Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.
A huge number of volunteers have worked their asses off for the last couple of months, registering and canvassing voters. Personally, I am very tired, but it's that adrenaline-tired where I know the big finish is coming. In fact, it starts tomorrow morning for me. In the 72 hours prior to election day, we MoveOn PAC volunteers are going to recontact all of the voters we have talked to since the beginning of October, and make sure they're motivated and on track to vote. And for election day, my schedule starts at 5 a.m. and wraps up at 11 p.m., when the polls close on the west coast. And the prospect of not winning, or rather, the prospect of not doing absolutely everything that I can and watching Kerry not take Pennsylvania scares the shit out of me. So I am ready.
But on the eve of the final push, it is not clear at all who will win. I think Kerry will pull it off, but I am not sure. (Although I don't talk that way to voters, oh no. When knocking on doors, I am supremely confident, always providing that the person I am talking to promises to vote.) It could go either way, even ignoring the possibility of an election-day or day-before terrorist attack.*
So not knowing who will win, I want to say now that if my guy wins it won't mean that much to the long-term state of play in U.S. politics. The same thing goes if Bush wins. (By "win", of course, I include a wide range of means Bush retaining the office, not including illegal means, which I don't put past him.) This election is a one-off. Although I think it is vitally important that Kerry win, this election basically is just a referendum on the Bush war doctrine.** That doctrine and the character of the election are the products of the shock of the 9/11 attacks, and that shock will eventually fade, is fading.
Whatever happens, the American electorate remains deeply stupid. There may be - almost certainly will be - much higher turnout this time around, but the level of ignorance in the country is appallingly high. Changing that will take decades of work. (I recommend starting with shooting your TV.) Beyond the Bush War My Way doctrine, there isn't much of any serious policy proposal on the table. Yes, there is talk about health care. Yes, there is talk about jobs. No, nothing much will happen to affect either one of those topics. Yes, if Bush is elected he will continue to cause a great deal of harm, but that harm is not a reflection of the will of the American people. It's simply the damage that Republicans wish to do and can do when they control all three branches of the federal government. If Kerry wins, his most pressing issues will be to slip wedges into the Republican party's machine, and to stop their worst excesses. Like Clinton, he would be there to lead the nation symbolically, and to act as a check against and foil for the wingnuts. His agenda would be common sense, but that's not the agenda of the American people.
But it is my agenda. I want a competent president again. I want a sane administration again. I want a truthful administration again. I want far-sighted leadership who thinks of the welfare of all the people. I want John Kerry to be President of the United States.
I am ready. I have no idea whether I will be able to post until after it's all over. If not, type at you Wednesday.
* - If I were a terrorist, I would have guys with rifles all over the country pull a Beltway Sniper and pop a few voters standing in line in the morning in major cities. It's easy, it's cheap, there's a good chance your guys would get away clean, and it would cause massive chaos. And Bush would win, and continue doing your bidding inadvertantly for the next 4 years.
** - This doctrine is popularly misnamed "preemptive war". Actually, preemptive war is a sound policy that has a long history. Our nuclear war strategy with the Soviet Union was essentially one of preemption, for example. If we thought they were going to pull the trigger, we would fire first. Bush's policy is something much more radical, preemptive war on a whim.
I mentioned the other day my goal as a MoveOn PAC precinct leader was to double my division's target number of infrequent voters identified as supporting Kerry from 120 to 240 by Friday. We did it two days early. So, now my goal is to add a few more and then get 240 to the polls on election day. (We're doing this in 10,000 precincts across the swing states, by the way - let's just assume that, on average, half hit their target of 120. That's 5,000 times 120, or 600,000 votes, more than President Gore's margin of victory.)
In ancient times, comets in the sky and eclipses were thought of as evil omens for rulers of nations.
And, of course, the underrated team from Massachusetts clobbered the guys reputed to be the best in the game. It was a sweep, a landslide.
Six more days, then I'll sleep.
I've spent the past month or so meeting a lot of people. I've probably knocked on doors over 1,000 times. We have identified about 215 Kerry supporters in this division. The goal was 120. By Friday, we're hoping to get to 240, so we can bring out twice as many people as planned. Other MoveOn PAC volunteers across PA have identified thousands more.
But success has its challenges. We need to reach all of those 240 voters and make sure they vote on election day. Staff the polling place, checking off names and serving coffee. Calling people, leaving messages, calling again. Driving people to the polls. Walking the division once, twice, three times, knocking on doors when we don't have a phone number. So, we need your help - wherever you are. If you're in Philadelphia, excellent, come help us out. If you're anywhere else, also excellent, we will find you something to do. Do you really need to go to work that day? I don't. I can lose a day's pay to try to evict Bush. How much would you give to get rid of him? A day? The whole weekend before, and the day of the election? Whatever you can give, sign up here or email me.
I've been trying to help a friend who lives in Philly but is out of the state for work through election day get her absentee ballot, but it's looking like a lost cause. Ballots are due back by the close of business on Friday to be counted for all races, and it hasn't even gotten to her (in Georgia) yet.
What's the problem? Ralph Nader, of course. In his ongoing, egomaniacal quest to gain influence by throwing elections to Republicans, Nader's litigation to get on the ballot held up production of the absentee ballots. And, as the nice man at the Department of Justice's Civil Rights division (sic) told me, there is no law that requires that the ballots be sent out in time that they can be returned.
Absentee ballots returned after Friday's deadline but before the close of business on election day will be counted for President and Vice President only. Because I suspect more people will be voting straight Democrat this time, the people with the most to lose in this mess are the ones down the list, especially the statewide races for U.S. Senate, state Attorney General, state Auditor General, and state Treasurer. I reached the Hoeffel campaign and they said they would look into it. I speculate there is a constitutional claim to be made under Bush v. Gore because the absentee ballots are effectively counted differently (due to when they are mailed out) in each county. We'll have to wait to see. It doesn't look good - get your Pennsylvania jokes ready.
Blogging from the Treo, standing as close as I can get to the speakers' stand, which is not very close. There are many thousands of people packed into the 6 blocks of the Parkway around the park, with more arriving every second. It's madness; happy madness.
The last real President, and the next, in a couple minutes. Patti LaBelle just took the stage.
[I]n his speeches, Hitler pictured the small tradesman as the victim of a Jewish-inflated manipulation of the mark, assisted by the Berlin government, and on one occasion he concluded with, "The middle class must fight for its existence, for its fate is the fate of our people and our race." Nonetheless, Hitler maintained the party's stated position of being a workers' party, and it was here that the party's Führer initiated a number of devious activities. Because he sought the support of "large numbers of the better elements of the working classes," he "saw to it that all the initiates of the movement came to meetings without stiff collars and without ties, adopting the free-and-easy style so as to get the workers into their confidence." This was only one of several misrepresentations. "I disorganized the meetings of other parties by sending members of our party in the guise of ushers to maintain order, but in reality with instructions to riot and break up the meeting." Opposition parties were also penetrated on another level: "I sent a few of our own people to take a course in public speaking in the schools organized by the other parties. Thanks to this, we obtained a good insight into the arguments which would be used by those sent to heckle at our meetings, and we were thus in a position to silence them the moment they opened their mouths."
The hecklers were dealt with according to their sex. ... [T]he Storm Troops were instructed to throw out male leftists with such violence that the socialist press, which Hitler said would otherwise have ignored the Nazi speeches, was compelled to draw attention to them by indignantly reporting the injuries their adherents received. There was an entirely different technique for handling women who uttered leftist slogans:
I dealt with the women from the Marxist camp who took part in the discussions by making them look ridiculous, by drawing attention either to the holes in their stockings or to the fact that their children were filthy. To convince women by reasoned argument is always impossible; to have had them roughly handled by the ushers would have aroused public indignation, and so our best plan was to have recourse to ridicule, and this produced excellent results.
Although there was no doubt Hitler in his speeches struck responsive chords in his audiences, he did not leave timing of the applause to chance. "I had ... a number of party members in the audience, with orders to interrupt along lines carefully prepared to give the impression of a spontaneous expression of public opinion, an these interruptions greatly strengthened the force of my own arguments."
From Hitler: The Path to Power, Charles Bracelen Flood, 1989, pp. 289-90 (citations omitted.)
Obviously, the words have changed, but the tune remains the same.
American Conservative magazine endorses John Kerry and explains:
If Kerry wins, this magazine will be in opposition from Inauguration Day forward. But the most important battles will take place within the Republican Party and the conservative movement. A Bush defeat will ignite a huge soul-searching within the rank-and-file of Republicandom: a quest to find out how and where the Bush presidency went wrong. And it is then that more traditional conservatives will have an audience to argue for a conservatism informed by the lessons of history, based in prudence and a sense of continuity with the American past—and to make that case without a powerful White House pulling in the opposite direction.
George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism. His international policies have been based on the hopelessly na�ve belief that foreign peoples are eager to be liberated by American armies—a notion more grounded in Leon Trotsky’s concept of global revolution than any sort of conservative statecraft. His immigration policies—temporarily put on hold while he runs for re-election—are just as extreme. A re-elected President Bush would be committed to bringing in millions of low-wage immigrants to do jobs Americans “won’t do.” This election is all about George W. Bush, and those issues are enough to render him unworthy of any conservative support.
Well. Along the way, they describe Bush's supporters as "seriously deluded", an apt description for the blogospheric Right and the so-called moderate hawks. It's a good read.
(Via Laura Rozen at War and Piece.)
The U.S. version of the Taliban spouts its message:
... by the way, I am not blogging much because I am spending more time actually walking around my neighborhood canvassing and calling voters on the phone than allows me to also read the 200+ feeds that go into writing about things.
We're making great progress. In my division (precinct, to all you non-Philadelphians), we have identified 172 pro-Kerry voters from a list of people who are either new registrants or infrequent Democratic voters. Nationally, MoveOn PAC volunteers talked to over 135,000 voters just this week. But we need more help. If you have time to give, please consider signing up here. You can help by knocking on doors (in swing states) or by making phone calls. There is a lot to do, and the MoveOn PAC staff make it easy to get involved.
I just heard on the radio that Clinton and Kerry will be here for a rally on Monday at noon. It's only been - what, a month? - since his bypass, so he is doing Kerry and the country a major service.
Everybody wants to see the Big Dog, but frankly, the place he needs to be is in the black neighborhoods. Kerry has not connected with black voters, because the campaign has been about Iraq and because of Kerry's Boston Senatorial demeanor. Black folks are as susceptible as whites to be stupid and racist; i.e., think Bush is a big strong man who will kill all the ragheads. Kerry has talked about equality and justice, met with black leaders, appears with black boxers, but he's not Clinton.
Bill needs to go to a few rallies and do a little compare-and-contrast between the Kerry domestic plan and Bush's record. He should talk shit about the Republicans in Congress and what they have been doing to programs that really benefit cities, and mention that Kerry supports that faith-based shit, too (as does Clinton - ugh, look at me holding my nose), and that Bush already has a back-door draft going, do they want a for-real draft? Remember how minorities fared under the last one? So, there's your choice - Bush, and either incarceration or combat for your children, or Kerry, and opportunity and justice. A little over the top, but essentially true.
Update 10/21/04: The event will be at Love Park, 16th & the Parkway, gates at 10 a.m. Tickets are here. (Whoo boy, a center city rally during the week. That shouldn't cause any traffic problems, huh? They'll have to re-route the buses, but what about the trains? It's only a block to Suburban Station - will the El be running? I love to predict chaos, and man, do I predict chaos.)
Hey, American Conservative! You stupid fuck. Yes, you. Put the porn on pause for one second and watch this video:
It's from Operation Truth. I'm really interested in your spin on how this soldier's loss of a limb is worth fulfilling your vision of world conquest. (Not really.)
Thank you, Spc. Robert Acosta. You're a hero.
(A new feature tonight on Fables of the reconstruction - drunkblogging. If you read very closely, you might notice an uptick in profanity and crude sexual references. Course, you'd notice them if you weren't reading very closely either, probably.)
Fuck the Foreplay
So we tried something new tonight and instead of watching the debate at home, we went out to a bar on South Street. But see, I just got a new mattress. Nice and firm. So, we were 20 minutes late for the debate, because we had to test-drive the new mattress. It performed well on all three axes under a variety of stresses. Two orgasms in twenty minutes, you can't say liberals are not efficient.
At 9:23, walked into the middle of John Kerry talking about fair trade, but I have to work tomorrow, so I can't do shots. Wanted a draft Stella, but the Pontiac's taps were down. Got a New Castle instead. She got a can of Fosters.
Bush comes back with "Whew. That was a litany of misstatements." Good one, Georgie. He's very calm tonight. Talks about tax relief and putting more food on your family - I mean, more money in your pocket. That's good, much better than lunging at the moderator.
Schieffer hits Bush with "Is homosexuality a choice?" Bush gives his best answer, "I don't know." It's his best answer because it's one of the few that is absolutely true. Refreshing, for Bush. He talks out his ass for a couple minutes about consenting adults (oh, is that why the Texas sodomy law should have been upheld?) and tolerance (except in the workplace or in housing or in any other area until election time).
Kerry counterpunches with Cheney's daughter, who I am beginning to feel sorry for. Says it's not a choice. Attaboy, John.
Schieffer says, "Some Catholic bishops like to rape boys, Senator." Wait. He didn't say that. My notes are not so clear. Maybe he said that some bishops like it up the ass. No. Maybe he asked about some bishops saying it would be a sin to vote for Kerry. Nah, that's even more ludicrous. But Kerry answers it anyway, because it's politics, and every dumbass question deserves a dumbass answer.
But Kerry doesn't give a dumbass answer! He's so smart. He respects their views (read: FUCK you, child rapists), but can't legislate an article of faith, and quotes JFK. Good. But then does the exact right thing - unusual for Maximum John - and slides right into helping the poor, protecting the environment, working for equality and justice. Great! If he had just said going to war as an actual last resort, instead of a pretend last resort, he would have won over all 3 principled christians in the country who weren't already going to fucking vote for him. Still, it needed to be said.
Bush body-slams Kerry with the partial-birth-abortion-ban answer. No one likes partial-birth abortion. It's horrifying, especially since it's not a medical term and late-term abortion (not the same thing) happens in 0.0000003% of cases. But Kerry voted against the ban, before he voted for it, or something. Who knows. George wouldn't know a relevant fact if it bit him in his ass.
Ownership Society Slogan: Don't Ask Me for Shit
Question from the Face the Nation guy: Health costs are going up, what are you two assholes going to do about it?
I love Bush's answer. Basically, he's going to make you pay for your own health care, because the fact that you have insurance makes you a lazy fuck who doesn't shop around and you demand an MRI every time you have a fucking headace. You stupid, resource-stealing, fat fucks. I love that answer.
Also, the trial lawyers suck, generic drugs are great (although he's done nothing to promote them) and technology will solve our problems. (I notice a trend - last debate the technology was going to solve our warfighting problems, too. A great thing, except (a) what the fuck is he talking about?, and (b) Star Wars.)
Kerry hits right back with negotiating lower drug prices. I am all in favor of lower drug prices. Do you know, do you have any idea, what pot and coke cost nowadays? Me, neither.
Bush says Kerry has not led on health care. Kerry says, "I did too" and sticks out his tongue.
(On to the next New Castle and oil can of Fosters, respectively. My handwriting is getting gdhjagfdsv. She realizes in the bathroom that her shirt is on backward.)
I am skipping a bit because we have all heard it before.
Bob the TV guy is asking another question: Doesn't social security privitization actually suck and cost a lot of money, Pres. Furious George? Bush says, oh no, don't think about Enron. DON'T THINK ABOUT ENRON. He mentions the magic of compound interest. That's it. Put your money in a CD, and by the time you retire, on an inflation adjusted basis, you'll have enough to buy yourself a gun and blow your brains out, because sure as fuck you won't have enough to live on. Kerry says he's not going to cut people's benefits. He says he's going to fix it, someday. He's like the overly intelligent husband who promises to fix the roof next week, promise, honey. Bush is the guy who will burn the house down and say, "Presto! No more leaky roof."
That's when it hits me. These guys are talking about these personal issues, health care, abortion, social security benefits. Bush is being all mellow, like he's medicated again. They're both playing to the women. It's all about the women - well, not all the women. Not most intelligent, informed women. It's all about the dumbass women in the middle who have not yet made up their minds and are dithering over which of these two men to take to bed. And Bush and Kerry are fingering them and lapping at their cunts as best as they can, in order to get over on them this one night, and get them to pull that lever in 3 weeks.
(Incidentally, can anyone with a straight face say they believe that George W. Bush goes down on Laura more than once or twice a year? I mean, look at that guy. Would you want that face near your crotch? He nearly died eating a pretzel. He might accidentally kill you trying to find your clit. Of course, who the fuck knows what goes on in the Heinz/Kerry bedroom; I feel confident saying that Teresa gets her rocks off on a regular basis, but whether or how John is involved I have no idea.)
They babble about illegal immigration. They both seem to be against it. There goes Bush with the technology again; this time, it's sealing the border. Right, just like in the comic books you read.
The minimum wage comes up. John's for raising it. Bush says Mitch McConnell had a plan to raise it that he supported, which is such a good answer. He then segues into No Child Left Behind, which is also such a great answer. He says reading is a new civil right. Every child should be proficient enough in reading that they can read their draft notice. Nah, he didn't say that. But he thought it.
In another debate, in another universe, in a galaxy far, far away, the next question would be a body blow: So, do you want to overturn Roe v. Wade? Bush says he doesn't have a litmus test. Kerry says of course the dumbass wants to overturn Roe and enslave women. Lick, lick.
Guns, God and Gays
Will there be a draft? Is there a back-door draft? (Of course, that's why I was 20 minutes late to this symposium.) Kerry says President Furious George has behaved like a dumbass. Bush says the best way to get relief to the troops is to win in Iraq. (You know what, I am thinking that most of the people over there just want to get the fuck out. Winning would be nice. But getting the fuck out with all your limbs and faculties is the priority.) He mentioned "global test" and being resolute, and people in the bar throw up. Kerry says, "Fuck, I wish I had never said 'global test'", and then says it amounts to a "truth standard." Which is a good line, because Bush can't explicitly be against truth, although he has done a pretty effective job running against it.
We get assault weapons and affirmative action. Kerry is against big guns in the hands of bad guys and against quotas. Bush wants to sell off stuff to black people, I think. This goes along with everyone getting their own health care so you won't be such lazy, fat fucks anymore.
Question from Gravelly-Voiced Moderator: What role does faith play in your decision-making? Bush makes the AMAZING STATEMENT that you're equally American if you believe or don't believe. That draws him 3 votes from uncommitted atheists, counteracting Kerry's prior pickup of 3 believers. Kerry says we have a lot more loving of our neighbor to do. I would like to love my neighbor while perched on the barstool, or bent over the bar, but I am afraid of getting thrown out, and plus I have to TAKE NOTES dammit, so I can drunkenly type this up later.
Question: What will you do to unite the country? Kerry says he's going to bore everyone into unanimity. Bush says the country was divided before he got there, and he has a note from his doctor, and it's not his fault. Plus, he's disappointed. You know how the stupid fucking people like to hear a good-hearted man say how he's disappointed in everything that has gone wrong. Not angry, just sad. Now, where the fuck is that clit?
Proving my thesis, Mr. Debate Moderator injects himself into the conversation by noting that all three of them, - you know, the two guys one of which will be president of the United fucking States of America, and a talking head - all have strong wives. Basically, the question is, how do you control your woman, aside from giving her head once or twice a year? Bush gives the truly best line, which is, "Stand up straight and don't scowl." Actually, that's the instructions he was given before the debate, but since the target audience for the debate and Stepford Wife Laura are about the same IQ, the answer is the one other truthful Bush response of the night. Kerry jokes about him marrying rich-as-hell Teresa, which makes him something - ballsy or honest or some fake other thing - but it makes me drink. Also, he says Bush is a great father. Awwwwwwwwwwww, that Mr. Kerry is so sweet. Both of them look relieved it's over and they can go back to fucking stomping all over each other tomorrow.
Fuck. Goddamn, I hate democracy.
Both of them gear it down even further for the closing statements. Kerry says we need to be united, we need to work for equality, and we will prevail with "faith in God, and confidence in the mission of America." God bless the U.S. of A.! Bush starts talking about a painting, one that hung over the couch in his frat house I think, which depicted a sunrise. I am so ready for him to bust out with "It's morning in America!" He says there is an achievement gap in the country. (I say there is an achievement gap in the White House.) He says he'll spread freedom and liberty around the world, asks for your vote, and says, "God bless you." Ha! Much more direct; take that, Kerry!
Back to drinking. It makes much more sense, and is more fun than trying to take these guys' speeches seriously.
Update: This reminds me that my girlfriend the doctor says she thinks Bush has had a stroke, because the left side of his face, especially his mouth, was drooping. It is noticeable, even through an alcoholic haze. My alcoholic haze, not the President's.
Want to pick up hot chicks in bars? Capitalism to the rescue:
Ms. Frenkel was not on a date with Mr. Blumberg...; she was on the clock. A 29-year-old graduate student, she is one of a dozen women who work for a New York-based Web site called Wingwomen.com, earning up to $30 an hour to accompany single men to bars and help them chat up other women. The Web site's founder, Shane Forbes, a computer programmer, started it in December after realizing he had more success with women when he went to clubs with female friends. "Every time I was with them, I would meet women," he said. ...
An hour later, as his evening with Ms. Frenkel was ending, he had spoken with a handful of other prospects and had been invited by a leggy Ukrainian model to join her gaggle of friends for drinks at Spice Market (which he regretfully declined in the interest of continuing his research). He was a convert. "There is emphatically no way I would have met so many women so quickly without Allie," he said.
Ms. Frenkel's success seemed due to factors beyond her gregariousness. Mr. Forbes said women like to compete and are "more attracted to men who have other women surrounding them because they want what they can't have."
Unspoken is the requirement that, for the service to work for you, you must be a 20-something asshole professional (advertising, banking, law) who is interested in dating someone solely because they look like a "leggy Ukrainian model". But I have to say, it's heartwarming to see women making money from assholes by misleading other women into thinking the guy is not an asshole. For an extra $100, maybe she'll roofie her for you, too.
Seymour Hersh's account from the October 1 Diane Rehm show (starts at 12:28) of an atrocity carried out by U.S. soldiers:
"I got a call [from] a guy in the field, an officer, he's got a ... unit near a village. ... There was a group of Iraqis they'd been very friendly with, guards around a granary, and his men had gotten very friendly with these Iraqis - they were paid a few bucks each to protect the granary.... [A]nother unit came in and began to kill all the guards ... in front of this other unit. And this ... officer tried to stop it, couldn't stop it, tried to complain about it; was told, "No, we've got a great kill, we've killed a lot of insurgents...."
Hersh went on to say he advised the officer not to do anything more, lest someone shoot him in the back.
Is this story true? Someone needs to run this down. A lot of stuff happens in war, I am sure, that seems horrific to one participant but is actually much more ambiguous when all the facts are known. I am not saying this is or is not one of those cases. It's not clear how green this guy was, or whether he was reserve or regular Army, or what. And it's certainly true that friendly Iraqi granary guards could also could be insurgents. But the implication of Hersh's story is that the guards were attacked without any kind of provocation.
This story needs to be investigated. Pass it on.
Conservatives - the same people who brag about how they're the ones who own guns, so those liberals better watch out - also love to play up anything that makes them look like victims of left-wing violence. Prime example: Michael J. Totten: Yard Signs and Vandalism. The liberals are all a bunch of meanies!
Here's the reality: If you live in rural parts of this country, you have better not even think about displaying Kerry signs, because you'll get much worse than some vandalism.
Using Freedom of Information Act requests, Kos diarist Regeneration Man has gathered information in this post regarding a Defense Department proposal for a new kind of draft which would apply to men and women with certain skills between the ages of 18-34. The proposal for a Skills Draft (pdf) includes a Medical Draft component for doctors and nurses, but also applies to a large group of other skilled workers such as linguists and computer personnel:
I was just telling someone today I thought fears that, if Bush were somehow able to retain his hold on power, he'd institute a draft were overblown. Now, I am not sure. If you are 18-34, or know anyone who is, spread the word.
(Via Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest.)
Just taking a midafternoon break from canvassing for MoveOn to introduce you to Wealth Bondage, the home of the Happy Tutor. What's not to like? Snark, spanking, schoolgirl outfits, and things like this:
Okay, back to getting out the vote for Kerry."The best image of the network is Gulliver on his back in Lilliput, with the thousands and thousands of little threads restraining him. Where the threads cross are knots. Each active blogroll, each network of conversation is such a knot. There is good reason that AEI has an NGOWatch; they are seeing come together what they cannot restrain or defeat, a worldwide movement for peace, love, and justice. Only love and mutual understanding will defeat terror, for if terror defeats terror, what have we gained? We have to build that network of concern person by person, cell by cell, gift by gift. Progressives, you have nothing to lose but your granola. We can win, with the realism of idealism, networked into power."
Slavery : Abortion :: Dred Scott : Roe v. Wade
Perplexed or convulsed with laughter over Bush's heroic stance Friday night against the Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery? Paperwight at Fair Shot explains:
Anti-choice advocates have been comparing Roe v. Wade with Dred Scott v. Sandford for some time now. There is a constant drumbeat on the religious right to compare the contemporary culture war over abortion with the 19th century fight over slavery, with the anti-choicers cast in the role of the abolitionists.
Of course. I should have twigged to it. Some years ago, I saw the theocrat Santorum give the commencement address at Dickinson Law School in which he directly compared the anti-choice movement to the anti-slavery movement.
This exposes exactly what Bush wants to do about reproductive rights. First, he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade so that abortion is no longer constitutionally protected. Then, or at the same time, he wants abortion itself to be declared unconsitutional. How? One of (at least) two possible ways: First, right-wing lawyers have argued that "unborn persons" are being denied equal protection of the laws because they are not given the benefit of the protections of the homicide laws without good reason. That is the point of sustained Republican attempts to create "fetal homicide" and "unborn child benefits" laws - they want a groundwork of such laws to serve as the jumping-off point for a future right-wing Supreme Court decision declaring fetuses persons and, thus, abortion an unconstitutional denial of equal protection.
Alternatively, if overturning Roe requires a constitutional amendment, such an amendment may just as easily go all the way and outlaw abortion entirely, the way the 13th amendment outlaws slavery. By the way, the 13th amendment is one of the few constitutional restrictions which acts directly on all persons in the United States, rather than on just the government. An anti-abortion amendment modeled on it could do exactly the same thing - constitutionalize the crime of abortion, and even prescribe what the punishment is. Want to guess what I think they'll set as the punishment for "intentional abortion"? If you guessed "the death penalty", you win the Hypocrites Prize.
Breaking News: Bush Incoherent
Jack Balkin at Balkinization:
When Bush was asked what kind of Supreme Court Justices he would appoint, he was essentially incoherent. He pointed to the Dred Scott case as a bad example of judging. It was wrongly decided, he explained, because it held that slavery was constitutional. Well, slavery *was* constitutional until the 13th Amendment, and a court that held the opposite would not exactly have been strict constructionist. The problem with Dred Scott is that the Court reached out to decide something completely unnecessary, that blacks couldn't ever be citizens, and it also held that in order to treat southern whites equally with northern whites, they had to have the right under the Due Process Clause to bring their property (slaves) into federal territories, which meant that the federal government couldn't ban slavery there.
Oh, and by the way, Taney defended his view that blacks couldn't be citizens on the ground that it was the original intention of the Framers and that it was wrong to embrace the idea of a living Constitution that changed with the times:No one, we presume, supposes that any change in public opinion or feeling, in relation to this unfortunate race, in the civilized nations of Europe or in this country, should induce the court to give to the words of the Constitution a more liberal construction in their favor than they were intended to bear when the instrument was framed and adopted. Such an argument would be altogether inadmissible in any tribunal called on to interpret it. If any of its provisions are deemed unjust, there is a mode prescribed in the instrument itself by which it may be amended; but while it remains unaltered, it must be construed now as it was understood at the time of its adoption. It is not only the same in words, but the same in meaning, and delegates the same powers to the Government, and reserves and secures the same rights and privileges to the citizen; and as long as it continues to exist in its present form, it speaks not only in the same words, but with the same meaning and intent with which it spoke when it came from the hands of its framers, and was voted on and adopted by the people of the United States. Any other rule of construction would abrogate the judicial character of this court, and make it the mere reflex of the popular opinion or passion of the day. This court was not created by the Constitution for such purposes. Higher and graver trusts have been confided to it, and it must not falter in the path of duty.Any of this sound familiar?
Now, class, is it clear why Bush must not be permitted to select any future Supreme Court justices?
I knocked on 75 doors today on behalf of MoveOn PAC's "Leave No Voter Behind" effort today. Such a nice day, I only got 16 people. Fifteen are strongly for Kerry, one was strongly for Bush (young, BMW-driving idiot), no leaners.
I'll do three hours again tomorrow. Anybody want to help? Help save the world, that is? Email me.
Bush loses his shit. Poland!
Seriously, though, I don't think that acting like he's geeked out on an eight ball of medicinal-grade coke hurts him with Republican voters. They think it's cute. It's just the rest of the world who are extremely concerned.
[I]t's fair to say that Bush was a bit better than he was in the last one, but more importantly... Kerry was a lot better than he was last time.
[Kerry] was easily more articulate and eloquent than George the past two debates, but so was the podium he was slouched over the other night.
Here's a funny thing: my guess is that Kerry is generally stronger than Bush when the debate questions focus on foreign policy, but more vulnerable when the subject is domestic policy.
I thought the same thing. There's a natural prejudice among The Stupid to be against "big government", and so all Bush had to do is lie his ass off about reducing the size of the government and they like him.
C'Mon. For any thinking person, Kerry won this debate. But, since Bush didn't completely act like a blithering fool, shills like Pat Buchanan are out there to spin him as a great winner. He just said he was impressed that Bush managed to control himself.
Not a blithering fool, just a fool.
[N]ow we all know Bush is against slavery, I didn't hear Mr. Kerry weigh in on that. Interesting, isn't it?
Both men had their manliness on in full force, which basically meant that they not only showed their penises to the crowd, but actually wielded them, naked hard and dripping, to bludgeon the viewers into submission. Bush looked like he might pop a blood vessel from the strain of not physically attacking Kerry (or moderator Charlie Gibson) and, for my money, sounded more plaintive than forceful, but to the ever-scarce Undecided Voter, both men probably came off as reasonably strong.
I don't want to have to think about either one's genitals. Thanks.
Kerry was forceful, although I find some of his canned speeches a bit robotic, and if I were drinking every time he said he had a Plan I would be blotto if not hospitalized.
ORWELLIAN. Hit him with the CHAIR! Bush just now is trying to figure out who Orwell played for.
Like last time, I want to get my thoughts down before reading anybody else's opinion.
I think Bush came out slightly ahead tonight. Neither guy hurt themselves, both of them helped themselves, but Bush helped himself a little more. Mainly, that's because he improved on his disastrous performance in the last debate by not falling on his face and drooling on his tie in this one. No, scratch that. He would have improved his performance this time if he had fallen on his face, drooled on his shoes and pissed his pants. The fact that he didn't do any of those things means he was substantially better. Kudos, Mr. Bush! D+. You almost don't suck.
Clearly, the Bush camp has identified the Dumb Vote as their target, and they are going for it full force. Bush talked a lot tonight without saying much of anything that made any sense, and marketing shows that stupid people find that persuasive.
Kerry, on the other hand, is in the unfortunate position of being a thoughtful, intelligent person in a dumbed-down world. Thirty seconds, Senator. He did a good job of speaking informally for a lot of the time tonight, but at crucial times his Senatorial demeanor re-asserted itself. These are serious matters we are speaking of, he thinks, so I will be serious. No, dude. It's politics. There were moments tonight I would have cheerfully committed murder just to have Bill Clinton on the platform for 5 minutes.
Bush, on the other hand, is such a lightweight that he looks almost carefree, swaggering and sauntering around with the mike in his hand. He loves to cock his hip. I think he's probably been doing that since Andover. He thinks it makes him look cool. He's wrong. A couple of times the stumblebum from the first debate re-emerged, and you watched him with his head down, grasping for words. (Or listening intently to the earpiece, whichever.) But the best part are his quips. He thinks people think they're funny because they laugh. I think they're nervous he'll tell another one.
Some good lies were told tonight. Bush said we'd have 125,000 trained Iraqi troops by the end of December. I especially enjoyed that one. Shhhh! Nobody tell him the truth. He's such a child, I'd hate to burst his bubble. He might throw a tantrum. Both Kerry and Bush have a plan to cut the deficit in half. No one knows what they are, but they have them. Plans. Big plans. Bush maybe doesn't want to re-import prescription drugs from Canada because they might be from "a third world" and it's his job to keep us all safe. "A third world" makes me think of those Russian matryoshka dolls, one little world inside another, until you're down to the teeniest tiniest little globe - and that's Bush's brain.
A couple of verbal blunders from Little Boy Bush: I think he called Kerry "Senator Kennedy." Don't know if I heard it right, but if I did, that was brilliant. Could have called him "Senator bin Kerry", too, that would have worked. Bush also heard about rumors on "the internets" about a draft. There won't be a draft, he said, because we're gonna transform the military. (One transfer tube at a time, he's transforming it.) He's going to make it more "facile."
That last one threw me for a second. Did he mean "easily performed", or did he mean "superficial"? Because it means both things. That's what we call a flip-flop around here in Missurah.
Oh, that reminds me, did Bush's accent go south and wander a little tonight, or what? I bet that mush-mouthed fake southron-speak sets his dad's teeth on edge. "Didn't raise him to talk like that," GHWB says to himself.
On substance, Bush was clearly appealing to his base and Kerry was going for people in the middle. Bush almost jumped up and down he was so eager to call Kennedy, I mean Kerry, a liberalish liberal's liberal liberal with positions that are naive and dangerous. He's a flip-flopper from The People's Republic of Taxichusetstan who can run but he can't hide. All red meat stuff, all good for people who have already made up their minds. Kerry, on the other hand, sounded like he was running either for the Republican nomination or to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he cited so many Republicans and generals that agreed with him. He mentioned faith-based initiatives, his Catholic faith, welfare reform, the COPS program and killin' terrorists (about a dozen times). Clearly, he thinks his left flank is secure.
Kerry did have some good red-meat lines, too. He called Clear Skies "Orwellian". Sweet. He looked Bush in the face and said, "The sanctions worked." Bravo. He said, "We're going to do what you don't know how to do - balance the budget." That's gonna leave a mark. Kerry also again included specifics that Bush can't handle. Reservists called up who are also first responders. The stop-loss orders. Ninety-five percent of containers uninspected. Cargo not x-rayed. Kyoto the effort of 160 countries over 10 years. A man locked up without a lawyer for 8 months due to PATRIOT and its siblings. Ten thousand of 12,000 Humvees not armored.
So, on balance, more of the same thing we've seen for the past several months. Kerry is a smart, experienced statesman, and Bush is a galloping idiot. But he's a galloping idiot who didn't whine and scowl like a spoiled 10 year old like he did last time, so he wins. Hurrah.
Oh, and as a programming note, Charlie Gibson will immediately be taken out and shot. I expect no one in the nation who watched the debate will object.
This is very cool. You can now send a text message to 46645 and google will respond with an answer. Can't find a business? Enter the name, city and state, and you get the listing. Want the definition of a word? The price of a gadget? The number of cups in a gallon? Or, just text "help" and it'll tell you how to proceed.
The Washington Post editors start off today's atrocity of an editorial this way:
The new report from the Iraq Survey Group has confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt what most people have assumed for the past year: At the time of the 2003 U.S. invasion, Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, and most of its programs to produce them were dormant.
One small problem with that sentence: "most people" have not "assumed" anything of the kind over the past year. In April, 2004, for example, the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland did a survey and reported (pdf), "A majority believes that Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction or a major program for developing them. The majority of those who have such beliefs approve of the decision to go to war, while the majority of those who do not have such beliefs disapprove of the war."
Perhaps, to be generous, the editorial board was thinking of those who have an ounce of common sense as "people." Since this would leave us with only one-third of all Republicans, perhaps that would make the sentence true.
Or perhaps the editors don't want to acknowledge how poorly informed - in fact, how downright misinformed - the American public seems to be. And who is responsible for that? The press, including the Washington Post.
Which is what makes the rest of the editorial so infuriating.
Yet in reality no president could have known what is known now. As long as Saddam Hussein remained in power and refused to cooperate fully with the United Nations, there could have been no certainty about his weapons.
No certainty? None? There was not absolute certainty, which is not the same thing. What was certain was that inspectors had been all over the country. What was certain was that, despite being one of the most spied-upon places on Earth, no credible evidence of any active WMD programs in Iraq turned up. What was and is certain is that the Washington Post editorial board bought the administration line, at retail, and still have no remorse, as evidenced by this:
What can't be known is what would have happened had Mr. Bush chosen not to invade. Here the new report suggests some answers. Saddam Hussein, it says, was focused on ending international sanctions, which were crumbling before the crisis began. Had he succeeded, he would have resumed production of chemical weapons and probably a nuclear program as well. Mr. Kerry suggested recently that Saddam Hussein's regime would have collapsed under the inspectors' pressure. That is one possibility; another is that it would have reemerged as a significant power in the Middle East, and as a de facto or real ally of the Islamic extremist forces with which the United States is at war.
That, my friends, is pure, unadulterated Republican neo-con spin. It completely ignores the fact that the Iraqis were further away from producing WMD in 2003 than in 1991. It misses the fact that secular Iraq's purpose in pursuing chemical and nuclear research was to deter Iran, not to join forces with religious radicals. And the either/or of invasion or "crumbling" sanctions is complete bullshit. If the United States could focus its time and attention sufficiently to mount an invasion and occupation, surely it could also have done so in pursuit of reinforcing the inspection and sanctions regime. Which, by the way, totally worked.
The Iraq debacle is akin to instances of law enforcement abandoning due process in order to "get" the bad guy. The problem isn't just that it's wrong; the problem is that it is a catastrophic failure. We don't gather institutional allied support and present our evidence openly simply because others demand it. We do it because it prevents mistakes. For the Washington Post to even hint that Iraq was a close case in which the evidence for invasion just happened to turn out to be "mostly wrong" is a pathetic, last-ditch attempt to justify the position the editors have taken over the past two years in support of unilateral, pre-emptive war and to deflect their own culpability for the public's miscomprehension of the facts.The case of Iraq has shown that it is possible that the intelligence on which a war decision may be based may later prove to be mostly wrong. Does that mean the president cannot act in such cases?
About 219,000 new voters have registered to vote in Philadelphia. About 90% of them are Democrats. So, about 200,000 new Democrats, in just one city, equal to 40% of President Gore's margin of victory nationwide in 2000. In just one city.
Please note: new registrants are not getting picked up in the polls of "likely voters", because they probably didn't vote in the last couple of elections. But they're fired up enough to stand in line to register this time, and groups like ACT and MoveOn are going to get them all to the polls.
Hey, George? Fuck you. You're fired.
Two debates gone. Personally, I enjoy all the lying. Two guys being wholly factual and including context, well, that's just boring. (Hey, did you know that Dick Cheney had never met John Edwards before last night? That's because Edwards is lazy, even lazier than ... Bush! No, it's not. It's because Dick Cheney can't come out of his coffin while the sun is up.) Well, no one can say there isn't a choice, at least in styles.
And reading blog posts about debates is often more fun than actually watching the debates.
Update: Jesse Taylor at Pandagon: "We can't count the war as costing what it's going to cost because the money's been earmarked to be spent, but hasn't been spent yet. By that standard, my car cost $622."
In June, 2004, 56% of Republicans believed that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks.
But now, 62% of them believe it.
Atrios's comment is "Republicans - Too Stupid to Breathe." While I am inclined to believe that most Republicans are dumb, I don't think that explains the increase. Republicans have not become stupider since June, on average. Instead, what's happening is that they are talking themselves into believing something that they know isn't true because it fits their political ideology.
In other words, they aren't just stupid. They're insane.
Do not look at the picture in this post by The Poor Man. It might upset you.
And ignore his words:
[W]hat comes to you as you carry the torn-up body of a girl (your daughter, your niece, your neighbor?) to stack on a waist-high pile of corpses, made by American bombs[?] This is the sort of motivating experience that has never been threatened by heresy, doubt or apostasy, that doesn't require ceremony or dogma or holy books, that has never had to bother with conversions or indoctrinations. I don't know what this has done to that man, or the hundreds of thousands or millions of other Iraqis who have had to cope with similar, or worse. Maybe it will make them totally committed to peace, so that no one, anywhere, will ever have to suffer the unknowable anguish they have. We better hope so.
And above all, do not read this by Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings:
Three years after the September 11, 2001 massacres, there are still any number of Americans, not all of them warbloggers, who react with barely controlled fury to any suggestion that American policy may have played any causal role whatsoever in the atrocities of that day. Not "we deserved it" or "you can't blame the murderers" - just "government policies had a role in creating the conditions in which this happened." Most Americans don't want to hear one word of that kind of talk. What matters is that people like them got killed by people unlike them. We fool ourselves if we think the rest of the world is more introspective.
Just look away, American conservative. Look away!
Miserable Failure (6 Mb wmv).
More: Jon Stewart for President. Seriously. Take a few minutes and watch this video clip of his monologue on the first Daily Show after 9/11. Seriously, can you imagine how well off this country would be if our fucking President thought to unify us, as Stewart's words do, instead of divide us in order to gain some temporary political advantage, as Bush has done? (Via iocaste at Fantasy Life.)
Register to vote and you might win $100,000. (You can sign up even if you're already registered.)
Bump and update 10/3/04: Voter registration in Pennsylvania ends tomorrow.
The NYTimes.com has 10,000 words on the Bush Administration's telling the public that the aluminum tubes Saddam was buying were for nuclear bomb production. In short, the article says, they lied
knowingly exaggerated the threat. Key section:
On questions about nuclear centrifuges, this was unambiguously the A-Team of the intelligence community, many experts say.
On Aug. 17, 2001, weeks before the twin towers fell, the team published a secret Technical Intelligence Note, a detailed analysis that laid out its doubts about the tubes' suitability for centrifuges.
First, in size and material, the tubes were very different from those Iraq had used in its centrifuge prototypes before the first gulf war. Those models used tubes that were nearly twice as wide and made of exotic materials that performed far better than aluminum. "Aluminum was a huge step backwards,'' Dr. Wood recalled.
In fact, the team could find no centrifuge machines "deployed in a production environment'' that used such narrow tubes. Their walls were three times too thick for "favorable use'' in a centrifuge, the team wrote. They were also anodized, meaning they had a special coating to protect them from weather. Anodized tubes, the team pointed out, are "not consistent'' with a uranium centrifuge because the coating can produce bad reactions with uranium gas.
In other words, if [pseudonymous rookie CIA analyst] Joe and his Winpac colleagues were right, it meant that Iraq had chosen to forsake years of promising centrifuge work and instead start from scratch, with inferior material built to less-than-optimal dimensions.
The Energy Department experts did not think this made much sense. They concluded that using the tubes in centrifuges "is credible but unlikely, and a rocket production is the much more likely end use for these tubes.'' Similar conclusions were being reached by Britain's intelligence service and experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations body.
Unlike Joe, experts at the international agency had worked with Zippe centrifuges, and they spent hours with him explaining why they believed his analysis was flawed. They pointed out errors in his calculations. They noted design discrepancies. They also sent reports challenging the centrifuge claim to American government experts through the embassy in Vienna, a senior official said.
Likewise, Britain's experts believed the tubes would need "substantial re-engineering'' to work in centrifuges, according to Britain's review of its prewar intelligence. Their experts found it "paradoxical'' that Iraq would order such finely crafted tubes only to radically rebuild each one for a centrifuge. Yes, it was theoretically possible, but as an Energy Department analyst later told Senate investigators, it was also theoretically possible to "turn your new Yugo into a Cadillac.''
On Oct. 2, a mere nine days before the Senate vote on the war resolution, the new National Intelligence Estimate was delivered to the Intelligence Committee. The most significant change from past Iraq estimates dealt with nuclear weapons; the new estimate agreed with Mr. Cheney that Iraq was in aggressive pursuit of the atomic bomb.
Today, the Intelligence Committee's report makes clear, that estimate stands as one of the most flawed documents in the history of American intelligence. The committee concluded unanimously that almost every major finding in the estimate was wrong, unfounded or overblown.
This was especially true of the nuclear section.
Estimates express their most important findings with high, moderate or low confidence levels. This one claimed "moderate confidence'' on how fast Iraq could have a bomb, but "high confidence'' that Baghdad was rebuilding its nuclear program. And the tubes were the leading and most detailed evidence cited.
According to the committee, the passages on the tubes, which adopted much of the C.I.A. analysis, were misleading and riddled with factual errors. The estimate, for example, included a chart intended to show that the dimensions of the tubes closely matched a Zippe centrifuge. Yet the chart omitted the dimensions of Iraq's 81-millimeter rocket, which precisely matched the tubes.
The estimate cited Iraq's alleged willingness to pay top dollar for the tubes, up to $17.50 each, as evidence they were for secret centrifuges. But Defense Department rocket engineers told Senate investigators that 7075-T6 aluminum is "the material of choice for low-cost rocket systems.''
The estimate also asserted that 7075-T6 tubes were "poor choices'' for rockets. In fact, similar tubes were used in rockets from several countries, including the United States, and in an Italian rocket, the Medusa, which Iraq had copied.
Just to be clear, it's not just the administration, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and CIA that get the blame here. Congress - including Sen. John Edwards, who was on the intelligence committee - fell flat on their faces in finding out and telling the truth to America and the world.
As a direct result of that failure, I believe and the article supports, Congress voted to invade Iraq. Without the nuclear boogeyman, the whole world would be better off today, albeit Hussein would still be (temporarily) in power, because the United States would not have squandered its credibility, money and leadership in seizing a nation that posed no threat to us.
It's clear that Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice lied.
The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, asserted on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
But before Ms. Rice made those remarks, she was aware that the government's foremost nuclear experts had concluded that the tubes were most likely not for nuclear weapons at all....
"My colleagues,'' Mr. Powell assured the Security Council, "every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions.'' ...
"By now,'' he said, "just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and we all know there are differences of opinion. There is controversy about what these tubes are for. Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts and the Iraqis themselves argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.''
But Mr. Powell did not acknowledge that those "other experts'' included many of the nation's most authoritative nuclear experts, some of whom said in interviews that they were offended to find themselves now lumped in with a reviled government.
In making the case that the tubes were for centrifuges, Mr. Powell made claims that his own intelligence experts had told him were not accurate.
I can't see how anyone in good conscience can continue to support them remaining in their positions.
Update: Took out the "knowingly exaggerated" language, and called it by its real name.
Fred Clark at slacktivist (who needs a promotion from the News-Journal ASAP):
* "10 million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan," Bush says. He repeats this two more times, referring to it later as "a phenomenal statistic." Matt Yglesias has been over this repeatedly at Tapped -- Afghanistan has fewer than 10 million eligible voters. Bush's beloved statistic appears to be evidence of massive election fraud.
* Bush: "The A.Q. Khan network has been brought to justice." Well, OK, if by "brought to justice" you mean "fully pardoned without so much as a handslap or any serious follow-up on the extent of the very real damage the network has produced." ...
* Bush: "... my opponent talks about inspectors. The facts are that he was systematically deceiving the inspectors." And he refers to "failed inspections." I don't get the logic here. The inspectors found that there were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no weapons on mass destruction. Blix and ElBaradei got it right. Bush got it wrong. Who, then, really "failed"? The main deception involved here seems to have been self-deception.
I'll break that one down even further: The American-led international sanctions and inspections regime worked. Saddam was disarmed and isolated, for the cost of $2 billion a year - versus $1 billion a week we're spending in Iraq now and will be for years.
* Kerry: "The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it. The president made the judgment to divert forces from under Gen. Tommy Franks from Afghanistan before the Congress even approved it, to begin to prepare to go to war in Iraq. And he rushed to war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace. Now that is not the judgment that a president of the United States ought to make. You don't take America to war unless you have a plan to win the peace." That's gonna leave a mark....
* Kerry finishes a long list of problems that need addressing in terms of domestic security: First-responders; bridges/tunnels/transportation upgrades; port security; airline cargo; chemical and nuclear plants; the Nunn-Lugar program to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union. Bush's response seems to me to be his first major gaffe: "I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap ..." I really don't think the president wants to get into a tax cuts vs. security tussle, or to suggest that his tax cuts are more important than adequately funding Nunn-Lugar. ...
* Kerry: "I've had one position, one consistent position: that Saddam Hussein was a threat, there was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way." Bravo. That's simple enough that even a cable news anchor should be able to understand. ...
* What is an "Iranian MOO-lah"?
Spencer Ackerman at The New Republic:
The 100,000-force figure Bush repeatedly quoted last night has been the one his administration has stuck with. But that figure isn't even close to the truth. According to internal Pentagon documents recently obtained by Reuters, only 22,700 Iraqi forces have received enough training to be considered even "minimally effective." Barely 8,000 of the 90,000-strong police force have completed a full eight weeks of training--after a year and a half of occupation.
Julian Sanchez at Reason Online:
Karl Rove must have been massaging a scrunched brow when the president continually held up Poland (which he incorrectly asserted had been part of the initial invasion force) as proof of his coalition-building prowess. Poland's president, recall, has said he was "taken for a ride" on the issue of weapons of mass destruction, and the country will soon reduce its troop commitment in Iraq.
I like the full quote better. President Kwasniewski: "They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride."
Taken for a ride. Bush tried it again last night, but this time he got called on it. No wonder he looked pissed.
I believe I heard Bush assure China a veto over our security vis-a-vis North Korea. ... I thought he wasn't going to give foreigners this power? ...
Of course, Mr. Bush might respond that there are some things that can only be done with the help of other nations, and in those cases the opinions of the leaders of those nations, and even of their citizens, need to be reckoned with if we are to accomplish our goals in the world.
But that's precisely the "global test" Mr. Bush's supporters are lambasting Mr. Kerry for considering.
Jane Buffet passed away Saturday from myeloma, a cancer in her bones. Roger Buffet didn't know their 40th wedding anniversary last month would be their last. Now he's hoping all her work in the community and her passion for politics will live on. ...
While, traditionally, yard signs are ways to support a candidate, in Jane Buffet's obit, her final statement reads, "To honor her memory, please do everything you can to elect John Kerry."
"Her vote couldn't count any more, but this was the best way we knew to make her voice heard," John said.
Is that sweet? A couple together for 40 years, and the widower makes sure his wife's spirit shows through even in death.
Who could object to that?
Her passion for politics evoked a scathing response from an anonymous caller: "It's too bad she won't be able to vote for Kerry, and hopefully on the day that Bush gets elected she'll burn in hell!"
Now, isn't that nice, from a member of God's Own Party?
(From Mac at pesky'apostrophe.)