Bush is totally getting served

Wow... snarky liveblog will be posted soon!
Crystal: Who's that douchebag?
ohh... Robert Novak --

Read the entire transcript here.

More fun clips and observations over at Republican mouthpiece Oliver Willis.

Marine veteran Steve Brozak declares war on Bush

Steve Brozak is a 20-year Marine veteran, former Republican, and vociferous anti-war, anti-Bush candidate for Congress in New Jersey. Salon tells his story and it is quite amazing. Brozak joined the Marines at 22, then got his MBA and founded an investment bank after a stint on Wall Street. Brozak remained in the Marine reserves and volunteered for active duty during several international crisises. He served in Haiti, Bosnia, and Iraq.

Brozak's strategy is to link his opponent, Mike Freguson, to George Bush's failed Iraq policy. He's running in a heavily Republican district with far less resources than the incumbent, but with his credentials as a veteran and fiscal conservative, Brozak's got a shot. His anti-war, pro-grunt stand earned him a coveted MoveOn PAC endorsement and $100,000 in contributions.

Best of all, he's playing electorial hardball against the Republican incumbent. Brozak has challenged the residency status of his opponent, who files his taxes from a home in Maryland. If his challenge is successful, his opponent will be knocked off the ballot.

Brozak may not win, but he's sure going to give the Republicans hell.


Disloyalty to Bush a crime?

The Bush Administration has a technique for dealing with the truth, it's called shoot the messenger. Case in point: Al Lorentz. Some of you may have already heard of the Army officer serving in Iraq, now being investigated for disloyalty which carries a rare, but maximum sentence of 20 years.

Disloyalty is a crime under federal statute (Title 18, Section 2388, of the U.S. Code) and Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

The reason he's being charged with this "crime" is that he wrote an essay published on Lewrockwell.com entitled Why We Cannot Win.

Here are some of Lorentz's reasons why we can't win

First, we refuse to deal in reality. We are in a guerilla war, but because of politics, we are not allowed to declare it a guerilla war and must label the increasingly effective guerilla forces arrayed against us as "terrorists, criminals and dead-enders."

Second, our assessment of what motivates the average Iraqi was skewed, again by politically motivated "experts." We came here with some fantasy idea that the natives were all ignorant, mud-hut dwelling camel riders who would line the streets and pelt us with rose petals, lay palm fronds in the street and be eternally grateful. While at one time there may have actually been support and respect from the locals, months of occupation by our regular military forces have turned the formerly friendly into the recently hostile.

Attempts to correct the thinking in this regard are in vain; it is not politically correct to point out the fact that the locals are not only disliking us more and more, they are growing increasingly upset and often overtly hostile. Instead of addressing the reasons why the locals are becoming angry and discontented, we allow politicians in Washington DC to give us pat and convenient reasons that are devoid of any semblance of reality.

Kos has a few words about this:

The essay prompted a swift response from Lorentz's commanders. In an e-mail this week to Salon, Lorentz, declining to comment further on his piece, noted, "Because of my article, I am under investigation at this time for very serious charges which carry up to a 20-year prison sentence."

According to the UCMJ, examples of punishable statements by military personnel "include praising the enemy, attacking the war aims of the United States, or denouncing our form of government with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection among members of the armed services. A declaration of personal belief can amount to a disloyal statement if it disavows allegiance owed to the United States by the declarant. The disloyalty involved for this offense must be to the United States as a political entity and not merely to a department or other agency that is a part of its administration."

The real reason Al Lorentz is being attacked is because he has ripped the shiny happy people curtain off of Iraq and exposed the naked emperor. The Bush administration is concerned only with winning the election at this point, amung other things because losing it would spoil all their plans with their new toy Iraq. That a soldier that has the best vantage point on reality would be prosecuted for spelling out the truth is reprehensible, and is second nature to the neocons running this country.

Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates

Civil rights attorney and NPR commentator Connie Rice has another quality Top Ten. Be sure to read the whole thing.

10. They aren't debates!

"A debate is a head-to-head, spontaneous, structured argument over the merits of an issue," Rice says. "Under the ridiculous 32-page contract that reads like the rules for the Miss America Pageant, there will be no candidate-to-candidate questions, no rebuttal to your opponent's points, no cross questions or cross answers, no rebuttals, no follow-up questions -- that's not a debate, that's a news conference."

9. The debates were hijacked from the truly independent League of Women Voters in 1986.
8. The "independent and non-partisan" Commission on Presidential Debates is neither independent nor non-partisan.
7. The secretly negotiated debate contract bars Kerry and Bush from any and all other debates for the entire campaign.
6. The debate contract effectively excludes all other serious presidential candidates from participating in the debates.
5. All members of the studio audience must be certified as "soft" supporters of Bush and Kerry, under selection procedures they approve.
4. These "soft" audience members must "observe in silence."
3. The "extended discussion" portion of the debate cannot exceed 30 seconds.
2. Important issues are locked out by the CPD debate rules and party control.
1. Fortune 100 corporations are the main funders of the CPD-sponsored debates, and the CPD's co-chairs are corporate lobbyists.

More Connie Commentaries

The Vote Heard Around the World

Perhaps you've heard about Emma Torkelson, the 100-year-old woman from my hometown who is voting for the first time in her life. She's a "lifelong Democrat" who is casting her first vote for George W. Bush. Here's why. It's a shame to see a lifelong Democrat not cast a single ballot for a Democratic Presidential candidate. C'mon Emma, we're not that bad, really. Reading about Emma sort of makes me think about Mark's piece from the other day. Hopefully Emma will stick around for another four years and come back to our side again in 2008.

Norm Coleman Is Dumb

...or perhaps he's been taking geography lessons from George W. According to Norm, Duluth is located on Lake Erie. Is our senators learning?

Coleman says it was a mistake and "corrected the congressional record." Why he got it wrong, we're not sure. I know small children who know that Duluth is a port on Lake Superior. And while we're sure that Coleman could whoop those children's butts in a game of Trivial Pursuit, that won't keep us from giving the senator a little shit. (Hint for the kids: If there's a question about golf, 3 times out of 4 the answer is Chi Chi Rodriguez.)

Nick Coleman Is Pissed

And he doesn't care much for bloggers:

Do bloggers have the credentials of real journalists? No. Bloggers are hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world.

Bloggers don't know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon. Like graffiti artists, they tag the public square -- without editors, correction policies or community standards. And so their tripe is often as vicious as it is vacuous.

Last week, one fashionable Minnesota blogger -- a bank vice president who is getting a lot of ink and TV time lately -- posted a scurrilous piece about U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, calling him, "Minnesota's contribution to the psychiatric profession."

Nick, I truly am sorry that right-wing bloggers have called you bad names and said mean things about you; but you sound like a cranky old man yelling at the kids to stay the hell off your lawn. By responding to it you give them credibility. And you only add fuel (in this case right-wing fecal matter) to the always-burning fire. Besides, if you really are the grisled journalistic veteran you claim to be, I would assume by now you'd know not to take things so personally. I've been doing this for, what, six months... and that was the first lesson I learned.

Listen. We all know we're pieces of shit compared to professional journalists like you, Nick. We all know we're obsessive, shut-in nerds who don't have editors and therefore don't know anything like you do, and therefore shouldn't be allowed to have opinions about things like you should, Nick. We know all this. So loosen up a little. No one's stealing your job.

Oh, wait... before I go, buddy: which left-wing blogger were you referring to who "has made a practice of speculating on the president's penis size"? I wanna add them to my blogroll.


Action Alert!

Perhaps you've already seen this on Blogdex, but just in case, here's the post on the Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell trying to disqualify new voters.

Here is the action. Call his office or email him and tell him he is violating the Voting Rights Act of 1973.

The law says "No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision in a manner which results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 1973b(f)(2) of this title, as provided in subsection (b) of this section."

And perhaps also violating the 'National Voter Registration Act of 1993'.

Call his office here: 614-466-3910

Email here: blackwell@sos.state.oh.us

This is just the latest in a long laundry list of dirty tricks the neocons are using to try and supress the voice of the people. Let's show them we WON'T be stopped and we CAN'T be silenced! Call or email now. Seriously, it just takes a second, and if you don't Bush will thank you.

Right neighborly

George W. Bush's hometown newspaper, the Lone Star Iconoclast, has officially endorsed John Kerry for President:

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.

This is a gonzo refersal of the usual campaign/media rhetoric: Iraq/terrorism comes last in this list of grievances, and none of the other three has gotten much serious attention in these closing weeks of the campaign. Tell the truth, I don't know much about Crawford at all, particularly whether the Iconoclast's editorial page reflects the majority view of the town's 700-odd residents. But this old CJR profile of Iconoclast editor W. Leon Smith includes this curious quote: "While the population of the state is largely Republican, most people don't really feel it in their soul."

Well, considering that the state's Republican party organization was largely built in the 1960s by a wealthy carpetbagger (George H. W. Bush) and a liquored-up dwarf (John Tower), I can see why the soul-pentration hasn't happened. Texas, whose hot dry soil begat both Ralph Yarborough and Barbara Jordan, is utterly incapable of producing an inspiring Republican, no matter how convincingly they drawl past that blueblood heritage.

Protect the Vote

Quick: Who will have the more fair election, America or Iraq? With Jimmy Carter warning of another Florida fiasco, coordinated efforts to disenfranchise black voters, potential voter machinehijinx and card stock capers — the answer is far from obvious.

You - or someone you know - can help. Become an Election Protection Volunteer:

In the last presidential election, millions of votes were never counted. Voters in minority communities were disproportionately disenfranchised through illegal disqualification, intimidation, and faulty voting machines. The nonpartisan Election Protection coalition needs you to stand up and defend voting rights on November 2.

Stop Bush Project

Stop Bush Project - DC Metro?

Stop Bush Project offers up a cool collection of imagery (graffiti, flyers, stickers, etc.) with an anti-Bush sentiment. Funny, crass, unintelligible... it's all here. 288 images and counting.

New Patriot Action Alert

Via our friends at the ultra-conservative thinktank, MoveOn.org:

President Bush based his famous and false claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger on a set of crudely forged documents. For the last two years, no one has uncovered who falsified these documents, which lie at the heart of Bush's case for war.

Now, CBS' 60 Minutes program has uncovered new and important revelations about the Bush administration's reliance on the documents. But, in an unprecedented and astonishing move, CBS bumped the report back until after the election, saying it would be "inappropriate" to air the piece when it might interfere with the political season.

It's outrageous that a major TV news outlet would censor an important piece of news for political reasons. Especially since this report has met CBS' standards for accuracy -- it's true. One can only assume that CBS is buckling under pressure from the right -- and that's just plain wrong.

Call CBS and its parent company, Viacom, now, at:

Sumner Redstone, Chairman, Viacom
(212) 258-6000

Les Moonves, Chairman of CBS; co-President & co-CEO, Viacom
(323) 575-2345

Andrew Heyward, President, CBS News
(212) 975-3247 or
(212) 975-4321

If you don't get through, you can write to CBS at:

You can also contact CBS' local affiliates, which are linked here:

Urge CBS to reverse its decision and air the 60 Minutes piece on Iraq before the November 2nd election. Let them know how important it is that they not censor the news.


Honey, I shrunk the Iraqi police force

Something Joe Biden said caught my eye the other day.

He said that:

In fact, to the best of my knowledge -- in my trips there recently, my staff trips there just a couple weeks ago, talking with General Petraeus -- not one single, solitary Iraqi policeman has completed the 24-week training course on the ground," Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

I thought, "Now, that's probably hyperbole." There might be some truth to it, but c'mon. There has to be at least one that has completed the training course. But the evidence has yet to appear.

Then I see this story creep out this morning:

Bush claim on training of Iraqis disputed

Pentagon documents and Democratic congressional sources dispute President Bush's claim, made Saturday, that nearly 100,000 "fully trained and equipped" Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel are at work, Reuters said yesterday. The Pentagon documents show that of the nearly 90,000 people now in the police force, only 8,169 have had the full eight-week academy training. Another 46,176 are listed as "untrained," and it will be July 2006 before the administration reaches its goal of a 135,000-strong, fully trained police force.

Thing is, on September 10, Rumsfeld was saying that they have 95,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi troops. And in June he claimed that 206,000 Iraqi security forces were at work.

By now I should be used to the numerical gymnastics of George Bush. But let me tell you, I am not used to it. Every single one of the President's budgets grossly underestimated the deficit. He missrepresented the cost of the Medicare Bill by half. He underestimated the cost of the war by what, a trillion dollars? He campaigns on strong, resolute leadership. That kind of leadership doesn't allow facts to overcome reality. Certainly, the small fact that the entire Iraqi Police force does not exist in no way stops the President from saying it exists. Why would it?

Bush's supporters seem ready to make any excuse for his "patriotic management of the truth." Not only do they accept these egregious lies, they gobble them down like bannana splits and spit them back as the very reasons they support him - Strong, Decisive, Resolute.

When will Republicans stop rewarding the President's dishonesty? How can members of our government go on national TV and tell people, the world in point of fact, that they have trained 200,000 Police Officers when they have only trained 8,600? There is no reasonable excuse for a lie of that magnitude. If it isn't a lie, in other words, if Rumsfeld and the President didn't know that their numbers were wrong, there is no reasonable excuse for that magnitude of incompetence.

Back when my oldest son was two years old he used to run around in his underpants with a cape around his neck pretending he was Batman. I didn't have the heart to tell him he wasn't really the caped crusader. No harm done if he thinks he's a superhero for a while, right?

Well folks, George Bush is running around the world in his president suit and a cape made out of the American flag telling everybody he saved Iraq. It's pure fantasy, a fantasty that is costing lives, national integrity and our financial well being. It's high time we gave him a time out.

The unborn dig their own graves

I still haven't gotten round to reading Thomas Frank's What's the Matter With Kansas?, but I did catch his appearance on NOW with Bill Moyers back in July, where he had this to say:

FRANK: This is the fascinating thing about the way class is discussed in America now. And it's not just in Kansas but everywhere in the country, is that it's not about economics. It's about cultural issues. Class is about culture. It's not about economics, it's not about… well, I mean it is obviously about, you know, where you work, what kind of money you make. But the way that it affects you, the grievances that you have are cultural ones.

MOYERS: Such as?

FRANK: Abortion is the main one. This is something… it's divided along class lines in Kansas where the moderate Republicans who tend to be affluent, the people that I grew up around, tend to be pro-choice. The working class Republicans are pro-life.

He goes on from there (read the transcript), but his basic premise is that working-class Republicans are eager to screw themselves economically in order to preserve a set of cultural (actually religious) "values". Depressing stuff, and I was actually startled to see Frank's whole theory encapsulated neatly by Tom Ampleman, a "blue collar union member" in Missouri:

"The Republicans will hurt me in the long run in providing for my family, but it's probably more important to watch out for the unborn and that kind of stuff."

Taken on its face, the statement is deeply distressing. I mean, this guy is a Democrat for chrissakes! The hoary Marxist term for this phenomenon is "false consciousness", yet Ampleman seems aware of his own false consciousness, thus it's very creepy and postmodern and difficult to shoot down.

But then there's the funny part, which is that watching out for the unborn should probably include watching out for their economic well-being, yet voting Republican means palming off a staggering and irresponsible deficit onto an unborn generation. It's one thing to consciously screw yourself, but please people, don't let your kids inherit a sinister financially (not to mention morally) bankrupt nation. Vote Democrat and do right by the unborn...


Hey, who invited I'll-pay-you-tomorrow guy?

Medicare Drug Costs Could Cost [much, much] More Than Estimated
Congressional Budget Office: Bush Policies add $1.3 Trillion to Deficit
Bush Policies Drive Surge in Corporate Tax Freeloading [PDF]
Bid to Save Tax Refunds for the Poor is Blocked
Poverty Up as Welfare Enrollment Declines
Simple Truth is, We Need Higher, and Smarter, Taxes


Saturday Afternoon Super Happy Funtime Hour

Why does God hate George W. Bush?

God hates George W. Bush

I suppose one could argue that this is a simple coincidence due most in part to the fact that Gore barely won any of Florida's counties in 2000, so therefore this little chart is not at all improbable. And one, if so inclined, could also argue that there is no such thing as a man called God, thus making this even more ridiculous...

But that wouldn't be super happy; and not at all fun, now would it?

[via this Frenchman]


We're creaming our pants right now. Majority Report Radio's Friday show, with our friends Janeane Garofalo and Bill from Liberal Oasis, mentioned BushOut.tv and New Patriot on the air! Unfortunately he said NewPatriot.com instead of NewPatriot.org, but their web site link is correct. Here's the snippet:

New Patriot mention on Majority Report [1.5 MB wav]

We owe it all to our man with the plan, Luke Francl.


A Minnesota labor victory

From Paul Demko's Live Nude Weblog:

Workers at the Minnesota Beef Industries plant in Buffalo Lake voted to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789 today. The margin was 53-46 in favor of unionizing.

It was the second time in recent months that the roughly 125 slaughterhouse employees, the vast majority of whom are Hispanic, have voted on the issue. In May, the workers rejected unionization by a margin of 67-32. But the plant was orderd by the National Labor Relations Board to hold a new election after it was determined that the company violated labor laws by threatening to fire or deport union supporters.

To me, the initial failure at organizing is a classic example of why card check organizing should be the workplace standard. The Employee Free Choice Act, which would formalize card-check as national law, is still (as far as I can determine) languishing in committee. As Luke pointed out to me, John Kerry's support for this legislation is a firm pro-worker plank in his campaign, and really it looks like this election will decide whether EFCA lives or dies. You know what to do.


LiberalOasis: Suggested Answers for Tough Questions about John Kerry

LiberalOasis's Bill Scher has compiled a great resource for Kerry volunteers. His Suggested Answers for Tough Questions about John Kerry (Microsoft Word) provides canvassers and phone bankers with a solid base of concise responses to the most common criticisms of John Kerry.

Addressed in the document are questions like:

- Kerry is a flip-flopper
- Kerry will raise my taxes
- Iraq
- National security

Read this guide. It could prove invaluable when you're out there trying to convince people to vote for Kerry. Email suggested changes to contact@liberaloasis.com.

Poster Offensive 2

Opening Reception Friday, September 24, 2004 @ 7:00pm
(show runs this weekend only, the 24th-26th)
Refreshments & Tank Goodness Cookies
DJs: Justin Martinez and Ben Pagel
Location: Frank Stone Gallery
1224 Second Street N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Utilizing the politically potent medium of the poster, the second Poster Offensive is an opportunity for artists to take action and use their voice and talents to make a statement during a very critical time in not only American history, but also world history. This event is an independent, nonpartisan show, featuring contemporary interpretations of political dissent. Participants were enlisted from the creative autonomy of Minnesota's ever vibrant design landscape.

An archive of the first Poster Offensive show is available here (sample below).

shut and vote poster by bill moran

Kiffmeyer, Pawlenty join larger pattern of voter suppression

MN Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer recently distributed Terrorist Warning Posters and requested that they be hung prominently in polling stations across the state. Governor Pawlenty requested the city councils in Minneapolis and St. Paul to reconsider laws that limit situations in which police officers can ask about a person's immigration status. Pawlenty wants to empower police officers to ask any person, regardless of what they are doing at the time, for proof of legal status in the country.

Please note the timing of the actions by Pawlenty and Kiffmeyer. On a local, tactical level, the two initiatives raise a powerfully intimidating barrier to voting in the November 2 election. Nationally, they fit into a larger pattern of voter suppression activities by Republicans in swing states.

In Arizona, Flordia, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Dakota armed police officers are investigating imigrants that file absentee ballots, the notorious florida voter purges are happening again, Posters are being distributed saying that all traffic tickets must be paid before voting, and many other resurrections of Jim Crow. The list is long and growing.

As the election nears, massive systems will be in play. Republicans who control state assets, law enforcement, immigration, data will manipulate them to exert pressure on demographics likely to vote for Kerry. It is a typical Republican strategy.

Changing the course of this is well beyond the control of the average citizen. But there is a solution: Vote. Vote in droves. If you have questions on any of the information you read or hear, ask. If you feel you are being suppressed, resist. If you have questions on how to register, ask. If you need a ride to the polls, ask.

Vote. It's our way out.

1872: A suffragist stumps for the future

Happy birthday (from beyond the grave) to a pioneer New Patriot, Victoria Woodhull.

Usually in order to run for President you need to be either a dull party hack (← these people usually win), a wealthy ideologue, or a charismatic nut. Woodhull was an excellent combination of these last two traits, thus she became the first woman ever to run for President, in 1872. With Frederick Douglass as her running mate, her Equal Rights party fought hard for women's suffrage, free love, and economic equality. Interestingly, her economic-equality philosophy was inspired more by the Bible than rising star Karl Marx: during campaign speeches she was flanked by two banners which read "What lack I yet? Jesus said unto him; go sell all thou hath and give to the poor" (Mattheww 19: 21-22), and "Neither said any that what he possessed was his own; but they had all things common" (Acts 5:32).

Even more fascinating are her prophetic views on abortion, "alternative" marriage and the death penalty.

She wasn't flawless (I could do without the spiritualism myself), but she sure was one flush-faced original with her heart usually in the right place. And in case you think I'm overly reverent, let's just say I agree with biographer Lois Beechy Underhill's curious summary of Woodhull's life:

Woodhull's true family tree was rooted in primitive America, a land of mad visions, sharp trading, and titanic energies. Hers was a robber baron's spirit. She saw no reason why she should not play by the same free-for-all rules as men. Her strengths lay in her willpower, her sheer energy, her quick reflexes. She looked with a sharp eye for male weaknesses and used men rather than being used by them. Cowardice and hypocracy disgusted her. So did cant in talking about sex. She had a primal desire to be first and a storyteller's capacity for guile [...] She was a prophecy of the future, her life a song of herself.

Jane Kim, a voice for SanFran public schools

Jane Kim is running for San Francisco School Board and would appreciate any small donations. Kim's volunteer-run campaign is trying to compete with competitor Heather Hiles, who has exceeded the voluntary spending limit. Friend-of-Patriot Min Jung Kim just started the candidate blogging and has a title I'd covet: "Electronic Evangelist."

Just the links, ma'am

I provide the links, you provide the commentary – it's interactive!

• Juan Cole: If America Were Iraq, What would it be Like?
• Washington Post: Despite Bush Flip-Flops, Kerry Gets Label
• The Memory Hole: Inside New York's Pier 57 Detention Center
• Zogby: Bush/Kerry race could end in a tie
• The Washington Note: Liberals will ban the Bible
• Joe Trippi: DCCC Blog Fundraiser and live book chat 9/24
• The Modulator: George W. Bush Vietnam-era Service Record
• Funny Song: Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis [Quicktime]
• *NOT WORK SAFE!* Election Erection 2004


Operation Shame On You

Kos diarist Cyberactor is launching Operation Shame On You, a letters campaign that will take on newspapers that endorsed Bush in 2000, contrasting their reasoning with what actually happened in the last four years.

Locally, the Pioneer Press endorsed Bush in 2000. Their endorsement is available from the Internet Archive. It's entitled "Can-do conservatism, move toward center make Bush the more attractive candidate." This is going to be fun.

Some salient points from the PiPress's endorsement:

- Bush led his party towards the center
- Bush doesn't believe slashing taxes is all Americans need
- Bush lacks foreign policy experience (at least they got that right), but his advisors, particularly Dick Cheney will make up for it
- Bush will be a unifying leader

Let's see what we can make of this and respond with some letters to the Pioneer Press.

Rock out with the Minnesota Young DFL and Eufio

And now for a bit of shameless self promotion: My girlfriend Jenny's band Eufio will be playing a free show at the MyDFL Rock Your Party event on Saturday, October 2. At Rock Your Party, young Minnesotans 36 and under can hear from Democratic leaders and local activists and get training on campaigns and organizing so you can learn how to make a difference in your community.

Come one, come all. It's free. Hear songs from Eufio's new album and learn how to win.

Jefferson High School, Bloomington 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, show at 7:00.


Rather whips out a mayo-stained blue dress

Salon has a truly exhaustive history of Bush's Guard service. Read it if you care to. I am frankly exhausted by the whole deal. Is there anyone at all who really thinks Bush wasn't running around the Alabama countryside whooping it up in the holler while he was supposed to be marching around the drill flat? The total reward money is now $60,000 dollars for anyone who can say they served with Georgie there - Including the Texans for Truth and Gary Trudeau's offers. Surely some good ol' boy would have come forward by now.

That's why the whole CBS thing is utterly mystifying. The documents Rather aired are completely retarded and unnecessary to the story. It's as if Rather had whipped out a blue dress stained with a dab of mayo during the Lewinsky fiasco and started flapping his gums about it all over TV. It just sounds too stupid to be all true or all false. Something's going on. Of course, the right wingnuts, holier-than-thou pundits and noodle-headed undecided voters are falling into an orgiastic fit of conspiratorial fervor. Rather the Liberal! CBS trys to bring down Bush! The Democratic Party forged those documents to make the president look bad!

Yes. That's it. John Kerry personally went down to Toys 'R' Us and pecked out an incriminating note, complete with the wrong dates and lingo, on the Matell Type-Magic 2000 then gave Dan Rather a ringy dingy to say he had some good dirt on Dubya and would he like the exclusive pleasure of doing an international face-plant that could destroy his illustrious career? And Dan said, "Yes, absoultely."

Anyway, while the media are acting like a herd of mice chasing cheese, the real stories get buried. What I really want to know is, speaking of forgery, who forged the Yellowcake Docs and who outed Valerie Plame?

ps A house is on fire. I mean, it is burning right down. The Fire Chief and the Arsonist who started the fire are standing in the yard talking to a reporter. She asks them, "How are you going to put out the fire." One says, "I am going to recruit the neighbors and we are going to put out the fire." The other says, "I am going to recruit the neighbors and we are going to put out the fire." The reporter turns to the camera and says, "Well, you heard it here, it continues to be difficult to tell the difference between the fire dousing policies of the Fire Chief and the Arsonist. The Fire Chief is going to have to differentiate himself if he is going to win the job of dousing the fire. Right now polls are running slightly in favor of the Arsonist. Even though people don't like the fact that he starts fires and burns down their houses, they respond well to the fact he is strong and decisive in what he does. The Fire Chief has taken too many positions on the best way to put out fires. On the other hand, the Arsonist's slogan of "Ye caint hardly put out a fire less ya start one" seems to be taking hold."


Votergasm: Sex for Voters

Increase voter turn-onI guess the sex-phobic 90's are officially over. Votergasm is a non-profit that aims to "reverse two disturbing trends in American society: low voting rates among young people, and unacceptably low rates of youth sexual activity."

Fill out their pledge to have sex with a voter (and withhold sex from non-voters), then sign up for an election-night Votergasm party for a random hookup (a helpful cartoon shows you how it works) and, hopefully, a long night of passionate sex. They have an ambitious goal: 100,000 new voters on November 2, and 250,000 orgasms by the morning of November 3. Judging by the message boards, though, Votergasm suffers from the same problem as online singles sites: too many horny guys.

A little unconventional, perhaps, but young voters lean our way, and I presume young voters willing to pledge to have sex lean even further.

Heck, who am I foolin'? I just wish they'd had this when I was in college.

Like a Wet Security Blanket

Recently a little bird whispered a few talking points in my ear. Sure, he was preaching to the choir, and these ideas were already kicking around in the back of my mind...but he helped to fill in the blanks.

The president wants to run on the premise that his anti-terror policies are working, and are better than those of John Kerry.

Just how effective are these policies? Well, during the Republican National Convention, an event where the Republican mayor and Republican governor tripled the number of arraignments per day in order to process up to 1000 arrests per day, the city complained that the arrests of roughly 1700 protesters (over at least three days, 560 per day) had taxed the system to such an extent that they were unable to process them in time frame set out by law.

Even still, there were no fewer than four separate incidents where the Secret Service, now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, were unable to keep non-violent protesters away from the President, Vice President, or his family. Imagine if these people had plotted for years to kill the president.

Let's sum that up:

  1. The Republican convention expects 1000 arraignments per day;
  2. New York triples the number of arraignment hearings per day to deal with the 1000 arraignments per day;
  3. New York gets 560 arraignments per day;
  4. New York complains that the courts were overburdened;
  5. Multiple protesters are still arrested on the floor of the RNC convention, in shooting distance of the president, the vice president, or his daughters;
  6. And these people weren't scheming fanatics.

In an unrelated event, during a rally last week, where the audience had been carefully screened and asked to sign a form stating that they were supporters of the Bush Administration, a mother of a soldier who died in Iraq managed to confront the president's wife, wearing a T-shirt that read "President Bush You Killed My Son,'' before the Secret Service arrested her.

And let's sum that up:

  1. The president holds a rally exclusively for supporters;
  2. A woman gets past security wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt;
  3. And causes a ruckus before the Secret Service arrests her.

If the president can't enforce his own security, how can he hope to make the US secure?


Young Voters are the Swingers

I have been baffled by all of the polls coming out that have Kerry and Bush mostly tied for awhile now. And, I have been pretty skeptical of polls in general, so I decided to look more closely at them. I've read a bunch of results of various polls, Zogby, CNN, USA Today, ABC, etc, and mostly they show a tie, or damn close to it. But, how can this be? With all the protesters that turned out in NY and all the outrage out there over this distaster of a presidency, how can they be in a dead heat?

Recently here in Minneapolis, there's been a bit of a controversy over our two main papers' polls. The Star Tribune had Kerry with 50% and Bush with 41% on 9/13, and the Pioneer Press had Kerry with 44% and Bush with 46% between 9/11 and 9/14. Why? The official explanation is they are within exceptable margins of error for a poll, and they were done on different days, but they are actually overlapping. How can there be such a huge difference?

There are many problems with polling accuracy in my opinion. Pollsters can lead the respondents by the way they ask the questions. They can weight the results. They may cherry pick one parties' repondents over another. And then, there's just the good old fashioned hang-up factor, which I think weights them toward the older voters, especially seniors, who generally are more likely to take the time to answer a poll, and also more likely to vote Republican.

And then there's the Likely Voters vs. the Registered Voters. Many polls you are seeing in the media are sampling what they call likely voters, which they determine with a number of "screening" questions. These likely voters for one reason or another often end up with a larger percentage of Republicans polled. Sometimes, the polls are even weighted with a higher percentage of Republicans from the get go.

The Wall Street Journal had this to say about the LV's and the RV's:

"The registered-likely voters dichotomy also is evident in some of Gallup's state surveys including last week's Ohio results." Among registered voters in the Buckeye State, Bush-Cheney had a 48%-to- 47% edge, a dead heat. Among likely voters, however, this poll had the Republicans up 52%-44%; that garnered all the attention, followed by a spate of stories suggesting this key battleground state was moving to the president."

"In 2000, the next to last WSJ/NBC poll before the election showed Republicans doing three points better among likely voters than registered voters. The election eve survey showed Bush up three points among likely voters, but failed to tally registered voters and didn't predict Al Gore's victory in the popular vote."

"For low-turnout elections those old models work well," suggests Bill McInturff, a Republican, and the other WSJ/NBC News pollster. "But in today's presidential election those models tend to [tilt to] a little older, a little more white, a little more affluent and a little more Republican voters. They may miss some of the extraordinary activity going on in African-American and Latino communities."

And finally there's the margin of error. Which for most polls can flip flop by as much as 6-8% (sometimes even more), and in this race it means that no matter what the polls are saying, as long as it's close it's a toss up.

The main reason it's a toss up, and the main thing the polls are missing I believe, is the young vote factor.

Polls don't typically catch many young voters. Think about it, especially you youngins out there (18-29,35 depending on definition), how many of you have ever been polled? (Excluding internet polls, as they have a high degree of inaccuracy due to coordinated response through emails etc.) I haven't. None of my friends have. I've never even been exit polled.

So here's my theory: Most reliable polls are done by phone these days and most 18-29 year olds have cell phones, not landlines. Therefore, they would not come up in the call lists for the pollsters. Also, if they answer the phone in their parents' household, they are more likely to pass the buck. I'd be willing to bet that older people are more likely to take the time to answer a "stupid poll", than an 18-29 year-old with "much better" things to do. And, if the poll is of likely voters, an 18-29 year old's answers would be weighted more lightly, as they are seen as the least likely to vote.

But not this time around. In the past, I've been somewhat lukewarm about voting. I'll do it, but I'm not passionate about it. This time, I would fight tooth and nail to get to the polls. If there was a tornado warning, I'd go, or a blizzard I guess, since it's in November. And I'm willing to bet my friends and many other young voters feel the same way.

In an ABC News poll, taken immediately after the Democratic National Convention, Kerry beat Bush 2 to 1 among registered voters younger than 30. Among older voters, the race was virtually tied. About 1 in 6 voters in 2000 was between 18 and 29 years old. With all the groups out there registering record numbers of young voters and, since they are one of the largest potential voting segments of the population in this election, the ratio will be higher than 1 to 6.

If 2000 was a big puzzler for the "experts" get ready for '04 because I think it's going to be one for the history books. I predict record numbers of voters turning out to the polls. But that's easy, everyone is saying that. What I also predict, is that there will be record numbers of young voters, and they will decide this election. Which is good news for Kerry, as polls pick Kerry over Bush 2 to 1 in the 18-29 set.

Some analysis of recent polls from Zogby International:

Mr. Kerry is also performing well in Blue states, among Young voters and among Single voters.  In the Blue states, Mr. Kerry is winning 50% to 38%, while in the Red States, Mr. Bush is only winning 48% to 46%.  Among Single voters, Mr. Kerry is winning huge by a total of 69% to 19%.  And among young voters – 18-29 year olds – a group Al Gore only won by 2 points in 2000, Kerry is winning in a landslide, 53% to 33%.

There are three factors contributing to Senator Kerry’s lead in the electorate; first is President Bush’s eroding base, second is his failure in outreach to swing groups and base Democratic constituencies, and third is Mr. Kerry’s strengthening of his base.  Mr. Kerry also has the potential to open a bigger lead in two areas.  First, among the undecided voters, if Mr. Kerry can sell himself as a viable alternative to Mr. Bush, he stands to make large gains amongst the small, but significant chunk of undecideds. Second is in the turnout arena, Mr. Kerry’s large leads amongst Hispanics – who will potentially make up a greater portion of the electorate than they did in 2000 – and young voters – who numerous non-partisan groups like Rock the Vote and MTV are targeting – will stand to boost his total share of the vote with every point their turnout increases.  Mr. Kerry is showing a 2-to-1 lead (50% to 25%) amongst voters who didn’t vote in 2000, while winning three-quarters (75%) of Ralph Nader’s voters and stealing twice as many (8% to 4%) of Mr. Bush voters in 2000 than Bush is stealing of Gore voters in 2000.

More on polls here.

Drinking Liberally?

Anyone in the Twin Cities up for a weekly pint o' brew and politics? It would be fun to set up a Drinking Liberally chapter. I'm going to be hella busy until after the election, though!

RNC: Focusing On The Issues That Matter To You

Over at my blog, I mentioned Kerry's shameful and very tragic and shocking and, above all else, somehow relevant "Lambert/Lambeau Field" gaffe the other day. And it looks like those silly Republicans are loathe to just let it go. WorldNetDaily is reporting today -- and this is not satire, folks (would that it were) -- a new 527 has been born: Football Fans for Truth

Two Washington-based lawyers supporting President Bush’s re-election have registered an advocacy group, Football Fans for Truth, as a Section 527 organization allowed to accept unlimited political donations. They plan to publicize Kerry’s recent sports misstatements such as his reference to the home of the Green Bay Packers as “Lambert Field” instead of Lambeau Field.

Other gaffes they hope to bring wider attention to include Kerry’s talk of the Buckeyes — the nickname of Ohio State University’s team — while campaigning in University of Michigan Wolverine territory.

Lawyers Jeff Larroca and Dino Panagopoulos, both members of the law firm Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, said in a conference call Wednesday they have no plans to raise large amounts of cash.

Instead, they hope to get free publicity from sports talk radio and other media.

“Our goal is to basically find ways to get out the political humor about John Kerry’s unsuitability to be sportsman-in-chief,” Larroca said.

The sad, and infinitely frustrating thing is, this (in small part, of course) is why the Right wins elections. In a country where the electorate is basically split down the middle, it's ridiculous garbage like this that the average (read: clinically braindead) "undecided" voter hears on some sports talk radio show, and it sticks with them. It's stories like these that guys talk about in the office, or in the garage. And if it's repeated enough (which, in this RNC controlled day and age it no doubt will be), it absolutely eats away at poll numbers.

Most lefties fail to give stories like these the proper weight they deserve because most of us read them and say to ourselves, "WTF, self? That's goddamn stupid and not worth my time, self." And it is, of course. Your self is right. But your self also fails to appreciate the genius behind it all; and the carefully constructed story-line it follows. It's evil genius, yes; but evil genius wins elections. Regular genius wins elections, too, but the GOP has found--much to their credit, I might add--evil genius to be much more cost effective and efficient (see: Max Cleland, Swift Boats, Purple Hearts, random terror warnings, etc.).

How do we fight back? Good question, glad you asked. Maybe you all can tell me. Seems to me we certainly don't have the same well-funded resources at our disposal as do our loving friends on the Right; so, I guess, as usual, we've just got to be a little more creative.

Maybe we could put up some posters in Dinkytown.

News from the front: Iraqi Policeman for Kerry

I loved Oregon Troops Say Support Kerry “so we can get outta this hellhole” on Blue Oregon.

Check out the picture of his son with an Iraqi policeman holding a John Kerry bumper sticker. But read the post, it's well worth it. [via Lizbet's blog, My Whim is Law].


Realism = Patriotism

A new ad from the DNC asks of President Bush: "How can you solve problems... when you won't even admit they're there?" This administration can't find enough roses to cover the smell of disaster coming out of Iraq. Still, my jaw drops when I hear this kind of bizarro fantasy-talk:

"You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," [White House spokesman Scott] McClellan said. "And every step of the way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future."

Pessimists and hand-wringers like the National Intelligence Council, who recently issued a classified National Intelligence Estimate that paints a grim picture of Iraq's future. The report projects three possible outcomes: achievement of a tenuous stability by the end of next year; increased extremism and the fragmentation of Iraqi society; and civil war.

Soldiers_iraqPresident Bush, in his swaggering stump speeches, fails to mention the over 1,000 Americans who've sacrificed their lives for his administration's incompetence in Iraq. He fails to mention that rebels control several regions in Iraq, breeding grounds for the next generation of al-Qaeda. He fails to mention that American taxpayer dollars aren't rebuilding democracy in Iraq, they're barely preventing the country from sliding into chaos.

In short, President Bush fails to acknowledge that we're losing the Iraq War.

We are less safe. We're in more debt. We've lost and outsourced our jobs. The dazzlingly inaccurate picture painted by the White House is a disgraceful disservice to our country, and we deserve better.

  • 'He's just sleeping, I kept telling myself'

Winning the argument

Liberals know they're right (or else, why be liberals?). But sometimes whe have a hard time backing it up, especially in the face of the conservatives' 30 year advantage in message crafting tight messages.

Fortunately, we're making progress. New think tanks like the Center for American Progress and the Rockridge Institute are helping progressives find the facts and frame the arguments to win debates.

Still, CAP's reports and books like Moral Politics are a bit weighty for most people and don't offer practical help for winning an argument with a co-worker or crafting a tight letter to the editor.

That's why Winning Argument, a new blog from some CAP fellows (but unrelated to the Center) is now on my must read list, and should be on yours, too. In a clear, concise fashion Winning Argument presents facts that help you win. Recently, they've covered the absurd "flypaper theory", why the flat tax is a bad idea, and why Social Security should not be privitized.

I'm also excited by George Lakoff's new book Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (read a sample chapter). I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet, but it's billed as a guide to framing arguments for progressives -- just what the doctor ordered.

Uncovered: The War on Iraq - who watches the watchers

The Scotsman is carrying a decent analysis of who is in charge in Baghdad: Nobody. The ongoing violence there has undermined the credibility of the power handoff. Christopher Albritton, the proprietor of Back To Iraq, is experiencing the effects of the expanding chaos first hand. He has another rather harrowing post up.

Once you have taken in the full measure of current events in Iraq, please see a movie called Uncovered: The War On Iraq to understand how we got there. I particularly advise any fence sitters to go with an open mind. For me, this movie is the anti-Fahrenheit 9.11.

I enjoyed Moore's film, to be sure. I enjoyed it for what it was - a documentary-style, visual essay. When Moore allowed the people and events to supplant his urge to showboat - the soldiers here and at home, the mother who lost her son - the movie worked. But I didn't think Moore advanced his case by narrating the thoughts in Bush's head while he read my pet goat, for example, or by backing up his conspiracy theories with pictures of a parade of neocons, in and out of office, shaking hands with Saudies. Propaganda is propaganda. I distrust it no matter for what cause it is produced - even mine.

Uncovered: The War on Iraq is a totally different animal. It has no narration, no sensationalism. It is a sober, serious critique of the substance and style of the Bush Administration's case for going to war. This movie lets 28 undisputed military and intelligence insiders talk to the camera about how intelligence was gathered, shaped and sold in order to take the United States to war. These are people like Stansfield Turner, former head of the CIA; Peter Zimmerman, former chief scientist of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst with three decades of experience; Scott Ritter, the former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq; David Kay, who was appointed by Bush after Ritter;Joseph Wilson, David Kay, John Dean and many, many others.

The full spectrum of political sensibilities is well represented. I guess you could subtitle this movie, the march of the bureaucrats because so many serious professionals who have toiled in obscurity for decades line up to doggedly, quietly insist that the Bush administration's manipulation of fact, media, and power is profoundly corrupt. Anybody who loves the essence of freedom embodied in our constitution will squirm throughout the show. Again, undecided voters, fence-sitters, I urge you, watch this movie.


Kiffmeyer: owned!

My first Star Tribune letter to the editor got published in the September 16th paper. It's about Kiffmeyer's scare-mongering, a topic we've covered frequently here at the New Patriot.

Kiffmeyer and terror

Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer needs to reread her job description. She is supposed to help people vote and ensure the smooth operation of elections.

Instead, she's feuded with local election officials because of her overcomplicated voter registration forms and tried to shut down the City Pages' voter registration effort at the behest of the far-right Taxpayers League.

And now she's scaring people with her talk of "homicide" bombers at your polling station.

Kiffmeyer should let the police and Homeland Security handle the terrorists and focus on her job: helping people vote.

Luke Francl, Minneapolis.

Check it out -- there's two other anti-Kiffmeyer letters in tomorrow's paper as well.


More Kiffmeyer Antics


I just got back from voting in the primary, and brought back this little souvenir. It's a gift from Mary Kiffmeyer, one of my favorite people of late. Mary you see, is trying her damnedest lately, even over-stepping her offices' jurisdiction (see Citypages giveaway at the state fair story). She tried to take away registering at the polls and has done everything she can to make it more difficult for people to vote, especially those unfamiliar with the process, (i.e. non-republicans).

Now she ordered that this memo be distributed to all polling places. Well actually she wanted it to be posters, but a dispute with local election officials has derailed this little beauty from appearing in person. Luckily in my lefty neighborhood, I had to ask to see it.

"If the same memo had been sent out on Sept. 10, it would have been called alarmist: 'Oh, how terrible,' " she said. "On Sept. 12, it would have been called realistic." Kiffmeyer said of the posters. I read the whole thing, and I'm pretty sure nothing in there would have stopped 9/11 from happening. (However, the Bush Administration may have had a crack at it.)

Some, myself included see this latest tack as an attempt to scare people away from the polls, and also to unfairly target some, "shaved heads", and those that smell of "an unusual herbal/floral" scent (patchouli anyone?). Hmmm, seems pretty broad, and an unethical election judge could certainly call the police and delay or stop the "suspicious" perfumey and/or shaven person from voting. Even having a "blank stare" is seen as suspicious, I don't know about the rest of you, but standing in line to vote just isn't that stimulating. I'm liable to have a blank stare myself. Better not wear any strange floral perfume I guess, and that big warm jacket I'm likely to need in November, is right out.

See also Luke Francl's post from 9/9/2004 in which he links to the "Kiffmeyer Update: Election Day Preparedness Plan".

Iraq news not forged

While the media masturbates over Bush's service records the situation in Iraq continues to, shall we say, decline.

Over the weekend something like 110 people died and 200 were wounded in Baghdad.

While Iraqis try to kill a few Americans and Americans kill lots of Iraqis outside the Green Zone. Life inside the Green Zone paints a picture of an occupation supremely disconnected from the nation we seek to build.

To some, the Green Zone feels like a vast isolation chamber. One recent night at a saloon called The Bunker, a resident contractor asked, "So, what's going on out there in Iraq anyway?" He hadn't left the Green Zone in six months. "It's like Plato's republic in here, all of these well-meaning, smart people who want to do the right thing," says one security contractor and Green Zone regular. "But they never leave here and they have no idea what's happening in the country they're supposed to be building. It's totally absurd."

In another story, Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway who was in charge of US forces during the siege of Falluja has criticized the method and timing of US strategy saying,

"When you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand what the consequences of that will be and not vacillate in the middle of something like that," he said. "Once you commit, you have to stay committed."

When the generals start complaining of civilian interference on the battlefield, it is time to start questioning the battle itself. But more to the point, Dear Leader didn't know what to do.

Have you noticed a sudden derth of editorials attempting to perfume the stink of the Iraq pig with claims that the media is just not showing all the good things that are happening there? I have. That's because the situation in Iraq is worse than you think.

Now, some pundits have put forward the proposition that Kerry and Bush have the same position on Iraq. Fundamentally, I guess that's true: Bush says stay the course; Kerry says stay the course. I don't think anybody knows what will happen after the election. But the very examination of the issue misses the point right now.

The Iraq war is a flaming bag of dog shit on the doorstep of America. The adolescents who filled and lit the bag ran giggling directly to the podium at the GOP National Convention to accept their party's nomination for a second term as President and Vice President of the United States. It is a flabbergasting masterpiece of branding that the President emerged from that convention more trusted by the American people than Kerry to manage the war. I give Rove credit where credit is due for the quality of his spin. But spin won't make Iraq free. Spin won't make us safer. Spin won't stop our porch from catching fire.

It will take strong, creative leadership to solve Iraq. Kerry isn't the one who lit the bag. Kerry is the one who has opened the door to find it flaming at his feet. It is to his credit, and all of our benefit, that he is the kind of person who will consider his options well before he stomps blindly down on the fire.

Fire at will

The zany libertarian inside of me wants to defend assault weapons just as it would defend, oh I dunno, bestiality porn. Both are repulsive and harmful, but even fringe simpletons deserve that creepy margin of freedom, right? But my superego remains convinced that the assault weapon ban was a sensible law with widespread support, and the Republicans' shifty strategem of letting the ban lapse is a glaring indicator of the GOP's fear of democracy. On top of that, the GOP is now actively attempting to put guns back on the streets of the nation's capitol. I'm excited that Kerry is on the attack, though I bet this particular newsbite won't last 48 hours before the firing ranges start echoing with the sustained cackle of legalized 30-round clips. (Great to see that the Strib's Randy Furst is already on the beat!)

Anyway, those of us who don't require a penis augmentation in the form of a Colt AR15 are also actively opposed to the NRA's socially destructive lobbying techniques, so check out the impressive NRA blacklist and ask yourself, which side are you on?


Rabid Flag Burning?

It isn't surprising that the much-maligned (e.g. "sickle-swinging") Left* is raising eyebrows for brazenly wielding the concept of Patriotism. It is not a re-claiming, nor do we hold a registered trademark on a single, significant word. It is simply a statement of intent: we will not be bashed for our criticisms. We will not be silenced, nor will we allow a certain point of view to dominate the discourse while simultaneously creating an illusion of persecution. Dissent is what our nation was built on, in part, and it is unfortunate that we live in a time when a small group has appropriated the government to dismantle the very structure of our nation and wage global warfare. Frankly, I'm baffled by people who claim to love this country, and the symbol of our national flag, but who despise half of their neighbors and hate the government. What is it, exactly, that you're loving when you say you love America? Freedom is not without its costs, and that includes living with people you don't agree with. Perhaps this is a definition we can all accept:

"The modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation all the time, loyalty to the government only when it deserves it."

--Mark Twain ("The Czar's Soliloquy," North American Review, March 1905)

Our interpretations of this sentence will vary greatly, to be sure, but it is a solid launching point for reasoned discussion, something that's greatly lacking in an era of "go fuck yourself" and internet trolls. Let's see what we can accomplish now, shall we?


*Of course, it is a gargantuan mistake to assume, like Ann Coulter or Bill O' might, that there is a monolithic Left, so I offer a gentle reminder to my progressive friends not to squish all fiscally conservative, warmongering, anti-tax, gay-bashing, seal-shooting etceteras into one monolithic (e.g. feminist-hating) Right.


Save Us President Bush, Save Us!

"If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again - that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States..."

It's unfortunate, but people actually buy this load of crap. Sure, things have changed over the course of the past few years - airline security is tighter, people are more vigilant, no doubt the intelligence community is working harder, hell President Bush is probably even reading security briefs these days. Do you feel any safer?

I don't. Perhaps these actions have made us a little safer, however any increase in safety can surely be cancelled out by the number of new enemies that we've created around the world with our war on terror. Iraq and Afganistan are hardly peaceful places right now.

And further, what evidence is there to suggest John Kerry wouldn't be as vigilant and tough on terror? Obviously he isn't going be playing "Cold War" like the current administration was doing before 9/11. Counterterrorism? What's that? And it's not like he's going to make things any worse - surely he lacks the cocky bravado that shines so brightly from the windows of the oval office.

Sorry Dick, I'm just not buying it. Maybe you'll spook some people into voting for George W. Bush, but hopefully voters are paying attention the state of things in regards to jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy, education, healthcare (for civilians and our troops), the environment, the cost of war and all of the other reasons that it should be clear that we need to cut our losses and give the current administration the boot on November 2nd.


Remembering 9/11

"The Sphere," by German artist Fritz Koenig, survived 9/11

A lovely Saturday here in Minneapolis. It'd be easy enough to forget what day it is. As usual, Jeff Jarvis is the moral barometer of September 11:

I am angry to be living in the crossfire, angry to be living between the fringes.

I am angry to hear the names of 2,727 who did absolutely nothing to deserve death ... except that they were in America. They were caught in the crossfire of a war that wasn't theirs. They were murdered just for the sake of it by the fascist fringe.

And I am angry at the same time that the political fringes in America are taking over this election. I'm mad because they are distracting us from the real enemy, the one who struck that day, the one who killed those 2,727 whose names are being read right now, the one who turned America into his battleground; they are making us forget the real war. I'm mad because they are distracting us from the real work we should be about in this democracy. I'm mad because they are turning America into their battleground, too.

  • Jarvis' audio narrative of 9/11
  • My memory of 9/11


Russell Kirk's ghost sucks up your tax dollars

Get ready for outrage: Sarah D. pointed out to me H. Res. 408, "Recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Conservative Mind, and for other purposes." Russell Kirk is the "prophet of American conservatism" (quoth Saint Reagan), and the Conservative Mind apparently bestows coherence on Republican Party values. Or so some scrabbling scorpions in the House seem to think. Still, neocon ain't conservatism, and you have to wonder what Kirk would think of the "devouring conflagration" of the Bush administration, which has rammed countless "hasty innovations" down our throats, just click on the hyperlinks in this eerie Onion prophecy and see.

Nice to know my tax dollars are hard at work, anyway.

John Kerry's Senate record

Forgeries, smorgeries. Every minute we spend talking about the provenance of the newly released Bush National Guard memos is a minute we don't spend talking about why John Kerry will make a better president than George W. Bush. While all the information about fonts and kerning and proportional spacing and which IBM typewriter could have produced the documents is fascinating, no new information is being uncovered. For now, the ball is in CBS's court. We should wait to see what CBS says about the memos.*

One of the Republican talking points against John Kerry is that he won't talk about his 19 year record in the Senate, which they try to have us believe is both liberal and ineffectual.

Let's put this one to bed right away. Listen to John Kerry's town hall meeting in Rochester on Monday Wednesday. You will hear him talk at length about his Senate record.

So, what did John Kerry accomplish in the Senate that qualifies him to be President?

Quite a bit. A good start for reviewing Kerry's Senate career is David Corn's article in The Nation, What's Right With Kerry. (An excerpted version of this article is included in MoveOn PAC's Kerry Kit.)

Shortly after arriving in the Senate in 1985, Kerry recieved a tip from a fellow Vietnam vet that the CIA-backed Contras were linked to drug smuggling. Fighting against the CIA, the Reagan White House, and other Congressional Democrats, Kerry's invesigation pressed on. His report asserting the linkage between drug runners and the Contras with the knowledge of the CIA and State Department was released in 1989. Many dismissed Kerry's report as a conspiracy theory, but the CIA later acknowledged that they had worked to fund the Contras through drug smuggling.

After the Contra investigation, Kerry launched an investigation against the notorious BCCI, the terrorist's and money launderer's favorite bank. Of course, BCCI wasn't known as a criminal entity, then. And one of BCCI's board members was Democratic fundraiser Clark Clifford. Pressure was strong against Kerry to lay off BCCI, but he blew the lid off it. BCCI was shut down by regulators in 1991.

Kerry also worked with fellow Vietnam vet and former POW John McCain to settle once and for all, the Vietnam POW issue. Kerry's comprehensive investigation concluded that there were no American POWs still captive in Vietnam, opening the way for Bill Clinton to normalize relations with that country.

These are just some of the highlights of Kerry's long record in the Senate. He's also fought for campaign finance reform, blancing the budget, and environmental issues. Daily Kos diarist intrados compiled a list of Kerry's 50 most important bills passed into law, and notes that Kerry has sponsored or co-sponsored 4784 bills and amendments. By contrast, in the same period, John McCain sponsored or co-sponsored 4247.

Ironically, it is Kerry's long Senate record that makes him such a target for some of the worst Republican charges. In their internally inconsistent, out of context way, even the Republicans admit Kerry got things done in the Senate.

Kerry has a record that he can be proud of, and it's a record more Democrats should learn about. Now that I've studied Kerry's accomplishments, I believe more strongly than ever that he will make a good President -- not just a better President than Bush.

P.S. OK, I did my duty by writing about John Kerry. So here's my take on the memos. Either:

  1. The documents are geniune, authored by Jerry Killian (or his secretary) on an IBM Selectric or Composer in 1972 and stored in his personal files until now; or:
  2. The documents are the world's most incompetent forgeries, typed up in Word 2002 and photocopied a couple times for "aging." The details in the memos were created by someone with familiarity with Bush's Guard record, probably based on sites like AWOLBush.com; or:
  3. The documents are the world's most ingenious forgeries, designed to fool CBS News with enough correct details about Bush's Guard service, then blow up in their face when challenged by amature fontologists. Bush is immunized against further questions about his Guard record. (For the extra paranoid, assume the documents are forgeries, but every detail in the documents is true.)

The good bad war: Making sense of utter chaos

I overheard an extended conversation about the Iraq war today. One person felt the invasion was good because we removed Saddam, who is evil, and the Iraqi people will eventually be better off. The other side felt the war was bad because the Iraqi people are suffering under the cooalition in exactly the same ways they suffered under Saddam - with no end in sight. After a lengthy debate in which the side favoring the invasion itemized Saddam's attrocities and the side opposing featured coalition attrocities - neither side walked away holding a different opinion.

As I muddled through my day, I continued to think about the debate. It occurred to me that neither side was entirely right. Each clung to a partial truth, without recognizing the partial truth on the other side. Yes life uder Saddam was bad and, yes, so is life under the coalition. They are not mutually exclusive concepts. Americans must consider this carefully. It is always difficult to hold several apparently opposing ideas in one's head at the same time. But that's what is required of us as we analyze the President's decision to remove Saddam. Consider:

Saddam was/is evil and deserved to have his ass kicked to Hell with all the other fascist cannibals that reside there.


The Iraq war was an irresponsible incursion into a sovereign nation that was not a threat to our country. It is wrong as a strategic component in the war on terror because it created more enemies than friends. It is wrong logistically because it stretched our military to the breaking point in an endeavor that does not advance our own security. It is wrong financially because we are pouring money down a rat hole for the ironic purpose of increasing our insecurity. It is wrong morally because we are sending our young people to die in the pursuit of the neocon pipedream of creating a corporate themepark that hasn't and won't materialize [09.04 Harper's Magazine, Baghdad Year Zero. Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia. Naomi Klein. pp 43-53].


It is possible that the Iraqi people will be better off as a result of our action, but they aren't now. It is impossible to say when they will be better off.


It doesn't matter if you are killed by an evil-doer or a freedom lover you are still just as dead.


The US has killed a boatload of civilians, which might make it difficult for the average Iraqi to agree that they have been liberated.

How are we to reconcile these realities?

The GOP asks us to believe in the power of freedom. I do. However, saying we have liberated nations does not neccessarily make it so. I argue that the only judges of freedom are those individuals to whom it belongs. Once the people of Iraq and Afghanistan agree that they are free - then perhaps they will be. Once they agree that we are the ones that facilitated their freedom, then perhaps I will agree that we have facilitated it. Thus far we have only created deadly power vacuums in which people suffer greatly while major players vie for control.

Unfortunately, Bush has lost the ability to negotiate effectively on our behalf with the rest of the world. If we want to truly wage war on terrorists, we will need to make more friends than enemies. Bush's way has made us more enemies than friends. That is the reality he ignores with his words and perpetuates with his actions.

Terrorism is dark and complicated. It will take someone with a strategic mind to address it. George Bush has thus far shown no cleverness, no ability to win friends to our side. He has shown an incredible, clownish willingness and ability to offend the very hearts and minds we are supposedly liberating.

Give me John Kerry any day.


Tentacles of Rage

A full week later, George Bush's vision of an "ownership society" (as proposed in the acceptance speech) is seeming more and more like a strange oasis of semi-coherence in the intellectual desert of Republican Party "ideology". Really, the best way to democratize the rich-get-richer idea is to create a philosophy of ownership and self-direction, which can be expanded so that things like Social Security and health insurance can be "owned" by you, the People, and let the godlike Market provide for the fittest. (See the new Get Your War On for more information)

Lewis Lapham's latest, Tentacles of Rage, gives us an engaging history of how the Republican Party's parasitic ideology -- including the latest "ownership" manifestation -- became triumphant. It's hard to improve on the following paragraph:

How does one reconcile the demand for small government with the desire for an imperial army, apply the phrases "personal initiative" and "self-reliance" to corporation presidents utterly dependent on the federal subsidies to the banking, communications, and weapons industries, square the talk of "civility" with the strong-arm methods of Kenneth Starr and Tom DeLay, match the warmhearted currencies of "conservative compassion" with the cold cruelty of "the unfettered free market," know that human life must be saved from abortionists in Boston but not from cruise missiles in Baghdad? In the glut of paper I could find no unifying or fundamental principle except a certain belief that money was good for rich people and bad for poor people. It was the only point on which all the authorities agreed, and no matter where the words were coming from (a report on federal housing, an essay on the payment of Social Security, articles on the sorrow of the slums or the wonder of the U.S. Navy) the authors invariably found the same abiding lesson in the tale—money ennobles rich people, making them strong as well as wise; money corrupts poor people, making them stupid as well as weak.

I'm not sure whether money would corrupt me or not, how about let's give it a try? Cut my payroll taxes and watch that Desrosiers kish-kash fly real fast into the bartender's till...

In discussing the neocon birth throes during the Age of Aquarius, Lapham cites a curious and influential document, Confidential memo: Attack on American Free Enterprise System by (future Supreme Court Justice) Lewis Powell. Dated August 23, 1971, the memo's recommendations included mass re-education for a pro-market philosophy (including the review and revision of school textbooks), promoting a general free-market-ideologue infiltration of academia, and suggesting a direct connection between capitalism and individual freedom. I think we can see the origins of the "ownership society" pretty clearly...

Now It's Bush's Time To Squirm...

Hello, Democrats. Yes, you... you can come out of hiding now. The sky isn't falling. We're still in this thing. And, yes, we're fighting back, with or without some of you. And now, as the wonderfully brilliant and probably very sexy Sid Blumenthal says, it's Bush's time to squirm.

And, though I myself find it very hard to take a woman named Kitty very seriously, her new book has plenty 'o Republicrats puking over themselves to discredit her. Is her book true? Who cares!? It sounds damn hilarious. Bush lining up the eight balls at Camp David. Clandestine abortions. Rampant alcoholism. A young and very vulgar pre-Jesus Dubya going AWOL from the National Guard. Bush tokin' the green. Sounds absolutely riveting. Shit, if I would have known about all that stuff in 2000, dude might have gotten my vote! In any case, it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Certainly can't be any more fiction than Unfit For Command. And that, in an age where debate is reduced to 10-second sound-bytes, and truth is more about perception than reality, is all we can really ask.

New Patriot Exclusive: Mary Kiffmeyer's "homicide bomber" rant

Yesterday, Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer released a scare-mongering rant about the threat of terrorism on Election Day. The hidden subtext: stay home. In it, she uses the discredited, Fox News-only term "homicide bomber" to refer to suicide bombers who might try to disrupt a polling location.

But don't worry! You can be on the lookout for homicide bombers with Mary's simple tips. Watch out for people bulky coats. They really ought to stand out in a crowd in November.

New Patriot Exclusive: Kiffmeyer's "Terrorism Will Not Win on Election Day" plan with terrorist spotting tips!

This comes just a day after Dick Cheney implied that if John Kerry is elected, America will be devastated by a terrorist attack. What's with all the Republican scare-mongering? Nevermind that Kiffmeyer's blast contradicts Cheney's implication that Big George is keeping us safe. The important thing is to keep everyone afraid at all times.

It's time to get someone into the White House who will do something to really protect America. Secure the ports and the borders. Beef up America's intelligence operation (bonus: also prevents bogus wars over illusionary WMDs!). Finish the war against Al Qaeda. Fully fund police and fire fighters here at home. Three years of failure is too many.


Freedom Fighters

I dreamt I was a freedom fighter in some dystopian future where government had an Iron grip on it's citizens' minds and imperialist aims all over the planet. A place where those that questioned authority were called traitors and enemies of the state. Fuel for the empire ruled the actions and decisions of the leaders, and meetings of those that were opposed took place in deep secrecy.

In this dream favorite sons were sacrificed by their very parents in the name of loyalty and patriotism, beaten to death with a bag over their head. Eyes and ears of the state were everywhere, and even your best friend would turn you in. The environment was poisoned beyond repair for the sake of extracting riches, and aggression was enacted on any land that dared stand in the way. All the while freedom desperately reached out like the arms of an octopus anyway it could to survive, but it was dying.

This was a real dream, we must do everything in our power so that it does not become our real world.

We need to reclaim our patriotic roots, our country and our democracy. We cannot sit idle while a few radical fanatics hijack our government, image and country for their twisted self-serving desires. If our face to the world is an angry white mask of death, we will surely fall like any other empire of the past. If we let double standards, double speak, hate and inequality rule the day, we are doomed to servitude, and we have lost our American dream.

So take up the cause now New Patriots! Go forth and fight for your country, for your children, for your very lives! We MUST win the hearts and minds of our brethren and sistren and yes, the rest of the world.

You know the truth, it's beating in your breast; you've seen the hope, it's welling up in your eyes; you know the way, one person making a difference over and over again, as it has always been. Together we can do it, we can take back our America.

Upcoming mudfest provides opportunity to focus

President Bush's misspent years as a young adult are about to do a happy jig across the media landscape once again. The President's gyrations will be very interesting to watch. Danny Terrio don't have nothin on Georgie when it comes to puttin the shake, shake, shake on the cold hard truth. George has some serious moves. Oh yes, the President is a great dancer, but he won't be able to spin free completely.

First, 60 Minutes will interview Ben Barnes, former Texas House Speaker and Lt. Governor tomorrow night. Barnes is the fellow who arranged for Dubya to enter the guard. Next, new records are being yanked out of the Pentagon that illuminate Bush's military no show in Alabama. The Texans for Truth [Website - News] are about to Swift Boat Bush (if you will excuse the ugly verbification of a once honorable craft). The attack is unfortunate in a way, because the message the Texans deliver - though true - is very similar in form and function to the original Swift Boat ads. It will very likely be framed by the yapping boobacracy as a pathetic Democratic response to the Swifties.

Vis-à-vis, obscure Southern campaigns: Linda Allison remembers Bush peeing on a cars in drunken sprees down Alabama way while he was supposedly serving.

Finally, Kitty Kelly's new book, The Family, will slither onto shelves next week. She will paint a portrait of a politician as a young man with a nose for coke, weed and liquor. That would be El Presidente.

Will any of the Bush skeletons help Kerry get elected? It's possible, but Bush’s greatest political gift is his Teflon hide. We won't learn anything new about him. He won't say anything new. He will mumble something charmingly disingenuous and move on. None of the President's supporters will jump ship and his detractors will only like him less.

Kerry can use the mudfest to his advantage by ignoring it. Everybody already knows that Bush was a craven, drunken boor who found Jesus and a good woman. The fact is that the Bush-9/11 brand trumps his wicked youthful ways. But there is no trumping his ghastly record as president. The truth about Bush is in the numbers, and more numbers, in record deficits, in over 1,000 dead in an ill-advised war, in a Republican Platform that is truly radical.

Please John, focus. Focus on communicating the case against Bush. Use small words. Be loud; be clear. You are a prosecutor, John. Prosecute.


One Simple Question for George Bush

The World's Shortest Blog is offering (as of this moment) $547.29 to ask George W. Bush one simple question in a public forum:

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

You can increase the bounty by contributing via PayPal. If no one claims the prize before November 2nd, 2004 the money will be donated to the DNC.

Update: The bounty has increased to $753.29. Link this up, folks, and email it to your friends. We need to get some media attention so someone will actually try it. Just imagine the look on Bushy's face.

Update: $1428.62.

Update: $2126.00. How high will it go before the media covers what "those crazy bloggers" are doing, and gets this really wide exposure?

Republicans: Vote for Us, or Die

That's the message coming from the Republican Fear Machine, explicitly from Dick Cheney today:

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

How low, how desparate, how despicable can they get? Zell Miller and Dick Cheney would have Americans believe Democrats are lining up with guns to shoot your babies. In reality, Democrats are lining up to feed your babies, as much as protect them. It's more hate, more fear, more divisiveness from the extreme right. The neoconservative Republicans have already devastated America, at home and abroad. Americans are already dying - in Iraq.

More than 1,000 American soldiers have now died in Iraq. Kerry honored them and said it was a "tragic milestone". Bush made no mention of it, but Scott McLellan kept up the smoke and mirrors show:

''We remember and honor and mourn those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11."

Why thanks Scott, for again trying to hide the quagmire in Iraq behind the completely unrelated tragedy of September 11. What next? "We honor the $400 billion US budget deficit and 1.3 million new poor. Oh yeah - We also remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11."

There's only one direction we can go: Up. I'm not much for catchphrases, but Kerry/Edwards' "Hope is on the Way" is a breath of fresh air in these times of foul-smelling lies.

New group blog for labor issues

Labor lawyer and super-blogger Nathan Newman has launched a new group blog for labor issues, the Labor Blog. Appropriately, it started on Labor Day (just like the New Patriot). This will probably become a must-read for those interested in the labor movement.

War is a force that gives us meaning

From Krugman's latest:

To win, the Kerry campaign has to convince a significant number of voters that the self-proclaimed "war president" isn't an effective war leader - he only plays one on TV.

This charge has the virtue of being true. It's hard to find a nonpartisan national security analyst with a good word for the Bush administration's foreign policy. Iraq, in particular, is a slow-motion disaster brought on by wishful thinking, cronyism and epic incompetence

Although he faces tough competition from James Madison and Richard Nixon (who seems a wise and strategist in comparison), I can't think of any war president who surpasses Bush in the realm of utter incompetence.


Class warfare

Although I try to be patriotic and celebrate Labor Day (today it was bluegrass at Minnehaha Park), I'm still more of a May Day guy at heart. I just can't countenance the fact that Labor Day was created in order to placate workers and distance them from socialism (with its alleged Haymarket-terrorist connotations).

Still, Labor Day 2004 was Veep Day in Minnesota, let the Strib sort it out for you. Dick Cheney at the State Fair reached back deep into those ancient Haymarket fears when he dismissed John Edwards' "Two Americas" theme as a "class warfare approach". See, Dick's not saying that the two-Americas framework is wrong, but that it shouldn't be discussed due to its inflammatory nature. Or rather, because any paycheck-to-paycheck worker with half a brain will vote for Kerry because they know that's their only chance to keep their job and/or get a decent break in the next four years.

This brings me to the Economic Policy Institute's State of Working America 2004/2005 report, released just today. Inequality has increased at an absurd rate, and we've got some serious explaining to do when comparing ourselves with the world. Recent economic indicators -- which prompt media jubilation over the most trivial increments these days -- are summarily dismissed in the press release. Working folks have been shafted. Really, the only pro-labor policy Bush ever initiated was the steel tariff, which he hastily repealed once the WTO declared it illegal.

Anyway, you see the name Jared Bernstein mentioned a lot in the above links, so definitely check out this amusing feature, where Jared is forced to roam D.C. and argue politely about economics with that blinkered snark Kevin Hassett.

Inspirational thought (from Hassett): "Misery makes the GDP go up."


I started thinking about a "new patriotism" not long after September 11, 2001. Patriotism, it seemed, was hijacked by rabid nationalistic flag-wavers who railed against any criticism of our government. This rigid, frightening and angry patriotism rears its ugly head still today, as seen at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

It's time for a New Patriotism.

It's our job as American citizens to draw attention to the wrongs of America, and want to fix it. Because we want America to be good, and we CAN imagine better ways. More than that, we want humanity and our planet and our souls to be good. In my mind, this is New Patriotism - we need to redefine patriotism to be a good thing, to see all sides and simply want to make this a better place.

This new patriotism is not so new. In fact, it reflects the principles this country was founded on. We strive for individual liberty while nourishing the common good. We believe people should have a voice in their government and media. We believe in a diversity of views. We believe liberty is worth fighting for.

Paul Wellstone, in his book Conscience of a Liberal, wrote:

Sometimes, only realists are the dreamers. Robert Kennedy once said, 'The future will not belong to those who are content with the present.' I think the future also will not belong to those who are cynical or those who stand on the sidelines. The future will belong to those who have passion and are willing to work to make our country better.

New Patriot is a group of proudly leftist Minnesota bloggers not content to sit on the sidelines. We may have different interests and points of view, but we all have strong ideas about the current political climate and what needs to change. One thing we can surely agree on: We need to defeat George W. Bush and elect John Kerry for President in 2004.

Thanks for stopping by, and let us know how we're doing!

PS - Respectful debate is welcome here. Trolls are not.