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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

I'm really concerned that sblogger is going to fail—or do I mean "fail," since these are the guys that pointed to Tech Central Station during the winger triumphalism over the superscript fiasco.

Alert readers: Can any of you think of a backup plan for election day? For example, a server that could take our rather small load?

Lies Lies Lies Yeah Part 1,073 

I'd be curious whether, in reporting the Bush campaign's current denials about what happened at Tora Bora, any major news outlet has made reference to their own earlier reporting which makes it clear that, as nearly as such things can be known, what the president is saying is simply not true.

Indeed, not only is what the president's campaign is saying not true, but as the April 2002 WaPo piece, discussed here, makes clear, what Kerry is charging is backed up to the letter by the administration's own formal and informal after-action analyses and reports about the mistakes made at Tora Bora.

It's really that clear cut.
(via Josh Marshall)
The closest thing I've been able to find to what Josh is asking for is this from CNN:

Kerry was referring to the widely held belief among U.S. military and intelligence officials that bin Laden was in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan in December 2001, when U.S. and Afghan troops were assaulting the area. U.S. forces did largely rely on Afghan forces to go after him, but there is no definitive proof that the al Qaeda leader was really there.
Um, why don't you tell us what "definitive proof" you have backing the fairy tale that W, Dick and the boys are peddling right now? Shouldn't the president of the United States be, um, telling the truth?

In short, once again it's the same old cowardly "he said/she said" bullshit from the media.

For goodness sakes, I'll ask it once again: when will you lily-livered cowards in the media grow some balls?

Republican advisor: Separation of church and state a "myth" 

Well, these are the guys who should know about myths:

The Republican National Committee is employing the services of a Texas-based activist who believes the United States is a “Christian nation” and the separation of church and state is “a myth.”

David Barton, the founder of an organization called Wallbuilders, was hired by the RNC as a political consultant and has been traveling the country for a year--speaking at about 300 RNC-sponsored lunches for local evangelical pastors. During the lunches, he presents a slide show of American monuments, discusses his view of America’s Christian heritage -- and tells pastors that they are allowed to endorse political candidates from the pulpit.

Barton, who is also the vice-chairman of the Texas GOP, told Beliefnet this week that the
pastors' meetings have been kept “below the radar.... We work our tails off to stay out of the news.” But at this point, he says, with voter registration ended in most states and early voting already under way, staying quiet about the activity “doesn’t matter.”

And the Republicans talk about "shadowy groups." Sounds like a very bad case of WPS (Winger Projection Syndrome) to me....

Barton’s main contention is that the separation of church and state was never intended by the nation’s founders; he says it was created by the Supreme Court in the 20th Century. ... Barton is also on the board of advisers of the Providence Foundation, a Christian Reconstructionist group that advocates America as a Christian nation. (Click here for an explanation of Reconstructionism.)
( via Oliver Willis)

Well, I guess we know who's locked up the JeeboFascist vote, don't we?

I'm George Bush, and I Approve This Torture 

Good editorial in the WaPo I missed entirely a week ago pointing out a subject that has been mysteriously missing from the campaigns--Abu Ghraib, and the larger issue of trashing the Geneva Conventions, and accountability. As they note:
Mr. Bush is obviously eager to avoid the subject of prisoner detentions. Maybe that's because his public stance on what happened at Abu Ghraib, and what caused it, is entirely at odds with the facts brought out by official investigations. When he last spoke of the matter, months ago, the president maintained that the abuse was the responsibility of a few low-ranking soldiers working the night shift. He has not acknowledged that scores of soldiers have now been implicated for crimes including homicide, or that a Pentagon-appointed panel has found responsibility at senior levels of the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the White House. Nor has he held anyone in his administration accountable.
Why bring this up now? Well, aside from "why the hell NOT?" there's the minor matter that this whole filthy story isn't at all over and done with yet:
(via Boston Globe)
Government documents made public Thursday provide fresh details about allegations of abuse by guards at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other detention facilities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The latest documents were released after a federal court directed the Defense Department and other government agencies to comply with the ACLU's request under the Freedom of Information Act for more details about alleged prisoner torture and abuse.

''After more than a year of stonewalling, the government has finally released some documents, though many are heavily redacted," said Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff lawyer. ''Unfortunately, the government continues to withhold records that would show who was ultimately responsible for the systemic abuse of detainees."

A preliminary review of some of the newly released material showed one case in which three US soldiers were each ordered detained for a month, fined up to $750, and reduced in rank for an incident in October 2003 in which a female Iraqi prisoner was partially stripped, abused, and threatened with more physical harm.
I'd like to see flyers handed out in the street, full-page newspaper ads, a TV bliz, flyers tacked up to power poles and pasted to buildings, hell even biplanes towing banners asking about this. They could use the picture of the hooded guy on the box with the wires, with the message "A Vote For Bush Means You Approve of This."

Supremes: Ralph "I'm a Republican Tool" Nader off Pennsylvania ballot 

God, that was hard. Like scraping, um, gum off your shoe:

The Supreme Court yesterday refused to place independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot in Pennsylvania, leaving in place a state court finding of flawed signatures on voter petition sheets.
(via WaPo)

Now—turnout, turnout, turnout!

Excellent interview with Kerry in Rolling Stone 

Go read.

What a breath of fresh air, to be talked to like a normal human being. Kerry sounds great—relaxed, calm, thoughtful, in command. No bullying, no grandiosity, no code words for the base. What a relief a Kerry presidency is going to be. I thought this quote was good, though it's all good:

Did you get angry at Bush personally?

[KERRY] Look, I know politics is tough, and I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what they do to me. But I do worry, and I am angry, about what they do to the American people. That's what this race is about. It's not about me. I can take it -- I don't care. I've been in worse things. I was on those boats -- I got shot at. I can handle it.

What I worry about is that they lie to America. What I worry about is that they tell the middle class, "We're giving you a tax cut," and the top one percent of America gets more than eighty percent of the rest of the people. I worry that they are unwilling to do anything about the 5 million Americans who have lost their health care.

I worry that there are twenty-eight states in America where you can't go fishing and eat the fish, because of the quality of the water. I worry that they've gotten us into a war where young kids are dying, and they haven't done what's responsible to protect them. That's what I worry about. The rest of it is small pickings.

You don't get angry when Bush outright lies about you?

No, I don't get angry at it. I think it's sort of pathetic.

Were you surprised by how the Swift-boat thing blew up?

I was surprised that the media, even when they knew it was lies, continued to cover it and treat it as entertainment.

Looking back, do you think you handled it correctly?

I think so. Look, when people hold up something that's a complete and total lie, it takes a few days to show people and convince them. We did. They've been completely discredited.

Kerry is saying very tough stuff, in a very quiet way. More like this.

Be sure to DOUBLECHECK YOUR BALLOT before you cast your vote 

Free tickets to see Kerry and The Big Dog in Philly on Monday 

Yes, I was walking through town on my way to the Reading Terminal, and—I know Republicans will find this almost impossible to believe—a young Democratic volunteer just gave me a ticket.

I didn't have to sign a loyalty oath, or anything....

GOTV: Dispatch from the Trenches 

Standing my watch on the ramparts yesterday (yes, I know trenches are by definition underground whilst ramparts are way up in the air. It's a ploy to confuse enemy spotters as to my actual whereabouts and screw up their targeting computers) there was a definite air of calm-before-the-storm.

Okay, actually it was just calm. A few people dropped guy had just traded in his old truck for a new one and needed a new Kerry/Edwards sticker for the bumper. Couple of people came by for yard signs, happily for their neighbors who wanted to add to the classiness of the area rather than to replace ones which had been stolen. Supplies are short and we're living off midnight requisitions from Dem HQ's in surrounding counties for yard signs and stickers, but I keep reminding myself that it's better for demand to exceed supply than the reverse.

One fella, older guy, came in the door and handed me an unlabeled videotape. I was about to direct him to the video store a couple blocks down when he said "You seen '9/11' yet?" Seems he has both a DVD and a VCR and has been dubbing Michael Moore from the former to the latter and handing them out to folks who don't have DVD players yet. Sure wish I'd though of this myself, and earlier. Guerilla warriors come in a glorious variety of guises.

My own contribution to the agitprop front were some refrigerator magnets. We got these to put business cards on years ago, the magnets are the same size with a peel-off label on one side you stick the cards to. Had some old pre-perforated business card blanks, too, so I printed them up with this on it:

Just that, centered. No text, no comment. People would take them, and glance, and start to look away but then their eyes would get stuck and you could see a thought balloon forming overhead reading "WTF?"

Then they'd figure it out, and responses ranged from big ol' grins to outright howling laughs. One lady took three, explaining that she's an LPN who works at a local nursing home, goes to school for her RN in a nearby town, and does training shifts at the local hospital. (Ah, the energy of the young.) Thus does subversion work itself into unexpected places.

You Gonna Scare Me Wit Puppies?? 

I don' tink so.

Gen. Nathaniel Lyon renders his opinion on the new "woof woof" RNC attack ad. Aide-de-camp A. J. Jackson concurs while conserving strength for the next battle.

Saturday cat blogging, since Atrios didn't put any up yesterday.

Election fraud 2004: Here's how you can volunteer to protect the polls 

Iraq clusterfuck: 9/11 Commission member—Bin Laden location known, funded by Saudis 

Well, well. So why can't we go get him? Iraq. That's opportunity cost. Read on:

CLAREMONT -- The Pentagon knows exactly where Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, it just can't get to him, John Lehman, a member of the 9-11 commission, said Thursday.

Bin Laden is living in South Waziristan in the Baluchistan Mountains of the Baluchistan region, Lehman told The San Bernardino Sun after delivering a keynote speech on terrorism at Pitzer College in Claremont.

In the exclusive interview, Lehman noted, "There is an American presence in the area, but we can't just send in troops. If we did, we could have another Vietnam, and the United States cannot afford that right now."

"We'll get (bin Laden) eventually, just not now," he said. Asked how bin Laden was surviving, Lehman said he was getting money from outside countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and high-ranking ministers inside Saudi Arabia.
(via Claremont Daily News)

Gee, I thought Saudi Arabia was our ally? And Bush was really good friends with them? So how come the Saudis are still funding Bin Laden?

And why didn't we capture Bin Laden when we had him cornered at Tora Bora? (The increasingly shrill Josh Marshall tracks the Bush revisionism on Tora Bora) The answer: That's one of the opportunity costs (back)of Iraq:

Twenty months after the invasion of Iraq, the question of whether Americans are safer from terrorism because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power hinges on subjective judgment about might-have-beens. What is not in dispute, among scores of career national security officials and political appointees interviewed periodically since 2002, is that Bush's choice had opportunity costs -- first in postwar Afghanistan, then elsewhere. Iraq, they said, became a voracious consumer of time, money, personnel and diplomatic capital -- as well as the scarce tools of covert force on which Bush prefers to rely -- that until then were engaged against al Qaeda and its sources of direct support.
(via WaPo)

The test of a CEO, as any shareholder knows, is not whether the CEO made good choices with the shareholders money. The test is whether the CEO made the best use of it. The difference between good (granting the Iraq war to be good) and the best (really nailing AQ) is the opportunity cost. Bush traded Iraq for nailing Al Quaeda. Are you feeling safer? I didn't think so.

NOTE Bush already missed Zarqui—another opportunity cost. Now, apparently, Bush has sent the Marines into Fallujah to get him. Not "too little, too late," but "too many lives, too late." Typical

Election fraud 2004: Republicans facing charges in South Dakota 

Yes, the same people who were promoted to work in Ohio!

Five people face charges in connection with absentee ballot applications that were filled out on some South Dakota college campuses, [Republican] Attorney General Larry Long and other officials said Friday.

They were identified as Joseph Alick, 28; Nathan Mertz, 20; Todd Schlekeway, 27; Rachel Hoff, 22; and Eric Fahrendorf, 24. Fahrendorf had been listed as a Republican Party employee. Officials said the rest were volunteers.

All had resigned earlier from a GOP get-out-the-vote effort after questions arose as to whether some absentee ballot requests were signed by the student in the presence of the notary public whose seal was affixed to the request.

"I don't think we found that it was policy, what we found was sloppy supervision frankly," Long said.

(via South Dakota Argus Leader)

Hmmm.... These days, you really have to recognize Republican "handwriting" (as LeCarre would call it). Does "sloppy supervision" remind you of anything? I'd say "plausible deniability," where the lower-ranking take the fall for the higher-ranking—as at Abu Ghraib. For the Republicans, it's all the same war, and they use the same tactics wherever they are.

Gaslight Watch: No evidence of pre-election plot 

Of course, faith is the evidence of things not seen....

after hundreds of interviews, scores of immigration arrests and other preventive measures, law enforcement officials say they have been unable to detect signs of an ongoing plot in the United States, nor have they identified specific targets, dates or methods that might be used in one.

"We've not unearthed anything that would add any credence to talk of an election-related attack,"
(via WaPo)

Possibilities, possibilities....

Possibility 1. A vigilant administration repelled the threat? Possible. But if it happened, it was most likely by chance. Here's the system the FBI is using:

The FBI's approach depends on "tripwires" to detect suspicious activity. The system, implemented last year and based on the behavior of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers, generates alerts if a known subject buys an airline ticket, rents a car or applies for a driver's license -- in his or her own name.

In their own name. Um... And why would the next attack follow the same pattern as the last one? That's just what AQ doesn't do! Fighting the last war...

Possibility 2. Bush got gamed by bad information again; a second Chalabi told Him what he wants to hear. More likely, since that's a known Bush character flaw which the country's enemies are fully capable of exploiting:
Even as the government intensified its campaign, authorities discovered that one of the CIA sources they had relied on had fabricated his story, according to several counterterrorism officials. One intelligence official said the revelation "caused us to go back to square one and reassess where the plotting really is."

Other officials, however, played down the source's importance. "It's thought that what he had said was pure misinformation" designed to mislead the government, a different intelligence official said. But, the official added, that did not increase anyone's comfort level, because there are many other sources indicating that al Qaeda wants to launch an attack.

Possibility 3. If AQ attacked Spain to win political advantage, doesn't it follow that they have not attacked the US, becuase that is to their political advantage? After all, Bush is their most effective recruiter.

Possibility 4. There is no threat. After all, the entire Homeland Security apparat is out on the campaign trail in swing states (Condi, Ridge). Don't they have jobs to do back in DC? Oh, wait.... Electing Bush is their job... What was I thinking.

Possibility 5. All of the above....

Friday, October 22, 2004

Election fraud 2004: And so it begins in Ohio 

I guess know we know why Inerrant Boy hasn't showed his face in Ohio for three weeks (here)—since he knows he can't win, he's going to rely on Republican election officials to steal it for Him:

Republican Party officials in Ohio took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots.

Ohio Democrats were struggling to match the Republicans' move, which had been rumored for weeks. Both parties had until 4 p.m. to register people they had recruited to monitor the election. Republicans said they had enlisted 3,600 by the deadline, many in heavily Democratic urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Dayton and other cities. Each recruit was to be paid $100.

The Democrats, who tend to benefit more than Republicans from large turnouts, said they had registered more than 2,000 recruits to try to protect legitimate voters rather than weed out ineligible ones.

"Our concern is Republicans will be challenging in large numbers for the purpose of slowing down voting, because challenging takes a long time,'' said David Sullivan, the voter protection coordinator for the national Democratic Party in Ohio. "And creating long lines causes our people to leave without voting.''

Among the main swing states, only Ohio, Florida and Missouri require the parties to register poll watchers before Election Day; elsewhere, party observers can register on the day itself. In several states officials have alerted poll workers to expect a heightened interest by the parties in challenging voters. In some cases, poll workers, many of them elderly, have been given training to deal with any abusive challenging.

The recruits will be trained next week, said Mr. Trakas, who added that he had not decided whether to open the training sessions to the public or reporters.

The preparations for widespread challenging this year have alarmed some election officials.

"This creates chaos and confusion in the polling site," said R. Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, an international association of election officials. But, he said, "most courts say it's permissible by state law and therefore can't be denied."

In Ohio, Republicans sought to play down any concern that their challenging would be disruptive.
(via at-least-they're-covering-it-now-the-New-York-Times)

I'm sure that Republicans gathered around polling places will never seek to intimidate Democratic voters!

I guess I know what I'm going to be doing on November 2....

Operation Pull Starts to Unravel 

Like a cheap sweater.

via Knight-Ridder (Philly Inquirer) under the remarkably subdued headline "Bush's volunteer service disputed":

Knight Ridder Newspapers

HOUSTON - President Bush often has cited his work in 1973 with a now-defunct inner-city program for troubled teens as the source for his belief in "compassionate conservatism."

But former associates of White, who died in 1988, have disputed in recent interviews much of Bush's version of his time at the program.

"I was working full time for an inner-city poverty program known as Project P.U.L.L.," Bush said in his 1999 autobiography, "A Charge to Keep." "My friend John White ... asked me to come help him run the program. ... I was intrigued by John's offer. ... Now I had a chance to help people."

But White's administrative assistant and others associated with P.U.L.L., speaking on the record for the first time, say Bush was not helping to run the program and White had not asked Bush to come aboard. Instead, the associates said, White told them he agreed to take Bush on as a favor to Bush's father, who was honorary co-chairman of the program at the time, and Bush was unpaid. They say White told them Bush had gotten into some kind of trouble but White never gave them specifics.

"We didn't know what kind of trouble he'd been in, only that he'd done something that required him to put in the time," said Althia Turner, White's administrative assistant.

A White House spokesman, told about the interviews, denied Bush had been in any trouble or Bush's father, who was ambassador to the United Nations at the time, had arranged the job at P.U.L.L. He acknowledged, however, Bush was not paid for his work there. Bush's father declined a request for an interview.

"It was incorrect to say he was working there," spokesman Trent Duffy said. "He was doing volunteer service and getting paid by the Guard."
This is pretty much the gist of it, the story is based on quotes from people who were there at the time. I doubt it will chelate the koolade from anybody except maybe diehard fans of the early-70's Oilers, if any such persons exist. But why must we rely on verbal testimony rather than documentary evidence? Hmm, good question:
No documents from Bush's time with P.U.L.L. exist. The agency, which closed in 1989, left most of its records behind when it moved to a new location in 1984. The building's owner, Southern Leather Co., said those were discarded. No one seems to know what happened to any remaining records after 1989.

UPDATE Um, what kind of trouble was Bush in, anyhow? And why did he feel he had to do the time? He certainly didn't feel he had to do the time in TxANG...—Lambert

Goodnight, moon 

For your pleasure—"Mosh," the Eminem anti-Bush song.

Wolves and boobies.

Sweet dreams!

Oh, and you are volunteering for a GOTV effort, right?

Here's how you can find where you should vote in Philly.

Flu vaccine powerball 

Thanks to Inerrant Boy, everyone can participate in this fun new game!

The calls kept coming. And coming. With 800 flu shots to give away, Montgomery County's Health Department began accepting names for its lottery at 8 a.m. yesterday.

By 10:30 a.m., about 2,000 high-risk county residents had gotten on the list.

"We only have 800 shots," school nurse Julie Olson said into her phone. "The lucky winners will get it."

The odds of winning -- in a county of about 900,000 people -- have become slight enough that some local media dubbed Montgomery County's solution the Flu Vaccine Powerball.
(via WaPo)

You too can be a lucky winner—or a dead loser.

Come to think of it, doesn't everything in Bush's America work like that? Except for Bush and his friends, of course.

Clinton in Philly! 

Tickets here (via Mithras) Hey, and no loyalty oath!

Guess where?

Love Park! Back)

If the WiFi in the Park is working, maybe some enterprising blogger can cover it live....

I hope all you sk8ers are voting for Kerry.... Cause if you don't, The Big Dog will hunt you down...

Halliburton: Get it while you can! 

Auditor, schmauditor!

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Army is laying the groundwork to let Halliburton Co. keep several billion dollars paid for work in Iraq that Pentagon auditors say is questionable or unsupported by proper documentation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

According to Pentagon documents reviewed by the Journal, the Army has acknowledged that the Houston-based company might never be able to account properly for some of its work, which has been probed amid accusations that Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root unit overbilled the government for some operations in Iraq.

The company has hired a consulting firm to estimate what Halliburton's services should cost, the report said.

The Journal also cited Pentagon records showing that $650 million in Halliburton billings are deemed questionable. An additional $2 billion is considered to have insufficient paperwork to justify the billing, the report said.
(via Reuters)

Wow! The Army's going to let Halliburton just pick a number! What could be more fair than that?

Bush relatives: "Don't vote for our cousin!" 

"Because blood is thinner than oil!"

Six blood relatives of President Bush who support John F. Kerry's bid for the presidency have launched a website to publicize their sharp disagreements with Bush's policies.

The site,, consists of personal statements from a group of decidedly liberal second cousins of the president, none of whom knows him personally. All are grandchildren of Mary Bush House, the sister of Prescott Bush, a former US senator from Connecticut and the father and grandfather of the two Bush presidents.

The introduction to the site opens with the slogan, ''Because blood is thicker than oil!" and states: ''As the election approaches, we feel it is our responsibility to speak out about why we are voting for John Kerry, and to do our small part to help America heal from the sickness it has suffered since George Bush was appointed President in 2000. We invite you to read our stories, and please, don't vote for our cousin!"
(via The Glob)

I guess they'll never be part of the dynasty....

100 reasons not to vote for Bush 

The Nation.

With a handy PDF version for you to give your undecided friends (or any member of the reality-based community).

Republican tool Ralph Nader off ballot in Ohio 

And there's good news tonight!

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday rejected a move by Ralph Nader to get on the Ohio ballot, further reducing the chance that his third-party presidential candidacy will be a factor in the battleground state.

The court ruled 6 to 1 that Nader's backers waited too long to raise objections about the way nominating petitions were being processed. Objections to petitions designed to put Nader on the ballot in Ohio had left him short of the required number.

Nader issued a statement saying he planned to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, though it was not clear if that process could be completed before the Nov. 2 election.

Nader drew 2.7 percent of the popular vote nationally in 2000 and was widely believed to have cost Democrat Al Gore the election in the decisive state of Florida. In Ohio in 2000 he won 3 percent of the vote.
(via Reuters)

Wonder if the Supremes will find a way to step in ....

Ahhhh, Maybe Not...Then Again... 

So there I was, fixing myself a late-night snack in the wholly inadequate Corrente kitchen, the only room in the old building that is not mighty, when I run into a troubled RDF who, somewhat reluctantly, informed me of a different take than mine on the strategy of a group of independent Green Party members whom I featured in a previous post, who are working to get Greens to vote for Kerry in the swing states.
"I don't know, Leah," RDF said. "I'm registered Green myself, and would love to see a Green Party with enough muscle to influence national policy."

"But I'm in the camp that thinks that's only going to happen if Greens start winning on a local scale: mayors, county commissioners, sheriffs, and so on. It's working for the Libertarians. Maybe in the future somewhere we can envision the means of production in the hands of the workers with enough grassroots work."

"But, in this election, no. In ANY state. I would ask--and have asked--any Green to vote for Kerry. Every vote for Kerry, this time around, is a dart in the heart of the beast that is the GOP, and that's all that matters right now."
Being an old-fashioned liberal, I tend to get mezmerized by any hint that there is a coalition somewhere waiting to be built, even a tiny one, so, though I would still recommend a visit to the website, Greens For Impact noted in my previous post, and though the two men heading the Green ticket are first- rate, except, of course, that the rest of us have not moved the political discussion in this country far enough toward where it was even as late as the early eighties for such a ticket to have a chance of being elected, and though I like the Greens' emphasis on getting public financing of elections as a central issue, the success of which, given our current Supreme Court's reading of the constitution, is a long way off, RDF is right; Kerry needs every vote to insure that he registers a decisive win in the popular vote. That is certainly why we're working so hard to get the vote out all over California, a state where the electoral college votes are as close to already won for Kerry as is possible in an imperfect world.

So here's where we appear to be at, a week and a half away from election day: the single most determinative factor in a Kerry/Edwards win, and let's not forget congress --we could still take the Senate, and advance Democratic numbers in the House -- is going to be getting everyone to vote: the Democratic base, left progressive who are often reluctant Democrats, all those new voters who have registered, minority voters, who are often thought of as part of the base, but who have their own issues with the Bush administration, and let's not forget you, your friends, relatives, neighbors.

This is RDF's territory, so here, for your convenience, are links to various RDF GOTV posts that are sprinkled through-out our recent archives, but are here arranged in ascending order, I hope; if not, the posts are pretty much stand alone calls to action you should look at if you missed any the first time around, and are worth a second look, too.

And here's a reminder to start visiting at least once a day eRiposte's Voter2004 page, wherein is being kept information about voting problems across the nation, the better to get onto fixing anything that's happening close to you.

Here are a few more newly discovered resources for you to check out.

Band Of Here's how they describe themselves.
We are a band of citizens, powerful and passionate, who want their government to focus on solving the country’s big problems with common sense and plain dealing. Our mission is to be a voice for thoughtful Americans who want positive change.

In 2004, we want to make it easy for people to understand the importance of voting and why John Kerry is the stronger candidate for President, and also easier for them to pass this information along to people who are undecided.

Their way of making it easier is to provide what they call Citizenflicks, e-mailable ads that take on specific issues. An entirely neat idea. You can also contribute your own citizenflick. Check them out here.

A more old-fashioned type of grassroots GOTV effort, Voter Call has a lot to offer everyone who is determined to do all they can to get Bush/Cheney out, Kerry/Edwards in. Their mission is to make sure that all those newly registered voters actually exercise their franchise, and to that end, they've made a database that consists of the newly registered so that an interested citizen like you can pull up a list from any state and make a personal spiel to make sure such people actually vote.

It's a great idea. They are targeting groups who tend to hesitate to vote, like poor folks. So how you approach such calls gives you an opportunity to make a unique and creative contribution to this historic election. True Majority, the organization put together by ice cream mogul, the Ben of Ben and Jerry's, is one of the groups sponsers, which inspires my confidence. You can find all the information you need about what Voter Call is about by clicking here, and how it all works, by clicking here.

Changing subjects slightly, while I'm providing links to notable Corrente contributions, for those of you who missed the Farmer's graphic take on Bill O'Reilly post-sexual harrassement filing against him, you can find it here. I recommend it, because aside from the humor, farmer has caught the deeply unpleasant truth O'Reilly that the SCLM is going out of ther way not to notice. And if you missed the Farmer's ruminations on debate questions not asked by questioners not invited to ask them, have some fun and click here.

Liberal Math Piracy 

HONOLULU - Often dismissed as too small, too isolated and too Democratic to worry about in presidential contests, Hawaii suddenly has a close race. Neglected Hawaii emerges as swing state

Every state is a battleground state. Voter registration ends today in Alabama.

I’m no mathematician, but it seems to me that if we all take along one or two voters to an early voting place, no matter where we live, then we would triple the impact of our vote. Like in Alice’s Restaurant—

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine, fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singing a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends, they may think it's a movement.

And it is. It’s the Take Some Friends to Stomp a Weasel Movement.

We’re headed into town in the van in just a few. Got a little weasel-stomping to do. There will be twelve of us, and eleven voting early (I already voted.) Dinner afterwards. Arrrgggh. Hoist the Jolly Roger! To the cannons, me hearties! Need motivation? Picture Bushco walking the plank, one by one, metaphorically plopping into the shark-infested waters at the cutlass-wielding urging of your vote, and your friend’s vote, and your friend’s friend’s vote…

Or, picture the Supreme Court in four years. Avast, ye lubbers!


Republican Group Accused of Voter Fraud (AP)

…Nathan Sproul, a former head of Arizona's Republican Party and the state's Christian Coalition branch, denies any wrongdoing and accuses Democrats of making things up…

Oh, well, that settles that. Golly. And I was suspicious for a minute. Read the whole thing if your stomach can take it: Republican-funded firm accused of voter fraud

They're trashing registrations all over, not just OR and NV. Get angry. And then take a THOUSAND people to vote! And check to make sure the ones who think they’re registered actually are. Low-life weasel bait fuckers might have trashed them.

Faith in Action Friday 

Item below from the New York Sun, 1926.

Mrs. Kimball's affidavit charges cruel and inhuman treatment. They were happy until 1918, she said, when her husband took up the study of Christian Science.

"He wanted to try this new belief on me," she asserted. "This caused most of our trouble. On Columbus Day, 1923, I was cooking bacon and eggs when my husband said to me: 'If you have proper faith nothing can hurt you.' He took a spoonful of hot bacon grease from the pan and poured it on the back of my hand. I had a severe burn on my hand for several weeks.

"He had a habit of stepping with his full weight on my feet. Once he threw a chair at me. Another habit of his was to go into the hall where we lived and pray for me in a loud voice. He would ask forgiveness for me and ask that I be delivered from error."

How'd ya like to have a guy like that in charge of the nation's foreign policy and domestic policy and..., hey, wait a minute...

File for divorce on Nov. 3rd.


It takes a village to stomp a weasel 

The new Republican attack ad is entitled "Wolves":

Moody and ominous, the 30-second ad mines the shadowy light-and-dark world of a mysterious forest, with an occasional nano-second flash of danger, before showing the large pack (sleeper cell?) of wolves ready to attack at the first sign of weakness. At the end, the pack is rousing, ready to pounce on....the election of President Kerry?

"Wolves" is the Democrats' worst nightmare -- slick, evocative, memorable, and utterly misleading.

You know what would be really nice?

If some artistically inclined reader would creates a parody ad.

The title? "Weasels." Take it from there ....

What would be even nicer would be if it were in the same news cycle.

Here's The original.

Gaslight watch: So if AQ wants to disrupt the election, why is Condi out on the campaign trail? 

The increasingly shrill Josh Marshall raises a very good point:

Now, you'll remember from the 9/11 commission hearings earlier this year that the National Security Advisor is, or should be, the quarterback when the country faces a heightened or imminent threat of terrorist attack. She's the one who pulls together all the various threat reports and makes sure all legs and arms of the national security apparatus are working in unison.

If this whole 'al Qaida disrupting the democratic process' is on the level then we're entering the red zone right about now. We're ten days out from the election.

So why is the National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, out hitting the campaign trail?

Think about that for a second. Is there any possible good answer? Either all the effort to hype an election day al Qaida threat is just another effort to use the White House's control over the intelligence community as a campaign asset or Rice is shirking her duties at a moment of acute national peril.
(via Talking Points Memo)

Please refer all complaints to The Department of 'No! They Would Never Do That!

Election fraud 2004: Krugman sets the baseline 

Not shrill, not shrill at all:

But we must not repeat the mistake of 2000 by refusing to acknowledge the possibility that a narrow Bush win, especially if it depends on Florida, rests on the systematic disenfranchisement of minority voters. And the media must not treat such a suspect win as a validation of skewed reporting that has consistently overstated Mr. Bush's popular support.
(via Times)

I would be more, well, shrill about it: There's no reason to accept a narrow Bush win as legitimate, especially if Bush's margin of 'victory' is smaller than the number that we already know have been illegally disenfranchised from Florida 2000.

So, for all our sakes, let's work for a convincing Kerry win, for decisive repudiation by reality-based America of all that Bush is, and all that Bush stands for. I'm taking November 2 off to GOTV. Are you?

Science for Republicans! 

Not that they care, of course, since science is reality-based:

researchers believe they have measured the effect that was first predicted in 1918 by using Einstein's theory of general relativity by ''precisely observing shifts in the orbits of two Earth-orbiting satellites.'' The finding constitutes the ''first accurate measurement of a bizarre effect that predicts a rotating mass will drag space around it,'' NASA said.
(via Miami Herald)

Now I know how Rush gets his listeners!

And Rush—speaking of a rotating mass.... Rotate this!

BOLD reality based suggestion 

Ya know, I'm a big fan of quiet understatement. But really, Blogger should change its name to Slogger. Slogger dot com.



Thursday, October 21, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

I hope you're taking election day off to get out the vote or watch the polls.

The Republicans are taking Florida 2000 national.

Down the memory hole! Bush having the White House site scrubbed 

Wow! I wonder why? See BradBlog for the scoop.

And worst of all, so many of the classics are missing! For example, "I'm not that concerned about Bin Laden."

Well, freedom's on the march, isn't it? And for once, Bush is telling the truth. At least, part of the truth. He means "freedom for Bush from any questions is on the march."

Democracy, you see, is all very well when it's a photo op in far away Afghanistan... But at home? Forget about it!

Election fraud 2004: A little light reading 

A magisterial summary by the ever essential Orcinus, who mentions Steve Gilliard, who writes "Diebold is a distraction, this is the real issue, naked voter fraud and supression. Which is why you need to work the polls." Gilliard in turn refers to Kos's Voter Registration Fraud Clearinghouse. Check especially for Nathan Sproul and Sproul Associates. Meanwhile, Rick Perlstein has a fine article in the Village Voice which pays particular attention to the Posner ruling (back).

Republican dirty tricks scare the hell out of me. But Posner giving the dirty tricksters cover scares me even more. I mean, after Bush v. Gore, doesn't a decision that contains the words "The Constitution does not in so many words confer a right to vote" (back) worry you?

Nice to see the SCLM all over this one... As if we could ever trust them.

Dispatch from the "reality-based" Republican community: 

There really is such a thing. Believe it or not. See actual evidence cited below and send a copy to every Republican or undecided or swing voter you know. And while you're at it, send a copy to every one you don't know too. What the hell.

A Former Republican Senator:
'Frightened to Death' of Bush

by Marlow W. Cook

I shall cast my vote for John Kerry come Nov 2.
I have been, and will continue to be, a Republican. But when we as a party send the wrong person to the White House, then it is our responsibility to send him home if our nation suffers as a result of his actions. I fall in the category of good conservative thinkers, like George F. Will, for instance, who wrote: "This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and having thought, to have second thoughts."

I say, well done George Will, or, even better, from the mouth of the numero uno of conservatives, William F. Buckley Jr.: "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

First, let's talk about George Bush's moral standards.

In 2000, to defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — a man who was shot down in Vietnam and imprisoned for over five years — they used Carl Rove's "East Texas special." They started the rumor that he was gay, saying he had spent too much time in the Hanoi Hilton. They said he was crazy. They said his wife was on drugs. Then, to top it off, they spread pictures of his adopted daughter, who was born in Bangladesh and thus dark skinned, to the sons and daughters of the Confederacy in rural South Carolina.

To show he was not just picking on Republicans, he went after Sen. Max Cleland from Georgia, a Democrat seeking re-election. Bush henchmen said he wasn't patriotic because Cleland did not agree 100 percent on how to handle homeland security. They published his picture along with Cuba's Castro, questioning Cleland's patriotism and commitment to America's security. Never mind that his Republican challenger was a Vietnam deferment case and Cleland, who had served in Vietnam, came home in a wheel chair having lost three limbs fighting for his country. Anyone who wants to win an election and control of the legislative body that badly has no moral character at all.


The writer, a Republican formerly of Louisville, was Jefferson County judge from 1962-1968 and U.S. senator from Kentucky from 1968-1975.

continue reading... HERE


"He just doesn't get it" 

Nice ad. Because Democrats always make nice.


Republican looting: We want to hand Social Security to the financial industry why? 

Thank God for Democrat Elliot Spitzer:

Like the universe itself, corporate chicanery just seems to keep on expanding. Unlike earlier versions, however, the latest scandals tend to implicate not just individual companies but entire industries.

Mr. Spitzer's suit, which detonated Thursday, was filed against Marsh Inc., whose parent, Marsh & McLennan, also owns Putnam Investments and Mercer Inc., the consulting unit. The suit was a shocker even to industry veterans because it disclosed Mr. Spitzer's findings of phony bids designed to direct business to certain insurers and to keep insurance rates high.

Besides bid-rigging, Mr. Spitzer's suit detailed the kickbacks from insurers that brokers receive for sending them business as well as the hidden fees charged to the companies buying insurance. These arrangements, known as marketing service agreements or placement service agreements, were openly used by the industry. But Mr. Spitzer argued that because they were used to steer business, they represented a breach of duty to Marsh's customers.
(via Times)

So, why hand Social Security, the biggest money pot around—and your money, too—to this shameless crowd of hucksters, con men, and thieves? Oh, wait. Campaign contributions! ("When they say it's not about the money, it's about the money".

Now it all makes sense. Phew! My faith was shaken there for a moment!

Election fraud 2004: Diebold pays the price for shoddy workmanship 

I love the free market, don't you?

Sagging performance and mounting legal costs in its electronic voting segment kept third-quarter earnings nearly flat at Diebold Inc., the company said Wednesday.

iebold shares fell 91 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $45.70 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange - toward the lower end of their 52-week range of $43.88 to $57.43.

Diebold's touch-screen voting machines have led to widespread criticism of security and to lawsuits. About 50,000 of the company's touch-screen machines will be used in 11 states in the Nov. 2 election.

Walden W. O'Dell, Diebold chairman and chief executive, said election systems issues in California "had a negative impact on earnings and margins during the third quarter. However, we expect that the modernizing of voting systems in the United States will continue in 2005 and beyond, and we should have better visibility of the direction of the U.S. election systems market after the November election."

Revenue from election systems was $34.4 million, down 28 percent from the $47.9 million recorded last year. Diebold reported the election systems business reduced earnings by 4 cents per share in the third quarter; election systems added 6 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.
(via AP)

Ah, we remember Walden O'Dell! He's the one who's "helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to [Bush] next year" (back, see how the entire e-voting process is owned by Republicans) Why is O'Dell so confident about the 2004 results? Does he know something we only suspect?

100,000 WTF's 

100,000 contractors voting with GOP help. WTF?

Interest Groups Mounting Costly Push to Get Out Vote
By Michael Moss and Ford Fessenden, The New York Times
Wednesday 20 October 2004

In a presidential race whose outcome is expected to hang on turnout at the polls, an army of interest groups is pumping at least $350 million into get-out-the-vote campaigns that are rewriting the tactics of elections.

….the fervor has even reached Baghdad, where a Republican lobbyist is trying to help an estimated 100,000 employees of American contractors in the Persian Gulf vote in time to be counted…

…The turnout campaigns are concerned not just with voters in the United States. Timothy B. Mills, a lobbyist working on Iraq reconstruction issues for the law firm of Patton Boggs and a former vice president of the Republican National Lawyers Association, has organized the effort in Baghdad to help the estimated 100,000 contractor employees in the region cast their votes. One plan is to send the ballots en masse to an office in Washington, where they would be separated and redirected to the appropriate local election site

via Costly Push to Get Out Vote

I didn’t even know there were 100,000 of them over there. Ye gods! These people will stop at nothing!

Arrrgggh, me hearties! Raise the Jolly Roger! Point the ship toward the nearest group of slacker Dem voters and march them off to the early voting stations! Give them doughnuts. Give them free beer. Give them a guilt trip. But get them to the polls! Especially the young folks...

Will Bush cause a seismic youthquake? by Arianna Huffington

A taste from ol’ Huffington:

He has sparked a youthful uprising unseen since Robert Kennedy's tragically shortened run for president. Kennedy's 1968 campaign brought together a powerful coalition of progressive young white voters and disaffected young black voters, united in support of his twin platform of fighting poverty and ending the war in Vietnam. Bush's immoral war in Iraq and poverty-spreading domestic policies have brought those same groups together in an effort to topple him.

Bush is the photo negative of Kennedy. The anti-Bobby.

Of course, registration is just the first step -- it won't mean a thing if the new registrants fail to turn up at the polls or if, once they get there, they are turned away by a 2004 Katharine Harris wanna-be.

That's why the key to delivering the youth vote, and with it the keys to the White House, will be which side is most successful at getting out the vote. Studies have shown that the most effective way to do this is through peer-to-peer contact -- and with young people this means knocking on dorm doors and repeatedly following up with e-mails, cell phone calls and text messages.

Which is why the tipping point of 2004 may be reached not by the big, well-funded voter registration efforts, but by the under-the-radar efforts of the hundreds of small, independent, grassroots groups of young people that have joined in the effort to remove the president from office.

Let us hope.

MBF Watch: The War on Teeshirtism 

A lot of sources are running the story of the Ranks and their lawsuit. This is the best one I've seen though, because it ties in the bigger story: John Kerry believes in freedom as well as reality, while Bush believes only in obedience (to Him) and faith (in Him).

(via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Like many Americans, Jeff and Nicole Rank have an opinion about their president. They wore it on T-shirts they unveiled after entering the West Virginia State Capitol grounds to hear him speak.
The his-and-hers shirts included a photo of the president and the word "Bush" with the international "no" symbol. His shirt also said, "Regime change starts at home." Hers said, "Love America, Hate Bush."

Shortly after the Ranks revealed the shirts, two men they believe worked for the Secret Service or the White House demanded that they remove or cover them. The Ranks refused and were arrested, handcuffed and jailed on trespassing charges.

John Kerry has made fun of the tight security at Bush events. At almost every one of his more than 70 town hall meetings, Kerry has delighted in asking the audiences, "Did anyone have to sign a loyalty oath to get in?"
Hmm, we have a charge and a countercharge. Two statements, both of which purport to be true. Hey, how about an actual experiment? Remember that old "pre-September 11 thinking" stuff like evidence and rationality? Let's live dangerously:
John Prather, an Ohio University math professor, earlier this year tested the tolerance levels of each campaign. He wore a Bush shirt to a Kerry rally in Wheeling, W.Va., and reported that not a word was uttered about it.

The reaction was different when he wore a Kerry shirt to a Bush rally in Cambridge, Ohio. In a narrative about the event, Prather wrote that a "low-level security person" initially asked him to turn the shirt inside out, which he did.

A few minutes later, that same person tracked him down and said his superiors had told him Prather could not stay at the event with the Kerry shirt. Prather took it off and put on another shirt he had with him.

But that wasn't the end of it, wrote Prather, who added that he he had no intention of heckling or disrupting Bush's speech.

"After about 10 minutes, the first security person came up to me again, this time with a second, burlier gentleman. I was asked to stand with the second man in an area somewhat away from the main crowd, and again I complied," he wrote. "A couple of minutes later, a third man who told me he was with the president's advance team (or something like that) came up and escorted me out of the event. Still not wanting to cause trouble, I went out as I was asked, and waited for my friend, who was allowed to stay."

Prather said this week he remains unsure who the third man worked for. It could have been the Secret Service, he said.
Now we get to the giggle part:
Ken Mehlman, Bush's campaign manager, denied there has been any ongoing attempt to stifle protest or opposition at Bush rallies. The president, Mehlman said, is eager to speak to undecided voters and independents.
Ever tried to protect a hideously delicate object that's in the same room with a cat? Imagine how hard it is to protect a soap bubble like Bush lives in.

I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Frist 

They had a story on NBC nightly news yesterday featuring a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at Vanderbilt University Hospital. In Nashville, Tennessee. She comes in contact with the sickest kids just this side of death, and she can't get a flu shot. This is her Senator:

(via NYT)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Thursday that lawmakers on Capitol Hill who received flu shots in his office were either following federal guidelines or their own doctors' recommendations.

Frist was responding to criticism that his office was used as a makeshift clinic to administer shots to lawmakers two days after the federal government asked healthy adults to forgo the vaccinations because of a nationwide shortage.

``They keep mentioning my name as if I had done something exceptional, when I hadn't,'' Frist said after casting his ballot during early voting in Tennessee.

Frist, himself a physician, said he got his own inoculation before new federal guidelines were announced Oct. 5. Those guidelines urged healthy people to reserve remaining flu vaccine for older adults and young children who are most at risk for flu complications.

Frist also noted that one-third of Senate members are 65 or older, which is within the guidelines for receiving the vaccine.

Other lawmakers declined the shots to avoid the perception of preferential treatment, and legislation was introduced that would require Eisold to give any remaining vaccine to the Health and Human Services Department.
There's an old bit of doggerel about a disliked person named Dr. Fell, with which I have taken the following liberties:

I do not like thee, Doctor Frist
For reasons much too long to list
In '06 you're gone, and won't be missed
I do not like thee, Doctor Frist.

MBF Watch: Wal-Mart Dumps "America" Book 

We know what you want, yes sir and/or ma'am. Better than you do, in fact. And we protect you from things you want but really shouldn't:

(via WaPo)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Wal-Mart canceled an order for a best-selling book by Jon Stewart and the writers of "The Daily Show" after executives learned that it contained a photo of nine naked, aged bodies, each with the superimposed head of a Supreme Court justice.

"We were not aware of the image that was in the book (when Wal-Mart ordered it) and we felt the majority of our customers would not be comfortable with it," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Karen Burk. "We offer what we think our customers want to buy. That just makes good business sense."

The chain is offering the book on its Web site. Burk said the store's online customers are a "different audience" and that the company wanted to give an option to people looking to buy the book from Wal-Mart.

Its all about the oil painting! 

Bush to visit Saudi Arabia to secure purchase of really expensive French oil painting of naked ladies! Developing...

Or something like that. Rumor details via: Rubber Hose


Yankees Join Ranks of Reality-Based Community 

No team in major league baseball had ever lost the first three games of the playoffs and come back to tie the series.

Needless to say, no team had ever done the above and then won the pennant.

Buncha Massachusetts Liberals (hell, I don't know their politics, I'm just naming them honorary members of the club) just did precisely that. My favorite observation so far, for a couple of reasons:

(via Backslider at Atrios)
Overheard in Hell a few minutes ago:

First Demon: "Man, where'd all this fucking snow come from?"

Second Demon: "Sox finally beat the Yankees. Dude, just be glad the Cubs didn't do shit this year, or we'd really be in for it."
So now we wait to see if the Red Sox get to play the Astros or Cardinals for the misnamed World Series. Much as I detest anything connected to Texas at the moment, I'm still a Cub fan. Don't ask me to call this one.

The Bambino is now at peace, that curse is dead. Maybe we can finally kill off the damn billy goat next year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Had a nice experience getting off the train tonight in Philly—said "Good work!" to a young lady carrying some Joe Hoeffel signage.

Then shared my slogan with her: "It takes a village to stomp a weasel." She liked it, and then she gave me a bright yellow Hoeffel sticker, which I promptly decorated my laptop bag with.

And so to bed.

UPDATE Bush is going to be in Crawford on Saturday (via Atrios).

I wonder if He'll be preparing a surprise for Sunday or Monday?

Bush blows off the AARP 

And hiding behind the skirts of one of his many enabling women, sends Leadfoot instead:

The 35 million-member AARP invited Bush and Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry to speak at the Las Vegas meeting. Kerry, who opposed the Medicare law, is on Thursday morning's schedule, AARP spokesman Steve Hahn said Tuesday.

The Bush campaign said it is dispatching first lady Laura Bush to the AARP meeting. The campaign did not immediately explain why the president would not attend even though he will be in Las Vegas, slated to speak at a GOP campaign rally.

Ed Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said public opinion polling shows the law is unpopular among older Americans. "No presidential candidate wants to risk being booed off stage by thousands of seniors. This drug benefit is not the victory for seniors the president plugs it to be and the president and his handlers know that to be true," said Coyle, a critic of the law.
(via Salon)

Nice shot there, Ed—calling The Holy Gut™a "presidential candidate." Because the best shots is always the truth, isn't it?

And I wonder if Bush's plan to privatize Social Security might have something to do with this? Maybe, since he's about to fuck them over so badly, Bush is ashamed... No, strike that. That can't be it.

Nader's Raiders come to their senses, endorse Kerry 

If you know anyone who is voting for Nader—or anyone who you suspect might vote for Nader—please share this information with them:

Less than two weeks before the election, dozens of former "Nader's Raiders" and other former Nader associates have announced their own opposition to his candidacy and are launching ads in battleground states in an attempt to keep the "Nader Factor" to a minimum. The letter released today from Nader's former Raiders urges voters not to support their former hero, expresses regret that Nader has taken support from right-wing groups, and says progressive voters can be the key to the election, by voting for John Kerry.

The letter, with 75 signatories including organizer Ken Ward, who has served as Executive Director of Rhode Island PIRG and New Jersey PIRG, and Robert Brandon, who served as director of Public Citizen's Tax Reform Research Group from 1972-1977, reads [in part]

"Dear Voters,

Many of us -- former Nader's Raiders and leaders of his organizations -- voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Many did not. This November, none of us will vote for Ralph. We believe there is nothing more important than defeating George W. Bush. Ralph argues that he is creating an independent political voice. In 2000, when he ran as the Green Party candidate, that may have been true.

In 2004, as the candidate of the increasingly reactionary, anti-immigrant Reform Party, and the recipient of financial and political support from right-wing funders and operatives, it is not credible. Unfortunately, Ralph is party to a disingenuous effort to split the progressive vote in key states.

With the major party candidates in a dead heat, Nader is poised to tip the election to Bush -- again. We do not agree with Ralph that there is little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. We know that the country cannot afford another four years of Republicans controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and the entire federal Judiciary. The price of a protest vote is too high for families who live from paycheck to paycheck, for those concerned about the realities of war, for those who lack decent jobs and access to health care, and for the environment. ....

Join us. Cast your vote for a progressive future and support John Kerry."

(via Salon)

Every time someone votes for Nader, a kitten dies...

No problem with flu shots in "old Europe" 

Gee, universal health care's looking pretty good now, isn't it?

While patients are panicking over a shortage of flu vaccines in the United States, vaccination programs in Europe are progressing smoothly with a good supply of medicine, health authorities say.
(via Times)

Hey, freedom's untidy!

Bush abandoning Ohio? 

Sure, a Democratic pollster speaks, but it's still an interesting data point:

Bush has not campaigned in Ohio for three weeks, though he plans to stop there this week. Unemployment continues to rise in the state. "There is no other explanation for his absence," says Stanley Greenberg, Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign pollster, "other than his numbers go down when he's there. His position on jobs is implausible."
(via Guardian)

His numbers go down when he's there... Hey, Karl—get Diebold on the phone!

Unleash The Big Dog! 

Clinton and Kerry to campaign together in Philly!

Nice shot! 

[Bush] wants to make it solely a contest on national security," Kerry said. "You know, the president says he's a leader. Well, Mr. President, look behind you. There's hardly anyone there.
(via Reuters)

I can think of something that is behind Bush. Here's a clue: He couldn't find it with both hands....

I don't have a TV.... 

... and the last time I went to a sports bar, Smarty Jones didn't win the Belmont ("Fucking Philly!") so don't even tell me the score 'til it's over, OK?

Beyond FUBAR 

I nominate this as a serious candidate for the real October Surprise. Whether it would be, after calm bipartisan debate and thorough technical analysis, a good thing or not I have no idea. I think it safe to say though, that thrown into the current environment, thirteen days before the election in question, it stinks to high heaven:

(via NYT)
Bowing to pressure from both the Republican and Democratic Parties, the Pentagon has decided to post a federal write-in ballot on its Web site for civilian and military voters to use overseas if their regular ballots fail to arrive in time.

Political wrangling and late primaries caused local election offices in at least eight swing states to miss the deadline of Sept. 19 for sending out ballots to ensure their timely return from far-flung locales where mail service is slow.

Pentagon officials said that this retrieval system - available through the Web site, - could include only the military because they were using a Pentagon database to verify voter identities. But Mr. Richard, the Pentagon spokesman, acknowledged recently that some civilians working for military contractors could use the system because they are included in the verification database.

Ten states have agreed to make their ballots accessible through, while 23 have declined to participate citing security and other concerns.

No shit, Sherlock. I don't care if these "contractors" have been vouched for by St. Peter before the throne of God, they shouldn't be using a .mil system. And with some states accepting these "votes" and others refusing, they couldn't have set it up better for interminable legal challenges if they'd tried.

"Snafu" entered the language as a regular word so long ago that most have forgotten its origin as a military acronym: Situation Normal, All Fucked Up. FUBAR is one step past that: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. We may need new terms for a new centuries' wars. I suggest FUGBUS: Fucked Up in George Bush Usual Style

Flip Flop 

I have no idea which of the Gods George W. Bush or Pat Robertson talk to, (Lambert back), or which of the Gods listen to them.

What I do know, courtesy of Judd Legum of the ever-invaluable "Progress Report", a production of the ever-invaluable Center for American Progress, is that George W. Bush talks to Tim Russert, and lucky us, in that instance, what is said is recorded.

Your assignment - Compare and Contrast the following two bits of information and and ponder on what it tells us, if anything, about our current President and Commander-in-Chief
Regarding the impending invasion of Iraq:

Bush: "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." (to Pat Robertson, March 2003).


Regarding the catastrophic success of the Bush invasion of Iraq:

Russert: "Are you surprised by the level and intensity of resistance?"

Bush: "No. I'm not." (Meet the Press, 2/8/04)

Maybe We're Not So Lame After All 

George Will once argued, in re our historically pathetic rate of voter turnout, that it was actually a healthy sign, because it signaled a general contentment with the status quo. Well, George, if you're right and my state's forecast is representative, your boy is in a heap o' trouble:
Highest voter turnout since World War II predicted
The white-hot 2004 election campaigns will probably result in the heaviest voter turnout in Washington since World War II, Secretary of State Sam Reed predicted yesterday.

He forecast a turnout of 84 percent of the state's more than 3.4 million registered voters and said it could even surpass the record of 84.6 percent set in 1944, a presidential year marked by an "intense feeling of patriotism" among wartime voters.

That was the highest in state voter-registration records that go back only to 1935, the year the state of Washington began permanently registering voters.
(via Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Yeah, we're feeling mighty patriotic about our kids dying for nothing. Mt. St. Helens isn't the only thing that's rumbling around in these parts. As a tunesmith once put it, Something is happening here/But you don't know what it is/Do you, Mister Jones?

When You Wish Upon an Asterisk 

This may be the last of these polls before the election.

I wasn't really expecting it to be posted yet but it went up yesterday. I look at Tennessee still red on the Battleground States map and scowl.

My scowl lessens when I remember that at least this is the only poll that even considers Tennessee battleground, everybody else considered it a Bush lock all along. Based on a secret and highly technical statistical matrix of my own devising--namely, that no state with me in it could be considered any such thing--I disagreed.

Go lookee here. Wall Street Journal/Zogby. Scowl at the map as necessary but then go look at the numbers chart on the right.

Every single state still showing a Bush lead is within the margin of error. And some of them pretty damn teensy. In fact the longer I look at these numbers the more amazed I am. Remember Bush is already at his ceiling as the incumbent, there is nothing he can do at this point to get anyone who isn't already a True Believer.

We usually leave the polling stuff to our geek buddies over at dKos who know more about such matters, but this was just too good not to pass on. Keep your cutlasses loose in their scabbards still, but take heart, me hearties, these blackguards are goin' down.

GOTV: Every Little Thing Counts 

When I can say it better, I will. After reading this I'm even more motivated. Direct action does indeed get satisfaction. Someone in Washington State give Paul Loeb a hug for me! A taste:

…On Election Day [2000], there were 15,000-20,000 of us statewide, holding up signs during morning rush hour, calling and recalling voters who hadn't cast their ballots, watching the polls to check off who had voted. As a result of everything we did, and all our previous efforts, not only did Al Gore carry the state by an ample margin, but after a recount, Democrat Maria Cantwell defeated hard-right Republican Senator Slade Gorton by 2,229 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast. If each volunteer accounted for just a fraction of a vote, our actions changed the outcome…

We've done part of the key work already [2004]. Grassroots canvassers have registered record-breaking numbers of likely Democratic voters, particularly in key battleground states. Americans Coming Together (ACT), which has coordinated many of the progressive efforts, together with MoveOn, expects to end up with 2.5 million new voters. Rock the Vote, less partisan, has registered close to a million young voters. The League of Independent Voters has been registering young voters at bars and clubs -- then going back again with guides to an entire slate of progressive local and national candidates. A Cleveland professor had her students register voters at a jail where people were awaiting trial, working with a local prisoner's rights group that registered 700 new voters…

But the Republicans are also registering voters, particularly through fundamentalist churches. They're organized, well-funded, and have skillfully cultivated a politics of backlash and fear. Combining both parties, a million new voters have registered in Florida alone. Since new registrants traditionally turn out far less often than those for whom voting is routine, how many and which voters show up will depend on what the rest of us do, from now through the election.

…For the moment, enough of us are united enough against Bush's destructive arrogance that we'll have decent numbers of volunteers. And most of us will recognize that just as when French voters united behind conservative Jacques Chirac to reject the threat of the ulra-rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen, this is no time for above-it-all purism, like voting for Ralph Nader. But do we recognize how much our individual electoral actions can matter when they're sufficiently multiplied? What would happen if every environmentalist or union member, every MoveOn member, everyone who feels that Bush has led this country down destructive paths, worked in some way to get out the vote? Or worked with groups like the Election Protection Coalition to ensure that every eligible voter gets the chance to vote and that every vote is counted. It's easier if we live in a swing state, or can travel to one -- we simply sign up with ACT or the local Democratic Party and plug in wherever most useful. But even if we don't, we can still contribute money for critical field efforts, and once we've done that, and then join phone banks being run by MoveOnPAC and ACT, calling swing state voters to help convince them to turn out.

via The hundredth phone call

What else can we do? Ideas? Is it too late to become an election official? Pollwatcher?

Hey, are Bush and Pat Robertson talking to the same God? 

If they are, She was telling them different things at the same time:

Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said [Bush] then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

The White House has made no reaction to Robertson's comments.

Robertson, the televangelist who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, said he wishes Bush would admit to mistakes made.

"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned him about casualties."
(via CNN)

Right. Bush is the "most self-assured man" ... Of course, you can be certain and wrong, eh?

YABL, YABL, YABL: Yes, "Of course" is the Bush tell 

On the Kerry $87 billion:

In September, 2003, as the $87 billion funding package was being debated, Senator Kerry said this on national TV: "It would be irresponsible to abandon our troops by voting against it." That is, against the $87 billion. And then, of course, just one month later, he did exactly the opposite.
(via St. Petersburg Partei rally)

We know it's a lie—but Bush proves it!

You can't catch the flu when you're the boy in the bubble 

Bush ignores the question, as usual. And takes no responsibility, as usual.

Yesterday, on the way from St. Petersburg to New Port Richey, the presidential entourage stopped at the Paradise Restaurant in the little town of Safety Harbor, where the president and his brother posed for pictures and were served coffee and baklava. While in the restaurant, a member of the press pool shouted out a question to the president: "Are you accountable for the flu vaccine shortage?"

Bush ignored the question. And reporters were hustled out of the restaurant.
(via Froomkin)

A little too much "balance" from—gasp!—Froomkin 

After pointing out that Kerry now has Bush playing defense, Froomkin writes that Kerry is making "unsupported charges":

But in the past few days, after the Kerry camp started peppering Bush with essentially unsupported charges -- that Bush has a secret plan that would gut Social Security and may reinstate the draft -- Bush has felt obliged to respond directly and repeatedly.

And The Holy Gut™'s responses?

Interestingly enough, Bush's defense consisted purely of emphatic assertions, rather than full-bodied explanations.

• "We will keep the promise of Social Security for all our seniors," [Bush]said. But he offered no specifics about what he does in fact have in store for Social Security.

• "We will not have a draft; we'll keep the all-volunteer army," He said. But he offered no specifics about how he will deal with the severe stresses currently facing the military.

• "I want to assure them that our government is doing everything possible to help older Americans and children get their shots, despite the major manufacturing defect that caused this problem," He said. But he offered no specifics about what went wrong or what the government's role was or should be in the future.
(via WaPo)

Personally, I don't classify what Kerry's doing as making an "unsupported assertion at all. On Social Security, the draft, and the flu, Kerry is saying "2 + 2 ... Voters, that equals what?" And Bush reponds "2 + 2 will never equal 4!" So Bush, in his response, gives all the support to Kerry's "assertions" that they need.

GOTV: And the REAL fun ain't even started! 

Imagine what the MBF targets would be after aWol tanks on 11/2/04… the Left, on the other hand, should take a page from Gandhi and MLK… if anything looks weird on 11/3/04, there should be silent unsmiling mobs in the streets, standing and glaring…

Political Yard Sign Wars Rage as Election Nears
By Carey Gillam

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) …Lawn signs in swing states such as Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have come under attack, and emotions appear to be running high even in traditionally tame states like Kansas.

"I was outraged," said Lis Ross of Fairway, Kansas, whose "Kansans for Kerry" sign disappeared last week. "What made it worse was that they replaced it with a Bush-Cheney sign. I ran out there and ripped it into little pieces."

…Some people are working overtime to protect their signs. Mark Shemet of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, has had to replace two stolen Kerry signs in the last week alone. Pennsylvania Democrats have threatened to spread itching powder on signs to keep the opposition at bay, and an Illinois family last week covered their yard sign with petroleum jelly to repel thieves.
via Attacks on political yard signs escalate

Better yet, let’s keep overwhelming the polling places. My uncle sends me this:

"Turnout is going to be key," says Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who is campaigning for Democrat John Kerry. "Turning our base out is going to be the most important element in this race and also making sure those registered to vote turn out - the newly registered voters." via Albuquerque Tribune Online

Amen. Plans are in the works here for a trip to town for early voters on Friday, complete with a stop afterward at a local restaurant. I got seven people who said they’ll go, and the driver says he’s got three, so it sounds like it could be fun. His ride is an old church van he bought, so he’s going to leave the church sign on it and put a coupla Kerry Edwards posters around it with tape. Nice visual. I’ve already voted, but what the heck—I’ll go along for the fun of it and to kick in on gas and food. And Oktoberfest is next week in a nearby town. That’ll be a good time to talk things up with some beer for social lubrication (as long as there aren’t any drunken MBF’s). So much to do, so little time. Just glad we all have some time right now.

Rogues' Gallery 

OK, so Kerry may be slaughtering Bush in newspaper endorsements. But to autocrats, Bush is still #1. First Putin endorsed him. Now it's the Ayatollahs' turn:
The head of Iran's security council said Tuesday that the re-election of U.S. President Bush was in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's axis of evil label, accusations that Iran harbours al-Qaeda terrorists and threats of sanctions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

Historically, Democrats have harmed Iran more than Republicans, said Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security decision-making body.

“We haven't seen anything good from Democrats,” Mr. Rowhani told state-run television in remarks that, for the first time in recent decades, saw Iran openly supporting one U.S. presidential candidate over another.

Iranian political analyst Mohsen Mofidi said ousting the Taliban and Saddam Hussein was the “biggest service any administration could have done for Iran.”

The article did not get Iranian double agent Ahmed Chalabi's opinion, but I think it's safe to say he concurs.

Meanwhile I hear Kim Jung-Il is scheduled to thank Il Douchbag for making it easier for him to acquire nuclear weapons, and to wish him a long and happy reign.

The new "dumbed-down Republican Party"  

Ya know what? - It's really not all that new...

Yankees are Blind to Blundering Bush, By Eric Margolis

How can Republicans remain so blinkered? Part of the fault lies with the sycophantic national media, which collaborated with the Bush administration in whipping up war fever. The media still are not telling people the truth about Iraq, Afghanistan, or the so-called war on terrorism.

The media utterly failed to remind Americans that Bush, who loves to play war leader, actually claimed Iraqi drone aircraft were poised to fly off ships in the North Atlantic and bombard America with germs. Bush should have been laughed out of office for believing and promoting this comic-book nonsense.

Many Republicans simply don't see what the rest of the world does. So what if Iraq was no threat? Don't bother these golf club Rambos with details. They're delighted to see the U.S. pounding Arabs in revenge for 9/11.

Bush's core Republican support lies in the suburbs and Bible-belt rural areas, where many people rely on TV sound bites for their world view, and have little understanding of history, geography or foreign affairs. This is the new "dumbed-down Republicans Party," fertile ground for nationalist hysteria, religious extremism, and anti-foreign xenophobia.

Declaration as it appeared in the Washington (DC) Star, 1929.
God called Herbert Hoover to be President of the United States as though in response to America's need today for another Abraham Lincoln in the White House. ~ Clinton N. Howard chairman of the National United Committee for Law Enforcement.

And NOW again:
And I also want to say this is the very first time that I have felt that God was in the White House." ~ Gary Walby, Destin, FL

Wow, I remember my first feel too. But, apparently, Gary hasn't felt around enough or he would have discovered brother Clinton N. Howard. On the other hand I'd be willing to bet that Gary's general feelings and feltings and other such moltings didn't begin to flux and smelt and generally grope their way about the tangible world until well after His divine visitation by Master Hoover had sailed off to discuss Belgian mining operations, bobbed hairdos, and the Rum Fleet with the Great Wowser himself. Which is a real shame. Gary needs to more familiarize himself with previous White House apostles.

Lets face it. The average American religious fundamentalist specimen, still spooked by shadows and full moons and black kitty cats on fences, hasn't managed to scrabble one rung up the reality ladder in almost 100 years. Unless of course you consider operating a motor vehicle at high speeds as some kind of cosmic revelation.

Only in a land of the ignorant and superstitious and easily cowed could a delusional slackjawed sneer-n-fear back door preacher like George W. Bush be King.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

I've been happy using "Inerrant Boy" as a term of abuse an accurate description for Bush, since, like the Pope, he's Inerrant; never makes a mistake. Plus, "Inerrant Boy" sounds like "Errand Boy," and Bush is an errand boy for the funders of the VWRC. And Bush is a boy. Men take responsibility for what they do, including their mistakes.

But after Suskind's takedown (back) I got to thinking a stronger meme might be needed, so I settled on The Holy Gut&trade'.

"Holy," because Bush's Base, and Bush himself, really do believe that Bush speaks with the voice of God.

"Gut" because when Bush says He makes decisions from His "gut," that's code for Bush saying that God spoke, and told him what to do.

And of course, The Holy Ghost is one thing that many actual Christians believe in; The Holy Gut™ is what SICs believe in. POTL, all of them.

So, I'm pleased to see that The Holy Gut&trade meme is starting to spread. Thanks to alert reader elvis56. Go thou and do likewise.

NOTE Wouldn't it be great if blogger didn't suck so bad? I mean, all I want is for it to publish when I hit the publish button. Is that too much to ask?

Rapture index closes down 1 on lowered financial unrest 


But guess what? The loons are wrong! The Rapture may be coming, well, like a thief in the night...

Of course, this may be a temporary thing, since it looks like the Europeans and the Asians have decided they don't want to finance our debt anymore:

ut a rash of new data, including Treasury Department figures released yesterday showing a net sell-off by foreigners of U.S. bonds in August, has stoked debate over whether overseas investors -- private individuals, institutions and government central banks -- are growing dangerously bearish on the U.S. economy.

In a speech this March, Lawrence H. Summers, a Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and now the president of Harvard University, warned of "a kind of global balance of financial terror," in which the economic well-being of the United States depends on the actions of foreign governments.

"There is surely something off about the world's greatest power being the world's greatest debtor," he said. "In order to finance prevailing levels of consumption and investment, must the United States be as dependent as it is on the discretionary acts of what are inevitably political entities in other countries?"

In a word, Yes. Because that is what Bush's reckless fiscal policies have brought us too. (Historical note: The Brits, when they had their empire, were lenders, not debtors.)

And a cheerful word from Paul Krugman here:

The twin U.S. budget and trade deficits would set alarm bells ringing if we were a third world country. For now, America gets the benefit of the doubt, but if financial markets decide that we have turned into a banana republic, the sky's the limit for interest rates.

I always wondered why Greenspan recommended that people go for variable rate mortgages...

Anyhow, Dean was so, so right. The Republicans can't handle money.

Winger Projection Syndrome (WPS) 

Here's the Wikipedia definition of "projection":

According to the theories of Sigmund Freud, psychological projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one "projects" one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings, and so on onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals and inanimate objects also occurs). The principle of projection is well-established in psychology.

An illustration would be an individual who feels dislike for another person (let's say Bob), but whose unconscious mind will not allow them to become aware of this negative emotion. Instead of admitting to themselves that they feel dislike for Bob, they project their dislike onto him, so that the individual's conscious thought is not "I don't like Bob," but "Bob doesn't seem to like me."

Peter Gay describes it as "the operation of expelling feelings or wishes the individual finds wholly unacceptable - too shameful, too obscene, too dangerous - by attributing them to another." (A Life for Our Time, page 281)

The concept is anticipated in the Gospels: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
- Matthew 7:3 King James Version of the Bible

It was Dick Cheney's "chutzpah" (back) that got me thinking about this. I mean, could Cheney really be lying? Or was it possible—just possible—that he believed what he was saying, even though it bore no demonstrable relation to the truth?

Of course! WPS in action! Cheney—as does any rational person—is deeply concerned about fundamentalists getting hold of a loose nuke and taking out a city. But he can't admit to himself that he bears any responsibility for the situation: the cognitive dissonance involved in admitting that "mistakes were made" on his watch is simply too great for him. So what does he do? He projects the fear that he cannot admit to himself onto Kerry!

The examples are everywhere.

1. The Clenis™ Republican sexual looseness has been a byword ever since Henry Hyde's "youthful" indiscretions and Livingston's resignation, all the way through Jack Ryan's sex club escapades to O'Reilly's thing for loofah (not to mention Bob Dole and Viagra, and Lynne Cheney's steamy lesbian novel). So, can the Republicans admit to themselves that they're just as sex-obsessed as the average pr0n-consuming Jack(s) and/or Jill(s)? Hell no! They project the sexual feelings they cannot admit to themselves onto The Clenis™

2. Cowardice Bush didn't fulfill his obligations to his country in the National Guard; in fact, he his "PTI 961" means that the Air Force judged him "unfit to serve." Can the wingers admit that Bush is a coward? Of coursenot—they're chickenhawks themselves! Can Bush admit this to himself? Of course not! So they project the feelings of cowardice they cannot admit to themselves onto Kerry—and the SBVF[cough]T are the result.

3. Flip-flopping How many reasons did Bush give for the war? Was it 23? Campaigns against nation-building, then does it. First opposes the DHS, then supports it. Opposes the 9/11 Commission, then supports it. There are plenty such lists. But can Bush admit to himself that he changes his mind? Can the wingers? Of course not! So they project their own flip-flopping onto Kerry.

It's amazing. Not only have the wingers decided they aren't part of "the reality community," they project all the fears and feelings they can't admit to themselves onto... Who? The reality community!

No wonder my head feels like it's exploding sometimes, with all that projection directed at it.

These are just a few examples of WPS. Readers, can you give more?

Me and my shadow....

NOTE We'll have more about another Republican psychological fraily, Winger Persecution Complex (WPC) another time.

Iraq clusterfuck: Force levels set by Bush for political, not strategic reasons 

The Times is actually doing some reporting on how things went so sour for the troops in Iraq. One crucial variable is the ratio of troops to population. As we know now, Bush didn't have nearly enough troops. How did this decision come about?

If the United States and its allies wanted to maintain the same ratio of peacekeepers to population as it had in Kosovo, the briefing said, they would have to station 480,000 troops in Iraq. If Bosnia was used as benchmark, 364,000 troops would be needed. If Afghanistan served as the model, only 13,900 would be needed in Iraq. The higher numbers were consistent with projections later provided to Congress by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq. But Mr. Rumsfeld dismissed that estimate as off the mark.

He just didn't dismess the estimate—he dismissed Shinseki!

More forces generally are required to control countries with large urban populations. The briefing pointed out that three-quarters of Iraq's population lived in urban areas. In Bosnia and Kosovo, city dwellers made up half of the population. In Afghanistan, it was only 18 percent.

Neither the Defense Department nor the White House, however, saw the Balkans as a model to be emulated. ... The defense secretary said he thought that there was much to be learned from Afghanistan, where the United States did not install a nationwide security force but relied instead on a new Afghan Army and troops from other countries to help keep the peace.

James F. Dobbins, who was the administration's special envoy for Afghanistan and had also served as the ambassador at large for Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti, thought that the administration was focusing on the wrong model. The former Yugoslavia - with its ethnic divisions, hobbled economy and history of totalitarian rule - had more parallels with Iraq than administration officials appeared willing to accept, Mr. Dobbins believed. It was Afghanistan that was the anomaly.

OK. So, use rural, mountainous Afghanistan as a model for urban Iraq? Hey, why not?!

"They preferred to find a model for successful nation building that was not associated with the previous administration," Mr. Dobbins said in an interview. "And Afghanistan offered a much more congenial answer in terms of what would be required in terms of inputs, including troops."
(via Times)

Bush was scared of doing what The Clenis™did!

So he set the troop levels way too low to win the peace, and thousands of Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqis, are dead.

Now that's showing resolve!

Chutzpah, thy name is Cheney 

I love it! That fraudulent old shark, Dick "Dick" Cheney, has finally gotten around to warning us that terrorists might nuke cities.

It's almost too rich!

First, if the terrorists do nuke a city, it's because Bush hasn't done anything to stop it—worse, he's made it more likely ("Reckless indifference to the nightmare scenario.

Second, because the Republicans treated Homeland Security funding as just another pork barrel project, and failed to fund equipment for first responders, they've crippled our ability to respond to such an attack if it comes.

Another example of WPS (Winger Projection Syndrome)....


The twins have a [cough] blog.

Anyone know who writes it?

YABL: Details on the Health-Care Draft 

Or perhaps this should be in the category of "Oh no! They Would Never Do That!":

(via NYT, doing its job for a change.)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 - The Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps.

In a confidential report this summer, a contractor hired by the agency described how such a draft might work, how to secure compliance and how to mold public opinion and communicate with health care professionals, whose lives could be disrupted.

On the one hand, the report said, the Selective Service System should establish contacts in advance with medical societies, hospitals, schools of medicine and nursing, managed care organizations, rural health care providers and the editors of medical journals and trade publications.

On the other hand, it said, such contacts must be limited, low key and discreet because "overtures from Selective Service to the medical community will be seen as precursors to a draft," and that could alarm the public.

In this election year, the report said, "very few ideas or activities are viewed without some degree of cynicism."
Go read. Then print out (it's a couple of pages, maybe one with a small font.) Make several copies. Be sure to include the NYT masthead so nobody can claim "this is some paranoid ranting you got off one of those cockamamie "blog" things you're always reading."

You know a medical worker. Doesn't have to be a brain surgeon, can be a respiratory therapist, an LPN at a nursing home, a claims supervisor at an insurance company (what, you think knowledge of diagnostic codes and such isn't part of the military medical system? It's as much logistics as those truck-drivin' mutineers are.)

If your social circles include the people whose job it is to hire the sort of people mentioned above, make sure to get them into a conversation about how hard it is to get good people in those lines of work today. Then make sure they read it too.

A Fate Too Good For Him 

(via Froom)
Here's how David E. Sanger of the New York Times and Tamara Lipper of Newsweek described it in their pool report: Bush "helicoptered back to Air Force One, and began walking up the steps he paused and turned around a couple of times to talk to Karl Rove and other aides who were standing at the bottom of the stairs. Their conversation, apparently jocular, could not be heard. Whereupon Mr. Rove, court jester, walked over to the big wheels under the wing of AF1, put down his briefcase, and lay down directly in front of the wheels. (He must have heard about the latest polls.)

"In the end, Karl decided that it wasn't worth it, and that his legacy for this campaign should not be a stain on the runway. So he got up, returned the President's customary wave to the pool, and boarded the plane."
Jesting. Jocularity. Yeah right.

Don't Pay Any Attention To The Polls! 

I know you've heard this too many times already, but that's only because it's too true.

And I'm saying this on a day when there are some encouraging poll results for Kerry voters, like this one from New Hampshire, or this one from Ohio.

So go ahead and look at polls, we all do, we all will, and those who don't, will have them stuffed into their faces, anyway, by all purveyors of news, be they dead tree media like newspapers and magazines, their online equivalents, or the cable news networks.

Just don't pay attention to them. Don't be swayed by them. For one thing, the SCLM doesn't really think that Kerry can win. That informs their take on the polls. I'm not accusing them of wanting Bush to win; some do, some don't; how they will cast their personal vote has almost nothing to do with how they cover the election, except perhaps for those columnists who are always overcompensating for their paper-thin quasi-liberalism.

The polls can matter, of course, when the SCLM allows themselves to manipulated by the considerable forces of the Rove/Bush/Cheney machine into believing in a "move" to Bush, which is what has been happening over the weekend and into Monday, also based, of course, on the shame of John Kerry's Mary Cheney comment. (If someone would like to explain in comments why Kerry is winning that New Hampshire poll, but most voters think Bush will win anyway, please do.) It may have to do with that most basic of instincts common to the modern Republican party, brought to its nth degree in the roly poly figure of Karl Rove, to suppress voting on the other side, so look for Republicans to try and create around Kerry the aura of a loser, a guy who can't beat George Bush and therefore can't beat the terrorist threat. Where you have access to media, using email, writing letters to editors, adding to discussion threads attached to columns by the likes of Brooks et al, make fun of the spin. Rattle our confidence in their bloody faces.

Courtesy of alert reader, Fred, let me point to one of the best discussions I've read on the issue, which was posted yesterday by Ezra over at Pandagon, who had the brilliant idea of going back and looking at the polls during the final two weeks of the 2000 presidential election. I think you'll find it an entirely bracing experience.

Action Alert! OhmyGod, They've Started Voting 

So, it begins. Feel confused, a bit desperate, wonder how we're going to keep track of it all? Republican Dirty Tricks, I mean. Have any doubts that there will be such things, yes, more dirty tricks than on the Democratic side? Remember, it is the Republican position that a large Democratic turnout always means that someone who shoudn't be voting probably is.(see Lambert's vivisection of how one of the "good" conservatives views Mis-Election 2000).

Remember you are not alone. Of course, being at the barricades is only half the battle; getting organized to defend our democratic (note small "d") republic is the other half.

And ready to help you: The ever valuable, and to my mind, gallant folks, folk at Eriposte, after taking it upon his/her/themselves, (Hey, all I have are the initials "TR" which I assume do not connote Teddy Roosevelt, though I have no hesitation in saying that he would be with us on this one if he could) to become criticalwatch central on the miasma of lies being told by the SwiftBoat Vets Who Hate John Kerry, have/has now decided to become one of the keepers of the flame for a fair presidential election this time around: Behold: Vote Watch 2004 And here is what the site means to cover:
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004

The goal of this site is to be Vote Watch Central in Election 2004 - so, do bookmark and visit this site over the next few weeks.

Do indeed. Visit often. And then help out. The site depends to a great extent on tips, and that doesn't only mean you have to have first-hand knowledge of some monkey-business in your neck of the woods. As important is keeping track of reporting in local media about brewing vote problems.

Because its ambitions are large, the site is a complicated one. So take a moment to familiarize yourself with out how it's organized. And for those of you who might have something to report, which could be any of us, check out this advice to potential tipsters.

I return to blogging today, my organizer's hat tucked securely away in the attic (of the mighty Corrente building, of course), but just a glance at this site gets that old itch going again. And the wonderful thing is that Eriposte's Vote2004 makes you your own organizer. For instance, there is already material up about both Florida and Ohio, increasingly the two most key states; Kerry probably must win at least one of them to win in the electoral college. Read, and if anything amiss is happening where you are, instantly get in touch with your local Democratic Party office to see if they are on it. And if they need help to get on it, consider volunteering. And if you're not needed for that, ask how else you can help. Poll watching is going to be vital. Not everybody is cut out for it; if you are and there is a need in your precinct, or any precinct, consider volunteering now; that'll be one less problem party workers will have to worry about.

Somewhat farther afield, we recently received an interesting heads-up about a group of independent Greens who, though not officeial representatives of the party, want stay loyal, and yet to make sure Kerry, not Bush, is elected. Greens For Impact insist defeating Bush and building their party are compatible goals. I agree and so should you. Their strategy: to get Greens and other independents to vote for Cobb in the Kerry states, vote for Kerry in the swing states, and not to vote for Nader in any state. Works for me. Check them out here to see if there is anything they can do for you, and anything you can do to help them. You can also find out about IRV, which is quite interesting. They strike me as the kind of good folks any Democrat should be happy to invite to the party (note he small "p"). In fact, if I believed the Greens on their own could get us to public financing of elections, I'd switch parties tomorrow. We're never going to fully heal our democracy until we get public financing and get rid of all that dirty money, which Republicans view as not a problem, and the Democratic Party knows is a problem, but can't do without it if they are going to be competitive. And we aren't going to get public financing unless the Greens and the Democrats and all other like-minded independents start working together. We need to repair the chasm Nader opened up between Democrats and Greens. We're on the same side, guys, and even if Kerry wins, we need to work together so that he can govern with a progressive agenda. And if, heaven forfend, that other guy worms his way into office again, we're really going to have to work together to defend the beloved republic. Start now; visit the website. There, I made it easy for you.

Okay, now get busy. November 2nd approaches post-haste.

All Your Time Are Belong To Us 

Okay, this is from the cross-town/cross-river rival, but I don't think they just made this shit up. And the PP is a Newspaper Guild paper too! Imagine what would have happened to these reporters if they didn't have even that weak and feeble union:

(via Mpls Star-Tribune)
The St. Paul Pioneer Press suspended two reporters for attending the recent "Vote for Change" political fundraising concert and now faces a union grievance.

Several newspapers around the country had asked staff members not to attend the series of concerts held in Minnesota and other "battleground" states earlier this month. That's because ticket sales benefited an affiliate of the liberal group MoveOn, which would compromise the politically neutral stance expected of journalists.

However, the Pioneer Press appears to be the only newspaper to suspend reporters for going.

Gowler issued a memo Sept. 27 advising staff that "our ethics policy prevents you from engaging in activities that would be a conflict with your employment," including "concerts that are held as political fundraisers."

She said that a union steward approved the memo and that some staffers talked with her and received permission to attend the concerts.
The story describes the reporters in question as members of the 'investigative team' but doesn't say what they investigate. They were not there to cover the event for the paper in any case, they went on what used to be known as "their own time."

I blame beepers, which started this trend that there is no such thing as "your own time," your employer has a right to intrude on you at any hour of the day or night. The rule back in the day was "we don't care if you fuck elephants just as long as you're not on the circus beat."

A NOTE: Blogger is behaving poorly today, a trend I fear is likely to keep up through the election and very possibly beyond. I guess we really shouldn't bitch about it considering what it costs or mention that its programmers reek of elderberries but it reminds me of plumbing that has to be plungered every other time it's flushed. Multiple posts, if they appear, will be corrected as quickly as practicable.

GOTV Holidays are Here! Party Hearty. 

First, the daily blather:

"I know there are some here who are worried about the flu season," Bush told a rally at a baseball park here [Florida]. "I want to assure them that our government is doing everything possible to help older Americans and children to get their shots," Bush said, adding that millions of vaccine doses were on hand for those who need them the most and more was being rushed in.

Umm, rushed in from where? Mars? The devil is in the details, aWol, you liar.

If free and open Iraqi elections lead to the seating of a fundamentalist Islamic government, "I will be disappointed. But democracy is democracy," Bush said. "If that's what the people choose, that's what the people choose."

So, we spent thousands of lives and billions of dollars to topple Saddam and replace him with an Ayatollah? And you’re okay with that, aWol boy, as long as that’s what the “people decide”? Okay, then, can we put Gore in office now, please? After all, the people decided.

And the people will decide again. Voter registration ends today in Connecticut and Friday in Alabama. Alexander Bolton, neo-F-word writer, notes with satisfaction that “The Bush-Cheney campaign has emphasized to its business allies the importance of urging employees to take advantage of new rules that allow them to vote weeks before Election Day.” The Bu’ushiites are getting out their vote, with help from fatcats and embedded pols.

Well, damn them, me hearties! We can do better! There are more of us, and we’re just as fired up as they are! Hell, we’re MORE fired up! Our ASSES are on the line, not just our MONEY! A lot of polling places are already open. 26 states have early voting. Big John Kerry is urging us to get out now. If we don’t have any “business allies” just go anyway! Since a General Strike is unlikely, the best idea might be to use your sick days—if you got ‘em—NOW and get to the polls with a few dozen friends. If you don’t have sick days, go on Saturday—a lot of states have polls open on Saturdays, too, or even keep them open until 7 in the evening. The guy I called last week who would drive folks is cool with the idea of taking people now if they want to go, and even making a run to the ice cream shop afterward and piling together to watch a ballgame or a movie, which is appealing to some of the folks around here who don’t get to town very often. It’s a holiday! So I’m gonna call up ten or fifteen folks—he’s got a 15 seat van—and we’re gonna make a holiday of it, dammit! I might even go see if the tire guy wants to go—he’d liven up the party for sure.

So, make your own holiday! Plaster your vehicle with Kerry Edwards signs, load up some of your friends and neighbors—make new friends, too—and take a holiday drive to the polls. Go out afterward with your buttons on and have a party! Hell, make every day until November 2nd a GOTV holiday! You’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror much more happily on Nov. 3rd if you do.

To the polls, me hearties! Make a party of it! Create a village and stomp a weasel! Arrgghhh. Only two weeks until we take back our country!

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night 

Just after I put up that "I (Heart) Leiberman" post last night I heard an odd sound out the office window. A siren. Going to stick my head out the door to try to determine direction I paused to observe the spectacular lightning show in progress.

Siren was coming from the right, which is east, which is town. The sound didn't appear to be going north or south, which would mean cops on the highway, but rather up or down. That's the tornado whistle. THIS isn't good, I said to the dog. She agreed but made no other comment, which I took as a good sign.

So I went back to brooding over the matter of early voting. Started here last Tuesday, which means this brood has been gestating for a week now. Should I vote early and give potential evildoers two weeks to root around in the box o'ballots at the county office? We still use punchcards here, which, like Richard Nixon, I don't find nearly as offensive as I used to. Easy enough to pull them out of their envelopes, check where the chad is missing, and oopsie some into the trash.

On the other hand much can happen in two weeks. Cursing my indecisive nature while padding back down the hall to the office to check, a flash of my childhood religious indoctrination came back and I mumbled "Oh Lord, send me a sign."

At that moment a flash of near-atomic brightness split the night and a clap of thunder shook the walls, and the heavens opened to pour rain upon my shingles. The TV lost the satellite signal and moments later the power as well.

Staring humbly at the ceiling, or at least where in the darkness I imagined the ceiling to be, I said "You didn't have to shout, you know" and went in search of the candles.

I'll be voting later today. Really.

Freep This Poll, Dammit 

Long ago, in a more innocent time, when I was still quite naive (that would be, oh, about July) I used to think it was petty and childish to try to manipulate online polls. So take a look at the following questions and considering the choices are Bush, Kerry and Whatsisname (Nehru? Nixon? I ferget, something with an "N") do what seems appropriate.

(via Richmond VA Times-Dispatch)
Who can you trust?

Who is the hardest worker?

Who is the most qualified?

Who would you rather meet?
It's on the right, scroll down just a scosh. It'll take maybe 15 seconds. Oh yeah, that "Bush" person is currently leading. Even in "hardest worker," can you imagine? Get thee hence.

Monday, October 18, 2004


How dare one question the der Leader! Via Spin Buster at the CJR's Campaign Desk.

Spin Buster
October 18, 2004
How Dare You??

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz today brings us this tidbit: Stunned by the efforts of fact-check teams and "truth squads" in the press who are belatedly holding the claims and counterclaims of the candidates up to scrutiny, the Bush campaign has struck back.

In an extraordinary response to these recent stories, Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt spoke thusly:

"The Bush campaign should be able to make an argument without having it reflexively dismissed as distorted or inaccurate by the biggest newspapers in the country."

Got that?

The Bush campaign evidently grew so accustomed to a campaign press that seldom fact-checked much of anything between March and September that it is downright indignant anyone would have the temerity to muse, "Gee, I wonder if that's right?" and then have the industry to actually ascertain the veracity of the claims and assertions contained in stump speeches and debate transcripts.

We wouldn't believe it if we hadn't seen it with our own eyes, but there it is in black-and-white.

Seeing is believing. (unless you're a member of the Cult of the 'W')

"I subordinate myself without further ado to Herr Adolph Hitler. Why? He has proved that he can lead; on the basis of his view and his will,.... He and the party are one, and offer the unity that is the unconditional premiss of success." ~ Ernst Graf zu Reventlow, 1927.

Sound familiar?


I (Heart) Leiberman 

Good god no, not Jello Joe....I mean this Leiberman....

(via NYT, although actually a Baltimore Sun story except I hate their registration policy)

The Washington bureau chief for Sinclair Broadcast Group said he was fired Monday after he criticized the company's plans to produce a news program based on a documentary critical of John Kerry's Vietnam-era anti-war activities.

Jon Leiberman said he was fired by Joseph DeFeo, Sinclair's vice president for news, and ``escorted out of the building.''

``I was told I violated company policy by divulging information from a staff meeting to The (Baltimore) Sun in this morning's edition,'' Leiberman said late Monday.

Leiberman, 29, criticized his employer in an interview with The Sun published Monday. He said in that interview, ``I have nothing to gain here -- and really, I have a lot to lose.''

He added on Monday: ``I really feel like I can sleep at night and I can be OK with my decision'' to criticize Sinclair publicly. ... I know I stood up for the principles of objectivity. In journalism, all we have is credibility and objectivity.''
Of course, the question is how anybody with concern for credibility and objectivity ever wound up working for Sinclair in the first place, although the fact that he was a Washington (or any) bureau chief at age 29 provides a clue. At any rate I think he's not likely to be unemployed for long. He really ought to fire a resume over to the aforecited NYT just in case the despicable Okrent decides to "spend more time with his family" anytime soon. Yesterday would be nice.

Goodnight, moon 

How can anyone sleep?

Oh, and my theory on the Bush Bulge—Blogger ate the post, sigh—is that both theories are right. Two electronic devices are in play:

1. Bush does use an earpiece (the wire's in front, near the tie), and

2. Bush was wearing an atrial defibrillator (the square bulge in the back) and yes, that was because he had recently had a stroke.

Remember how people kept saying He couldn't be wearing an earpiece in the first debate, because he did a bad job? Well, Bush kept getting that deer in the headlights look because the two electronic devices interfered with each other... And He was probably getting static, instread of his lines, half the time.


Bush AWOL: Special payroll code shows Bush discharged as "unfit to serve" 

The story that will not die... If only because the Bush gang was so arrogant that they assumed nobody would actually examine the records they released (Are you listening, Dan Rather?)

However, AWOL Payroll Records Jedi Master Paul Lukasiak is still in the hunt, and these are his latest findings:

New information with regard to the meaning of a special code which appears on George W. Bush’s Air National Guard discharge papers indicates that he was being thrown out of the Air National Guard for failing “to possess the required military qualifications for his grade or specialty, or does not meet the mental, moral, professional or physical standards of the Air Force.” In other words, despite the fact that Bush had an unfulfilled six year Military Service Obligation, he was discharged from the Air National Guard not because he moved to Boston [the official White House line], but because he failed to meet his obligation to maintain his qualifications as an F102 pilot.

The special code is “PTI 961”, and is found in the “Reason and Authority for Discharge” section of Bush’s NGB-22, his “Report of Separation and Record of Service in the Air National Guard of Texas and as a Reserve of the Air Force.”

“PTI” stands for “Personnel Transaction Identifier”, a code which “identifies the controlled personnel management action being accomplished the personnel data system.” And although the particular meaning of “PTI 961” remains unknown, all “900” series PTIs mean that someone is no longer considered part of “Air Force strength.”

From AFM 30-3 (1977)

AFM 30-3 explains how “transactions” involving the “movement of a member within the Air Force strength which does not affect the total strength, that is, movement….to a different command” would have been “reported by PTI 201.” Bush’s discharge and reassignment appears to have been a “movement to a different command” (i.e. from the Air National Guard to the Air Force Reserves).

However, when an “action is reported by the 9xx PTIs” it represents a “loss to the Air Force strength.” In other words, despite the fact that Bush had almost eight months left on his six year Military Service Obligation at the time, Texas Air National Guard officers were signaling that Bush was essentially worthless to the Air Force, and should not even be retained in the “Ready Reserves” for call up in the event of a national emergency.

From Bush’s 1/30/74 Points Summary

This interpretation is fully consistent with the fact that Bush was placed in an “Inactive Status” retroactively, effective September 15, 1973. “Inactive Status” meant that Bush was no longer eligible to accrue time served toward “gratuitous” membership points.

AFM 35-3, Chapter 19, Para 2

In fact, under Air Force regulations, someone like Bush, who had an outstanding Military Service Obligation, could only be placed in an “Inactive Status” if he was being “completely severed from military status.”

This “complete severance” was an extraordinary event. Under ordinary circumstances, an obligor would be retained in an active status upon being discharged from the Air National Guard and reassigned to the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver Colorado. ARPC had two special “paper units” designed specifically for those with unfulfilled Military Service Obligations:

1) the Obligated Reserve Section, aka ARPC(ORS) which contained obligors who continued to be Ready Reservists and thus liable for mobilization upon order of the President, or

2) the Non-Affiliated Reserve Section which was dedicated to obligors, aka ARPC(NARS-B), which was an “active status” section of the Standby Reserves who members were not subject to mobilization on a Presidential order for various reasons (such as hardship, or holding critical civilian jobs.)

PTI 961 meant that Bush was unfit for service in the United States Armed Forces, and that there was no point in keeping him around in case of a national emergency.

This can be established through examining the relevant regulations.
ANGR 36-05, which was the “authority” cited in Bush’s discharge papers, has a limited number of “separation criteria” that are consistent with a “900 series” Personnel Transaction Identifier, all of which could only be the result of Bush being thrown out because he wasn’t doing his job. The most likely of these criteria is that Bush was discharged for “standby screening”, and an examination of the rules under which discharges could be accomplished ... in this fashion lead to only one conclusion—that Bush was thrown out of the Air National Guard because he was “unfit to serve.”
(via The AWOL Project)

Wouldn't it be great if we had a free press in this country, and this story actually got covered? Maybe a reporter was actually paid to do this?

Oh well, we have The Amazin' Froomkin—please consider dropping him a politely worded note asking him to take a look at the latest.

After all, just because CBS blew the story is no reason for a real newsgathering organization like WaPo to do the same. Or do they want to wait until after the election, like the Times would?

Iraq clusterfuck: Sanchez pleading for spare parts, body armor: Bush fails to deliver 

Maybe He wasn't praying hard enough? Or could it be.... He's a miserable failure?

The reality:

The lack of key spare parts for gear vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote in a letter to top Army officials, that "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low."

Sanchez, who was the senior commander on the ground in Iraq from the summer of 2003 until the summer of 2004, said in his letter that Army units in Iraq were "struggling just to maintain . . . relatively low readiness rates" on key combat systems, such as M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, anti-mortar radars and Black Hawk helicopters.

He also said units were waiting an average of 40 days for critical spare parts, which he noted was almost three times the Army's average. In some Army supply depots in Iraq, 40 percent of critical parts were at "zero balance," meaning they were absent from depot shelves, he said.

He also protested in his letter, sent Dec. 4 to the number two officer in the Army, with copies to other senior officials, that his soldiers still needed protective inserts to upgrade 36,000 sets of body armor but that their delivery had been postponed twice in the month before he was writing. There were 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the time.

And the words. Of course, the words don't match the reality...

His letter of concern has surfaced after repeated statements by President Bush that he is determined to ensure that U.S. troops fighting in Iraq have all that they need to execute their missions. "I have pledged, as has the secretary of defense, to give our troops everything that is necessary to complete their mission with the utmost safety," he said in May. Earlier this month in Manchester, N.H., he said, "When America puts our troops in combat, I believe they deserve the best training, the best equipment, the full support of our government."

A copy of Sanchez's letter was given to The Washington Post by a person familiar with the situation who was dismayed that front-line troops had not been adequately supplied. That person also disagrees with the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, but said that was not part of the motivation in providing the document.
(via WaPo)

If there is a God, Bush will rot in hell for this. Imagine sending the troops to war, for a lie, not planning to win the peace, not giving the troops the protection they need, and then lying about that! Unbelievable? All too believable!

UPDATE Kerry's on it in the same news cycle. More like this please.

Inerrant boy and the reality community 

Here's a revealing little snippet from the Times about how the Bush administration determines how scientists are qualified to serve their country:

Earlier this year, after continuing complaints that the White House was asking litmus-test questions of nominees for scientific advisory panels, the first question asked of a candidate for a panel on Arctic issues, the candidate said, was: "Do you support the president?"
(via New York Times)

Right. After the complaints. Ever notice how when this administration gets caught doing something, he does it again, only harder and worse?

Reminds me of nothing so much as Comrades Stalin and Lysenko.

Inerrant Boy's major policy address: The Triumph of the W 

I've excerpted the essential points:

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip Flop!
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
(via Transript)

The torchlight parade after, I'm told, was fabulous.

Did the networks get conned into preempting anything for this trip?

I don't have time right now to detail the lies, and they're beside the point anyhow, but Josh Marshall points to a real whopper:

Is [Kerry] content to watch and wait, as anger and resentment grow for more decades in the Middle East...

Two words: Abu Ghraib. On Bush's watch. His responsibility. Bush really does live in a fantasy world, doens't he?

GOTV: Hope is on the way! But there's work to be done... 

After that last bummer post of mine, I figured I'd better:

Democrats Signing Up More New Voters
By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer

The Democrats appear to be gaining the upper hand in the battle to sign up new voters in the all-important swing states, an Associated Press analysis suggests…

Now, the real test is whether the parties can get these newly registered voters to the polls. New voters are often less likely than others to actually cast a ballot.

"It's the end-all, be-all. Nothing matters unless they show up to vote," said Mindy Tucker Fletcher with the Florida GOP. With 2000 as a warning and the latest polls showing this election very close in eight critical states, the latest registration numbers could be pivotal.

(via AP)

I’d say it’s plain what needs to be done—in many states the polls are already open, even on Saturdays. If there’s a crowd, show up with goodies, raise hell about lines, drive a van, follow up with phone calls…

It may be the only way to beat the idiotocracy—um, I mean, the “rationally challenged.”

Tomorrow I guess I have to visit Dem HQ again, and see if there are more names and what else can be done.

Dems winning the battle to register voters in swing states 

In deference to RDF, who is actually out there in the trenches, I've removed the AP material I posted at the same time he posted above. As he says:

We have to get the new voters to the polls, defy the usual Republican trickeration on election day (via Atrios) and then win the battle in the courts when the Republicans try to steal the election in 2004 as they did in 2000.

It is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

You taking election day off to help out? I've put in my request to the powers that be....

Say, anybody got an example of an urban guerilla war that was won with airstrikes? 

Just asking.

I mean, you'd expect that dropping bombs from airplanes on "safe houses" in urban areas would tend to create a lot of collateral damage, and ultimately make the war harder to win. Philadelphians already know this, of course.

Not that winning the war is important to Bush right now. Winning the election is important. So what's 18 days of collateral damage beside that? Besides, He can pray for the victims.

Aiiiiieee! My Cortex Just Melted! 

The below are from an unindicted RDF co-conspirator, who pulled them from her local fishwrapper last week. Part of some “idiot on the street” interviews following the last debate, and proof that Mencken, for all his faults, may have had a point when he said that “superficiality amounts to a national disease.” I wish I could say that it makes a difference where she lives, but it doesn’t, since I’ve heard the same kind of shit around here, too, and on the road. Maybe you have in your region, as well. I am rendered speechless by the sheer weight of their mindless idiocy. I can’t stand it; I weep; I grind my teeth; I resist the urge to a violent response with difficulty. Reading these this weekend led to finding the bottom of a whiskey bottle for myself and her, so I was hesitant to post them lest I encourage such behavior. But this is what we're up against folks, with 16 days to go. E’en now I am banging my head on the table. I’ve added my post-facto commentary, but I’m sure alert readers will be able to do better:

“Bush, because he don’t take s--t from nobody and he stands up for his beliefs and don’t back down.”

Try that approach when confronted with a large truck coming at you head-on, you brain-ischemic sack of fetid air.

“I was interested in hearing both sides and now after I heard them both, I’m voting for Bush.”

Because, y’know, I like his suit and goofy smirk.

“I’m undecided. The reason being is Bush is not for the middle-class income and Kerry want to pull out of Iraq and we started this stuff (war). Also, Kerry doesn’t state his point on issues clearly.”

‘Nuff said about clarity and undecided voters mulling issues.

“In all honestly, President Bush is a the one. We have to protect ourselves and he’s doing that.”

Yes, brainiac, he’s us protecting ourselves.

“The reason why I’m voting for Bush is because he’s doing the right thing in regards to fighting terrorism. But, we should be focusing on Osama bin Ladin. I have a feeling he’s doing the right thing by killing two birds with one stone. The other cool thing is there’s going to be some democracy in Iraq.”

It’s like, cool and stuff. Huh huh.

“They didn’t impact me. I had my mind made up who I was going to vote for, that just validated it. I just don’t trust Kerry. Too much flip-flopping back and forth. At least with Bush, whether you agree with him or not, you know what he stands for.”

This from the winner of the “What Bush Stands For” essay contest.

“It was OK. I thought Bush did a lot better. He had more statistics and knew more. You know, Kerry has an answer for everything. He was a lawyer.”

Please take that drill bit out of your ear canal.

“There are some things that you have to go off of what your personal beliefs, morals and values are. The debates don’t really sway you one way or the other, I think you already have your mind made up. There’s that 1 percent of people that need to listen and watch to see if the candidates identify with what their feelings are. I really like Bush, I think he needs to finish what he started and I think it’s going to be hard for someone else to step in and finish that.”

Yep, it’s pretty clear what your personal beliefs, morals and values are, all right.

“I think that Kerry says one thing and then says another later on. I don’t get into politics too much, but I am going to vote for Bush since Kerry is kind of flaky. It seems like Kerry will do anything to win, like talking about Cheney’s daughter. It was uncalled for.”

Oh, and my mother was a hamster and my father smelled of elderberries.

Now THIS is the one I need to talk to:

“It was the same. Both of them kept repeating themselves. I don’t think anything will change, whoever is elected.”

Oh, my poor cynical friend, what will change? Oy, where shall we start…?

Chairman George's Little Book 

No, we're not going to say a word about the Preznit's fondness for caprine literature. Many presidents and other world leaders freeze for seven minutes when informed their country is under attack, and it would be unkind of us to harp on that any more.

No, we're going to look at the similarities of thought (or more accurately "belief") and behavior of Preznit G and another world leader of recent memory. Rather, we're going to let via Juan Cole look at it for us because, like our Preznit, we prefer to let others do the hard, hard work for us:

Suskind on Bush: "I can Fly!"
Ron Suskind's profile of George W. Bush reminded me eerily of Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party. Suskind portrays Bush as filled with unwarranted certainty, sure that God is speaking and working through him, and convinced that decisive action shapes reality in ways that make it unnecessary to first study reality.

This approach to policy-making, it seems to me, should be called Right Maoism. The History Learning Site reminds us that in 1958 Mao initiated what he called the "Great Leap Forward" with the aim of boosting both Chinese industry and agriculture, through the reorganization of China into over 25,000 communes.

' Mao had introduced the Great Leap Forward with the phrase "it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever." By the end of 1958, it seemed as if his claim was true . . . However, in 1959, things started to go wrong.

In 1960 alone, as a result of Mao's faith-based initiative, 9 million persons starved to death. The total toll from famine, hunger, and illness in 1959-1962 was around 20 million dead.'

The above description of the way in which China fell apart under Mao sounds eerily like contemporary Iraq under Bush, since both situations were produced by the same mantra. Reality doesn't matter. Power creates reality. Suskind says that a senior Bush official told him, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." This official may as well have been quoting Mao's Little Red Book: ""it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever."

Let's look at other areas on which Bush's "we're an empire now and we make the reality" doctrine has been a miserable failure.
There's more, read if you've got time. Only us hopeless squares in the "reality based community" care about things like history anyway you know. I just wanted to run the words "miserable failure" one more time.

Don't Panic -- Yet 

Okay folks I understand why you're nervous that several polls are showing Chimpy opening up a lead on Kerry. And since the media often creates the reality, the fact they are playing this (according to Unka Karl's script) as evidence of Bush "pulling ahead" in the election is certainly something to be concerned about.

But not so fast folks. First of all, the two polls that are showing the biggest leads have been two of the least reliable in the last two elections. The poll that was the most reliable in the last couple of elections, the Reuters-Zogby poll, shows the race as a dead heat.

However, the big thing to keep in mind is that none of this horse race stuff means a damned thing. It's all about the Electoral College folks. Winning the popular vote in a presidential election doesn't do a thing for you -- it's the Electoral College that's important. And, if you've been following your state-level polls (go here), they have some fairly good news for Kerry. In fact, they show Kerry with a lead currently in the Electoral College.

So don't despair -- yet. However, I do agree with several of my friends who have suggested it's time to dump the stump speech on healthcare and the economy. Kerry needs to just hit Bush over the head with the immoral fool's errand of a war he took us into a year and a half ago.

That one issue is what is going to win it (or lose it) for Kerry. Only one issue counts: Iraq. That's all W is talking about.

It's all Kerry should be talking about as well.

Supreme Court orders review of DéLay redistricting 


The U.S. Supreme Court told a lower court to reconsider Texas's new federal voting districts, which may add as many as six Republicans to the state's congressional delegation in the Nov. 2 election.

The court, acting two weeks before the election, told a federal court to take a new look at the districts in light of the justices' April ruling in a Pennsylvania case. In that decision, the Supreme Court rejected claims that Republican-drawn districts were so partisan they violated the Constitution. Today's action leaves the districts in place for the Nov. 2 election.

In the Texas case, minority voters and Democratic lawmakers say Texas Republicans illegally reconfigured the state's 32 districts mid-decade for partisan purposes. Opponents also said the new districts reduce the voting clout of blacks and Hispanics.
(via Bloomberg News)

Wasting away again in Bill O'Reillyville 


Nursing a headache, watching the news break
All of the talkshows, muckraking turmoil
Selling falafel, beside a motel wall
Smell that asphalt its begining to boil

Wasting my day away in Bill O'Reillyville
Chugging down my last bottle of malt
Some bitches claim that theres a phone call to blame
But I know it's all Bill Clinton's fault.

Don't know the season, abandoned all reason
Got nothing to screw but some airhead named Dew
But shes got some body, a local news hotty,
Just ask Rush Limbaugh, he knows her too!

Wasting my day away in Bill O'Reillyville
Chugging down my last bottle of malt
Some bitches claim that theres a phone call to blame
But I know it's all Bill Clinton's fault.

So now I'm a beach slut
That can't keep his my mouth shut
Wild oats, right here I have sown
And theres always my shower, where I regain my power
With my loofa sponge friend and a bag of homegrown.

Wasting my day away in Bill O'Reillyville
Slugging back my last botle of scotch
Sometimes I claim that there's extortion to blame
But I know it's all in my crotch.



Sunday, October 17, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Back to the ol' grind.

But maybe.... there'll be a surprise? Since it's October, and all?

Election fraud 2004: Will The Times cover the story this year? 

At the risk of repeating myself, a golden oldie. This is the moment when I understood that the Times had, at last and completely, broken faith with its readers:

I remember the exact story that made me understand how decrepit, how complicit, and how complacent the Times had become, the moment when things snapped: When I read the story the Times "broke" that showed how the "bourgeois rioters" [like F/Buckhead, back] who intimidated voting officials in Florida 2000 [were] really paid Republican staffers. [The Times] had the video that gave the evidence while the recount was still going on but only published the story well after the Supreme Court selected Bush. So, the answer to the question, Where was the Times when the news was breaking? has, for a long time, been... What? "Nowhere"? "In the tank"?

When will the Times become a news gathering organization again?
(via "Department of Closing the Barn Door After the Horse is Gone," back)

So, when will the Times become a news gathering organization again? The jury is still out. While the Times editorial page has covered Election Fraud 2004 reasonably well (though I can't lay my hand on the series right now) the rest of the paper has been the sloppy, lazy, faux balanced, and whorish publication we've come to know and love.

Witness this week's coverage of Election Fraud 2004.

First, we look at the outright whorishness. From, fantastically, the same magazine that managed to publish Suskind's work (here), we get this odious little piece of "he said/she said" hackery from American Standard's Christoper Caudwell:

But the rebarbative tone of the campaign so far -- from the Swift-boat ads to the ''60 Minutes'' forgeries -- owes less to Iraq or Sept. 11 than to what happened in 2000. Each side seems to believe that there was a brazen attempt to steal the election four years ago. Democrats think it succeeded; Republicans think it failed. One paramount ''issue'' is responsible for the vitriol of recent months: the issue of whether President Bush governs legitimately.

"Seems"? I know not seems.

[Some claim] that the 2000 Florida election was corruptly conducted -- whether through a Republican-engineered miscounting of votes, bureaucratic obstruction (misleading ballots, etc.) or partisanship on the Supreme Court. History will not be kind to this claim, which has a dog-ate-my-term-paper quality: the extravagant profusion of supporting theories argues against its probability, not for it. The equally heartfelt complaints of Nixon supporters in 1960, in the wake of results in Illinois and Texas, are little remembered today.
(via Times Magazine)

Apparently, Caudwell thinks he's the Second Coming of George Will. Since he can use a 75-cent word like "rebarbative," and all. But look at what passes for analysis, in this piece! Caudwell seems to think it's all about feelings—"tone," "brazen," "heartfelt complaints." And people "think" this happened, or that happened. What to do? Caudwell throws up his hands in despair at the extravagant profusion of theories. How lazy! Of course, it's almost impossible to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it....

But, as we know—and Bush would know if he had ever done the 12 Steps—feelings aren't facts. And the facts are that the Republicans did steal Florida, did, therefore, steal the 2004 election, and Bush does not, therefore, govern "legitimately." (Excellent veneer of objectivity; kudos to Caudwell for saying this out loud.) And notice the fact that Caudwell conveniently omits: he talks of miscounting ballots, the butterfly ballot, and the partisan Supreme Court, while never mentioning the one fact that really matters: Jeb Bush set the table for the whole fiasco by disenfranchising thousands of Democratic voters through a "purge" of the rolls—exactly the same gambit he tried again this year ("Jebbie ignored advice to scrap biased felon-purge system," back).

What a piece of work is man. At this point, we, and Caudwell, would do well to remember Okrent's Law: "The pursuit of balance can create imbalance, because sometimes something is true" (back)

And so to the porcelain bowl for self-interestedly lazy and deceptive millionaire pundit Christopher Caudwell. But the Times is also covering [cough] Election fraud 2004 as news. Here are some excerpts from the flaghip News of the Week in Review—truly a "revue" worthy of the Folies Bergere:

Could the country stand another Florida? How deep would the political and psychological damage be?
(via Week in Review)

Why, it's all about feelings again! About psychology! It's almost as if the American Standard commentator and the Times reporter were reading from the same playbook, isn't it?

But scars remain. Questions about the legitimacy of the Bush presidency and the fairness of the 2000 election have never died. Many Democratic voters have nursed feelings of anger and disenfranchisement for the past four years. Partly as a result, the 2004 campaign has been among the most bitter in decades.

Wow, there are those feelings again. How childish of disenfranchised voters to feel hurt! How immature of American voters, watching a slow-motion coup in progress, to be unable to "move on" and accept the result! Why can't they just lay back and enjoy it?

Some scholars and political combatants believe a second contested election could open lasting fissures in American society. They fear that the red-blue political geography of the country could become imprinted on the national psyche for years to come, squelching hopes for bipartisan cooperation in governing the country.

As if. Kinda like waiting for Lincoln Chafee show Tom "Frenchy" DéLay the error of his ways...

This time could be different, [David Herbert Donald, an emeritus professor of history at Harvard] warned. "There was a lot more residual ill feeling...

Those feelings again!

... more of a feeling that 'we were robbed,'...

Twice now! [Though it would be reassuring to know that some ignorant Times copy "editor" altered Joe Jacob's immortal lament "We wuz robbed!" into the anodyne "we were robbed."] 2000 than in 1876," he said. "If we have another cliffhanger in which the court decides the outcome, there will be serious doubts about whether this is the best way to run a government."

If either candidate wins without leading the popular vote, as Mr. Bush did in 2000, there could be serious calls to abolish the Electoral College and make other fundamental changes in the machinery of American democracy.

Um, no. There will not be fucking "serious calls" for anything. What there will be is massive resistance to an illegitimate regime. (Knowing this in advance, will the Times cover the story anyhow? They sure didn't when the illegitimate regime took power the first time, as we have seen.)

There was a bitterness about the 2000 election that persists in a good many Democratic circles, Mr. Donald said, adding: ''That certainly will be revived if there's another dispute."

Oh, there are those feelings again.

Warren Christopher, the former secretary of state who oversaw Vice President Al Gore's legal challenges in 2000, said that the actions of the Supreme Court and some Florida officials that year had, at least temporarily, tarnished the American way of choosing leaders. A second tainted election, followed by more bare-knuckled partisan conflict, Mr. Christopher said, would be far more damaging. He urged both parties to cool their rhetoric and put the nation's interest ahead of partisan advantage.

"A repeat performance would do irreparable damage to the good will and forbearance so essential to a functioning democracy," he wrote in an e-mail message. "For the political parties, 2004 could be one time when winning isn't everything."

Really? Well, who exactly should do the deciding that "winning isn't everything"? The Democrats, "for the good of the country"? Another "gracious" concession speech, this time from John Kerry? I don't think do. Please, let's hope that the Kerry campaign doesn't let poor old doddering Warren Christopher anywhere near their efforts to ensure that the election is truly an election. And if we see the SCLM making Christopher into a pundit, or their "go to" guy (kinda like Susan Estrich, eh?).... We'll know the fix is in.

The Florida dispute, the 36 days of suspense and the United States Supreme Court's pre-emptive decision tested America's faith in its ability to conduct elections, a faith that had gone largely unquestioned since 1876. Richard Nixon chose not to challenge the results when he lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960, despite questions about Democratic vote fraud in Cook County, Ill.

Not true. In fact, Nixon mounted a massive challenge. A false meme propagated by Republicans and, in fact, by Caudwell. Wow, again, huh? It's almost like they're reading from the same playbook!

Grievances about the 2000 election are not confined to one party or one state, but appear to be felt particularly strongly by minorities and the poor, whose votes were disproportionately tossed out in Florida and elsewhere, said Christopher Edley Jr., dean of Boalt Hall, the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Wow! Imagine that! The poor have "grievances" because their votes were tossed out!

"These huge precinct-to-precinct, county-to-county differences in spoiled ballot rates are intolerable, especially when the differences are so strongly correlated with class and color," Mr. Edley said, adding that if much of the electorate believes that an election result derived from unfair and inconsistent voting methods, "then defeat is both bitter and embittering."

Those feelings again. "Bitter"? No. Justifiably outraged? Yes.

Republicans appear more sanguine about the condition of American democracy and the prospects for the future.

I wonder why!

"If it happens one time, it's an anomaly; a second time, and it's clear there are real problems," said Elizabeth Garrett, director of the University of Southern California-Caltech Center on Law and Politics. "We cannot take this for every election, but if we do have another contested election, electoral reform efforts will have to be taken."

Woe! That's bold, isn't it? The Republicans steal an election a second time, and "electoral reform efforts will have to be taken." Unbelievable? All too believable.

Maybe one of these professors or pundits can tell me why, if a second Bush regime is not legitimate, I, or any citizen, should obey its dictates?

GOTV: Forget Double, TRIPLE-STAMP Absentee Ballots 

Some very weird, and disturbing, talk over at Daily Kos about absentee ballots. Apparently, and I'm sure by mere coincidence, people in at least two states are finding out that it costs more to mail them than a single first-class stamp will cover.

Now it's possible that there are even legitimate reasons such as extra sheets of paper for local races, initiatives, propositions, etc. One of the states is safely (sadly) red Nebraska, for pete's sake, where reports are it costs 83* cents to mail one.

The problem is in...drumroll....yer never gonna guess this one... Florida! Yes, yes, I know you're just as shocked as I am. But one correspondent reports that they want people to go to their post offices and get the item weighed to make sure postage is correct.

So screw 'em. If you've got a postage meter, USPS certified, use that. Otherwise just don't take any chances, it's an extra 37 cents for gossakes, put on an extra stamp even if the ballots are printed on tissue paper.

Come to think of it, use two extras. A buck a ballot to save your country?

Details at dKos.

*Update: Corrected per alert reader Jim Shirk, who reports in comments "Pleeze -- it's not $0.60. It's $0.83, at least that's what I heard today at Coordinated Democratic Campaign HQ here in Tampa. Check the postage at the PO, or put on a $1.00 stamp or 3 $0.37 cent first class stamps -- The American way of life is worth at least $0.97."

Couldn't agree with you more Jim, thanks for posting. And Albert Champion's advice to pony up for certified mail/return receipt requested is worth serious consideration as well. It ain't paranoia if they really are out to get ya.

How does the goat feel? 

Man, in a suit? That just makes it all... so... much.... worse....

Can someone tell me why the Catholic church is tax exempt? 

Since its Bishops have abandoned neutrality, and are trying to get one candidate elected?

Modo (for once) has a nice takedown:

Some of the bishops - the shepherds of a church whose hierarchy bungled the molestation and rape of so many young boys by tolerating it, covering it up, enabling it, excusing it and paying hush money - are still debating whether John Kerry should be allowed to receive communion.
(via NY Times)

"Holier than thou! Holier than thou!"

Iraq clusterfuck: So, sitdown strikes work 

We've been following the saga of the 343rd Quartermaster Company (here, here, and here.

I guess you could call it a "mutiny." Or you could call it a "sitdown strike." Whatever you call it, it worked. The Army is putting armor on the trucks.

As a result of the incident, the entire 343rd is in the midst of a two-week "stand down," bolting on new armor and upgrading maintenance on its vehicles. The 18 soldiers under investigation must complete additional training and win re-certification to regain permission to perform convoy missions, [a military spokesman] said.
(via AP)

If there'd been more strikes like this earlier, maybe armor would have gotten on the HumVees faster. Since Bush would prefer to pray rather than take a look at facts on the ground, I guess its up to the troops to give him a little reality therapy. Eh?

Election fraud 2004: Jebbie ignored advice to scrap biased felon-purge system 

You know, the one that just happened to disenfranchise Democrats, but left Republicans with the right to vote? Due to a "technical error"? The one that Republican election commissioner Glenda "The Bad Witch"] Hood spent $100,000 in taxpayer dollars trying to keep secret? The one that was only exposed after a court order? That's the one!

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ignored advice to throw out a flawed felon voter list before it went out to county election offices despite warnings from state officials, according to a published report Saturday.

In a May 4 e-mail obtained by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida Department of Law Enforcement computer expert Jeff Long told his boss that a Department of State computer expert had told him "that yesterday they recommended to the Gov that they 'pull the plug'" on the voter database.

The e-mail said state election officials "weren't comfortable with the felon matching program they've got," but added, "The Gov rejected their suggestion to pull the plug, so they're 'going live' with it this weekend."

Long, who was responsible for giving elections officials his department's felon database, confirmed the contents of the e-mail Friday to the Herald-Tribune. He said he didn't remember the specifics, but that Paul Craft, the Department of State's top computer expert, had told him about the meeting with Bush.

A software program matched data on felons with voter registration rolls to create the list of 48,000 names. Secretary of State Glenda Hood junked the database in July after acknowledging that 2,500 ex-felons on the list had had their voting rights restored.

Most were Democrats
, and many were black. Hispanics, who often vote Republican in Florida, were almost entirely absent from the list due to a technical error.
(via AP)

Oh, I just have to repeat—"technical error." Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! That's too rich! "Technical error"! Stop it, you're killing me! Oh, it hurts me to laugh, but I can't help it! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

But hey! None of this matters! According to Judge Posner, who is obviously angling for one of the seats on the Supreme Court that will be in Inerrant Boy's gift, there's no Constitutional right to vote, back. So, that's all settled. No worries.

UPDATE Here's a nasty little detail from the original Herald Tribune story that the mighty AP did not deign to include:

So far, the only review of the purge list project is being conducted by [Republican election commissioner Glenda "The Bad Witch"] Hood's inspector general.

That investigation has been going on for more than three months with no published findings. Under state public records law, records generated from such investigations become public after 60 days.

But Department of State officials have not turned over any documents from the investigation despite repeated requests from the Herald-Tribune.

"The Florida Department of State is processing the Sarasota Herald-Tribune's requests -- plural," Faraj said. "We'll get them to you as soon as we're at that point."

Faraj told the Herald-Tribune last week that Kirby Mole, Hood's inspector general, had not finished his review. She said she had no idea whether it would be completed before the November election.
(via Sarasota Herald Tribune)

Well, well. A Bush records secret in defiance of the law? Sound familiar?

Kerry nails Bush on Social Security privatization—in one news cycle 

Nice job, Dems.

Kerry talked about Social Security from the pulpit of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio, citing a report in The New York Times Magazine [back here] that quoted Bush as telling supporters that "privatizing Social Security" would be high on his second-term agenda.

He called it Bush's "January surprise," and said it may be good for "the wealthiest people and the well connected in America, but it's a disaster for America's middle class."

Citing estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, Kerry said Bush's plan would mean "benefit cuts for seniors of between 25 percent and 45 percent. That's up to $500 less for food, for clothing, for the occasional gift for a grandchild," he said, and vowed anew not to cut benefits or raise the retirement age if elected.

What's your point, John? Hey, throw Momma from the train! Bush speaks with the voice of God, and He says it's OK!

Bush has long advocated overhauling Social Security to allow younger workers the choice of putting a portion of their payroll taxes into private accounts.

Aides also have said that current Social Security beneficiaries and those approaching the age of eligibility would not be required to accept any changes in the current system.

But implicit in any such modification is the need either to replace or offset the money that will begin flowing to private accounts rather than traditional Social Security. Estimates run into the trillions of dollars over several years.

Finally! The 2-1=5 Bush arithmetic makes it into the mainstream. So why isn't this in the lede?

Purely in political terms, Republican survey data long ago discovered that voters recoil at the use of the word "privatize" in connection with either Social Security or Medicare.
(via AP)

Well, maybe people—especially people on Social Security or near it—can do the math a lot better than Bush can. After all, they have to worry about facts, where all Bush has to do is pray about it.

So how is sending the troops on pointless suicide missions "supporting" them? 

Oh, wait, I have the answer! The Holy Gut™ said it's OK. Wow, I felt my faith waver for a moment. Phew! Snark off....

More news from their local paper, the Jackson Clarion Ledger:

Five members of an Iraqi-based platoon who refused a convoy order earlier this week were told they would be punished with a general discharge, the father of one of the soldiers said Saturday.

Right. And I'm sure that paperwork won't be covered with rat turds.
"My son said they are getting ready to be discharged and would be home in three or four weeks," said Ricky Scott of Quinton, Ala., father of Spc. Scott Shealey. "It's just a boot ... some way to put some type of close to this while using them as scapegoats."

A general discharge can be given by a military administrative discharge board without a hearing, said military law expert Mark Stevens of Rocky Mount, N.C. "It is not necessarily a bad thing," Stevens said. "It's certainly better than being charged with a crime. It is sort of a wimp's way to get it done and get rid of this thing."

Scott said his son told him some members of the 343rd, a supply unit whose general mission is to deliver fuel and water, left their station at Tallil Air Force Base for Taji, Iraq, days before the ultimate refusal of orders. The fuel was denied in Taji because it was contaminated and could not be used for aviation purposes, he said. The soldiers, who were not being escorted by armed personnel, were fired upon during their return trip by about 50 insurgents but were able to make it back without casualties.

There have been 1,089 U.S. casualties in Iraq, according to Many of them took place during attacks on U.S. convoys.

The trip took five days, Scott said, and the soldiers were ordered to deliver the same fuel to another base about two days later with what Shealey termed "civilian vehicles" with speeds no higher than 40 mph, Scott said. "That is when they said they had enough," he said.

Nancy Wessin of Boston, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, said it takes courage for soldiers' relatives to speak out.

"People say you are disloyal or unsupportive when you speak out, but we feel the best way to support the troops is to really let people know what is going on by sharing your story," Wessin said.
(via Clarion Ledger)

Wow. Radical idea! You can support the troops by applying enlightenment concepts like "evidence" and "reasoning"! Way to go, Nancy! (See Military Families Speak Out)

Incidentally, this episode shows why the "support the troops, support the mission" concept is so lethally inane. The mission was to deliver contaminated fuel, fuel that was useless, in vehicles without armor, and no air support, down a highway where ambushes were constant.

So why support that mission?

Then again, why support the mission in Iraq? If the mission is crazy, the best way to support the troops is to show, using "evidence" and "reasoning," just how crazy the mission is. Sure, you get called a traitor by the 101st Fighting Keyboarders and the media whores, but that will happen no matter what, and for any pretext, so why worry?

Bush 2005: Social Security to be privatized, for starters 

Finally, that cat's out of the bag.

But first, go read Ron Suskind's latest in The Times Magazine. Do it now. In fact, reward good work by paying the Times tax this Sunday—I did. Read the whole thing. Then make sure all your undecided friends read it, and ask them if they want the country run on the basis of what The Holy Gut™decides for them, or as a democracy, where the people are sovreign?

Now, most of the blogosphere commentary on the Suskind piece has focussed on Bush's "faith", and what it means when a country has a Leader who doesn't believe that facts are important, and who won't take questions because they might undermine his confidence.

However, Suskind also quotes a meeting where Bush lays out his agenda if he is elected, which is what I want to focus on here. It's radical right, and it's going to fuck you, the country, the world, and everybody but Bush's friends, included His deluded followers. Surprise! Be afraid. Be very afraid:

"I'm going to be real positive, while I keep my foot on John Kerry's throat,'' George W. Bush said last month at a confidential luncheon a block away from the White House...

This is before Bush lost the first debate, of course. And the second, and the third.

... with a hundred or so of his most ardent, longtime supporters, the so-called R.N.C. Regents.

The Bush these supporters heard was a triumphal Bush, actively beginning to plan his second term.

He said emphatically that he expects the Republicans will gain seats to expand their control of the House and the Senate. According to notes provided to me, and according to several guests at the lunch who agreed to speak about what they heard, he said that ''Osama bin Laden would like to overthrow the Saudis . . . then we're in trouble. Because they have a weapon. They have the oil.'' He said that there will be an opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice shortly after his inauguration, and perhaps three more high-court vacancies during his second term.

Bush said: ''I'm going to push nuclear energy, drilling in Alaska and clean coal. Some nuclear-fusion technologies are interesting.'' He mentions energy from ''processing corn.''

''I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in,'' Bush said, ''with fundamental tax reform, tort reform...

You know to put your hand on your wallet when you hear a Republican use the word "reform," right?

privatizing of Social Security.''

Ah. So (1) that legalizes the theft of a generation's worth of payroll taxes by Bush for the super-rich ("Heist of the century," back), and (2) guarantees the collapse of the program, all for the sake of the same Wall Street brokers who brought you the dot com implosion ("When they say it's not about the money, it's about the money," back). Nice!

The victories he expects in November, he said, will give us ''two years, at least, until the next midterm. We have to move quickly, because after that I'll be quacking like a duck.''

Ah. Happy memories. The ol' duck pit... So unfairly stigmatized as eliminationist rhetoric... Anyhow:

The president, listing priorities for his second term, placed near the top of his agenda the expansion of federal support for faith-based institutions. The president talked at length about giving the initiative the full measure of his devotion and said that questions about separation of church and state were not an issue.
(via Times Magazine)

Right. Translation: A big ol' spoils system and slush fund for every SIC in Rove's Election 2004 database. Paid for with your tax dollars!

Let's review! Here's Inerrant Boy's real platform:

1. One party control of the government, and the elimination of all checks and balances against the radical right.

2. War in defense of the Saudis. (Um, with what Army? The one He sets up with the draft, of course!)

3. Four Supreme justices (meaning overturning Roe v. Wade and God knows what else, if the Supreme Court becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Federalist Society, as it will.)

4. Total power by corporations over consumers and employees ("tort reform")

5. A national sales tax ("tax reform")

6. Privatizing Social Security.

7. An end to the separation of church and state.

So, don't vote for Nader, OK?

Somebody should get a ticket to a Bush rally, silently hold up the Constitution.... 

and see if they get arrested, thrown down on the ground and kicked, or beaten up and thrown out.

What do you think the odds are?

(Use the search bar to find "MBF Watch" if you don't believe all this is happening. You think I'm joking when I call these "Partei" rallies? Ha ha, only serious. Read The latest from Orcinus. OK, so it's long. Figuring out what's happening to your country is hard work. Go do it.)

So if The Holy Gut™ was chosen by God to be President, why didn't He send enough troops to Iraq? 

Just asking.

Almost two-thirds of [the troops] surveyed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, or 65 percent, said they believed President Bush "had underestimated the number of troops needed in Iraq," the poll said.

(via Reuters)

Nice to see Bush taking responsibility for this. Oh, wait... He did! That was the "catastrophic success" comment. Oooh, I felt my faith waver there for a moment. Phew!

The poodle barks! Blair secretly to allow US missiles on UK soil 


Tony Blair has secretly agreed to allow President Bush to site US missiles on British soil as part of the new US "son of Star Wars" programme, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Downing Street has given an agreement in principle to the Pentagon to station interceptor missiles at RAF Fylingdales, North Yorkshire.

The confidential deal goes far beyond the official position that Britain is providing enhanced radar provision for the US national missile defence programme.

News of the deepening collaboration over the missile defence programme comes as the Prime Minister considers an American request to send British troops to the US-controlled sector of Iraq.(via Reuters)

Sounds like a deal to me, and Blair got suckered. I mean, trading actual soldiers' lives for a missile defense system that only works when Pentagon flaks technicians tell it where the missiles are coming from? WTF?

Then there's this casual aside:

There was growing anger last night that UK soldiers stationed in Iraq might be put in even greater danger than they are already just to assist a pre-election offensive ordered by the Bush administration.

"Pre-election offensive" is a fine example of that dry, dry British understatement, don't you think? (Please refer all complaints to The Department of "No! They Would Never Do That!"

Goodnight, moon 

OK, I admit it. I'd rather have a bottle in front of me... WhatImeantosayish, I conshealed a bottle in a brown paper bag, and shmuggled it into The Mighty Corrente Building, and then, when my shift ended, I repaired to my tiny room under the stairs, and proceeded to empty it. (And, from their posts and comments, Xan and RDF are doing the same thing. Parallelism of great minds....)

And now, when it comes time to put out my tiny candle, man, it's really hard. There seem to be two of them. Or is it three....

Tinfoil hat time: It's all an evil plot by Acting President Rove to get his worst enemies totally plotzed. And indeed, he's throwing so much crap out right now that the only sane response is self-medication....

This is the weekend, eh? The news is supposed to be slow. What have we got?

1. The MBFs are going nuts. Run this search.

2. Bush totally fucked up the flu vaccine (here, here, and here).

3. Winger judge Posner issued an opinion that says there's no constitutional right to vote (here) Just in time for Ohio 2004! Or Pennsylvania 2004... Or wherever Bush chooses to steal the election this time.

4. Lynne Cheney cheneys her own daughter. She seems ashamed of the love that dares not speak its name.

5. Surprise! Bush had no plan to win the peace. A slogan? No. The facts (here)

But I think the most important story today is this one, about The Holy Gut™(here):

This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic ''base'' that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God.

Um, note to Times copy editors: that's not "leader." It's "Leader."

Are we going to stand for this nonsense?!

I remember a wonderful line from Kingsley Amis's great Lucky Jim. The hero, Dixon, has smuggled a bottle into the guest room where he is spending the night:

The cork burst with a festive pop. Some of the liquid coursed refreshingly down Dixon's chest.

Indeed. The only way to deal with the contradictions and the insanity is to get hammered. And I know I won't pay for it in the morning, this time!

Oh, and I canvassed for a MoveOn GOTV this morning. Nobody home, mostly, but at least I cleaned some bad addresses out of the database. Go thou and do likewise.


Iraq clusterfuck: The Holy Gut™ had no plan to win the peace 

Knight-Ridder, amazingly, is still doing, like, actual reporting. What a weird business model, when everyone knows that the "news" is just entertainment!

The KR piece has two themes: (1) Bush had no postwar plan, didn't think one was needed, and ignored the plans that existed. Bush's guys had a theory, but a theory is not a plan. (2) Bush ruthlessly suppresses all who disagree with him. Did it then, does it now. Any wonder he has issues dealing enlightenment concepts like "evidence" and "reasoning"?

In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."

Heh. Strange to think of a PowerPoint briefing revealing the truth about anything, eh? Who said there are no present-day miracles?!

Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that [the administration] invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions.

"We didn't go in with a plan. We went in with a theory," said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.

The review found that the president and many of his advisers ignored repeated warnings that rebuilding Iraq would be harder than ousting Saddam and tossed out years of planning about how to rebuild Iraq, in part because they thought pro-American Iraqi exiles and Iraqi "patriots" would quickly pick up the pieces. The CIA predicted up until the war's opening days that the Iraqi army would turn against Saddam, which never happened.

This report is based on official documents and on interviews with more than three dozen current and former civilian and military officials who participated directly in planning for the war and its aftermath. Most still support the decision to go to war but say many of the subsequent problems could have been avoided.

Every effort was made to get those who were interviewed to speak for the record, but many officials requested anonymity because they didn't want to criticize the administration publicly or because they feared retaliation.

Meaning that, so far, the felony of outing Valerie Plame had netted out positive for Bush. If only these guys were as good at "politics by other means" as they are at politics!

One official who was deeply involved in the pre-war planning effort - and was critical of it - initially agreed but then declined to cooperate after expressing concern that the Justice Department might pursue a reporter's telephone records in an effort to hunt down critics of the administration's policies.

The weird thing about this that Bush always claims the reason for executive privilege is that he gets unvarnished advice. Then he fires the people who disagree with him in public (Shinseki) and emasculates the ones who disagree with him in private (Powell, I imagine). Go figure. I guess The Holy Gut™—farmer, you picturing that?—tells Bush all He, and we, need to know....
After more than a year of internal squabbling, U.S. military commanders, intelligence officers and diplomats in Baghdad are acting as a team.

Wow, that's really good news! Especially after 1000 of our troops have died....

But the hole created by the absence of an adequate plan to rebuild Iraq, the failure to provide enough troops to secure the country, the misplaced faith in Iraqi exiles and other mistakes made after Baghdad fell is a deep one.

"We've finally got our act together, but we're all afraid it may be too late," said one senior official who's engaged daily in Iraq policy.

Gee, sounds like some sort of, um, management problem...

The Bush administration's failure to plan to win the peace in Iraq was the product of many of the same problems that plagued the administration's case for war, including wishful thinking, bad information from Iraqi exiles who said Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators and contempt for dissenting opinions.

I don't get the point of this. Since The Holy Gut™ made these decisions, how could they be wrong?

And now we get the list of ignored warnings that there was no plan to win the peace:

[1]"The possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious," warned an Army War College report that was completed in February 2003, a month before the invasion. Without an "overwhelming" effort to prepare for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the report warned: "The United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America's own making."

A half-dozen intelligence reports also warned that American troops could face significant postwar resistance. This [2]foot-high stack of material was distributed at White House meetings of Bush's top foreign policy advisers, but there's no evidence that anyone ever acted on it.

"It was disseminated. And ignored," said a former senior intelligence official.

The [3]Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency was particularly aggressive in its forecasts, officials said. One briefing occurred in January 2003. Another, in April 2003, weeks after the war began, discussed Saddam's plans for attacking U.S. forces after his troops had been defeated on the battlefield.

Similar warnings came from the [4]Pentagon's Joint Staff, the [5]State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the [6]CIA's National Intelligence Council. The council produced reports in January 2003 titled "Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq" and "Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq."

That was the list of warnings The Holy Gut™ ignored. Now here's the list of problems The Holy Gut™ didn't handle:

In the first weeks of 2003, as war appeared inevitable, it began to dawn on many officials throughout the government that the United States was unprepared to stabilize and rebuild Iraq after Saddam was defeated.

At the CIA, the national intelligence officer for military issues, retired Maj. Gen. John Landry, became concerned that the military wasn't preparing adequately for postwar Iraq.

He and fellow officer Paul Pillar, acting on their own, convened a [1]brainstorming session of government and private experts at the CIA two months before the war.

It uncovered many problems, including some that couldn't be solved before the war began.

The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Andrew Natsios, [2]couldn't get Pentagon approval to pre-position in Kuwait all the relief supplies he thought would be necessary. [3]The White House was slow to release funds for rebuilding Iraq.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay [3]arner wasn't named to lead Iraq's reconstruction until January 2003 and didn't oversee the first major interagency conference on postwar Iraq until Feb. 21, less than a month before the invasion.

Franks' Central Command did have an extensive plan to restore order and begin rebuilding the country, called Operation Desert Crossing, said retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who drew up the plan and updated it continuously when he led Centcom until 2000. [6] [The stabilization plan] was never utilized.

And now the most revealing detail of all:

[6]On March 17, 2003, two days before the war began, ground force commanders asked the Army War College for a copy of the handbook that had governed the U.S. occupation of postwar Germany, which began in 1945.

Love that deadpan military humor. Unbelievable? All too believable.

And now, Rummy and The Holy Gut™ micromanage the war:

Rumsfeld and his aides made it clear what would happen to generals who bucked them. When, under persistent congressional questioning in February 2003, the Army chief of staff, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, said he thought several hundred thousand U.S. troops would be needed to secure Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz publicly called his estimate "wildly off the mark." Then Rumsfeld's office leaked word of Shinseki's replacement 15 months before Shinseki was due to retire, both embarrassing and neutralizing the Army's top officer. "Rumsfeld just beat up on the military," said the senior intelligence official. "And so they just shut up and did what they were told."

Four senior officers who were directly involved said Rumsfeld and Franks micromanaged the complex process of deciding when and how the troops and their equipment would be sent to Iraq, called the Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data, canceling some units, rescheduling others and even moving equipment from one ship to another.

As a result, two Army divisions that Centcom wanted to help secure the country weren't on hand when Baghdad fell and the country lapsed into anarchy, and a third, the 1st Cavalry from Fort Hood, Texas, fell so far behind schedule that on April 21 Franks and Rumsfeld dropped it from the plan.

And who did The Holy Gut™ rely on to secure Iraq, instead of US troops? Why, the neo-con man-slut, Ahmed Chalabi:

Instead of providing a plan and enough troops to take control of Iraq,
officials, advisers and consultants in and around the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office bet on Iraqi exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, who assured them that Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators.

Douglas Feith, the Defense Department's No. 3 official, and former Pentagon consultant Richard Perle both acknowledged that their vision for post-Saddam Iraq included putting pro-Western exiles in power.

"We had a theme in our minds, a strategic idea, of liberation rather than occupation, giving them (Iraqis) more authority even at the expense of having things done with greater efficiency" by coalition military forces, Feith told The Philadelphia Inquirer last month. Perle, in an interview, said he and others had for years advocated "helping the Iraqis liberate themselves - which was a completely different approach than we settled on."

"We'll never know how it would have come out if we did it the way we wanted to do it," he said.

Nice to see the "Perle of Great Price" taking responsibility....

The CIA, the DIA and the State Department all warned that Chalabi was a charlatan, and the uniformed military dragged its heels in training exiles to join the fight against Saddam.

The battle over Chalabi was one of numerous bitter interagency fights about Iraq that neither Bush nor his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, never resolved.

"I'm not going to put my thumb on the scale," Bush said at a White House meeting where Chalabi's bona fides were hotly debated, according to an official who was present.

"Thumb on the scale"? Or ass on the line? Seems like The Holy Gut™ has a hard time actually, um, making a decision.

That left Pentagon officials to plow ahead with their attempt to position Chalabi and his militia, the Free Iraqi Fighting Forces, to take power after Saddam's fall.

Iran's intelligence service, and that Chalabi or his security chief provided classified U.S. military information to Iran. Chalabi has denied the allegation.
(via Knight Ridder)


Everything we've been saying for the last year is true, isn't it? Surprise!

"Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" - former first lady Barbara Bush - "Good Morning America" March 18, 2003


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