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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

As ever, Enlightenment values:

No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;

And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.
(via William Shakespeare, King Lear)

I guess this is the acceptance part.

As if!

Goss the incompetent 

I see that W and the boys have been screwing it up, as usual.

The deputy director of the CIA resigned yesterday after a series of confrontations over the past week between senior operations officials and CIA Director Porter J. Goss's new chief of staff that have left the agency in turmoil, according to several current and former CIA officials.

John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year CIA veteran who was acting director for two months this summer until Goss took over, resigned after warning Goss that his top aide, former Capitol Hill staff member Patrick Murray, was treating senior officials disrespectfully and risked widespread resignations, the officials said.

Yesterday, the agency official who oversees foreign operations, Deputy Director of Operations Stephen R. Kappes, tendered his resignation after a confrontation with Murray. Goss and the White House pleaded with Kappes to reconsider and he agreed to delay his decision until Monday, the officials said.
Ah, appointing an incompetent political hack to head the CIA. That made us all safer, didn't it?

Whither Corrente? 

After 11/2, everything changed.

We're not going away, but we need to think about where we are going. Readers?

Going Local, Making Choices, Waiting to See 

The local county Dems are divided. In one, the chair came out and said in public that the party was going to have to “make some changes” and “do some soul-searching” in light of the overwhelming desire on the part of voters for a “moral values” platform. In another county, the Dem chair is pointing to the Salazar-Salazar victory as a model, which a friend of mine shows me is hitting the SCLM radar:

In a year when Republicans strengthened their grip on Congress and Bush decisively won a second term, the Salazar brothers offer a blueprint for Democrats desperate to make inroads in the nation's midsection.

The two got elected in a Republican-leaning state by playing up traditional values, faith and rural heritage while hammering home a populist message that included bashing tax cuts for the rich. Getting a boost from fellow Hispanics didn't hurt, either.
via Colorado May Be Blueprint for Democrats

I just love the “decisively won” line. I thought it was a “man date”? Anyway, the counties that elected John Salazar to the house are now thinking that the approach to take for the midterms and ’08 (assuming that Bush makes it through this term—i.e., doesn’t go to prison) is to appeal to this “populist” theme, including a good dash of Liberal Christianity and a generous shot of waffling on the hot-button issues (abortion, gay marriage, war on drugs, etc.).

Various members of the RDF conspiracy have pointed out to their locals that this didn’t win Colorado for Kerry. They also point to the fact that it was the youth vote that can claim a lot of credit for getting Salazar and Salazar elected, and among the kids faith and values were not the issue. I pointed out to our own local that the whole “moral values” issue as the deciding factor in the election was a load of crap—I pointed out that the polling techniques used to show this great concern for “moral values” were for shit and that the real issues were, after all, iWaq and the economy, stupid. I also pointed out that nobody is doing anything to make sure that all the votes are counted, and that the election process is so FUBAR that New Mexico hasn’t even called the election, which is now so close that the provisional ballots could decide it. (Ditto the Washington State gov race.) And in one county I know of (I posted on this earlier) the county clerk tossed the provisionals she didn’t like before there was even a watcher at the canvassing board. Ohio and Florida? Don’t get me started.

The answer? “We don’t want to seem like whiners. Nobody really believes Bush stole the election. Let’s just put it behind us and look to the future.”

Ahh, the future… I hear that there are now kids—well, kids to me—coming to the party meetings and raising hell. These are the ones who voted Dean and Kucinich in the primaries but then busted their asses for Kerry anyway. And they want a genuinely Liberal party—one that doesn’t hesitate to get in the faces of the GOPers. They want every vote counted. They want real election reform. And they’ve already proven that they can bust their asses in GOTV efforts. They want to be heard. I think they’re mostly getting blown off by the Old Guard, but carefully, because they need them for GOTV. It’s like, “okay, you let us handle the platform and the focus of the campaigns, and you just GOTV for us.”

I have only gone to the one official county meeting, and the party here is not as flush with youth as other locals—we’re REALLY rural—but I trust what I hear from my new friends around the area.

Me, I’m torn. On the one hand, I want to do whatever is necessary to win. If that means joining the party, compromising on issues to appeal to the center, part of me says, “okay, win, get in power, and then fight.”

Part of me says, no, stick with the issues that made you join the Greens to begin with. No compromise, no quarter to the Dems who are “desperate to make inroads in the nation's midsection.” Instead, a firm punch in the nation’s midsection is called for.

But then, the Old Guard can point to Salazar and Salazar and say, see? We told you so.

A lot of my decision-making in the near future is going to depend on what the Dems we did send to DC actually do. If they show a strong custodial relationship with their nads, then maybe I can see working with the party to just win, whatever I have to swallow.

If they cave to the GOPers—on Gonzales, e.g.—then I will be more likely to play my old game, and push for the Dems who are closest to the Green Party platform, and GOTV for whoever ends up on the ticket.

I’m sure there are others who are similarly torn, and others who are seeing what’s happening in their locals better than I. N’est-ce pas? I only know what I hear from my friends and the evidence of my own eyes. Right now I'm still catching up on chores that went undone in the whirlwind before the election.

Gee, I'm Just Shocked (Yawn)—Cheney hospitalized 

Like this wasn't predicted by everybody, their brothers and their dogs:

(via AP/nyt)
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a history of heart trouble, was having tests at a hospital Saturday after experiencing some shortness of breath, a White House spokesman said.
So chuck out all the assumptions based on an "open seat" for Preznit in '08, trusting there will be at least some pretense of an election held that year for form's sake.

Who do we want as the next Dauphin? The Austrian Archduke (Ahhnold?) Or should we go right to the Crown Prince (Jeb)?

UPDATE So, soon Cheney will resign, over his health problems. The Constitution's line of succession means that Hastert would—without being elected, the beauty part—become Vice President.

Yep, sure sounds like parliamentary government to me, just like the Brits (unwritten Constitution and all). —Lambert

"Pockets of Evil" 

Alex Witt, MSGOP "official" buzz-phrase reader, keeps referring to ongoing operations in Fallujah as assaults on "pockets of evil." Yup, you heard it right. "Pockets of evil." We're not only fighting "insurgents" and "terr'ists" in Iraq, we are also fighting supernatural "pockets of evil!". Why we've even discoverd "unarmed sleeper cells." Whatever the hell those are.

So please GE/NBC/MSNBC - pleeeeze - just stop pretending that you are an actual news gathering and dissemination organization. Please. Just knock off the f#&king bullshit will ya. You're not really kidding anyone out here. So stop trying to pretend that what you do constitutes the practice of investigative journalism or anything even remotely resembling that. Afterall, MSNBC, you and others like you (CNN etc...), are the cheeky wowsers who cultivated the "info-tainment" flower. So stick with tending to it. You watered it and weeded out any practice of serious genuine skeptical reporting a long time ago. Just admit that what you do is little more than operate as a propaganda hothouse for "official statements" - a large exhaust fan for Creel Committee styled crank and sloganeering - and a marketing PR shill-mill for corporate info-mercials dolled up as little sham-nooze items. Fertilized with the usual celebrity goo-goo manure (Headliners and Legends, Donald Trump updates, etc...) and cheeky chirping cosmetic counter "news" reader banter. So stop pretending to be something you are not. No one likes a phoney and a quack.

"No one likes a phoney and a quack." Uh, I take that back:

Girly Mandate

(Thanks to AJP


Feeling lucky? 

The question all American is asking:

What Bush mandate?
(via Google)


OK, it's a cheap shot. Or not so cheap. The hysteria, often sexual, beneath wingerly rhetoric is obvious, as soon as you look for it.

It isn't coincidence that in case after case, a winger moral exemplar is exposed as being guilty of precisely the same actions ("sins," if you will) that he excoriates others for. It's structural—the wingers are Pharisees (back here).

And because the wingers are Pharisees, they cannot admit their true nature to themselves; their hysteria stems from the need to maintain their facades. We have named this hysterical behavior WPS, back (Winger Projection Syndrome).

The wingers are and will be Pharisees, "those who practice their piety before others in order to be seen by them" (a great sin, according to Jesus). They will never change, if for no other reason than that the worldly rewards are so great for being who and what they are; they are and will be Pharisees.

A strategic consequence: our enemy—I do not hesitate to use that word—is spiritually and psychologically immobilized. We can exploit their immobility by exposing them, mocking them, holding them up to ridicule, and otherwise assaulting their abilities to pose as representatives of anything other than their own base desires. We can break their code.

Dirty work, but someone has to do it.

Balancing Tipping Points 

Local columnists are still the best. Those contemplating steps like quitting political involvement altogether, or disemboweling the Democratic Party, are asked to read this first. And note that while we here in Blogland get trolls, people who put their real names on their stuff in a real paper are targets for trollish hostility too:

(via MN Star-Tribune)
Despite the belief in some quarters that an extraordinary amount can be accomplished in a mere seven days, it will take a bit longer for people to come down from the emotions of the election.

The victors are still on a roll, like kids who've found copies of upcoming tests and are having a blast making sure that the students who won't share in the spoils know who they are.

There's the Internet poster of the four cell phones, each viewscreen filled with that now-famous photo of George Bush giving the finger, with the message: "Can you hear me now?" Eight days ago, I would have expected this from a Democrat, but that's because I thought the gesture wouldn't play well among The Base. I was wrong.

I've only heard from these victors through e-mails and letters. Most of us hang out with people who are like us, so my actual conversations have been only with others who are worried about the country's direction. You can pretty much imagine how they've gone; it's the whole "five stages" thing: Denial, anger, French silk pie, depression, acceptance.

It will take a while to recover. But not as long as it felt seven days ago. After all, people have had time to filter spin from substance. No question, a record number of people voted for Bush, but a few deep breaths also revealed that a record number voted against him. That's what happens when more than 115 million people vote. That it came down to a mere 3.5 million difference -- can you see the pie chart in your head? -- which signals that the debate about our nation's direction will remain alive and vigorous.

It's been quite a week, though...And seven days out, balance seems to me to be the key, albeit for slightly different reasons than some people might attribute to a liberal.

We tend to think of balance as a state of equanimity, but it's also a state of heightened alert because one way or the other lies a tipping point.

Right now, our country is canting in a certain direction, by the will of the people, but just barely. It could tilt further, and it may well do so, but the counterweight of almost equal proportions that currently exists will keep the scales from canting too crazily. Unless, of course, one side starts to bail out and the tipping point is reached.

So to those of us on the receiving end of the celebratory screeds and the presidential portraits, who have commiserated over the past week with our fellows in driveways and coffeeshops and Target lines: We can take heart in our collective weight, of our very avoirdupois, so to speak.

We are a long way from the tipping point. Be it humble or French silk, that pie helped, after all.
[Very minor snippage for length, so you don't have to bother with the Strib's PitA registration.]

Friday, November 12, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Yawn, snarfle. Time to break out the cot in my tiny room under the stairs in The Mighty Corrente Building...

UPDATE Bush heaves Paige over the side. No weasel left behind...

UPDATE The question all America is asking:

What Bush mandate?

makes Taegan Goddard's Political Wire here

Corrente, ground zero of the latest Google bomb!

Of course, this vile rumor is a relatively benign one—especially compared to the one about the goats.

UPDATE And somewhere in this week, we passed our millionth visit. Thank you, alert readers!

qWagmire: All sadly predictable and, in fact, predicted 

That this was coming was obvious to anyone:

Police Lose Control of Mosul Amid Uprising

Police in Mosul largely disappeared from the streets, residents reported, and gangs of armed men brandishing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers roamed the city, 225 miles north of Baghdad. Responding to the crisis, Iraqi authorities dismissed Mosul's police chief after local officials reported that officers were abandoning their stations to militants without firing a shot.

The most serious incidents took place in Mosul, a city of about 1 million people, where fighting raged for a second day. Gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in an hourlong battle that a party official said left six assailants dead.
(via AP)

Ah. Now it's going to be Kurds versus Sunnis? Splendid. Anyone know where we're building our military bases? In Shi'ite territory? Maybe we'll just end up cutting a deal with Sistani, and let the rest of the country go the way of Milosevic's Yugoslavia.

But who really knows, at this point? Except that the situation is worse than we're being told, of course, since otherwise we'd be hearing nothing but propaganda about that.

Can this party be saved? 

The Democratic Party, I mean. (The world's oldest continuously functioning political party, if I am not mistaken.)

UPDATE Alert reader shystee ups the ante:

I'll bet a $20 donation to the Corrente server fund that Howard Dean will not be the next chairman.

Saving "Saving Private Ryan" 

There has been much talk about the (non)broadcast of "Saving Private Ryan" by some ABC stations on Veterans Day. Our own Keanu Reeves [no, really] was heard to suggest the motivation that "Must squelch Spielbergian leftist drivel -- real Americans don't question orders." There's questioning going on here all right, but it looks like more of a smack in the face to Michael (Colin Jr.) Powell's schizophrenic FCC:

This was the most complete single story I was able to find, out of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I have taken the liberty of boldfacing the ownership identification of the stations that took part. It's an interesting mix, but the rationales given may, just may, indicate a wedge making its way into a crack in the Republican facade, between the "values" crowd and the Big Bizniz Boys:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Several [actually 66 of them, or a third of the total per E!News] ABC affiliates have announced that they won't take part in the network's Veterans Day airing of "Saving Private Ryan," saying the acclaimed film's violence and language could draw sanctions from the Federal Communications Commission.

Stations replacing the movie with other programming Thursday include Cox Television-owned stations in Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., three Midwest stations owned by Citadel Communications.

"Under strict interpretation of the rules, we can't run that programming before 10 p.m.," said Ray Cole, president of Citadel, which owns WOI-TV in Des Moines, KCAU-TV in Sioux City and KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb.

In a statement on the Web site of Atlanta's [Cox TV owned] WSB-TV, the station's vice president and general manager, Greg Stone cited a March ruling in which the FCC said an expletive uttered by rock star Bono during NBC's live airing of the 2003 Golden Globe Awards was both indecent and profane.

Other stations that decided not to air the movie include WGNO-TV of New Orleans, owned by Tribune Broadcasting Corp., and WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H., owned by Hearst-Argyle Television Inc.

WSOC-TV of Charlotte [owned by the mysterious IBS company, about which I can find little information] said it had received complaints about language in the movie when it was aired in 2001 and 2002.

ABC has told its affiliates it would cover any fines, but Cole, of Citadel, said the network could not protect its affiliates against other FCC sanctions.

Cole cited recent FCC actions and last week's re-election of President Bush as reasons for replacing "Saving Private Ryan" on Thursday with a music program and the TV movie "Return to Mayberry."
Google any of the stations named above, or just "Private Ryan" for further details. There are currently 617 stories filed there under that topic so I hope I will be forgiven for not checking all of them.

This cannot possibly have amused Disney-owned ABC TV. Oh, and Sen. John McCain (R-Hypocrisy), who gave a little talk as an intro to the film on those places where it did air, is reported to have personally worked the phone lines to individual stations to assure them that this movie would never get them in dutch with FCC. Somehow they failed to find his words reassuring. Wonder why?

UPDATE: Just a couple more ownership details, per the Richmond VA Times-Dispatch:

ABC affiliates of Young Broadcasting Inc., including Richmond's WRIC-Channel 8, are withdrawing "Saving Private Ryan" from tonight's schedule.

WRIC general manager Bill Peterson says, "The debate and decision were made at our corporate offices. We had input.
and from the North Carolina News-Record, a name you knew would come up in this discussion somewhere:
Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns the ABC affiliate in Winston-Salem, WXLV (Channel 45), opted not to broadcast Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed movie “Saving Private Ryan” in honor of Veterans Day.
Sinclair ABC in Nashville didn't run it either.

Contribute to the Ohio recount 

Here. I mean,shouldn't we really count all the votes?

The anti-bowel movement in its former glory 

Saving young Ryan from himself: See back post, Lambert, Thursday, November 11, 2004

OREGON - 1927:
A momentous matter was decided at the meeting of the motion picture censor board and its body of viewers at City Hall Tuesday afternoon - guts is a vulgar word, and Portland movie audiences are not to be offended by its use in sub-titles in pictures. The matter came about through an appeal to the board from viewers who were divided in their opinions.

"He ain't got enough guts to shoot" was the sub-title under fire. Some of the viewers wanted it cut out, declaring it was vulgar. One viewer said it was "expressive" and gave the idea, and that she had seen the word guts used in "strong" editorials in the Portland daily papers. One viewer objected to the use of ain't as stongly as to the other word. Mrs. Eleanor B. Colwell, secretary of the board, suggested that intestinal stamina might be used in place of the offensive word guts, but that didn't seem to meet the situation. Then Mrs. F.O. Northrup, president of the board, spoke for that body, and declared that the word objected to is, indeed, offensive and is avoided in polite conversation and that she believed the board would hold with the viewers protesting against it. ~ Oregon Journal, 1927

How about "The gentleman in question has not the fortitude of mind nor certitude of entrails to discharge ones armament." Lets go with that, shalt we not, fair minded moviehouse patron?

Further historical indications of grave moral decline among the cultural elite as manifested in former seasons.

MICHIGAN - 1929:
Having studied Shakespeare for five years, I have often wondered if his work would be as highly spoken of if it had been written by modern writers. Rightly comparing it to some of the modern plays which have been censured and banned from the stage, I am afraid not.

Yes men of brilliant understanding will endorse Shakespeare. And as for his "Macbeth," it cries crime from cover to cover. The modern crime story is tame compared to it. I wonder if the producer of this play would give it to the public exactly as it was originally written? For along with the crime in "Macbeth," there is an immoral strain. But this seems to be characteristic of Shakespeare. And it is for this reason that I am writing this letter.

There are many young Americans who write clean and different plays, struggling to get a start. Yet if they go to some of the prominent men or producers who endorse Shakespeare to consider their work, these men tell them that they have no time to bother with such things. Maybe some reader can tell me why this is. - Louis C. Graham. ~ letter to Detroit News, 1929.

Watch what you say,un-American! Traditional conservative "values" correctness, so decreed, and an attempt to further contain the nefarious advancement of dangerous cultural elitist agendas.

ARKANSAS - 1926:
From a 'United Press' item, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Proposals to change the city's censorship ordinances which have been submitted to the city council by Mayor C.E. Moyer, include:

No ridicule of the Volstead Act.
No display of unadorned feminine beauty over five inches above the knee.
No suggestive matter in sight or song.
No remarks about unfaithfulness to marriage vows.
No ridicule of any religion.
No bedroom scenes.
No talk of white slavery.
No long, passionate love scenes.
No ridicule of American traditions.

Thus, I respectfully request of our divinely inspired moral uplifter in chief, Dear Leader of the soon to be free world, His majesty George W. Bush, that Him please forswear from further plebian allusions to his personal instinctual gut inspired mettle, seh.

Forsooth, my fellow moonbat fuck-wits and swaddled countrymen, for if not now when, and what then shall we speak of, in latter days, to the children!


qWagmire: Administration North-is-South-ism 

No, not the election. Fallujah:

A battle erupted near a mosque in northwest Falluja on Friday just hours after U.S. Marines said insurgents were now trapped in the south of the city.
(via ABC)

I'm not commenting a lot on the war—I won't use the word "clusterfuck," but feel feel to think it—because it's unlikely we are getting very good data, with the newspeople leaving, a curfew, and Allawi/Negroponte in charge. But that little snippet was just too good to resist...

Another Morality Tale 

Oh, that moral values thing everyone's been buying into. Turns out iWaq and the economy were bigger issues after all. Oops, say the pollsters, sorry we didn't make that clear a lot sooner, y'know, before the fundies spread this manure all over the countryside, crowing about the "shift in values." And before the Dems began talking about having to be more "moderate" and, and and…

…when they were asked an open-ended question about the top issue, Iraq and the economy moved past moral values. Iraq was picked by 27 percent, the economy by 14 percent and moral values tied with terrorism at 9 percent.

"Moral values was an element in the Bush formula, but probably not the driving one," said Lee Miringoff, president of the National Council of Public Polls.

The Pew poll found that voters' reasons for picking "moral values" varies. Just over four in 10 of those who picked "moral values" from the list mentioned social issues like gay marriage and abortion, but others talked about qualities like religion, helping the poor, and candidates' honesty and strength of leadership.

"We did not see any indication that social conservative issues like abortion, gay rights and stem cell research were anywhere near as important as the economy and Iraq," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. "'Moral values' is a phrase that's very attractive to people."
The Pew survey was taken Nov. 5-8 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Survey: Format Influenced Voter Priorities

Odd thing, though--if the economy and iWaq were indeed bigger issues, and if exit polls also showed a Kerry lead, how the fuck, oops, I mean heck, did we end up with aWol in the White House again? It just doesn't add up. At all.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

My goodness! Soldiers use profanity! Who knew?

Yes, first Janet Jackson's tit, now Saving Private Ryan. How all-too-believably stupid and childish.

What really irks me about the Gonzales thing... 

... is the headlines saying Bush "chooses" Gonzales or Bush "picks" Gonzales. After all, we have a Constitution, and a system of checks and balances, and the Senate has to confirm him, so the right word would be "nominates."

Oh, wait. I forgot. Now we live in a one-party state. No checks and balances at all. My bad. Sorry.

Just when you thought cellphone rudeness couldn't possibly get any worse 

Thanks, FUX. It had to be you...

The Twentieth Century Fox studio, a veteran of the big screen and the TV screen, is about to break into an entirely new realm: the really little screen, the kind that comes on a cell phone.

Teri Everett, a spokeswoman for Fox Entertainment Group, said Fox's deal with Vodafone represented the first time a Hollywood studio had agreed to make a TV series expressly for distribution on cell phones.
(via AP)

Gutless, feckless Beltway Dems to give Gonsales free pass? 

Back to business as usual! That is, losing.

"I think he's a pretty solid guy," Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, said of Mr. Gonzales.

"There's a feeling that Gonzales is less confrontational that John Ashcroft and he at least tries to reach out," Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said in an interview. "His style is not to throw down the gauntlet. So the White House has taken a step back from the red-hot confrontation that Ashcroft embodied, but we don't know how big a step back."
(via NY Times)

Merciful heavens. If writing memos to try to justify rule by decree, torture, trashing the Geneva convention, stonewalling the Plame Affair, and pressuring the 9/11 commission (back) isn't "red hot confrontation," then what in the name of God is? The Constitution is burning, and these guys are fiddling and diddling!

Bush didn't pick Gonsales because He all of sudden turned from a vicious slippery little scut into a nice guy; He picked Gonsales because Gonsales would be more effective advancing his agenda than Ashcroft was. And that agenda, Senators Biden and Schumer, has nothing to do with the needs or the views of your base.

Further, in the Texas Clemency memos (back), there's plenty of material to show both Gonsales and Bush for the sloppy and lethal incompetents that they are.

The Democrats have to get used to the idea that the Republicans work all the time. The Republicans don't take time off because they got all emotional about the election. The Republicans don't take time off because, after all, the Senate isn't in session. The Republicans don't take time off because it's the holiday season. The Republicans don't take time off because, after all, the President just got elected and it's OK to give him some slack. The Republicans never stop, and since their goal is the destruction of the Democratic Party and all it stands for, it's really surprising, or not, that Schumer and Biden are so lazy and willing to go along.

Beltway Dems: Get a clue. Get to work. Start throwing some punches. Mark Bush up. You've got a base; start firing it up!

The guy who wrote a memo justifying Presidential rule by decree gets to be Attorney General? Tell me it's not a great country.

UPDATE And Vermont's Leahy dives in the tank. WTF?

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying: "I don't see Judge Gonzales as being a controversial nomination -- at least not a lightning rod type."
(ABC via Froomkin)

Too bad there's no Club for Growth on the left to put a competitor into Leahy's district. That would get his attention.

And a useful Chronology of torture memos.

Election fraud 2004: Recount coming in Ohio? 

According to Bob Fertik, a recount is coming in Ohio.

As some of you probably know, Keith Olbermann has been all over this story. Apparently there are some pretty suspicious things going on in Ohio.

We shall see, won't we?

No Armistice On This Veteran's Day 

No, that's not an ironic jab at the fact that the "War" on terror "soldiers" onward with few discernible positive results, and a lot of discernible horror.

There's no irony to be found in the unending mendacity and negligence this White House has lavished on the men and women called by it to do the actual fighting in its war on terror. Is there anything this President touches he doesn't break? He's certainly come close to breaking what it took two decades to create - an all-volunteer Armed Forces that worked.

Do you have a rough idea of how many National Guard and Reservists have thus far been called up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. Try 400,000 plus. Is that not an astonishing figure?

Here's some selections from what the President had to say today, standing on ground more hallowed than it is possible for a man of his limited moral perception to understand:
Mr. Secretary, thank you for your kind introduction, and thank you for your strong leadership in making sure our veterans have got the very best care possible. Secretary Principi has done a fantastic job for the American veteran. (Applause.)


Some of our veterans are young men and women with recent memories of battle in mountains and in deserts. In Afghanistan, these brave Americans helped sweep away a vicious tyranny allied with terror and prepared the way for a free people to elect its own leaders. In Iraq, our men and women fought a ruthless enemy of America, setting the people free from a tyrant who now sits in a prison cell. (Applause.)

All who have served in this cause are liberators in the best tradition of America. Their actions have made our nation safer in a world full of new dangers. Their actions have also upheld the ideals of America's founding, which defines us still. Our nation values freedom -- not just for ourselves, but for all. And because Americans are willing to serve and sacrifice for this cause, our nation remains the greatest force for good among all the nations on the Earth. (Applause.)

Some of tomorrow's veterans are in combat in Iraq at this hour. They have a clear mission: to defeat the terrorists and aid the rise of a free government that can defend itself. They are performing that mission with skill and with honor. They are making us proud. They are winning. (Applause.)

Our men and women in the military have superb training and the best equipment and able commanders. And they have another great advantage -- they have the example of American veterans who came before. From the very day George Washington took command, the uniform of the United States has always stood for courage and decency and shining hope in a world of darkness. And all who have worn that uniform have won the thanks of the American people.


The security of America depends on our active leadership in the world to oppose emerging threats and to spread freedom that leads to the peace we all want. And our leadership ultimately depends on the commitment and character of the Armed Forces.

America has needed these qualities in every generation, and every generation has stepped forward to provide them. What veterans have given our country is beyond our power to fully repay, yet, today we recognize our debt to their honor. And on this national holiday, our hearts are filled with respect and gratitude for the veterans of the United States of America. (Applause.)
This is what was reported in the Washington Post today.
On this Veterans Day, about 180,000 members of the National Guard and reserves are serving on active military duty. Surveys show that 40 percent of them make less money while mobilized than they earn in their civilian jobs.

Congress has been wrangling over how to address the "pay gap" for 18 months, mostly without success. A number of proposals that would require the government and other employers to make up the difference between civilian and military pay have been blocked or stripped out of defense bills, apparently because of their cost.

But the compensation issue probably will come up again next week when Congress flies in for its lame-duck session. A coalition of 35 military and veterans organizations is pressing the House for prompt action on legislation that would permit Guard and reserve members to make penalty-free withdrawals from their employer-sponsored retirement plans to help them cope with any financial squeeze.

More than 410,000 members of the National Guard and reserves have been activated for duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists slammed hijacked jetliners into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

Of the 120,000 federal employees in the reserves, about 21,000 will serve on active duty in fiscal 2005, according to a congressional estimate.

No data indicate how many federal employees called to active duty suffer a reduction in pay. Surveys of all Guard and reserve personnel found that among mobilized troops whose pay was cut, the average reduction was $3,000, although some took pay cuts in the tens of thousands.

"These citizen-soldiers and their employers need and deserve some financial relief from the disruption of active military service," the Military Coalition, which represents more than 5.5 million current and former service members and families, said this week in a letter to House leaders urging approval of the bill that would allow activated troops to avoid tax penalties if they tap their retirement funds.

The coalition urged House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to schedule a quick vote on the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colo.) and amended by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

You can find out here what meager relief this Republican dominated congress, under the leadership of a President so dedicated to the uniformed heros he was extolling this morning, has yet to be able to put into practice. Be aware, however, of this ignored alternative:
Critics, however, say the legislation falls short of providing the financial relief that numerous Guard and reserve members need. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who has pushed legislation that would require federal agencies to make up the difference between civil service pay and military pay for activated employees, probably will speak out again next week on the financial woes facing many members of the Guard and reserves, an aide said.

The most recent attempt to address the pay gap fell apart last month, when House and Senate negotiators for the fiscal 2005 defense authorization bill removed provisions that would have replaced income for certain reservists and would have required federal agencies to pay any difference between military and civil service compensation for federal employees called to active duty.
This is exactly the kind of issue that Democrats in the future need to propose their own solutions for and find a way to force the media to cover them. Once their proposal is voted down, then fine, on an issue like this, work with Republicans to get something passed.

Since this is Veteran's Day, let's hear from a real one, the great Democratic Veteran, who posted on his epynomous blog yesterday, these brilliant observations about the blood lust of chickenhawks.


"Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916..." Michael Moore

Solemnly, world remembers its war dead on WWI anniversary
PARIS (AFP) - In sombre ceremonies, world leaders and war veterans paid tribute to their war dead on the anniversary of the end of World War I, a conflict remembered only by a rapidly dwindling band of survivors. World leaders, vets mark WWI anniversary

The war to end all wars. Almost forgotten. My grandfather fought in it. On the “wrong” side. The blood had been so deep in WWI that many believed it must surely be all that humanity could stomach and that there could be no more like it:

We set to work to bury people. We pushed them into the sides of the trenches but bits of them kept getting uncovered and sticking out, like people in a badly made bed. Hands were the worst; they would escape from the sand, pointing, begging - even waving! There was one which we all shook when we passed, saying, "Good morning," in a posh voice. Everybody did it. The bottom of the trench was springy like a mattress because of all the bodies underneath... Leonard Thompson - quoted in Ronald Blythe, Akenfield

Gentlemen, I have mentioned several times that I am opposed to war, to capitalist war, and that I believe in universal peace and the constructive tendencies of man. I believe that through education, through organization, through enlightenment we will bring people to the point of sanity where war will become impossible, where the destructive tendencies will disappear, and misery, desperation and poverty, the sources of crime, will be things of the past. I believe that with the whole power of my heart and mind. May be I shall not see that day in my own lifetime. But that makes no difference. I believe these things are absolutely true….Why, yes, the war, you say, is for the very purpose of carrying democracy and liberty to Europe. Will you proclaim to the world that you who carry liberty and democracy to Europe have no liberty here, that you who are fighting for democracy in Germany, suppress democracy right here in New York, in the United States? Are you going to suppress free speech and liberty in this country, and still pretend that you love liberty so much that you will fight for it five thousand miles away? Charity begins at home, gentlemen of the jury. Liberty begins at home. That is where you begin right now, to-day, to show that you stand for liberty. We have spoken for liberty all our lives. Now you are put to the test as men who believe in liberty; you are put to the test. It is for you to show whether you believe in liberty. And let me tell you, whether you think that we are right or whether we are wrong, one thing you know: the spirit that animates this woman, the spirit that animates these defendants, is the spirit that has in the past emancipated the bondman. It is the spirit that will in the future emancipate the slave from his slavery, the tyrant from his tyranny; the spirit that will abolish war, make us all brothers of one family, without the evils and crimes that darken the world to-day, without oppression and monopoly, and make the world a fit place to live in, with a real motto, actually applied: Liberty for all, well-being for every one, and happiness for humanity.

Alexander Berkman spoke these words on July 3rd, 1917, as he and Emma Goldman were on trial for holding rallies and printing papers in opposition to WWI and the draft.

Guido Bruno described them this way:

And there, opposite me, sat Alexander Berkman. A strong, fighting face; decision and action written all over him. Around his mouth plays the tired smile of the fighter who knows what it means to meet stupidity face to face. His hands are clenched, he is armed against attacks and lies, against rudeness and against injustice. He has come to fight. He does not know how to compromise. He does not know how to bow politely to the court, how to invoke in flowery language the attention of the District Attorney or how to arouse the sympathetic interest of his peers--the jurymen. The principles for which he is fighting, which brought about his indictment, are now his only weapons and his only shield. He is a non-conformist who believes in liberty and in freedom uncurtailed in any way…There is Emma Goldman, sitting behind him. I don't see hatred in her eyes but determination; to do to the last minute what she thinks so important for the happiness of future generations. She is reading some report introduced as evidence by the District Attorney. There is a grave seriousness on her features and that wonderful, final resolve that has ever--since time began--caused men to be crucified, to be burned alive, hung, drawn and quartered; the resolve and purpose which have brought to humanity all the good things it possesses.

They were, of course, found guilty and sentenced to the maximum. And over 100,000 Americans went on to die in The War to End All Wars.

The shadows inhabit the earth today. May the resistance continue!

Kucinich in Ohio 

A Note On The Presidential Election in Ohio, by Congressman Dennis Kucinich:

I have been vigilant in monitoring Ohio's election in 2004. Attorneys from my party closely monitored the election before and during election day. While there were some incidents of voter intimidation noted by the attorneys, most if not all cases were resolved at the scene because of quick action by challengers, witnesses, the Kerry campaign, and volunteers from other campaigns including my own.

The unofficial count gave Ohio to George Bush by approximately 136,000 votes. The official count by county Boards of Election will begin on Saturday, November 13, 2004. It is due at the Secretary of State's office by December 1. The Secretary of State must certify the election by December 3.

During this interim period, attorneys from both political parties, and those representing me, will be watching the procedures by county Boards of Elections carefully.


The official tabulation of votes for Ohio will begin on Saturday and will include four categories not reflected in the unofficial count: provisional ballots, late absentee ballots, overseas military and overseas civilian.

If the difference between George Bush and John Kerry is less than one quarter of one percent after the official tally is completed (about 16,000 votes) an automatic recount occurs under Ohio law.

If the margin is greater than one quarter of one percent, a candidate can request a recount at an expense to the candidate of $10 per precinct. Because there are approximately 12,000 precincts in Ohio, the recount would cost about $120,000, before legal fees. A recount would entail a visual inspection of every punch card ballot.

I believe we must pursue every lead which raises questions about the integrity of the electoral process. Our work may not change the outcome, but it will demonstrate that beyond our commitment to our candidates, we have a higher commitment to our democracy. ~ (for more details...see link above)

Democracy Now:
In Warren County, Ohio, election officials took a rather unprecedented action on November 2: They locked down the building where the votes were being tallied, blocking anyone from observing the vote counting process. President Bush won 72% of the vote in the county. We speak with the reporter who broke the story. [includes rush transcript] ~ (for entire post see link above)

Keith Olbermann is also watching this story. The only one, as far as I know, up to this point, inside cable tee-vee-lands fabulous goo-goo-eyed nooze bubble, who has actually ventured outside the cave for a looksee.
County Emergency Services Director Frank Young said last week that in a face-to-face meeting with an FBI agent, he was warned that Warren County, outside Cincinnati, faced a "terrorist threat." County Commissioners President Pat South amplified, insisting to us at Countdown that her jurisdiction had received a series of memos from Homeland Security about the threat. "These memos were sent out statewide, not just to Warren County, and they included a lot of planning tools and resources to use for election day security.

"In a face to face meeting between the FBI and our director of Emergency Services," Ms. South continued, "we were informed that on a scale from 1 to 10, the tri-state area of Southwest Ohio was ranked at a high 8 to a low 9 in terms of security risk. Warren County in particular, was rated at 10."

But the Bureau says it issued no such warning. - Olbermann/Blog


Very Scary People ~ tales of pillage and plunder 

'Til death do us part ~ Part 2 - Following up on Lambert's earlier post 'Til debt do us part (Nov 10, 2004)
Brilliant post from Steve Gilliard on debt here. Go read. If you want to disentangle yourself from Bush's America, dealing with debt is a good place to start.

Here's an insiders take on how that entanglement works on a national and multinational - global - scale:

U.S. multinatioinals get the contracts, and when the poor countries fall behind in payments, take over their economies. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a blistering attack on the inner workings of rich government and corporate policies that create globalization and the poverty of millions of people around the world. - Powells Books

Bush/Gore Pres. debate Oct 11 2000:
MODERATOR: Does that give us -- does our wealth, our good economy, our power, bring with it special obligations to the rest of the world?

[George W.] BUSH: Yes, it does. Take, for example, Third World debt. I think we ought to be forgiving Third World debt under certain conditions. I think, for example, if we're convinced that a Third World country that's got a lot of debt would reform itself, that the money wouldn't go into the hands of a few but would go to help people, I think it makes sense for us to use our wealth in that way, or to trade debt for valuable rain forest lands, makes that much sense, yes. We do have an obligation, but we can't be all things to all people. We can help build coalitions but we can't put our troops all around the world. We can lend money but we have to do it wisely. We shouldn't be lending money to corrupt officials. So we have to be guarded in our generosity.


[from transcript] Via Democracy Now - Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions":

John Perkins describes himself as a former economic hit man - a highly paid professional who cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. 20 years ago Perkins began writing a book with the working title, "Conscience of an Economic Hit Men."

Perkins writes, "The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries, men who had been his clients whom I respected and thought of as kindred spirits - Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.


AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Explain the company you worked for.

JOHN PERKINS: Well, the company I worked for was a company named Chas. T. Main in Boston, Massachusetts. We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan–let's say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador–and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure–a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn't possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, "Look, you're not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil." And today we're going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they've accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It's an empire. There's no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It's been extremely successful.


AMY GOODMAN: You're actually called economic hit men --e.h.m.’s?

JOHN PERKINS Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn't buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn't work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren't able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had -- His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.


AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how Torrijos died?

JOHN PERKINS: Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama. Omar Torrijos had signed the Canal Treaty with Carter much -- and, you know, it passed our congress by only one vote. It was a highly contended issue. And Torrijos then also went ahead and negotiated with the Japanese to build a sea-level canal. The Japanese wanted to finance and construct a sea-level canal in Panama. Torrijos talked to them about this which very much upset Bechtel Corporation, whose president was George Schultz and senior council was Casper Weinberger. When Carter was thrown out (and that’s an interesting story–how that actually happened), when he lost the election, and Reagan came in and Schultz came in as Secretary of State from Bechtel, and Weinberger came from Bechtel to be Secretary of Defense, they were extremely angry at Torrijos -- tried to get him to renegotiate the Canal Treaty and not to talk to the Japanese. He adamantly refused. He was a very principled man. He had his problem, but he was a very principled man. He was an amazing man, Torrijos. And so, he died in a fiery airplane crash, which was connected to a tape recorder with explosives in it, which -- I was there. I had been working with him. I knew that we economic hit men had failed. I knew the jackals were closing in on him, and the next thing, his plane exploded with a tape recorder with a bomb in it. There's no question in my mind that it was C.I.A. sanctioned, and most -- many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.

Go read it all. Democracy Now

Also see: Globalism's Discontents, by Joseph E. Stiglitz, January 1-14,2002, The American Prospect.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

After 11/2, everything changed....

Should we keep looking for a "single bullet theory" to explain the disaster?

Or should we start thinking of Rove "architecting" his win, at the margin, by collecting 10,000 here, 100,000 there, and so on. A big spreadsheet, with a lot of precisely targeted cells....

Thoughts from the 48% of us who are taxed without being represented?

Oh, Daniel, Daniel... 

Did Froomkin really write this? The Froomkin we know?

... before the furor over the abuses at Abu Ghraib unexpectedly dissipated ...
(via WaPo)

Rather fine, that "unexpectedly," what?

This picture needs a caption! 

OK, That's It, I'm Vomiting Pea Soup 

These lunatic shitheads below are the ones that pushed a lot of the elephant buttons. It is up to the reality-based community to hold on until the Invisible Cloud Being fails these poor saps, and they snap to. I mean, damn, you’d think that if they really believed this crap, they’d save some money on health care by just trusting the ICB to heal them, or give up if he doesn’t. It amazes me that I have to run into people like this every so often to remember that they really exist. It’s clear that Bushco panders to them. How, aside from waiting for them to realize that the Rapture ain’t coming and Bushco is bending them over, do we answer these poor deluded tiny-brained wipers of others’ bottoms? Or do we? What letter to the editor do we send in response to our own local loonies? Witness the headline in the letters section of a Pennsylvania fishwrapper:

Jesus speaks through the Republicans

I hope the election of George W. Bush is seen as a wake-up call to all the liberal Democrats who oppose God's will. It is His doing that George W. Bush is still our president. Millions of born-again Christians helped win this election through our prayers and votes. Jesus speaks through the Republicans.The Democrats will not be able to win elections until they renounce their sinful ways and stop encouraging abortions, gayness, and trying to take away our guns.

Earl Balboa

This is what we’re up against, folks. Yet another from a daily in New Mexico:

Thanks to God for President Bush


There is joy in Mudville! The results of this election bodes well for America.Same-sex marriages took it on the chin. Positive family values were reinforced. It will be increasingly difficult for the ACLU to assassinate God. Taxes will not go through the roof.More importantly, the world sees that those filthy people — film makers — in Hollywood could not topple a sitting U.S. president. With George Bush, we will get some decent people on the Supreme Court — judges that will make fair decisions without liberal bias.Suddenly the future of America looks much brighter — the Democrats have lost more control of their “fat cow.”I personally give thanks to God for President Bush.


Arrgggghhhh! I can only answer this self-righteous, brainless, deluded evil with this:

How can you BE SO STUPID? How? Someone tell me. You’re NO DIFFERENT than the fundamentalists you’re ostensibly fighting. IDIOTS. Aaiiiieeeeeee!

...if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

from Howard Zinn

I’m gonna make it part of my own “succession of presents” to swell the ranks of the Democratic Party locally with hardnosed rationalists and people with Enlightenment values—screw this “we’ve got to become more friendly to the faith-based” line of crap. Yeah, I’ve switched parties. It was too easy “organizing” the 34 Greens we have in the county. I’ll settle for nothing less than a takeover from the testicular non-custodial Dems currently in power here. No quarter! I’ll give into these Jeebofascists when they pry the portrait of Emma Goldman out of my cold, dead fingers.

Pimping the Dead 

It's not TV. It's a Bush Blowjob. Aside from the gholishness of the very idea, get a load of how HBO's pitching "Last Letters Home":
The soldiers' last words. Their families' last memories. Our nation's lasting gratitude. This Veterans Day, HBO and The New York Times, in association with LIFE Books, present a poignant tribute to the fallen American soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the war in Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops from the Battlefields of Iraq, read by the families of ten men and women killed in action.

Whaddya think the odds are that Lila Lipscomb's son's last letter will be one of those?
"[Bush] got us out here for nothing whatsoever. I am so furious right now, Mama.

"I cannot wait to get home and get back to my life."
Based on the sanitized letters that ran last year in the "liberal" NYT (and linked to by HBO), Tracksports has a glurge orgy at very short odds.

I canceled HBO after Six Feet Under ended, so I can't tune in even if I wanted. If non-diabetic readers have the stomach, they can report back. I have a still-living friend in Iraq I'm more concerned about right now.

'Til debt do us part 

Brilliant post from Steve Gilliard on debt here. Go read. If you want to disentangle yourself from Bush's America, dealing with debt is a good place to start.

If AQ's next target is a Red-State megachurch... 

... you read it in Kos first. Brilliant, chilling analysis. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE Alert reader catalexis comments:

Damn good piece. It kind of puts a bucket of cold water on things, including the attractivness of the angry Left, which, darn it, I was really warming up to. Now, of course it becomes clear that we must fight for the center.

I'm not talking about abandoning anyone, the unions, GLBT, the poor, minorities, all of these are still our people and we will still insist on their full inclusion in our society but we must deny the radical his fuel, or the center gets clobbered.

The language of the fight, the slogans of war, these must be put aside and turned aside and neither waved nor engaged. We are being ju-jitsued, that's what happened to us last week, we got out pumped-up, new plan needed. We shall not abandon the struggle but we need to lose the martial trappings, they're tripping us up when we least expect it.

Yeah, I could work up to militancy too. Just needs to be militancy of the right kind...

Of course the new nominee for [cough] Justice will be worse than Ashcroft 

I had a hard time believing it was possible, but once I read this, it was just so obvious that not only was this likely to be Bush's choice, it really is worse:

Administration sources said Ashcroft's successor is likely to be White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales.
(via WaPo)

Why Gonzales?

Picking Gonzales would give Bush tight control over the Justice Department.

Wow! I wonder why Bush would want that? Say, do you think Gonzales will bring Malkin in, to organize the coming internments?

As governor of Texas, Bush put Gonzales on the state Supreme Court.

Oh good. So we'll only have to put up with Gonsales for a year at Justice. Phew!

Of course, Alberto R. Gonzales is an old, old friend of ours. As Presidential Counsel, Gonzales has written or approved memos that "justify":

  1. rule by decree (back)

  2. torture (back)

  3. Trashing the Geneva convention (back)

Hey, what's not to like?

In addition, Gonzales's dirty fingerprints are all over:

  1. Evidence suppression in the Plame Affair (here>)

  2. Pressuring the 9/11 Commission on Clarke's testimony (back

Finally, Gonzales, also Bush's counsel when He was governor, wrote the "Texas Clemency" memos, so being the happy instrument whereby Bush could send several hundred people to their deaths (back), on the basis of carelessly worded, sloppily reasoned, one-page memos.

Oh, and some alert readers were inclined to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on this one. How could anyone be worse than Ashcroft, they answered? Well, I'd rather have a religious loon like Crisco Johnny than a smooth enabler of Bush's dark urges for blood and power.

Rule One: Never, ever, give Bush the benefit of the doubt. It's always worse than you could ever imagine.

NOTE I guess this means Bush is more worried about indictments than I thought.

Bill Clinton should run for Mayor of New York 

Definitely not for chair of the DNC (C'mon. The appearance of conflict is just too great.)

I like Clinton as head of the UN after Kofi Annan. Clinton would be great.

But for all our sakes:

The cities are blue. And where we have strong Democratic machines in the cities, we get blue states. Illinois is the prime example. What that means is that the cities will be the next victims of Republican assault (as if they weren't already, with all the Homeland Security money going to places like Wyoming. I know it's per capita. So?) Therefore, we have to defend the cities.

So why, oh why, is a Republican the mayor of New York? Get him outta there, bring on The Big Dog, and maybe New York will have someone to defend it against Bush over the next for years.

Plus, you know Clinton would make a great mayor of New York—and you know he's love it.

And on the seventh day... 

God lay on the cosmic couch all afternoon and watched chariot racing.
Religion Today (Times Leader/AP):
In a society where young adherents often face challenges to their beliefs, the top world authorities of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have reaffirmed the faith's insistence that fidelity to the Bible requires belief in "a literal, recent, six-day creation," no matter what conventional science says.


And six days means just that - "literal 24-hour days forming a week identical in time to what we now experience as a week," the Adventist decree says.

***13.6 million anti-Sunday crusaders can't be wrong!***

The church's statement came last month, after three years of special conferences on the issue of creation. It was approved at a meeting of the Adventists' 293-member Executive Committee at the Silver Spring, Md., headquarters of the church. The faith has 13.6 million members internationally and 936,000 in the United States.


Why is this one belief so particularly strong for Adventists?

The answer stems from the faith's special belief that founder Ellen G. White was a modern prophet who correctly interpreted the Bible. White (1827-1915) was a native of Maine and prolific writer who reported some 2,000 divinely given visions and dreams. In one, White wrote in 1864, she was "carried back to the creation and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week."

CASE CLOSED! Take that you cultural elitist Christ hating liberals! You can't argue with "scientific" reasoning like that.

Ronald L. Numbers, a University of Wisconsin science historian who was raised Adventist, notes that even in the 19th century, White's position was at odds with prevailing science. Early in the 1800s, experts had agreed upon a vast age for the Earth and for life forms found in fossils, later reinforced by techniques like radiometric dating. In Darwin's "On the Origin of Species," published five years before White's writing, the hugely ancient earth allowed time for natural selection.

LIAR! Academic elitist, academic elitist! I think our Codpieced Divine, Commander Skybox, who channels the mind of the Almighty, needs to hold a press conference and hold forth on the revealed truth about how many days it actually took to whip this whole flying slag heap into the fabulous asylum it is. Put the entire matter to rest once and for all. So we can all get back to hunting for sea monsters and chasing naked frogs from thy kneadingtroughs and spewing weird petrochemical crap into the heavenly firmament.

Just as God planned.


Military Intelligence 

I saw Barbara Starr, the Pentagon correspondent, on CNN this morning. She said that the folks in the Pentagon were wondering when they were going to have what she called "the mother of all battles." In short, the folks in Pentagon are wondering where are the insurgents went!

Okay, guys, I'm no military expert or anything but everyone in the world, no, really, I mean it, everyone in the world has known for months that this offensive would happen a couple of days after the November election.

So, guess what, Barbara? Guess what, Pentagon Poobahs?

The bad guys have been out of Fallujah for weeks.

W and the boys had the insurgents cornered in April. Consequently, W's poll numbers tanked disastrously and W, Karl and the boys could see their little re-election effort literally going up in smoke as we lost numerous soldiers in our first assault on Fallujah.

So, W and the boys did what all purely political animals would do in this situation. They chickened out. That's right folks. In the middle of the presidential campaign, Mr. "Resolute and Stay the Course" chickened out. Now these bad characters have moved on to fight another day.

I honestly can't say I'm surprised.

Are you?

Whats the matter with some people? ~ redux 

Decided to repost an excerpt from Tom Frank's book What’s the Matter With Kansas. COVER image.

Lie Down for America: How the Republican Party Sows Ruin on the Great Plains, appeared in Harpers magazine (April 2004) and I posted the excerpt below back in late May (thereabouts), of this year. Seemed like a good timely idea to post it again. So, here goes again:

"The villain that did this to my home state wasn't the Supreme Court or Lyndon Johnson, showering dollars on the poor or putting criminals back on the street. The culprit is the conservatives' beloved free-market capitalism, a system that, at it's most unrestrained, has little use for small town merchants or the agricultural system that supported the small towns in the first place. Deregulated capitalism is what has allowed Wal-Marts to crush local businesses across the Midwest and, even more importantly, what has driven agriculture, the region’s raison d’etre, to a state of near-collapse.

..........There's a reason you probably haven't heard much about this aspect of the heartland [the blight of Emporia, Kansas]. This kind of blight can't be easily blamed on the usual suspects like government or counterculture or high-hat urban policy. The villain that did this to my home state wasn't the Supreme Court or Lyndon Johnson, showering dollars on the poor or putting criminals back on the street. The culprit is the conservatives' beloved free-market capitalism, a system that, at it's most unrestrained, has little use for small town merchants or the agricultural system that supported the small towns in the first place. Deregulated capitalism is what has allowed Wal-Marts to crush local businesses across the Midwest and, even more importantly, what has driven agriculture, the region’s raison d’etre, to a state of near-collapse.

People who have never lived in a farm state often think of all agricultural interests as essentially identical: farmers and huge agribusiness conglomerates want the same things, they believe. But in reality the interests of the two are more like those of the chicken and Colonel Sanders of backlash lore. And Colonel Sanders has been on an unbroken winning streak now for twenty-some years, with farm legislation, trade policy, and a regulatory climate all crafted to strengthen the conglomerates while weakening farmers. For shareholders and upper management of companies like Archer Daniels Midland and Tyson the result has been miraculous; for town like Emporia it has been ruinous.

Whereas farmers are naturally disorganized, agribusiness seeks always to merge and acquire and choke off competition. And so, like other industries, it was finally permitted to do these things in the deregulatory climate of the Reagan-Clinton era. In the eighties, according to William Heffernan, a sociologist at the University of Missouri, agriculture experts generally agreed that if four companies controlled more than 40 percent of market share in a given field, it was no longer competitive. Today, Heffernan estimates, the four largest players process 81 percent of the beef, 59 percent of the pork, and 50 percent of the chicken produced in the United States. The same phenomenon is at work in grain: The largest four process 61 percent of American wheat, 80 percent of American soybeans, and either 57 percent or 74 percent of American corn, depending on the method. It is no coincidence that the internal motto of Archer Daniels Midland, the grain processing giant notorious for its political clout and its price-fixing, is reported to be, "The competitor is our friend and the customer is our enemy."

The admirers of farm deregulation – and there are plenty of them, in economics departments as well as in the Bush Administration Department of Agriculture – see in it not some hideous power grab but a heroic "restructuring" of the food industry. Cargill, ADM, and the rest of the giants are bringing order out of chaos; if we finally have to say goodbye to the Jeffersonian fantasy of the family farm – if we have to transform the prosperous farmer into a sharecropper and turn the countryside into an industrialized wasteland and destroy the small towns – maybe it’s all for the best.

One thing unites all these different groups of Kansans, these millionaires and trailer park dwellers, the farmers and thrift-store managers and slaughterhouse workers and utility executives: they are almost all Republicans. Meatpacking Garden City voted for George W. Bush in even greater numbers that did affluent Johnson County.

Not too long ago, Kansans would have responded to the current situation by making the bastards pay. This would have been a political certainty, as predictable as what happens when you touch a match to a puddle of gasoline. When business screwed the farmers and the workers - when it implemented monopoly strategies invasive beyond the Populists' worst imaginings, when it ripped off shareholders and casually tossed thousands out of work – you could be damned sure about what would follow.

Not these days. Out here the gravity of discontent pulls in only one direction: to the right, to the right, further to the right. Strip today’s Kansans of their job security and they head out to become registered Republicans. Push them off their land and the next thing you know they’re protesting in front of abortion clinics. Squander their life savings on manicures for the CEO and there’s a good chance they’ll join the John Birch Society. But ask them about the remedies their ancestors proposed – unions, antitrust laws, public ownership – and you might as well be referring to the days when knighthood was in flower.

Let us pause for a moment and gaze across this landscape of dysfunction. A state is spectacularly ill served by the Reagan-Bush stampede of deregulation, privatization, and laissez-faire. It sees its countryside depopulated, its towns disintegrate, its cities stagnate – and its wealthy enclaves sparkle, behind their remote-controlled security gates. The state erupts in revolt, making headlines around the world with its bold defiance of convention. But what do its revolutionaries demand? More of the very measures that have brought ruination on them and their neighbors in the first place.

This is not just the mystery of Kansas: this is the mystery of America, the historical shift that has made it all possible.

In Kansas the shift is more staggering than elsewhere, simply because it has been so decisive, so extreme. The people who were once radical are now reactionary. Although they speak today in the same aggrieved language of victimization and although they face the same array of economic forces as their hard-bitten ancestors, today’s rebels make demands that are precisely the opposite. Tear down the federal farm programs, they cry. Privatize the utilities. Repeal the progressive taxes. All that Kansas asks today is a little help nailing itself to that cross of gold.

Excerpt above can be found at: Rural

Description below from:
A brilliant analysis - and funny to boot - "What's the Matter with Kansas?" presents a critical assessment of who we are, while telling a remarkable story of how a group of frat boys, lawyers, and CEOs came to convince a nation that they spoke on behalf of the People.

I think (I'm still hopefuller), that some of the popular reactionary sway Frank highlights may change over the next four years. Shifting away from the more poisionous trends he notes above. Especially in light of the Bush cororations duplicitous and morally vapid stewardship. But, uprooting the diseased stump that has taken hold across the motherland, and has been throwing up new sucker shoots for thirty some years now, isn't going to be accomplished easily or any time soon or simply by clearing away the rotten nuts rolling around it's base. Although that would be a good place to start. It will require a lot more clean up work than that. There will be a lot of digging and pick-axe swingin' left to do over the years. So, diggers...

sharpen your shovels and reload your gun, we're gonna have a whole lot of fun.


Maintenance, links, stuff like that... 

Apologies for not keeping up with the blogroll additions over the last month or so. Too much going on too fast and so on... If anyone out there sent in a blog-link post request and I didn't see it or lost it or forgot to add it - or you would like your link added - please let me know. Looks like I'll have at least another four years to work on it. Assuming I don't get run over by a bus, or something tragic like that.

Added this morning:
Reload Blog
Tommy Pain
Red Hair Black Leather

and finally, from...Loaded Mouth, go see why they're called MEDIA WHORES:
Ahhh, that wonderful liberal media, how I fucking love thee...



Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

What Bush Mandate? I guess I'm one of the 48% of Americans who didn't get the memo...

UPDATE Follow the money. You know, the people running the red states can't be all that dumb—after all, they've somehow managed to get the people running the blue states to subsidize them. Odd.

"People running the red states" being a first crude attempt to distinguish between the (vicous, bigoted, corrupt, Jeebofascists) red state political establishment, and the voters in the red states who voted blue (ie, were not vicious, bigoted, or corrupt Jeebofascists).

Bush heaves Ashcroft, Evans over the side 


Well, they couldn't get anyone worse than Ashcroft. Right?

What is to be done? 

Readers, we came into being to defeat Bush in 2004.

That didn't happen (modulo the efforts to actually count the vote; let's not talk about that here).

What's next?

What should be next?

And don't be like this guy 

Since the CW seems to be I have two weeks to be weepy and pissed before I get all "responsible" and "civil" and bend over for the Republicans again, I guess it's OK to link to this.

Then again, this guy writes better than the heinous Mike "Is this on?" Thompson.

And now that I've released my bile: As everyone knows, I'm a yellowdog Democrat from Philly. We saved this part of what used to be called the Union for democracy, at least. So I'd be interested to know what Xan, for example, makes of this red state/blue state thing. It's fun to rant, and there's something to it, but isn't it possible reality could be a little more subtle than red, blue, or even purple?

Stealing the family "values": the great morality swindle of 2004 

Watch the yokels fight. Red yokels fight Blue yokels. Fight yokels fight.

Culture war that is. That's what the pundit gigglers and "official statement" readers in the corporate media and the multimillionaire religious mountebanks and the right wing think tank remoras and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page swindlers patting their fattened tummies in Manhattan want you to see on your shiny TV.

MSNBC meathead Chris Mathews, last night, on his moronic carnival show Hardball, even went so far as to offer the brilliant observation that no-one with a "southern" accent had voted for Kerry and no-one in the Blue states had voted for the guy with the "southern" accent. Mathews accomplished this marvel of certifiable nonsense while plopped in front of a Red State/Blue State cartoon prop map. Apparently it has never dawned on a dolt like Mathews that the people who live in places like New Orleans LA, for instance, (which voted blue) have "southern" accents. Ditto for any number of other areas in the south (especially urban areas) which Kerry often won. Likewise, many counties in New York state, for instance, came up red. Not many southern accents in upstate NY. So whats really going on here? Why are people like Chris Mathews so eager to keep the pond as stirred up muddy as possible? Well, maybe, while the yokels are slugging it out in the parking lot, the "have-mores" can sneak in the back door and make off with the cash register.

Remember this?: The "Haves" and the "Have-Mores" ~ "Some people call you the elite," remarked Bush "I call you my base." Remember that scene from Michael Moore's F-9/11?

Rick Perlstein has more on this:
Where did the lion's share of the extra votes come from that gave George Bush his mighty, mighty mandate of 51 percent? "Two of those points," Klinkner said when reached by phone, "came solely from people making over a 100 grand." The people who won the election for him—his only significant improvement over his performance four years ago—were rich people, voting for more right-wing class warfare.


How did the "people voted for the Republicans because of moral values" meme become the gospel truth about this election? The exit poll question, after all, signifies little: If a pollster went up to you and asked what was more important, your moral values or your economic well-being, what kind of cad would you be to tell a stranger that money meant more to you than morals?

All that the message about "moral values" dominating the proceedings last Tuesday means is that the Republicans have succeeded in their decades-long campaign to get what should plainly be called "conservative ideology" replaced, in our political language, by this word "morality." They have reworked the political calculus so thoroughly that liberal definitions of what is or isn't a moral value don't count. It's as if liberals didn't have any morality at all.

It's amazing how many people Republicans have been able to punk with this. Even Senator Charles Schumer, appearing Wednesday night on The Daily Show, said that Republicans won on "these values issues."

Hey, Chuck: Don't fall for their crap, it only encourages them. You have values too.

Go read the rest of It's the Wealth, Stupid

It's all about the old "fusionist" mind-meld of course.
Fusionism, simply put, was the historical juncture at which right-wing activists and intellectuals focused, diversely, on the libertarian, moral-traditionalist, and emerging anticommunist strains of conservative ideology, recognized their common causes and philosophies, and began to fuse their practical agendas. - Roads To Dominion, Sara Diamond, 1995.

God, Guns and Greed.
Sound the culture war trumpet - with plenty of accompanying fear, sneer, magic, and noise from the corporate media whore house piano - and fire a few rounds into the air providing plenty of smoke and cover-fire for the advancing pitter patter of little neo-con and libertarian feet. Neither of which would go anywhere by themselves. Without the clamorous distraction of a theatrically orchestrated "faith based" moral-traditionalist hoot and bellow revival show the entire second story crew would never find their way out of their own lobby.


Taxation without representation 

Has it occurred to anyone that the Bush scam to move the tax burden to wage earners and privatize Social Security amounts to taxation without representation for the 48% of the country that didn't vote for him and has no power in Washington at all?

"Bush mandate" successfully Google-bombed! 

Try it for yourself!

Of course—blush—you heard it here first (back). However, we must thank the Mighty Atrios for making our little dream a reality.

Wonder if this kind of leaderless resistance is something Froomkin would like to hear about. Maybe use the words "unexpected, heh, gay subtext" or something.... Just to let people know the other 48% are still out there, and, though entirely disenfranchised nationally, still very active.

Two birds with one stone? 

Suppose Bush does in fact reduce the deficit (as the bond market is going to force him to do, sooner or later) but He does so in conjunction with tax [cough] "reform," by shifting the whole burden onto wage-earners? There's a scary thought! They would never do that, though.

Another moderate Republican has a non-custodial relationship with his balls 

Lincoln Chaffee:

Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee said yesterday that he will remain in the Republican fold and "work hard to regain the support" of Republicans upset over his Election Day comments on his vote against President Bush and his consideration of a party switch.

Chafee said he would also reach out to Mr. Bush "at the proper time," adding, "I wouldn't blame him if he were angry at me."
(via ProJo)


Sunday Bloody Sunday 

Summarizing another day in hell, the Pakistan Times bloodlessly reports, midstory,
Three attacks on U.S. convoys in and around Baghdad killed two American soldiers and wounded five others Sunday, the military said.
(via Juan Cole)

As it happens, a friend of mine was in one of those convoys. Here's what earns you a bullet point in a wire service report from Iraq:
I can't remember which was first. A blinding flash. A thick cloud of dust. A percussion sound that absorbed all other noise for a second and the ringing sound that followed. A concussion wave that felt like a hot slap on my face.

"Sir, what do I do?" Says my driver. The clear Baghdad sky has been instantly clouded with brown dirt. We had been going 55. There was one of our vehicles in front of us. Nothing else on the road.

"Pull over." I order as the smoke clears. I see Zulu 823 spinning. All of the tires blown out. The gunner on the roof fallen over into the HUMMWV. "Pull past them." I change my order as I realize that they won't be able to defend to their front.

"I can't get out, Sir! I have to get out." Says the medic in the seat behind me. She's right. She has to get out there are wounded.

"Sir, what do I do?" Repeats my driver. I don't have an answer. My vehicle has come to a stop. I help the medic out. I have to check on Zulu 823.

By the time I get to 823 there are four other people working with the wounded gunner. The medic tells me she needs a helicopter if the gunner is going to have a chance. The nearest U.S. Hospital is about three miles away. Through downtown Baghdad. Three miles is so close that a HUMMWV will usually beat a helicopter. Unless you have to worry about people blowing themselves up next to you. Which, apparently, we do.

I run to the radio to call for an aero-medical evacuation. "Dustoff this is Razor 44. We've been hit. We're on route Warszaw. Over."

The radio responds in a broken crackle that reminds me of a cheap drive through restaurant, "Razor ... Dustoff... location... over." I can't understand them.

I need a helicopter. I need to get this kid out of here. Now. I saw him. A strong pulse was pushing blood out his neck.

I hear a rattling sound and think, "what now?" I see a Bradley fighting vehicle pulling up. I run to the Bradley as Dustoff is trying to get me back on the radio. "I have two wounded. We need to get them to the CASH." I yell at the Bradley commander.

"What unit are you?" Says the commander.

Answer his question but I think "Who cares?"

"Put your wounded and your medic on the track." Says the commander. The back door of the Bradley opens like a U.F.O. unfolding and laying down as a ramp from the road to the Bradley.

Bang. Another, smaller explosion.

Another bomb detonated. We gotta get out of here. Now. I can't see who's detonating these things but two more go off. Bang. Bang.

We gotta go. "Put him on the track. You Chief. You gotta get on the track too."

Chief was wounded. Couldn't tell how bad. He'd been in the front passenger seat of Zulu 823.

"I know! Where's the medic?" Chief always knew. He was always right. The medic.


There she is. "Medic. Get on the track." And she joins them.

How about the vehicle. Mechanics had already removed the .50 cal. There's a SAW. There's a Shotgun. Got them too. Can I get the radios? No. They're locked.


"Let's go. We gotta go." Everybody's back on their vehicles.

It's been four minutes since the first explosion and off we go. Toward the base.

I start to think. Was that a VBIED? It was definitely an IED. Improvised Explosive Device. Definitely. Just an IED. Not a vehicle born IED. There was no other vehicle. None. Just us and some Bradleys. That was all I saw. There was a kid... Did he know? Were there signs? There are usually signs. How did we miss them?

The gravity of everything hits me. I've been on a dozen convoys. Nothing ever happens. What just happened? Why now? This is my first time as convoy commander. Where are we going now?

There's a base about 1 mile ahead. Get on the base. We have a sister unit there. We can use their office.

At the base I am able to call my unit 50 miles North. I let them know what's happened. I contact the hospital five miles East. The Chief will be fine. A few pieces of shrapnel that he'd have rather extracted with his Gerber multi-tool. The gunner is pronounced dead on arrival. KIA. I call my unit back to start family notification.

The commander of the sister battalion corners me. "Captain, why did you have mortars on that HUMMWV?"

"Sir, I didn't have any mortars."

"Currently the traffic control point is reporting that mortar rounds are cooking off around the vehicle you left there." Zulu 823. Yes. I left it. Lopez was the driver. Did I see Lopez? She's about 100 pounds and an outstanding driver. Damn where's Lopez? S2 tells us that Haji wants to behead an American female soldier. Where's Lopez?

"Sir, I didn't have mortar rounds in that truck." I gotta find Sepulveda. Who else was on that truck? Needleman. He got on another truck. I gotta find Lopez.

We find Lopez and Needleman at the rally point. They both got in other trucks.

Within about an hour it becomes clear that the investigators all believe we were hit by a vehicle IED (VBIED) and not just a roadside IED. Nobody in the first vehicles saw another vehicle. But some people in my convoy say they saw body parts lying around. Unidentified and miscellaneous body parts. A leg below the knee seemed fairly complete to somebody. And the random explosions afterwards…. Yep that was a VBIED. Haji packs the trunk with explosives, like mortars, and he knows some will detonate initially and some later. So that explains the mortars.

A suicide VBIED on the last few days of Ramadan. "Nights of Power" they call them. But this was in the morning.

So that's how my Sunday at 1053 was.
When my friend, a Bush voter in 2000, was called up in March, he was one of the most "up" people I'd ever known, devout yet intellectually omnivorous, funny and gregarious, inclined towards studying law when he got back, with a young wife and newborn child that he doted on with abandon. As recently as a few months back he was writing witty letters about the tedium of administering the base network. Last week, he voted Kerry. Yesterday, he watched the life of a comrade drain into the Iraqi desert. A fraction of a second difference, and ....

I fear something else died yesterday too.

According to his former party and co-religionists, of course, he didn't even suffer a scratch, so Baghdad 11/07/04 1035, should it inform a future decision to try to save other kids from watching their friends die, will be fair game for mockery and slander at the hands of people with "other priorities" than being foolish enough to place their trust in their feckless leaders' cynical call to patriotic duty.

Faith in Action: repeating themes 

The campaign has ended, and the United States of America goes forward with confidence and faith. - George W. Bush, acceptance speech, Washington, D.C., Nov. 3, 2004

Power and ideology wrapped in signs and wonders. Once upon a time in faithless decadent cultural elitist liberal America: moral decay! relativism! pluralism! cultural Marxism! cultural elites! chaos! the collapse of Western "traditional values"!...blah blah blah blah blah:
Suppose your heard the following (below) coming from your car radio or emanating from the well oiled flapping maw of some cableTV "news" mortal glaring back at you from your blinking television set. And suppose this professional mountebank made noise like this:

You know who:
...had fallen into worldview chaos, from which followed political, economic, cultural and moral decay, since a standard of measurement failed that would have enabled a valid judgment about the value or lack of value of a particular phenomenon. Every viewpoint had its proponents, but none was taken to heart, none was taken seriously. Each group, each opinion had its own standards, which destroyed the binding power and moral strength of anygenuine worldview. The dying liberal-democratic system had opinions that were changeable, relative and not binding, but it did not have an absolute worldview in which people could put their faith. It had a panopticum, but no picture of the world. It collected every possible opinion, standpoint and value from every time and people, rather like exhibits in a museum, but had no dominant standpoint, no real values. The result was chaos, sterility and relativism. The most wretched viewpoint could take center stage because sure faith was lacking, from which alone comes strength of judgment. The era had lost a central worldview, and thus the measure of character, of style. The chaos of worldviews resulted in chaos in science, education, and all other areas of life. People staggered before the abyss, unsteady, irresolute.


Former values and principles had collapsed, having lost all their strength. The meaning of the universe no longer mattered, questions of the content and tasks of life went unanswered. In the chaos of world views, every conceivable opinion found its proponents, but none had greater weight or force than any other.

A new idea joined the historic march to self-realization, forming people's attitudes and characters, as well as the style of their lives. A central worldview once more permitted internal unity and thereby the creative strength of a new era.


As long as a people has the strength for a revolution, for a change in worldview and a reordering of its life, it remains capable of making history. If it loses the will and the strength for national renewal, it sinks into the mists of history and perishes.

Historic and worldview battles always are about the victory of an idea that seeks to become absolute, that takes upon itself the transformation of the world. If a victorious revolution has won freedom of action, it cannot be distracted or stopped by complaints about intolerance. They come either from adherents of past structures, structures against which the revolution fought and displaced, or from those who as Nihilists oppose any order because they want chaos and anarchy. Against such people, the rule of an idea must be hard and unforgiving. He who wants to build must push aside and fight everything that stands in the way. The greatness of an era depends on bringing all thoughts and all forms of life under a unified worldview, a unified faith.

Any worldview seeks to rule alone, and must seek that. It must believe in its sole right, which is the foundation of its effectiveness. In battling other worldviews, it must maintain its good conscience. If it loses that, it loses its self-confidence, the feeling of superiority, and thereby its power over people. Where each can do what he wants, there is no whole. Eras without unity lack compelling power. Only where a will to life dominates, only where all strengths are moving in the same direction, does greatness follow.

I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend - but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." [...] "Tha's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." ("Without a Doubt", Ron Suskind, New York Times Magazine, Oct 17, 2004)

The result of any fruitful worldview is a firm, self-confident life order that is perceived as necessary, as a reality, about which there is nothing uncertain or disputable. A revolutionary worldview must therefore be ruthless and fanatic in representing its exclusive principles until they have become taken for granted, dominating the life of a people as a tradition does. Any era, any worldview, needs firm foundations. When these are open to discussion, the idea is already questionable and has lost its finding force and strength. An age that discusses its foundations is sawing off the branch on which it sits. It loses its good conscience, its self-confidence — and perishes. The cathedrals of the Middle Age would never have been built if Christianity had asked itself why it had the right to claim exclusive truth for its faith by eternalizing it in stone. The idea justifies itself through its fruitfulness. It rules the consciousness of those people who set the direction of their age. It is seen as foundational, formative, the bringer of the future. And throughout history it leaves creative ideas and deeds on the altar of immortality.

This demonstrates the deepest roots from which a worldview draws its strengths: from faith. Great times rest on a great, absolute faith. Only those with faith, with mountain-moving strength and joy in action can fulfill an historic mission. Values that are truly believed, not merely recognized and discussed, are the foundation of creative strength. In era of decline, however, everything is open to discussion and therefore to denial. When God is a question, one no longer builds cathedrals. Where people have no living faith, they do nothing great, nothing that lasts.

Sound familiar? How many times have you heard those exact themes repeated over recent months and years. Cast down from Christian evangelical fundamentalist pulpits and scrawled over miles of Right Wing think tank scroll or snarled into a Right Wing radio microphone. What would you make of it? Where does something like that come from?

Faith's Codpieced Sword of the Lord:
It's not a dictatorship in Washington, but I tried to make it one in that instance. -- George W. Bush, describing his executive order making faith-based groups eligible for federal subsidies, New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan. 15, 2004 (via link)

Faith's Gestapo:
What you read above are excerpts from a tract which appears in a monthly publication called Der Schulungsbrief and dated January 1939. Der Schulungsbrief, in case you've never heard of this particular publication, translates in this case to "The Party Directive". A kind of "how to" manual for the German faithful and Nazi Party true believers. The magazine was the NSDAP (Nazi Party) monthly accompanyment to Reichsorganisationsleiter Robert Ley's organizational book Organisationsbuch der NSDAP. DS had a large circulation and was often handed out by neighborhood NSDAP representatives throughout Germany. Most copies of DS were destroyed by the Allies following WW2 due to the dangerous nature of much of its content. Especially its vicious anti-semetic rantings which rivaled Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer for sheer unhinged homicidal lunacy. But copies still exist, and, as a side note, DS (its modern day equivalent) is still in publication and available via German far right networks and Neo-Nazi publications.

David Neiwert, as almost everyone who reads here knows, is the go to author/blogger on the topic of retooled psuedo-fascist rhetoric from the right and infestations of it in our mainstream media and body politic. So if you're unfamiliar with Neiwert's material go there and read.


Theologians are well aware, deep down in their hearts, that faith alone is not sufficient to make even half-wits believe in their mumbo jumbo; they sense a need to sweeten the dose with such testimony as would convince a judge and jury. The result of their labours in that direction, continued through many centuries, has been only to reduce human reason to the quaking and malarious thing that it is today ...gradually broken down all the natural barriers between fact and fiction, sense and nonsense, and converted logic into a weapon that mauls the truth far more than it defends it. - H.L. Mencken, Treatise on the Gods, 1930

Welcome back to the quaking and malarious thing.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Rapture index closes down 3, on moral standards, liberalism 


Who'd a thunk it? Electing Bush pushed the Rapture back? Why'd all these loons vote for Him, then?

Goodnight., moon 

You know, I thought about taking farmer's advice, and making my way up, from my tiny room under the stairs, up past the fountains and the mosaics, and all the way up the marble stairs to The Executive Club—I know the gold taps are polished, because I polished them—but there was this red velvet rope on the landing, with a sign that said "Private" so I just didn't feel right... Maybe... Some day...

We dont have The Big Dog, but we may have The Attack Dog 

So, will the DNC fire themselves?

Reminds me of an exchange I read in one of John Keegan's military history books:

How will we know the battleship is obsolete?

When it fails in war.

Good question; good answer. And the DNC is that battleship. (And fuck the DLC. It was Clinton's personal abilities that one that election, not the DLC's strategery).

So, will the DNC fire themselves? [Pause for laughter.]

But still, there's hope:

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean (news - web sites) is considering a bid to become chairman of the national Democratic Party.
(via AP)

Do it.

Then make Bill Clinton head of the UN. (He shouldn't be head of the DNC anyhow; the UN won't care about a blowjob, but do, say, 2% of American voters? Apparently...)

Meanwhile, after Harry "Master Debater" Reid fails, because the Dems still seem to believe its business as usual, instead of a Republican war of extermination, give Hillary his job. Bright as she is, I don't see her as a winner. Though I have to say it would be a pleasure to see her eviscerate Jebbie in 2008.....

They Want Feedback, Give 'Em Feedback 

My, what a nice letter from the DNC today, reproduced below as I read it:

Dear Chump,

I want to thank you for everything you've done over the course of this campaign. Time and time again we asked for your help, and you were always there for us [except last week, when we bailed on you and you suddenly became "shrill."].

Even though we didn't [really fight to] win back the White House, you created something historic. Our grassroots campaign of hope and optimism was unprecedented in American politics. More than 1 million volunteers made 11 million person-to-person, door-to-door contacts, and made 38 million phone calls to voter in battleground states. [And then, after all that, our candidates graciously bailed out on you all, but, hey…]

If you were involved in these grassroots activities, we want to hear from you about your experience. What did you do? Did you feel the action you took was effective? Was it a good experience for you? How would you make it better? [Ooooh, tough one—let’s see… count every vote before conceding?]

Tell us your thoughts. [Okay, but remember, you asked...]

We plan to use your feedback to help develop our strategy in 2005. As always, you will continue to play a critical role in the future of the Democratic Party. What we created together will be the backbone for Democratic victories in the future [unless, of course, we’re as spineless as ever, and then it's up to you].

You and I know that this fight is not over. We will never waver when it comes to defending our values and fighting for what we know is right. [Except of course, when it comes to counting every vote. Or speaking up loud and proud in public. Or when we’re afraid the GOPers will get mad at us.]

Again, thank you for helping create something special. [A groundswell of angry young Democrats who are going to take this party away from the invertebrates currently in charge? No problem. My pleasure to do a small part.]


Terry McAuliffe

Election fraud 2004: Is that crackling noise my tinfoil hat? 

Or is my hair on fire? Keith Olbermann:

[T]he Cincinnati Enquirer reported that officials in Warren County, Ohio, had “locked down” its administration building to prevent anybody from observing the vote count there.

Suspicious enough on the face of it, the decision got more dubious still when County Commissioners confirmed that they were acting on the advice of their Emergency Services Director, Frank Young. Mr. Young had explained that he had been advised by the federal government to implement the measures for the sake of Homeland Security.

Gotcha. Tom Ridge thought Osama Bin Laden was planning to hit Caesar Creek State Park in Waynesville. During the vote count in Lebanon. Or maybe it was Kings Island Amusement Park that had gone Code-Orange without telling anybody. Al-Qaeda had selected Turtlecreek Township for its first foray into a Red State.

The State of Ohio confirms that of all of its 88 Counties, Warren alone decided such Homeland Security measures were necessary.
he majority of the media has yet to touch the other stories of Ohio (the amazing Bush Times Ten voting machine in Gahanna) or the sagas of Ohio South: huge margins for Bush in Florida counties in which registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 2-1, places where the optical scanning of precinct totals seems to have turned results from perfect matches for the pro-Kerry exit poll data, to Bush sweeps.
(via MSNBC)

Homeland Security involved in swing state voting? Pshaw! Why, that's almost as implausible as thinking the FAA would get involved in a redistricting fight in Texas!

UPDATE See Palast on spoilage.

UPDATE Those troubling Florida optical scan numbers.

I didn't pay the Times tax at all last week! 

And it felt great!

Yeah, I still love newspapers, and I can read them on the commute. But $5.00 for the Sunday plus $1.00 for the daily is ten bucks a week times 52.

$520 a year is way too much money to lay on the dresser for Judy "Kneepads" Miller, or to listen to Dan "Bud Man" Okrent insult me.

And what do I get from the Times that I can't get from The Daily Kos, anyhow? Well, the Arts Section. But there's a feisty weekly in town that does great arts coverage, and real reporting, too. The New Yorker. You've heard of it?

Punish bad behavior: Don't pay the Times tax!

Reward good behavior: Buy The New Yorker!

And speaking of rewarding good behavior, the National Geographic has a new issue out with the provocative question on the cover: "Was Darwin wrong?" Inside, they answer, in really big letters, NO! Go buy it.

I Never Forget a Face 

A-ha. The face that launched a thousand ships reveals itself, although only in the Scottish news. It’s back to being a crusade, I guess:

During the night American Marines, backed up by troops of the Iraqi Army, began their operation....

Colonel Gary Brandl of the United States Marine Corps commented: "The enemy has a face. It is Satan's. He is in Fallujah, and we are going to destroy him."

The Americans needed to free up hundreds of troops for this operation and the Black Watch was moved from the relatively benign Basra area to allow that to happen. via American Marines attack Fallujah

You know, maybe we were wrong before. Maybe Bushco waited until after the (d)election because they figured out what a clusterfuck this operation was about to be… in terms of “moral values,” I mean… or maybe they just really don’t give a shit because they think the Invisible Cloud Being will make it all right, because, after all, they’re fighting Satan.

Can someone articulate the moral case for progresive taxation? 

As long as we're talking about what we're for?

I mean, I always thought it was along the lines of "Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Luke 12 : 48 (RSV)), but what do I know anymore?

And the Parade of Strong Stinky Moral Values Continues... 

Morality, morality… thy name is Bushco… so as I write this, the bombs are dropping on Fallujah because hand-puppet Allawi said it was OK for Bush’s soldiers—our children, brothers, sisters, dads and moms—to start the “operation.” Major Falluja assault under way So, as I write this, the election is settled, only it’s not settled (see below and seethe). So, as I write this, Rove comes out of the closet unchained and tells Americans he plans to decree whom they can marry and rip the Constituion in little pieces Rove: Bush serious about gay marriage ban

And the continued rape of the environment hasn’t even made it onto the SCLM’s radar screen. Enviro's hands 'full' with four more years of Bush

And poor elderly in Colorado have to choose between heat and medicine and food. Again, just like two years ago when that Liberal hotbed the Salvation Army wrote this: LIHEAP Newsroom Story

My tomcat has better morals. Anyway, more on the (d)election. Read it and weep tears of anger:

Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular, wrote an article for The Hill, the publication read by every political junkie in Washington, DC, in which he made a couple of brilliant points.

"Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote. "They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."

He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points."
Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the various states the election was called for Bush.
How could this happen? Evidence Mounts That the Vote May Have Been Hacked

The poster here is an eye-popper...

A poster named 'TruthIsAll' on the forums laid out the questionable results of Tuesday's election in succinct fashion: "To believe that Bush won the election, you must also believe: That the exit polls were wrong; that Zogby's 5pm election day calls for Kerry winning Ohio and Florida were wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll); that Harris' last-minute polling for Kerry was wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll); that incumbent rule #1 - undecideds break for the challenger - was wrong; That the 50% rule - an incumbent doesn't do better than his final polling - was wrong; That the approval rating rule - an incumbent with less than 50% approval will most likely lose the election - was wrong; that it was just a coincidence that the exit polls were correct where there was a paper trail and incorrect (+5% for Bush) where there was no paper trail; that the surge in new young voters had no positive effect for Kerry; that Kerry did worse than Gore against an opponent who lost the support of scores of Republican newspapers who were for Bush in 2000; that voting machines made by Republicans with no paper trail and with no software publication, which have been proven by thousands of computer scientists to be vulnerable in scores of ways, were not tampered with in this election."

In short, we have old-style vote spoilage in minority communities. We have electronic voting machines losing votes and adding votes all across the country. We have electronic voting machines whose efficiency and safety have not been tested. We have electronic voting machines that offer no paper trail to ensure a fair outcome. We have central tabulators for these machines running on Windows software, compiling results that can be demonstrably tampered with. We have the makers of these machines publicly professing their preference for George W. Bush. We have voter trends that stray from the expected results. We have these machines counting millions of votes all across the country. Worse Than 2000: Tuesday's Electoral Disaster

Thanks for waiting in line, y’all. Now, surrender goddamit!

Fallujah: A Single Moment Sums Up Everything That's Wrong About Bush's Policy In Iraq 

This from Saturday's Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, Nov. 5 -- As Marines step up preparations for military offensives on two major Iraqi cities, a number of Sunni Muslim leaders are forwarding a plan to establish the rule of law in those areas through peaceful means, with the promise of reducing the insurgency across a large swath of the country.

Some of the groups leading the bid have encouraged violent resistance in central, western and northern Iraq. The groups say they will withdraw their support for violence if Iraq's interim government can reassure Sunni leaders wary of national elections, which are scheduled for the end of January.

The Sunnis have proposed six measures, including a demand that U.S. forces remain confined to bases in the month before balloting. Such an ambitious demand, which some advocates acknowledge is not likely to be met and may be open to negotiation, represents a dramatic shift by Sunni groups opposed to the U.S. operation in Iraq.

Until now, groups such as the Association of Muslim Scholars, which supports the new proposal, had insisted that no election could be considered legitimate until Western troops left Iraq. The association has repeatedly threatened to call for an election boycott through the loudspeakers of Iraq's Sunni mosques, which the association represents.

"We took an initiative regarding the elections. It is being welcomed by the people on the boycott side," said Wamidh Nadhmi, a Baghdad University political science professor who is spokesman for the initiative. "They said that if such agreements could be met by the Americans, they could change to participation."
And once you change to participation, you are no longer part of the insurgency.

Can anyone who isn't a completely crazed neocon not understand that the offer described above has the makings of a major breakthrough, one that Bush & Co could even take credit for, deserved or not, one they could even use to justify their bloody air attacks on Fallujah as a "get tough" policy that is working. Thus, I read those first quoted paragraphs with increasing excitement. Nothing is more important than that the Sunni Iraqis participate in the January election, absolutely nothing. Without their participation, the election will be seen as an American/Shia election, not an Iraqi one.

Do I have to even tell you what the response of the Bush-league administration is thus far? Zero. Zed. Zilch. Nothin.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad offered no reaction to the proposal, which it received this week. A Western diplomat emphasized that any decision lay with Iraq's interim government.

Fuck'em for the heartless, brainless savages they are.

More disturbing, however, is the response of Iraqi officials, i.e., members of our own hand-selected soverign Iraqi government.
"They don't seem to get it. The monopoly of power is over," said a senior Iraqi government official, referring to former President Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated government. "One wonders how representative these elements are of the mainstream Sunni population. They may represent nostalgia for the past, but for sure no realistic vision for the future."
No one who isn't under lock and key is nostalgic for Saddam. Many Iraqis may well feel nostalgia for a time when they lived in a country with a civil society that worked, even if its political life was often debauched by Saddam. I don't discount the new freedom of expression that is now possible there, but without civil order, there can be no civilized order, let alone a just, democratic society.

And someone please explain to me how a representative group of Sunni scholars and clerics who are willing to withdraw their support from the insurgency and to urge fellow Sunnis to as well, in exchange for American controlled troops agreeing to not mount a lethal attack on cities like Fallujah, where all kinds of different people live, most of them not terrorists, and a guarantee of genuine participation in the coming January elections, somehow equals insisting on a monopoly of power.

Way back in the summer and fall of 2003, Democrats who visited Iraq came back to explain to Americans, and the Bush administration that in addition to restoring civil order, the most important order of business for the occupation was to convince Sunni Iraq that it has a real stake and a real role in the new Iraq, a task made all the more difficult by the half-assed moves by Bremer to de-Baathify Iraq. Like almost every other aspect of the entire Bush administration's occupation of Iraq, neither objective was achieved. Not only were Sunni Baathists who had committed human rights depredations against fellow Iraqis not identified, nor preperations made to bring them to some kind of accounting for their actions, Sunnis who hated Saddam as much as any Iraqi, even though they were part of the civil apparatus that helped make Iraq a working society, were treated as if they were as guilty as Saddam himself, and all Sunnis were given every indication that they had no future in the new Iraq, no stake at all in supporting the occupation as an avenue to a democratic Iraq in which their rights as a minority would be protected.

I know, I know, the red Americans who voted moral values over all else don't care about any of that. Even though the administration they so admire as being "moral" above all else has made, as its final argument in support of their invasion of Iraq, that we deposed a terrible despot, and we are now proving that Arab Muslims are capable of democratic governance.

Well, they ought to care. They ought to be aware that every major move this administration has taken from the day they invaded Iraq has been the precise, wrong move to achieve their own stated goals. Nor, as in all previous instances, are there any lack of responsible, knowledgeable voices issuing warnings to this President and his matchless matched set of advisers.
Some former officials with experience in Iraq called the Sunni proposal a potential breakthrough that could avert not only an assault on Fallujah but also a violent aftermath, when insurgents might take the fight elsewhere.

"Most of what we've learned about insurgencies is that you don't defeat one through purely military means," said Larry Diamond, who served in the U.S.-led occupation authority. "When you try to do that, you may win the battle but lose the war. The insurgency in the Sunni heartland is now quite broad-based, and I don't think we're going to defeat the insurgency in this part of the country through purely military means. I think we're looking at a protracted insurgency which will get worse if we go through with elections" that many Sunnis boycott.

"These groups," Diamond said, "have to be given evidence that it's in their interests to participate in the electoral process."

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, in a letter to President Bush disclosed Friday, warned that an assault on Fallujah "would be very disruptive of Iraq's political transition."

"Persuading elements who are currently alienated from, or skeptical about, the transition process to compete politically is key to creating a political and security context that will inspire confidence among all Iraqis," Annan wrote.
Okay, Annan is an object of contempt in the Bush White House. Larry Diamond was not only part of the occupation, his home is the Hoover Institute, hardly a hotbed of leftist defeatism. On the other hand, Diamond, a genuine expert on how to help failed nations transition to democratic goverenance, has testified to various Congressional committees on the startling failures of Bush policy in Iraq, and has written the best, single article I've read on the subject of "What Went Wrong?" in Iraq. Do read it if you haven't. In fact, even if you have, read it again, and then weep again. Weep because, as we all know, there is no better way to become irrelevant to any policy debate than to make even the slightest criticism, any at all, of the President, or any member of his administration.

Iraqis who didn't need to will die because this President can't bear to be criticized.

In fact, it's already started. Sorry, I can't bear to think about Iraq another second. I'm sure I can sleep that feeling away, and then I'll be back on the case. Here's the link to the original Wa Po piece.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

YABL: Insurers Required to Lie to Grandma 

This is, shall we say, not as forcefully written as could be. Nor as timely as one might like. But there are certain things that can be counted on to piss off just about everybody not directly employed by Enron, and "lying to Grandma" is high on the list.

(via NYT's usually reliable Business section)

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 - The nation's insurance commissioners say the federal Medicare agency has made misleading statements about the new drug benefit in an effort to persuade people to sign up.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which represents insurance regulators in all 50 states, registered its concern in a letter to the agency. State officials elaborated on their concerns in recent interviews.

If private insurers made such statements about their products, the association said, state officials would investigate their marketing practices for possible violation of consumer protection laws.

The insurance commissioners objected to a proposed federal rule requiring insurers to tell policyholders that the Medicare drug benefit provided "greater value'' than did the drug coverage available to people with private Medigap insurance. Similar statements appear on the Web site of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The views of state insurance commissioners are significant for several reasons. The commissioners regulate the marketing and advertising of all sorts of insurance. They have years of experience in evaluating the claims made for insurance products. The federal government is required to consult them in setting Medigap standards. Their letter had no apparent ties to this year's elections and expressed no opinion on the merits of the new Medicare law.
Gasp! They sound suspiciously like members of the Reality-Based Community! Worse yet, there are signs of treason here...
In fact, the letter was signed by a Republican, Ms. Praeger, who is chairwoman of the association's committee on health insurance and managed care.

The proposed notice to beneficiaries "sounds a little too much like advertising'' for the new drug benefit, Ms. Praeger said in an interview.

Members of the association said they were speaking not as Republicans or Democrats, but as professional insurance regulators responsible for protecting consumers.

The Bush administration contends that the new drug benefit will be superior to existing private coverage.
And because They say it is so, well then, it must be so!
Under the law, Medigap insurers must send a notice to policyholders with drug coverage, explaining what options they will have in 2006. The administration says insurers should tell beneficiaries, in the first paragraph of any notice, that the new drug benefit "will provide greater value than your current coverage.''
Companies are now required to screw themselves in the course of doing business. Somehow I don't think they're going to be as easily bought off as the Christian Fundamentalists who are pacified by Karl Rove doing some gay-bashing on the Sabbath Gasbag circuit.
State insurance commissioners object to that requirement. The new benefit, they said, does not necessarily offer greater value for all Medicare beneficiaries.

In its letter, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said the federal government was using "precisely the type of 'push' advertising technique that the N.A.I.C. and its members consistently oppose and prohibit at the state regulatory level.''
If you help your grandparents, parents or other people who have to deal with Medicare, click the link above and print out the story. If you just try to tell them flat out the Gummint is lying to them, they might sigh and give you the Get Over The Election Already speech.

Goodnight, moon 

Anyone know what the moon-phase will be for the coronation inaugural?

Zee Coronation VILL Proceed Vitout Incident! 

The Praetorian Guard has been summoned forth in all its splendor. Full-body patdown searches will result in Gitmo for anyone caught carrying a raw egg.

(via WaPo)
An unprecedented level of security will frame President Bush's second inauguration, with officials planning to use thousands of police from across the country, new screening technology for inaugural guests and a military contingent that could include a combat brigade of up to 4,000 troops.

As tens of thousands of people come to Washington to watch the Jan. 20 swearing in, the city will be filled with military personnel, FBI agents in full SWAT outfitting, snipers on rooftops and scores of bomb-detecting dogs.

About 2,000 out-of-town officers will help with security and traffic details. Undercover officers will work the crowds, and D.C. police officers will be posted every six to eight feet along the parade route.

Law enforcement authorities do not have specific information that al Qaeda or another terrorist group is targeting the inauguration.
Yeah, like they're really worried about al Qaeda. This is to protect Dear Leader from his own people, or at least an insignificant 48 percent of us.
In addition, officials said the new Joint Forces Headquarters-National Capital Region is prepared to pre-deploy 4,000 active-duty combat forces in the District -- a significant departure from past inaugurations.

D.C. police officials said they have requested help from scores of police departments east of the Mississippi River. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said he expects to need 1,600 to 2,500 officers from other jurisdictions.

Officials said that none of the security measures is meant to keep people from attending the parade or other events.

Yeah, right. I'm sure he meant to say "the right people."

Science for Republicans! 

Scientists have discovered water on Mars, and that could mean life on Mars.

So I think it's important that we make sure that gays can't marry on Mars, either. And that would include the Martian gays. In fact, I think all the Martians are gay. So let's kill them.

Rove: God hates fags, and Bush does God's work on earth, so.... 

No, silly! He didn't say that in so many words... But isn't that what "moral values" is code for?

President Bush will renew a quest in his second term for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage as essential to a "hopeful and decent" society, his top political aide said on Sunday.

Bush's call for a constitutional ban on gay marriages failed last year in Congress, but his position was seen as a key factor motivating Christian conservatives concerned about "moral values" to turn out in large numbers and help supply Bush with a winning margin in last week's election.

"If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal, and the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman," Bush political aide Karl Rove told "Fox News Sunday."
(via Reuters)

I love it. "Hopeful and decent."

But then I guess, given the Bush mandate, these guys can do anything.

For the Bush flip-floppping and cowardice on this issue, see back here.

Matthew 5:9 


A 25-year-old man from Georgia who was apparently distraught over President Bush (news - web sites)'s re-election shot and killed himself at ground zero. Andrew Veal's body was found Saturday morning inside the off-limits site, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A shotgun was found nearby, but no suicide note was found, Coleman said.
(via AP

I could snark. I mean, I can see all the moves about to happen. All the positioning. All the press releases. But. Jesus.

UPDATE Link corrected. Sorry.

Spector caves, betrays Democratic ticket splitters 

From a classic post by the ever-essential Orcinus way back in 2003. The post is prescient (or, if you prefer, prophetic):

I remember rather vividly, like the day JFK was shot, where I was and what I was doing, the evening [Bush v. Gore] came down. I was in a small harbor town in western Washington, staying with the parents of some close friends (who are themselves good friends) while I covered a manslaughter trial in a nearby town. He is an accountant, she a homemaker, good moderate churchgoing Democrats. We all sat together and watched the bulletins come over the newscasts (I think we were tuned to MSNBC).

And I remember she turned to me and said: "I feel sad. Because I can't vote a mixed ticket anymore." He nodded.

So did I. I knew exactly what she meant.

It is, frankly, foolishness at this point in time to even vote for a Republican. Not because the party lacks candidates who are utterly unworthy of support; there are, indeed, smart, thoughtful and honest Republicans even still, though they are harder to come by. But even they represent, and remain an integral part of, a party that has become nearly absolutely corrupted by its near-absolute power, and almost permanently tainted by its lust for utter control of the political and social landscape.

I decided then that, for the foreseeable future, I could not cast my vote for any Republican on any ballot.

Ultimately, all politics is personal, and human nature being what it is, there was a measure of mistrust of all conservatives that came with this assessment. What I observed over time was that none of my conservative friends would seriously defend Bush v. Gore but would switch subjects or revert to a "get over it" kind of response.

And so the feeling grew on my part that they neither were being honest nor being, at base, civil in its core sense. Maybe I was wrong to feel this way, I don't know; but I felt it. I tried not to let it show, but it was there. And it was a wedge in our friendships.

What seems to have really ripped things apart, though, was the aftermath of September 11. And this came down not so much to my feelings, but to theirs.

It is in the last of these failures -- painting dissent as treason -- that the president, his administration and the accompanying pundits (or rather, the choir of sycophants) all have affected us all personally, and badly. Because that view has become the worldview of mainstream conservatives in all walks of life.

Most of all, the prevalence of the "dissent is treason" meme has affected how ordinary people relate to each other, in profoundly negative ways.

But I no longer much trust in the moral strength of my conservative friends. Whereas once I believed that the basic decency of average, mainstream conservatives was more than an adequate bulwark against the possibility of right-wing fascism from ever manifesting itself, I have been forced to conclude that, when swept along by the combination of a movement and the fearmongering of public officials, they are as susceptible to doing the wrong thing as their ancestors were in 1942, when they shipped off 110,000 Japanese Americans to concentration camps.

It grieves me to see old friendships and relationships actually damaged by this war. But it was not a fight I or other liberals chose. It was thrust upon us. And until that aggression comes to a stop, I will not stop fighting back. Civilly, of course, but with all the blunt force and passion I can muster.

Because, yes, it is political -- but it's also become personal.

Now, many Pennsylvania Democrats haven't learned this hard lesson. And many of them voted a split ticket for Kerry and also for the "moderate" Spector (not Hoeffel). Well, Rove left his usual calling card—a horse's head in the bed—for Spector, and Spector caved. So long Roe v. Wade! Welcome, two, three, many Bush v Gore! The shameful, shabby sequence of events:

Last week, Specter told reporters that "judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade (news - web sites)" probably would face problems in the Senate.

Specter said Bush has had trouble getting some of his nominees through the Senate because of Democratic filibusters. He added: "I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning."

Filibusters, a bill-killing tactic of unlimited debate, remain possible in the Senate elected last week because the Republicans' 55-45 majority falls five votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate.

Specter's comments on the question came a day after he won re-election in Pennsylvania in a tight race in which the president campaigned for him. The remarks outraged conservative groups such as Concerned Women for America, which sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist urging him to prevent Specter from taking the chairmanship.

Specter backtracked the next day, saying he wasn't warning Bush not to make those kinds of choices. His meaning, Specter said, was that "in light of the repeated filibusters by the Democrats in the last Senate session, I am concerned about a potential repetition of such filibusters."
(via AP

Spector, you see, does not understand the way we live now: In a one party state, where all checks and balances have been swept away in the service of unchecked executive power.

Split ticket voters, it's a hard lesson—one that I hope has not been learned too late.

Iraq clusterfuck: 60 day state of emergency declared 

More proof that we're winning:

The government declared a 60-day state of emergency throughout most of the country Sunday, as U.S. and Iraqi forces prepared for an expected all-out assault on rebels in Fallujah. Insurgents escalated a wave of violence that has killed more than 50 people the past two days.

Heavy explosions were heard in Baghdad as government spokesman Thair Hassan al-Naqeeb announced the state of emergency over the entire country except Kurdish areas in the north.
(via AP)

Hey, that's some election they're getting ready for....

We're Charging at Rove's Red Cape Again 

This whole "value voters" thing is, as I suspected all along, a crock. Religion is a subject that almost by definition engages the strong emotions and is therefore very satisfying to rant about. Numbers are cold, money is cold, organization is both cold AND boring, so we don't notice the stories like this:

(via Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Greg Gordon)

Business groups picked Ohio two years ago as the first place to fully deploy a new tactic for turning out Republican votes in the 2004 election.

Managers at more than 50,000 companies in Ohio urged employees to vote, while trying to coax them in e-mails to look at customized internal Web sites rating politicians' votes on business issues, a project leader said. One rating gave Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry a zero last year on votes affecting manufacturers.

Greg Casey, a former U.S. Senate sergeant-at-arms who headed what he calls business' "below-the-radar" national effort, said it resulted in 30 million electronic contacts with workers, about 700,000 the day before the election.

Casey believes that the "Prosperity Project" had a big impact in Ohio, citing research suggesting that for every 10 employees who scanned company Web sites, one was motivated to vote. He said Ohio companies made 1.3 million employee contacts, more than nine times Bush's 136,483-vote victory margin in the state.

Prosperity Project officials, however, say they are "respectful" to employees and merely offer them access to information affecting their companies' prospects in a tough global economy.

"At the end of the day," said Eric Burkland, president of the Ohio Manufacturers Association, if employees and companies "aren't working together, all those jobs are going to China."
Yeah baby! BOHICA time in Ohio! Work to your last waking hour, let us extract that last drop of blood before you drop, while we chop medical benefits first from retirees (they don't have that shit in China!) then from current employees (we gotta compete with China!) and then take your damn jobs to China anyway. Sorry about that but we have The Company's Best Interests To Consider.

I humbly request/arrogantly demand (pick one) that everybody go read this entire story. The Strib is registration but you can read one story per day without it, so go there, copy this, and save it for re-reading. I add just one more bit because it pertains to a company that operates nationwide, and which you might wish to reconsider your relationship with if you are a customer:
While many participating companies refuse to be identified publicly, Gordon Crow, director of government and community affairs for Schwan Food Co., said the frozen-food maker, based in Marshall, Minn., has operated a Prosperity Web site since 2002 and actively encouraged employees to vote.
Okay, just one more one more thing: You know how we here in the left part of blogland have been just a big smug about how we're the cutting edge of using the Net to good effect? Feh. We're schmucks. They were not only out there too, they were better targeted:
It turned out to be a bargain, costing less than $10 million this election cycle to gain participation from 800 to 1,000 businesses and trade associations, which in turn linked hundreds of thousands more corporate members to the system. Meanwhile, Democratic voter mobilization groups spent more than $100 million.
Yeah, this is apples v. oranges, comparing one part of the Great Noise Machine to the entirety of the Dem GOTV efforts. But look at those numbers again. This was just the rollout, the test-marketing project. Wonder why we had such unexpected trouble in the upper Midwest? It wasn't because the Lutherans suddenly became Rapturists.

Creationist Days ~ Revealed Absurdity Theory 

Earlier post: Lambert asks, "How should we respond to this?" (scroll down a couple of posts) Or use this back link

As i've mentioned in an earlier post (below: Steal This Bible - Crusade 2008) i've decided to help advance the new faith based Jesus Shoutin' Liberal Agenda. Thats why I've also decided that i will try to point out in all future posts (for the next four years) why i think Republican Jesus and Mandate Christianity is relevant to almost any issue that can possibly be thunk on.

And to be honest its a little liberating. I can feel the scales falling from my eyes and the cold binding chains of reality falling from my shoulders as I write to you here and now. Thine eyes are lifted to the hand hewed box wood rafters of my splendorous sprawling loft office here within the bosom of the Corrente Building. Gilded cages filled with twittering turtle doves sing hyms of joy and redemtion as the luminous visage of the Rev. G. W. Bailey [ironic signs and wonders creationist designer monogram note: GWB], "pastor of the Mt. Sinai Institutional Baptist Church at Conemaugh" hovers in the upper right hand corner of the room like some kind of skittish aeriform marshland gas.

Why pastor Bailey you ask? Well, I'll tell you in a minute, but first I want to remind you of new developtments in the advancement of science larnin'. Creation "Science" larnin' that is.

First (thanks to "editoress" for pointing to this Fabulous News):
Wis. City's Schools Allowing Creationism | By Associated Press | November 6, 2004, 7:30 PM EST.

GRANTSBURG, Wis. -- The city's school board has revised its science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism, prompting an outcry from more than 300 educators who urged that the decision be reversed.

School board members believed that a state law governing the teaching of evolution was too restrictive. The science curriculum "should not be totally inclusive of just one scientific theory," said Joni Burgin, superintendent of the district of 1,000 students in northwest Wisconsin. - Read more here

Next here / Kansas:
Posted on Sat, Nov. 06, 2004 | Creation, evolution back on agenda
The state school board prepares to begin considering guidelines for teaching religion in Kansas public schools. - BY JOSH FUNK, The Wichita Eagle

Hallelujah brother Funk! I'm not sure if that was the proper moment for a hallelujah, i'm still in training, but I hope it was ok. The best part of this new faith-based liberal agenda is all the spontaneous shoutin' and whoopin' and hopping around. And all the general excitable grab-ass that goes with it.

Ok, what I'm getting at here is this: all this revived interest in whisking school children into a creationist lather presents a great opportunity for liberals to push the New Jesus Shoutin' Liberal Creationist Agenda. And thats where the Rev. G.W. Bailey of Conemaugh comes in. You see, in 1929 the good Rev. had this to say with respect to the true theoretical scientific nature of the earth and sun: (via the Johnstown Democrat, 1929)
The Rev. G. W. Bailey, pastor of the Mt. Sinai Institutional Baptist Church at Conemaugh, delivered a sermon last Sunday afternoon at the church on "The Sun Do Move." The Rev. Mr. Bailey cited a number of scripture passages in support of his contention that the earth is flat and square. The speaker declared that the Bible speaks of the four corners of the earth, saying "I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth."

The Rev. Mr. Bailey then related the story of the children of Israel, up until the time Joshua became their leader. He told of the mighty battle which Joshua was waging when the sun was going down, leaving Joshua's enemies victorious. He said that Joshua prayed to God to stop the sun until he had won the battle and declared that the Bible relates very plainly that God stopped the sun. The Rev. Mr. Bailey also stated that the Bible declares that after Joshua had won the battle the sun moved on.

The speaker declared that scientists have discovered eight planets, while the Bible relates that there are only three planets, citing the 38th chapter of Job. He declared that the Bible gives proof that the earth has never moved.

Hallelujah! And a "Democrat" story too boot! Again, a big hallelujah shout out to Rev Bailey hovering in the corner. I do have a slight problem with the man's suggestion that the earth is square. Afterall, if it were square wouldn't it have eight corners? Whatever. Just a small matter of opinion there and i've never been very good with counting or geometry or any of that useless crap so lets just move on.

See, pastor Bailey was a kind of early Revealed Absurdity Creation Designer. I think that pastor Bailey's theories not only present an excellent opportunity for liberals to embrace an old idiotic historical scientific quackery but also an opportunity to participate within the greater hilarious framework of Revealed Absurdity Design. Does that makes sense? I really haven't any idea what I'm talking about to be honest. But who the hell cares. Thats not important. Whats important is that us liberals get in on the next great fabulous awakening.

I'm sure fellow Corrente congregation member Tom will agree with me that advancing phantasmagorical scientific absurdities within an historical context is a grand scheme that more liberals should embrace. Think of the hilarious historical satirical possibilities! Think of the creative nonsense we can just make up on a whoop and a whim! Hallelujah!

I have a few other Revealed Absurdity Theory design elements which I would like to see scientifically incorporated into our Christian Mandate educational curriculums around the country. For instance:

[1] Flip flops: Jesus wore flip flops. Jesus stomped and smited scorpions with flip-flops.
[2] The 4 Corner Theory. The earth is a four cornered slab. The whole flat earth thang. The Stop-n-Go Sun theory. And all that. (see above)
[3] Puritan values are good God-fearin' values and the Native Americans were Satan's tool sent to thwart the White Calvinist Reformer Christian casino gaming errand in the wilderness.
[4] Florida real estate developtment was first recorded in the book of Genesis.
[5] The Steinway organ is "the instrument of the immortals".

Its a start. Those are just five examples of possible concentrations of study. I'll reveal more over the next four years, as they are revealed to me by powerful forces beyond my control, but I think those are a few good topics to build on. So all you reborn liberals out there - get on down to your local school board meeting and ask, NO!, demand, that your school district begin offering students the option of studying such idiotic subjects as scientific medical exorcism and Public Television Ministry management and the effects of long term macroclimatic change on the shifting economic dynamics of Mystery Babylon. We're all in this together. Do it for the Gloryland!



Take that, Malkin; Don't Worry, It's Only A Small Reality Pill, It Won't Hurt, Honest 

Rebecca at Approximately Perfect, lives up to that witty name (the blog's, though "Rebecca" is surely a very lovely name) while taking on a gloating Michelle Malkin, who uses that hack job of a red/blue map of America by to erase the notion that America is anything but all red now.

Rebecca, in typical fashion for a member of the reality-based community, had the brilliant idea of overlaying the hack job map with a map which shows population density, and comes up with a map of as many colorsas Joseph's coat. (See, we can be Biblical, too) The new map is truly a thing of beauty. Thank-you Rebecca.

And if you need a little more bucking up, our hero, Joe Conason, writing in Salon, puts the nightmare of Tuesday in perspective by reminding us not to forget history.
So for the moment set aside the triumphal proclamations from the Republican leadership and their echoes in the media, along with the petty recriminations against John Kerry, who has devoted his life to public service and deserves admiration for the honorable campaign he waged against unscrupulous opponents. As a presidential candidate he had his virtues and flaws, which obviously differed from those of George W. Bush -- and will surely differ from those of the next Democratic nominee.

A longer perspective is more pertinent and more relevant to the future than listening to televised imbeciles maundering about the "death of liberalism." (Had the Democrat won by three points and a couple dozen electoral votes, nobody would be touting the "death of conservatism.") Progressives and reactionaries in America have both survived much sharper electoral rejections than this one. Both sides tend to overreact to such rejection in an election's emotional aftermath.

Exaggeration is the rule, not the exception, in the post-election autopsy. Sweeping pronouncements about this year's close, hotly contested campaign should be considered skeptically, especially when Republican propagandists start to talk about their "mandate" and their "permanent majority." Such claims are convincing only to citizens (and journalists) suffering from amnesia.

Only six years ago, the self-appointed guardians of "moral values" wailed their despair when midterm voters rejected the Republican impeachment jihad, and pundits pondered the political demise of the religious right. Paul Weyrich, architect of the modern religious right, described Bill Clinton's escape from judgment in near-apocalyptic terms, as a signal for the "godly" to withdraw from politics. The Republican House members defenestrated the outspoken proponent of "moral values" then serving as speaker, and his would-be successor, too. But in the next election two years later, the Republicans came back to win the White House (with the assistance of Florida state officials and the Supreme Court), and kept control of both houses of Congress.

Twelve years ago, Clinton won the presidency and ousted a Republican president whose humiliation included receiving only 37 percent of the popular vote. The Democrats began the Clinton administration with control of both House and Senate. Two years later, they lost both houses in the stunning "Contract With America" midterm, which brought Newt Gingrich to power as speaker. (We all know what soon happened to him -- see 1998 above.) The great minds of the nation declared Clinton "irrelevant," predicting in their wisdom that he could not possibly win reelection and must be replaced by the Democrats. They were wrong, of course.
That's all I can quote in good conscience. If you don't have a subscription to Salon, consider getting one. David Talbot, for all his idiosyncracies, chief among which is surely his strange admiration for Camille Paglia, who has popped up, yet again, to rub salt into the wounds of the progressive left she purports to count herself among, other than that, Talbot has done a great and valuable job of keeping Salon viable and increasingly invaluable.

And don't miss the Farmer's intriguing, wholly original suggestion for who and what should be the Democratic standard bearer in 2008. (back)

Goodnight, moon 

Now I lay me down to sleep ...

UPDATE Excellent post from a Kossack on election fraud claims. All I would say in response, is that it seems we live in a powerful reality distortion field right now. We already know, from election 2000, that the SCLM just won't cover this story. Witness the Times totally schizzy approach: On the editorial page, sounding the alarm; in the news hole, nothing, zip, nada. So the people putting together the maps and the statistics deserve support, not blame or chastisement.

UPDATE Radical thought, but given the long lines and people with nothing to do... Why not do am entrance poll? Kinda like a parallel structure. Give people some paper to write on, drop it in a sealed locked box, open it later, compare! What could be simpler?

UPDATE The Power of Nightmares. Indeed. Say, I wonder if the Raleigh Police got to use any of their new-fangled Homeland Security gear on those [cough] anarchists? Curtis, the documentary maker, points out that:

the term "al-Qaida" was invented by American prosecutors in early 2001 so they could prosecute individuals under terms of the RICO statues -- the anti-Mafia laws required a named organisation.

Eesh. Layers on layers of deception...

Can someone please explain to me how to respond to this? 

In some way other than mockery, derision, or condescension?

Lynn said that a number of evangelicals, inspired in part by minister Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" novels, have come to view politics as part of their religion. "There is a strain of evangelical Christians who believe it is political figures who usher in the Second Coming," he said. As such, Bush "is the spiritual and political leader of a moral revolution."

Though such views are a minority, there were glimpses of that passion on the campaign trail. Last month, at an invitation-only meeting with Vice President Cheney, a questioner rose and said: "I personally think, next to Jesus Christ, [Bush] probably took the greatest load upon his shoulders of any individual, so it had to be with strong backing that he has been able to stand for his testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ."

At another invitation-only event, a questioner asking about Bush's "faith-based initiatives" told the president: "I believe that the enemy that we need the greatest freedom from right now happens to be Satan, and it's the enemy that we also don't necessarily always see. There's so many people who are being attacked on every level."

Leaders of Christian political organizations have spoken of Tuesday's results as providential. "Only the Lord could have orchestrated an election in which the president got a wonderful majority vote and at the same time we had a basic Christian institution of marriage on the ballot," Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family's vice president of public policy, said on the group's radio show this week.

The organization's head, James Dobson, said, "I think God has honored" Bush because "the president did acknowledge Jesus Christ." The same program broadcast a statement by Dennis Prager, a Christian commentator, saying "civilization as we understand it was in the balance" in the election, and "a beautiful man has been vindicated."
(via WaPO)

Besides the obvious rejoinder—and, oh heck, it is a cheap shot—that these statements build an overwhelming case for atheism, can someone give me a way to react to them in some constructive way?

Some way to react besides pounding my head on the wall? Or screaming and running off into the night?

"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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