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October 31, 2004
Old Tricks

This is an old one, so hopefully not very many people will fall for it. Unfortunately, the reason tactics like this pop up every election is that they work.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Charleston County election officials cautioned South Carolinians on Friday to steer clear of a fake letter that threatens the arrest of voters who have outstanding parking tickets or have failed to pay child support.

--snip--

The one-page letter poses as a message from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

--snip--

The letter says voters must have a credit check, provide two forms of photo identification, a Social Security card, a voter registration card as well as a handwriting sample.

AP

How do they sleep at night? Really, I have trouble sleeping at night and I'm not even close to that evil.

Powell: We're Losing

Via The Poor Man, and Salon.com before him.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has privately confided to friends in recent weeks that the Iraqi insurgents are winning the war, according to Newsweek. The insurgents have succeeded in infiltrating Iraqi forces "from top to bottom," a senior Iraqi official tells Newsweek in tomorrow's issue of the magazine, "from decision making to the lower levels."

This is a particularly troubling development for the U.S. military, as it prepares to launch an all-out assault on the insurgent strongholds of Fallujah and Ramadi, since U.S. Marines were counting on the newly trained Iraqi forces to assist in the assault. Newsweek reports that "American military trainers have been frantically trying to assemble sufficient Iraqi troops" to fight alongside them and that they are "praying that the soldiers perform better than last April, when two battalions of poorly trained Iraqi Army soldiers refused to fight."

If the Fallujah offensive fails, Newsweek grimly predicts, "then the American president will find himself in a deepening quagmire on Inauguration Day."

Why does Colin Powell hate our troops?

Dirty Tricks

Kos has a good sampling of Republican voter suppression efforts around the country.

Read, and be horrified.

Hersh on Bush
Seymour M. Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter now writing for The New Yorker magazine, was asked Tuesday at the University of Michigan why Sen. John Kerry isn't easily leading the presidential race over George W. Bush when the war in Iraq is going so badly.

"I think one thing you have to face up to is the fact there are roughly 70 million people in America who do not believe in evolution - and those are Bush supporters," said Hersh, who is up front about his support for Kerry.

--snip--

Hersh, who broke the story of U.S. military abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, said conditions aren't much better at the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where suspected terrorists are being held. When all the details come out, Hersh said, the comparison will be to Andersonville, the infamous Confederate Civil War prison in Georgia.

Ann Arbor News

Bush Intended To Invade Iraq in 2000

The Guerrilla News Network has the story of George Bush's intention to invade Iraq if he were elected president all the way back in 2000.

The source for this bombshell is a reporter who once served as Bush's ghost writer on "A Charge to Keep" and an old Bush family friend. The article is written by Russ Baker, a reporter with a solid reputation. (This source verification from Josh Marshall.)

"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade... if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."

--snip--

"He told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake," Herskowitz said. "That was one of the keys to being a leader."

Guerrilla News Network

Is that what they're teaching at Harvard Business School these days? Being a leader means never admitting a mistake?

Redskins Predict: Kerry Wins

A story has been floating around recently about how the Washington Redskins have correctly predicted every presidential election since 1936, in that if the 'Skins win their last home game before the election, the incumbent party retains the White House. If they lose, the incumbents are out. This has held true for 16 elections, going all the way back to 1936 when the Washington Redskins were the Boston Redskins.

The Redskins had a home game today versus the Green Bay Packers.

Final score:
Green Bay: 28
Washington: 14

Between this and the whole Indian astrology thing, things are looking pretty good.

Most Of What You Need To Know...

... you can learn on This American Life.

I HIGHLY recommend taking a listen to this week's episode, entitled "Swing Set," which focuses on undecided voters. There is also a segment about voter fraud, which will, if you have any sense of what is right at all, have you screaming at your radio (or radio-streaming computer), as Ira Glass warns.

So worth an hour of your time, it's not even funny.

Know Your Rights

The DNC posts their Voter Bill of Rights.

Learn in. Live it. Love it.

Text Message Poll

Zogby International has the results of their first-ever text-messaging poll.

Kerry - 55%
Bush - 40%

... among 18-29 year-old likely voters.

Only 2.3% of 18-29 year-olds said they did not plan to vote, with another .5% saying they weren't sure if they would vote.

Good news.

October 30, 2004
Boo

Happy Halloween.

no dubya pumpkin

The countdown until Bush-loving ruffians smash it starts now.

Republicans For Terror

Bush campaign officials respond to the recent Osama tape

"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.

New York Daily News

A "little gift." The man who murdered over 3,000 people on September 11 is still at large and sending threatening messages to the American people. And that's celebrated as good news by the Bush campaign. They're excited about the fact that you're terrorized. This is good for them. They came right out and said it. Be afraid, it helps us.

This is beyond disgusting.

David Brooks is freaking out over the video, consumed by the emotions he felt 3 years ago and looking for a leader that shares his irrationality.

One of the crucial issues of this election is, Which candidate fundamentally gets the evil represented by this man? Which of these two guys understands it deep in his gut - not just in his brain or in his policy statements, but who feels it so deep in his soul that it consumes him?

--snip--

We are revealed by what we hate. When it comes to Osama bin Laden, Kerry hasn't revealed whatever it is that lies inside.

New York Times

Well allow me to reveal myself, David. I hate you.

I hate that you think it's better to have a leader who is "consumed" by hate than one who understands world issues rationally and acts after considering the facts. I hate that you accuse Senator Kerry of politicizing September 11th, when George Bush invented politicizing September 11th.

All that the Osama tape shows is that the man responsible for September 11th is still at large and still threatening our lives. Who is responsible for allowing him to remain at large? John Kerry? Democrats?

No. George Bush is responsible. He squandered unprecedented world support for the hunting down of this killer in a matter of weeks, embarking on a costly and deadly adventure which diverted nearly all resources from the hunt for this man. If bin Laden strikes again, blame George Bush.

Soldier Clones For Bush

From a Bush television ad:

bush soldier clones

Story on Salon.com and LA Times.

Naturally, the Bush campaign blames some "renegade editor" for the doctored image. I'm sure the people who edit the Bush campaign's ads in the final weeks of the most expensive and contentious political campaign in history are just given free reign. Lying bastards.

Anyway, see, again, how they lie. Lie, Bush, lie.

Internet Vets For Truth

While I really can't say enough bad things about the site design (I feel like I'm being invited to a bomb-themed wedding), Internets Vets for Truth is a great site to bone up on our truth before Tuesday.

My particular favorite video is this one, which nearly made me vomit in furious rage.

October 29, 2004
Vote for Turd Sandwich

South Park explains why it's important to vote.

Brilliant.

south park

Zogby: Kerry Will Win

On The Daily Show last night, Stewart asked John Zogby (of polling fame) who was going to win the election.

Zogby said, simply, "Kerry."

I'm so glad he said that. I'm still nervous as hell, but for a second there, it felt like Christmas.

It's America... Remember?

Sit back for a second and try to remember what this country is really supposed to stand for. I'm sure you learned it once. Try to remember what words like "freedom" and "democracy" really mean.

Now read on..

From Dan Froomkin

A reader e-mailed me this story by Matt Coughlin in yesterday's Bucks County Courier Times:

"A Lower Makefield woman said she received a rude awakening Wednesday when she tried to get tickets to see President Bush today in Lower Makefield.

"Simi Nischal got a ride with a co-worker to pick up tickets for herself, her husband, Narinder, and their two children. But just as the tickets were about to be placed in her hands, she was escorted from the Yardley gristmill and told to leave, she said.

"'I deny you the right to attend this rally,' Nischal said a Bush-Cheney campaign worker told her.

"Apparently, Nischal's ride was a Kerry-Edwards supporter. Her car sported a bumper sticker for the Democratic candidates."

Another reader e-mailed me this two-week old Des Moines Register story by Lynne Campbell, who writes that "John Sachs, 18, a Johnston High School senior and Democrat, went to see Bush in Clive last week. Sachs got a ticket to the event from school and wanted to ask the president about whether there would be a draft, about the war in Iraq, Social Security and Medicare.

"But when he got there, a campaign staffer pulled him aside and made him remove his button that said, 'Bush-Cheney '04: Leave No Billionaire Behind.' The staffer quizzed him about whether he was a Bush supporter, asked him why he was there and what questions he would be asking the president."

Sachs told Campbell: "Then he came back and said, 'If you protest, it won't be me taking you out. It will be a sniper,' . . . He said it in such a serious tone it scared the crap out of me."

Chris Suellentrop writes in Slate from a rally yesterday for Laura Bush in Port St. Lucie, where the crowd was led in "the Bush Pledge" by Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt.

"The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: 'I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.'

"I know the Bush-Cheney campaign occasionally requires the people who attend its events to sign loyalty oaths, but this was the first time I have ever seen an audience actually stand and utter one."

Seriously, I would like to find one, just one, person that can mount even the most rudimentary defense of this. This is straight up totalitarian dictator stuff. Do you think Saddam Hussein let people who disagreed with him near his rallies? Of course not. Sure, he killed them, and we're not at that point yet. But apparently we're at the point where campaign workers will threaten to have someone killed.

And then there's this, from Law Geek, an image of a fraudulent letter that was sent out to Democrats in Lake County, Ohio.

lake county letter

Here's a PDF of the Lake County Election authority's response, warning people that the letter is fake.

More? Here's an image from a Bush rally, showing a brown-shirt tearing down a sign that read "Republicans for Kerry."

kerry sign removed

We've all been conditioned even, to think that maybe they have a right to restrict opposition signs at their functions. Why should they have to allow the other side at their event?

The answer is easy. Because of freedom. That's what it really means. If the protesters are yelling or throwing eggs or poop or something, then fine, remove them. But wearing a button is not disruptive. Holding a sign that says something different than everyone else's sign is not disruptive. Getting a ride from someone with a bumper sticker for the other guy on their car is not disruptive.

If it becomes disruptive, it's only because these people's FREE SPEECH is butting heads with the fascist intolerance of Bush-rally-attending, goose-stepping, Kool-Aid drinking jackasses*.

Really, what is going on around here?

* Naturally, while I consider these people to be jackasses of the first order, I would never suggest that they don't have the right to be so, or that they have the right to show up at public functions and act like the jackasses that they so obviously are. That's the difference.

Kerry Wins By Cosmic Writ

You should definitely vote anyway, you know, just to keep up appearances, but this thing's already in the bag.

planet kerry

... top Indian astrologers say the planets have clearly made up their mind: John Kerry will win.

Planets governing President Bush are eclipsed and in an uncomfortable position, making his tenure controversial and his re-election bid unsuccessful, the soothsayers said on Friday, four days before the vote.

On the other hand, the planets of Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry were in the ascendant, ensuring him success in competitions.

"Saturn, which is the lord of health and fortune for President Bush, has been eclipsed by the Sun, which is unfortunate and gives him a clear defeat," Lachhman Das Madan, editor of a popular astrology magazine, told Reuters.

"Kerry will win," said Madan, who is also known as "the emperor of astrologers." "It is cosmic writ that George W. Bush cannot become president of United States again."

Reuters

Cosmic writ! Awesome!

Reason # I Lost Count Not to Shop at Wal-Mart

They're freedom-hating religious nutjobs.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, is not selling comedian George Carlin's best-selling new book, "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops," in its stores because its cover makes fun of the "Last Supper," a spokesman for Carlin says.

Reuters.

The offending cover..

carlin cover

Unsharp Bulge

Robert Nelson, a NASA scientist and international authority on image analysis, has come forward with his opinion on the Bush bulge. His conclusion?

"I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate."

bush bulge

Full story on Salon.com (registration required).

Right Back Atcha, George

Bush elevates the discourse. Video.

bush middle finger

Game, Set, Match

After 380 tons of explosives went missing in Iraq earlier this week and John Kerry pounced on it as yet another staggering example of the Bush administration's lack of planning and stunningly poor execution of this war, the Bush people started firing back yesterday, accusing Kerry of "jumping to conclusions" and asserting that those weapons could very well have been removed before our forces arrived in Iraq.

Well, that irksome little thing called THE TRUTH just keeps popping up and biting these jerks in the ass, doesn't it?

KSTP News 5 has video of U.S. soldiers at Al Qaqaa inspecting craploads of what are most certainly explosives last April. We knew they were there and we just left them out in the desert unprotected. Now who knows whose hands they're in and who knows how many deaths they've caused.

Worse, there is little chance that the administration doesn't know we knew they were there. If the 101st Airborne found this stuff last April, someone knew they found it. And we didn't secure it.

CNN had former head weapons inspector David Kay on to analyze the video..

Aaron Brown: We saw at the top of the program there is new information to factor in. Pretty conclusive to our eye. So we'll sort through this now. Take the politics out of it and try and deal with facts with former head UN weapons inspector, US weapons inspector, David Kay. David, it's nice to see you.

David Kay: Good to be with you, Aaron.

AB: I don't know how better to do this than to show you some pictures have you explain to me what they are or are not. Okay? First what I'll just call the seal. And tell me if this is an IAEA seal on that bunker at that munitions dump?

DK: Aaron, about as certain as I can be looking at a picture, not physically holding it which, obviously, I would have preferred to have been there, that is an IAEA seal. I've never seen anything else in Iraq in about 15 years of being in Iraq and around Iraq that was other than an IAEA seal of that shape.

AB: Was there anything else at the facility that would have been under IAEA seal?

DK: Absolutely nothing. It was the HMX, RDX, the two high explosives.

AB: OK now, I'll take a look at barrels here for a second. You can tell me what they tell you. They, obviously, to us just show us a bunch of barrels. You'll see it somewhat differently.

DK: Well, it's interesting. There were three foreign suppliers to Iraq of this explosive in the 1980s. One of them used barrels like this, and inside the barrels a bag. HMX is in powder form because you actually use it to shape a spherical lens that is used to create the triggering device for nuclear weapons. And particularly on the videotape, which is actually better than the still photos, as the soldier dips into it, that's either HMX or RDX. I don't know of anything else in al Qaqaa that was in that form.

AB: Let me ask you then, David, the question I asked Jamie. In regard to the dispute about whether that stuff was there when the Americans arrived, is it game, set, match? Is that part of the argument now over?

DK: Well, at least with regard to this one bunker, and the film shows one seal, one bunker, one group of soldiers going through, and there were others there that were sealed. With this one, I think it is game, set, and match. There was HMX, RDX in there. The seal was broken. And quite frankly, to me the most frightening thing is not only was the seal broken, lock broken, but the soldiers left after opening it up. I mean, to rephrase the so-called pottery barn rule. If you open an arms bunker, you own it. You have to provide security.

AB: I'm -- that raises a number of questions. Let me throw out one. It suggests that maybe they just didn't know what they had?

DK: I think you're quite likely they didn't know they had HMX, which speaks to lack of intelligence given troops moving through that area, but they certainly knew they had explosives. And to put this in context, I think it's important, this loss of 360 tons, but Iraq is awash with tens of thousands of tons of explosives right now in the hands of insurgents because we did not provide the security when we took over the country.

AB: Could you -- I'm trying to stay out of the realm of politics. I'm not sure you can.

DK: So am I.

AB: I know. It's a little tricky here. But, is there any -- is there any reason not to have anticipated the fact that there would be bunkers like this, explosives like this, and a need to secure them?

DK: Absolutely not. For example, al Qaqaa was a site of Gerald Bull's super gun project. It was a team of mine that discovered the HMX originally in 1991. That was one of the most well-documented explosive sites in all of Iraq. The other 80 or so major ammunition storage points were also well documented. Iraq had, and it's a frightening number, two-thirds of the total conventional explosives that the US has in its entire inventory. The country was an armed camp.

AB: David, as quickly as you can, because this just came up in the last hour, as dangerous as this stuff is, this would not be described as a WMD, correct?

DK: Oh absolutely not.

AB: Thank you.

DK: And, in fact, the loss of it is not a proliferation issue.

AB: Okay. It's just dangerous and its out there and by your thinking it should have been secured.

DK: Well look, it was used to bring the Pan Am flight down. It's a very dangerous explosive, particularly in the hands of terrorists.

AB: David, thank you for walking me through this. I appreciate it, David Kay the former head US weapons inspector in Iraq.

CNN

How could it be any clearer? This was a colossal failure which has probably cost many people their lives and will continue to kill more, and then they lied about it. So, after we kick these people out of office, what say we round 'em up and try them for war crimes? Come on... it'll be fun!

October 28, 2004
Scariest Halloween Costumes

Got to give it up to The Stranger, my employer, for the cover this week..

stranger cover

More scary Halloween costumes here. The Lyndie England one is my favorite.

A Dirty Business
"Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq," said Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal.

"The use of air power in areas with lots of civilians appears to be killing a lot of women and children," Roberts told Reuters.

--snip--

They found that the risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher than before the war.

Reuters

If we reelect the people who launched this war, a war that was launched with no provocation, we will all have the blood of those 100,000 Iraqis on our hands. It makes me sick to my stomach.

GOP to Kids: Fuck Democracy

Via alert reader Mike...

The superintendent of Milwaukee schools halted a get-out-the-vote program involving students after complaints were raised about its link to a pro-Kerry organization.

--snip--

Students at 33 Milwaukee schools called voters and went door to door in minority neighborhoods and areas with historically low voter turnout, urging people to cast ballots in Tuesday's election. The young people, ranging in age from 11 to 18, often conducted the efforts during school hours.

--snip--

Supporters said the youngsters were getting a valuable lesson in democracy and denied any partisanship, insisting the students did not wear political buttons or clothing and did not encourage people to vote one way or another.

--snip--

But Chris Lato, communications director for the Wisconsin Republican Party, said the program amounted to ``exploiting schoolchildren on the taxpayers' dime to conduct what is clearly a Democratic, partisan get-out-the-vote effort.''

AP

"A Democratic, partisan get-out-the-vote effort." That's what he said. Despite the fact that these kids weren't suggesting people vote one way or another, just that they vote.

Republicans continue to astound with their stance against freedom and democracy. If these kids had been canvassing in wealthy white neighborhoods that tended to vote Republican, would they be complaining? No. Any get-out-the-vote campaign threatens them because the more people that vote, particularly low-income people and minorities, the better chance Kerry has of being elected president. They know this and they're actively trying to keep turnout to a minimum, especially in areas where those people live.

They know nothing about democracy or freedom. They know only power. Stop them. Please.

October 27, 2004
Slapnose Endorses Kerry, Too

I know you've all been waiting. Here it is, my official endorsement.

John Kerry for President.

There.

I know it's traditional to back up an endorsement with a lengthy essay explaining the reasons behind it, but mine will be relatively short. To wit:

George Bush is a terrible, dangerous, scary man who intends to dismantle everything good about this country. John Kerry has no such intentions.

Shouldn't that be enough?

For a much more thorough, though lengthy, but still worth reading, endorsement-- one that receives my full endorsement-- please see The Nation's endorsement.

In a bit under 4,000 words, the editors of The Nation lay out the progressive case for voting for Kerry. He's not perfect by any stretch, and there are many serious reasons for disagreeing with him, but no less than the future of American democracy may be at stake in this election.

Some excerpts:

On Kerry's qualifications


But while we have sharp differences with Kerry, we believe he has the qualities required for the presidency. He is more than "anybody but Bush." His instincts are decent. He is a man of high intelligence, deep knowledge and great resolve. At times in his life--notably, when he opposed the Vietnam War--he has shown exemplary courage. He respects the law. He believes in cooperation with other countries and has the inclination and ability to bring America out of its current isolation and back into the family of nations. As a senator, he demonstrated concern for social welfare and has backed this up with enlightened policy proposals. He has supported civil rights and labor rights and opposed racism. He has supported the rights of women, including the right to an abortion. He has been an advocate of nuclear arms control and opposed the almost incomprehensibly provocative nuclear policies of the Bush Administration. He would rescind the most unfair of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. He would be a friend of the environment and return the United States to the negotiations on global warming.

On the Danger of a True Bush Mandate


In 2000 candidate Bush, who lost the popular contest by half a million votes and was put into the presidency by a Supreme Court decision, failed to receive a popular mandate. However, he embarked on a radical, right-wing course anyway, compounding the insult to democracy. Yet it is so far only the government that has asserted global imperial ambition, waged aggressive war on false pretexts, condoned torture, strengthened corporate influence over politics, turned its back on the natural environment and spurned global public opinion. If Bush is now elected, then a national majority--a far weightier thing--will stand behind these things. The consequences would be profound. A crippled presidency would begin to walk on two legs. At home, public affirmation would turn the record of the first term, now having been inspected and approved by the people, into the starting point for an accelerated movement in the same general direction. Bush has already put through a new round of federal budget-wrecking corporate tax cuts, called for new repressive legislation in a Patriot II act and clearly announced his desire to "democratize" not just Iraq but the entire Middle East. Abroad, such a vote would deepen and confirm the United States' separation from the rest of the world, enclosing it in an eccentric and dangerous mini-climate of ignorance and lies.

On the other hand, if Bush is defeated, his entire presidency will acquire the aspect of an aberration, a mistake that has been corrected, and the American people will be able to say: We never accepted Bushism. We rejected the brutality, the propaganda, the misbegotten wars, the imperial arrogance. And we never, ever chose George W. Bush to be President of the United States.

On What's At Stake


The overthrow of law by legal-sounding phrases penned in secret; the laws of the Republic falling before the demands of empire; nullification of any check or balance on the President; suspension of fundamental human rights; a tangle of contradictory bureaucratic memos; blind imperial ambition leading to catastrophic war; mayhem and failure in that war unfolding behind a shimmering screen of high-sounding phrases extolling the spread of democracy; panicked resort to criminal emergency measures; torture and other outrages against human dignity hidden behind a battery of euphemisms ("sleep adjustment," "setting the conditions" for interrogation); the pre-organized rejection of any accountability, including that imposed by the articles of the US criminal code: Are these not the main features we might expect to see writ large if a full-scale collapse of the Constitution of the United States were to come?

On Why Electing Kerry is The Most Important Thing We Can Do


Yet it remains true that of all the things Americans can now do to support democracy, the election of John Kerry is the most important. A Kerry presidency would seriously disrupt the concentration of power at the heart of the present danger. He might still try to "win" the Iraq war but would be less likely to wage future wars. His appointments to the Supreme Court would stop the Court's slide into unchecked, one-sided partisanship. His control of the bully pulpit would be a powerful counterforce to the right-wing propaganda that now all but drowns out other voices in the news media. His control of the agencies of the executive branch would halt, or at least retard, their merger with corporate America. More important, the simple structural fact that the Democrats are the other party would create a counterbalance to the right-wing power that predominates elsewhere in the system. The Democrats, including Kerry, have been disappointing champions of their namesake, democracy, yet the culture of their party is still an improvement over that of the Republicans. The Democrats are reluctant imperialists; the Republicans are imperialists by avocation. The Democratic Party generally wants to defend civil liberties and does so when it dares; the Republicans, with honorable exceptions, apparently would sweep them aside. The Democrats prefer social justice, however weakly they fight for it; the Republicans would give every dollar they can find to the rich. The Democrats are inclined to limit corporate power; the Republicans are corporate power.

Full text of The Nation's endorsement of Kerry.

It Is Done

red sox

58,000 Ballots Missing in Florida

This really adds nothing to our understanding of the situation (if you're new, let me catch you up to speed.. Republicans are crooks), but just to note for the record...

Up to 58,000 absentee ballots may never have reached the Broward County voters who requested them more than two weeks ago, election officials said, and state police are investigating.

Hundreds of people have called the county elections office to complain that they never got their ballots. The phone system was so overwhelmed some frustrated voters could not get through.

The county election office said the problem involved ballots mailed on Oct. 7-8, though the number of those actually missing was uncertain. Some absentee ballots mailed on those dates have already been returned to be counted.

``We are trying to determine what occurred and whether there was any kind of criminal violation,'' said Paige Patterson-Hughes, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The county blamed the U.S. Postal Service. ``That is something beyond our control,'' Deputy Supervisor of Elections Gisela Salas said. ``We really have no idea what's going on.''

Postal officials said the post office was not to blame.

CNN

I tend to believe the Postal Service here. They lose remarkably little mail, and 58,000 of the same thing? Doesn't seem likely. That's a damn lot of ballots.

Bush on Missing Weapons: Probably Kerry's Fault

Okay, he didn't really say that.

Here's what he did say today, in Lancaster Country, PA:

"If Senator Kerry had his way, we would still be taking our Global Test. Saddam Hussein would still be in power. He would control all those weapons and explosives, and could have shared them with our terrorist enemies."

Ah... yes. And where are those weapons now, Mr. Douchebag? Why, jeez, they're most likely in the hands of our terrorist enemies!

So, if Kerry "had his way," according to Bush's seriously insane view, those weapons might have gotten into the wrong hands. With Bush in power though, they're completely secure.. Err... no. Shit. What was it again? Oh yeah, they're in the hands of our terrorist enemies. Damn you, Senator Kerry!!! How could you let this happen!?!?!

See, it's not even funny anymore. They don't even try to make sense. They just spew out some words that make people cheer because the people have had their brains turned to jelly by his evil Brain-to-Jelly Ray™. Can't you see that?

Bush also offered his opinion today that these missing 380 tons of explosives may have gone missing before the U.S. ever invaded. It's "one possibility." Yeah, sure, it's one possibility. One that has no evidence to back it up. He's actually playing the "it's posssssible" game, and it's working on far too many of us.

What we always miss is the stupendously obvious. It's uncontested fact that we knew this pile of explosives was there before we went to Iraq. The IAEA warned us about it. It's documented fact. We didn't send anybody there to guard the stuff. That is a MASSIVE screw-up. Even if the weapons were removed before we got there, it may have been a good idea to send someone around to check. Didn't do that. Bush's "possibilities" really aren't possible. Even if they were possible, they represent just as colossal a mistake as the one he's trying to squirm his way out of.

I won't even go into the disingenuousness of his little "Global Test" crack. What a pile of shit this guy is. It's truly astounding that anyone would even shake his hand, let alone vote for him to rule the world.

Hello Kettle? This is George Bush. You're Black.

Quote of the day:

"A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief."

- George W. Bush, 10/27/04, Lititz, Pennsylvania

Reuters

BwwwAAAhahahahahahahaha.

Actually, it would be funny if so many people hadn't been killed because of his "jumping to conclusions." Oh, and not only does Bush jump to conclusions without the facts, but when the facts emerge, he retains his faulty conclusions.

Is THAT the kind of person we want as commander in chief?

Huh?

Is it?

Dirty Tricks

Alert reader Patti forwards this BBC News article.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

BBC NEWS

Apparently, according to Florida law, operatives of political parties are allowed to hang out inside polling places and identify voters they believe are ineligible for whatever reason, causing that voter to be given a "provisional ballot" and sent on his/her way. According to the report, provisional ballots are almost never counted. No mention of what cause, if any, the operatives have to show to single someone out.

If you watch the video of the report (link on right sidebar), there's another crazy little story.

Election supervisor Ion Sancho recounts the story of his daughter's registration mysteriously being changed to another county. Someone had gotten her to sign a petition to legalize marijuana that had carbon paper and a registration change form underneath it on the clipboard, lined up just so. Her vital information was transfered to the registration form, it was fraudulently signed and mailed in. If her father hadn't happened to be an election supervisor, no one would ever have figured it out.

If these bastards manage to steal this election, I say we kick some serious ass. I'm talking 5 million person marches on Washington, civil disobedience, whatever. If all of this significant evidence of fraud and intimidation has its intended result, we should shut this society down.

Oh, and lest anyone accuse me of ignoring evidence of Democratic election fraud, I honestly haven't seen any compelling evidence of it. I've seen several attempts at smear campaigns, but they were disingenuous at best.

For example, here's an email I received from the RNC today. It's boldly titled DEMOCRAT VOTER FRAUD WATCH and it quotes a story reported by KRQE-13 on fraudulent registrations in New Mexico. New registration for dead people, people no one's ever heard of, etc., etc.

Sounds bad, huh? Well, the report by KRQE-13 never once mentions the word "Democrat" or says a thing about who may be responsible for these registrations. Not a word. Not in the print version or in the video.

And yet, here's the email, titled "DEMOCRAT VOTER FRAUD WATCH". How strange.

So here's a likely scenario: Republicans are scouring news outlets for reports that don't specifically implicate them and using those to implicate us.

Alive and Kvetching

As some have noted, it appears that I have died.

anthony hecht

Anthony Hecht 1923-2004

Fortunately, it's not true. Although, if I were Anthony Hecht the poet, I would have won a Pulitzer Prize and lived a pretty rich life, so maybe I would be better off if I were dead. Oh well, I guess I'm stuck with being alive and not particularly noteworthy.

Strangely, though, Anthony Hecht's death seems to have increased my standing in the world as far as Google is concerned. It used to be you'd never find me through a Google search, but now this very site appears as the 11th result! Naturally I can't really prove that this has anything to do with the death of my doppelganger -- I would think that would have the opposite effect -- it may have more to do with the recent uptick in Slapnose traffic.

To sum up -- Not dead. More popular than ever.

October 26, 2004
Albright Is

I'm always a day behind on my Daily Show watching, due to certain TiVo related issues not worth getting into here, but as such I just watched the interview with Madeline Albright from last night.

She's smart, I like her. She really fucked up on the whole Rwanda thing, but you know.. it was only genocide. Actually, she wanted to do something about Rwanda but was told it couldn't be done; that it wasn't politically possible. From what I understand she was one of the strongest dissenters. Still, in the end she caved, which sucks.

Anyway, now she's talking about now.

She brings up a very interesting point, one that I've heard floating around a bit lately -- that much of the world is waiting for November 2 to see just how crazy we really are.

Currently, many people in the western world are really pissed at us, but their anger and disgust is focused on our leaders and our government, not we, the people. They consider the Bush presidency to be illegitimate, which, you know, it is. He's a psycho, but a majority of us voted for the other guy and we are not blamed for his running around invading everything.

Additionally, we didn't really know him in 2000. He was a relative new arrival in politics, most people had never heard of him and he seemed all folksy and whatnot. And, say it with me, the world was a different place then, we didn't think he'd cause too much trouble. (More accurately, we didn't listen to the people who knew he would, but we can be somewhat forgiven for that too, given the above discussion.)

If we reelect him now, though, knowing what we know about him, and having lived through the last four years, we're going to lose all that benefit of the doubt, but quick. We will no longer be separate from our leaders, in fact we'll be worse for having applauded them for ruining the world. We will show to the world that we've really lost our damn minds, and I'm not sure what will happen then.

Certainly nothing good will come of it. Does anyone really imagine a big celebration if Bush wins? I mean other than in secret chambers and lairs or in the yards of the dangerously misguided. What's to celebrate? War? Poverty? The ruining of the environment? Giant leaps backward in science and education?

So, at the risk of being repetitive (more so), can we please not reelect him? We'll never be able to show our faces in civilized society again.

Iraq Blames U.S. For Massacre

Reuters:

Iraq's U.S.-backed government said on Tuesday that "major neglect" by its American-led allies led to a massacre of 49 army recruits at the weekend.

In one of the bloodiest attacks on Iraq's fledgling security forces, the unarmed recruits were shot in the back of their heads after being stopped by guerrillas posing as policemen as they traveled home for leave.

"There was an ugly crime in which a large group of National Guards were martyred," Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told Iraq's interim national council.

"We believe this issue was the outcome of major neglect by some parts of the multinational (forces)," he said without elaborating.

Reuters

Weirdly, the Iraqi government later softened the tone of their accusations, saying they would wait for the results of the investigation, which is awesome for us, because we're great at bullshit investigations that clear us of any wrongdoing! Score!

The U.S.-led forces released a statement blaming the attacks on terrorists and terrorists alone.

A statement by the U.S.-led multinational forces in Iraq blamed the killings on "terrorists."

"This was a cold-blooded and systematic massacre by terrorists. They and no one else must be held fully accountable for these heinous acts," it said.

It strikes me that this is really illustrative of our entire problem. Bad things are the work of bad guys, period. Contributing factors and context are completely irrelevant. They would have committed these horrible acts anyway, because they're evil. What we've done before has no bearing, and we have no responsibility for the eventual consequences of our actions or inactions. Forgot to guard 380 tons of explosives? Well, that may have been a mistake, but if someone uses it to blow up thousands of people, how is that our fault?

Until the morality and foresight displayed by our policies achieves or surpasses that of a 13-year old bully, I don't really see our situation improving much.

Jon Stewart on C-SPAN

Jon Stewart was interviewed by author Ken Auletta last weekend on C-SPAN.

In between throwing out some good jokes, Stewart's incredibly sharp mind and his deeply held convictions really come through in the hour-long interview. This is a very smart man.

jon stewart cspan

"This whole idea that the President has to be a common man, and that is.. every election, people run to the bottom. 'I'm just like you... I'm a common man.' Really, you watch 10 hours of TV a day? You thought the Macarena was fun? You're like me? Don't be like me, I have an idea, be better than me. Be WAY better than me. Be so much better than me that you keep me safe, and get me health insurance. I don't understand why they want to be us; we're fucking idiots."

If you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend it (it's the October 23 edition of American Perspectives).

A Thousand-Winged Butterfly (Ballot)

Image of a ballot for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, via Aaron's Room (larger version available on his site).

cuyahoga county ballot

As the wealthiest and most technologically advanced country that has ever existed on Earth, you'd think we could come up with a reliable way to count votes. I realize there are countless systems, each with their strengths and weaknesses, but clearly what we have now is just about the worst.

This is going to be ugly.

October 25, 2004
Blast! Liberal Media Again!

Lots has been said recently about Tucker "Dick" Carlson's accusation that Jon Stewart threw softball questions at John Kerry when he interviewed him, and thus had no right to criticize CNN and other major news outlets for going easy on politicans. Carlson and Begala also did a bit of protesting that, in fact, the media isn't easy on politicians; that it was some kind of popular myth.

Salon's War Room runs down some of the tough questions Bush and Cheney have had to endure in their rare television inrterviews..

"I've got 15 questions for you. If they're dumb, tell me they're dumb."

"Do you think that when he says these things, John Kerry, your opponent, you were in these three debates with him, do you think he knows he's not telling the truth?"

"In light of the CBS document fiasco, do you think you get a fair shake from the network news and the elite media like the New York Times?"

"A guy over at Newsweek said 80 percent in the elite media favors Kerry. That doesn't surprise you, does it?"

"And you're healthy?"

"What's Chirac's problem? He hasn't been a great ally to the U.S. since 9/11. He doesn't want NATO forces to protect elections in Afghanistan. Come on."

"Do you have any theory on why college professors, pinhead press people why they go into the liberal realm?"

"Has the press given [Kerry] a pass?"

"Is it a reality that we could turn on our television sets one day -- Fox News Channel, I hope -- and find out that a nuclear weapon has gone off here?"

"You've said one of the things you were most unhappy about is this issue of the tone in Washington. Let me just run down a list of prominent Democrats for a second here, because I can't remember a time in my life where it's been this bad."

"You're the president of the United States. You're also leading troops in harm's way. This is the leader of the opposition party [criticizing you]. Does that bother you?"

"John Kerry has flipped-flopped his way into a dangerous position [regarding Iraq]. So my question is, If John Kerry were president would he make this country more vulnerable and more susceptible to terror attacks?"

"Now, all this was propaganda. All of this that you didn't ... They say you didn't register in Massachusetts [with the National Guard in 1973]. Is that bogus?"

Salon.com (registration)

This brings to mind one of my major policy proposals, so I suppose now is as good a time as any to unveil it publicly. I'm not running for any office, I'm just saying I think it's a good idea. If someone who is in power wants to steal it, go right ahead. A little shout-out wouldn't kill ya though.

So here it is.. I think we should pass a law that requires every sitting president to have a press conference at least twice a month, in prime-time. The pool of journalists from major and not-so-major media would rotate through, with you know, maybe some organizations having permanent people there while the lesser ones made it in every now and then. It would be strictly against this law for the administration to have any voice whatsoever in who got to ask question, what types of questions they were allowed to ask, or whether or not the events took place.

If the president had to miss a conference, he'd better have a damn good excuse and would have to make it up as soon as possible.

Taking it a step further, follow-up questions would not only be encouraged, but a reporter would have to agree to cede the floor before the next question could be asked. And maybe two or three times a year, a randomly chosen group of interested members of the general public would take the place of the journalists.

We need to do something, this shit is just getting ridiculous. Jon Stewart was exactly right when he told Carlson and Begala that they were "part of their [the politicians] strategy." They're all helping each other out, getting each other re-elected and boosting ratings. Everybody gets something. Everybody, of course, except us.

What If He Wins?

Howard Kurtz has a rundown of some envisioned scenarios in today's Post.

CNN's Paul Begala: "He and his allies are likely to embark on a campaign of political retribution the likes of which we haven't seen since Richard Nixon."

Columbia's Todd Gitlin: "I would not be surprised to see outbursts of political violence the likes of which we haven't seen since the Weather Underground of the 1970s."

Harvard's Elaine Kamarck, a former Clinton aide: "The beginning of the end of American greatness."

Blogger Kevin Drum: "One word: scandal."

--snip--

"Oh man," the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh said recently. "If he's reelected, we're really in trouble."

The Washington Post

The New Yorker has broken with 80-years of tradition by endorsing a candidate for president for the first time, and it's not George W. Bush.

I've been thinking about this, "What if he wins?" question quite a bit lately, and I really don't know the answer... basically, I agree with Hersh; if he's reelected, we're in big trouble. How that trouble manifests itself, I don't know. It could be massive protests, protracted legal battles, a rapid widening of the already giant partisan gulf. Or it could just appear that everything's okay. People go back to their jobs and kind of shrug it off. I think I'm more afraid of that outcome.

Look In His Eyes, It's All Lies

UPDATE :: The links below are unreliable at best, though they seem to work sometimes. Here's an alternative source, via Marshall.

Via Luke (from whom I also swiped the fab screen shot):

Eminem has a new video for the song "Mosh." Really incendiary, powerful stuff, and most importantly, something that will reach an audience that desperately needs reaching. As far as we've come in the past four years with making giving a shit cool again, it's never enough, and it's great to see people like Eminem reaching out.

eminem mosh

Watch it.

Missing: 380 Tons of Explosives

Just for a little perspective, the bomb that blew up Pan Am 103 over Scotland in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of explosive. We've lost track of over half a million pounds. 380 times the amount needed to detonate a weapon like the one we dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

The White House said President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was informed within the past month that the explosives were missing. It is unclear whether President Bush was informed. American officials have never publicly announced the disappearance, but beginning last week they answered questions about it posed by The New York Times and the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

New York Times

They knew this stuff was there, and they did nothing to protect it. On top of that, they're not even offering an excuse. Scott McClellan said it was the Iraqis' responsibility to guard it. Someone should go to jail. We launched an invasion, knowing full well that there was this massive pile of explosives, and in almost two years, we've failed to even guard it. To think that some of that material has been used to kill American soldiers is not much of a stretch, and if it hasn't yet, it surely will be. This isn't an intelligence failure, they knew it was there. So what is it? Why? What possible excuse could there be for this?

Most importantly, though, is how will this story play in the media?

We Want a Refund

I know, I know, it really seems like we don't need any more evidence that the administration is filled with liars and that they've deliberately and destructively manipulated the entire world to enrich themselves and their friends and pursue their radical, ultra-conservative psychotic agenda, but the story just isn't sticking, so we'll just have to keep at it.

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

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

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

In an Oct. 21 letter to the acting Army secretary, Ms. Greenhouse said that after her repeated questions about the Halliburton contracts, she was excluded from major decisions to award money and that her job status was threatened.

New York Times

The Dunce

One of George Bush's Harvard Business school professors, Yoshi Tsurumi, speaks out recalls his famous student...

"He showed pathological lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices and biases. He would even deny saying something he just said 30 seconds ago. He was famous for that. Students jumped on him; I challenged him." When asked to explain a particular comment, said Tsurumi, Bush would respond, "Oh, I never said that."

--snip--

Bush once sneered at Tsurumi for showing the film "The Grapes of Wrath," based on John Steinbeck's novel of the Depression. "We were in a discussion of the New Deal, and he called Franklin Roosevelt's policies 'socialism.' He denounced labor unions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Medicare, Social Security, you name it. He denounced the civil rights movement as socialism. To him, socialism and communism were the same thing. And when challenged to explain his prejudice, he could not defend his argument, either ideologically, polemically or academically."

Salon.com (registration required)

Sweeeeet.

You Go, Congressman

Via alert reader Alec..

A short clip of Congressman Tim Ryan (D- Ohio) going OFF on the whole "the country is being run by a bunch of lying crooks" thing.

tim ryan

More like this, please.

October 24, 2004
Fubar

Ugh. This is really just a god-awful mess.

In the single deadliest ambush of the insurgency, guerrillas dressed as police officers executed 49 freshly trained Iraqi soldiers on Saturday evening on a remote road in eastern Iraq as the unarmed soldiers were going home on leave, Iraqi officials said today.

The soldiers were pulled out of three minibuses at a fake checkpoint about 95 miles east of Baghdad, near the Iranian border, police officials said. They were told or forced to lie down on the ground in four rows, then killed mostly with bullets to their heads. The ambush, extraordinarily ambitious in scope and violence, showed a high level of organization, and the insurgents likely had inside information on the travel plans of the soldiers, who were members of the nascent Iraqi National Guard, officials said.

--snip--

American military officials have been admitting lately that insurgents have infiltrated the ranks of the new security forces and are undoubtedly passing on information. American troops have found piles of Iraqi police and guardsmen uniforms in various raids over the last several months. Reporters, including this one, often meet police officers and guardsmen across Iraq who curse the Americans and say they are willing to fight the occupation.

American troops who work with the Iraqi security forces generally say they are inept or outright hostile.

New York Times

October 23, 2004
Errol Morris Campaign Ads

Filmmaker Errol Morris has created a (big) series of ads for MoveOn.org, worth a look. They take their style from Apple's "Switch" ad series and feature former Republicans and other former Bush supporters who have changed their tune.

errol morris switch ads

See them all here.

Surprise: U.S. Installed Iraqui Government Not Well Liked

I'm out of town and thus not, you know, blogging a lot, but you can go and read all about it.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Support among Iraqis for the U.S.-appointed government in Baghdad has plunged since it was installed this summer, a U.S. survey released on Friday said.

The survey brought unwelcome news for the Bush administration as it fights to build stability before elections in January. It also indicated that Iraqis are most strongly influenced by their religious, rather than secular, leaders.

Reuters


October 22, 2004
Hunting for a Good Idea

I'm sorry, I really, really want John Kerry to win this election, like, in a BIG way, but this hunting trip thing was just dumb. Who the hell is making these decisions?

kerry hunting

Who in their right mind thinks John Kerry just really loves to hunt and decided he really needed to get out there and bag him a goose? He's running for president, you'd think he'd be pretty busy.

Are there really a significant number of people out there that would be in any way influenced by this?

October 21, 2004
Report: 72% of Bush Supporters Dumber Than a Bucket of Nails

Via the similarly last-named Andrew comes this little gem:

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.

These are some of the findings of a new study of the differing perceptions of Bush and Kerry supporters, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and Knowledge Networks, based on polls conducted in September and October.

--snip--

Steven Kull adds, "Another reason that Bush supporters may hold to these beliefs is that they have not accepted the idea that it does not matter whether Iraq had WMD or supported al Qaeda. Here too they are in agreement with Kerry supporters." Asked whether the US should have gone to war with Iraq if US intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making WMD or providing support to al Qaeda, 58% of Bush supporters said the US should not have, and 61% assume that in this case the President would not have. Kull continues, "To support the president and to accept that he took the US to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance, and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about prewar Iraq."

Program on International Policy Attitudes

What the report implies but never comes out and says is that the beliefs found to be characteristic of Kerry voters all happen to be THE TRUTH, supported by actual, you know, facts, while the beliefs of Bush supporters are more on the order of complete horseshit.

It's weird how the world has become a place where substantially evidenced facts are at a distinct disadvantage over completely made-up stuff. The actual truth value of an idea or statement has become basically irrelevant. It's truly a miracle of social evolution. We should be very proud..

October 20, 2004
New York Times: Stewart is Good

Okay, that's a terrible title, but it's all I got.

The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley is quite keen on Jon Stewart's performance on Crossfire last week.

All late-night talk-show hosts make jokes about politicians. What distinguishes Mr. Stewart from Jay Leno and David Letterman is that the Comedy Central star mocks the entire political process, boring in tightly on the lockstep thinking and complacency of the parties and the media as well as the candidates. More than other television analysts and commentators, he and his writers put a spotlight on the inanities and bland hypocrisies that go mostly unnoticed in the average news cycle.

Mr. Stewart is very funny, but it is the vein of "a plague on both your houses" indignation that has made his show a cult favorite: many younger voters are turning to the "The Daily Show" for their news analysis, and are better served there than on much of what purports to be real news on cable.

And of course it was fun just to see television pundits who think they are part of the same media version of the Algonquin Round Table as Mr. Stewart lose their cool when he tore off the tablecloth and shattered the plates. "Wait,'' Mr. Carlson said querulously. "I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny." Mr. Stewart was funny. And it was at their expense.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the video of his appearance yet, there's always time.

William Safire: Loser

Somehow, William Safire has managed to fill an entire column today arguing that the Kerry campaign is using fear to manipulate the electorate.

That's not a typo, he's actually talking about the Kerry campaign.

Now, to be fair, the Kerry campaign is using fear to manipulate the electorate, but to be more fair, the Bush campaign, not to mention the Bush administration and Safire himself, have been using fear to manipulate the fate of the entire human race for years. Safire, for some reason, doesn't mention any of that.

Examples of the terrifying fear tactics the Kerry campaign has stooped to:

-- Warnings that if things continue the way they're going, some kind of draft may prove necessary to maintain troop levels.

-- Christopher Reeve died, and he advocated for stem cell research, which could provide some hope for people in his condition. BOO!

Strangely, no mention of terror alerts that never amount to anything, yet always seem to occur right after something embarrassing for the administration, or the constant threats of imminent death coming out of Bush's mouth.

William Safire, you suck.

DNC Contributions Matched Today

Today is a great day to give a little sumpin'-sumpin' to the DNC, their "Countdown to Victory Matching Fund" is matching every contribution today dollar-for-dollar.

Donate Here.

Some Funny Things For Your Face

Hey, these fake George Bush ads are pretty funny.

October 19, 2004
Back Stabbers
REPUBLICAN OPERATIVES working to re-elect President Bush submitted last-minute requests in Philadelphia on Friday to relocate 63 polling places.

Bush's Pennsylvania campaign staff filed the requests, using the names of two Republicans running for the U.S. Congress and seven Republican ward leaders.

Of the 63 requests for changes, 53 are in political divisions where the population of white voters is less than 10 percent.

Philadelphia Inquirer

It gets better...

Race played a role in at least five of the requests, according to Matt Robb, the Republican leader of the 48th ward in South Philadelphia. Robb said he allowed his name to be used because those polling places are in neighborhoods he doesn't wish to visit.

"It's predominantly, 100 percent black," said Robb, who is white. "I'm just not going in there to get a knife in my back."

Dude, WTF?

The Messianic Calvinist

Another terrifyingly illuminating passage from Ron Suskind's oft-cited, but no less terrific Times Magazine article, "Without a Doubt."

A few months later, on Feb. 1, 2002, Jim Wallis of the Sojourners stood in the Roosevelt Room for the introduction of Jim Towey as head of the president's faith-based and community initiative. John DiIulio, the original head, had left the job feeling that the initiative was not about ''compassionate conservatism,'' as originally promised, but rather a political giveaway to the Christian right, a way to consolidate and energize that part of the base.

Moments after the ceremony, Bush saw Wallis. He bounded over and grabbed the cheeks of his face, one in each hand, and squeezed. ''Jim, how ya doin', how ya doin'!'' he exclaimed. Wallis was taken aback. Bush excitedly said that his massage therapist had given him Wallis's book, ''Faith Works.'' His joy at seeing Wallis, as Wallis and others remember it, was palpable -- a president, wrestling with faith and its role at a time of peril, seeing that rare bird: an independent counselor. Wallis recalls telling Bush he was doing fine, '''but in the State of the Union address a few days before, you said that unless we devote all our energies, our focus, our resources on this war on terrorism, we're going to lose.' I said, 'Mr. President, if we don't devote our energy, our focus and our time on also overcoming global poverty and desperation, we will lose not only the war on poverty, but we'll lose the war on terrorism.'''

Bush replied that that was why America needed the leadership of Wallis and other members of the clergy.

''No, Mr. President,'' Wallis says he told Bush, ''We need your leadership on this question, and all of us will then commit to support you. Unless we drain the swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of terrorism breed, we'll never defeat the threat of terrorism.''

Bush looked quizzically at the minister, Wallis recalls. They never spoke again after that.

''When I was first with Bush in Austin, what I saw was a self-help Methodist, very open, seeking,'' Wallis says now. ''What I started to see at this point was the man that would emerge over the next year -- a messianic American Calvinist. He doesn't want to hear from anyone who doubts him.''

Again, the whole article is well worth your time.

Poll: Americans Dumbasses

Well, Tennesseeans, anyway, though it isn't much of a stretch to assume that the results would be similar elsewhere.

The poll summary starts out with the usual stuff.. Bush leads among white, Evangelical Christians (get out!), blah blah. Then comes to dumbasses part:

But Tennesseans not all that issue savvy. A close look at five key domestic agenda items suggests that Tennesseans as a group hardly qualify as well-informed and ideologically consistent policy wonks. On four of the five issues, only about half of a given candidate's supporters hold opinions consistent with those of the candidate.

Many favor positions inconsistent with their candidate. Perhaps even more interestingly, sizable chunks of each candidate's supporters favor positions held by the opposing camp. And when quizzed about which candidates hold which positions on the five issues, Tennesseans score an average of only two right answers - about the same result one could get by merely guessing.

Middle Tennessee State University

So there you go -- they did no better than chance when it comes to knowing that even their own candidates stand for.

Damn the damned fog!

(If you don't know where your candidates or elected officials stand on the issues, FIND OUT.)

Sinclair Rebel Fired

As Luke pointed out in comments and My Dad pointed out again, Sinclair Broadcasting has fired the reporter who spoke out against their airing of "Stolen Honor."

The justification?

"Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, including Jon Leiberman," said Mark Hyman, Sinclair's vice president for corporate relations. "We're disappointed that Jon's political views caused him to violate policy and speak to the press about company business."

Imagine, if you will, that Jon Leiberman had spoken out in support of Sinclair. Do you suppose that would have caused him to be fired?

Award Time

I'm happy to announce that the winner of the Most Completely Batshit Insane Republican of the Week Award goes to, once again, Alan Keyes!!!

Go Alan! You so crazy!

U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes told a rally Saturday that incest was "inevitable" for children raised by gay couples because the children might not know both biological parents.

"If we do not know who the mother is, who the father is, without knowing all the brothers and sisters, incest becomes inevitable," Keyes told the Marquette Park rally held to oppose same-sex marriages.

"Whether they mean it or not, that is what will happen. If you are masked from your knowing your biological parents, you are in danger of encountering brothers and sisters you have no knowledge of."

Chicago Sun Times

Alan's prize is yet another ignominious defeat. Congratulations, Alan!

Take Action on Sinclair

Forwarded to me:

Attached please find a link to a site that lists all the advertisers for Sinclair Broadcasting-- the huge media congolomerate [sic] that is going after John Kerry's Vietnam record in a 45 minute commercial to be aired in a huge market (one aimed primarily at swing states). Protests have made a considerable difference-- advertisers have begun to defect from Sinclair, Sinclair's stock has declined to a 52-week low, and Sinclair is now TALKING about changing the format to keep it more balanced.

But it will help keep the pressure on if you:

-- Email or call the advertisers on this list.

You can email them all by using the link at the top right of the list; a few calls to key advertisers will
be even better. The webiste also has a Top 10 advertiser target list at http://www.boycottsbg.com/advertisers/TopTenAdvertisers.aspx

Do it.

October 18, 2004
Not a Good Sign

Florida started their early voting today, and already there are issues.

In Broward County, north of Miami, supervisor of elections Brenda Snipes said a computer connection went down, preventing nine ballot stations from accessing a database to find out which one of the county's 152 different ballot styles each voter should have.

"It's a hiccup, it's a bit more than a hiccup," Snipes told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

In Orlando, home to the Disney World theme parks, people were kept waiting for more than two hours by a combination of long lines and computer malfunctions that prevented poll workers from verifying the names and addresses of voters.

In Miami-Dade, poll workers appeared overwhelmed by the hundreds brought to the government center by a rally of trade unions, voter activists and Democrats, and the line to cast an early ballot moved achingly slowly.

Reuters

This is only the first wave, imagine what's going to happen when the other 80 or 90 million people all try to vote at once.

This could be a fiasco for the ages.

Sinclair Reporter Rebels

Via alert reader My Dad...

The Washington bureau chief for Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group's news division angrily denounced his employer last night for plans to air an hourlong program that is to include incendiary allegations against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for his anti-war activism three decades ago.

"It's biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election," said Jon Leiberman, Sinclair's lead political reporter for more than a year. "For me, it's not about right or left -- it's about what's right or wrong in news coverage this close to an election."

Baltimore Sun (free registration required)

You go boy.

Texas Redistricting

Everything you always wanted to know about Texas Redistricting but didn't know you wanted to know about Texas Redistricting.

A friend sends these links:

His Congressman before redistricing.

His Congressman after redistricting.

It is, how do you say, to vomit.

October 17, 2004
The Nature Of Evil

bush message to ISG

Clip from Bush's video taped message to the Iraq Survey Group.

Really just too scary for words. You have to watch this.

Ladies and gentlemen, the most powerful man in the world.

Creeping Putinization

Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Matt Yglesias begins his post by admitting that when some on the left have implied or flat-out said that Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and their ilk are as dangerous if not more dangerous to our country than specters like Osama bin Laden and so on, he had found the arguments to be beyond the pale. Surely these people had lost all perspective.

But now..

... pieces of evidence of what one might call the creeping Putinization of American life (the Sinclair incident, the threatening letter to Rock The Vote, the specter of the top official in the House of Representatives making totally baseless charges of criminal conduct against a major financier of the political opposition [shades of Mikhail Khodorovsky], the increasing evidence that the 'terror alert' system is nothing more than a political prop, the 'torture memo' asserting that the president is above the law, the imposition of rigid discipline on the congress, the abuse of the conference committee procedure, the ability of the administration to lie to congress without penalty, the exclusion of non-supporters from Bush's public appearances, etc.) are beginning to make me think this assessment may have been misguided. Terrorist forces operating in and around Chechnya have done some horrible things -- I was in Moscow for the big apartment bombings -- but ultimately the most harmful thing they have done was to enable Putin to tighten his grip on power.

Matt Yglesias

Exactly. Exactly, exactly.

We naturally can't and shouldn't diminish the tragedy of those killed in terrorist attacks or the loss suffered by their families, or indeed by all of us. However, in the end we suffer a far greater loss if the fear and panic that stems from those tragedies causes us to give up on our ideals and to leave future generations a less free society.

This is exactly what is happening in Russia, and, sadly, under our own noses. It's naturally much harder for us to see it under our own noses.

Spot On

Tom Tomorrow's latest comic is simply perfect. This is exactly what happens all the frickin' time.

The part I hate the most is the Wolf Blitzer frame, in which he seeks a reaction to someone's claim that their words have been twisted from the very people who do the twisting.

I suppose just telling us what the person in question actually said, and whether or not it was true wouldn't be "impartial."

The Real Fall Classic

Look, I hate to be the one to say this, but...

Baseball isn't important.

Seriously, it's not even close to important.

Don't get me wrong, I like baseball. It's pretty cool. Fun and stuff. Good times watching a good game with friends, always a pleasure to go out to the old ballpark and get wasted on $7 Budweisers. No question.

So what bugs me is not the game itself, it's that people get really emotionally involved in it. They devote a fairly large part of their lives to following and supporting their favorite team, and many can recite endless statistics about hundreds of different players. They follow these guys as if what they do has any bearing on our lives, while often completely ignoring the events going on around them that actually do have an affect on their lives, and the lives of nearly everyone on earth.

You knew I was going to bring this around to politics..

It's the contrast that gets to me. If you both love and are devoted to baseball, but also interested and somewhat informed about politics, well then good on ya, mate. But if you follow baseball religiously, know the names and stats of all the players, but can't be bothered to know the names of your Senators, or vote or pay any attention at all, well that pisses me off.

It pisses me off that knowing all this crap about sports is considered normal, but knowing a lot about politics is considered nerdy and unimportant. If we meet someone, particularly a male someone, who says he doesn't like sports, we look at them a bit askew. "Really? Are you an Eskimo?"

Not knowing anything about politics, on the other hand, is just what we generally assume about each other. We need to elevate politics to the level of baseball around here. Imagine if everyone were watching the Senate in prime-time, keeping little score sheets, wearing their hats backwards. "Damn!! Pelosi just completely schooled Bill Frist! He did not see that coming! Can o' Corn! Can o' Corn!"

So let's just try to have a little perspective, okay? I'm not trying to spoil anyone's fun, I'm just saying that, in the end, if the Red Sox lose or if they win, I don't care. It doesn't matter. Whether or not Bush wins, well, that matters.

There I said it.

(By the way, the Red Sox just won. A great game. But you know, a game.)

The Reality-Based Community

Another stunning passage from Ron Suskind's excellent Times Magazine article.

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he 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.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That'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.''

New York Times Magazine

Yes, lord have mercy on us if our media is based in "reality." Good heavens.

Easy Certainty
''Faith can cut in so many ways,'' he [Pastor Jim Wallis] said. ''If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

''Where people often get lost is on this very point,'' he said after a moment of thought. ''Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want.''

And what is that?

''Easy certainty.''

New York Times Magazine

There's more to say, or at least quote from, this article in today's Times Magazine, but I want to let that passage stand on it's own.

Block the Vote

Paul Krugman and Salon have good articles on the overwhelming evidence that Republicans all around the country are engaged in various techniques to steal the election. Everything from continued disenfranchisement of blacks in Florida to the shredding of Democrats' registrations, it's all some pretty wild stuff.

Lawsuits are already starting all over the country. If Bush wins, there's going to be a deluge. Should be some really, really good times.

Florida's secretary of state recently ruled that voter registrations would be deemed incomplete if those registering failed to check a box affirming their citizenship, even if they had signed an oath saying the same thing elsewhere on the form. Many counties are, sensibly, ignoring this ruling, but it's apparent that some officials have both used this rule and other technicalities to reject applications as incomplete, and delayed notifying would-be voters of problems with their applications until it was too late.

Whose applications get rejected? A Washington Post examination of rejected applications in Duval County found three times as many were from Democrats, compared with Republicans. It also found a strong tilt toward rejection of blacks' registrations.

The case of Florida's felon list - used by state officials, as in 2000, to try to wrongly disenfranchise thousands of blacks - has been widely reported. Less widely reported has been overwhelming evidence that the errors were deliberate.

In an article coming next week in Harper's, Greg Palast, who originally reported the story of the 2000 felon list, reveals that few of those wrongly purged from the voting rolls in 2000 are back on the voter lists. State officials have imposed Kafkaesque hurdles for voters trying to get back on the rolls. Depending on the county, those attempting to get their votes back have been required to seek clemency for crimes committed by others, or to go through quasi-judicial proceedings to prove that they are not felons with similar names.
Take Nothing For Granted

This weekend Liz went out and did some canvassing in our neighborhood as part of Moveon's campaign to reach out to infrequent voters. She received a list of people in our area who are likely to be Kerry supporters but might not vote, and went to encourage them to get off their lazy asses.

The results were less than inspiring.

Of 8 people she actually spoke to (it was a short list, and many weren't home), 4 were planning to vote for Kerry and 4 were planning to vote for Bush. At first glance, this highly unscientific survey would mirror the national polls - pretty evenly split. What worries me, though, is that this is in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, a liberal, though relatively wealthy, neighborhood in a very liberal city. If we're evenly split in Queen Anne, what hope do we have in, say, Issaquah? Des Moines? Cleveland?

So what I'm saying is don't assume that your state or your district or your precinct is already decided and your vote won't matter. I'm thinking particularly of my friends and family who live in Washington, New York, and Maryland. Washington is decidedly a swing state, while New York and Maryland are not considered swinging. Don't believe it. It matters. The polls are crap.

Vote early, vote often, vote Kerry.

Gitmo

I wonder how many years it will be before anyone of any significance is held accountable for all of this stuff, not to mention Abu Ghraib.

Many detainees at Guantánamo Bay were regularly subjected to harsh and coercive treatment, several people who worked in the prison said in recent interviews, despite longstanding assertions by military officials that such treatment had not occurred except in some isolated cases.

The people, military guards, intelligence agents and others, described in interviews with The New York Times a range of procedures that included treatment they said was highly abusive occurring over a long period of time, as well as rewards for prisoners who cooperated with interrogators.

One regular procedure that was described by people who worked at Camp Delta, the main prison facility at the naval base in Cuba, was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endure strobe lights and screamingly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air-conditioning was turned up to maximum levels, said one military official who witnessed the procedure. The official said that was intended to make the detainees uncomfortable, as they were accustomed to high temperatures both in their native countries and their cells.

Such sessions could last up to 14 hours with breaks, said the official, who described the treatment after being contacted by The Times.

New York Times

Pentagon officials released a statement containing this amazing little bit:

"Guantánamo guards provide an environment that is stable, secure, safe and humane. And it is that environment that sets the conditions for interrogators to work successfully and to gain valuable information from detainees because they have built a relationship of trust, not fear.''

A relationship of trust? Are they serious? They could at least try to sound a little credible and just say that these techniques are necessary to fight the war on blah blah blah, but "a relationship of trust?" They've got to be kidding.

October 16, 2004
Comments Are Back

I've fixed the comments on Slapnose -- I think -- so now you three can just go nuts.

Details for the interested: The whole Typekey/authentication thing just didn't seem to be working and I was damn sick of it, but I didn't have any motivation to mess with my Moveable Type installation, as whenever I do that, bad things happen.

But I was getting lonely.

So I turned off the authentication, opening the comments gates wide, thinking I could just manually deal with the inevitable comment spam. No, no, no. Within an hour or so I had been hit with at least 20 spam comments and they showed no signs of letting up. I'm not about to copy and paste the IP address of each commenter into the IP banning thing, so something had to be done.

I installed MT-Blacklist. Yay! It's great, it's working, it blocked 16 comments in the first half hour.

That's it. Comment away.

Reserve Unit Refuses Mission

As we all know, because the president said so, things in Iraq are going really awesome. Any problems you might be seeing on the "television screens" are most likely the fault of the liberal media or John Kerry's protests against the Vietnam War.

That's why it's so weird that a unit of reservists refused an order to go on a convoy mission, claiming that the mission was too dangerous.

More Battle of the Bulge

Naturally this whole thing about the bulge in Bush's back during the first debate (see isbushwired.com for all the details), is being presented as a wild conspiracy theory. Naturally this view of the debate is being promoted by no one more than the Bush campaign.

This is all quite natural.

The big question, though, is what if it's true? Is it really hard for us to believe that political campaigns -- particularly the Bush campaign -- would stoop to wiring the president for sound? It's not even slightly hard for me to believe.

As evidence mounts about this whole thing, though, it's never really left the realm of conspiracy theory.

The evidence:
-- There is clearly something on his back. Suits don't bunch in rectangles. No one has disputed this, including the Bush campaign. They haven't offered any explanation as to what the bulge in his back might be, they've just ridiculed the mere mention of the issue, a very effective tactic.
-- During the debate, Bush said, "let me finish" when no one interrupted him. I've seen the video of this, and it's really weird. His podium light is green, so no one was telling him his time was up. You can hear, but not see, the clip here. (If anyone has the video, please let me know.)
Here's what happens: Bush goes from one oft-repeated RNC talking point -- that Kerry is a flip-flopper -- to fumbling and mumbling for a second, and then he says "let me finish" to no one, and then he goes directly into another precisely worded talking point, "The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at," without a stumble.
-- The Memorandum of Understanding between the campaigns as to the format of the debates includes a section (sec 9, paragraph a, subparagraph vi) which specifically forbids camera shots of the candidates from the back. Bush's negotiator James Baker III reportedly demanded this provision (which the networks refused to comply with, otherwise we wouldn't have these images of the bulge at all.)

Anyway, this probably will never be proved, and the Bush campaign will likely be successful in keeping the issue in the realm of whacko theories.

I'm becoming more convinced, I don't care what kind of theory they call it.

In the end, though, what does it add to my understanding of George W. Bush? Nothing. He's a liar and a cheat and he'll do anything to stay in power. I already knew that.

October 15, 2004
John Stewart on Crossfire

UPDATE :: You can watch the video of Stewart's appearance on Crossfire here.

---Original Post Below---

I got a bit of a traffic spike today, and it's almost all from people googling some variation of "stewart crossfire video." A post I wrote in July comes up pretty high in those results, so everybody's coming to Slapnose!

This naturally makes very little difference to me, except in a stupid, "I feel popular because Google is misdirecting people here" kind of way. Still, that's not bad. If even 1 out of 10 of those people sticks around on my site and buys like a thousand t-shirts, it could make a real difference in my life.

But that's not the point. Not the point at all.

The point is that these Google searches made me curious, as I so love Jon Stewart and I didn't know he was going to be on Crossfire. So I went and read the transcript of Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire today (this is what you're looking for, googlers), and DAAAAAAAMMN!! I can see why everyone is looking for this!

Normally reading transcripts of television shows is unimaginably boring. Especially of Crossfire, which is unimaginably irritating even when you can see it. But this transcript is different. This transcript made me laugh out loud at least 10 times. Hard. I was laughing and slapping my knee, and nobody's even here. I wasn't making a big show of it because there's no one to see me. It's just that funny.

It firmly solidifies Jon Stewart's position as my number one hero. I kiss him.

Go and read the whole transcript, it's totally worth it. He rips Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala fresh arseholes and literally begs them to have some journalistic integrity. It's really great stuff.

Some excerpts:

STEWART: ... I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: We have noticed.

STEWART: And I wanted to -- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't -- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: But in its defense...

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say...

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.

CARLSON: Yes.

STEWART: Stop.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

BEGALA: OK. Now

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: And come work for us, because we, as the people...

CARLSON: How do you pay?

STEWART: The people -- not well.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Better than CNN, I'm sure.

STEWART: But you can sleep at night.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.

BEGALA: By beating up on them? You just said we're too rough on them when they make mistakes.

STEWART: No, no, no, you're not too rough on them. You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks.



STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Thirty-five. STEWART: And you wear a bow tie.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.

STEWART: So this is...

CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You're a...

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: So this is theater.

CARLSON: Now, let me just...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Now, come on.

STEWART: Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie.

STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.

And then this brilliant coup de grace:

CARLSON: But, if Kerry gets elected, is it going to -- you have said you're voting for him. You obviously support him. It's clear. Will it be harder for you to mock his administration if he becomes president?

STEWART: No. Why would it be harder?

CARLSON: Because you support...

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: The only way it would be harder is if his administration is less absurd than this one. So, in that case, if it's less absurd, then, yes, I think it would be harder.

But, I mean, it would be hard to top this group, quite frankly.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

STEWART: In terms of absurdity and their world matching up to the one that -- you know, it was interesting. President Bush was saying, John Kerry's rhetoric doesn't match his record.

But I've heard President Bush describe his record. His record doesn't match his record.

I love that guy.

Almost as much as I hate those other guys.

Fiscal Sanity

During Wednesday's debate, George Bush said that John Kerry had no record to support his talk of "fiscal sanity." Bush said the he himself was the better man to steward the American economy.

The next day, the Bush administration asked Congress to raise the nation's debt ceiling, again.

The federal government reached its $7.4 trillion debt ceiling yesterday, forcing Treasury Secretary John Snow to delay contributing to one of the federal employees' pension systems to avoid running out of cash and possibly defaulting on government debt.

The Seattle Times

Good old fiscal sanity.

The Battle of the Bulge

I haven't really wanted to mention all the talk about whether or not Bush may have been wired -- someone feeding him lines via a hidden radio -- during the first debate, but now I'm not sure why I didn't want to.

I'd seen this picture floated around..

bush's bulge

It does really look like he's got something stuck to his back, and you can even see what appears to be the outline of a wire snaking up towards his head. And of course, it all fits perfectly well with what I know about the man and the people who work for and with him. They'll do anything at all to get and keep positions of power.

The reason I had dismissed the theory was that it seemed just too stupid. I thought that if they were going to wire him, they would have done a better job of hiding it. Between the shoulder blades seems to be just asking to get caught. Why not tape it to his balls or something? They're not going to show his crotch on tv, not unless he's sitting down with a world leader or something.

I thought the Secret Service or whoever would certainly have more sophisticated stuff than something that big he had to wear right on his back. I still kinda think they do.

But that may not be the case. The important point is that they'd have to do everything possible to make sure that no one else could pick up the transmissions they were sending to the president, so the receiver would have to be powerful enough to pick up a very, very weak signal.

During the debate, Bush snapped, "Let me finish!" at one point even though he had time left and no one had audibly interrupted him.

Salon has more on the story, including statements by a "spyware expert" who has examined the photos and agrees that the bulge could be part of a radio system, and this rather astonishing bit about evidence that Bush may have used similar technology before.

Suggestions that Bush may have using this technique stem from a D-day event in France, when a CNN broadcast appeared to pick up -- and broadcast to surprised viewers -- the sound of another voice seemingly reading Bush his lines, after which Bush repeated them. Danny Schechter, who operates the news site MediaChannel.org, and who has been doing some investigating into the wired-Bush rumors himself, said the Bush campaign has been worried of late about others picking up their radio frequencies -- notably during the Republican Convention on the day of Bush's appearance. "They had a frequency specialist stop me and ask about the frequency of my camera," Schechter said. "The Democrats weren't doing that at their convention."

Salon, via This Modern World

Anyway, something like this is unlikely to ever be provable. I certainly wouldn't put it past them, though, the cheaters.

Below is another, super pop-reference-errific take on the controversy, swiped from Happy Go Larry.

idebate

October 14, 2004
More Lesbiangate.. *sigh

I really hate this story. I watched NBC News tonight and they led with it, but failed to mention even one of the out-and-out lies Bush told last night. Kerry said something that was true, but something that makes bigots uncomfortable. The Republican party naturally sees this as a great opportunity to shift focus from their pathetic-ass selves and their insane leader, so they push it as the post-debate story. The media gladly lap it up, forcing me to spend one more night vomiting continuously.

Dave Cullen writes well in Salon about this travesty (membership or ad-watching required).

Let's get one thing straight. It is not an insult to call a proudly public lesbian a lesbian. It's an insult to gasp when someone calls her a lesbian. That's how all the gays I have spoken to the past 24 hours perceived the press response. You're embarrassed for us. And it's infuriating.

Consider the way a paraplegic or a blind person feels when you act just a little too sympathetic about their "plight." We don't want your pity! Can you see how insulting it is?

The only thing offensive about Kerry's statement to us gay people was that he had to pause mid-sentence and gulp and sputter the terrifying word out: "Dick Cheney's daughter, who is ... a lesbian ..."

It's not a dirty word, John. And why is the press reacting like he exposed a breast?

The most outlandish exchange I've seen came in a scholarly Fox News debate Thursday -- seriously, it happens -- over the candidates' linguistic styles, of all things. The conservative guy, Eric Dezenhall, charged that "the invocation of Vice President Cheney's daughter's lesbianism was sort of a radioactive concept. The words lesbian in a presidential debate -- even if you don't mean it to be mean -- came across as off the grid, and very, very shrill."

Is he serious? If it's innocent little gay people you think you're protecting here, listen up! Gay people do not consider the invocation of our existence radioactive. It's the comparisons to plutonium that drive us nuts. We are not toxic.

GOP vs. Rock the Vote

Kos has the story of how Ed Gillespie, Chairman of the GOP, has sent a threatening letter to Rock the Vote, insisting that they stop even discussing the idea of a return to a military draft.

Rock the Vote responds to Gillespie, and kicks his ass.

A Fracas With Some Weasels

Some things are just funny.

On the other hand, some things are not funny.

Still other things are sort of funny, but not funny at all to some people, and funny as hell to some other people.

This is one of the.. uh, the first kind.

It's funny.

According to me.

Lebiangate II

I swear, if the major issue in the last two weeks of this campaign becomes that John Kerry said Mary Cheney is a lesbian, I'm going to throw up continuously on my way to another country.

I just hope they'll let me in with a non-stop stream of vomit pouring out of my mouth.

The fact that the Republicans are all over the place hammering this "issue" is very telling indeed. It's telling in the sense that it shows just how douche-baggy they really are. If they had any reason to think their candidate had done well in the debate last night, maybe they'd have something to say that was, you know, in any way relevant.

Naturally, the media will be all too happy to pick up and run with this story.

"We interrupt our report on the insurgents penetration into the 'Green Zone' and killing four American civilians with this breaking story about lesbians. Lesbians, lesbians, lesbians."

The Osama Gaffe

Though it's been pointed out everywhere, and was pointed out nearly immediately after he said it, when George Bush tonight claimed that he never said he wasn't too concerned about Osama bin Laden, he was lying.

From a March, 2002 press conference (yes, he has held a couple of those).

QUESTION: But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.

White House Transcript

October 13, 2004
Lesbiangate

Josh Marshall is exactly right on this one, and it's something I was saying to Liz the other day.

The fact that people act like mentioning that Mary Cheney is a lesbian is somehow a bad thing to do only serves to betray the speakers' own prejudices. If being gay were perfectly alright to these people, mentioning it would never be a "political trick." As Marshall points out, if Mary Cheney were a paraplegic, would it be unfair of John Kerry to mention that in the context of a question about the rights of the disabled?

JK v GW III

I'm a bit too tired to really go into a major analysis of the last debate, but here's some quick thoughts.

I think -- and apparently I'm not alone -- that Kerry ran away with it. He seemed calm, measured, confident, and dare I say it, presidential. He clearly has a command of the facts and a good mind and he showed that once again tonight. Once again I thought he missed a few opportunities to bust GW in a big fat lie, but that's probably okay. He did what he needed to do.

Bush, in my opinion, looked terrible. And I'm not just saying that because I think he's one of the more vile human beings to ever walk the earth. I'm sure that has something to do with it, but I did really try to watch the debate as if he were somehow worthy of any sort of respect.

In stark comparison to Kerry, Bush hesitated, he hemmed and hawed, and most glaringly, he made really inappropriate and just plain bad jokes. He laughed when nothing was funny. He tried to josh around with the moderator (they're friends), but he came off looking like he's not taking the whole thing very seriously. He offered no concrete plans or policies, just tried, and failed, to attack Kerry on his record. Kerry swatted down most of the attacks deftly.

This looks very good for the good guys. Provided the momentum and spin stays on Kerry's side for the next week or so, and the administration doesn't pull some Osama out of their hat two days before the election, which is always a possibility, I think we're in a good position. Naturally, they could just go ahead and steal it, but we'll deal with that possibility if/when we have to.

Even the poll on Foxnews.com has Kerry winning the debate 53% to 46% after nearly 300,000 votes. Other sites such as MSNBC show an even bigger margin of victory for Kerry.

Awesome.

Don't forget to vote.

Registered to Vote? Are You Sure?

Via alert reader Elbert...

If you registered to vote via somebody standing on the street or outside a supermarket or by any other means that didn't involve direct contact with a government official, you may want to double check with your local election authority, especially if you're a Democrat.

This time, it seems, the Republicans are stealing our votes before they've even been cast.

Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.

--snip--

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

Two former workers say they personally witnessed company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by Democrats.

KLAS-TV

The television station managed to retrieve some of the shredded forms via an ex-employee and verified that those people had never been registered with the county.

Naturally, this is all highly illegal.

Also naturally, the company has closed their offices in Nevada and is apparently operating in Oregon, presumably under a different name.

The Case Against George W. Bush

Ron Reagan, Jr, presents The Case Against George W. Bush in a piece in Esquire magazine.

It's quite a convincing case, not that anyone should be surprised by that.

Some choice excerpts:

Politicians will stretch the truth. They'll exaggerate their accomplishments, paper over their gaffes. Spin has long been the lingua franca of the political realm. But George W. Bush and his administration have taken "normal" mendacity to a startling new level far beyond lies of convenience. On top of the usual massaging of public perception, they traffic in big lies, indulge in any number of symptomatic small lies, and, ultimately, have come to embody dishonesty itself. They are a lie. And people, finally, have started catching on.

None of this, needless to say, guarantees Bush a one-term presidency. The far-right wing of the country--nearly one third of us by some estimates--continues to regard all who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid (liberals, rationalists, Europeans, et cetera) as agents of Satan. Bush could show up on video canoodling with Paris Hilton and still bank their vote. Right-wing talking heads continue painting anyone who fails to genuflect deeply enough as a "hater," and therefore a nut job, probably a crypto-Islamist car bomber. But these protestations have taken on a hysterical, almost comically desperate tone. It's one thing to get trashed by Michael Moore. But when Nobel laureates, a vast majority of the scientific community, and a host of current and former diplomats, intelligence operatives, and military officials line up against you, it becomes increasingly difficult to characterize the opposition as fringe wackos.

ALL ADMINISTRATIONS WILL DISSEMBLE, distort, or outright lie when their backs are against the wall, when honesty begins to look like political suicide. But this administration seems to lie reflexively, as if it were simply the easiest option for busy folks with a lot on their minds. While the big lies are more damning and of immeasurably greater import to the nation, it is the small, unnecessary prevarications that may be diagnostic. Who lies when they don't have to? When the simple truth, though perhaps embarrassing in the short run, is nevertheless in one's long-term self-interest? Why would a president whose calling card is his alleged rock-solid integrity waste his chief asset for penny-ante stakes? Habit, perhaps. Or an inability to admit even small mistakes.

Mr. Bush's tendency to meander beyond the bounds of truth was evident during the 2000 campaign but was largely ignored by the mainstream media. His untruths simply didn't fit the agreed-upon narrative. While generally acknowledged to be lacking in experience, depth, and other qualifications typically considered useful in a leader of the free world, Bush was portrayed as a decent fellow nonetheless, one whose straightforwardness was a given. None of that "what the meaning of is is" business for him. And, God knows, no furtive, taxpayer-funded fellatio sessions with the interns. Al Gore, on the other hand, was depicted as a dubious self-reinventor, stained like a certain blue dress by Bill Clinton's prurient transgressions. He would spend valuable weeks explaining away statements--"I invented the Internet"--that he never made in the first place. All this left the coast pretty clear for Bush.

Scenario typical of the 2000 campaign: While debating Al Gore, Bush tells two obvious--if not exactly earth-shattering--lies and is not challenged. First, he claims to have supported a patient's bill of rights while governor of Texas. This is untrue. He, in fact, vigorously resisted such a measure, only reluctantly bowing to political reality and allowing it to become law without his signature. Second, he announces that Gore has outspent him during the campaign. The opposite is true: Bush has outspent Gore. These misstatements are briefly acknowledged in major press outlets, which then quickly return to the more germane issues of Gore's pancake makeup and whether a certain feminist author has counseled him to be more of an "alpha male."

Having gotten away with such witless falsities, perhaps Mr. Bush and his team felt somehow above day-to-day truth. In any case, once ensconced in the White House, they picked up where they left off.

The only quibble I have with Reagan's argument is that he lets the press off the hook too easily. People like George W. Bush would never be able to get away with these lies if the media didn't, as he puts it, "quickly return to the more germane issues of Gore's pancake makeup," etc. In order for our leaders to be accountable, someone needs to hold them accountable.

Similarly, the only quibble I have with my own argument above is that I'm letting the American public off the hook too easily. People like "The Media" woudn't be able to get away with talking about pancake makeup if we didn't continue to watch it and even encourage it. In the end, we are the consumers of this garbage and it's our responsibility to demand accountability, both from our politicians and from our media. All the self-righteous rhetoric in the world doesn't mean a thing to these companies as long as their profits keep going up. They only understand money, and it's our money.

The whole thing is well worth reading. I would love to see anyone make as convincing a case -- based on facts, as this one is, and not on whatever it is that Republicans seem to base things on these days -- for George W. Bush as an even passable leader.

He is not. Not even close. He is an awful, awful leader; a failure in the grandest possible way. He was ruined or threatened more of the things that ordinary peope hold dear than it's comfortable to contemplate. It's positively terrifying that this many has supporters.

I'm begging you -- please don't vote for him.

October 12, 2004
Atrocities

Luke points to this unbelievable story from Seymour Hersh, who is, unfortunately in this case, a very reliable source.

They were a couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's hysterical. He's totally hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the company captain said, "No, you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents."

A Tiny Revolution

The rest.

UPDATE :: Much more detail -- first-hand detail -- on this from UC Berkeley News.

October 11, 2004
Sinclair Broadcasting Strikes Again

I really just don't know what to say.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of the largest chain of television stations in the nation, plans to air a documentary that accuses Sen. John Kerry of betraying American prisoners during the Vietnam War, a newspaper reported Monday.

The network has ordered all 62 of its stations to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" without commercials in prime-time next week, the Washington Post said, just two weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

CNN

Note that this is in the "Money" section of CNN.com. It's also featured near the bottom of the New York Times' web site's front page.

The Sinclair Broadcasting Group is the same company that refused to air Nightline's special "The Fallen", during which Ted Koppel read the names of all the soldiers killed in Iraq up to that point.

Sinclair executives have given nearly $68,000 to political campaigns this year, 97% of it to Republicans.

If you're thinking that this sounds completely illegal, and the words "equal time" keep popping into your head, you're not alone. That's exactly what I thought. Sinclair's attempt to dodge this bullet is simply amazing.

Because Sinclair is defining the documentary - which will run commercial free - as news, it is unclear if it will be required by federal regulations to provide Mr. Kerry's campaign with equal time to respond.

New York Times

This is from the front page of Sinclair's web site:

We welcome your comments regarding the upcoming special news event featuring the topic of Americans held as prisoners of war in Vietnam. The program has not been videotaped and the exact format of this unscripted event has not been finalized. Characterizations regarding the content are premature and are based on ill-informed sources.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has been invited to participate. You can urge him to appear by calling his Washington, D.C. campaign headquarters at (202) 712-3000.

if you would like to make further comments on this matter, you may do so at:
comments@sbgi.net

Pretending to be fair by saying that Kerry has "been invited to participate" is the worst kind of garbage. They make completely baseless charges 2 weeks before an election, and then try to paint the target of their slander as refusing to engage the debate. It would be like me saying that the President of Sinclair Broadcasting fucks goats, which is what I'm saying, and then implying that it must be true because he has refused to respond to the charges. Well, goat-fucker? What do you have to say for yourself?

Please email Sinclair and tell them what you think of this. Be friendly, but be firm. Try to avoid the term "goat-fucker."

I'll try to find a list of Sinclair advertisers so we can start emailing and calling them, too. They don't care what we think, but they care about their bottom line.

UPDATE :: If Sinclair really wants to give John Kerry equal time, maybe they could air "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry." I haven't seen this film yet, but I've heard it's good. I downloaded it using the bittorent from this site, which now appears to be down. You can see the trailer here.

Debate

Sorry for the dearth of posts, I've had a parental visit on my hands. So, you know.

Second debate: Listened on the radio, so I can't speak to how they came across visually, but Bush sounded like a whiny teenager, incredibly defensive, and Kerry sounded mostly calm and smart. I don't think Bush tanked as badly as he did in the first debate, but I do think that it's becoming clear to more and more people every day that he's a terrible leader, plain and simple. I mean, seriously, he sucks.

For more evidence of this, see the latest polls and the ever-useful electoral-vote.com.

More later. For now, how about this.

October 7, 2004
Exccccellent

Via this guy.

cheney edwards debate

Committee: DeLay Unethical

Texas Representative and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been chastised for the fourth time by the House ethics committee.

He was admonished unanimously by the 10-member, bipartisan committee.

House Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, are calling for him to step down.

Most of the allegations concern DeLay's involvement with the Texas redistricting fiasco of 2002, when the Republicans stole the state government.

DeLay was also admonished last week for strong-arming Rep. Nick Smith into voting for the Medicare Bill earlier this year, threatening to derail Smith's son's Congressional campaign if Smith didn't play along.

Naturally, all this doesn't seem to phase DeLay one bit. In fact, in yet another awe-inspiring display of up-is-downism, DeLay has declared his four admonishments a victory.

In his statement, DeLay said the committee's decision amounted to "dismissing Mr. Bell's embellished allegations with bipartisan unanimity."

--snip--

And on Thursday, he said he was "very pleased" that the committee members "have dismissed the frivolous charges against me."

CNN

See that? The charges were dismissed! Meaning that they didn't punish him as harshly as they might have. His name is cleared!

We should really think about instituting more public and more humiliating punishments for politicians who pull this kind of shit. No more admonishments, censures, or slaps on the wrist -- I want to see DeLay put in the stocks in front of the Capitol for a month. Members of the public would be encouraged to stop by and kick him in the ass or spit in his face.

Or what about a good old fashioned tar-and-feathering? Strip the jerkass naked and feather the shit out of him. Then make him wander around the Captiol grounds for 6 weeks with a sign on him that says, "I am a Lying Sack of Shit." Kids could take field trips to see him.

Satire Officially Irrelevant

The following headline was in the New York Times, not The Onion, but you would be excused for making the mistake.

Cheney Says Report Finding No Illicit Arms in Iraq Justifies War
MIAMI (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney asserted on Thursday that a report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, who found no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991, justifies rather than undermines President Bush's decision to go to war.

AP via New York Times

How could he possibly make this argument? Check it out, it's a true masterpiece of absurdity...

- The report states that Saddam was trying to get international sanctions lifted from Iraq.
- Cheney asserts that if those sanctions had been lifted, "he [Saddam] had every intention of going back" to his weapons program. This, of course, is pure speculation. Speculation on top of a speculation.
- Thus, if the sanctions had been lifted, and then if Saddam had gone back to his weapons program, there is a chance he could have had dangerous weapons in, say, 5-10 years.
- Therefore, we had no choice but to invade immediately.

Clear as an unmuddied lake, no? I mean, really, what choice did we have? Were we supposed to just sit around, hoping that the sanction wouldn't be lifted and Saddam wouldn't go back to developing weapons that there was no evidence he had any intention of using against us or supplying to terrorists? Could we just sit on our hands while the slim possibility of those events taking place in the next decade existed? What of the children?

Cheney in August, 2002, in a speech to the VFW.

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.
October 6, 2004
Report: War Was Bullshit

In case you missed it.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 -- Iraq had essentially destroyed its illicit weapons capability within months after the Persian Gulf War ended in 1991, and its capacity to produce such weapons had eroded even further by the time of the American invasion in 2003, the top American inspector in Iraq said in a report made public today.

The report, by Charles A. Duelfer, said the last Iraqi factory capable of producing militarily significant quantities of unconventional weapons was destroyed in 1996. The findings amounted to the starkest portrayal yet of a vast gap between the Bush administration's prewar assertions about Iraqi weapons and what a 15-month postinvasion inquiry by American investigators concluded were the facts on the ground.

At the time of the American invasion, Mr. Duelfer concluded, Iraq had not possessed military-scale stockpiles of illicit weapons for a dozen years and was not actively seeking to produce them.

New York Times

Full text of the report.

Bush responded to the report:

"After Sept. 11, America had to assess every potential threat in a new light," Mr. Bush said while campaigning in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. "Our nation awakened to an even greater danger: the prospect that terrorists who killed thousands with hijacked airplanes would kill many more with weapons of mass murder."

"We had to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might get those weapons, and one regime stood out," Mr. Bush said. "The dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."

Look man, are you insane? How many reports have to come out stating conclusively that you were wrong before you can admit it? YOU WERE WRONG! Say it!

Actually, you know what? Don't say it. Just keep up what you're doing. With every passing day, more and more Americans are waking up to your lying ass being a lying ass.

Funny how the one regime that "stood out" turned out not to have had a trace of these "weapons of mass murder" for more than a decade, and yet Iran is enriching uranium as we speak, and North Korea may already have nuclear weapons within range of the United States, and at the very least is working on it.

Feel safer?

Truth Migrations

Donald Rumsfeld says there is no proof of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Wow!

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that he had seen no "strong, hard evidence" linking Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, although he tempered his comment by noting that stark disagreements on that issue remained among American intelligence analysts.

"I have seen the answer to that question migrate in the intelligence community over the period of a year in the most amazing way," Mr. Rumsfeld said when asked about ties between Mr. Hussein and the terror network run by Osama bin Laden. Senior administration officials cited the existence of ties between them as a rationale for war on Iraq.

New York Times

Yeah, Rummy, it's been "amazing" to watch the answer to that question "migrate" for the rest of us too. Quite a show.

Hell, here it goes migrating right now!

[White House spokesman Scott] McClellan ticked off a litany of what he said were links between Iraq and al-Qaida. Both were "sworn enemies of the free world, including the United States''; both "celebrated the Sept. 11 attacks on America,'' he said.

"There are clearly ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida,'' McClellan said. "There (were) clearly some disturbing similarities that existed as well.''

"We know there were senior-level contacts between the regime and al-Qaida -- the 9/11 commission documented that,'' McClellan said.

New York Times

This is what they've stooped to. "Links" between Iraq and al Qaeda are now "similarities."

Why, many Iraqi have dark skin, as do many al Qaeda operatives. Coincidence? We think not.

An Iraqi leader was once heard uttering the name "al Qaeda" and we suspect that they may even have the same taste in movies. What more of a link do you want?

The fact that they've gotten anybody to believe that there are direct links between Iraq and al Qaeda and Iraq and 9/11 is one of the greatest eye-wool-pulling-over moves in history. The fact that they've convinced a very large percentage of Americans, well, it's just pathetic.

October 5, 2004
Goebbels Would Be So Proud

I insist that you watch this video.

republican convention movie

It's funny, in a "really not funny at all" kind of way.

I was talking with someone last night and we agreed that the results of this election will be a very important window into the mental health of our society. If Bush wins, we're seriously in a lot of trouble.

October 4, 2004
Bush: Toxic Sludge Is Good For You

Via Bush Greenwatch.

Administration Proposes to Allow Release of Partially Treated Sewage on Rainy Days

Sewage that has not been properly treated would be routinely released into American waterways on rainy or snowy days, under an administration proposal that may soon become final.

Under the Clean Water Act, it is illegal to mix largely
untreated sewage with fully treated wastewater (a process known as "blending") prior to releasing it -- except in dire
emergencies, such as hurricanes, said Nancy Stoner, director of the Clean Water Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

"Current law allows this only when there are no feasible
alternatives," she told BushGreenwatch. "This proposal would make it routine, and that's unacceptable."

--snip--

NRDC tests found a 1,000-times greater likelihood that people would become ill with gastrointestinal problems from swimming near blended sewage than they would from swimming near fully treated sewage releases, said Stoner.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal would allow "blending" practices anytime it rained, as well as during snow melts.

Bush Greenwatch

Kerry should bring this up during the next debate.

"So, George, why are you proposing dumping shit into people's water? Do you think the American people like shit in their water?"

Of course, this would assume that they were allowed to ask each other questions, and, you know, debate, which is just silly.

October 1, 2004
Breaking the Future

Lawrence Lessig is brilliant in his Wired column this month.

As a society, we have become fundamentally selfish, trading short-term gains and perceived - but not actual - security for a truly sustainable future. As Lessig puts it, "the future doesn't vote," so we've taken to screwing the future, which I shouldn't have to remind you is made up of our own children and grandchildren, in order to have a more convenient and shallow existence for ourselves.

Lessig says it better:

Think about our behavior over the past four years. We have cut taxes but increased spending, benefiting us but burdening our kids. We have relaxed the control of greenhouse emissions, creating cheaper energy for us but astronomically higher costs for our kids, if they are to avoid catastrophic climatic change. We have waged an effectively unilateral war against Iraq, giving some a feeling of resolve but engendering three generations of angry souls focused upon a single act of revenge: killing Americans. And we have suffocated stem cell research through absurdly restrictive policies, giving the sanctimonious ground upon which to rally, while guaranteeing that kids with curable diseases will suffer unnecessary deaths. In each case, we have burdened children - that one group that can't complain - so as to supposedly benefit those of us who do.


This is the shameful application of a simple political truth: The future doesn't vote. And when tomorrow's generations get their turn at the polls, they won't be able to punish those who failed to consider their interests. The cost of shifting burdens to the future is thus quite small to us, even if it is quite large to them. And we, or the politicians representing us, happily follow this calculus.

--snip--

Gone is the sense of duty that made so compelling Kennedy's demand "ask what you can do for your country." We don't even ask what we, as a nation, can do for our kids. The rhetoric of self-interest so deeply pervades politics that an ideal as fundamental as building a better future has been lost.

Wired

Totally.

Gaymerica Is Coming

Following up on this post of mine from the other day, reader Emily passes along this nice little site...

Come to Gaymerica. See how ridiculous their (or possibly your) views are.


gaymerica flag