The Face of Democracy in Action

Lorika hasn't been blogging. And she hasn't been home. She's literally on the streets, on the front lines, getting out the vote for John Kerry on November 2. She's part of MoveOn.org's Leave No Voter Behind Victory Drive - squeezing every possible Kerry voter out of indecision and into the polls. What can I say? I'm so proud of her, and everyone else out there coming together and taking back this country.

Josh Marshall has an inspiring story from the trenches in Florida.
Rebuffing G.O.P., 2 Judges Bar Challengers at Polls in Ohio
A nice essay from Chris Strouth: kerrydoesntsuck.com
Zogby Does Text-Messaging: Young Mobile Voters Pick Kerry Over Bush

Bin Laden hypnotizes Powerline - updated

After reading John Hinderaker's, (AKA "Hinderocket" of Power Line) bizarre "analysis" of Bin Laden's speech, I felt like sending him a sympathy card. One can only hope those thoughts weren't as painful to birth as they are to read. I probably shouldn't worry, though. For one so obviously innoculated by right-thought, I'm sure authoring this brainless twaddle was an exercise in ecstasy.

Mr. Hinderaker submits for our inspection the proposition that Osama Bin Laden has absorbed a few Democratic Talking Points and is now trumpeting them to the world. He says that Michael Moore is the "intellectual leader" of the Democratic Party, ergo, Michael Moore and the Democratic Party wrote Bin Laden's speech. He appears to be serious (If I Mr. Hindraker is writing for the Onion, then I apologize and bow before him.)

First, about Mr. Moore. He is the the intellectual leader of the Democratic Party the way that Sean Hannity, or Larry Kudlow, or Dennis Miller, or Howard Fineman, or ... is the intellectual leader of the Republican Party. In other words, he is not. Moore makes controversial films that in some ways parallel Democratic postions. However, he didn't write the platform and doesn't always reflect the ideas of our candidate. He made a powerful visual essay in Fahrenheit 9.11 that was successful in the marketplace of ideas. Hannity and the others have successful media personas, which they generally use to spread the Republican Word. While they all enjoy status as celebrities, none are party leaders.

Secondly, Hindraker seems to think that Bin Laden needed Moore to point out that Bush sat reading a children's book for seven minutes while the country was attacked. Just a gentle reminder - Bin Laden didn't need Moore to tell him Bush sat blinking. Bin Laden lived it real time. Remember?

As for the rest of it, it doesn't actualy matter what Bin Laden says. He is a master politician and the only thing of which we can be sure is that, just like Bush and Kerry, he is playing to his base. His message is aimed at Arabs, not Americans. If he happens to sound themes critical of Bush, it just means he can read the news [825 page compilation of mainstream news stories detailing President Bush's record. 1.4 MB PDF] Hindraker wonders if there will be any "...Democrats honest enough to be embarrassed that Osama bin Laden has enthusiastically adopted their campaign themes?" The answer is no, unless they are as ill-informed as Republicans appear to be.

The question I ask in return is this: Are there any Republicans honest enough to be embarassed that three years after 9.11, Osama Bin Laden is dancing a jig on prime time TV while our troops face attacks from insurgents created and armed through the incompetence of this President?

Thankfully, the answer to that question is yes.


Mitch over at a Shot In the Dark has a thoughtful reply to the above post. I enjoyed it. I have a couple of comments, though.

1. I probabaly shouldn't have used the phrase "brainless twaddle." It's redundant. If I had it to do over again, I'd pick "twaddle." I know the Powerline guys aren't dumb. I think the post is small-minded and destructive, however, for reasons listed below.

2. The point of my post was not to "refute" Hindraker's piece, it was to say "So what?" What are we supposed to be embarrassed about? That Bin Laden can read? Whether or not Hindraker actually said Moore wrote Bin Laden's speech, he most certainly implies an unholy alliance with Bin Laden. Otherwise why say Democrats should be embarrassed by it? In doing so, he makes an insulting assumption and does nothing to contribute to intelligent discussion about what Bin Laden's statement means for America. Any similarity between Dem. talking points and Bin Laden's statement are Bin Laden's doing. It is his attempt to win power for himself among his own people and to further divide our country. Hindraker's fact-challenged, substance-free spin only contributes to the latter. That's why I called it twaddle.

3. Mitch pulls out a piece of the article that I changed almost as soon as I published it. It was originally as Mitch has it:

"Secondly, Hindraker seems to think that Bin Laden needed Moore to point out that Bush sat reading a children's book for seven minutes while the country was attacked. Just a gentle reminder - Bin Laden didn't need Moore to tell him he had extra time. Bin Laden enjoyed the favor real time. Remember?"

But about five minutes (Mitch you are fast!) after I published it, I revised it to read:

"Secondly, Hindraker seems to think that Bin Laden needed Moore to point out that Bush sat reading a children's book for seven minutes while the country was attacked. Just a gentle reminder - Bin Laden didn't need Moore to tell him Bush sat blinking. Bin Laden lived it real time. Remember?"

The reason I changed that part of the post is that while I think Bush could have and should have responded with much more awareness than he did, I do not think in anyway shape or form that Bin Laden got an operational advantage from it. My point was that Bin Laden was involved that day and learned of Bush reading the book long before Moore made a big deal of it. Incidentally, I think what I am saying here is more in line with a Dem. talking point.

4. Hannity may not have been on the GOP dais in person, but his virtual self was there. He narrated the RNC welcome video, then used his show to shill for the GOP from the convention floor.

5. The reason I say Bin Laden's comments are primiarily directed to Arabs is that I believe his message is an attempt to gain political clapital among his own people - his base and to divide the US against ourselves. I think he would like to claim he has influence over the US regardless of who wins, which is why he tweaks both Bush and Kerry. He's elevating himself to spokesman for the common Arab. He's dangerous as hell, deserves to die-- but he's also very shrewd. All of his tapes are about recruiting, propagandizing, riveting attention, promotion.

6. The idea that Bin Laden running around today is completely Clinton's fault is laughable. Please stop. It hurts.



Bullet points of the mess

In no particular order, here's a bunch of stuff that caught my eye today:

GOP Voter Suppression in Ohio - The details about "Caging" and what the Republicans have planned to do, and are doing, are coming into view.

Judge Rebuffs GOP Effort to Contest Voters in Ohio - The GOP loses it's sneak attack on 35,000 voters in Ohio.

Civil Rights Coalition Demands That Republican National Committee End Voter Suppression Efforts - Voter suppression battles heat up. The nation's oldest civil rights organization urges the GOP to stop the madness.

A gun smokes in Minnesota - the Rathergate guys seem to think that we are on our way to "massive premeditated vote fraud" in Minnesota because, heavens to murgatroid, ACT is sending volunteers to go to the polls to vouch for neighbors. Earth to Powerline: vouching for someone you know is legal.

Resident says confusion cost her tickets to Republican rally - A reader emailed me this gem. This highlights the difference between the two parties more than any thing else this election. If I knew nothing about the Republican Party but this: They require a signed pledge to go hear the President. I would never, ever vote them. It's offensive to everything America stands for. I can't believe good republicans put up with it instead of just walking the hell out. It's a disgrace.

F.B.I. Investigating Contracts With Halliburton - Halliburton tricks or treats with the government. Gets treats AND plays tricks.

E-MAIL FROM THE GEORGEWBUSH.ORG "CATCH-ALL" MAILBOX - This is a really fascinating tale of satire gone totally real. Remember when Cheney mistakenly referred debate watchers to the wrong factcheck website? Well, Republicans have been sending sensitive emails by accident to the wrong George Bush website. In the process, they reveal their plans to "cage."


Surprise! Republicans Suppressing Minority Votes

[ via Daily Kos ]

Meanwhile, Republicans are gearing up to challenge voter's eligibility in predominantly black communities.

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights: "In state after state Republican officials and operatives are working to deny American citizens the right to vote," said Wade Henderson, LCCR Executive Director. "We're here today to ask the RNC Chairman to put a stop to these activities."

City Pages Election Central

"On November 2 and 3, citypages.com will become Election Central. We'll be converting our home page into a live election blog where you can follow local and national election news and read exclusive updates from CP reporters who will be spending the day visiting metro-area polling places and talking with voters and election officials. Check out preliminary local and national election stories at City Pages Election Day 2004 right now:"


The history of a civil-liberty free zone

Guantanomo Bay will continue to be a tumor on the American conscience until it is either shut down or it's prisoners are granted due process.

Eventually, Americans will have to understand how we arrived at a point where it is possible to hold uncharged prisoners on the most fragile web of accusations.

In a lengthy article called, After Terror, a Secret Rewriting of Military Law, the New York Times begins this process.

This is a fascinating look at the sausage making that went into the creation of civil-liberty-free military tribunals.

The prospect of democracy through litigation

Shake that bag of bones out on the table. What does the future hold on Nov 2?

According to John Dean, former counsel to Richard Nixon, it's a river of post-election litigation.

There are variables that could alter Dean's outcome. For one, I don't trust the polls at all. Gallup consistently over samples republicans. Most of them show fluctuating numbers a point or two around the baseline for either candidate. None of them show a large young voter turnout, the diminishing ability of pollsters to contact voters, cell phone owners, or corrects for an engaged minority turnout. Any combination of these would result in a decisive Kerry victory. It's the most likely outcome, in my opinion.

There are also variables that could break for Bush. The Christian base could turn out in force; they could win the GOTV battle in rural red and purple states; security moms could turn out to be real. Statistically, it isn't as likely, but it could happen.

If it isn't decisive, then as Dean says, Rove will sue. That would surely be a miserable outcome for all of us.

PS It is interesting to note Dean's forthrightness surrounding the GOP's strategy of voter and vote supression.


Be careful with your funnies

Secret Service visits "Annie," a LiveJournal user who made satirically threatening remarks about President Bush after the debates.

The real absolute scum part of this - an LJ commenter reported the (now deleted) post to the FBI. Gee, what a terrific use of our intelligence agency. Maybe I should go back and review our snarky post-debate commentaries before some jerkoff (ahem) reports me to the FBI.

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. [Article]
Getting Through to the President trailer
• Stop procrastinating and watch Eminem's "Get Out the Vote" video.

Another endorsement

Christopher Hitchens has endorsed Kerry, as follows:

I am assuming for now that this is a single-issue election. There is one's subjective vote, one's objective vote, and one's ironic vote. Subjectively, Bush (and Blair) deserve to be re-elected because they called the enemy by its right name and were determined to confront it. Objectively, Bush deserves to be sacked for his flabbergasting failure to prepare for such an essential confrontation. Subjectively, Kerry should be put in the pillory for his inability to hold up on principle under any kind of pressure. Objectively, his election would compel mainstream and liberal Democrats to get real about Iraq.

The ironic votes are the endorsements for Kerry that appear in Buchanan's anti-war sheet The American Conservative, and the support for Kerry's pro-war candidacy manifested by those simple folks at MoveOn.org. I can't compete with this sort of thing, but I do think that Bush deserves praise for his implacability, and that Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty.

Right. A single-issue election. And I'm glad such a soused neo-flake is using this landscape of casualties and fictive WMD's as an occasion for irony. [via Low Culture]

In other pointless news: 24 new papers that endorsed Bush in 2000 are endorsing Kerry this year.


Case Closed

Mystery solved on Bush's bulge...

...turns out he's too stupid to figure out how to use a wireless radio.

``Please explain to me how it works so maybe if I were ever to debate again I could figure it out,'' Bush said today on ABC's ``Good Morning America.''

Go figure.


Memo to the undecided: Listen to your inner conservative

Whose going to give Kerry the Whitehouse? Republicans with the courage to admit that the GOP has floated free of its conservative moorings and into reactionary waters. There are a lot of them. As the prospect of 4 more years of Bush secrecy, cronyism, ham-handed terrorist-manufacturing foreign policy and government insolvency truly dawns on Republican leaders - the chads will fall for Kerry. Here's a partial list of Rebpublicans for Kerry, thanks to Republican Switchers. My prediction: common sense and common decency will rule the day on November 2.

John Eisenhower, lifelong Republican son of Republican President Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower --"Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance."

Marshall Wittmann,
former McCain aide, Bull Moose Republican wants Kerry for President."But the Bush administration has betrayed the effort to create a new politics of national greatness in the aftermath of 9/11."

Clyde Prestowitz, Reagan administration veteran , explains that four years of Republican rule have put the country on the wrong track."I think that we are less safe today than we were three or four years ago. And I’ll tell you something else: I have recently had discussions with several former national security advisors -- people who were national security officials in former Republican administrations -- who have told me they feel the same way. They fear that the administration’s policies are further endangering and undermining the security of the United States."

William Milliken, former Repub. Gov. of Michigan will vote for Kerry: "The truth is that ... Bush does not speak for me or for many other moderate Republicans on a very broad cross section of issues."

Ballard Morton 50 year straight-ticket republican voter and son of the former national GOP chair Thurston Morton.

Anne Morton Kimberly, Ballard's aunt and the widow of five term Republican Congressman Rogers C.B. Morton, concurs.

Brent Scowcroft top security advisor to first President Bush criticizes George W.; calls Iraq war a "failing venture"

Charley Reese,a staunch conservative columnist writes: "Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory."

Robert L. Black,retired Republican judge from Ohio says "The record of this incumbent president is a history not only of repeated violations of ... our democracy, but of the core values of the Christian faith."

Russel E. Train, Nixon EPA Chief will vote for Kerry: "It's almost as if the motto of the (Bush) administration...is...polluter protection."

Elmer L. Anderson, (of course)
Republican ex-gov of Minnesota: "Kerry has ... far superior intellect and character than Bush. He speaks honestly to the American people, his ethics are unimpeachable and, clearly...he has far better credentials..."

Pete McCloskey, former Republican congressman: "In truth, John Kerry and John Edwards come far closer to the Republicanism of Teddy Roosevelt, Earl Warren, Barry Goldwater, George Bush the elder and, yes, even Richard Nixon, than does the present incumbent."

Kevin Phillips, a longtime Republican, a former Nixon aide and Republican strategist: "(The Bushes) display no real empathy for anyone who is not of their class."


Minnesota Congressmen Spit On Wellstone Legacy

Something must be said about this:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two years after Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash, legislation to rename the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center for him has languished on Capitol Hill because of objections from some Minnesota Republicans.

Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Burnsville, has led the opposition, arguing that the hospital should be named instead for a "real war hero."


The bill also has the backing of Minnesota's two senators, Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Mark Dayton, as well as five of the state's eight House members, including Republican Jim Ramstad, who was a close friend of Wellstone.

But it's opposed by Kline and fellow Minnesota Republicans Mark Kennedy and Gil Gutknecht. That's enough to doom the bill this session.

Really an outrageous (but not at all surprising) insult to a man who cared deeply about veterans -- especially those disabled in combat -- and showed it through his actions in the Senate. Republicans love to talk tough about their love of troops -- how much they support them more than whiny liberals -- how much more they love this country than us freedom haters. But when it comes down to it, once they've been used up and thrown away, the GOP offers little help or support. They wave their flags and talk like tough guys... then slash veterans benefits. Or work to cut pay for reservists.

Paul never fought in battle; but the little guy did more for veterans than Kline or Kennedy ever have. Or ever will.

I'd urge you all to call or write them. But they've obviously no heart, so what would the point be, really?

McSweeney's Loves Swingers

Operation Ohio is a cool little get out the vote effort by some of the fine folks at McSweeney's. Registered voters under the age of 25 living in swing states are eligible to receive a call from McSweeney's authors on November 2nd reminding them to vote. More info here. Some of the authors involved include Stephen Elliot, Tobias Wolff, Michael Chabon, ZZ Packer, Dave Eggers, Ann Cummins, Glen David Gold, Gabe Hudson, Aimee Bender, Julie Orringer, Vendela Vida, Jim Shepard, Andrew Sean Greer, Anthony Swofford, Heidi Julavitz, Neal Pollack, Michael Cunningham, Jonathan Lethem, Ann Packer, Heidi Julavitz, Daniel Handler, Jennifer Egan, James Frey and others.

Since Minnesota is supposedly up for grabs, I think I'll write and see if Neal Pollack would be willing to call and embarrass my little sister on election day.


Bush Supporters Suffer From Cognitive Dissonance

Well, it's official, most Bush supporters are ill-informed. A new study done by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and Knowledge Networks, a California-based polling firm, shows that Bush and Kerry supporters have radically different views of reality. The survey says what you've probably been suspecting all along, Bush supporters are not in "the reality camp", and Kerry supporters overwhelmingly are.

"It is normal during elections for supporters of presidential candidates to have fundamental disagreements about values or strategies. The current election is unique in that Bush supporters and Kerry supporters have profoundly different perceptions of reality."

So if you've been pulling out your hair trying to figure out how in the hell people can watch the monkey dance on TV and still support him, it's called denial.

Some of the findings:

72% of Bush supporters believe either that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for producing them (25%).

57% think that the Duelfer Report itself concluded that Iraq either had WMD (19%) or a major WMD program (38%).

75% of Bush supporters said they believed that Iraq was providing "substantial" support to al Qaeda, with 20% asserting that Iraq was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. 63% of Bush supporters even believe that clear evidence of such support has actually been found, and 60% believe that "most experts" have reached the same conclusion.

*A strong majority of Bush supporters believe, for example that the president supports a range of international treaties and institutions that the White House has vocally and publicly opposed.

*In particular, majorities of Bush supporters incorrectly assume that he supports multilateral approaches to various international issues, including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (69%), the land mine treaty (72%), and the Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming (51%).

*Remarkably, when asked whether the U.S. should have gone to war without evidence of a WMD program or support to al Qaeda, 58% of Bush supporters said no. Moreover, 61% said they assumed that Bush would also not have gone to war under those circumstances.

All of this to me proves that big media is not doing it's job. If the nation is divided not only on who to vote for, but what reality we live in, there is too much propaganda out there.

Lucky for the Bush admin. Big media is working for them, and helping to keep people hyped up and sensationalized instead of informed. Lucky for us we have the internet and know how to use it.

Call me naive, but I believe that most of America is not that dumb, and is searching for the truth on their own, and once they know the truth, they'll vote for Kerry.

Read the full survey results here.

Norwegianity watches Sinclair so we don't have to

Norwegianity has a synopsis of Stolen Honor A POW Story which aired on the Twin Cities Sinclair affiliate tonight. The show sounds lame, but the good news is that he didn't catch a single advertisement that wasn't a promo for the station. That means, locally at least, they just ate an hours worth of ad revenue.

A Minnesota connection for Sproul & Associates

Blogger Marc Valles uncovered a Minnesota connection for Democrat-disenfranchising voter registration firm Sproul & Associates. His friend Adam Banse took a temp job with the company in Minnesota and details their standard operating procedure.

Was the registration shredding that occurred in Nevada an isolated incident? Sproul & Associates misrepresented themselves as "America Votes" in several states, but Banse doesn't uncover any real wrong-doing in their Minnesota operation (he also worked with the Minnesota Kerry campaign to salvage any Democratic-leaning voter registrations he collected).

However, from Banse's description, Sproul & Associates does sound really creepy.

Jesse endorses Kerry. Sort of.

After hearing of Jesse Ventura's bizarre endorsement of John Kerry at an event at the State Capitol today, I must say this: The Body is a genius at manipulating the media.

Nothing like standing silently in front of the press to get everyone talking...

No Loyalty Oath Required!

I was at the Kerry rally here in Minneapolis yesterday and I snapped this photo of two Bush-Cheney supporters who attended.
No loyalty oath required!
These women were admitted to the rally and not harassed by Kerry supporters, though an ABC News reporter was asking people how they felt about the Bush supporters being there. If you tried to do this at a Bush event, you would not even be admitted.

Then again, after Kerry's awesome performance, maybe they're former Bush supporters now.

What a crowd

I couldn't make it, but Lori and Crystal did and I was inspired just hearing about it.

Here's a much less inspiring photo.
And this is just... brilliantly sick.


Our Grease is Non-Partisan

"Burger King has announced that it will not run its commercials Sinclair Broadcasting's "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media," pulling ads from nine local markets. Burger King says that "does not endorse any candidate or political party." (Rumor has it that the King supports a monarchy.)

Meanwhile, StopSinclair.org has gathered some money and is placing Meanwhile, newspaper and television ads in selected markets. StopSinclair.org contends that Sinclair's announcement that they will not be airing the original documentary is essentially all spin:

All indications are that a large portion of the film will be shown and compounded by commentary attacking John Kerry. This action by Sinclair is NOT a capitulation.  We must not allow Sinclair to get away with airing a fake news show as an attempt to throw the election to George W. Bush.

Somehow I have a feeling that their "news piece" is going to be "kinda pregnant."

Why conservatives must not vote for Bush

I have been arguing for the last couple of years that Bush is no conservative. He simply doesn't represent the conservative values in which I believe. Anybody that takes off the partisan blinders for two seconds can see it. Please note: I do not conflate conservative American political values with religious values. That is another story altogether. Please also note, believing in some conservative values does not neccessarily mean one cannot also believe in progressive values. They are not mutually exclusive at all.

But the basic values of conservatism - a commitment to individual liberty, limited government, constitutional restraint and fiscal responsibility - in no way represent Bush. How can anyone argue that they do? It's impossible.

That's why Dough Bandow, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute Special Advisor to Ronald Reagan, has written an important article for Salon:Why conservatives must not vote for Bush:

A Reaganite argues that Bush is a dangerous, profligate, moralizing radical -- and that his reelection would be catastrophic both for the right and for America.

I predict there are enough conservatives who will reject the boy-president. If they can't directly vote for Kerry, they will deny Bush their vote on principle by voting for one of the least objectionable third-party candidates.


Sinclair Retreats on Kerry Film

Sounds to me like a partial retreat (not unlike being "kinda pregnant"):

"Facing advertiser defections, a viewer boycott and a plummeting stock price, as well as strong opposition from Democrats, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. scrapped its plan to air a film that attacks the 1970s-era antiwar activities of Sen. John F. Kerry (news, bio, voting record), and will instead run a special produced by its news division incorporating parts of the movie."

Visualize Winning

This is so awesome and inspiring.

Visualize Winning

Yes Bush Can!

To my Republican brothers and sisters. There is not rest for the weary! Whew!

We all did such a great job exposing Rathergate that we need to set in motion the tornadoes of justice again.

Here are a whole bunch of documents that we absolutely have to debunk. Let's get cracking!

Also-- There is a beautiful pledge that we should all sign. If you support the GOP policies of President Bush, this will be a snap. The more support we get, the more power we get! Pass it on!

Just remember...Yes Bush Can!


Iran endorses Bush

Nice. Charter member of the Axis of Evil Iran endorses Bush for President, because things are historically worse for Iran under Democrats.

The head of Iran's security council said on Tuesday the re-election of President Bush was in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's axis of evil label, accusations that Iran harbors al-Qaida terrorists and threats of sanctions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

Historically, Democrats have harmed Iran more than Republicans, said Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security decision-making body.

"We haven't seen anything good from Democrats," Rowhani told state-run television in remarks that, for the first time in recent decades, saw Iran openly supporting one U.S. presidential candidate over another.

"We should not forget that most sanctions and economic pressures were imposed on Iran during the time of Clinton," Rowhani said of the former Democratic president. "And we should not forget that during Bush's era — despite his hard-line and baseless rhetoric against Iran — he didn't take, in practical terms, any dangerous action against Iran."

The top 15 endorsements

I agree with Mitch about one thing: newspaper endorsements don't really matter in the race for President.

But after I called him out on his post about the endorsement race, he moved the goal posts and decided he was really talking about the "top 15" newspaper endorsements. That got me curious. And if there's ever a chance I can prove a right winger didn't do his homework, I'll take it.

So I whipped up this little spreadsheet of newspaper endorsements in 2000 and 2004 by circulation (I used the figures from this page and GWU's endorsement list). There have been some changes in this list over the last four years, but I used the 2000 figures because not all the endorsements are in yet this year.

Mitch certainly has a point that the 15 biggest newspapers skew towards Gore. But it's by no means true that none of the papers in the top 15 endorsed Bush. The Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, Arizona Republic, and New York Post endorsed Bush for a total circulation of 3,074,399. Top 15 papers endorsing Gore were the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, Boston Globe, and San Francisco Chronicle for a total circulation of 4,061,497.

Humorously, the paper Mitch says would endorse Kerry over Bush even if "he'd been caught diddling Girl Scouts", the Los Angeles Times, does not endorse candidates for President. Also not endorsing are the two biggest papers, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, for a total circulation of 2,796,150.

There you have it. Six of the top 15 papers endorsed Bush and six endorsed Gore. The Bush-endorsing papers had over 75% of the circulation of the Gore-endorsing papers. It would be interesting to perform this calculation with all of the 2000 and 2004 papers but that would be a pretty large undertaking (perhaps someone has a link...?)

Now, as we're all agreed, newspaper endorsements don't make much of a difference. And in the case of the top markets, it's even more irrelevant, because most of these papers are in solid Red or Blue states (five papers in New York City alone!). The only top 15 paper that's in a swing state is the Arizona Republic, a Bush endorsing paper in 2000 and 2004.


More on newspaper endorsements: the switchers

Mark notes Kerry's lead in newspaper endorsements, prompting a poorly-argued rebuttal from our bête noire.

But quantity of endorsements doesn't really interest me. If only 3/4ths of the newspapers who endorsed Bush in 2000 endorse him again in 2004, Bush will win on shear numbers. Circulation figures might show a different story, but since most large newspapers are in blue states, that doesn't matter either. (For more on the 2000 endorsements see GWU's list or the dKosopedia list with excerpts.)

What I'm interested in is the switchers: newspapers that endorsed Bush in 2000 and go for Kerry in 2004, or vice versa.

So far, no newspapers that endorsed Gore have gone over to Bush. But 10 newspapers than endorsed Bush in 2000 have gone over to Kerry this time. Futhermore, three Bush 2000 endorsers have declined to endorse a candidate this year. One paper, the Arizona Republic, did not endorse in 2000 and endorsed Bush this year. (Source: dKosopedia 2004 endorsements page.)

This bodes well for Kerry, but the endorsement race probably matters more for its propaganda value than for the endorsements' ability to change voters' minds.

Jebby Jabber

Still think Florida wasn't fixed?

Report: Jeb Bush Ignored Felon List Advice

What was achingly obvious in 2000 - that Jeb, Katherine, George, et al, did everything they could to rig the election - is just as obvious this time around. Jeb and George will do what they can to tilt it in their favor again.

Given this recent revelation, isn't it ridiculous that so many in the GOP are running around screaming about voter fraud? The idea that the Democrats will somehow enlist enough illegal voters to cheat their way to victory is an absurd notion given the fact that the dems would have to organize thousands of people. Of course Republican leadership knows this. They aren't really worried about voter fraud. They just advance the issue to whip up the base to go out to the polls and challenge supicious looking voters in order to create long lines, slow down the polling process and basically supress the vote. I mean, cmon, registering illegal voters and getting them to show up in force is a really, really inefficient way to cheat.

The Republicans are much more efficient. All they need is one or two people per state. A Governor here, a Secretary of State there and presto - Instant president.


Kerry's endorsement landslide

John Kerry's newspaper endorsement lead widens: 45-30. This probably says more about Bush's singularly awful performance as President than it does about Kerry's greatness. In fact, most of the endorsments I read today seem to do more kicking around of Bush than praising of Kerry (the Bush-endorsing minority even grumbles about Bush's mistakes in their curiously guardededitorials, with the notoriously conservative Tampa Tribune refusing to endorse either candidate). Here's some excerpts.

Star Tribune: John Kerry, the Right Choice for President:

As recently as last week, Bush claimed that middle-class families are receiving the bulk of tax relief under his fiscal policies, even though a widely published nonpartisan analysis shows that two-thirds of the tax relief this year went to the top 20 percent of households.

Last year, as his landmark Medicare bill awaited a crucial vote in Congress, Bush said it would cost just $400 billion; lawmakers later learned that internal White House estimates had climbed to $534 billion and that the administration had threatened to fire a career government actuary if he disclosed the higher number.

And instead of waging an open assault on environmental protections, Bush hid plans to weaken air pollution laws and open more public lands to logging behind Orwellian names like "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests."

The United States is paying for all this -- with a declining standard of living for the middle class, a massive debt left to future generations, and a weakened position abroad. A turnaround is essential.

New York Times: John Kerry for President:

We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.

San Francisco Chronicle: Why Kerry is the Choice:

This nation is not only polarized, it is caught in a disturbing cycle of political assault and payback. We need a leader who can reach across that divide to form common alliances on difficult issues that matter, such as addressing the health-care crisis or reforming Social Security and Medicare entitlements to avoid the coming collision when Baby Boomers retire -- an issue that has received scant attention in this campaign. Bush, with his good-versus-evil certitude on everything from foreign policy to same-sex marriage, has failed that test of leadership for these troubled times.

Akron Beacon Journal (apparently a conservative paper):

The centerpiece of the Bush term has been the war in Iraq, and in this instance, too, the president has grievously erred, casting aside the advice of generals (not to mention prescient experts in the State Department), hyping incomplete intelligence, planning miserably for the postwar occupation and the rebuilding of the country. The White House could hardly have been more out of touch, believing that a coterie of Iraqi exiles would be cheered as leaders of a fractured land. The troubles point to a pattern of disdain for the value of information, scientific or otherwise, whether the subject is global warming or the global war against terrorism.

The president talks about ``hard work.'' He has made the task immensely more difficult (in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere) with his long string of blunders. If George W. Bush has been resolute, that alone isn't the test for assessing his re-election. He must be held accountable for the consequences of his decisions. By that measure, he lacks a record worthy of a second term.



Winona LaDuke, Ralph Nader's running mate in 1996 and 2000, has endorsed John Kerry:

“I am voting for John Kerry this November. I love this land, and I know that we need to make drastic changes in Washington if we are going to protect our land and our communities,” La Duke said in a statement. “I'm voting my conscience on Nov. 2; I'm voting for John Kerry. He wants to move federal policies to support Native communities, whether Native farmers, businesspeople or tribal governments. We are on his radar; this is a beginning. Kerry offers other reasons for hope. He opposes converting Yucca Mountain into a nuclear waste dump. By Nov. 2, 2004, John Kerry will have earned my vote."

Ms. LaDuke, my hat is off to you. I do not grudge Nader his right to run. I also recognize the sound strategy of throwing big money behind a weak candidate likely to split your true opponent's vote. Given the opportunity to support a viable third-party candidate from the right, Democrats would break their arms writing checks and licking envelopes.

Of course there is a huge problem for candidates that accept money from ideological opposites. The problem is this: Credibility.

Just like Judas' love for silver surpassed his love for Jesus, Nader's love of his own voice on the campaign trail surpasses his love of his cause. Republican contributors, Nader's ideological opposites, account for at least 10% of Nader's campaign war chest. In traditionally liberal swing states, Oregon for instance, the percentage could be much higher.

Nader is a retarded Don Quixote, wandering the plains of the American political landscape tilting at corporate windmills with the logos of the corporations he rails against plastered all over his back. He is ridiculous. He thinks he serves his cause. But Republicans aren't that stupid. Thankfully, neither is Ms. LaDuke.



There's plenty of fine documentary action to behold at this year's Central Standard Film Festival. I'm tearing myself away from editing my own to see this long-awaited double-header:

Saturday, 12 noon @ Heights Theater

When he's not teaching classes on the Patriot Act or working on other people's films, Matt Ehling makes hard-hitting and extremely informative documentaries like Urban Warrior, which was critical of the increasing militarization of the police in this country. In Security and the Constitution, Ehling examines the erosion of civil liberties in the United States throughout history, from WW II internments through Cold War McCarthyism and finally Bush's post-9/11 "permanent war" America.

The real treat may be after the film - a panel discussion including FBI Agent Coleen Rowely. Not to be missed.

Security and the Constitution also airs on TPT-2 on October 28, 2004, at 9:00 PM

Saturday, 2 PM @ Heights Theater

Whenever I see Paul Wellstone speak - if you can call that fire in his belly mere "speaking" - I get chills down my spine. I remember seeing him speak at the U of M in 1990. I arrived apolitical, but left with a green Wellstone bus button – and just maybe, the burgeoning heart of a liberal. I, like many Minnesotans, was devastated by his and Sheila's untimely death in 2002. Lori and I went to an anti-war protest on the capitol grounds days after his death. In the midst of the great energy lingering after the protest was a quiet impromptu Wellstone memorial. I made this short Wellstone tribute video to capture my feelings that day.

Down the hall from Matt Ehling, the talented and dedicated filmmakers at Hard Working Pictures have been working hard, for a long time, to pay tribute to Wellstone's spirit and populist politics. This is probably the most anticipated documentary to ever emerge from Minnesota. Those of us who couldn't make Thursday's big premiere are sure hoping to get into this screening. Don't worry – it's also screening later this month at U Film Society.

Meanwhile, whet your thirst with this terrific Get Out the Vote! short film featuring plenty of great Wellstone clips and Al Franken.

The world says prune Bush

Doubtless the GOP will scoff at the world's attititude towards the US of A. I would feel more comfortable and safer if we had more friends:

Poll reveals world anger at Bush


Do something

Polls are still showing this election as too close to call, and the race will be won or lost on turnout.

Moveon.org is coordinating a huge GOTV effort dubbed "Leave No Voter Behind." They've dispatched paid organizers to all the swing states (including Minnesota) to ensure a large turnout for Kerry. Their strategy is to recruit volunteers to knock on neighbors' doors within their precinct; face-to-face contact is many times more effective than phone calling alone.

Move On is running an impressively well-organized GOTV drive. How do I know? Because I'm now a volunteer in my precinct. I'm even taking Election Day off work to help get people to the polls.

If you want to be part of this, call Move On.

Minneapolis: 612-824-3521
St Paul: 651-646-8930

Elmer Anderson Endorses Kerry for President

Just in case you didn't catch it, there was an editorial in yesterday's Star Tribune by former Republican governor Elmer Anderson, endorsing Kerry for President.

In both presidential debates, Kerry has shown himself to be of far superior intellect and character than Bush. He speaks honestly to the American people, his ethics are unimpeachable and, clearly, with 20 respected years in the Senate, he has far better credentials to lead the country than did Bush when he was elected four years ago. And a far greater depth of understanding of domestic and foreign affairs to do it now.

Not that the sitting president has ever really been at the helm.

I am more fearful for the state of this nation than I have ever been -- because this country is in the hands of an evil man: Dick Cheney. It is eminently clear that it is he who is running the country, not George W. Bush.


"We've Unleashed The Armies Of Compassion" (not an oxymoron)

I'm not one to focus on surface details, and honestly Kerry isn't as confident and dominating as he's been so far, but that gob of spittle on the corner of Bush's mouth is so distracting and disconcerting that I don't even know how people could agree with him at this point.

Famous quotes in American History...President George W. Bush, Oct. 13, 2004: "Whew!"

(P.S. The 'Death Tax' didn't prevent me from collecting many $$$s my farmer grandparents left to me, that I sure didn't earn on my own labor. So who the heck is benefitting from this? The evil, socialist Democrats? Or the obscenely rich constituents of the Republican party? I wonder how much is too much...).

(P.P.S. Ted Kennedy, conservative? Sweet, me too!)

(P.P.P.S. Why do we need to know what the President thinks about the nature of homosexuality? Is it a choice? Why is it his opinion? "Mr. President, can you tell me why the sky is blue? How does a combustible engine work? We need to know!")

(P.P.P.P.S. Kerry Re: religion and abortion. As a Catholic, and a Democrat, and the son of a hardcore pro-lifer/lifelong DFL'er, I deeply respect Kerry's consideration of the values of American culture, which are not determined entirely by the faith of fundamentalist, extremist "Christians" who are openly influenced by novels [e.g. Tim LaHaye) as opposed to the Christian Bible or the U.S. Constitution. Talk about following the scent of political popularity vs. your so-called 'convictions.')

(P.P.P.P.P.S. Why is the president so concerned about medical malpractice suits? Talk about whitewash...).

(P.P.P.P.P.P.S. It's not credible to quote *leading* news sources? Way to ignore the majority, Mr. Democracy & Freedom).

I'm sorry, I seem to have run out of postscripts. At this point, one is either incredibly partisan or incredibly confused, and I'm sorry that many of you are unable to see through this political fog. My message to you: don't give up hope. Voting for President can't change your life. It won't reunite you with your wife or husband that you're divorced from. It won't help you make up your mind over a controversial issue. It might not even help you make more money. But the man running as a "conservative" Republican party member is spending ill-considered billions on a world-war that his unelected cronies were begging for, for years, and only managed to pull off after a dedicated campaign of misinformation following a catostrophic tragedy (a la Pearl Harbor) that they specifically were wishing for. Kerry can't possibly live up to all his promises, just as Clinton wasn't able to establish universal health care, but we can be sure that he won't squander our universal good will, and our American values.

Do you want to encourage partisan division between your neighbors? Peace or war? Safety or paranoia? It's your choice. The right-wingers -- the Republicans -- want you to believe that the "naysayers" are anti-American, are lazy, are negative. They're wrong. You might agee with them, but do you want to follow people that work tirelessly to discount their opponents based only on opposition, rather than facts or experience? Are you better off than you were four years ago? The people I see everyday are not, fear of terrorism or not. Don't vote on fear, vote on truth. Vote on experience, and the belief in your community. We don't always agree, but do those things we disagree on make us poorer, or in any way unsafe? The fact is that since George W. Bush took office: jobs have been lost, the feeling of safety has gone down, and serious decisions have been made on questionable judgments. To invade another country without provocation? Saddam Hussein was clearly unconnected to 9/11/01. Was he a Democratic leader? No. Does America have the power, the responsibility, to establish the type of government in every nation on Earth? No! Not even George Bush Sr. would agree with that. We cannot make everything right. We can show the way, we can use our power and values for influence, but we must not become an Empire. Democracy is not about dismantling government or launching assaults on other nations.

George W. Bush is an extremist. No litmus test for Supreme Court nominations? How many lies can you feed us before we fire you? I would like to believe that any candidate for President of the United States of America would have nothing but the best interests of Americans in mind, but that is clearly not the case.

George Bush thinks that public schools will be improved by decreasing funding and establishing arbitrary rules of "accountability" that in no way engage with the realities of different geography and economy. How is that going to help our children learn? When does taking away resources ever benefit a group?

Bush thinks that there are only two options foreign policy: to assault another nation that does not meet our stringent requirements for perfection, or to demand total compliance. Some might see that as a strong, decisive policy. Many of us see it as frivolous, dangerous, and opportunistic.

Near the end of the debate, it comes down to political opinion based on religious belief. That is unfortunate. While the two (religion and politics, the personal and the political) may be intertwined in a complicated fashion, the explicit way in which President Bush brandishes the very partisan politics he claims to despise are clearly the basis of many decisions he makes, the same way Nixon tried to subtly appeal to racist Southerners, Bush tries to appeal to born-again Christians who are newly fervent but not based in a tradition of conservatism, compassion, or reasoned consideration for opposing viewpoints. Kerry...well, he's untested. But he's making an effort, as a good democratic leader should, to be all-inclusive. I respect that.

It's up to you on November 2nd. It's too late to pre-register to vote, but keep in mind that Minnesotans can register to vote ON ELECTION DAY with a photo ID and proof of address. Don't miss your chance. Have your say. Keep the peace. Make the future safe for you and your family. Vote for John Kerry on November 2, 2004, or watch the world decline into World War IV.

Israeli think tank: Al Qaeda is stronger

Here is another piece of evidence that there is no justification left for the invasion of Iraq:

War aiding terrorists, says Israeli think tank

Least credible of all is the idea that we are safer as a result of the war. Republicans seem to cling to the romantic idea that the world is better off because Saddam is deposed. Bush regularly taunts Kerry by saying something like, "If he had his way, Saddam Husein would still be in power!" My answer to that is, "So what?"

If we let the inspectors finish their work we would not have invaded. Yes, Saddam would be in power but he would still not be a threat. 1,000+ of our soldiers would be alive. 15,000 Iraqis would still be alive. 7,500 Americans would not be wounded. The US would be $200 billion richer. US international relations would not be in tatters. Al Qaeda would be smaller, not larger. It is possible, if the US kept its priorities straight, that we would have secured our ports and borders, nuclear facilities and added policeman and fireman to help secure our nation's cities and towns.

But the President chose a different course. It was a bad decision. It's a choice the US and the world is stuck with.

When Kerry gains the presidency, he won't be making the rounds asking our allies to join a grand diversion. Bush already tried that and it didn't wash. Kerry will be asking them to help reverse the destructive course Bush charted for the world.

Senator Dayton, Don't Leave Us Hanging...

Based on a top-secret intelligence report, Senator Mark Dayton, is closing his office in DC until after the election. The information comes from Majority Leader Bill Frist. Dayton says that he has asked Frisk to assemble senators for a meeting on this warning three times but Frist has not agreed to do so. Hence, Dayton is closing his office.

"I do so out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, who might otherwise visit my office in the next few weeks. I feel compelled to do so, because I will not be here in Washington to share in what I consider to be an unacceptably greater risk to their safety."

So what is going on? Could this be related?


FCC Commissioner Copps: "This is an abuse of the public trust."


CONTACT: Jordan Goldstein: (202) 418-2000

Commissioner Michael J. Copps reacted to reports that Sinclair Broadcast Group will preempt more than 60 local stations across the country to air an overtly political program in the days prior to the Presidential election.

Copps stated: “This is an abuse of the public trust. And it is proof positive of media consolidation run amok when one owner can use the public airwaves to blanket the country with its political ideology -- whether liberal or conservative. Some will undoubtedly question if this is appropriate stewardship of the public airwaves. This is the same corporation that refused to air Nightline’s reading of our war dead in Iraq. It is the same corporation that short-shrifts local communities and local jobs by distance-casting news and weather from hundreds of miles away. It is a sad fact that the explicit public interest protections we once had to ensure balance continue to be weakened by the Federal Communications Commission while it allows media conglomerates to get even bigger. Sinclair, and the FCC, are taking us down a dangerous road.”


And Now the News from Crawford, Texas

Last week, Crawford, Texas' Lonestar Iconoclast endorsed John Kerry for president despite the fact that they endorsed George W. Bush four years ago. Apparently some people were more than a little pissed off about the decision, some even to the point of threatening bodily harm.

An excerpt:

We have been told by several avid Bush supporters that the days when newspapers publish editorials without personal repercussions are over. As publishers, we have printed editorials for decades, and have endorsed candidates, both Republican and Democrat. When Bush was endorsed four years ago, the Gore supporters did not respond with threats, nor did Democrats when we endorsed Reagan twice. Republicans did not threaten us personally or our business when we endorsed Carter and Clinton for their first terms.

In the past, when individuals disagreed with an editorial, they would write a letter to the editor politely expressing a different point of view in contrast to the views of the publishers, which we have usually published. Occasionally someone would cancel a subscription or an ad, but this was rare.

The goal of the editorial page has been to provide an arena for the expression of a variety of thoughtful opinions, some by the publishers, some by columnists, and some by our readers.

The new mode of operation, I am told, is that when a newspaper prints an editorial of which some sectors might disagree, the focus is now upon how to run the newspaper out of business. Out the window are the contributions the newspaper has made to the community in the past and the newspaper’s extensive investment in the community.

We do understand peoples’ rights to pull subscriptions and ads, and to express a differing opinion, but we have some trouble understanding threats and payback since in politics there are often a variety of options. For the publishers to herald one of the options should be no cause for persecution.

You can read the rest here.

Sinclair Broadcasting: Fairer And Balanceder

By now most of you very smart people have already heard--and have been rightly outraged--by Sinclair Broadcasting's decision to preempt primetime programming with a disgusting anti-Kerry smear "documentary" on the eve of election night. This, remember, is the same company who refused to run Nightline's tribute to American soldiers killed in Iraq... on grounds that is was "too political".

You would think that it would be hard for even the most Rovian of Republican political strategists to be able to spin this any other way but what it is: a partisan hatchet-job; and possible violation of FEC law. But they're trying. Their logic goes like this (really, I'm not making this part up): news stories about car bombs and dead soldiers and job losses help John Kerry, so it's only fair to balance things out with "stories" like this (credit to Hyman for also comparing critics to Holocaust deniers--that took real courage). It's the same mentality that keeps Foxnews around.

One could only imagine the outrage if, on Nov. 1st, CBS decided to preempt all its regular programming to air 'Farenheit 9/11'. One could only imagine a lot of things, though; and most of us know that Republican irony and piercing hypocrisy always seem to fall on deaf ears.

Anyway, Minnesota's local Sinclair affliate wants to know what you think.

Freeway Free Speech Day

Tomorrow is Freeway Free Speech Day: Driving America to Think. Decreed by Freeway blogger and friends.

So let's get those banners ready new patriots. Hoist 'em up!


Caption this, please

Free link:Where did the middle go? How polarized politics and a radical GOP have put a chill on measured debate

Tools of Persuasion

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is having a great ground-breaking show right now, and I urge all of you in the area to head on down to see it, no matter what your political persuasion is. It's called The Art of Democracy: Tools of Persuasion. It's an ever changing kaleidoscope of politcal rants and imagery. New entries come in and are hung weekly so repeat visits are rewarded by more discourse.

They also have a blog called Triablog. Not much on the blog so far, but perhaps you can change that.

The show runs now through November 20th (yes, politics don't stop after the election).

The Insider's War

Perhaps when the Iraq war is dissected by historians, it will come to be known as the Insider's War. It was instigated by a small group of people breathing the rarified air of pure power, feeding themselves a diet of refined information pre-designed to support ideas and theories developed in isolation in the hot house of utopian thought.

The war was waged by true-believers in the transformative power of profit. It was staffed with disciples of the creed, young, inexperienced political apointees. Selected corporations, the bearers of the American Dream under this administration, would do the work and reap the profits.

The problem to American taxpayers and the threat to the future of Iraq, is that corporations do not really share common goals with individuals, families, churches or governments. The goal of a corporation is profit. They will pursue profit to the limit of the law and sometimes beyond it. If their are no limits, then corporations make profitable decisions accordingly.

When handpicked corporations are given the power to plunder without limit in a failed or failing state, there is little hope of true economic recovery. There is only subsidized thievery. The thieves rob twice. First if given the opportuity, they take your tax dollar for themselves. Next they take the economic opportunity Iraqis need to create sustaining businesses.

Circumstances like these do not foster recovery. They lead to further conflict, which we see in Iraq.

When the origami of the Iraq war and it's aftermath is unfolded, the corporations will have to answer to the law if their appetite for profit led them out of its bounds. Their numbers will be legion. We all know Halliburton overcharged for gas. On Friday Custer Battles LLC was named in a suit alledging it had defrauded US Taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars in a scam to provide security for the Baghdad airport.


The Bush administration decided not to join the whistleblowers' civil suit alleging fraud against the company, run by a former Republican congressional candidate. The whistleblowers' attorney said a Justice Department lawyer told him the reason was that the alleged victim was the U.S.-financed and led Coalition Provisional Authority, not the U.S. government.

The Bush administration's grand economic experiment is failing in Iraq. Be very aware, the President and Co. are running the same one here. During the last three years, there has been unprecidented corporate access to the whitehouse combined with a torrent of legislation designed to optimize profit at the expense of the environment, worker saftey, jobs, accountability, the financial well-being of the government and the integrity of Social Security. If George Bush wins the election this November 2, it will take longer to rearrange America in Iraq's economic image. But it will be done with the same disaterous results.


From the Freedom of Information Action Faction

Guess I'm documentary girl today (hmmm, maybe I could transition that into a sweetly nerdy Halloween costume). Anyhow, the makers of the Kerry biography "Going Upriver" have released their movie for free distribution via BitTorrent, eDonkey, etc.

Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry

What America Needs

"Will hold you in a state of appalled enthrallment" -New Yorker Magazine

I'm a little slow on the draw, but thought this was still worth posting. Friday, October 1st, marked the official transition of the University Film Society to The Bell, named for the museum that houses it at 17th and University avenues SE in Minneapolis. The Bell has inaugurated its new, all-documentary format with Cinemactive, a series of eight political films showing throughout this month. The full schedule is available here, with a write-up from the Strib available here.


"Politics is what we create by what we do, what we hope for, and what we dare to imagine." - Paul Wellstone

Yup: More Snarky Debate Commentary


Read the whole damn thing

Bush did better, but still let his anger get the better of him. Kerry was in command of himself and the facts, and I'd give him a slight edge.

New York Times: Fact Check | TV Watch


No more soft pitches, part 2

The New York Times solicited suggestions for questions for both candidates for tonight's debate. The quality of questions is impressive. Here's a sample.

For Bush:

JACK MILES, author of "God: A Biography":

The United States cannot defend itself against Islamist terrorism without the help of the world's Muslims. Yet according to the 9/11 commission report, two-thirds of the world's Muslims fear that the United States may attack them. Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, your deputy undersecretary for defense intelligence, caused a scandal among the world's Muslims by repeatedly saying that Muslims hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation." Are you prepared to say to the world's Muslims that the United States is not a Christian nation but a religiously neutral nation whose Constitution prohibits the establishment of any religion?

For Kerry:

JAMES Q. WILSON, author of “The Moral Sense”:

Why should we make you commander in chief of the United States armed forces after you have said that those forces regularly committed war crimes in Vietnam, and after you voted against new missile systems, the B-2 bomber and the American-led effort to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991?

The question for Kerry is a hatchet job, but it's something America should see him answer. Bush's question is just plain hard for him to answer without alienating someone.

I'm hopeful that there will be some really tough questions in the debate tonight. I've read that citizens in town hall forums ask harder questions than journalists, who are just part of the club.

P.S.: Bonus Bush question:

ANA MARIE COX, editor of Wonkette.com:

Personal experience can often change political opinions. So, just hypothetically: Let's say your vice president's daughter was gay ... Oh, wait. Umm ... What if you were responsible for the biggest deficit in American history - oh, ha. O.K.: Let's say you invaded a country based on faulty intelligence ... Er, oops ... No, we got it: How did "The Pet Goat" end, anyway?

Do As They Say, Not As They Do

I'm often confounded by the gulf separating the shiny, happy rhetoric of the Republican party ("the Party of fresh ideas and new thinking") and the behavior of most of its constituents. Submitted for your consideration is a survey contrasting the two, excerpting the official 2004 Republican Party Platform (RPP), descriptions of the 2003 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at which Vice President Dick Cheney was the keynote speaker, and various right-wing artifacts.

Our plans focus on ensuring that America remains safe, terrorists are defeated, and democracy flourishes in the world.

The Bush administration has told us over and over again that we are fighting for freedom in Iraq, not oil, and not revenge. "Liberate Iraq" signs all over town show popular support for this idea, yet Ann Coulter "jokes" at CPAC, "why not go to war just for oil? We need oil." Freedom-loving Republicans apparently buy I *heart* Halliburton swag (without consideration for the American soldiers being exploited by said company) and flaunt their hypocrisy thusly: Why's our oil under their soil?

When America was struck by terrorists on September 11, 2001, President Bush immediately realized that it was an act of war, not just a crime. Working with Congress, the President drew up plans to take the fight to the enemy, vowing to bring the terrorists to justice, or bring justice to the terrorists.

But who (or what) are these terrorists the Republican party is out to battle? Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a terrorist organization in February of this year. Just last month Cheney warned that a vote for Kerry might mean a victory for terrorists. The president of Fridley Theatres in Iowa and Nebraska refused to show Fahrenheit 9/11 because he believed the film would "incite terrorism." Cat Stevens? A clear and present danger. And what is the man (or woman) on the street encouraged to think about terrorists?

Bush kills terrorists dead. Terrorists, of course, are cartoonish A-rabs, struck down by Bush's holy lightning bolts (effectively disregarding the efforts of U.S. troops currently in mortal danger).

Terrorists love liberals...would seem to contradict the RPP claim that "we encourage debate on the major issues of our day."

Osama agrees: anyone but Bush. That's right folks, if your neighbor votes Democrat, they probably cheered on September 11. How much more divisive can you get? Amazingly, these right-wing folks like to equate liberals and Democrats with Communists, Nazis and terrorists, while bashing their opponents for demonstrating something they like to call "partisan politics." Something they are clearly guilty of themselves.

We support the President's expansion of America's public diplomacy efforts, including the use of radio and television to broadcast uncensored information and a message of tolerance in Arabic and Persian to tens of millions of people.

Tolerance? At Ronald Reagan's funeral, George W. Bush said Reagan "believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of." These two men are highly revered in the right-wing community, which is sadly rife with the very traits Regan found repugnant. For example:

Islam is a blast. Speaks for itself.

Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions. I'm not sure why this quote has taken off with such popularity, when it goes against everything this nation -- and the Republican party -- supposedly stands for.

Hate is easy. Sure, it's fun for right-wingers to spew vitriol at the French, at the big fat white man Michael Moore, at the "crybaby" John Kerry, at gays, at feminists. It's a lot harder to try and accept them, or get along with them. Noble, even, to do so. Instead, these people are said to "hate America." They're compared to Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and al-Zarqawi. They're branded traitors and terrorists by people who claim to stand for unity and freedom.

Every day, we strive to fulfill Lincoln's vision: a country united and free, in which all people are guaranteed equal rights and the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Except feminists:

Ithaca College's Young America's Foundation...advertised a speech by Pat Buchanan's sister Bay with signs saying, "Feminazis beware: Your Nuremberg has come."

Environmentalists (or "eco-terrorists"; a panel at this convention was titled "Myths, Lies & Terror: The Growing Threat Of Radical Environmentalism):

Floyd Brown of the Young America's Foundation announced, "A lot of people who used to claim their color was red now claim their color is green."

Certainly not Africans, the AIDS-afflicted, or women in politics:

Tim Weigel, who was manning the Free Republic booth, described compassionate conservative initiatives like Bush's plan to address AIDS in Africa as, "throwaways, put out there to keep the left quiet while he takes care of Iraq." Behind him hung a picture of Hillary Clinton's head Photoshopped onto the body of a pig.

And most of all, not the dreaded gays:

Rev. Lou Sheldon, the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition and sworn enemy of homosexuality, put it best. Asked if Bush was in sync with his agenda, he replied, "George Bush is our agenda!" The man who has pledged "open warfare" against all things gay, stood in the exhibitors hall before a makeshift carnival game called "Tip a Troll," in which players were invited to throw gray beanbags at toy trolls with the heads of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Hillary Clinton and Tom Daschle, or trolls holding signs saying, "The Homosexual Agenda," "Roe V. Wade" and "The Liberal Media."

Five out of the past seven Christian Coalition action alerts were focused on stopping gay marriage. The self-described "pro-family" organization lists their number-one goal as "strengthening the family" in addition to "defending the institution of marriage." From what? From having to co-exist with more married people? Is marriage an elite club now? On this point I have to cede to P.J. O'Rourke, not one I would normally agree with, but he has a certain logic from the conservative point of view:

I'm so conservative that I approve of San Francisco City Hall marriages, adoption by same-sex couples, and New Hampshire's recently ordained Episcopal bishop. Gays want to get married, have children, and go to church. Next they'll be advocating school vouchers, boycotting HBO, and voting Republican.
-The Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2004

The Republican Party can boast Abraham Lincoln among its historical ranks, a great man who, incidentally, never was spotted wearing a "Fry Mumia" t-shirt, nor would he (I imagine) have spoken at a conference in which such sentiments were gleefully expressed (thereby legitimizing what otherwise might be written off as a fringe group). Still, the party claims to represent his ideals:

Lincoln's successors have been united by a common purpose – defending freedom at home and promoting it abroad. Today, the Republican Party gathers to renominate a man who carries on the best traditions of our Party by carrying the banner of freedom.

Freedom to hate, freedom to wage unprovoked war, and freedom to mislead, it would seem. Do Republicans encourage tolerance or prejudice? Are we fighting wars for Democracy or for oil? Do we need legislation to protect America against terrorists, or to quell the ideological opponents of the current administration? I'm getting mixed messages, here.


American flesh and blood not straw

There is an interesting discussion going on in thread below. A local blogger, Mitch Berg argues that the actions of a group of Florida protestors who trashed a Bush/Cheney campaign office somehow represents the quasi-religious fervor incubated in the liberal soul.

I am in a constant state of amazement at the holier-than-thou opinions purveyed by party hacks and allied pundits and bloggers of the right. There is a raft of voices of supposed conservatives - Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, Hannity - who, to their vast discredit, regularly characterize "liberals" and democrats as treasonous wretches incapable of loving America or acting on her behalf. These people are no longer constitutionally capable of being honest with themselves or others.

After reading Berg's postAnalog Brownshirts, I wonder if he has joined them. There are two key arguments in Berg's post that lead those of us who stand in the radical center to identify right-wing idealogs as dangerous to America. The first is the vast over-generalization of the left as extremists, who have replaced true spirituality with political zeal.

And to so much of the left, politics is religion - the core of the person's intellectual and moral being. To a person for whom the political is the personal, it's a short jump to seeing politics as the adjunct, or even replacement for, the spiritual.

This, of course, is the straw man argument. In this case a fictional "left" is created, unsupported by evidence of any kind, for the purpose of knocking it down. The "left" Berg describes may exist but it is the fringe minority, just as the fringe minority of the right are the people who hold prayer vigils at the capitol for the removal of satan from the state house.

The second argument is either willfully dishonest or made by a person who doesn't read what his party publishes, listen to the speeches of its leaders or note diminishing abilities of americans to explain the difference between religious tolerance and religious freedom. It is, in short, the argument of perfect denial:

And yeah, a few Republicans. But outside the extremely radical fringe of the pro-life movement, I have a hard time finding Republicans who truly do internalize politics to the extent they do religion (or supplant faith in a deity with faith in politics, or in the case of the radical pro-lifers, conflate the goals of the two) the way too many Democrats seem to.

I am certainly passionate about my politics. I also know the difference between politics and spirituality. The same cannot be said of the GOP. Promient Republicans argue that the separation of church and state does not exist and seek to create a "Christian Nation."Perhaps this petition from Sojourners magazine entitled, God is not a Republican or a Democrat, will help Berg understand where reasonable centrists differ from those on the right who truly politicize their religion and campaign in the name of God.

Further, the current Republican party and by extension, the current administration, is the most ideologically committed, organized political entity in the history of the United States. Via Karl Rove, Its credo appears to be The Ends Justifies the Means. The true face of the brown shirt in America is not in the petty thuggery of either side. The true face of the brown shirt emerges with every casual decision by a nameless bureaucrat to hide as much of the government from the people as possible. It leaps into focus with the sheer volume of nationalistic propaganda issued by our government. It names itself with every passive acceptance of national disgraces by "good citizens." It releases its peculiar fetid odor in the unholy alliance between corporate america and its goverment.

Let me tell you something Mr. Berg: I am a Minute Man. I plant my pole squarely in the middle of the constitution of the United States. I stand with the Democrats, moderates,and yes, the left because right now, they are miles closer to my pole. when the Republican crack sluices from your veins you are welcome here where we are made of flesh and blood not straw.

Mitch Berg accuses us of beating GOP volunteers

There's been a heated, and up until now civil, discussion about the VP debate over at Mitch Berg's blog, Shot in the Dark.

After I posted the list of times (twice) Cheney has presided over the Senate, here's his response:

And again - so what?

I've listened to that piece of the debate, and it's pretty clear that the "never met him" line was a combination misstatement and knock on Edwards' pathetic attendance record.

As to the WMD "lie" - well, you have to manipulate the facts pretty hard to get to that answer.

If this is the best you got out of the debate (and on listening further, it pretty much was), I can see why you're turning to beating up GOPer volunteers. [Links were added by me. –Ed.]

I hope Mitch has the deceny to apologize for accusing us of resorting to violence ("analog brownshirts" - his term), when all we're actually doing is presenting him with facts and trying to have a conversation.

U.S. 'Almost All Wrong' on WMD

Washington Post: Report on Iraq Contradicts Bush Administration Claims

The 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent U.N. inspections destroyed Iraq's illicit weapons capability and, for the most part, Saddam Hussein did not try to rebuild it, according to an extensive report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq that contradicts nearly every prewar assertion made by top administration officials about Iraq.

My fellow New Patriots. If you're like me, you protested this war. You questioned the motives, you questioned the flimsy evidence, you condemned the Bush Doctrine. You withstood scorn from those ignorant frothing "patriots" eager to kill those towelheads and silence dissent. You were deeply saddened at this pivotal downturn in America's history.

As we hastened to war, ill-equipped and unprepared for the long-term outcomes, Howard Zinn spoke these words:

This is a shameful moment in our history, attacking a nation that has not attacked us or anyone else. Many around the world feel President Bush is a greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein. We want revenge for terrorism, but WAR IS TERRORISM. We are going to devastate the people of Iraq, that is certain. Morally you can't go along with this... people in our armed forces will die because Bush has grandiose ambitions for power in the world -- for oil, for the U.S. desire to expand its power -- those are not good reasons to die.

The invasion of Iraq has come at a devastating cost: A moral, human, and financial cost we and our children must bear for years to come. All because of this Bush Administration's reprehensible and unforgivable deception.

Yes, Iraq will have some sort of bittersweet election, in whatever parts of the country are safe. It's our duty now to help see those elections through and return the country to the Iraqi people. I say bittersweet, because by many other measures (like, say, whether your family is alive) Iraq is worse off. The American people would not have endorsed putting our troops in harm's way, for an unspecified length of time at enormous cost, so that we could plunge Iraq into chaos and make us less safe. We went because this Bush Administration gripped us tight in its fist, whispering propaganda through clenched teeth... "9/11... Nuclear clouds.... smoking gun... too late."

The Bush Administration has no more teeth. Its fist can no longer stifle liquid truth. The neocon empire is crumbling from within. Friends, the tide has turned. Under John Kerry, we'll remain strong and watchful, but we'll hear the chime of words too long forgotten upon our weary ears: Diplomacy, cooperation, hope.



Rummy and Bremer spill the beans

I have been wondering all day why there has been a sudden rash of plain spokeness among the neocons. though he later backtracked, Rummy acknowledged that Iraq had no ties to Al Qaeda. Paul Bremer said the US paid a high price for failing to secure the country after the the Hussein regime fell and for having too few troops on the ground. Bremer also later revised his commennts. Why on earth would these two stalwarts of the Bush administration shoot their mouths off 29 days before the election?

Juan Cole seems to detect the smell of a neocon rift. As in, Bremer needs to be viewed as a man who merely followed the orders that created the current mess in Iraq and not the man who thought it all up if he wants a political future. And Rumsfeld is giving notice that somebody's head will roll for preparing the bullshit everybody called "intelligence."



Cheney: Now, in my capacity as Vice President, I am the president of the Senate and the presiding officer. I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.

Cheney/Edwards, Feb. 1. 2001

Dick Cheney and John Edwards at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 1, 2001.

Cheney: Thank you. Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I honored to be with you all this morning.



Mr. Solid vs. Mr. Smooth was, yes, a draw.

More interesting, perhaps, was this telling comment from CNN media/political analyst Jeff Greenfield on the ridiculous "Spin Alley" sideshow that follows these debates:

This whole notion of people from each campaign pouring into this area to claim that their guy won — it would be a great idea if we could abolish that. The day somebody comes out from a campaign and says, "My guy really stunk up the joint" I will personally write that person a check for $100. This is the most useless exercise in post-modern media coverage that I know of and I think, really, enough's enough. It's a joke, and we should just cut it out.

Fox News: Unfair Unbalanced and Fake

Most of us out there know that Fox News is predominately a right-wing mouth piece, but recent events have proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

First we have the case of Akre and Wilson vs. Fox News. Akre and WIlson were reporters for Fox, that were fired after trying to blow the whistle on a story that Fox had changed at the behest of Monsanto, to include false and misleading statements about the milk additive rBGH.

According to Akre and Wilson, the station was initially very excited about the series. But within a week, Fox executives and their attorneys wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors then tried to force Akre and Wilson to continue to produce the distorted story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox's actions to the FCC, they were both fired.(Project Censored #12 1997)

FOX appealed the case, and on February 14, 2003 the Florida Second District Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the settlement awarded to Akre. The Court held that Akre’s threat to report the station’s actions to the FCC did not deserve protection under Florida’s whistle blower statute, because Florida’s whistle blower law states that an employer must violate an adopted “law, rule, or regulation." In a stunningly narrow interpretation of FCC rules, the Florida Appeals court claimed that the FCC policy against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of a "law, rule, or regulation," it was simply a "policy." Therefore, it is up to the station whether or not it wants to report honestly.

During their appeal, FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute Akre’s claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story, they simply maintained that it was their right to do so. After the appeal verdict WTVT general manager Bob Linger commented, “It’s vindication for WTVT, and we’re very pleased… It’s the case we’ve been making for two years. She never had a legal claim.”

More recently and more well known, is the Carl Cameron "piece" that was posted containing fake Kerry quotes.

From USA Today:
Carl Cameron, a Fox reporter who covers the Kerry campaign, wrote an item that looked like a news story with made-up Kerry quotes, said Paul Schur, a Fox spokesman. The item was not intended to be posted on the site.

Josh Marshall has some key questions about this item. Most notably:

4. Shouldn't Cameron be taken off the Kerry campaign beat? Assume for the moment that Cameron's fabricated story wasn't supposed to run on the site. If Cameron sits around writing up phony news stories only for Fox News colleagues which portray Kerry as a swishy fool, can he really credibly cover the campaign as a straight news reporter?


8. Why did comments very similar to Cameron's fabrications come up again and again from Fox commentators on debate night?

And then we have this little item, pity we didn't hear anything about it at the time. Seems to me this should have rivaled Ms. Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction".

more Fox distortions:
Ben and Jerry's Latest Scam on the Consumer

Latest scam? As if Ben and Jerry are such scammers Fox can hardly keep up with them. Could that story have anything to do with Ben's book 50 Ways You Can Show Bush the Door in 2004?

For those of you out there that watch Fox News as news, I feel sorry for you. You are being duped and you don't even know it, or don't care. Just looking at the a few of their stories, you can see the bias. They just go right down the Republican list of talking points. Even as subtle (or not so) as on the night of the first presidential debate, there was one lone "Bush supporter" standing behind the camera at all times holding a Bush Cheney sign. Does that happen on CNN, ABC or CBS with Kerry signs? No.

I'm sure if I spent another few minutes searching, I could find many more examples, but the point is:
After Fox actually argued they don't have to be truthful because it's not the law, how can you believe anything they say?

Don't Say We Never Gave You Anything

Or rather, let someone else give you something. Whatever the case may be, Apple and Audible have teamed up to offer Thursday's presidential debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry free of charge via iTunes. Link here. You can snag a copy of iTunes for Mac or Windows free, here.

No more soft pitches, please

Morton Mintz's suggested debate questions for 2004 makes for some fascinating reading. Lots of good populist questions in there, here's one of the more obvious (which will likely remain unasked due to the corporate sponsorship of the Commission on Presidential Debates):

One of eight Americans — 35.9 million — lived in poverty last year. They included nearly 13 million children and nearly 4 million single mothers. The trend is up: 1.4 million more Americans were below the poverty line in 2003 than in 2002. Children are more likely to be poor today than 30 years ago. Would ending poverty do more or less than tax breaks for the wealthy and the middle class to promote the general welfare — a chief goal of the Framers of the Constitution?


Mixed messages of a failing presidency

I find it fascinating that Colin Powell appears to be spending his last days in the Bush administration constructing an extended mea culpa for his role in pushing the United States to hit the Iraqi tar baby. First he admitted that the administration received and used intelligence that was deliberately misleading. Now he has expressed regret that the administration claimed specific knowledge of Iraqi stockpiles of WMD as justification for the invasion of Iraq.

Powell, at least, seems to realize that something went wrong when the Bush administration followed the rabbit down the hole.

Connie Rice, on the other hand, continues to exemplify the permanent state of denial in which the Bushies live:

Rice also defended comments she made September 8, 2002, on CNN that Iraq was trying to buy aluminum tubes for a nuclear weapons program -- part of Bush's rationale for invading Iraq.

A New York Times report Sunday cited Rice's comments and quoted CIA and administration officials as saying that Department of Energy experts told her staff almost a year before -- in 2001 -- that they thought the tubes were for artillery rockets, not for creating nuclear weapons.

Rice said she was vaguely aware of a debate about the tubes but believed that the intelligence community "as a whole" agreed they were meant for nuclear weapons work.

Is she kidding? Unfortunately not. It's telling and most likely true. She was probably only vaguely aware of the debate because the entire crowd was so focused on finding information to support the invasion.

It would be bad enough that Rice is willfully ignorant of the warnings of her own intelligence services, but it is truly astounding what she said next.

Rice defended Bush's decision to invade Iraq as "central to the war on terror," which went beyond dealing with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"The idea that you just deal with Osama bin Laden and you're through with the war on terror simply is not a good understanding of the war on terror," she said.

Incredibly, Ms. Rice seems to suggest that the US has actually dealt with Osama Bin laden. Further, she seems to think that her strategic detractors see the world as simply as she does. She is separated from reality

John Kerry eviscerated Bush in the first debate, never more so than when John Kerry pointed out to the President that it was Osama Bin Laden that attacked us not Saddam Hussein, to which the President rejoined:

First of all, of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that.

With that answer, President Bush acknowledged that Hussein did not attack the US.

So let me get this straight. Our Secretary of State is telling the world that he is sorry for using faulty intelligence in his presentation to the UN in order to justify invading Iraq. Yet the National Security Advisor is continuing to justify that some of same intelligence. And you admit we attacked a country that did not attack us in response to an attack from a well known terrorist organization. Would it be fair to call the difference between what the president says and what the facts support a mixed message?

I refer you all to the President's primary message of the first debate:

You cannot lead if you send mixed messages. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens.


In enemy territory

The soul-death (or is it brain death?) of Christopher Hitchens is one of the more inexplicable tragedies of the post-9/11 era. Occasionally, out of morbid curiosity, I still read his half-cocked screeds in order to locate the consistent core of the man (if there is one). He seems both an iconoclast and a true believer, a bloody-beaked hawk and a freedom-loving socialist. He's certainly some sort of political moralist with a penchant for corpse-kicking (see The Missionary Position, or his elegy for Ronald Reagan [which, in perfect neo-Hitchens style, ends with an irrelevant dig at John Kerry]). The New Hitchens fears Stalin's ghost so much he's willing to defend the childlike wargames of George W. Bush as necessary to some nebulous antifascist world movement. He also seems to believe that American neocons (such as Paul Wolfowitz) are selfless activists driven by quiet moral principles.

I still don't quite get it, but this fascinating interview with Johann Hari clears up a bit of the confusion. Here's a good quote:

The United States was attacked by theocratic fascists who represents all the most reactionary elements on earth. They stand for liquidating everything the left has fought for: women's rights, democracy? And how did much of the left respond? By affecting a kind of neutrality between America and the theocratic fascists.

Well, that's not exactly true, Hitch: we're busy fighting the theocratic fascists here at home. Plus an old socialist like you would surely recognize that lefty hawks will only support an interventionist liberation if there are no sordid profiteering motives involved. As for Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps we were just remembering your own perceptive views from 1991:

An earlier regional player, Benjamin Disraeli, once sarcastically remarked that you could tell a weak government by its eagerness to resort to strong measures. The [first] Bush administration uses strong measures to ensure weak government abroad, and has enfeebled democratic government at home. The reasoned objection must be that this is a dangerous and dishonorable pursuit, in which the wealthy gamblers have become much too accustomed to paying their bad debts with the blood of others.

Surely this old intervention in the Gulf was just as "antifascist" as the current mess in Iraq? Where are your principles, man?

Well, I think I figured him out: Christopher Hitchens is a misanthrope. He unveils this new tendency at the end of the Reagan elegy, when he ponders the "stupidity" of the entire American political system. The Hari interview clarifies his position even further:

This kind of theocratic fascism will never die because we belong to a very poorly-evolved mammarian [sic?] species. I'm a complete materialist in that sense. We're stuck with being the product of a very sluggish evolution. Our pre-frontal lobes are too small and our adrenaline glands are too big. Our fear of the dark and of death is very intense, and people will always be able to profit from that.

As we all know, those enormous adrenaline glands are also responsible for that fight or flight response which makes us so unpredictable under stress. Hitchens has fled, and now reclines and drinks comfortably in the neocon tent, with a small gladbag of lefty principles at his side. He's surrounded by enemies from both left and right, and is still visited by concerned old disciples. His life is practically a misanthrope's utopia. Except, Hitch is not nearly as savvy, independent, or funny as his forebears Mark Twain and George Orwell. Nowadays, he's more like Whittaker Chambers without the historical burden. I'll keep listening, only because I sympathize with a contrarian who's lost the plot. But since he owes allegiance to neither God nor mammon, we gotta figure there's either a hilarious court jester or a perceptive village idiot lurking behind Hitchens's tiny frontal lobes...

Bush in 2000: Misleading America

"It must be in the national interests, it must be in our vital interests whether we ever send troops. The mission must be clear. Soldiers must understand why we're going. The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. The exit strategy needs to be well-defined. I'm concerned that we're overdeployed around the world. See, I think the mission has become somewhat fuzzy."

John Kerry's words? No, George W. Bush's words.

As we approach the second Presidential Debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, let's look back to how George W. Bush mislead America there four years ago – at the cost of over 1,000 American lives, billions of dollars, the security and respect of America.

Bush in 2000 [Quicktime, 8.6 MB]


Bush versus Bird

Just What We Needed

"Panzerfaust Records is a Minnesota-based music label which specializes in the production and distribution of radical pro-White rock music." I hesitate to even link to these sad bastards, but it's important to know they're operating in our area, especially to counter the airheaded notion that racism is somehow not a problem in our state (I swear to you, people actually believe this). We don't just have the prevalent, sometimes subtle, institutionalized kind of racism, we have the in-your-face hate group kind, too (see also: Aryan Nation rally at the Capitol in August 2003, etc.).

Most nefariously, Panzerfaust (named for a Nazi rocket launcher, by the way) is running something called "Project Schoolyard USA" with the cutesy slogan "we don't just entertain racist kids... we create them." Supposedly they're pressing 100,000 copies of a sampler CD (featuring "a radical 70 minutes of pure White Power Rock and Roll") to try and get them into the hands of teenagers. Pissed off? Let them know (hopefully they won't just revel in the abuse):

The best way to contact us is by e-mail at: Byron@Panzerfaust.com
Our mailing address is: Panzerfaust/P.O. Box 188/Newport, MN/55055/USA
You can also leave a message at: 651-642-5488

[Coincidentally, this guy shares his name with David Cross'"Racist In The Year 3000" from Mr. Show.]


You Know It's Bad...

... when even the Freepers can't spin it...

What does it look like when you get spanked?

faces of frustration

George Bush provides a visual guide, thanks to the Democratic Party (WMV, Real).