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Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Portrait of The Operative As a Young Man 

From Salt Lake City, that well known hotbed of anarcho-syndicalism, a commentator (an anesthesiologist at LDS Hospital and former instructor at Harvard Medical School) actually uses "the F word":

Little did I know that walking next to me in the halls of Olympus High School that year was a friend who would shape history in 2004 as profoundly as these events did in 1968, the year Karl Rove and I were 17.

Karl was the only 17-year-old I'd ever met whose dreams were limited to being a political operative, period. One mutual friend said, "Karl would stare at a sunset and see only the political implications of it." I never remember Karl talking about making the world a better place.

His next milestone: At age 22 he conducted a conference for young Republicans on the art of dirty-tricks politics.

Thirty years later he has accumulated a remarkable winning streak at political gamesmanship, but with the Machiavellian mantra of the end always justifies the means. The means have been astonishingly brutal.

If Karl the Terminator would pause long enough to turn his head a little to either side he would notice that in the movie of real life the victims scattered all over the highway are not just the Democrats but democracy itself. An electorate distracted by dirty tricks is less able to vote to protect the public interest, which is the whole purpose of democracy. A distracted, deceived and fearful electorate is the precursor of fascism.
(via Salt Lake City Tribune)

In a very, very Red state... Stop, children, what's that sound...

NOTE That's the real story, and an amazing one. An anaesthesiologist in Salt Lake City uses the F-word (OK, qualified with "precursor") to decribe the Bush administration. Talk about framing! Modo, that dried-up worthless twit, once again obscures the real point with blather.

Matthew 6:1-6 

For those who can't follow along at home, Inerrant Boy is definitely not preaching on this text:

1: Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2: "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3: But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4: so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6: But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Revised Standard version)

Bottom line: The Jeebofascists, and Bush, are exactly the people Jesus warned us against.

Thinking of flying home for the holidays? 

Looks like Bush undermanning the Iraq invasion force caused more problems:

American intelligence agencies have tripled their formal estimate of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile systems believed to be at large worldwide, since determining that at least 4,000 of the weapons in Iraq's prewar arsenals cannot be accounted for, government officials said Friday.
(via the and-then-they-came-for-you Times)

Wow! Looks like those missiles got privatized! Feeling safer yet?

Something is Happening Here 

This is way beyond "what it is ain't exactly clear." This is, as Lambert noted, getting into Reichstag Fire territory.

The link earlier was to a brief USA Today piece. This is from the local Raleigh News & Observer:
RALEIGH - Vandals attacked the state Republican Party headquarters late Friday leaving behind busted windows, kerosene-soaked rags, vulgar slogans and a charred effigy.

Three protesters were arrested and charged in connection with the damage and attempted arson.

Commotion erupted in two spots on Hillsborough Street shortly after 11 p.m. -- one group of 100 people blocked the road across from the N.C. State University Bell Tower while another 100 gathered at the GOP building.

As officers responded to the illegal demonstration in the street, they passed the group vandalizing the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters at 1506 Hillsborough.

Raleigh police Maj. Dennis Lane said he could not confirm that the two events were related.

When police arrived, both groups scattered in all directions. Many of those who were at the party headquarters fled into the Cameron Park neighborhood.
Police caught none of the protesters in either area. But two neighbors did.

Hearing a commotion, John Robbins and a neighbor captured and detained three protesters until police arrived.

"I found them between the garages taking off their black clothes," Robbins said, adding that one of the female protesters bit him on the shoulder.

"They were saying they didn't hurt anybody, but my thing for going out there was to hold them responsible for the damage they had done," he said. "Doing this sort of thing just isn't right."
UPDATE: Very alert reader gene 214 raises a damn good point about Mr. Robbins: "Perhaps I'm missing something, but this guy Robbins issued this statement to police right after holding a couple of people who "were changing clothes between garages" immediately after they had apparently committed their little act of armed resistance. Unless this guy lives right next door to the Gop office, how the hell did he know about the damage these people caused??"

Good question, gene, let's hope somebody at the Nando thinks to ask it.

To continue with our story...
Vanessa Marie Zuloaga, 24, and Melissa Lynn Brown, 18, both of Columbia, S.C. and David Reuben Hensley, 20, of Raleigh were each charged with one count of causing malicious damage to property by use of an incendiary device, a felony. All three remained in the Wake County jail late Saturday, each being held on the $50,000 bail.

Saturday morning, Robbins discovered a black flag and crowbar in his yard and handed them over to police.

John Denton found all sorts of odd stuff during his morning walk including a duffel bag, a torch, bandannas, gloves, a roll of duct tape and even a discarded drum. He pointed it all out to officers. Denton said he too heard lots of unusual noise Friday night.

Besides the spray-painted slogans "Hang em high" and "No more prez," the vandals scrawled a capital "A" inside a circle, an anarchist symbol, on the blond brick building and on its sign.

Anarchy symbols also appeared on the Bank of America automatic teller machine across from the Bell Tower and on another nearby brick building, both on Hillsborough.

The N.C. Independent Media Center web site published what appeared to be a firsthand account of the vandalism, describing the march preceding it as featuring "anarchist, anti-capitalist and revolutionary" banners carried by demonstrators who "danced to the beat of several drums" and "decorated the streets with graffiti."

Bill Peaslee, state GOP chief of staff, said the party plans to make repairs and move forward.

Asked if he thought the attack was partisan, he said: "They didn't hit down the street," referring to the state Democratic Party headquarters on Hillsborough closer to the Capitol. Police said they are trying to protect that building.

"The thing that is the most disturbing is that these people don't have a better way of expressing themselves," said Peaslee, who was wearing a "W 2004" ballcap Saturday morning. Ever the party leader, he even offered a backhanded compliment to the protesters. "They were very well organized."

The police investigation continued Saturday afternoon, Lane said.

"We're trying to determine if we can identify any additional suspects," he said.
Now let's look this over. I have no links to the anarchist community but just on the face of it I would have trouble believing that they (1) number 200 active, willing-to-show-up-for-a-rave members in Raleigh-friggin'-Durham North Carolina, or that (2) all 200 would agree to engage in this project, or most especially that (3) a group that size would not have as many police infiltrators as actual members, if not more.

The fact that somebody does things they've seen self-proclaimed "anarchists" do on TV, like the spraypainting of "A", does not prove anything except that they watch TV. And why the automatic assumption, not just by the local Head GOoP but the cops and even the newspaper reporter, that these people must be, or be affiliated with, Democrats? Hell, we have enough trouble keeping our own factions marching together, I never once in the course of a long campaign heard of any outreach to the black-beret folks.

And out of 200 people rampaging in the streets the police caught exactly ZERO? Does this not seem just a tad odd to anybody?

And an Indymedia site, yeah the outfit that had a batch of their servers seized by police in a bizarre international effort just before the election, happens to be the one they mention as having a remarkably quick story about this action?

And doesn't the aforementioned Head GOoP, Mr. Peasley, sound remarkably calm about all this? Just barely a tut-tut, followed by a compliment on the organizational skills of a rampaging, property-destroying, raving MOB for chrissakes?

Correntians in the area, or who have contacts there, let us know what the local chatter is. Anybody know these three arrested parties? Previous affiliations of a political nature? What's the neighborhood like, what's the nearest college, etc.

Followup will be conducted here.

Election fraud 2004: More facts on the Florida vote 

You know, this story shows why Kerry should never have conceded until all the votes were counted. That would have given the SCLM a frame for the story immediately. (No, there was no point litigating Ohio. What Kerry should have said is that "Yep, it looks like Bush won. And I'll concede officially when all the votes are counted. And now the country can go about its business." It's FOLLY to concede the Republicans anything.) And now we see why:

When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.

"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.

While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios largely matched the Kerry/Bush vote, in Florida's counties using results from optically scanned paper ballots - fed into a central tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking – the results seem to contain substantial anomalies.

In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.

In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.

More visual analysis of the results can be seen [here], and [here].

Note the trend line – the only variable that determines a swing toward Bush was the use of optical scan machines.

(via Common Dreams)

What could enable such a discrepancy in the counties with optical scanners? The answer could be in the network architecture that Diebold adopted: A central server where the votes from the polling places are tabulated, which stores the data—I kid you not—in Microsoft Access. The whole system is totally insecure and eminently hackable:

Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the machines that simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.

That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.

[Says Bev Harris:] "What surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like what you and I use. It's just a regular computer."

"So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into a central tabulator?"

According to congressional candidate Fisher, it makes far more sense that the exit polls were right - they weren't done on Diebold PCs - and that the vote itself was hacked.

And not only for the presidential candidate - Jeff Fisher thinks this hit him and pretty much every other Democratic candidate for national office in the most-hacked swing states.

Still in the interesting if true category. The story is kinda schizzy—the lede is about Fisher and the FBI, but the statistics in the story don't give a clue to what Fisher actually has. And why hack the optical scan machines, since those are the ones that leave a paper trail?

It's also interesting that the Harris quote comes from an interview with Howard Dean. Where is he on this?

UPDATE Interesting statistical analysis on California here.

Who's Watching the Watchers? WE ARE. 

As young people in iWaq are forced on all sides to kill each other for the sake of W, and hospitals are bombed, and morality and values are ballyhooed, the election ain’t over.

I just got back from the meeting of local Dems from the region, sort of a confab for those who were pollwatchers and canvassing board watchers during the election, to compare notes and talk to lawyers and party bosses, and I am pissed. Really pissed. I followed up with a bunch of phone calls and compared notes around. Everybody’s pissed. And here’s a list of reasons why:

ORGANIZATION. We’re disorganized as hell. Total fascist efficiency would scare me, and I wouldn’t want that, but come on…Two county HQ’s didn’t even have computers, and no central list of volunteers even on hard copy. GOP HQ’s in all counties, on the other hand, all had computers, and runners to get the numbers in real time on E-day, and now have a complete list of who did and did not show up in their precincts on E-day to vote. Think that’ll be handy in the next election? Think the county part bosses can use that info? The Dems have voter registration lists, that’s all, no record of who voted. While the GOPers had lunches taken to their workers, and regular runners to check on them, at fifty of the precincts no Dem runner even showed up to check on things, and cell phone use was banned, and if you left the polls you weren’t allowed back in, so nobody could call in a lawyer if they needed to. Five pollwatchers were sent to precincts where there were already pollwatchers, and had to be moved, and so didn’t see the machines fired up. Of course, when they got there, the GOP-watchers were already there. Only twenty precincts had any Dems 100ft. away to watch what was going on outside and wave people in. Anecdotally, it seems the GOPers had people with signs at damn near all of the polls. LESSON: Organize, goddamit!

IRREGULARITIES. Everybody reported nothing but minor problems at the precincts themselves. This is the good news. The bad news? In at least one county, the clerk’s office opened up the bags containing the absentee ballots and later, the provisional ballots, without even a single outside witness. They broke the seals open and sorted the ballots and then proceeded to see which ones they would disqualify without any outside monitoring. And not in the presence of the canvassing board, either (and in many states, the county commissioners are the canvassing board—yet another reason to organize and run locally, me hearties). And the clerk was a GOPer. In one county, they allowed absentee counters who entered votes that were rejected by the machine to “interpret” the ballots differently than the machine would have; e.g., counting an undervote as a straight party ticket vote. It took a judge to send a TRO to stop that and get a recount according to machine standards. The clerk wasn’t going to do it because the staff was “tired.” Talk about “Oh, it’s only a few votes, don’t worry.” Some of the provisionals were rejected because the voters had been purged for inactivity—but nobody could verify right then when they had last voted. In one county there was only one Dem to watch ALL of the provisionals being counted. Plenty of GOPers, though. Redistricting sent many voters to the wrong precinct because they never bothered to check and see if it had changed, and many didn’t bother to find the right one after that. Point is, even in counties where the precincts didn’t report problems, weird shit might have gone on, or (especially in Ohio and Florida) be still going on at the county courthouse, and your local Dems might be not even be there to watch. LESSON: If you don’t know who’s watching the count, find out. NOW, before the SoS certifies the election and the lawyers go home. Find out who’s watching the canvassing board. Ask questions. Be a pain the ass. At party HQ, too. The party has rights Joe Citizen doesn’t, to appoint watchers, for example.

TIMIDITY. Then, the Dem bosses wanted to argue about whether or not to challenge these rejected ballots and counting irregularities legally, or go to the press, or both, because the GOPers might scream that we were “whiners.” Argue? Hell, yes! all the pollworkers all said. One party boss said we should wait to go to the press until after contacting the SoS, because the SoS is the one to take legal action. One guy pointed out there was no reason not to do both. In fact, logically, it might even build a fire under the SoS if there’s a lawsuit behind it. So, supposedly, they’re going to have a lawyer “look into it” at the next party meeting. You can bet it’ll end up in the papers, though, oh yes. At least in the letters. Whiners indeed. So now it’s “whining” if you insist on having every vote counted?

FOLLOWUP: If it’s like this around here, what’s it like in your area, your county, your precinct and local party? Yeah, these records have to be stored for a period of time, and the Dems could review them at any time, but #1 and #3 seem to be standing in the way. Whether it changes the election or not, isn’t it reasonable to insist that every damn vote be counted? And take steps to assure this NEVER happens again? Nationally, I mean? Because if elections are left up to locals, and states, the GOP will do it again. And again. They are a deadly efficient machine, especially locally.

I guess my point is this: Dems can’t be standing on the sidelines waiting for a final tally, folks, assuming that No! They would never do that! Or thinking that just because it looked clean on the precinct level, that means it’s clean. Things happen in your canvassing boards and county clerk’s office and party HQ, too. Bad things. Immoral things, if you believe in democracy for real, having every vote counted.

I came away thinking that we will never know the real results, myself. I think I’m becoming cynical, again. Or I may just have to switch party affiliations from Green to Dem and show these fuckers how it’s done. I dunno. Right now, I take a taste of medicinal whiskey. Any other pollwatchers or canvass watchers out there?


Hey, like Grover Norquist said, "bipartisan" is a synonym for date rape. So, yawn.

I mean, people who are, um, openly Democrats can't even get into a Partei rally, and are thrown out, or arrested, or thrown to the ground and stomped if they reveal their political affiliation.

Seems to me the best way to protect the 49% of the country who didn't vote for Bush from what He has in store for them is to tell Bush to go Cheney himself. We'll see how the Beltway Dems handle it.

Speaking of Falluja 

Riverbend has more on the subject of what is happening in a city where actual people once lived actual lives, you know, going to work, to school, to the doctor, or to the market to shop and gossip, people who celebrated birthdays and graduations, for whom family means the large, extended kind, and for whom a neighborhood is a web of personal connections. Weirdly, the whole city has become a center of terrorism. All those people leading everyday lives have turned into terrorists, or potential terrorists. Or so we're told. Thus the entire city is "fair game," and "in play," sort of like John Kerry's Vietnam medals, only more deadly. Falluja has become a city of targets to be attacked from the air. Well, this is war and war is hell, and didn't the Iraqi's attack us first? Oh, that's right, they didn't. Damn, I keep forgetting we're there to liberate them. Increasingly the question becomes, who will liberate them from us?

Meet a mother and her children, refugees in their own country, who have left behind in Falluja, the father and the oldest son. I'll let Riverbend do the introductions.

She also reacts to the election results. Ours. With unblinking wit.

In addition to all that, she points us to an effort to provide help to the refugees from Falluja and other cities under attacked initiated by the Jarrar family. I'm still a bit unclear on exactly how to contribute; a hoped for Paypal account hasn't worked out. Do check it out; I can't imagine a more worthy cause for any American to support, and even small contributions will go a long way in Iraq, or Jordan, where supplies are to be purchased, toward helping to provide the kinds of help all refugees need.

Election fraud 2004: More votes for President in Florida than voters 

The Reign of Witches 

(via dKos)
"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles.

It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt......If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

Thomas Jefferson, 1798, after the passage of the Sedition Act.

Iraq clusterfuck: Who's in charge here? 

Here's a weird a little tidbit:

[The Marines] are awaiting orders from interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to launch an all-out assault [on Stalingrad Fallujah].
(via AP)

Weird. Either Bush has abolished our own sovreignty by handing over control of our troops to another country, or Iraq has no sovreignty.

Which is it?

Nice to see Bush making himself accountable, right out front, for the timing of the latest assault on Fallujah. Oh, wait....

A little Reichstag fire? 


Feel the fear....

UPDATE Gee, our troll is all over this one (off-topic, of course, in another thread). Gee, this guy is such a barometer. It's almost like it's a permanent campaign, or something, and everything is still being co-ordinated by the Gaulieters. Naah... What am I thinking.... That's tinfoil hat stuff!

A kind review of the Lexicon of Liberal Invective 

At the American Politics Journal.

And in fact, the Lexicon does seem to have some small effect—Corrente shows up at Wecovery and YABL (#7) as well as SCLM.

Now, none of these hits are in the 10,000s let alone the 100,000s. But it still shows connections being made. Leading to two conclusions:

1. Obviously, after 11/2, "invective" (memes...) is not enough. Frames and/or design patterns (back) might be more effective.

2. What's needed is some technical approach to allow people to "connect the dots," where the dots are both the people themselves, ideas, values, and events; a better way to be reality-based, and to manufacture the frames/patterns we need, by working togethre. And the approach needs to be federated, not concentrated (like the rest of the media and, now that I think about it, blogger).

I'm not sure whether blogs in themselves are this techology, though they clearly point the way to it.

Ah, Morality 

Not in my name. No, no. In the name of the “morals and values” crowd:

A hospital has been razed to the ground in one of the heaviest US air raids in the Iraqi city of Falluja.

Witnesses said only the facade remained of the small Nazzal Emergency Hospital in the centre of the city. There are no reports on casualties.

A nearby medical supplies storeroom and dozens of houses were damaged as US forces continued preparing the ground for an expected major assault.

UN chief Kofi Annan has warned against an attack on the restive Sunni city.

US strikes raze Falluja hospital

And in other “morals and values-based” developments:

Four Car Bombs, Attacks Kill 37 in Iraq's Samarra

Weapons: U.S. Expands List of Lost Missiles

20 U.S. Soldiers Wounded in Ramadi

U.S. Army Report Sees No Fault in Iraq Hotel Attack

I filled out the Massacree with the four-part harmony. Wrote it down there just like it was and everything was fine. And I put down my pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there . . . on the other side . . . in the middle of the other side . . . away from everything else on the other side . . . in parentheses . . . capital letters . . . quotated . . . read the following words: "Kid, have you rehabilitated yourself?"

I went over to the sergeant. Said, "Sergeant, you got a lot of god-damned gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself! I mean . . . I mean . . . I mean that you send . . . I'm sittin' here on the bench . . . I mean I'm sittin' here on the Group W bench, 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough to join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug."
He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind! We're gonna send your fingerprints off to Washington"!

And, friends, somewhere in Washington, enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints.

And the only reason I'm singin' you the song now is 'cause you may know somebody in a similar situation.

There’s a meeting at Dem HQ today here to discuss what pollwatchers saw that was weird. I’ve been invited. If anything interesting comes up, I’ll be sure to post.

Meanwhile, I’ll just marvel at what passes for “morals and values.”

Time to think about changing the rules? 

1% doth not a Bush mandate make (put your coffee down before clicking). In a just world.

But pragmatically, Bush is going to rule just like He had a mandate. And because 49% of the people are being taxed without being represented, He's going to get away with it (for awhile).

So, the rules aren't working for us. In fact, the rules have been systematically rigged against us, and the refs turn a blind eye. So maybe rather than trying to play the same game better, it's time to change the rules.

Catherine Austin Fitts has one way of changing the rules, called Solari. She has a considerable and impressive body of work. Here is one passage that caught my eye:

We have the power of our votes in the marketplace.

We are going to exercise that power now!

Beginning with our kickoff this past July 4th, we are calling for 600,000 people worldwide to join us in pulling our checking accounts, certificates of deposits, credit cards and other business out of multi-national banks such as Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and switching to a local, well managed community-friendly bank or credit union...
(via Declaring independence)

Catherine Austin Fitts is right. Follow the money. A cut of the profits from the multinationals goes to the campaign contributions that fuel Republican dominance. If it were business as usual, and "honest graft," that would be OK, but it isn't business as usual any more.

If you want a local, well managed community-friendly bank in Philly's Center City, try The Asian Bank in Chinatown (and here).

And check out the Solari site. What do you think? The slogan "Follow the money" makes a lot of sense to me.

P.S. Note that the Sinclair episode proves that 49% of the people do—duh!—have marketplace power. But wouldn't it have been great if, instead of stopping the un-FUX network at the national level, we had been starting something at the local level? That's the kind of logic Fitts is using.

Note from the copy-editing department 

It has been brought to our attention that, again, some writers and alert readers are not exhibiting due deference to Dear Leader. Such slovenliness and covert defiance can no longer be permitted.

Therefore, let me give you guidance on this matter:

WRONG: The Bush mandate means that he ...
RIGHT: The Bush mandate means that He ...


Great headlines of our time 

Bush Will Not Seek Mass Resignations

In His great mercy...

Of course, what that means is that Bush and Rove are making a list right now of the lucky duckies to heave over the side... Where they will promptly make fortunes writing "tell all" books that, in fact, tell nothing important. Except, of course, for the mid-level scientists and whistleblowers who risked their careers, out of a sense of professionalism—dare I say "moral values"—to try to protect us all.

Mass casualties, though... That's another thing....

Department of Notes and Queries: Political Design Patterns? 

Does anyone know of a source or a method for developing/using political design patterns? (A more informally styled site here).

Sure, these sites are about developing software, and politics is about developing wetware. So?

An example of a design pattern would be the "TTT" (trick, trust, transfer) Confidence Game (back) pattern that the Republicans have used so successfully. Note, however, that the work to put the TTT pattern into a larger pattern—where the con is recognized, resisted, and exposed has yet to be created (and shown to work in actual political situations).

I am thinking of political design patterns as an alternative/complementary methodology to Lakoff's frames.

Steal This Bible ~ Crusade 2008! 

Where to begin? It would appear that the liberal segment of the flock has gone astray. Strayed from The Way of the His Word and coaxed by Cain and Francois Marie Arouet down the crooked shadowy "values" barren path of modernism, enlightement, and skeptical decadence. And ultimately into the gnashing jaws of faithless sin. At least that's the noise, as I've decoded it, ringing from the belltowers and wafting from the incensed altars of cable TV Nooze BabbleOn. The high toothless priests and priestesses of jabber and lore are holding forth on the dire consequences of secular political sermonizing. Warning this blessed land's wayward tribes of Blue State lefties to get Right with Republican Jesus or prepare to be set upon by the Chosen Red State swarms. Consumed by fire like so many Amalekites being pounced upon by Saul. Prepare, transgressors, to have your asses smote and your sucklings heaved into the waves with the swine if you should once again fail to heed the fabulous signs and wonders before you!

Show up on Sunday, librul', and pay the preacherman like a good Gawd-fearin' real Murican', or prepare to be lashed to a post in the public square, come 2008, and switch-whipped like a slutty barefoot chambermaid passed out drunk in a stable.

Howard Dean 2008! Forget it.

Unless he changes his name to Jimmy. Jimmy Dean, the breakfast sowsedge guy, not the fruity dead Hollywood actor. Then again, nah, that won't work either. Too obvious. But our next candidate's first name could be Dean. As long as he's not the Dean of anything academic or snooty or elitist or "coastal" or book larn'd or ungodly strange like that. But Dean something? Dizzy Dean! Possibility? Not Dean Martin, no. How bout' Dean Autrey? Hey...maybe? Ok, forget "Dean".

How about Beauregard M. Whiteman? Yes! That's our guy!

"Beau fer sho" - in 2008!

So then, "Who is Beauregard M. Whiteman?" you ask. Well lemme' tell ya: B.W. (as we like to call him around the traditional non-metrosexual male barber shop) is a plain-spoken well-mannered liberal-like church goin' God fearin' southern Methodist Christian gentleman. Family man, former Navy Seal and commie assassin, Democrat, small business owner, Little League umpire, and member in good standing of the National Association for the Advancement of Foniks, and the Celebrated Southern Sons of Celebrated Southern Realtors. Never missed a parade or a chicken a la king dinner in a church basement. A man who don't always talk real good neither and is married - to a woman - (and a piston pumping hottie to boot... heh... if ya know what i mean fellas) - who loves watching NASCAR on the TeeVee and knows how to stuff a fat turkey and seal a driveway and wipe a screeching baby's ass and be the first to spy a cheery uplifting rainbow on a blustery day. All at the same time, if need be. Beau and the missus will have a son named Roy who wants to be a fireman or a jet pilot or a speed boat racer, or something that involves burning gasoline, and a daughter named Ashley who wants to be a veterinarian or a mommy or a country music singer or anything that doesn't involve performing medical science on humans. They must have a dog. A dog named Cadet. Must not have a butler named Rhett. Must have a gun cab-in-ett. With lots of guns in ett. Ok, ok, i'll stop.

Especially scary looking guns. With scopes. And antique dueling pistols. B.W. likes to spend his free family guy time hitting golf balls into a corn field with a four wood or taking the whole family on picnics to Civil War Battlefields. B.W. also has a crazy lovable younger brother foil who drinks too much cheap American beer and eats fried twinkies and chases cocktail waitresses around buffet tables in Vegas. And other manly Red State Christian regular guy things like that. Must also own a pile of dried brush. Which he can be photographed, on occasion, moving from here to there and from there to here. If he does not possess a dried pile of brush one will be provided for him.

Potential candidate must NOT: have any prior history or incident involving long lost relative left alone wailing like an animal in the charred smoldering ruins of a burned family farmhouse. Unwelcome surprises like that - will be unwelcome.

Plus, the new Democrat dream preacher, I mean candidate, must extend a welcoming paw to Alan Keyes. I think Dems need to finance third party challenges to moderate and semi moderate and even fanatical semi moderate Republicans. Especially in key battleground states. In order to split the sword of the lord vote and elect good church going pew shining liberals to key positions of leadership and faith and other stuff. And Alan Keyes is just the guy to help split the rock right down the middle. And hey, Alan Keyes is like a human bowiling ball anyway. He even looks like a effing bowling ball. Every few years he rolls back up out of the shoot and someone picks him up by his ears and flings him down a buffed hardwood alley in the hopes he'll knock down some pins at the other end. What's so hard to figure out about about that? Eh? Sheesh. Dems need to pay the guy at the counter, rent the funny shoes, and start bowling with Alan Keyes.

Hopefully I will be invited to appear on cable television TV shows with meatheads like Chris Matthews or eerie cackling Falangist crypt minders like Pat Buchanan to discuss my plans for the future of the new Jesus shoutin' liberal agenda. The sooner the better. So, CNNMSGOPFOXNewzi producers, fire an email my way, and let me know when the limo will arrive to transport me to the bright lights and glamour of high stakes Calvinist revival punditry.

BTW: I have alerted the Justice Departmart and Chris Dodd and Harold Ford to the old liberal HULLABALOO menace amongst us. John Ashcroft's Final Days Avengers should be kicking in the door to Digby's little subversive parasite infested Socialist Republic of Santa Monica nest any minute now.

It's the least I can do for the future of THE PARTY.

BTW again. Homosexuals: Shut the friggin' heck up and get back in that cedar finish log cabin closet you filthy fairy touched Irish Catholic Christ kill—..., I mean homos!... you filthy fairy Hollywood homos! Oh my dear God I din't mean that part about the Irish Christ killers, it was just a joke!!!! Well shit, I mean poopy! ...there goes the South Boston vote.

But hey, think on the bright side. I may have just picked up a few hundred votes in Colorado Springs.

Beauregard Moses Whiteman - 2008!

[Ed note: this post has not been spell checked by pompuss elitist fuckwit professer moonbats or anything lame like that.]


Friday, November 05, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Quickly, before BLOGGER'S MASSIVE SUCKITUDE prevents me from posting again...

[Noises off; bottles smashing, dull thudding as of head pounding wall.]

I mean, WTF? After a billion dollar IPO?

Maybe BLOGGER'S MASSIVE SUCKITUDE was the reason Atrios took the weekend off. Who knows? Hey, maybe in a couple of days they'll have servers that, like, actually serve...

[Presses Publish Button. Holds breath. Begins to pound head on wall.]


The color purple 

Then again, a map that plots red, blue, and 50/50 red/blue counties looks a lot more hopeful than the previous red/blue post.

Maybe we need to stop thinking in terms of states entirely, and in terms of something like riversheds—it's fascinating how much blue there is near the Atlantic, Pacific, Mississippi, Ohio, and the Great Lakes (including Lake Champlain ;-).

Who knows?

When they say it's not about the money, it's about the money 

NOTE: The table is sorted by rank in 2003 (the right-most column). Red states, red numbers, blue states, blue numbers. Thus, red New Mexico, in 2003, paid the least in taxes, and gained the most in subsidies.

Source: Tax Foundation, from Census Bureau data.

All taxpayers know that the federal government uses tax and spending policy to redistribute income from citizens with high incomes to those who make little, but citizens are less aware about geographically based income redistribution. Tax Foundation Senior Economist Scott Moody compares the federal tax burden in each state with Census Bureau data (2003) on federal spending in each state. The result is a ranking of which states got the best deal in 2003 from Uncle Sam’s tax and spending policies.

If some states are beneficiaries, then naturally some must be benefactors—those states where so much is collected in federal taxes that any federal spending they receive is overwhelmed.

Combining the third highest tax burden per capita with the ninth lowest federal spending, New Jersey had the lowest federal spending-to-tax ratio (57¢). Other states that had low federal spending-to-tax ratios in FY 2003 are New Hampshire (64¢), Connecticut (65¢), Minnesota (70¢), Nevada (70¢), and Illinois (73¢).

Federal spending on defense and other procurement dollars are often funneled to the states of powerful Members of Congress, and state governments can grab more federal grant money by skillfully manipulating their spending to comply with federal regulations.
However, demography may be more influential than politics. States with more residents on Social Security, Medicare and other large federal entitlements are bound to rank fairly high. Similarly, the high spending levels in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia are explained by the predominance of federal employees.

On the tax side of the equation, states with higher incomes per capita—New Jersey stands out—pay much higher federal taxes per capita because of the income tax’s progressive structure. The citizens in these high-income, high-tax states do not always live better or save more than people in low-income, low-tax states because the cost of living is usually that much higher or more.

Isn't it about time satire and mockery were directed at "Christian" "Conservative" leaders? 

Since they are, after all, nothing more than politicians?

If Leno and Letterman (and Jon Stewart) can poke fun at Bush, Kerry, and The Arnis™, why can't they do the same with Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the rest of the gang? Are they, um, sacrosanct?

And then there's this guy. John Pastore Pastrami:

Christian Conservatives [sic] Must Not Compromise
Voters reject liberalism, an evil ideology.

Quite simply, a majority of Americans have rejected John Kerry and John Edwards and the left because they are wrong. They are wrong because there are not two Americas. We are one nation under a God they reject.

Thanks, LA Times. More like this. Lance the boil:

The nation has now resoundingly rejected the left and its agenda. We do not want to become European. We do not want to become socialist. We do not want to become secular. We are exceptional. We are unique. And we are the greatest force for good in the world, despite what the left, the terrorists or the United Nations may claim. It is for these reasons that we remain the last great hope in the world for freedom.

Well. All I can say is, good luck! And get this guy on Letterman ASAP!

UPDATE OK, OK, so I got Pastrami's name wrong. Sue me. Or send me to Hell. Whatever.


I have a serious question... 

When are they going to count the votes in Ohio? I can't find any reference to them counting the votes anywhere on the web.

I'm pretty sure Kerry lost in Ohio but I'd appreciate knowing the final tabulation. I assume the state is still planning to count the votes, right?

Just because Kerry conceded the race doesn't mean they don't have to finish counting the votes, right?

UPDATE Tom cites this story in comments. Looks like the story that the election was clean is starting to unravel already. CNN:

An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.

Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

Bush actually received 365 votes in the precinct, Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told The Columbus Dispatch.

State and county election officials did not immediately respond to requests by The Associated Press for more details about the voting system and its vendor, and whether the error, if repeated elsewhere in Ohio, could have affected the outcome.

Interesting. I wonder why they don't respond? —Lambert

I stopped paying the Times tax today 

A dollar a day and then $4.50 on Sundays—I think paying over 500 bucks for the privilege of risking a coronary is too much. AP, Knight-Ridder... Still SCLM, but at least I still don't have to wonder why Judith "Kneepads" Miller still has a job, or listen to Dan "Bud Man" Okrent explain to me again why his readers are wrong and abusive.

Anyhow, it's clear that the Times really doesn't want to be in the news business for much longer. The news had a good ride, but it's turning from a cash cow into a dog. Just like GM really makes its money on financing, not bending metal, the Times really isn't a newspaper anymore. I mean, what did they roll out this year? A new arts section, and a style magazine. The arts are great, so is style, but in the midst of a war? In the midst of the most important election campaign in a generation? Couldn't the newsroom have gotten some funding? Where your treasure is, there will your heart be.

So long, Paul! Find yourself a better outlet. Say, when is some billionaire going to throw some seed money to some new-line newsgathering organizations, anyhow?

Great headlines of our time 

Crude futures rise

And we really don't have any notion of how crude the future will be, do we? My guess is: Mighty crude.

A beacon of sanity in an ocean of madness 

As always, Corrente believes in changing the tone of our discourse, bringing a new sense of moderation and civility to the voices in the public square. On the other hand, fafblog.... Well:

The election results have come in and they have surprised no one... no one on the side of Giblets that is! It is Giblets in a landslide! Giblets by a whopping three percentage points! Only 49% of the population rejected Giblets! VICTORY! AMERICA HAS SPOKEN!

With this broad mandate, it is time to push aside the mealy-mouthed timid campaign rhetoric Giblets has toyed with before! Giblets will not be "conciliatory" after this historic moment! Tariffs on reading! A flat tax on gay sex! Mandatory prayer before monuments to the Ten Commandments in every class room! A war in every garage, a tortured Arab civilian in every pot! The streets will run with the blood of liberals!

But do not think Giblets will continue to divide the country. Oh no. The days of the bitterly partisan "pro-Giblets" and "anti-Giblets" Americas are over. Giblets is a uniter, not a divider. And he will unite America... UNDER THE CRUSHING FORCE OF HIS IRON HEEL!
(via Fafblog)

There's the headline, then there's the body 


Christians See Court Appointments as Top Bush Aim

Wow. All Christians? So sayeth the headline, but the body says:

Christian conservative [my italics] leaders say their top priority in President Bush's second term is the appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court and throughout the judicial system.

I didn't know all Christians were conservative! You could knock me down with a feather.

And remember the old joke about the Holy Roman Empire? "Neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire"?

Maybe it needs updating. "Christian conservatices? Neither Christian, nor conservative." Certainly true of the leadership, if not all the rank and file.

Unless you think theocracy is conservative, of course.

Triumph of the W 

Man, the air is getting all thick with... something. I just got some spam from Business Week about Bush's "triumph."

He gets elected, that's a triumph? I mean, the first time is always great, but ....

Election fraud 2004: Wuz We Robbed? Does the Ump Need Glas 

So there I was, sitting in the remains of the Mighty Corrente Building, wearing my sackcloth, eating ashes and scraping my boils and sores with a potsherd, when who should happen by but Bev Harris of who asked, “What’s wrong with you?” And I told her that I was being punished by the Invisible Cloud Being for being a gay-loving, anti-imperialist, Liberal, socialist type, even though he didn’t exist, which I thought was unfair. She kicked me in the ass and told me to get up and start asking, Wuz We Robbed? “Huh?” I asked, spitting out a mouthful of ashes. She said, “Before you continue with the postmortem of the Liberal corpse, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at the election.” “No--!” I began to say. And she said, “I know, they would never do that.” She wasn’t wearing a tinfoil headdress, so I said, okay, fuck this martyrdom, what can I do?

THURSDAY Nov. 4 2004: If you are concerned about what happened Tuesday, Nov. 2, you have found a home with our organization. Help America Audit.
Black Box Voting has taken the position that fraud took place in the 2004 election through electronic voting machines. We base this on hard evidence, documents obtained in public records requests, inside information, and other data indicative of manipulation of electronic voting systems. What we do not know is the specific scope of the fraud. We are working now to compile the proof, based not on soft evidence -- red flags, exit polls -- but core documents obtained by Black Box Voting in the most massive Freedom of Information action in history.

We need: Lawyers to enforce public records laws. Some counties have already notified us that they plan to stonewall by delaying delivery of the records. We need citizen volunteers for a number of specific actions. We need computer security professionals willing to GO PUBLIC with formal opinions on the evidence we provide, whether or not it involves DMCA complications. We need funds to pay for copies of the evidence.

TUESDAY Nov 2 2004: New information indicates that hackers may have targeted the central computers that are counting our votes.

Freedom of Information requests are not free. We need to raise $50,000 as quickly as possible to pay for records and the fees some states charge for them. We launched one major FOIA action last night, and have two more on the way, pell-mell. Now is the time. If you can't donate funds, please donate time. E-mail to join the Cleanup Crew. Media calls: 206-335-7747 (congestion) - 206-778-0524 E-mail

No! They Would Never Do That! Would they?

UPDATE: More on the potential for fraud. However, the lawyer says the election is not open to litigation. Wonder why he says that, after documenting all of the weirdness? via Group finds voting irregularities in South

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Democratic shibboleths to ditch: Teddy Kennedy. I've been to Chappaquiddick (or "Chappy" as we WASPs say). Along with Terry McAulliffe. And Al From. And everybody who's thinking in terms of "left," "right," and "center." Whatever's going on in this country, that's not the spectrum it's happening on.

Contest Every Race! 

Never let it be said Kerry had no coattails:

(via AP via NYT)
CICERO, Ill. (AP) -- Michelle Chavez didn't plaster the town with campaign signs. She didn't hold fund-raisers, hand out leaflets or even bother responding to a reporter's questionnaire before the election. But she was on the ballot as a Democrat, and apparently that was enough for voters in this Chicago suburb to elect her as a state representative over the Republican incumbent.

"I can't think of an instance when someone ran such a low-scale candidacy and won,'' said Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. ``It's kind of like a virgin birth in the General Assembly.''

The Cicero Democrat believes Chavez was a ``shill candidate'' put on the ballot by her opponent's supporters to prevent legitimate candidates from running. The only problem, he said, is that rather than go down to defeat, Chavez caught a wave of support for presidential candidate John Kerry and other Democrats on the ballot.

``It's obvious people just pulled the Democrat ballot,'' Sandoval said. ``They didn't know who Michelle Chavez is.''

Chavez, an administrative assistant with a local janitorial company, dismissed such a suggestion, saying ``nobody put me to run against anybody.''

Leticia Chavez, the candidate's niece and campaign manager, said the reason Chavez won was because she and an extended family of close to 30 took the campaign trail door-to-door.
Damn but I wish I had thought of this. I need a job.

Leaving my personal problems out of the matter, I never again want to pick up a paper on the day they print the ballot for the upcoming elections and see ANY seat occupied by a person with an R at the end of their name, and a blank space where an opponent's name should be.


Now that W and the boys have shot their wad with the anti-gay marriage amendments in the swing states, what bigoted homophobic proposal will they use to cynically manipulate the fundies into turning out in 2008?

Will they just take the next step and propose a federal constitutional amendment requiring the burning of homosexuals at the stake?

If that happens perhaps Canada could change its tourism slogan to "Come to Canada: Where Sodomy is Always Safe and Legal."

Or better yet, perhaps they could change it to "Canada: Where the Back Door is Always Open." (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Just a thought.

"And it's one two three— 

What are we fighting for?

Country Joe's answer ("Don't ask me I don't give a damn / next stop is VietNam") can't be ours.

The "Anybody But Bush" slogan was symptomatic. That's a negative slogan, and a negative attitude.

What are the Democratic positive core values?

Can we put them on an index card, like Bush did?

Can we endlessly repeat them, like Bush did?

I can give a hundred reasons why what Bush is doing is wrong—but if I have to give the one right reason to vote Democratic, I can't do it. The one who came closest to being able to do this was (you got it) Howard Dean. Where are you, Howard?


The Chicken Rot 

Most of the signs are down. All of ‘em in my square mile. The Dem’s anyway. If Bushco’s aren’t down by manana, I drop a polite letter to the editor… I’m gonna keep them as a reminder of how far we have to go. And got back just in time to crack open a bottle and see this in comments and follow it. First time I’ve smiled, even a little, in two days. The picture it put in my head...

Molly Ivins:

AUSTIN, Texas -- Do you know how to cure a chicken-killin' dog? Now, you know you cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise.

Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could. He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast. Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

And at least Democrats won't have to clean up after him until it is real clear to everyone who made the mess…

…So, fellow progressives, stop thinking about suicide or moving abroad. Want to feel better? Eat a sour grape, then do something immediately, now, today. Figure out what you can do to help rescue the country -- join something, send a little money to some group, call somewhere and offer to volunteer, find a politician you like at the local level and start helping him or her to move up.

Think about how you can lend a hand to the amazing myriad efforts that will promptly break out to help the country recover from what it has done to itself. Now is the time. Don't mourn, organize!

via Mourning in America

To her list I can add, join the ACLU, write letters, wear your gay pride stuff, and let your freak flag fly! Anybody got any more actions we can take while we watch Bushco screw itself and us?


Love the gay subtext!

This would make a nice Google Bomb, wouldn't it. Can someone technical get that started?

Once more:

Love The Bush Mandate!

There Is No God 

As Mark Twain noted, if there is a God, available evidence indicates that He is a malign thug.

(via MSNBC)
WASHINGTON - The wife of former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards has been diagnosed with breast cancer. A spokesman says Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed yesterday, the day her husband and John Kerry conceded the presidential race.

Election fraud 2004: Florida and the Monitors 

I have volunteered (sigh) to go take down election posters and signs before they abuse the environment, so this is all from me for today probably, but some readers were wondering about Florida and this was very interesting regarding that:

Global monitors find faults

By Thomas Crampton International Herald Tribune Wednesday, November 3, 2004

The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest fell short in many ways of the best global practices.The observers said they had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system."To be honest, monitoring elections in Serbia a few months ago was much simpler," said Konrad Olszewski, an election observer stationed in Miami by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

More on how the monitors weigh in if you want.

Ashcroft > Supreme Court? 

Here come the Jeebo-fascists. The boodle snatcher train is running right on time.
ARLINGTON, Va. - Exulting in their electoral victories, President Bush's conservative supporters immediately turned to staking out mandates for an ambitious agenda of long-cherished goals, including privatizing Social Security, banning same-sex marriage, remaking the Supreme Court and overturning the court's decisions in support of abortion rights.

"Now comes the revolution," Richard Viguerie, the dean of conservative direct mail, told about a dozen fellow movement stalwarts gathered around a television here, tallying up their Senate seats in the earliest hours of the morning. "If you don't implement a conservative agenda now, when do you?"

By midday, however, fights over the spoils had already begun, as conservatives debated the electorate's verdict on the war in Iraq, the Bush administration's spending and the administration's hearty embrace of traditionalist social causes.

SEE: Right Wing 'Revolution'

Didn't take the greedy goosesteppers long to begin fighting over the carcass.


It's a Cold Wind Gonna Bloooow! 

(AP) - The White House claimed a second-term mandate Thursday for President Bush's agenda to keep taxes low and revamp Social Security, appealing to Democrats to help bridge America's political divide after a bitter election. "The American people spoke clearly about the agenda they want for the next four years," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. Bush reached out for the broad support of Americans on Wednesday, even those who voted against him. via White House Claims Mandate for Bush Agenda

Quick tally here, Karl. My first grade math is rusty, but 51% does not make a mandate. My county voted solidly Democratic, for example—county commission, judges, congress and state legislature. Most of swing state races were (and are) too tight to call. Your minions had to resort to moving precincts around, long lines and uncounted ballots to win. I’m still not convinced that the results in Florida and Ohio and NM are kosher. Nixon really had a mandate in ’72, only lost one state. You don’t have a mandate. The 49% of us who voted against your pet really don’t like you, him, or your agenda. We really don’t. Kerry conceded, we didn't. Face facts, what you have supporting you is a bloc of right-wing loonies who can’t think for themselves and who will abandon you as soon as you dig a little too deep into their pockets, or as soon as you tank their social programs, or… well, you get the idea. The rest of us living in Free America didn’t before, don’t now, and never will support your greed and hate agenda.

In fact, those of us still living in Free America are working hard to get your lies and crimes to catch up with you. The truth will catch up with you. Oh yes.

Mandate, my ass. What you feel tickling your neck now, Karl, is the hot breath of justice. And the facts will catch up with you, and August 8, 1974 will replay, only this time with you and your shock-buzzer trained smirking frontman in the starring role. But hey, you’ll like prison—you could organize a straight white pride gang in no time, I’m sure. Oh, and Scott, don’t worry—when the house of Card falls down, you’ll be okay. Used car lots are always looking for a guy who can sell junk with a straight face to a gullible public.

What's going to catch up with you first? Plame? Iraq?

Oh, and in case you forgot what it looks like: Nixon's Resignation Letter

American Self-Portrait 

Oh, and a big shout-out to my peeps in those 11 states that banned gay marriage. I'm sure that in schoolrooms across America, future generations will study how these brave citizens solved their higher-than-average divorce rates by making it harder for love to express itself. They can also study how their ancestors propagated their rugged individualist values to slacker blue states by increasing their drain on the public purse and shifting the tab for the rest of their subsidies to the very kids studying the origins of the renaissance of their country. That's the genius of a morally righteous democracy at work.

So how did "count every vote" morph into "do the math"? 

I'm still ticked about this—Bush was playing a dominance game, and Kerry bowed his neck. He should never have done so.

Conceding before the votes are all counted ("No retreat, no surrendur") trashes the voting process: It says the long lines are OK, the intimidation is OK—since those are the Republican tactics that made it necessary to do the math instead of waiting for, um, the facts.

If Kerry wanted to spare the nation trauma, he could have said why he thought the result would be a Bush win, and delayed his official concession 'til the Constitutional process was complete. That would have sent a better message.

Beware the Charismatic Drummer 

Charismatic rule has long been neglected and ridiculed, but apparently it has deep roots and becomes a powerful stimulus once the proper psychological and social conditions are set. The leader's charismatic power is not a mere phantom - none can doubt that millions believe in it. ~ Franz Neumann, 1942.

[CHRIS] MATTHEWS: How much does personality matter here? Is it Bush's charm that makes him difficult to beat because even if he isn't the expert on something, he seems to have that facility to sort of win.

[JOHN] MCCAIN: I'm not sure it is his charm as much as it is the belief that this guy really believes what he says. And when he says it, I can take it to the bank. And he's my leader. - Hardball/MSNBC/Sept. 22, 2004

"We did not believe that Bush would be as disciplined as he was. He was extremely disciplined," recalls George Shipley, who was then [Ann] Richards' campaign adviser. "Karl gave him 10 index cards and said, 'This is what you are going to say. Don't confuse yourself with the issues.' It's the model for the presidency." - Guardian UK

Behind Bush were two banners. 'King of Kings', proclaimed one. 'Lord of Lords', said the other. - The Observer (UK), Sunday November 2, 2003.


The personality "leadership" cult is an interesting critter. Especially with respect to authoritarian movements which have historically depended upon such theatrical mass appeal to unquestioning faith, obiedience, authority, and moral absolutes. So, I decided to make a comparrison using an extreme example, namely the Fuhrer cult model, as described by Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler, Hubris, and Philip Gourevitch's Sept. 2004 New Yorker contribution titled Bushspeak.

Anyone who has ever witnessed the Bush campaign's carefully stage managed and theatrically orchestrated political rallies will recognize Gourevitch's descriptions below. But what is creepy are the paralells to Kershaw's descriptions of Hitler's rise to power in Germany. The repetitious emphasis on "leadership" and "moral authority", "certitude" and the imagery of warrior protector redemer of the homeland. In any case, it's altogether eerie in too many respects, and I have no doubt personally that Karl Rove keeps a copy of "My Struggle" tucked carefully away in an nightstand drawer. Right there next to his Gideon.

But, you be the judge: Excerpts below from Ian Kershaw's "Hitler 1889-1936:Hubis", pages 279- 282, and Philip Gourevitch's 2004 New Yorker piece linked above.

{Kershaw} Journalists might be permitted to see him for a few minutes, if an interview had been prearranged. But scarcely anyone else was allowed an audience.

{Kershaw} ...his heroic self-image of 'greatness', the necessity of upholding the aura increasingly attached to him by his supporters, and the olympian detachement from the intrigues and in-fighting of his subordinates demanded a high degree of isolation. Beyond this, the distance he deliberately placed between himself and even high-ranking members of his movement was calculated to emphasize the sense of awe and admiration in those admitted to his presence, or encountering him at a theatrically staged mass meeting or rally. At the same time, it enhanced the enigmatic in him.

{Gourevitch} Four years ago, Bush ran for President as a champion of compassion at home and humility abroad. After the September 11th attacks, he recast himself as a man of action, a warrior, whose basic message to the world is: They messed with the wrong guy.

{Kershaw} He was above all a consummate actor. This certainly applied to the stage-managed occasions - the delayed entry to the packed hall, the careful construction of his speeches, the choice of colorful phrases, the gestures and body-language. Here, his natural rhetorical talent was harnessed to well-honed performing skills. A pause at the beginning to allow the tension to mount; a low-key, even hesitant, start; undulations and variations of diction, not melodious certainly, but vivid and highly expressive; almost staccato bursts of sentences, followed by well-timed rallentando to expose the emphasis of a key point; theatrical use of the hands as the speech rose in crescendo; sarcastic wit aimed at opponents: all were devices carefully nurtured to maximize effect.

{Gourevitch} Bush’s voice has a surprising range: he can get a shouting attack going, and he can fall suddenly quiet to create emphasis and declare his seriousness. But the most effective quality is the harsh staccato that overcomes him when he speaks about his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the boundless, all-encompassing, and perhaps eternal war on terror. He acquires a drill sergeant’s punctiliousness—pro-noun-cing ev-er-y syl-lab-le, hit-ting ev-er-y con-son-ant, singing out the sibilants, and bending words, drawing them out, or isolating them between stark silences, [...] He leans in over the microphone, and to make no mistake about his message he reads from a script: "See, our—our fu-ture de-pends on our willing-ness to lead in the world. If America shows uncertainty and weak-ness in this decade, the world will drift toward" —pause— "tragedy" —pause. "This will not hap-pen on my watch." Bush’s right hand, held out flat, beats steadily up and down, patting the lectern in accompaniment to his robotic rhythm. He is nothing if not insistent.

{Gourevitch} He wore no tie, and his sleeves were rolled up, and the simplicity of the proposition, the easy conversational forthrightness, seemed so natural, so obvious and reassuring, that it was easy to forget, as he wound on through his stump speech, that he had promised to lay out a plan for the future. He offered no such plan, or even any new initiatives. He just declared the past four years a success, and said that more and better was to come.

{Kershaw} As in the meticulous attention to detail in the preparations for the party rallies at Weimar in 1926 and Nuremberg in 1927 and 1929, Hitler was preoccupied with impact and impression. His clothing was also selected to match the occasion: the light-brown uniform with swastika armband, belt, attached diagonal strap crossing over the right shoulder, and knee-high leather boots when among the faithful at big party meetings and rallies; dark suit, white shirt, and tie, when appropriate to conveying a less martial, more 'respectable', appearence to a wider audience.

{Kershaw} 'He could play the parts as required. 'He was a kindly conversationalist, kissing the hands of ladies, a friendly uncle giving chocolate to children, a simple man of the people shaking the calloused hands of peasants and workers.' He could be the model of friendliness in public to someone he was privately castigating and deriding. The play-acting and hypocrisy did not mean that he was solely a cynical manipulator, that he did not believe in the central tenets of his 'world-view'. This fervent belief, coupled with the strength of his domineering personality , carried conviction among those drawn to his message. But for one perceptive and critical observer, the one-time Gauleiter of Hamburg, Albert Krebs, Hitler's ability to sway the masses rested essentially on a 'very conscious art' of manipulation - cool calculation, 'without inner sympathy and truthfulness'. Krebs summed up: 'The art of the mask and dissimulation should not be forgotten. It made it so difficult to grasp the core of Hitler's being.' (kershaw page 280-281)

{Gourevitch} Bush spends a good deal of time on the stump deriding his rival, and the rest of the time he projects the attitude of a man who is running unopposed—which he could be forgiven for thinking if the election depended simply on who is the better campaigner.

{Gourevitch}"I'm sorry Laura's not here," he told the breakfast-hour crowd in Las Cruces, and they moaned in sympathy. "I understand," he said, and got a big laugh. "I kissed her goodbye in Crawford this morning and said, 'I've got to go to work.'" More laughter. "She said, You git over to New Mexico and you remind 'em that her kinfolk were raised right here down the road in Anthony. I'm proud of Laura. She's a great mom, a wonderful wife." Loud yips and applause. He continued in a deadpan: "I'll give you some reasons why I think you ought to put me back in. But perhaps the most important one of all's so Laura's the first lady for four more years."

{Gourevitch}When Bush appeared in person, moments later, he seemed surprisingly ordinary. "I'm here to ask for the vote," he told the audience. "I believe it's important to get out and ask for the vote. I believe it's important to travel this great state and the country, talkin' about where I intend to lead the country." He made this sound like an original idea, and perhaps a controversial one, and the way he repeated the words "I believe" carried an air of defiant conviction: I'm not here offering myself to you because that's how it's done in a democracy but because that’s just how I am, and I don’t give a damn who says different.

{Kershaw} The irresistible fascination that many - not a few of them cultured, educated, and intelligent - found in his extrordinary personality-traits boubtless owed much to his ability to play parts. As many attested, he could be charming - particularly to women - and was often witty and amusing. Much of the time it was show, put on for effect. The same could be true of his rages and outbursts of apparently uncontrollable anger, which were in reality often contrived. The firm handshake and 'manly' eye-to-eye contact which Hitler cultivated on occasions when he had to meet ordinary party members was, for the awestruck lowly activist, a moment never to be forgotten. For Hitler, it was merely acting; it meant no more than the reinforcement of the personality cult, the cement of the movement, the bonding force between Leader and followers. In reality, Hitler showed remarkably little human interest in his followers. [...] The propaganda image of 'fatherliness' concealed inner emptiness. Other individuals were of interest to him only in so far as they were useful.

{Gourevitch} Bush's performance on the stump is more a rap than a speech, a sequence of talking points strung together by applause lines. In style and substance, his discourse is saturated in churchiness: he touts the rights of the unborn, pooh-poohs same-sex marriage, speaks of marshalling the "armies of compassion" and transforming America into a "culture of responsibility" and an "ownership society" by changing "one heart and soul, one conscience at a time." But, for all his God talk, he is remarkably lacking in humility. No fault, no blame, no regret, no room for shame attends him as he goes about changing the world. Nor does he appear to entertain the possibility that the changes he is imposing could be anything but improvements. To hear him tell it, the economy is terrific, public education is thriving, health care is better than ever, terrorists are on the run, democracy is spreading throughout the Middle East, and everywhere America is living up to what he describes as its "calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." Because Bush does not appear able to recognize his own errors, much less admit them, he is incapable of self-correction. Indeed, he boasts tirelessly of his resolve and steadfastness, making a virtue of rigidity. Like it or lump it.

"You know I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office." - George W. Bush, 1989

I'm not suggesting that George W. Bush is another Adolph Hitler. Although I do think he is attended to by people who posses such qualities and employ a good deal of the same rhetorical bark and bluster and ambitions. But I don't think Bush is interested in such responsibilities himself. Maybe I'm wrong about that but I don't even think he makes most of the decisions that his administration advances. George W. Bush, I'm convinced, is little more than a front man, a useful Jeremy Diddler raising the big wind. What does worry me however is that the Right in this country, especially the theocratic/dominioist religious faction, could (and is)advancing a hybrid variety of Falangist Franco Way (Monarchy/theocracy) corporatist governance. As a matter of fact I think that's exactly what they are doing. And that, I believe, is one to keep a careful watch upon. But that's another post.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Well, vacation is over so it's back to the old grind. Find stories, post stories, comment on stories, invite readers to do likewise. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, dung beetles gotta...well, anyway, we all do what we do:

(via Kristof/nyt)
Thomas Frank, author of the best political book of the year, "What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," says that Democratic leaders have been so eager to win over suburban professionals that they have lost touch with blue-collar America.

"There is a very upper-middle-class flavor to liberalism, and that's just bound to rub average people the wrong way," Mr. Frank said. He notes that Republicans have used "culturally powerful but content-free issues" to connect to ordinary voters.

To put it another way, Democrats peddle issues, and Republicans sell values. Consider the four G's: God, guns, gays and grizzlies.

"The Republicans are smarter," mused Oregon's governor, Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat. "They've created ... these social issues to get the public to stop looking at what's happening to them economically."

"What we once thought - that people would vote in their economic self-interest - is not true, and we Democrats haven't figured out how to deal with that."
Now I am not the world's biggest Kristof fan and I omitted his conclusion (we must do more of the Jesus talk) because I disagree with it. There are those who can in our party--Obama and Clinton come to mind. Others just plain can't. Some of us don't believe in it (either the particular religion in question or the injection of religion into public discourse) and others, like John Kerry, believe deeply but just can't put it into the sort of code words that resonate with Kristof's 4-G's crowd.

To pull a couple of examples I've seen on TV over the last couple of days (no links, sorry, I can't even remember what networks they were on, it all blurs together):

--(Unfortunately Ex-)Sen. Bob Kerrey narrowed it down to abortion as the key "Values" issue and said (heavily paraphrased) that we've been losing on it by running away from it, as well as letting it be framed as "save the babies" rather than "save women's lives."

Now him I wholeheartedly agree with and it needs to start now. We need to talk about a return to back alleys and coathangers for the poor and trips to Europe for the rich and respectable "D&Cs for menstrual blockage" for the dwindling insured middle class. Work on the assumption that we lose Roe v Wade in the next four years, but remember that after abortion goes "back to the states", i.e. illegal again they'll go after birth control.

--Newly reelected (thank you God and New York City) Sen. Chuck Schumer was on The Daily Show tonight and he and Jon Stewart kicked the "values" subject around too. Catch the rerun tomorrow as I tried to remember too many points and therefore forgot them all, but it was good. In fact I almost didn't watch the show, fearing it would be a downer, but dammit it was good. TDS ain't surrendering either.

As to Kristof's other points I frankly thought the guns thing was over with a long time ago and was blindsided by its reemergence. My brother in law is not a "gun nut" but he is a hunting nut and was somehow persuaded that John Kerry wanted to keep him from ever getting a deer again. Was there a hate-radio person who harped on this? It had to travel underground because I saw nothing, nada, zero public advertising or other push on this subject.

I will leave the "grizzlies" issue for a separate post, except to note we could combine it with the previous one if we wanted to get all Rovian win-at-all-costs about it--we could support the right to arm bears.

Goodnight, moon 

As I empty another bottle and toss it over the side of my tiny cot in my room under the stairs at The Mighty Corrente Building....

I think Maybe, Goddammit, index cards work.

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The massage is the medium.


NOTE A big Tip of the Ol' Corrente Hat to Paul Lukasiak, for providing us with a backup site on election night.

UPDATE An excellent Big Picture post at Kos, on theocracy. Eesh.

I couldn't agree with him more 


[T]he best way to prevent future attacks is to go after the enemy.
(via WhiteWash House)

Well, modulo things like strategy, tactics, and above all logistics....

Say, isn't telling the truth a "moral value"? 

Just asking.

The phrase "moral values" just slays me. It's so pig ignorant. "Immoral values"? "Morals that are not values"? Etc.

Oh, wait. It's code for "God hates fags." Phew. Now it all makes sense. My faith was almost shaken, there!


Straight from the Department of "How Stupid Do They Think We Are?":

[BUSH] So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent: To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust.

Please. Man runs for President while holding rallies that are "private events" (back) to which only people who sign a loyalty oath are invited? And then wants to be President of all the people? I don't think so.

NOTE I hope I have the spelling of "Fuggedaboutit!" correct. Readers?

They Get Letters (deux) 

My email from Kerry today:

Dear Supporter,

Earlier today I spoke to President Bush, and offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory. We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need, the desperate need, for unity for finding the common ground, coming together. Today, I hope that we can begin the healing.

In America, it is vital that every vote counts, and that every vote be counted. But the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process. I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail. But it is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted, which they will be, there won't be enough outstanding votes for our campaign to be able to win Ohio. And therefore, we cannot win this election…

My email to Kerry today:

Dear John:

Earlier today I woke up to discover that you had made that phone call. I usually get up much earlier, but you see, I had been up very late watching the polls at a nearby precinct for you, so that nobody could steal the election, so that every vote could count, and I was very tired.

I had assumed we were all on the bus together—that it was understood that we are dealing with a man and a party that has no desire to “come together for the common good,” a party that, if it wins, intends to drag this country and its people deeper and deeper into its totalitarian vortex where gays are bashed, wars fought for nothing, the rich get richer, and lies are truth. I had assumed that this meant a fight to the finish. In other words, with every vote counted, every legal option explored.

You may actually think that your concession was an act of graceful acceptance, and that it will make it possible for the country to come together. If so, you’re wrong. You do realize who we’re dealing with, right? We are now on the brink of the abyss, and you have gone home. Or, you may just be tired. I know we are.

So, while I accept your thanks for our hard work, I would like for you to know that YOU CONCEDED. WE HAVE NOT.

Yours in Disenfranchisement,


PS. I’ll be sending you copies of my bills for gas and lost time from work. Maybe, you know, you can help out since I’ll be living in the Uniter’s economy until we can get him impeached, with or without your help. Shrill? You bet.

Except it isn't over 

If you're reality-based, that is:

Unofficially Bush wins Ohio, but voters won't know the official count for a few weeks.

At 1 a.m., Ohio Republicans declared victory. Hours later, it wasn't a clear cut victory and it still isn't.

There are still 135,149 provisional ballots that haven't yet been counted, but that number will grow. It will grow because 10 Ohio counties still haven't added up the number of provisional ballots they have.

Those numbers will be known by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Take the number of known provisional ballots, add in the unknown absentee ballots and you're close or over the margin between Bush and Kerry in Ohio, which is just over 136,000 votes in Bush's favor.

Statistically, it would be tough for Kerry to win on the provisional ballots in Ohio. Last election, about 10 percent of all the provisional ballots were thrown out. If that holds true again, Kerry would have to win nearly every single provisional vote that was valid.

It is a tough, if not impossible feat.

Despite his concession, the official Ohio count will begin Thursday and continue the next few weeks.
(via WBNS, Columbus)

I guess I don't see what the trauma is in waiting to count all the votes.

WTF, an "unofficial" win? What is this, a banana Republic?

When you ain't got nuthin' you got nuthin' to lose 

Nuthin' as in none of the three branches of government.

And though Daschle is a nice guy... And it's too bad... Oh, heck, now I'm helping to form a circular firing squad. I mean at least he didn't join the Republicans, like Lieberman is going to. Oops, I did it again!

OK, it's over 


A Kerry adviser said the campaign had concluded that the too-close-to-call battleground state of Ohio was not going to come through for the Democrats.

The adviser said there was no way to gain votes on Bush without an "exhaustive fight," something that would have "further divided this country."
(via CNN)

Maybe someone can tell me what's wrong with an "exhaustive fight"? And how it would be possible to further divide the country than it's already divided? Why is it that Democrats are the ones who are always being the responsible ones and doing shit for the good of the country? Who was the advisor? Warren Christopher? Beltway thinking....

Road Ahead Requires Strength 

June 4th 1940 (as amended by RDF on November 3, 2004)

... I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our freedom, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of the Reality-Based Community, every one of them.

The Various Members of the Reality-Based Community, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the end their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of America and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in the Statehouses, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island of Sanity, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our enlightened brothers and sisters beyond the seas, would carry on the struggle, until, in good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

May 13th 1940 (as amended by RDF, November 3, 2004)

I would say to the Sane, as I said to those who have joined this government: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage a war of words, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that Sweet, Sweet Reason can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, seldom surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival…

I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."

I am exhausted, nauseous, hung over, and trembling with fear and loathing. But the stickers stay on the truck. The button stays on the lapel. I have fired up the engines of impeachment. The fight begins anew, now against the entrenched power, as an action to prevent the complete death of freedom and justice; instead of an effort to oust them from power, it is now an effort to prevent the Big Darkness and herald the New Dawn. As soon as I sleep for a day.

The arithmetic: It ain't over 'til its over. 

100% of Precincts Reporting
George W. Bush 2,794,346 - 51 percent
John Kerry 2,658,125 - 48 percent

2,794,346 - 2,658,125 = 136,221

175,000 provisional votes * 66% = 115,500 (result: misery)

200,000 provisional * 66& = 165,000 (result, happiness)

So, if the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio is lowballing the number of provisional votes by only 25,000 (and I've seen the numbers as high as 250,000) and Kerry gets 66% of them, which is the rate he's achieved in those precincts, Kerry wins.

Get a grip. Start spinning. It ain't over 'til it's over. And now I AM done for the day.

Bush does not declare victory 

In fact, He was going to, then flip-flopped

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said today he is convinced President Bush has defeated Sen. Kerry, but that Bush will not make a statement until later today. "President Bush decided to give Sen. Kerry the respect of more time to reflect on the results of this election," he said. With three states still up in the air, neither candidate has the necessary 270 electoral votes.
(via CNN)

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Bush "respects" Kerry! Oh, that's almost too rich.

Three states still counting, so I wouldn't call this too gracious.

Meanwhile, Kevin Drum disgraces himself with a display of Beltwat Dem wussiness. He actually accepts the Republican secretary of states numbers on the provisional votes! Puh-leeze!

NOTE Atrios asleep, Drum asleep, Josh asleep.... Shit, guys, get outta bed!

And remember, it isn't over until Kerry concedes. Have we remembered nothing from 2000? Maybe Kerry will do that in the next 1/2 hour; I don't know. But until then, Bush triumphant is utterly untrustworthy, as is the SCLM. We know this. So, why believe what they say?

And with that, I'm going to take a long nap.

Rove the evil genius 

Who knew you could win an election based on fear-mongering and homophobic bigotry?

Who knew you didn't need a vision, an agenda, a message, or any sort of significant achievement, huh?

Who knew you could win an election after you've taken the nation into a fool's errand of a war that is going disastrously?

Well, um, Karl Rove knew.

And now I suspect the buyer's remorse is going to set in -- and fairly soon. Within a year to eighteen months I really do expect W to be a reviled president.

Why, you ask? Well because now W and the boys have to try to clean up the messes they've spent the last four years creating and I don't expect them to have much success. Rove is great at elections but he's terrible at governing.

Here's just a partial list of the problems they now will have to deal with in the next year or so:

W and the boys are now going to be forced to reveal the true cost of the Iraq War for next year. I suspect it's more than the $70B figure we've heard bandied about. That won't be popular.

W and the boys are now going to send our Marines to die to take Fallujah (they've been holding this off until after the election) and other insurgent-held areas. This is likely to be an awful struggle that may cost a few hundred American lives. That won't be popular.

The economy is also showing signs that it may be headed back into recession. Employment numbers are particularly flaccid right now. If we head back into recession, that sure as heck won't be popular.

The budget deficit promises to go up astronomically over the next year or two. When we're borrowing $1 of every $3 the federal government spends, that won't be popular.

But, hey, at least we're not allowing gay marriages!

God bless America.

Yes it Has Been This Bad Before 

One of the few advantages of being an old political junkie who started out as a young political junkie watching the Kennedy-Nixon returns come in is that you've been through some godawful crappy times before ('72 comes to mind).

You've laid down when you can't stand up any longer, slept poorly with the TV on, woken up with a fuzzy head, a furry tongue and black despair in your heart. You've spent serious time contemplating the relative value of quiet, dignified wrist-slitting versus a more public statement like self-immolation at the Inaugural.

*Slap* *Slap*. I was going to do the "now the real work starts" column, but thankfully the esteemed Mr. Blades has done it for me:

(via dKos)
'Don't Mourn, Organize'by Meteor Blades
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 05:10:13 CDT

OK. I read thousands of comments and dozens of Diaries last night and this morning. And you know something? I’m going to forget I read most of them. Just erase them from memory along with the names of those who posted them. Chalk them up to adrenaline crashes, too much rage and reefer and booze.

Because what I found in my reading was a plethora of bashing Christians, bashing Kerry, bashing gays, bashing Edwards, bashing Kos, bashing America and bashing each other. As well as a lot of people saying they’re abandoning the Democrats, abandoning politics, abandoning the country. This descent into despair and irrationality and surrender puts icing on the Republican victory cake.

Why were we in this fight in the first place? Because terrible leaders are doing terrible things to our country and calling this wonderful. Because radical reactionaries are trying to impose their imperialist schemes on whoever they wish and calling this just. Because amoral oligarchs are determined to enhance their slice of the economic pie and calling this the natural order. Because flag-wrapped ideologues want to chop up civil liberties and call this security. Because myopians are in charge of America’s future.

We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy.

Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. It’s only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere – indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I don’t think the Democrats should make the attempt. And I’m not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. I’m talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions.

Not a few people have spoken in the past few hours about an Americanist authoritarianism emerging out of the country’s current leadership. I think that’s not far-fetched. Fighting this requires that we stick together, not bashing each other, not fleeing or hiding or yielding to the temptation of behaving as if “what’s the use?”

It’s tough on the psyche to be beaten.Throughout our country’s history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.

After a decent interval of licking our wounds and pondering what might have been and where we went wrong, we need to spit out our despair and return – united - to battling those who have for the moment outmaneuvered us. Otherwise, we might just as well lie down in the street and let them flatten us with their schemes.

I ain't lyin' down, and neither are you. The work goes on. Thanks, Meteor.

Welcome to Saudi America 

Welcome back to 1922:
...He likes money and knows how to amass property, but his cultural development is but little above that of the domestic animals. He is intensely and cocksurely moral, but his morality and his self-interest are crudely identical...He is a violent nationalist and patriot, but he admires rogues in office and always beats the tax-collector if he can. He has immovable opinions about all the great affairs of state, but nine-tenths of them are sheer imbecilities. He is violently jealous of what he conceives to be his rights, but brutally disregardful of the other fellow's...Thus man, whether city or country bred, is the normal Americano - the 100 percent...He exists in all countries, but here alone he rules... - HL Mencken, "On Being An American", 1922 (essay appears in 'Prejudices, Fourth Series'.

Welcome to the Bush country. Welcome to the Confederate States of Moronica. One Nation asleep under a Bush.


Kerry declares victory 

Of course, the SCLM spin will be "Kerry refuses to concede Ohio," but—since the two statements are, arithmetically, equivalent—why not call the situation by its right name? Especially when it sounds better?

November 3, 2004
Statement from Kerry Campaign Manager Mary Beth Cahill on Ohio
For Immediate Release

Boston, MA - Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill released the following statement:

“The vote count in Ohio has not been completed. There are more than 250,000 remaining votes to be counted. We believe when they are, John Kerry will win Ohio.”
(Kerry site

So, it was a genuine guantlet that Kerry threw down.

UPDATE Say, you'd think this would be news, wouldn't it? Yet, oddly, it doesn't appear on CBS, ABC, Reuters, WaPo, or the Times. Strange. Isn't it news?

UPDATE John Edwards chimes in:

"John Kerry and I have made a promise to the American people that with this election every vote would count and every vote would be counted. Tonight we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote," Edwards, a North Carolina senator, said.

Reuters (of course).

NOTE "Arithmetically," meaning that if Kerry captures the northern tier of Michigan and Wisconsin, where he is now ahead, as well as Iowa—strange how those voting machine problems cropped up, isn't it—then, if he wins Ohio, he wins.

Incidentally, I hope Kerry's in bed. And I hope all the Democratic lawyers are NOT sleeping, and are already on the ground, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as Ohio. Because we can be damn sure that's what the Republicans are doing.

Ground zero Ohio: It ain't over 'til it's over 

Republicans admit 175,000 provisional votes to be counted

All the ones the Republicans tried to throw out in their vote suppression efforts, eh?

However, a result in Ohio may not be forthcoming quickly. There are perhaps 175,000 "provisional votes" still to be counted in the state, which under Ohio law will not be counted for several days, according to Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.
(via CBS)


1. Since the Republicans admit to 175,000, right away we know there are more.

2. We have not yet begun to fight on the voting machines

Readers, any detail on Ken Blackwell? I'm sure the spin will be that he's "reasonable" and "non-partisan." As if, eh?

Do the math 

Isn't it premature to call the election when we already know there are e-voting problems that could be massive? 


Voters across the United States reported problems with electronic touch-screen systems on Tuesday in what critics said could be a sign that the machines used by one-third of the population were prone to error.

Voters calling in to an election-day hotline reported more than 1,100 problems with the ATM-like machines, from improperly tallied choices to frozen screens that left their votes in limbo.

Machines in New Orleans, Miami and suburban Philadelphia failed to start punctually in the morning, leading to long lines at polling places and prompting some to turn away from the polls, according to activists with the Election Protection Coalition.

The nonpartisan group said it had received 1,166 complaints as of late evening involving a wide array of machines.

"It gives us the uneasy feeling that we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology-policy group involved in the coalition.

Officials with voting-systems companies said most problems could be traced to human error, rather than the equipment.

Great. I'm sure that helps Diebold's stick, but it doesn't really help me as a voter, does it?

Computer scientists say the machines are prone to the glitches and security holes all too familiar to home-computer users.

The most common complaint was that machines had recorded votes improperly. Most said they were able to go back and fix the problem, a feature that ITAA's Cohen said did not exist in paper-based systems.

But Cohn of the EFF said nobody knew how many votes were cast improperly without the voter noticing.

In Palm Beach County, Florida, some voters found that ballots had already been filled out when they logged in, said Matt Zimmerman, an EFF attorney who is observing the election there.

Hmmm... Swing states.

In 2000, the SCLM didn't cover the Florida story until it was too late. Will they repeat their, um, error this time?

Iowa still in play 


Broken machines and a delay in opening absentee ballots will delay Iowa reporting its final count in the presidential election, state election officials said.
(via CNN)

Broken machines.... Hmm...

Florida: Not so fast.... 


As the votes roll in, so do the shady dealings. Congressmen Wexler warned voters to double check the results of their touch screen voting machines. He's been getting calls from voters claiming that when they tried to vote for Kerry, they found Bush's name selected. The new TS machines in Florida also gave George W. Bush a several thousand vote lead before anyone even laid a finger on them, thereby "effectively voiding" votes for John Kerry. Also in Florida, a failed optical scan machine is forcing election officials to recount about 13,000 ballots in Volusia County. [And] Officials in Miami-Dade may not be able to count their 90,000 absentee ballots until Thursday. In Broward officials are also concerned that they may not be able to count their 92,000 absentee ballots by the end of the night either, according to the Associated Press.
(via Air America)

Thank God someone's covering this....

Democrats, let's exhibit the right stuff, OK? 

Tom Wolfe talks about test pilots having "the right stuff." Even if they're plane was crashing, they'd still be calmly working through their checklists. Remember Apollo 13, where Chris Craft asked "What have we got that's good?"

OK, what have we got that's good?

1. Ohio still (1:30AM) in play (on two networks, and with Democratic strongholds not counted).

2. Michigan and Wisconsin still (1:30AM) in play, as well as Iowa. (Granted, without Ohio, the math doesn't work)

Now, we know our enemies, don't we?

1. So why do we believe there's no election fraud in either Ohio or Florida?

2. So why do we believe the SCLM when they call close states, like Ohio, for Bush?

3. And why do we even believe the vote totals if 1/3 of them are on e-voting machines that don't leave a paper trail? (And given that, why not take a second look at the exit polls?)

4. And if 1, 2, or 3 have any truth to them, why do we believe that the SCLM will cover the story in real time?

So, let's not lose heart, no matter what. And let's pray that Kerry does not concede until all the votes are truly, authentically counted.

In fact, why can't Kerry turn his boat straight into the enemy fire, and declare victory? Take a page from the Bush playbook.

Ground zero Ohio 

(11PM) Only 50% of ballots are in, in Cuyahoga County
As of 11PM tonight. That's in as in "in a box at the polls", not even counted.

Cuyahoga County is counting
Ballots didn't start coming in to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections until 9 p.m. tonight, according to WKYC TV 3 reports, because of long lines when the polls closed. About 50% of the ballots are in the BOE as of 11 p.m.
(via Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Hmmm..... Isn't Cuyahoga County not only heavily Democratic, but a key focus of Republican voter supression efforts?

Not only is Cuyahoga County heavily Democratic, voter registration there increased fivefold (LA Times) over 2000. And yes, the Republicans are up to their usual tricks:

In Ohio, within little more than a week, the Board of Elections in Cuyahoga County received complaints of voters being contacted by people they said claimed to be from the election board: One Cleveland woman said her mother got a call from such a man telling her, falsely, that the location of her polling station had changed.

Another woman said two men posing as election officials knocked on her door and said they had come to pick up her absentee ballot.

An elderly woman in a suburban senior center complained about a call telling her the Nov. 2 election had been postponed until Nov. 3.

"It's happening more and more," said Board of Elections Administrator Jane Platten.

In addition, Cuyahoga County is where the Republicans made their infamous attempt (back) to have 35,000 ballots thrown out, based on a bad dump from their own databases.

So right now, the story when we get up this morning is that Ohio is "too close to call." But the story should be that a Democratic stronghold has yet to be counted, because of the "catastrophic success" of a five-fold increase in registration, and Republican thuggery.

I certainly hope Kerry has some top attack talent on the ground—not in the air, on the ground—in Cuyahoga County right now. And if the networks wheel out that aged, aged wuss, Warren Christopher (back) we'll know the fix is really in.

UPDATE FUX calls Ohio for Bush. The other majors do not follow suit.

All the votes are NOT in
UPDATE The totals in Cuyahoga (Here is a handy county by county breakdown):

Kerry, John F. - Democratic - 263,028 - 62.73%
Bush, George W. - Republican - 154,396 - 36.82%
Precincts Reporting: - 62.19% - 419,280

What I don't know, of course, is the total remaining.

NOTE: The big precincts still counting are all heavily Kerry.

Kerry, John F. - Democratic - 77,375 - 61.74%
Bush, George W. - Republican - 47,666 - 38.03%
Precincts Reporting: - 35.56% - 125,333

Tug-of-war on calling Ohio for Bush
UPDATE NBC projects Ohio for Bush.

UPDATE Then again (1:08AM), via Atrios comments:

Air America just had an Ohio official who said that Kerry has a 190,000 margin of victory in Cuyhoga county and that these votes have not been added to official totals and thus that Bush does not have Ohio yet. Meanwhile, MSNBC just called Ohio for Bush giving him 269 and since the House would give it to bush, MSNBC has called it for Bush.

UPDATE However (1:30AM) neither CNN not C-SPAN project Ohio for Bush. In addition, NH goes for Kerry (!!).

UPDATE Via Air America (thank God, someone's covering this)

Ohio Republicans won in court today. They challenged 23,000 voters, mostly minorities. The only problem is that the ruling came half way through the Election Day, which means that poll workers had already been letting these challenge voters in without, well, challenging them. Democrats fear chaos may ensue from this ruling. They appealed to the Supreme Court.

Ah, the Supreme Court. Will it be divided 4-4? Beautiful....

UPDATE CNN moves Ohio to too close to call. ABC, CBS, PBS have not called it.

Goodnight, moon 

A few passing thoughts:

1. Why is it that the exit polls match up to the vote totals everywhere except two states, Ohio and Florida?

2. Kerry should not concede based on SCLM projections, "for the good of the country."

3. Bush will, of course, claim a mandate. His margin gives him no mandate. Oppose everything.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election fraud 2004: Ohio, 9 hours on line to vote 


Ballot-box 'Survivor': Some voters have been standing in line for more than nine hours at a polling place in Gambier, Ohio, in Knox County, NBC News reports. In Ohio's Franklin County, the wait reportedly is running into three or four hours.

Such marathon waits, reminiscent of the "stand-on-a-log" endurance test from the "Survivor" reality-TV show, have arisen because of a dearth of voting machines to handle overwhelming turnout. It's this situation that led federal judges to authorize an extension of polling hours and the extraordinary use of supplemental paper ballots, NBC reported.

This could hold up the vote tally and extend the uncertainty surrounding Ohio's crucial and too-close-to-call presidential results.

Um, in a functioning Democracy, why should anyone have to wait 9 hours to vote?

And a shortage of voting machines... Looks like when we were focusing on high-tech issues like lack of auditability, the Republicans at Diebold and in the Ohio Attorney General's office engineered good low, low tech capacity problem.

Florida called, for Bush 

Election fraud 2004: Ohio, a late night "little gift" to Bush from the Federalist Society 

The Liquid List (>Josh Marshall) asks:

Who are these two judges from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed challengers to hold up the voting process in minority-heavy Ohio counties this morning?

Why, none other than:

  1. James Ryan, Federalist Society

  2. John Rogers, Federalist Society

Will the coup continue?

Election fraud 2004: SCLM not reporting theft of Ohio 


Why no more network coverage of the flurry of lawsuits across Ohio? This is what the election is coming down to. And it's not being reported. Interviews with party chairs, no coverage of where the election is being decided.
(via Josh Marshall)

But—sourcing, Josh?

PA projected for Kerry 


I step away from the keyboard to buy fuel and what happens... Good things! Maybe I'll step away right now, and Florida will fall to the good guys.

UPDATE More from USA Today:

Sen. Kerry has captured the battleground state of Pennsylvania with its 21 electoral votes, the AP projected, based on exit polls and returns. The other two big swing states, Ohio and Florida, have not been called several hours after polls in those states closed, with late voting continuing at some stations in Ohio.

Is this right, readers? Are the polls still open in Ohio?

Live results 

Florida, via Drudge of all places.



What a horrible thought, that Sludge has the server capacity to keep on pumping, while the rest of the Internet is choking and dying.... Well, back to traversing the Internet to find sites that are actually up, with some numbers on them...

UPDATE Excellent interactive map at CSPAN—mouse over a state to see the latest numbers. Florida inching toward Kerry....

UPDATE And Media Matters has a good chart, with when the networks called each state.

No, Ohio to become ground zero 

Thank God for Knight Ridder:

As anticipated, Ohio is a voting mess. Reports of long lines at polling places in Cuyahoga (189,440 new registrants) and Franklin (124,324) counties, lawsuits for redress and judicial response ordering the issuance of paper ballots, which, of course, will prompt more lawsuits. While all sides were fighting over whether the new registratants in Ohio were real, they turned up at the polls and election officials were unprepared. It is an embarrassement and could have been avoided. The boards of election knew where the new voters lived—even if the
Republicans didn't believe they existed. It is not a proud day for these Ohio's election officials, and that begins at the top with Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.
(via KR OhioBlog)

Pennsylvania to become ground zero of Election 2004? 

The Fluffya Inkwire (hope I got that pronunciation right, I'm working on my accent:

A huge turnout of voters has caused many voting problems in parts of Pennsylvania and other battleground states, according to complaints streaming to a high-tech national voter hotline operated at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Um, in a democracy, I find it hard to see how the turnout of voters is causing problems, eh? Anyhow:

Frustrated callers using a toll-free number, 1-866-MYVOTE1, were complaining of long lines, closed polling places, intimidation and unresponsive election officials.

Problems were acute in Pennsylvania, where Allegheny and Philadelphia counties were among the top-ranked trouble centers nationally.

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida were the states generating the most voter complaints.

According to Ken Smukler, president of InfoVoter Technologies, which operates the complaint line, 49,642 calls had reached the hotline today by 2 p.m.

Outpacing all other problems in Pennsylvania were those involving the voter registration process, Smukler said. More than half the callers complained they had not received voter registration cards or could not reach county officials to confirm that they were registered to vote.

Smukler said 6.9 percent of calls from Ohio, mainly in the Cleveland area, were coming from voters complaining of intimidation at the polls. In Pennsylvania, 2.9 percent of the callers were making similar complaints. Most of those calls were from Philadelphia.

"The problem of registration in Allegheny County is real," Smukler said. "Something isn't right. Allegheny County is the second largest county in the country generating complaints after Broward County in Florida."
(via The Inky)

Please, let Philly and Pittsburgh not be the Floridas of 2004...

I'm not good at waiting patiently.... 


Voting is over in 25 states after a day of tough decisions in the presidential, Senate and House races. Latest CNN projections indicate George W. Bush will add Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma to his win column, and Kerry will win New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, and his home state of Massachusetts. CNN projects Kerry will pick up three of Maine's four electoral votes with one electoral vote to be determined.

But no projections/results for Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio. Or Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin.

It's very, very strange, after well over a year of blogging to bring Bush down, that the results may already be in... But we just don't know what they are yet... And—unless we're Democratic lawyers trying to prevent another theft of the election—there's nothing we can do. It's in the lap of the Gods...

I've already had three beers
and I'm ready for the broom
Please Missus Henry
won't you take me to my room

Please Missus Henry
Missus Henry please
Please Missus Henry
Missus Henry Please
I'm d-o-o-o-w-n on my knees


Exit polls:

Several key voting blocks seemed to be swinging toward John Kerry, according to the exit poll in Minnesota. But the gender gap -- sometimes there and sometimes not during the weeks before the election -- may have disappeared again.

Those are among the findings of early exit poll results in Minnesota on Election Day. As of midafternoon, the National Exit Pool exit poll of 1,640 randomly selected Minnesota voters leaving polling places found that there's virtually no gender gap: men and women have been about equally likely to support President Bush and Kerry. That may change as a different mix of voters turn out in the evening.

But a majority of other groups seems to backing Kerry at the polls. They include:

* Younger voters
* Independents
* Political moderates
* Singles

The majority of first-time voters and last-minute deciders - those who have made up their minds in the past three days or so -- also back Kerry.
(via Strib)

Good news. Then again, if everything is going according to plan, with massive turnout and the undecideds breaking for Kerry, then why am I chewing my hands?


Zogby called it 

We shall see... And if you haven't voted, go prove him right!

Our Call
Zogby International's 2004 Predictions
(as of Nov. 2, 2004 5:00pm)

2004 Presidential Election

Electoral Votes:

Bush 213
Kerry 311

Too Close To Call
Nevada (5), Colorado (9)

(via Zogby from Salon)

Closing times for the polls 

MSNBC has a handy map.

Pennsylvania, 8PM EST
Florida, 8PM EST
Ohio, 7:30 PM EST

Early numbers from Kerry's pollster: 

From the Fluffya... Oh, I forget how to pronounce "Inquirer":

Florida - 30 percent of state -- 53-47 for Kerry

Iowa 57 to 41 percent for Kerry (compared to about +6 margin in early vote in 2000)

Oregon - early vote (which is the whole electorate) 53 to 47 percent for Kerry

New Mexico 51-48 for Kerry

Nevada 48 to 50 with Bush ahead
(via PI Online)

Which is good news, even though early. What matters is that Bush is so decisively repudiated that even his handlers see it's useless to try to steal this one through their courts.

The numbers tell the story 


About 105 million Americans voted in 2000 but more than 20 million more are expected to vote in this election.

If these new voters, as expected, swing Kerry, Bush is indeed toast.

Update on the tracking polls:

Atrios (now up) has the breakdown:

Too good to be true? Probably, if big cities get counted first. So, GOTV!

In case of blogger collapse... 

Sheesh, I figured blogger would collapse (as it seems to have just done for Atrios) but I didn't think the whole Internet would get as slow as, well, a line at the polls in Florida. Right after the first exit polls, hmmm...

Anyhow, if the Internet collapses, nothing can save us, but remember that Corrente has an alternate site here. One way or another, we'll keep on blogging!

Sludge report gives Kerry small lead in exit polls 

Via Sludge, sigh....

Election 2004 has been rocked with first wave of morning exit polls which show Kerry competitive in key states, campaign and media sources tell DRUDGE.... National Election Pool -- representing six major news organization -- shows Kerry in striking distance -- with small lead -- in Florida and Ohio.. MORE...

Bush himself reveals "election" strategy: Go to overtime, then litigate 

Remember the famous Bush "tell" that The Amazin' Froomkin discovered? (back)

When Bush says "of course," you know he's lying.

Now, I've been checking Bush's speeches and it looks like he controlled that tendency on the stump, when somebody caught him at it. But today, in an unguarded moment, he forgets himself:

"I believe I'm going to win," Bush said before flying to the battleground state of Ohio for a pep rally with Republican election volunteers and then returning to the White House. "My hope, of course, is that this election ends tonight."
(via Reuters)


Let's all help make Bush's hope a reality, and make sure the margin is so great there's no point going to court! GOTV!

Voted today 

And took great pleasure in not voting the straight Democratic ticket, but voting for each candidate one by one.

No lines, over near Antique Row in Philly at 10AM.... Although one of the electronic voting machines was down...

Huge Kerry presence in downtown Philly all this week. Volunteers holding up signs, and cars honking to support them. Lot of sound. Even the taxi drivers have Kerry signs!

Election fraud 2004: Republican bogosity goes straight to Sludge Report 

Druge must be holding the lines open for the Rovians. What a surprise!

Of course, an actual reporter talked to an actual witness, quickly found out the Republicans were wrong:

An electronic voting machine at a polling place at the Salvation Army in North Philadelphia had votes registered on it before polling began today, according to a story on the Drudge Report this morning. The report said the same was true at four other polling places in the city.

Ed Kirlin, a volunteer with the Democratic Party, went to the Salvation Army at 11th and Huntington to take a look at the machine, he said.

He said whoever had given the information to Drudge looked at the wrong number. The machine has two number wheels. One is a running total of the number of votes cast since the machine went into use. The second is the number of voters in the current election. That number was zero, as it should have been, he said. The person reporting to Drudge looked at the number of people voting on the machine before this election.

"I think it's an attempt at misinformation. They didn't go to any party officials," Kirlin said of whomever made the complaint. "They went right to the Drudge Report."

Kerry's state communications chief, Mark Nevins, said he was unsure who passed the report to Drudge but he suspected the Republican Party.

"They can't win it today, so their gameplan is to extend it into overtime - and try to litigate it to death."
(via Inky)

I love it! They looked the wrong wheel. If only the Republicans were as fearsomely efficient at recgnizing facts as they are at manipulating stories....

More here.

And Drudge publishes a handy map. Just so the wingers can drive in with their SUVs and stage another bourgeios riot, eh?

Voted today 

I just got back from voting. Here in the sticks it's not very difficult to vote at all. I walked in, waited three minutes, showed my ID, and voted.

I also have the comfort of knowing we use optical scanners so I don't have to worry about my vote being counted.

Apparently others are not so lucky.

Here's hoping this election doesn't become a fiasco like in 2000.

(Link via the incomparable Atrios)

Reports from the Field: Pittsburg  


(via Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
And one man from Squirrel Hill called the Post-Gazette this morning to report he had been called by a man trying to imitate former President Bill Clinton and urging him to vote, not today but tomorrow.
Silly person, you can't imitate the Big Dog!

More importantly:
Lines formed before the polls opened at 7 a.m., and voters reported lines continued well after that, even at polling places that don't usually have long waits.

At John McMillan Presbyterian Church in Bethel Park, for instance, voters reported waits of 25 to 35 minutes, which they said was unprecedented in recent years.

In the Newlonsburg area of Murrysville, the wait was up to 90 minutes.

At John Minadeo Elementary School in Squirrel Hill, a line stretched out the door and down Lilac Street.

About 200 voters had shown up in West Mifflin's 18th district by 10 a.m., and poll worker said sometimes they don't get that many all day.
Joe Trippi was just on MSNBC saying lines were long everywhere but that they're moving fast, so wait times are not as long as feared. So No Retreat...No Surrender...and No Excuses!

Oh, just to pass along a suggestion I saw over at Atrios: If you're up towards the front of a line and see elderly folks arrive, give them your spot, then cheerfully go to the back of the line (this will shut up any complaints about queue-jumping). This would be a fun project for anybody who has already voted but has the day off and no other GOTV project lined up.

Flannery O'Connor wrote stories like this: 

Then there are tensions gathering around possible dirty tricks as stories filter in that forecast more ugliness. On Sunday the local Allentown ACT (America Coming Together, a 527 working on voter mobilization) office was sabotaged when their power cables were cut. The local fire marshal has launched an investigation. Just recently, a canvasser reported knocking on the door of a registered Democrat, which, when opened, revealed two young boys wearing Bush-Cheney t-shirts. Surprised, she asked for the head of the household who turned out to be an elderly blind woman. The woman gleefully said that she had already voted after she was visited by two men who offered to fill out her absentee ballot and have her sign it--in exchange for t-shirts for her grandchildren. - Jonathan Tasini Ground War 2004/The Nation



Please note the blaring red announcement at the top of the sidebar to the right. Just in case anything gets weird here on election day, not that it wouldn't anyway, but you know what i mean.

But just in case we have a backup blog, a fallout shelter, ready and running. Thanks to Paul.

I also think this may be the first open thread we've ever had here. I think. In any case do your thing in comments - whatever you like.

Now: This is kind of a mile marker for me so I'm going to repost what I think was my first or second post to Eschaton way back in the Spring of 2003. When this whole blogging thing really began for me. So, living up to my prediction then ("show closes November 2004"), I've decided to re-run that post once again. Seems fitting. And a little bit spooky too, if ya ask me.

From Saturday, June 07, 2003:

As I See It [George W. Bush] an unjoyous tragic comedy.
All the worlds a political stage.
And all the pundits and pol-ops merely players:
They have their exit strategies and their entrance requirements;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the child.
Mewling fluke of privileged charms.
And then the winsome schoolboy, with his skull and bones.
And vacant wellborn face, sleeping at Yale
Oblivious to intellect. And then the rover
Lies to burnish, stuporous, doleful, pallid
Clade to the listless eyebrow. Then a soldier
Full of warrior tropes, and played like a card.
Missing from duty, yet suddenly wreathed in laurels.
Seeking the bubble reputation
Levin for the canon's grouse. And then the injustice.
In sound and folly with crafted shapen lines
With guise and smear and suits of formal cut,
Fond of slantwise maws and tortured nuances
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts.
Into the lean and codpieced brigadier dragoon,
With spectaculars on cue and press on board
His boastful pose well played, a world too tried
For his cranks crunk; and his slow tangled tongue
Turning again toward churlish quibbles, quips
And siren songs resound. Last scene of all,
That ends this shortchange retrogress misery
Is no second curtain, and mere oblivion for a fool.

(with apologies to William Shakespeare)

You can read the original post HERE if you like.

By this time tomorrow night John F. Kerry will be the 44th President of the United States.


Monday, November 01, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Yes Sir, It's Going to Be Heard 

Besides being aggravating for lack of a comments feature, Josh Marshall's blog is strangely hard to copy from. This, however, was worth grabbing. The "ed.note" is Josh speaking, but everything after the brackets is from a note he got from a reader:

(via TalkingPointsMemo)
ed.note: Here the letter writer describes various shenanigans intended to exacerbate the difficulties of waiting hours in line to vote. I’ve censored this detail to preserve the anonymity of the writer.]

I actually had an amazing experience. No, actually, in a way because of that I had an amazing experience. Because these people know that the system that’s in place doesn’t want them voting. And yet they are determined to vote.

The best of all was an 80 year old African American man who said to me: “When I first started I wasn’t even allowed to vote. Then, when I did, they was trying to intimidate me. But now I see all these folks here to make sure that my vote counts. This is the first time in my life that I feel like when I cast my vote it’s actually gonna be heard.”

To see people coming out — elderly, disabled, blind, poor; people who have to hitch rides, take buses, etc — and then staying in line for hours and hours and hours... Well, it’s humbling. And it’s awesome. And it’s kind of beautiful.

Sometimes you forget what America is.

I think there’s hope.
Your music to go to sleep early by, to rise early and go forth to take back our country:

Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin'.
Like the stillness in the wind
'Fore the hurricane begins,
The hour when the ship comes in.

Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking.
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking.

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they'll be smiling.
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand,
The hour that the ship comes in.

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they're spoken.
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean.

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline.
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck,
The hour that the ship comes in.

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin'.
And the ship's wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin'.

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they'll jerk from their beds and think they're dreamin'.
But they'll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it's for real,
The hour when the ship comes in.

Then they'll raise their hands,
Sayin' we'll meet all your demands,
But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered.
And like Pharaoh's tribe,
They'll be drownded in the tide,
And like Goliath, they'll be conquered.

Dick "Dick" Cheney—lying for one last time 

Won't it be great when Cheney can finally spend more time with his family?

"'John Kerry's first response was to conduct a poll to find out what he should say about this tape of Osama bin Laden,' Cheney said. 'He didn't know what to say before he checked polls, he had to stick his finger in the air. . . .

"Cheney was referring to a question in a poll taken by Democracy Corps, a Democratic group, in which voters said by more than 10 points that the reemergence of bin Laden made them 'think that George Bush took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan and diverted resources to Iraq.'

"Kerry, however, made his comments about the bin Laden tape Friday afternoon. The poll was taken Friday night and Saturday."
(via WaPo)

Oh. Never mind!

Little bald-headed horses ass for Bu$h! 

OHIO - JoAnn Wypijewski, The Nation:
She played one of those messages for me. It came from a woman working at the Fairfax Nursing Home, saying people from the Board of Elections were taking absentee ballots from the residents that day and creating a ball of confusion, asking people their party affiliation and telling self-described Democrats that Bush was the Democratic candidate.

I called over there to speak with Ann Niles-Crumb, an LPN named in the message, to check it out. "This little shrimp of a bald-headed man named Lacey Brooks Jr. walked around here saying 'Vote for Bush! Vote for Bush! He's still going to give you your forty acres and a mule!'" she told me. "So I get infuriated. You don't talk to these patients this way. We were so angry, if we weren't at work we would've whupped this little man."

The Board of Elections confirmed that Lacey Brooks Jr. is a Republican nursing home inspector for absentee ballots, but no one returned calls for comment.

FLORIDA - Suzanne Charlé, The Nation:
Challenges have a long, dark history. In Florida poll watchers were first given the right to challenge voters in 1868, just a year after blacks were granted the right to vote. (At the time, one white delegate to the Florida Constitutional Convention declared that the legislature had successfully prevented Florida government from becoming "Niggerized.") After Reconstruction, the challenge/poll watcher law was re-enacted, but it hasn't been used for decades.

On Tuesday poll watchers will be able to challenge an individual's qualifications to vote by filing a sworn affidavit. In Duval the challenge is to be resolved on the spot by three election workers, or by having the voter cast a provisional ballot. Usually challenges are rare: Ion Sanchez, a Democrat, said no challenge had ever been used in sixteen years that he has been supervisor of Leon County. But in a marvelous bit of doublespeak, the Republicans' Fletcher says that challenges could be "the best way to make sure legal votes aren't disenfranchised by illegal votes."


The Rev. Willie Bolden, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Truth and Justice campaign, has been flying down every week from Atlanta to work with the coalition. A veteran of the civil rights fights of the 1960s, Bolden was chosen by Martin Luther King Jr. to work with the SCLC. "In all those years," he says, "even in the bad days of the 1950s and '60s, there were never voting challenges like the ones going on now. They would physically intimidate you, maybe burn a cross in your yard-but they never challenged your right to vote by saying you were a felon."

He summed up his feelings about challenges at last Friday's meeting with the supervisor, when Republicans-represented by Mike Hightower, head of the Duval County Republicans, and four lawyers flown in from Texas with lapel pins identifying themselves as the "Texas Task Force"-refused to say that they would work to limit voter challenges. Bolden challenged them: "This is simply suppression of people's right to vote," he said. "You're not doing it in the white community. It's just another form of the KKK-only you don't have hoods and sheets, instead, you're wearing Brooks Brothers and Armani." - Blocking-and Rocking-the Black Vote

More Ground War blogs...Ground War 2004

Back to OHIO:
Rick Perlstein, Village Voice - blogging from Cleveland.
One more political reflection, then I hit the road.

It seems a basic point. But it's worth making. Why do Republicans suppress African American turnout? Because if blacks voted in anything like the numbers whites did, the Republicans would lose several points in every election.

In fact, if people who don't vote generally--the poor, minorities, youth--voted more often, the Republicans would do even worse. [ more... Cleland and Cleveland ]


"A private event" 

Hey, ABC does some reporting (and why, oh why did this story get released on the day before election day?!

Seems that some ABC reporters got tickets to a Bush rally and tried to attend wearing Kerry T-Shirts. And, while they weren't arrested or beaten up, the story is revealing:

"I'm sorry, but they're Kerry shirts," a female Bush volunteer said. "We were told not to let people with Kerry shirts into the rally."

And as they approached the gates of the stadium, Lance "Chip" Borman, a Bush campaign worker and attorney who worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, directed them toward the Brevard County sheriff's deputies waiting at the exit.

"Hey folks, it's a private event," he said. "Can you find your way to the nearest exit? Maybe some law enforcement can help?"
(via ABC)

"A private event"... To see a presidential candidate, a private event?! WTF?!?

By contrast, when they did the same thing at a Kerry rally, the Democrats let them in, and let them wear their Bush T-shirts:

And at Kerry's Boca Raton rally, one of the faithful Democrats could be seen calming a woman upset at the sight of the Bush-Cheney T-shirts.

"Feel proud that we let them in," he said. "That's what democracy is all about, that's what we're fighting for."

The contrast couldn't be greater between Bush supporters and Ddemocrats, could it?

Closed systems die when they can't process their waste. Let's hope that's what's happending to the Republicans, starting tomorrow.

Kerry: GOTV, because this time, they'll all be counted 


PETER JENNINGS: You're in the final motivation phase. Are you going to win any people now? Are are you just going to get your own?

KERRY: No, I am going to win people now. And I believe I'm going to win people now, Peter, because there are still people undecided, number one. And number two, I think there are people — even if they say they're committed to somebody — they're still thinking about it.

And in a presidential race, those last hours tend to have a seriousness, a kind of weight that nobody can describe accurately. When somebody walks into that polling booth, our future as a country — their future as a family, their hopes, their dreams — are all on the ballot suddenly.
(via ABC)

Just do it!

And rest assured that this time your vote will count:

KERRY: I'll do what's necessary to protect the constitutional right of Americans to vote.

JENNINGS: Are you saying there's nothing to these Republican claims about fraud, and that they're using this to intimidate your voters?

KERRY: I think they are, and I have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of any instance of fraud. Wherever it exists, I will join with President Bush in taking it to the Justice Department and in making sure that people are duly prosecuted. They ought to be.

Now the gauntlet is truly thrown down.

Get Shrill(er)! Two Minute Warning! 

Very quickly, now. Only have the computer for a few minutes and then off again into the snow and rain…

I just got training this weekend on how to be a poll challenger and will carry out those duties tomorrow unless a court says different. In Ohio, vote challengers have been barred from being at polling stations, but this may be a good thing, since Dem challengers were fewer than GOPers and the black community asked for them to all be barred: “a black Cincinnati couple who said Republican plans to deploy challengers to largely black precincts in Hamilton County was meant to intimidate and block black voters.” via Judges Bar Party Challengers at Ohio Polls
The GOP-thugs are appealing their right to harass black voters, so maybe Ohio is better off with the ban. In our neck of the woods there are plenty of Dems, backup lawyers and interpreters ready, so let the GOP-thugs come. Make sure everyone knows their rights! These from Florida look very similar to the ones in Colorado and NM. The link below has other states’ rights, and your local Dem HQ should have them for your state.

Florida Voters' Bill of RightsPrepared by the Voices of the Electorate -- Election Protection Task Force

1) You have the right to vote if you are in line when the polls close 7 p.m., or at any other time between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. [Fla. Stat. §§ 100.011(1)]
2) If you are registered to vote, you have the right to sign your name and vote even if you do not have your voter registration card or a photo ID with you. Replacement voter identification cards are free when you provide a signed, written request to the supervisor of elections. [§§ 101.49, 98.471 and 97.071(2)]
3) If a poll worker cannot find your name on the list, and cannot verify your registration, you have the right to cast a “provisional ballot” and vote. Check with an Election Protection volunteer or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE before you cast a provisional ballot to confirm that you are in the correct precinct – to help ensure that your vote will count. [§§ 101.031(2) and 101.048]
4) If you cannot read or write, or are disabled, you have the right to request special assistance with voting from anyone other than your employer or an officer or agent of your union. [§§ 97.061 and 101.051]
5) If you make a mistake or “spoil” your ballot and have not cast the ballot, you have the right to receive up to two replacement ballots from the election officials. [§§101.031(2) and 101.5608(2)(b)]
6) If you have moved within the county, but are still qualified and registered to vote, you have the right to vote at your new polling place after writing down your new address.[§ 101.045(2)(a)]
7) If your name has changed because of marriage or other legal process, you have the right to vote under your original name. [§ 101.045(2)(b)]
8) You have the right to receive written and oral instructions from voting elections officers when you vote. [§ 101.031(2)]
9) You have the right to vote free from coercion or intimidation by election officers or any other person. [§ 101.031(2)]
10) If someone challenges your right to vote, you have the right to an explanation. The explanation should be put in writing with an oath giving reasons for the challenge. [§§ 101.031(2) and 101.111]
11) You have the right to receive a demonstration using the voting equipment before you cast your vote. [§101.5611]
12) You have the right to take this bill of rights into the voting booth with you.

Make sure people know their rights. Make sure they insist on voting. Especially those the GOP-thugs want to target—the usual suspects: people of color, the poor, ex-cons, you, me.

I will keep canvassing today until my shoes wear out, and Gil has the van going all over the damn place, hauling folks to the polls. The entire RDF conspiracy has taken tomorrow off—most today, too—and are OUT ON THE STREETS or AT THE POLLS. Some folks got chased off “private mall property” for marching with Kerry signs. The good folks who were at the early polling station are gearing up for a big barbecue tomorrow at the parking area. Gotta be 100ft. away, the lawyers finally told us, but that’s okay. If nobody hears from RDF until the 3rd, that’s because I am on the goddam street, and will not rest until I have squeezed out every vote I can for Kerry. If you don’t hear from me after that, it’s because someone polecatted up the polls and I am following up on challenges. The county clerks in five counties here are saying that early voting turnout is at least two times what TOTAL turnout was in 2000. That’s good news for the forces of reason!


Edwards implores Democrats to vote and we should do likewise, up close and personal.

More Young R's On the March 

At least two bits of good news in this story. First, folks at Northwestern are mobilized and active, to get word to corporate headquarters that a local franchisee is playing games liable to be bad for business. Second...well, let's get through the story first:

(via Chicago Trib)
A Northwestern University student says an Evanston movie theater is playing politics by backing off of an agreement to show "FahrenHype 9/11," a conservative counter to Michael Moore's Bush-bashing movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

John Nickels, 21, a member of the Evanston Young Republicans, said he had a verbal agreement with Century Theatres to play his DVD on a 12-foot screen in the Rhythm Room, a bar area in the center of the multiplex.

That plan changed after Nickels published a half-page advertisement in the campus newspaper on Wednesday, the day the movie was to be shown.

"I got a call about four hours after it went to press," said Nickels, who heard from a marketing executive in San Rafael, Calif., where Century is based.

"She said that, first of all, this film would not show. Absolutely not," he said. "And that any agreement I had with management here would not stand."
I do hope this lad is not a business or economics major, given his notion of the worth of a "verbal contract." Now for the other good news, from a Tennessee point of view:
Nickels said he doesn't expect to change anyone's vote--especially in a city known for its liberal leanings.

"I'm from Tennessee originally," he said. "Things are a little different here in Evanston."
Sounds like he's not voting here, and in Illinois he can at least do no harm. I'm busy playing phone tag with a brother-in-law who was rabidly anti-Bush in the runup to war, but (I hear) is now swearing he can't vote for Kerry because he's "anti-gun." Yeah, we're down to the one-vote-at-a-time level today. Don't miss a chance anywhere, no matter how red or blue the state or any other circumstance.

Cultjugend - strum und drang 

Atrios gets "monkey mail" from the stofstrupp.

Megan Harrington, President of the College Republicans at the University of Toledo, is a busy GOPee-bee.

You can write Meg and invite her to a torch light parade near you. Send a pleasant invite to: - or -

And remember to always repeat your pledge each night before you go to bed.

I pledge eternal allegiance to der Leader. I pledge unconditional obedience to him and der Leaders appointed by him.


Sunday, October 31, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

On Tuesday I'm going to go vote for John Kerry.

I can't wait.

It's all falling into place 

Now most of the horserace polls are now showing the race dead even.

However, here's what counts.

Halloween night horror story 

OHIO From the pages of the Marietta Register Leader, 1929:
[SNIP] Frederick Bender 69, retired, drove a fourpenny nail into his head in an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide Tuesday. The nail has been removed, and barring infection it is believed the aged man will live. Members of the family heard unusual sounds coming from Mr. Bender's room and when they investigated found him suffering intense pain from the self-inflicted wound. They summoned Dr. S.E. Edwards to attend him. Standing in front of a mirror, and armed with a hammer, the victim had deliberately driven the nail into the top of his head. It pierced the skull at a point near the median line at the top of the head. The doctor tried with his regular instruments to remove the nail, but was unsuccessful, and it was necessary to get a pair of heavy steel pliers from the tool box of his automobile. With these the nail finally was withdrawn. [SNIP]

See, its like this: George W. Bush is like that nail and America is Fred Bender's sore sorry head. God only knows what made Fred do it. So, it's time we summon Dr. Kerry and Dr. Edwards to help repair the damage. Before the infection spreads and its too late. One dumb half-assed self inflicted bender is enough for four years. So, go to the poll box on Nov. 2, grab hold of the pliers, and yank that bent fourpenny Texas dolt from our collective national skull. And for all you braindead numbskull Bush-whacker zombies out there, still fanatically flailing away in the fog, well, just knock it off! Before you put us all in a shallow haunted grave.


My Thanks to the Sign-Stealers 

Dear dipwad, jerk, incipient fascist, and/or drunken teenage subwoofer-addicted toad:

I'd sure like to thank you for swiping the "Kerry-Edwards" sign which has been sitting harmlessly, and, alas, rather unnoticed, in my yard for lo these last six weeks or so.

Mostly I am deeply grateful for the laziness, fear of legal retribution, pangs of conscience or, more likely, lack of attention span which caused you to chuck it out your passenger-side window into the ditch. It was just far enough down the road to be around a curve where I most likely wouldn't have found it if I hadn't been looking very closely for just such a sight.

Without the flood of fury and adrenaline your act inspired, I would probably never have thought to assemble some cheap little flags and drag out some solar lights I got on sale and have been keeping around to replace the ones circling the yard pond as they wear out or get battered by hail.

Really, the experience has both enhanced the look of my yard and fired up my determination. My gratitude is sincere. But touch my sign again, asshole, and I still have the 4x8 sheet of plywood in the shed, plenty of paint, and lots of cool tips for wording. And did I mention the shotgun?

Turning a Bush supporter to Kerry 

A nice series of recipes here from a Virginia Democrat. Talking points for fundies, neo-cons, and paleo-cons.

Bastards Got My Kerry Sign, Dammit 

Six weeks it sat there, unmolested. There isn't another official one to be found closer than Humphrey County according to the last reports I had at Dem HQ on Friday, and they may be gone by now as well.

So its Make Yer Own Sign time! As I have to go get paint, some big sheets of clear plastic (it's raining like mad here and is predicted to do so through Monday night at least) and other graphical-arts type accoutrements, I shall be busy for a bit.

Give me some ideas for details. I have a circa 3x4 sheet of cardboard to work with. It should be noted I lack any detectable artistic talent, so don't get too fancy if it can't be printed out and pasted on.

Figure a big "KERRY" in the middle (no room for Edwards, sorry Johnny). I'm thinking something like "Another Shotgun Owner For--" on top and "Steal this one, you sorry punk, I'll have another one up before you get to the hospital" on the bottom, but fear that's a bit wordy. And the top line's a fib too, so don't tell anybody.

This being West Tennessee I can't use profanity on the actual sign, but if your suggestions happen to include any such, feel free to leave them in comments. They're probably not nearly as nasty as what I'm thinking right now.

Iraq clusterfuck: Yes, "clusterfuck" is the technically accurate word 

Um, how much of Iraq do we actually control, anyhow?

Here's a little statistic buried in a long thumbsucker about Bush plans to wage a Battle of Algiers-style dirty war in Iraq by "eliminating" Sunni rejectionists:

U.S. forces face substantial obstacles in bringing their plan to fruition. Commanders have identified 22 cities and towns in Iraq that must be brought under the control of the Iraqi government before nationwide elections, scheduled for January, can be held.
(via WaPo)

So, 22 cities and towns are under the control of the insurgents, when Iraq's population is 75% urban.

Stalingrad, anyone?

Nice work, Inerrant Boy!

But it gets better. While googling for the population figures, I looked at the CIA Factbook entry on Iraq; the entry has many mordantly humorous entries:

Government type: none; note - the Interim Government was appointed on 1 June 2004
Legal system: NA
Political parties and leaders: NA
GDP - real growth rate: -21.8% (2003 est.)
Industrial production growth rate: NA

I love it. "Government type: None." It's a winger's wet dream, isn't it? Maybe they drowned it in a bath tub? Lots of bathtubs in the Republican Palace, though of course not so many in the desert...

Nice work, Inerrant Boy! Looks like a cakewalk to me!

But the killer fact is this one, since demography is destiny:

Median age: male: 19.1 years
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 3,654,947 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 304,527 (2004 est.)

Half the country is under 19, and there's a population of 3.6 million angry, hungry, and unemployed young men for the insurgents to draw on.

Nice work on disbanding the Iraqi Army, Inerrant Boy!

But don't worry, we have a plan! In the mordantly witty words of the CIA Factbook:

[The] US-led coalition is planning to create a new Iraqi military force of men aged 18 to 40 to defend Iraqi territory from external threats (2004 est.)

I do think the analyst's "est[imated]" is rather fine. Don't you?

So, we've lost the cities, in a country that's 75% urban, and in a country where the median age is 19, the young men are shooting and bombing the troops, instead of joining the new Iraqi Army we are trying to build to replace the old Iraqi Army that we disbanded. And the new Iraqi military force is not going to have to handle "external threats," of course. It's going to have to kill other Iraqis, in a dirty civil war led by the US in the person of Ambassador Negroponte.

Think that's going to work real well?

Inerrant Boy, work with me.

Here is a Marine's definition of "clusterfuck":

clusterfuckMarine slang -- [1.] A clusterfuck was any group of Marines big enough to draw enemy fire, or several Marines close enough together to be wounded by the same incoming round. More generically, [2.] a clusterfuck was something that was all screwed up, i.e. "That blocking operation was a giant clusterfuck!" Whenever three or more CAP Marines gathered in the open, talking or working on something, somebody was sure to call out "clusterfuck!" and one or more guys would walk away.

Yes, Inerrant Boy, Iraq is a clusterfuck—in both senses. If you'd actually served in the military, you might know that.

Sense 1, the tactical: The troops who staged the "sit down" strike, because they were being asked to convoy unusable gasoline, in unarmored vehicles (here), down an ambush alley in Iraq were avoiding a clusterfuck—they didn't want to be "close enough together to be wounded by the same" IDE or ambush.

Sense 2, the strategic: Bush has, through his handling of war, definitely created "something that is all screwed up." Like Stalingrad. Say.

Yes, I'd say "clusterfuck" is le mot juste.

How do you ask one of our children to be the last one to die in a clusterfuck?

Iraq clusterfuck: Opportunity cost of Franks planning Iraq was Bin Laden's escape 

Top Dog (via Josh Marshall) constructs this handy timeline from Woodward's Plan of Attack. He shows the correlation between Bin Laden's escape and Frank's doing war planning for Iraq. Funny how Woodward hid the truth in plain sight, isn't it?

14. Kabul is taken by Northern alliance.
15. -- 16. --
17. Osama last seen leaving for Tora Bora.
18. --
19. Al Qaeda vows last stand at Tora Bora.
20. --
21. Bush asks CENTCOM to prepare for Iraq.
22. --
23. London paper says Osama is at Tora Bora.
25. NY Times writes that Osama is at Tora Bora.
26. --
27. Franks meets with Rumsfeld about Iraq.
28. Osama is able to escape by...
29. ...walking into the mountains...
30. ...over the border to Pakistan.

1. Rumsfeld issues new Iraq orders for Franks.
2. -- 3. --
4. Franks reports to Pentagon on Iraq.
5. -- 6. -- 7. -- 8.

[ed note: For Top Dog's interactive graphic version of timeline above select link at top of post.]

So, while Bin Laden was escaping from Tora Bora, General Franks was "in meetings" on Iraq.

And from the decidedly non-whorish Knight-Ridder (via Atrios), here's what happened when Franks stopped paying attention, because Bush took his eye off the ball:

Knight Ridder reporters Barry Schlachter of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Jonathan S. Landay and photographers Carl Juste and Peter Andrew Bosch of The Miami Herald were at Tora Bora during the battle, and photographer David Gilkey of the Detroit Free Press and reporter Drew Brown traveled there a year later, interviewed Afghan fighters, retraced al-Qaida escape routes and talked to Pakistani intelligence officers who were tracking al Qaida.

Their reporting found that Franks and other top officials ignored warnings from their own and allied military and intelligence officers that the combination of precision bombing, special operations forces and Afghan forces that had driven the Taliban from northern Afghanistan might not work in the heartland of the country's dominant Pashtun tribe.

While more than 1,200 U.S. Marines sat at an abandoned air base in the desert 80 miles away, Franks and other commanders relied on three Afghan warlords and a small number of American, British and Australian special forces to stop al-Qaida and Taliban fighters from escaping across the mountains into Pakistan.

"We did rely heavily on Afghans because they knew Tora Bora . . . ," Franks wrote.

Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn't be trusted, and they proved to be correct. [The warlords] were slow to move their troops into place and didn't attack until four days after American planes began bombing - leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.

"Ali and Zaman both assured our people that they had forces in blocking positions on the Spin Ghar (mountains) when there were, in fact, no people there," a U.S. military official who played a key role in the campaign said. "So besides taking Afghans at their word, we had no plans to bring up sufficient forces to make up for perfidy."

U.S. reconnaissance photos showed what appeared to be campfires at high altitudes along the trails across the mountains into Pakistan. The Afghans said the fires belonged to sheep herders. Instead, "they were exfiltrators, pure and simple," said an AmZaman and Ali began trying to negotiate an al-Qaida surrender even before they began their ground attack. Then, on the second day of the attack, Zaman declared a cease-fire. Ali and a third commander, Haji Zahir, who joined the attack at the last minute, resumed fighting after a few hours, and the U.S. bombing never stopped. But Zaman left open an escape route through the Waziri Tangi valley.erican military official.

Sheep, huh? If it had been goats, my faith in Bush's competence might be shaken! But as it is, phew! No worries, eh?

UPDATE Alert reader riggsveda points out:

It might be of interest to recall that Sy Hersh, in Chain of Command, recounted that on November 25, 2001, the Northern Alliance took Kunduz, to the north, where it laid seige and surrounded about 4000 Taliban and Pakistani Al Qaeda fighters and sympathizers. The American command then allowed, on the White House's direction, about 3500 of the beseiged enemy to evacuate to Pakistan via Pakistani airlifts. It was supposed to be a limited evacuation for just crucial Pakistani intellligence people, but of course far more than those who were supposed to get out did. So just days before Franks spoke to the White House about Iraq, based on the timeline you have here, we were already clearing the airspace for the safe escape of thousands of little Osamas.

YABL, YABL, YABL: How soon Bush forgets ... 

Inerrant Boy himself on the campaign trail in Lititz, Pennsylvania:

[BUSH]: And his policies make that clear. He says the war on terror is primarily a law enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation. Well, September the 11th changed me. I remember the day I was in the -- at Ground Zero, on September the 4th, 2001 [sic]. It's a day I will never forget. There were workers in hard hats there yelling at me at the top of their lungs, "Whatever it takes." I remember a man grabbed me by the arm, he looked me square in the eye, and he said, "Do not let me down." Ever since that day, I wake up every morning trying to figure out how to better protect America. I will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes. (Applause.)
(via White House Transcript)

A few points:

1. Bush, in the very same sentence where he says he will not forget, forgets. It's beautiful, isn't it? <sniff> "[Sic]" transit gloria W...

2.Then again, the way Bush does math, "4" and "14" might as well be the same!

3. Of course, Bush forgot whether he was "concerned" or not about Bin Laden, too. In front of millions. (See debate coverage (Scroll to Big Lie #1)).

4. Winger apologists will doubtless claim "It's just a date, just a slip of the tongue." Man, I know if Inerrant Boy got His wedding anniversary date wrong, He'd hear about it from Leadfoot. So, He muffs a date where 3000 of our people died, and we give him a free pass? Bien sur!

5. As Dana Milbank has reported (It's just another one of his stories), the "man" who "grabbed" Bush has never been identified, and the story about who "the man" is and what he said just keeps changing. Kinda like those TxANG stories, eh? Maybe if we offered a $50,000 reward?

6. Finally, who cares whether Bush will "never relent"?

Bush feels relentless. So what?

I want results.

And if you look at results, Bush has been a miserable failure.

Three years ago, Bin Laden was "wanted, dead or alive."

Now, Bin Laden is making tapes, looks the picture of health, and is dispensing sage foreign policy advice to the West on how to deal with the Islamic world and his coming Caliphate.

And the Republicans are trying to spin that as some kind of victory. Go figure.

NOTE Thanks to alert reader Jesus for the tip. And I'm pleased Bush made this screwup in PA.


7. I almost forgot. "Whatever it takes" is the name of the ad that Bush had to pull, because Kos nailed him (here) on the fact that the images of troops in the audience had, in back, been Photoshopped. (Elinor Clift, who pinged my memory on this, has an excellent takedown of the Bush campaign, with particular attention paid to Al Caca, here.

Really, that single paragraph from Bush's stump speech is a compendium of lies and distortions, isn't it?

UPDATE Alert reader Steve Bates does reality check on Bush's story about "the man" who "grabbed" Bush:

Anyone who grabbed Bush by the arm and looked him straight in the eye would almost instantly be so full of bullets delivered by the Secret Service that he wouldn't live long enough to say, "Do not let me down."

Funny how so much of what Bush says and does just dissolves when you look at it, isn't it. Not funny ha-ha, either.

UPDATE Alert reader sharpens the, um, implausibility noticed by Steve still more:

hree days after a terrorist attack and the Secret Service's Presidential guard unit is allowing all of these people walk up to the President at the site of the attack?

The chance of anyone not a known political figure, staff member, or member of the Secret Service protection team getting within 20 feet of the President: 0%.

Goodnight, moon 

See Josh Marshall on Republican vote suppression efforts in Milwaukee.

Question: Why would anyone take a voting list generated by the Republican Party seriously? I mean, what is it going to be but a cull of their campaign database, sliced by people who will never vote for the Republicans?

And while we're asking questions:

Here are the words of a worried Bush dupe supporter:

[A] real estate agent who attended a Bush rally on Saturday in Grand Rapids, Mich., said she was infuriated by Mr. bin Laden's interjection into the campaign. She was also a bit worried about it.

"He is trying to make the president look incompetent," [she] said. "I just hope people will realize that he is trying to influence our democracy and our election."

Fascinating, isn't it? It isn't about, um, facts—whether Bush is incompetent—it's about appearances—whether Bush looks incompetent. Totally post-modern...

Anyhow, I'd go with the facts. Clearly, Bush is incompetent.

Three years ago, Bush says "Bin Laden, dead or alive."

Today, Bin Laden's the picture of health, and making video tapes seen by millions.

Does that sound competent to you?

"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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