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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Always Remember 

MBF watch: Republican iconography seems strangely familiar... 

There's this:

And then there's this:

And of course there's this:

But I hear the torchlight parades are beautiful!

The Bush - A lie in progress 

"We let Mr. Bush get away with this. And we ought to be ashamed. Now, we need to do something about our own mistakes." ~ Jim Moore

Bush's Tactical Lying by Jim Moore ( author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential )
Being wrong is not very gratifying. Still, I had hoped I was mistaken about George W. Bush. But all of the evidence indicated my president was a liar, a man skilled at deception and changing the evidence to construct alternate realities.

I had been interviewing and writing about Mr. Bush consistently for over 15 years and had spoken with him on the record many times prior to his political ascension. I gave him the benefit of believing what he told me. This is what journalists do.

But they also verify. And when I began the business of corroborating and trying to check out George W. Bush and his various narratives, I began to have grave doubts.


Recently, Russ Baker got Herskowitz [ed note: Mickey Herskowitz, Bush biographer] to sit down to a taped interview and talk about what Bush had related when they began work on the Bush biography in 1999. And, according to Herskowitz, almost everything the public thinks it knows about Bush is wrong.

For 10 years, I have been trying to prove Mr. Bush has been lying and obfuscating about his time in the Texas and Alabama Air National Guard. Russ Baker's interview with Herskowitz proved I was right. As I traveled on the 2000 presidential campaign, I grew weary of hearing Mr. Bush claim that he had reported for duty in Alabama and then, in his biography, A Charge to Keep, he claimed he continued to fly with his Texas unit for many years.

Unless our president is pathological, he knew this was not true. I never found a record to prove Lt. Bush ever reported to duty in Alabama, yet the magnificent research work of Paul Lukusiak proved that Mr. Bush got paid.


My own research and writing indicated the future president was given a free pass to simply leave for Alabama and not report to any kind of duty ever again. And that's precisely how Mr. Bush related the story to Herskowitz back in 1999.


The Herskowitz interview with Baker is more evidence that the Bush organization is willing to recreate history, alter evidence, destroy documentation, and mislead anyone who is seeking the facts about their power.

Much more... read entire post at



The wingers think the OBL tape is a gift.

Yeah, right.

Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,


'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

(Simple Gifts was a work song sung by the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (more commonly called the Shakers, an offshoot of the Quakers).

"And when we hear what others really think and really feel" sounds a lot like not living in the bubble. Eh?

Try singing this in the lines at the polls....

Why they fight 

Hey, I bet our troll gets GOP Team Leader points for polluting your discourse:

Team Leaders get the inside scoop on what's going on at the Republican Party. Each week you will receive an update, The Team Leader, about the latest stories, bills, and actions around the country.

In addition to being given a "political edge" over the competition, you earn GOPoints for each Action Item completed. Action Items range from writing a letter to your editor to calling local voters and gauging public opinion. The GOPoints you earn can, in turn, be redeemed for collateral of your choice, ranging from leather PDA covers to folding chairs.
(via GOP Team Leader)

Hey, what about the beer coolers?

Line up, sign up, and re-enlist today!

PA in a Landslide 

That's not a prediction, that's an order. Win it by 50,000 at the very least, and then this Republican-projection-of-voter-suppression-charges horseshit will be a bit of post-election trivia. Let them count overseas absentees until the fifth of never, let all of them be for Bush (yeah, right) and let it mean nothing.

(via Phluffya Inkwire)
HARRISBURG - The state will count absentee ballots of Pennsylvanians living abroad and serving in the military overseas that arrive up to eight days after Tuesday's election under a compromise brokered yesterday by a federal judge.

Pennsylvania's 67 counties have sent about 26,700 absentee ballots overseas, but it is unclear how many were mailed to military personnel, who tend to vote Republican.

By settling on Nov. 10, the state leaves itself enough time to count the ballots and factor them into a new law triggering a recount in statewide races closer than half of one percentage point, said Mark Aronchick, a Philadelphia election-law expert hired by the Rendell administration.

For more than a week, Rendell has come under intense pressure from GOP officials who have accused him of trying to suppress the military vote.

His main phone line has been swamped by more than 1,000 calls, prompted by conservative talk-show hosts who have urged listeners to complain.

The Republican Party was exploiting the issue "big time... to try and create the impression that Democrats don't care about the military," Rendell said in one of two conference calls with reporters yesterday.

Bush suppresses secret Supplement to the 9/11 Report until after the election 

And speaking of information that wants to be free:

One last chapter of the investigation by the Sept. 11 commission, a supplement completed more than two months ago, has not yet been made public by the Justice Department, and officials say it is unlikely to be released before the presidential election, even though that had been a major goal of deadlines set for the panel.
(via the-actually-doing-some-reporting-these-days New York Times)

I wonder why it hasn't been made public? Perhaps the content of the report will provide a clue!

Drawing from this unpublished part of the inquiry, the commission quietly asked the inspectors general at the Departments of Defense and Transportation to review what it had determined were broadly inaccurate accounts provided by several civil and military officials about efforts to track and chase the hijacked aircraft on Sept. 11.

Besides the pursuit of the hijacked planes, the supplement, a monograph 60 to 70 pages long, revisits other subjects in the commission's final report of July - telephone calls made from the hijacked airplanes, airline security and orders issued that morning by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney - and provides additional detail or context, former commission members said.

Interesting.... But how, you ask, did this portion of the 9/11 report not get published? A series of unfortunate events:

The monograph was submitted to the Justice Department just as the commission's term expired on Aug. 21, a date selected by Congress after long negotiations to avoid bringing out the commission's report at the height of the presidential campaign.It arrived not only as the commission became legally defunct, but also as many commission members and the staff lost their security clearances, Mr. Corallo said. That meant no one from the commission could discuss with the Justice Department lawyers how to edit material that needed to be changed for security reasons, he said.

"Had the commission gotten it to them two or three days before the deadline, they could have resolved any issue in minutes, as they usually do," Mr. Corallo said.

As a result of these complications, the supplement is the first of the commission's documents to be completely controlled by the Bush administration. While the commission was still in business, it was able to exert pressure on the White House when all 10 members, 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans, simply issued a public request for cooperation.

Well, it's all very simple, isn't it? Bush should just order the release of the secret report...

Then again, why can't the newspaper that published the Pentagon Papers publish this? After all, doens't knowing the orders that Bush gave on 9/11 bear on his fitness to be elected President?

UPDATE It's interesting that this is the thread that our troll chose to infest. Always a good diagnostic about what the wingers hate and fear, eh? The last time, it was when CBS published evidence confirming what we already knew—that Bush did not fulfill his duty to the country in the TxANG; this time, it's the story that Bush is suppressing the orders he and Acting President Cheney gave on 9/11. I wonder why? Go for that beer cooler, trolls! You can do it!

Pax—worse than Sinclair 

Information Wants to Be Free 

"Free" as in "able to run like an antelope out of control," not free as in without cost or payment. This is of interest mostly to media junkies, but has some interesting points and a couple of (I know you're going to find this hard to believe) fibs by ass-covering members of the Hubbard clan...

(via Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Monday night, former KSTP reporter Dean Staley called KSTP photojournalist Joe Caffrey to talk about an award the two had just won for their work in Iraq.

Their conversation turned to a story about missing munitions that had run that day in the New York Times and on CBS.

"Joe," Staley told Caffrey, "those bunkers in the story look awfully familiar. I think we were there."

The conversation led to a scoop that's made KSTP, Channel 5, the most popular girl at the media prom this week. News of its exclusive footage of U.S. soldiers sorting through explosives-filled bunkers spread like wildfire through the Internet, radio talk shows and conventional news outlets.

KSTP broke the story Wednesday during its 10 p.m. news. The footage, shot by Caffrey nine days after the fall of Baghdad, appeared to contradict Bush administration assertions that explosives missing from the Al-Qaqaa munitions complex had been removed before U.S. troops arrived.

Thursday night, ABC used its affiliate's footage and "from there it snowballed," said Caffrey. On Friday, KSTP's footage was the focus of a front-page New York Times story, a report on NBC's "Today" show, a Pentagon news conference and chatter on myriad Web sites.
We pause to blush at this point

On a normal day, KSTP's Web site attracts about 36,000 visitors. On Thursday, "it was viewed by 225,000," said general manager Rob Hubbard -- a pace that continued Friday.

It's the kind of news coup experienced by few stations and a somewhat ironic one for the Hubbard Broadcasting station, which has taken flak for its alleged conservative tilt. Now KSTP is the purveyor of a campaign "October surprise."
Now for the fib:

Hubbard also disparaged the political characterization of his family and said the story was an excellent example of its commitment to putting on the news in a fair manner.

"Neither my dad [Stanley S. Hubbard, chief executive of KSTP's corporate parent] nor anybody in my family is Republican," he said.
Google "Hubbard Broadcasting" if you find this assertion somewhat dubious. This is the company that the notorious "Joe Ryan Diaries" author works for. If they ain't Republicans they're the most pro-war Democrats since Zell Miller.

Iraq clusterfuck: Bush STILL hasn't gotten the troops armor! 

Way to support the troops, aWol! Sure, wave the flag, even pray, but as far as actually doing anything? Well, um, no.

When the 1544th Transportation Company of the Illinois National Guard was preparing to leave for Iraq in February, relatives of the soldiers offered to pay to weld steel plates on the unit's trucks to protect against roadside bombs. The Army told them not to, because it would provide better protection in Iraq, relatives said.

Seven months later, many of the company's trucks still have no armor, soldiers and relatives said, despite running some of the most dangerous missions in Iraq and incurring the highest rate of injuries and deaths among the Illinois units deployed there.

"This problem is very extensive," said Paul Rieckhoff, a former infantry platoon leader with the Florida National Guard in Iraq who now runs an organization called Operation Truth, an advocacy group for soldiers and veterans.
(via Times

Was Bush warned? Of course! Has he solved the problem? No! Sensing a pattern?

Before the 103rd Armor Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard left in late February,
some relatives bought those soldiers new body armor to supplant the Vietnam-era flak jackets that had been issued. The mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, a member of the regiment who was killed in April, bought a global positioning device after being told that the Army said his truck should have one but would not supply it.

And before Karma Kumlin's husband left with his Minnesota National Guard unit in February, the soldiers spent about $200 each on radios that they say have turned out to be more reliable - although less secure - than the Army's. Only recently, Ms. Kumlin said, has her husband gotten a metal shield for the gunner's turret he regularly mans, after months of asking.

"This just points to an extreme lack of planning," said Ms. Kumlin, who is 31 and a student. "My husband is part of the second wave that went to Iraq."

"If we're one of the richest nations in the world, our soldiers shouldn't be sent out looking like the Beverly Hillbillies," said the mother of one soldier in the unit, who, like many parents, asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions for their children.

No reality-based thinking must be allowed to pop Inerrant Boy's Bubble.

According to figures compiled by the House Armed Services Committee and previously reported in The Seattle Times, there are
plans to produce armor kits for at least 2,806 medium-weight trucks, but as of Sept. 17, only 385 of the kits had been produced and sent to Iraq. Armor kits were also
planned for at least 1,600 heavyweight trucks, but as of mid-September just 446 of these kits were in Iraq. The Army is also looking into developing ways to armor truck cabs quickly, and has ordered 700 armored Humvees with special weapons platforms to protect convoys.

Specialist Benjamin Isenberg, 27, of the Oregon National Guard, died on Sept. 13 when he drove his unarmored Humvee over a homemade bomb, the principal weapon of the insurgents, said his grandmother, Beverly Isenberg of McArthur, Calif. The incident occurred near Taji, the town north of Baghdad where the 18 reservists refused to make a second trip with fuel that they say had been rejected as contaminated.

"One of the soldiers in his unit said they go by the same routes and at the same times every day," said Mrs. Isenberg, whose husband is a retired Army officer and who has two sons in the military and another grandson in the Special Forces who was wounded in Iraq. "They were just
sitting ducks in an unarmored Humvee."

Unbelievable, outrageous incompetence. And will someone from the Kerry campaign please jump in this in the current news cycle?

Oh, and it's been nice to see the Presidential Proclamation thanking the military families for all their efforts, and the Executive Order to pay them back.... Oh, wait....

Open GOTV thread 

Visualize winning. (From alert reader scaramouche)


Word is from de la fem, that the lines were long in CO, too. And someone beat her to the punch and had hot cocoa and cookies, but she was inside and didn't get to watch. No sign of polecats at the polls she sez, and volunteers welcome. Goddam I'm tired. Four more days and we can end four more years. Must keep repeating, must go on... The lines are long again today in NM, I'm told... so off we go again after training. I got posters and goodies. Hope the lawyers say it's o

Alert reader cgeye:

Tell Ms. de la Fem that the lines were long in Denver, too: At the local Safeway, the line went out the door, around the parking lot halfway to the street. Since it was a supermarket, as are most early sites in Denver, I figured snacks were a line-save away.


President Edwards 

Here's a riddle for you: The election is held as scheduled. None of the four candidates is subsequently killed or incapacitated in any way. On Jan. 20, 2005, John Edwards is sworn in as President of the United States.

How can this be? You always gotta read the fine print:

(via NYT)
The Constitution provides that the vice president becomes president if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office. But the 20th Amendment states that: "If a president shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the president-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the vice president-elect shall act as president until a president shall have qualified."
This story was up very, very briefly; I saw it last night but the link on the front page had vanished by this morning. It's still there, I just checked. Consider this your Saturday giggle.

Suffer the little children 

Scarred for life...

Say, that "W" graphic really works. Remind you of anything?

Today in the qWagmire 

Since actual news of the actual war has been rather crowded out by political stuff, we thought we'd catch you up:


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- In a bloody day in Iraq, eight American Marines were killed in fighting west of Baghdad on Saturday, and a car bomb killed at least seven people in attack on an Arab television bureau in the capital. Iraqi troops fired wildly on civilian vehicles, killing at least 14 people, witnesses and hospital officials said.

The U.S. military said nine Marines were also wounded in the fighting in Anbar province west of the capital which includes the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

- A militant group showed a kidnapped Sudanese interpreter, Noureddin Zakaria, who was working for U.S. contractor Titan Corp. in Ramadi and demanded his company leave Iraq, in a video aired on Al-Arabiya.
Atlanta J-C

Travis Schnoor, 39, a former Army Ranger at Fort Benning, died Wednesday after the vehicle in which he was riding flipped over after hitting an improvised explosive device near Abu Ghraib, about 20 miles west of Baghdad, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

Schnoor's friend John Clements said he had wanted to help out in Iraq, but was too old to go back into the Army. So Schnoor resigned from the sheriff's department and joined Custer Battle of Rhode Island, a security consulting firm, Clements said.
Remember, of course, that the late Messrs. Zakaria and Schnoor do not count at "real" casualties, since they worked for contractors.

Overall, today's report--which keep in mind does not even include the final assault on Fallujah since that hasn't started yet--is summed up nicely by this historical ditty:

(via a comment thread over at Atrios)
Now sorry you all for the mess we made
It'sa way we figger that poker's played
Keep yer stinkin' Eye-raqi sand
Don't you fer'ners understand?
We'll all be free
's 'mocracy!
Now drop that RPG

And it's one, two, three
What are we fightin' for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn
Next stop Eye-raqistan!
And its five, six, seven
No! No! Guantanamo Gate!
Who started this row?
All hat! No cow!
Whoopie! We're all AWOL now!

Come on bloggers around the globe
Post yer comments - and lock 'n' load
Come on journalists,
You know who you are
Bring the feathers and bring the tar!
Up on a rail
Heh Chimp! No bail!
AWOL a hitch in jail!

And it's one, two, three
What are we fightin' for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn
Next stop Eye-raqistan!
And its five, six, seven
No! No! Guantanamo Gate!
Who started this row?
All hat! No cow!
Whoopie! We're all AWOL now!

GOTV: "Ground War 2004" 

Ground War 2004/The Nation
The first reports show that it's clear GOP operatives are attempting to disenfranchise voters through intimidation, suppression and bureaucratic maneuvers in states coast to coast. In Ohio, thousands of Republican challengers are being deployed to polling places in heavily Democratic--and minority--areas to contest voters' eligibility. In Jacksonville, Florida, Suzanne Charlé reports that GOP officials have resisted calls to process new registrations and open needed polling places in black neighborhoods. And, as John Nichols details in the most recent Ground War 2004 dispatch from Wisconsin, Republican officials there have been playing dirty tricks to suppress the vote in liberal Milwaukee.

Ground War 2004 will provide cutting-edge coverage of the polling wars until the election is settled. Please feel free to link to, quote from, and pass along these important pieces from the key battleground states. - The Nation

"The best defense against voter suppression is to flood the polls." ~ Katrina vanden Heuvel

GOTV - To the phones allows anyone, anywhere to make quick encouraging phone calls to young, low-income and minority voters in swing states. Progressive, nonpartisan groups have registered over 2 million of these new voters this year. If they vote, it will make a major difference, and that's why there are so many suppression efforts aimed at them. I hope you can spread the word about VoterCall. We launched a few days ago and have grown to 14,000 volunteers and rising fast. The more volunteers we have the more phone calls we can make. Millions need to be made to get the turnout we need. VoterCall is a project of Res Publica, supported by the National Council of Churches, TrueMajority, Rock the Vote, and National Voice (The November 2 Campaign)

Watch Republicans LIE (again)
Avedon Carol:
I watched tonight's (that is, Friday's) special Question Time in America, with Michael Moore, David Frum (RNC hack), Sidney Blumenthal, Richard Littlejohn (tabloid and TV hack), and Lida Rodrigues-Taseff (civil liberties attorney), with some discomfort as it devolved into an opportunity for Bushistas to recite their talking points, and particularly the one where the people registering new voters and then throwing out registration forms for the other party are Democrats throwing out Republican's forms. - Sideshow


Iraq clusterfuck: New extremely non-political Fallujah offensive 

Looks like Xan was right

See "From Fallujah To the Sea", where Xan wrote:

The "assault on Fallujah," which has been purported to start "any day now" for three weeks, will launch probably Friday, Saturday at the latest. And it will still be continuing on Election Day.

Just wanted to get that on the record. Not that I'm so cynical as to think BushCo would play games with lives and timing just to win an election or anything.

Well, Operation BOHICA looks like it's about to be given the green light:

The American military launched new airstrikes against suspected militant bases in Falljuah Saturday. They also carried out probing attacks on the city's outskirts, as they prepared for a major operation in the city.

U.S. officials say they're taking orders directly from Iraq's Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who has warned officials in Fallujah to root out and hand over militants in the past.
(via CTV)

I really love that "taking orders directly from Allawi" part. Either Bush has surrendured our sovreignty to the Iraqis, or Bush is really the one with his finger on the trigger. Which do you think it is?

I would only amend Xan's prediction as follows: "continuing on Election Day and until all the court challenges are resolved."

Friday, October 29, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Feels like a roller coaster, doesn't it?

And with all these people running up and down the stairs, yelling, it's hard to sleep....

Iraq clusterfuck: Headline of the year 

From the Times, no less!

Bin Laden Takes Responsibility for 9/11 Attacks in New Tape
(via Times)

I think if I were a winger, or of Those Who Have Taken The Bush Oath, my head would be exploding right now...

But wait a minute... If OBL says 9/11 and Iraq have nothing to do with each other, and Kerry says 9/11 and Iraq have nothing to do with each other... That makes OBL and Kerry moral equivalents, right?

I guess we'll be hearing that all weekend....

Election Fraud 2004: Republicans use 20-year-old playbook to disenfranchise blacks 

And what they're doing is illegal:

The Republican challenges in Ohio, Wisconsin and other battleground states prompted civil rights and labor unions to sue in U.S. District Court in Newark, saying the GOP is violating a consent decree, issued in the 1980s by Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise and still in effect, that prevents the Republicans from starting "ballot security" programs to prevent voter fraud that target minorities.

Debevoise, who scheduled a hearing for Monday, expressed concern that widespread challenges on the fear of fraud could unnecessarily disrupt polling places.

Courts in the past found that Republicans used tactics that were aimed at intimidating minority voters and suppressing their votes. The consent decrees in New Jersey stemmed from several incidents in the 1980s.

In 1981, the Republican National Committee sent letters to predominantly black neighborhoods in New Jersey, and when 45,000 letters were returned as undeliverable, the committee compiled a challenge list to remove those voters from the rolls. The RNC sent off-duty law enforcement officials to the polls and hung posters in heavily black neighborhoods warning that violating election laws is a crime.

In 1986, the RNC tried to have 31,000 voters, most of them black, removed from the rolls in Louisiana when a party mailer was returned. The consent decrees that resulted prohibited the party from engaging in anti-fraud initiatives that target minorities or conduct mail campaigns to "compile voter challenge lists."

Undeliverable mail is the basis for this year's challenges in Ohio. Republicans also sent mail to about 130,000 voters in Philadelphia, another heavily black and Democratic stronghold.
(via WaPo)

Well, well, well. Sound familiar? Of course it does.

But wait! It just keeps getting better. MyDD quotes the transcript of the hearing in Ohio where around a thousand Partei challenges were thrown out:


General 2004 :: Thu Oct 28th, 2004 at 07:28:44 PM EST

MR. PRY: You have indicated in this challenge form that the person - that you believe that [Catherine Ann Herold] does not live at that residence; is that correct?

MS. MILLER: That's correct.

MR. PRY: And what is the basis for you making this challenge?

MS. MILLER: That was my impression that these items that I signed were for people whose mail had been undeliverable for several times, and that they did not live at the residence.

As if anyone the Democrats registered would agree to sign for mail sent from the Republican party!

MR. PRY: Did you personally send any mail to Ms. Herrold?

MS. MILLER: No, I did not.

MR. PRY: Have you seen any mail that was returned to Ms. Herrold?

MS. MILLER: No, I have not.

MR. PRY: Do you have any personal knowledge as we stand here today that Ms. Herrold does not live at the address at 238 30th Street Northwest?

MS. MILLER: Only that which was my impression; that their mail had not been able to be delivered.

MR. PRY: And who gave you that impression?

MS. MILLER: Attorney Jim Simon.

MR. PRY: And what did --

MS. MILLER: He's an officer of the party.

MR. PRY: An officer of which party?

MS. MILLER: Republican party.

I love it. "The party Partei"...

MR. PRY: What did Mr. Simon tell you with respect to Ms. Herrold's residence?

MS. MILLER: That the mail had come back undeliverable several times from that residence.

As if anyone would sign for registered mail that came from the Republican Party!

MR. PRY: And you never saw the returned mail?

MS. MILLER: No, I did not.

MR. PRY: Now, you've indicated that you signed this based on some personal knowledge.

MR. HUTCHINSON: (Joseph F. Hutchinson, Jr. Summit County Board of Elections) No

MR. ARSHINKOFF: (Alex R. Arshinkoff, Summit County Board of Elections) Reason to believe. It says, "I have reason to believe." It says it on the form.

MR. JONES: It says, "I hereby declare under penalty of election falsification, that the statements above are true as I verily believe."

MR. ARSHINKOFF: It says here, "I have reason to believe."

MR. HUTCHINSON: It says what it says.

MR. ARSHINKOFF: You want her indicted, get her indicted.

MR. PRY: That may be where it goes next.

MR. HUTCHINSON: Yeah, give it a try.

MR. MORRISON: I'm going to enter an objection.

MR. JONES: Can we have you name?

MR. MORRISON: Yes. Jack Morrison. I've just been informed by Mr. Pry that an indictment may flow out of this, and therefore I'm instructing Ms. Miller to exercise her privilege against self-incrimination. She will not answer any further questions

Beautiful! A Republican thug takes the fifth!

Now that We've Lost the Last Four Years... 

...on global warming in particular and environmental issues in general, does anybody in the Reality-Based Community want to shoot for eight?

I didn't think so. And note that Some Dear Leader we won't name has again failed his own global test:

(via NYT (science writer, not politics))
"These changes in the Arctic provide an early indication of the environmental and societal significance of global warming," the executive summary of the report says.

The study, called the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, was commissioned four years ago by the eight nations with Arctic territory - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States - and conducted and reviewed by 250 scientists and representatives of six organizations representing Arctic native communities.

The study was scheduled for release at a conference in Iceland on Nov. 9, but electronic copies of some portions were provided to The New York Times by European participants in the project, several of whom said that publication had been delayed in part by the Bush administration because of the political contentiousness of global warming.
Note that Inerrant Leader's "home" is a good long ways inland. Go read the whole thing, if only because He doesn't want you to. Might forward it to anyone who lives in Florida, Lousiana, or other coastal states, as well as Alaska which is most directly affected by the data in this report. Oh, btw, they are so fucked.

Not arrogant, no no 

Once again, words fail me:

[DICK "DICK" CHENEY] "Afghanistan and Iraq will be studied for years for their brilliance."
(via AP)

Lemon-fresh pledge 

Once again, Bush outdoes himself. When I lightheartedly (back showed a picture of Bush seeming to give a left-handed Nazi salute to his followers, I had no idea that, within 48 hours, I'd be reading about Bush followers taking an oath of allegiance to the person of Dear Leader. Once again, parody becomes an ugly, ugly reality:

"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."
(via John Marshall)

Um, I think there's a transcription error. Shouldn't that be "raise your right arm"?

The terrifying thing about this, is that once someone was actually gone down this road, pledged allegiance to the person of Goerge Bush, it's hard for to imagine them returning to anything resembling reality; the cognitive dissonance would be too great. These people are entrapped, doomed, lost forever.

Oh, and isn't the double repetition of "re-elect" precious? Like they're stamping down all doubt.

Sick. Disgusting.

UPDATE Billmon returns!

He's b-a-a-a-c-k! 

And as a five o'clock horror, no less:

The video, broadcast on Al-Jazeera television, showed bin Laden with a long gray beard, wearing traditional white robes, a turban and a golden cloak, standing behind a table with papers and in front of a plain, brown curtain.

His hands were steady as he spoke and he appeared healthy.
(via AP)

Looks like that dialysis worked out just fine!

And nice work on that "Dead or alive" thing, Inerrant Boy...

Gaslight watch: "Never mind!" 

TheCIA can't authenticate the tape:

After a technical analysis, the CIA cannot determine whether a videotape obtained by ABC News in Pakistan featuring a man claiming to be affiliated with al Qaeda is authentic, a U.S. intelligence official said Thursday.

"We have been unable to verify the tape's authenticity," the official said.
(via CNN)

So much for "Shazzam the American" ....

No one's buying it. 

As evidenced by this story, no one is buying the administration's furious spinning about the 380 tons of missing high explosives from al QaQaa.

Yet, even in this story, there's a weasely paragraph that comes straight from Rove that is supposed to show "balance" on the part of the stenographers in our press corps:

Still, 377 tons of explosives amount to a tiny fraction of the weaponry in Iraq. U.S. forces have already destroyed, or have slated to destroyed, more than 400,000 tons of all manner of Iraqi weapons and ammunition. But at least another 250,000 tons from Saddam's regime remain unaccounted for, and some has undoubtedly fallen into the hands of insurgents.
It's apparently supposed to make us feel better that the incompetents in this administration have also lost 250,000 more tons of weapons and ammunition?

That's pathetic.

And Atrios is right, by holding this press conference today they've made sure this leads the news cycle for another day.

How stupid was that, anyway?

Karl Can't Be Likin' This 

Now this story is strictly nonpartisan. But take a look at some of these numbers and tell me who you think these people are voting for. Background: Gwinnett County, Georgia, is east-northeast of Atlanta:

(via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The first batch of voters started lining up at 4:30 a.m. Thursday, some plopping into lawn chairs outside Gwinnett's only early-voting precinct.

They were guaranteed at least a 3 1/2-hour wait until voting booths opened at 8 a.m. As it turns out, they had among the shortest stays at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

About 500 voters had lined up before the polls opened, county Elections Supervisor Lynn Ledford estimated.

The official end of an early voting day is 5 p.m., but those already in line are allowed to complete the process.

On Wednesday, the last of 2,200 voters finished at 9:45 p.m., Ledford said.
So, Karl, how's that voter-suppression campaign going? Eh? What's that? I can't seem to hear you, Karl....Karl? Are you crying, Karl?

Suppression, anyone? 

Salon asks and Julian Bond answers:

Do you expect the tactics to be any heavier-handed this year than in the past?

Oh, yeah. I think it will be worse than in 2000. For one thing, in 2000 you did not have the law-enforcement apparatus of the government engaged on one side of the contest, as you do now. Attorney General [John] Ashcroft has instituted this so-called ballot integrity program. Yes, despite appeals to him to issue statements saying we're interested in protecting the voters' right to cast their votes, he's focused entirely on suspicions and allegations of fraud. I don't think anyone thinks that fraud is a widespread problem in the American electoral system. Instead, he's instructed his attorneys general across the United States to be on the alert for fraud, rather than be on the alert for people who are likely to stymie voters and keep them from casting their votes. The two parties are much more aware, taking a lesson from 2000, that every vote counts, and the Democrats take the lesson to mean we need to get all our people to the polls, while the Republicans take the lesson to mean we have to keep as many people as we can away.

Why don't you ever hear about intimidation tactics being used in predominantly white precincts?

You never hear about it because if you're walking down the street and you see a black face and a white face, you can make an informed guess that that black face is going to vote for the Democrats, and so minorities are the targets of people who want to suppress Democratic votes. That's true -- you never hear about this occurring in white precincts. And it's evidence of the partisan and pernicious nature of these practices.

As far as the hard-won right to vote is concerned -- and to have that vote count -- what's at stake for African-Americans in this election?

…It's because after years of trying to suppress and nullify black voters, they've [Republicans] now tried to slice away a wedge of black voters. And in 11 states, [they] have these so-called marriage amendments on the ballot [to prevent gay marriage] and have begun an aggressive campaign to solicit the support of conservative black clergy. And in some respects, they've succeeded. Now, the NAACP opposed the federal amendments, which failed, and opposed these state-level amendments. And Kweisi Mfume, the president and chief executive officer of the NAACP, and I as the chairman, have written letters to ministers in these 11 states, telling them of our opposition and saying that these state-level amendments are simply devices to split the progressive coalition.

via Suppression "WorseThan in 2000" (no day pass required--truthout)

There were long lines at the community center early voting station in Podunksville today, and many of the faces were brown, looking tired. So my traveling companion and myself, having rid ourselves of livestock and having a few dollars, bought a bunch of tiny doughnuts and little cans of juice and handed them out to the folks in line, encouraged them to stay. My companion had bought a Kerry mask at the mall, and so he wore that while handing out goodies, saying “compliments of the next president.” Got a lot of laughs and nobody stopped us. Of course, the line went around the building so probably nobody saw us, either, and I think we were outside the limit anyway. Besides, except for asking Dom to take off the mask, I don't think there's any legal basis to run us off--nothing illegal about handing out juice and doughnuts.

Had to take off our Kerry-a-bilia before we could go inside, but once there actually found other mostly brown faces working hard to get the voters through.

This is a good thing. But if Professor Bond is right, all too rare. I’m divided as to whether he’s right about fraud vs. suppression—I can’t say I’ve actually witnessed a big GOP GOTV effort around here except for annoying phone calls, but maybe I missed it. And there has been a real effort, as he says happened among black voters, to sway Native and Hispanic voters to Bush along Church lines. I’m pleased to say it doesn’t seem to be working around here very well. And I didn't see any people with intimidating clipboards or cameras today. But elsewhere? Anybody walked up to one of these folks and asked "who are you?"

Get the base to the polls, folks. Help keep the line happier with goodies and encouragement. And don’t hesitate to stick your head in the door. As long as you’re not partisan or rude, you can watch the democratic process. If your state—or nearby states—don’t have early voting, be ready for 11/2. Watch for suppression efforts, especially among minority voters.

Bu$henomics: "untouched by analysis, history, or evidence." 

Former Nixon administration Commerce Secretary issues S.O.S: Transcript
My name is Pete Peterson. I'm the cofounder and chairman of the Blackstone Group, I chair the Council on Foreign Relations. I've just stepped down as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.


You have tax cuts, and we've become theological about tax cuts. You know, faith directe, more or less untouched by analysis, history, or evidence. And it's morphed into, "Any tax cut, any time." But a long-term tax cut is not a tax cut at all, unless it's accompanied by long-term spending cuts. It's what you'd call a deferred tax increase on the future, which is our children.


So we become a new oxymoron: the Big Government conservative. So my party has, in a sense, lost its moorings in recent years.

He [George W. Bush]'s a charming person. There were about a dozen of us, largely fat cats from Wall Street, and I said, "Well, sir, if you're elected president, there's a moral issue and a philosophical issue." And he said, "What's this moral point?" And I told him about the German theologian, Bonhoeffer, who said that the ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world it leaves to its children. And I said, "Sir, as I look at these fat cats around this table, I wonder about the morality of what we're doing here -- because while we're getting tax cuts, our kids are going to get huge tax increases, because of our largesse.

Well, you could see that I'd hit him in the solar plexus, or somewhere else, and I said, "I don't think tax cuts are immoral." He was somewhat shaken or irritated by my comment. And I said, "Sir, I didn't say tax cuts were immoral. I said tax cuts for people like us, before you've solved the costs you're going to be passing on to your kids, is in my judgment immoral. But you could just tell by his steely response that tax cuts are part of the theology.

I'm goin' with the "somewhere else" for purely aesthetic reasons.


The Media Monstrosity 

Todd Gitlin (Mother Jones):
The Great Media Breakdown - The press admits it fell for the administration's line on weapons of mass destruction. But the media's failure goes far beyond Iraq.

But of late, the government has had plenty of help in its efforts at dominance. To a disgraceful degree, the organs of news have been grinding out its tune. Many are the reasons for deference. Reporters and editors are credulous, fearful, and flatly bamboozled. Timid about getting out ahead of a public they respect more when it is "conservative" (read: rightwardly radical) than when it is liberal, they bend over backward to accommodate spin doctors. They grant officialdom the benefit of the doubt. They fear risking independent judgment, which they have defined as occupational hubris. They are terrified of missing out on the perks of access. They fear that detailing the anatomy of official distortion will turn off readers and viewers. Their proprietors, seeking favor in high places, cool their critical engines. So the media yield to temptation and morph into megaphones, and falsehoods too often and too loudly repeated take on the ring of plausibility.


Yet even now, the news industry remains unwilling or unable to come to grips with the full scope and system of its failures, and the narrowness of the media's self-criticism does not inspire confidence that they will refuse to swallow government propaganda the next time. (Television news bigwigs, for one, have yet to admit any responsibility for having escorted the nation into a calamitous war.) In fact, the malfunctions extend far beyond the question of WMD, beyond even the routine deceptions of George W. Bush. The machinery of truth-telling has broken down. - continue...

Incestuous Assholification:
Defined as a condition indigenous to todays rightwing radio and cableTV "newspeak" media political culture. Where one only repeats "official" GOP talking points presented in lock-step agreement with reinforcing set beliefs and creating a situation ripe for predisposed imbecilities.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Eesh. Last night was the last time farmer lures me out from under the stairs. And the pools with the sunken nymphs are for the executives. I just work at The Mighty Corrente Building, buffing the nymphs pools. I don't actually execute anything.

I hope somebody's figuring out how to make the long lines at the polls convivial...

Gave two cheerful drunks some change today and told them "Be sure to spend it on alchohol!" Does that make me a bad person? If they laughed?

Remember: It takes a village to stomp a weasel!

More Qa Qaa about al Qa Qaa 


The satellite image that the folks in the Pentagon are peddling this evening isn't even a photo of a bunker that held any of the explosives in question!

(See a rather revealing comparison photo here.)

(Of course, I haven't ever figured out how you could have squeezed 380 tons of explosives onto two tractor trailer rigs in the first place, but I digress.)

In short, they're lying to us once again.

Will our subservient press even point this out?

(link via Josh)

Al Caca: Bush is Da Bomb! 

Many others have gleefully noted ABC's (!) takedown of the latest YABL on the looting of 380 tons of high explosive from an Iraqi warehouse because Bush didn't send enough troops to guard it. We've got pictures.

But the winger frothing and stamping has obscured the most amazing fact: It's the Iraqis themselves who say the explosives were looted! Which makes the transcendant genius of Bush claiming the Kerry is "leaping to conclusions" all the more mind-boggling. Alert reader riffle, in comments:

The IAEA has a PDF file that includes a page which looks a lot like this one (minus the "confidential" stamp, the border-lines in the table, and misc markings). It includes the text:

We would like to inform you that the following materials which have been included in annex 3 (item 74) registered under IAEA custody were lost after 9 April 2003, through the theft and looting of the governmental installations due to lack of security. Therefore we feel an urgent updating of the registered materials is required.

The PDF file is here: IAEA letter.
If that link doesn't work, here's the URL:

So. Um. The goverment that Bush himself installed says the stuff was looted, and then Bush and the entire wingersphere says Kerry's jumping to conclusions. WTF?

How the Republicans support the troops 

No, this isn't the story about how Bush sent the troops into battle without body armor or enough armored vehicles, and didn't have a plan to win the peace.

This is the story about the Republicans desperate attempts to blame somebody, anybody, for letting 380 tons of high explosives get looted during the Iraq war. Ideal for IEDs, don't you think?

It's been quoted all day, but I have to quote it here, for the sheer pleasure of seeing hypocrisy in its rawest, purest, most odiferous skankiest form:

"No matter how you try and blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops who were there. Did they search carefully enough?" Giuliani said on NBC's "Today" show.
(via Reuters)

Right. It's the troops fault.

Why do the Republicans hate the troops?

"Jumping to Conclusions" 

Nice Kerry takedown of one of the index cards KaWen wrote up for Inerrant Boy:

Bush on Wednesday accused Kerry of opportunism, saying: "A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as commander-in-chief."

Kerry threw the words back at the president during an appearance in Toledo, where he announced he was going "to apply the Bush standard" and declared: "Mr. President, I agree with you."

"George Bush jumped to conclusions about 9/11 and Saddam Hussein," he said. "George Bush jumped to conclusions about weapons of mass destruction ... George Bush jumped to conclusions about how the Iraqi people would receive our troops. He not only jumped to conclusions, he ignored the facts he was given."
(via Reuters)


The Wecovery: Unemployment up again. Surprise! 

I wondered why Rove would have Vlastos break the tape on a Thursday, but fifty slaps with a wet noodle for me! That's when the economic statistics come out!

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week by 20,000, the largest jump in a month, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The bigger-than-expected increase pushed total new claims to 350,000 last week and provided fresh evidence that the labor market is still under pressure even though the economic recovery is about to celebrate its third anniversary.
(via AP)

Don't you love that? Three years of recovery and the jobs market still sucks. Some recovery! Some "celebration"!

And—Oh wow!—the economists are wrong again! Can't we please outsource them?

The increase of 20,000 was sharply higher than the 6,000 gain that many private economists had been expecting and was the biggest one-week rise since a jump of 21,000 claims in the week of Sept. 25.

Andmdash;Oh wow!—again!

For September, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.4 percent, but businesses added just 98,000 new jobs, far below what analysts had been expecting.

Why do we believe the analysts? This is the policy result that Bush is aiming for! (A touch of the lash," back) Please, Mr. Overseer ....

Gaslight watch: ABC breaks extremely non-political terror alert story 

You know—the one first leaked to Sludge? (back)

Read all about Azzam the American:!

Or would that be Shazzam the American?

As usual with Bush, I don't know whether to puke or go blind. I guess I'm too reality based. The message seems, um, a little bit mixed to me.

Bush Logic
The Bush logic seems to be:

1. Bush has been President for 4 years

2. There's going to be a terror attack right before the election!

3. Therefore, only Bush can keep the country safe!


Does anyone else understand this reasoning? Because I sure don't.

Is the tape authentic?
UPDATE Oh, uh, authenticity. Here's what the vry mild-mannered Christian Science Monitor has to say:

A new videotape that has surfaced in Pakistan threatens a massive attack against the United States by a purported American member of Al Qaeda. It is not yet known if the tape is an authentic Al Qaeda production, but it bears enough resemblance that some experts are taking the tape seriously.

Well, we'll be anxiously awaiting the word from the Superscript and Times Roman experts on how it's possible to authenticate digital footage from a Pakistani (intelligence?) source on the eve of the election. Eh?

After all:

[It] shows a high degree of sophistication and bears the logo of Al Qaeda's video production house, As-Sahab.

Hey, it's got an AQ logo on it! Say no more! Say no more!

On the video, the unknown man's face is masked with a Palestinian scarf and sunglasses. He stabs the air with his finger, which appears to be fair-skinned, as he delivers his warning in American-accented English.

Couldn't Rove find an authentic Arab? Or is this some subtle, subliminal suggestion about "the traitors among us"?

ABC doesn't know the tape is authentic, releases it anyhow
Great to see the wingers frothing and stamping about ABC doing what CBS did. Oh, wait... Anyhow, here's a look into the hopes and dreams of the ABC producer handling this story:

Gretchen [Peters] a producer for ABC News, worked with local journalists to obtain a tape from an English-speaking militant threatening attacks on the US (see story). She says that this kind of work often means paying people to transport material from these remote locations. "We did pay a courier $500 for bringing us the video," Gretchen says. "He wanted much more, but we bargained him way down. Normally I pay about $200 when people bring videotapes from tribal areas like Waziristan. These guys incur expenses; it takes several days to make the trip." She says that other news organizations also pay for delivery of material.

Still, Gretchen is confident that this didn't compromise the integrity of the information on the tape. While she hadn't worked with this particular courier before, most of the people she uses are local Pakistani journalists who work for reputable daily newspapers and radio stations. "Some people speculate that the tape is a hoax made by people who wanted the cash, but $500 would be a paltry sum to get for the amount of work that went into making that video," Gretchen says.

Oh, Gretchen. Gretchen, Gretchen, Gretchen. The question isn't whether your source made the video for $500. The question is, who made the video for the source? And why oh why did they have to use an Arabic speaker with an American accent?

"The speaker is fluent in English, is extremely articulate, the subtitling is in perfect Arabic, and he makes all the Al Qaeda arguments."

Wow! Good production values! Whoever made the tape had plenty of money! That proves the tape is authentic!

Gretchen agrees that ABC, which had not aired the tape by the time the Monitor went to press, must proceed with caution, especially in the wake of CBS News mistakenly using forged documents in a story critical of President Bush. The ABC tape features an anonymous speaker that the CIA can't identify. "We need to be 100 percent sure, but there are a lot of markings that indicate it is an Al Qaeda video," she says. "I feel it is the real deal. And I'm still hoping we can prove it."

We still hope we can prove it's real.... Oh. My. God. Man, that sure is proceeding with caution!

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

The essential Atrios makes two good points here: (1) Remember the good old days, when Condi said that the networks shouldn't air AQ tapes? What's changed between then and now, I wonder? (2) Drudge's source for the tape was doubtless VWRC operative and winger whore Chris Vlastos. Of course.

Out of the mouths of babes....
In fact, even the freepers think it's fake!

Wonder how long it will take for that post to be wiped? Perceptive comment on the Rovian subliminalness, though—the "traitors among us" would, of course, be gay.

Department of Cheap Little Ironies
The tape comes out on the same day that Bush pulls a doctored campaign ad. And the beauty part? The ad was named "Whatever it takes." Heh.

Math for Republicans 

I ain’t no mathematician, but:

One Cheat:
Before one vote was cast in early voting this week in Florida, the new touch-screen computer voting machines of Florida started out with a several-thousand vote lead for George W. Bush. That is, the mechanics of the new digital democracy boxes "spoil" votes at a predictably high rate in African-American precincts, effectively voiding enough votes cast for John Kerry to in a tight race, keep the White House safe from the will of the voters. via Florida Computers Snatch Thousands of Votes From Kerry

Plus One Real Threat Bushco Ignores:
As I learned while embedded in Iraq, the highly lethal explosives stolen from Al Qaqaa are just a fraction of the mountain of poorly secured munitions that could be turned against U.S. soldiers and citizens. via Lethal Explosives: Tip of the Iceberg

Plus One Pissed Off Military:
Citing the insurgency, a lack of manpower and a plan to reorganize, the service's chief of staff says deployments cannot be shortened. The Army has abandoned the possibility of shortening 12-month combat tours in Iraq to six or nine months, its top officer said Tuesday. via Iraq Combat Tours

Plus One More Doctored Ad:
INDIANOLA, Iowa - President Bush's campaign acknowledged Thursday that it had doctored a photograph used in a television commercial and said the ad will be re-edited and reshipped to TV stations. via Bush campaign to re-edit doctored ad

Plus One Bunch of Liberated People:
(AP) A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000 more people may have died throughout the country in the 18 months after the U.S. invasion than would be expected based on the death rate before the war. via Household Survey Sees 100,000 Iraqi Deaths

Equals: One Stomped Weasel (as below with a hat-tip to Kos in the article)
With that brief polling primer, anyone can take a look at the numbers and get a sense for the state of the race. And a strict by-the-numbers calculation shows that Bush is in serious trouble.

In Ohio, Bush numbers range from 43-49%, failing to break 50% in any of the 12 Ohio polls in October. Indeed, there are signs that Bush has essentially abandoned the state, working to build his electoral majority by winning three out of four in Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Mexico. But October polling in those states also show an incumbent in serious trouble.

In 14 Florida polls, Bush hasn't broken 50% since a SurveyUSA poll conducted between October 1 and October 3. A subsequent SurveyUSA poll now gives Kerry a 50-49 lead in the state. In Iowa, a single poll has him at 51% while six others range between 46% and 49%. Wisconsin is giving Democrats heartburn, but Bush breaks 50% in only one of the nine polls this month. Two independent polls put him as far back as 43%. New Mexico has Bush in the 43-49% range, anaemic numbers in a state Gore won by less than 1,000 votes.

Much can happen in one week, and Republicans are doing their part to prevent a fair election. Perhaps the Bush campaign is right and the 50% rule won't apply to them this year. But the Bushies haven't been right about much of anything the past four years, while Democrats are vigorously challenging voter suppression efforts around the country. As of this writing, this is Kerry's election to lose. via Polling Truth

Explosive Proof 

This is it. No more spinning "The Russians did it!" Guliani can take his "it's the soldiers' fault" and shove it, along with his reputation, rectally.

Let's go to tape, folks. This is from KSTP TV, a Minneapolis-St. Paul station owned by the Hubbard company, whose news director used to do PR work for Republican governors and whose owner has been gung-ho for this war all along.

(via Atrios)
A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew in Iraq shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein was in the area where tons of explosives disappeared.

The missing explosives are now an issue in the presidential debate. Democratic candidate John Kerry is accusing President Bush of not securing the site they allegedly disappeared from. President Bush says no one knows if the ammunition was taken before or after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003 when coalition troops moved in to the area.

Using GPS technology and talking with members of the 101st Airborne 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS determined our crew embedded with them may have been on the southern edge of the Al Qaqaa installation, where that ammunition disappeared. Our crew was based just south of Al Qaqaa. On April 18, 2003 they drove two or three miles north into what is believed to be that area.

During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew bunker after bunker of material labelled explosives. Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get in and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords.

"We can stick it in those and make some good bombs." a soldier told our crew.

There were what appeared to be fuses for bombs. They also found bags of material men from the 101st couldn't identify, but box after box was clearly marked "explosive."

In one bunker, there were boxes marked with the name "Al Qaqaa", the munitions plant where tons of explosives allegedly went missing.

Once the doors to the bunkers were opened, they weren't secured. They were left open when the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew and the military went back to their base.

"We weren't quite sure what were looking at, but we saw so much of it and it didn't appear that this was being secured in any way," said photojournalist Joe Caffrey. "It was several miles away from where military people were staying in their tents".

Officers with the 101st Airborne told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the bunkers were within the U.S. military perimeter and protected. But Caffrey and former 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Reporter Dean Staley, who spent three months in Iraq, said Iraqis were coming and going freely.
As of five minutes ago, MSNBC's lead on this story was still the Moonie Times' babble about the Russians, which incidentally mentioned neither the dubious nature of the Times, the questionable nature of the Times' source on the matter, nor the fact that the Russian defense department and government at all levels has flatly denied it.

Call all your local TV stations and ask if they have this tape yet. By damn I think we can turn a "he said, he said" story into a "he said, HE LIED, DAMMIT!" story by tonight's network newscasts.

Let slip the wolves of truth!

MBF Watch: The Thuggery List 

Maintained by the ever essential Orcinus.

Ever notice how when Democrats complain about Republican thuggery, it's stuff the Republicans have already done, and when Republicans complain, it's about stuff they say the Democrats are going to do? I guess it's the concepts of "evidence" and "reasoning" as opposed to faith-based pre-emption.... All over again.

Electing the Supreme Court 

Just in case anybody is STILL not motivated to get people to the polls, consider the words of Marjorie Cohn:

…The Supreme Court is currently divided by a razor-thin 5-4 margin. Regardless of the outcome of Rehnquist's illness, he has said he would not remain on the Court for another four years. Bush, if given a second term, would replace Rehnquist with a much younger, right-winger, who would remain on the Court for years to come. Bush would also have the opportunity to choose the next chief justice, who could significantly shape the Court. If Bush had his druthers, he would elevate Scalia or Thomas to Chief. But either choice would invite a nasty partisan battle in the Senate, which must approve the president's nomination by a two-thirds vote. Bush would probably find another right-wing zealot to assume the role of chief justice.

What would the Court look like if Bush were to appoint justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas? Roe v. Wade could be overturned. Abortion could become a crime in most states - back to back-alley abortions for poor, young women. Workers could lose family and medical leave. Gays could be imprisoned for having consensual sex in the privacy of their own homes. Equal voting rights for African Americans and other racial minorities could be at risk (not just de facto, the way they are today, but de jure, as well.) Affirmative action could be eviscerated.
Preservation of the environment could give way to corporate profits. Inmates in this country (not just in Iraq and Guantánamo) could be beaten with impunity…

…The future of the law of the land is at stake in this election. The differences between Bush and Kerry are stark on judicial appointments. During the third debate, Kerry said: "I'm not going to appoint a judge to the court who's going to undo a constitutional right, whether it's the First Amendment or the Fifth Amendment or some other right that's given under our courts today, or under the Constitution." Kerry added: "And I believe that the right of choice is a constitutional right."

Voters will have a choice between an administration that fights to protect the rights of everyone, not just those of straight white rich religious men, and one that promises to remake the Court in the image of those who would deny basic liberties to many.
via Beware Scalia-Thomas Clones

Yes, fine, let fear clutch your heart for a minute. But consider, ye lubbers, that the W-world envisioned by the farmer, below, is not just a theory—if we don’t get out the vote, and then monitor it, and then watch the results, it will be the world we live in. Avast! Throw a voting party! Stage a cookout near a polling station! Volunteer to be a pollwatcher! Don’t take no for an answer! Direct action gets satisfaction! Create a village! Stomp aWeasel! It is possible to be tough and determined without being violent…especially when sweet, sweet reason is on your side.

I’ll be on the road until Sunday, selling off some sheep and chickens before winter (maybe giving a few away to the right causes), handing out GOTV propaganda and nagging people to the polls. Every little thing helps now—the friggin election is NEXT TUESDAY, me hearties.

And we are electing the next Supreme Court, not just John Kerry.

Like Talking to a Cocker Spaniel 

Between the uncomprehending, affronted reaction to Stewart's Crossfire appearance and Jim Rutenberg's column in today's Times, you really don't need much more evidence that, as Bob Somerby likes to put it, journalists are from another planet. They are certainly incapable of understanding anything resembling intelligent criticism spoken in plain English.

Witness Rutenberg's precis of Somerby's Daily Howler:
Bob Somerby, a comedian who runs a Web site called The Daily Howler that often accuses the news media of being shallow, lazy, bullied by Republicans and unfairly critical of Democrats, said a more genteel approach would not be effective. (He has referred to this reporter on his Web site as "dumb" and in "over his head" for being blind or turning a blind eye to Republican spin.)

"I've come to feel the only way you can really deal with the press corps is to beat up on them," Mr. Somerby said. Most political reporters interviewed for this article insisted that outside forces did not sway them from being fair, though a couple admitted they could not rule out having pulled punches in small and even subconscious ways.
Yeah, that's what Somerby's talking about. And Rutenberg's interviewed the targets of the criticism, and they all think it's very unfair and misinformed. It's that tenacious interrogation technique that helped keep us from being misled into war in Iraq. Thanks for another howler, Jim.

Speaking of man's best friend, substitute "Bias" for "Ginger" in the second panel of Larson's famous cartoon, and you have a snapshot of how the press interprets any and all criticism directed at it.

To see just how "over his head" Rutenberg is, you know what to do: just click here.

Roveskampf and Selbsterhaltungstrieb 

To the bunker! One of the boys signaled the choir and the whole flock began to sing. And the song they sang that night, on bowed knee before the jaundiced conformation of the Beast itself, in the ambient silver light of an August tuxedo moon, was none other than "the Yellow Rove of Texas" - and it went something like this:

When the campain cash is flowin', the TV lights are bright,
He stalks the halls of power, in the quite DC night:
He thinks we must remember, when we started long ago,
We promised to remain with him and never leave the show.

Oh now we hail Dear Leader, whose heart is burned to marl,
And we'll spin our lies together, our faiths in Uncle Karl:
We'll play the press corps daily, and take cheap shots galore,
And the Yall'r Rove of Texas shall be ours forevermore.

Yes sir. It was a sight it was, and not many folks have lived to tell of it. That, of course, is a brief snip from the 2004 Ratfuckers Ball held earlier this summer in Cuckoo, Virginia. I was there myself and saw it all. Disquised as the ghost of Vidkun Quisling, and claiming to represent Larry Pratt's Gun Owners of America, I mingled easily and made many new friends who read passages from old yellowing copies Der Angriff. I snapped the above photo with my secret spyblogger micro-mini camera which I had surgically implanted under my right eyebrow.

Topics discussed that evening were many, but, when it came to spellbinding crowd pleasing oratorical sway nothing could out match the thundering intoxicating praise for those who spoke on behalf of the tenets of Rovism.

I recorded much of what was said this summer evening on a secret hidden audio recording device baked inside of a sweet buttery Danish pastry which I squirreled away in my jacket pocket. Therefore, I have provided for all of you, some of audio excerpts of that historic evening.

Neal Gabler of the LA Times spoke first on the doctrine of ROVISM:
"Unwavering discipline, demonization of foes, disdain for reality and a personal sense of infallibility based on faith... [...] ...theocracy — the president as pope or mullah and policy as religious warfare... [...] ...Rovism is government by jihadis in the grip of unshakable self-righteousness — [...] It imposes rather than proposes." - more

Next up was Edith Fletcher (no relation to Jessica),
Rove does not compromise and brooks no contribution from outsiders. His facts are what he makes them, and the most agile minds are hired to twist words into blood-letting slogans and lethal sound bites.

He uses faith for his own purposes and provides religious strawmen and tar babies for unsuspecting opponents to flay at or get stuck to. And after all their flaying and cleaning off of mud and tar they end up looking silly and ineffective. They are ineffective -- at laying booby traps and political landmines in the Rovism way because he makes his "ism" swagger and look admirably tough to little people. - still more

The crowd was on its feet! Gabler couldn't contain himself and scrambled back onto the stage once again:
...Rovism is... [...] It is a philosophy and practice of governing that pervades the administration and even extends to the Republican-controlled Congress. As Robert Berdahl, chancellor of UC Berkeley, has said of Bush's foreign policy, a subset of Rovism, it constitutes a fundamental change in "the fabric of constitutional government as we have known it in this country."


All administrations try to work the system to their advantage, and some, like Nixon's, attempt to circumvent the system altogether. Rove and Bush neither use nor circumvent, which would require keeping the system intact. They instead are reconfiguring the system in extra-constitutional, theocratic terms.- still even more

The crowd went wild! Teutonic ninny wild! Es lieght in der luft! Laura Ingraham was on her kness crawling between the tables howling like an Alsatian she-bitch as champagne and jumbo shrimp were tossed into the torpid night air and long red banners displaying a black 'W' enclosed in a white circle fluttered regally in the warm summer breeze; wafting through the open doors as a great floor to ceiling searchlight display postitioned behind the stage lit up the heavens of the hall.

Oh it was something to behold alright. And then they all raised their arms in that creepy three-fingered 'W' salute and beagn to sing again: "He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat - He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat - Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet! - Our Dear Leader is marching on...

"Oh my fucking God!", I thought, "these people are crazy retro-crazed bastards!". And I fled the hall and made my way down the long drive just as it began to rain. I bumped into Jeane Kirkpatrick's limo driver. I informed him that I was so, goddamnit-all, the appointed leader of Vichy France and that if he didn't drive me to the car-pool parking lot in Gum Springs immediately I would have him reassigned to an aerodrome on the Polish frontier. Well, he didn't like the sounds of that, fuck no, who would, so off we went.

We easily located my stolen vehicle which I had borrowed for the evening and which I returned with a full tank of gas to the parking lot at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Then I located my trusty bicycle and, lashed by hail and thirty mile per hour head winds, peddled back to the Corrente building in Philly where I coaxed Lambert out from under the stairs with promises of pictures of torch light parades and audio tape recordings of Ted Olsen - no relation to the twins, as far as I know - singing "Tomorrow Belongs to Me."

BTW: I still can't figure out why Lambert hunkers under those damned stairs. The Corrente Building has dozens of available rooms each offering a warm complimentary pot of psilocybin laced fondue and sunken nymph pools teeming with exotic life, terra cotta tiled atriums littered with spent shotgun shells and talking furniture, resplendant with minature golden pear trees teeming with green vipers, and other really neato stuff. Whatever. In any case, it ain't like anyones hiding his mail or anything. Jeepers.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Rovism. It's kinda like a flesh eating virus. Remember them folks I told ya about above with the old yellowing copies of Der Angriff? Well, they're feeling frisky again. Here ya go:

We enter parliament in order to supply ourselves, in the arsenal of democracy, with its own weapons. We become members of the Reichstag in order to paralyze the Weimar sentiment with its own assistance. If democracy is so stupid as to give us free tickets and per diem for the this "blockade" (Barendienst), that is its own affair. [...] We do not come as friend nor even as neutrals. We come as enemies: As the wolf bursts into the flock, so we come. - Joseph Goebbels, Der Angriff, 1935

When democracy granted democratic methods for us in the times of opposition, this was bound to happen in a democratic system. However, we National Socialists never asserted that we represented a democratic point of view, but we have declared openly that we used democratic methods only in order to gain the power and that, after assuming the power, we would deny to our adversaries without any consideration the means which were granted to us in the times of opposition. - Joseph Goebbels, 1935

The parliamentary battle of the NSDAP had the single purpose of destroying the parliamentary system from within through its own methods. It was necessary above all to make formal use of the possibilities of the party-state system but to refuse real cooperation and thereby to render the parliamentary system, which is by nature dependent upon the responsible cooperation of the opposition, incapable of action. - Ernst Rudolf Huber, Nazi Party writer on issues of Constitutional Law.

"For how does one think to fill people with blind faith in the correctness of a doctrine if by continued changes in its outward construction one spreads uncertainty and doubt?"
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf, Vol.II, Chapter V, 'View of Life and Organization', page 681)

Yellow blockquotes cited above from:
Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression Volume I Chapter VII:
Means Used by the Nazi Conspirators in Gaining Control of the German State
ACQUISITION OF TOTALITARIAN POLITICAL CONTROL - First Steps in Acquiring Control of State Machinery. From The Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington. 1946

Are ya worried? I don't blame you. But hey, if the Boston Red Sox can 86 an 86 year old curse we can certainly strangle to death the curse of the 'W'. No blind faith required.


Massachusetts On a Roll! 

Red Sox win, and just a note to certain parties (you know who you are) who quibbled at me in Comments after the ACLS that the curse was not really broken until the World Series was won--nyah nyah nyah!

And the Harvest Moon becomes the Blood Moon this year. I've seen a number of lunar eclipses, being an astronomy junkie since childhood, and seldom if ever have I seen the degree of redness this one has. I am sure it is dreadful news relating to particulate matter in the upper atmosphere sure to lead to an increase in global warming, but the veneer of civilization is sometimes thin and legends seep out of the bones, and one thinks of omens.

Meanwhile, take a look at Lambert's story on good news from Ohio. Now, out of the land of my birth, comes the second good news of the day on the Republican Voter Suppression Campaign.

(via NYT)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A judge declined to rule Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Republican voters challenging a decision that allows Iowans to cast provisional ballots outside of their home precincts. He said the challenge was premature.

Polk County District Court Judge Arthur Gamble said Secretary of State Chet Culver acted within his responsibility as the state's top election official when he ruled such votes could be counted.

The judge said, however, five Republicans who sued Culver must wait until Friday to proceed in the case; Culver issues his final election rules Thursday.

Des Moines attorney Richard Sapp, representing the five Republican Iowa voters, vowed to refile the case if Culver failed to reverse his earlier instructions.

``Unless this court does something to stop it, the secretary of state ... is about to conduct the Nov. 2 general election in a manner directly contrary to Iowa's election laws,'' Sapp said.
Frankly I don't know what the big deal is about Iowa this year. Five damn electoral votes fer chrissakes? When if they would give me one, just one, trip, and I'll take Edwards or the Big Dog, put the former up in West Memphis and the latter into Nashville and I will take the state of Tennessee which is eleven EV goddammit and Zogby has us this fucking close and....

Ahem. What I was saying is that if Iowa's that damn important, then this is a good damn decision. Votes cast in error can be caught and removed from the tally if need be. Votes which are never cast because somebody intentionally fucked up the polling procedure for pure raw uncut political power of a fascist stench and, er, what was I saying? Votes never cast are just lost, never to be retrieved or revived.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Gaslight watch: Oh wow! There may be an extremely non-political terror alert this weekend! 

Tom posted on this earlier (back, but allow me the pleasure of quoting winger whore Sludge:

[Snip] In the last week before the election, ABCNEWS is holding a videotaped message from a purported al Qaeda terrorist warning of a new attack on America, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The terrorist claims on tape the next attack will dwarf 9/11. "The streets will run with blood," and "America will mourn in silence" because they will be unable to count the number of the dead. Further claims: America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda.

ABCNEWS strongly denies holding the tape back from broadcast over political concerns during the last days of the election.

The CIA is analyzing the tape, a top federal source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.

ABCNEWS obtained the tape from a source in Waziristan, Pakistan over the weekend, sources tells DRUDGE.

"We have been working 24 hours a day trying to authenticate [the tape]," a senior ABCNEWS source said Wednesday morning, dismissing a claim that ABC was planning to air portions of the video during Monday's WORLD NEWS TONIGHT.

The terrorist's face is concealed by a headdress, and he speaks in an American accent, making it difficult to identify the individual.
(via Sludge Report) [End Snip]

Cunning devils! Concealing their faces!

Well. Just few points.

1. Life's little ironies: I like the picture of ABC telling Rove that they have to be very careful about authentication, after what happened to CBS.

2. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: I mean, isn't the Rove->Pakistani Intelligence Services->ABC three cushion bank shot just a little too obvious? I mean, how on earth could ABC authenticate this? I guess they would just have to, um, take it on faith.

3. From the Department of "How Stupid Do They Think We Are: "[T]he terrorist speaks in an American accent." Sheesh! Couldn't Rove's production company at least get a terrorist with the right accent?!

(The classic handwriting of the Bush White House: Inability to delegate beyond a small inner circle. If Rove had been willing to delegate faking the tape to the Pakistanis, ABC might have fallen for it; but he used his own production house....)

Goodnight, moon 

I'd post more, but blogger's seemingly intractable suckitude just makes that too hard.

When I stand up and start yelling and waving my arms at the computer (an "Error 500" from a billion dollar IOP?) I hit my head on the low ceiling under the stairs, and that hurts.

But I want to give a real shout-out to Xan for the best paranoid theory about a Bush November surprise.

Of course, Xan it's utterly inconceivable that Bush would time a new Fallujah offensive for voting day, and put troops at risk just to win an election.... Um...

Do you think He'll fly over there?

Looks like we'll actually have plans for election day: (1) a backup site in case blogger tanks, and (2) a small blogathon in Philly. It is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it will be, perhaps, the end of the beginning....

Does anyone have the full-size version of this image? 

This is, of course, the letter from the Iraqi government to the IEAE, informing them that tons of the explosives the IAEA had been tracking were now gone, due to looting.

Yes, they used the word "looting." But alas, the Times unhelpfully does not reproduce the letter at full size, though in the print version they did.

I mention this because it seems to be getting lost: the wingers are frothing and stamping, and Josh Marshall is trying valiantly to keep up with their ever-changing stories, but shit

The Iraqi government—the very government that Bush installed, and whose head He just had over to the WhiteWash House for a fluffing sesssion—says the explosives were looted. Meaning, the explosives were looted because Bush didn't guard the site, because he didn't have the troops to do so.

Bush says this the charge that the explosives were looted is "wild." (Nice one, Karen!) If so, it's a wild charge that the "sovreign" Iraqi government itself is making.


A U.S. District Court judge yesterday effectively ended efforts by Republicans in Ohio to challenge the eligibility of tens of thousands of voters in one of the most closely contested states in this year's presidential race.

Judge Susan J. Dlott in Cincinnati issued an order preventing local election boards from going forward with plans to notify challenged voters and hold hearings until she hears legal arguments tomorrow. But because her ruling means that those election board hearings cannot take place within the time frame state law requires before the election, Dlott's ruling kills the GOP effort that had targeted 35,000 voters, Democratic and Republican party officials said.

Thank God! She made the judiciary an independent and co-equal branch of government....

Oh, and a little lagniappe:

It was the second time that the GOP has lost on the issue.

Frivolous lawsuits... Listening, F/Buckhead?

I didn't know Inerrant Boy was ambidextrous 

No, but seriously folks.

Don't you think the photographs of Bush on the campaign trail have carried the Leni Riefenstahl/ Triumph of the W thing far enough?

Perhaps even too far?

Election Fraud 2004: Decoding the Republican Strategy 

Nicholas Confessore puts all the pieces together:

If Reuters were an opinion magazine, here's how they'd spell out the strategy. First, the GOP, using what appear to qualify as illegal methods, has attempted to mislead thousands of Democratic-leaning voters in Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, into thinking they'd be registered but are not. (And Ed Gillespie, whose own outfit is funding these efforts via Sproul & Associates and God knows what other firms and consultants, is alleging Democratic fraud in precisely those states! Black is white. Up is down.) Consequently, those thousands of people are going to show up at polls and probably run into a lot of confusion and paperwork and problems. At the same time, Republican secretaries of state and election officials in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere are pushing interpretations of election statutes that further muddy the waters for those who do get to vote.

I'd never connected this: The people who registered with the fraudulent Republican outfits—you remember, the outfits that threw Democrats registrations in the trash—will innocently show up at the polls and create disorder, lines, etc. Beautiful!

And now comes the key point:

Having done as much as possible to create the conditions for a confusing election, the GOP is getting ready to cast the inevitable results of that confusion -- people turning up in the wrong precincts, people who've moved from the neighborhood they originally registered and are trying to vote wherever they live now, and so forth -- as symptoms of outright election fraud.

Creating chaos to win power on the promise to make the chaos go away... That sounds familiar... From an old, old playbook. AH! I have it:

In the increasingly desperate situation of 1930, the Nazis managed to project an image of strong, decisive action, dynamism, energy and youth that wholly eluded the propaganda efforts of the other political parties, with the partial exception of the Communists. The cult of leadership which they created around Hitler could not be matched by comparable efforts by other parties to project their leaders ... All this was achieved through powerful, simple slogans and images, frenetic, manic activity.. which underlined the Nazi's claim to be far more than a political party: they were a movement, sweeping up the German people and carrying them unstoppably to a better future. What the Nazis did not offer, however, were concrete solutions to Germany's problems.....

More strikingly still, the public disorder which loomed so large in the minds of the respectable middle classes in 1930, and which the Nazis promised to end though the creation of a tough, authoritarian state, was to a considerable extent of [the Nazis] own making. Many people evidently failed to realize this....
(via Richard J. Evan's magisterial The Coming of the Third Reich, Penguin 2004)

As I said: An old, old playbook.

And why I suggest (back), and possible why RDF, in another wonderful post, suggests , that the answer to Republican thuggery is not, not, NOT violence—which will look very bad endlessly replayed on FUX—but patience, conviviality, food, music, and mockery.

And plenty of cotes. And plenty of pollwatchers. And plenty of bloggers, spreading the news.

Science for Republicans! 

A fascinating discovery:

On an isolated islet of Indonesia, scientists have discovered skeletons of a previously unknown human species — tiny, hobbit-sized figures who lived among dwarf elephants and giant lizards as recently as 12,000 years ago when modern humans already thrived worldwide.

Startled experts in human origins called the discovery — made public today — of a contemporary human species barely 3 feet tall the most important — and surprising — human find in the past 50 years.

The evidence of stone tools found near the remains suggests that this diminutive offshoot of humankind commanded fire, cooked, chiseled primitive knives and axes, hunted in groups and demonstrated by implication other basic elements of human behavior despite their small brains, the researchers reported.

All told, it appears that marooned on this jungle island, humanity took a giant step backward to survive.
(via LA Times)

Yes, now we have proof! Moderate Republicans once roamed the earth!

(And do vote for Hoeffel, OK?)

No Spare Time Left, or Gone Missing 

A case of undelivered absentee ballots unfolds in Florida (surprise!). Almost 60,000 absentee ballot requests never made it to the voters who asked for them.

U.S. Postal Service Inspector Del Alvarez, whose federal agency is independent from the U.S. Postal Service, said it had yet to be determined if the ballots reached the post office

"It's highly unlikely that 58,000 pieces of mail just disappeared," he said. "We're looking for it, we're trying to find it if in fact it was ever delivered to the postal service."

via Postal experts hunt for missing ballots in Fla.

Tried looking in the dumpsters, Del?

Meanwhile, with only 6 days to go until Big John wins in a popular vote landslide and takes the electoral by at least 20, not even rain and snow is stopping the cookout at the flea market parking lot across from early voting. Drove by this morning and it was going strong with a big tarp up to cover the area. There was even a guy walking back and forth along the median wearing a camo poncho, holding a Kerry/Edwards sign, and pointing people to the polls. I asked the lady cooking—someone new—what the plans were for the 2nd, and she said that they were planning to butcher a sheep and roast it. I told her if she needed an extra one, to let me know and she said sure, an extra one would be great. So I took one to her. If you can’t give money, give time. Or livestock. Or if it’s more your thing, herbal tea and sprout sandwiches. But give something, and hang out as near the polls as the law will allow. Why? Well, if you can’t think of any, Harold Meyerson of WaPo nails it:

With Election Day almost upon us, it's not clear whether President Bush is running a campaign or plotting a coup d'etat. By all accounts, Republicans are spending these last precious days devoting nearly as much energy to suppressing the Democratic vote as they are to mobilizing their own.

Time was when Republicans were at least embarrassed by their efforts to keep African Americans from the polls. Republican consultant Ed Rollins was all but drummed out of the profession after his efforts to pay black ministers to keep their congregants from voting in a 1993 New Jersey election came to light.

For George W. Bush, Karl Rove and their legion of genteel thugs, however, universal suffrage is just one more musty liberal ideal that threatens conservative rule. Today's Republicans have elevated vote suppression from a dirty secret to a public norm.

Here’s a registration-free link to the whole thing: The GOP's ShamefulVote Strategy

And visit AIGA: Get Out the Vote to download some cool "non-partisan" GOTV posters. I printed up ten and am off to make copies now. Since they're "non-partisan" but aimed a lot at young folks, I am then off to put them up where they'll do the most good... and maybe drive a few folks to the polls if I catch any who ain't been yet... if corrente doesn't hear much from me, it ain't because I don't care but because I'm nowhere near a computer...

Avast, me hearties! To the crow's nest, and a sharp eye out for slackers who need to get to the polls!

From Fallujah To the Sea 

No links on this one because it's just a Xan Prediction:

Bush doesn't have the balls to say so, but he would like to cast himself in the image of Abraham Lincoln.

--A president forced into a war by the actions of others (Fort Sumter/9-11).

--A president forced by the extremities of that war to take liberties with Constitutional rights (suspension of habeas corpus/Patriot Act)

--A resolute leader in a war seemingly without end, the reasons for which seem to shift as time goes on (preservation of the Union-->abolition of slavery/search for weapons of mass destruction-->whatever today's excuse is)

Lincoln was up for reelection in 1864, opposed by the best-known commander of the war, Gen. George McClellan, who Lincoln had fired for failing to win in the East and who bore a grudge. McClellan repudiated the "Peace Plank" in his party's platform which called for a negotiated end to the fighting, and swore he would not allow the Union to be divided, but was widely perceived as the peace candidate. A certain attitude of "ABL" prevailed in many areas.

In the summer of '64 things looked grim. Grant was bogged down in Petersburg. Sherman was moving south but every time he tried an attack he got whupped, so it became a war of maneuver--edge around the enemy's flank until he retreated for fear of being cut off. As long as the Confederacy held the breadbasket of the Shenandoah Valley, the cattle herds of Florida, and the cities of Atlanta and Richmond, they were in reasonable shape to hold out through election day.

Lincoln expected to lose that election--until Atlanta fell. The "big mo" shifted. Now Sherman was marching for the sea, Sheridan was burning the Shenandoah, Petersburg became a cage for Confederate forces who could do nothing about either. Lincoln swept to a decisive victory.

Fast forward, because things move faster now. The "assault on Fallujah," which has been purported to start "any day now" for three weeks, will launch probably Friday, Saturday at the latest. And it will still be continuing on Election Day.

Just wanted to get that on the record. Not that I'm so cynical as to think BushCo would play games with lives and timing just to win an election or anything.

President Draco Malfoy 

Non-fans of Harry Potter may substitute the name "Nelson Muntz," "Eric Cartman," or other real or fictional snotty little cowardly bully of your choice:

(via WaPo)

Bully the military:
Thomas E. Ricks writes in The Washington Post: "Many military experts believe that reviving some sort of military draft is extremely unlikely, even impossible -- but not all of them."

Ricks writes that "a small minority of defense specialists say that, given the strains placed on the U.S. military over the past three years, they can imagine scenarios in which a new conflict would require significant numbers of new troops -- and in which the draft would be reinstituted."

Simply keeping up current troop levels in Iraq might create a need, some say. "Other experts worry that trouble elsewhere, in addition to the Iraq war, could trigger a need for more troops.

"An Army colonel at the Pentagon, who said he could not speak on the record about the draft without being fired, said that he does not believe a draft is politically possible, but that new crises could make it militarily necessary. 'The military right now is stripped down pretty thin,' he said. 'If the president decided we needed to go somewhere other than Iraq, it doesn't take a mental giant to figure out that we don't have the people to do that.'"

"Iran is mentioned frequently in such assessments."
Bully schoolchildren:
Bush stopped to speak at Cuba City High School yesterday.

Robert G. Kaiser writes for The Washington Post: "The kids were told that if they wore a Kerry button or made any rude interventions, they would be in big trouble. No one did."
Bully reporters:
From the pool report by Bob Hillman of the Dallas Morning News, filing from president's photo op at the Sylvan-T dairy farm in Wisconsin:

Bush returned to his bus. "Senior adviser Karl Rove lingered, though, looking to make mischief with a grocery sack of ice balls picked up earlier at the hockey rink in Onalaska.

"An ice ball fight of sorts ensued, and your pooler was iced on the head.

"Your pooler blamed Rove. He denied it. So, frivolous or not, it's up the lawyers now."
Bully reporters and cows:
And while Bush wouldn't answer questions about missing explosives, he did respond when Hilman lobbed him this tough one: Would he consider a few dairy cows for his Texas ranch?

"Only if you'll come and milk them," Bush said.
"All hat, no cattle" is now explained--Cowboy Bush is afraid of them. Let's not remind him that goats come in dairy varieties too.

Can We Just Abolish the Electoral College, PLEEZE?? 

Looks like the Colorado vote on splitting their electoral votes instead of doing it winner-take-all is on for sure:

(via NYT)
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit [Tuesday] that challenged the constitutionality of a state ballot proposal seeking to change Colorado's method for awarding its electoral votes for president, clearing the way for a popular vote next week on a measure that politicians and political analysts say could affect the outcome of the presidential race itself.
I have taken courses in Constitutional history and I still have never figured out just what the Founders had in mind with this cockamamie setup called the Electoral College. They claim it's supposed to benefit small states, and I suppose you could say it's stimulating the hell out of the economies of Iowa and Wisconsin at the moment, but still...

More importantly, I find it outrageous that this measure is going to apply to the same election in which it's being voted on. Talk about changing the rules in the middle of the game!

I'm happy to report... 

that my own state of Missouri is now in play folks!

The decision by both presidential contenders to shift campaign resources out of Missouri may have put the state back in play.

A new poll for the Post-Dispatch shows the race in Missouri tightening. President George W. Bush's earlier lead has slipped among the state's voters. But the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, has so far been unable to close the gap, in part because the poll shows a growing number of Missouri voters view him unfavorably.

The survey indicates that Bush, a Republican, still is seen as better able to handle the war on terror, but those polled appear to be a bit more pessimistic about the war in Iraq and the nation's economy.

Meanwhile, Kerry's standing among women appears to have improved slightly. But his overall unfavorable rating among state voters has climbed from 23 percent in January to 45 percent in the latest poll.

The upshot: Bush and Kerry enter the final week before the election in a too-close-to-call race among likely Missouri voters. Of those polled, 48 percent back Bush while 45 percent support Kerry. The remaining 7 percent said they are still undecided or have chosen a third-party candidate.

Bush's lead is well within the margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, which means that any number could be that much higher or lower. In the newspaper's September poll, the president had a 49-42 percent lead, just at the edge of that poll's margin of error.
Oh yeah -- and apparently Arkansas and West Virginia are back in play as well.

With Kerry now pulling ahead in most of the national horse race polls as well (WaPo poll is here), I think that finally the wheels are starting to come off for W and the boys.

Isn't it past time for them to warm up the old "scare-o-matic" again?

Terror alert, anyone?

UPDATE Josh Marshall asks the same question.

UPDATE 2 Drudge claims the administration has a terror alert in the offing presumably for this weekend. Now isn't that a shocking surprise, huh?

I suspect W and the boys are going to try to scare people into voting for them over the weekend.

I'm guessing they'll wait until noon on Friday so they can get the most political bang for their buck. What do you think folks?

Thanks to reader Bruce in the comments to this post for the tip.

Halloween beckons. Sharpen your carving knives! 

GOTV opportunity - Scare 'em silly.

Via Op-Ed News (lots of photos):
Throw your own Halloween Bush Bash.
The idea behind the Halloween Bush Bash is to have a fun get together and to parade through a high visibility area, mocking Bush. Carry Kerry/Edwards signs so it's clear to bystanders why you are there. Bring literature. Pick it up at a local campaign office, or print out this one page flyer. Why vote for Kerry and Against Bush: Here's a link to an MS Word file. Kerry supporters will love it. Bush supporters will hate it. They told us we should be ashamed of ourselves. Hah. That's the stock republican reply-- shame and fear. But how about those undecideds? Maybe the parade helped the few still undecided to see, with a sense of humor, what a lying, low-life loser Bush really is.

Oh boy. There are so many possibilities here I don't even know where to start. The irony of course is this: the whole Bush administration is fundamentally nothing more that one long ongoing ding-dong boo-scare trick-or-treat night on the town.

So, just for starters...

Dress up as George W. Bush and run around the cul-de-sac excidedly informing everyone you meet that the creepy guy next door with the funny accent has buried weapons of mass destruction under his aluminum tool shed. If anyone asks you to prove it just accuse them of treason or sedition or something like that and let the kid dressed up in the John Ashcroft Calvinist Avenger costume deal with it.

Dress up as the "Gay Agenda" and ring Rick Santorum's bell. Tell him you're looking for a lost puppy. Then ask him if his back door is unlocked and wink at him.

Dress up as Wolf Blitzer, and when some poor stupid unsuspecting bastard turns on the porch light and answers the door, just stand there with a blank stare on your face while robotically gabbering in an endless droning monotone until your victim begins crying like a tortured refugee or threatens to have their cable disconnected.

You don't even have to leave home for this one: Dress up as Bill O'Reilly and call your neighbors daughters and/or female co-workers up on the telephone and ask them if they'd like to jet down to St. Barts, get shit-faced, and masturbate in a hotel room shower while you sit on the pot juggling hot falafels. If they dare to report you to the "authorities" just accuse them of extortion, tell them to SHUT UP!, and threaten to send Roger Ailes over to their home to soap their windows.

This could go on and on and on and on for quite a while ya know. But you get the idea.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Allawi bites the hand that feeds him 


Prime Minister Ayad Allawi blamed the American-led military forces on Tuesday for the weekend massacre of 49 freshly trained Iraqi soldiers, saying the military had shown "major negligence."

In a speech before the interim National Assembly, the prime minister said a committee had begun investigating the ambush, the deadliest of the guerrilla war. The assault took place Saturday night in remote eastern Iraq, as three minibuses of unarmed Iraqi soldiers were heading south on leave. Insurgents dressed as policemen waylaid the men at a fake checkpoint, killed all 49 soldiers and their three civilian drivers, mostly with shots to their heads, and burned the vehicles.
(via Times)

This is way too complicated for me. I mean, what next? Tony Blair says Bush punk'd him?


Goodnight, moon 

We're putting various plans in place for next Tuesday... Like a backup blog in case blogger—incredible as the possibility might seem—crashes or slows to an even creepier crawl... Buffing the brass taps on the massive, mahogany bar in the Boardroom of The Mighty Corrente Building... Tying up the freight elevators for hours, bringing the massive, tubular, '50's style TV sets up from the third-level storage room to the Boardroom so that the Executives can watch the results unfold... Preparing the red, white, and blue bunting (or, alternatively, the black crepe) for the window treatments... Sending out the invitations for the after-party...

Seven days is not a lot...

This record should be played loud 


But only if you're not into Sinatra. Or like that.

GOTV stories 

You can get at least some of them—and I mean stories, not analytical pieces—by typing "GOTV" into the search bar at the top.

(Kos is asking for them, so I thought I'd bring RDF's work, especially, to the attention of the Kossacks, assuming that any of them are reading here tonight.)

Iraq clusterfuck: Cheney risks coronary trying to save aWol's narrow ass 

As TS Eliot once said: "Humankind cannot bear very much reality"...

Of course, we are talking about Dick "Dick" Cheney...

Anyhow, the American Conservative (!!!) published this today:

On Sept. 28, at the Vice President's request, the Agency provided a special briefing on the subject of Jordanian terrorist Mu'sab al-Zarqawi. The CIA's Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) reviewed all of the available intelligence on the subject and based its briefing on a just completed comprehensive intelligence analysis. The CTC concluded that Saddam Hussein had not materially supported Zarqawi before the U.S.-led invasion and that Zarqawi's infrastructure in Iraw before the war was confined to the northern no-fly zones of Kurdistan, beyond Baghdad's reach. Cheney reacted with fury, screaming at the briefer that CIA was trying to get John Kerry elected by contradicting the president's stance that Saddam had supported terrorism and therefore needed to be overthrown. The hapless briefer was shaken by the vice president's outburst, and the incident was reported back to Goss, who indicated that he was reluctant to confront the vice president's staff regarding it.
(via Justin Logan's blog)

They never learn, do they? They never, never learn. But then, how could they? Since they already know everything they need to know, what's to learn?

And I love "the hapless briefer was shaken." I'll say. Seeing my career go down the tubes always shakes me...

And I love even more that Goss just... wusses out. What a man.

Election fraud 2004: Watchin' the defectives 

The paragraph that really caught me in Greg Palast's latest expose of Banana Republicans shenanigan's in Jebbie's Florida was this one:

In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective filming every "early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.
(via The Beeb)

Raw intimidation in black neighborhoods. Shameful.What next? White sheets?

So, Republican vote suppression tactics in North Philly might go something like this: The Republicans contest a lot of voters, with no other purpose than to create long lines to make people get tired and leave, and they park a couple of crudely obvious surveillance vehicles to scare people away.

Philly has a lot of food trucks&mdasj;soul food, Chinese good, jerk chicken—and one of those food trucks should pull up right in front of the Rethuglican defective's car, so they can't film anything. Then feed the people, so it isn't waiting in line anymore, it's a party! Maybe bring in a sound system.... Meanwhile, somebody should put a banana up the tailpipe of the defectives car...

NOTE Inspired by RDF's wonderful post back here.

Election fraud 2004: The Rehnquist Scenario 

Yes, I've always thought that Colin Powell's one-liner was a good one: "I sleep like a baby. Every two hours I wake up screaming." Get a load of this, from Kevin Drum:

"Even though the U.S. Supreme Court has said Chief Justice William Rehnquist will return to the bench following cancer surgery, administration officials are quietly considering candidates to replace him and even the possibility of making a recess appointment. The officials said that they do not want to talk about the process publicly in the last week of the presidential campaign. However, one insider said that the West Wing is considering what would happen if the judge left the bench soon and if a close election next Tuesday meant an evenly split 4-4 court was to decide the winner. Such a situation would likely mean that a lower court's ruling on an outcome would be final and officials are worried that it would go against the President."
(via Washington Monthly)

Well, I'm sure this would have no effect on the perception that a second Bush appointment was quite as legitimate as the first. And please, refer all complaints to The Department of "No! They Would Never Do That!"

Supremes: Ralph "I'm a Republican Tool" Nader off ballot (fraud) 


Of course, he may already have achieved his purpose by screwing up the absentee ballots....

Training Dogs With Electricity 

I couldn’t resist. Those poor dogs.

Bush Blames Poorly Made Shirt for Bulge

"I don't know what that is," Bush said. "I mean, it is — I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Bush said there was no sound system or electrical signal.

"I guess the assumption was that if I were straying off course they would ... kind of like a hunting dog, they would punch a buzzer and I would jerk back into place," Bush said. "That's just absurd."

The Bush campaign laughed off the speculation when it first blossomed on the Internet and then cropped up in news stories.

via Bush blames poorly-tailored shirt for bulge

Holy Ghost of Beauregard the ‘Ol Houn’ Dog! What the hell does he DO with his dogs? Anyone have pictures of the training regimen at the Ranch?

Bush AWOL: The issue that will not die 

Once more into the breach, dear friends:

Unearthed under legal pressure, three-decade-old documents portray President Bush as a capable and well-liked Air National Guard pilot who stopped flying and attending regular drills two-thirds of the way through his six-year commitment - without consequence.

Not exactly without consequence. Bush was grounded for blowing of his medical exam (yet says he is "proud" of his service. Why?)

But gaps in the records leave unanswered questions about the final two years of his military service in 1972 and 1973. Chief among them: Why did Bush's commanders apparently tolerate his lapses in training and approve his honorable discharge?

Bush's commanders could have punished him
- or ordered him to two years of active duty - for missing drills for six months in 1972 and skipping a required pilot's medical exam. Instead, they allowed him to make up some of his missed training and granted him an honorable discharge.

"Obviously, the commander saw the lieutenant's interest in the guard was waning," said retired Maj. Gen. Paul A. Weaver Jr., a former head of the Air National Guard. "Had he been good before? Yeah. Does that mean he should nail him to the wall? No. The culture at the time was not to enforce that."

And now comes the, um, surprise:

But the culture apparently did not apply to everyone. Although no records mention any punishment against Bush other than being grounded, the Texas unit's files show another airman was ordered to involuntary active duty in March 1972 as punishment.

Wow? I wonder why? I wonder if the other airman is alive today—or got killed? Of course, maybe they just asked Bush whether he wanted to go, and he said No. After all, when he applied for the TxANG, he did check off the box that said he didn't want to go to VietName....

There are also unresolved questions about what, if any, work Bush did while temporarily assigned in 1972 to an Alabama unit and why the future president suddenly switched back to training jets shortly before giving up as a pilot.

White House spokesmen say Bush fulfilled all of his obligations and was never disciplined for any wrongdoing while he was in the Texas Air National Guard from 1968 to 1973. While Bush did not meet requirements for pilots in 1972 and 1973 and skipped months of training, there is no record of his commanders ordering him to active duty or initiating an investigation.

Bush's spokesmen and the Pentagon had insisted all of the president's files were made public last February when the White House released records it hoped would put an end to the questions.


AP, however...

Nice "however." Ha.

... identified large numbers of documents that should have been produced under the Guard's 1970s regulations but had not been released, such as flight logs and mission orders. It sued in both federal and Texas state court to get answers.

Gee, if Bush wanted everything to come out, why did AP have to sue for it?

The Pentagon and Texas National Guard responded by conducting sweeping new searches that turned up more than 100 pages of new documents since August, including Bush's long-sought flight logs and dozens of orders showing what work the future president attended or missed.

But wait! There's more!

But even when the government insisted in sworn affidavits that all documents about Bush had been made public last month, AP persisted and won permission to allow two law professors to review boxes of files in Texas to make sure nothing was missed.

The professors found dozens of pages of new memos overlooked in the government's searches. The government's only explanation was that dust and rat excrement in the boxes made it hard to review the files.

Gee! You'd almost think there was some kind of cover-up going on.... Of course, to be reasonable, rat excrement is what you would expect rat fuckers to leave behind them....

The newly released flight logs also contain a mystery: Bush abruptly switched from his solo fighter jet to flying mostly in two-seat training jets about six weeks before his final flight as a Guardsman. The files don't explain why, and Bush's spokesmen could only opine that there might have been a shortage of fighter planes.

The biggest questions about Bush's service focus on 1972 and 1973. Payroll records show Bush failed to show up for training between mid-April and late October of 1972. At the time, he had relocated to Alabama to work on the ultimately unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Winton M. Blount, a friend of his father. He was also supposed to do some training with an Alabama unit.

Except for a January 1973 dental examination, no records have turned up that show what, if any, work Bush did for the Guard while in Alabama.

The payroll records show Bush was credited for service in October and November 1972 and in January and April of 1973. An evaluation from Texas covering the period between May 1972 and May 1973 says Texas officers did not see Bush during that time.

The Texas Air National Guard grounded Bush in September 1972 for skipping a required medical exam. Although Air Force rules at the time required an investigation and report on every pilot who skipped his exam, no records of such an investigation have surfaced.
(via AP)

Wow! I wonder where the records—snort!—went?

TROLL PROPHYLACTIC Sans-serif fonts and superscripts are not relevant to this story.

They get letters.... 

Here (via the Amazin' Froomkin)

UPDATE The Kossacks find the hidden diamond—plans to suppress voting in Florida by slowing the process through challenges.

Trial balloon for Romney 2008? 

Are the rats leaving the sinking ship?

The Republican governor of Massachusetts expressed frustration Monday with the way the federal government tells states about possible terrorism threats.

During a speech at a conference on domestic security preparedness, Gov. Mitt Romney described how rumors and a lack of coordination appear to hamper the flow of essential information from Washington to local governments across America.
(via WaPo)

They've had three years to work on it. And it's still screwed up. Surprise!

GOTV: Tactics, Open to Suggestions 

Early polls close in Colorado on Friday, NM on Saturday… and the MBF brigades are on the streets. Someone yanked and scraped the stickers off my truck and deflated my nice new tires last night while I was out canvassing and I’d left it parked at a school. [I’ve got more stickers, don’t worry, and a friend came with a compressor for the tires--at least they didn't cut them.] But it’s the first time it’s happened. Granted, the community I was helping to canvass is heavily GOP, but still… I worry. Though it is soooo tempting, we must not emulate the MBF’s, me hearties. Comments I hear have me worried that a post e-day debacle could unleash violence in the streets, and I sure as hell hope everyone keeps their cool. Violent revolution, like war, is a last resort, arrrgghhh—think of MLK and Birmingham, Gandhi and the March to Dandi. Although a lot of stuff that happens makes me want to loose me cutlass, I admit, I remain in the nonviolent but extremely pissed off and shrill resistance camp. Choose your battles carefully—as Gandhi chose the salt tax and MLK the racist enclave of B’ham—and prepare either for a happy and peaceful victory celebration or a long period of civil disobedience and direct nonviolent action pointed in ways that are designed to bring satisfaction in end, without sacrificing enlightenment principles in the short term. No Paris Communes, a glorious tragedy. Make sure your neck of the woods is at least semi-organized and ready for concerted and carefully planned non-violent direct action, should the need occur. We don’t have a Gandhi or an MLK or and RFK this time. Folks have learned to keep a low profile, I guess. Think globally and work locally, perhaps. I’m trying to cool my own revolutionary rhetoric, and it’s difficult as hell sometimes. Maybe someone else has better ideas about this balancing act.

Meanwhile, the shitslingers ply their trade:

Election tactics push envelope

By Michael Riley Denver Post Staff Writer
Littleton teenager Aaron Oster-Beal woke up one morning last week to find the family's Kerry-Edwards yard sign on the porch covered with a rude surprise - a pile of dog excrement.
Voters in Jefferson County have received calls from someone posing as an election official and instructing them to throw away their absentee ballots.
A Colorado Springs woman recently received a call from someone claiming to be from Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign who expressed condolences about the death of her husband in Iraq. When the woman said she knew her husband was still alive, the caller said a vote for Kerry would help keep him that way.
The Kerry campaign said the stunt was so outrageous that it could only have been staged by someone trying to discredit the Democrat.
"Some of the tactics being perpetrated by folks as we get closer to the election are just disgusting," said Steve Haro, Kerry's spokesman in Colorado. - Denver Post

Truth is, no barnyard animal will be safe if we don’t get out the vote. A huge popular vote victory is vital to any resistance of a stolen illegitimate government (like the current one). Push the vote to e-day, get 'em to the polls, and PLAN for post e-day carefully, carefully... and no leaving the country! That's cheating. That's the best I can come up with. Of course, after I got home last night I got into the whiskey jar to calm my nerves, so my thinking this morning might not be my best...

Bush comes out in favor of gay civil unions, left to the states 

As if anyone would believe this was anything other than a crude ploy to pick up a few undecideds. Ye Gods. Nice to see that the Dean position of a year ago has become the CW. Anyhow, FWIW:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 - Bush said in an interview this past weekend that he disagreed with the Republican Party platform opposing civil unions of same-sex couples and that the matter should be left up to the states.

Mr. Bush has previously said that states should be permitted to allow same-sex unions, even though White House officials have said he would not have endorsed such unions as governor of Texas. But Mr. Bush has never before made a point of so publicly disagreeing with his party's official position on the issue.

In an interview on Sunday with Charles Gibson, an anchor of "Good Morning America" on ABC, Mr. Bush said, "I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so." ABC, which broadcast part of the interview on Monday, is to broadcast the part about civil unions on Tuesday.

According to an ABC transcript, Mr. Gibson then noted to Mr. Bush that the Republican Party platform opposed civil unions.

"Well, I don't," Mr. Bush replied.

He added: "I view the definition of marriage different from [sic] legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others."
(via Times)

Where, oh where to begin?

1. Obviously, if Kerry had perpetrated a flip-flop of this magnitude, the Times would have this story on A1, not buried on page A21. Not to mention what the Sabbath Day Gasbags would be doing. Not to mention the frothing and stamping by O'Lielly, etc. And there would probably be an inane story from Jodi Wilgoren about Kerry's penchant for [pick your bigoted cliche].

2. One can only wonder what The Base—and kudos to the New Yorker for noticing that The Base is what "Al Qaeda" translates to—thinks about this. For about thirty seconds. They know it's a ploy, something He "has to say" and so they won't call him on it.

3. The whole episode reeks of cowardice. Why doesn't Bush just break into a few bars of "Poor, Pitiful Me"? Those wicked Republicans! Forcing a platform on Him that He couldn't believe in! Well, if He didn't believe in the Republican platform, then why didn't He say so at the time? And isn't He, as the elected President the chief executive, also the head of his party? Couldn't either He, or the notoriously ruthless Acting President Rove, simply have gotten the platform changed?

4. Notice the contradiction: Bush claims that he's OK with civil unions as "legal arrangements that enable people to have rights." OK, fine. But if marriage—or at least that aspect of marriage that it is appropriate for the state to regulate—is not a "legal arrangement," then what is it? The only possible answer is that it is a religious arrangement. So, typically, Inerrant Boy wants to have it both ways: He wants (for the sake of the undecideds) to seem tolerate; but He also wants (for the sake of The Base) to write His religious views into the Constitution.

5. And that really is the crux of the matter, isn't it? The Republicans, purely to set a wedge issue in place for the 2004 election, proposed a Constitutional Amendment to take the power of the states to define marriage away from them, and to prevent gays from ever marrying. Now Bush doesn't like the evident consequences of that decision, as millions of parents, children, and lovers are revolted by the hypocrisy of it (listening, Mary?). So, He wants to tiptoe away from the mess. What a wuss.

Anf finally, 6., if this pathetic little concession from Bush is what He felt He had to give the Log Cabin Republicans to prevent them from leaving the (ha) Big Tent so close to election day, then the Log Cabin Republicans are even wussier than I thought they were.

UPDATE Following Xan, I added some fabulousness to Inerrant Boy's quotes.

Alfred S. Regnery's long strange trip 

What with Bill O'Reilly in full rut - albeit, nervously fondling his falafels and gnawing on the corner of a monogrammed Carinthian leather checkbook - Sinclair Broadcasting muckamuck David "Lick my Lollipop" Smith's old timey adventures in Baltimore beaver management - Antonin Scalia's Opus Dei olive oil orgies - Rick Santorum's strange animal husbandry fancies - Peggy Noonan's sleek brown shoe fetish - Ann Coulters usual bus station hooker micro-mini flash-dance "buy me" spasms - am I forgetting anything? - oh yeah!, that millionaire Republican disco-pimp who was married to the Star Trek character. Almost forgot about him. Anyway, just being reminded of all of this hot conservative gun lover bolt yanking action got me so worked up that I had to relieve myself all over a sleek and sexy glossy magazine photo of the new Benelli Super Black Eagle II semi-automatic with blue/syntheitic finish. Beyond perfection! Boy am I relaxed. (I hope the Benelli's ship me a valuable complimentary prize for that plug).

Anyway, let me pull my pants back up here :-) ...ok!... some time back I managed to bang out a post about Al Regnery (of Regnery Publishing) which mentioned a Penthouse magazine article from November, 1985 titled "The Truth and Alfred Regnery", by Larry Bush [no pun intended]. I'd remarked at the time that I'd like to look at the pict..., I mean read, read this article - and - if anyone out there had some time and could dig it up by all means let me know. Well, as fortune would have it, someone did find that old article and has written a summary of what is contained therein. Reader Aaargh was nice enough to write this one up for us and I've posted the entire submission below. So, here's Aaargh:


Behind the Facade of Al Regnery
Contributed by Aaaargh

Regnery Publishing is well known for it's publication of conservative smear jobs such as Unfit for Command and Michelle Malkin's bizarre fear-mongering demand for institutionalized racism, In Defense of Internment. But little is publicly known about the sordid personal past of Al Regnery, the President of Regnery Publishing, Inc. and publisher of right-wing magazine The American Spectator. It turns out that proffering lies in an attempt to influence elections are nothing new in the Regnery family.

The public face of Al Regnery on the Regnery Publishing website is fairly inoffensive and nondescript:
"Alfred is also a practicing attorney and is Of Counsel to the Washington Law firm of Keller and Heckman. He served as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Land and Natural Resources Division, both at the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1981 and 1986. Previously he served as Minority Counsel, Senate Judiciary Committee and Chief Minority Counsel, Administrative Practice and Procedure Subcommittee. Prior to government service he practiced law for six years in Madison, Wisconsin."

Madison, Wisconsin, 1976.
What isn't mentioned in that summary above turns on events that took place in Madison, Wisconsin in 1976 while Regnery was practicing law with an old line conservative Madison firm. He decided to run for district attorney; against the urging of his employers. He would have been wise to heed their advice. Campaigning as a law-and-order hardliner - get tough bringer of justice to the lawless dopeheads and sex fiends of Madison - he opposed rehabilitation in favor of one week maximum security prison time for juvenile offenders.

When things started going badly for his campaign things also started to get a little strange around the Regnery household. Regnery's wife Christina, eight-months-pregnant, reported obscene phone calls that demanded that her husband drop out of the race. He claimed harassment and vandalism by supporters of his opponent James E. Doyle (now governor of Wisconsin), but, by the end of October the stakes got much higher.

According to Christina's story, as recorded in the police report, she was standing nude in the bathroom of her home on Halloween afternoon, with her children asleep in their bedrooms, when she suddenly saw "two men standing there," one white and one black. She reached for a towel but they told her to leave it behind and to step into the bedroom and smell something. She claimed that they told her that they had turned off the pilot light on the kitchen stove, turned up the burners, and would open the doors to the children's rooms if she did not cooperate. According to Christina they told her that Al should have taken their advice and quit the campaign. They then produced a paring knife, she continued, but decided it was too dull, and instead attempted to cut her breasts with embroidery scissors. Dissatisfied with that, she said, they found a razor blade and started cutting her very-pregnant stomach. According to her they raped her with a can of hairspray tucked inside a condom and then with a can of feminine deodorant spray. After that the two men took her, she claimed, into the bathroom where they forced her to perform fellatio on them. She stated that the men eventually left through a door in the basement. At least that's the story Christian Regnery gave to the police.

Christina is known to have awakened the children and gone to a neighbor claiming to have been cut with a razor and raped. Her neighbor urged her to call the police but she refused. She wanted to talk to Al first. Al states that he arrived home, found no one, and called the police himself. The officer took Christina's statement then took her to Madison General Hospital. She was found to have 73 slash marks, numerous scratches, 17 lacerations around her nipples, with 15 punctures on the left breast.

A shocking story indeed. The only problem was that Christina's story could not be true. The basement door that she claimed her attackers had used to exit the house was blocked by dusty boxes that clearly hadn't been moved in months. The police report stated: "This door is the door supposedly used by the burglars in the exit. However, this would be impossible." The police also observed that the kitchen stove was so caked with dirt it would be nearly impossible for the gas pilot light to be turned off and then relit. Furthermore, in the bedroom, there were no signs of a struggle, nor a single drop of blood in the rooms where she had supposedly been tortured. However, in the bedroom, the police did find some pornographic magazines that depicted acts very similar to those allegedly performed by the purported rapists. Including similar uses of bottles and cans. The condom supposedly used in the assault had been carefully removed from it's package which had not been carelessly ripped open. The children had heard nothing of what should have been a noisy assault. No neighbors reported any strangers in the area eventhough some had been out in their nearby yards doing chores at the time. Furthermore, according to the neighbor to whom she had gone to for help, Christina had been more concerned about drugs in the house than any supposed assault.

The police were highly suspicious and confronted Al Regnery noting that Christina's behavior was bizarre. "It appears entirely possible that Mrs. Regnery had in fact been the victim of self-inflicted injuries," the report notes. When police brought this to his attention Al Regnery admitted to the police that he had suspected as much. He stated that he had "given serious thought to it" himself; that his wife had been faking the obscene calls and vandalism as well. Despite Regnery's own suspicions he had felt free to later blame his political opponent James Doyle and his supporters. Using his wife's diseased mind and her stories of harassment for his own political gains. But Al Regnery wasn't finished.

A reporter from The Capital Times of Madison was waiting when Al came out of the room where the police had been interviewing him. Al, seeing an opportunity, immediately declared to the reporter that this assault was aimed at getting him to withdraw his candidacy. The headline the next day, just days before the election, read: "Two Attack Wife of D.A. Candidate." But it didn't do any good, Al Regnery, the law-and-order candidate, lost the election to James Doyle.

Christina was right to be concerned about pills. She had, with the knowledge of Al, become addicted to painkillers and sedatives, taking a grand total of 2,256 various pills during her pregnancy, including Percodan, Doriden, Empirin No. 4 and Dalmane, topping it all off with 75 Valiums. The Regnery's had been spreading these prescriptions around among several pharmacies to disguise the extent of her problem. When the police brought this issue forward to Al Regnery he acknowledged that she had become similarly addicted during her two prior pregnancies and that they had decided to let the fetus withdraw from the drugs rather than try to get Christina off the medication.

After the election the Regnery's asked that no further investigation be conducted and the police stopped looking for the "rapists." But the police noted that "The infliction of wounds on Mrs. Regnery are still questionable and may have been self-inflicted or done by other subjects known to her. There is no indication that any unknown subjects inflicted any of the injuries." The police timed Al Regnery's distance from the scene at about 22 minutes driving time. An indication that they considered him a possible suspect. Although the possible prosecution for filing a false police report was raised, Doyle, as the new D.A., decided it would look vindictive and the matter was dropped. But, Governor Doyle continues to recall the incident with disdain. "He [Al Regnery] used it for his own political purposes. If he had some involvement himself, then his behavior is obviously inexcusable."

But involvement in such scandalous conduct and hypocrisy didn't stop the rising young conservative. He moved to Washington and came under the wing of Sen. Paul Laxalt who was lobbying for the Family Protection Act. In 1980 he came to the attention of Ronald Reagan, through the auspices of the Heritage Foundation, when he urged that the Legal Services Corporation, which handles legal matters for the impoverished, be eliminated. Laxalt suggested that Al would be a good candidate to head the dismantling of the LSC. However, the American Bar Association blocked that move, and instead Al found a position in the Justice Department heading the Office of Juvenile Justice. That post required Senate confirmation. And then the ghosts of Madison came back to haunt Al Regnery. At least temporarily.

After all, a parent who allows his own infant to become addicted to painkillers during pregnancy might be considered a poor choice for handling juvenile affairs. In addition, it didn't help that his car displayed a bumper sticker reading "Have You Slugged Your Kid Today?" Nonetheless, a compliant Senate approved his appointment in 1983 even though that appointment was opposed by both Wisconsin Senators.

Despite the Regnery's obvious interest in hard-core pornography Al soon championed an antiporn crusade calling for an $8 million study of its impact on society. His first grants were so outlandish they even attracted the attention of Congress. One of these grants was an $800,000 award to Judith Reisman, whose main claim to fame was as a songwriter for Captain Kangaroo, and who once wrote an article claiming that "freedom of speech does not exist." Given his predilections for such matters mentioned above it's probably not surprising that he is also a close friend of Ken Starr; who seems to have strong prurient interests of his own.

Not having succeeded in dismantling the LSC Regnery was called upon in 1986 to eliminate his Office of Juvenile Justice. Al needed to find a new place to roost. Fortunately for him his father Henry Regnery owned a publishing business. Henry Regnery had started printing books for the right-wing lunatic fringe John Birch Society in 1947. The first three volumes printed by Regnery Publishing were tomes critical of the Nuremberg war crime trials and openly sympathetic to the Nazis. Subsidized by the CIA, Regnery Publishing had become, if not successful, at least profitable throughout the Cold War era.

But the collapse of the USSR just gave a new direction to the family's endeavors. Under Al Regnery's guidance Regnery Publishing has been reshaped into a veritable arm of the GOP dirty tricks machine. Regularly publishing allegations of Bill Clinton's reputed womanizing and cocaine use without any particular regard for truth. The smears and slime continue to this day. And considering the character of the president of Regnery Publishing it's not surprising that he is the very same publisher who now stands behind John O'Neill and Jerome Corsi's best-selling book "Unfit for Command" and Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment"; which argues on behalf of racial profiling and internment during war - as a solution - if not the Final Solution.

[Much of the above information, including the police report quotations, from "The Truth and Alfred Regnery" by Larry Bush, originally published in Penthouse magazine, November 1985] link


Thanks Aaargh. I'd also like to thank reader/commentor "WH'ho" who sent me this previously published Newsweek item:
From the start Alfred S. Regnery was a controversial choice to head the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. For one thing the 40-year-old Wisconsin lawyer had few relevant credentials -- apart from having been a Young Americans for Freedom official in 1965 and enjoying close ties to Ronald Reagan's Senate friend Paul Laxalt. At recent hearings, Regnery could not define delinquency or name a single one of the books he claimed to be studying on the problem of juvenile crime. Even more damning to some senators was the bumper sticker discovered on Regnery's car: "Have you slugged your kid today?" (Regnery said it was a joke.) And last week it was disclosed that a renowned Wisconsin pediatrician had warned three Washington legislators the nominee was emotionally unqualified for the job and in a subsequent interview, called Regnery "a danger to the health of our children."

Dr. William Ylitalo refused to elaborate, but newspaper reports in Wisconsin suggested that the pediatrician's objection stemmed from something Regnery said or did during the birth of his son in January 1975. There are also questions about his connection with a federal grant application for a book contract. The Senate vote on Regnery's nomination has been delayed until the FBI can investigate the various charges." (Newsweek)

So there ya go. Alfred S. Regnery, "family values" drummer boy, law and order conservative, and publisher of "Unfit for Command" [irony intended].

Vote Kerry/Edwards. Do it for the children and the farm animals and the fried balls of ground spiced chickpeas and fava beans lobby and....

8 more days.


The Case of the Dog That Didn't Bark 

In addition to the other eminently sound reasons why the latest Administration line about Al Qa Qaa is YABL, Josh Marshall misses possibly the most obvious. What are the odds that, if Saddam's people had indeed absconded with 350 tons of high explosives before the U.S. took Baghdad, the Administration would not have trumpeted it from the rooftops? After all, while they might not have been WMDs per se, they were known quantities of Very Bad Stuff. Along with mass graves and other pararphernalia of dictatorship, the missing explosives would have high propaganda value. Yet the Bush Administration said nothing--indeed, by all accounts it actively sought to suppress evidence of Saddam's perfidiousness, if this latest line is to be believed. Right. And I invented the Internet.

Remember when "I didn't have sex with that woman" was the height of bald-faced Presidential effrontery, the gold standard against which all other shameless prevarications fell short? It was the lie that launched a thousand moralistic little shits. Remember? Good times, that. Now it's like being trapped in the "To Jupiter and Beyond" segment of 2001: A Space Odyssey, with lies flying past so fast, time itself begins to warp, and it's hard enough just to hang onto one's own sanity.

8 more days...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Tiny bubbles.... 

Those wild-eyed leftists at the Financial Times endorse Kerry:

Over the past three years, the gap between ambition and reality has created what could be termed a "Bush bubble".
(via Financial Times

And we know what happens to bubbles, don't we....

100,000+ for Kerry/Clinton in Philly 



UPDATE Oh, wow, blogger actually posted something. Won't it be great when blogger finally doesn't suck?

Election fraud 2000: Lest we forget, lest we forget 

Nice takedown in the New Yorker (funny how the parts of the country in actual danger are the ones most likely to vote for Kerry, isn't it?):

On Tuesday, November 7, 2000, more than a hundred and five million Americans went to the polls and, by a small but indisputable plurality, voted to make Al Gore President of the United States. Because of the way the votes were distributed, however, the outcome in the electoral college turned on the outcome in Florida. In that state, George W. Bush held a lead of some five hundred votes, one one-thousandth of Gore’s national margin; irregularities, and there were many, all had the effect of taking votes away from Gore; and the state’s electoral machinery was in the hands of Bush’s brother, who was the governor, and one of Bush’s state campaign co-chairs, who was the Florida secretary of state.

Bush sued to stop any recounting of the votes, and, on Tuesday, December 12th, the United States Supreme Court gave him what he wanted. Bush v. Gore was so shoddily reasoned and transparently partisan that the five justices who endorsed the decision declined to put their names on it, while the four dissenters did not bother to conceal their disgust. There are rules for settling electoral disputes of this kind, in federal and state law and in the Constitution itself. By ignoring them—by cutting off the process and installing Bush by fiat—the Court made a mockery not only of popular democracy but also of constitutional republicanism.

A result so inimical to both majority rule and individual civic equality was bound to inflict damage on the fabric of comity.
(via New Yorker)

Well, yes. Except that this time we won't roll over. Exactly because we have the good of the country at heart.

Of course, there is the dictum: History does repeat itself: The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. So, we can expect November 3 to be a fun-filled riot of laughs!

Have Happy Faces On 

We can tell that the esteemed Froomkin is a member of the Reality-Based Community, because he not only tells the truth himself, he goes out and finds other bits of the truth and passes them along to those who might not have heard them before. As, for instance, this item which I for one didn't see because WSJ is a pay-only site:

(via WaPo)
Scott J. Paltrow writes in the Wall Street Journal: "As the toll of mayhem inspired by terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi mounts in Iraq, some former officials and military officers increasingly wonder whether the Bush administration made a mistake months before the start of the war by stopping the military from attacking his camp in the northeastern part of that country.

"The Pentagon drew up detailed plans in June 2002, giving the administration a series of options for a military strike on the camp Mr. Zarqawi was running then in remote northeastern Iraq, according to generals who were involved directly in planning the attack and several former White House staffers. . . .

"But the raid on Mr. Zarqawi didn't take place. Months passed with no approval of the plan from the White House, until word came down just weeks before the March 19, 2003, start of the Iraq war that Mr. Bush had rejected any strike on the camp until after an official outbreak of hostilities with Iraq."
We've known the basic facts on this story for quite awhile now, but this nails it right to the door of the White House.

Which address brings me to the second item from today's Froom. It's a letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times from a local resident--so local she lives right down the street from the park where this incident occurred--who was not impressed with the Prezwit's people's behavior:
Mary Villa of New Port Richey writes in a letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times that she and two Kerry supporter were turned away at the gate of the Bush rally in her home town.

"We were told, 'You may not come in. You are protesters. This is a private party, we paid for this park, and you do not have happy faces on.' "
Mary, I hope the Big Dog comes to the St. Pete area on his swing down there. You don't have to to be ordered to put on a happy face to see Bill Clinton, although to judge from the crowds in Philly today it just seems to happen an awful lot without any orders at all.

Get 'em Out! Then Hunker Down for a Long Battle? 

Consider this as you push people to the polls. Turnout is the key, and a true landslide popular vote victory for Kerry may be important in the long run.

Bush v Gore was theoretically decided by the Fuq’d Five based on their contention that a recount would be a violation of the equal protection clause.

I say “theoretically” because their real motives were completely partisan. And a lot of voters were willing to accept it and roll over for the sake of preventing “national chaos” and so we could have a “peaceful transition of power.” Even Gore rolled over when the Black Caucus handed him a weapon.

What about this year? Equal protection is equal protection. Interesting take from Mr. Dean, below. Even George Will is predicting May 2005 will roll around before we have a decision, though of course he does it with one finger up his ass.

Anyway, here’s ex-Nixon advisor, turned truth-teller John Dean. I just give you the intro and main points, which are all discussed in order in the complete article, linked at the end. I'm off to canvass for Kerry in a nearby burg this afternoon.

A storm warning of things to come if the vote is as close as expected.

This next presidential election, on November 2, may be followed by post-election chaos unlike any we've ever known.

Look at the swirling, ugly currents currently at work in this conspicuously close race. There is Republicans' history of going negative to win elections. There is Karl Rove's disposition to challenge close elections in post-election brawls. And there is Democrats' (and others) new unwillingness to roll over, as was done in 2000. Finally, look at the fact that a half-dozen lawsuits are in the works in the key states and more are being developed.

This is a climate for trouble. A storm warning is appropriate. In the end, attorneys and legal strategy could prove as important, if not more so, to the outcome of this election as the traditional political strategists and strategy.

Let's go over each factor that spells trouble - and see how they may combine.

A GOP Disposition for Nasty Campaigns

The GOP's Campaign Tactic of Attempting to Disqualify Votes and Voters

Rove's Refusal to Accept Defeat: The Knee-jerk Response of Suing

Still Too Close to Call: The Conspicuous Closeness of the 2004 Race

An Election for Attorneys: Neither Side Will Budge If Litigation Begins

The Nightmare Scenario: An Election up in the Air for Months

It may be days or weeks, if not months, before we know the final results of this presidential election. And given the Republican control of the government, if Karl Rove is on the losing side, it could be years: He will take every issue (if he is losing) to its ultimate appeal in every state he can.

The cost of such litigation will be great - with the capital of citizens' trust in their government, and its election processes, sinking along with the nation's (if not the world') financial markets, which loathe uncertainty. After Bush v. Gore, is there any doubt how the high Court would resolve another round? This time, though, the Court, too, will pay more dearly. With persuasive power as its only source of authority, the Court's power will diminish as the American people's cynicism skyrockets.

It does not seem to trouble either Rove or Bush that they are moving us toward a Twenty-first Century civil war - and that, once again, Southern conservatism is at its core. Only a miracle, it strikes me, can prevent this election from descending into post-election chaos. But given the alternatives, a miracle is what I am hoping for.

The whole thing--including a discussion of each "trouble factor" is at FindLaw or more easily at The Coming Post-Election Chaos

Arrrgghhh, me hearties! Getting them to the polls is only the beginning. In the words of another Nixon retread with far less brains and scruples than Dean, we could be in for a long, hard slog to victory. I just reckon it's worth thinking about now so nobody is surprised later and everyone's ready to rumble for months if need be. A huge popular vote victory for JFK would make the rumble easier, perhaps...

Election fraud 2004: Winger judge says no paper trail need in Florida 

Amazing. Just amazing. Or not.

Florida does not need to create a paper record for touch-screen voting machines in case recounts are needed in tight races, a federal judge ruled Monday, upholding the state's emergency rule that set standards for e-voting recounts.

Touch-screen machines "provide sufficient safeguards" of constitutional rights by warning voters when they have not cast votes in individual races and allowing them to make a final review of their ballots, U.S. District Judge James Cohn ruled.
(via WaPo)

A little more on James Cohn:

Jordi, 36, an anti-choice extremist described by the Miami Herald as a "religious fundamentalist … [with] a tattoo of a flaming red cross," was arrested in November 2003 for allegedly plotting to bomb abortion clinics and commit violence against abortion providers, churches he thought do not oppose abortion strongly enough, and gay people.

In February he pled guilty to one count of attempted firebombing, the crime for which he was sentenced on Thursday, July 8, 2004. Although the prosecutor argued that Jordi's plot qualified as terrorism and thus merited a sentence of at least seven to 10 years, U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn said that the law did not support such a request. According to the Miami Herald, he did, however, tell those in the courtroom, "I have grave concerns regarding the future dangerousness of Mr. Jordi." In addition to the five years in prison, Judge Cohn sentenced Jordi to five months' probation and ordered him to enroll in a mental health program.

Well, the guy is a "Christian"... So he can't possibly be a terrorist!

Election fraud 2004: Republicans back off from half of their claims 

Apparently, the Republicans can't program computers correctly! Making their lawsuit, um, frivolous, eh?

State Republicans withdrew thousands of more than 35,000 challenges to new voter registrations because of errors in their filings apparently caused by a computer glitch.

Republicans filed the challenges Friday in 65 of Ohio's 88 counties, saying mail sent to the newly registered voters was returned as undeliverable.

Over the weekend, the party withdrew about 4,700 challenges in Hamilton County because the names and addresses on the GOP list didn't match voter rolls, and about two-thirds, or 2,800, of the 4,200 challenges in Franklin County, officials said.

It's too late to file a new challenge under the statute the party used, John Williams, election director in Hamilton County, said Monday. There appeared to be an error in the database program used to print the challenges, so that addresses weren't matched with the correct names, he said.

But the largest single batch of challenges, some 17,000 in Cuyahoga County, is still being processed because there were no errors, said Jane Platten, elections board spokeswoman.
(via AP)

Of course, since the suppliers and the testers of the computerized voting systems are also Republicans, my confidence in the process is still not complete....

And see? Stand up to them, and they back off. Now, what are the odds of the 17,000 in Cuyahoga being legitimate too? I would say quite high, since the obvious intent of the Republicans si to disenfranchise and intimidate voters, not to avoid fraud.

Kerry/Clinton rally in Philly 

Loks like Mithas is blogging it here.

Red Cape Time 

How damn desperate are they to get the Terrorist Assistance Act of 2003/4 off the radar screens?

This desperate:

(via MSNBC homepage headline)

Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist hospitalized with thyroid cancer
According to the TV version I just heard, he has in fact been in the hospital since Friday. And the news Just Happens to get out at noon EST on Monday?

Rove's got that red cape waving on overtime. Nice of his ol' pal Antonin to play along when they needed an assist with media management.

(A Note: Lest I sound excessively callous, yes I have lost people, including a spouse, to cancer and wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's the cape-waving I'm making fun of here, not the disease.)

High Explosives for Dummies 

There's a basic human tendency to regard any number much higher than ten (five in the case of some people, since you need one hand to count the fingers on the other) as a sort of blurry "lots and lots."

Three hundred and eighty? That's a lot.

380 tons? Oy.

So let's break it down a little. Okay, it looks rough in the beginning but it gets easier. Not nicer, mind you, but... here we go. This was mostly swiped from Atrios' comment threads from people who sound like they know what they're talking about. I would just as soon not leave my ISP's fingerprints on sites that would confirm this data by googling, so we're going to take their word for it:


TNT: 2.76 Mpsi @ 7197 m/sec velocity
RDX: 5.03 Mpsi @ 8754 m/sec velocity
HMX: 5.70 Mpsi @ 9159 m/sec velocity
"Mpsi" is million pounds per square inch or how hard it blows up. "m/sec" is meters per second, or how fast it blows up. Or as the poster put it:
9159 m/sec is about 20,500 miles per hour.
The vast majority of this stuff is not manufactured for use in weapons or other military purposes, but for mining. Demolition (like those cool implosions of old smokestacks and sports arenas and such) uses most of the rest. Now why does this stuff about "speed of explosion" make a difference? Possibly The Flash could duck out of the way of TNT, the slowest of the lot, but I guarantee that neither you nor I could do so if it was anywhere nearby.

So who cares? Turns out it matters....
The difference is in the speed of the explosion. The reason [another "slow" explosive called ANFO] used in mining is because it has a slower reaction rate, producing gas and shockwaves that shove rather than shatter.

In most mines, high explosive sticks or gel packs are fired which shatters the rock and detonates the ANFO. The ANFO than pushes the shattered rock outward.

The shattering effect is what makes RDX and such so deadly. A barrel containing a small amount of ANFO and detonated will tend to rupture and separate into large chunks. If the pressure wave doesn't get you, you have pretty good odds of getting away unscathed because there are only a few large pieces flying around.

A barrel with RDX or another high explosive turns into a grenade, forming many more smaller fragments with much higher velocities.
Now you are at least a little bit of an explosives geek, able to discuss this Latest Bush Fuckup with the proper lingo and an informed air. Stomp anybody around the water cooler who tries to downplay just what a disaster this is, and is going to continue to be for years.

If that's not good enough, here's the even simpler version, from our own esteemed reader Amazed in CA down in comments to Tresy's original post on this horror:

Seven hundred and sixty thousand pounds of high explosive. One pound took down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

Seven hundred and sixty thousand pounds. Seven hundred and sixty. thousand. pounds.

Enough to blow up Pan Am Flight 103 all over again, every hour, on the hour, for the next eighty-seven years.

UPDATE: Thanks to heading out and Keith in comments for correcting "miles per second" to "meters." Let's call it a typo rather than an admission of my own innumeracy.


'He is scared of the wolves,' Antonia whispered to me. 'In his country there are very many, and they eat men and women.' We slid closer together along the bench.

There are six sleighs drawn by three horses each and carrying from six to twelve passengers. There is starlight on the snow and the road is through a forest. The first distant wolf howl does not drown the tinkle of the sleigh-bells or the laughter of the wedding guests. But the rallying cry is answered from many sides, the leaders of the pack draw nearer, and fear grips every heart. The bride sobs on the groom's bosom and the drivers lash their horses to breakneck speed. The rear sleigh upsets, the passengers sprawl out over the snow and the wolves are on top of them in a moment. The screams of horses being eaten alive are more dreadful than the shrieks of people whose entrails are being torn out. The cries of terror from the remaining sleighs are as loud as the cries of pain from the dying. The wolves are silent now - they have other work to do.

That's from "The Wolf-Pack", by Vilhjalmur Stefansson and published in 1927. Stefansson, as I'm sure many of you will recognize, is recalling the famous scene from Willa Cather's novel My Antonia, in which an entire wedding party is pursued and summarily gobbled up by hundreds of voracious Ukrainian wolves.

The wolves were bad that winter, and everyone knew it, yet when they heard the first wolf-cry, the drivers were not much alarmed. They had too much good food and drink inside them. The first howls were taken up and echoed and with quickening repetitions. The wolves were coming together. There was no moon, but the starlight was clear on the snow. A black drove came up over the hill behind the wedding party. The wolves ran like streaks of shadow; they looked no bigger than dogs, but there were hundreds of them. ~ (My Antonia)

Stefansson continues:
There are hundreds of them, you see, and the wolves have proverbially good appetites. Nothing will save the last sleigh but throwing the bride to the wolves. This Miss Cather accordingly does, and so do half the other authors of tales. But it seldom happens that quite everybody is eaten. Somebody has to be saved, to give the narrator a chance to portray the survivor's life of shame and remorse through many effective pages that lead to a distant and friendless grave.

Now his middle horse was being almost dragged by the other two. Pavel gave Peter the reins and stepped carefully into the back of the sledge. He called to the groom that they must lighten-- and pointed to the bride. The young man cursed him and held her tighter. Pavel tried to drag her away. In the struggle, the groom rose. Pavel knocked him over the side of the sledge and threw the girl after him. He said he never remembered exactly how he did it, or what happened afterward. Peter, crouching in the front seat, saw nothing. The first thing either of them noticed was a new sound that broke into the clear air, louder than they had ever heard it before--the bell of the monastery of their own village, ringing for early prayers. ~ (My Antonia)

Needless to say, keeping the wolf from the door by heaving newlyweds to the dogs isn't going to make you many friends with the local fire brigade. The bell tolls for thee. Pavel's momma wouldn't even look at him after that one and the two self preservationists would be cast to the four winds.

And thats the kind of depraved fright night scenario the Bush/Cheney ballyhoo machine wants etched into your optical nerve whenever you watch their latest campaign ads. Wolves in the shadows and future happy honeymoons horribly denied. And they want you to believe that John Kerry and John Edwards are the modern day equivalent of Cather's Pavel and Peter; preparing to lead the nation, like an unsuspecting wedding party, across a frozen midnight of grisly bestial gore splattered doom. A nightmarish sleigh ride of terror where we all will eventually be chucked overboard and consumed by snarling wild animals.

At night, before I went to sleep, I often found myself in a sledge drawn by three horses, dashing through a country that looked something like Nebraska and something like Virginia. ~ (My Antonia)

Never mind that it's the Bush administration itself that has been driving that lead sledge for the last four years. And never mind that it was the Bush administration that failed to take note, despite warnings, of the wulf in the hemlock before it struck that first carriage on 9/11. Forget that it's the Bush administration that decided to waste valuable lives commandeering a run amuck coach through the sands of Iraq rather than confronting fully the obvious danger flickering among the shadows. And forget that it's the Bush Cheney team that will apparently go to any lengths to save the skin on its own panic stricken rump whenever the occasion warrants. Forget all that. That's not the chase scene narrative the Bush/Cheney fiction writers want you to read. The right wing prophecy machine projects it's menacing message upon the theater screen.

Kerry and Edwards are the real potential threat you see, so goes the frightful yarn, and its up to vigilant party goers to preempt all future fiendish plots before either one of those guys have a chance to bonk you upside the head and fling your newly hitched blushing alabaster squeeze into a cold snowbank to be devoured by lupine horrors yet unrealized.

To flight with Pavel and Peter! Away with you liberal horsemen of the apocalypse! For you shall wander remorseful and shamed in America, and ultimately, to vanish into a "distant and friendless" political grave.

As a further public service it should be noted that Stefansson's article makes clear that wolf pack attack stories were something of a reoccuring staple of newspapers in the early 1900's.
Hundreds of them over the years apparently. Including the New York Times which ran a detailed account of a savage Christmas Eve attack by a pack of timber wolves upon an elderly Canadian trapper. This is an excerpted account of that attack which appeared (apparently) on the front page of New York Times on December 28, 1922.

Wolves Devour 3 Men In Northern Ontario. An Elderly White Trapper and Two Indians Fall Victims to a Hoarde of Hungry Beasts
Port Arthur, Ont., Dec. 27 - A great roving band of hungry timber wolves has devoured three men... Last Saturday an elderly trapper left his cabin in the woods seventy miles north of Ignace to mush down to the settlement for his Christmas mail...There was no mail, however, and the old man said he would come back Christmasmorning. At noon he had not arrived. The postmaster sent two Indians to follow the trail. ... About two miles from the settlement the Indians found a spot pounded down in the snow. There was blood. Bits of dog harness torn to shreds were scattered about. In the midst of them the Indians found human bones. They hastened back to report their discovery. The lure of the bounty on wolves, however, urged the Indians to take to the trail again, with extra ammunition. They sped behind the dog team into the woods as the villagers waved good-bye. They did not return.

Yesterday a new searching party departed. They found another patch trodden in the snow, with much more blood, about two miles from the first. The two guns the Indians had carried were lying in the crimsomed snow. Scattered about were bones, bits of clothing and empty shells.

The carcasses of sixteen dead wolves - some half eaten - lay stretched in a circle about the remains of the two Indian hunters.

Yeeks huh? And a "White Trapper" no less! The outrage! Keep that in mind this holiday season when you're mushing your way down the driveway to retreive your Lillian Vernon catalog.

The only problem with this story, which appeared in the Times - Judith Miller are you listening - is that it apparently never happened. At least according to Stefansson, and those questioned about the story, including Ottawa's Commissioner of National Parks and residents of Ignace. No one had ever heard of any old trapper or Indians or a pack of wolves attacking anyone at all for that matter. Least of all on Christmas day. The story was apparently complete bunkum.

So whats the point? And why were hundreds of wolf pack attack stories supposedly circulating in US newspapers a-way-back-a-when?

Stephansson notes that at the time that the United States Government (the Bureau of Biological Survey) was responsible for the nations' "wolf-killing service", which, was also busy fielding "appeals" from ranchers in the western US who claimed the wolves were destroying their domestic herds.

Leaving the speculative possiblity that those old exaggerated wolf attack tales were perhaps little more than excitable boo-scare stories fed to the media by western cattle interests and intended to persuade the public at large of some looming furry menace to their ancestral food chain? Afterall, who wants to poke through the remains of poor grampa's half eaten bones on Christmas morn? Slurped down like a holiday ham while out checking his muskrat traps? Jeepers no.

So it doesn't surprise me that the Circle 'W' Ranch would come up with sinister Willie the Wolf attack allegories to titilate an easily spooked publics' imagination. These guys see themselves as shepherds to some kind of sheepish cud chewing domesticated moo-cow Republic. Tuxedo moon cowboy wardens to a herd of clanking frightened canaille. A huge stockyard for which they have a vested financial interest in corraling with space based barbed wire and harvesting on behalf of their own greedy appetites. Fear grips your heart!

I have no doubt that the Bush Cheney pack would be running werwolf attack ads against the Dems if they could get away with it. No tall tallyho is too unreal for these fly-by-night runaway bullshit jockeys.

I think we all know who the real wolves in this picture are.


Drip, Drip Drip Turns to Shower of Stones  

I have got to stop hitting NYT and WaPo "just one last time before bed" or I'm going to be in a coma before election day.

The scandals, and I mean big ones, of the kind that special prosecutors' careers are made of, are hitting so fast I can hardly keep up. This one has my favorite word in it, "contractors", and the ones in question have some Friends in High Places...

(via NYT)
The top civilian contracting official for the Army Corps of Engineers, charging that the Army granted the Halliburton Company large contracts for work in Iraq and the Balkans without following rules designed to ensure competition and fair prices to the government, has called for a high-level investigation of what she described as threats to the "integrity of the federal contracting program."

The official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, said that in at least one case she witnessed, Army officials inappropriately allowed representatives of Halliburton to sit in as they discussed the terms of a contract the company was set to receive.

Her accusations offer the first extended account of arguments that roiled inside the military bureaucracy over contracts with the company.

Ms. Greenhouse said she would not grant interviews without permission from her employer, fearing possible retribution, Mr. Kohn said.

"Employees of the U.S. government have taken improper action that favored K.B.R.'s interests," the letter said, and Ms. Greenhouse "experienced repeated interference with her role" as chief monitor.

In the case of the 2003 Iraq oil award, Kellogg Brown & Root was given a secret contract months before to draw up plans for fixing oil facilities. Once the invasion began, as the letter relates, it was then deemed the only company in a position to carry out the plan.
There's more. Go read.

Add a Missing Boeing 727... 

Just in case you were sleeping too well this week....

I first saw this story months ago and had pretty well forgotten it. Planes go missing sometimes after all. Africa's a big place. Somebody's always trying to arrange a military takeover, or smuggle animals, vegetables or minerals, whatever.

Then this story of the looted Iraqi explosives hits, and what do you know, by sheer coincidence this missing plane story surfaces again, just because a local guy from Florida is missing along with it.

(via St. Petersburg Times)
In May 2003, Ben Charles Padilla got a disturbing e-mail from a brother in Pensacola: Their mother had suffered a heart attack.

Padilla e-mailed back that he would call as soon as he could get to a phone. Relatives didn't hear from him again, but at first they weren't concerned. After all, he was 7,100 miles away in the African nation of Angola.

For several weeks before, the 50-year-old pilot and aircraft mechanic had been at Angola's main airport overseeing refurbishment of an aging Boeing 727. The plane had been parked so long that observers were surprised when, shortly before sunset on May 25, Padilla and another man climbed on board, revved up the engines and taxied out.

Witnesses were even more surprised to see the plane swerve back and forth, as though someone were wrestling for the controls. Then, with no flight plan or contact with the tower, the big jet roared down the runway and took off.

Did it disappear as the result of an insurance scam or garden-variety theft, only to resurface in another Third World county with a new paint job and registration number?

Or did something more sinister happen, as Padilla's family and others fear? Could the 727 - which had been retrofitted to carry tons of extra fuel - been hijacked by terrorists for use in a 9/11-style attack?

"In spite of months of searching and following up on several false leads, neither Mr. Padilla nor the plane has ever been located," a State Department official recently wrote.

"There has never been any evidence that would give us a clue as to what happened to Mr. Padilla. Given the efforts to date and the time elapsed since his disappearance we sincerely regret that we cannot offer more hope about his whereabouts."
Sweet dreams.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Back to the daily grind.... Will we know who the World Series winner is, before we know who the elected President is, I wonder...

And I wonder if Bush is flying to Baghdad, to be greeted by troops who have been ordered to adore Him, right now?

The Next Kerry Ad 

Ominous music. Night shots of wolves prowling. An open, unguarded barn door with a sign warning "HIGH EXPLOSIVES". Wolves go in, and one by one re-emerge with satchel after satchel clutched in their jaws. They amble off unhurriedly.

Farmer comes upon ransacked barn, looks about to see if anyone's watching, and removes the sign and closes the door. Off-camera we hear the farmer's wife' voice: "What was it, dear?" Farmer replies smoothly, "Nothing. Nothing at all. Go to sleep." Fade to black, as explosions and screams of the wounded and dying are heard.


A Ringing Endorsement: May It Echo Far And Wide 

Xan has mentioned this endorsement by the Des Moines Register in her excellent survey of editorial support across the nation for Senator John Kerry, but alert reader "Fred" sent us a url and a special recommendation and he was right.

The editorial is so good, so clear, so pointed, and yet so expansive, too, and functions as such a firm rebuke to the major cliches about John Kerry and his candidacy originated by Bush & Co, and then dutifully promulgated by much of the SCLM, it deserves to stand as a talking points memo, (one worthy of our very own TPM guy, Josh Marshall), as much on behalf of "truth" as on behalf of the Senator. It comes from the heartland, remember: I recommend you email the URL or the actual content to as many people as you know, with a request they do the same, and to help convince you, I've decided to quote from it at uncharacteristic length.
About half of Americans have lost confidence in President Bush, yet many hang back from embracing the alternative. That's unfortunate, because Senator John F. Kerry is a wise and decent man who has the makings of a fine president.

Still, there's little wonder that voters have doubts. Most of what they think they know about the senator comes from a masterful job of "defining the opposition" carried out by the Bush campaign and its surrogates before most people got a chance to know the real Kerry.

So Americans were introduced to Kerry the flip-flopper. Kerry the softie on defense. Kerry the wild-eyed liberal. Kerry the appeaser who will let terrorists attack America.

It's sad that an incumbent president chose to employ so much of his vast campaign resources to tear down his challenger, and not to cite his own accomplishments or to move the nation ahead. But perhaps that's precisely the difficulty the president faces.

His presidency has been one of bold leadership undermined by a failure to achieve meaningful results. The resolute leader Americans rallied behind after Sept. 11, 2001, sidetracked the country into a mess in Iraq. The fiscally responsible, compassionate conservative Americans thought they elected, the man we hoped would improve schools, lower the cost of health care and find more jobs, has failed to do so and instead run up an unprecedented national debt.

The president, whose swagger in adversity and plain-folks straight talk can be so appealing, has failed to see the reality of the problems or outline a road map for progress for the next four years.

National polls show the president's disapproval numbers hoving near 50 percent.

Now it is time to take the next logical step and recognize John Kerry as someone who could do better. It's time to see Kerry as the person he is, not as the caricature created in the president's campaign ads.

Kerry won the presidential debates because the man Americans saw on live television differed from the caricature. Americans saw a thoughtful, experienced, exceptionally well-informed candidate who cares deeply about his country and its people.

They didn't see Mr. Perfect. Kerry tends toward wordiness and overexplanation. His positions on some issues - such as being nearly indistinguishable from Bush on Iraq - are unsatisfactory. His New England reserve comes off as aloofness. It takes time to gain an appreciation of him.

A search for the real John Kerry should focus on his 22 years in elective office - unblemished service as Massachusetts lieutenant governor and U.S. senator. The strongest indication of his success is that the people of Massachusetts - the cradle of American liberty - chose four times to elect him to the Senate.

Yes, Kerry is liberal. But what's to fear from a liberal president? That he would run big deficits? That he would increase federal spending? That he would expand the power of the federal government over individuals' lives? Nothing Kerry could do could top what President Bush has already done in those realms.

Kerry is not the stereotypical liberal in any case. According to the "Almanac of American Politics," Kerry is "more respectful of economic free markets" and more inclined to an expansionist foreign policy than other liberal Democrats. He has been a champion of small business. He was an early supporter of the conservative Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit-reduction act.

An overview of Kerry's 20 years in the Senate shows a conscientious lawmaker, popular with the home-state voters. Kerry's legislative interests have run to investigating government wrongdoing, strengthening law enforcement, securing health care for children and preventing nuclear proliferation. He has a strong record on the environment.

Most interesting - and relevant to Nov. 2 - Kerry has a reputation for being able to work across party lines. He worked well with Republican Gov. William Weld for the common good of Massachusetts. He worked with Republican Senators John McCain and Bob Smith on POW/MIA issues.

That's a key quality, especially in an angrily polarized America. Of President Bush's shortcomings, the most disappointing is the betrayal of his promise to be a uniter. America should be united at times like these - and was for a shining moment after 9/11. But the president let that slip away, deepening divisions by adopting a my-way-or-the-highway cocksureness on both domestic and foreign affairs.
Xan has quoted from the next paragraph, but the quote bears repeating, and repeating and repeating:
It can be assumed that the next president, be it Bush or Kerry, will do everything in his power to make America safe from terrorism. That's job No. 1, and the American people will stand for no less.
Those two sentences, or variations thereof, strike me as the best response one can make to those undecided voters one hears being interviewed on NPR or views, with such frustration, on cable news shows, the voters who voice dissatisfaction with many of President Bush's policies, but, though not hardcore right wingers, question Kerry's committment to "protecting" Americans from terrorists. (Speaking for myself, I think that Kerry's ideas about Iraq are quite different from Bush's, but I worry about whether or not he will be able to act on those differences - an important issue that deserves it's own post)
But on the broad range of other issues, Kerry has more to offer. He is in touch with the middle class. He is better informed on health care and has sound ideas for creating jobs. He understands that protecting the environment need not be a drag on the economy but can be a great boon as new energy technologies are developed.

By nature, he is more of a uniter than Bush.

It won't be easy. The partisans on neither side will go silent on Inauguration Day. If Kerry wins, those who have been attacking him will do their best to undermine his presidency. The same will be true on the other side if Bush is re-elected.

But Kerry, we believe, has a better chance of overcoming that anger. It is the nature of the man to listen and to respect others. He does not tend toward vindictiveness or in-your-face triumphalism. There is a dignity about him. We have watched him from early in the Iowa caucus campaign through a grueling general-election campaign in a battleground state. We have seen Kerry grow and develop in presidential qualities to the point we're confident in recommending him as a person of common sense and decency - a leader who has what it takes to bring Americans back together.
I love that last paragraph, not only because it's true, because I think its truth will resonate with anyone who is genuinely undecided, even a voter leaning toward Bush. There is a dignity about John Kerry, and I would add to that, as Michael Berube has noted in reference to Theresa, there is about John Kerry a fundamental human decency.

Not On the Master List 

This story's making the rounds, but it needs to get even bigger. We were saying months ago that it's the stories in the small-town papers that often point to bigger issues. If there's a single incident that typifies the Bush campaign this year, this has to be it:

(via Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice)
Depending on what side of the fence people are on, crowd control was at an all-time high or low at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township during President Bush's visit Friday

A 27-year-old registered Republican and member of the U.S. Army, along with three other people around him, was forced to leave the arena before getting inside.

The Wyoming Valley [Scranton-Wilkes Barre area of PA, north of Allentown-Ed.] man who did not want to be identified by name because of his loyalty to his service members is being deployed to Iraq in two weeks. His Army service and status were verified.

He explained that he was attending the event in hopes of finding the right candidate to vote for on Nov. 2.

"I thought seeing Bush would be enough to sway my opinion one way or the other. After today, it definitely has swayed," he said.

While waiting in line, he noticed a stranger standing alone and invited the person to stand with him.

"I didn't think that would be a problem," he said.

It turned out to be.

Individuals from the Bush campaign spotted the individual with the soldier and identified the person as a Democratic supporter.

The spotters, and eventually police, asked the Democratic supporter to remove a jacket, a sweater and some other articles of clothing in what was described as basically a police search.

The soldier said the Democratic supporter did what was asked without any complaint. The person also provided a ticket to the event.

The soldier said that when he asked why the person was being hassled, the spotters said the Democrat's name wasn't on their "master list."

"So I asked if we could see the master list? They said they didn't have it," he said.

The soldier said he stood up for the supporter, but was in no way hostile, because he was there to see the president and hoped to justify voting for him.

Not long after showing his own ticket and being told he wasn't part of the "master list" either, the police asked the soldier to leave. He was told the event was for Bush supporters or undecided voters only.
Until Friday when he left the arena, the soldier was an undecided voter. Now he's voting for Sen. Kerry and volunteering for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
One other item is worth noting here. Anybody have a line to Ed Rendell who could ask him to explain what these guys were up to?
Wilkes-Barre Township Police Chief Robert Brozowski said that close to 150 people monitored the event. State and area police, Secret Service members and the state Game Commission made up many of the workers.
Rumor has it they were there to protect Dear Leader from wolves. It's hard to run in those height-enhancing shoes.

GOTV: Cooking for Victory! 

Eight ended up voting, but it’s all good. These were folks I’d never really met before except on the phone, and so it was cool just to know that there are other progressive types in the general vicinity I'd never met. Turns out either me or the driver misunderstood and one couple brought their kids, who, sadly, couldn’t vote. And me and him had already voted. But it was fine in the end because the chilluns livened up dinner. These folks all had their own transportation and could and maybe even would have gone to vote, but this made it an event. Plus, now we all have each other’s phone numbers and a friendly face to add to the list within driving distance. In this area, there are five early polling stations open in three little towns in the county—one at an old church annex, one at city hall, two at schools more out in the boonies, and one at a senior center on the rez. We were going to go to the one in town, but on the way in we noticed that the senior center one in the little town on the rez was open, with lots of signs: VOTE---> and so forth. And the door was open, and there were people, and early voting can be done at any open poll no matter your precinct, so we just went there to vote and then on into town for dinner. It was very nice, and that makes eight more darts in the heart of the Weasel.

Cool thing is this: across the street from the senior center, just outside the poll limits in a big old dirt clearing for parking on flea market days, I noticed a little crowd gathered around a steaming pot and a folding table with a big old Kerry-Edwards sign and a sign for some local folks running, and lots of goodies: cups, bottles of drink, napkins and newspapers, and another big old sign that said FREE 4 VOTERS. So, while everyone else was doing their civic duty and the driver and me were babysitting, me and him and the kids walked over there to see what was up. These folks, mostly older Native folk with their kids, had gotten the coolest idea—free hot cider and frybread for anyone who had an “I Voted” sticker. They weren’t asking questions about who voted for who, the consensus being nobody around there was going to vote for aWeasel anyway, but they were sure getting people to stop and eat and vote. The lady frying the bread told me and Hal we had to go vote before we could eat, but the kids could have some, and I told her we had already voted and what a cool idea it was she had. Could I do anything to help?

She said her nephew was one of the local guys running and he was springing for the goodies since he was in an open (no party) tribal election that was close, but that if I wanted I could bring some flour and salt and oil and some more drinks, sure. I told her that I’d be back tomorrow (yesterday) and so I went back after chores today with some stuff, and she must have rooked in 30 or 40 people in the couple of hours I was there. It’s the only main road going through to town, so everybody had to see the table. And who can pass up free food, even if you weren’t planning to stop and vote? She said someone would be there whenever the polls were open.

With turnout the key, maybe it’s an idea that could be transplanted to other places? Just be careful not to run afoul of the law about being too close to a polling place with propaganda. And those "no vending on public right of way" laws. And permits, if any. Don't want anyone getting busted, even if the propaganda is true, free and delicious.

And speaking of Jeebofascists... 

(see farmer's latest) And read this:

Linda Farquhar, a house cleaner, gazed with similar intensity at Mr. Bush in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "He has integrity, he's forthright, he takes us forth to fight the terrorists," she said. "Bush is a godly man. He is a representative of Jesus."

Too bad for this innocent that Bush is one of the POTL.

Iraq clusterfuck: 50 new Iraqi soldiers massacred, but hey! Who's counting? 

This AP story is worth detailed examination:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The bodies of about 50 unarmed Iraqi soldiers - many killed execution style with gunshots to the back of the head - were found on a remote road in eastern Iraq, victims of an ambush as they were heading home on leave after basic training, Iraqi authorities said Sunday.

The nature of the attack suggested an increased boldness and organization by insurgents, who, until now, have mainly used roadside bombs and suicide car bombs in their attacks on the Iraqi military and police.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene reported seeing the burned frames of two minibuses. Bloodstains were visible on the ground, along with human remains. Witnesses said the attackers stole some buses. Police said they had found 51 bodies from the attack place.

Initial reports citing witnesses that insurgents had initiated the attack by firing rocket-propelled grenades at several vehicles carrying the unarmed troops have not been confirmed.

Police said witnesses saw the soldiers' buses being stopped by the attackers before they were forced to leave the area.

Al-Azzawi said he believed the soldiers were training at the Kirkush military camp northeast of Baghdad. The soldiers had just finished their training course and were being given leave before reporting for duty, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said.

Diyala's deputy Gov. Aqil Hamid al-Adili told Al-Arabiya TV he believed the ambush had been set up.

"There was probably collusion among the soldiers or other groups. Otherwise, the gunmen would not have gotten the information about the soldiers' departure from their training camp and that they were unarmed," he said.

"In the future we will try to be more careful when the soldiers leave their camps. We will provide them with protected cars that can escort them home."

A U.S. military source in the region confirmed the incident, but was uncertain of the number of dead.
(via AP)

Several points:

1. Kudos to the AP reporter "on the scene." That takes real courage. (We need to create a media situation where actual reporting happens routinely,)

2. The effort to train the new Iraqi Army has (obviously) been infiltrated. More great intelligence work from us. Seems like if a problem can't be addressed with an airstrike, there's nothing we can do. Not a good sign.)

3. The US doesn't even know how many of the Iraqi soldiers died. Iraqi's just "don't count," do they? Not civilians, bien sur, but not soldiers either. Nice PR!

4. The whole disgusting, sad, and sorry episode shows the fundamental immorality of the flypaper theory—the ideas that it's better to fight "the terrorists" in Iraq than here in the States. Leave aside the fact that Saddam had nothing to do with AQ; did anyone tell any of these 50 Iraqis that they died so that we could be safe from terror? I didn't think so. And these guys call themselves Christians... What about a little informed consent, eh?

Your taxpayer dollars at work! 

I'm sure the RNC is reimbursing you for this, yeah right:

Racing toward a finish line 10 days away in an election too close to call, Bush hopscotched by Marine helicopter to rallies in Republican-friendly areas of Florida, the state that put him in the White House four years ago. His chopper landings on baseball fields, before thousands of cheering supporters, underscored Bush's ability to use the powers of the presidency for his campaign.

And if the helicopter arrivals weren't showy enough, Bush had Air Force One fly over the NFL football stadium in Jacksonville where tens of thousands of people were waiting to hear him speak.
(via AP)

Hey, I wonder if your tax dollars paid for Inerrant Boy's height enhancing footwear" too ?(via Atrios)

And the answer can only be Yes! I mean, since Bush is the Chosen of God to be Our Dear Leader, who can deny Him His height-enhanching footwear? Especially since it must bring him closer to the only Father he listens to? Phew! Felt my faith waver there for a minute....

"And thanks to our pollster, Marge Inovera!" 

And a tip of the Ol' Corrente Hat to Tom and Ray:

The Republican official said polling for Bush showed him in a weaker position than some published polls have indicated, both nationally and in battlegrounds. In many of the key states, the official said, Bush is below 50 percent, and he is ahead or behind within the margin of sampling error -- a statistical tie.

"There's just no place where they're polling outside the margin of error so they can say, 'We have this state,' " the official said. "And they know that an incumbent needs to be outside the margin of error."
(WaPo via Kos diaries)

Could just be Republican disinformation, of course, but it does sound true. I mean, since the Republicans, by putting Condi-Lie-zaa and Tom "I'm Too Dull for a Nickname" Ridge on the campaign trail, they're so desperate that they've even politicized Homeland Security... Oh, wait....

The "Daisy" Ad, v. 20.04 

Editor's note: I wrote this last night/this morning and chickened out (on account of I had been drinking just a tad) and didn't post it. Now Tresey's brilliant ad has made me jealous, so here's my contribution:

Farmer's the graphics wizard hereabouts. I have the curse of seeing great pictures in my head without the knowledge or talent to bring them into being. That said, here's the ad I'd like to see, as best as I can do it in words. And yes, dammit, with an "I'm John Kerry and I approve this message."

[NEWS STOCK footage:] A jet plane hits the World Trade Center. Flames explode. 5 sec.

[SPLIT SCREEN, more STOCK]: A classroom. George Bush sits in a small chair, holding the book "The Pet Goat." A man enters L., whispers in ear. Scene continues for 12 seconds.

[BLACKOUT. 2 sec. pause.]

[Screen stays BLACK.] [VOICEover]: "Can George Bush protect us from the next terrorist attack?

"Did he protect us from the last one?"

MUSIC underneath: last 30 seconds of "A Day in the Life", Lennon/McCartney. Hit final chord at 1 second pause after VOICEover word "one."


Ringing Endorsements 

Okay, the WaPo's endorsement was on the wimpy side. But take a look at the rest of this list. Not all are brand new, some I overlooked from last weekend. But some of the newer ones are huge:

Pittsburg Post-Gazette

There is no doubt that Americans have gone from a generally happy time in the 1990s to four years of deficit, discord and disappointment. We would pose the same question that President Reagan asked famously in the heat of his own campaign: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Relatively few, we think, would answer that with "yes." If your answer is "no" or "not sure," then we have a president for you. The Post-Gazette enthusiastically endorses John Kerry. It's definitely time for a fresh start.

Orlando Sentinel

Four years ago, the Orlando Sentinel endorsed Republican George W. Bush for president based on our trust in him to unite America. We expected him to forge bipartisan solutions to problems while keeping this nation secure and fiscally sound.

This president has utterly failed to fulfill our expectations. We turn now to his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, with the belief that he is more likely to meet the hopes we once held for Mr. Bush.

Our choice was not dictated by partisanship... Indeed, it has been 40 years since the Sentinel endorsed a Democrat -- Lyndon Johnson -- for president.

Kansas City Star

The country cannot afford four more years of such misguided leadership.

That's why The Kansas City Star strongly endorses John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Americans realize what is at stake: the United States' ability to lead in the world, protect its citizens at home, preserve its treasured liberties, and leave a legacy of hope and opportunity. George W. Bush's presidency has put all that at risk. Sen. John Kerry proposes a sharp course change.

The Star Tribune endorses John Kerry for president.

AP roundup:

The Des Moines Register, of Des Moines, Iowa, endorsed Kerry on Oct. 24:

"It can be assumed that the next president, be it Bush or Kerry, will do everything in his power to make America safe from terrorism. ... But on the broad range of other issues, Kerry has more to offer. He is in touch with the middle class. He is better informed on health care and has sound ideas for creating jobs."

The Union-Bulletin of Walla Walla, Wash., endorsed Kerry on Oct. 21.
Now this next one is big. Not unexpected, since cross-town rival Tribune went for Darth Bush, but still, we're talkin' a Rupert Murdoch rag here:
The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed Kerry on Oct. 24

"We want leaders to stay the course only when the course is a good one. ... The question that Americans need to ask themselves, going into the voting booth a week from Tuesday, is this: Do you like the direction our nation is heading? If the answer is no, then your vote should be for Sen. John Kerry."

Iowa City Press-Citizen, Iowa City, Iowa, endorsed Kerry on Oct. 23:

The Journal Times, Racine, Wis., endorsed Kerry on Oct. 23:

Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., endorsed Kerry on Oct. 22:

The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind., endorsed Kerry on Oct. 22:

Wausau Daily Herald, Wausau, Wis., endorsed Kerry on Oct. 22:
Those still under the sway of the Dark Side include (this is from the E&P and AP roundups, you want links to such drivel you are welcome to google it for yourself):
The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman endorsed Bush on Oct. 24

Houston Chronicle endorsed Bush on Oct. 24

The Chronicle of Centralia, Wash., endorsed Bush on Oct. 20

The Express-Times, Easton, Pa., endorsed Bush on Oct. 24

The Denver Post endorsed Bush on Oct. 23

The Cincinnati Post endorsed Bush on Oct. 23

The Gazette, Janesville, Wis., endorsed Bush on Oct. 23

Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wis., endorsed Bush on Oct. 22:
One rather stunning "No endorsement":
The Detroit News, on Oct. 24:

"The Detroit News will not lend its endorsement to a candidate who has made too many mistakes, nor to one who offers a governing philosophy we reject. This decision to remain silent will disappoint readers who expect The Detroit News to stand with the Republican presidential candidate come hell or high water. Their expectations are not unwarranted - we have never endorsed a Democrat for president, and only failed to endorse twice before, both times during the Franklin Roosevelt years. ... We will never feel obliged to defend a president whose blunders and misjudgments have hurt the nation. Nor will we settle for an equally bad choice."
We're still kinda puzzling over that one, perhaps they are suggesting we just leave the office vacant for four years. While that would very possibly be an improvement over the current squatter in Al Gore's house, it seems more likely that they are just wusses who, if asked their favorite color, would reply "Plaid." Final summary:
Editor & Publisher roundup

Bush gained the key Columbus [OH] paper...Bush also picked up the Denver Post, a switch from Gore in 2000.

Kerry has picked up 17 Bush papers from 2000, while losing only two Gore papers to Bush.

Kerry now leads Bush 70-58 in endorsements in E&P's exclusive tally, and by about 11.9 million to 7.1 million in the circulation of backing papers.

Meanwhile, E&P has learned from several sources at the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the paper's nine-person editorial board decided earlier this week that it wanted to endorse Kerry but Publisher Alex Machaskee, who has final say, has decided on Bush. The paper backed Bush in 2000.

This has caused consternation in some quarters at the Plain Dealer, with sources telling E&P that the endorsement editorial, which was expected to run Sunday, was put off.
Another vote for "plaid" I guess. Although skeptical about the actual impact of endorsements on changing anyone's vote, the groundswell for Kerry, particularly in terms of the size of the papers involved, could very well provide covering fire for the SCLM to resist the RNC talking points about the "inevitability" of a Bush win they've been trying to flog. And it gives the Sabbath Gasbags something to talk about.

I like to stop at the Jeebo fascist shop... 

Picked up this collectible at The PARTEI store on Saturday afternoon.

This was written on the back:
'W'ism, in short, is not only the giver of laws and the founder of institutions, but the educator and promoter of spiritual life. It wants to remake, not the forms of human life, but its content, man, character, faith. And to this end it requires discipline and authority that can enter into the spirits of men and there govern unopposed. Its symbol, therefore, is the 'W', the symbol of unity, of strength and justice.

That sounded really familiar to me and I was going to hunt up the original source for you but then CNN's Larry King came on the TV with important breaking news about the British royal family. Apparently Prince Ernie, or Louie, or whatever the hell his name is, may have been caught diddling a common waif following the annual Royal Hedgehog Hunt at Epsom - or stealing clootie dumplings from Her Majesty's scullery - or something tawdry and unseemly - whatever - gotta go - CNN's all over the story!

What would we ever do without CNN.


"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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