Bush Vs. Bush

Time Magazine didn't make Karl Rove very happy today regarding the debate last night:

The second presidential debate was a battle between two candidates: one peevish, shaky and floundering; one aggressive, active and emotional. I speak, of course, of President George W. Bush... and President George W. Bush.

In this uneven fight, second-debate Bush defeated first-debate Bush. This, of course, is the way Bush and his handlers want the media to spin this debate—"Bush improved, therefore Bush won" —since, after all, it was a fight the President was bound to win. All he had to do was avoid kicking over his stool, shouting "No fair!" and storming off stage. (In fact, on the cable networks after the debate, Bush's surrogates happily denigrated his performance in the first debate, by way of saying how decisively they believed he won the second.)

And let's be honest—for the media, it's the most tempting angle, because it allows analysts to draw a firm conclusion without being called biased. Not to mention, it guarantees they not give Kerry a 2-0 lead going into the last debate. (Much like the TV networks during the baseball playoffs, the political media has an interest in making sure there's a decisive rubber match.)

Bush defeating himself, though, is not the same as Bush defeating Senator John Kerry. The second debate—a "town hall," with questions offered by undecided voters in St. Louis, Mo.—was a format that was supposed to play more to Bush's strengths in connecting to people. The fact that the candidates were not tethered to the podium eliminated the President's problem, from debate one, of hunching at the podium while he spoke; he had an audience to smile and wink at; and simply being able to move around the stage made him appear less physically besieged.

It seemed pretty clear that Bush was specifically prepared to avoid the sour signals he gave off at the last debate. He didn't scowl. He didn't take several seconds to begin answering a question. When the camera cut away to him during Kerry's attacks, rather than grimacing, he wore—not a smile exactly, but a ruler-drawn diagonal slash across his face, the kind of sideways expression Charlie Brown would wear when Lucy would walk up to the pitcher's mound to tell him something annoying. (You could practically see the thought bubble over his head: "Must... not... frown...")

But although Bush's face conveyed a studied unflappability, it sometimes seemed that his voice didn't get the memo. Especially in the first half, on foreign policy, he practically bellowed his answers; when Kerry ended a critique of the Iraq war by saying that, if Bush had chosen differently, "Osama bin Laden might be in jail or dead," Bush's head popped up, and he seemed like he was about to ask his taller challenger to take this outside. At one point, moderator Charles Gibson tried to ask a follow-up when Bush wanted to rebut Kerry, and Bush simply steamrollered over him, barking his answer until poor Charlie gave up. Earlier, Gibson had promised to hold the candidates to the rules "forcefully but politely." You're one for two, Charlie.
You know what I found interesting? Magically today, after Bush was scraping bottom at just 20% of nearly a half million respondents saying Bush "won" the debate (like it's a poker hand or a lottery drawing), Bush was ever so suddenly neck and neck with Kerry. Somebody got out the call to vote vote vote.

I can only home Dems will be that effective on November 2nd.

Bush Lie #1860999: I Controlled Spending

From Meteor Blades at Daily Kos:

As veganpa notes, Kevin Drum has taken a hard poke at one of the lies that probably slipped past 99% of debate viewers and pundits last night. It - along with the "Furious George," "Orwellian George" and "Never Made a Mistake in My Life George" - deserves some attention.

Dubyanocchio's comment:
    Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent, because we're working together to try to bring this deficit under control.
This, Drum says, probably caused an aneurysm over at the libertarian-conservative Cato Institute, which, a year ago, described Bush as The Mother of All Spenders.
And from Cato's page directly:
The Bush administration's newly released budget projections reveal an anticipated budget deficit of $455 billion for the current fiscal year, up another $151 billion since February. Supporters and critics of the administration are tripping over themselves to blame the deficit on tax cuts, the war, and a slow economy. But the fact is we have mounting deficits because George W. Bush is the most gratuitous big spender to occupy the White House since Jimmy Carter. One could say that he has become the "Mother of All Big Spenders."

The new estimates show that, under Bush, total outlays will have risen $408 billion in just three years to $2.272 trillion: an enormous increase in federal spending of 22 percent. Administration officials privately admit that spending is too high.

World Says US Will Be Safer with Kerry as President

Heh (thanks to Buzzflash for the link).

While 54% of Americans think Bush would be better at keeping the United States safer from a terrorist attack, a new poll by independent market research firm GMI, Inc. reveals that the world disagrees (www.worldpoll.com).

The GMI World Poll survey, which samples 1,000 media-informed individuals in each of the world’s leading G8 economic nations*, found that 78% of global respondents think if Kerry wins the 2004 November elections, the United States will be less likely to experience another major terrorist attack. These results contrast the general opinion of the American public.

Overheard a Great Discussion of the Debate

Happened to be out at the local general store this afternoon and overheard an excellent analysis of not just last night's debate, but the two prior ones.

Who was having this discussion? Two young people, both in high school. Not joking around either. It was one of the most reasonable, no-spin discussions on the subject I've heard anywhere. When I joined in, I was extremely impressed with how knowledgeable both were on various sub-topics.

In truth, this isn't such a surprise to me. Kids aren't universally tuned out on these subjects anyway, but I've noticed before that a lot of the kids up here think. They don't just read and hear - two talents not all adults have mastered - but they process the information.

I'm not quite vain enough about my chosen state to think kids in Vermont are wildly unusual in that regard, but I think the extent of their ability to do this has to do with the fact that life is a bit harder here, and it's harder to find ways to scratch itches (so to speak). There aren't malls to congregate in, not much in the way of stores to feed the fashionistas, or lots of radio or TV stations to tell them what they're supposedly missing.

Overall, people up here value reading, value nature, value their neighbors (even if their neighbors aren't always their best friends), and value their minds. They think easy answers aren't always the best ones. I think this shows up in the younger people, too.

I can dig that.

Roger Ailes: Shouting Works Better than Pouting

From his blog, Roger Ailes writes:

According to the initial viewer polls, at least. Respondents deemed Bush less of a miserable failure in the second debate than in the first. Having heard (most of) both on the radio, I thought he did worse last night. I couldn't see the smirking and snarling in the first, but I assume Karl subdued that with some ECT or aversion therapy.

But Bush shouting "TELL TONY BLAIR WE'RE GOING IT ALONE!!," interupting Charlie Gibson, an amiable doofus loved by millions, etc. made Bush sound churlish and childish, and not just look that way. Leading a nation and making Charlie Gibson your bitch are two entirely different talents.

Josh Marshall is right, Bush's "my mistake was hiring fuck-ups" does not instill confidence. Though it was nice of Bush to spare Condi's feelings.

Favorite Bush line: "And I recognize I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country." Amen.
Amen indeed.

Real Democracy Requires Real Participation, Real Knowledge

I missed this the first time, but Diana at Democracy for California points us to Nick Lewis at Net Politik's posting of a truly important piece by Howard Zinn on democracy and what we need to do as Americans.


The political culture of the United States is obsessed with and dominated by voting. Every election year is accompanied by the media's and the politicians' obsession with persuading Americans that voting for one candidate or another (and only if they are Democrat or Republican, of course) is the most important act of citizenship.

We get high on voting and forget that whether presidents have been Republican or Democrat, impotent or oversexed, they have followed the same basic policies. Whether crooks or Boy Scouts, handsome or homely, agile or clumsy, they have taxed the poor; subsidized the rich; squandered the nation's commonwealth (our minerals, airwaves, water and forests); wasted our taxes on bombers, missiles, ships and other corporate welfare; ignored the decay of the cities; and done so little for poor minority kids that for every Afro-American in college, five are now in prison, and for every Latino in college, three are in prison...

Voting Day 2000 has again come and gone. Sure, one of the presidential candidates is better than the other. But we will go a long way from spectator democracy to real democracy when we understand that the future of this country doesn't depend, mainly, on who is our next president. It depends on whether the American citizen, fed up with the buying off of our Congress and president by the billionaires; fed up with the murderous greed of our health care system and the pharmaceutical companies; fed up with the planetary self-destructive path of our energy, auto, lumber, agribusiness and chemical companies; will organize all over the country a clamor for change even greater than the labor uprisings of the '30s or the black rebellion of the '60s and shake this country out of old paths and falsehood into new paths and the truth.
Read it for yourself, read it for your children, read it for your country and world.

Yesterday's Jobs Numbers

Max is one of the best sources to make sense on these kinds of statistics. I think I've learned more on economics from Max than I did those college courses (and interestingly enough, I believe my economics professor was named George Bush - no really, he was an interesting man who made the topic far more alive than an 18-19 yr old can generally grasp).

The bottom line is that the jobs numbers are terrible. We're still very much embroiled in an economic mess, and failing to recognize this in the great zeal to re-elect this president, to ignore the nastiness in which we're consigning more to poverty, can hurt us in more ways than just another four years of Bush rich-boy lameness.

Shot Guilt

In going to the doctor yesterday, he surprised me at the end with announcing he was going to give me both a flu and a pneumonia vaccination. Actually, the surprise came when I said, "Oh, that's not necessary" and he overruled (he's not the type to tell you what you're doing so I took his position more seriously).

For me, there was a certain amount of guilt. I'm not old or very young but I do have a fouled-up lung from pneumonia gone ballistic. It's hard to justify my need for shots that others are worried sick (literally) they won't get this year. The hard part is that all this concern is so unnecessary. If you wanted to guarantee no flu shot shortage, you would NOT assign your entire stock to one out-of-country manufacturer, not the year after shortages and several childrens' deaths were seen.


CNN Poll Gives Kerry 5:1 Lead as Winner of Friday Debate

With just a hair under 300,000 now having voted, just 20% say Bush won the debate, while 79% say Kerry.

That actually surprises me on a few scores. For one, Bush usually gets a lot of credit just for not peeing on himself. For another, his performance tonight - while pure hubris and smirking bully - was better than last week's by far.

Why Did the President Lie About His "Timber" Income?

From DailyKos:

From the non-partisan FactCheck.org:
    President Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business owner" under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a "small business owner" in 2000 based on $314 of "business income," but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as "royalties" on a different tax schedule.)

Uh oh

I think the cat's about to hit the road again.

This is what he just looked like after I told him the president can probably win by hook or more likely by crook. I suspect the cat is now considering Canada as an option.

But I should see what DailyKos is saying about Bush's "facts".

Once Again, Bush Cannot Name One Mistake

let alone the three the woman asked him to outline. And where any culpability might try to visit itself at his door, Mr. Bush's response is always, "Well, that's John Kerry's fault."

Is this a leader or a teenager who wants all the power and independence and none of the work?

Listening to Bush Requires a Lot of Suspension of Disbelief

Yet, based on the expression on my cat's face as he listens to the president speaking in the debate, I don't think Mabon can suspend his disbelief quite that grandly or for that long.

Some Observations

1) Why does Charlie Gibson question Kerry on various issues but never Bush? Bush said al Qaeda was 75% defeated tonight. But we already know he just makes these numbers up.

2) I haven't thrown anything at the TV yet.

3) Aren't you glad to know your rights aren't affected at all by the Patriot Act?

4) Bullshit on the only thing making health care prices high is the price of lawsuits.

5) I think Kerry's coming off as pretty genuine, less stiff tonight.

6) Bush: "the Internets". huh?

7) I can't say I recall ever hearing that embryonic stem cells have no effectiveness.

8) I hear DailyKos is performing real-time fact checking on Bush's statement.

Brit Hostage, Bigley, Beheaded Today

I thought the length of time he was held might work in his favor. Unfortunately, it did not.


I was sure the prez was going to completely lose it tonight. Instead, he's just lying his head off.

Did Bush Just Tell Us the Air is Cleaner Since He's Been Prez?

You take away all the air standards and you stop any reporting or enforcement of air quality standards and I guess you can claim the air's better. If you fire the police, you'll notice reported crime statistics go down, too. Because no one's counting.

All Prepped for the Debate

Lessee, I got the cat and the dog to entertain me, a tub of green tomatoes to toss at the president whenever he makes a face (I've got 30 - think it's enough?) and a dish of petrified candy corn to toss for lesser transgressions.

I really hate that these rules take away all spontaneity and are designed to further distance the American voters from the process. Meanwhile, Tim Russert is worried that they won't exercise good judgment in showing reaction shots from the crowd.

Tim? Go cash this week's whore honorarium from G.E., who help bring us the president's war vision.

Fritz Hollings on a Bill to Reinstate the Draft

Also from that same Hill article cited just before:

Sometimes, you just have to draw the line and vote against yourself.

That’s what Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) says he’d do if the Senate were to vote on his bill, S. 89, to reinstate mandatory military service, after the House defeated a companion bill Tuesday.

“We introduced a draft bill in January 2003, when our nation’s defense needed more troops — and we still do,” Hollings said in a statement yesterday. “We were misled into Iraq, and now the commander in chief tells the troops they can’t win. You don’t draft young Americans for a mistake, particularly when they can’t win. Under these circumstances, I would vote against my own bill.”

But Hollings won’t have to make that choice. He’s retiring this year, and Senate leaders say they aren’t likely to vote on the politically sensitive measure before Congress adjourns.

Zell Miller, Not Your Typical Girlie Man!

From The Hill by way of Wonkette:

“Hitler does better among Jewish voters than Zell Miller does among Democrats.”
That's a Frank Lutz quote. He's just so philosophical!

Running Out of Disproven Excuses for Invading Iraq

Wonkette offers us this:

Gosh, the Bush team is sort of running out reasons they invaded Iraq, no? First it's they've got WMDs, then it's that they were in the process of manufacturing WMDs, now, if we understand The Amazing Cheney right, Saddam was thinking about manufacturing WMDs. If that gets struck down, we hear the administration is going to go with "he told this guy my cousin knows that he was thinking about manufacturing WMDs." Well, we hate to see a perfectly good invasion get marred by, oh, a complete lack of justification, so we thought we'd suggest some other things about Saddam that the president, at least, might find reason enough to go to war:

Didn't rewind rental tape

Mixed recyclables

Wrote a book

Reads books

Throws like a girl

Is too tall

Fuzzy math

Prevented OBGYNs from practicing their love

Wanted us to pass a global test

Holding my leader in the very high respect I do (wheeze), I felt obligated to offer some additional excuses me might use during the debate tomorrow night.

Here they are:
    10. We had to attack Saddam to defend Lynne Cheney's honor. She tried to give herself to Saddam in 1999 to get more business for Dick (not to be confused with the dick business) and he wouldn't even let Uday go near her. Said she was too kinky and skanky.

    9. Saddam's bigger 'n me. I don't like nobody taller than me. It gets in the way 'a me lookin' down my nose at 'em.

    8. He tried to kill my daddy. 'Course, if he'd succeeded, I'd have more 'a my share of the Bush dynasty, but Jeb says I already got that. Then he whines about how he was the one who paid attention in school and yet he got stuck with that shithole Florida while I get to rule the world.

    7. Condi said so.

    6. I got this Edible Complex, see, where I gotta compete with my dad to sleep with my mother. So I had to show Mom I knew my missile from my gun.

    5. Cause I'm the numero uno honcho. Nobody asks me why I do things. I'll tell 'em. If I want to.

    4. Dick said it would help Halliburton profits and Donny Rumsfeld said it would help Bechtel, and Ariel Sharon said it would help Israel and... sheesh, just shuddup with the questions, ok?

    3. What's the problem, eh? It's not like these young kids fighting have jobs they can get back home. I'm givin' 'em jobs just like my daddy gave me. Except mine paid a million or more a year and got me a lot of free blow while soldiers... well, they're not real smart or they wouldn't be in this military.

    2. Let's talk about Iran instead.

    1. Iraq? I thought we attacked Vermont. Goddamn that intelligence!

Isn't October 8th the 3 Year Anniversary of Beginning to Bombing on Afghanistan?

You don't suppose this has anything at all to do with the fact that things are blowing up all over, do you? Cripes. I think I'll be glad with this Friday passes into Saturday over there because I'm wondering what else may be in store.


Friday Kitten Blogging with a Little Divine Intervention

Six nights in which the temperature often dipped below freezing, when wolves howled and owls screeched, with rain and terrible wind.

That's how long this little 7-week-old kitten (Mabon for autumnal equinox)has been gone and feared dead. He was new to us, with no experience outside, no understanding of where we were in relation to anything else, and probably no idea of what the home looked like when he disappeared sometime Saturday morning.

Just over an hour ago, I heard a terrible noise outside on the deck beyond my office, looked out, and there he was, bony, loud, desperate to be home. He's eaten his way through most of the house now and he keeps jumping up from his bed by the fireplace to smell the dog's feet.

I Don't Want Judith Miller to Go to Jail for Not Revealing a Source...

I want her to go to jail for lying to get us into the Iraq War and then continuing it in a deliberate lie to the American people.

Posted by Xan at Corrente:

I used to be a journalist, if a features-and-obit writer can be dignified with the title. I was one during the Pentagon Papers case and joined in every protest against the government intrusions that I could. The First Amendment is absolute, dammit...

...except maybe just this once.

(via NYT but an AP story)
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge held a reporter in contempt Thursday for refusing to divulge confidential sources to prosecutors investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity.

    U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan ordered New York Times reporter Judith Miller jailed until she agrees to testify about her sources before a grand jury, but said she could remain free while pursuing an appeal. Miller could be jailed up to 18 months.

    Hogan cited Supreme Court rulings that reporters do not have absolute First Amendment protection from testifying about confidential sources. He said there was ample evidence that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, had exhausted other avenues of obtaining key testimony before issuing subpoenas to Miller and other reporters.

    ``The special counsel has made a limited, deferential approach to the press in this matter,'' Hogan said.

    Fitzgerald is investigating whether a crime was committed when someone leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose name was published by syndicated columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. Novak cited two ``senior administration officials'' as his sources.

    ``I think it's really frightening when journalists can be put in jail for doing their job effectively,'' Miller told reporters outside the courthouse.

Tell it to the 1066 dead, sweetheart.

Hmmm... I should bake her some cookies for jail. Perhaps a lovely WMD (walnuts, macadamias and dates) batch, where I can put a white iced "letter" on each spelling out C-H-A-L-A-B-I and Y-O-U L-I-E-D, P-E-O-P-L-E D-I-E-D.

No Draft: Sign the Petition

From Howard Dean:

George Bush is not being straight with the American people about the draft. He promised in the first presidential debate to win the war on terror with "an all-volunteer army". He has already violated that commitment.

The truth is that a draft has already begun -- it just hasn't affected most of our families yet. Active duty soldiers who finish their commitments are being forced to stay in. And the flagrant misuse of the National Guard and Reserves has ripped apart families by sending unprecedented numbers of them to occupy a foreign country.

Because of George Bush's failure to lead the world, we are nearly alone in Iraq. If we "stay the course" with this president, he will face a choice: drastically reduce our commitments or reinstate the draft. Sign the petition demanding that he tell Americans which one he will choose:

Sign here.

George Bush chose to go to war without substantial help from our allies. He has badly over-committed our armed forces. One of the Joint Chiefs and his own administrator in Iraq have both said that we will need tens of thousands more troops to stabilize Iraq. Extreme measures are already being taken to meet the shortfall -- and the president has an obligation to explain how he will meet our commitments without drafting young people into service.

Fathers from New York who joined the Reserves to guard America against another attack have been sent to Iraq. Teenagers in the Florida National Guard who expected to provide hurricane relief in their home state have been forced to fight halfway around the world.

George Bush has left our homeland unprotected. And his plans to move existing forces away from threats like North Korea put our interests and our allies in danger. This cannot continue. Sign this petition demanding honesty -- we will deliver it to the White House:

Sign here.

Family friends helped a young George Bush dodge the draft. Dick Cheney didn't fight because he had, in his words, "other priorities" -- he got five deferments. We cannot afford to let them dodge the question of a draft now.

Will they force a new generation of young people to make the sacrifices they refused to make? Or will they leave us unprotected at home and in other dangerous parts of the world?

I have a son in college. My family and millions of other families could be affected by a draft. We deserve to know before we vote in November how George Bush and Dick Cheney plan to prevent one. Sign the petition now:

Sign here.

Bush "Fooling" Networks Yesterday

That same Josh Marshall page today also points us to Fred Kaplan's piece today in Slate about Bush's hoodwinking the networks into covering his stump speech like it had something to do with the country.

Also noted in the piece:

Finally, on the matter of the Bush administration's efforts to revive Iraq's economy, a report this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies—a conservative Washington-based think tank—finds that for every dollar spent on aid to Iraq, only 27 cents filters down to projects benefiting Iraqis. The rest pays for administrative and management costs. (This is what happens when 85 percent of contracts are awarded to big U.S. or British firms, while just 2 percent go to Iraqi companies.) Add to this the fact that Bush has spent only a small fraction of the $18.5 billion that Congress appropriated for reconstruction, and the verdict can only be that we're doing just slightly more than squat. The evidence is seen in the continued electrical blackouts and the grave shortfall of basic services. The result is that Iraqis who might otherwise have been compliant citizens join the insurgency—or at least let the insurgents pass without turning them in. (For an excellent analysis on the insurgency's composition, click here.)
Do check that link about the insurgency; looks like good information.

Newsweek and How Cheney Rewrites History

Josh Marshall points us to a piece in Newsweek that details how VP Dick Cheney lied and dissembled on Tuesday night. Here's just a taste:

Cheney said last night that Zarqawi, who once ran a terror camp in Afghanistan with loose links to Al Qaeda, had “migrated to Baghdad” after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 and “set up shop” there, overseeing a “poisons facility” at Kurmal, in northern Iraq.

In fact, U.S. intelligence officials tell NEWSWEEK, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Zarqawi went first to Iran—a country that many officials have long believed had far more consequential relationships with terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, than Saddam’s regime. And while the new CIA report confirms that Zarqawi unquestionably did later move to Baghdad—and received medical treatment there before the war— there is still no hard evidence on whether he was being supported or assisted by Saddam’s regime. “The information on that is not clear,” said one U.S. official familiar with the report. “It’s still being worked.” Cheney also left out the fact that the alleged poisons facility that Zarqawi allegedly supervised was in a part of northern Iraq not controlled by Saddam's government.

Cheney, challenged by Edwards, insisted last night that “I have not suggested there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11.” But that claim is belied by an array of interviews and public comments in which Cheney has done precisely that—by repeatedly invoking claims that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence agent. That allegation was also debunked by the 9/11 commission after the panel found abundant evidence that Atta was actually in the United States at the time the rendezvous supposedly took place.

al Zarqawi Yet Again

Fred Clark at The Slacktivist discusses our new blame-everything-on-him bogeyman.

A Wish for Our President: Four Less Years!

Come on, we can out-chant and out-vote those GOPers, can't we?

Four less years!>
Four less years!
Four less years!
Four less years!

Tom DeLay Gets a Third Slap on the Wrist

He's bribed voted in Congress, illegally used charity money for political gain, and no one holds this man accountable for anything. This is the third time in as many weeks that a governing body - largely comprised of people who received money from DeLay - has slapped his wrist for gross and illegal conduct in as many weeks.

Wolcott: People are Beginning to Pay Attention

Dear God, I hope James Wolcott is right here but I've wondered too many times (erroneously, I might add) if the winds were finally beginning to shift so that everyone should take in the stink from this crowd.

Says Wolcott:

Reuters is reporting that nearly 44 million Americans watched last night's debate between Cheney and Edwards. That's--huge. How huge? The debate between Cheney and No-Joementum Lieberman in 2000 drew 29 million viewers, which was an advance over the poor souls who watched Gore vs. Kemp in 1996. A 15 million jump in viewership!

Why do I mention this? Because such intense interest probably spells bad news for the Republicans. With his approval rating dragging below 50 percent, Bush's reelection in a country with such an evenly divided electorate depends in part on poor turnout, Democratic demoralization, and preventing blacks from reaching the polling places. The purpose of the "shock and awe" ad blitz against Kerry earlier in the year was reduce him to a cripple dragging a useless leg to the finish line as Democrats stayed home in droves. That bombing campaign largely failed. The huge audience for the debates so far shows that the American people are "up" for this election, which can't be what Karl Rove wanted.

Couple with that the fact that the day-after analysis of the Cheney-Edwards debate has turned scathingly against the v-p--

Dowd Takes on Dubya's Oedipal Issues

From her column today:

Senator Kerry evoked the voice of Bush 41 to get under 43's thin skin. The more Mr. Kerry played the square, proper, moderate, internationalist war hero, the more the president was reduced to childish scowling and fidgeting, acting like a naughty little boy who refuses to sit in his seat and eat his spinach and do all the hard things a parent wants you to do.

"You know, the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad beyond Basra," Mr. Kerry said, as W. blinked and burned. "And the reason he didn't is, he said, he wrote in his book, because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land. That's exactly where we find ourselves today. There's a sense of American occupation."

Mr. Kerry told the now-and-then Guardsman about the "extraordinarily difficult missions" of our troops in Iraq: "I know what it's like to go out on one of those missions where you don't know what's around the corner. And I believe our troops need other allies helping."

The Times Says the Verdict on the Iraq War is In

From their editorial page today (Thursday):

Sanctions worked. Weapons inspectors worked. That is the bottom line of the long-awaited report on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, written by President Bush's handpicked investigator.

In the 18 months since President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, justifying the decision by saying that Saddam Hussein was "a gathering threat" to the United States, Americans have come to realize that Iraq had no chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. But the report issued yesterday goes further. It says that Iraq had no factories to produce illicit weapons and that its ability to resume production was growing more feeble every year. While Mr. Hussein retained dreams of someday getting back into the chemical warfare business, his chosen target was Iran, not the United States.

The report shows that the international sanctions that Mr. Bush dismissed and demeaned before the war - and still does - were astonishingly effective. Mr. Hussein hoped to get out from under the sanctions, and the report's author, Charles Duelfer, loyally told Congress yesterday that he thought that could have happened. But his report said the Iraqis lacked even a formal strategy or a plan to reconstitute their weapons programs if it did.

For months, administration officials have tried to deflect charges that they invaded Iraq under false pretenses and have urged critics to wait for Mr. Duelfer's verdict on the weapons search. The authoritative findings of his Iraq Survey Group have now left the administration's rationale for war more tattered than ever.

Why Do All the Terror Suspect Cases Fall Apart?

The Times looks at the Detroit case, and it's a legitimate question. Time after time, Ashcroft makes some huge announcement while the closest thing to a terrorist he feels he's come close to is 62-year-old Tommy Chong whom he sent up river.

It's not that the Justice Department isn't doing enough. It's that Ashcroft keeps bringing cases where he decides who's guilty in their hearts and then looks to his people to depend on the passion and fear towards anyone the government brands a terrorist to convict them in the absence of evidence.

John Walker Lind got 20 years. There is no evidence he was involved in any way except for the fact that we wanted blood once we saw a young American man fighting among the Taliban. He was younger than the Bush daughters who exercise extremely poor judgment but we're told to again and again ignore it.

Should terrorists get everything possible thrown at them? Yes. When proven guilty by real evidence. The Bushies are waging war against anyone who doesn't agree with them, and Ashcroft brands anyone who isn't a right-wing nutjob a terrorist sympathizer.

If the cases are good, lying and trying to cook the cases and do everything under a heavy veil of secrecy, with defendants denied due process would never even be considered. But Ashcroft wants you afraid because when you're afraid, you'll agree to do anything to anyone you feel might harm you.

But if we're turning into such a bad empire, somewhere devoid of real justice vs. that any-eye-for-an-eye brutality, a place where free speech means pro-emperor pep rallies, where's the difference between us and the bogey administration's depiction of axis of Evil countries including laughably Cuba?

We're better than this. But we haven't always been recently and we'd better stop letting Washington get away with it. Each time they persecute in the name of keeping you feeling like a scared victim, they take a little more away from us while making it far more likely so-called terrorists will strike. Our friends are getting mighty sick of us so imagine how our enemies feel?

Bush Gets Networks to Give Him Millllions and Millllions in Free Advertising

Bush promised a major policy statement today, networks all cut away to see it, and word is that it was just the same stump speech he gives 3x a day (4 if you count him retelling it during those quiet, contemplative moments with Condi). They were had, and yet I didn't hear anything about that on the networks tonight. I don't usually catch large volumes of network news, but tonight, I hit most of them (I'm hiding from deadlines).

Matthew Yglesias:

What is this bullshit? The president went and gave his standard stump speech and relabeled it a major address and got all these TV stations to cover it. Is the press really going to stand for that? (don't answer).
This is how The Times presents it (with mention about retooling his stump speech to go on the attack against Kerry ( Bushius Pre-emptorumpus is a terrible thing):
delivered on the day when a new report raised questions about his rationale for going to war, Mr. Bush seemed to be trying to make up ground that polls show he lost during last week's debate. He accused Mr. Kerry of "proposing policies and doctrines that would weaken America and make the world more dangerous" and of pursuing a "strategy of retreat" in Iraq.

...Mr. Bush's new speech signaled that he would stand firm between now and Election Day over his handling of Iraq and appeared to be an effort to take attention away from the 918-page report released in Washington on Wednesday detailing how Saddam Hussein's stockpiles of unconventional weapons had been dismantled years before the invasion last year, and how the Iraqi dictator's ability to pose a serious military threat - a justification for war Mr. Bush still makes regularly - had eroded after 1991.

But the speech also gave the president a chance to break the cycle of news articles about his performance in the last debate and to accomplish in a controlled setting what many Republicans have said the president failed to do as forcefully as he needed: draw sharp, compelling differences between his position and record and those of Mr. Kerry. He tried to do so in many different areas, arguing that Mr. Kerry had earned the title of "the single most liberal member of the Senate" by "voting for higher taxes, more regulation, more junk lawsuits and more government control over your life."

But Mr. Bush was silent on the weapons report. And he made no mention of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's statement on Monday that he had seen no firm evidence of a link between Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda, or of the statement by his former top official in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, that the United States had not put enough troops into Iraq to secure the country.


Maybe Those CBS Memos and Dan Rather Deserve Further Review?

From Gen. J.C. Patriot:

After we gave CBS the butt-whupping they deserved, someone had to point out that the White House released not just another TANG memo, but a proportionally-spaced TANG memo from 1971 after the fuss had died down. (Of course they released it on a Friday afternoon!) And some French professor thinks the Burkett documents were printed by a typewriter as well. Our Morale Division dealt with that disloyalist appropriately.

More Iraq, Al Qaeda "Tie" Lies

Speaking of the erudite Diana, she posts two stories from al Jazeera that have gotten little (but not zero) attention here: that the CIA has completely debunked the al Zarqari - Saddam link (on the heels of the disclosure that although the Bushies have blamed al Zarqawi as the great mastermind, the one behind all the "Islamic" beheadings and the insurgency, he may just be our newest scapegoat) and that Donald Strangelove Rumsfeld is not saying he didn't understand the question when he said there were no real ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. Do you know how many times he's been back and forth on this?

But then, the Bushies and the far right have learned that their lies pay big dividends and that we won't hold them accountable even when the depth of the lies are discovered. The media won't pay attention to them. Keep giving them a free ride, folks.

Updating Links

I'm trying to get some long overdue updating of links. I've been blessed to discover a great many new sites with good voices, several of which I'm sharing here. I was spurred to do this after finding Stained Glass Soul and then read a lovely post by Diana at Democracy for California who reminded me how rich we are in voices right now.

As we pass the election, I expect to expand my listings to include more of a non-political nature.

The Funny Dick

From Wonkette about one more of Cheney's little truth issues last night:

Hey, thanks all the oodles of people who've written in to point out that Dick Cheney said "factcheck.com" not "factcheck.org" and -- ha! ha! -- factcheck.com now points to George Soros's site. Oh, God. We're dying. It's like. . . wait, wait: There's a word for it! Irony. Hey, what's the word for the vice president telling a bald-faced lie that's cost the lives of over a thousand Americans and thousands of Iraqis?

So Who's the Worst Political Journalist

(Man, will that field be wide this year!)

From Skippy:

the new york press is holding wimblehack! the first quadriennial head-to-head contest to see who is the worst political journalist in the country.
    the rules are very simple. we have chosen 32 of the country's leading campaign reporters, mostly from the world of print, and bracketed them into pairs. each week, the pairs will square off against one another. whoever writes worse, advances. it's that simple.

    the tournament progresses until the week after the election, when the writer of the worst and most slavish and dishonest election post-mortem among the two remaining contestants will receive an illustrious mystery prize from the new york press tournament committee. anyone familiar with the history of these sorts of competitions is welcome to speculate as to what that might be.

    to determine a winner in each match-up, the contenders' articles will be examined by a three-person panel of drug-addicted judges culled from the editorial ranks of this newspaper. our decisions are completely subjective and cannot be appealed. in fact, one of our rules is that any appeal from a contestant, whether in private or in public, results in automatic advance through to the next round.

So the Feds Erase Al Qaeda tapes to save drive space???

You know, I was very ill with a respiratory infection combined with a problem wisdom tooth on Election Day 2000. After I voted, I came home with a raging fever spent the day on the couch (something I've done about twice in a decade). Middle of the night, while the vote debacle was getting started in earnest, I was so ill I wondered if I'd live. I remember praying to God, "Look if you have to take me, fine. But please, please don't leave my loved ones behind to live with the travesty of a Bush presidency."

Since then, I've wondered often if the past four years have been one long miserable "better have a bucket handy because the heaves come often" sickness.

Stories like this posted by Tom Burka at Opinions You Should Have that we're deleting al Qaeda evidence - some not even translated yet - to save hard drive space:

Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 120,000 hours of potentially valuable terrorism-related recordings have not yet been translated by linguists at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and computer problems may have led the bureau to systematically erase some Qaeda recordings, according to a declassified summary of a Justice Department investigation that was released on Monday.

Thoughts on the VP Debate Last Night

I watched the entire thing last night as opposed to the 2000 debate where I watched Cheney wipe up Lieberman faster that a good piece of toast absorbs a runny egg yolk.

Do I think Edwards didn't stretch or embellish last night? No.

But Cheney deliberately lied any number of times. His first statement was a lie, that he'd never said there was a link between Iraq and al Qaeda. Even as he spoke this lie, he was there with qualifiers saying "even though we don't have video of Osama committing gross acts of fellatio on Saddam's limp dick, I think it's very clear Saddam paid Osama to do 9/11."

Then the stupidity by saying he'd never met Edwards, implying Edwards is too busy to meet his responsibilities. Right now, there's proof he met Edwards a number (7 noted tonight) of times, even personally acknowledged him before a meeting once. Even in the face of that today, Cheney says he can't recall.

I can find out where John Edwards was for 2 years after 9/11. Where the hell was Dick Cheney? Always hiding in an undisclosed location.

So if you think Cheney won last night, I guess it's a matter of ethics whether a deceitful win is a win. But I'm sure Bush/Cheney feel they won what was due them in 2000, too, while the American people by majority did not vote for them. And the Supreme Court didn't want the truth; they wanted to hand Bush the seat on a technicality. Remember? Their ruling basically stated it was not fair to Mr. Bush to continue to recount, but using a law that is meant to protect the fairness of voting for VOTERS not candidates. When voters tried to use the same law, they were told they could not.

I Must Have Missed the Part Where Cheney Sent Edwards Home Crying

That's what NBC keeps telling me happened. Of course, most of the panel gets at least some of their income from the GOP or its designates (Andrea Mitchell, Joe (there's a dead campaign worker in my office so please try not to notice her) Scarbrough)).


OK, I Missed it

Chris Matthews' group is telling us that Edwards got creamed.

September Second Deadliest Month for US Troops

But you didn't hear this from the mainstream media. Watching pink flamingos blow around in Florida and listening to the president's full stump speech was all they reported.

From AP/Boston.com:

September was the second-deadliest month of the year for U.S. forces in Iraq and brought to nearly 500 the number who have died since the insurgency escalated in late March.

The Pentagon announced Sunday evening that two soldiers died late last week of injuries suffered earlier in the month, and another was killed Sept. 30 by a roadside bomb. That brought the month's death toll to 80, up from 65 in August and equal to the 80 who died in May.

The worst month of the year for U.S. troops in Iraq was April when 135 died in a wave of insurgent attacks. Some had hoped the violence would decrease after an interim Iraqi government was given sovereignty June 28, but the death toll has risen steadily since then.

US Yet Again Vetoes Any Action Against Israel By UN

As Cheney keeps citing UN Security Council, I'm reminded of my disgust at how the US today vetoed sanctions and a condemnation of Israel for its recent actions in Gaza and elsewhere, where more and more civilians are dying.

See, here, we hear about the suicide bombers, but we pay far less attention to the US-supplied gunships used on Palestinians. Again and again, we act like the only precious life in the Middle East are those in Israel. But all life there is precious. The problem isn't just the Palestinians.

Cheney is Such a Talented Liar

Where do you start? Here are just a few highlights from the first 15 minutes:

    * Cheney: I never said there was any link between Iraq and al Qaeda.
    * Cheney: It's Kerry's fault for naysaying now that we couldn't build a useful coalition back then.
    * Cheney: It's Kerry's fault we don't have a strong military, even though I was the one who started carving up the military bases and soldiers in the early 90s.

Hold Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Powell Accountable

With word now plain that the leadup to war was cooked by the White House related to the aluminum tubes and yellow cake and the bogus Iraqi nuclear program and Bremer's comments (which he's been making for some weeks) now that Iraq is such a mess because we did not enter Iraq with enough troops (and how many lives were lost because of this?) how can anyone vote for Bush-Cheney?

OK, how can anyone who isn't a Halliburton stockholder vote for Bush-Cheney?

"I fault this president for not knowing what death is."

Common Dreams reprints a moving piece by E.L. Doctorow first printed in an Easthampton, NY paper last month:

I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.

Why's Dubya's Pew Always Empty?

Finally. TNR looks at a question I've wondered since before he became president: why's the president never in church? His holier-than-thou crowd likes to paint Dems as people having orgies on Sunday mornings when they should be at church but Bush is rarely near one except for photo ops.

Or perhaps, in one of God's frequent talks with him (according to Dubya), God mentioned he's not welcome. If the argument is that Bush is a religious man but not a church goer, that doesn't really work. A person of God (or Allah or Jehovah or..) may be a deep believer who doesn't go to service. But a religious person isn't necessarily a person of God. They're people who need the structure and power machinery of religion (and I'd argue that the only thing that ever really gets between a person and his or her God is religion which is a shell).

From TNR:

Most Americans are aware that George W. Bush is a religious man. He is, after all, the man who presided over a religious revival of sorts at the Republican National Convention. He is the man who has pioneered what could be called cardio-diplomacy, judging world leaders--and, at times, entire nations--by their "hearts." He is the subject of at least four spiritual hagiographies currently in bookstores, and one religious documentary ("George W. Bush: Faith in the White House"). Most famously, Americans know him as the man who, when asked to cite the philosopher who had the greatest influence on him, named Jesus Christ.

What most--including many of the president's fiercest supporters--don't know, however, is that Bush doesn't go to church. Sure, when he weekends at Camp David, Bush spends Sunday morning with the compound's chaplain. And, every so often, he drops in on the little Episcopal church across Lafayette Park from the White House. But the president who has staked much of his domestic agenda on the argument that religious communities hold the key to solving social problems doesn't belong to a congregation.

It should be a politically intriguing story. Bush is one of the most explicitly religious politicians in American history. Both of his presidential campaigns have used religion to appeal emotionally to voters. The entire philosophy behind his signature slogan, "compassionate conservatism," rests on the belief that religious communities have a unique ability to tend to the nation's social ills. And yet, after the flood of coverage around Bush's first--and only--visit to a neighborhood church during inauguration weekend in Washington, D.C., no one has bothered to report on the president's whereabouts on Sunday mornings.
I encourage you to read it, and I don't always recommend TNR articles. It's from Amy Sullivan who you may know - if from nowhere else - from The Washington Monthly and Kevin Drum's Political Animal blog.

Is Bush Wired with Earpiece to Feed Him Lines?

This is all over, but Buzzflash points us to Is Bush Wired?

You'd think he would speak better if he was getting help. Which leads one to wonder how much worse it would be if his barbershop quartet of Condi, Karen, Karl, and Cheney weren't feeding him words.

The Seasonal Flu Vaccine Crisis

Excuse me, but didn't Dr. Dingbat (God, this woman seems like something out of a Coen Brothers movie) who heads the CDC assure us last year that vaccination from flu was almost like part of homeland security and that THERE WOULD be enough flu shots for all this year, that they'd all the precautions to make sure of that?

She did. And we saw how valuable her word is.

So please, believe her when she tells you there is no reason to worry. I mean, the CDC isn't prepared for the bird flu from last year which is both growing in severity and for which we have no vaccination.

They Were Hypocrites Then, Too

Richard Leiby at The Post gives us a story today (from nearly a quarter century ago) that reminds us they were hypocrites then, too:

24 years ago: Washington chatters about the political future of three-term Rep. Robert E. Bauman (R-Md.), who, facing a charge of soliciting sex from a 16-year-old male nude dancer, agreed on Oct. 3, 1980, to enter a court-supervised rehab program for his drinking problem. FBI agents said they'd received numerous reports about Bauman, a conservative moralist, cruising in gay clubs in Washington, but at an Oct. 8 news conference, with his wife and his priest by his side, the 43-year-old politician said, "I do not consider myself to be a homosexual." He lost reelection in November and later became a gay rights advocate.

He also brings us this:
"Girlie men": The phrase won roars of approval when Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger used it at the Republican National Convention, but is it an insult? Sean Bulson, the principal of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, thinks so, and he won't allow the school's young Republicans to wear it on their chests.

After 16-year-old Hanna Buckley proposed the slogan "Young Republicans Aren't Girlie Men" for her club last month, Bulson shot it down. Decrying what she considers censorship, Buckley -- the great-niece of William F. Buckley -- told us: "I didn't think it was offensive to anybody. It's just a quote from Arnold!" (At the convention, Schwarzenegger said, "To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don't be economic girlie men.")

Bulson, citing the school district's "human relations and nondiscrimination policies," said he didn't want to give the term an official blessing. "The slogan struck me as insensitive at best," he told us. "In one way it's anti-gay, and I'm certain I could find people who say it's anti-female. I know there are people here who would find this offensive."

Buckley, a junior, has no avenue for appeal but, like the Terminator, promises she'll be back: "I come from a very political family. I want to be a politician when I'm older."
Wait. You know how they say that no child grows up wanting to be a prostitute or a junkie? Ms. Buckley has proven that wrong!

The Technology Times

David Anderson at In Search of Utopia has started a new tech-focused blog as well, specifically geared toward Latin America. At first, I thought I was going to have to pull out my rusty Spanish (a language I don't have cause to use frequently here in Vermont where you hardly ever hear French either considering we're within a good throw of French-speaking Canada), but he's done it in English, too.

As a tech writer with a passion for this stuff (but a really jaded view of the hype surrounding tech), I see I'll be visiting there too. Check it out.

[Actually, I'm having some fun reading the Spanish version. Turns out my Spanish no sucko mucho after all.]

The Tragedy of Terri Schiavo

She's the woman who's been in a persistent vegetative state since she suffered a stroke when she was around 30. Some decade has passed, and her husband won the right to disconnect her feeding tube (against the wishes of her parents who do not provide her primary care and who feel their former son-in-law is a terrible person for resuming his life after a few years) only to have Jeb Bush intercede and then get the Florida Congress to create a special law just to give Chubby Jebby the right to do this.

Another court has decided that Florida's reps had no right to do this (God, it's nice to know something is illegal there since interfering with the right to vote and keeping a little boy from his father in Cuba isn't). But Chubby Jebby says no, he's going to overrule the court.

I've seen the video that Ms. Schiavo's parents use to try to prove she's capable of coming back. It's moving. You see her as a very real person. But that's true of almost every person whose brain is gone. Something of what made them real and human remains so long as their breathing does.

But can any of us imagine having to live for more than a decade like Ms. Schiavo has done? This issue touches home for me. My dad died before his body died. Three rapid brain hemorrhages destroyed everything that made him who he was. For the days before his body died too, it was especially terrible for my family because my father (although under 40) had repeatedly said that he'd rather be shot than be a vegetable. And of course you hope for a miracle. But miracles are pretty rare when most of the brain is no longer functioning.

Even at not quite five, I got a quick education on why there are worse things than physical death. It would have been terrible for everyone concerned, but most of all, for the spirit of who my father was, had he been forced to stay alive mechanically. In his case, however, he was in a US vet hospital and even then (four decades before War Bushie got his hands on the DoD budget, the government wasn't going to take extraordinary measures to keep a vet alive when there was no hope of real life.

Jeb is using this case to appeal to his far right base who wants life preserved at any cost unless of course they decide to execute someone. He'll never care for or take care of this woman. He wasn't there for a decade of preserving her physically when she made no progress away from her irreversible situation.

He has no right to do what he's done. Someone needs to stop him. Someone needs to tell all these privileged Bushies that we're not just chess pieces in the game of their political careers.

Vice Prez Debate

Right now, CNN's poll favors Edwards winning about 2:1.

How little faith we have in The Dick's charm.

Vice Prez Debate

Right now, CNN's poll favors Edwards winning about 2:1.

How little faith we have in The Dick's charm.


Lincoln Chaffee, one of the half dozen GOP moderates left in the Senate

Good piece about a good man, GOP RI Senator Lincoln Chaffee who basically says that he cannot in good faith vote for George Bush.. This takes guts, and I have no doubt the GOP will pay him back by trying to oust him by a far righty. They've gone after all the moderates: Snow, Collins, and even Arlen "Magic Bullet Theory" and "Really, Ira Einhorn isn't a flight risk. He's a valued member of the community and he knew nothing about the dead body in his closet for months" Spector). I had a good deal of respect for Chafee's late father, too.

But this brings me to subject close to the heart of Chafee's decision.

You know, I don't think the overwhelming majority of the American people are at the far right of the political spectrum anymore than I think a majority is at the far left. Most people on both sides of the political aisle seem to be fairly moderate, with many issues in which they would agree with the other party's platform on the subject.

So why has the House and the Senate been allowed to get so imbalanced? Extreme money and a feeling by the the right (vs. far right) that they're more than willing to pander to the Limbaugh and Falwell crowds if it keeps the WH away from such heathens as Clintons (and hey, what really kills them is that the majority of the American people sided with Clinton after the witch hunt and the farcical impeachment.

But the majority of Republicans would be no better served by a majority of their elected reps being power mad fatcat corporate whores than the majority of Dems would be immediately grateful to be served by having the likes of Ron Kuby (whom I respect a great deal btw along with his late mentor and partner, William Kuntzler). The difference here is that about 5% of the Dem representatives are the left of center from a Democratic viewpoint. Some of those 5% (the late Paul Wellstone, the very much alive Bernie Sanders of Vermont) are truly great, others seem to deliberately marginalize and separate themselves.

However, on the GOP side, the ego nutcases who still feel uncomfortable when a person of color walks into the room rule (and not because the majority of Republicans are ego nutcases - I don't think they are at all): DeLay, Frist, Lott, what Hastert has become (but didn't seem to always be), Zell Miller (a Dixiecrat isn't a Democrat), and just about all the red House members.

Mind you, there are a couple of exceptions where I feel I see some maturing of Republican Congresspeople. Lindsey Graham during some of the Abu Ghraib abuse hearings acted like a more reasoned individual than the Cotton Mather-with-a-twang thing he was during the Clinton impeachment. But he's up in the Senate now.

Libby Dole isn't far right, but she walked into a far right base and she's a whore. She'll do whatever she can to get ahead. She'll never be president though. The people who love her are the same people who still think women should stay at home unless they're working at a bar or a brothel, who sign abortion laws away while insisting their daughters get one if they dated someone of mixed ethnicity or a low credit rating. And really, the only thing they love about Libby is that she was a placeholder for the seat that might have lost otherwise.

Katherine Harris may not be far right either but she also knows the power base is there now and the whore for her own cause that she is would change sides faster than Italy in WWII (or Bush on whether Osama's a threat) if a new sheriff came to town. She's old news now. She was rewarded with a job then, when it didn't behoove Bush to have Harris running for Bob Graham's seat in Florida during his own re-election, Bush gave her the heave. Oh, she'll be able to afford all the pounds of cosmetics she wears each day. They'll take care of her there, but you don't brag about old prostitutes often (or Carville would look happier married to Matalin).

Insist that Tom DeLay Be Held Accountable, Be Tried

Tom DeLay is accused of some extremely serious crimes that would mean serious prison time for anyone else, and certainly would not allow him to continue in the House. But why is group after group giving him at best a slap on the wrist? First Texas, now the Ethics subcommittee.

From Friday's Slate (Tim Noah):

The House Ethics Committee finally released its report about allegations by Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., that the House leadership tried to win his support for the Medicare drug bill last November by offering a $100,000 bribe. (In the end, Smith voted no.) The big news is that Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, admitted that he offered to endorse Smith's son Brad, who was running for Congress at the time, in exchange for Smith's "yea" vote on the Medicare bill. According to the Ethics Committee—more precisely, its investigative subcommittee—this is a violation of House rules and warrants "public admonishment." But it may warrant a good deal more.

The Ethics Committee wasn't able to find anyone who would admit having mentioned to Smith that his vote was worth $100,000, and Smith (for reasons that are getting clearer) now contradicts his earlier statements and says no bribe—and certainly no $100,000—was ever offered. But DeLay's statement alone is grounds for indictment. United States Code, Title 18, Section 201, "Bribery of public officials and witnesses," states that a bribe can be "anything of value." There's an exception for horse-trading confined wholly to government business—you vote for my bill and I'll vote for yours—because that's constitutionally protected. But endorsing a candidate for office is not government business. There are no House committees that vote on DeLay's endorsements, or Cabinet secretaries who issue them as regulations. DeLay doesn't even have to clear them with the House speaker (who at any rate seems to take orders from DeLay, not the other way around). When DeLay endorses someone, he's speaking for himself and his party.

We Need a Balance of Power

Read here where John at AmericaBlog makes a good point about balance sorely needed between Dems and GOPers in Washington.

We are in big trouble whenever one party rules everything. The last four years have given us an explosion of the debt, unchecked political power, pointless wars, a much greater tax burden being placed on low income Americans, untold job loss, and a total amnesia about the average American voter because the GOP has ruled every roost.

If this is allowed to continue, we'll have a draft in place targeting poor Americans before Bush is done with his 2 month post-electoral vacation ("It's a tough job.... I got a tough job... but it's a tough job you know... did I mention it's a tough job?").

Balance is incredibly important almost everywhere, but we simply cannot afford to have even another year in which Rove-Bush-Cheney control everything in DC.

I don't want or need for the Democrats to take the entire slate. I would like to see them regain the WH and perhaps the Senate. But there has to be a balance.

Fox Completely Makes Up Stuff and Gets No Coverage

I'll spare you all the gritty details which you've no doubt heard elsewhere, but Faux Snooze was caught twice in the past week with a) total fabrication and b)making no effort to research partisan stories that served only to embarrass Sen. John Kerry (a man who served his country in war).

I know, it's just hard to imagine, isn't it?

But we know Faux is the Propaganda Network. I don't expect better from them.

But I didn't expect that Dan Rather and CBS would be pilloried when no mainstream media is paying any attention to Faux's stories (one in which a political analyst completely made up comments he said were from Kerry about being a metrosexual and loving manicures, the other a story about Communists for Kerry which is actually a GOP 527 which again only exists to defeat Kerry). In fact, breezing through channels this afternoon, I heard a Faux 'head talking about Rather and CBS and journalist ethics with no mention of what they did.

The Two, Four, Six, Eight and Ten Faces of Dubya

If you want a compendium of Bush "faces" from last Thursday's debate, it's here.

But I was actually a little disappointed to see Democrats.org publish it. The video seems like a low class Karl Rove-Grover Norquist stunt. There are much more important concerns about Mr. Bush than that he's a petulant bully.

Yes, I know the far right is playing incredibly dirty and low. But I don't like it any better when Dems do it. Granted, this isn't nearly as low as any one post on Lucianne.com or a Drudge fan site, but it doesn't matter. One of the things that I think we lost sight of on 9/11 and aftr was civilized humanity, often one of the first sacrifices made when we're operating under fear. We shouldn't strive to return to the muck from which we sprang. As it is, we're not so far from it.


As I suggested to Alex in a comment, I think President Bush should just make it easier on himself by morphing Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden into one bogeyman, Osaddama.

But Bush isn't that dumb. He knows he's switching the name. He wants a) the justification for the Iraq war that more and more good Americans don't see and b) to keep mentioning Saddam, who we got, instead of Osama who we "not" got.


Is David Dreier or Isn't He?

According to BlogActive which cites a Raw Story article, David Dreier - a GOP congressman who's had his own buried deeply in Bush and The Arnold's butt - has been outed as a homosexual.

Now, before I bury myself deeply somewhere else (cough), my interest was piqued when I saw a post on Scoobie Davis with Scoobie explaining why he has not raised this particular issue. I happen to agree with him on that score.

Being a homosexual - contrary to the ultra right's position - is not wrong or a sinful choice. If Dreier's gay, that's fine. My only problem with this of course is that Dreier is yet another of the GOPers whose own homes aren't in order in so many other key ways who also tries to keep homosexuals from being recognized. He's been part of the "gays are killing straight marriage" crowd.

If it's true about Dreier (and I don't know that it is), it's bad not because he's gay but because he's another self-hating sadist and hypocrite who does what he wants and tells anyone else who tries to do it that they should be penalized. David? Meet Roy Cohn, J. Edgar Hoover and a few others of your ilk.

US Soldiers Fire on Car, Killing at Least 6 Kids

From the AP via WMTW via Buzzflash:

FALLUJAH, Iraq A U-S military offensive in Fallujah (fuh-LOO'-juh) is being blamed for over a dozen Iraqi civilian deaths -- including six children.

Witnesses say U-S soldiers fired on a car with eight people inside. A hospital official say the driver was shot in the head, and the car plunged into a canal. Later, the official says, the bodies of two women and five children arrived.

Also, according to witnesses, a strike against a suspected terrorist safe house in Fallujah killed at least four Iraqis. There is news footage showing two homes flattened, and residents using their bare hands to search the rubble for survivors.

The U-S military has not confirmed the reports.

Sharon Bush, the Crude Bush Dynasty, and 20/20

Almost none of the media outlets took note of Sharon Bush's appearance on ABC' 20/20 Friday night in a portrait that I swear sounds just like what Kitty Kelley wrote that Sharon Bush denied.

I actually very much believe that Barbara Bush is uber general in that family and probably more corrupt than any man. I used to respect her, but that facade began to crack a decade ago. The Barbara Bush I thought I knew wouldn't have inflicted Georgie upon us. And I think Georgie and the Bush Twins are a good example of Bush family values.

But I don't feel any sympathy for Sharon. This is a woman who was happy to go along with all this shit as long as she had the nice house and clothes and jewelry and trips. When she got dumped, suddenly, those values were all so bad! She reminds me of a number of women - the fictional Carmela Soprano included - who want grasp for sympathy for what they endure with one hand while they happily spend the blood money with the other. Political, rich, and mafia wives (or husbands) probably really aren't that far removed from one another.

Neil, Marvin, Jeb, and George are all the same fuckup. It's just ironic that the chief fuckup got to the White House, but he's certainly not the first to make Americans foot the bill for his greed and power frenzy.

CNN Deserves a Spin Prize

CNN is taking a short break in its all volcano and hurricane all the time coverage to tackle the topic of the so-called October surprise. Some polls show voters are expecting Bush to pull Osama from under his cowboy hat.

But couched in the article is this:

Usually speculated-upon October surprises fail to materialize. There was talk that the Carter administration would produce a deal in 1980 to free the U.S. hostages in Iran. In 1968 and again in 1972 came speculation that a deal to end the war in Vietnam might be at hand.
Notice how they make it sound like Carter's failure when Reagan ACTUALLY DID THIS. He bargained and paid terrorists to win the election; there have been charges over the years that the hostages were kept longer than was needed just to make Reagan look so darned powerful.

I just can't believe this.

If Bush and Allawi Were Right Last Week

when they said Sumarra was one of the peaceful cities completely under our control, why did they spend the night of the debate bombing the hell out of the city, killing "109 insurgents" (some of them, as reported by indy media, who appear to be about 3 years old)?

Methinks we controlled more of Iraq before the war when we had no-fly-zones over the entire north and south. Certainly a lot less people died everyday. And we hadn't spent $200-465 billion (the latter may be a truer figure by some estimates) to free Iraqis to get butchered and bombed.

I daresay that less people probably died under Saddam, who was a cruel and terrible man. What does that say about this war?

The Fascination with That Which Needs No Analysis

You'd think the news would have more things to report today. The news channels stayed glued to Mount St. Helens (which blew the day I graduated college, incidentally) all day when all it's done is spew gas.

I mean, I guess they could watch Bush after he's chowed down on Texas baked beans, too, if they want to see noxious gas that's more than he usually belches. But why would you?

Oh, I understand. There was no Florida hurricane and we don't want to bother with the inconvenient news where reporters and investigations are needed. Gotcha.