a medical examination?)

Friday, February 13, 2004

"And Then Jonathan Made A Covenant With David..." 

I'd like to pack a little of the Biblical punch by mentioning that the actual banishment in the Bible against Homosexuality (found in Leviticus) literally reads, "And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman". Or translated in the King James Bible, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination". So, what is the Religious argument against Lesbian relationships? There is certainly no specific mention of Lesbian Sex, only male/male sex. So is there any Biblical basis for banning marriage between Lesbians? Not according to the actual book.

I'd also just mention that, knowing how much Catholics embrace Leviticus as a Biblical Guide to Holy Living, that it's interesting that it actually offers a guide to restitution should priests of the Church commit a sin against the community- such as, for example, molesting a child, or covering up that other priests have molested a child. Maybe I have missed something, but according to Leviticus 4, there ought to have been a Bull sacrificed at an altar by the offending priest. Then, the blood of the Bull is supposed to be taken into the temple, where the priest will dip his fingers in the blood and flick seven times at the altar. All the fat will then be removed from the bull, including "the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is around the entrails; the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins; and the appendage of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys" to be burned at the altar. The rest of the bull is to be burned outside on a clean wood fire.

So I'm just wondering, since this is the same exact book that calls homosexuality an "abomination," is it also an abomination that the Catholic Church has not asked its Child Molesting Priests to sacrifice a bull in the manner prescribed by Leviticus? I'm genuinely concerned that this is being overlooked.

In the very same chapter that male on male sex is forbidden, it also forbids a man who has married a woman to later marry that woman's sister (Leviticus 18:18) until his first wife dies. This, just like man on man sex, is "an abomination."

Leviticus 12 also gives a highly useful and widely followed prescription for child birth. Essentially, according to Leviticus 12:6, an animal sacrifice is required- a lamb, and then there's some flexibility. Either a pigeon or a turtle dove will do.

How about Leviticus 19:28? "You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD." So tattooing the name of your dead wife on your arm is also a sin.

Then it comes back to Homosexuality, in a list of a whole bunch of behaviors that are punishable by death. Leviticus 20:9, "All who curse father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother, their blood is upon them." 20:10, "If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death." This is the book that lets us know the penalty for homosexuality, too, is death: it's three sentences down. Funny that there's no laws in the American law books to even imprison kids who get angry at their parents. Or bans on marriages between people who met when they were both married. Or bans on tattoos. It's funny how no one objects when we don't sacrifice a turtle dove after a child is born, but get up in arms when gay people want to get married.

Maybe there's some explanation behind why America doesn't embrace religious codes for principles of Democratic Justice. There's a little mention at the end of Leviticus 20:27, "A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned to death, their blood is upon them." And lo and behold, in 1692, somewhere around modern day Danvers, Massachusetts, Abigail Williams and Betty Parris began acting strangely, and the community decided they were possessed by the devil by way of a witch. The eventual hysteria- probably the first full blown case of American "Moral Outrage", soon spread to Andover, Amesbury, Salisbury, Haverhill, Topsfield, Ipswich, Rowley, Gloucester, Manchester, Malden, Charleston, Billerica, Beverly, Reading, Woburn, Lynn, Marblehead, and Boston, where 25 people were killed for being witches, and anywhere between 100 to 300 accused of it.

But it's also important to note that Leviticus is old testament, the book of the bible that was the rule of man prior to the coming of Christ. Jesus himself was a pretty cool guy. But you don't find his own words taken with the intensity of Leviticus, an obscure list of commandments that go half ignored whenever they prove to be inconvenient, and emphasized when it can be used to achieve a political agenda.

Mark 12:30-31, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."

John 4:20, "If a man says, 'I love God', and yet hates his brother, then he is a liar: for he that cannot love his brother whom he can see, cannot love god whom he cannot see."

Matthew 6:14+, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you, but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Titus 1:15, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure."

Thursday, February 12, 2004

" secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men..." 

San Francisco has issued at least eight marriage licenses to Gays and Lesbians today in an act of protest against the Massachusetts hearings against gay marriage. But Republicans are not yet finished with their war against other people's happiness:

"These unlawful certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on. The renegade mayor of San Francisco has no authority to do this," said Randy Thomasson, the [Campaign for California Families] group's executive director. "This is nothing more than a publicity stunt that disrespects our state law and system of government itself."

Before any pro-gay-hate blog-comment-section activist says that if a Republican was doing this for a Republican cause I'd be offended and angry, well, you're right. But it's okay, because you guys are a bunch of ignorant assholes. They're breaking a law, a law that directly conflicts with a mandate- the Declaration of independence- predating even our Constitution, when it says that all men are created equal, and that "the pursuit of happiness" is an "inalienable right."

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Happiness! The most ignored of all American doctrines, so frequently confused with the right of consumption, that it is at risk finally in the campaign to shred every founding principle down to either sales receipts or bird cage liner. There is a predetermination in our culture, set in motion by the very idea that a Government could exist on the sole principle of individual liberty, that seeks to expand freedom over every living person to engage in the pursuit of Happiness. This same movement towards freedom is decried as "moral decay" by the fundamentalist and "Christian" activists.

Laws cannot be designed to protect our nation from the happiness of others, regardless of our own invented bias towards "immorality" between consenting individuals. You do not have the right to be protected from the happiness of others, so long as it does not infringe on your own rights to happiness. This does not include your inalienable rights to ignorance, moral condemnation, self righteousness or religious warfare. Even the Religious reasons to fight Gay Marriage are on their face absurd. To those who would force Religious Readings on American Freedoms, I suggest the old saw, "Turn the other cheek." Against Gay Marriage? Great, then don't marry your gay partner.

While we're on the subject of declaring independence from England's tyranny prior to the Revolutionary war, there is the little matter of rejecting the King based on the idea that "He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices". Bush might be dusting off a little of the old English Monarchy on us with this one, in his State of the Union address: "Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process."

One problem. It was most certainly not the "will of the people" to free the slaves of the South, to allow Women and Blacks to vote, to desegregate schools and allow for interracial marriages. The allegedly "activist" judges are not acting "arbitrarily," and neither were those demanding integration or the right to mixed marriages. They were acting on behalf of the Constitution, which imposes no restriction on the rights of Homosexuals. Inserting an amendment to the Constitution based on one's idea of morality is an intensely "activist" maneuver. Interpreting what is said in the Constitution isn't.

I don't know much about the sanctity of marriage, really, but I cannot imagine that two men kissing without a marriage license would make my marriage more important. Nor would it be less important if they had one. If it did, I would be ashamed to blame it on two abstract homosexuals that are not merely having sex somewhere- that's not the issue, because they're already having sex- but because they are doing it with a legal affirmation that they can share health benefits? That's your problem? If you find that you love your wife or husband less because two lesbians in San Francisco are allowed by law to commit to each other for the entire duration of their lives, then you, my friend, have a problem with your marriage that has got nothing whatsoever to do with "activist judges."

Lastly, let me just address the little matter of the "Slippery Slope." In the "Slippery Slope" argument, Republicans find that allowing homosexual marriage would open the floodgates to legalizing pedophilia or other deviant sexual behavior. My answer to this is simply, a married gay man is no more likely to have sex with a young boy as a married straight man is to have sex with a young girl. Should some fringe elements of society, such as NAMBLA, push for their rights to have sex with children younger than the age of consent, the right for Gay Marriage will pose absolutely no legal precedent for this argument, whatsoever. Any "right" to have sex with small children would have to be fought as a legal issue dealing with age of consent, not mutuality of gender.

So what's the problem? Is it the usual gasbag tyranny of the perpetually righteous, rearing its head on any new manifestation of freedom or expansion of human liberty and dignity? Sure sounds like it to me: "Moral Outrage." That's the staple calling card of the restriction addicts. Moral Panic is a useful package for selling all kinds of oppression: Prohibition, Slavery, Integration. All the big stains on Democracy were adjusted in spite of these assholes. A threat to the family! A threat to your family! The black man will take your daughter, wrote detractors of integration. A prohibition-era sermon warned that alcohol would destroy the family too: "It takes the kind, loving husband and father, smothers every spark of love in his bosom, and transforms him into a heartless wretch, makes him steal the shoes from his starving babe's feet to find the price of a glass of liquor." The reactionaries are running out of places to go with this one, though: "Gay Marriage will destroy your family, somehow, we promise".

But Prohibition ended, and so too will this nonsense. It's only a question of how long and how messy the division-loving arbiters of moral outrage want it to be.

Gay Penguin News 

Official Gay Penguin Website: Gay Penguin For America.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Oh Wow, Another Lie. I Mean, "Accident."  

Remember how Bush said they found Al Qaida (also known as "the committee to re-elect GW Bush") had Nuclear Power Plant diagrams? He was all, "The depth of their hatred is equaled by the madness of the destruction they design. We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities, detailed instructions for making chemical weapons, surveillance maps of American cities, and thorough descriptions of landmarks in America and throughout the world."

Yeah. Well, he lied. Uh, I mean, he "was probably wrong". (And who wants to bet the "thorough descriptions of landmarks in America" bit refers to an Almanac?)

Now, before anyone gets all upset, let me just say that I am totally for securing Nuclear Power Plants. And had Bush said, "It'd be a great idea to protect our Power Plants, guys" that would have been great. But he didn't. He said something that wasn't true to convince us of a threat that wasn't necessarily solid or real.

Gay Penguin never said any of that shit.

The Liberal Media is Totally Back! 

A pretty amazing press gaggle at the White House Today. The Media isn't a determining factor for Presidential opinion as much as it is a vulture- when it smells a corpse, it descends to pick the eyes out. Whenever Bush's opinion polls slip below a certain number, the press gets a little vicious. Today, here's some quotes from the "Q" portion of the Q and A transcript, mostly because the "A" portion is pretty incoherent.

Q: Scott, a couple of questions I have -- the records that you handed out today, and other records that exist, indicate that the President did not perform any Guard duty during the months of December 1972, February or March of 1973. I'm wondering if you can tell us where he was during that period. And also, how is it that he managed to not make the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status?

A: _______

Q: That wasn't my question, Scott.

A: _______

Q: Scott, that wasn't my question, and you know it wasn't my question. Where was he in December of '72, February and March of '73? And why did he not fulfill the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status?

A: _______

Q: I asked a simple question; how about a simple answer?

A: ________

Q: Well, if you would address it -- maybe you could.

A: ________

Q: I do want to know the facts, which is why I keep asking the question. And I'll ask it one more time. Where was he in December of '72, February and March of '73? Why didn't he fulfill the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status in 1972?

A: ________

Q: Scott, when Senator Kerry goes around campaigning, there's frequently what they call "a band of brothers," a bunch of soldiers who served with him, who come forward and give testimonials for him. I see, in looking at our files in the campaign of 2000, it said that you were looking for people who served with him to verify his account of service in the National Guard. Has the White House been able to find, like Senator Kerry, "a band of brothers" or others who can testify about the President's service?

A: ________

Q: Actually, I wasn't talking about documents, I was talking about people -- you know, comrades-in-arms --

A: ________

Q: But you said you were looking for people -- and I take it you didn't find any people?

A: ________

Q: Scott, can I follow on this, because I do think this is important. You know, it might strike some as odd that there isn't anyone who can stand up and say, I served with George W. Bush in Alabama, or in Houston in the Guard unit. Particularly because there are people, his superiors who have stepped forward -- in Alabama and in Houston -- who have said in the past several years that they have no recollection of him being there and serving. So isn't that odd that nobody -- you can't produce anyone to corroborate what these records purport to show?

A: _________

So anyway, here's my prediction, which is totally opinion and not based on any facts whatsoever, and just to be bipartisan, I am going to say something about what might be in Dean's sealed records:

Bush: Rehab.
Dean: Gay Bashing.

There it is. Worse case scenario for both. I'm not saying Dean is forgivable and Bush isn't or vice versa, I'm just saying that these are two revelations which would not surprise me in the least upon the opening of sealed documents.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


There's been so many Bush related scandals that it's hard to keep up, so I've been ignoring the little matter of GOP operatives stealing Democratic Party Strategy memos.

An advisor to Bill Frist has already resigned as a result of the investigation. But, in further proof that some Republicans have no dignity, they've filed an ethics complaint based on the content in the files that they've obtained illegally (maybe- the GOP argues that the files were left "hanging around" on shared computers). The problem? The old saw about the "collusion memos" which apparently shocked everyone by revealing that the DNC has ties to NARAL and the NAACP. The shock!

Gay Penguin, by the way, has never looked at memos illegally or even just unethically. Gay Penguin for President.

Wesley Clark Drops Out 

There's an old and golden political adage that goes: "Whomever is endorsed by Michael Moore will win the campaign." Maybe the internet has screwed things up, but Wes Clark has dropped out of the race. I thought he dropped out of the race when he dodged the perfectly reasonable AWOL issue at the last debate. If you're a candidate who doesn't want issues, then you're not ready to be a candidate.

I will always respect Wes Clark, I was in the draft Clark movement and he gave Howard Dean a run for his money initially. I will still dream of a Dean/Clark ticket.

The AP's early reports after the primary results said that Clarks advisors wanted him to drop out, but that Clark has been holding out, convinced he can fill the gap when and if Kerry starts faltering in the polls. That may never happen now.

Bush Opens Up Military Records 

The AP has the story:

Bush was not paid for any service during a five-month period in 1972, from May through September, according to the records released with Bush's approval Tuesday. He was paid for two days in October and four days in November and none in December 1972. He was not paid for February or March 1973. The records do not indicate what duty Bush performed or where he was. Nevertheless, spokesman McClellan repeatedly held up the 13-page packet his office had released, and he declared in his televised briefing, "I think these documents show that he fulfilled his duties."

I like that Bush is questioned about his military service, then releases records that don't answer the questions. I like that George W Bush thinks that this will work. It reminds me of when my cat used to try to hide under the couch by putting his head under the cushions, but you could still see not just his tail but his entire ass.

It is worth noting, by the way, that Gay Penguin isn't hiding any military records.

Old Media Gets Defensive 

Looks like someone needs to redefine their bragging rights:

Game over, webheads. John Kerry is cruising to the Democratic nomination the old-fashioned way. He squeezes fat cats and the traditional Democratic special interests for big donations. He runs slick television ads that voters respond to. He uses the mainstream media -- the TV networks and the major newspapers -- as his megaphones, because they reach the widest audiences. He seems to be making out just fine.

The article goes on to serve as a venting board for the authors frustration with the blog community, and the Dean campaign, while simultaneously calling it powerless. When's the last time you saw such a vitriolic response to a dead campaign? (Ironically it reads more like a blog-rant than a newspaper article.) Sorry the kids are talking back, Mr. "Real Reporter." We know our place is in the kitchen.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Gay Penguin for President 

God seems to have given Gay Penguins the right to marry.

"Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan, are completely devoted to each other. For nearly six years now, they have been inseparable. They exhibit what in penguin parlance is called "ecstatic behavior": that is, they entwine their necks, they vocalize to each other, they have sex. Silo and Roy are, to anthropomorphize a bit, gay penguins."

I am thinking of running a Gay Penguin for president. The idea coming from a drunk and maybe crazy guy on a NYC subway who my friend asked if he would vote for Giuliani again, a few years back.

"Fuck Giuliani." He said. "I'd vote for a hamburger. I would vote for a gay guy in a spacesuit."

So I started Gay Guy In A Spacesuit for President a while back. But now, a Gay Penguin might be more sophisticated and appropriate. The idea being that a Gay Penguin wouldn't have got us into war, wouldn't have given us this deficit, wouldn't lose this many jobs, and would, in fact, allow Gays the right to marry. I would actually vote for a Gay Penguin over George Bush because, literally, a gay penguin would do a better job running the country than our current President.

[Update: Here's Some Gay Penguin for President Exploratory Commission Ads]

George Bush Speaks 

George Bush Jr, whom some consider our President, was on "Meet the Press" today with Tim Russert. A lot of people thought Russert was a pansy, but I think he was fair and certainly refused to give Bush a free ride. I assume some liberals would not be satisfied until Russert broke a chair over Bush's head, but I don't consider myself one of them. Here's some highlights:

One: Anatomy of a Dodge
Russert: Will you testify before the [Iraq Intelligence] commission?

President Bush: This commission? You know, I don't... testify? I will be glad to visit with them. I will be glad to share with them knowledge. I will be glad to make recommendations, if they ask for some. I'm interested in getting- I'm interested in making sure the intelligence gathering works well. Listen, we got some five- let me- let me, again, just give you a sense of where I am on the intelligence systems of America. First of all, I strongly believe the CIA is ably led by George Tenet. He comes and briefs me on a regular basis about what he and his analysts see in the world.

Two: In Which Bush Admits He Has A Problem
President Bush: I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn't true, but it is true. And the American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is.

Three: It's Not Nation Building, It's Fighting A War To Build a Nation
Russert: You do seem to have changed your mind from the 2000 campaign. In a debate, you said, "I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called 'nation-building.'"

President Bush: Yes.

Russert: We clearly are involved in nation building.

President Bush: Right. And I also said let me put it in context. I'm not suggesting you're pulling one of these Washington tricks where you leave half the equation out. But I did say also that our troops must be trained and prepared to fight and win war and, therefore, make peace more possible. And our troops were trained to fight and win war, and we did, and a second phase of the war is now going on. The first phase, of course, was the Tommy Franks troop movement.

Russert: But this is nation building.

President Bush: Well, it is. That's right, but we're also fighting a war so that they can build a nation.

Four: "There May Be No evidence, But I Did Report"
There's been some of this on some of the talk shows- even Bob Dole tried it out on "The Daily Show", but Jon Stewart caught it (while CNN's Aaron Brown didn't): The AWOL issue gets raised, and the Republicans pretend that Democrats are calling him AWOL because he joined the National Guard as opposed to going to the war. The actual issue is that there are no public records showing Bush showed up to Alabama. But here it is again:

President Bush: I would be careful to not denigrate the Guard. It's fine to go after me, which I expect the other side will do. I wouldn't denigrate service to the Guard, though, and the reason I wouldn't, is because there are a lot of really fine people who served in the National Guard and who are serving in the National Guard today in Iraq.

Russert: The Boston Globe and the Associated Press have gone through some of their records and said there’s no evidence that you reported to duty in Alabama during the summer and fall of 1972.

President Bush: Yeah, they re they're just wrong. There may be no evidence, but I did report; otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged. In other words, you don't just say "I did something" without there being verification. Military doesn't work that way. I got an honorable discharge, and I did show up in Alabama.

Five: Way To Be, Mr. President
Russert: Why do people hold you with such contempt?

President Bush: Heck, I don't know, Ronald Reagan was unpopular in Europe when he was President, according to Jose Maria Aznar. And I said, ‘You know something? ‘He said to me, he said, ‘You're nearly as unpopular as Ronald Reagan was.’ I said, ‘so, first of all, I'm keeping pretty good company.’

Is Blogging The New Poetry? 

The Bureau of Public Secrets has posted some new essays by Kenneth Rexroth on the role of poetry as a direct threat to corrupt power. The thing is, if you're reading that sentence, you're saying to yourself "what an old fashioned, ridiculously out of date idea." So here I am to replace it with a new-fangled, totally pretentiously hip idea: Blogging as the new poetry.

Consider some of what Rexroth says about poetry's role in society:

"First, poetry is preeminently the art of language. The poet is continuously reorganizing the vast complex web of communication which makes our social life possible. Every great poem and every great poet has left the language different than they found it. Some writers today, notably Joyce in his recent work, and Gertrude Stein, have concentrated almost exclusively on aspects of this function of literature. At least their most important and durable contributions have been linguistic, whatever their intentions."

The same element of linguistics is at work today. I don't know if Rexroth has heard the word "meme" before, but if he had, surely he might have used it. Poets were the ones wrapping ideas in a new language, and the new language is what gave those ideas some degree of currency. In modern political times, it isn't the book that sells a candidate, it's the bumper sticker. Ultimately it was the poet, as it is now the ideal blogger, who is responsible for giving these ideas currency through a popular phrasing. It is an art of phraseology.

But in a more subtler form, Rexroth declares that "[t]he poet is constantly trying to make the language a more efficient instrument for the control and appreciation of experience. As soon as the forms of society come to rest on artificially preserved methods of controlling experience, any such deeply critical approach to the mechanism of communication becomes dangerous to the group. What we call reaction is an insistence upon regressive techniques of living. In his most abstract activities the poet is a menace to reaction." (Is this any different than adopt a journalist? Or to the work of rebutting the party line?) "Any activity which presumes to control the most fundamental elements of individual and concurrently of group experience, and to pass very trenchant judgment upon them, to constantly revise and reorder processes of evaluation, to not only change and reconstruct the mechanisms of communication, but to give these mechanisms new purposes, will obviously find itself in conflict with those sections of the population which owe their privileges to communication kept on the most debased, uncritical and uncreative levels."

Now I want to say that I know Rexroth is talking about something more primal than politics, which is ultimately a detached game. It's a game of power in lieu or direct experience, it's all about standing for something without ever really being something- a voter, for example. Poetry was about the distinction between sleepwalking and direct experience. Blogging- if it was ever to rise to the level of an actual art form, an actual "form" of writing- is about the distinction between sleeping and direct activism.

It's telling what he says about the limitations of poetry in his own time: "As writers we can make a significant gesture of defiance in the faces of those who are trying to remove America from the civilized world. But alone we cannot do very much else. There is a potential audience of all the producing classes of the West, which obviously we have not reached. We are conscious of the dangers which threaten what civilization we have. It is our job to awaken this audience to these dangers and to ally ourselves with the common people who have already awakened. It is they, not we, who will be the deciding factors in the coming struggle. Any moderately efficient fascist police could in a month silence or exterminate every honest writer in America. But they could not so easily dispose of farmers and workers, the common people upon whom the life of the country depends. It is still possible to rally the American people to the defense of their democracy."

Belated Super Sized Sunday Blog Outsourcing 

One: A mention that American Street is generally a really well done blog.

Two: NTodd has got a lengthy article on unemployment under Bush. It includes graphs! Crazy!

Three: Speedkill on the war against science (because evolution killed Jesus). Here's my question: Since we're supposed to suggest that literal Biblical interpretations of human origins be considered a plausible theory, do we also teach that the moon is 6000 years old? And do we teach that quite possibly, all life is the dream of Vishnu in an Alabama Chemistry Class? If not, why not?

Four: Craptastic on how the Patriot Act isn't being abused. At all. Ever. Nor ever would it be!

Five: BBWW has some information on Ohio's new law banning Gay Marriage. I don't know how I missed it. Bring on the Supreme Court level contestations!

Six: Echidne has some investigations into conservative columnist George Will.

Seven: Rivka at Otters has got a good piece explaining why you're not always right about Big Pharm.

Eight: It appears that we may have found our right wing third party candidate to give tons of left wing liberal tainted money to. Roy Moore runs, more at Archy

Nine: If Dean loses Wisconsin and then drops out, what happens to the Wilgoren Watch?

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Investigators 

The list of names for the Iraqi Intelligence panel, which was created with the mandate of avoiding future mistakes but not investigating the current ones:

Sen. Charles S. Robb- A Vietnam Vet and Democratic U.S. senator and Virginia Governor.

Laurence Silberman, a Republican, served as deputy attorney general in the Nixon/Ford administrations. He was named to the appeals court by President Reagan in 1985. He once remarked that President Clinton was "at war with the US government". He pardoned the Iran-Contra convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter (who was recently fired by Bush after pressure from Democrats mounted when Poindexter wanted to start a terrorist-attack stock market.)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, now has a chance to blow his fair and bipartisan reputation just like Colin Powell did.

Lloyd Cutler, an advisor for Carter and Clinton. While serving under Clinton, he headed a task force and claimed that "the most urgent national security threat to the United States today is the danger that weapons of mass destruction or weapons-usable material in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nation states and used against American troops abroad or citizens at home." He advised a plan to purchase and destroy Russian warheads, which Bush has substantially underfunded.

Patricia M. Wald, a Carter-appointed Democrat who, among other things, is in favor of America joining the International Criminal Court (and left her post to sit on the Hague trials related to Yugoslavia.)

Yale University president Richard C. Levin, an economist. This is apparently just so Skull and Bones society conspiracy freaks have something to talk about? Why is a Yale Economist on the panel?

Adm. William O. Studeman, former deputy director of the CIA (appointed by Bush Sr).

Seems fair enough, except that Silberman is a chair of the panel. But I don't think he'll be there very long.

What's So Bad About John Kerry?  

Lately I've been analyzing my own feelings toward John Kerry. For whatever reason, I haven't liked him, as a candidate, from the very beginning.

But looking as his record which is "More Liberal Than Ted Kennedy's" I have to ask myself, don't I want that in my presidential nominee? With Dean, there was this odd triangulation of a "revolutionary centrist", a guy who was pro-death penalty, pro-gun, etc etc, and people came to his defense. Suddenly, a 100% star rating from the NRA became the bragging rights of left-wing Democrats.

There is the idea that I don't like Kerry because of his upbringing. But then I gave my support to a guy who spent the Vietnam war skiing after getting a medical deferment, who was very much from a privileged family. Howard Dean may have requested black roommates at Yale, but John Kerry, for reasons I could never understand, actually signed up to go into Vietnam when he easily could have used his money and connections to do what Bush or Dean did. And John Kerry not only volunteered for the war, he was a war hero by the end of it as well. He was stuck in the midst of what war really is- a constant barrage of death and survival- and he pressed for ways to stop civilian casualties. And not content to simply sit on his reputation after the war, he organized the movement to stop it. He won medals he didn't want- Three Purple Hearts, A Bronze and a Gold Star- on the principle that he didn't want the war, so he threw them back at Richard Nixon (literally) and argued to the senate hearings against the entire concept of the Vietnam War.

Why don't I like that? Don't I like anyone who manages to piss off Richard Nixon, and prompted a Nixon aid to say, "Destroy the young demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader" ? And frankly, if he is an elitist, hasn't he earned that right by now?

Next up: After only two years as a senator (his first term) John Kerry went to Nicaragua without any authorization, and discovered illegal gun running to the Contras; the same contra's that later served as the prefix to the "Iran-Contra" scandal. In 1989 he released a paper that showed that the US was turning a blind eye to drugs being smuggled into this country for "national security reasons".

I don't know, what's wrong with that? And what's wrong with taking these positions:

He voted for a bill that set aside 10% of highway construction labor to go to small businesses run by minorities and women.

He voted no on the Defense of Marriage Act, which was eventually passed and defined "marriage" as between a man and a woman. Disappointingly, he now is for civil unions instead of allowing gay marriage.

Is in favor of corporate reform, "The Democratization of Corporations", in which stockholders have greater say over the CEO's and actions of companies they hold stock in.

Voted Yes to fund COPS, a program Bush is now cutting that is largely responsible for the Clinton-era decrease in crime. The program places police officers in specific neighborhoods and creates voluntary neighborhood leaders who keep the police officers aware of what's going on there over the week, bringing police officers and the community closer together in at risk neighborhoods and increasing their effectiveness.

Is pro-death penalty, but voted to require positive DNA evidence for an execution to take place.

Kerry's environmental record, as you would expect, is pristine.

So anyway, I am not jumping on a bandwagon here- I still support Howard Dean for the primary- but I don't think John Kerry is all that bad, and I would be interested if others had any opinions.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Telling The "I Told You So's" I Told You So 

Michael Reagan may be too easy a target, but I'd just love to ask him what he thinks now about that article he wrote after the fall of Saddam's Statue.

"Decades of tyranny had ended, and along with it the lies and distortions of anti-Bush liberals, Democrats who predicted that all kinds of disasters would befall America if we went to war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

That statue was Iraq's Berlin Wall. And the naysayers, the Rangels and the Kerrys and the Conyers and the Pelosis and the Daschles and all of the American Baghdad Bobs who just a week ago were whining that we're wrong - that the president was wrong and there was going to be body bag after body bag coming home - that this is an unjust and illegal war, were the ones who have been proved wrong."


"As the statues of Saddam come crashing down hopefully America will look at Washington and understand the statue of corrupt liberalism has begun to fall too."

We can only hope!

"We have watched one of the most amazing and successful military campaigns in all history and it came about despite the liberal propaganda we were being fed by the media and the Democrats and some retired military soreheads. Propaganda that the strategy was flawed, that we had an insufficient number of troops on the ground, that we had to pause because of all of this, that we were facing a quagmire in Baghdad and guerilla warfare from an outraged Iraqi citizenry that was rallying around the Saddam regime.

They were all lies."

And my favorite:

"Every day that's gone by, President Bush and Tony Blair look far wiser and brilliant than those who have been speaking out against. Think about it, the war started a mere 21 days ago - today we're in Baghdad, the Saddam regime has been destroyed and the people of Iraq are free."

Think about it!

Christopher Lydon 

Just thought I'd mention that the Dresden Dolls have a song about BOP commentator Christopher Lydon.

CIA/George Tenet on Iraq: "Never an Imminent Threat" 

QUESTION: Well, we went to war, didn't we, to find these -- because we said that these weapons were a direct and imminent threat to the United States? Isn't that true?

MR. FLEISCHER: Absolutely.

-White House Press Briefing, May 7th 2002

But today, George Tenet denied that there was ever any intelligence stating that Saddam was an Imminent threat, and argued that the CIA never presented the information in that way to the White House. Which is fine, because it didn't.

But Bush presented it that way to us.

"The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence." - Bush, Sept. 12, 2002, speaking at the United Nations.

"He's a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible." - Bush, Sept. 13, 2002, remarks to press.

"On its present course, the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency." - Bush, Oct. 2, 2002, after reaching agreement with House leaders on Iraq resolution.

"The danger is already significant and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today - and we do - does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?" - Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, speech in Cincinnati.

These and more, courtesy of the AP, who is making my job easy today.

Allegory, Pt 2.  

From the AP's Aparna H Kumar:

The solemn mood in the hotel ballroom was momentarily shattered during Bush's speech by an apparent glitch in the sound system that sounded like a burst of machine-gun fire. While some in the audience looked startled, the president continued without mentioning the sound.

Another article from the AP shows exactly what Bush was saying when it happened:

"Seeing great need, our servicemen and women have rebuilt hospitals, repaired schools ... ," he said. At that point, there was a sound similar to automatic gunfire. After a second's hesitation, Bush continued, "and organized the donation of books and clothing and toys for Iraqi children."

Maybe God was listening.

Stayin' Positive: Mall Voting in CA 

Hey everyone, great news! In a triumph for people who don't have any real interest in politics and/or vote solely on gut feelings and reactions to a candidates physical appearance, the State of California has allowed voting booths to be placed in shopping malls.

"This could be a way to appeal to younger people to vote," Petracca said. "Let's face it, younger people spend a lot of time at the malls."

I am grateful that we are finally tapping into the demographic of 18 year old boys who hang out at the mall talking to 14 year old girls- about the importance of government and complexities of each candidates health care reform packages. What is important is that these voices will finally be heard, voices which in the past have been silent on account of the previously unchecked tyranny of having to leave the food court for 20 minutes on election day.

Stayin' Positive: New Halliburton Investigation 

It seems like a lot of Republicans these days talk about the value of staying positive, particularly when the "pessimism" and "negativity" highlights stuff like, you know, inequality or injustice. If I don't want to be an "angry Democrat" then I'd better shape up and start being "civil." So, today I am going to make a stab at staying positive about world events, just like Republican Bloggers, so as not to further degrade this countries precious political discourse.

So, let's start with Halliburton!

The Justice Department has opened up an inquiry into whether Halliburton Co. was involved in the payment of $180 million in possible kickbacks to obtain contracts to build a natural gas plant in Nigeria during a period in the late 1990’s when Vice President Dick Cheney was chairman of the company, Newsweek has learned.

Well it is only fair to say that this corporation should be treated innocent until proven guilty, and they are only under investigation. In the end, it may turn out that Dick Cheney was mustering his full compassion and using those "kick backs" to help solve the AIDS Crisis in Africa. Dick Cheney is clearly dedicated to solving the AIDS crisis in Africa, as he has shown a dedication to the issues of the African continent since 1986, when he boldly placed a controversial vote to keep Nelson Mandela in prison. You see, even before 9/11, Cheney was showing a dedicated resolve against terrorists, such as the Black Majority of South Africans who were fighting against apartheid. Here, in an interview from 2000, Cheney explains his position against negotiating and recognizing the African National Congress (and Nelson Mandela):

"The ANC was then viewed as a terrorist organization,'' Cheney said Sunday. "It was a step that we simply weren't prepared to take. [...] He deserves an enormous amount of credit for the transformation of South Africa,'' Cheney said, "But I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago." -ABC News Interview

So, "stayin positive!", could it be that Halliburton's "corruption" might be nothing more than an extension of Dick Cheney's strong support for the African Continent, related to his tough stances against terror? Could be.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Jerry Springer, The Real Internet Candidate For Ohio 

A grassroots Jerry Springer for Ohio website, by way of This American Life. If you haven't heard the show, about Jerry Springer's past in politics, I recommend it. It's really a great story, regardless of what you think of Springer or Populist politics. The above Jerry for Ohio blog includes political commentary posts by Springer, who is actually a pretty good writer.

It's all very surprising.

I Really Thought I Could Avoid This Subject 

I think Newsmax sums up my feelings about the Janet Jackson Breast-Exposure Incident at the Superbowl: It may, in fact, be the most important and devastating event of all in our modern times, a catalyst, perhaps, for a widespread destruction of our precious American Innocence. Where once our nation was challenged and came together on 9/11, an even greater threat has come upon us.

I feel sorry for parents all over the country who were sitting in front of the television with their young children. I think of proud dads watching the big game with their young sons for the first time and having to explain what happened.

Holy Fuckin' Shit people, I really thought we were a smart enough as a society that we could just not care about some girl's boobs falling out at a sporting event?

(thanks, Rivka)

I Think Dean Just Said... 

"We're going to keep on going, and going, and going- just like the energizing butter."


What's so great about John Edwards? Anyone have any ideas?

I can actually see and understand some of the response to Kerry- a war hero who has assimilated just enough of Dean's message to have some fire, but not enough to burn your house down- but Edwards' appeal is a lot less apparent to me.

He's definitely capable of beating Bush, but less so than Kerry. He's got charisma but so does Dean and so does Sharpton. He's a "good speaker", he knows the ebb and flow of oratory, but not a particularly enlightening or insightful speaker.

When they quote him on the radio, he always says the same thing- "There's two Americas" etc etc etc. His speeches are sort of what a guy playing the role of a guy running for President would say, devoid of any real ideas or message besides "I can do it because I used to be poor, now applaud and don't ask me any questions please for the love of God." But then, that last part is sort of the main political position of most voters.

When it comes to separation of Church and State, Edwards is more conservative than Joe Lieberman. He is opposed to allowing people shot by guns to sue gun manufacturers, which Kerry and Lieberman both supported. Edwards is closer to Lieberman in his support of the war than he is to Kerry, who is the most against-it candidate of the for-it candidates.

I understand there is an interest in "someone like me" running for President, but John Edwards isn't really authentic or sincere, and it strikes me as difficult for anyone to even mistake his speeches for authentic or sincere. Clark and Dean are arguably the authenticity frontrunners, and they're both floundering.

So here's an open comment thread: Do you like John Edwards? Can you give me a home run moment for John Edwards, when he did something that really hit you that he was "the guy"? (His showing in Iowa doesn't count- I want positions, quotes, anecdotes.) Also, why Edwards and not Kerry?

Lieberman Out, Kerry, Clark, Edwards In 

Joe Lieberman has quit the race, not that anyone was really sure he was ever really running. Four States go to Kerry, South Carolina goes to John Edwards. In Oklahoma, Clark takes a dead heat with Edwards that CNN still seems uncomfortable announcing.

The sweep of the states!

N. Dakota:
Kerry gets a huge high here.

John Kerry 5,316 51%
Wesley K Clark 2,502 24%
Howard Dean 1,231 12%
John Edwards 1,025 10%
Dennis J Kucinich 308 3%
Joseph I Lieberman 98 1%

South Carolina
Al Sharpton with nearly 10% of the vote. Edwards' first win was pretty easily predicted.

Edwards 45.0%
Kerry 30.2%
Sharpton 9.6%
Clark 7.2%
Dean 4.6%
Lieberman 2.4%
Kucinich 0.4%

Lieberman's home state, Kerry sweeps but all the other candidates- including Al Sharpton- are relatively evenly distributed, but none of them break the 15% threshold.

Kerry 50.5%
Lieberman 11.1%
Edwards 11.0%
Dean 10.4%
Clark 9.5%
Sharpton 5.7%
Kucinich 1.0%

The biggest cache of delegates so far goes easily to Kerry.

Kerry 50.5%
Edwards 25.4%
Dean 8.5%
Clark 4.4%
Lieberman 3.6%
Sharpton 2.9%
Kucinich 1.1%

Kerry 42.6%
Clark 26.8%
Dean 13.9%
Edwards 7.0%
Lieberman 6.5%
Kucinich 1.6%
Sharpton 0.5%

I was interested in a state that gave Clark a win. This state narrowly slides to Clark thanks to rural voters, Urban goes to Kerry handily and Suburban voters more evenly divided.

Clark 29.9%
Edwards 29.5%
Kerry 26.8%
Lieberman 6.5%
Dean 4.2%
Sharpton 1.3%
Kucinich 0.8%

New Mexico:
Record breaking turnout in New Mexico, a state that almost went Red for Bush in 2000- and the best showing of the night for Dennis Kucinich.

John Kerry 26,056 40.3%
Wesley K Clark 13,784 21.3%
Howard Dean 11,445 17.7%
John Edwards 7,214 11.1%
Dennis J Kucinich 3,481 5.4%
Joseph I Lieberman 1,711 2.6%
Richard A Gephardt 581 0.9%

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Investigating the CIA 

Hey, sorry if my anti-war blog talks about the war too much everyone, but I figured I'd mention this from February, 2003 (I think it's about 3 weeks before the war):

While the United States continues to see Iraqi attempts to upgrade civilian facilities that could be used in superweapons programs, a CIA report on proliferation released this week says the intelligence community has no “direct evidence” that Iraq has succeeded in reconstituting its biological, chemical, nuclear or long-range missile programs in the two years since U.N. weapons inspectors left and U.S. planes bombed Iraqi facilities. [...] “We believe that Iraq has probably continued low-level theoretical R&D; associated with its nuclear program. A sufficient source of fissile material remains Iraq’s most significant obstacle to being able to produce a nuclear weapon,” the CIA said.

David Kay said the same thing two weeks ago, and now the CIA is under investigation for giving Bush "bad evidence" when what they said was pretty much right on the money.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Ricin at the Senate 

Oh man, thank god we caught Saddam or there'd be twice as much Ricin being mailed to people by now! I'm positive!

What if instead of going half way around the world to blow up a country for not having Ricin or Anthrax, we look around some angry trucker's house in South Carolina and see if there's any in his basement? Because so far, some pissed off transportation lobbyist is sketching my shit out way more than Saddam Hussein. And so are these fucked up Texans with "half a million rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases" on top of the cyanide-laden explosives. Yeah, they were caught, but when you read how you're not gonna feel any better.

Utah Withdraws from UN 

Some of Utah's conservative Republicans have long harbored fears that the U.N. was plotting to take over this country, do away with freedom, create a world government and levy a global tax.

Yeah, that's clearly a high priority for Kofi Annan. So state Republicans passed a resolution asking the US to withdraw. But some whining Democrats are expressing constituent concerns with their typically shrill, liberal, self righteous indignation:

"A message I get from them a lot is, 'What are you doing up there? We have taxes to think about. We have important state issues. Why do I read that the Legislature is discussing the United Nations or the war in Iraq or whether Jell-O should be our state dessert?" - Utah Representative Scott Daniels (D)


Talesha Reynolds of ABC News:

At the Tulsa Boat Show, Sen. Lieberman and a few hundred others watched Twiggy the Waterskiing Squirrel do her thing. Outfitted in a rodent-sized Stars and Stripes lifejacket, Twiggy glided across a wading pool pulled by a remote control boat while the crowd looked on in amazement.

Sen. Lieberman called the performance "thrilling" and said it was evidence that "anything is possible in America." And just like Twiggy, Lieberman is managing to stay afloat in the rough waters of the presidential race and hanging on for dear life. He was thrown a rope early in the day in the form of endorsements from two of the largest papers in South Carolina, The State and the Greenville News, and from the Seattle Times."

Independent and Bipartisan 

Bush has changed his mind on investigating the Iraq intelligence failure and will now go ahead and hand pick the independent, bipartisan people who will investigate it. Remember when 9/11 happened and Bush decided Henry Kissinger would be great for investigating it? That was totally awesome. I hope he puts George Bush Sr and Oliver North in charge of figuring out what went wrong with the Iraqi weapons investigation. (And Joe Lieberman! See, it's bipartisan!) Oh and, guess what else? The results of the investigation won't come out until after the election.

Let's recap: The potentially politically damaging information will be investigated by a panel of Bush's choosing, and their conclusions will not come out until after the election.

Alright, fine. But maybe in the future we can investigate claims about our "pre-war intelligence" before we start blowing things up? It's kind of cute that Bush is consistent about it though. Execute people before we know if they're innocent, invade nations before we find out they don't have WMD's. That's cute, right guys?

Washington State's "Old White People" Problem 

Over in indie rock scenester heaven Olympia Washington, White Republican Alex Deccio was in an argument with fellow White Republican Tom Campbell, and decided that a politically expedient phrase to nail one of his points would be to declare Tom Campbell "A Nigger in the Woodpile." I'm still waiting to hear if it helped him make his case on health care reform or not.

Now of course it was a "slip of the tongue" but I have to say, I don't think I've ever "accidentally" called someone a "Nigger." It's just not something I tend to do "on accident". In fact if I had to say it deliberately I would be probably break out into a sweat. I don't think there is a word that I have personally been more conditioned against saying or even allowing into my internal vocabulary, but there it is, on the tip of this guys lips just ready to "accidentally" come out.

Deccio apologized, and I suppose "thought-policing" isn't a good policy on calling for resignations, but if that guy has the N word on the forefront of his consciousness then maybe he's not very well suited for a job in representational Democracy.

But Washington State seems to go for that sort of thing. About a year ago, two state legislators walked out of a session because it was introduced by a Muslim prayer, with Louis McMahon explaining:

"It's an issue of patriotism [...] The Islamic religion is so ... part and parcel with the attack on America. I just didn't want to be there, be a part of that," she said. "Even though the mainstream Islamic religion doesn't profess to hate America, nonetheless it spawns the groups that hate America."

Right, right. And David Koresh is why I don't go to Sunday School. But just as Mr. Deccio said the "N" word "on accident", Ms. McMahon later explained that she "didn't mean to offend anybody" and that the comments weren't supposed to be on the public record. Seriously, how does that excuse anything? "Yes, I revealed that I am ignorant, prejudiced, and that I choose to remain closed to anything that might change that, but I didn't know I was talking to a newspaper about it!"

Sunday, February 01, 2004


Clearly the best coverage of the Superbowl is at Flak Magazine:

Thus, if there's one thing the Super Bowl symbolizes, it's freedom. Which is why we're focusing this year on our newly free Iraqi friends, who no doubt will be enjoying the game on Al Jazeera. How will they perceive the luscious, suckable fruits of American commercial culture? Will our advertisements promote stability in the heartland of the Middle East? Will they teach Iraqis about the true value of democracy? Will they wackily offend everybody's Islamic values? Stay tuned, because Flak writers will review every single ad of the Super Bowl in real time in order to find out.

They do, and they ask of every Superbowl ad: "Will this commercial help build a more stable and democratic Iraq?"

You Can Choose Who To Believe 

Hyper-Conservative "News" Website has this, posted in 2002, and it pretty much does my job for me:

WASHINGTON – The White House said Thursday that it had "solid" evidence Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.

"Iraq has lied before, and they're lying now about whether they possess weapons of mass destruction," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "President Bush has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." British Prime Minister "Tony Blair has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." Defense Secretary "Donald Rumsfeld has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Richard Butler [the former head of U.N. weapons inspections] has said they do. The United Nations has said they do. The experts have said they do. [...] Iraq says they don't. You can choose who you want to believe," he said.

"The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it," Fleischer said.

It's like warm rain, isn't it? But there's more, here's an article from ABC News:

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told ABCNEWS that "we don't have weapons of mass destruction. We don't have chemical, biological or nuclear weaponry, but we have equipment which was defined as dual use."

Fleischer responded: "That statement is just as false as statements that Iraq made in the late '90s when they said they had no weapons of mass destruction, when it was found they indeed did. There is no basis to that."

Sunday Blog Outsourcing Cancelled, Replaced by Super Bowl Charity Wagering 

For whatever reason, the Liberal Coalition webpage blows my computer up. As a result, I lost the tail end of a very long Sunday Blog Outsourcing that just happened to include your blog. So, instead, let me just mention that today is Superbowl Sunday. While it's kind of ridiculous to have to point out that there is no actual rise in Domestic Abuse reports during the Superbowl, it's also true that women who are in a persistently abusive environment aren't going to have it any easier today, either. Not to mention that the North Carolina Panthers have, uhm, a history. So if you're the wagering type, why not bet on a donation to one of the following charities:

Dress For Success helps women get professional clothes and advice on finding work after leaving a threatening environment.

STAMP is a charity designed specifically for women who are abused by military personnel. Since the whole country is in love with American Soldiers right now, I imagine it's probably a pretty awful time for the guy who beats the shit out of you to just so happen to be enrolled in the National Guard.

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