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Friday, October 29, 2004

"I hope George Bush can hear that — that is the rumble of change comin' at him!"
– John Kerry at a rally of 80,000+ in Madison, Wis. yesterday.

THIS IS IT: Closing Argument
Well, it's just about time for all this silliness to end. I've been desperately trying to come up with a way to end this thing, but frankly, I'm at a loss for words at this point... oh, who am I kidding?? I have a few more things to say... excuse me while I rant one last time.

The reasons to vote against Bush next Tuesday are too numerous to summarize into one post, in fact, there are at least 1,000 reasons. But since Iraq and the War on Terror, which are not the same thing by the way, seem to be the overriding concerns amongst the voting public, let's just concentrate on those issues.

It's important to realize that many of us who are voting for Kerry aren't necessarily against the War on Terror. Despite what the Bush camp wants the masses to believe, we do realize there are 'evil-doers' out there intending to do us harm and that we have to fight them. No, what we have concerns about is how that war has been waged. What's even more important to realize is that this is John Kerry's position too. The Bush people have made a concerted effort to paint Kerry as some flower-wearing, tree-hugging, Fonda-loving hippie who will yank our troops out immediately and abandon the war on terror altogether. This is simply not true.

That said, let's just assume for a minute that the US incursion into Iraq is a just war and that it is essential in the war on terror, (both claims that I disagree with by the way). But assuming that, shouldn't we at least hold Bush accountable for fucking it up so badly?

Whether you agree or don't agree that the Iraq war was a necessary fight in the War on Terror, you can't argue that this misadventure has been nothing but one giant fuck-up after another. You just can't. Can anyone imagine what the Republicans would be doing right now if Al Gore or any Democrat had been responsible for all of this?? They would not only have impeached him by now, they probably would've strung him up by his ankles on the Mall in DC and ordered the citizenry to pummel him with stones. Bill Clinton was almost impeached over a fucking blow job!

I just don't understand how anyone, in good conscience, can support this guy. I'd love to hear a good reason from a Bush supporter, but I haven't yet. In fact, most people who support Bush seem to be doing so out of blind faith, not logic. Most of them are also completely misinformed. A recent survey revealed that three out of four Bush supporters still believe Iraq had WMDs and that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda. And 42% of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. And how is this possible? Because this is how the Bush administration wants it. They know that if people knew the facts, they'd be out on their ears faster than you can say "incompetence."

I don't feel safe. I'm frightened to death by this president's stubborn, fundamentalist, simplistic, black-and-white mentality. If you feel safe, consider this: The Bush administration granted $50 million to the investigation of the space shuttle Columbia disaster, yet only $3 million to the 9/11 Commission's investigation into the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history. These people fought tooth and nail against the creation of that very commission, and we still don't know why. The Bush cabal isn't interested in living in the world; they're interested in owning it. Four more years of these people, without the fear of being voted out, would be an absolute disaster – no matter how low your taxes go.

The Bush administration isn't fighting so hard for re-election because they care about the people. They are running for their own lives. They are fighting to protect their own legacies. They know that if they lose next Tuesday, the house will come tumbling down. All their lies, their cover-ups and their misleads will be revealed. They need four more years to clean up the mess they've made so they won't go down in the history books as the most corrupt, crooked and incompetent administration in history. That's why they're fighting so hard. They're not fighting for you, their fighting for themselves.

Am I willing to make a wager on who's going to win? No f'ing way. The only thing I know for certain, is that we won't know who won come November 3rd. Remember Florida 2000? I think we can count on at least three identical battles post vote-count in 2004. Let's say Ohio, Michigan and yes, Florida once again. Thousands of lawyers are already on the ground in key swing states. Election monitors have been brought in from foreign countries. More than 58,000 ballots have gone missing in Florida. They're talking about dangling chads in Ohio. It's already begun. Democrats have been accused of fraudulently signing up new voters (sometimes in exchange for crack!) in efforts to turn out the vote, while Republicans have been accused of suppressing voters in an effort to turn them away (shredding votes in Nevada, "caging" black voters in Jacksonville). Apparently, as Don Rumsfeld once said, Democracy really is messy.

And with that disturbing and uncertain thought, we bid a final farewell to this seemingly never-ending election season. We'll miss the tears, the laughter, the pandering, and of course, all that hypocrisy. We'll miss the bulges, the wood, and the Internets. We'll miss the goose hunts, the wolves and the windsurfing. We'll miss the Michael Moores, the Zell Millers, the Jon Stewarts. We'll miss the McCain conundrum, the Dan Rather embarrassment and the Shove-it Ketchup Queen. We'll miss Arnold's love of Nixon, Rudy's shameless exploitation of 9/11, and Clinton's inability to stay out of the spotlight. We'll miss Mary Cheney's silence, Alexandra Kerry's boobies and the Bush Twins. We'll miss P.Diddy's "Vote or Die" and Bruce Springsteen's "Vote for Change." We'll miss the NASCAR Dads, the Security Moms and those ever-present undecideds. We'll even miss those zany Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And we won't ever forget Poland.

But most people, I suspect, are just plain sick of it all and will be happy when it's all over... whenever that is. And frankly, as much as I love this shit, I could use a break too. I'll be happy, no matter who wins, to unchain myself from this blog for a little while. (My girlfriend will be happy too, I think she's forgotten what I look like. Don't worry babe, it's almost over.)

I'm headed down to DC this weekend for what is, hopefully, one last gander at George W. Bush's temporary residence. Perhaps I should bring him some parting gifts, a bouquet of balloons, some chocolates, or maybe a bag full of pretzels. I'm not sure about that, but there is one thing I'll certainly be giving Mr. Bush while I'm down there standing in front of the White House lawn: A one-finger wave goodbye.

So long George, we'll be happy when you're gone... and please take your Dick with you when you go, ok?

Read This:
100 Facts and 1 Opinion (more 'must-reads' on the right)

New York Times Election Guide.
Wanna Help?
Get out the vote!

"Extending the war into Iraq would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Exceeding the U.N.'s mandate would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land." – From "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" by George Bush [Sr.] and Brent Scowcroft, Time Magazine, 1998

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality...we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." - A senior Bush adviser, to writer Ron Suskind. Read more here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The last four years have been tough on the country. A lot of folks out there are having a hard time getting by. But one thing has certainly thrived through four years of George W. Bush. Economic prosperity? Nope. Diplomatic integrity? Uh, no. Environmental progressivism? Yeahhh, no. The only thing that has seen a serious boom in the last four years has been satire. But with less than a week to go until E-Day, the nation's comedians and satirists are in trouble. They're panicking. They don't want to lose him. The guy is pure comedic gold. That said, we better enjoy the laughs now, because in a few more weeks, this may all seem like stale material.
Vote. November 2.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Remember back in April 2003, just after American tanks rolled into Baghdad, how up in arms all of us crazy liberals were about the chaotic looting erupting throughout Iraq? Our biggest concern then was that irreplaceable archaeological treasures were being stolen. Don Rumsfeld responded back then with a shrug and said, "democracy's messy." Ahhhh, the good 'ol days. Turns out, the art museums weren't the only things left unprotected:

"Nearly 380 tons of explosives are missing from a site near Baghdad that was part of Saddam Hussein's dismantled atom bomb program but was never secured by the U.S. military, the United Nations said Monday."
Oops. The New York Times was the first to break the story this morning and provided a little perspective as to how much explosive material we're talking about here: "The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material." Folks, we're talking about 760,000 pounds of this stuff now unaccounted for. If only these munitions had been stored in one of Iraq's oil ministries, then maybe they would've been protected.

UPDATE, 10/27:
The GOP spin machine has been in hyperdrive since the missing Al Qaqaa weapons story broke. At first, even though they've known about it for months, the Bushies feigned 'shock and awe' and promised to "get to the bottom of this." They then began offering up a litany of deflections and blame. They blamed the Iraqis, the UN, the liberal media and finally, John Kerry. Bush said today, "A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief." And what about a commander in chief who jumps to war without knowing all the facts?

No matter what spin the Republicans try to put on this, this incident reeks of mismanagement. If the commanders of this invasion were so certain that Iraq had WMD, why didn't they make every effort to secure the borders? You'd think that the administration's top priority would've been to prevent WMD and weapons like the ones at Al Qaqaa from being carted off to Syria, Iran or god knows where - isn't that what we went to war to prevent in the first place? They knew about this massive weapons cache before the invasion, so why not do everything possible to secure it? They should've been monitoring this constantly to prevent the worse from happening: losing track of them altogether.

In response to all this, John Kerry had the following words for President Bush: "Your administration was warned, you were put on notice but you didn't put these explosives on priority lists, you didn't think it was important. You didn't give the troops the instructions they need, you didn't guard the ammunition dumps and now our troops are at greater risk." Bush responded: "The senator is denigrating the action of our troops and commanders in the field." No sir, actually, Kerry's comments are denigrating your leadership, not the troops.

Frankly, all this spin smells like a bunch of Qaqaa to me.

UPDATE, 10/28:
Hey Bush, you wanna know what denigrating the troops sounds like?
"No matter how you try and blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops who were there. Did they search carefully enough, didn't they search carefully enough?" - Rudy Giuliani, stumping for Bush on the Today Show, October 28, 2004
Now that's what I call denigrating the troops, way to go Rudy!

Think the Bush administration is doing a good job of keeping us safe?
Iraq War fuels recruits for al Qaeda
Iraq War Stimulated World Terrorism
Misunderestimating Terrorism

FYI: Joshua Marshall over at Talking Points has been all over the
Al Qaqaa story.

Endorsements don't always mean that much, their impact is suspect at best. For example, when the New York Times endorses John Kerry, it really isn't a surprise. And when the New York Post touts Bush as their man, most people simply roll their eyes. But sometimes, certain voices rise above the partisan din that should raise a few eyebrows:

American Conservative Magazine's Executive Editor Scott McConnell
"Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation’s children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy."

John Eisenhower, son of Republican President Dwight D. Eisnehower
"I celebrate, along with other Americans, the diversity of opinion in this country. But let it be based on careful thought. I urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, to avoid voting for a ticket merely because it carries the label of the party of one’s parents or of our own ingrained habits."

Mother Jones interviews four prominent conservatives
"I wouldn't use the title, "Worse than Watergate," if I didn't truly believe that what's happening in this presidency is far worse than anything that did happen during the Nixon presidency." - John Dean, former counsel to Richard Nixon

Bush on Bush Crime: "Please, don't vote for our cousin!"

Bush's Hometown Turns on Him: The Crawford Iconoclast
"The Iconoclast urges Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country. The Iconoclast wholeheartedly endorses John Kerry."

High Times: Help, I'm Stoned, Who Should I Vote For?
"Every dollar the Bush administration has spent on television ads blaming pot smokers for 9/11, or paying Tommy Chong's rent, is one less dollar spent to secure a port, put body armor on a soldier, or hunt down Osama Bin Laden."

Ok, so this last one isn't all that surprising, but it's a more entertaining read than any of the other ones. I just wish the writer hadn't wandered off into that tangent about the merits of the Twinkie halfway through. Mmmmmmm, Twinkies.

In the interest of fair and balanced bloggerism, I must also report some of the various endorsements received by the incumbent. Have no fear Bush supporters, not all Voices are against your man. In addition to support from La Cosa Nostra here at home, Bush has picked up a couple choice endorsements from abroad:

Bush Receives Endorsement from Iran
"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."

Yep, it sure is a good thing Bush is so tough on all those evil-doers!

Kremlin Expressing Support for Bush
"To believe that under Bush, Putin will have carte blanche — 'Do what you want inside Russia' — is unrealistic," Lukyanov said. "But Bush is far less concerned by the question of democracy in Russia than Kerry."

Hey, isn’t that funny? Bush isn't concerned with democracy here in America either!

More Conservative Endorsements for Kerry:
George Will, arch-conservative
"Why Conservatives Must Not Vote For Bush" by Doug Bandow
"Going to War in Iraq was a Mistake" by Rep Doug Bereuter (R-Neb)
Tim Ashby, lifelong Republican
Elmer Anderson, Republican Governor of Minnesota (61-63)

Endorsement Roundups:
Kos keeps score: The media, the military, scientists, economists, etc.
Republicans for Kerry collection from Kos.
Editor and Publisher's daily tally of
newspaper endorsements.
Doonesbury's Honest Voices Series.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

President Bush, from an interview with Sean Hannity:

"Whether or not we can be ever fully safe is up -- you know, is up in the air. I would hope we could make it a lot more safe by staying on the offensive."
Up in the air? What happened to Bush's legendary certainty? His resolute nature? Boy, you add this comment to some of his other recent whoppers and it's hard to understand how anyone could reward this guy with four more years. Remember, these are recent, so it's not like he's getting any smarter:

October 24: "I wouldn't discount Michigan. I wouldn't discount the influence of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and New Mexico. I think this race is a nonpredictable race."

The president, prior to the Iraq invasion, as revealed by Pat Robertson on
October 21: "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

October 16: “After standing on the stage, after the debates, I made it very plain we will not have an all-volunteer army.” Listen to it here.

Debate #3: "Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama Bin Laden. That's kind of one of those - exaggerations." Proven false

Debate #2: "Need
some wood?" and "I hear there's rumors on the, uh, Internets."

October 6: "America saw two very different visions of our country and two different hairdos. I didn't pick my vice president for his hairdo." Yes,
he did say that.

Debate #1: "You
forgot Poland."

September 23: "I saw a poll that said the 'right track-wrong track' in Iraq was better than here in America." TDS:
Escape From Mess-o-potamia.

September 17: "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat."

September 13: "Saddam Hussein paid the families of suiciders."

September 7: "Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to
practice their love with women all across this country."

September 4: "That's why I went to the Congress last September and proposed fundamental -- supplemental funding, which is money for armor and body parts and ammunition and fuel."

August 5: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." Listen

And just to spread the did-he-really-just-say-that? juice around, the interview with Hannity also contained the following exchange:
Hannity: "Is it a reality that we could turn on our television sets one day, Fox News Channel I hope, and find out that America is ... that a nuclear weapon has gone off here?"

Bush: "Yes it is."
Good to see Hannity has his priorities in mind: Ratings. It almost sounds as though he's rooting for the apocalypse. What a dick. It's also good to see Bush staying on message. That message? Scare the shit out of everyone.

More Dubyaspeak.
Play a game with Bush's brain!

Friday, October 22, 2004

We've all been waiting for it. We all know its coming. Within the next week, something big will happen to shake up the campaign (aka: the 'October Surprise'). For months, Kerry supporters have feared whatever trick(s) Karl Rove has up his sleeve. Will they roll out Osama? Will they put us back on Code Orange? Could the Sinclair "documentary" being force-fed to a quarter of our nation's television stations be the best 'surprise' they can muster? I doubt it.

I've already placed my bet, previously predicting that top terrorist Abu Masad al Zarqawi would be nabbed within the next week, but I want to know what you think. Yes, it's time to get a little interactive. Take a look at the list of potential surprises below and then indicate, via the "comment" button at the end of this post, which one you think will happen before November 2. Or, you can write your own surprise. I promise, all votes will be counted... and then recounted, and recounted again, dismissed if you're African American, shredded in secret, recounted one more time and ultimately decided by Chief Justice Scalia whenever he gets back from his duck-hunting trip.

What Do You Think the October Surprise will be?
1. Bush drags Osama bin Laden out into the Rose Garden on a chain, makes him dance like a monkey and then snaps his neck triumphantly.
2. WMDs found in the trunk of Dick Cheney's Suburban.
3. The GOP attack machine expose Jack and Emma Edwards to be coked-up dope fiends.
4. Florida flattened by another hurricane. Bush blames al Qaeda.
5. Terror alert hits Orange, Tom Ridge tells us to be afraid... be very afraid.
6. Terror alert hits Red, election canceled. Bush named King of the land for all eternity.
7. Bush reveals himself to be Jesus.
8. Bush reveals Kerry to be Osama.
9. Mary Cheney announces her engagement to Alexandra Kerry.
10. Kerry re-enlists, heads to Baghdad for some action.
11. John McCain can't take it any longer, beats the snot out of Bush at a rally in Racine.
12. Bush replaces Cheney on the ticket with Britney Federline.
13. Don Rumsfeld gets fired. (yeah, right!)
14. The Bush twins enlist, head to Iraq.
15. Saddam Hussein traded to the Kansas City Royals for Joe Randa, Darrell May and a player to be named later. And cash.
16. Bush will catch the flu, steal his mother's vaccine.
17. The Red Sox will beat the Yankees. oh, wait...
18. Bush attacked by pretzel, slips into coma, wins on sympathy.
19. Bush dons a flight suit and... no, wait, that didn't work the first time.
20. Osama found in China. Oh god, this may have already happened.

Conspiracies, yayyyyyy!

Look, more October Surprise Fun!
Submit your own at NameTheOctoberSurprise.com.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

'Drilling for fear, makes the job simple.' – Bushleaguer, Pearl Jam

We heard a lot about fear this week. For the Kerry campaign, bringing to light the scare tactics used by the Bush camp is nothing new, but this week, the Bushies fought back. Yes, the official party of bogeyman everywhere attempted to turn the tables on John Kerry. In an interview with the AP, Bush said his challenger was using "shameless scare tactics" when Kerry hinted at the possibility of a draft and cuts in Social Security. In nearly the same breath, Bush then said: "We've got to be mindful that one of the tactics of the enemy has been to attack during an election." That same day, Chief Bogeyman Dick Cheney's comments inspired this headline: "Veep: Dems Could Get You Nuked." Who's scaring who??

A recent CNN/Time poll revealed that 59 percent of Americans believe the Biblical prophecies of the end of the world will come true, and of that, an astonishing 17 percent believe the world will end within their lifetime. Ten years ago, that number was 1 percent. Do you really think people are having apocalyptic visions because of John Kerry's policies on Social Security? Or do you think maybe it's a trickle-down effect of George Bush's own good-vs.-evil, bible-thumping rhetoric? As Emil Guillermo asked recently, "Which is more terrifying to you -- Bush and his Christian jihad, or John Kerry, the former altar boy who knows there's a difference between running for pope and campaigning for president?"

Don't let the bogeymen scare you. Vote with your head, not your paranoia.

'It's the end of the world as we know it... and I feel fine. – REM'

Speaking of scary, check out the Bush campaign's latest ad:
If you vote for Kerry, WOLVES will eat your children!

The Wolves Howl Back:
"George W. Bush incorrectly labelled my wolfpack as a terrorist threat. We are NOT terrorists."

Wolfpacks For Truth support John Kerry.

Last week, The Guardian, a left-leaning newspaper in the UK, launched "Operation Clark County," a letter-writing campaign designed to give Brits a chance to participate in the US presidential election. The logic was simple: Since the policies of the United States have such a massive effect on the rest of the world, why shouldn't the world have a say? The Guardian didn't tell readers what to write or what candidate to support, they simply supplied the tools for readers to send letters to voters in Clark County, Ohio, at the heart of one of the most crucial swing states. Seems like an innocent enough effort, right? Wrong. US voters responded en masse to the Guardian's effort, and they didn't respond kindly. Here now, a sampling of the US response to Operation Clark County:

Have you not noticed that Americans don't give two shits what Europeans think of us? Each email someone gets from some arrogant Brit telling us why to NOT vote for George Bush is going to backfire, you stupid, yellow-toothed pansies ... I don't give a rat's ass if our election is going to have an effect on your worthless little life. I really don't. If you want to have a meaningful election in your crappy little island full of shitty food and yellow teeth, then maybe you should try not to sell your sovereignty out to Brussels and Berlin, dipshit. Oh, yeah - and brush your goddamned teeth, you filthy animals.
- Wading River, NY

Consider this: stay out of American electoral politics. Unless you would like a company of US Navy Seals - Republican to a man - to descend upon the offices of the Guardian, bag the lot of you, and transport you to Guantanamo Bay, where you can share quarters with some lonely Taliban shepherd boys.
- United States

Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions. If you want to save the world, begin with your own worthless corner of it.
- Texas

Please be advised that I have forwarded this to the CIA and FBI.
- United States

- United States
Boy, it's a good thing Bush backers don't denigrate our allies the way John Kerry does!

Read all the responses here.
Read a slightly more articulate response here.

A little over a week ago, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of nearly a quarter of the nation's broadcast television stations, announced it would be forcing it's outlets to pre-empt primetime broadcasts to air a documentary entitled "Stolen Honor," an anti-Kerry documentary worthy of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth status. Sinclair is an out-in-the-open bastion of conservatism (97% of its political contributions have gone to the GOP), to the point that they almost make FOX News seem fair and balanced.

The company's chairman, Mark Hyman, defended his company's decision to air the slanted film by claiming that the story is news: "Would they suggest that our reporting a car bomb in Iraq is an in-kind contribution to the Kerry campaign?" said Hyman. Problem is, Sinclair has done everything possible to suppress that type of "negative" reporting (i.e. the truth), including a refusal to air a Nightline episode last spring that featured a solemn reading of all the names of soldiers killed in Iraq. Sinclair deemed the show unpatriotic... you know, because honoring and recognizing the troops is the work of commies.

After Democrats and watchdogs cried foul, a long protracted battle featuring charges of firing of an employee who spoke out against the company's plans, a lawsuit against Sinclair by a veteran featured in the film, and a massive drop in Sinclair's stock price, Sinclair amended its plans and instead will air only portions of the documentary on its stations tomorrow night.

The most important thing to take from all of this is not that Sinclair was forced to partially back down, but that they tried to get away with it in the first place. This is indicative of how Republicans and their supporters (i.e. corporate media, big pharma, the NRA, etc.) operate. Simply put, they're weasels.

In terms of media manipulation, the GOP is insanely brilliant. This is a party that produces Video News Releases (i.e. commercials) supporting its policies and then airs them as though they are legitimate news pieces In another excellent article, Frank Rich offers up an analysis of the Bush administration's intimidation policies with regard to the media, elevating it above even the Nixon White House's infamous media tactics:

Though 9/11 prompted Ari Fleischer's first effort to warn the media to "watch what they say," it's failure in Iraq that has pushed the Bush administration over the edge. It was when Operation Iraqi Freedom was bogged down early on that it spun the fictional saga of Jessica Lynch. It's when the percentage of Americans who felt it was worth going to war in Iraq fell to 50 percent in the Sept. 2003 Gallup poll, down from 73 that April, that identically worded letters "signed" by different soldiers mysteriously materialized in 11 American newspapers, testifying that security for Iraq's citizens had been "largely restored." The legal harassment of the press, like the Republican party's Web-driven efforts to discredit specific journalists even at non-CBS networks, has escalated in direct ratio to the war's decline in support.

It appears as though the only areas in which this administration doesn't exude absolute incompetence is deception and spin – they excel in those disciplines. They insult our intelligence with these tactics. They think we're stupid. Let's not let them get away with it.

Must Read: Will We Need a New 'All the President's Men'? - by Frank Rich.

"All Empires Must Fall"

That headline appeared in the New York Post this morning - I hope they're prepared to use it again in 12 days.

One Evil Empire down, one to go.

Go Sox. Go Kerry.

Red Sox for Dems, Yanks for GOP
The Sports Guy: The Nation's Independence Day

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I seriously think the president is beginning to crack from the pressure of this campaign. Check out some of the gems from this Reuters interview today:

On his debate performances:
"All I know is, in my judgment, on policy, I won the debate. Here's the definition of winning debates: The definition of who wins debates is who wins the election."

Too bad even your own campaign has essentially conceded defeat in the debates. Under this logic, John Kerry should be feeling pretty comfortable right about now.

On Iraqi elections:
"I believe that there will be elections throughout Iraq. That's certainly the intention of the Iraqi government. Prime Minister (Iyad) Allawi told me that."

Mr. Allawi also told the president that storks deliver babies, Santa Claus is a real person, and God invented the Internets... all of 'em.

On why voters will stick with him:
"Because they know I have a plan to win the war on terror, a real plan, and they've seen what we've done on the economy. This economy is getting strong and getting stronger."

You forgot about how it's turning the corner too. And, uh, freedom is on the march. Yeah, that sounds good too, use it!

On why our kids are dying in Iraq:
"Zarqawi is a terrorist. We are fighting Mr. Zarqawi in Iraq. My opponent seems to think that if we were not fighting in Iraq, he would become a peaceful citizen. Zarqawi would be plotting, planning, ready to strike. He must be defeated there, so we do not face him here."

Wait, so now we went to Iraq to take out Zarqawi? That's a new one. And I'm not even going to comment on W's absurd assumption that Kerry would just ignore Zarqawi.

By the way, lots of attention lately on this Zarqawi character, wonder why?
PREDICTION: The capture of Zarqawi will come within the next week, i.e. The October Surprise. Don't be surprised by it.

President Bush, in Daytona Beach, Fla. on Saturday:

“My opponent seems to be willing to say almost anything he thinks will benefit him politically,” he said. “After standing on the stage, after the debates, I made it very plain we will not have an all-volunteer army.”
These presidential malapropisms, which I believe is Greek for 'fuck-up,' used to be kind of cute, kind of funny... but they're really starting to worry me now.

The complete Bushisms.
Our president in action: Daily Show: Escape From Mesopotamia

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

This past Sunday, the New York Times Magazine published a profile of George W. Bush that should scare the bejeezus out of anybody but the most devout evangelical Christians. I touched on the president's Messianic leanings in a recent entry, but this story by Ron Suskind lays it out in frightening detail. In short, it paints Bush as a determined fundamentalist with an unwavering belief in his mission and a total disregard for alternative views.
''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts, he truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence. But you can't run the world on faith.''
This is a revealing read no matter what side you're on, and if you're still undecided, this is a MUST read... (and by the way, how can you still be undecided??). If the story wasn't true, it would be hilarious. Instead, it's just plain scary. While the entire piece is filled with fascinating detail, including W's Nordic confusion*, what's most important to remember is this:
A senior Bush adviser: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality...we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Downright Orwellian that is. These guys have got to go.

Read the entire story.

* The President Has a Swedish Army Knife.
The president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region.

(Congressman Tom) Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall: ''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.'' Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.'' The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

This week, as mentioned in the above post, there's been a lot of focus on Ron Suskind's New York Times Magazine profile of George W. Bush. Last week, however, it was Kerry's turn in the pages of the NYT Magazine. From that lengthy piece most of us only heard the part about Kerry wishing to return to the days when terrorism was regarded like other "nuisances" such as gambling and prostitution, primarily because the Republican spin machine seized on the comment, twisted it and shouted it from the rooftops. In a piece titled, "Addicted to 9/11," Thomas Friedman offered up a thoughtful analysis of Kerry's statement and of the Republican reaction:
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the president and vice president slamming John Kerry for saying that he hopes America can eventually get back to a place where “terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.” The idea that President Bush and Mr. Cheney would declare such a statement to be proof that Mr. Kerry is unfit to lead actually says more about them than Mr. Kerry. Excuse me, I don’t know about you, but I dream of going back to the days when terrorism was just a nuisance in our lives.
Friedman's piece is most likely being derided by right-wing critics as unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky, pre-Sept. 11th thinking, but what's wrong with longing for a day when we aren't motivated solely by fear, the greatest weapon in this administration's vast arsenal of dirty tricks?

A fellow blogger over at Articulate Babble breaks down the Bush administration's Orwellian leanings here. 1984? Looks like Mr. Orwell, who is looking more the genius every day, was off by only about 20 years.

Last week, during the final debate, Bush was asked what he would say to one of the nation's millions of unemployed workers. His answer? Get an education. With that advice in mind, we'd like to offer the president a few suggestions for what he might do come November 3rd:

Bob Jones University (You'll definitely fit in here.)
Dodge City Community College (Bonus, they don't teach evolution in Kansas!)
Liberty University (I'm sure Falwell will welcome you with open arms.)
Central Alabama Community College (Check out their "I Can Learn" Labs.)
Transpacific Hawaii College (Go to class or surf - your choice!)
Hawkeye Community College (More than you can imagine...)
Finger Lakes Community College (sorry George, it's not nearly as dirty as it sounds.)
Western Texas College (close to the Ranch, whoo hoo!)

Don't worry George, just this week your Treasury Secretary John Snow said the nation's unemployment problem was nothing but a "myth," so you'll probably be fine.

Monday, October 18, 2004

By now, we all know that the upcoming election is the most important election of our generation, that point has been repeatedly drilled into us for months. And so, with a soaring deficit and record unemployment staring us in the face, and our sons and daughters bogged down in the "catastrophic success" that is Iraq, what are we talking about two weeks from election day? Flu shots and lesbians. Unbelievable. Dick Cheney is an "angry father," Lynne Cheney is an "indignant mother," and John Kerry is "not a good man." And of course, conservative pundits have seized on John Kerry's ill-conceived outing of Dick Cheney's gay daughter at last week's final debate as a "cheap and tawdry" campaign tactic.

With all the issues at stake in this election, this is what we're talking about - and it's no accident. The Bush camp would have you believe that we're talking about it because John Kerry crossed a line, but the only reason the subject of homosexuality was breeched in the first place is because Bush has explicitly come out in support of a completely unnecessary Constitutional amendment that essentially supports gay-bashing, a total wedge issue designed to divide the electorate and solidify support from the far right. There's no other reason to even be talking about this. The whole issue of gay marriage is a cheap and tawdry campaign tactic, introduced by none other than George W. Bush.

Hell, the Bush team invented cheap and tawdry campaign tricks. This is the team that spread a rumor in the 2000 primaries that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child (he and his wife adopted a child from Bangladesh, for shame!). This is the team that called Vietnam vet and triple amputee Max Cleland unpatriotic and compared him to Osama bin Laden to win a congressional seat. This is the team that wants you to believe John Kerry once had a menage-a-trois with Jane Fonda and Ho Chi Minh. This is the team of Karl Rove, an evil, evil bastard, (and if you don't how evil, read this).

Yes, Kerry didn't need to mention Mary Cheney by name, but aren't there more important things to be focusing on? Yes, there are. But the Bush campaign doesn't want to talk about those issues; they'd rather attack their opponent and feign disgust at his actions, hoping that some voter will change his vote simply because Lynne Cheney's feelings were hurt. Shouldn't an incumbent be focusing on all the good he's done over the past four years? Alarm bells should be going off amongst the American electorate because the Bush team is basing its reelection strategy on attacking Kerry instead of touting its successes. If Bush has done so much right (and hasn't made single mistake, mind you) how come we're not talking about it? No, the Bushies would rather you vote for them because Kerry called Mary Cheney a lesbian, which, by the way, is exactly what she is.

Low Culture's coverage: There's Something About Mary.
More Gay Bashing!
Alan Keyes and Jimmy Swaggart: They're "not good" men either.

The focus of this election for months has been on the small number of "undecided" voters who will probably swing this election one way or the other. It's a scary thought considering that anyone who is undecided at this point must be, to put it mildly, a completely inattentive moron. Seriously, if you're planning to make your vote based solely on the 30-second advertisements you see while watching My Big Fat American Amish Midget Wedding Factor, please don't vote at all.

These so-called "undecideds" have achieved practical celebrity status. They are the focus of cable town hall specials and are frequent interview subjects of newspapers across the land. After the final debate last week, the New York Times spoke with a gaggle of these people to gauge their reactions. The website Low Culture then properly skewered these reactions in a piece called "Profiling the Elusive Undecided Voter," or, "When teenagers who can't vote are smarter than the nimrods who can." This is funny, trust me... although, you may be offended if you're one of those undecided 'nimrods.'

Thursday, October 14, 2004

O'Really Bill? FOX News talking head, conservative icon and morality poster boy Bill O'Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment by a female producer at FOX, and I have to admit, I'm feeling a little schadenfreude right now. O'Reilly, claiming to be the victim of a "shakedown," said in response to the woman's claims that it's "the most evil thing he's ever witnessed." Pretty strong words in a world filled with terrorists, warmongers and Celine Dion.

The Smoking Gun, an invaluable resource for this kind of thing, has all the papal visits with "hot" Italian women. He also apparently owns a vibrator... it's not clear if he's named it though. He also seems to prefer the term "boobs," as in "you have spectacular boobs," or "I would start massaging your boobs," or "I'd be rubbing your big boobs." God, what a boob he is. I'm still trying to figure out what he does with the "falafel."

Who knows if any of this is true? Who cares! It's a blast just to watch the twisted little fuck squirm. Al Franken, who O'Reilly still seems to have an obsessive hatred hard-on for, must be having a fucking field day with this!

MSNBC's Keith Olberman, via mediabistro: "...None of this, we expect, is covered in O'Reilly's new book, 'The O'Reilly Factor For Kids.' Now available at bookstores... batteries not included."

Last night's domestic issues debate? One word: Boringgggggggg. Sorry, but this one was a yawner. Nobody brought any lumber, nobody remembered Poland, and the president seemed bulge-free. It seemed as though both candidates were playing it safe, content to ride into the final three weeks of this campaign all knotted up. Therefore, no fireworks. Bush, who finally found the middle ground between disinterested and peevish (round 1) and disrespectful and angry (round 2), seemed to speak more from his heart, while Kerry seemed to speak more from his spreadsheet. The president was most impressive while speaking about abstract concepts like God and family, while Kerry sought to confuse the president with a litany of facts and figures. But nobody delivered a knockout blow, and nobody shot themselves in the foot. Damn.

As 10:30 drew near, all I could think was 'I missed six innings of the Yanks/Sox game for this?' In short, nothing changed, nothing happened. But that doesn't mean I won't spin bullshit and nit-pick the candidates peculiar peccadilloes to make it seem more exciting than it actually was. Let's try and make something of this, shall we?

Osama? Who He?
Early in the debate, Kerry brought attention to a statement the president made previously about not really caring about Osama bin Laden, you know, the guy that attacked us. Bush scoffed at this assertion: "Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama Bin Laden. That's kind of one of those - exaggerations." Well, actually Mr. President, you did. This, from March 2002: "I don't know where he [Osama] is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him. ... I truly am not that concerned about him." Kerry may exaggerate sometimes, but you sir, are the clear winner in this game. I mean, why exaggerate when you can just flat out lie? Check out the video here.

The L Word
As expected, the president rolled out that evil, evil word to slam Kerry: Liberal. I can't quite understand how this has become such a dirty word, I guess rigidity and closed-mindedness is a more valued quality among the American electorate, but, whatever. Bush's attempt to paint Kerry as a dirty liberal was no surprise. Kerry however did surprise us when he pulled an 'L' word out of the closet himself: Lesbian. Can you believe it? The vice president's daughter is apparently gay. *gasp!* I had no idea! Next thing you'll be telling me that Bill O'Reilly is some sort of sex offender... oh, wait. Sorry senator, but that was a bit unnecessary.

Bada Bing Bush
Perhaps Kerry's best line of the night was a nod to pop culture... and the mob: "Being lectured by the President on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country." The president as mob boss? I don't see it. A wiseguy maybe, but not a boss. I think Kerry was just going after the Jersey vote with that one.

Spittle, Ceiling Fans and Armies of Compassion: Debate Miscellany

Thank god this was the last one of these things, now we can judge the candidates fairly through the completely trustworthy medium of advertising. That'll be refreshing, I was really getting tired of the spin.

For those who just can't get enough, here's the Full Transcript.
For those who enjoy sardonic wit and potty humor, here's Wonkette's take.
And for those who believe everything the candidates said, shame on you. Fact Check!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

With the polls indicating the candidates are dead even heading into Wednesday night's showdown in Tempe, the final debate heading into the home stretch of this campaign looks to be crucial. Once this debate is over, any undecided voters will only be able to rely on a cacophony of misleading ads, twisted talking points and propagandistic TV specials to make their decision. The point? Watch closely, this is your last best chance to get a real feel for who these two men are. That's not to say that there won't once again be distortions galore at tomorrow night's contest, that's a given.

The final debate is all about domestic issues and will return us to the traditional two men, two podiums, and a moderator format. Kind of a bummer really, I enjoyed watching W. hop all over the stage like a crazed rabbit with an itchy trigger finger. The candidates have been stumping all over the West early this week, making their way to Tempe, home of Arizona St. University. Is it just a coincidence that ASU's mascot is a devil? And since we're in the sunshine state, will Kerry's tan be real this time? Will Bush come to the hall packing wood? Should we worry about moderator Bob Schieffer's safety if he does? Will the president's jetpack make an encore appearance? So many questions...

Bush spent today at a campaign stop in Colorado Springs testing debate lines and "taunting" Senator Kerry. His new 'zinger' seems to be: "you can run, but you can't hide." Unless you're Osama bin Laden, that is, then you can run and hide all you want. As for the taunting, can someone please explain to me why people want a president who is partial to taunting? You can't conduct diplomacy through taunts. But then, diplomacy has never been high on this man's list of priorities. This man is not a statesman, he's an overgrown, stubborn child who refuses to admit the truth or accept the consequences of his actions. He's the guy who has season tickets behind the visiting team's bullpen just so he can hurl insults and not-so-clever putdowns at the opposing pitchers. And the fact is, that guy sometimes ends up getting hit with a chair. I hope John Kerry brings a chair tomorrow night.

A presidential candidate's bulge hasn't received this much attention since Al Gore graced the cover of Rolling Stone. I wasn't going to bother reporting this when rumors first began to surface on the Internets last week about what the president was hiding under his jacket at the first debate. It just seemed like another goofy, blog-driven rumor, something for Wonkette to crack wise at and left-wing fanatics to drool over. But then the bulge made an encore appearance at Friday night's contest in St. Louis, and you know what they say: While one bulge only makes an absurd rumor, two bulges makes a tantalizing rumor... (and three bulges means you must be watching Carmen Electra's new reality show, "Manhunt," but that's a whole other topic.)

The rumors have become so intense that the Bush team actually had to respond to questions in an attempt to refute the wacky conspiracy theory. Marvel at the power of the blogosphere! Yesterday, the Seattle Times spoke with "master tailor" Frank Shattuck who questioned that summation:

"There's definitely something there, in between the shoulder blades. I can't say what it is, but it's not hidden very well. They should have come to me. I can hide a pistol under the breast."
I guess John Kerry, Jim Lehrer, Charles Gibson and that woman who asked the question about Bush's mistakes should all be relieved the president doesn't get his suits tailored by Mr. Shattuck.

You can get all your bulge conspiracy theories at IsBushWired.com. Enjoy.

UPDATE: John Edwards, on Leno last night, suggested Kerry pat Bush down before tonight's debate. He also mocked W's cheerleader past... rah! rah! siss, boom, bah!

MORE Bulge Links:
Another Bulge Blog
Bulge Photos Galore
Bulge Reaches Borneo!
Vote in CNN's Poll!
As weird as it gets: Fictitious newspapers, fake operatives, Rove, and drive-by shootings.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Friday night's debate provided an interesting, and somewhat disturbing, contrast in styles between the two candidates. Kerry appeared calm, relaxed and in control for most of the evening. Bush on the other hand skated dangerously close to madman as he bounded about the stage, raised his voice to a shouting level and looked at times as if he was going to throttle moderator Charles Gibson. It's been fairly noted that if someone completely unfamiliar with the contestants in this race had tuned in to watch the two candidates for the first time the other night, they would most likely have come to the conclusion that Kerry was the incumbent and Bush was the challenger.

Bush backers were no doubt heartened by W's aggressive performance, particularly in light of his lackluster, not-all-there showing in round one. But the president's near-the-edge of instability demeanor should give the rational amongst us cause for concern.

The blogosphere has been alight in recent days with examinations of Bush's behavior, including this from Matthew Gross:
It seemed we had witnessed one of those rare moments in politics when the character and mental stability of a candidate is brought into full question. George Bush, in leaping to his feet and bulldozing past the moderator, ignoring the debate rules and any normal sense of decorum, had just given us his Howard Dean moment.
And this from Michael Tomasky:
It was the manner: the schoolyard swagger, the left arm cocked like an itchy gunslinger's, the arrogant sneer, the roosterish strutting -- and the voice. God, that voice. You don't quite call that screaming. It wasn't exactly caterwauling. Maybe yowling. Whatever it was, he sounded like a tedious and noisome braggart in the parking lot after a football game.
And this from Matthew Yglesias:
"The question out of both debates is really why Bush gets so testy when Kerry -- or the moderator, or a member of the audience -- questions the wisdom of his Iraq policy. It's a bit demented in a psychological sense, and it's no wonder he can't conduct any proper diplomacy if this is his reaction when people question him."
You can watch Bush's volcanic moment, and see the fear on Gibson's face, right here to decide for yourself whether or not this man is stable enough to be leader of the free world. Kind of lends a little credence to that whole "Bush on Drugs" conspiracy theory, no?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

By all mainstream media accounts, Friday night's second presidential debate was a draw, setting the stage for a winner-take-all showdown this Wednesday night and some mighty fine TV. Of course, that's the mainstream media's opinion. They want this thing to go down to the wire. After all, ratings are king, right?

Public opinion doesn't seem to have changed much after the second head-to-head between these two men. Whomever you aligned yourself with going in, was who you no doubt thought won this contest. If I were one of these so-called 'undecideds', the Spin Hall presented on Friday night wouldn't have cleared things up for me at all. Friday night was an excercise in avoidance. A perfect example of how to fill 90 minutes without saying anything. The fact of the matter is, we're in a deadlock.

Bush managed a better showing in round two than he did during his Nixonian performance in round one, but how could he not? The president is now getting credit for limiting his facial ticks and for pronouncing names correctly... talk about lowering the bar. And Kerry apparently has a plan, although I don't remember hearing much about it on Friday night. The senator sure does seem to know a lot of people though! Sheesh John, name drop much?

What else did we learn from Friday night's debate?

Boring Version: Full Transcript.
Not-so-boring Version:
Wonkette's LiveBlogging.

The "Lies Scorecard" (thanks AM!).

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Let's call it a draw, shall we? The Bush team will probably benefit more from last night's VP debate as Cheney's professional, measured performance will help to stop the bleeding from W's horrific one from last week, but neither side came out a clear winner. There were no "shocker" moments, no Admiral Stockdale "where am I?" moments, so most people will probably forget about last night's tete-a-tete by the first pitch of tonight's Yankees/Twins game 2. I think there could have been some big moments, but Johnny Breck didn't go for the jugular on a lot of issues as I had hoped. Smiling is good John, but every once in a while against these guys, you gotta spit. To Cheney's credit, he did not eat any babies, so bully for him. A few more thoughts:

"I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11."
Um, excuse me? Dick opened with a whopper. But let's pretend for a minute that it isn't an outright lie. If what he's now saying is true, and Iraq and 9/11 had nothing to do with each other, explain to me again why we're in Iraq? And if he's never suggested it, I wonder how 40% of the population still believes it to be true. Weird huh?

Just the Facts
When Dick Cheney encouraged viewers to check the Web for the facts on his ties to Halliburton, he probably had know idea how big a difference three little letters can make. Because 30 seconds clearly isn't enough time to successfully distort and deflect the truth, he told viewers to take a look at "factcheck.com," a non-partisan website debunking mistruths from both sides of this fight. Unfortunately for Cheney, the actual address is factcheck.org. So where does factcheck.com take you? To none other than Bush-bashing billionaire George Soros' website of course. Oops.

That gay moment
After about a half-hour of volleying back and forth on very familiar issues related to Iraq and the war on terror, in which I believe Edwards held his own, gears shifted toward domestic issues. Perhaps the 'water cooler' moment from last night will turn out to be Edwards 'outing' of Cheney's daughter. Edwards praised the VP for loving and supporting his daughter, making sure to point out that "they have a gay daughter" in case a few hillbillys in North Carolina were still unaware. Dick deftly handled the awkward moment by simply thanking the senator and keeping his mouth shut. I guess credit should go to Cheney for not firing back, "well, you have a gay running mate!" It was a seemingly genial, almost tender moment between the two, but it was still weird and uncomfortable.

Tort Reform
Ok, I tried to pay attention here, but I was still too mesmerized by the homoerotic moment Dick and John had just shared to keep my focus.

Uniter? Divider?
Near the end of the debate, Dick said he doesn't know why the country is so divided. I'm not sure how he couldn't since he and his party are primarily responsible. Maybe Dick should think about how his party insists on putting forth completely unnecessary wedge issues like a consitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The only purpose of issues like that is to divide the electorate and solidify support from the far right. Dick said he doesn't know why the government is so divided. Maybe part of that stems from the fact that Cheney himself refuses to even meet with Democrats when he visits the Hill, (that's probably also the reason he claims to have never met Edwards before last night, another lie). Maybe its because in the rare moments he does "reach across the aisle," he does so with a "go fuck yourself." Cheney knows exactly why this country and this government is so divided and Edwards should've slammed him on it.

Leave 'em Trembling
Cheney didn't eat any babies, but he did manage to scare us one last time in his closing remarks:
"Now we find ourselves in the midst of a conflict unlike any we've ever known, faced with the possibility that terrorists could smuggle a deadly biological agent or a nuclear weapon into the middle of one of our own cities."

Sweet Dreams America!

Thus ends our little analysis. Of course, the debate was filled with many more substantive issues than the ones presented above, and those issues were backed up by a Swift Boatload of facts (sort of), figures and statistics. All those complicated numbers and difficult-to-pronounce issues probably explain the following analysis offered by the president this morning:

"America saw two very different visions of our country and two different hairdos. I didn't pick my vice president for his hairdo."
Well, thank god for that. What a dumbass.

Read the full transcript of the Veep Debate here.
Read Wonkette's much more entertaining liveblogging here.

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