Thursday, December 30, 2004

Silent Protest

I recieved this from several directions but regardless it seems like a good idea and pretty painless. There is actually nothing we can do, at this point, to derail Bushco as they have done an admirable job of jamming the sheep. We just have to roll and jab when we can.

Inauguration Day, Silent Protest

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq,
since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it,
Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime
Day" in America.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day," those who oppose what is happening in our
name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms
of consumer spending.

During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn
dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse
purchases. Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Walmart, KMart and Target.
Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't
buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter).

For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down.
The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is
immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that
it is their responsibility to stop it.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the
people of the United States of America, not for the international
corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and
funnel cash into American politics.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops. The politicians
put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some
estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a
plan -- a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing
agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by
doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24
hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious
leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war
in Iraq and give America back to the people

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stingy Bastard

Let me see if I get this straight the mighty and compassionate George Bush is going to lavish a whole 15 million dollars on the countries that have been virtually wiped out by the tsunamis. He is one really big hearted SOB promising that much money(hasn't paid it yet) seeing as how he has already spent 30 - 40 million dollars(not including security) on his coronation. He probably had to look under the cushions to get that much.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Holiday Travel

Across the pond for the holidays. Limited posts. Everyone have a wonderful holiday.

Down and Down We Go

The White House can't explain why for the first time in 50 years the U.S. will not register an agricultral trade surplus.

Here is the link

The dubious milestone was met with odd silence at USDA. Odd because throughout the fall presidential campaign, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman talked herself hoarse each time some farm community in a swing state dedicated a new, USDA-sponsored street light.

Now, as America is about to become a net food importer for the first time in generations, Veneman has no explanation of how Bush administration economic and trade policies have taken American agriculture from a $13.6 billion trade surplus in 2001 to a flat line in four short years.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Theology and Evolution

If you haven’t read the following article The Fundamentalist Agenda, by Davidson Loehr. Then do so. It will give you much insight into the enemy.
From 1988 to 1993, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences sponsored an interdisciplinary study known as The Fundamentalism Project, the largest such study ever done. More than 100 scholars from all over the world took part, reporting on every imaginable kind of fundamentalism. And what they discovered was that the agenda of all fundamentalist movements in the world is virtually identical, regardless of religion or culture.

The five characteristics are

1) Men rule the roost and make the rules. Women are support staff and for reasons easy to imagine, homosexuality is intolerable.

2) all rules must apply to all people, no pluralism.

3) the rules must be precisely communicated to the next generation

4) "they spurn the modern, and want to return to a nostalgic vision of a golden age that never really existed. (Several of the scholars observed a strong and deep resemblance between fundamentalism and fascism. Both have almost identical agendas. Men are on top, women are subservient, there is one rigid set of rules, with police and military might to enforce them, and education is tightly controlled by the state. One scholar suggested that it's helpful to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism. The phrase 'overcoming the modern' is a fascist slogan dating back to at least 1941.)"

5) Fundamentalists deny history in a "radical and idiosyncratic way."

All of this is interesting and it's interesting because it crosses all religions, cultural and regional boundries. When the scientists were presenting their abstracts, "several noted that all their papers were sounding alike, reporting on 'species' when studying the 'genus' was called for, that there were strong family resemblances between all fundamentalisms, even when the religions had had no contact, no way to influence each other."

Now, evolutionary psychology theories of the moment can be awfully facile because mostly they reinforce certain social norms that can easily be explained in other ways. (No Virginia, women do not necessarily practice fidelity and men do not "need" to spread their seed far and wide because of their alleged biological programming. It's a lot more complicated than that.) Still, this explanation for fundamentalism --- and more importantly perhaps, why it rears its ugly head from time to time is very thought provoking:
The only way all fundamentalisms can have the same agenda is if the agenda preceded all the religions. And it did. Fundamentalist behaviors are familiar because we've all seen them so many times. These men are acting the role of “alpha males” who define the boundaries of their group's territory and the norms and behaviors that define members of their in-group. These are the behaviors of territorial species in which males are stronger than females. In biological terms, these are the characteristic behaviors of sexually dimorphous territorial animals. Males set and enforce the rules, females obey the males and raise the children; there is a clear separation between the in-group and the out-group. The in-group is protected; outsiders are expelled or fought.

It is easier to account for this set of behavioral biases as part of the common evolutionary heritage of our species than to argue that it is simply a monumental coincidence that the social and behavioral agendas of all fundamentalisms and fascisms are essentially identical.

What conservatives are conserving is the biological default setting of our species, which has strong family resemblances to the default setting of thousands of other species. This means that when fundamentalists say they are obeying the word of God, they have severely understated the authority for their position. The real authority behind this behavioral scheme is millions of years older than all the religions and all the gods there have ever been. It is the picture of life that gave birth to most of the gods as its projected champions.

Fundamentalism is absolutely natural, ancient, powerful—and inadequate. It's a means of structuring relationships that evolved when we lived in troops of 150 or less. But in the modern world, it's completely incapable of the nuance or flexibility needed to structure humane societies.

Revolutionary Change

Those of you who know me know I am still disgusted with the results of the recent national elections, disgusted and amazed that so many otherwise reasonable people can vote to return the idiot to office for another four years. I have been stewing for weeks over what to do. I am beginning to realize that we are near the need for some kind of revolutionary shift in the status quo. Our current voting system is illegitimate from the get go. Before the first votes are casts or counted the guy on the street is screwed. Why do I say that? To begin you have to have an actual democratic environment before the possibility of a democratic government becomes real. We currently have a system where big business/money are the targets of all the positive political activity. They get the all the tax breaks and all the value from weakening environmental laws. They reap the profits and benefits, with none of the costs, of the current war(s) and other military actions around the globe. Who do you think is pocketing all of the profits resulting from the purchase of everything from bullets to helicopters? Who do you think is smiling as Halliburton and ilk pocket boatloads of our taxes? Who, if we are successful, will, in the end, wind up with all of the profits and resulting power from Iraqi oil. For that matter, who is probably going to wind up with most of the money from the record opium production in Afghanistan? Finally, who do you think is going to gather the windfall of money generated by the latest scheme to rob the treasury by “privatizing” social security? Who will wind up having to bear the burden of the trillion or so dollars of debt created on this unnecessary con game?
Next, you have to have a system that is meant to energize and maximize political participation and competition rather than restrict it. The electoral college, gerrymandering, and campaign financing systematically discourage participation and encourage a sense of “my vote doesn’t count”.
Lastly, you need checks and balances on corruption and waste. We need to identify and prevent government giving out contracts to corporations who in turn make political contributions to those who vote for the contracts.
All of the above is necessary and it is not going to happen within the current system. You cannot win the vote when the opposition controls the vote and the counting of ballots.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the in the Declaration of Independence:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes . . . But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security,"

While Jefferson was advocating the necessity of our separation from the British Empire, I think the concept applies in these times as well. I am afraid that the next four years of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their gang of cronies and oil merchants will give a full measure of what the yoke of despotism and yes even fascism are truly like.

We've Lost in Iraq, and That's Good

An excellent article by Robert Jensen in the Fort Worth Star-TelegramHERE. Frankly, I am wondering why this guy is still walking the streets. THis is the kind of truth that the New American Fascist Movement really dislikes and they are dead set on making people tlike this very, very quiet.

Here is a snippet.
"The United States has lost the war in Iraq, and that's a good thing.

I don't mean that the loss of American and Iraqi lives is to be celebrated. The death and destruction are numbingly tragic, and the suffering in Iraq is hard for most of us in the United States to comprehend.

The tragedy is compounded because these deaths haven't protected Americans or brought freedom to Iraqis. They have come in the quest to extend the American empire in this "new American century."

So, as a U.S. citizen, I welcome the U.S. defeat for a simple reason: It isn't the defeat of the United States - its people or their ideals - but of that empire. And it's essential that the American empire be defeated and dismantled."

Saturday, December 11, 2004

A Bigger Megaphone is a Bad Idea

Majikthise is 100% on target with her analysis regarding the attempt by the Bush administration to relax the strictures on proselytizing and discrimination when accepting government funds.
If we relax these restraints it is simply a government subsidy of hate and division and just gives these fringe organizations more weight to swing around.
There is already too much relaxation of the separation of church and state when you consider how many of the current laws are morals laws.

Only in Good Weather!

Yahoo! News - Pentagon Scrubs Missile-Defense Flight Test

AWWWWWW!! Looks like the enemy are requested to only attack us in good weather. Jeebus! What a bunch of maroons.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first flight test in nearly two years of a planned U.S. missile-defense shield has been scrapped two days in a row this week because of bad weather, the Pentagon (news - web sites) said on Friday.

Republicans and Academics

Jonathan Chait has an excellent piece on Why Academia Shuns Republicans in the L.A. Times. The entire article is worth reading but there are a couple of very good paragraphs that deserve distribution.
"The main causes of the partisan disparity on campus have little to do with anything so nefarious as discrimination. First, Republicans don't particularly want to be professors. To go into academia — a highly competitive field that does not offer great riches — you have to believe that living the life of the mind is more valuable than making a Wall Street salary. On most issues that offer a choice between having more money in your pocket and having something else — a cleaner environment, universal health insurance, etc. — conservatives tend to prefer the money and liberals tend to prefer the something else. It's not so surprising that the same thinking would extend to career choices."
"That's not just a campaign ploy. It's how Republicans govern these days. Last summer, my colleague Frank Foer wrote a cover story in the New Republic detailing the way the Bush administration had disdained the advice of experts. And not liberal experts, either. These were Republican-appointed wonks whose know-how on topics such as global warming, the national debt and occupying Iraq were systematically ignored. Bush prefers to follow his gut.

In the world of academia, that's about the nastiest thing you can say about somebody. Bush's supporters consider it a compliment. "Republicans, from Reagan to Bush, admire leaders who are straight-talking men of faith. The Republican leader doesn't have to be book smart," wrote conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks a week before the election. "Democrats, on the other hand, are more apt to emphasize … being knowledgeable and thoughtful. They value leaders who see complexities, who possess the virtues of the well-educated." "

Sucking America Dry

In response to the announcement that a group of unions let by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. are going to institute a large advertising campaign to try and improve wage and benefits conditions at Wal-Mart.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman,Christi Davis Gallagher, warned that higher wages could lead to higher prices. Duh!

"It appears the unions want to take millions of dollars in dues from their members and use them to rob average Americans of their right to pay less for the basics in life," Ms. Gallagher said. "You need to ask one question: Is it fair to ask American consumers to pay higher prices to subsidize a relatively small pocket of individuals just because they are making the most noise?"

The new effort, to be announced officially in several months, will also be unusual because most union campaigns involve just one union. Because Wal-Mart is so huge, labor leaders have concluded that several unions should work with the A.F.L.-C.I.O. on the effort.

Among those participating are the Service Employees International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Many union leaders have criticized the food and commercial workers for doing too little over the past decade to unionize Wal-Mart, but the union's new president, Joseph Hansen, has vowed to do more.

Ms. Gallagher of Wal-Mart said, "One thing that the unions seem to miss is that Wal-Mart's ability to offer the lowest prices around is driven by a passion to drive costs out of our business at all levels," including information technology.

She added, "While the unions want people to believe that we drive down our costs primarily through our wages or benefits, that is simply not the case."

Here's the response to Wal-Mart's to Ms. Gallagher:

Wal-Mart's low prices are due to low quality goods manufactured at the lowest cost possible. Wal-Mart's obsession with low prices threatens hundreds of thousands of American jobs. The list of American companies raped by Wal-Mart is a who's who of American enterprise.

Wal-Mart's low prices and resulting low wages are the major the reason many Wal-Mart employees turn to state aid for health care, costing tax payers millions per year. America's largest company spends more money on advertisings than on worker's benefits.

Wal-Mart is sucking the vitality out of American wages and main street America and, in turn' provides the least value and service possible for the every dollar spent. How can Costco and Target provide decent wages and benefits for the same work? Why is Wal-Mart an exception?

Low prices alone are not a good thing. Low prices need to be accompanied by a living, decent wage and working conditions or they doing nothing for the long term benefit of the consumer.

The whole story here:

Friday, December 10, 2004

This guy had better watch his back

via corrente
Let's just deep a big breath and hold it while we wait for CNN to pick up this story--OK?

Andrew Buncombe reports that this is the testimony of a former Marine who’s testifying in, yes, Canada, for the refugee status hearing of Jeremy Hinzman:

A former US Marine has claimed that he saw American troops in Iraq routinely kill unarmed civilians, including women and children. He said he had also witnessed troops killing injured Iraqi insurgents.

Jimmy Massey, 33, a staff sergeant who served in Iraq before being honourably discharged after 12 years' service, said he had seen troops shooting civilians at road blocks and in the street. A code of silence, similar to that found in organised crime gangs, prevented troops from speaking about it.

This Really Sucks!

He lost an arm in Iraq; the Army wants money

He lost his arm serving his country in Iraq.
Now this wounded soldier is being discharged from his company in Fort Hood, Texas, without enough gas money to get home. In fact, the Army says 27-year-old Spc. Robert Loria owes it close to $2,000, and confiscated his last paycheck.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Eyer on the Ball

The administration's record of the past four years suggests a foreign policy careening out of control, driven by ideologues who want to test their theories in the laboratory of the Middle East one minute, by domestic political considerations the next, and by spiteful attempts to punish those who disagree with their methods the next.

Where is this going? Who is in charge? Who knows? No one ever seems to be held accountable for the blunders, the failures, the wildly inaccurate presentations and projections or the painfully ineffective initiatives. Congress cannot simply accept more of the same, keep our heads down and hope that somehow we will muddle through. The stakes are far too high. Our national security, the stability of the world that our children will inherit, our troops - even our country's honor - are on the line. Congress has an obligation, not to oppose every administration effort, but to reassert our role in helping to steer the ship of state wisely rather than recklessly. I look at our foreign policy over the past four years, and I know that America is so much better than this. via "America Is So Much Betterthan This"

Monday, December 06, 2004

Be Democratic or die

Wait a minute, Atrios is right on this.
There is a big discussion going on between Kevin Drum and Atrios over the applicability or correctness of the Peter Beinart’s assertion that the left has to get “serious” about the “Islamofascists”. The argument seems to say that if you oppose the war in Iraq or Afghanistan then you aren’t serious about the war on terror or that you are some head in the sand peacenik. Well, I’m sorry. Using force is a complete waste of time and mostly it just makes matters worse. Show me a case where “expeditionary military force” was the saving grace and I’ll listen.
Accusing the left of being “soft on terror” is absurd. The reality is the left is not convinced that democracy at the point of a gun is the best way to go about it. The left should be pointing to the results of this method of “diplomacy” for what it is and that is stupid. If you believe that Iraq will see a truly democratic state anywhere in the near future you are crazy or delusional.

Them or Us.

Western governors got together last week with the Bush administration and Congress to plan how to change the Endangered Species Act. It must be changed, they all agree, because it costs loggers and ranchers too much money.

"We have to recognize that, A, we can't protect everything, and B, whether we should try to protect everything and at what cost."

Read the above a few times just to let it sink in! Bastards!

Friday, December 03, 2004

First the Jews

There is a signifigant post over at Unfogged. We cannot let the mind killers eliminate this from our thinking.

Very, Very Dirty Pictures

The following link to the latest Mark Morford article at SFGate is pretty typical of his work and why it is always read. In it he gives us a few links for actual pictures from Fallulah. The article is worth reading and the click through to the pictures is really important.
Very, Very Dirty Pictures / You want explicit? You want raw and uncensored and free of media bias? Here you go

Here are a couple of paragraphs--

This is what you won't see in the paper.
This is what you won't see on CNN or on MSNBC or CBS News or on any major media Web site anywhere and especially no goddamn way ever in hell will you see it within a thousand miles of Fox News.

You aren't supposed to see. You aren't supposed to know. You are to remain ignorant and shielded, and, if you're like most Americans, you have been very carefully conditioned to think Bush's nasty Iraq war is merely this ugly little firecracker-like thing happening way, way over there, carefully orchestrated and somewhat messy and maybe a little bloody but mostly still patriotic and good and necessary and sponsored by none other than God his own angry Republican self.

And hence you and I both have no real idea what the hell goes on in Iraq, no real images to gnaw on and be deeply horrified and saddened by, except for maybe a tiny handful of carefully sanitized snapshots of bombed-out Iraqi cities and maybe some grainy video of U.S. soldiers enjoying a dusty game of pickup football and a turkey dinner at the posh military digs way, way outside of Baghdad.
Here is the link to the pictures:

The War on Terror is Oversold

Tom over at Corrente has some interesting input concerning Beinart and Drum's points on what the left have to do for the future.
I agree. I think the conservatives and Bush have made the same mistake with the WOT that Truman did in over selling the communist threat. What are they going to do if there is an additional attack of the same magnitude and impact of the 9/11. What are they going to do to keep the sheeple dazed and confused and more and more deaths pile up in Iraq and it becomes clear that we are wasting billions of dollars on a losing effort? One can only dance so fast. I think we need to recognize that the threat of radical muslim terrorists is for the most part a local phenomena and would be solved in a moment with some rational changes is policy with respect to Israel. This is a very good discussion and vital to getting our heads around the issues.

Trying to Dull the Senses

Is this American?

There are more and more stories appearing the the main stream media that are what I call "Camel Stories". These are stories that resemble the fable of the the camel gradually getting his nose under the tent flap and then eventually getting in the tent completely.
We are being subjected to a de-sensitization campaign on a massive scale. We are being gradually innoculated against considering torture as shocking and absolutely rejected in any form. Now we are being led to believe that the testimony resulting from torture is OK for use in justifying the continued imprisonment of "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo. We have already been cajoled into conveniently forgetting the Abu Ghraib scandal. We need to pay attention and not let the psy-ops guys continue this unopposed.
The populace is already desensitized about war casualties, the economy, the loss of freedoms and privacy, the environment and more. We are allowing them to take away our ability to experience outrage and horror. Lambs to the slaughter.

What's with these Billboards in Arizona?

These Billboards in Arizona. are pretty amazing/disgusting. Joseph Goebbels would be very proud. I think I am actually speechless! As they say--


Monday, November 29, 2004

NTodd Finally Admits Insanity

Seriously, Mr. Pritsky has decided that his relationship with Stef and his sanity are more important that easy money and security. He has decided to try the "live your dream" route. More power to him. In today's uncertain world it is the people like him that will make the difference between winning and losing. People willing to invest in the dream are the people from which salvation are born.

Iraq Casualties

Iraq Coalition Casualties

1249 Dead

Please do not forget that our brothers and sisters are dying daily for nothing. They are doing what they are supposed to do but is in the wrong war in the wrong place.
The only consolation is that George W. Bush has secured his place in Hell. (If it exists).

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Fallenmonk is back

Well the trip to the hills for Thanksgiving and the reluctant removal from all internet access is now over. Back to the grind for two very hard weeks of clients interface as the client tests our product and makes the go forward decision. Then we will wing to Derbyshire in the UK for the Xmas holidays. I hope everyone had a fine holiday and is ready for the necessary cinnamon water and lettuce regimen.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Down and Down

James Wolcott is, as usual, focusing our attention properly on the reality of where we are with respect to Iraq and the likely future. The following quote from Martin van Creveld of Hebrew University, opening his post, says it all.

"...[He] who fights against the weak--and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed--and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; if U.S. troops in Iraq have not yet started fragging their officers, the suicide rate among them is already exceptionally high. That is why the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last U.S. troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters' skids."

Another must read.

Dollar Woe

via Kos

The US currency came under renewed selling pressure the moment it became clear George W. Bush had been re-elected president. In the two and a half weeks since then, the alue of the dollar has fallen 2.5 percent against the euro and 1.9 percent against the yen. The falls represent an acceleration of the dollar's steady decline since 2002. Since the start of that year, the greenback has fallen 32 percent against the euro and 21 percent against the yen. . . .

Darek Halpenny, currency analyst at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, points to a "very grim" outlook for the dollar in the near term. "With the foreign exchange market now focused entirely on the problem of the US budget deficit and current account deficits, there is a real risk that dollar selling becomes a crisis of confidence," he says. . . .

There is a fear in the currency markets that the dollar's decline, which has been gradual and orderly so far, will turn into a rout.

Bob Herbert - One Rational Voice

Thanks goodness Bob Herbert hasn't given up yet. With Paul Krugman on sabbatical we are short sane people. Here is a snip of this latest in the NY Times.

"As I watch the disastrous consequences of the Bush policies unfold - not just in Iraq, but here at home as well - I am struck by the immaturity of this administration, whatever the ages of the officials involved. It's as if the children have taken over and sent the adults packing. The counsel of wiser heads, like George H. W. Bush, or Brent Scowcroft, or Colin Powell, is not needed and not wanted.

Some of the world's most important decisions - often, decisions of life and death - have been left to those who are less competent and less experienced, to men and women who are deficient in such qualities as risk perception and comprehension of future consequences, who are reckless and dangerously susceptible to magical thinking and the ideological pressure of their peers.

I look at the catastrophe in Iraq, the fiscal debacle here at home, the extent to which loyalty trumps competence at the highest levels of government, the absence of a coherent vision of the future for the U.S. and the world, and I wonder, with a sense of deep sadness, where the adults have gone."

Thursday, November 18, 2004


I shamelessly quoted the whole thing:
Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Iraq Update

Georgie's body count: 1,212 total U.S. deaths, with November clocking in at 91.

Don't take your eyes off what is important.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Calling Cards are Needed

Via Steve Gilliard and Makinglightand the DU
The number ONE request at Walter Reed hospital is phone cards. Because the priority of our government is to continue tax cuts for the likes of Paris Hilton, the government doesn’t pay LD phone charges and these guys, many of them amputees, are rationing their calls home.
Many will be there throughout the holidays.

Remember that most are from poor families. It is disgusting that they cannot keep in touch with family after what they have been asked to sacrifice for BushCo; especially this time of year.

Support the troops—cuz BushCo doesn’t. Send phone cards of any amount to:
Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

They say they need an “endless” supply of these—any amount even $5 is greatly appreciated.

You can do something!

Bush has now murdered 1,203 Americans

That's 1,203 U.S. men and women killed in Iraq since Bush decided to illegally invade the country. November's count is now up to 82, tied with November 2003 for second-deadliest month, and rapidly approaching April 2004 high water mark of 135.
Don't forget the estimated 25,000 wounded/maimed/crippled Americans and the estimated 100,000 Iraqi's murdered.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So Low!

The day after the election, the British Daily Mirror asked plaintively, “How can 59,017,382 people be so dumb?” Not to be outdone, Russia’s Pravda asserted that “America was betrayed and murdered on Nov. 2, 2004. Also killed during this time of madness were the following virtues: truth, justice, integrity, freedom, compassion, brotherhood, tolerance, faith, hope, charity, peace, and respect for other cultures and nations.”

How bad is it when the Russians feel sorry for us?

Is That a Light at the end of the Tunnel?

Over at BuzzFlash > Maureen Farrell > has another great piece that starts with a quote from The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. The entire article is a must read. Maureen does her usual splendid job. The "bottom line" is that there is a clear divide of ideology in America and it is not going to go away during the next four years. It will get worse. Maureen presents four possibilitie...Another Civil War, World War IV, Another American Revolution or a Fascist State. It is not a pleasant area to ponder.

"Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire. Yet this time of trouble will bring seeds of social rebirth. Americans will share a regret about recent mistakes -- and a resolute new consensus about what to do. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake." -- From the Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, by William Strauss and Neil Howe, 1997

Strauss and Howe conclude:
"Thus might the next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse -- or glory, " Strauss and Howe concluded. "The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Adorned By A Moroan

H.L. Mencken had the way of it.
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and
more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious
day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Down With Fancy Book Learnin'

Mark Morford is on today

Down With Fancy Book Learnin' / What's it mean that the big cities and college towns of America all voted blue?

A snip
"Because there remains this astonishing and yet ever present fact: all the major cities of America, the great cultural centers and the places with the most concentrated populations and the most extraordinary restaurants and the highest percentage of college graduates and the most progressive laws and the truest sense of the arts and food and sex and music and dance and money and technology and lubricant and drugs and porn and love and fashion and spirituality, well, it seems they all voted blue.

True. From terrorism-ravaged New York to Botox-ravaged Los Angeles, Chicago to San Francisco, Philly to Portland, Seattle and Miami and Boston and Minneapolis and Detroit -- blue as the sky, blue as the Danube, blue as the color of your soul-crushin' wine-slammin' I-need-a-bath-and-an-emetic postelection melancholy .... "

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

There is a must read interview with John Perkins on the reality of American business and how it relates to the current situation in Iraq. I for one am buying the book.

Democracy Now! | Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions

Here's an interesting snippet:
JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.'s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia–new cities, new infrastructure–which we’ve done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn't buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn't work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren't able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had -- His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.

The debt trap

There is an excellent post from Steve Gilliard on the debt trap. Worth a read.

"Debt has become a part of who we are. ...That spoiled kid in the grocery store. 'I want it. I want it. I deserve it because I breathe air.'"
Dave Ramsey

Monday, November 08, 2004

Rocking Rant - Fired UP!

Steve Gilliard has posted the rant of the week, month or year by mg_65. It is, by far, one of the best post-election pieces so far. Here are a few highlights but the whole thing is a must read.

"They think Bush is a godly man. They never wonder why the Republicans never meet their promises to them. They don't believe in global warming. They do believe in the "Flypaper Strategy." They believe in one paragraph out of Leviticus, but they ignore the rest of the Bible . They let themselves get scammed over and over by robber barons and religious hucksters. And apparently, although I find this hard to conceive of, they believe that the media is liberal. They're fucking stupid. They've been calling me an elitist snob for many years now. Fine. I'm an elitist snob, fuck you very much, you mouth-breathing bloodthirsty fucktard bigot. I work to educate myself. I spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money to get a more or less accurate idea of what's going on around me."
"You know how to hide behind trees and shoot Redcoats. You know how to run an underground railway and get women the right to vote and you know how to boycott cotton and sit at a lunch counter in Alabama. You know this: you've marched and protested and been beaten and you've gone hungry and sent money and you gave us everything we have."

But they don't want any of it. They hate you for it. They feel oppressed by it.

Your kindness, your warm welcome, your generosity, your concern, your love and passion--it will never work. These people hate you. Understand? They HATE you. They want you dead. All your work, your energy, your wisdom, your experience--it means nothing to them and it reads as weakness. They see your open, extended hand, and they feel oppressed by it-- it reads as scolding, as hectoring, as judgment, as oppression. They think you're going to take away their children and their guns and their Bible that they never read and teach them evolution and force them to get gay married. They really, really believe that, even as they take you for all you're worth. In fact, this belief of theirs is what gives meaning to their sordid, hateful, fearful, resentful lives. They will never change. Your kindness and generosity only enables them. They'll take what we've got--our money, our art, our science, our technology, our wisdom, our humor, our compassion--and they'll spit on us and calls us communist traitor faggots. Time to let go. They hate us. It's time we realize that.

Please GO READ IT ALL. This guy is on fire. UPDATE: This GIRL is on fire

This is what I should have written the other day. Instead, I tried to rationalize how we could do better at teaching the reds and framing the issues. What a doofus! This guy is right. We need to seriously think about how we are going to deal with this and, so far, being nice hasn't worked.

Thanks for sharing,Steve.

Matt has an idea

Matt Yglesias is correct. Now that the Repugs own the government for all intents and purposes we need to take advantage of it to reshape the public impression of the Democrats and Progressives.

"The Democrats need to do what they can to take advantage of their status as a marginalized opposition party. They need to make the Republicans own the IRS, the tax code, and everything else about the government that's hateful or inefficient. It is, after all, the Republicans' government and the Republicans' tax code. While Bush is dragging his feet, appointing commissions, and trying to outsource the work to them, Democrats need to produce their own tax reform plan -- a plan that, since it has no chance of being implemented, can afford to be utopian and not get mucked up by business interests or other petty realities of actual governance -- and flog it mercilessly. The Republicans have all the power, so the Democrats must make them the party of government, and make themselves the party of reform. There are plenty of liberal economists around Washington and in academia who are more than capable of devising a reasonable, progressive tax reform plan much more quickly than the GOP is willing or able to move."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Moving Ahead

Bill Clinton understands exactly why John Kerry wasn’t elected. In a speech to the Urban Land Institute at the New York Hilton, he describes what is wrong with his party.

Clinton attributed Kerry's loss to the Democrats' failure to combat how they were portrayed by Republicans to small-town America.

"If we let people believe that our party doesn't believe in faith and family, doesn't believe in work and freedom, that's our fault," he said.

Via the New York Post
To move ourselves forward and counter the poison that has become associated with the label “Liberal” we need to remind people daily of what is important for this country in real terms that mean something to them in terms that impact their daily lives. We cannot afford to allow the conservative right to control the dialogue. We need to become the party that recognizes ordinary people and what they contribute to society, who do what they're supposed to be doing. We need to become the party that is recognized as the one who protects them from those who don't appreciate their efforts. The Democratic Party needs to be associated with making their lives easier and more rewarding and not the party that continually makes their struggle harder.
Nearly 60 million people voted for George W. Bush because they think he represents their values and that John Kerry, Democrats and you don't. If we can convince them that they are deceived and prove them wrong we’ll be the majority party again.
We need to start talking about the truly important issues that impact Americans daily. These are the pocketbook issues. Remember Bill Clinton's commitment to help people who "work hard and play by the rules"? We need to explain the progressive/Democratic positions on taxes and labor as moral issues not simply economic ones. Higher minimum wages are not a tax on small business but proper rewards for hard work. The estate tax helps wealthy people get wealthier without any work—it’s free and on the backs of those who are working hard everyday. The average American needs to understand in their gut, instinctively, that relaxing oversight of corporations allows them to evade taxes, deceive small investors, and raid pension funds—all without any work.
We need to borrow a phrase from Robert Heinlein, “TANSTAAFL”- “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”. We need to remind the average American that if America is going to be a success for everyone, then everyone has to work hard to make it so. Just like all the average households in America there are bills to be paid that won’t wait. Everyone in the house has a responsibility to pull a share of the work commensurate with their ability to do so that is also balanced fairly with the reward received. The gap between the wealthy and the poor in this country is approaching that of a third world country. We need to constantly reinforce the fact that the wealthy in this country, by virtue of being able to participate in the country, have a proportional responsibility to the rest of the country.
The minute we start talking this way we are going to be accused of waging class warfare. Here there is the danger of letting the right frame the issue in their terms. It is warfare, but it is a culture war not class warfare. It is war between the people in this country who are working hard, obeying the laws and paying a disproportionate share of the taxes against those who getting wealthier day by day with an unfair share of the tax burden. This is a war between those millions of Americans with no healthcare and those with no cares whatsoever. It is a war against the fat cats in the Hummers by those working two minimum wage jobs that are still below the poverty line. It is a war against the multimillion dollar a year CEO who is moving good paying jobs overseas. We must frame the debate as a culture war between the people and institutions that are taking full advantage and more of our great country and those that are carrying the bulk of the load and yet are slipping further and further behind.
There has been much discussion of the vast impact of the evangelical vote during this election. Yes, there were a lot of religious people voting but this is only a problem if we let it be. Most of these religious voters are Jane and Joe America. They are socially conservative blue-collar workers that don't actually understand the true impact of a free market. They believe in the value of hard work and a fair wage. The Conservative right has framed the free market as consistent with the Judeo-Christian work ethic. They have defined rampant capitalism as good for the everyday citizen. We need to show them how the unbridled free market and un-tempered capitalism betrays the work ethic and pushes everybody but the owners down. We have let the conservatives frame us as an enemy of the free market and now we need to take this ball and run with it by making sure Joe and Jane America understand what the free market means to them.
Republicans have painted the Democrats as weak, we aren’t convincing as toughs. We need to reverse this perception by formulating a tough policy on terrorism while at the same time defining ourselves as the party with a clear concept of right and wrong. We need to convince voters that we are tough enough to do the job. We need to avoid politically convenient rhetoric and call tyrants for what they are, oil or no oil and do our best, every time, to defend the little guy against the bully. We need to convince America that we will be tough when our good sense and desire for peaceful solutions fail.
We need to believe in this message and use it continually. At every opportunity, when a Republican accuses you of failing to protect us from terrorists, you need to point out that they’re the ones who have gotten us distracted in Iraq, leaving us virtually helpless against the real terrorists. Remind the Bush supporters that 9/11 happened on his watch, even after he was warned. When a Republican accuses you of class warfare you need to point out that his party is one that is creating huge deficits and burdening society for years to come. This is a burden that is to be borne by the working classes not by the rich. When a Republican accuses you of being unpatriotic remind him of who is shedding the blood in Iraq. Remind the Republicans that when they betray troops through poor planning and false reasons for war it is the working class that will carry the load. Remind the Republicans that cutting taxes for the rich while at war and already in deficit is fiscally stupid and that our children will bear the burden. These should be the Democratic issues and we should be relentless in reciting them. Remind Bush supporters that the soldiers from poor families are dying while fat cat corporations skim millions from the war. This message needs to be consistent if it is going to resonate and if it is to resonate it should always have a harmonic message and underlying theme. The message always has to resonate with responsibility.
The favorite Democratic issues like energy independence, health care, education, the environment, and the deficit can be amplified into a very powerful theme if they are brought together within a unifying message. Take responsibility for your community and your fellow man, make sure he has a fair chance to make it. Take responsibility and clean up your mess and care for the environment. Take responsibility and take care for your children and make sure all children are cared for. Be responsible and live within your means don’t spend what you don’t have. All of the overriding issues can be related to responsibility. Bush talks about an “ownership” society so let’s take that and run with it. Let’s make sure that he and his “own” what they have created.
Finally we need to talk about a messenger. John Kerry, in spite of having many great qualities, was missing one key ingredient. He had the unfortunate luck of being born into a wealthy northern family. This was not a differentiator from Bush. The Republican machine had spent years creating the fake cowboy, common guy image for Bush. Ignore the fact that in reality he is spoiled rich kid and a born failure. The propaganda connected him to the common man. Currently, there is only one Democrat that fills the bill as a standard bearer and who understands this message naturally -- John Edwards. He doesn’t have to pretend he is a child of the common man – he is one. He naturally frames every issue with responsibility and values. He argued during the presidential primaries that Republicans were favoring unearned wealth over work. He grew up with the reality of haves and have nots. He can legitimately point to how Republican tax policies are favoring the wealthy and hurting the working man. He can point to the stagnant minimum wage and, with conviction, show how it is hurting this country. I know it is early to begin to discuss 2008 but it is not too early to begin to lay the tracks to a change in leadership.

Switching Sides

Guest blogger Thumb over at Digsby's has it figured out. Why spend all this energy and effort. The Right has made it so easy to blend in that it is a shame to miss the chance. A little housekeeping is all that is required.

Posted in its entirety from Hullabaloo

If you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em.

So the people voting for Bush told exit pollers that moral values are their #1 issue.

Because the Republicans are obviously superior in both numbers and cause, and their values oriented agenda should no doubt be a boon to human kind, there's obviously only one thing left to do at this point. Convert. Therefor, in an act of supreme solidarity to our new national conservative alliance and their emphasis on values, I would just like to say, they’re right. I’m ready to sign up.

But first I need to declare that I too no longer care about losing millions of American jobs. I too no longer care about health care. Or social security. I also no longer care about education. I no longer care what happens to the poor, the elderly or the millions of American children growing up in poverty, despair and hopelessness. I no longer care that the US ranks a lowly 41st in infant mortality. I no longer care that the gap between rich and poor is approaching third world levels. I no longer care that Fortune 500 corporations can avoid paying taxes by opening an offshore mailbox and I no longer care that the working class will be forced pick up the difference. I no longer care that we've taken a record fiscal surplus and in three years turned it into the largest debt in the history of our country or that it will be our children, and their children, that will have to pay it back. I also no longer care how many Americans die at the hands of terrorists (as long as they're dying over there and not here at home) or how many thousands of foreign civilians die in the course of our projecting American global hegemony. I no longer care what the rest of the world thinks of America, as long as they know to fear us. I no longer care about the science of potential medical breakthroughs nor do I care about slowing the spread of AIDS nor whether we have sufficient supplies of safe vaccines. I no longer care that the number of abortions is on the rise (though I’ll pound my chest and pretend that I do) because I no longer care about birth control, sex education or family planning. I no longer care about our environment and whether we're allowing industries to poison our water, our air and ultimately our food supply, and I no longer care about the consequences of releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and its likelihood of accelerating global warming. I no longer care that our Bill of Rights, once enshrined to protect our personal freedoms and liberty, is being stripped down or that our 200 year old Constitutional protections are being traded for a false sense of security.

So what do I share with our new majority as my #1 concern? Values. I care about moral values.

Now that I’ve completed the switch to the other side moral values is all that matters to me. Moral values. Yes sir, I care enough that sufficient numbers of people share these moral values to make sure that we elect politicians that will put these moral values into law (even if it takes rigging the new electronic voting machines) and that those politicians in turn appoint judges guaranteed to ensure that everyone else is forced to live by these same moral values. Now some of you remaining Unbelievers may ask, "But if everything you no longer care about isn’t a moral value, what are your moral values?" Easy. The single most important moral value, overriding all other concerns, is that two people of the same sex are blocked from achieving secular legal recognitions that could in any way be similar to that enjoyed by heterosexual couples. Health and survivor benefits? Forget it. Employment protection? Come on. Inheritance rights? No way. Hospital visitation? Get real. Adoption? GOD FORBID!

You few, final remaining Democrats, moderates, greens and libertarians really need to get onboard the bandwagon. This new stripped down moral value is so easy I don’t know why I didn’t think of this myself earlier. Effortless morality. That’s the ticket. It’s like a gift from God. Now let’s jam it down everyone’s throat.

And God bless the New American Morality.

The Lost Page

I guess Bush and all of his supporters all have one think in common. All of them are missing a page from their Bibles. It's the one that has Mattherw 6 1- 6. (Part of the Sermon on the Mount)

1: Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2: "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3: But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4: so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6: But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (from the Revised Standard version)

If you are having difficulty here let me translate it for you-- Bush and his supporters are EXACTLY the people Jesus was warning about!

Feeling Safer?

American intelligence agencies have tripled their formal estimate of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile systems believed to be at large worldwide, since determining that at least 4,000 of the weapons in Iraq's prewar arsenals cannot be accounted for, government officials said Friday. link

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Reach Out?

Today Bush said:

"I will reach out to every one who shares our goals."

For those of you asleep - Translation: My way or the highway.
Alternate translation: You're either with us or against us.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Something Anyway!

Via First Draft

David Corn finds something to smile about:
"The good news: America is a divided nation. Despite the pundit hand-wringing over this fact, it is a positive thing. Nearly--nearly--half of the electorate rejected Bush's leadership, his agenda, his priorities, his falsehoods. From Eminem to the chairman of Bank of America to 48 Nobel laureates to gangbangers who joined anti-Bush get-out-the-vote efforts in swing states. Nearly half of the voting public concluded that Bush had caused the deaths of over 1,100 American GIs and literally countless Iraqis (maybe 100,000) for no compelling reason. Nearly half saw the emperor buck naked and butt ugly. Nearly half said no to his rash actions and dishonest justifications. Nearly half realized that Bush had misrepresented the war in Iraq as a crucial part of the effort against al Qaeda and Islamic jihadism. Nearly half desired better and more honest leadership. Nearly half knew that Bush has led the country astray. Other good news: Second-term presidents often hit the skids. The last three second- terms were marked by scandal (Watergate, Iran-contra, Monicagate). And as top officials sprint through the revolving door to snag high-paying jobs (while their contacts are fresh), the job of running the government during the second administration often falls to the B Team."


Used Car Salesmen?

Billmon has a quote from Hunter S. Thompson that seems appropriate.

"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 11/72

Kerry's Conceded - Now What?

Well, I've just heard that Kerry has conceded. I was hoping against hope that Ohio would magically turn this thing around. Kerry's folks must have looked at the numbers and decided that for the sake of unity to go ahead and fold the hand. It’s depressing, though not because Kerry lost, and while that is a blow, but because the Republicans have enlarged their majorities in both the House and the Senate. We did get through 8 years of Ronald Reagan, though we did that with a Democratic Congress. With Bush the Democrats have no control, other than filibuster, and Republicans are going to run rampant. The next 4 years will show the world what radical conservatism is all about. Speaking of the world--Sorry guys --we tried.
OK--Now what? Reality-Based right? I was very optimistic going into this election. I had hopes that someone a little more to the center would have the opportunity to select almost half of the Supreme Court. I can pretty much imagine that Roe vs. Wade is out of here. I hope all the women who voted for Bush realize that they probably just handed the right to decide about their future and how their body is used to a bunch of senile old men. I am probably guilty of getting to much of my information from left leaning sources which is not necessarily healthy for your point of view. My disdain for CNN and Fox and what the sheep were seeing on the TV didn't provide the warning I should have taken. It is really hard for me to grasp that the majority of the people in this country liked the last four years so much that they want more. I guess fear is a better campaign strategy than I imagined seeing as how it managed to completely discount the incompetence and failure. I am disappointed that the majority of Americans are willing to continue to waste the lives of our young men and women in the Middle East on an absolutely unmitigated disaster. Not to mention the wasted treasure that has so many more uses here at home and around the world.
What about the Democratic Party? Why did we lose this election? I don't think we lost it on the big issues of war or the economy but on the wedge issues of gay marriage and fear of terrorism. Karl Rove was right to play on the fear and prejudice of what appears to be the majority of Americans. I think we had the best candidate in John Kerry. His arguments for the central issues and rational thought didn't connect and were not as effective as the fear. We need to recognize that the Republican Party has spent 40+ years building their machine. It was rather wide-eyed for us to believe that we could match it in four years. We couldn't turn around the linguistic changes they have managed such as liberal equals communist and social issues equals welfare. They have control of most of the media both TV and all of radio. We only have Air America and the Daily Show.
We lost this election, not for like of trying, and it hurts. Bush and company will try and push the world closer to its end in the next four years it probably won’t end. They will probably control the Supreme Court for the next generation or so and it will be bad. We have to re-group and re-think our strategies. We have to work at countering the machine. Our efforts in the last four years were an attempt to prevent some very bad things from happening to our country and the world. While we have lost this battle it doesn't change how important it is to continue to try and change the course or how badly we need to win the war. I don't think the money that I poured into John Kerry's campaign was wasted and I think it taught us some important things. This is not a small battle and it won't be won in one election. It is a battle to change the way people think in this country. It is a lot like the people who flock to Wal-Mart for that extra few cents savings. They aren't thinking in the big picture or the long term about how the low wage jobs they are encouraging are hurting their neighbors and destroying their communities. They don't realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that the pennies they are saving are coming out of their pockets somewhere else and some other time. We have to begin to teach people to think and be very cynical about what they are told by the media in this country. Take a deep breath and look forward to the next challenge.

Some Hope

Bush is currently leading in Ohio by 136,221 If there are 250,000 provisional ballots outstanding. The highest number I've seen.

And 90% of those ballots are good, as they were in 2000. That leaves 225,000 votes.
Kos gives us Hope

If 85% of those ballots prove to be for Kerry, about the number that Gore got in 2000. That leaves us with 191,250, giving us a lead of 55,029.

If there are only 200,000 provisionals, following the same calculation would leave us with a lead of 16,779.

If the provisional ballots are only 175,000 that leaves us with a deficit of -2,346 that will leaves us in a position to get an automatic statewide recount.

Or, to put it another way, an automatic recount is triggered by a margin of 0.25% or between 13,000 and 16,000 votes.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ezra Klein on Why Kerry

Ezra over at Pandagon has an excellent piece laying out his thoughts in support of John Kerry. There are some original thoughts here that are quite compelling. The whole thing deserves to be read. Here is one of the best paragraphs and the most lucent condemnation of Bush I have seen.

"The President of the United States of America is one of the few men in the world temporally unmoored. He can reach beyond the present, his actions shape the future and, for the future, come to define the past. Some presidents become figures of myth, like Lincoln and Kennedy and Washington, while others become legends, like FDR and Reagan. Some fade into the background, either unable to match their station or placed in a period calm enough to repel history. But Bush, a man who didn't grow up desiring the presidency and whose motivations were familial and manipulated, entered an office expecting to simply do a job, maybe even bring a radical viewpoint to it. But no more than that. And so, faced with a transformative moment that immediately created unprecedented unity and resolve, he resolved to send us shopping and make congressional gains. He failed history, he failed a spectacular moment, and he did so because he was never prepared to be the President of the United States of America, all George wanted to be was CEO."

Faux says Kerry

The final Fox News poll -- calling Saturday and Sunday has Kerry over Bush 48% to 46% among likely voters.

Among registered voters it's Kerry 47%, Bush 45%. Among those who've already voted, it's Kerry 48%, Bush 43%.

If the Faux news people are polling for Kerry....

Think Positive

John Marshall has some insider views on the election and he is positive. Me too!
"After talking to friends whose opinions I trust, I *think* it really is that good. And the sizeable Kerry margins among early voters in Iowa and Florida lend support to that judgment. But who knows? I don't know. And they don't either. No one really does. But if the Dems' ground operation is really as good as their people say it is, I think Kerry will win tomorrow. If he doesn't, we'll know they seriously over-estimated it's strength. "

When Kerry Wins

No I am not counting the chickens before the eggs but I am tryingto remain positive. The Bull Moose has some insider comments on what will happen when Kerry does win.

In short, if Kerry wins, Republicans will move on Wednesday to delegitimize his victory. The Moose is not necessarily referring to ballot challenges, although that will likely occur. What the Moose is referring to is an attempt by the vast right wing conspiracy (take the Moose's word - he was there and Hillary was exactly right about this term) will seek to strangle the Democratic Presidency in its crib.

If Republicans control Congress, expect Delay and company to declare that they will fight to the death to preserve the Bush tax cuts and stymie the Kerry "liberal" agenda. The right-wing talking heads will question whether the troops will willingly serve under a "traitor". For a model of what to expect from the right, just review the early days of the Clinton Administration - but now the G.O.P. controls Congress and a significant cable media outlet. The swift boat attacks will seem like a day at the beach compared to the conservative onslaught following a Kerry victory

Days of Shame

Bob Herbert in the New York Times
Overseas, our troops are being mauled in the long dark night of Iraq - a war with no end in sight that has already claimed the lives of more than 1,100 American troops and thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of innocent Iraqis.

At home, the party of the sitting president is systematically stomping on the right of black Americans to vote, a vile and racist practice that makes a mockery of the president's claim to favor real democracy anywhere.

This will never be seen as a shining moment in U.S. history.

The Rule of Law Wins One.

A federal judge issued an order early Monday barring political party challengers from polling places throughout Ohio during Tuesday's election.
U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott found that the application of Ohio's statute allowing challengers at polling places is unconstitutional.

She said the presence of challengers inexperienced in the electoral process questioning voters about their eligibility would impede voting.

Dlott ruled on a lawsuit by a black Cincinnati couple who said Republican plans to deploy challengers to largely black precincts in Hamilton County was meant to intimidate and block black voters.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

So the Bastard is Still Alive.

As usual William Rivers Pitt gets to the heart of the matter.

t r u t h o u t - William Rivers Pitt | Osama's Election Editorial

"He isn't dead of kidney failure or rotting in a cave somewhere in the Hindu Kush. He wasn't smoked out of his hole, and he in no way appeared to be on the run. The images broadcast on every American television station in the last few hours showed a man apparently in good health, clothed in traditional white and wrapped in a golden robe. His hands were steady and his voice was clear. From all appearances, Osama bin Laden is tanned, rested and ready.

In as much as it is possible for a wanted mass murderer to have a conversation with the American public, this is what we are seeing tonight. Osama bin Laden directed his message not at the Muslim world, not at the American government, but at the people gearing up to vote for a President on Tuesday. "You American people, my speech to you is the best way to avoid another conflict about the war and its reasons and results," said bin Laden. A lot of people thought the capture of bin Laden would be the 'October Surprise' to affect the vote. Instead, we got, hard as it is to believe, an election editorial from Osama, who remains alive and free. As far as October surprises go, this one is completely off-the-grid strange. "

Taking Bush at His Word

Nicholas Kristoff is taking Bush at his word...whoops!

"• Oct. 11, 2000: "If we're an arrogant nation, [foreigners] will resent us. If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us. ... We've got to be humble."

It's a good thing Mr. Bush tried to be humble, or the U.S. would have an approval rating even lower than 5 percent in Jordan, and Osama bin Laden's approval rating in Pakistan would be higher than 65 percent.

• Feb. 27, 2001: "I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years. ... We should approach our nation's budget as any prudent family would."

But Mr. Bush, with the help of a weak economy, has transformed the Clinton budget surpluses into huge deficits. Since Mr. Bush took office, the federal debt has increased by $2.1 trillion, or 40 percent.

• Sept. 25, 2000: "It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."

Hmm. And many of our exports go abroad. Meanwhile, despite the lackluster economy, oil imports are 1.3 million barrels per day higher than in Mr. Clinton's last year in office."

There's more...

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Bush Pledge

This is absolutely the scariest thing so far. At a rally in Florida last night the following happened. I am in a bad dream, I just know it.

"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."
(via John Marshall)

"All officers of the SS were required to take the loyalty oath. Raising their right hand and their left hand placed on their officers sword, the oath went as follows: "I swear to thee, Adolph Hitler as Fuhrer and chancellor of the German Reich, my Loyalty and Bravery. I vow to thee and the superiors whom those shall appoint, obedience until death, so help me God." thanks to Jim Harris

Only a 100,000 - No Worries, No Mistakes!

May God Have Mercy!

A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000 more people
may have died in the 18 months since Bush's invasion than would be expected based on
the death rate before the war. The survey indicated violence accounted for most of the
extra deaths seen since the invasion, and airstrikes from coalition forces caused most of
the violent deaths, the researchers wrote in the British-based journal.

"Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children," they said

Link via BartCop

Hard Right Endorsements

For those of you who don't remember former Senator Bob Smith of New Hamshire he was one of the most radical far right wing Senators. He even left the Republican party once because it was too moderate. Well, He is endorsing Kerry. (PDF)

"As someone who worked with you daily for 12 years as a United States Senator, I am acutely conscious of the fact that we disagree on many important issues. Despite our differences, you have always been willing to engage in constructive debate in an effort to forge sound public policy.
I deeply respect your commitment to our nation and your patriotism which, I believe, was forged when you-like I-proudly wore the uniform of the United States Navy in Viet Nam...

Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism.

President Bush has failed to restrain federal spending, sending our deficit spinning into the stratosphere. I well remember that you were one of a handful of Democrats who crossed the aisle to forge a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to balance the federal budget [...]

John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you. So will my wife, Mary Jo, and all three of my children: Jason, Bobby and Jenny.

Moreover, I will do all that I can to encourage my friends in New Hampshire and Florida to join me in supporting you."


Thursday, October 28, 2004

GOP Plan for the Election

Nick Confessore at Tapped has an excellent distillation of the GOP plan for the election.

"If Reuters were an opinion magazine, here's how they'd spell out the strategy. First, the GOP, using what appear to qualify as illegal methods, has attempted to mislead thousands of Democratic-leaning voters in Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, into thinking they'd be registered but are not. (And Ed Gillespie, whose own outfit is funding these efforts via Sproul & Associates and God knows what other firms and consultants, is alleging Democratic fraud in precisely those states! Black is white. Up is down.) Consequently, those thousands of people are going to show up at polls and probably run into a lot of confusion and paperwork and problems. At the same time, Republican secretaries of state and election officials in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere are pushing interpretations of election statutes that further muddy the waters for those who do get to vote.
Having done as much as possible to create the conditions for a confusing election, the GOP is getting ready to cast the inevitable results of that confusion -- people turning up in the wrong precincts, people who've moved from the neighborhood they originally registered and are trying to vote wherever they live now, and so forth -- as symptoms of outright election fraud. On Election Day, the GOP will challenge as many votes as they can at the polls, on whatever pretext is handy. They've already said they will. And then, if they're behind at the end of the day, GOP officials will start alleging massive voter fraud in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere, whatever the facts on the ground are. That will give them a rhetorical advantage in the short-term -- if, say, John Kerry is far enough ahead that he declares victory, but there are still some votes to be counted or re-counted. And it's important for the long-term, too. If Kerry does win, but only narrowly, the GOP will allege that the Democrats stole the election, which will set the stage for later Republican efforts to shut down Kerry's ability to govern and deny him legitimacy."

Lambert over at Corrente has a interesting connection to the 1930's as well.
In the increasingly desperate situation of 1930, the Nazis managed to project an image of strong, decisive action, dynamism, energy and youth that wholly eluded the propaganda efforts of the other political parties, with the partial exception of the Communists. The cult of leadership which they created around Hitler could not be matched by comparable efforts by other parties to project their leaders ... All this was achieved through powerful, simple slogans and images, frenetic, manic activity.. which underlined the Nazi's claim to be far more than a political party: they were a movement, sweeping up the German people and carrying them unstoppably to a better future. What the Nazis did not offer, however, were concrete solutions to Germany's problems.....

More strikingly still, the public disorder which loomed so large in the minds of the respectable middle classes in 1930, and which the Nazis promised to end though the creation of a tough, authoritarian state, was to a considerable extent of [the Nazis] own making. Many people evidently failed to realize this....
(via Richard J. Evan's magisterial The Coming of the Third Reich, Penguin 2004)

No More Question about Al QaaQaa

This is huge...seems lioke KSTP-TV in Minneapolis had a film crew embedded with the 101st and they have film of of US soldiers breaking the seals on the bunkers and showing off the explosives and then leaving the bunkers wide open and leaving......this was filmed on April 18th. This blows the whole it was gone before we got these story out of the window.
Here is the Link via Attaturk at Hegemon
Rising Hegemon: HOLY SHITE!! Film from Al QaaQaa

MoDo gets cooking for Halloween- In Cheney's Face

Maureen Down in the New York Times takes off the gloves--here's a snip.

"If you really want to be chilled to the bone this Halloween, listen to what Peter W. Galbraith, a former diplomat who helped advance the case for an Iraq invasion at the request of Paul Wolfowitz, said in a column yesterday in The Boston Globe.
He said he'd told Mr. Wolfowitz about 'the catastrophic aftermath of the invasion, the unchecked looting of every public institution in Baghdad, the devastation of Iraq's cultural heritage, the anger of ordinary Iraqis who couldn't understand why the world's only superpower was letting this happen.'' He told Mr. Wolfowitz that mobs were looting Iraqi labs of live H.I.V. and black fever viruses and making off with barrels of yellowcake.
'Even after my briefing, the Pentagon leaders did nothing to safeguard Iraq's nuclear sites,'' he said.
In his column, Mr. Galbraith said weapons looted from the arms site called Al Qaqaa might have wound up in Iran, which could obviously use them to pursue nuclear weapons."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

General Clark Agrees with Bush

Gen. Wesley Clark agrees with Bush:

"Today George W. Bush made a very compelling and thoughtful argument for why he should not be reelected. In his own words, he told the American people that '... a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your Commander in Chief'.
President Bush couldn't be more right. He jumped to conclusions about any connection between Saddam Hussein and 911. He jumped to conclusions about weapons of mass destruction. He jumped to conclusions about the mission being accomplished. He jumped to conclusions about how we had enough troops on the ground to win the peace. And because he jumped to conclusions, terrorists and insurgents in Iraq may very well have their hands on powerful explosives to attack our troops, we are stuck in Iraq without a plan to win the peace, and Americans are less safe both at home and abroad.
By doing all these things, he broke faith with our men and women in uniform. He has let them down. George W. Bush is unfit to be our Commander in Chief."

I agree as well......

More Good News

Thirty Six Newspapers that endorsed the Chimp in 2000 are endorsing John Kerry this election.

Something Else that is Being Hidden from You

As if you couldn't guess it was hiding out there. A prominent NASA scientist said today that the Bush administration is consistently hiding the dangers of Global Warming from the public.

'In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now,' James E. Hansen told a University of Iowa audience.
Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and has twice briefed a task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming.
Hansen said the administration wants to hear only scientific results that 'fit predetermined, inflexible positions.' Evidence that would raise concerns about the dangers of climate change is often dismissed as not being of sufficient interest to the public.
'This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster.'

Here is the Link

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Toward never!

The Chimp is still moving in the right direction. I have to admit he seems to be doing something right but it is probably my imagination--it's the American people waking up.
The Washington Post Poll daily tracking poll.....

Bush | Kerry
10/26 | 48 | 50
10/25 | 48 | 49
10/24 | 48 | 48
10/23 | 50 | 46
10/22 | 50 | 46
10/21 | 51 | 45"

A Letter to Americans from an Iraqi Blogger

Here is a link to an open letter to Americans from Riverbend. (Those of you who either don't know about or read Riverbend a young woman who has been blogging from Iraq since before we attacked.) Here is part of it, but read it all, please.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Americans, the name of your country which once stood for 'freedom & justice' is tarnished worldwide. Your latest president has proved that the great American image of democracy is just that ---- an image. You can protest, you can demonstrate, you can vote ---- but it ends there. The reigns were out of your hands the moment Bush stepped into the White House. You were deceived repetitively and duped into two wars. Your sons and daughters are dying, and killing, in foreign lands, your embassies are in danger all over the world. 'America' has become synonymous with 'empire,' 'hegemony' and 'warfare.' And why? All because you needed to be diverted away from the fact that your current president is a failure.

Some people associate the decision to go to war as a 'strength.' How strong do you need to be to commit thousands of your countrymen and women to death on foreign soil? Especially while you and your loved ones sit safely watching at home. How strong do you need to be to give orders to bomb cities to rubble and use the most advanced military technology available against a country with a weak army and crumbling infrastructure? You don't need to be strong, you need to be mad.

Americans ---- can things be worse for you? Can things be worse for us in Iraq? Of course they can...only imagine-four more years of Bush."

Thanks to Tena at First-Draft for pointing it out.

I Need a President - Again

You won't find a much more passionate statement that reflects our need for a new president than this one from John Cory and Truthout.
It is a must read. It pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The New Yorker Endorses Kerry

Amazing! This is the first time in its 80 year history The New Yorker enters the political fray. Following is a paragraph from near the end. You should read the whole thing.
This is via the Official John Kerry Blog

"The damage visited upon America, and upon America's standing in the world, by the Bush Administration's reckless mishandling of the public trust will not easily be undone. And for many voters the desire to see the damage arrested is reason enough to vote for John Kerry. But the challenger has more to offer than the fact that he is not George W. Bush. In every crucial area of concern to Americans (the economy, health care, the environment, Social Security, the judiciary, national security, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism), Kerry offers a clear, corrective alternative to Bush's curious blend of smugness, radicalism, and demagoguery. Pollsters like to ask voters which candidate they'd most like to have a beer with, and on that metric Bush always wins. We prefer to ask which candidate is better suited to the governance of our nation."

High Explosives for Dummies via Xan at Corrente

Xan at Corrente has an excellent contribution to the general knowlege pool concerning high explosives of the type handed to the terroists in Iraq by George and company. No wonder the very small bit of it used so far has killed over a 1000 of our loved ones and 10,000 or so of the people we are liberating.
Here's the meme " Seven hundred and sixty thousand pounds of high explosive. One pound took down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie."

"The difference is in the speed of the explosion. The reason [another 'slow' explosive called ANFO] used in mining is because it has a slower reaction rate, producing gas and shockwaves that shove rather than shatter.

In most mines, high explosive sticks or gel packs are fired which shatters the rock and detonates the ANFO. The ANFO than pushes the shattered rock outward.

The shattering effect is what makes RDX and such so deadly. A barrel containing a small amount of ANFO and detonated will tend to rupture and separate into large chunks. If the pressure wave doesn't get you, you have pretty good odds of getting away unscathed because there are only a few large pieces flying around.

A barrel with RDX or another high explosive turns into a grenade, forming many more smaller fragments with much higher velocities."


UPdate: Fixed Link

Financial Times backs Kerry, bashes 'radical' Bush

Yahoo! News - Financial Times backs Kerry, bashes 'radical' Bush

Well, Well, Well. It seems the most respected Financial Times has decided to endorse John Kerry.

The paper, one of the world's leading financial dailies, called Bush "a polarizer, exploiting the war on terror to cow domestic opposition and divide the world into Them and Us."

"Mr. Bush's flaw is his stubborn reluctance to admit mistakes and to adjust personnel and policy. Blind faith in military power as a tool for change has too often influenced decision-making," it said.

"The US needs allies in the struggle against terrorism but Mr. Bush's crusading moralism has alienated the rest of the world, and a large constituency at home already fearful of the religious right."

While the average Bushie won't see this on CNN or FAUX it tickles my root.

Matthew Yglesias: John Kerry For President

Well - Matthew does a pretty good job of explaining his position and we accept it with thanks.
Matthew Yglesias: John Kerry For President
"Things are not better now than when George W. Bush took office. Instead, on virtually every front there has been deterioration. The proportion of the population at work has fallen. The number of people with health insurance has fallen. The number of people living in poverty has risen. The dollar -- and with it the average American's purchasing power -- has fallen. The federal government's fiscal capacity to cope with an unexpected crisis or the looming problems in Medicare financing has deteriorated. The esteem in which America is held in the world has fallen. The degree of trust foreign governments and the American people have in the US President's description of foreign threats has fallen. The number of terrorist attacks has risen. The state of human rights in China has fallen. Russia's progress toward democracy has been reversed. Politics in the non-Iraq portions of the Middle East are less liberal. In Iraq, a dictatorship and the human suffering of the sanctions regime has been replaced by chaos and the human suffering of a civil war. The American military is less prepared to cope with a foreign threat. The propensity of friendly governments to cooperate with us has eroded markedly. One could go on."

Bull Moose jumps on the latest Corporate Tax Giveaway

Bull Moose: "Here is the great Washinton conceit - the President goes on and on about how the country is at war and that these are extraordinary times. Yet, the only ones sacrificing in this unusual war are the brave heroes who are risking their lives on the front lines in combat and their families."

This whole disaster got almost no play in the media. The average American taxpayer has no idea how he has been screwed once again and that Bush just spent another chunk of our future.

"The Moose wonders how many Gold Star mothers benefited from this law? How many families of servicemen and women who perished in this struggle will gain a new loophole? How many Marines surrounding Fallujah will see their paycheck increase because of this law?"