Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Plame Game: Novak novak bovak, banana fana fo HACK

Not much has been heard lately about Novak's treason, where he outed a CIA agent who was looking for WMDs. In other words, he destroyed the career of someone who actually serves a purpose on this island Earth, unlike ol' Bob. He did this, it seems for one of two reasons: either as a pathetic attempt to prop up his standing as a "journalist," or to solidify his position as a party loyalist to Karl, the Godfather of Evil.

Steve Chapman of the Chicago Trubune has a good take on this, esp. regarding journalistic privilege against revealing sources:

Why the press is wrong about the Valerie Plame case
If you witness a crime and are called to testify about it, you have two choices: do it or go to jail. When people in my profession receive that sort of invitation, though, they prefer a third option: telling the prosecutor to go pound sand.

But a case generating controversy now raises a question: Why should journalists be allowed to conceal evidence about serious crimes? And, though I normally root for the press in conflicts with the government, I have to say that in this instance, the news media are in the wrong.


The prosecutor has already met a stringent test designed to prevent the abuse of journalists. There are two other reasons that Miller and Cooper should testify: The crime is a serious one, and the public gained nothing from the revelation. If Miller and Cooper know the source of this illegal leak and refuse to tell, they are protecting a criminal who betrayed his country.

Judy Miller, whos journalistic integrity has taken a major hit since she signed up as a background singer with the Ahmed Chalabi Traveling Soul Circus, should really consider following Chapman's advice.

But this raises another point? Why isn't Novak's ass rotting in jail on charges of contempt of just about everything decent?

Just asking...

Osama tried...

Maureen Dowd hits several nails right on their heads in Sunday's NYTimes.

Some people thought the October surprise would be the president producing Osama.

Instead, it was Osama producing yet another video taunting the president and lecturing America.

. . .

The Bushies' campaign pitch follows their usual backward logic: Because we have failed to make you safe, you should re-elect us to make you safer. Because we haven't caught Osama in three years, you need us to catch Osama in the next four years. Because we didn't bother to secure explosives in Iraq, you can count on us to make sure those explosives aren't used against you.

And this too:

The White House reaction to the disclosures about the vanished explosives in Iraq was typical. Though it's clear the treasures and terrors of Iraq - from viruses to ammunition to artifacts - were being looted and loaded into donkey carts and pickups because we had insufficient troops to secure the country, Bush officials devoted the vast resources of the government to trying to undermine the facts to protect the president.

The Pentagon mobilized to debunk the bunker story with a tortured press conference and a satellite photo of trucks that proved about as much as Colin Powell's prewar drawings of two trailers that were supposed to be mobile biological weapons labs.

Republicans insinuated that it was a plot by foreign internationalists to help the foreigner-loving, internationalist Kerry, a U.N. leak from the camp of Mohamed ElBaradei to hurt the administration that had scorned the U.N. as a weak sister.

And this damning indictment that seems utterly inarguable:

In their ruthless determination to put Mr. Bush's political future ahead of our future safety, the White House and House Republicans last week thwarted the enactment of recommendations of the 9/11 commission they never wanted in the first place.

And yet so many Americans still feel that GWBush is somehow protecting them from something. Well, he is. He's protecting them from the truth.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Ground control to Major Tom...

A NASA research scientist who is currently analyzing digital photos of Saturn’s moons, turns his eyes to something lower…much, much lower…GWBush’s back during the first Presidential debate.His conclusion: there was something there.

Here’s the entire piece from, to save you from having to click through a commercial:


NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate
Physicist says imaging techniques prove the president's bulge was not caused by wrinkled clothing.

By Kevin Berger

Oct. 29, 2004 | George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. "I don't know what that is," he said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.

For the past week, while at home, using his own computers, and off the clock at Caltech and NASA, Nelson has been analyzing images of the president's back during the debates. A professional physicist and photo analyst for more than 30 years, he speaks earnestly and thoughtfully about his subject. "I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate," he says. "This is not about a bad suit. And there's no way the bulge can be described as a wrinkled shirt."

Nelson and a scientific colleague produced the photos from a videotape, recorded by the colleague, who has chosen to remain anonymous, of the first debate. The images provide the most vivid details yet of the bulge beneath the president's suit. Amateurs have certainly had their turn at examining the bulge, but no professional with a résumé as impressive as Nelson's has ventured into public with an informed opinion. In fact, no one to date has enhanced photos of Bush's jacket to this degree of precision, and revealed what appears to be some kind of mechanical device with a wire snaking up the president's shoulder toward his neck and down his back to his waist.

Nelson stresses that he's not certain what lies beneath the president's jacket. He offers, though, "that it could be some type of electronic device -- it's consistent with the appearance of an electronic device worn in that manner." The image of lines coursing up and down the president's back, Nelson adds, is "consistent with a wire or a tube."

Nelson used the computer software program Photoshop to enhance the texture in Bush's jacket. The process in no way alters the image but sharpens its edges and accents the creases and wrinkles. You've seen the process performed a hundred times on "CSI": pixelated images are magnified to reveal a clear definition of their shape.

Bruce Hapke, professor emeritus of planetary science in the department of geology and planetary science at the University of Pittsburgh, reviewed the Bush images employed by Nelson, whom he calls "a very highly respected scientist in his field." Hapke says Nelson's process of analyzing the images are the "exact same methods we use to analyze images taken by spacecraft of planetary surfaces. It does not introduce any artifacts into the picture in any way."

How can Nelson be certain there's some kind of mechanical device beneath Bush's jacket? It's all about light and shadows, he says. The angles at which the light in the studio hit Bush's jacket expose contours that fit no one's picture of human anatomy and wrinkled shirts. And Nelson compared the images to anatomy texts. He also experimented with wrinkling shirts in various configurations, wore them under his jacket under his bathroom light, and couldn't produce anything close to the Bush bulge.

In the enhanced photo of the first debate, Nelson says, look at the horizontal white line in middle of the president's back. You'll see a shadow. "That's telling me there's definitely a bulge," he says. "In fact, it's how we measure the depths of the craters on the moon or on Mars. We look at the angle of the light and the length of shadow they leave. In this case, that's clearly a crater that's under the horizontal line -- it's clearly a rim of a bulge protruding upward, one due to forces pushing it up from beneath."

Hapke, too, agrees that the bulge is neither anatomy nor a wrinkled shirt. "I would think it's very hard to avoid the conclusion that there's something underneath his jacket," he says. "It would certainly be consistent with some kind of radio receiver and a wire."

Nelson admits that he's a Democrat and plans to vote for John Kerry. But he takes umbrage at being accused of partisanship. "Everyone wants to think my colleague and I are just a bunch of dope-crazed ravaged Democrats who are looking to insult the president at the last minute," he says. "And that's not what this is about. This is scientific analysis. If the bulge were on Bill Clinton's back and he was lying about it, I'd have to say the same thing."

"Look, he says, "I'm putting myself at risk for exposing this. But this is too important. It's not about my reputation. If they force me into an early retirement, it'll be worth it if the public knows about this. It's outrageous statements that I read that the president is wearing nothing under there. There's clearly something there."

Is this really the best they can do? I mean, we have advanced technology these days, we have iPods for music, palmtops for personal data assistants, indoor plumbing, and yet this?

We have an electorate that has seen Watergate (I am not a crook!), The International Space Station, and Paris Hilton on-line porn. We use computers, cel phones, and VCRs. And this is the best the CIA, or NSA or Secret Service can come up with? A plainly visible BOX on the back of the POTUS that could be seen by anyone with at least one eye and blood flow to the brain?

Who do these people think we are? "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" Such amateurish misdirection and skullduggery is no better than a thirteen year old boy hiding the purloined copy of Penthouse under the covers, where, by gosh and golly, it makes a lump that Mom discovers.

If it was indeed some kind of wireless intercomm or audio prompter, then shame on them for cheating. Keep in mind, these are Republicans, after all. How low the party of Eisenhower has fallen. DeLay, Rove, et al are not worthy of snorting the lint from Ike's old suit pockets.

And shame on use, for not running out the door screaming into the night. These are the clowns who would deceive us, who would do anything to keep power, and who would take our intelligence for granted. This is clearly not a good "bunch of folks," but rather, a mendacious, morally corrupt species: Homo Diabolicus!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Everybody's wrong

The story of the explosives missing from Al Qaqaa in Iraq continues to be a major embarrassment to the GWBush regime. At the same time, they are trying any number of denials and spins to minimize the damage, such as this, from Josh Marshall:

Okay, now we seem to have the White House's third rendition of what happened at al Qaqaa. And we can find it in a nicely digestible form in this new piece from Fox News.

The headline reads: "Search Showed No Explosives at Iraqi Base Before War's End."

Down into the piece we find this: "U.S. forces searched several times last year the Iraqi military base from which 380 tons of explosives vanished — including one check a week before Saddam Hussein was driven out of power. But the military saw no signs of a huge quantity of munitions."

But wait, there's more. Today, we have some clarification from the NYTimes, from PEOPLE WHO WERE ACTUALLY THERE!!!

4 Iraqis Tell of Looting at Munitions Site in '03

Looters stormed the weapons site at Al Qaqaa in the days after American troops swept through the area in early April 2003 on their way to Baghdad, gutting office buildings, carrying off munitions and even dismantling heavy machinery, three Iraqi witnesses and a regional security chief said Wednesday.

Well, which is it?
  • "They weren't there."
  • "SODDI" (some other dude did it)
  • "It wasn't my job."
  • "The military screwed up." (Sorry about denigrating the troops, it's just politics)
  • "The Russians took them." (Drudge: no link, it's just a waste of bandwidth)
Or, as GWBush said today:

A President must be consistent. After repeatedly calling Iraq the wrong war and a diversion, Senator Kerry this week seemed shocked to learn that Iraq was a dangerous place full of dangerous weapons. (Laughter.) The Senator used to know that, even though he seems to have forgotten it over the course of this campaign. But, after all, that's why we went into Iraq. Iraq was a dangerous place, run by a dangerous tyrant who hated America and who had a lot of weapons. We've seized or destroyed more than 400,000 tons of munitions, including explosives, at more than thousands of sites. And we're continuing to round up the weapons almost every day.

Seems almost sane, doesn't it? Never mind that it's totally contradicted by evidence. Never mind that he didn't speak about this until 48 hours after it became known. Never mind that his military machine, under the control of Rumsfeld, never even bothered to secure this site. Never mind what he said in the same speech, the real punch line:

"And a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not the person you want as the Commander-in-Chief."

It takes my breath away, the irony of it. Let me translate for the non-GWBush speaking:
  • Iraq possesses WMDs
  • Iraq was working with AL Qaeda
  • Tax cuts for millionaires help the working poor (I just had to slip that one in)
  • insert ridiculous GWBush Iraw rationale here
He actually has said several things lately, however, that I agree with.


Well, here they are, as reported by Kos:
The Democrat Party has also a great tradition of defending the defenseless.

And this, too:

The Democratic Party has a great tradition of leading this country with strength and conviction in times of war.

The Democratic party has a tradition for support of our public schools. I think about Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, who always stood up for the right of the poor and minority children to get the best education America could offer.

Disgusting, isn't it?

Also, Kos has this final point, one little detail we shouldn't forget:
For those who don't know, Republican pollsters have determined that "Democrat Party" sounds nastier than "Democratic Party".
Holy crap!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

It's nature's way...

Another item sent to me from my ever-vigilant Mom. I haven't spent enough time really checking out this web site, but what the heck, it's an interesting theory.


Believe it or not, DMY has uncovered a Bush & Cheney strategy for Cheney to pull a “Bob Roberts,” faking a heart attack to gain a sympathetic edge in this tight election if the polls do not drastically change by the last week in October, according to a confidential source close to the Oval Office—and DMY. In fact, our source says that Cheney will try to blame the faux heart attack on Kerry bringing up Mary Cheney’s sexual orientation in the last debate. Disgusting but true. And completely in character for these creeps.

Our source says they will tap John McCain for the VP spot, a sure shot to clinching the election. It’s unclear whether McCain knows about the plan or not. While it’s long been a rumor that Bush will dump Cheney and take on McCain, this is a backdoor way for them to do it without looking desperate for a new face on the ticket.

Is this the October surprise we’ve all been waiting for? It definitely could be. And saving it for the final week in October, with, I’m sure, some dramatic heroics on Cheney’s part about dropping out for the good of the country, and how vile Kerry is for driving him to a heart attack, will do a lot for they sympathy vote.

Though I shouldn’t be shocked, I am. Somehow I thought this sort of garbage was beyond even them—but it seems these guys will do ANYTHING to hold on to power. Don’t put it past them.

To counter this ploy we need to get the word out. Discuss this as a possible Bush-Cheney dirty trick—just like “whoops, there’s Osama!”—so that if it does actually happen, it won’t come as a surprise and people will at least be skeptical. And if it does happen, don’t fall into the sympathy trap. Call them to the carpet. And please: be careful to not sound like a conspiracy theorist when you do talk about it. But talk about it, forward this email, talk about it in chat rooms, on radio shows, and wherever else you can.

And all that while getting out and knocking on doors and phone calling for Kerry/Edwards.

It’s gonna be a tough two weeks but don’t give up!

Remember, you heard it here first.

*“Bob Roberts” is a 1992 film by Tim Robbins in which a far right wing presidential candidate feigns an assassination attempt in order to gain a sympathy vote, which he does.

So there you have it. We clearly haven't had a real October Surprise yet, although the 380 tons of explosives gone missing in Iraq (as discussed here by Josh Marshall) comes pretty close:

The New York Times, following the lead of The Nelson Report, has now posted its story on the looting of the 350-odd tons of high-explosives from the al Qa Qaa weapons facility in Iraq.

The Times story treads lightly over the question of whether the explosives in question have played a substantial role in the various suicide bombings, car bombings and sundry other attacks in Iraq over the last year.

They also say little about Pentagon pressure on the Iraqis not to report the disappearance of the explosives to the IAEA.

Read down, further,, dammit, don't stop. Keep reading. This is the best commentary on this screw up you will ever be able to read.

But still we press on, ever valiantly toward our quest. Or something....

By the way, today's song title is pretty obscure. I don't want to sound like Dennis Miller (in any manner) with all his studied clever references, it's just that this was truly the first song that came to mind when I thought "heart attack." Although surely there are more. "Sheer Heart Attack": Queen, for one.

Actually, it's from a band called Spirit, which was important for a minute around '68-'70. Their main songwriter was a fellow called Randy California, and the song was about a friend who had suffered a heart attack:

It's nature's way of telling you something's wrong
It's nature's way of telling you in a song
It's nature's way of receiving you
It's nature's way of retrieving you
It's nature's way of telling you
Something's wrong

While not terribly challenging as lyrics go, it was still a pretty good song, and it just seemed somehow appropriate, on more than one level. Ok, enough navel gazing for now.

K, bye.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I fought the law and the law won

There have been many articles posted on the left side of the web championing the idea of impeaching GWBush. Here's the latest, a particularly concise and good one from the Seacoast New Hampshire:

The Brief Against Bush
By John Perrault, Attorney

The law does not require a lie to find deceit. If you say something is true when it's not, and you are consciously indifferent to its truth, that's deceit.

A tells B that C has a gun in order to get B to attack C. B believes A, as A is a prominent figure whose word is unimpeachable.Relying on A's statement, B attacks C only to find no gun; and here comes a gang of C's friends to attack B!

Fifty stitches later B learns A was lying, or consciously indifferent to the truth of the statement, or had no solid basis for saying C had a gun. Does B have a case against A?

You bet. A is liable for B's injuries. That's the law of misrepresentation. If A intended for B to act and either knew his statement was false or was consciously indifferent to its truth, and B justifiably relied on the statement to his detriment, that's called fraud.

Even if A says he never intended to deceive B, A will still be liable to B if A was in a superior position and failed to exercise reasonable care to verify the truth of material facts asserted before making them. That's called negligent misrepresentation.

Also note that the law holds the boss responsible for his subordinates' acts that further the boss's agenda. That's called Respondeat Superior.

In the case before us, Bush Administration officials, urging invasion, made material statements alleging WMD and Al Qaeda in Iraq which have proven to be not true. They ignored dissents within the Departments of State, Energy, and the CIA. (See 9/11 Commission Report, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report of 7/7/04, and Top Weapons Inspector Duelfer's Report. See also 9/28/04 NYTimes on January 2003 Reports of National Intelligence Council). Repeatedly, they stated they "knew," that there was "no doubt" about their allegations. Were they lying? Or consciously indifferent to the truth of their statements? Or just plain negligent?

Let's look --

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
--Dick Cheney, 8/26/02, Speech to VFW.

"There is no doubt that (Saddam Hussein) has chemical weapons stocks."--Colin Powell, 9/8/02, Fox News Sunday.

"(We) do know, with absolute certainty, that (Saddam Hussein) is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs…to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon."
--Dick Cheney, 9/8/02, Meet the Press.

"…(The tubes) are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs."
--Condoleeza Rice, 9/8/02, Late Edition, CNN

{Note: The 7/7/04 Senate Select Committee Report found that dissents within the Intelligence Community on the tubes were rejected by CIA due to a mindset disposed to conclude WMD. We now know that DOE experts rejected the theory that the tubes were intended as centrifuges.}

"…(O)n at least one occasion, we have reporting that places (Mohammad Atta) in Prague with a senior Iraqi Intelligence Official a few months before the attack on the World Trade Center."
--Dick Cheney, 9/08/02, Meet the Press.

" We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda network share a common enemy….We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts….Some of these Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq….We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases…. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists….The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program." --George W. Bush, 10/7/02, Speech in Cincinnati. {Note: The 9/11 Commission found no connection between Iraq and 9/11. The Duelfer Report found Iraq had no WMD.}

"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." --George W. Bush, 1/28/03, State of the Union.

{Note: George Tenet admitted these words should not have been in the President's speech.}

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid evidence." --Colin Powell, 2/5/03, addressing U.N. Security Council.

"Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets…."
--George W. Bush, 3/6/03, Press Conference.

"And we believe (Saddam Hussein) has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons."
--Dick Cheney, 3/16/03, Meet the Press.

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised…"
--George W. Bush, 3/17/03, Speech to Nation.

"We know where they (WMD) are. They are…around Tikrit and Baghdad."
--Donald Rumsfeld, 3/30/03, This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Deceivers or incompetents-take your pick. Fellow citizens, if we have not been deceived by George W. Bush & Co., deceit has no meaning and the dictionary should be burned. But it is we who have been burned. If we can't sue the man, we can fire him on November 2nd. The Republic for which we stand demands nothing less.

Copyright © 2004. John Perrault, all rights reserved.

Now, I suppose this may be taken for whining. I mean, after all, this can't have the global import of, say, consensual sex in the Oval Office. Nothing can demean the office of President and the entire US reputation worse than that. Why, I'll even bet that in God's eye, that sex was a sin!

And yet somehow, it was deemed so earth-shattering, so paramount in importance to all other business, that the noble, patriotic Republican controlled Senate and House just had to act to protest and punish the disgrace.

Unless someone steps forward in the closing days of this election cycle, I will have to conclude that, based on evidence, the Republican Party feels that a hummer in the Oval Office is far worse than death and taxes. Because that's what they've given us: death to over 1000 soldiers, and tax breaks for the wealthy.

Priorities, kids.

Vote your conscience, if indeed you have one.

Christ, you know it ain't easy...

I have seen several things written lately questioning GWBush's faith. I know, we're supposed to accept that as, well, an article of faith. But there is some pretty good evidence that his version of faith is misplaced. As a preface, let me state that I work in the recording industry, and for many years had, as clients, several large born-again right-wing church organizations that had recording studios and record labels. And one topic was discussed often; that of "accountability."

I remember discussing U2 with a man who ran one of these record labels, who was otherwise very open in his beliefs. I asked his opinion in the early '90s about U2's professed Christianity. His reply: "It's crap." when I pressed him on the answer, he stated that since they had no allegiance to any particular faith, especially to a specific church, they had no "accountability."

I asked if someone could just quietly, privately be a Christian, and was told "Yes." But I was also told that if one went public, one had to commit to a specific faith tradition, with a recognized hierarchy and leadership, so that one could be held "accountable."

I have read that the last two Presidents who regularly went to church, and adhered to a specific denomination, were, surprisingly, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And this brings me to my point: GWBush neither attends church regularly, nor belongs to a specific congregation. Thus, he has no "accountability."

An article written by Ayelish McGarvey for The American Prospect questions the basic assumption about Bush's Christianity:

...Bush does not demonstrate a life of faith by his actions, and neither Methodists, evangelicals, nor fundamentalists can rightly call him brother. In fact, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether Bush is really a Christian at all.

Ironically for a man who once famously named Jesus as his favorite political philosopher during a campaign debate, it is remarkably difficult to pinpoint a single instance wherein Christian teaching has won out over partisan politics in the Bush White House. Though Bush easily weaves Christian language and themes into his political communication, empty religious jargon is no substitute for a bedrock faith. Even little children in Sunday school know that Jesus taught his disciples to live according to his commandments, not simply to talk about them a lot. In Bush’s case, faith without works is not just dead faith -- it’s evangelical agitprop.

Read the rest of the article, it makes an interesting case.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

London Calling...

From Agence France Presse, by way of Common Dreams:

Tens of Thousands Throng London To Protest Iraq War

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of central London to protest against the Iraq war as Prime Minister Tony Blair struggled to shake-off fierce criticism of the invasion back home.

Organisers said that between 65,000 and 75,000 protesters had taken to the streets for the peaceful march, which began at Russell Square, close to the British museum. Police put the figure at between 15,000 and 20,000.

Troops out," screamed one of many placards being waved by protesters,

"Blair must go," said another.


Sunday's protest came just days after Blair apologized to parliament for flawed intelligence on Iraq. But Blair, gearing up for a general election expected next year, angrily denied charges he "misrepresented" it to make the case for joining the US-led invasion last year.

The march took place also amid speculation that Britain was to agree to a US request to redeploy its troops in Iraq. A defence ministry spokesman said Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon would brief parliament Monday following reports.

It's sadly telling that so many of our true friends around the globe, members of a Reality-Based Community, can actually see some reality here. Any sane person knows that invading Iraq, a sad dictatorship of a corrupt and largely impotent despot, was as valid a response to 9/11 as invading Mexico would have been following Pearl Harbor. Bin Laden runs free, a totemic and mythic hero to Jihadists world wide; the Taliban who briefly scattered when we invaded Afghanistan have regrouped stronger than ever, and the bulk of our "military might" is bogged down fighting insurgents who spring fully formed from the sands of our shame.

Iraq is not wholly GWBush's debacle, it's also owned by every media whore and outlet that failed to exercize diligence in reporting. And sadly, friends and neighbors, it's owned by all of us too.

From the most rabid jingoistic flag waving war flogger to the most pacific protester, we all own this sad chapter in modern world politics. What else could have been done by those of us who consider Iraq a miserable failure? Heck, I'm not sure. But I do know this, according to the Declaration of Independance:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

In other words, we own this country. For good or evil, through good times and bad, it's ours. We're the stockholders of this company, and when we feel that the CEO has screwed up, it's our job to vote him out. And we even have the right to change the rules, break down the doors and kick the bums out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Steal this vote

The Republican National Committee is paying a company to destroy Democratic voter registration forms. Illegal. Dishonest. Fraudulent. Obscene. Wrong. In other words, here are those "values" the Republicans are fond of displaying. The level of despicable behaviour drops ever lower during this election. As many on the left have speculated, they really want a one party state.

Kos at DailyKos has all the info on this:

RNC funds voter supression efforts
From his reader identified as MK:

Found the following links which all seem to point to the same company that is suspected of tearing up Democratic voter registration forms in Las Vegas. It has set up registration drives in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and Nevada and is accused of the same things in most if not all of these states. Sproul & Associates is a Republican consulting firm run by Nathan Sproul, former head of the Arizona Republican party and Arizona Christian Coalition.

Voters Outreach of America AKA America Votes tears up Democratic voter registration forms in Nevada.

Company claiming affiliation with non-partisan 'America Votes' to register voters in Oregon is actually GOP consulting firm Sproul & Associates, Inc.

West Virginia and Pennsylvania:
Sproul & Associates AKA America Votes workers in WV and PA refuse to register Kerry voters.

Democrats in Oregon have complained that canvassers for Arizona based Sproul & Associates have been pressuring residents to register as Republicans so that they can get paid.

Arizona Nader campaign was assisted in its petition drive by an unlikely figure: the ultra-conservative former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, Nathan Sproul.

About Sproul:
Good background story on Sproul and his political track record, cached on Google.

The link:
Here is the direct link between Sproul and Voters Outreach of America.

According to several sources, two of the contractors Sproul hired to oversee petition gathering for No Taxpayer Money For Politicians -- Aaron "A.J." James, who directs Voters' Outreach of America, and Diane Burns -- were also paid by Sproul to get as many signatures as possible for Nader.

Good stuff, so far. But the reader then asks the key question -- who is paying for these efforts?

The answer?

KLAS-TV, Las Vegas:
"The company has been largely, if not entirely funded, by the Republican National Committee." listing:
Help wanted ad for Voters Outreach of America says "Paid for by the Republican National Committee".

The Republican Party is funding these efforts. The link is direct and unambiguous.

Meanwhile, Bob Johnson has got a diary with more information on this developing scandal. As he says,

[C]ritical is the fact that Sproul and his organization misrepresented themselves to voters as a legitimate, nonpartisan GOTV organization. That is fraud, my friends.

The Googlemonkeys are ferreting out all sort of great info. Might be time for a dKosopedia entry on this to consolidate all this info.

(Two great examples of participatory journalist at its finest.)

This is, again, what we're up against. Pat Buchanan still says we're in a culture war. This is clear evidence that he's correct, but pointed in the wrong direction. This is a war between tolerance, democracy, true family values of hard work and commensurate pay, and personal and civil liberty on the one side, and fear, lies, theft, fraud, greed, and amorality on the other.

The RIght can show GWBush with his tarnished halo still in place, and annoint him with blessings from Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed. But it's his party, their party, the party that works for him, that is doing these things.

There are many good people who believe in the Republican Party, But that party has abandoned them. Many Republicans consider themselves Christians. And often, when asked about political shenanigans, they quote the scripture that says "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" as if to distance themselves from "dirty" politics. Many probably don't realize, or have forgotten that the quote refers to taxes, and nothing else.

But, to quote the great philospher GWBush, "you can run but you can't hide." You Republicans now stand in the painful glare of EVERYTHING done in the name of the party, by and for GWBush.

You can run, but you can't hide from:

  • 1000+ Americans dead in Iraq.
  • More people unemployed in America today than in 2000.
  • More children in poverty in AMerica today than in 2000.
  • A deficit that will bankrupt your children.
  • Tax breaks for companies that take American jobs to other countries.
  • Tax breaks for companies that do business in other countries.
  • Tax breaks for multimillionaires, but not for low income families.
  • The highest health care costs in the civilized world, with the lowest customer satisfaction.
  • "No Child Left Behind" not funded fully.
I could go on, but why pile on at this point. Good Republicans, and Christians, need to really ask themselves why they should support these actions. And don't even start criticizing stem cell research. Anyone who has ever approved or participated in in-vitro fertilization has been party to destroying embryos. The only issue that you might have to stand on is the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice debate. But keep in mind that your guy has NEVER said publicly that he would outlaw abortion.

And for me, while that's a real topic of concern & debate, it's only one of many issues upon which to base a country's whole direction. And while you're concerned with the life in small clumps of 5 day old cells, I am concerned with the life in over 1000 American soldiers and over 10,000 Iraqi civilians that has drained away into the hot sands of Mesopotamia.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

You're telling lies thinking I can't see...

Paul Krugman is a national treasure. He has morphed from being merely the economic conscience of the NYTimes to being a full fledged observer of the whole body politic. He's not afraid to say what he believes, a trait sadly lacking in some of the mediacracy (note: possible new word coined here, with convenient pun value), and he's not afraid to criticize anyone whom he feels doesn't make sense, or worse, is at odds with the truth.

Today in the NYTimes:

Checking the Facts, in Advance

It's not hard to predict what President Bush, who sounds increasingly desperate, will say tomorrow. Here are eight lies or distortions you'll hear, and the truth about each:

Jobs Mr. Bush will talk about the 1.7 million jobs created since the summer of 2003, and will say that the economy is "strong and getting stronger." That's like boasting about getting a D on your final exam, when you flunked the midterm and needed at least a C to pass the course.

Keep in mind that America need 140,000 new jobs every month just to keep up with new workers entering the labor force. The math doesn't add up too well for GWBush.

Unemployment Mr. Bush will boast about the decline in the unemployment rate from its June 2003 peak. But the employed fraction of the population didn't rise at all; unemployment declined only because some of those without jobs stopped actively looking for work, and therefore dropped out of the unemployment statistics.

Corporate profits are rising. Tax breaks passed today for companies having offshore operations. Less jobs for American workers. Who do the Republicans think are going to buy the goods and services being produced today? Retail sales are down in all sectors. Yet the economy is "recovering." Short term gains yield long term delusions.

The deficit Mr. Bush will claim that the recession and 9/11 caused record budget deficits. Congressional Budget Office estimates show that tax cuts caused about two-thirds of the 2004 deficit.
The tax cuts Mr. Bush will claim that Senator John Kerry opposed "middle class" tax cuts. But budget office numbers show that most of Mr. Bush's tax cuts went to the best-off 10 percent of families, and more than a third went to the top 1 percent, whose average income is more than $1 million.
The Kerry tax plan Mr. Bush will claim, once again, that Mr. Kerry plans to raise taxes on many small businesses. In fact, only a tiny percentage would be affected. Moreover, as Mr. Kerry correctly pointed out last week, the administration's definition of a small-business owner is so broad that in 2001 it included Mr. Bush, who does indeed have a stake in a timber company - a business he's so little involved with that he apparently forgot about it.

Please keep in mind that the tax cuts most of us receive are more than offset by rising fuel prices, local & state taxes, many other costs. Donald Trump has an actual tax break. You and I, not so much.

Fiscal responsibility Mr. Bush will claim that Mr. Kerry proposes $2 trillion in new spending. That's a partisan number and is much higher than independent estimates. Meanwhile, as The Washington Post pointed out after the Republican convention, the administration's own numbers show that the cost of the agenda Mr. Bush laid out "is likely to be well in excess of $3 trillion" and "far eclipses that of the Kerry plan."
Spending On Friday, Mr. Bush claimed that he had increased nondefense discretionary spending by only 1 percent per year. The actual number is 8 percent, even after adjusting for inflation. Mr. Bush seems to have confused his budget promises - which he keeps on breaking - with reality.

GWBush already promised us the world, but has delivered only words.

Health care Mr. Bush will claim that Mr. Kerry wants to take medical decisions away from individuals. The Kerry plan would expand Medicaid (which works like Medicare), ensuring that children, in particular, have health insurance. It would protect everyone against catastrophic medical expenses, a particular help to the chronically ill. It would do nothing to restrict patients' choices.

Kerry can be accused of distortions so insignicant that they don't qualify as lies. He says the War On Iraq has cost $200 billion. Yes, only $120 billion has been spent so far (only! sheesh!) while the other $80b is earmarked. As one of the Pandagon boys pointed out the other day, that's a bit like putting $1000 down on a $20,000 car, and claiming that the car only costs $1000. Now that's the kind of shoddy accounting that Krugman is able to clear up for us.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Watching the Capitol Gang tonight really galvanized something in my mind. I've seen this addressed a few times on the web, although in slightly different terms. What I'm talking about is the basic, elemental chasm between proponents of the Left and the Right.

Often this is spoken of as the left being more willing to engage in self-examination; to legitimately criticize a left leaning politician, statesman or pundit for holding a view that seems out of touch with liberal orthodoxy. The right, however, marches along in virtual lockstep, rarely expressing individual thought, always speaking their talking points.

But it goes much further than that. Witness the spin from the rightwing pundits after last night's debate. Ben Ginsberg (why is he around so much? I thought he left the campaign to do legal work for the noble SwiftBoatLiers?), Kate O'Bierne, and most other identified Republican operatives almost never say a discouraging word about their boy. No matter what the level of performance, he is always spoken of as The Great Leader, firm in conviction and message.

This was even displayed last night, when GWBush, asked to define his 3 biggest mistakes, could not seriously even come up with one. The Bush Doctrine seems to be one infallability, no matter what the relevant evidence suggests. To paraphrase his favorite attack line on Kerry, "Right then, right today, right tomorrow." And right makes, er, might. Or something. Heh.

The problem with this method of propaganda is that it has the very danger of backfiring. And it almost did after the first debate. Most winger pundits HAD to admit that their boy looked a little shabby, and I found it delicious.

But after last night, it was back to business as usual. GWBush was John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Lawrence of Arabia all rolled into one. And I finally reached the conclusion that these people are so devoid of conscience they would praise his performance while he had carnal knowledge of their spouse on stage in front of America!

The left has its paid shills, of course, We expect nothing less than undying support from Terry McAuliffe during the campaign, for example, since he is in fact head cheerleader. And so we take what he says with a grain of salt. But I'm tending toward the opinion that there is really only one person associated with the right that will dare to speak truth to media power. And I find it a very strange turn of events for me to say that I actually respect...(gasp)...Pat Buchanan a little bit.

But so far, only a little bit. But that's more than I respect any other right winger.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Master Debator

While not the clear knockout last week’ episode was, this was still a pretty good show for John Kerry. Bush at times seemed hyperactive, jumping up like a cheerleader, gesticulating, being almost embarrassingly too loud, and often not really making any sense. He steamrolled over Charlie Gibson, and still managed to grimace and look annoyed, sometimes even at the questioners.

Some thoughts from the Internets: (Thanks to DailyKos)

Andrew Sullivan: "There were moments early on... when he seemed to me to be close to shouting; and his hyper-aggressiveness, having to respond to everything, went at times over the line of persuasiveness."

(Yes, that Andrew Sullivan.)

John Whitesides, Reuters: "An angry Bush at one point cut off moderator Charles Gibson to upbraid Kerry for criticising the size of the coalition backing the United States in Iraq, saying it denigrated allies like Britain and Poland."

Beth Gorham, CBC News: "It all added up to a major challenge for the president, who appeared angry and defensive during attacks from Kerry in a tense sparring match on Sept. 30 that was watched by some 62 million Americans."

And this, perhaps the most well thought out criticism of the night:

Billmon (back from the dead): "If Kerry and the Dems can't make an issue out of the fact that the president of the United States is utterly incapable of controlling his hairtrigger temper, they don't deserve to win this election... I mean, the man is a walking time bomb."

And this, from Associated Press:

Bush Fights to Keep Emotions in Check

President Bush smirked and winked and chuckled to himself. He jumped from his stool, chopped at the air and interrupted the debate moderator. As he fought to keep his emotions in check during a combative debate with Sen. John Kerry, the president jokingly said, "That answer almost made me want to scowl."

Several answers brought Bush's emotions to the surface, for better or worse, as he sought to curb Kerry's momentum.

The question that hung over the second of their three debates was whether Bush's aggressive, hyper style was an effective tool or a damaging habit - an extension of his disastrous first debate performance. Reviews were mixed.


GWBush said some pretty telling things. Here are some favorites of mine, all taken from the CBS transcript online:

He said he voted for the $87 billion, and voted against it right before he voted for it.

It's -- you've got to be consistent when you're the president. There's a lot of pressures.

In the old days we'd see a threat, and we could deal with it if we felt like it or not. (When?)

And the unique threat was that he could give weapons of mass destruction to an organization like Al Qaida, and the harm they inflicted on us with airplanes would be multiplied greatly by weapons of mass destruction.

(And this is pretty special:)

But as we learned in the same report I quoted, Saddam Hussein was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions.

(One minute later…)

Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working.

(Huh? Why was he trying to get rid of them if they weren’t working? Oh never mind.)

BREAKING NEWS: Mark Racicot just said to Bob Kerrey on CNN’s Larry King, that the troops put up the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Holy crap! Kerrey lit into him like a pit bull. Lovely.

To continue on with my fave GWBush quotes:

First of all, we didn't find out he didn't have weapons until we got there, and my opponent thought he had weapons and told everybody he thought he had weapons.

And I recognize I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country.

I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft.

When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you.

First, the National Journal named Senator Kennedy the most liberal senator of all.

And you're right, I haven't vetoed any spending bills, because we work together.

(One minute later…)

Well, look at the budget. One is make sure Congress doesn't overspend.

Is my time up yet?

I've got a plan to increase the wetlands by 3 million. (3 million whats?)

The quality of the air's cleaner since I've been the president.

I own a timber company?

And so, I don't think the Patriot Act abridges your rights at all.

I had to make the decision to destroy more life, so we continue to destroy life -- I made the decision to balance science and ethics.

I'm not telling. I really don't have -- haven't picked anybody yet. Plus, I want them all voting for me.

Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights.

The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.

Now, you asked what mistakes. I made some mistakes in appointing people, but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to hurt their feelings on national TV.

The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, And the world would be a lot better off.

‘Nuff said, ya think?

What goes up, must come down...

Take the big differentials with a grain of salt. They are likely the result of an active Left internet presence. The ones in the 40-50% range are probably closer to the truth. But still, it’s kinda cool to see this much activity from our side.

Here’s some instant analysis from CBS:

Pundits: Bush Mad, Kerry composed

Fierce from the outset, Sen. John Kerry and President Bush pulled few punches in their second debate Friday night in St. Louis. Experts interviewed immediately following the head-to-head contest spoke to the style, the nuance of character and the unspoken gestures that often sway voters.

Though Mr. Bush was more composed than in last week's first presidential debate, all agreed his tone was sometimes antagonistic and he again appeared uncomfortable being challenged. Kerry, on the other hand, was viewed as measured and articulate. However, none of the experts touted a clear winner.

Here are some early results from DailyKos:


12% Bush
87% Kerry

SUSA Polls

Colorado (511 adults who watched entire debate)

42% Bush
41% Kerry
16% No Clear Winner

California (510 adults who watched entire debate)

38% Bush
48% Kerry
13% No Clear Winner

Oregon (532 adults who watched entire debate)

38% Bush
47% Kerry
15% No Clear Winner

Washington (498 adults who watched debate in full)

36% Bush
49% Kerry
14% No Clear Winner


31% Bush
69% Kerry


44% Kerry
41% Bush

And then more results:

From Political Strategy:

Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 69%
Bush: 31%

CNN (Scroll Down to 'Quick Vote')
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 78%
Bush: 20%

CNN America Votes (This is different from the on above. Vote in both!)
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 87%
Bush: 12%

CBS News
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 88%
Bush: 11%

Fox News (Scroll Down)
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 51%
Bush: 48%

Boston Globe
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 87%
Bush: 10%

Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 51%
Bush: 49%

Yahoo News
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 64%
Bush: 33%

Campaigns and Elections
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 64%
Bush: 35%

MS. Magazine
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 74%
Bush: 26%

Online Polls in Swing States (Hit em Hard!)

Tampa Bay Online
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 89%
Bush: 10%

Denver Post
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 23%
Bush: 68%

Rocky Mountain News
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 95%
Bush: 5%

KOLO TV Reno, NV (Scroll Down)
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 91%
Bush: 9%

Asheville Citizen-Times, NC (Scroll Down - This link has been fixed)
Ongoing Poll Results
Kerry: 87%
Bush: 13%

ABC News Debate Poll

(Debate reaction poll - not an online poll)

Who won the debate?
Kerry: 44%
Bush: 41%

CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup debate reaction poll (not an online poll)

Who won the debate?
Kerry: 47%
Bush: 45%

How many people perceive the following candidate more favorably as a result of the debate?
Kerry: 38%
Bush: 31%

Some early Fair And Balanced (actually!) from the Gang of Fox, also from DailyKos:

Mort Kondracke: "... I think Kerry won this debate as he won the first debate I don't think... I thought that Kerry was much more aggressive and the president was basically on the defense and didn't have new arguments didn't have...wasn't as facile as he should have been." [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]

Bill Kristol: "I guess I think if you think the President was doing okay and didn't need a win in this debate, he did fine, but I think, if one thinks that Bush missed an awful lot of opportunities to go after Kerry in the first debate he had to make some of them up in this debate, I'm not sure he really succeeded in doing so." [Fox New Channel, 10/8/04]

Brit Hume: "Is it now fair to say that in each of these debates in terms of marshaling arguments, and remembering them and presenting them that this is something John Kerry has proved he is very good at. And that it doesn't play to the president's strong suit." [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]

Mort Kondracke: "I thought [Kerry] was very effective. I thought that he was also on the attack a lot and frankly I thought that the President seemed to be on the defense a lot and trying to explain things and not explaining them all that well." [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]

Tim Russert: "John Kerry, also, energetic, forceful." [NBC, 10/8/04)

Jonah Goldberg: "On the question of whether Bush did everything he needed to tonight, I don't think so. I think he helped himself, but Kerry leaves these debates energized." [National Review Online, 10/8/04]

Mark Shields: "He just absolutely, I thought, demolished the President's claims about the coalition in Iraq." [PBS, 10/8/04]

James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly: [Kerry's best moment] "I think his best moment was at the series of new lines. Again like this Missouri line of saying that that I was able to do with some of my votes in the Senate what you have failed to do, which is balance the budget, so I think it was the general vividness of his approach." [CBS, 10/8/04]

Perry Bacon: "I actually was struck that Kerry was pretty strong, I thought, in the foreign policy section, actually, and sort of hit the president hard on that." [CNN, 10/8/04]

Seems that the consensus seems to be that our guy won. GWBush has had two chances now, and I’m really curious to see what he tries next. Witchcraft? Voodoo? That ol’ black magic?

We’ll see. Regardless, the sycophants will be happy, the more reasoned advisors will be much more nervous, and GWBush will probably say “Whaddaya mean I was yelling? I DON’T YELL!"

Friday, October 08, 2004


Lies, lies, you're tellin' me that you'll be true
Lies, lies, That's all I ever hear from you (
The Knickerbockers)

More good news for GWBush today:
Associated Press:

A lackluster unemployment report and fresh questions about President Bush's rationale for invading Iraq frame the second face-to-face encounter Friday night between Bush and Sen. John Kerry.

A final report from the chief U.S. weapons hunter in Iraq concluded that Saddam Hussein had no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons, had no programs to make either them or nuclear bombs, and had little ability - or immediate plans - to revive those programs.

The findings contradicted Bush's main rationale for going to war, and Kerry charged the commander in chief with purposely exaggerating the evidence in the run-up to the invasion. "You don't make up or find reasons to go to war after the fact," Kerry said Thursday in Colorado.

Let's take this train of thought a little further down the tracks.

Here's Krugman today:

I first used the word "Orwellian" to describe the Bush team in October 2000. Even then it was obvious thatGeorge W. Bush surrounds himself with people who insist that up is down, and ignorance is strength. But the full costs of his denial of reality are only now becoming clear.

How did the occupation of Iraq go so wrong? (The security situation has deteriorated to the point where there are no safe places: a bomb was discovered on Tuesday in front of a popular restaurant inside the Green Zone.)

The insulation of officials from reality is central to the story. They wanted to believe Ahmad Chalabi's promises that we'd be welcomed with flowers; nobody could tell them different. They wanted to believe - months after everyone outside the administration realized that we were facing a large, dangerous insurgency and needed more troops - that the attackers were a handful of foreign terrorists and Baathist dead-enders; nobody could tell them different.

Why did the economy perform so badly? Long after it was obvious to everyone outside the administration that the tax-cut strategy wasn't an effective way of creating jobs, administration officials kept promising huge job gains, any day now. Nobody could tell them different.

It's the spin, stupid. Then this item from Reuters:

Times: U.S. Details Plan to Quell Iraq Insurgency

U.S. military and civilian officials have identified 20 to 30 towns and cities in Iraq (news - web sites) that must be pacified before nationwide elections can be held in January, The New York Times reported Friday.

Civilians involved in the process also told the Times that the new approach was formulated in part to counter criticism from President Bush's Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry , that the administration has no plan for Iraq.

Atrios has more about this, well worth reading:

Call Them Out

Is the media ever going to hold these people accountable for making military decisions and releasing terror alerts for political purposes? They're not even trying to hide it anymore. Could anything be more outrageous? I don't think the Rude Pundit is rude enough sometime.

Sometime's it's literally too much to believe. Lots of other folks have debunked Uncle Nasty's whoppers from the debate the other night, so I won;t go there. But please, people, keep this stuff in mind.

Let others know.

The truth will set you, and them, free.