Saturday, July 31, 2004

Marching Orders

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9/11 Commission Report

Via The Memory Hole:

The final report of the 9/11 Omission has been published and is available online here

An optimized, easily searchable, bookmarked version has been posted here [via BoingBoing]

Dems and Iraq

From that smarty Matt Yglesias:

Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a "stable" Iraq rather than a "democratic" one, but you've got to ask yourself a thing or two. Would I rather have a stable Iraq or would I rather have a failed state Iraq that the president of the United States calls a democracy? This is your choice. If you like what's behind door number two (i.e., Afghanistan) then you really ought to vote for George W. Bush. He's really good at talking about democracy-promotion. Way better than John Kerry. The only Democrat who even gets the text in the right neighborhood is Joe Biden and his delivery is nothing compared to Bush's. And not only is Bush good at talking about democracy promotion, he's really good at calling Afghanistan a democracy, and really, really good at pretending that Baathist hitman Iyad Allawi is an emerging liberal democrat.

George W. Bush for President: Because He'll Keep You Detatched From Reality.

[. . .]

Entire post.

Your next President

Stolen from Kicking Ass:

I want a repeat of this scene on November 2nd. Vote early and often.


Via High Desert Skeptic:

Get your free 'Bush Is A Loser' bumpersticker here.

More 'results'

Yeah, President Nitwit talks about results. Via Corrente, the results of Bush's meddling with the economy:

Oh wow! Bush really did suppress the deficit numbers 'til after the Convention

And of course, the figures are as awful as we expected

This year's federal deficit will soar to a record $445 billion, the White House projected Friday in a report provoking immediate election-season tussling over how well President Bush has handled the economy.

Administration officials hailed the budget figures as a solid improvement over the deficits analysts forecast early this year, and said they were on their way to their goal of halving this year's shortfall in five years.
(via AP)

If you believe, clap your hands!

Hey, at least its nice to know that the Republicans have finally abandoned Keynesianism. I mean, it used to be that with a record deficit you could at least buy some stimulus for the economy, but the economy's tanking too!

Steady leadership right down the tubes....

Friday, July 30, 2004


Stole this in full from Digby:

Family In Need

Ridge tells colleagues he may retire:

[Secretary of Homeland Security Tom]Ridge, 58, has explained to colleagues that he needs to earn money to comfortably put his two children, Tommy Jr. and Lesley, through college, officials said. Both are now teenagers. Ridge earns $175,700 a year as a Cabinet secretary.

Maybe Mrs Ridge could get a job and clip some coupons or perhaps they could go on a budget.

I know it's tough to get by in these terrible times and I do feel for the Ridge family. But, is it really difficult to send your kids through school on just 175K a year these days? Hey, maybe he should require them to, you know, take out a loan or something. Or they could do what the Governator says all those kids who can't afford the state university in California anymore should do --- do two years at community college to save money.

I know it's class warfare to imply that the Republicans are out of touch with ordinary people's problems, but when cabinet officials complain that $175,000 a year is chicken feed and campaign operatives are telling people that if they don't like their jobs they should go on Prozac, you can see why people might get the wrong impression.

Takes a set of nuts don't it. Either that or you are that out of touch with reg'ler folks. Told ya there was something wrong with Ridge.


President Dipshit:

"When it comes to (pick something), results matter."

He's kidding, right? K. Results.

  • The greatest number of jobs lost since Herbert Hoover.

  • The biggest deficit like . . . ever.

  • Uh, like what's going on Iraq? Oh, those 900 soldiers (so far) were Americans?

  • And what's that guy's name? Oh yeah, Osama bin Forgotten.

  • Yes, Mr. Bush, leave us to look at results. Motherfucker.

    Sandy Berger, again, again

    Via Eschaton:

    President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger -- who'd been accused of stealing classified material from the National Archives -- has been cleared of all wrongdoing.

    [. . .]

    Full story.

    Republicans, Tucker Carlson, and President He Did It. Just shut the fuck up about this, okay? Clinton ain't running for President.

    The Undecideds

    I've been thinking about this for a while. And generally calling people motherfucking idiots doesn't bother me. But Kos has this that says it much more eloquently:

    [. . .]

    I think of that story every time I ponder the presidential campaign's most coveted commodity these days: the undecided voter. It boggles my mind that in the midst of the most polarized campaign in memory, with starkly defined issues and candidates who are opposites, some people can't make up their minds.

    How can that be? Do these people get stumped at the newsstand about whether to buy the National Enquirer or the Wall Street Journal? Vacillate in the shoe store between Birkenstock sandals or Blahnik spikes? Linger at the liquor store over the competing virtues of grain alcohol or Cristal champagne?

    [. . .]

    Come on, do you like someone peeing on your head an telling you it's raining? If NOTHING else, we'll hear the truth from Kerry. Godammit, make up your fucking minds, it ain't that hard.


    Well, Bush is going back on the campaign trail, now that the Dems Convention is over, promising to answer Kerry's charges made during the convention. Do you think they'll try to attack him with substance? Nah, they're gonna be like little kids and make fun of the way Kerry looks, the way Cheney did the other day. It's gonna get infantile now. Watch.


    Max Cleland was fantastic! I hope there's a spot in the Kerry Administration for him. A short speech, but powerful. Always loved the man, his determination, and his dedication to the veterans of his war, and all the others who've served since. We need more men (and women) in government like him. I'll have my thoughts on Kerry's speech later.

    John Rassman's speech was good too.

    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Convention Blogging

    Nancy Pelosi's on. Gotta stop everything to watch. Just a quote from the next speaker of the House:

    "Democrats have it right."

    Everybody for Kerry-2

    First babies, now Iraqi policemen. Kerry/Edwards can't lose. Via Corrente:


    Kerry tonight. Too bad I have to tape it, but 04:00 comes awful early. If you have yet to watch any Convention coverage, watch tonight.


    Gotta hand it to him. Can't stand his music, but if he can motivate black youth to take an active part in the process, I'm all for it:

    Sean "P. Diddy" Combs officially launched his Citizen Change campaign with a voter registration event that drew supporters ranging from Mary J Blige and Queen Latifah to comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actor Leonardo Di Caprio earlier this week.

    Combs also took the opportunity to premiere a variety of t-shirts baring his new slogan, "Vote Or Die." Various celebrities including model Tyson Beckford posed in the shirts during the function. The shirts were designed by Ecko, Diddy's Sean John, Jay-Z and Dame Dash's Rocawear and Russell Simmons' Phat Farm.

    [. . .]

    Full story.

    Ann Richards

    Good to see Ann Richards on with Brokaw this afternoon. She was my governor when I was stationed in Ft. Worth, Carswell AFB to be exact. The old broad still looks pretty good.

    Alterman on 'Liberal'

    I read Eric Alterman, but he always strikes me as a little 'out there'. Anyway, I was reading an article he wrote at Center for American Progress and this struck me:

    [. . .]

    Even so, it works. As Princeton professor Paul Starr notes, "The use of the vocabulary of treason is a measure of how thoroughly conservatives have transferred the passions of anticommunism into an internal war against those whom they think of as the enemies of American culture and values. And these were, as I recall from the 1960s, the same people who decried the loss of civility."

    Given the rhetorical dominance of conservatives over the past several decades, one might be surprised to learn from a June Wall Street Journal analysis that "[The] proportion of Americans calling themselves "liberal" edged up to 21 percent in [ pollster Stan] Greenberg's May poll from 16 percent a month earlier. Self-identified "conservatives" dropped to 37 percent from 41 percent. And why not? One of the most honored guests here in Boston this week turns out to be none other than George McGovern. As he told a reporter from National Journal when queried about his apparently alien ideological affiliation "Every program that ever helped working people -- from rural electrification to Medicare -- was enacted by liberals over the opposition of conservatives. When people tell me they don't like liberals, I ask, 'Do you like Social Security? If so, then shut up!' "

    Two thoughts. One, this is how Hitler got where he was, by having someone to blame, the Auslander and the Jews. The Right-wingnuts blame the liberals. I can't help thinking that if President Mein Kampf is reelected, they're gonna start rounding us up and 'relocating' us. Two, the poll results make me smile.

    No Reagan

    I love this! Via Lean Left:

    BOSTON - Much to the dismay of the Bush campaign, Nancy Reagan has just said no to appearing at the Republican National Convention next month.
    GOP strategists had hoped the former First Lady and Hollywood actress would make a cameo appearance onstage after a video tribute to her late husband, particularly after her Bush-bashing son, Ron, agreed to speak at the Democratic convention last night

    [. . .]

    Republican officials refrained from publicly criticizing Nancy Reagan for the no-show. Privately, however, some were upset as well as disappointed by the decision, which has been known to the White House for some time.

    "I don't think she could have missed the symbolic significance of her son going to their convention and her not going to ours," a senior GOP official told the Daily News.[my emphasis]


    From Newsday via South Knox Bubba:

    Thank you. Now, you know why Elizabeth is so amazing.

    I am a lucky man: to have the love of my life at my side. We have been blessed with four beautiful children: Wade, Cate, Emma Claire, and Jack.

    My mother and father, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards are here tonight. You taught me the values that I carry with me in my heart: faith, family, responsibility, and opportunity for everyone. You taught me that there's dignity and honor in a hard days work. You taught me that you look out for your neighbors, you never look down on anybody, and you treat everyone with respect.

    Those are the values John Kerry and I believe in, and nothing makes me prouder than standing with him in this campaign. I am so humbled to be your candidate for Vice President of the United States.

    [. . .]

    If you have any question about what he's [John Kerry] made of, you need to spend three minutes with the men who served with him then and stand by him today.

    They saw up close what he's made of. They saw him reach down and pull one of his men from the river and save his life. And in the heat of battle, they saw him decide in an instant to turn his boat around, drive it straight through an enemy position, and chase down the enemy to save his crew.

    Decisive. Strong. Aren't these the traits you want in a Commander in Chief?

    We hear a lot of talk about values. Where I come from, you don't judge someone's values based on how they use that word in a political ad. You judge their values based upon what they've spent their life doing.

    So when a man volunteers to serve his country, and puts his life on the line for others -- that's a man who represents real American values.

    This is a man who is prepared to keep the American people safe and to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

    [. . .]

    For the last few months, John has been talking about his positive, optimistic vision for the country -- talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction.

    But we've seen relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what's coming -- don't we -- more negative attacks.

    Aren't you sick of it?

    They are doing all they can to take this campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road.

    This is where you come in. Between now and November-you, the American people-you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative, politics of the past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible because this is America, where everything is possible.

    I am here tonight because I love my country. And I have every reason to love my country because I have grown up in the bright light of America.

    [. . .]

    I have had such incredible opportunities in my life, and I was blessed to be the first person in my family to go to college. I worked my way through, and I have had opportunities way beyond what I could have ever imagined.

    And the heart of this campaign -- your campaign -- is to make sure that everyone has those same opportunities that I had growing up-no matter where you live, who your family is, or what the color of your skin is. This is the America we believe in.

    I have spent my life fighting for the kind of people I grew up with. For two decades, I stood with families and children against big HMOs and big insurance companies. And as a Senator, I fought those same fights against the Washington lobbyists and for causes like the Patients' Bill of Rights.

    I stand here tonight ready to work with you and John to make America strong again.

    [. . .]

    And you know what I'm saying. You don't need me to explain it to you, you know -- you can't save any money, can you? Takes every dime you make just to pay your bills, and you know what happens if something goes wrong -- a child gets sick, somebody gets laid off, or there's a financial problem, you go right off the cliff.

    And what's the first thing to go. Your dreams.

    It doesn't have to be that way.

    We can strengthen and lift up your families. Your agenda is our agenda-so let me give you some specifics.

    [. . .]

    Let me talk about why we need to build one America. I saw up close what having two Americas does to our country.

    From the time I was very young, I saw the ugly face of segregation and discrimination. I saw young African-American kids sent upstairs in movie theaters. I saw white only signs on restaurant doors and luncheon counters. I feel such an enormous responsibility when it comes to issues of race and equality and civil rights.

    I have heard some discussions and debates about where, and in front of what audiences we should talk about race, equality, and civil rights. Well, I have an answer to that question. Everywhere.

    This is not an African-American issue, not a Latino issue, not an Asian- American issue, this is an American issue. It's about who we are, what our values are, what kind of country we want to live in.

    What John and I want -- what we all want -- is for our children and our grandchildren to be the first generations to grow up in an America that's no longer divided by race.

    We must build one America. We must be one America, strong and united for another very important reason -- because we are at war.

    None of us will ever forget where we were on September 11th. We share the same terrible images: the Towers falling, the Pentagon in flames, and the smoldering field in Pennsylvania. And we share the profound sadness for the nearly three thousand lives lost.

    [. . .]

    The human cost and extraordinary heroism of this war, it surrounds us. It surrounds us in our cities and towns. And we will win this war because of the strength and courage of our own people.

    Some of our friends and neighbors saw their last images in Baghdad. Some took their last steps outside of Fallujah. And some buttoned their uniform for the final time before they went out to save their unit.

    Men and women who used to take care of themselves, they now count on others to see them through the day. They need their mother to tie their shoe. Their husband to brush their hair. And their wife's arm to help them across the room.

    The stars and stripes wave for them. The word hero was made for them. They are the best and the bravest. They will never be left behind. You understand that. And they deserve a president who understands that on the most personal level what they have gone through -- what they have given and what they have given up for their country.

    To us, the real test of patriotism is how we treat the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to defend our values. And let me tell you, the 26 million veterans in this country won't have to wonder if they'll have health care next week or next year -- they will have it always because they took care of us and we will take care of them.

    [. . .]

    Like all of those brave men and women, John put his life on the line for our country. He knows that when authority is given to the president, much is expected in return. That's why we will strengthen and modernize our military.

    We will double our Special Forces, and invest in the new equipment and technologies so that our military remains the best equipped and best trained in the world. This will make our military stronger so we're able to defeat every enemy in this new world.

    But we can't do this alone. We have to restore our respect in the world to bring our allies to us and with us. It's how we won the World Wars and the Cold War and it is how we will build a stable Iraq.

    [. . .]

    And together, we will ensure that the image of America -- the image all of us love -- America this great shining light, this beacon of freedom, democracy, and human rights that the world looks up to-that that beacon is always lit.

    The truth is every child, every family in America will be safer and more secure if you grow up in a world where America is once again looked up to and respected. That's the world we can create together.

    Tonight, as we celebrate in this hall, somewhere in America, a mother sits at the kitchen table. She can't sleep. She's worried because she can't pay her bills. She's working hard to pay the rent and feed her kids. She's doing everything right, but she still can't get ahead.

    It didn't use to be that way in her house. Her husband was called up in the Guard and he's been serving in Iraq for more than a year. She thought he'd be home last month, but now he's got to stay longer.

    She thinks she's alone. But tonight in this hall and in your homes -- you know what? She's got a lot of friends. We want her to know that we hear her. And it's time to bring opportunity and an equal chance to her door.

    [. . .]

    What we believe -- what John Kerry and I believe -- is that you should never look down on anybody, that we should lift people up. We don't believe in tearing people apart. We believe in bringing people together. What we believe -- what I believe -- is that the family you're born into and the color of your skin in our America should never control your destiny.

    Join us in this cause. Let's make America stronger at home and respected in the world. Let's ensure that once again, in our one America -- our one America -- tomorrow will always be better than today.

    Thank you and God bless you.

    Full transcript.

    I love this guy, but if I have to hear that fucking mill town story ONE MORE TIME, I'm gonna shoot my damn self. I've only read the transcript but I taped it and I'm gonna watch it with the Mrs. tonight, after I get home from the tailor. Oy!

    Another one gone

    From MSNBC:

    Ukraine said Thursday it is in negotiations with the United States and Poland to reduce and eventually withdraw its troops from Iraq, becoming the latest country to consider abandoning the risky military mission.

    [. . .]

    Ukrainian troops already have begun turning over guard duties of several key facilities to Iraqi soldiers, the Defense Ministry said in a statement, and Iraqi border guards took over patrols on a section of the Iraqi-Iranian border from a Ukrainian contingent.

    [. . .]

    And now the Saudis are coming to President Suck Boy's rescue:

    JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Secretary of State Colin Powell and top Saudi officials held talks Wednesday on the possibility of creating a Muslim force to be deployed in Iraq as a supplement to the U.S.-led coalition, U.S. officials said.

    [. . .]

    It’s unclear why Saudi Arabia was involved in the negotiations since its troops would not be in any Muslim force, consistent with Iraqi wishes that none of its neighbors send military personnel to avoid possible complications in regional politics.

    Some of the countries mentioned as possible participants in a replacement force — Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Morocco — are from far outside the region.

    [. . .]

    The fucking Saudis are involved because Bush promised to blow Bandar if he could get a Muslim force into Iraq as part of the Coalition of the Billing . . . er, Willing. Bush & Co are worried. Especially since the Ukrainians are gonna cut and run. Sorry, Dubya, they're leaving you like rats from a sinking ship. Ha-ha!

    I've been wrong once or twice

    Sharpton was actually pretty good. He had his minister's voice on and I'll even go so far to say he was inspiring. Still don't like him, I've seen him play the victim too many times. He was far better than Jesse, who'd given that tired speech before. So I was wrong on two counts. That uses up my quota for the year. Ha!

    Strawberries, again

    I posted this a couple months ago and I thought it was the last we'd hear of it. At least before the election.

    If you remember 'The Caine Mutiny' with Humphrey Bogart, you'll know what I mean. Spotted this via WTF Is It Now? According to Capitol Hill Blue, President Queeg is losing it.

    President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.

    In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as "enemies of the state".

    [. . .]

    Found this today. Via Corrente, from Capitol Hill Blue:

    President George W. Bush is taking powerful anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

    The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the President’s mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis, administration aides admit privately.

    [. . .]

    Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.

    “Keep those motherfuckers away from me,” he screamed at an aide backstage. “If you can’t, I’ll find someone who can.”

    [. . .]

    Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a “paranoid meglomaniac” and “untreated alcoholic” whose “lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad” showcase Bush’s instabilities.

    [. . .]

    The doctors also worry about the wisdom of giving powerful anti-depressant drugs to a person with a history of chemical dependency. Bush is an admitted alcoholic, although he never sought treatment in a formal program, and stories about his cocaine use as a younger man haunted his campaigns for Texas governor and his first campaign for President.

    [. . .]

    Veteran White House watchers say the ability to control information about Bush’s health, either physical or mental, is similar to Ronald Reagan’s second term when aides managed to conceal the President’s increasing memory lapses that signaled the onslaught of Alzheimer’s Disease.

    It also brings back memories of Richard Nixon’s final days when the soon-to-resign President wondered the halls and talked to portraits of former Presidents. The stories didn’t emerge until after Nixon left office.

    One long-time GOP political consultant who – for obvious reasons – asked not to be identified said he is advising his Republican Congressional candidates to keep their distance from Bush.

    “We have to face the very real possibility that the President of the United States is loony tunes,” he says sadly. “That’s not good for my candidates, it’s not good for the party and it’s certainly not good for the country.”

    Full story.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2004


    Via Just a Bump in the Beltway:

    [. . .]

    My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin- roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

    But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that's shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him.


    While studying here my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas.


    Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton's army, marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity.

    [. . .]

    Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy; our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...


    ... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    That is the true genius of America, a faith...


    ... a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution; and that our votes will be counted -- or at least, most of the time.

    [. . .]

    Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you: They don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or by the Pentagon.


    Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn.

    They know that parents have to teach, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. They know those things.


    People don't expect -- people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.

    In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. And that man is John Kerry.

    [. . .]

    You know, a while back, I met a young man named Seamus (ph) in a VFW hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, 6'2", 6'3", clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week.

    And as I listened to him explain why he had enlisted -- the absolute faith he had in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service -- I thought, this young man was all that any of us might ever hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Seamus (ph) as well as he's serving us?

    I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won't be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.

    [. . .]

    Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated.

    John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure.


    John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we are all connected as one people.

    [. . .]

    It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: "E pluribus unum," out of many, one.

    Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

    Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America.


    There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.

    [. . .]

    Entire transcript.

    VP in 2020, President in '28.


    It's Edwards tonight and I'm gonna try and stay up to see it. I'll probably tape it and watch it first thing (04:00) tomorrow. I sure as hell ain't gonna sit through Sharpton. I'll catch enough of his noise on the highlights in the morning.


    A non-American view

    From Asia Times:

    [. . .]

    Most Americans, with varying degrees of naivete, believe they live in a classless society. Class is a taboo theme in the US; that's why Republicans talk about "values": God, guns and gays are an essential part of the package. But once again class will be key in deciding this election. The Republicans' relentless cultural populism has been extremely effective: their own hard sell as the party that best represents "American values" has captivated a vast, lower-middle-class, not very educated, socially conservative base. Kerry may have no way of seducing this base in the vast spaces of Red (Republican) states, but he definitely has a shot with male, conservative, angry, lower-middle-class voters in swing states such as Ohio and Florida. Once again Clinton showed he knows how to connect to this part of Middle America: Kerry just has to learn how to swing accordingly, proving again and again to these voters how cultural populism is a myth and how the Bush administration promotes corporate interests, not their own.

    The polls are saying that if Kerry goes over 50% in the next few days, he has every chance of holding and even increasing the lead until November. The Bushites will panic. Since this is a "war presidency", Democrats fear there would be three options left.
    1) An Osama bin Laden October surprise (arrested, not "smoked out", with the help of Pakistani ally President General Pervez Musharraf).
    2) The election is again stolen, this time in California, with the help of Gubernator Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican-made electronic ballot boxes in a few states.
    3) An al-Qaeda attack (Osama, lest we forget, votes Bush) leads to a de facto coup d'etat, with the "Bush-Cheney junta" (Gore Vidal) postponing the elections indefinitely.

    Conspicuously absent from Clinton's roadmap for Kerry was the Iraq question. For a simple reason: neither the Democratic Party, nor Kerry, nor Bush for that matter, knows what to say and do about Iraq . . .

    [. . .]

    Joe Lieberman

    He's on live with Chris Jansing at MSNBC. I wanna slap him. Jesus H. Christ, can we get someone alive to talk to the press. Oh my god, you just wanna shake him and say, 'wake the fuck up!' Oy gevult, Joe, drink some fucking coffee already. Besides, I think he's going the way of Zell Miller.

    There's good news?

    So, the fighting is moving south. I thought this area was pacified. From Al-Jazeera:

    Wednesday 28 July 2004, 16:19 Makka Time, 13:19 GMT

    Iraqi policemen fought alongside US and Ukrainian troops

    Thirty-five resistance fighters and seven Iraqi policemen have been killed in a gun battle in southern Iraq, Poland's defence ministry said.

    The policemen were fighting alongside US and Ukrainian occupation troops on Wednesday in Al-Suwayrah town in the Polish-controlled zone, a ministry spokesman said in the Polish capital Warsaw.

    After the exchange of fire, 40 fighters were arrested.

    Ten policemen were also wounded, but the US and Ukrainian soldiers did not suffer any casualties, Lieutenant-Colonel Krzysztof Laszkiewicz said. Polish troops were not actively involved, he added.

    [. . .]

    And then there's always Falluja:

    In Falluja, four Iraqi policemen were killed on Wednesday when a homemade bomb targeted a joint US and Iraqi convoy, west of the city, a local hospital security officer said.

    [. . .]

    And of course in Baghdad:

    Meanwhile, two people were killed, including a 13-year-old child, and seven were wounded when a mortar round exploded in a Baghdad residential neighbourhood on Wednesday, hospital doctors said.

    The child was killed when the projectile landed on houses in the Rahmaniya district. Three other children were injured, as well as three men and a woman, said a source at the Karama hospital.

    [. . .]

    And let's not forget the obligatory troop death for the day:

    To the north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb attack on a US patrol killed one soldier and wounded three others on Tuesday, the US military said on Wednesday.

    It said the attack was near Balad Ruz, close to the town of Baquba where a car bomb attack killed at least 51 people on Wednesday.

    The roadside bomb attack raised to at least 672 the number of US soldiers killed in action in Iraq since the invasion last year.

    Another day, another American kid. So how was sovereignty going to reduce the attacks? The spin machine said that the attacks would increase in the days up to the handjob . . . er, handover, and then taper off. It's been a month and the shit's getting worse. I still think we're planning to bug out in a hurry if Bush continues this 'Peace President' bullshit and needs actions to back it up.

    Didn't I tell you?

    About Barack Obama? The kid's good, and Bill at Whiskey Bar thinks so too:

    A Star is Born

    I do believe we're going to be hearing a lot more from Barack Obama in the years to come. He has the gift.

    Told ya! But what do I know, I'm an idiot mechanic.

    And from Democratic Veteran:


    Are we seeing a future president here? Was that not a kick-ass speech?

    I tuned in to see one of the best speeches of the convention so far and to hear one of the most mindless pieces of punditry (paraphrasing...) BoBo Brooks on PBS -- "Why he was like Tiger Woods" or words to that effect.

    BoBo Brooks...what an asshat.


    Why in Hell is Al Sharpton speaking to the Convention? It ain't like we need a token brother. Ol' Barack spoke last night, eloquently I might add. Why not get somebody serious like Harold Ford (D-TN)? The Reverend Al is a buffoon, a moron, and a narcississtic fool. Trust me, we've put up with him here in NY for the last thirty years. Talk about a sad example of the black community. I'd rather Jesse Jackson, shit, I'd rather Janet Jackson. Are we that scared of Sharpton yelling racism that we're humoring him? Jesus H. Christ, they were debating letting Hillary speak and no one had second thoughts about Sharpton? What the fuck are they thinking?

    Everybody for Kerry/Edwards

    A smile for the morning. From Chuck at The American Street:

    Our two and a half week old twins, Frances Bright Currie and Katherine Chalmers Currie, have been glued to the television watching the Democratic National Convention. They’re a little tired after watching all the speeches, but fully committed to the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

    [. . .]

    Speaking of the Convention, I'll have more when I get home this afternoon. Trying to get the transcript of the Obama speech.  From what I saw of it, the kid was good.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2004


    This choked me up. From Kos:

    Of the political displays around Boston, none was more poignant than the 907 boots on the ground in Copley Square.

    [. . .]

    Polls, again

    Stolen from My DD:

    New Zogby State Polls
    by Chris Bowers

    The new Zogby Battleground polls are up. Kerry leads in 12 of the 16 states, even though Nader was included in the questioning in each of the 16 states. Kerry leads in four 2000 Bush states: Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire and Tennessee. Many of the states are within the margin of error, including all four states where Bush currently leads. Granted, considering the new methodology, the margin of error might be something like 10 points.

    The best part is that Bush fails to reach 50% in all 16 states, while Kerry crosses 50 in seven states: MI, MN, NM, PA, OR, WA and WI. In fact, the only Gore state in the poll where Kerry does not cross 50 is Iowa, where he comes in at 49.3 (higher than Bush's standing in any of the sixteen states). The base looks solid, and chances for Bush pickups appear slim.

    Works for me.

    Home schooling

    I got problems with this in a BIG way. In my book, most folks who home school their kids do it for one reason. The public school system isn't 'Christian' enough. American Madrassas. The same way they teach the kids in Pakistan and Saudi the radical Islamic doctrine, the Christo-Fascist Jesus Freaks are turning their kids into American Osamas. It hit me when that whole Judge Roy Moore thing was going on in Alabama, over the Ten Commmandments monument in the courthouse. I see these little fucking kids standing out there quoting scripture from memory in protest. Are you fucking kidding me? Do you think the kid actually knows what he's saying? Jesus H. Christ, the fucking rugrat is brainwashed at 6.

    Anyway, the reason I'm ranting is this, via Lean Left from The Wall of Separation:

    Money from a federal program intended to expand public school choice has instead been used to prop up a scheme cooked up by William J. Bennett to boost home schoolers in Arkansas, Education Week has reported.

    Newspaper staffers David J. Hoff and Michelle R. Davis report that a for-profit firm called K12, Inc., run by former Education Secretary and "drug czar" Bennett, has received $4.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education. Bennett's outfit received the tax funding under a provision in the "No Child Left Behind" education bill that is designed to expand options in public school choice.

    There's just one problem: The provision in the education bill is supposed to offer options to students enrolled in failing public schools. But Bennett's business is aimed at helping parents who engage in home schooling and does nothing to benefit students in public schools.

    [. . .]

    What's even more troubling is that Bennett's firm apparently ended up with the tax-funded windfall despite contrary recommendations from peer reviewers at the U.S. Department of Education. Department employees who oversee the public school choice program initially suggested funding for 10 programs, basing their decision on recommendations from peer reviewers. Bennett's K12 Arkansas project was not among them. Education Week reported that K12's proposal did not score high enough among the peer reviewers to win a funding recommendation.

    But the Department of Education bypassed the peer reviewers and added Bennett's program to the list. In doing so, the department dropped one program entirely and slashed funding for others.

    One department employee involved in the process, who wished to remain anonymous, told Education Week, "Anything with Bill Bennett's name on it was going to get funded."
    What is the end result of all of this? While students in Arkansas' under-funded public schools go begging, the youngsters taking part in the K12 experiment enjoy computer instruction and step-by-step lessons plans for parents to follow. A certified teacher stands by to offer guidance via telephone.

    Perhaps the name of the "No Child Left Behind" law should be changed to "No Private School or Home-Schooled Child Left Behind."[my emphasis]

    Entire Post.

    Just in case you've forgotten, Bill Bennett was the Right-wing Jesus Freak Secretary of Education who wrote a book about our failing morals. Did I mention his jones for Vegas and the Roulette wheel? Hypocrite rat bastid. Add crook to that resume too.

    How's this sound?

  • Kerry/Edwards '04

  • Kerry/Edwards '08

  • Edwards/Clinton '12

  • Ditto for '16.

  • Clinton/Obama '20

  • The Mrs. and I were kicking this around last night and it got us both aroused. Whatcha think?


    Also via Bubba:

    [. . .]

    Today, our dominant international challenge is to restore the greatness of America—based on telling the truth, a commitment to peace, and respect for civil liberties at home and basic human rights around the world. Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world. Without truth—without trust—America cannot flourish. Trust is at the very heart of our democracy, the sacred covenant between the president and the people.

    When that trust is violated, the bonds that hold our republic together begin to weaken. After 9/11, America stood proud, wounded but determined and united. A cowardly attack on innocent civilians brought us an unprecedented level of cooperation and understanding around the world. But in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations. Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism.

    Let us not forget that the Soviets lost the Cold War because the American people combined the exercise of power with adherence to basic principles, based on sustained bipartisan support. We understood the positive link between the defense of our own freedom and the promotion of human rights. Recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world’s most admired champion of freedom and justice. What a difference these few months of extremism have made!

    The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of “preemptive” war. With our allies disunited, the world resenting us, and the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore life to the global war against terrorism.

    In the meantime, the Middle East peace process has come to a screeching halt for the first time since Israel became a nation. All former presidents, Democratic and Republican, have attempted to secure a comprehensive peace for Israel with hope and justice for the Palestinians. The achievements of Camp David a quarter century ago and the more recent progress made by President Bill Clinton are now in peril.

    [. . .]

    You can’t be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next, depending on the latest political polls. When our national security requires military action, John Kerry has already proven in Vietnam that he will not hesitate to act. And as a proven defender of our national security, John Kerry will strengthen the global alliance against terrorism while avoiding unnecessary wars.

    [. . .]

    Again, thanks to South Knox Bubba for the links to the speech transcripts from last night.

    I always liked Jimmy Carter as a man, a Navy vet, a good soul with a good heart, and a man of great faith, but as a President he was out of his depth. He is the Democratic Party's elder statesman though, and last night he showed why. He is an ambassador for the Democrats, the picture of calm determination.

    Bush, Guns, and Jesus Freaks

    From The American Street:

    No need for my 2 cents. One pic is worth a thousand words.

    Barack Obama

    I'm really impressed with this kid, more impressed every time I hear him talk. In addition, I guess I'm partial to him becasue we also share the same racial heritage, another half-breed. Keep an eye on him, he'll go far. I saw a piece on ABC News about him and something disturbed me. This is a shameful statistic:

    "If he wins, Obama would be only the fifth black Senator in the nation's history."

    I knew there weren't many blacks that served in the Senate, but only FOUR in a couple hundred years? That's just disgraceful.


    Last night:

    [. . .]

    Tonight I speak as a citizen, returning to the role I have played for most of my life as a foot soldier in the fight for our future, as we nominate a true New England patriot for president. The state that gave us John Adams and John Kennedy has now given us John Kerry, a good man, a great senator, a visionary leader. We are constantly told America is deeply divided. But all Americans value freedom, faith, and family. We all honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.

    [. . .]

    To build that kind of world we must make the right choices; and we must have a president who will lead the way. Democrats and Republicans have very different and honestly held ideas on that choices we should make, rooted in fundamentally different views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and how we should play our role in the world. Democrats want to build an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities and more global cooperation, acting alone only when we must.

    We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives. Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people, in a world in which we act unilaterally when we can, and cooperate when we have to.

    They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security. Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all wanted to be one nation, strong in the fight against terror. The president had a great opportunity to bring us together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in common cause against terror.

    Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice: to use the moment of unity to push America too far to the right and to walk away from our allies, not only in attacking Iraq before the weapons inspectors finished their jobs, but in withdrawing American support for the Climate Change Treaty, the International Court for war criminals, the ABM treaty, and even the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

    [. . .]

    When I was in office, the Republicans were pretty mean to me. When I left and made money, I became part of the most important group in the world to them. At first I thought I should send them a thank you note—until I realized they were sending you the bill.

    They protected my tax cuts while:

    · Withholding promised funding for the Leave No Child Behind Act, leaving over 2 million children behind

    · Cutting 140,000 unemployed workers out of job training

    · 100,000 working families out of child care assistance

    · 300,000 poor children out of after school programs

    · Raising out of pocket healthcare costs to veterans

    · Weakening or reversing important environmental advances for clean air and the preservation of our forests.

    Everyone had to sacrifice except the wealthiest Americans, who wanted to do their part but were asked only to expend the energy necessary to open the envelopes containing our tax cuts. If you agree with these choices, you should vote to return them to the White House and Congress. If not, take a look at John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democrats.

    [. . .]

    Read the entire speech here.

    Thanks to Bubba for the link, and go here for links to transcripts of all the speeches last night.


    President C-student has done so much stupid shit over the last few years, I'd forgtten this stupid shit. From Corrente:

    [. . .]

    The first three years...
    can the English language survive?

    "The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."
    - George W. Bush

    "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
    - George W. Bush

    "One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
    - George W. Bush

    "I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments
    in the future."
    - George W. Bush

    "The future will be better tomorrow."
    - George W. Bush

    "We're going to have the best educated American people in the
    - George W. Bush

    "I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
    - George W. Bush

    "We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a
    firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."
    - George W. Bush

    "Public speaking is very easy."
    - George W. Bush

    "A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the
    - George W. Bush

    "We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
    - George W. Bush

    "For NASA, space is still a high priority."
    - George W. Bush

    "Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our
    - George W. Bush

    "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the
    impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
    - George W. Bush

    "It's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
    - George W. Bush

    [. . .]

    You know, we probably would have been better off with Yogi Berra.

    Monday, July 26, 2004

    Figures, again

    From CNN:

    CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush and top security officials on Monday studied recommendations by an independent commission that investigated the September 11, 2001, attacks, White House officials said.

    The 9/11 commission has pushed the White House and Congress to act quickly on its recommendations, which include appointing a Cabinet-level chief to oversee the nation's 15 intelligence agencies and a counterterrorism center modeled on the military's unified commands.

    [. . .]

    The president's top priority is to enact the commission's recommendations that he can implement through executive order, White House aides said.

    Bush is expected to make decisions on some recommendations "within days," said one White House official, adding, "The president is on the fast track."

    Senior administration officials describe the task force gathering as a "working meeting" that yielded no decisions but marked the beginning of "an ongoing process" of assessing intelligence and security reforms.

    [. . .]

    The 9/11 panel, officially called the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, released its findings Thursday in a 570-page report.

    Chairman Thomas Kean and his fellow panelists cited a "failure of imagination" that they said kept U.S. officials from understanding al Qaeda's threat before the attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000.

    [. . .]

    This is all bullshit designed to suck the air away from the Democratic convention. Bush won't commit to anything until after the election. At least, nothing that could be a political football. Don't even expect an executive order unless he's pretty sure congressional Republicans (and asshole Zell Miller) are behind him. This whole gung ho attitude from President Day Off toward the 9/11 Commission's recommendations will stay in Crawford. Remember, Bush and Cheney didn't want the Commission and obstructed them at every turn. Remember Condoliezza Rice and all that executive privilege bullshit? They'll talk about it until the press drops it and you won't hear anything else about it.

    Convention Blogging

    Ezra and Jesse from Pandagon have their press credentials and are providing running commentary from Boston. Go visit. But sometimes they give out a bit too much information. This was Jesse's post earlier:

    Okay, so as virtual nobodies, we've learned a valuable lesson. Knowing about parties does not garner you a way in to parties.

    Perhaps the most important lesson of this convention, bar none. I really need to get in someone important's pants by Tuesday in order to actually meet people - at this rate, I'm going to be reduced to hoping that someone shows up at one of the events I've already been invited to. I'll even take a Utah Democrat, I swear!

    [. . .]

    . . . Obviously, since I'm writing this, that means that my mad quest for sex has been stymied for yet another night. . .

    [. . .]

    Have I mentioned Jesse and Ezra are young (early twenties)? Anyway, being the asshole I am, I wrote this in comments:

    I'd bet you can score an invitation via sexual favors. Of course, you might have to give favor to say . . . Teddy Kennedy but hey, anything for the casue, right? That's the spirit! You're young and you should get over the experience with a minimum of therapy. Good luck and say hi to Ted for me.


    Theresa Heinz

    For her remarks, telling that reporter to shove it? Good for her. Mrs. F thinks so too.

    If you're offended, just shut the fuck up. No one cares.

    Fascism, again

    From me last week:

    I know you think I'm crazy when I compare President Dipshit and his Administration to Nazis and that they will do something to affect the elections in November to their benefit. I did that here, here, here, here, here, and here.

    Via Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway from Asia Times:

    Groupthink and the slide into fascism
    By Ritt Goldstein

    On July 8, Asia Times Online broke the story (Patriotic pride and fear) of how noted Canadian psychologist Daniel Burston (two PhDs from Canada's York University and a widely acclaimed author) perceived a broad retreat into "social fantasy systems" and "socially patterned defects" as explaining much of the Bush administration's decision-making. He observed for ATol that such flaws bring those involved to "act in ways which - from an outsiders perspective - look insane". On the following day, July 9, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on the United States' justification for the Iraq war, claiming an erroneous "groupthink" was to blame, and coincidentally highlighting the validity of Burston's observations.

    Groupthink is defined as "a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action". In other words, retreat into a "social fantasy system" allowed "socially patterned defects" to flourish within the group's members.

    [. . .]

    In an October 2003 article titled "Cheney's hawks hijacking policy", this journalist revealed that former senior Pentagon staffer Lieutenant-Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski (retired) described "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress", adding that "in order to take that first step - Iraq - lies had to be told to Congress to bring them on board". Planned and deliberate lies were told in order to manipulate Congress and the American people purposefully, effectively, and criminally, undercutting the very foundations of US democracy.

    [. . .]

    While groupthink is undoubtedly to blame for the Iraq war's false premises, the full implications of the "groupthink" that occurred, as well as that which is ongoing, appear to have yet to emerge.

    Highlighting a disturbing reality, Burston had noted parallels between the social psychology of the present and that of the 1930s.

    In a further parallel to the 1930s, on July 9 the conservative Chicago Sun-Times (one of the United States' top 50 papers) ran a commentary on US fascism, stating that "fascism' is not an exaggeration", and adding that anyone who doubted this "doesn't know what fascism is". It went on to note: "Some liberals suggest that the administration is capable of canceling the November election on the grounds of national security if it looks like Bush would lose. I doubt this." But on July 11 and 12, news of the administration seeking legal authority for just such an election postponement - a delay in the November election for national-security reasons - widely broke.

    Burston had said he believed the US could be poised "on the verge" of a corporate fascism, and eminent political scientist Dr Michael Parenti (Yale PhD in political science and author of 18 books) spoke similarly. And indeed, the slippery slope of "groupthink" in effect provided the basis for the psycho-dynamics dominating the rise of 1930s fascism, its proponents of a "new order" perceiving endless lies, propaganda, repression, mass violence, and even mass murder as legitimate means to what they perceived as their "noble" ends, versus tragic and criminal delusions. Students of history will note the "groupthink" evidenced in Germany's 1930s mass rallies at Nuremberg, though the realization of what was then occurring didn't fully emerge until the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals of the 1940s.

    [. . .]

    Full story.

    My grandparents, my aunts, and my mom lived through World War Two Germany. If Bush gets reelected, be afraid . . . be very afraid.

    And how about another poll?

    Via Eschaton:

    BOSTON, July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- First-time voters in the 2004 presidential election remain in play, according to a non-partisan survey among newly registered first-time voters conducted by the Pace University Poll and Rock the Vote between July 8 and July 20.

    [. . .]

    The first of these surveys shows only 39% of new voters say the country is headed in the right direction, whereas 50% say it is headed in the wrong direction. In addition, new voters give President George W. Bush a job approval rating of 49%, which is below the threshold political scientists conventionally consider safe for an incumbent.

    In a head-to-head race between President Bush and Senator John Kerry, first-time voters back the challenger: 50% for Kerry to 40% for Bush. However, in a three-way race among Bush, Kerry, and Ralph Nader, Bush receives 44%, Kerry 42%, and Nader 6%.

    [. . .]

    Full story.

    How many isolated incidents?

    Stolen fully and completely from Jesus' General:

    Ninety-four isolated incidents


    Dear Gen. Mikolashek,

    I was relieved to read that your report on the torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan found no systemic problems. I hope it puts an end to the vile lies being spread by those who have for so long rhetorically sodomized Uncle Sam with the treacherous glow sticks of treasonous speech, but I doubt that it will. You still have much work to do.

    It is doubtful that much of the public will believe your assertion that the 39 deaths and 94 incidents of torture were all isolated incidents. Indeed, Sen. Carl Levin, a Frenchman, has already questioned it.

    You can't let the skeptics get you down. Stand hard behind your findings and eventually the controversy will be forgotten. I know this from personal experience.

    About twenty years ago, I managed a fast food restaurant where 57 isolated incidents of food poisoning resulted in three deaths. The owners and the Health Department tried to blame it on my management, saying that it was a systemic problem. I stood my ground, placing all the blame on a few employees I called "bad apples." Sure, I lost my job, but eventually most of the people in my town forgot about it. Now, I lead a fairly normal life--it's been months since I was last spat upon.

    I'm sure it'll be the same for you. Most people will have forgotten your report in twenty years. Heck, I'd be very surprised if anyone, other than a few historians, calls you a whore more than two or three times a year by then.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Heterosexually yours,

    Gen. JC Christian, patriot
    Commander, American Christian Militia

    And more polls

    From the Pollmeister Extraordinaire Kos:

    I've been without Internet access the last two days, so these may have already been posted. But here goes regardless...


    Gallup. 7/19-22. Likely voters. MoE 4%. (No trend lines).

    Bush 50

    Kerry 47

    Gallup. 7/19-22. Likely voters. MoE 4%. (No trend lines).

    Kerry 49

    Bush 44

    ARG. 7/20-22. Likely voters. MoE 4%. (June 23 results).

    Kerry 47 (49)

    Bush 45 (43)

    Columbus Dispatch. 7/14-22. Likely voters. MoE 4%. (April results).

    Bush 47 (45)

    Kerry 44 (43)

    Nader 2 (3)

    Gallup. 7/19-22. Likely voters.  MoE 4%. (No trend lines).

    Bush 48

    Kerry 48


    SurveyUSA. 7/21-22. MoE 3.5%. (No trend lines).

    Kerry 49

    Bush 45
    The Gallup and ARG polls are the first to show a Kerry lead in Ohio in several months. Don't get too excited about it just yet.

    Sunday, July 25, 2004


    Via Today In Iraq:

    Iraqi forces aim at each other


    THE first raid by all-Iraqi security forces on suspected terrorist hide-outs in Baghdad descended into chaos when members of the two teams involved turned their guns on each other, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

    The captain in charge of a detachment from the newly-formed Iraqi civil defence corps threatened to shoot anti-terrorist squad officers who were using strong-arm tactics against a taxi driver trying to get through a road block.

    The anti-terrorist officers then drew their guns in a Hollywood-style stand-off that only ended when the captain’s own men defused the situation by surrounding him and persuading him to lower his weapon.

    Tensions rose again later in the raid when one of the defence corps was accused of looting one of the suspects’ houses.

    [. . .]

    Back at base, Daham blamed the infighting on the civil defence corps, which, like the rest of Iraq’s rookie security forces, he holds in low regard.

    "Occasionally the police use a bit of force - we have seen the Americans do the same thing, you know," he said. "But what were the civil defence corps doing? You saw how that captain tried to shoot everybody. It is no good the Americans just giving them guns. I’ve been a policeman 17 years, and there’s a lot more to it than that."

    [. . .]

    Formed five months ago from a cabal of experienced Saddam-era detectives, the occasional reversion by anti-terrorist officers to old-school methods does not always go down well with Iraq’s other fledgling security agencies.

    [. . ]

    Full story.

    I know, why don't we just give EVERYBODY Kalashnikovs and split. Oh yeah, that's what we're setting up to do at the end of September or early October. Let's see if Bush declares a partial pullout of U.S. troops just before the election. After all, the Iraqis have had sovereignty sine 1 July. It's about time they did something with it. Right?

    More Polls

    Via DemFromCT at Kos:

    More data at Polling Report.


    Stole this from Josh Marshall at TPM:

    From ABCNews ...

    Consumer advocate Ralph Nader's quixotic presidential campaign says it submitted about 5,400 signatures to get on the Michigan ballot, far short of the required number of 30,000. Luckily for him, approximately 43,000 signatures were filed by Michigan Republicans on his behalf, more than meeting the requirement.

    Speaks for itself.

    Idiots ...

    You know, I used to like Nader, until he set off on this silly ego trip of his. I can't believe he doesn't know he's being used, and I can't believe he's that divorced from reality to let it happen. He's taken a wonderful legacy of being a consumer advocate and shit all over it. You know what he'll be remembered for?

    Ralph Nader, Republican tool.

    A damn shame and the ruination of a good man.

    More security

    From Asia Times:

    ATHENS - The Greek government appears to be forfeiting control over vital aspects of security preparations for the Summer Olympic Games, even as the security budget spirals to an unprecedented US$1.5 billion.

    Teams of US, Israeli and British intelligence officials have been in Greece since last year, preparing for the massive policing operation that will unfold during the Games, which run from August 13-29. The Americans are particularly active in securing Greece's border posts and the central Piraeus harbor, while an Israeli team has been providing the Greek police with training on how to deal with suicide bombers.

    But with just weeks before the high-profile opening ceremony, current and former Greek government officials are admitting to being the recipients of "insufferable pressures for a long time, not just from the Americans".

    [. . .]

    With Athens already swarming with foreign intelligence services and despite public claims to the contrary, it has emerged in the past two months that US and Israeli guards will be armed, while the US Coast Guard will shoulder some of the burden of securing high-profile targets, such as the port of Piraeus, where foreign dignitaries will stay aboard eight cruise ships.

    [. . .]

    Hundreds of US troops will be on standby on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the eastern Mediterranean, ready to be flown into Athens within 20 minutes of an incident. A Czech NATO squad specializing in nuclear, biological and chemical catastrophes will be secretly based in the Greek capital, according to a British security contractor involved in the security of the Olympics.

    Concerns over a possible CBR (chemical, biological, radiological) attack have loomed. A senior doctor at Athens' central Evangelismos Hospital - where members of the International Olympic Committee will be treated in case of an emergency - told Asia Times Online that, although staff at most hospitals in Athens had attended some seminars on how to react to a CBR emergency, he has doubts over their ability to react competently in the event of an attack.

    [. . .]

    In interviews, Greek and Western officials, analysts and contractors described to Asia Times Online how the Greek government had progressively surrendered sovereignty on key issues related to the security of the Olympics. A former government official charged with security for the Games estimated that at least 300 armed guards would participate in the Olympics, aside from "the intelligence people who'll come in who are totally undercover and we'll never know about".

    While the Greek government has spent $1.5 billion and will deploy up to 70,000 police and soldiers around Olympic venues, the US, British and Israeli insistence on operational involvement appears to betray concern over preparations. It comes on the back of reported poor showings by Greek forces in several role-playing exercises.

    [. . .]

    This is gonna be a fucking mess. Mark my words.

    Mo Dowd on 9/11 and our safety

    Maureen Dowd:

    [. . .]

    Maybe it's because the F.B.I. is still learning how to Google and the C.I.A. has an acting head who spends most of his time acting defensive over his agency's failure to get anything right. Maybe it's because so many of those federal twits who missed the 10 chances to stop the 9/11 hijackers, who blew off our Paul Reveres - Richard Clarke, Coleen Rowley and the Phoenix memo author - still run things. Call me crazy, Mr. President, but I don't feel any safer.

    The nation's mesmerizing new best seller, the 9/11 commission report, lays bare how naked we still are against an attack, and how vulnerable we are because of the time and money the fuzzy-headed Bush belligerents wasted going after the wrong target.

    [. . .]

    The report offers vivid details on our worst fears. Instead of focusing on immediately hitting back at Osama, Bush officials indulged their idiotic idée fixe on Saddam and ignored the memo from their counter-terrorism experts dismissing any connection between the religious fanatic bin Laden and the secular Hussein.

    "On the afternoon of 9/11, according to contemporaneous notes, Secretary Rumsfeld instructed General Myers to obtain quickly as much information as possible," the report says. " The notes indicate that he also told Myers that he was not simply interested in striking empty training sites. The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time - not only bin Laden."

    [. . .]

    The commissioners warn that the price for the Bush bullies' attention deficit disorder could be high: "If, for example, Iraq becomes a failed state, it will go to the top of the list of places that are breeding grounds for attacks against Americans at home. Similarly, if we are paying insufficient attention to Afghanistan, the rule of the Taliban or warlords and narcotraffickers may re-emerge and its countryside could once again offer refuge to Al Qaeda, or its successor."

    [. . .]

    If the Bush crowd hadn't been besotted with the idea of smoking Saddam, they could have stomped Osama in Tora Bora. Now it's too late. Al Qaeda has become a state of mind.

    Go read the whole thing.

    So, here we are. Osama's been forgotten, and Iraq is a mess. The 9/11 Commission is calling for changes now, and President War on Terror is "considering" their recommendations. Never mind Fat Denny Hastert and Bill 'Trust Me, I'm a Doctor' Frist, hemming and hawing until they get talking points from 1600. And speaking of talking points, they're already warming us up for another terror attack between now and election time. And if Wolf Shitzer can be believed, it'll be worse than the last one. Isn't Bush saying he's made us safer?


    Human Chain

    From The Agonist:

    Protesters forming 'human chain' to protest pullout
    Nadav Shragai | July 25

    Haaretz - Protesters on Sunday evening began forming a 90-kilometer-long "human chain" between the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip and the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, to protest against the disengagement plan.

    According to the police, some 70,000 people were taking part in the event, spreading out from the Nissanit settlement in Gaza to Jerusalem.

    [. . .]

    The protesters were set to link hands at 5 P.M. and at 7 P.M., when the chain is completer, will sing the "Hatikvah" national anthem.

    "We came here to protest the program of expelling Jews from their land," said Avraham Yitzhaki, 54, from the Gaza settlement of Ganei Tal.

    [. . .]

    Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is among the some 30 Knesset members expected to take part in the chain, including some 15 from the Likud, as well as others from the National Religious Party, the National Union, Shas, and United Torah Judaism. Rivlin will form part of the last section of the chain in Jerusalem.

    Delegates from the settlers' Yesha Council will demonstrate at Jerusalem's Safra Square. Also expected to take part are new immigrants from the United States who arrived in Israel just a week ago, former Prisoners of Zion from the former Soviet Union, disabled Israel Defense Forces veterans, and Israelis whose relatives are buried in Gush Katif.

    [. . .]

    You know, I fully believe in Israel's right to exist, but I got a problem with the settlements, always have, always will. Most of these folks are as zealous as converts, and most believe in Israel's right to the West Bank and Gaza as well. They're just as bad as the Palestinians who want to destroy Israel.

    While both sides, and the British, are to blame for the current situation, both states (Israel and Palestine) have to accept they will be joined at the hip for the foreseeable future. They have to coexist, and for one to control the Holy Land would mean the death of the other.

    Their destinies are inextricably intertwined and have to go forward together, the Israelis behind the Green Line and the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza. For any sort of peace to last, the settlements have to go.

    Update 13:15:

    From the Jerusalem Post:

    Conflicting police reports Sunday evening said that between 70,000 to 130,00 demonstrators held hands from the edge of Gush Katif to Jerusalem on in protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan.

    Settler organizers said 200,000 protestors joined the human chain. . .

    [. . .]

    Lance Armstrong

    Wins Tour de France for the 6th time. Big fucking deal. All he's doing is setting another bad example for cyclists here. More of 'em will think they own the road. A word of warning to you fat ass morons in your little spandex shorts. Stay out of my fucking way on the road. To me, you're just a potential hood ornament.

    Just a thought. Do you think he keeps his testicles in a jar, for old times' sake? Do you think he showed them to Cheryl?


    I got a bunch of shit last week over the settlement in New York, curbing the NYPD's search and siezure policy toward protesters and my stand on the situation:

    Sorry, Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Bush, this is still NYC, the most diverse city in the world. We also don't put up with police state bullshit. You had to have your convention here? Well then, you'll have to put up with us. New Yorkers don't roll over because some village idiot from Texas tells us to.

    Atrios sums up my feelings succinctly in his post this morning:


    Unsurprisingly, I'm not a fan of the measures being taken against protesters at the convention. But, having said that, I really think that protesting conventions is rather silly (either the RNC or the DNC). Note I'm of course not questioning anyone's right to do so. But, both in terms of what protesters hope to achieve and what the message of protesting itself I really don't understand why the conventions are appropriate targets.

    Conventions, though largely for show, are still a piece of the electoral process in this country. Protesting them, to me, is a bit like protesting polling places. No, they're not the same thing, but still conventions seem like an odd target for protests.

    More generally, there is the question of whether street protest is really worth the time money and energy of those involved. It's a bit different in other countries, where public spaces are much more integrated with daily life, and protests can be much more visible and effective. But, in the US even when protest are allowed to operate on prime real estate, the fact that public spaces are for the most part already on the edges of daily life, protests and protesters are intrinsically marginalized, even when they aren't happening behind razowire in pens.

    So, am I saying there should never be protests? Of course not. Protests serve a few purposes - to rally people around a cause and educate them, to bring attention to an issue, and, ultimately, to perhaps to affect some sort of change. But, given that protesting in this country almost by its nature marginalizes an issue by portraying it as something which is out of the mainstream, one has to ask whether the costs are greater than the benefits.

    I thought the anti-war protests were highly appropriate precisely because there was a huge disconnect between public opinion before the war (with support for Bush's war, at best, garnering a slim majority of support), and the range of viewpoints presented by the media on the subject. The "anti-this-war" view, despite having broad support in the country, had been marginalized by the mainstream media. Mass protest was, therefore, a last resort way of getting the message out, of trying to remind the country and the media that the war did not actually have the universal support they were pretending it did.

    But, having said all of that, the right to stand on a public street corner and hold up a sign should be a right which is given far more respect and protection than it currently is. Security efforts which are there to discourage people from doing so are incredibly un-American. And, therefore, perhaps protesting in these cases serves another purpose - to try to reassert the right of protest itself.[my emphasis]

    Yes, this is still America. And once again I'll paraphrase Ben Franklin:

    Men who willingly give up their freedom for security, deserve neither freedom nor security.


    Okay, here's what I'm gonna do. Since I can't find anyone willing to spend the time blogging here(and I'm tired of looking), and I'm tired of choosing content for both blogs (here and The Fixer), this is what I'm gonna do.

    This blog will be nothing but my political rants and news, and The Fixer will be for all my little bits of automotive wisdom I impart from time to time.

    It's just gotten out of hand. Wish me luck.


    While polls don't turn me on in the least, this from My DD is very promising:

    The long-awaited flash-rendered proportional Electoral Vote map will launch here shortly (crossing fingers) that will map out all the latest state polls done, giving a 'right now' outlook for the 2004 Presidential election. Here's the latest polls:
    • ARG: Ohio

    • Kerry 47
      Bush 45
      Nader 3

    • ARG: New Hampshire

    • Kerry 47
      Bush 45
      Nader 3

    • LA Times: Florida

    • Kerry 46
      Bush 48
      Nader 2

    • Mason-Dixon: Florida

    • Kerry 42
      Bush 45
      Nader 2

    • ARG: Oregon

    • Kerry 50
      Bush 42
      Nader 4

    • LA Times: Pennsylvania

    • Kerry 48
      Bush 38
      Nader 5

    [. . .]

    Looks good to me. I especially like the Ohio and Pennsylvania results.