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September 30, 2004
Da Debate

Okay, I know my job. I will do my duty.

George Bush is a lying sack and his performance in tonight's presidential debate was abysmal. He stuttered, he hemmed and hawed, he looked positively lost for words without his TelePrompTer. When asked direct questions, he steered right around them, setting a world record for getting his stump speech into his answers in the fewest words. He looked annoyed at being questioned on anything, as if he were thinking to himself, "Man, aren't I the boss of this country? Do I really have to listen to people who disagree with me?"

He's a turd and it is my fondest wish and most sincere hope that a good majority of Americans saw that tonight.

And now for my fears.

I'm afraid that his simplemindedness strikes a simpleminded chord with many people in this country. I'm afraid that they didn't understand what John Kerry was saying, even if it was true, and tended to agree with the basic crap that Bush was spewing. Freedom, democracy, etc. We're Americans and we don't like to think that we're wrong about anything. If we are wrong, well, then we'd rather pretend we're right and just keep on going. What are we supposed to tell our children? America was wrong? That's just plain un-American.

I'm hopeful, though, that we as a people are smarter than that. Please, can we be smarter than that?

A few things I thought Kerry could have done better -- let's call them notes for the next debate:

  1. He should really attack this idea that questioning the war in Iraq sends "mixed messages" to our troops and to "the enemy;" an idea that Bush repeated again and again. While it makes a good sound bite, the implication of this idea is fundamentally anti-Democratic and un-American. Basically the president is saying that having a free and open debate about sending our country to war is dangerous. We should stifle criticism and all fall in line. Does this sound like Democracy? Kerry needs to hammer this point in very simple terms. What the president is suggesting is UN-AMERICAN.

  2. Several times Bush intimated that the fact that insurgents and terrorists are putting up such a fight in Iraq proves that Iraq is a central point in the War on Terror. Kerry needs to go after this flawed logic. The terrorists aren't fighting us in Iraq because it's central to the War on Terror, they're fighting us in Iraq because that's where we are. If we were fighting elsewhere, that's where the terrorists and insurgents would be, too. They fight us because of our doctrine and aggressiveness, not because of anything fundamental about Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorist attack of 9/11 and had never once attacked the United States, nor credibly threatened to do so. Every rationale that the president laid out for Iraq being a grave threat to the United States has been proven false.

  3. Speaking of the rationale(s) for war: Bush continues to lay into Kerry for voting for the war, then voting against it, blah, blah, the whole flip-flopper thing. I don't think Kerry defended himself on this point as well as he could have. What he should do is admit that he was wrong, something the president never does. Something like, "Yes, I saw the same intelligence the president saw and I reached the conclusion, as the president did, that Saddam was a threat. I was wrong. Our intelligence was wrong. This is clearly the case. Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, and he had no capability to harm America. He was not working with Al Qaeda. I voted for the authority to use force as an instrument of coercion; the president is solely responsible for launching a preemptive invasion. That was his decision alone. And now that all of it has been shown to be built on miscalculations and misinformation, the president says he "would do it all over again." Is that responsible leadership? Is that how you run your life?

Kerry did make many of these points, and I hope that he made them persuasively. Naturally he persuaded me, and most likely everyone who reads this blog, but we're not important in this.

In the end, I found Bush to be predictably arrogant, aloof, and self-obsessed. He can't stand to be confronted or to lower himself to answering for his actions. He resorted to cheap shots and evasions.

John Kerry, on the other hand, avoided personal attacks and spoke about policy and reality. He knows what it's like to be under fire, and he knows that the soldiers in a war don't consider a stateside debate over the necessity of their sacrifice to be disrespectful, but just the opposite. Soldiers under fire appreciate that we care enough to debate the value of sending them off to kill and be killed. What kind of respect are we showing them by just saying "forward, forward, forward" without considering if it's really a good idea?

That's all I've got for now. Don't forget to register to vote.. deadlines in many states are as soon as Saturday. Don't wait until it's too late! REGISTER NOW!

September 29, 2004
Chickenshit Broadcasting System

A question: How is it that we're supposed to have a democracy here at home, let alone spread democracy around the world, if our press thinks criticizing our leaders is "inappropriate" close to an election?

One measure of the [Dan Rather/forged memo] debacle is a "60 Minutes Wednesday" segment that millions of viewers now will not see: a hard-hitting report making a powerful case that in trying to build support for the Iraq war, the Bush administration either knowingly deceived the American people about Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities or was grossly credulous. CBS News president Andrew Heyward spiked the story this week, saying it would be "inappropriate" during the election campaign.

The importance that CBS placed on the report was evident by its unusual length: It was slated to run a full half hour, double the usual 15 minutes of a single segment. Although months of reporting went into the production, CBS abruptly decided that it would be "inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election," in the words of a statement that network spokeswoman Kelli Edwards gave the New York Times.

Salon (subscription or ad watching required)

Salon has seen the CBS report and describes it as "powerfully, coherently and credibly reported."

I can't even begin to imagine the mindset that thinks it is inappropriate, in a free society so-called, to air critical reporting of a candidate for president. We've been somehow convinced that it's unfair not to let the campaigns have complete control over their candidates' images.

It's all in the name of objectivity, after all.

Liberals To Ban Bible, Eat Children

Once again, just when you thought Republicans couldn't be more scum-sucking, they manage to outdo themselves and find ways of sucking scum you never knew were possible.

The latest example: Mailings sent to voters in Arkansas and West Virginia warning that liberals seek to ban the bible.

The Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible. It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush.

The mailings include images of the Bible labeled "banned" and of a gay marriage proposal labeled "allowed." A mailing to Arkansas residents warns: "This will be Arkansas if you don't vote." A similar mailing was sent to West Virginians.

The secret is, it's all true. We do want to ban the bible. Shit, we were planning to burn a giant stack of them on the White House lawn the day after the election. Bill Clinton is going to personally light the match.

Also, when a liberal is elected President, it is our firm intention to require that everyone try homosexuality at least once before dismissing it as "not their cup of tea." And we're not just talking about a little make-out session at some frat party. You can't really say you don't like it until you've tried it all, and yes, that includes sex with animals, a homosexual tradition.

Speaking of tea, you will also have to drink tea every day, like they do in all those fag countries in Europe. Beer is out, it's all red wine and runny cheeses from here on in.

We further intend to replace the American flag with a gay rainbow flag, decorated with images of women getting casual abortions. Not only will flag burning be tolerated, all flags will come pre-soaked in kerosene and ready to go. They will also be made of absorbent, quilted, three ply paper, in case your tastes run towards wiping your ass with the flag instead of burning it. It's all good.

All churches will be banned of course; if you want to be religious, you will be encouraged to become Jewish and celebrate the murder of Jesus with us every year on We Killed Jesus Day, March 23rd.

SUVs will be outlawed, naturally, and everyone will have to drive underpowered foreign cars or take public transportation with crack addicts, single mothers, and black men.

As for our foreign policy, it will be altered such that every decision made by our government concerning, well, anything really, will have to be approved by the French and the Germans before it is permitted to move forward to a vote in the United Nations. Only after receiving the approval of 4/5 of the countries on earth will a proposition move to our Congress for a vote. The U.N. will always retain veto power.

We will happily allow - encourage even - the spread of terrorism and evil dictatorships whenever possible. Who are we to judge the actions of brutal despots? To them, our culture looks just as weird. We have to respect that.

Your children will be taught about alternate points of view and encouraged to consider the perspectives of others, including people who don't even speak English.

The truth is out. We hate freedom. We hate America more than we can possibly express. It's a complete shitbox. Fuck it, and fuck you, and fuck NASCAR. If we win, boy howdy, you're in for a world of hurt, America-boy.

UPDATE :: Found a scan of one of these fliers.

liberals ban bibles
liberals ban bibles 2

Comments, &tc.

It's been pointed out to me by several people that my comments aren't working reliably or, for some people, at all.

This sucks. One can only imagine the legions of readers out there trying desperately to engage in a back-and-forth with me, and being stymied at every turn.

I'm basically sick of Moveable Type and have every intention of moving to Word Press, but it's a low priority. One of these days, it'll happen.

Sorry for the crapiness. If you have something to share, feel free to email me, or send me a telegram, or a postcard, or a cake.

Sound Familiar?

Once again, the Bush administration and their friends give us all a lesson in Democracy and Freedom.

This time, the lesson is delivered by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in the form of his speech to Congress on Thursday.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post scours president Bush's speech archives, and finds some remarkable similarities between Allawi's speech and those given by George Bush.

It couldn't be that the Prime Minister of Iraq was coached on what to say, could it? That would mean he was some sort of puppet, a mere figurehead standing in for the hand of the American government, which truly and completely controls Iraq at the very highest levels.

Why, that wouldn't be very democratic, would it?

The Post Debate Debate

Josh Marshall examines some points made by Paul Krugman on how to really win a presidential debate.

This is all exactly right: The key is to win the "post debate debate" not the debate itself. This is a tactic that the Republicans use in every arena. It doesn't matter what happens in real life; if you can control the way it gets spun by the media, it will always go your way.

Consider how many times the president has made verifiably false statements. Countless times. Is it a big news story that our president is a liar? No, because they have convinced the media that it is inappropriate and disrespectful to even imply such a thing, or at least to give it any more than a passing mention. If there is a passing mention, in the name of "objectivity" there had better be something critical of John Kerry in the next segment.

The Democrats and anyone else who doesn't want to live through four more years of this crap, have to be really work to win the post debate debate. Even if it seems obvious and redundant to go on and on about the things Bush says in the debate, we have to do it. In fact, the entire point is to be obvious and redundant.

This is the game. We may not like it, but if we want to change the rules, we first have to win.

Nader To Sue For Right To Ruin Everything

Via Kos.

The Nader campaign turned in almost 15,000 signatures to get that nut on the ballot in Ohio, but all but 3,708 turned out to be fraudulent, well short of the 5,000 required to get on the ballot.

Since Ohio didn't have a hurricane to use as an excuse to break the law, Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell was forced to rule that Nader would not appear on the ballot.

Nader, of course, is planning to sue.

September 28, 2004
Crawfordites for Kerry

I've never been to Crawford, Texas, but I basically always imagined it as a sort of Bush Disneyland. A fake little town constructed as Bush's "hometown" complete with authentic-sounding "citizens" and so on.

Well, it turns out it is a real town, and the local newspaper, the Lone Star Iconoclast, has endorsed John Kerry for President.

In your face, Georgie. Literally.

(courtesy Garage Sale.)

Daily Show Viewers Smart, Possibly Stoned

When Jon Stewart appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show a little while back, O'Reilly referred to Daily Show viewers as "stoned slackers" and expressed his horror that they are allowed to vote. As a regular watcher of the Daily Show, and someone who has been known to both stone and slack, I'm kinda offended. Naa, I'm not. Who cares.

Comedy Central cares, apparently, because they did some research and found that Daily Show viewers are more likely to have college degrees and to answer factual questions about politics correctly than are O'Reilly's viewers. Stunner.

I would like to point out that having a college degree does in no way inhibit ones ability to stone or slack. In fact it may enhance it. More study on this is needed.

As for O'Reilly, he was profiled by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes the other night and he is, in my opinion, one of the most megalomaniacal people on earth. He has a persecution complex nearly as big as his ego, which is nearly as big as his head. He contradicted himself so many times it was really laughable. And then he thinks because he's pro-environment and gun control that he's not a right-wing nut. He may be a lesser nut than some others, but he's still a nut.

September 27, 2004
New Logo

Billmon of the Whiskey Bar has created a spiff new logo for the Bush/Cheney campaign.

I no longer find comparisons between these guys and the greatest monsters in history offensive or out-of-bounds. They're out-of-bounds. They can kiss my ass.

bush cheney loathing

Doesn't that feel better?

Mission Still Accomplished
President Bush said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and would do it all over again if he had the chance, according to excerpts from an television interview released on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News if he still would have put on a flight suit to declare major combat operations in Iraq over, Bush replied, "Absolutely."


A short quiz:
When you come across a person in your life who seems to be completely incapable of admitting responsibility for anything, declaring that they would absolutely do everything they've ever done again regardless of any new facts, do you:
A) Suspect this person may be a bit of an ass.
B) Realize that you're dealing with a sick man and call the white-coat patrol.
C) Give this person the access codes to your nuclear arsenal.

If you answered A or B, you're right! If you responded C, you're stupid. Easy quiz.

Keep in mind that even Karl Rove, the evilest man on earth, has called the "Mission Accomplished" banner a mistake.

In Other Words...

The headline: Key Bush Assertions About Iraq in Dispute.

Translation: He's Lying.

Many of President Bush's assertions about progress in Iraq -- from police training and reconstruction to preparations for January elections -- are in dispute, according to internal Pentagon documents, lawmakers and key congressional aides on Sunday.

Bush used the visit last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to make the case that "steady progress" is being made in Iraq to counter warnings by his Democratic presidential rival, Sen. John Kerry, that the situation in reality is deteriorating.

Bush touted preparations for national elections in January, saying Iraq's electoral commission is up and running and told Americans on Saturday that "United Nations electoral advisers are on the ground in Iraq."

He said nearly 100,000 "fully trained and equipped" Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel are already at work, and that would rise to 125,000 by the end of this year.

And he promised more than $9 billion will be spent on reconstruction contracts in Iraq over the next several months.

But many of these assertions have met with skepticism from key lawmakers, congressional aides and experts, and Pentagon documents, given to lawmakers and obtained by Reuters, paint a more complicated picture.

Seriously, he's just saying things that aren't true. There's a word for people who do that.

Easy On The Debating There

As many have noted, there is an extensive rule sheet (or Memorandum of Understanding, if you're into that kind of talk) concerning the presidential debates this year.

Clearly, nobody expects you to to read all of that crap, but I've read (some of) it, so allow me to summarize.

Basically, the rules are that there will not, under any circumstances, be a debate.


Gersh Kuntzman of Newsweek, the clear winner of the Maybe You Should Think About Changing Your Name Award, has some funny observations on the matter, something like which I could have written, but it's too damn hot in here and I'm busy having my intelligence insulted by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Welcome to Democracy

In case anyone is unclear on just how dishonest, underhanded and un-American the Bush administration really is, and it seems that millions of Americans are, I feel I should note this story, reported by Time magazine this week.

U.S. officials tell TIME that the Bush team ran into trouble with another plan involving those [Iraq's] elections -- a secret "finding" written several months ago proposing a covert CIA operation to aid candidates favored by Washington. A source says the idea was to help such candidates -- whose opponents might be receiving covert backing from other countries, like Iran -- but not necessarily to go so far as to rig the elections.

Read that again.

Yes, in order to spread freedom and democracy to the Middle East, we'll not only invade their countries unprovoked, killing thousands upon thousands of them in the name of their own freedom, but we will do them the kind service of secretly influencing their "democratic" elections. Oh, but "not necessarily:" go so far as to outright rig the election. Not necessarily.

The rationale being thrown around by the administration on this one, and yes, they are actually attempting to rationalize this, is that Iran and other evil countries are attempting to influence the Iraqi elections from the other side, so we must counter their efforts.

Okay, let's just assume that's true and Iran is buying media time and spreading propaganda in an effort to get anti-American candidates elected in January. Let's further assume that it's our job to counter such efforts. What would be the "democratic" and "freedom-loving" way to counter it? With secret CIA plans to undermine those very principles, or with some other method? Is there any other way?

Call me crazy, but I have an idea. It's pretty out there, so brace yourself.

How about we TELL THE TRUTH?

You know, uncover the secret Iranian schemes and expose them to the light of a FREE AND INDEPENDENT PRESS. Let the Iraqis see that the Iranians aren't playing fair and let them make up their own minds. What do you think they would think of us if we provided unbiased reporting on the Iranian activities without adding our own deceitful tactics to the mix?

This whole thing just makes me want to vomit. If you're planning to vote for George W. Bush, I'm sorry but you're either tragically uninformed or a complete idiot. He and his cronies are spreading what is quite possibly the most sinister and ANTI-DEMOCRATIC propaganda we've seen in generations from anywhere in the world. It's worse than Nazism and Stalinism, not in it's immediate ramifications, but in it's sophistication and ability to couch itself in the greatest ideals of mankind. Hitler never talked about Freedom and Democracy for anyone but Germans. Everyone knew he was against everyone else. George Bush and his ilk are against us all, but they've convinced us that they're our best friends.

Danger! Danger! Red Frickin' Alert!

Excuse Me, Miss...

In a break from my regular ranting, here is a little gift to all of my single friends out there - and to all of my committed friends who will someday be single again, whether by choice or by death - the two best pickup/comeon lines I've ever heard:

"I'm going outside to make out. Care to join me?"

... and, on the dirtier but no less hilarious side of things...

"You give me the hardest semi I have ever had."

From Nerve.com's Pickup Line Contest. The rest of them are dumb. Trust me.

September 24, 2004
Letter From Michael Moore

I don't always love the guy, but he's right. Quit bitching and do something about it. It's not "them" that may lose this election.. it's us.

Dear Friends,

Enough of the handwringing! Enough of the doomsaying! Do I have to come there and personally calm you down? Stop with all the defeatism, OK? Bush IS a goner -- IF we all just quit our whining and bellyaching and stop shaking like a bunch of nervous ninnies. Geez, this is embarrassing! The Republicans are laughing at us. Do you ever see them cry, "Oh, it's all over! We are finished! Bush can't win! Waaaaaa!"

Hell no. It's never over for them until the last ballot is shredded. They are never finished -- they just keeping moving forward like sharks that never sleep, always pushing, pulling, kicking, blocking, lying.

They are relentless and that is why we secretly admire them -- they just simply never, ever give up. Only 30% of the country calls itself "Republican," yet the Republicans own it all -- the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and the majority of the governorships. How do you think they've been able to pull that off considering they are a minority? It's because they eat you and me and every other liberal for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day wreaking havoc on the planet.

Look at us -- what a bunch of crybabies. Bush gets a bounce after his convention and you would have thought the Germans had run through Poland again. The Bushies are coming, the Bushies are coming! Yes, they caught Kerry asleep on the Swift Boat thing. Yes, they found the frequency in Dan Rather and ran with it. Suddenly it's like, "THE END IS NEAR! THE SKY IS FALLING!"

No, it is not. If I hear one more person tell me how lousy a candidate Kerry is and how he can't win... Dammit, of COURSE he's a lousy candidate - - he's a Democrat, for heavens sake! That party is so pathetic, they even lose the elections they win! What were you expecting, Bruce Springsteen heading up the ticket? Bruce would make a helluva president, but guys like him don't run -- and neither do you or I. People like Kerry run.

Yes, OF COURSE any of us would have run a better, smarter, kick-ass campaign. Of course we would have smacked each and every one of those phony swifty boaty bastards down. But WE are not running for president -- Kerry is. So quit complaining and work with what we have. Oprah just gave 300 women a... Pontiac! Did you see any of them frowning and moaning and screaming, "Oh God, NOT a friggin' Pontiac!" Of course not, they were happy. The Pontiacs all had four wheels, an engine and a gas pedal. You want more than that, well, I can't help you. I had a Pontiac once and it lasted a good year. And it was a VERY good year.

My friends, it is time for a reality check.

1. The polls are wrong. They are all over the map like diarrhea. On Friday, one poll had Bush 13 points ahead -- and another poll had them both tied. There are three reasons why the polls are b.s.: One, they are polling "likely voters." "Likely" means those who have consistently voted in the past few elections. So that cuts out young people who are voting for the first time and a ton of non-voters who are definitely going to vote in THIS election. Second, they are not polling people who use their cell phone as their primary phone. Again, that means they are not talking to young people. Finally, most of the polls are weighted with too many Republicans, as pollster John Zogby revealed last week. You are being snookered if you believe any of these polls.

2. Kerry has brought in the Clinton A-team. Instead of shunning Clinton (as Gore did), Kerry has decided to not make that mistake.

3. Traveling around the country, as I've been doing, I gotta tell ya, there is a hell of a lot of unrest out there. Much of it is not being captured by the mainstream press. But it is simmering and it is real. Do not let those well-produced Bush rallies of angry white people scare you. Turn off the TV! (Except Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers -- everything else is just a sugar-coated lie).

4. Conventional wisdom says if the election is decided on "9/11" (the fear of terrorism), Bush wins. But if it is decided on the job we are doing in Iraq, then Bush loses. And folks, that "job," you might have noticed, has descended into the third level of a hell we used to call Vietnam. There is no way out. It is a full-blown mess of a quagmire and the body bags will sadly only mount higher. Regardless of what Kerry meant by his original war vote, he ain't the one who sent those kids to their deaths -- and Mr. and Mrs. Middle America knows it. Had Bush bothered to show up when he was in the "service" he might have somewhat of a clue as to how to recognize an immoral war that cannot be "won." All he has delivered to Iraq was that plasticized turkey last Thanksgiving. It is this failure of monumental proportions that is going to cook his goose come this November.

So, do not despair. All is not over. Far from it. The Bush people need you to believe that it is over. They need you to slump back into your easy chair and feel that sick pain in your gut as you contemplate another four years of George W. Bush. They need you to wish we had a candidate who didn't windsurf and who was just as smart as we were when WE knew Bush was lying about WMD and Saddam planning 9/11. It's like Karl Rove is hypnotizing you -- "Kerry voted for the war...Kerry voted for the war...Kerrrrrryyy vooootted fooooor theeee warrrrrrrrrr..."

Yes...Yes...Yesssss....He did! HE DID! No sense in fighting now...what I need is sleep...sleeep...sleeeeeeppppp...

WAKE UP! The majority are with us! More than half of all Americans are pro- choice, want stronger environmental laws, are appalled that assault weapons are back on the street -- and 54% now believe the war is wrong.


Just for me, please? Buck up. The country is almost back in our hands.

Not another negative word until Nov. 3rd! Then you can bitch all you want about how you wish Kerry was still that long-haired kid who once had the courage to stand up for something. Personally, I think that kid is still inside him. Instead of the wailing and gnashing of your teeth, why not hold out a hand to him and help the inner soldier/protester come out and defeat the forces of evil we now so desperately face. Do we have any other choice?


Michael Moore

Growing On Trees

The headlines are all over the place: 94 Million Americans to Get Election-Year Tax Cuts! Hooray! Money money money money money! Yay Bush!

Listen, you freakin' idiots... we have a budget deficit at record levels and it's going up fast. We're talking about half a TRILLION dollars. And growing.

And now we're cutting taxes.

I know, I know, nobody likes taxes. The tax system is ridiculously complex and screws the average person while letting the rich get off with paying almost nothing. This is true and some reform is definitely in order. But just lowering taxes and giving people little refund checks is only a political ploy, and one that will screw us, and our children, for years to come.

It's a cynical bid to trick stupid people into voting for Republicans. They give you a little money, say they don't want the government to take your hard-earned money, and you walk away thinking, "Wow! What a great president!"

What they don't tell you is that they're cutting the funding for your kids' schools, they're destroying the environment and that's why your kid has asthma, and they don't give a rat's ass about you once you leave the voting booth.

It's pretty simple: Running a full-blown society costs a lot of money, especially one with its head as far up it's ass as this one. We pay for it with taxes. When you stop collecting as much money in taxes, you have to cut services. Who's services do you think they're cutting?

And the final insult is that we, as a people, as so screwed in the head when it comes to this issue, that Democrats who know damn well that this is terrible policy vote for it anyway because they basically have to.

Makes me so mad.

September 22, 2004
Oh. My. God.

Just listen.

Conditions: Unknown
QUESTION: Right here, Mr. President, thank you. Why do you think the CIA's assessment of conditions in Iraq are so much at odds with the optimism that you and Prime Minister Allawi are expressing at the moment?

PRESIDENT BUSH: The CIA laid out a -- several scenarios that said, life could be lousy, like [sic] could be okay, life could be better. And they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like.


Now, clearly the CIA is loaded with dumbasses, that has been established, but it seems a bit odd that they'd just be wildly guessing as to current conditions in Iraq, a country in which we've been conducting a war for 18 months.

"Yeah, we're not really sure what's going on over there. It might be really great or really crappy. There's really no way to tell. It's pretty far away, you know."

DeLay Aides Indicted

How sweet it woud be if they nailed this bastard. Expose the whole scheme -- the redistricting, the cynical hijacking of democracy, all of it.

So far, it's only aides to DeLay who have been indicted, and naturally he claims that the indictments are "politically motivated." Because everyone knows how Texas grad juries are always going after Republicans.

A liar and a crook. Throw his ass in jail.

The Way We Live Now

The Memory Hole has posted some photos and videos from inside New York's Pier 57 Detention Center during the Republican Convention. The videos are useless, but the photos are pretty chilling.

Life in Republican America. Ain't it sweet?

pier 57

September 21, 2004
Pad NOT!!!

pad thai

You know, sometimes Pad Thai is really just crappy noodles with weird, thin ketchup on them.

That's the worst!!!!

September 20, 2004
Speech Wars

Kerry and Bush are trading speeches now as John Kerry amps up his criticism of Bush's Iraq policy. This is a good move for him. Too bad he didn't start doing this 4 or 5 months ago.

In a speech at NYU, Kerry strongly criticized George's Iraq adventure.

Our troops have served with extraordinary bravery, skill and resolve. Their service humbles all of us. When I speak to them... when I look into the eyes of their families, I know this: we owe them the truth about what we have asked them to do... and what is still to be done.

In June, the President declared, "The Iraqi people have their country back." Just last week, he told us: "This country is headed toward democracy... Freedom is on the march."

But the administration's own official intelligence estimate, given to the President last July, tells a very different story.

According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the President is saying to the American people.

So do the facts on the ground.

Security is deteriorating, for us and for the Iraqis.

42 Americans died in Iraq in June -- the month before the handover. But 54 died in July...66 in August... and already 54 halfway through September.

And more than 1,100 Americans were wounded in August - more than in any other month since the invasion.

We are fighting a growing insurgency in an ever widening war-zone. In March, insurgents attacked our forces 700 times. In August, they attacked 2,700 times - a 400% increase.

Falluja...Ramadi... Samarra ... even parts of Baghdad - are now "no go zones"... breeding grounds for terrorists who are free to plot and launch attacks against our soldiers. The radical Shi'a cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, who's accused of complicity in the murder of Americans, holds more sway in the suburbs of Baghdad.

Violence against Iraqis... from bombings to kidnappings to intimidation ... is on the rise.

Basic living conditions are also deteriorating.

Residents of Baghdad are suffering electricity blackouts lasting up to 14 hours a day.

Raw sewage fills the streets, rising above the hubcaps of our Humvees. Children wade through garbage on their way to school.

Unemployment is over 50 percent. Insurgents are able to find plenty of people willing to take $150 for tossing grenades at passing U.S. convoys.

Yes, there has been some progress, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our soldiers and civilians in Iraq. Schools, shops and hospitals have been opened. In parts of Iraq, normalcy actually prevails.

But most Iraqis have lost faith in our ability to deliver meaningful improvements to their lives. So they're sitting on the fence... instead of siding with us against the insurgents.

That is the truth. The truth that the Commander in Chief owes to our troops and the American people.


It's worth reading the whole speech. This the kind of thing we need from the Democrats. The world is going to shit and it's largely George W. Bush's fault.

I'll quote some more, since nobody ever clicks links these days.

The President has said that he "miscalculated" in Iraq and that it was a "catastrophic success." In fact, the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions ... from the beginning ... in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

The first and most fundamental mistake was the President's failure to tell the truth to the American people.

He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.

By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.

His two main rationales - weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection - have been proved false... by the President's own weapons inspectors... and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.

As Kos points out, even prominent members of Bush's own party are harshly criticizing Bush's Iraq policy.

Leading members of President George W. Bush's Republican party have criticised mistakes and "incompetence" in his Iraq policy and called for an urgent ground offensive to retake insurgent sanctuaries.

In appearances on news talk shows, Republican senators also urged Bush to be more open with the American public after the disclosure of a classified CIA report that gave a gloomy outlook for Iraq and raised the possibility of civil war.

"The fact is, we're in deep trouble in Iraq ... and I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of policy," Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"We made serious mistakes," said Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who has campaigned at Bush's side this year after patching up a bitter rivalry.


Bush's response to Kerry's speech was defensive, pathetic, and un-American.

"Mixed signals are the wrong signal to send to the enemy," the president said. "Mixed signals are the wrong signals to send to the people of Iraq, mixed signals are the wrong signals to send our allies, and mixed signals are the wrong signals to send our troops in combat."

"Anytime we put our troops into harm's way, they need to have the full support of the United States government -- the full support," Mr. Bush said.

New York Times

See that? Kerry offers studied and factual criticism of Bush's policy, sprinkled with what he would do differently. Bush's argument is that there should be no argument. Questioning him is equivalent to putting American troops in harm's way. Kerry is "signaling" the enemy.

Bush is a truly, truly evil man. He must be stopped.

Whither the Terror?

Kos is wondering where the terror alerts have gone, and so am I.

When Kerry was ahead in the polls, we were getting Tom Ridge and other Chicken Littles popping up fairly often to warn us of iminent death, but now that Bush is looking a bit stronger (I threw up in my mouth a little when I typed that), all's quiet on the terror alert front.

Coincidence? Or evil bastards?

You decide.

September 17, 2004
Shit Ain't No Scam

free ipod

Damn right.

Now, I haven't opened it yet, so I can't absolutely verify that there's an iPod in there and not a slinky-snake or a pile of dookie, but I'm fairly confident.

The reason I haven't opened it is that I intend to try to extend the bounty by taking it to CompUSA or some equivalent retailer and exchanging it for a 40GB model (paying the $100 price difference, of course). I'll say it was a gift and see if they bite. If so, free iPod becomes $100 big iPod. If not, free iPod is free iPod. Either way, iPod.

So there.

September 15, 2004
Jon Stewart Still Smart

Jon Stewart on the argument, put forward by Pat Buchanan on The Daily Show, that George Bush "exudes confidence and determination:"

Stewart: "That's like saying, 'He drove us into a brick wall, but he didn't blink.'"

This is exactly the argument that is working on a possible majority of Americans. George Bush may be taking our country straight to hell, but by god, he's doing it with grit, moxy, and no-nonsense straight-talk! He's my man!

September 14, 2004

Newsweek - It's Worse Than You Think.

In a fairly devastating piece, Newsweek declares that the War in Iraq is spinning out of control. Insurgents are taking over areas of the country at an alarming rate, and instead of having to report bad news, American forces are just declaring those areas off limits.

Sixteen months after the war's supposed end, Iraq's insurgency is spreading. Each successful demand by kidnappers has spawned more hostage-takings—to make Philippine troops go home, to stop Turkish truckers from hauling supplies into Iraq, to extort fat ransom payments from Kuwaitis. The few relief groups that remain in Iraq are talking seriously about leaving. U.S. forces have effectively ceded entire cities to the insurgents, and much of the country elsewhere is a battleground. Last week the total number of U.S. war dead in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, reaching 1,007 by the end of Saturday.


It's not only that U.S. casualty figures keep climbing. American counterinsurgency experts are noticing some disturbing trends in those statistics. The Defense Department counted 87 attacks per day on U.S. forces in August—the worst monthly average since Bush's flight-suited visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. Preliminary analysis of the July and August numbers also suggests that U.S. troops are being attacked across a wider area of Iraq than ever before. And the number of gunshot casualties apparently took a huge jump in August. Until then, explosive devices and shrapnel were the primary cause of combat injuries, typical of a "phase two" insurgency, where sudden ambushes are the rule. (Phase one is the recruitment phase, with most actions confined to sabotage. That's how things started in Iraq.) Bullet wounds would mean the insurgents are standing and fighting—a step up to phase three.

Another ominous sign is the growing number of towns that U.S. troops simply avoid. A senior Defense official objects to calling them "no-go areas." "We could go into them any time we wanted," he argues. The preferred term is "insurgent enclaves." They're spreading. Counterinsurgency experts call it the "inkblot strategy": take control of several towns or villages and expand outward until the areas merge. The first city lost to the insurgents was Fallujah, in April. Now the list includes the Sunni Triangle cities of Ar Ramadi, Baqubah and Samarra, where power shifted back and forth between the insurgents and American-backed leaders last week. "There is no security force there [in Fallujah], no local government," says a senior U.S. military official in Baghdad. "We would get attacked constantly. Forget about it."

Unfortunately, I shouldn't have described this piece as "devastating" above. It certainly should be devastating, and based on the information it contains, it is. But based on the impact it will have in the United States and the attention the mainstream, mostly television, media will give to this information, it will have little effect.

We're living in our little fantasy bubble, and while our adventure in Iraq turns into a literal hell on earth, the Bush administration has been very successful in keeping Iraq out of the public debate. We discuss Vietnam more than we discuss Iraq. This alone is a very disturbing fact.

Josh Marshall has a great post on this.

As my friend John Judis noted recently, the key to winning an election is often simply a matter of bringing to the surface of the public consciousness what voters already really know. They know Iraq is a disaster. They know it's President Bush's fault.

Now the big question is whether John Kerry, and all of us, can manage to make this happen.

Allow me to do my part:

Woman Fired for Kerry Sticker
"We were going back to work from break," Gobbell told the [Decatur, AL] Daily, "and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired."

Gobbell said she went to Geddes' office to confront him. "Phil and another man who works there were there," she said. "I asked him if he said to remove the sticker and he said, 'Yes, I did.' I told him he couldn't tell me who to vote for. When I told him that, he told me, 'I own this place.' I told him he still couldn't tell me who to vote for."

"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, Well, am I fired? He hollered and said, Get out of here and shut the door."

Gobbell said she then asked her manager what to do. He initially told her to go back to work, but returned a few minutes later and said, "I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry."


From a flier that Gobbell had recently inserted into employees' pay envelopes:

"Just so you will know, because of the Bush tax (cut):

"I was able to buy the new Hammer Mill
"I was able to finance our receivables
"I was able to get the new CAT skid steer
"I was able to get the wire cutter
"I was able to give you a job"

"You got the benefit of the Bush tax cut. Everyone did."

No Evidence of Presence

bush timeline

A great graphical timeline of George W. Bush's National Guard service records.

"Based only on documents released by the US government."

The Hurricane Made Me Do It

No, seriously. Is this a joke?

MIAMI (Reuters) - Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state.

The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it.

In a memo to Florida's 67 county supervisors of elections, Division of Elections director Dawn Roberts said the uncertainty of Hurricane Ivan, which could hit parts of the state by week's end, forced her to act.


If anyone out there runs into Nader, will you please kick him in the kneecap for me? Jeb too. And George. It's a long list.

September 13, 2004
Sad State of Affairs

pepsi presents illinois

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) "is considering selling, to a yet-unchosen beverage company, the rights to Illinois' name," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "No other state has ever done it."

"The concept of designating an 'official state beverage' could bring in millions of dollars to Illinois' cash-strapped state budget, as soft-drink companies compete -- and pay -- for the right to hawk their soda, juice or other beverage under Illinois' state banner."

Political Wire

Things like this always remind me of an episode of The Simpsons in which there is a scene from the future. Students are in classroom being taught by Try McClure via a large television screen at the front of the room. Pepsi logos are everywhere.

McClure: Now turn to the next problem. If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you? You, the redhead in the Chicago school system?

Girl: Pepsi?

Troy: Partial credit!

It's funny - and scary - because it's true.

I Think I'm Going to Ralph

For anyone out there who still thinks Ralph Nader is not certifiably insane, cehck this out.

"In what could become a worst-case scenario for Democrats, Ralph Nader announced plans to launch a spirited new phase to his independent candidacy in swing states," the Hartford Courant reports. Nader says "part of its purpose would be to retaliate against Democrats who had fought his candidacy."

Political Wire

Yes, you read that right. Ralph Nader's feelings are hurt and he's going to get back at the Democrats by doing everything he can to help George Bush get reelected.

Whatever shreds of credibility this man may have once had are absolutely gone. He is pure evil.

Obsess Much?
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld mixed up Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein twice in a speech Friday.

Among other things, Rumsfeld talked about the world just before the Sept. 11 attacks, whose third anniversary is today. In Afghanistan, he told the National Press Club, "the leader of the opposition Northern Alliance, Masoud, lay dead, his murder ordered by Saddam Hussein, by Osama bin Laden, Taliban's co-conspirator."

Ahmed Shah Masoud, who opposed the ruling Taliban, was killed by suspected Al Qaeda operatives — not Hussein — two days before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Later, Rumsfeld said, "Saddam Hussein, if he's alive, is spending a whale of a lot of time trying to not get caught. And we've not seen him on a video since 2001."

LA Times

Call me paranoid, but I think he's doing it on purpose.

Assault Weapons For All!!

Finally, the mean old government can no longer stop me from getting myself a sweet UZI or an AK-47. Our long, national nightmare of poorly armed criminals is finally over.

John Kerry rips Bush for failing to do anything about this expiring ban, despite overwhelming public support for it.

White House spokesbastard Scott McClellan hastened to point out that violent crime is at a 30-year low and the Justice Department noted that violent crime rates have been falling for 10 years.

10 years. Wow. Hey, that's exactly how long the assault weapons ban has been in effect! That's weird, huh? I guess it's done it's job so well that it's no longer necessary, is that the argument?

Or maybe they're just trying to prove the correlation between the ban and falling crime rates by removing the ban. That way, when people start getting hit sprayed with showers of bullets again, we'll know that the ban worked.

So clever.

Putin Consolidates Power

This is not good.

President Vladimir V. Putin ordered a sweeping overhaul of Russia's political system today in what he called an effort to unite the country against terrorism. If enacted, as expected, his proposals would strengthen the Kremlin's already pervasive control over the legislative branch and regional governments.

Mr. Putin, meeting in special session with cabinet ministers and regional government leaders, outlined what would be the most significant political restructuring in Russia in more than a decade — one that critics immediately said would violate the constitution and stifle what political opposition remains.

Under Mr. Putin's proposals, which he said required only legislative approval and not constitutional amendments, the governors or presidents of the country's 89 regions would no longer be elected by popular vote but rather by local parliaments — and only on the president's recommendation.

Seats in the lower house of the federal parliament, or Duma, would be elected entirely on national party slates, eliminating district races across the country that now decide half of the parliament's composition. In last December's elections, those races accounted for all of the independents and liberals now serving in the Duma.

In the wake of the school siege in Beslan, the downing of two passenger airlines and other terrorist attacks that have shaken the country, Mr. Putin argued once again that Russia was ill-prepared to fight terrorism and said the country needed a more unified political system. His proposals, however, made clear that for him unity means a consolidation of power in the executive branch.

New York Times

CNN, in a bold show of douchebaggery, calls Putin's cynical power grab a "tightening of security measures," and makes no mention in their article that anyone thinks there's anything wrong with what Putin is doing.

As for our leader, he stands "shoulder to shoulder" with Putin, and is probably taking notes.

Freeipod Update

free ipods

Holy crap!

September 12, 2004
What Really Goes On

Noted without comment.


BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 12 - In a series of tightly sequenced attacks, at least 25 Iraqis were killed by suicide car bombings and a barrage of missile and mortar fire in several neighborhoods across Baghdad on Sunday.

The attacks were the most widespread in months, seeming to demonstrate the growing power of the insurgency and heightening the sense of uncertainty and chaos in the capital at a time when American forces have already ceded control to insurgents in a number of cities outside of Baghdad.

The Associated Press reported that the total death toll throughout the country for the day reached 59, citing the Health Ministry and local authorities. Nearly 200 people were wounded, more than half of those in Baghdad.

Four suicide car bombings struck targets in Baghdad and Abu Ghraib, with two of them detonating nearly simultaneously and one hitting just outside the gates of the Abu Ghraib prison.

In Baghdad, American military helicopters fired at Iraqis who were scaling a burning American armored vehicle. It was unclear how many Iraqis were killed in the airstrike: At least one television journalist was confirmed dead, and photographs immediately after the strike showed a group of four men severely wounded or dead at the site. American military commanders said the helicopters were returning fire aimed at it from the ground.

American forces appear to be facing a guerrilla insurgency that is more sophisticated and more widespread than ever before. Last month, attacks on American forces reached their highest level since the war began, an average of 87 per day.

New York Times

September 11, 2004
An Honest Tribute


And I have nothing to add to Jesse Taylor's statements.

If you like, you can go back and read things I wrote at the time.

7 Minutes of Silence

I would like to join Jesus' General in his tribute to our president on this anniversary of the September 11 attacks, so I will also sit in this chair for the next 7 minutes, doing nothing. Maybe I'll read a children's book or something, but that's it.

I encourage you to do the same.

Cheney: What About eBay?

Via Marshall.

Dick Cheney thinks all of the terrible economic data we've been getting lately ignores one important source of income for Americans: eBay.

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

Mercury News

Oh yeah! If we only included all the thousands of people who are selling off all their possessions to make enough money for rent, we'd clearly see that the economy is booming! And don't forget drug dealers, those guys are doing really well, and that data is never reported by the liberal media. Why, just this morning I found a quarter on the sidewalk! Happy days!

John Edwards responded in a statement:
"If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking."

September 10, 2004
Encounters With Police, Episode 1

What follows is a mostly accurate account of an interaction I had with a Seattle Police officer yesterday evening. It has no significance.

Context: Liz and I were on our way to the Mariners game. We spotted a small but workable parking space on an unmetered street and Liz began to parallel park the Badunkadunk, which is always fine sport. I was on the sidewalk giving vague hand signals and occasionally slapping the windows (that means "Stop").

We got pretty close to the cars behind and in front of us, but I didn't see any touching. Upon looking up, though, I did see a police woman sitting in her police car across the 3 lanes of traffic, watching us.

The parking was nearly complete, and I looked at the cop and gave her a questioning shrug, as if to say, "Is this okay?" She questioningly shrugged back, as if to say, "I'm an idiot, unfamiliar with human communication practices."

As Liz shut off the engine, I jogged across the street to speak to the officer. As I approached the car, she began her interrogation.

Fuzz: How old are you?
Me (baffled): How old am I?
Fuzz: Yes.
Me: 30.
Fuzz: Do you think that's a good place to park your car, when you have to bump the car behind you to get in?
Me: Did we bump it? I didn't see any bumping.
Fuzz: Yeah you did. I saw it move.
Me: Oh. Sorry.
Fuzz: I know parking is tight around here, but we get a lot of calls about this.
Me: [can't think of a response]
Fuzz: How do you expect that car behind you to get out?
Me: The same way we got in?
Fuzz: [can't think of a response]
Me: Are you telling me to move the car? If you tell me to move it, I'll move it.
Fuzz: I'm not going to tell you to move it.
Me: Okay.
Fuzz: Okay. Have a good evening.
Me: Thanks.

We did have a good evening.

How many times have you been arrested, Mr. President?

The World's Shortest Blog is offering a bounty (currently up to $1372.72) for the first one to publicly ask this question of George Bush:

How many times have you been arrested, Mr. President?

Hopefully the bounty will get big enough to cover the stitches the winner will likely need after being kicked in the head by Bush supporters.

Freedom, Bush Style

The war-mongering jerks of the world have settled recently on "Liberation of the Iraqi People" and "Spreading the Shining Light of Freedom and Democracy" as the justifications du jour for the war in Iraq. It's important for us to keep in mind that the kind of freedom and democracy that George Bush has in mind is the kind that doesn't involve much actual freedom and/or democracy.

Secret Service agents are famous for their willingness to take a bullet for the president. Less famous is their willingness to take out a heckler for the president.

Officially, the Secret Service does not concern itself with unarmed, peaceful demonstrators who pose no danger to the commander in chief. But that policy was inoperative here Thursday when seven AIDS activists who heckled President Bush during a campaign appearance were shoved and pulled from the room -- some by their hair, one by her bra straps -- and then arrested for disorderly conduct and detained for an hour.

After Bush campaign bouncers handled the evictions, Secret Service agents, accompanied by Bush's personal aide, supervised the arrests and detention of the activists and blocked the news media from access to the hecklers.


One uniformed Secret Service agent complained to a colleague that "the press is having a field day" with the disruption -- and the agents quickly clamped down. Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site -- even though their colleagues were free to come and go. An agent, who did not give his name, told one journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators and that there was a "different set of rules" for reporters who did not seek out the activists.

(emphasis mine)
Washington Post

September 9, 2004
Parody No More

Onion headline from January, 2001, a few days before Bush's inauguration:

Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over'

And here's a version of the article, annotated with hyperlinks to news sources showing how much of this "parody" has actually come to pass. What was once an hilarious joke has come unhilariously true.

"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"

The whole thing should be required reading. This isn't funny anymore.

The Deserter in Chief

I tend to hate all the talk about Vietnam in this, or any other, campaign season. The shit was 35 years ago. Get over it. It was an important time in our history, blah blah, yes yes, but it's not f-in' relevant to this election, okay? There are a few slightly more immediate concerns than what the candidates said and did 35 years ago.

But, if it's going to be an issue, and clearly it is, then we should really be hammering George Bush on this. The fact that John Kerry, who volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was awarded many medals, has somehow come out of this the pussy, while George Bush, who was a frickin' cheerleader and has never released all of his military records is the Rambo, is just ridiculous.

The Kerry campaign needs to hit him hard on this. They want to question whether Kerry deserved all 3 of his Purple Hearts? Well, how about some questions about whether George Bush did his duty at all.

President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the National Guard came under renewed scrutiny on Wednesday as newfound documents emerged from his squadron commander's file that suggested favorable treatment.

At the same time, a once powerful Texas Democrat came forward to say that he had "abused my position of power" by helping Mr. Bush and others join the Guard.


One document, a "memo to file" dated May 1972 , refers to a conversation between Colonel Killian and Lieutenant Bush when they "discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November," because the lieutenant "may not have time."

The memo said the commander had worked to come up with options, "but I think he's also talking to someone upstairs."

Colonel Killian wrote in another report, dated Aug. 1, 1972, that he ordered Lieutenant Bush "suspended from flight status" because he failed to perform to standards of the Air Force and Texas Air National Guard and "failure to meet annual physical examination (flight) as ordered."

Colonel Killian also wrote in a memo that his superiors were forcing him to give Lieutenant Bush a favorable review, but that he refused.

"I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job," he wrote.

New York Times

The questions about John Kerry's service are made up. The questions about Bush's service are real, documented facts. And yet...

More from CNN

Are We Safer Yet?


Showing true dedication to their eternal struggle to keep Americans safer, Republicans have honorably done nothing to renew the ban on assault weapons.

That's right. In order to keep you safer, the prohibition against military style high-capacity machine guns is almost certain to expire on Monday, despite polls that show overwhelming public support for the ban, and federal statistics showing a 65% decline in crimes traceable to assault weapons since the law went into effect.

The president has said that he would sign the ban if it were passed by Congress, but has done nothing to influence lawmakers in that direction.

Senator Bill Frist, Devil Spawn of Tennessee, said "I think the will of the American people is consistent with letting it expire, so it will expire." The will of about 25% of the American people, yes, Senator. Thank you for so staunchly representing that small minority.

So keep your head up come Monday, because in order to protect your freedom, Americans will once again be allowed to own their very own little weapons of mass destruction.

September 8, 2004
Bloody Sunday

Alert reader Marshall sends this odd nugget: George Bush "performing" Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

Marshall's reaction is also mine: This must have taken a long time.

Cheney: A Vote for Kerry May Kill Your Children

New York Times headline this morning: Cheney Warns of Terror Risk if Kerry Wins.

I nearly fell out of my chair. Can he really be saying this publicly? That voting for the opposition candidate literally puts your life in danger? How low can you get?

The Bush campaign claims that the remarks were taken out of context, and here's the thing -- they were. The Times even links to a transcript of Cheney's speech, in which several of the quotes attributed to him do not appear.

For example, the Times quotes the following:

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice," Mr. Cheney told a crowd of 350 people in Des Moines, "because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."

The transcript they have linked to this article does not contain the words "right choice," "devastating," or "standpoint."

BUT, while the remarks were poorly quoted, the idea was the same. Here is what he actually said (according to the transcript, that is. If anyone has video of his speech, that would be keen.):

And secondly, if they hit us hard enough, they could change our policy -- because they did, for example, in Somalia in 1994, when they killed 19 of our guys, and within weeks, we had pulled everybody out of Somalia. So the choice we're going to make is absolutely essential, and I feel especially strongly about it. I think everybody does. When you start to think about the kind of decision we're going to make now, if you put it back into that late 1940s, early 1950s time frame and think about how long those policies were place, and how vital they were to our success in the Cold War, and to our emerging from that period of time without all the potential, the negative effects that could have emerged from it. And remember, the decisions we're going to make this year will probably set the terms and conditions for our kids and grandkids in terms of what kind of world they're going to inherit, whether or not we'll be safe and secure here in the United States -- or whether or not we're going to be faced once again with a series of terrorist attacks the kind that we've seen around the world since 9/11.

While not in quite such strong terms as the Times quotes, Cheney is saying here that electing Kerry will open us to a "series of terrorist attacks." That our choice in November will determine whether or not our children and grandchildren will be "safe and secure."

The weird thing about what he says is that he's citing attacks that have happened since 9/11 -- under his and Bush's watch.

So.. how does this work? If we elect the other guy, things will be as bad as they have been under you guys?

Bush/Cheney : We're Starting To Get The Hang Of This


Yesterday I received this flier for a closely contested Washington State Representative seat.


I'm probably going to vote for Helen Sommers -- a long-serving Democrat being villified for making realistic and practical decisions over the years which happened to include some compromises with Republicans -- but this pamphlet is ridiculous.

"Why would anyone attack Helen Sommers?" She's just a harmless old lady who wants to water her wildflowers in peace, you monsters! Look at her! She has an old tin watering can! Why don't you just leave the poor lady alone?

Why would anyone attack Helen Sommers? Because she's a politician.

I know yesterday I argued that John Kerry should do whatever he has to do to win the election -- pull hair, groin stuff, whatever it takes -- but let's at least keep it this side of completely absurd, okay?

September 7, 2004
Gravestone Milestone
U.S. military deaths in the Iraq campaign passed the 1,000 milestone Tuesday, with more than 800 of them during the stubborn insurgency that flared after the Americans brought down Saddam Hussein and President Bush (news - web sites) declared major combat over.


Meanwhile, the number of Iraqi civilians killed during the same period is at between 11,793 and 13,802, according to this web site.

Bush a Loser, Study Shows

Okay, it doesn't really show that specifically, but that doesn't make it any less true.

The study does show, however, that there is virtually no chance that Bush will be able to keep his promise of cutting the budget deficit by half in the next five years. So, while his loserness may be somewhat up for debate, there's no question that he's a disingenuous prick.

Almost regardless of what happens in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush is very unlikely to fulfill his promise of reducing the federal budget deficit by half within five years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said today.

In the last independent assessment of Mr. Bush's fiscal legacy before the elections, the Congressional agency said that if there were no change to existing law, the federal deficit would decline only modestly from a record of $422 billion in 2004 to about $312 billion in 2009.

If Mr. Bush persuades Congress to make his tax cuts permanent, he will fall even farther short of his promise. The federal deficit could reach nearly $500 billion in 2009 and the federal debt could swell by $4.8 trillion over the next decade.

The new estimate is the first time that the Congressional agency has projected that President Bush will not be able to fulfill his promise, made last February, to cut the deficit by half.

New York Times

Speaking for the up-is-down contingent, Republican Jim Nussle of Iowa had this to say:

"This report underscores that our policies are working to create a stronger economy, more jobs and a lower deficit."
Kerry Says Mean Things, But Good

More like this, please.

"Only George W. Bush could celebrate over a record budget deficit of $422 billion, a loss of 1.6 million jobs and Medicare premiums that are up by a record 17 percent," Kerry said. "W stands for wrong - the wrong direction for America."
Memo to John Kerry

This memo to John Kerry from Tom Schaller is exactly right. Kerry better start playing hardball right now or it's going to be a slaughter.

Your reputation is that of a closer. Well, it's closing time, Senator. Stop worrying like Al Gore did about how the editorial pages will judge you. Rove and Bush don't give a damn whether the Beltway snobatorium thinks they play gutter-level politics; indeed, many are happy to smile cheerily as they get knee-deep in the sewage.

The point is that the Bush team knows history will only remember the Electoral College results. That said, it's long past time to start giving Rove the Rove Treatment by going directly after the president's strengths.


The presidency is not won on esoteric arguments about this or that economic report; sadly, it's won by convincing Americans - 70 percent of whom cannot identify their member of Congress - with schoolyard political tactics. Bush is the guy who gets the girls to do his homework, and still gets to be class president because he is a star on the baseball team and sits at the cool table at lunchtime. But enough kids, though scared of him, still hate him.

I hope this advice gets to the Kerry campaign. They need to understand this. Profoundly sad as it may be, this is what we're faced with -- an election that will turn on fear and ignorance. Do what you have to do to win.

September 6, 2004


I came upon this Albert Einstein quote today, one that I'd never read before:

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

I'm sure Al was talking about some freaky property of worm holes or something, but it strikes me that -- as with most great quotes -- it's quite universal.

To me, right now, it means that discovering the problems we face is a significant but small part of the process of solving them, if they can be solved at all. There has to be a significant shift in thinking from the mind that discovered or acknowledged the problem to the one that can understand or implement its solution.

The answers are out there, it's the shift in thinking that's hard. Speaking for myself, I'm very much a creature of habit, externally and internally, and I suspect that you are too. Sometimes it serves me well, it can be comforting. Sometimes, though, it's rather more like a pit of tar.

Another Einstein quote of relevance: "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."

Pentagon Investigating Kerry's Medals

UPDATE :: There is some question about what this story all means, as noted in some of the comments on this post at Talk Left. It may be that the Navy has simply accepted the complaint, but not announced an actual investigation yet. The group behind the complaint, Judicial Watch, described in the article as "bipartisan" is anything but, having received huge sums of money from Richard Mellon Scaife.

We'll see what happens with this. It's possible that the American media's lack of reportage on this story is actually, believe it or not, responsible.

************* Original Post *****************

You have got to be kidding me.

No, seriously, is this a joke?

Why can I only find references to this in the UK and Australian media?

In a fresh blow to John Kerry's flagging presidential campaign, the Pentagon has ordered an official investigation into the awards of the Democratic senator's five Vietnam War decorations.

News of the inquiry came as President George W Bush opened an 11-point lead over his rival - the widest margin since serious campaigning began - according to the first poll released since last week's Republican convention.

A question mark has been raised over one of John Kerry's awards

The highly unusual inquiry is to be carried out by the inspector-general's office of the United States navy, for which Sen Kerry served as a Swift Boat captain for four months in 1968, making two tours of duty.

He was wounded in action and subsequently awarded three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star. But for the past month, the exact details of Mr Kerry's military service in Vietnam have become shrouded in a controversy that the navy has now decided warrants a full-blown search for the truth.

Daily Telegraph

In the middle of a presidential campaign, after a group of proven liars with close ties to the Bush campaign and the Bush family launched a campaign of slander against the challenger, the Pentagon is now investigating his war record. His war record from 35 years ago.

As for George W. Bush's war record, well, big parts of that keep coming up missing, don't they...

This is really unbelievable. Does anyone doubt that the Pentagon was directed to undertake this investigation by political appointees?

It is a sad, sad state of affairs when a presidential campaign being conducted in the middle of an actual, current war is focusing on one that ended 30 years ago.

John Kerry fought in Vietnam. He was wounded in Vietnam. Are these assholes really claiming that he stabbed himself in the leg or exaggerated wounds so that he could collect medals for a possible future political career? Even if his wounds were superficial, are we really honestly examining whether or not our soldiers really deserve every medal we've awarded them. This is coming from the party that claims to respect and honor military service?

The answer is that of course they don't think any of these things are true, but they know that by raising the questions, and certainly by launching a Pentagon investigation, doubts are raised in the public's pathetically uninformed mind, and that's enough. That's all it takes in a close race.

The finger here should be pointed squarely at the media, after it is pointed at each of us for failing to demand an honest debate. This election will be decided by people who fall for this crap. They know it, they exploit it, we have to stop them.

(Thanks to Geek Fun for the tip, but no link! What, I gotta do my own research?)

PE in the Hizzy

public enemy

Last night Liz and I went to Bumbershoot, Seattle's annual Arts, Music, Teenagers and Funnel Cake Festival, to see Public Enemy.

Yeaaaaaah Boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I've always liked PE, for their music, but mostly for their politics. Chuck D has been droppin' science for years and never devolved into the bling-bling gangsta crap that completely dominates hip-hop these days. And now he has his own show on Air America Radio.

On the way into the stadium, I spotted a middle-aged man wearing a George Bush baseball cap. I generally feel like smacking such people, and this time was no different. As usual, I refrained. Instead I just got a little depressed that there are so many people in this country who are so gullible, so completely out of touch with reality, that they support that lying bastard. They actually seem to think he has any interest in making the world a better place.

I felt better, though, when PE launched into a subtle protest song the title of which I can only assume was "Fuck George Bush." It went something like this:

Fuck George Bush!
Fuck George Who?
Fuck George Bush!
Fuck George Who?
He's the son of a baaad man!

Public Enemy recently teamed up with Moby for a single called "Make Love, Fuck War" and this was chanted between every song. The crowd was mostly very enthusiastic about this idea, and I was really enjoying imagining that skinny bush hat wearing white guy somewhere in the crowd.

Other than the political fury, the show was fine, basically a greatest hits set with sound quality that ranged from tolerable to ear-splitting, depending on where you were standing. The cheesesteaks didn't have enough cheese, either.

Good times.

September 4, 2004
The Speech

I didn't watch George Bush's acceptance speech. I know that in month's past I would have been all over it, and likely made some kind of "know thy enemy" argument for sitting through what was surely to be, and indeed was, a lot of really disgusting crap. That was then, and this is now, and now I have a stomach ache.

Six months of watching this election has given me a pit in my stomach, and watching him accept his party's nomination just seemed like unnecessary torture.

I've seen clips of it, though, and I've read a good bit of it. It turns out I was wise not to watch it.

This was not the speech of an incumbent, it was like he was running for office for the first time. He went down a laundry list of things he will do should he be reelected, most of which were things he said he'd do last time he ran for office.

The problem, as The Washington Post points out (They've been doing some pretty good actual reporting lately. Bravo.) is that he has no plan to carry out any of these lofty goals, he's just saying what he needs to say to get elected.

I found the convention mostly nauseating on the whole. A lot of anger and mean-spiritedness from those people, complaining about the Democrats as if they had any power whatsoever, and in the end just a four day character assassination of John Kerry. It is very telling, I think, that the Democrats, who have every reason in the world to complain about the leadership of our country these past 4 years didn't, and instead focused on positive messages, while the Republicans acted like mad dogs.

September 3, 2004
Love is Like... Oxygen

luke and jeanhee

As promised, photos from Luke and Jeanhee's wedding and related program activities are now available for your online looking-at pleasure. I spent a long time mucking around with them in Photoshop, so don't skimp on the praise, ya hear?

Four separate albums, some less Luke and Jeanhee centered than others, but all a collective portrait of a good old time.

» New York City and the Ride North (high-res prints available at ofoto.com)
» Keg Stands and Balloon Things (high-res prints available at ofoto.com)
» The Actual Wedding (high-res prints available at ofoto.com)
» The Actual Reception (high-res prints available at ofoto.com)

Other stories from the weekend, most of a markedly less wholesome nature, will have to wait. There are clues, though, in the store.

High-res prints available soon now. They look much better in high-res. Click through the "Order Prints" button in each album or the links above.

September 2, 2004
Meaningless Sniping

A great editorial in the Times today.

So far, this has been an election season of monumental simple-mindedness, in which the candidates start each day by telling us this is the most important election in the history of the planet, then devote the rest of their waking hours to meaningless sniping. But it's certainly not too late to elevate the conversation.

Tonight we do not need Mr. Bush to remind us that he went to ground zero and spoke through a bullhorn. It was a fine gesture that any president would have made. As far as judging his leadership, it is as irrelevant as the famous extra minutes he spent in a classroom in Florida during a reading of "The Pet Goat" after the World Trade Center was attacked.

Speaking of meaningless sniping, "Democrat" Zell Miller spoke at the Republican Convention yesterday, full of hate and venom toward John Kerry and completely devoid of anything meaningful. Dick Cheney followed suit.

Dana Milbank of The Wasington Post alalyzes their filth.

On a day when the official theme was economic opportunity, Sen. Zell Miller (Ga.), the keynote speaker, made no mention of the economy. Instead, he delivered a derisive indictment of the Democratic presidential nominee, saying Kerry would arm the military with "spitballs" and "outsource our national security" to Paris. Miller, a disaffected Democrat, said that Kerry's words "encourage our enemies" and that Democratic leaders are "motivated more by partisan politics than by national security."

Vice President Cheney, in his speech Wednesday night, devoted fewer than 100 of his nearly 2,700 words to the economy, instead launching an extended attack on Kerry's ability to fight terrorists. Saying Kerry wants to show al Qaeda "our softer side," Cheney asserted that "a strong and purposeful America is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe -- yet time and again Senator Kerry has made the wrong call on national security."

Really - seriously - is there anyone out there who really thinks America is safer because of Bush's policies? It's simply absurd. So who's making the "wrong calls" on national security? John Kerry? What universe do these jerks live in?

George W. Bush - Because He Says So

The Daily Show's George Bush tribute film parody is, in a word, really, really funny and good and scary and funny.

Watch it now. Because I said so.

September 1, 2004
Double Yikes

Everything you always wanted to know about nuclear weapons but were afraid to ask, in handy short answer form.

Now you're not afraid to ask, you're just afraid. Isn't that better?


big brother

Softwood Furniture Mania Kills 3
A stampede of hundreds of shoppers in western Saudi Arabia has left at least three people crushed to death.

A Saudi man and a Pakistani man were among those killed, officials in the port city of Jeddah said.

The incident occurred after shoppers rushed into a branch of Ikea to claim a limited number of credit vouchers being offered to the public.

BBC News

I don't really have anything to say about this, I just thought it was sad and, admittedly, sort of funny. Not funny that those people are dead, of course, but funny in the absurdity of the whole thing -- a crushing mob of Saudis killing each other to save $150 bucks on some Swedish housewares. I mean, really, let's just admit it, a story about three people dying in Saudi Arabia at a store wouldn't be all over the Interweb if people weren't secretly chuckling about it. Or maybe it's just the strange fascination the world seems to have with tramplings. We don't talk much about car accidents or genocides, but if a few people get smushed at a soccer game or a country bear jamboroo, the news is around the world in 10 seconds.

Great tragedy, though, I know. And of course there's the whole rabid-Western-cosumerism-is-taking-over-the-world-and-now-look-what's-happened angle. That's a good one, too.

I'm sorry I chuckled, I'll probably get hit by an IKEA truck on my bike tomorrow.

Stop the Presses!

*rubs eyes in disbelief*

Am I crazy, or does this article in The Washington Post display actual, real live fact-checking?

The article takes Rudy Guliani to task for many of the statements he made about John Kerry in his speech at the Republican Convention. Many of his quotations from and assertions about John Kerry were completely out of context (shocker!) and misleading.

The bigger issue here, though, is the depth of cynicism coming out of the convention. They can't run on Bush's record, obviously, so they're crassly using September 11, parading orphans and widows around on stage, and talking shit about John Kerry. Nothing about why George Bush should be president for four more years or what he might do with that time, just attacks and sick manipulation.

As Stephen Colbert said on The Daily Show, the theme of this convention seems to be "Unmitigated Gall."

Bush Leadership Cited, Shit Blows Up

I honestly haven't really had the stomach to follow the Repuglicans Convention too closely this week. I expect they're saying and will continue to say exactly what I assume they'll say, and I'm working on a pretty good no-vomiting streak here that I don't want to blow.

One of their major themes, of course, is president Bush's leadership in the War on Terror! Last night he was praised for putting "all his heart and soul" into fighting terrorism. That's all well and good, you know, but it would be better if it was working at all. I'm not sure the families of the thousands and thousands of dead will take much comfort in his good intentions. I know I don't.

A sampling of headlines appearing right around the time they were praising Bush's leadership against terror:

Twin Blasts Kill 16 in Israel; Hamas Claims Responsibility

Talks to Disarm Rebel Shiites Collapses in Iraq

7 Killed in Kabul as Bombing Rips a U.S. Contractor

Well done, old boy. Your leadership is simply amazing.

I also find it repugnant and sad that they have continually invoked 9/11 during their convention. Obviously New Yorkers are not their target audience, but to basically stand right next to the site of such a terrifying and deeply personal event for the people of that city and suck it up into their heartless noise machine, using it to impugn John Kerry's hypothetical leadership, and somehow arguing that the 9/11 attacks should make us want to vote for George Bush is just sick.

Damn it, there goes my no-vomit streak.