Thursday, September 30, 2004

Fact Checking: Part One 

Bush Claim: "There are 100,000 troops trained, police, guard, special units, border patrol."

Fact: 32,800 troops have been trained so far, according to the US Defense Department.

Post Debate Primer 

The final debate score gave Kerry 17 points. I also, not looking at math, believe that Kerry slaughtered Bush tonight. We'll see what the feedback looks like- but Bush constantly repeated himself and tossed some nonsense back at Kerry- such as saying, "This is the man that said Saddam Hussein was a grave threat back in November and that the country was better off with him out of power." Kerry, off camera but on camera, nodded and said, "That's right. I did."

Bush looked nervous, repeated himself- "It's hard work," "I know how to do this", etc. He asked for time and then stumbled for 30 seconds. The strength of the Bush appearance was, however, his repetition- he got his message out.

We'll see what the pundits do to it, but to me, who expected Kerry to bomb, it was a clear Kerry win.

Roscoe Bartlett Wants You To Know Something 

The House emphatically rejected a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Thursday, the latest in a string of conservative pet causes advanced by Republican leaders in the run-up to Election Day.

The vote was 227-186, 49 votes shy of the two-thirds needed for approval of an amendment that President Bush backed but the Senate had previously scuttled.

"God created Adam and Eve, He didn't create Adam and Steve," said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.
- AP

Debate Game: Make Your Own Post-Debate Response Poll 

Okay, just for fun, here's a debate scorecard that will tell you who actually wins or loses. In the end, the higher the positive score, the stronger the win for Bush. If it ends with a negative score, the stronger the win with Kerry. The closer the numbers are, the less shift we'll see in the polls after the debate. If you have any suggestions, post them in the comments- and post your own scores there if you want, as well.

Part One: The Debate

+1 point for every camera shot that shows a Bush smirk while Kerry is speaking.
-1 point for every time John Kerry starts a response with the word, "Look..."

-1 point for every time Bush screws up a word or sentence.
-2 points if it is the name of a foreign leader.
-3 points if it is related to a military operation, ie, "Abu Ghraib, Najaf, Zarqawi".

+1 point for every time Kerry has to clarify a position.
+2 points for every time Kerry has to clarify his own wording of a position.
+3 points for every time Kerry has to clarify his own wording of a statement within the debate itself.

+1 point every time Bush calls Kerry weak on defense.
-2 points every time Kerry evokes Dick Cheney's support for Kerry's military spending.

+1 point for every time Bush says "Jesus".
+1 point for every time Kerry says "Howard Dean".

-1 point when anyone says "Dick Cheney"
-1 point whenever Kerry says "John Edwards".

+1 point when Kerry says "Out of Touch".
-1 point when Bush says "inconsistent."

-3 if Kerry says something close to, "Once again, the President is misleading the American People..."
+3 if Kerry doesn't say anything close to "Once again, the President is misleading the American People..."

+1 point whenever the word "liberation" is used, by anyone.
-1 point when the word "occupation" is.

+3 points whenever Kerry says something in three sentences that you could say in a sentence.
-3 points when he says it in one.

+3 points whenever Bush says something in one sentence that requires three.
-3 points whenever Bush is forced to elaborate.

-1 whenever anyone says "Osama Bin Laden" (including Jim Lehrer).
-1 when anyone says "Valerie Plame" (including Jim Lehrer).
-1 when anyone says "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (includes JL)
+1 when anyone says "Hans Blix" (not including Jim Lehrer).
+1 when anyone says "Kofi Annan" (not including Jim Lehrer).
-1 when anyone says "Korea" or "Kim Jung Il" (not including Jim Lehrer).

+1 when anyone says "September 11th" (including Jim Lehrer).
+1 when anyone says "Swift Boats"
+1 if anyone says "Vietnam"
-5 if Bush says "Swift Boats" and "Vietnam" and "John McCain".

+2 whenever Bush says "Ted Kennedy".
-2 whenever Kerry says "John McCain".
+1 whenever Bush says "Joe Lieberman"
-1 whenever Kerry says "Colin Powell"
-1 whenever Bush says "Bill Clinton".
+2 whenever Bush says "Ronald Reagan"
+1 whenever Kerry says it.

-1 if Bush says "Not to my knowledge".

+1 whenever anyone says "Saddam Hussein" (including Jim Lehrer).
-1 whenever anyone says "in the 2000 debate" (including Jim Lehrer).

+1 whenever the audience laughs with Bush.
-2 whenever the audience laughs with Kerry.
-3 whenever the audience laughs at Bush.
+3 whenever the audience laughs at Kerry.

-3 if the audience boos at Bush
+3 if the audience boos at Kerry
(adjust these to -1 or +1 if they are being booed for sports references).

Debate Preparedness 

Tonight's debate is pivotal, bigger than the conventions, bigger, for whatever reason, than any story about the number of people blown up in Iraq today, bigger than the Valerie Plame Investigation, Bush's National Guard Service, Bigger than Cheney's secret Enron meetings and the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib. None of that is as important, to the remaining undecided voters, as to which candidate looks like a guy they could have over for dinner.

Apparently, when one is elected president, part of the duty is to sit down, every night, and be forced to have long conversations at a barbecue with the citizenry. Why some voters do not realize this is the case is beyond me, but it hasn't ever happened before. Oh! That's right, we have to "watch him on Television for four years"- during the state of the union address that none of these voters watch. Thanks to the wide assortment of wonderful programming on cable and satellite, a great many voters in this election may never, ever have to look at or acknowledge who our president is or anything that he does.

So. Here, for the rest of us, are some pre-debate strategies. Adam Nagourney, the chief political reporter from the New York Times, Isn't Going To Be There. Why? He wants to watch it on TV, in order to avoid the stupid motions that most reporters go through after every debate:

"I avoid Spin Alley at all costs," he said. "I think it's degrading for reporters and degrading for political operatives... What's important to me is what the candidates say. I don't care about anyone else."

It's degrading to you, too. Of course, we've got to watch the spin- but we also have to watch the debate, more than the spin. Don't watch the debate looking for a winner. Watch the debate looking for lies. If we look at a win / lose scenario, we're going to be disappointed. Bush will "win", because Bush simply makes up the facts as a sort of saw that cuts a hole in the ground whenever he is cornered, and then he walks around covered in sawdust telling Joe Sixpack that he knows what it's like to be middle class. He doesn't, he's a filthy rich little boy from Connecticut.

Oh, but also, avoid that, too. Avoid talking about the smirk, and when you saw the smirk, and how crazy it drove you. Instead, listen to what Bush says, and decide if it is a lie. The more lies we spot, and the more of them we talk about, the better- and we can't lose any of that space to talking about personal dislike. People who hate the smirk don't like Bush. The people who don't know if they like him aren't going to be moved by a smirk.

Here's a great Washington Post article about the lies we'll probably hear tonight. It's a worthwhile read, because it also covers some of Kerry's exaggerations about Bush, which, when explained by WaPo, it appears that Kerry really doesn't have to exaggerate anything, even the facts as agreed upon by the Bush Admin are bad enough.

And There's Hope Yet 

John Kerry, a 6-foot-4-inch Democrat, poked fun on Monday at George W. Bush, the 5-foot-11-inch Republican president for reportedly insisting that podiums be set far apart to offset his opponent's five-inch height advantage.

The Massachusetts senator told a town hall meeting in Spring Green -- where he is rehearsing -- that voters should not be afraid of changing commanders in chief in the midst of war with Iraq and the battle against terror.

"You know when your horse is headed down toward the waterfalls or when your horse is drowning, it's a good time to change horses in midstream," Kerry said. After a pause, he added: "May I also suggest that we need a taller horse? We could get through deeper waters that way."

Maybe the height advantage will help Kerry win the folks who vote on that. Yes, there are people who vote on that- they just can't tell you that, because they don't know it.

For the record, I'm 5'9- and taller than Howard Dean.

Debate Preparedness, Part Two 

The AP unearths some classic Bush moments from the 2000 debates:

"Strong relations in Europe is in our nation's interest."

"If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're humble but strong, they'll welcome us."

"We're going to have kind of a nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not. Our military is meant to fight and win war. That's what it's meant to do. And when it gets overextended, morale drops."

But... What Kind of Sweater Will Kerry Wear? 

Al Gore, whose writing I like more and more every time he's in the NYT, has some advice on debating Bush:

The debates aren't a time for rhetorical tricks. It's a time for an honest contest of ideas. Mr. Bush's unwillingness to admit any mistakes may score him style points. But it makes hiring him for four more years too dangerous a risk. Stubbornness is not strength; and Mr. Kerry must show voters that there is a distinction between the two.

If Mr. Bush is not willing to concede that things are going from bad to worse in Iraq, can he be trusted to make the decisions necessary to change the situation? If he insists on continuing to pretend it is "mission accomplished," can he accomplish the mission? And if the Bush administration has been so thoroughly wrong on absolutely everything it predicted about Iraq, with the horrible consequences that have followed, should it be trusted with another four years?

The biggest single difference between the debates this year and four years ago is that President Bush cannot simply make promises. He has a record. And I hope that voters will recall the last time Mr. Bush stood on stage for a presidential debate. If elected, he said, he would support allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada. He promised that his tax cuts would create millions of new jobs. He vowed to end partisan bickering in Washington. Above all, he pledged that if he put American troops into combat: "The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well defined."

Comparing these grandiose promises to his failed record, it's enough to make anyone want to, well, sigh.

Email Is Now Not Legal To Secretly Intercept and Read 

In "You didn't know it was happening until it stopped" news, a piece of the PATRIOT Act that allowed big daddy Bush to secretly read your email was shot down today.

The ruling came in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against a kind of subpoena created under the act, known as a national security letter. Such letters could be used in terrorism investigations to require Internet service companies to provide personal information about subscribers and would bar them from disclosing to anyone that they had received a subpoena.

Such a subpoena could be issued without court review, under provisions that seemed to bar the recipient from discussing it with a lawyer. Judge Marrero vehemently rejected that provision, saying that it was unique in American law in its "all-inclusive sweep" and had "no place in our open society." He ordered that his ruling would not take effect for 90 days, to give the Bush administration time to appeal.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

War Games Conference 

So this week I was invited up to UMaine Orono to hang out with some of the artists that were participating in the War Games conference that the New Media Department put together. The whole thing was great, so I figured I'd let you know about some of the projects I saw:

Ruth Catlow, Three Player Chess, which is actually different from the variant that most chess players know as "three player chess". I prefer calling her version "pacifist chess", but that kind of screws it up when you try to convince your non-political, liberal-hating chess buddies to participate in what is really a pretty awesome game. The rules are as follows: traditional chess board, but you need a coin and a piece of paper. Every turn, white and black flip the coin- heads, they go, as usual, but they can't move their pawns, just nobles. If tails, the third player gets to move a pawn of their color, with the intent of blocking either side from taking any other pieces. For every turn that goes by without any "bloodshed", the pawns player gets a point, and at every five points they get a safe tuft. I've played it a few times, it's fun and ridiculously illuminating. You can play it online, too, here.

Alex Galloway wrote an essay highlighting the differences between American kids who play war games and are far removed from war, as opposed to the gaming cultures of societies like Palestine, where war is right outside- and how war games manufactured by Hamas where you take Israelis hostage are more or less the same as "counter strike" except for context. It's a great essay but you can't read it because it isn't online.

Anne Marie Schleiner is one of the minds behind Velvet Strike, where you can download "intervention recipes"- strategies for disrupting online war games, particularly counter strike. One recipe: During the battle, tell everyone you are martyrs for peace, then jump off the tallest structure in the level, killing yourselves. Rulz0r. You can also download custom sprays for the game, to get the message out.

John Klima designed The Great Game, which is a video game representation of the daily ins and outs of the war in Afghanistan.

Lastly, I heart Mary Flanagan. She created The Adventures of Josie True, a web-based historical adventure game for girls. The hero of the game is Chinese-American Josie True, a regular girl who becomes involved in intrigue across time and space as she tries to find her inventor-turned-teacher Ms. Trombone. She time travels with one of Ms. Trombone's inventions, the Intellicat ™.

Here is Mary Flanagan's dog.

The Daily Show is Brain Comedy 

Anyone see the new poll that says viewers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart were more educated on political and international issues than people who didn't watch the Daily Show?

"In recent years, traditional journalists have been voicing increasing concern that if young people are receiving political information from late-night comedy shows like The Daily Show, they may not be adequately informed on the issues of the day," said Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, a senior analyst at the Annenberg Public Policy Center who conducted the research. "This data suggests that these fears may be unsubstantiated. We find no differences in campaign knowledge between young people who watch Leno and Letterman – programs with a lot of political humor in their opening monologues -- and those who do not watch late night. But when looking at young people who watch The Daily Show, we find they score higher on campaign knowledge than young people who do not watch the show, even when education, following politics, party identification, gender, viewing network news, reading the newspaper, watching cable news and getting campaign information on-line are taken into account."

If you don't have cable, here's some of what you're missing:

JON STEWART: Well Stephen, what do you think is going to happen now at CBS News?

STEPHEN COLBERT: Jon, there's got to be some accountability. Dan Rather is the head, the commander in chief, if you will, of his organization. He's someone in the ultimate position of power who made a harmful decision based upon questionable evidence. Then, to make things worse, he stubbornly refused to admit his mistake, choosing instead to stay the course and essentially "occupy" this story for too long. This man has got to go!

STEWART: Uh ... we're talking about Dan Rather...?

COLBERT: Yes Jon, Dan Rather. CBS is in chaos, it's unsafe, riven by internal rivalries. If you ask me, respected, reputable outsiders need to be brought in to help the rebuilding effort.

STEWART: ... at CBS News?

COLBERT: Yeah, at CBS news! What possible other unrelated situation could my words be equally applicable to?! Now people need to be held accountable. The commander in chief, the vice president, the secretary of defense, the national security adviser -- everyone at CBS News needs to go!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Chris Lydon 

Chris Lydon gives us what we need: an analysis of the Kerry debate history, and the reassurance that maybe truth wins over swagger- and that John Kerry might, actually, be a half decent candidate after all.

The Young Kids 

I don't know who they hired to write the art stuff in the NYTimes, but my guess is that they got started at the Onion, or at least McSweeneys...anyway, this is about a four year old.

"I think Marla is as gifted as any child I've ever seen," said Anthony Brunelli, the Fine Arts gallery owner in Binghamton, who is displaying Marla's work. "I don't think she's aware of what she's doing. I think it comes from within."

Marla uses bright acrylic paints, which she brushes, splatters and scrapes on large canvases to create art that commands attention. She sometimes works on one piece for days at a time. When she decides she is finished, she gives her paintings titles like "Dinosaur," or something reminiscent of a bedtime monster. Then she leaves the grown-ups to see images and meaning. [...]

This spring, a friend of Mr. Brunelli's bought one, and brought it to him at the Fine Arts gallery. Mr. Brunelli is a painter whose photorealistic works are displayed in SoHo. He was drawn to Marla's work. He and his friend stared at it like children staring at clouds, seeing flamenco dancers and their vivid movements on the canvas.

Then the friend told him the artist was a toddler. "I admit I was a little skeptical at first," Mr. Brunelli said. He discovered Marla's father was his high school classmate. A week later, he visited the family, scrutinized more of Marla's work and watched a video of her painting. He bought one for himself and gave up his August vacation so he could organize her show.

"When I'm in Marla's presence, there's a weird little feeling 'cause I know there's something inside this girl that many artists look for their whole lives and never have," Mr. Brunelli said. "But it's in this little 4-year-old."

Sunday, September 26, 2004


An interesting graph of Bush's opinion polls since he was appointed into the Presidency. (It's a bit confusing, but "0" is actually "50% approval.") For all the bellyaching about slim chances for this election to be the one that takes him out- myself included- it shows some interesting info. For one, the bouncing ball element of the Bush popularity chart- it bounced highest in 2001 after a terrorist attack killed 3000 people while he was reading a children's book, then dribbled down, but stayed high, until it bounced again when we went to war for no reason against a nation that would kill over 1000 of our soldiers for a goal the CIA says is unobtainable. Then it started dribbling down again, getting to a lower peak but then bouncing again after we caught Saddam Hussein, the man who had nothing to do with 9/11 and wasn't controlling the Iraqi Insurgency. Then it dropped, and then came Abu Ghraib, which was similar to all the other warmongering atrocities that happened under Bush's rule except that it involved sexual themes of gay rape- which totally took the president down, lower than he had ever been, until he got on a podium and talked about "ownership society" and the rights of OBGYN's and oh yeah, a bunch of people died when he was supposed to be in charge of America's safety but he looked real tough afterwards so...

The numbers went back up. The thing is, the most recent two "bounces" weren't any higher than before 9/11, meaning that the 9/11 factor is kind of out of the picture now, really. Also, all of his peaks start significant drops within two months- which means that, if all goes according to tradition, the Bush bounce will dip the lowest it ever has by just around election time.

Of course, I can't be the only guy in America who noticed this, so I am sure Rove and co will cook something up- following tradition, when a lot of people get killed, Bush's approval goes up, when gay rape happens, his approval goes down, with a cycle shift (a new peak) every 9 months. So, you can expect some bombs to drop by...drum roll, please- October!

Ready, set...

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me 

CBS News said yesterday that it had postponed a "60 Minutes" segment that questioned Bush administration rationales for going to war in Iraq. The announcement, in a statement by a spokeswoman, was issued four days after the network acknowledged that it could not prove the authenticity of documents it used to raise new questions about President Bush's Vietnam-era military service.

The Iraq segment had been ready for broadcast on Sept. 8, CBS said, but was bumped at the last minute for the segment on Mr. Bush's National Guard service. The Guard segment was considered a highly competitive report, one that other journalists were pursuing. CBS said last night that the report on the war would not run before Nov. 2.

"We now believe it would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election," the spokeswoman, Kelli Edwards, said in a statement.
- NYTimes

Completely scary. Like, horrifying. Go tell CBS what you think of them, here.

[c/o Americablog]

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bush at the UN 

We did not expect President Bush to come before the United Nations in the middle of his re-election campaign and acknowledge the serious mistakes his administration has made on Iraq. But that still left plenty of room for him to take advantage of this one last chance to appeal to an increasingly antagonistic world to help the Iraqis secure and rebuild their shattered nation and prepare for elections in just four months. Instead, Mr. Bush delivered an inexplicably defiant campaign speech in which he glossed over the current dire situation in Iraq for an audience acutely aware of the true state of affairs, and scolded them for refusing to endorse the American invasion in the first place. NYTimes

Froomkin has a gem from Bushies speech:

"We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace," Bush said.

Peace Plane 

You may have heard that the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens was pulled off of a plane in Bangor after the FBI wigged out. You might have thought this was a sort of ironic mistake resulting in our policy of targeting people who have changed their name to Yusaf Islam and grew a beard. But no.

"Yusuf Islam has been placed on the watch lists because of activities that could potentially be related to terrorism," Doyle said. "It's a serious matter."

A second government official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S. authorities think donations from Islam may have ended up helping to fund blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, convicted for a plot to bomb New York City landmarks, and Hamas, a Palestinian militant group considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
- AP

I Must Be Doing Something Right 

The Bushmaster Firearm's Discussion Forum, or whatever, has decided that I am "Rabid", which is kind of funny, considering how I've been agreeing with the right on more issues than usual this week.

I came out against gun control, except for weapons that kill everyone on the planet at once, which I assumed was a safe call. I called for Dan Rather's resignation and I called John Kerry a bullshitter. I even- no shit- considered joining the NRA.

I'm relieved I still get pegged as rabid when I felt like I was maybe selling out.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Products of Bulls and Horses 

I agree with the shit-stained monkeys on one count: I think Rather should resign. It doesn't matter whether it was an "honest mistake" or not. That's the rules you play by when you do the news gig. You live and die by accuracy, and in matters related to national security (which this election is) then a lot more of us can live and die by your accuracy, as well- in this case, the newfound association of "Bush" with "The Media Lies" has all but delivered Bush the election because it colors how receptive individuals are to statements like "The War In Iraq is going better than you might think." No one is going to vote for or against based on this crap, but it affects the degree to which Bush can get away with any varying degree of his horseshit on any varying degree of his horseshit subjects he wants to trick people with.

So Rather should resign, and should wallow in the full disgrace he's earned as a reporter who got bullshitted and caused me to get bullshitted. I am sick of being bullshitted. I get bullshitted by the government and now by the media. I get bullshitted by Bush and I get bullshitted by Kerry.

New rule: If I get bullshitted, you resign. Can everyone sign that pledge? I'll vote for them, whoever signs that first.

Ah, Fuck. 

So I guess George W Bush is totally an awesome guy who has a great soul and vital spirit of statesmanship alive and well in his heart, because Dan Rather and CBS admitted that they fucked it all up.

So I guess I have to vote Republican now, because George W Bush has secretly been totally awesome and I just didn't know about it because all the documents were forged. All those fucking republican bloggers get to gloat about how the country will now turn to total shit faster because the Bush memos were discredited.

Fuckin' fuck. I guess maybe Bush is actually a war hero now.

I was duped, but it is nothing compared to the level of duped that the entire nation underwent under this president, and there is something horribly nauseating about being exposed as a sucker by people who are voting for George Bush. It's like a chimpanzee laughing at you for stepping in shit while he's smearing it all over himself.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The French Are Smarter Than Us 

You mean the Bushies are against an international tax that helps poor people? Maybe if we told them that it was proposed by the French?

The 150-page study drafted by the working group of experts is aimed at advancing efforts to reduce the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by half between now and 2015, consistent with goals the United Nations adopted in 2000. Their document suggests that a tax could be imposed on greenhouse gas emissions as well as certain financial transactions, arms sales or multinational corporations.

Globalized Taxes for a Global Economy? Yeah, that totally makes no sense. Why should gun manufacturers have to pay to support the poor third world people that their clients are oppressing? That's like taxing McDonald's to cover the health care threat that their food poses, or charging corporations for the pollution they create...

Louisiana Bans Gay Marriage 

Not that I'd expect any southern state to give the ok to gay marriage, but here's something a little funny:

Many New Orleans voters were unable to cast ballots for [six] hours Saturday on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage because voting machines had not been delivered to polling places, a state official said. - AP

Gee, do you think there are any homosexuals in New Orleans?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Two Ebays 

John Edwards poked fun yesterday at Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that economic indicators do not measure the financial gains of Americans selling items on eBay, the online auction service. "He said people are selling a lot of stuff on eBay. When we count the bake sales and lemonade stands, we'll have a roaring economy," Edwards told a union hall rally. - Boston Globe

Quick! They're On To Us! 

In the NYTimes:

Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November. The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."

Gay marriage is a good start, but I think I speak for all liberals when I say that I will not be happy until dogs can marry genetically altered half goat, half human stem cells in a Catholic Church, right before we close the church down and send all its money to communist Islamic training camps for home schooled children who were deemed to have "too many values" just before we tell them there is no Santa Claus, just Hillary Clinton.

The Fought Fallacy 

In the comments regarding the last post, "John G Fought" provides an interesting argument: since you and I are alive, assault weapons were clearly not a problem. I imagine that this logic also applies to suicide, cancer, and international terrorism? Of course, the guns have been banned- no doubt helping us with the whole "still alive" part, but also, there are people who are not alive as a result of semiautomatic weapons:

1. On January 17, 1989, Patrick Purdy killed 5 small children and wounded 29 others and a teacher at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, using a semiautomatic AK-47 assault rifle imported from China. That weapon had been purchased from a gun dealer in Oregon and was equipped with a 75-round "drum" magazine. Purdy shot 106 rounds in less than 2 minutes.

2. On January 25, 1993, Pakistani national Mir Aimal Kasi killed 2 CIA employees and wounded 3 others outside the entrance to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Kasi used a Chinese-made semiautomatic AK-47 assault rifle equipped with a 30-round magazine purchased from a Northern Virginia gun store.

3. On February 28, 1993, while attempting to serve federal search and arrest warrants at the Branch-Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, four ATF special agents were killed and 16 others were wounded with an arsenal of assault weapons. According to a federal affidavit, the cult had accumulated at least the following assault weapons: 123 AR-15s, 44 AK-47s, 2 Barrett .50 calibers, 2 Street Sweepers, an unknown number of MAC-10 and MAC-11s, 20 100-round drum magazines, and 260 large-capacity banana clips. The weapons were bought legally from gun dealers and at gun shows.

4. In Manassas, VA, July 24, 1988, Five Manassas City police officers responded to a call about shots being fired in a quiet Washington, DC suburb. The gunman, armed with an AR-15 assault weapon, opened fire on Sergeant John D. Connors III, hitting him in the head, chest, arm, and leg. He became the first officer killed in the line of duty in the department's 113 year history.

5. In Los Angeles, CA, on September 3, 1988, Los Angeles Police Officer Daniel Pratt was following a vehicle suspected to have been involved in an earlier drive-by shooting when approximately 30 rounds were fired at his police car by gang members armed with an AR-15. Pratt was shot in the face and pronounced dead at the hospital.

6. In Dallas, TX, on December 13, 1988, a 17-year veteran senior corporal with the Dallas Police Department was killed while making an undercover cocaine purchase. The officer was killed when the assailant pulled a TEC-9 assault pistol from under his coat and fired seven shots.

7. In Dayton, OH, on March 21, 1991, a 15 year veteran of the Dayton police force, William "Steve" Whalen, was shot and killed by a mentally ill man armed with an AR-15. The deranged suspect had been pursued by two officers for firing shots at a local motel. Upon being pulled over, the suspect sprayed the officers with fire, killing Whalen.

8. In Northridge, CA, on February 22, 1994, Officer Christy Lynne Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department was gunned down with an AR-15 assault rifle by a teenager who had already used the gun to kill his father. Officer Hamilton graduated from the Police Academy three days prior to the shooting.

The next argument in the NRA handbook is that criminals and terrorists are capable of getting guns anyway, making a ban "legislative recreation". This isn't supported by the facts: Murder rates dropped 20% the year following the ban. 4,077 assault weapon traces in 1994 to 3,268 in 1995. So, that is 800 people alive today as a result of the ban.

But all of this is besides the point- I am not a full disarmament kind of guy. I think guns are an important reminder to people of the fact that liberty can be dangerous, which, in an ideal world, reminds people to be responsible with what it is that liberty affords them. I make my comments merely to say how odd it is that Bush can put out something so opposite of libertarian principles as the Patriot Act and yet still have no mention of assault rifles. These weapons are, themselves, an abuse of liberty, a completely irresponsible concoction of death and uselessness that are being handed out like subpoenas at a Bush rally.

I challenge anyone to give me one valid reason why the assault weapons ban is not appropriate. I won't take the constitutionally protected freedom route, either, because I do not believe that constitutional freedoms would go so far as to protect all kinds of weapons that could ever be devised in a form roughly approximating a musket. If a nuclear powered nanotechnologically advanced radiation gun was devised that could destroy four city blocks but it looked like a glock, I can't say that the NRA wouldn't embrace that shit. Let's get serious, people.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Howard Dean points out the obvious: Since Bush let the ban on assault rifles expire, he's making it easier for terrorists to kill us.

How interesting that Bush can find wire tapping, secret home searches, library records and suspending habeas corpus acceptable because of our new age of profound threat, but he's all about letting thousands of guns on the street that were designed with the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible in 45 seconds in such a way that their heads are literally torn from their necks by the spray of gunfire? That's not a concern, really, as long as the DHS doesn't catch you reading Idries Shah at the library.

Dan Rather 

Dan Rather has grown a spine, from the looks of it. In the middle of a fake scandal growing from the out of nowhere claim that CBS faked documents that the assumed author of the documents says she didn't type, but say precisely what was going on anyway, Rather chimed in:

No one, Rather said repeatedly in an interview, has yet disputed "the heart" of his report. But, he said, a "thick partisan fogging machine seeks to cloud the core truth of our story by raising questions about the messenger, methods and techniques." - USA Today

Again, sorry for linking to USA Today.

It's been a tough week.

Is the First Lady the Bush Campaigns "Secret Weapon"? 

The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq was arrested after interrupting a speech by Laura Bush in Hamilton, N.J. -NY Times

Who does she think she is? Doesn't she know how much George and Laura have sacrificed for this country? Does she think she can just go around, holding her elected officials accountable? Not only that, but she was asking Laura Bush questions! The audactity!

When [Laura Bush] made reference to the war in Iraq, she was interrupted by a spectator, Sue Niederer, who shouted, "Why don't your children serve?" Mr. Bush's supporters quickly surrounded Ms. Niederer, who wore a shirt bearing a photo of her son, Seth Dvorin, an Army lieutenant killed in Iraq in February, and the words "President Bush, You Killed My Son." As Bush supporters shouted "Four more years!" and Mrs. Bush resumed her speech, security guards led Ms. Niederer from the auditorium. Later, as Ms. Niederer stood near the doorway to the fire hall being interviewed by reporters, she refused a request to leave the premises and was arrested on charges of trespassing.

Can you imagine that your child is slaughtered in an elective war and when you go to ask your official why, you are surrounded by people screaming thier support for the guy who literally sent your child to his death? It's a fucking nightmare eating the carcass of whatever human decency is left. They travel in hunting packs but only eat when they find a wounded animal. Shame on them and shame on this country for spawning the atrocity of the Charismatic Conservative Right.

Torture in Afghanistan? No Biggie. 

Just so you know what a great newspaper "USA Today" is, here's the story they buried about four pages in on the bottom left today. (Don't ask why I was reading the USA Today).

An American bounty hunter who illegally detained and tortured Afghan prisoners was yesterday jailed for 10 years in Kabul. "We should have let the Taliban kill them all," yelled Jonathan 'Jack' Idema, a former member of the US special forces, as he was taken off to serve his sentence in the Kabul jail where he had been held since his arrest on July 5.

Idema claimed that he had locked up and interrogated Afghans with the agreement of the US military. The US defence department denied any connection with Idema who was engaged in a freelance operation to find Osama bin Laden and claim the $25m bounty. Two fellow Americans were also found guilty of illegally detaining prisoners and violently interrogating them.
- The Guardian (UK)

So yeah, is there any reporter out there with the guts to ask if the guy is telling the truth? Because I mean, it wouldn't have been the first time private contractors engaged in torture of suspected terrorists at the behest of the US Military, would it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

In Case You Missed It 

Buck Hill is back to blogging.

Yes, the blog roll hasn't been updated to reflect this fact, or any of the other changes I mentioned last week, but it will be, as soon as I get a day where I don't work 14 hours between work-work and radio-work.

The Presidential Character 

By way of Froomkin, this is from the New York Times obituary for James D. Barber, author of "The Presidential Character" and the man who predicted that Nixon would implode (and how he would implode) long before Nixon did:

Analyzing presidential character, Dr. Barber focused on two criteria: whether a president was active or passive, and whether he viewed his job in positive or negative terms.

In combination, the criteria formed four distinct personality types. Active-positive presidents, who brought energy and enjoyment to their work, included Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, Dr. Barber wrote. Passive-positives, like William Howard Taft, were compliant and superficially cheerful. Passive-negatives, like Calvin Coolidge and Dwight D. Eisenhower, were sullen and withdrawn, viewing the office as a burden.

The most dangerous type, Dr. Barber wrote, was the active-negative. Though energetic, such men were also joyless, inflexible, compulsive and domineering, with "a strong bent for digging their own graves." In this category he listed Lyndon B. Johnson and Nixon.

There's a brief excerpt of the book in the review:

"Character is the force, the motive power, around which the person gathers his view of the world, and from which his style receives its impetus. The issues will change; the character of the president will not."

He was 74.

Myths, Part II 

Bush and Cheney like to blame others. You make jokes about the "Not Me" President- "Not Me" is as charged and easily understood as "flip flopper".

I wrote over at the BOP in regard to Matt Stoller's posting, a lot of these attitudes over the election are kind of a delayed, semiotically charged battle over America's response to 9/11. By association, Kerry is the poster child for the "blame America first" strawman of the right- by taking on Nixon against Vietnam, Reagan with Iran Contra, and Bush on Iraq, Kerry is the patriot who asks questions and reveals the darker side of America. The left can handle that- the left that asked whether American foreign policy had anything to do with 9/11, well, it's embodied by Kerry.

Bush, on the meantime, is the silver spoon America of pre-9/11, the essential 9/10 American President. He was born rich, believes in force and in American Righteousness. He spends money that he doesn't have, and most of all, he doesn't believe he is responsible for anything. "Go ahead, America- YOU DESERVE IT!"

So this is why the National Guard story is "important", as irrelevant as it actually is. Because the nation votes on a war over representations of American ideals, not for candidates or policies, but the way the individual on the ticket matches up with the voters idea of America. This is the battle of our lifetime, but it is already determined. Americans simply ask themselves: Are we ready to ask questions that turn up the underbelly painfully, but so we can repair the wound, or are we going to pretend that we do not, in fact, "have a problem". Americans already know the answer- we're just waiting for the election to codify it.

(here is "Myths, Part I")

Assault Weapons Ban: Watch Bush Wiggle 

From a gaggle with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan:

Q Isn't it kind of disingenuous for the President to say that 'I'm for the assault weapons ban', but then not spend a nickle of his political capital to fight for it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree. His position has always been well-known, and it's been clear going back to his first campaign for President.

Q That he was for the ban?

MR. McCLELLAN: For a reauthorization of the current ban.

Q Let me follow up on this point. For a guy who goes around the country and says, I say what I mean, and you should take me at my word -- so if he's for the ban, and he doesn't do a thing --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, keep in mind that the Congress is the one that sets the legislative timetable, and Congress has made clear that it's not going to be coming up. I think you've had leaders in Congress state that.

Q But the President didn't work for it to come up. I mean, nobody -- everybody understands how this process works. The President wants tax cuts, he lobbies all over the country --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why the President has taken strong steps to make sure we are combating violence committed with guns. And that's why we have a strong record --

Q He was happy to let the authorization lapse, wasn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, you know that's a ridiculous assertion.

Q Name one thing, one step that the President took to have the assault weapons ban reauthorized?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said, Ron, his position has been very well-known. We've restated that position. It remains unchanged. But he does not set the legislative timetable. Members of Congress set the legislative timetable. And Congress has stated -- congressional leaders have stated that it's not going to come up for a vote.

Q Is there one congressman, one congressional leader who he has called in Congress, and said, please put it on the timetable?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's debate the real issue here -- and we're proud to debate the record on combating violence committed with guns, because we have a strong record of strictly enforcing our laws and reducing crimes committed with guns, if you look at the record.

Q And the President has a strong record of lobbying very hard for legislation he truly supports. Name one person who he called to lobby on behalf of legislation.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- his position has been made well-known.

Q So there's nothing more he could have done to get the ban extended?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think members of Congress have stated -- congressional leaders have stated that it's not going to be coming up for a vote.

Q Has he ever mentioned it in a speech that you can remember, I mean, as he goes around the country, ever mentioned the assault weapons ban?

MR. McCLELLAN: Certainly we're going to continue to talk about the strong action that he's taken to combat violence committed with guns, Ben. I think that's the -- it goes to the real issue here. You brought up the issue of whether or not this was effective, in terms of the assault weapons ban. That's something that people have continued to debate. But this President has led when it comes to combating violence committed with guns. And so we welcome a discussion of the record.

Q I've heard him bring up lots of legislation he wants passed as he goes around the country. I've never heard him bring up, I want to see the assault weapons ban --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he's made his position very well-known. So I disagree with that assertion.

Q Can you name one person who he's called on the Hill on behalf of this legislation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, members of Congress know his position very well, Ron.

Q So has he made a call to any of them?

MR. McCLELLAN: His position is very well-known, Ron, and members have known his position. And it's been discussed with members, too.

Points for Kerry 

Remember when getting fired on account of your political beliefs was illegal?

Kerry called Lynne Gobbell on Tuesday after reading a newspaper story describing how she had been fired last Thursday from her job packing cellulose insulation at a Moulton, Ala., plant.

Gobbell said her former employer had told her she could either work for him or Kerry. She said Kerry told her, "Let him know that as of today, you're working for John Kerry."
- AP

And yeah, Kerry actually gave her a job.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

For Those of You Who Didn't Know 

I can't believe I still have to link to this shit.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who made the case to the world that pre-war Iraq had stocks of chemical and biological weapons, said on Monday he now thought these will probably never be found.

"I think it's unlikely that we will find any stockpiles," Powell told lawmakers when asked about the intelligence behind his Feb. 5, 2003, U.N. Security Council speech laying out U.S. arguments for the war with Iraq that began six weeks later.

Republicans Jump The Shark 

From what it seems, here's what the country is talking about right now, with two conversations:

1. CBS's documents regarding the Bush "pretty boy treatment" in the National Guard.
2. CBS showed fake documents regarding Bush's "pretty boy treatment" in the National Guard.

That's one. Here's the other:

1. Kitty Kelly's new book proves Bush did Cocaine at Camp David while his father was president.
2. Kitty Kelly's new book is garbage.

In this case, both arguments are correct.

So, back to the National Guard: what strikes me as really interesting is that it essentially comes down to who you believe, with some people believing that CBS would fake documents to discredit the ruling party, and therefore, that Bush is more trustworthy than mainstream media. While CBS stands by the documents, the independent analysis that I have seen seems to support it, abd an ad from 1947 shows the same font used on the alleged "computer printed documents", well, tough. Because you can dodge the argument by saying that the documents were a lie. The problem is that this swallows wholly the notion that our Government's media machine- the White House Press Room and Bush Campaign Staff, as well as neocwannabe bloggers and right wing radio, is a more reliable source of unbiased information than free commercial media. In other words, it is literally the preference of propaganda based, government sanctioned information.

An important distinction: Liberals didn't say that Clinton didn't have an affair. They just said it wasn't important. Liberals did say that the Swift Boat attacks were a lie, but that was proven by valid evidence and documentation. Then, as now, facts that fly against talking points by the right are simply dismissed as not only lies, but lies in a grand conspiracy against the party currently in power.

They cannot merely believe that Bush's war on terror is successful, and that the invasion of Iraq was a vital part of it. They also need the complete discrediting of institutions that present them with information even slightly to the contrary of those beliefs.

So, what now?

The Squeaky Voice of Community Radio 

I've been pretty busy, folks. We've got the station on air- I was on air today, for an hour, getting used to the board and trying to figure out how to make sure my voice doesn't crack when I am on the air. (I haven't solved that yet.)

From what it looks like, I will probably be spending a great deal of time there, hopefully setting up some policy and training programs for people, as well as doing a radio cousin for this blog.

"The Left Hook" will air Mondays from 2-3PM on WSCA, and soon we'll have the show available in a downloadable or streaming mp3 format.

Maybe you'll have ideas for the squeaky voice problem.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Today, obviously, was the third "anniversary" of 9/11. Walter Kirn writes in The New York Times Magazine:

...through some gradual process of cultural mummification, the attacks of three years ago have become a symbol, a cluster of stuffed and mounted official images, and as such they must now compete with fresher images for the country's interest and attention. I don't live in New York now, though I used to, and I understand fully that for those who do, such an attitude may seem blasphemously insensitive. But it wouldn't shock me if the attacks and their iconographic halos were soon the stuff of magazine "in-out" lists. In: "Fahrenheit 9/11." Out: 9/11.

Just as the arrival of the wedding photos represents the formal emotional terminus of the celebration itself, the publication of the 9/11 commission report marked the end of 9/11. On the surface, the aim of the report was to find out exactly what happened that bloody morning and offer sober suggestions for preventing similar attacks, but at a deeper, more fundamental level the goal seemed to be to box and wrap the whole big mess so that it could be psychologically mothballed. The report became a best seller, I suspect, not because people truly wanted to read it but because they craved the satisfaction of physically placing the volume on a bookshelf and then going into the kitchen to fix dinner.

I don't think he should be ashamed. A funny thing happened since September 11, 2001: The Twin Towers became politics, and not only that, but the symbol of the Republican Party. You would almost expect to see an elephant with skyscraper tusks on the two rectangular jumbotrons behind Bush at the convention as he stood on a platform that evoked the debris he stood on three years ago, back when I looked at the guy and thought maybe he wasn't so bad after all.

9/11 is a symbol of my own naivete- I'm the guy who, terrified of flying and hitting turbulence, doesn't pray. Despite four years of a Jehovah's Witness Mom, my temptation was resisted by simple logic, a test of my own faithlessness, and when the plane landed safely I didn't have to credit a miracle of some higher power.

On 9/11, I gave in to the myths: That Bush was the right man at the right time, That his responses were careful and considered. I remember having a discussion with a friend about Donald Rumsfeld and how grateful I was that he was executing the war in Afghanistan. I didn't voice any opposition to the patriot act- I probably defended it.

In short, 9/11 was not like the trauma of rape that some people felt for this country. For me, it was a self-deceiving one night stand, engaged in out of desperation and fear. Three years later, you pass George Bush in the grocery store and feel an overwhelming sense that you were not only duped, but that the lesson you learned from it was to cut off something essential from ever coming out again. But instead of making sex into something tawdry and cheap, a "lesson" you learn when you realized you were used, and used with your full consent.

So that is what 9/11/04 means to me. I see the GW stickers next to the other 9/11 souvenirs: "Never Again". The differences in this country grow from the national and the personal interpretation.

Doris "Granny D" Haddock, NH's 94 year old Democratic Senate Candidate, stopped by WSCA to give a kick off speech today, speaking about the failures of old media- "cherry picked agenda items decided by people who have very little interest in the truth or the big picture", and the value of new media- "the secret shortwave transmissions that an oppressed people can turn to for truth and for hope", adding, "What you are doing is crucially important for our national survival under this present occupation". It's a great speech that applies to radio as much as it applies to blogging or any other kind of grassroots activity. You can listen to my recording of her speech here as a 5mb MP3 file.

Widening the Spectrum 

Today was the first day of a weekend long "barnraising" for a low power FM community radio station in Portsmouth, NH- WSCA. The weekend is sponsored by the Prometheus Radio Project out of Philadelphia, a group of students and media activists who come to towns trying to build a low power station, crash land at the site and build the station in three days, complete with lectures, tutorials, vegan lunches and expert advice from radio documentary makers across the board. It's like a summer camp for radio.

A lot of the politics they have been talking about here is the kind of "activism as a necessity" type of stuff that gets overwhelming and discouraging in the face of what we're trying to do, which is remarkably simple. As far as I am concerned, radio, and access to community radio, should be a natural thing, and foremost it should be, like, this fun thing that people do. The facts behind media consolidation and the reasons for it are astoundingly stupid.

For one, the current laws were developed in the late 19th century and were based on a "scarcity model", this idea that the radio spectrum could only support a certain number of stations. We now know that the radio spectrum can hold an almost infinite number of audible signals, but the rules stay the same. It's not only a matter of consolidation, it's a matter of acknowledging scientific facts have changed since the days of Lincoln's rule, with the current regulations in place, more or less, since 1934.

Back then, the Republic determined that stations run by churches, citizens groups, labor movements and the like, were "propaganda stations", whereas the stations that supported themselves through advertising revenue were "public interest stations"- the idea being, sadly enough, that stations supported by business revenues must surely be the stations that best cater the community's needs.

Indeed. That, apparently, just wasn't good enough. These days, there's a new movement for "reform" going on, which is a reform of the way the Radio Waves are licensed. But spectrum reform was first proposed by Ayn "I Like Her Less and Less Every Year Since High School" Rand, who advocated the libertarian free market approach to our airwaves- sell it like real estate, instead of renting it as a public trust. The most recent FCC rulings on "deregulation"- allowing fewer companies to own more media outlets, and reducing the number of slots available for new stations- were actually the first step toward a privatization process where Newscorp and Clear Channel could literally buy the public land that we let them build their houses on, and they could buy, lease, or sell it as a commodity- and nevermind your right to unfiltered, or alternatively filtered, information.

We don't want that to happen. Currently, St. John McCain has put forth a bill to increase the number of stations available on the dial, specifically for low power FM. Ideally, every city in America would have a radio station where people could get on the air and voice their concerns, interests, and tribulations. A Prometheus organizer talked about a station he built in the heart of Zydeco territory- where Zydeco music was born and thrived. But Clear Channel owned 7 out of 8 media outlets, so there wasn't a single place where people could hear the music that grew up there, until Low Power FM gave it to them.

It really is a phenomenal issue, and it is a depressing one, if only because of how ridiculous it is that we don't have these rights to begin with, nevermind that we have to fight to even get them.

You can check out more on the issue at and/or

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Truth Has A Liberal Bias 

More like this, please.

"In the last six months of the prior administration, more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. We're turning that around," said Bush, who cited the addition of 107,000 manufacturing jobs this year.

According to the Labor Department, the number of payroll jobs has grown by 1.7 million in the past 12 months, but the economy still has lost 913,000 positions since Bush took office in January 2001. In manufacturing alone, the number of job losses under Bush stands at 2.67 million, though factory employment has risen by 107,000 since January.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry has criticized Bush's economic record, including the job losses, a projected budget deficit of $422 billion for the year, increasing health care costs and poverty rates. Bush responded that Kerry will try to increase taxes.

"Raising taxes will be bad for our economy," the president told supporters near Philadelphia.

Kerry has proposed raising taxes on only the top 2 percent of wage earners while leaving cuts for the middle-class in place.

Dick Cheney Wants You To Know Something 

Indicators measure the nation's unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says it misses the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay.

"That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago," Cheney told an audience in Ohio. "Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay."

Bush Refuses Direct Order From Superior, Promoted to President of World 

So the larger issue that has emerged from the new Bush National Guard documentation is that Bush refused to obey a direct order from his superior officers. The issue is also not so much about Bush in 72, as it is about the White House in 2004.

The White House said Bush fulfilled his Guard Duty, based on an inaccurate system of measurement. The White House said all the records had been released- then released more of them after "60 Minutes" questioned them.

The issue is not that Bush skipped out of guard duty 32 years ago. It is that the White House is willing to deceive the American people about it's own connections, privileges, responsibilities and failure to own up to them. In short: "Fool me once, shame on, shame on you. Fool me twice- fool me once not gonna fool again."

He Doesn't Meet My Minimum Requirements, Either. 

It's official.

Newly unearthed memos state George W. Bush was suspended from flying for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war because he failed to meet Guard standards and failed to take his annual flight physical as required.

The suspension came as Bush was trying to arrange a transfer to non-flying status with a unit in Alabama so he could work on a political campaign there. A memo written a year later referred to one military official "pushing to sugar coat" Bush's annual evaluation.

"On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination ... as ordered," says an Aug. 1, 1972 memo by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who is now dead.

The same memo notes that Bush was trying to transfer to non-flying status out of state and recommends that the Texas unit fill his flying slot "with a more seasoned pilot from the list of qualified Vietnam pilots that have rotated."
- >CNN

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

1000 Dead 

Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, called it a "tragic milestone" and a reminder that "we must meet our sacred obligation to all our troops to do all we can to make the right decisions in Iraq so that we can bring them home as soon as possible."

Mr. Bush never mentioned the figure on a bus tour across Missouri.

Meta Blogging: The Blog Roll 

The Blog Roll to the left is a mess, with a lot of dead links- so, it's going to be updated, then reduced and expanded simultaneously. So, if you have a blog or like a blog that I haven't added yet (or mentioned here before- I'll be adding some blogs mentioned in the last few outsourcings) then it would be pretty neat if you told me about it in the comments section.

I am also considering dropping out of the Liberal Coalition, since it garners me essentially no hits or comments and takes up a ton of space over there. Any coalition members reading this blog that specifically want me to keep a link to them, let me know.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Alan Keyes announced today that Jesus wouldn't vote for Barack Obama, Keyes' opponent. Also:

Keyes called Obama a "socialist and a liar" on a cable access news show on Monday. Obama said he wants to win big to give Keyes a spanking because Keyes wages a scorched earth campaign. Keyes then went into a very long analysis of the word "spanking" and suggested it might be related to slavery and insulting to African- Americans. He would not answer when asked directly if he was insulted.

Obama is black.

First Lady is Bush Campaigns "Secret Weapon" 

"Almost 1,100 soldiers were wounded during the month of August in Iraq, the highest total since the invasion of the country 18 months ago. Attacks on US troops averaged more than 100 a day in August. The Washington Post reports that the figure is a sign of the intensity and duration of the heavy urban fighting in cities like Najaf, Ramadi, Samarra, Falujah and the Sadr City slum section of Baghdad. Most of these cities remain under the control of insurgents despite the transfer of political authority to an interim national government." - Christian Science Monitor

Combat deaths for August are the highest since May- 66 American soldiers dead, with seven killed in one attack on Sunday.

Let's Pretend It's Not An Issue, Part 738 

Here's something slightly more relevant than how much coke Bush was doing when he wasn't flying planes over Texas: The same office that is implicated in leaking the name of Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA agent as political retribution for her husband's crit of Bushco evidence of WMD's, is now linked to yet another intelligence abuse.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have in recent weeks questioned current and former U.S. officials about whether a small group of Iran specialists at the Pentagon and in Vice President Cheney's office may have been involved in passing classified information to an Iraqi politician or a U.S. lobbying group allied with Israel, according to sources familiar with or involved in the case. - WaPo

Meanwhile, Bob Graham has a new book out claiming that the Bush enclave covered up financial ties between Saudi Arabia and two 9/11 hijackers. Graham claims this was part of the 28 pages blacked out of the 9/11 report.

But yeah, national guard...

Pretending It's An Issue, Part 340 

Texans for Truth is prepared to launch a campaign stressing Bush's absence in the National Guard. This would have been good two weeks ago, but I worry that two weeks from now it is just going to be more noise in the machine.

But anyway: maybe you remember this?

A former senior politician from Texas has told close friends that he recommended George W. Bush for a pilot's slot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War because he was eager to "collect chits" from an influential political family.

Well, he'll be taking this to "60 Minutes". Which means that, on that Sunday, "60 Minutes" will be talking about George Bush's Guard duty instead of health care, medicare, or the dismal onslaught in Iraq and the Bush Admin's appeasing of terrorists.

Yeah, that's gonna be great.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Bush Hates Grandmas 

If your eyes glaze over whenever Bush mentions "medicare", here's what he said about it, merely four days ago, during his nomination speech:

I believe we have a moral responsibility to honor America's seniors, so I brought Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen Medicare. Now seniors are getting immediate help buying medicine.

But then a funny thing happened this Monday.

Medicare premiums will rise 17.4 percent next year, or $11.60 a month, the largest dollar increase in the program's 40-year history, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said Friday.

It may not be much, but it brings the monthly total to nearly $80.00 a month taken from Grandpa's retirement check. And that means fewer carmels to enjoy when you visit. Why don't you ever visit?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Pat Buchanan 

Who would have thought that the most rational approach to terrorism in the campaign so far would come from Pat Buchanan? Emphasis mine:

MR. BUCHANAN: In my judgment, Chris, this one-sided support for Sharon, the refusal to condemn that wall snaking through the West Bank, the agreement to support Sharon's claim to virtually half of the West Bank, this has caused enormous hostility and animosity and hatred for this country in that part of the world, not just among the Palestinians. And if we want to drain off some of this hatred, this venom against us, we have got to adopt a more evenhanded policy here. We have got to stand up for the same rights for the Palestinian people, a homeland, a nation, a state of their own, a viable one, on the land their forefathers farmed for a thousand years, because those are first our principles and secondly, that is in the national interest of the United States of America. I don't care what Ariel Sharon believes.

MR. RUSSERT: They are not attacking us because they hate us and hate our culture?

MR. BUCHANAN: This is the fundamental point. Are they attacking us because of who we are and what they believe or are they attacking us because of what we do? I believe it is our policies, not our principles that are causing these attacks. Osama bin Laden wasn't sitting in some cave in Afghanistan and stumble on the Bill of Rights and go bananas. It is because of what we are doing. Most fundamentally, it wasn't Israel number one. Number one, Saudi Arabia, female soldiers, American soldiers sitting there on the land of Mecca and Medina.

Ugly America 

Matt Stoller at the BOP is talking about the newest Bushco political assassination squad, conveniently named "". The website boasts that its new ads will "Expose the Real John Kerry With the Most Brutal, Hard-hitting Ads Ever Seen!" The best part is the misleading name for the 527, which is going to force Kerry to condemn "moveonforamerica" and embrace "moveon" which, to most folks, is going to look like "I am for move on, but I am against it," the perfect Kerry- uh, nuance.

Meanwhile, the new book by Kitty Kelly is rumored to contain stories about Mr. W that include- oh, god. I'm not even going to start.

Let's just say that this election is going to be brutal. You thought you knew what brutal meant? I don't think we do.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Weekend Blog Outsourcing 

First: Give to the DNC.

Then: Blogging Frances, spacecoastweb is currently in full hurricane-watch mode. You can donate to the Miami branch of the Red Cross.

New Donkey is a new blog by Ed Kilgore.

Chris Lydon has posted tons at the BOP site, which is nice to hear, and there's audio too- in some blogs that's a liability, but this is Christopher Mo'fu'in Lydon we're talking about. Empire, GOP Division, and Ben Cramer on Israel-Palestine. While you're there, have some sex.

Last: Did you notice the ads off to the side? Atrocious, right? Well, click on them anyway, because every click through gives me one tenth of a cent. Did I ever mention that blogs are not, by any means, a money making venture? Because holy crap, are they totally not a money making venture.

The Absentee in Chief 

Watching the TV news today, something crossed my mind: I seem to remember that, when there was an explosion in the basement of the World Trade Center, or Bombs being dropped in Kosovo, the press would frequently show footage of flames and gun fire, then a shot of Clinton, meeting with aides or with foreign leaders. That was how the story was written, at that time. In Kosovo, I remember a lot of green night shots of bombs dropping, cut to shot of Clinton. File footage, even.

In an almost daily onslaught of Iraq War coverage involving fire and explosions, it seems rare that it cuts to a similar shot of Bush- A, because he doesn't meet with foreign leaders, and B, because he doesn't answer questions to the press, or attend military funerals.

Bush isn't shown, and therefore he isn't associated with any degree of responsibility. It almost seems like Iraq is a hurricane- out of control, sure, but there isn't any expectation of control. War just happens.

This isn't a scientific analysis, obviously- it's one night of the news caught out of the corner of my eye while I was at work- but it could be something relevant. Why doesn't the press demand an explanation from the President when bad things happen to the country that he is responsible for? Isn't this fundamental to the position of President?

Bush Bounce 

EMD has a convention-time snapshot of public opinion. They have a caveat: you can't measure a "bounce" during a convention, you can only compare before and after. (Imagine if, in the middle of the choreography, you get a phone call- is your response the same a day later?) Nonetheless, here they are:

Zogby, 8/30-9/2: 46 Bush-43 Kerry (+3)
ARG, 8/30-9/1: 47 Bush-47 Kerry (tie)
Rasmussen: 8/31-9/2: 49 Bush-45 Kerry (+4)

These are the big three, but the one that has people in a panic is the one that no one usually pays attention to. That's the Time Magazine poll, 52 Bush-41 Kerry.

Looking at the Zogby poll, what's interesting is that the undecideds are still undecided- which makes me feel kind of comfortable. If they weren't moved against Kerry by the Zell-bomb and four days of "Voting for Kerry will get you killed", then Bush is absolutely nowhere.


As far as I can tell, Bill Clinton was hospitalized with a pain in his chest last night, and they found potentially life-threatening accumulations of plaque in the arteries - but no evidence of a heart attack - and advised him to undergo surgery promptly.

Best wishes to the the last real president.

Friday, September 03, 2004


"I don't know where George Soros gets his money," one man said. "I don't know where - if it comes from overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from." George Soros, another declared, "wants to spend $75 million defeating George W. Bush because Soros wants to legalize heroin." After all, a third said, Mr. Soros "is a self-admitted atheist; he was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust."

They aren't LaRouchies - they're Republicans.

Krugman, breaking the cardinal rule and mentioning LaRouche by name. What next, the Skull and Bones?!

Bring It On, Again. 

Bush spoke, what you'd expect from Republican "leadership". "We must make room for the unborn." "We must protect marriage from activist judges." No mention of the nearly 1000 soldiers killed in Iraq. No mention that we just withdrew from Najaf and gave amnesty to a terrorist so he could work the political system in Iraq. But yeah, he's winning the terror war that cannot be won, and by the way, September 11th happened.

Kerry then did to Bush almost exactly what he did to Edwards in the primary. If you remember, Edwards came out to speak, and almost exactly then, Kerry came out, pre-empting Edwards. Bush finished, and Kerry had a midnight rally with "news" in it- tough (er) rhetoric, good enough to get on TV and to keep me satisfied, but I wanted more. I wanted it pointed out that Cheney voted for the same weapons cuts. I wanted it pointed out that Kerry was pro-military 16 out of 19 times the issue came up.

I, of course, wanted him to mention Iran-Contra, but maybe I am missing some of the political sensitivity related to that issue. Nonetheless- I said Kerry had three days to lose this election, and he proved today that he knows that. I'm glad he did it- he had to- and I am glad that he's quit being a lightweight.

ARG polls give Kerry a 2 point mid-convention bump, but Zogby gives Bush a nine point lead. It will dissipate soon- job numbers tomorrow and, inevitably but tragically, we're soon going to hit 1000 soldiers slaughtered for Bush's sports hunt in Iraq. The tragedy is that we treat 1000 soldiers as if it were more important that 964, or 800, or 163, but we do, and so does the media.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Best Line 

From the Video at the Republican Convention, delivered by a narrator in a folksy voice: "He's even been known to, 'kid around' with folks."

Kerry's Senate Record 

You hear a lot of talk about Kerry running away from his senate record. They're right. The bigger question, though, is why? One of the most powerful indictments of the Bush administration is directly tied to Kerry's senate record- in particular, the Iran Contra scandal.

John Kerry unraveled the Oliver North led Nicaraguan drug cartels. He found direct involvement from Manuel Noriega and Saudi Arabia. Because of this investigation, Kerry was put in charge of the Senate subcommittee on Terrorism and Narcotics, where he proposed legislation to enable a closer eye on money trafficking across the Middle East to Pakistan. It was shot down.

In the investigation he launched, a lot of people got busted. One of them was Elliot Abrams, who confessed his crimes and was then pardoned by Bush One, and now serves as Bush Two's Middle Eastern policy chief for the NSC. Iran Contra also brought down the careers of John Negroponte- whom Bush 2 then appointed as ambassador to Iraq- and Otto Reich, accused by fellow republicans of engaging in "prohibited, covert propaganda activities," "beyond the range of acceptable agency public information activities..." Reich was then placed into the Bush Cabinet, and currently helps run the Bush Re-Election campaign. Do you wonder why the election got so dirty?

Do you wonder what Kerry's "October Surprise" might be? If it's that he finally decides to "talk about his service record", he can very forcefully bring up the argument that the Bush Campaign is overrun with corruption of the same type he fought as a Senator in 1985 while combating the war on drugs and the war on terror.

Why run?

Last Words on Zell Miller 

Finally, here's video of Miller on Hardball. The good stuff gets going around the three minute mark.

But he also looked like a jackass on CNN last night, at least according to the transcript:

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Miller, the Democrats are pointing out that John Kerry voted for 16 of 19 defense budgets that came through Congress while he was in the Senate, and many of these votes that you cited, Dick Cheney also voted against, that they were specific weapons systems.

MILLER: What I was talking about was a period of 19 years in the Senate. I've been in the Senate for four years. There's quite a few years' difference there. I have gotten documentation on every single one of those votes that I talked about here today. I've got more documentation here than the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library put together on that.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: You also were, I would say, almost indignant that anyone would possibly call America military occupiers, not liberators, on at least four occasions. President Bush has referred to the presence of American forces in Iraq as an occupation, and the question is: Are you not selectively choosing words to describe the same situation the president of the United States is describing?

MILLER: I don't know if the president of the United States uses those words, but I know Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry have used them on several occasions.

GREENFIELD: Yes. So has President Bush.

MILLER: Well, I don't know about that.

Defining the Enemy, II 

The NYTimes has a graphic showing the most frequently used words at both conventions, per 20,000 words.

The most notable: Dems said "Jobs" 127 times to the (R)'s 28. Dems said "Bush" 19 times to the (R)'s 86 mentions of Kerry. Reps said "Freedom" as much as Dems said "Health Care", which is interesting, since "Freedom" in the (R) sense includes freedom from the "slavery" of universal health care.

Defining the Enemy 

In speeches so focused on the evils that want to destroy America, it is telling that John Kerry's name was mentioned 28 times in prime time last night while Osama Bin Laden was mentioned a total of zero times in three days so far.


Every convention is a mere matter of getting a voice heard in order for it to be trusted. The noises don't matter so much as what the noises sound like.

Imagine that you're driving past a car with a flat tire. You pull over to help and say "flat tire?" so that they can hear your voice, and know that you mean them no harm. There's no new information presented, no one learns anything in that particular exchange. But, we say it, to make our voice known, and to have a voice echo back: this is how we work as a communal animal.

That is also how conventions work. The Democrats may have the specter of socialism over their heads simply because they subscribe to the idea mentioned above: the voice as a reassurance, asking for a voice in response: "I feel your pain," said Clinton. Edwards assures us that he understands that there's "two Americas", Barack Obama tells us he can hear us, and that we can guide each other to awe. It is a level of communication and assurances where the words are infinitely interchangeable- we follow the tradition of talking politics, at the Convention, because that is what we are expected to talk about, it is the glue between the sentiment. The same sentiment can come out in any sort of group setting- it's the communal gathering of organization.

But when the moon goes down on one more night of seething fear, and what have we learned so far? The RNC was not a organization pack. It was a hunting pack, a pack of derision- Canetti wrote that we laugh at something because it means we can kill it. A man slips on a banana peel and we laugh, the theory goes, because the victim has revealed a weakness. This convention, from Giuliani's throwing up his hands at Kerry's name, to Keyes' attack on gays as "selfish hedonists", to Schwarzeneggers "Girly Men", to Millers frothing at the mouth at the French and the Liberals and the Media, made one exception: the soldiers, he didn't laugh at, because the rest of them needed to be killed. The soldiers are the ones who do the killing. The Dems have got socialism and the Reps have got Fascism. Let me stress that this is not in any actual practice, but regardless of real value, it's the aspersions cast upon them.

They have fascism over them because the glue that holds together all their words are the words of annihilation: they desire a totality. They laugh because they want to reveal that they are strong, and so the Democrats are weak. Republicans believe in a sink or swim kind of freedom, Democrats believe in a sink or we'll throw you a life preserver kind, and somehow we became warring tribes.

The Democrats made the mistake of being civil. We were warned to stay positive by Republicans, and we did it, at our convention: slipping on the banana peel. They set us up for the hunt, and we wandered into it like a lame doe.

The heart of this campaign is crystallized. The turn of the century and 9/11, the war on terror, all converged, and our results determine the next 25 years, if not more, of our organization as a culture: are we to be an America that hunts, or an America that gathers together and distributes?

My gut tells me that America is longing for the hunt. 9/11 is the arrow in the side of the hero, it calls the others to gather arms, and so one party has organized around it. We had blood in Afghanistan, but it wasn't enough. So we had blood in Iraq, for sport, more than for revenge, and now the heroes keep returning, wounded while the rest of us cheer. Maybe we've lost our taste for the hunt? Doesn't matter, if no one has assured us that we are safe enough to plant again. The theme of the Republican Convention thus far is this: "We do not have the luxury of gathering together with awe. There is still killing to be done".

Bush has left the war on terror open- he's right, we can't "win" the war on terror. Anyone with a briefcase and a grudge can kill a hundred people. But we can rally around the towers and we can keep seeking blood, and Bush, the warrior from afar, is the video game commando like the rest of us. He's left it open enough so that the crops aren't safe. We can't be strictly farmers again, because any one of us could poison the crops. All Bush needs to win is uncertainty, not conviction: if Bush had six more terrorist attacks on US soil, he'd have a landslide victory.

So we got Miller with his call to hunt, the primal scream, calling the media out to battle. "Journalists didn't die so that they could have free speech". This is perfect strategy: The Economy is the luxury of a peaceful agrarian culture. Education, the same thing. Spirituality is: an understanding of small things, like birds and winds, that can affect our crops in small ways, contributes to our spiritual sense. But in times of peace, we also have distribution, and that stirs up passion in the wealthy.

Religion and Mythology are for war. Republicans can't farm, so we are fed archetypes and myths- Conan the Barbarian, Zell "Judas" Miller, the Great Father Reagan- and told we must fight, or be killed. But they don't hesitate to seek out the destruction of those of us who won't fight: we, too, are murderers.

That is what these conventions are about. Knowing this, I can't see how Kerry can win by playing the game of the more peaceful warrior. The election should have been war vs peace, now it is an election of Total War vs Half War, and so the totalitarian instinct will certainly win. No one can win the half war game- we can't be a half safe nation, a half at war country. (It is certainly possible in the real world, but it isn't possible in the election mythology). If Kerry says that this is a war, then simply put, people are going to fight it. He simply comes to Bush's side; he doesn't make his own vision into an opposing camp.

Kerry must do one of three things: If he declares war, he must articulate why he can kill more than Bush can. If he declares peace, he has got to prove our safety. Lastly, he can shift the myths. This has the biggest dividends, but is the hardest to accomplish: He's got 65 days to reverse a three year old mythology routed deep in our lizard brain. If Kerry is worthy of office, he must be capable of delivering a new mythology. This is what gives people the "Presidential Air". Kerry has it, but he has to find his story, and he has to find it fast.

Here's what you have to do:

$25.00 to The Democratic National Party, the only group that can co-ordinate money with Kerry- who can't accept donations anymore.

$25.00 to ACT, which will help make sure that Democrats get to the polls on election day, and will recruit new Democrats to the process (You can also Volunteer).

$25.00 to, which will sponsor innovative, effective anti-Bush ads that the Kerry campaign can't run.

Dean had the $100.00 revolution. Consider this the revolution's last minute blow out sale. Because the election has swung back to Bush. Currently the electoral college map, which had Kerry winning last week, is back to Red. If the election were held today, Bush wins.

Think about that for a minute, then think about what $75.00 is going to do for you this year that it won't do in the next four. You have to give, and you have to give soon- there's not much time for this money to get in, and processed, and used.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Something You Might Need 

Looking at an interview with "undecideds" who rated Zell's speech "favorably" as opposed to seeing through the whole pile of crap made me wonder about what I'm doing if Bush is re-elected.

I found this, maybe you'll find it useful, too. If that's too cold, there's this.


Someone kill me, please.

Zell Miller talks like the annoying "blow'em all up" guy who works overnight at the gas station and blames liberal taxes for it. If he wasn't in a suit, he'd be wearing a stained tee shirt with a mushroom cloud over Iraq that says "Bring It On!" I particularly enjoyed the tough guy cold stare straight at the camera, in between listing the weapons Kerry "voted against" as if they were all on seperate occassions- in fact, they were three votes which lumped together several weapons systems.

Ahem: Cheney also voted against them: "You've directed me to buy more M-1s, F-14s, and F-16s - all great systems- but we have enough of them." As for the B2 Bomber, Bush the elder supported cutting its production, as well as several other weapons systems, back in his State of the Union Address in 1992. It was the end of the cold war. Our military was too big. Maybe things are different now, but let's not attack Kerry for votes he made when Cheney and Bush made the same votes.

Update: Holy Shit, did anyone catch the Zell Miller Meltdown on Hardball after the convention? Miller literally threatened to shoot Matthews if he was in the same room with him. I'm sure a transcript will pop up eventually, but it made the Dean Scream look like spilled milk.

More Fucking Medal Crap 

Bush was photographed wearing medals he never earned from the Air Force, according to the London Telegraph.

The Air Force Historical Research Service Organization confirmed that the 147th Fighter Intercept Group and the 111th Fighter Intercept Squadron received an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the time period of 1965-1966, two years before Bush joined the service. The Air Force also said both units received the Outstanding Unit Award in 1975. Bush was discharged from his Texas Guard unit on Oct. 1, 1973.

I hate to think that this election will rise or fall based on who wore a medal or ribbon and when or where, especially when we have things like the BOSTON TERRORIST ATTACK going on- which I am sure will be mentioned tonight at the convention, since it takes such a hard stance on "winning the war on terror".

But yeah, fake medals in the picture.


Amaranth Bio, in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Ma was the site of a terrorist attack on Tuesday, Reuters reports. Police are searching for a 29 year old man who tried to cause a gas explosion in the same building a year prior.

These terrorists attack us because they fear what we stand for- They hate America's pursuit of science in a secular nation, and they fear the freedom that it brings to the world.

I am sure the President will act swiftly to bring attention to the nation that trained and harbored this terrorist, and the cultural conditions of hopelessness and despair that tempt evil doers to do us harm. I suspect that Dick Cheney, tonight, will condemn the extremists who create a hospitable climate to such acts against American Institutions. Lastly, I look forward to a widespread condemnation of those who share the views of these extremists by all who share his religion and world view.

Alan Keyes 

Alan Keyes, oh my god, he doesn't just go down in flames, he goes down in fireworks.

After saying homosexuality is "selfish hedonism," Keyes was asked if that made [Vice President Cheney's Daughter] Mary Cheney "a selfish hedonist."

"Of course she is," Keyes replied. "That goes by definition."

Liz Cheney, Mary's sister, refused to comment Wednesday during an interview on CNN. "I guess I'm surprised, frankly, that you would even repeat the quote, and I'm not going to dignify it with a comment," she told the interviewer.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian organization, denounced Keyes' remark. "In a political career defined by failures, this is a new low for Alan Keyes," executive director Patrick Guerriero said in a statement Wednesday. "Attacking politician's children is beyond the pale, even for an extremist like Alan Keyes."

The Log Cabin Republicans are (finally) launching ads attacking the GOP- their own party- for its intolerance of homosexuality. The Keyes comment will obviously be spun by the GOP- expect a line of parenthesis-R's on TV denouncing the comment, pretending that most elected Republicans disagree with it.

God Is On Bush's Side 

That's why a hurricane is sending power outages to Florida during the Republican Convention.

Swift Boat Ad Nauseum 

I have literally been inundated with Swift Boat ads during the convention coverage, from MSNBC to CNN, and I change the channel every time. I don't know if my reaction is typical, or if people, seeing the ad for the 20,000th time think about how they can't wait to see it again, but god. That music, that faux dramatic music, and Kerry's grating monotone- "personally raped, (edit, some guy saying Kerry was lying), Cut off ears, cut off heads" - eesh. You can actually read the full testimony here, and it's astonishingly good. You can see why it made Kerry a star- Nixon was worried that he'd be "another Ralph Nader". Here's the section the swifties use, but in context with what Kerry actually said:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command....

They told the stories- at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

We call this investigation the "Winter Soldier Investigation." The term "Winter Soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out. In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart....

But now, via Atrios, another nail:

Seems a Vietnam Vet was listed as a signature in a Swift Boat Vets for Truth letter denouncing Kerry's military service. The problem is, he never signed it.

"I'm pretty nonpolitical," the 56-year-old Anderson said Tuesday. So, when he found out last week that his name was one of about 300 signed on a letter questioning Kerry's service, he was "flabbergasted."

"It's kind of like stealing my identity," said Anderson, who spent a year on a swift boat as an engine man and gunner.

Gropenfuhrer Speaks 

I was tempted to ignore it altogether- Schwarzenegger is, to a large extent, a distraction from politics, rather than a politician- but reading the speech, it is one of the most blatant examples of the lie that Republicans tell themselves.

His joke- "To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: "Don't be economic girlie men!" is, essentially, declaring that those worried about record breaking unemployment are "wimps". But what does it say to the unemployed? The Schwarz speech was complete with "I pulled myself up from the bootstraps" talk, talk about being a hard working immigrant who succeeded in America. And he implies, with that statement, that anyone who is unemployed is also a girlie man- a lazy wimp. The Schwarz re-enforces this with his attack on John Edward's "Two Americas" speech- a speech that talks about the disparity in this country- and refutes it as bogus. Our young men and women in uniform do not believe there are two Americas!

Outside of the obnoxiousness of ignoring class differences by saluting the troops, (literally, "What are you saying about poverty? SUPPORT OUR SOLDIERS!") there is a deeper lie under the surface. It ignores the fact that our fighting men and women are, for the most part, from impoverished backgrounds, and 40% of soldiers remain in poverty during their military career, worrying about how to make ends meet while getting shot at. So, Mr. Schwarzenegger, are you calling American Soldiers "Girlie Men" because they didn't make it big in soft core porn and work out videos?

If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government, then you are a Republican!

Of course, none of this is really true. I don't even know what it means that "people are accountable to the Government", but it seems to me that the Government of GW Bush isn't exactly accountable to us, either. We're talking about the President who didn't want the 9/11 report, the Iraq War Intelligence Failure Commission, didn't want the people to know who Cheney met with to create his energy policy, has his records sealed to a degree that future presidents cannot open them without his permission. That's accountability?

If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group, then you are a Republican!

Unless that individual is a homosexual, in which case you will be stripped of basic human rights, because the religious right ("not a special interest group, inc") wants them denied. Neither will oil companies like Chevron have record breaking profits when its former CEO is Condi Rice, nor would Halliburton receive (and fuck up) no bid contracts in Iraq when its former CEO is Dick Cheney. And, if you forgot this tidbit:

Kerry got $640,000 over the past 15 years in special interest money. Bill Frist, Republican, earned $1,022,063 for 2004 alone. "Bush has received five times as much from HMO's, seven times as much from the pharmaceutical industry, and 28 times as much from telephone utilities."


If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does, then you are a Republican!

This with a president who squandered a $236 billion surplus, who then turns around and says that Democrats don't know how to "spend" your money. Republicans seem to know how to spend it.

If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children, then you are a Republican!

And if you believe that the educational system should be funded, you're a Democrat. In 2004, the budget submitted by President Bush was $9 billion less than the amount needed. The year before, it was $7.2 billion less.

If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world, then you are a Republican!

And you're also forgetting that 962 soldiers were killed because of a "miscalculation" about WMD's that the UN weapons inspectors would have ensured we didn't make.

And, ladies and gentlemen, if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism, then you are a Republican!

Yeah. Fierce and Relentless on Terror- Republican. Effective on Terror- Democrat.

Some more Schwarz lies: Bush "inherited a recession" (it started in his first term), Bush is tough on AIDS (a third of his money goes to Christian groups that preach abstinence rather than educate about condom use- which is completely ineffective).

There's this: And when Nelson Mandela smiled in election victory after all those years in prison, America celebrated, too. Except for Dick Cheney, who called Mandela a "terrorist" and, in 2000, stated that he wouldn't change his vote on a house resolution stating the same- and he voted to do business with South Africa under Apartheid.

So, all that's worth mentioning, no? The delusions the Republican Party sells itself in order to believe in whatever monstrosity they've constructed out of actual conservatism.

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