Sunday, October 31, 2004

More Dead Letters

I notice that folks at the parody site, who received real emails from Bushies and put them up on their DEAD LETTER OFFICE page, have gone back and added more emails recently (the new ones are on a yellow background).

Here's a quote from an older email that I haven't put up before, but it shows some consciousness of guilt, at least [emph. added]:
-----Original Message-----

From: ardean anvik []
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 12:47 PM
Subject: Federal Campaign Law


May I request that you or someone on your staff send
directions regarding What Counties can and cannot
do as it pertains to newsletters and phone banks
usage for federal candidates. There is a great
deal of ignorance out here and many counties are
violating the campaign law as I understood it
from you. God help us if the Democrats find out.

I think we all need direction. Can you help us?

Thanks, Chris

Ardean A. Anvik
Thanks, Ardean A. Anvik, for at least showing a conscience. Wonder if the people he wrote that email to have one, too?

Executive Decision

HBO has been (and Cinemax will soon be) playing the 1996 movie "Executive Decision." It's a first-rate thriller. Normally, you'd presume that a movie about terrorist hijacking would be pigeonholed as an "action" movie. While this movie has a good bit of action, it's also got a lot of suspense and tension and doesn't merely go from mindless action scene to another rote action scene.

Neil Gabler wrote about it in 2002, in The Authors of 9/11: "
It also seems likely that prior to planning the 9/11 foray someone in the Arab terrorist camp had seen Executive Decision [written by Jim Thomas & John Thomas], a 1996 thriller about terrorists who use planes as missiles to attack Washington.
I realize that at least Condi Rice among the Bushies said that such use of planes as weapons was unimagineable, but this movie had ... terrrorists hijacking planes and planning to use them as missiles.

Also, it had the passengers placated by telling them, in paraphrase, "this will all be over, just stay calm," as the hijackers more or less did on 9/11. At least one of the hijackers was a trained pilot.

One surmise by some is that all the hijackers didn't know the true plan on 9/11 -- such was the case in the movie.

There are more similarities, too. But one big item echoed in the movie is that, although the movie is called "Executive Decision," the President isn't in D.C. and makes apparently no contribution to the entire crisis.

Hey, that's a lot like George W. Bush on 9/11.

It's skillful action-oriented thriller -- well acted and well put together. And, while there are a few "well, I don't quite believe that" moments, there are far fewer than in your average action fare.

Recommended. It's on HBO-2, I note, at midnight tonight and on Cinemax in days to come.

Young Kerry Country

Zogby International says:
Polling firm Zogby International and partner Rock the Vote found Massachusetts Senator John Kerry leading President Bush 55% to 40% among 18-29 year-old likely voters in their first joint Rock the Vote Mobile political poll, conducted exclusively on mobile phones October 27 through 30, 2004. Independent Ralph Nader received 1.6%, while 4% remain undecided in the survey of 6,039 likely voters. The poll is centered on subscribers to the Rock the Vote Mobile (RTVMO) platform, a joint initiative of Rock the Vote and Motorola Inc. (for more information: The poll has margin of error of +/-1.2 percentage points.

The poll also found that only 2.3% of 18-29 year-old respondents said they did not plan to vote, and another .5% who were not sure if they would. The results of the survey are weighted for region, gender, and political party.


“The results of this text-message poll mirror what we’re seeing in our more conventional polls,” said John Zogby, CEO and president of Utica, N.Y.-based Zogby International. “Among 18-29 year-olds, Kerry leads the President by 14 points—55% to 41% in our current daily tracking poll—virtually identical to these results.
From the number of those who are going to vote (probably an overestimate, but still...) I wonder if Eminem's great video "Mosh" has been effective (link to video is a quicktime .mov file, from a great site called Internet Vets for Truth.

How Bush Let Bin Laden Get Away

TopDog04 has a nice timeline of how how Bush let Bin Laden Get Away. (Via Josh Marshall.)

Tommy Franks was running the war from Florida at the time. (And, as an aside, I always found it odd that Franks retired in the middle of a conflict. Why not finish the job before handing it off to others?)

At any rate, the US was virtually certain that bin Laden was in Tora Bora in mid November, 2001. On Nov 21, while bin Laden is making his stand at Tora Bora, Bush asks CENTCOM to prepare for an Iraq war. On Nov 27, Franks meets with Rumsfeld about ... Iraq. Bin Laden escapes soon after.

Talk about taking your eye off the ball.

Sure would have been nice to have that terrorist leader dead nearly three years ago, before he turned al Qaeda into a metastasizing ideological movement.

Instead, bin Laden is looking healthy and making new video tapes.

Knight-Ridder (via Atrios) has a very damning piece about how horribly Bush, Rumsfeld and Franks botched the Tora Bora operation. Read it all. One paragraph:
Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn't be trusted, and they proved to be correct. They were slow to move their troops into place and didn't attack until four days after American planes began bombing - leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

No Retreat, No Surrender

Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim
The walls of my room are closing in
There's a war outside still raging
You say it ain't ours anymore to win
I want to sleep beneath
Peaceful skies in my lover's bed
With a wide open country in my eyes
And these dreams .....

Once we made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Blood brothers in a stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Bruce Springsteen

Don't be tremulous. Fight. Be brave.

This is your country. Get pissed off if some Republican tries to take your vote or your voice.

You have the right to vote. No Republican has the right to take it away from you. Get mad and get even if they do.

Kick Ass and Take Names

Josh Marshall speaks wisely:
Another way I've noticed this over the years is that Republicans are usually far more confident that their candidates are going to win given races, whether polls give reason for the confidence or not, whether the eventual outcome bears out the confidence or not.

Democrats could use more of that.


If you're a Democrat and you notice your fellow Democrats dipping into these spasms of fecklessness and weak-kneedism, as I've described above, I strongly encourage to slap them around a few times and tell them to get a hold of themselves. If you're experiencing such spasms, by all means, slap yourself a few times and tell yourself the same thing.
Bush has totally screwed up our response to 9/11 after Afghanistan (a war which "any conceivable President," as Richard Clarke put it, would have fought.)
  • Bush didn't focus on getting bin Laden back when it would have counted -- before it was a franchise ideology.
  • Bush relied on fickle Afghan warlords to try and catch bin Laden.
  • Bush diverted money, materiel, and troops, especially troops with language and cultural skills, away from Afghanistan to Iraq back when capturing bin Laden and al Zawahiri would have mattered.
  • Bush has stretched our military to the breaking point in a war of choice -- a war we did not have to fight -- in Iraq.
In his video, bin Laden looked hale and hearty. He should have been dead and rotting (or at least captured and imprisoned). He was speaking not to America but to the countless people in Muslim countries who he can now better recruit since Americans are viewed (through the lens of Iraqi civilian deaths, Abu Ghraib, and "invading an oil rich Arab country") as repressers of Arabs.

Bush is a strategic and tactical failure as a Commander in Chief, but he's become a great recruiter for al Qaeda. Bin Laden loves him for that

Also, bin Laden probably owes his life to the inept way that Bush prosecuted the war in Afghanistan.

Bush sucks. OBL's tape doesn't change that fact, it only emphasizes it.

Friday, October 29, 2004

OBL: Player of the long game

William Gibson (yes, that William Gibson), on the bin Laden tape:

In that light, I can only assume that OBL's new tape is a very clever player's best shot at getting his partner a second term.

I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that OBL fears Kerry any more than Bush. But Kerry can only comprise an unknown, and why allow the other team to introduce an unknown when your familiar power-symbiote has always proven so wonderously adept at doing everything you'd most want him to do?

OBL today is probably a very satisfied, very optimistic man, and if he can skew the last-minute dynamic of the election in Bush's favor, he'll have cause to be all the more satisfied.

And that's the danger, that some crucial percentage of our dimmer, more reactive voters will flash back to 9-11 and the Bush of the bullhorn, the Bush buffeted with the heartbroken grit of Ground Zero, and vote for that -- childishly imagining that such a vote runs counter to the wishes and the needs of OBL, the bearded stickman, the cave-dwelling spider, our new Old Man of the Mountains. Player of the long game.

Yeah, exactly.

We need a President who is more cunning, craftier, and smarter than the Islamist terrorists arrayed against us. Our current President is not.


Bush has taken to saying recently, regarding his failure to capture or kill bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001:
Bush reminded his audience that Kerry said on national television in late 2001, "I think we have been doing this fairly effectively, and we should continue to do it that way.
Of course, Bush is taking that so far out of context that it's essentially another lie.

Here's the whole exchange:
CALLER: Hello. Yes, I would like to ask the panel why they don't use napalm or flamethrowers on those tunnels and caves up there in Afghanistan?

KING: Senator Kerry?

CALLER: My golly, I think they could smoke him out.

KING: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: Well, I think it depends on where you are tactically. They may well be doing that at some point in time. But for the moment, what we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way.

KING: Congressman Cunningham, what do you think of that question?

CUNNINGHAM: I think Senator Kerry is right on the mark. To use a flamethrower, you've got to get right into the area close in. And plus, it doesn't penetrate that deep in those tunnels. You've got to go in there after him. So I think you have to neutralize that threat. And then you can get him out in a lot of different, various ways including what the gentleman spoke about.
The caller was asking about the use of napalm and flamethrowers. Not about whether we should let Afghan warlords run the show in Tora Bora.

I'm sure Kerry has been in far closer proximity to napalm than George W. Bush has. But I'm pretty sure Bush knows what the word "napalm" means and didn't just distort Kerry's meaning because of ignorance.

Bush, again, bearing false witness against his neighbor.

Mendacious B

Christopher at Shrillblog has a great rundown of why the Al Qaqaa story matters, and why Bush's evasions and lies about it matter too. The whole thing is worth reading. Excerpt:

Following this original bombshell, the Bush administration has said:

  • It's not a big deal. (Di Rita, 10/24)
  • It's the Iraqi's fault. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • There was a lot going on, so we might have missed it. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • We've found lots of other less dangerous explosives. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • The Pentagon only learned about this a few days ago. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • U.S. forces completely searched the facility several times after the invasion. (Di Rita, 10/25)
  • The explosives were taken before the U.S. got there. (Di Rita, 10/26)
  • This NBC story proves that the explosives were indeed missing when U.S. forces first arrived. (Pentagon official, 10/26)
  • Oops, NBC pulled their story; their reporter's group wasn't the first on the scene. (AP, 10/26)
  • Oops again, the troops didn't search the facility--they were in combat. (MSNBC, 10/26)
  • We never found any explosives. (Pentagon official, 10/27)
  • We have satellite pictures of trucks at the bunkers, maybe taking the explosives. (Di Rita, 10/27)
  • Oops, wrong bunkers. (Global Security, 10/28)
  • The Russians took the explosives. (Shaw, 10/28)
  • The troops didn't search hard enough. (Giuliani, 10/28)
  • Kerry hates the troops. (Bush, 10/28)

And after all that equivocation and grasping at straws, the administration managed to avoid telling the truth even once: that the weapons were there, that the Bush administration knew, that the troops were not given the intelligence, training, or manpower necessary to secure the weapons, that the bunkers were opened and then abandoned--and subsequently looted. And now the 760,000 pounds of explosives are being used on American soldiers, Iraqi police, and innocent civilians.

According to former Iraq weapons inspector David Kay there are 80 such sites in Iraq--and that the evidence is damning.

Mendacity instead of policy. That's Bush in a nutshell.

Video Pit Stop

Never Forget: Internets Vets for Truth hosts a collection of Quicktime video clips (and some MP3 audio) relevant to the election, including:

  • Eminem's "Mosh" video (and MP3)
  • Tim Ryan's speech on the floor of the House during the recent draft vote
  • Bush reading "The Pet Goat" after being informed that "America is under attack" on 9/11
  • Jon Stewart on Crossfire.
  • Britney Spears' political genius
and quite a bit more. Looks like a handy pit stop for video, and it's BitTorrent enabled.

Psychological Warfare

Ken Layne delivers a stem-winder that moves from the new Homeland Security Department intell head telling us we'll have to "abridge individual rights" to an exegesis of the power of Eminem's "Mosh" video, and how the corporate media have to play the damned thing, like it or not. Along the way we get, for example, this:
It's war all the time. Let those bastards get another four years -- and they may get those years -- and next time will be a little bit different. Worrying about "John Kerry" is like worrying about what sort of steak you'd like as you die of starvation in a cave. Get rid of these people, folks. Get rid of them so you can, hopefully, safely ignore (or take part in) the next elections.
I learned that Eminem now has his own channel on Sirius Satellite Radio, and that :
Eminem will be on SNL this Saturday ... from retard gal who can't even lip-sync to furious dude who just might throw the election, all in seven short days. These are weird times.
That video really is powerful. If you haven't seen it yet, try here or here. Stick with it to the end.

Hurtin' Halliburton

Gee, Dick Cheney's old company attracts the attention of the FBI :

F.B.I. Investigating Contracts With Halliburton

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether the Army's handling of a large Iraq contract with the Halliburton Companyviolated procurement rules, according to lawyers for an Army official who made the charges of improprieties.
And, to recap a golden oldie by this pariah corporation:
One aspect of the company's performance - the importation of high-priced fuels into Iraq soon after the invasion - had already attracted the attention of Pentagon auditors, who say the government may have been overcharged by $61 million.
Thank you, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, for giving Halliburton money that could have been used to pay Iraqis to reconstruct their country -- putting unemployed Iraqis to work, among other good things.

Some Liberator

USATODAY writes: "A survey of 2,000 Iraqis around the country conducted last week by the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies in Baghdad shows 58% of Iraqis say they don't care who wins the U.S. presidential elections. Of those who do care, 22.5% prefer Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry and 16% prefer President Bush."

Lessee, $200 billion dollars divided by 25 million (roughly the population of Iraq) means that Bush will soon have spent about $8,000 per Iraqi.

And they still don't like the guy.

I suppose if the money were actually going to help the Iraqi people rather than corporations like Halliburton things might be different.

And Bush might be more popular if tens of thousands of Iraqis hadn't died in the war so far. Mass death kind of turns people off.

[Poll link via Americablog .]

Thursday, October 28, 2004


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"As a songwriter I've written about America for thirty years, tried to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. And I believe that these essential ideas of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd.

The human principles of economic justice, healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their back and still not make ends meet.

The protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy. Civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home.

I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past fifty years, and he's formed an adult view of America and its people. He's had the life experience. I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible.

And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, struggle and hearbreak will always be with us, and that's why we need each other. That's why "United we stand," that's why "One nation, indivisible," aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy.

And he's shown us, starting as a young man, by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism, that's where we find a more complete view of who we are, that's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is imbedded only in truth, to make our world a better and safer place.

Paul Wellstone, great Minnesota senator, said "The future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and work hard for it."

Well the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose.

So let's roll up our sleeves. That's why I'm here today, to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. And together we can move America towards her deepest ideals.

And besides, we had a sax player in the house. We need a guitar player in the White House."

- Bruce Springsteen, Madison Wisconsin, October 28, 2004

Madison Photos
Madison Video

Huh? Bad News From Iraq?

I thought freedom was on the march there. I thought major combat operations were over last year. I mean...President George W. Bush said those things were true.

Instead, I read that Ramadi, a Provincial Capital Near Falluja, is rapidly slipping into chaos.
While Ramadi is not exactly a "no go" zone for the marines, like the insurgent stronghold of Falluja 30 miles to the east, officers say it is fast slipping in that direction. In the last six weeks, guerrillas have stepped up the pace of assassinations of Iraqis working with the Americans, and marine officials say they suspect Iraqi security officers have been helping insurgents to attack their troops. Reconstruction efforts have ground to a halt because no local contractors are willing to work.
Insurgents have tried discrediting the marines and the local government through widespread propaganda. Clerics regularly preach against the occupation, while guerrillas post the names of Iraqi security officers outside mosques. A marine showed a flier seized from a mosque that depicted a woman in a black robe being raped by men in sunglasses, presumably Americans.
The story has a lot more of the "march of freedom" there in Ramadi, including beheadings, building demolitions, and other hopeful signs of democracy.

Also the AP notes that Signs point to Imminent Showdown In Iraq
An uptick in airstrikes and other military moves point to an imminent showdown between U.S. forces and Sunni Muslim insurgents west of Baghdad -- a decisive battle that could determine whether the campaign to bring democracy and stability to Iraq can succeed.

American officials have not confirmed a major assault is near against the insurgent bastions of Fallujah and neighboring Ramadi. But Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has warned Fallujah leaders that force will be used if they do not hand over extremists, including terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
A series of policy mistakes by the U.S. military and the Bush administration have transformed Fallujah from a shabby, dusty backwater known regionally for mosques and tasty kebabs into a symbol of Arab pride and defiance of the United States throughout the Islamic world. [Emphasis added.]
I wonder if that "imminent showdown" may be ... oh, around or after election day in America? But how could any military decision in Iraq be pinned to an election in the USA?

Because possibly the civilians are micro-managing the war in Iraq for whatever political benefit it may give the Bush administration?

We'll see.

One more small thing. I don't think the Iraq is exactly like Vietnam, but there are many similarities. One similarity I'd like to point out is that, here in America, few of us knew the names of cities or villages or holidays in Vietnam before that war. But now, after decades, some of them still ring out: My Lai, Tet, Hanoi. And, similarly, we're learning the names of villages, towns, and cities in Iraq: Ramadi, Fallujah, Najaf, and more. Places where they kill American soldiers who they see as "occupiers."

Should we be learning geography through war? I'd rather read a book, but there are Americans in those places shedding blood and losing limbs based, essentially, upon the geographical knowledge of George W. Bush.

Who would willingly base any important decision upon the geographical or historical knowledge of George W. Bush? Not what you impute (probably falsely) is Bush's "steadfastness" or his "moral clarity," or other airy things that Bush would want you to believe. Would you bet the amputation of a limb just upon George W. Bush's concrete knowledge of history or geography or military strategy ?

Who would want to bet their life or their leg on George W. Bush's knowledge of My Lai, or Ramadi, or Hanoi, or Najaf or the Crusades or the Seven Year War?

Not me. Maybe you. If so, you can bet your life , in a concrete way, by joining up with Bush's military adventure.

Put your prostheses where your mouth is.

Faith-Based Finger

Quite a few people have shown this, but I think this is one of those "the more the merrier" type situations.

Video Vote Vigil has a video of George W. Bush, Born-again Christian, displaying the filthy finger to the camera. For those Christians who are not familiar with the gesture, it is commonly interpreted as "f*ck you."

Demonstrate this gesture to your pastor and ask him about it.

Bob Harris has made an animated gif of the focal bit.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

That cackling creature there, folks, is your President, after his religious conversion. Once a dumbass frat boy, always a dumbass frat boy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Republicans Against Voting

The Republican plan codenamed "Stop the Negroes from voting" is oh-so-uplifting in itself, but there's a particularly lovely example of anti-civic-mindedness in Wisconsin:

GOP criticizes student get-out-the-vote campaign
Republicans are criticizing a Wisconsin get-out-the-vote campaign involving public school students, saying Democrats are exploiting the students for political gain.

Young people in the program organized by the Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund take time from regular classes to go door to door in minority neighborhoods and areas with historically low voter turnout, urging people to cast ballots.

The students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, also use phone banks to call homes and urge people to vote.

Chris Lato, spokesman for the state Republican Party, called the program "a disgraceful use of taxpayer money."
Charming: disparaging a voluntary and entirely non-partisan program to encourage citizens of a democratic republic to exercise their right to vote.

It's come to this: Republicans outright stating that they do not want citizens encouraged to vote. That illuminates Nick Confessore's point, which he amplified today. One side wants more eligible voters to actually vote, and the other side wants fewer voters.

There is no doubt: Republicans are going to try and gum up the works at the polls in Democratic precincts. Even if they don't win that many challenges but just make the lines unbearably long, the long waits and the hassles will supress the vote.

That's their plan, anyway. Will people stand for it?

Ashlee Simpson and Politcs

Alright, Ashlee Simpson got caught lip-synching on SNL and then gave several successive responses (first blaming her band -- poor form).

Fametracker predicts some upcoming Ashlee Simpson gaffes (and subsequent multi-phase spin). It includes some political content:
November 2008

Gaffe: After the U.S. Presidential election, Simpson expresses her disappointment, to Newsweek, that the American Nazi Party didn't win more of the popular vote.
Spin Phase 1: Simpson was quoted out of context, while high on crystal meth.
Spin Phase 2: Simpson doesn't agree with every plank in their platform, but appreciates their commitment to researching alternative fuels.
Her appearance with Mayor Bloomberg of NYC is quite touching, too.

Also, Airbag has created the Ashlee Simpson Karaoke IPod.

It's the Thought That Counts

Catholics for a Free Choice has launched a Challenges to the Tax Status of two Archdiocese.

Of course, this complaint has a pedophile priest's chance in heaven of succeeding. But it's a nice gesture.

Just Try to Steal This Sign, MoFo

From Jeff Jarvis via Oliver Willis

Rumsfeld's Brain

PBS's Frontline series this week airs Rumsfeld's War, a fine documentary about Bush's military. Highly recommended, so check your local listings.

Of course, they showed quite a bit of footage of Rumsfeld in his "rock star" phase, when he was firing off quips at press conferences. And, of course, I thought about how little they trot him out anymore. Gee, wonder why?

Because of stuff like this:
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has implicitly admitted the Pentagon had no specific plans for handling a widespread insurgency in the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq (news - web sites), but still insisted US pre-war planning was "good."

The remarks, made on Tuesday in an interview with Cincinnati, Ohio, radio station, came amid a barrage of charges by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his aides that the White House had failed to adequately plan for the possibility of a guerrilla war in Iraq.
Yup, the planning was good -- it's just too bad that the good planning was for another war and not the actual war we're fighting.

More About Looted Munitions.

Ever wonder what explosives are being used to kill US soldiers (and Iraqis as well)?

The Boston Globe's story today tells us : Explosives were looted after Iraq invasion

David Kay relates his experience:
David Kay, a former weapons inspector in Iraq for the US government who led the Iraq Survey Group that searched for weapons of mass destruction, said that although his team of 1,400 investigators found no such weapons, they found small amounts of HMX and RDX -- and hundreds of square miles of other conventional munitions -- at unguarded sites across Iraq.

''The RDX, HMX, is a superb explosive for terrorists," Kay said. ''The danger is that it's gone somewhere else in the Middle East."

However, Kay's team had a mandate only to search for weapons of mass destruction, not to secure conventional arms, so he could do little beyond referring the caches to the US-led coalition.

''The military did not view guarding these sites as their responsibility," Kay said, recalling that he witnessed US troops guarding the gates of the Tuwaitha nuclear facility while Iraq civilians carried away radioactive pipes and metal drums through other exits.

''There just were not enough troops to guard the number of sites. It was just crazy."
Not enough troops? Gee, I thought Rumsfeld and Bush were sure we didn't need many troops.

Wolfowitz said that Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki was "wildly off the mark" when Shinseki said the US would need "several hundred thousand soldiers" to occupy Iraq.

I guess Wolfowitz, with his genius for planning, never intended to guard stockpiles of ultra-high explosives.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Hitchens and Sullivan

In one day, Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan both say they'll be voting for Kerry.

If, one year ago, you'd have bet me a thousand dollars that those guys would not be voting for Bush, I'd have taken you up on it and I'd already have spent the money.

Actually, even if you'd have asked me yesterday I'd probably have bet that Hitchens wouldn't be voting for Kerry.


Election-Stealing by the RNC

Nick Confessore has a depressing post the lays out the fetid shitstorm we can expect from the RNC about voters and voting in this election.

I would like to point out that while RNC flak Ed Gillespie says that "fictional characters" such as Dick Tracy and Mary Poppins are registering to vote, there are "reality-based" people by these names too.

There are at least 16 people in the US with the name Dick Tracy who have listed phone numbers (no doubt more are unlisted). And there are at least two Mary Poppins with listed phone numbers, as well.

The larger issue is that these tactics are nothing new for Karl Rove. To find out the specifics of Rove's attempts to change elections when the votes don't go his way, look a Joshua Green's article about Rove in the Atlantic.


Oliver Willis points to a BBC story about "caging" being done by the Republicans.

As it turns out, the "dead letter" page blogged about below has two spreadsheets with "caging" in the title. One of them (xls file) has 1834 entries, all of which look to be from Jacksonville. Each entry has names, addresses, city, zip, and a date.

About 75 entries (the bottom 75) have a comment column with notations such as "RTS," (Return to Sender) "ANK," (attempted not known) "NSN," (no such name), etc.

Viewing the file info (or "properties"), the spreadsheet was created by "Republican Party of Florida" and was last saved by a "kporter." No doubt kporter is Kelly Porter [], who sent the file out originally (see the email below). The file was created Wednesday, August 25, 2004.

From the deadletter page, here's the original email that mentions caging and has the above spreadsheet attached. It went up all the way to RNCHQ (look at the email addresses involved is the Republican National Committee Headquarters -- is Republican Party of Florida headquarters.).

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Griffin - Research/Communications []
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 6:34 PM
Lindy Landreaux - Political [];
Miriam Moore - Research/Communications
Victoria Newton - Research/Communications
Shawn Reinschmiedt - Research/Communications
Subject: Re: caging

Tim Griffin
Research Director and
Deputy Communications Director
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
w:(202) 863-8815
f: (202) 863-8744

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelly Porter []
> To: Lindy Landreaux - Political [];
Miriam Moore - Research/Communications [];
Victoria Newton - Research/Communications [];
Tim Griffin - Research/Communications [];
Shawn Reinschmiedt - Research/Communications
[]; [];
Stephen Shiver []; []
> Sent: Thu Aug 26 18:12:49 2004
> Subject: caging
> Total as of today is 1834.
> Kelly
> ATTACHMENT: Caging-1.xls
Looking over that "deadletter" page at is getting more and more interesting.

UPDATE Sven in comments writes:
I conducted a quick test on the addresses in the Excel file, comparing them (using MapQuest) to a map of black neighborhoods:

All the addresses I tried out seemed to correlate. I find the "fundraising" explanation in the BBC story to be implausible, unless the GOP has suddenly decided to target African American households.
I didn't replicate Sven's test but it wouldn't surprise me. And the fundraising explanation the Republicans are giving has got to be bogus.

UPDATE again: Once again, Sven in the comments has done some digging and found that the addresses in the "caging" spreadsheet above are, remarkably, in locations with very high concentrations of African-Americans.

Now, on to Sven, who created the image and did the analysis:

Here's a graphic representation of what's going on:
(Click for larger image)

Between the two caging lists, there are 508 names from the 32209 zip code in Jacksonville. Compare the map of that zip code with the distribution of minorities - 32209 matches almost perfectly with the area labled "black more than 80%." Just as strikingly, I couldn't find any entry on the list that corresponded with a "white more than 80%" area (BTW, the zip codes also correspond to the 3rd Congressional District, which is almost half African American).

From what I gather, "caging" is standard practice in building mailing lists. But I'll be a monkey's uncle if the Florida GOP didn't already know EXACTLY who lives in the 32209 zip code, and wasn't planning on mailing them campaign literature.

Thanks to Sven for the analysis and the graphic.

--UPDATE 2008. The George Bush Dead Letter office URL has changed. The new URL is:
I've updated most of the links in this post. [22 May 2008]. Yes, Think Progress readers, Tim Griffin's name appears over there more than once.


Quite a few people have pointed to the DEAD LETTER OFFICE at -- a parody domain where real bush-cheney operatives accidently sent email.

There's much to laugh at there, but for now I'll look at one email that doesn't seem funny.
-----Original Message-----

From: Carolyn Coda []
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2004 3:10 PM

for future reference, no mention of WDH and legal
or anything work related on the other address. thanks.

Do you Yahoo!?
New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - Send 10MB messages!
So, Carolyn Coda is informing a jhogan at (whoops, that should be .com! -- meaning a jhogan working for bush-cheney '04) ixnay on the "WDH and legal or anything work related on the other address."

What's the other address? is it an RNC or Bush - Cheney address?

What is "WDH?" What legal issues is Carolyn Coda working on?

Very interesting.

I'm sure there'll be more to come out of this deadletter list.

Bush Wears Tailored Tee-Shirts!

The Bush Bulge Revealed
President Bush says "a poorly tailored shirt" caused the unusual bulge on his back during the first presidential debate.
But look at his Tee-Shirt in this photo (from Salon):

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Bush wears tailored tee-shirts and they think Kerry, who has actually killed men in combat, is a perfumed wimp?

Of course, that's not a tailored tee-shirt. It's something Bush is not coming clean about. It sure doesn't look like a bulletproof vest, either -- but what the hell is it?

Like so much about this administration, we may find out when it doesn't matter any more.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Bush Didn't Target Zarqawi

In September I asked "Whatever happened with this NBC story from March?" which reported that Bush let Zarqawi get away despite several "good to go" plans to kill him.

Today, David Sirota points us to a WSJ story with more information on the story.

Full WSJ story (emphasis added) [Edit: Here is the story on the WSJ site]:
Questions Mount Over Failure to Hit Zarqawi's Camp
Scot J. Paltrow. Wall Street Journal, Oct 25, 2004.

As the toll of mayhem inspired by terrorist leader Abu Musab al- Zarqawi mounts in Iraq, some former officials and military officers increasingly wonder whether the Bush administration made a mistake months before the start of the war by stopping the military from attacking his camp in the northeastern part of that country.

The Pentagon drew up detailed plans in June 2002, giving the administration a series of options for a military strike on the camp Mr. Zarqawi was running then in remote northeastern Iraq, according to generals who were involved directly in planning the attack and several former White House staffers. They said the camp, near the town of Khurmal, was known to contain Mr. Zarqawi and his supporters as well as al Qaeda fighters, all of whom had fled from Afghanistan. Intelligence indicated the camp was training recruits and making poisons for attacks against the West.

Senior Pentagon officials who were involved in planning the attack said that even by spring 2002 Mr. Zarqawi had been identified as a significant terrorist target, based in part on intelligence that the camp he earlier ran in Afghanistan had been attempting to make chemical weapons, and because he was known as the head of a group that was plotting, and training for, attacks against the West. He already was identified as the ringleader in several failed terrorist plots against Israeli and European targets. In addition, by late 2002, while the White House still was deliberating over attacking the camp, Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been behind the October 2002 assassination of a senior American diplomat in Amman, Jordan.

But the raid on Mr. Zarqawi didn't take place. Months passed with no approval of the plan from the White House, until word came down just weeks before the March 19, 2003, start of the Iraq war that Mr. Bush had rejected any strike on the camp until after an official outbreak of hostilities with Iraq. Ultimately, the camp was hit just after the invasion of Iraq began.

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who was in the White House as the National Security Council's director for combatting terrorism at the time, said an NSC working group, led by the Defense Department, had been in charge of reviewing the plans to target the camp. She said the camp was "definitely a stronghold, and we knew that certain individuals were there including Zarqawi." Ms. Gordon-Hagerty said she wasn't part of the working group and never learned the reason why the camp wasn't hit. But she said that much later, when reports surfaced that Mr. Zarqawi was behind a series of bloody attacks in Iraq, she said "I remember my response," adding, "I said why didn't we get that ['son of a b-'] when we could."

Administration officials say the attack was set aside for a variety of reasons, including uncertain intelligence reports on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts and the difficulties of hitting him within a large complex.

"Because there was never any real-time, actionable intelligence that placed Zarqawi at Khurmal, action taken against the facility would have been ineffective," said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the NSC. "It was more effective to deal with the facility as part of the broader strategy, and in fact, the facility was destroyed early in the war."

Another factor, though, was fear that a strike on the camp could stir up opposition while the administration was trying to build an international coalition to launch an invasion of Iraq. Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said in an interview that the reasons for not striking included "the president's decision to engage the international community on Iraq." Mr. Di Rita said the camp was of interest only because it was believed to be producing chemical weapons. He also cited several potential logistical problems in planning a strike, such as getting enough ground troops into the area, and the camp's large size.

Still, after the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, President Bush had said he relentlessly would pursue and attack fleeing al Qaeda fighters regardless of where they went to hide. Mr. Bush also had decided upon a policy of pre-emptive strikes, in which the U.S. wouldn't wait to be struck before hitting enemies who posed a threat. An attack on Mr. Zarqawi would have amounted to such a pre-emptive strike. The story of the debate over his camp shows how difficult the policy can be to carry out; Mr. Zarqawi's subsequent resurgence highlights that while pre-emptive strikes entail considerable risks, the risk of not making them can be significant too, a factor that may weigh in future decisions on when to attack terrorist leaders.

Some former officials said the intelligence on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts was sound. In addition, retired Gen. John M. Keane, the U.S. Army's vice chief of staff when the strike was considered, said that because the camp was isolated in the thinly populated, mountainous borderlands of northeastern Iraq, the risk of collateral damage was minimal. Former military officials said that adding to the target's allure was intelligence indicating that Mr. Zarqawi himself was in the camp at the time. A strike at the camp, they believed, meant at least a chance of killing or incapacitating him.

Gen. Keane characterized the camp "as one of the best targets we ever had," and questioned the decision not to attack it. When the U.S. did strike the camp a day after the war started, Mr. Zarqawi, many of his followers and Kurdish extremists belonging to his organization already had fled, people involved with intelligence say.

In recent months, Mr. Zarqawi's group has been blamed for a series of beheadings of foreigners and deadly car bombings in Iraq, as well as the recent kidnapping of Margaret Hassan, the director of CARE International there. According to wire-service reports, Mr. Zarqawi's group, recently renamed the Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq, on Sunday claimed responsibility for the massacre of more than 40 Iraqi army recruits in eastern Iraq.

The U.S. military over the weekend announced it arrested what it said was a newly promoted senior leader in Mr. Zarqawi's group. The man's name wasn't released.

Targeting of the camp and Mr. Zarqawi before the war first was reported in an NBC Nightly News item in March, but administration officials subsequently denied it, and the report didn't give details of the planning of the attack and deliberations over it.

According to those who were involved during 2002 in planning an attack, the impetus came from Central Intelligence Agency reports that al Qaeda fighters were in the camp and that preparations and training were under way there for attacks on Western interests. Under the aegis of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tentative plans were drawn up and sent to the White House in the last week of June 2002. Officials involved in planning had expected a swift decision, but they said they were surprised when weeks went by with no response from the White House.

Then, in midsummer, word somehow leaked out in the Turkish press that the U.S. was considering targeting the camp, and intelligence reports showed that Mr. Zarqawi's group had fled the camp. But the CIA reported that around the end of 2002 the group had reoccupied the camp. The military's plans for hitting it quickly were revived.

Gen. Tommy Franks, who was commander of the U.S. Central Command and who lately has been campaigning on behalf of Mr. Bush, suggests in his recently published memoir, "American Soldier," that Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been in the camp during the months before the war. Gen. Franks declined to be interviewed or answer written questions for this article. In referring to several camps in northern Iraq occupied by al Qaeda fighters who had fled Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, Gen. Franks wrote: "These camps were examples of the terrorist 'harbors' that President Bush had vowed to crush. One known terrorist, a Jordanian-born Palestinian named Abu Musab Zarqawi who had joined al Qaeda in Afghanistan -- where he specialized in developing chemical and biological weapons -- was now confirmed to operate from one of the camps in Iraq." Gen. Franks's book doesn't mention the plans to target the camp.

Questions about whether the U.S. missed an opportunity to take out Mr. Zarqawi have been enhanced recently by a CIA report on Mr. Zarqawi, commissioned by Vice President Dick Cheney. Individuals who have been briefed on the report's contents say it specifically cites evidence that Mr. Zarqawi was in the camp during those prewar months. They said the CIA's conclusion was based in part on a review of electronic intercepts, which show that Mr. Zarqawi was using a satellite telephone to discuss matters relating to the camp, and that the intercepts indicated the probability that the calls were being made from inside the camp.
So today we learn that Bush left 380 tons of ultra-high explosives unguarded. And we learn they didn't even try to kill Zarqawi when they had several chances.

There's little doubt that Zarqawi is using these explosives to kill US soldiers and Iraqis, too.

Thanks, George W. Bush, for your incompetence in not securing those known high explosives. But curse you for your political decision not to kill Zarqawi before the Iraq war -- presumably because killing him would make the case for a full-fledged war more difficult for you.

This is perhaps the most stark evidence that during the pre-war period, Bush was solely interested in justifying the war, not planning for the aftermath nor even asking if the war was absolutely necessary.


Klutz Bush

President Bush is helped after tripping on a step after speaking at the Canton Palace Theatre about medical liability reform Friday, Oct. 22, 2004 in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

George W. Bush: Breaking our Armed Forces

Gee, wonder why people are worried about a draft, despite protestations to the contrary:

"More than 800 former soldiers have failed to comply with Army orders to get back in uniform and report for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, the Army said Friday. That is more than one-third of the total who were told to report to a mobilization station by October 17.

Iraq: America's Gaza Strip

Just great. Thanks George Bush.

Thomas Friedman:
"'Many Iraqis have so much distrust for U.S. forces we found they've come up with a nickname for our troops,' Scott said. 'They call American soldiers 'The Jews,' as in, 'Don't go down that street, the Jews set up a roadblock.'"
Yeah, I realize it's abysmal that Arabs are so reflexively racist against Jews. But, like it or not, it's a prevailing opinion in the Arab world, and that's the part of the world Bush put our soldiers in to occupy.

What a total disaster.

About that new Bush ad

Nicely done.

Also, The Poor Man has a storyboarded Bush's ad. It kicks ass.

Friday, October 22, 2004


Robin Wright's story Religious leaders ahead in Iraq poll sure makes Bush's move look like a master stroke -- for Iran. (Matthew Yglesias' theory about Iran running Bush's policy, posited in early July, sure looks more likely as the months pass.). From Wright's article:
Leaders of Iraq's religious parties have emerged as the country's most popular politicians and would win the largest share of votes if an election were held today, while the US-backed government of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is losing serious ground, according to a US-financed poll by the International Republican Institute.


Within the Bush administration, a victory by Iraq's religious parties is viewed as the worst-case scenario. Washington has hoped that Allawi and the current team, which was selected by US and UN envoys, would win or do well in Iraq's first democratic election, in January. US officials think a secular government led by moderates is critical, in part because the new government will oversee writing a new Iraqi constitution.

"The picture it paints is that, after all the blood and treasure we've spent and despite the [US-led] occupation's democracy efforts, we're in a position now that the moderates would not win if an election were held today," said a US official who requested anonymity because the poll has not been released.

The poll indicated that the most popular politician is Abdel Aziz Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The group was part of the US-backed opposition to Saddam Hussein and is receiving millions of dollars in aid from Iran, US officials say.

Sure makes Yglesias look prescient.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Bush's supporters are so very weak on the facts. From the Program on International Policy Attributes (PIPA) report:
Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) [wrong] or a major program for developing them (25%) [wrong]. Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD [wrong] and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program [wrong]. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda [wrong], and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found [wrong]. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts [wrong], and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission[wrong]. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.
[Emphatic "wrongs" added.]

This election really is the Reality-based community versus the Fantasy-based community.

PIPA report found via Matthew Yglesias.

Triumph Dumps on Flaks

I've been a fan of the subtle drollery of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog (a Conan O'Brien regular -- a hand puppet animated by Robert Smigel) for years. Somehow he got into the Spin Room after the third Presidential debate and elevated the discourse there. Conan played his piece tonight.

Here are some of his best moments:

Karl Rove

To Karl Rove: "So, you're Bush's Brain? I was expecting a much smaller man."

Republican flak Carter Eskew Correction: Tucker Eskew

Eskew: "You're insulting me and you've got a hand up your butt?"
Triumph: "And you don't?"

And, to Eskew: "How painful was it when the doctor removed your sense of shame?"

Linda Lingle

To Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle (R):

"Bush was better tonight. I liked the strategy of replacing stuttering with stammering."


"Thank you for your time. Have a safe trip back to Stepford."


To Ralph Reed: "Come on, Ralph. Gay rights. If you're going to be against gay rights, then you better take out that pole up your ass."

To Paul Begala, who had commented on Triumph being a puppet: "No self -respecting man would go to an event like this and prop up a puppet. Except, maybe, for Dick Cheney."

[EDIT: A Commenter tells me that Eskew's first name is Carter. Thanks.

Also a video file is up at I'm Just Sayin'. Very nice. Thanks to Wonkette for the pointer. ]

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Enjoy The Draft

A new site for the young folks.

Like Nintendo! but you die.

If young people believed Bush, this might not be such a big issue. Thing is, he's said a lot of untrue stuff (WMD? Nukes?) before starting his unnecessary war in Iraq, and he won't take any responsibility for it.

He may not intend to have a draft, but I'm sure he didn't intend to have the current mess in Iraq, either. It "just happened" because of his faith-based policies.

Funny 'cause it's true

Q. What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?

A. George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

From Political Wire


How did the Bushies ignore "realiity-based" reality and screw up the flu vaccine problem, despite repeated warnings in past years - 2002 even?

Mark A. R. Kleiman points to Rep. Waxman finding the faith-based Bush administration likely killing people due to putting faith -- and politics -- over science.

And, of course, Bush is lying about it despite his purported Christian faith-based truthseeking.

Bush Vs. Reality-Based Parks

Regular visitors may note that we changed our motto (above) to "Reality-Based Community Service." This is, of course, in response to a comment made by a Bush-ite in a recent NY Times article. . The money quote that spawned the new motto is "The [Bush] aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'"

Well, yeah. For the record, Riffle likes our professionals (physicians, lawyers, military leaders, reporters, chefs, accountants, scientists, bankers, etc., as well as politicians) to study discernible reality judiciciously before solutions emerge.

To kick off our new reality-based times, I note a press release by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibiliity.


The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Despite telling members of Congress and the public that the legality and appropriateness of the National Park Service offering a creationist book for sale at Grand Canyon museums and bookstores was “under review at the national level by several offices,” no such review took place, according to materials obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act.
How nice. Not only did they not apply reason, but they lied about whether they'd have a legal review.

And the Grand Canyon is not only a great opportunity to teach about the glories of the Creator, but

Look over more of It has a featured (and infuriating to the reality-based) section called Faith-Based Parks?: Creationism Crowds Out Science.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility: yet another member of the Reality-Based Community.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Plans? Later....

I remember Bush saying to Kerry during the third debate that "A plan is not a litany of complaints." Apparently, to Bush, a plan is something "To be provided:" Bush will get to later, after American soldiers are dying on the ground. Just trust Bush's demeanor -- he doesn't need a plan:

Post-war planning non-existent
WASHINGTON - In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."
Read the whole story for more examples of how pathetic Bush was about planning for the Iraq post-war. Bush was certain: certain he didn't need to plan, or use anyone else's plan, for what became a horribly chaotic post-war security situation where insurgents are rampant and soldiers are sitting ducks.

George Bush was certain that would not happen. George Bush was certain and wrong. Wrong about the most important duty of the President: sending troops to war.

Bush was certain, and Bush was wrong.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Women's Rights?

So, the U.S. lets Pakistan and Indonesia take the lead in
Women's Rights.
The Bush administration said it withheld its signature because the statement included a reference to "sexual rights."

Kelly Ryan, deputy assistant secretary of State, wrote to backers of the plan that the United States was committed "to the empowerment of women and the need to promote women's fullest enjoyment of universal human rights."

"The United States is unable, however, to endorse the world leaders' statement," Ryan said, because it "includes the concept of 'sexual rights,' a term that has no agreed definition in the international community."

Ryan did not elaborate. At previous U.N. meetings, U.S. representatives have spoken out against abortion, gay rights and what they see as the promotion of promiscuity by distributing condoms to prevent AIDS.
Sure, the US says it would like women to have equal rights, to not be abused and killed for honor or dowry, to be educated, to have the right to vote, etc.

But not if it means they might get a condom, be lesbians, or have the choice of having an abortion.

For those who think idealogues aren't running the show, these are the folks speaking for the US to all the other nations in the world.

A Canadian Looks South

Tim Bray is a Canadian who writes: "Unlike most Canadians, I thought invading Iraq was a good idea in principle, and unlike most Canadians, I don’t think George W. Bush is stupid."

In several cogent paragraphs, he discusses the election in the US. Read it all. He's not a Bush-hater, he's not a Kerry-lover.
So the question I’d be asking myself, if I were an American, is whether it’s time to fire the boss.
Nice stuff, neighbor.

[Hat tip to the very valuable BlogBites.]

Friday, October 15, 2004

Who died in their place?

Those who didn't go to war sent others to die in their stead.

It's not just a matter of "other priorities," as Dick Cheney said. Cheney avoided vietnam with five or more deferments, and Cameron Trent McAllister died while Cheney ran away from the war in which he could have carried a gun.

Now Cheney sends other young people to their maimings or deaths in a war he encouraged.

Funny how many Republicans are so pro-war after they pass the Selective Service dates.

How quaint, that people die in their stead. As I've said before, I just don't get it how many Republicans who avoided combat when they had the chance end up heading for the Pentagon after draft age. It's just bizarre to me. Kind of like a vegan wanting to run the broiler at a steak joint or something.

Bush's non-Christian helper

For someone who claims to be a Christian, George W. Bush's hews awfully close to a demonstrably non-Christian slimeball, Karl Rove. Rove spends more time with Bush than practically anyone, and Rove does not act like Christ in any way.

Really good article in The Atlantic by Joshua Green. It's now available for free on the web and I recommend that everyone read it. Rove works for Bush,and Bush will probably order Rove to be as slimy as Rove can be. After all,
Here is some of the choice Karl Rove sliminess from the above article which apparently, despite lying and immoral behavior, Bush supports:

Here's sampler of Rove tactics from the Atlantic article. We've seen some of them in this election already, and some are sure to come.
  • Rove: "undermine the other side's support by casting them as liars, cheaters, stealers, immoral -- all of that."
  • "the campaign spread tales of poll watchers threatened with arrest; probate judges locking themselves in their offices and refusing to admit campaign workers; votes being cast in absentia for comatose nursing-home patients, and Democrats caught in a cemetary writing down the names of the dead in order to put them on absentee ballots."
  • "the last marching order we had from Karl [Rove]," says a former employee, "was 'make sure you continue to talk this up. The only way we're going to be successful is if the Alabama public continues to care about it."
  • "As if to remind Al Gore's campaign of Rove's skill when faced with a recount, the case was revived in a flurry of legal briefs in the Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore -- including one filed by the State of Alabama on behalf of George W. Bush.

  • Quoting Napoleon, the [Rove] memo says, "The whole art of war consists of a well-reasoned and extremely circumpsect defensive, followed by rapid and audacious attack."

  • "Among Rove's other innovations was a savvy use of language, developed for speaking to the judicial base about judicial races. Candidates were to attack 'liberal activist judges' and to present themselves as 'people who will strictly interpret the law and not rewrite it from the bench.' "
  • "... Rove, dissatisfied with the campaign's progress, had flyers printed up -- absent any trace of who was behind them -- viciously attacking See and his family. 'We were tryint to craft a message to reach some of the blue-collar, lower-middle-class people,' the staffer says. ' You'd roll it up, put a rubber band around it, and paperboy it at houses late at night. I was told, 'Do not hand it to anybody, do not tell anybody who you're with, and if you can, borrow a car that does not have your tags.'

  • Whisper campaigns [Riffle: whisper campaigns are easily run nationally now via Drudge. Drudge will post anything Rove wants him to.]
  • "The 2000 primary campaign, for example, featured a widely disseminated rumor that John McCain, tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, had betrayed his country under interrogation and been rendered mentally unfit for office."
  • "More often a Rove campaign questions an opponent's sexual orientation. Bush's 1994 race against Ann Richards featured a rumor she was a lesbian, along with a rare instance of such a tactic's making it into the public record..."
  • "Rove spread a rumor that Weaver had made a pass at a young man at a state Republican function."
  • "'We were trying to counter the positives from that ad [showing Kennedy as helping children],' a former Rover staffer told me, explaining that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile.'"
There you go. The "Christian" president George W. Bush, hires a political consultant who starts whisper campaigns against opponents, calling them pedophiles and homosexuals when the Rove/Bush campaign knows it is not true. That, of course, is bearing false witness. I guess Bush feels that breaking one of the Ten Commandments is something he can live with, while fighting an election on the issues is something he cannot do.

Some of the above we're seeing right now in this election: in the face of specific and substantiated evidence of Republicans trying to disenfranchise voters, Bush's RNC replies with unspecified claims of Democratic "registration fraud."

Let's see what other wretched tactics Bush and Rove can come up with in the remaining weeks. Let's not hold our breath that the media will call them on it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

O'Reilly: Truth and Fiction

The lawsuit against O'Reilly has some steamy passages. Oddly, one of them reminds me of an oft-quoted bit from O'Reilly's book Those Who Trespass. Here are some snippets of O'Reilly's [alleged] phone sex technique from the (real) lawsuit:
O'Reilly: Well, if I took you down there I'd want to take a shower with you right away, that would be the first thing Id do... yeah, we'd check into the room, and we would order some room service and uh [....]

You would basically be in the shower and then I would come in and I'd join you and you would have your back to me and I would take that little loofa thing and kinda' soap up your back.. rub it all over you, get you to relax, hot water [....]

[....] and then with my other hand I would start to massage your boobs, get your nipples really hard ... 'cuz I like that and you have really spectacular boobs....

So anyway I'd be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda kissing your neck from behind ....
And here's a bit from O'Reilly's novel, Those Who Trespass:
The spray felt great against her skin as she ducked her head underneath the nozzle. Closing her eyes she concentrated on the tingling sensation of water flowing against her body. Suddenly another sensation entered. Ashley felt two large hands wrap themselves around her breasts and hot breath on the back of her neck. She opened her eyes wide and giggled. "I thought you drowned out there, snorkel man."

Tommy O'Malley was naked and at attention. "Drowning is not an option," he said, "unless of course you beg me to perform unnatural acts – right here in this shower."
Maybe he read his book before allegedly harassing his producer. At any rate, it appears that O'Reilly is a big fan of showers in literature and in [alleged] harassment.

Kerry Wins among Viewers

Mark A. R. Kleiman summarizes the post-debate polls and we now know that Kerry won among those who watched the debate.

Kerry won every poll (not web-poll, but real poll) after the debate.

Kerry did even better v. Bush than he did in the first debate, which seemed incredible to me, since Bush was so horrible in the first debate.

But my better half put it in perspective. Kerry looked more like a President in every debate. His 13-point win in the CNN/Gallup poll after this third debate is probably an indicator that Bush deflated his persona ("strong" "decisive," etc.) with the first debate, and viewers saw Kerry as more of a real man and a real leader than Bush in this debate, especiaally recollecting how poorly Bush did in the first debate.

One thing not often mentioned is how much Bush changed in each debate, depending on how his handlers thought he did in the last debate. Kerry was pretty much the same in each debate. Bush seemed like he was a different person in each one. Bush is a chameleon, Kerry is the same guy from debate to debate.

Why does Bush change so much? Especially after being president for four years?

It sure doesn't make me think that voters "knows where Bush stands." Bush changes as his pollsters and Karl Rove tell him to change.

Kerry is solid, and is himself, and unswayed by political image makers. Bush changes from debate to debate as his political team tells him to.

The polls back me up on that. Sadly for Bush.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Germany may send troops to Iraq

Germany in rethink on Iraq force deployment

Doesn't seem likely if Bush continues his foolishness. But, Kerry may be able to pull it off.

If you want mainly American soldiers to keep Sunni, Shiite, Kurd, and various tribal Iraqis apart (with some help from soldiers from the UK and Australia, but not much else), then vote for Bush. And sign up your kids for Selective Service.

Otherwise, vote Kerry. At least there's a chance it won't work out that 90 percent of the spilled blood, brain, and flesh will be American.

If you don't know the difference between Sunni, Shiite, Kurd and various tribal flavors of the above, then vote for Bush. He doesn't know the difference either and it's worked out so well so far.

What's down the T-shirt?

What the hell is that lump under Bush's T-shirt in the photo (above, left) where he's driving?


More at the Salon story.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Marines in Iraq say your government is lying

Phenomenal Washington post story with the on-the-record comments of Marines in Iraq
"The reality right now is that the most dangerous opinion in the world is the opinion of a U.S. serviceman," said Lance Cpl. Devin Kelly, 20, of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Lance Cpl. Alexander Jones, 20, of Ball Ground, Ga., agreed: "We're basically proving out that the government is wrong," he said. "We're catching them in a lie.
It's pretty amazing to hear this (and many other things in the piece), particularly since these guys know they'll probably be disciplined for telling the truth. At least they have a sense of humor about it.
Asked if he was concerned that the Marines would be punished for speaking out, Autin responded: "We don't give a crap. What are they going to do, send us to Iraq?"

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Why Dred Scott? Roe v. Wade

Paperwight discovers why George Bush used "Dred Scott" in the debate last night. Anti-abortion right-wingers frequently compare the Dred Scott decision to that of Roe V. Wade.

So, the decoded message has Bush saying: "I"ll appoint judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade." Which he says to wingers while moderate voters don't hear that at all.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Second Debate Pictures

Screenshots from the second debate. Add your own captions in the comments!

Genius! (He really does look like Alfred E. Neuman in this one.)

Nickname: Short Bastard?

Can I appear to think?

Where's the cuspidor?

Heh. I farted. Petulantly.

Nickname: Arrogant bastard?

If he hated Al Qaeda as much as he hated that question, America would be much safer.

Man, I'm so busted.

Blinky blinky. (He's strong in those eye muscles, at least.)

Man, I'm really gonna lose.

This is my smart face. I think.

Tired and stupid. Four more years!

I realize the screenshots from the first debate show more of Bush's unattractive characteristics. And maybe funnier, too. Here are pictures from the first debate.

Q and A



Hard to dispute: this is Bush's war.

The Bush Draft

A majority of young Americans believe that Bush will reinstate the military draft.

Why would they believe such a thing? Perhaps because George W. Bush administration has repeatedly mistated, distorted, and outright lied about the war in Iraq. So, when they hear about the draft a weak phrase by the President and denials by Republicans, they remember the many falsehoods about the Iraq war that has come from this adminstration and Republican lackies on TV.

When you lie about war, people don't trust you about war.

Also, with one unnecessary and falsely supported war under his belt, what is the next useless war that Bush will undertake when he doesn't have to worry about re-election?

Fighting wars we must fight is one thing. Fighting wars of choice is entirely another.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Thinks His Ship Doesn't Sink?

Two quotes I want to point to that may indicate some rats-ship-sink activity among the Bushies.

First, from Mike Allen's Washington Post piece
Bush's Isolation From Reporters Could Be Hindrance, with the quote:
Several Bush advisers said the president may well pay a price for his decision to remain isolated from tough or unexpected questions when he faces Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), whose events are notably less scripted, in a town-hall-style debate tonight at Washington University in St. Louis. [ emph. added]
Okay, this could be playing the expectations game. It does play to a common feeling about Bush and it could depress pre-debate esteem for Bush.

A second quote, which can't really be spun as "lowering expectations" but more as CYA, is from the Howard Fineman piece that's been a popular link target today:
Many observers have said the Bush team was too smart by half in insisting that the first debate be about foreign policy and defense — that is, Iraq. I am told that this wasn't done out of arrogance or ignorance; it was done that way in part to leave them plenty of time to repair any damage if Bush screwed up. [emph. added]
This doesn't pass the smell test for me. Maybe it's true, but it sounds like some ass-covering from aides who are suddenly not so enamored of Great Leader and who think they may have screwed up by making the first debate about foreign policy.

Of course, this could all be Rovian genius, but I just can't see it that way. It seems like, as Fineman puts it: "Bush is beginning to sound desperate."

Upriver , Upstream

Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry, the biographical movie made by George Butler of Pumping Iron fame, is available for free -- and legal -- download.

This site offers links to downloads via FTP, EDonkey, and BitTorrent, with Kazaa "coming soon."

The movie has gotten good reviews from professional movie critics, and several Democratic partisans have written it up positively too, including Kevin Drum.

So, Go Upriver for it.

[EDIT to add: I'm using BitTorrent to download this file and I'm getting very fast speeds (for me). I rarely ever make it to 40kb down and now I'm getting over 70. If you have BitTorrent, I'd advise using it and keeping the torrent open for a long time after you download it.]

Iraqi Tourism Ministry

Iraq's tourism chief, Ahmed al-Jobori, has urged visitors to stay at home until the violence there ends.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr Jobori warned tourists that "Iraq could be a one-way trip."

That's kind of funny. Until you think that, at this time, 1067 Americans have died in Iraq, sent on a forced one-way trip by George W. Bush.

Can't Import Drugs from Canada or the UK!

Individuals can't at least, because the Bush administration wants US drug companies to get inflated profits. [Of course, the FDA gave the lame excuse that terrorists are more likely to taint drugs from the UK or Canada than those from the US.]

Turns out that the federal goverment relies on plants in other countries for flu vaccine. When a vaccine plant in the UK is shut down by the steadfast British regulators, the company can't send vaccines to the US and there's a shortage.

I emphasize that the UK has an advanced regulatory system and caught the problem with the vaccine.

Seems like the Feds really believe that the UK is a great place to buy vaccines from. They just don't want individuals to be able to get cheaper drugs from well-regulated countries abroad, since it would hurt the profit margins of Big Pharma.

Finally, a decent explanation...

...for the terror alerts. Betty Bowers has it:

That no doubt, explains this story from the AP

WASHINGTON -- The Education Department has alerted school leaders nationwide to watch for people spying on their buildings as a possible sign of a higher terrorist threat.


The review was done to protect schools and not sent "due to any specific information indicating that there is a terrorist threat to any schools or universities in the United States," deputy education secretary Eugene Hickok said in a letter to school leaders.

Very Curious, Indeed

Very Curious
Olivier Knox reports for AFP: "After undergoing his annual medical check-up in August 2001, 2002 and 2003, US President George W. Bush has put the procedure off this year until after the November 2 election, his spokesman said."
Well, well. Or possibly, not well, as JackPineSavage suggests. I have my doubts about that.

Regardless, it echoes another physical Bush skipped. Of course, that earlier physical was required, and he lost his wings by refusing to take it.

Perfect guy for Secretary of the Army

Someone with no military experience!

Senate to consider nominee for Army secretary (10/5/04)

The White House nominated Harvey for the position on Sept. 14. Harvey, a longtime defense industry executive, has no military experience.


Observers say the nomination is resented by many service officials and some members of Congress who wonder why the White House would consider installing a new secretary a month prior to the presidential election and in the middle of a war.

The nomination of Harvey for the Army's top position stung many serving officers who want to see Acting Secretary Les Brownlee fill the position. Brownlee, who has been acting secretary for 16 months, is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran with years of experience working in defense issues on Capitol Hill and is widely respected by members and staff of both parties.
Of course, the nominee has Republican connections.

As with everything else in this administration, ideology trumps policy, and subservience trumps competence. And screw the military, who cares what they think if we can have a toady in the slot.

On a side note, I'm not a huge squawker about the "chickenhawk" phenomenon except for the murky light it sheds on their personalities --they want to move armies around on a Risk gameboard but don't think experience in battle would be a resume-sweetner. I find it bizarre that all these Republican civilians working in the Pentagon and defense firms have no military experience. It's just a strange psychological phenomenon to me. Why would all these people who had never worn a uniform be interested in military as a career? If you wanted to be a mucky muck in the military, don't you think that fighting in the wars you had the opportunity to fight in while a young man would be a good career move? Apparently not if you're a Republican.

It's just baffling to me why these people would avoid military service (or at least not volunteer when there was a volunteer force), then drag their asses to the Pentagon to get a job.

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