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Sunday, October 31, 2004

First the astrologers, now the Redskins -- its a Kerry win for sure! 

On Friday's Countdown, Keith Obermann said the one invariable election predictor for the last 70 years has been whether the Washington Redskins win their last game before the election -- if they win, so does the incumbent President or party; if they lose, then the challenger is voted into power.
So today, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Redskins 28-14.
Here is a quote describing the teams from the Comments of the MyDD post about this. And if you replace "Redskins" with "Bush" and "Green Bay" with "Kerry" you get a pretty accurate summary of this year's election campaign too, I think:
"Green Bay, which was widely considered to be a Super Bowl contender before the season started, had a surprisingly bad stretch where they lost 4 games in a row early this season. But they looked far better in their last two games, winning each of them comfortably with huge numbers on offense, 38 and 41 points in those two wins. The Redskins have one of the best ranked defenses in the league, but their offense is mind-numbingly bad, no more than 18 points in any game all year. The Packers' defense has been their undoing in most of their losses, but Washington's offense is so bad that it's hard to see where the Redskins can find an advantage. They've had a terrible season, and few people think they can beat the Packers today. Anything can happen in sports, as the Red Sox just demonstrated, but we're talking about a pretty sorry bunch of underachievers in the Redskins, and a pretty confident Packer team that's plenty motivated to continue turning their season around. "
Pretty goofy, eh?

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Heading for the rapids 

Billmon has a couple of new posts about American fascism. The incidents he reports perhaps could have happened during any recent (last 20 years) American election campaign -- except maybe for the Bush Loyalty Oath stunt.
I'm not surprised that one person quoted in the Goldberg article thought that Kerry had a gay daughter, not Cheney -- its a typical kind of misinformation fog that affects a lot of people who really don't pay a lot of attention to the news, debates, etc. This is why advertisers warn against negative product comparison ads -- people viewing them with half an eye can easily attribute all the negative stuff they're hearing to the wrong product, the advertisers product.
But this is what makes the fascism stuff a little more chilling, too -- it can creep up on you because people aren't really paying attention. Billmon concludes "even as these people move, like sleepwalkers, towards a distinctly American version of the cult of the leader, most of them honestly appear to have no idea what they're doing, or creating. I'm not even sure the Rovians themselves entirely understand the atavistic instincts they've awakened in Bush's most loyal followers. But the current is running now, fast and strong. And we're all heading for the rapids."

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This is the dawning of the Age of ...Kerry 

Astrologers for Kerry! The Planets Have Made Up Their Mind: Kerry Wins What a goofy story, but the tune floating through my mind was "When the moon is in the seventh house....."

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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Brer Bin Laden "Oh please, oh please don't vote for Bush" 

I've been trolling the right-wing blogs to see what they are saying about the Bin Laden video. The answer is, not much -- strangely, they're not objecting to any of Bin Laden's references to Bush's cowardice and mishandling of 911, except for obligatory flailing of Michael Moore.
Instead, there is an undercurrent of worry about the election -- they're still trying to reframe last week's explosives story once again, they're reassuring each other how good their polls are, and they're writing myths about how Bush will increase his minority vote.
Kos, on the other hand, has a great post about how a Bush strategist is quoted in the New York Daily News as saying the video is a "little gift" for Bush -- is there NOTHING in the world that offends or shames these people?
This reminded me of Bush's offensive "trifecta" reference, in which he asserted how lucky he was that 9/11, the recession and the war had let him off the hook in balancing the Social Security budget.
And here is a great column from the Chattanoogan, which I presume is a Tennessee paper: Osama, My Pajama Its the second story on the Google list of more than 3.000 stories now running about the Bin Laden video.
Author Bart Whiteman starts by saying "Some people are suggesting, and I am not sure what corner of their diminished brain capacity they are getting this from, that if John Kerry is elected, Osama bin Laden will be eating dinner at the White House. Well, fine and good. Then we can catch him (finally) because we will know where he is."
Continuing, he reaches this point: "The fact that Al Qaeda would be rooting for Kerry is ridiculous. Bush is their man. Bush has been the best thing to happen to them in a long time. They are taking Bush to the bank. With Bush, they know what they have. With Bush, the next four years are entirely predictable. More of the same. And the same means more recruits for Al Qaeda every day. The same means continued sinking of American esteem internationally. We are probably at the lowest level of international support and reputation than we have been at since we our history began. And this is no mean feat. With Kerry, they don't know what they will have. Things will be unpredictable. And that is what is lacking in our current military deployment. "
He concludes: "Yeah, Al Qaeda fears Bush just the way Brer Rabbit feared the briar patch. “Oh, please, oh, please don’t vote for Bush.” We give them Bush, and they’ll be singing songs of six pence. We give them Kerry and they will have to re-group and wait and see what’s coming."
And I've thought a little more about Bin Laden's ceasefire offer -- I wonder whether he's thinking that Bush and America have had enough of the Middle East and that a reelected Bush would be willing to pull out in exchange for Al Qaeda guarantees, rather than continue fighting, especially since the US is losing Iraq anyway? Powell's trip this week to the Far and Middle Easts resulted in little American coverage, but Al Jazeera reported on Thursday that Powell had warned Israel against using force to attack Iran's uranium projects and other news stories reported Powell's praise for Israel's Gaza pullout. From the ground in the Middle East, maybe it looks as though Powell is being firm with Israel, while Bush just wants to find some of the good old 'peace with honour'?

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Friday, October 29, 2004

Ceasefire? 

CNN.com - Bin Laden's message is not a threat, its a cease-fire offer. The translation ends "Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked" -- if accurate, there is an implicit promise here that Al Quaeda will stop its attacks on the west if the west no longer "spoils" Islamic secutiry. "We want to reclaim our nation" he says -- its not clear whether he means an actual nation-state, like Afghanistan, or the "nation" of Islam. He blames Reagan (Lebanon) and Bush Senior as well as W for the motivation for 9/11, and implies the attack was easier because of US corruption and its impact was worse because W did not respond quickly enough.
Bush should have caught Bin Laden two years ago but has outsourced the job to Pakistan. Its been stated around the web that Bush and his administration are still thinking of terrorism as a threat only when it originates from a nation-state, like Afghanistan or Iraq, and so they took their eye off Bin Laden as soon as his based in Afghanistan was destroyed. Its clear that Bin Laden thinks of himself as the leader of Islam, state-based or not. Kerry is right that he should be America's top priority. But I think the ceasefire offer was the most interesting aspect of the video -- and I wonder how America will respond?

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ENCORE - Saskatchewan's Dinner Party 

A friend of ours, who is a director on the Flax Council, invited us to this event tonight -- ENCORE - Saskatchewan's Dinner Party -- what a terrific evening it was. And do try the recipes -- delicious.

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Mosh  

I just watched Eminem's Mosh at MTV.com - Eminem - powerful stuff. The lyrics are here - some excerpts:
"We gonna fight, we gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march
Through the swamp, we gonna mosh through the marsh
Take us right through the doors (c'mon)
. . .
Imagine it pouring, it's raining down on us
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone's tryina tell us something,
Maybe this is god just sayin' we're responsible
For this monster, this coward,
That we have empowered
. . .
Maybe we can reach alqueda through my speech
Let the president answer a higher anarchy
Strap him with an Ak-47, let him go, fight his own war
Let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our own soil
No more psychological warfare, to trick us to thinking that we ain't loyal
If we don't serve our own country, we're patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes its all lies
The stars and stripes, they've been swiped, washed out and wiped
And replaced with his own face, Mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you know why,
Cause I told you to fight.
And as we proceed,
To Mosh through this desert storm,
In these closing statements, if they should argue
Let us beg to differ
As we set aside our differences
And assemble our own army
To disarm this Weapon of Mass Destruction
That we call our President, for the present
And Mosh for the future of our next generation
To speak and be heard
Mr. President, Mr. Senator
Do you guys hear us...hear us.."

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

"I've always believed him." 

Anyone who still supports Bush should read this - Believe. Thanks to Kos.

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Finally, the beginning of justice for Neil Stonechild 

Here are the Summary findings of the Stonechild report today. If you haven't heard of this before, the Globe story provides the background to the case.
Justice Wright says:
"1. Neil Stonechild [a 17-year-old Aboriginal boy] was the subject of two complaints of causing a disturbance [due to drunkenness] on the evening November 24, 1990.
2. Constable Bradley Senger and Constable Larry Hartwig, members of the Saskatoon Police Service, were dispatched at 11:51 p.m. to investigate a complaint about Neil Stonechild at Snowberry Downs.
3. Hartwig and Senger arrived at Snowberry Downs within minutes and carried out a search of the area. In the course of doing so, they encountered Neil Stonechild.
4. The constables took Stonechild into custody.
5. In the early morning hours of November 25, 1990, Stonechild died of cold exposure in a field in the northwest industrial area of Saskatoon.
6. Neil Stonechild’s frozen body was found in a field in the northwest industrial area of Saskatoon on November 29, 1990.
7. There were injuries and marks on Stonechild’s body that were likely caused by handcuffs.
8. The Saskatoon Police Service carried out an investigation. The preliminary investigation properly identified a number of suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
9. The principal Investigator assigned to the case, Morality Sergeant Keith Jarvis, carried out a superficial and totally inadequate investigation of the death of Neil Stonechild.
10. Jarvis was informed by Jason Roy that Neil Stonechild was in the custody of the Saskatoon Police Service when Roy last saw Stonechild on the night of November 24/25, 1990. Jarvis did not record this important information in his notebook or Investigation Report.
11. Jarvis and his superior, Staff Sergeant Theodore (Bud) Johnson, concluded the investigation almost immediately and closed the file on December 5th, 1990, without answering the many questions that surrounded the Stonechild disappearance and death.
12. Jarvis dismissed important information provided to him by two members of the Saskatoon Police Service relating to the Stonechild disappearance and death.
13. In the years that followed, the chiefs and deputy chiefs of police who successively headed the Saskatoon Police Service, rejected or ignored reports from the Stonechild family members and investigative reporters for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that cast serious doubts on the conduct of the Stonechild investigation. The self-protective and defensive attitudes exhibited by the senior levels of the police service continued, notwithstanding the establishment of an RCMP Task Force to investigate the suspicious deaths of a number of Aboriginal persons and the abduction of an Aboriginal man. These same attitudes were manifested by certain members of the Saskatoon Police Service during the Inquiry."
The full report is here. I haven't had a chance to read it all yet -- note that Justice Wright was to find out why Stonechild died, but not to express "any conclusion or recommendation regarding civil or criminal responsibility of any person or organization." The Summary is devastating, however, clearly demonstrating Wright's opinion that police officers were criminally responsible for Stonechild's death because they abandoned him in a field in the middle of winter, and that much of the department was engaged in a cover-up -- during the inquiry hearings, police denied everything in the findings except 1, 2 and 6.
Whether there will ever be enough evidence to take someone to trial, however, is unknown -- unless someone now talks.
I listened to Stonechild's mother on the radio after this report was released -- she talked about forgiveness, but also said how much she still missed her boy. But can we ever forgive ourselves for how we have treated Aboriginal people in this province? It's been a trail of tears for more than a century.

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Finally, an environment policy story 

But its an odd headline MSNBC - Bush, Kerry styles clash on environment - for an equally odd story.
First, I didn't realize that environmental policies were a matter of "style" rather than of substance.
And here's one of the odder paragraphs: "Bush took office without an extensive environmental record, but he has made his mark by reversing several Clinton administration initiatives, such as barring road-building and logging on nearly 60 million acres of public land and choosing to use market strategies to achieve environmental goals."
Its a funny way of saying that Bush's environmental record is abysmal and primarily negative. Instead, the story goes on a great length about Bush's "market incentives" approach, only noting at the end that environmental critics are panning Bush's approach -- "This administration has walked away from environmental protection at the level that was advanced by presidents of both parties in the past." and Interior's conservation projects are described as "a nice little program, but it's a fig leaf in the context of the larger scheme of what we need to conserve in important public and private lands."

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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Honour missing, but not stolen 

Looks like the Sinclair broadcast was actually OK for Kerry -- along with parts of Stolen Honor they also broadcast parts of Going Upriver, apparently a much stronger documentary. Here is the description from someone at Kos who watched what was actually broadcast:The Sinclair Protest Worked Turns out that the Fox station we get from Michigan must actually be a Sinclair station, because I noticed this was on the TV - but I couldn't bring myself to watch it, expecting it to be just too biased.
Media Matters has factchecked the broadcast and found some errors rebutted and some not. But over at Powerline it says readers are describing the broadcast as a Kerry campaign commercial. So it must have been OK.

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A strange disconnect 

MSNBC - Campaigns tangle over who can keep Americans safer
I guess Bush has decided that a secret trip to Afghanistan wasn't going to do it for him -- earlier this week, bloggers were commenting on Bush's announced intention to "take Saturday off" and speculating that something was up because no campaign, 10 days before the election, would take a day off.
Personally, I thought Bush likely intended a quick trip to Kabul for photos with the newly-elected president and the American troops there. I guess they decided it was either too dangerous, or would just highlight the Taliban resurgence -- better to let the media continue not reporting on THAT story.
One noticeable aspect of this campaign is the disconnect between what the media are reporting and what is actually happening. The national US media stories focus almost exclusively on what they can see in a quick web scan -- dueling speech quotes, meaningless and contradictory national polls, and a few gonzo stories about Kerry carrying his duck. Their 'reporting' consists of constantly interviewing other reporters, rather than talking to real people like, say, actual voters or civic leaders or 911 widows or former governors or scientists or diplomats or military commanders (and I note in passing how many of these real people have declared their support for Kerry.) Oh, and they also treat campaign ads as breaking news.
What they are not reporting is what is actually happening:
- tens of thousands of people are turning out for Kerry's speeches while Bush and Cheney continue to speak to small hand-picked audiences
- Bush STILL needs to shore up his base while Kerry can take his base for granted and can reach out now to conservative voters (witness the duck hunt). The GOP spun the media coverage of the puppies ad into another Reagan comparison, but it only highlights how clumsily Bush is trying to play the fear card.
- momentum is building as the battleground states turn decisively for Kerry. Kerry is winning the newspaper endorsement battle. His domestic policies, particularly on health care, are so clearly superior to anything the GOP can offer that Bush isn't even talking about them anymore.
- the Nader factor is disappearing as a negative for Kerry. When I saw Nader on Countdown last week, I thought he was delusional in talking about how conservative republicans would be voting for him instead of Bush, but apparently some polls are now backing this up.
- and forget about those mythical millions of evangelicals who supposedly did not vote last time. They live in Alabama and Texas anyway, where Bush doesn't need them. The democrats have registered millions and millions of their own new voters in the battleground states and are determined to get them to the polls.
The GOP knows all this, which is why their focus now is on hindering the voting itself. Why doesn't the national media?

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Believe 

It was the bottom of the ninth and the Yankees were ahead 4-3, three outs away from sweeping the Sox out of the World Series. But, in the stands, there still were the Boston fans, hearts on their sleeves, waving their little homemade cardboard signs - Believe!
I was touched by their steadfastness, their faith in a team which seemed so demoralized from last year's finish that they apparently had decided, subconsciously at least, that this year they could just save themselves a lot of pain by losing four straight. The team may have given up, but their fans never did - they still believed!
Then the Sox reached deep inside themselves and started the greatest comeback in sports history. It was magnificent - courageous pitching, intense batting, confident fielding. And now they're in the series opening tonight. I don't think the Yankees choked, not really -- it was just one of those rare times that no combination of pitching and hitting could overcome the Sox' absolute determination to win those games.
And as far as I am concerned, it all started with the fans.

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Get the vote out EARLY 

Message to all Democrats -- get to the polling stations early, before noon if you can.
Given the volume of stories I am reading now about the American election's voting problems and delays and challenges and and polling station confusion and touch-screen screwups, plus the huge turnout which I expect, chances are there will be thousands of people still in line when the polls close. And you can bet that the republicans will demand the polls close exactly on time -- there seems to be a deliberate republican policy now to prevent as many people from voting as possible, based on the likely-credible theory that a high turnout will be bad for Bush, so shutting the doors on people waiting to vote would be an excellent way of disenfranchising a lot of people.
So democrats need to get their vote out as early in the day as they can. And prepare their voters for long lineups.

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Scary puppies  

CNN.com - Transcripts
Well, I agree with Jon Stewart about TV like CNN's Crossfire hurting America, but sometimes it IS funny all the same. Here's the discussion about the new "scary puppies" Republican ad -- from leftwinger Paul Begala and rightwinger Joe Watkins, a radio talk show host. (Thanks to Atrios for the heads-up).
(LAUGHTER)
BEGALA: That's the dumbest ad.
WATKINS: That's a great ad.
That's a great ad.
BEGALA: Those are puppies, Joe.
WATKINS: Americans
care about being safe.
BEGALA: Ronald Reagan used a bear, a big threatening
image, for the Soviet Union. These are puppies. What's next, Garfield the cat,
Lassie?
(LAUGHTER)
BEGALA: Oh, I'm afraid. These puppies are coming. The
puppies are coming.
WATKINS: These are wolves.
WATKINS: Wolves are the
best symbol I can think of on terror. And what Americans care about is somebody
who is going to keep them safe.
BEGALA: How about goats, since the president
was reading 'My Pet Goat' while the terrorists were attacking us?
(LAUGHTER)
BEGALA: We should make a goat ad, if we're going to have animals.

On MyDD, Jerome Alexander provides this analysis of the basic issue with the puppies ad:
In their latest, they are going for the return of Reagan's Bear in the Woods (yep, those 1980's again), but it's not even close, it's weak. Those TV commercials expose beyond a doubt the fear-mongering scare tactics from a campaign that's in desperation mode. The Bush-Cheney team is trading on fear because they are losing. The Republican dream to return to having a "Cold War" strategy should be recognized for what it is; a hopelessly backward-dreaming message that's out of touch with the present, and has no vision other than "more of the same" for the future.


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Friday, October 22, 2004

Stunning crowds for Kerry 

Daily Kos :: Another Open Thread
I tried to post this photo of the crowds for Kerry in Minneapolis, but it wouldn't work -- so just go to Kos.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

450 untold stories 

The Swifties seem to be in the news again, with more moaning and whining about how Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony hurt their feelings. The question I have been asking about Kerry's testimony is this: How many US soldiers and POWs would have lived if Nixon had declared the ceasefire Kerry asked for in November, 1971, instead of waiting until January, 1973?
By my count, the answer is: at least 450.
I searched through various websites for this figure. The casualty figures aren't usually organized by date, but I was able to find some which were relevant. The Vietnam War Timeline which describes events in Vietnam during 1972, provides most of the information which follows, and I added some additional material from other websites.
December, 1971 - 157 US troops killed in action
January 1, 1972
Only 133,000 U.S. servicemen remain in South Vietnam. Two thirds of America's troops have gone in two years. The ground war is now almost exclusively the responsibility of South Vietnam, which has over 1,000,000 men enlisted in its armed forces.
March 30, 1972
Massed North Vietnamese Army artillery open a shattering barrage, targeting South Vietnamese positions across the DMZ. [NOTE: this is called the Eastertide offensive.] Upwards of 20,000 NVA troops cross the DMZ, forcing the South Vietnamese units into a retreat. The Southern defense is thrown into complete chaos. Intelligence reports had predicted a Northern attack, but no one had expected it to come on the DMZ.
April 1, 1972
North Vietnamese soldiers push toward the city of Hue, which is defended by a South Vietnamese division and a division of U.S. Marines. But by April 9, the NVA are forced to halt attacks and resupply.
April 13, 1972
In an assault spearheaded by tanks, NVA troops manage to seize control of the northern part of the city. But the 4,000 South Vietnamese men defending the city, reinforced by elite airborne units, hold their positions and launch furious counterattacks. American B-52 bombers also help with the defense. A month later, Vietcong forces withdraw.
April 27, 1972
Two weeks after the initial attack, North Vietnamese forces again battle toward Quang Tri City. The defending South Vietnamese division retreats. By April 29, the NVA takes Dong Ha, and by May 1, Quang Tri City.
Additional note: A May, 1972 report to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, to which I cannot now find the link, says 147 US troops were killed from January to May, 1972.
May 8, 1972
In response to the ongoing NVA Eastertide Offensive, President Nixon announces Operation Linebacker I, the mining of North Vietnam's harbors along with intensified bombing of roads, bridges, and oil facilities. The announcement brings international condemnation of the U.S. and ignites more anti-war protests in America. During an air strike conducted by South Vietnamese pilots, Napalm bombs are accidentally dropped on South Vietnamese civilians, including children. Filmed footage and a still photo of a badly burned nude girl fleeing the destruction of her hamlet becomes yet another enduring image of the war.
July 19, 1972
With U.S. air support, the South Vietnamese Army begins a drive to recapture Binh Dinh province and its cities. The battles last until September 15, by which time Quong Tri has been reduced to rubble. Nevertheless, the NVA retains control of the northern part of the province.
December 13, 1972
In Paris, peace talks between the North Vietnamese and the Americans breakdown.
December 18, 1972
By order of the president, a new bombing campaign starts against the North Vietnamese. Operation Linebacker Two lasts for 12 days, including a three day bombing period by up to 120 B-52s. Strategic surgical strikes are planned on fighter airfields, transport targets and supply depots in and around Hanoi and Haiphong. U.S. aircraft drop more than 20,000 tons of bombs in this operation. Twenty-six U.S. planes are lost, and 93 airmen are killed, captured or missing. North Vietnam admits to between 1,300 and 1,600 dead.
January 8, 1973
North Vietnam and the United States resume peace talks in Paris.
January 27, 1973
All warring parties in the Vietnam War sign a cease fire.
March 1973
The last American combat soldiers leave South Vietnam, though military advisors and Marines, who are protecting U.S. installations, remain. For the United States, the war is officially over. Of the more than 3 million Americans who have served in the war, almost 58,000 are dead, and over 1,000 are missing in action. Some 150,000 Americans were seriously wounded.
Additional note: This website says 561 US soldiers died in Vietnam in 1972 including 300 KIA. A total of 2,338 soldiers were MIA in Vietnam; 766 were POWs, of whom 114 died in captivity. I could not find out how many died between November, 1971 and the releases which resulted from the January, 1973 ceasefire.
So, we add together the 157 from December, 1971 with the 300 from 1972, plus an unknown number from January, 1973, plus an unknown number of POWs.
And there it is -- at least 450 young, brave men died after Kerry asked the Senate why men had to keep dying for a mistake -- men who could have come home and worked and contributed to their communities and raised their families, and be playing today with their grandchildren. These are the Vietnam veterans who CANNOT speak today to support John Kerry.
No one will ever hear their stories.

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Boy, I'll bet the GOP is thrilled about this one 

ABC News: Bush Receives Endorsement From Iran (thanks to Liberal Oasis for the news).

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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Excuse me, Mr. President -- its God calling on line 2 

Ron Suskind's NYT Magazine piece about Bush Without a Doubt begins with a discussion with a Republican domestic policy advisor named Bruce Bartlett. Bartlett says ''Just in the past few months, I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do . . . This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts. He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence. But you can't run the world on faith.''
The Suskind spends the rest of the article proving to a disbelieving political world that yes, Bush really does believe he is on a mission from God, and yes, so do his followers.
Its a lengthy article because people need a lot of convincing. This is a form of meglomaina that western democracies have never seen before -- even the great egotists like Nixon, DeGaulle, Churchill and Trudeau never actually thought of themselves as divinely ordained, at least not all of the time. In western culture, the only people we've seen before who went on a stated Mission from God were the Blues Brothers. Like Elwood and Jake, nothing will stop Bush from doing what he thinks God wants him to do. Luckily, God only wanted Jake and Elwood to put on a concert. God apparently wants Bush to transform the United States into a republican's vision of paradise - endless wars against the infidels, no abortions, and making sure the rich get richer. Lord, hear my prayer!

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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Kerry-o-phile priests 

Will the Catholic clergy ever stop abusing their parishioners?
Maureen Dowd describes the Catholic bishops campaign against Kerry in Vote and Be Damned -- a threat which obviously meaningless to the New York Times editors, who in the same edition endorse Kerry for President without any concern whatsoever about the opinion of the Catholic church.
The American Catholic church will live to regret how they have marginalized themselves in American society -- regardless of who wins the election, they have shown themselves to be small-minded, mean-spirited, backward, sexist, manipulative bigots who have allowed their most holy sacrament, communion, to be trivialized into a media circus. After this, who could take their so-called "moral authority" on anything seriously ever again?

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The "bad man" theme 

Hullabaloo gets it right -- the focus until the election will be Kerry as a "bad man" -- the goal is to make Kerry look like a dirty campaigner, a liar, a cheat, etc etc.
"I think this is simply the opportunistic opening salvo in a full-on character attack on John Kerry as a "hit below the belt" dirty campaigner. Typical GOP projection. In between will be more of the Rove patented ratfucking that they will pin on the Democrats. At this point I don't think that Rove has anything too sophisticated up his sleeve. We are going to see simple, crude attacks on Kerry's character in the hopes that it will stimulate the neanderthals to vote and to swing a few simple minded undecideds. And, of course, this is an innoculation against a Kerry win. They are setting it up to say he stole it."

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A desperation move from a failing campaign 

Hilary Rosen's Washington Post column Outrage That Rings False shows how once again an issue made into an "outrage" by the Bush campaign is going to turn around and bite them on the ass.
The issue is turning now to how Lynne and Dick Cheney, and Mary, too, have ignored for four years the constant Republican attacks on gay people, not speaking out about any of the Bush administration's anti-gay manoeuvers, and are now using a manufactured "anger" just to try to demonize Kerry.
Rosen writes that she feels sorry for Mary Cheney, that she is now a pawn in this race. I don't feel sorry for her in the least.
The Cheneys, all of them, have had their chance to show leadership, and they decided long ago to shut up and make their alliance with the gay-bashers. I hope they all sink together.

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More Doonesbury articles 

Here is Friday's article, the Lone Star Iconoclast editorial "Kerry will restore American dignity" This editorial states "we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry, based not only on the things that Bush has delivered, but also on the vision of a return to normality that Kerry says our country needs.Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and Iraq."
and here is Saturday's article "A Questionable Kind of Conservatism" by George Will. Writing in July, 2003, Will says "Cumulatively, foreign and domestic developments constitute an identity crisis of conservatism, which is being recast -- and perhaps rendered incoherent. "
And earlier this week I missed referencing Wednesday's article, Salon's "Why Conservatives must not vote for Bush" where Doug Bandow writes "Quite simply, the president, despite his well-choreographed posturing, does not represent traditional conservatism -- a commitment to individual liberty, limited government, constitutional restraint and fiscal responsibility. Rather, Bush routinely puts power before principle."
Its an interesting series that Doonesbury has undertaken here -- I would love to find some discussion about whether it has influenced anyone.
It is likely a useful exercise to gather these articles together -- the one problem I see is that the links are so complicated to read and to follow, particularly when written in 6- point type on newsprint, that I think it would have been better to post them day-by-day as links on a single website -- still, I hope they were read and discussed. When I google "Honest Voices Reading List" I get more links today than I did on Monday, so some blogs are talking about it. Unfortunately, many are complaining about the small print of the URLs, just like I did, instead of discussing the articles. For the left-wing, however, the articles are mainly old hat, yes-we-already-knew-that stuff. But hopefully they will open some previously-closed eyes.
And check this out, on a blog called John Dufresne there is a priceless photo of a movie theatre marquee whose owner has posted this message "Congratulations to John Kerry for exposing Bush as an incompetent moron in debate" -- just goes to show that blog-culture is spreading EVERYWHERE!



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Friday, October 15, 2004

Gays ARE born, not made -- THAT'S the issue 

In the dispute over Kerry's so-called "outing" of Mary Cheney, Kerry's defenders are missing the point.
This Salon article John Kerry's lesbian moment sums it up at a personal level by contending that Lynne Cheney is embarassed that her daughter is gay. No doubt she is, but Salon misses the larger issue here.
Kerry has the temerity to state that the religious right is wrong. Kerry has challenged the right-wing conviction that gays are made, not born. And he uses Cheney's very own daughter as an example -- no wonder Cheney and his wife were mad. They really were hoping, I suppose, that no one would notice that Mary Cheney's very existence proves that one of the most heartfelt beliefs of their electoral base is wrong, wrong, wrong. No wonder the family keeps her under wraps at events like the convention.
Only if you believe, as the religious right do, that being gay is a "lifestyle choice" can you justify the hatefest of discrimination against gays which stains American public discourse and policies.
If America accepts that Kerry is correct, that gays are born not made, then discriminating against gays is no more justifiable than discriminating against blacks, or against people in wheelchairs -- and then, it's bye bye constitutional ammendment, bye bye workplace discrimination, bye bye sodomy laws, hello gay marriage.
And of course, it appears to be an Article of Faith for Republicans that they DARE NOT demonstrate any actual leadership toward educating or changing public opinion, but instead MUST pander to the beliefs of their base at all times, however hateful and misguided they are.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Be ready for Strike Four! 

Every now and then in baseball, a pitcher ends up having to pitch four strikes to get a batter out -- or a team has to throw four batters out to end an inning. Like when there is a dropped third strike and the runner gets to first safely, or when the infield bobbles an easy pop fly, or when the umpire calls a good pitch a ball by mistake, or when a batter cocks the bat but the base ump rules it no swing.
I have the feeling in this election that the Democrats are going to be in this situation -- they will have to get Bush out with four strikes, rather than just three, to make up for all the Republican foul play. Reading the blogs recently, there have been stories about electronic voting data tampering, spurious voter registration companies tearing up Democrat registrations, black voter intimidation, not to mention the redistricting scandals. What it means is that Democrats will have to get their voters to the polls by the millions and millions, to create a victory so obvious and so complete that it cannot be questioned, or overturned by an umpire's ruling.

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Third Doonsbury article 

in his Honest Voices series is here. It is a Lincoln Journal Star article entitled LOCAL VIEW: Going to war in Iraq was a mistake, by Representative Doug Bereuter, who retired at the end of August after 26 years in the House. He concludes "Was the pre-emptive military strike to remove Saddam in America's best interest? . . . I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action, especially without a broad and engaged international coalition. The cost in casualties is already large and growing, and the immediate and long-term financial costs are incredible. Our country's reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened. From the beginning of the conflict it was doubtful that we for long would be seen as liberators, but instead increasingly as an occupying force. Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess and there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities in Iraq without creating bigger future problems in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world."

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

How stupid do they think people are? 

This story from Las Vegas Voter Registrations Possibly Trashed (via Josh Marshall) says a company called Voters Outreach registered hundreds of people, then tore up the democrat registrations.
Now, did they actually think that no one would tell? And did they actually think that their financing by the RNC would not be revealed? Its getting pretty wierd down south.

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Batteries not included? 

When Jay Leno asked Edwards what was the lump on Bush's back during the first debate, Edwards replied "His battery?" It brought down the house.


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Second Doonsbury reference 

Here is today's Doonsbury reference. ""An analysis of Bush's war in Iraq" from what his Honest Voices Reading List -- WSJ reporter Fassihi's e-mail to friends She writes about the reality of American occupation for reporters - who do not dare to leave their hotels- and for the people of Baghdad:
America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard
units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being
murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date -- and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly.
As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for foreigners to operate that
almost all projects have come to a halt . . .
Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a result of sabotage
and oil prices have hit record high of $49 a barrel [this piece was published on Sept. 29]. Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq? . . .
. . . One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle.
. . . I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in
the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree
elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"

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Monday, October 11, 2004

What do you want to bet . . .  

. . . that one of Rove's promised "October Surprises" will be this announcement (drum roll, please): Rumsfeld will report, following his trip to Iraq, that things are going so swimmingly and there are so many Iraqi troops now that a substantial number of US troops can come home immediately after Iraq's January elections (cymbals clash!)


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Shameless Agitator - great blog 

Great posts on Shameless Agitator -- as well as some new "bulge" photos, Andrea excerpts important passages from the NYT interview with Kerry about his war on terror.

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Here is the Doonsbury reference 

In today's Doonsbury, he refers readers to "an overview of how well Bush has served republican principles by Dwight Eisenhower's son" -- here is the article: Why I will vote for John Kerry for President After criticizing Bush's record, John Eisenhower writes "Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically."


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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Dred Scott case = Roe v Wade = making abortion illegal 

In last night's debate, Bush made a bizarre reference to the Dred Scott case in the mid-1800s as an example of the kind of decision a new Supreme Court justice should or should not be making -- I couldn't really follow it, not being an expert on American constitutional history.
But now it is explained -- Paperwight's Fair Shot explains that the Dred Scott case is being used by anti-abortion groups now to compare their cause to the cause of abolishing slavery.
So Bush was speaking in code to the radical religious right, promising them that if reelected his pick for the Supreme Court would be someone who would want to overturn Roe v Wade.
This is getting seriously wierd, isn't it?

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Still feeling a draft 

The draft question came up at the debate last night, and Bush said how a volunteer army was working great. "Forget all this talk about a draft. We're not going to have a draft so long as I'm the president."
But people do not believe him - Yahoo! News - Poll: Youth Tie Bush, Draft Reinstatement
Why?
Well, two reasons really: the first is pretty obvious -- the Pentagon IS actually making plans to reinstate the draft, likely focusing on people with so-called critical and special skills.
And Bush has lied about everything else to do with the Iraq War, so why would he be telling the truth about this? As Representative Tim Ryan put it during the House debate "We're not trying to scare kids. This president's foreign policy is what's scaring the kids of this country. And if people have said today, "Why are people believing this, why are people believing this big Internet hoax?" - well, it's the same people that told us Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. Same people that told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Same people that told us we were gonna be able to use the oil for reconstruction money. Same people that told us that we'd be greeted as liberators, not occupiers. Same people, same president, that told us the Taliban is gone. Same president that told us that Poland is our ally two days before they pull out. Same president that tells us Iraq is going just great. Same president that tells us the economy is going just great. Same people that told us the tax cut was gonna create millions of jobs. Same people that told us that the Medicare program only costs $400 billion, when it really cost $540 billion. So please forgive us for not believing what you're saying. Please forgive the students of this country for not believing what you're saying. Not one thing, not one thing about this war that has been told to the American people, or that has been told to these college students, has been true. Not one thing."
I think its worth noting this, as well:
In spite of how firmly Bush said during the debate that he wouldn't reinstate a draft, he did leave himself an out. He stated during the debate " . . . the all-volunteer Army is best suited to fight the new wars of the 21st century, which is to be specialized . . ." and he said "The all-volunteer Army works. It works particularly when we pay our troops well . . . [also mentioning housing and less rotations. Concluding with] . . .(We} will be more likely to be able to keep people in the all-volunteer Army."
The unstated continuation -- but, if we aren't able to keep people, and if we can't get people with the right specializations to enlist, then, gosh darn it, I guess I just might have to . . .

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What? Me Worry? 

Bush continued his Alfred E Newman channeling last night.
Go read Josh Marshall on the "mistakes" answer -- Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall "In the Bush world you never admit mistakes. The only mistakes the president can think of are the times he appointed people who do admit mistakes -- who put reality above loyalty to the president . . . recognizing mistakes . . . is how you prevent mistakes from metastasizing into disasters. Which all explains a great deal about how we got where we are now in Iraq." Don't make the mistake of voting for this man.
Kerry, on the other hand, came across as more presidential than ever before.


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Friday, October 08, 2004

Crying havoc 

And letting loose the dogs of war -- on Kerry
Isn't this disgusting? Bush: Kerry Would 'Weaken' U.S. : ". . . A Bush adviser said the president hopes to change the dynamics of the race with more biting attacks on Kerry's record and trustworthiness and on what Bush charges is Kerry's reluctance to use U.S. military force to defeat terrorism. The strategy is aimed at stoking public fears about terrorism, raising new concerns about Kerry's ability to protect Americans and reinforcing Bush's image as the steady anti-terrorism candidate, aides said . . . " [emphasis mine]
They can't raise the terror alert level anymore, because no one would believe them, so they send out notices to schools warning about Beslan-style attacks.
They can't claim anymore that the Iraq war was justified, and they can't talk about how Iraq proves their preemptive war doctrine, so they attack Kerry because he wouldn't start another baseless, unjustified war.
They can't claim fiscal conservatism, or even competence, and their own medicare and education reforms are an unpopular mess, so they lie about Kerry's plans.
They can't talk about how they're destroyed the capacity of the US military, so they are trying to imply that its Kerry who wants a new draft.
The one thing they haven't talked about, funnily enough, is Kerry's own health -- and one blog (which I now cannot find) noted today that Bush did not take his usual August physical this year -- one could speculate that Bush is a serial avoider of August health check ups. Earlier this spring there were stories around about how Bush's mental health was deteriorating, and the rumour is now circulating that in the last debate Bush was wearing a secret earpiece to help him answer the questions. So maybe his health is one area that Bush does not want to have to answer any questions about.

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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Shorter Bob Novak 

Shorter Bob Novak: Getting out is the silent U.S. policy "You don't have to vote for Kerry if you want to get the troops out of Iraq -- Bush really wants to get them out, too, but the poor guy just can't really SAY so right now. So don't worry, you just go right ahead and vote for our boy Bush."

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The tiger or the tiger? 

Which do you prefer, Republicans -- a Vice-President who is so senile that he cannot remember the numerous times he met Edwards, or a Vice-President so cynical that he thinks he can just lie to America with impunity? Its not much of a choice, is it?

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Computer jacks 

For the last month, I have been so annoyed that my computer was working so slowly. Its the reason I haven't been posting as much some days, because it was just so damned slow to surf and to create new posts.
I thought the difference was my laptop, which had to have a new hard drive installed at the end of August, when my original one fried and died.
But, also at the end of August, we had moved some stuff around in the house to create a "home office" room, where I had Sask Tel install a new computer jack.
So on Sunday I had to move my desk temporarily, to turn our home office back into a guest room for Thanksgiving, and thus I had to plug my laptop back into its original outlet in what is now our TV room.
And all of a sudden, my laptop is working about 50 times faster.
So, time to phone Sask Tel and ask them WTF did you install? I had no idea that there could be such a difference just because of the computer jack -- I think I've got either a defective jack or a bad line -- anyone have any suggestions?

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Cheney, Rice, Powell, Bush - liars all 

This New York Times editorial pulls it all together -- The Nuclear Bomb That Wasn't.
"The more we learn about the way Mr. Bush paved the road to war, the more it becomes disturbingly clear that if he was not aware that he was feeding misinformation to the world, he was about the only one in his circle who had not been clued in . . . It's shocking that with all this information readily available, Secretary of State Colin Powell still went before the United Nations to repeat the bogus claims, an appearance that gravely damaged his reputation. It's even more disturbing that Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, had not only failed to keep the president from misleading the American people, but had also become the chief proponents of the "mushroom cloud" rhetoric. . . If Ms. Rice did her job and told Mr. Bush how ludicrous the case was for an Iraqi nuclear program, then Mr. Bush terribly misled the public. If not, she should have resigned for allowing her boss to start a war on the basis of bad information and an incompetent analysis."

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Go Riders Go! 

So we're sitting around watching The Score last night when the numbers flashed by on the ticker -- Saskatchewan 34, Montreal 19, 10 minutes to play.
WTF? What did that say? We had to sit through the ticker cycle again, just to see it, just to make sure.
If there was one game just about everyone had pretty well written off for the Riders this year, it was this one. No matter that Danny Barrett had pointed out that they had only lost to Montreal previously this season, twice I think, by a combined total of 10 points. Yeah, but when was the last time the Riders won against the Als?
Well, the miracle happened -- Kenton Keith runs for 146 yards as the Roughriders beat Montreal 35-19
I'm pretty sure my brother was down to Regina for that game, so he'll tell us all about it when he drops over today. Ah, sweet victory! Good job, guys!

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

Say it loud - basic health care for every American 

The next debate is the BIG ONE -- Kerry MUST seal the deal with American voters.
Bush will try to keep the focus on tax cuts -- his ONLY domestic policy.
I think Kerry must stress health care, health care, health care -- there is nothing more basic to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", and nothing more frightening to the American voter than losing their health insurance. Fear over health care is the domestic equivalent of fear of terrorism.
The democrats may be tempted to focus on jobs -- but other than dealing with outsourcing, there is not much that any government can really do about jobs per se. Health care, on the other hand, is a realistic promise.
Here is Canada, Paul Martin basically won the election last June with his promise to fix health care. The media considered it a "ho hum" promise -- but people responded to it and decided to give the government one more chance. And after a summer of listening to the premiers fart around, Martin delivered.

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Friday, October 01, 2004

Be brave 

I loved the way Mike Wilson framed this in a comment, so I wanted to highlight it here:
Bush's core message is "Be afraid. I'm a tough guy who will go it alone to protect you. Leave everything to me. Don't worry your pretty little head about how."
Kerry's core message is "Be brave. Though there is much to fear, I'm not afraid and neither should you be. We will work together with our friends for mutual protection."

Exactly.
I had to miss the debate itself because of a social obligation, so I was thrilled to get home and check the blogs and find out how well Kerry had done. My daughter watched it and we agreed when we were talking about it tonight that the Democratic base is now on the march -- the previous attitude of "well, I'll vote for Kerry to get rid of Bush" is now "I'll vote for Kerry because he'll be a damn good president."

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