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?)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?