Japanese Hostage May Be Still Alive

Well, someone's dead. I hope it's good news for the man's family, but someone has lost somebody, that's clear.

From CNN:

The family of a Japanese hostage in Iraq has new hope that Shosei Koda is still alive after Japanese officials announced a body initially thought to be Koda's was not his.

The U.S. military airlifted the remains to Kuwait on Saturday for final identification.

"The body ... was transported to Kuwait around six o'clock local time and was checked by the ... doctor at the Japanese Embassy there," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Saturday. "It was nearly certain that the body is not the one of Mr. Koda."

Kerry and Finding out the Reagan's People Brought Cocaine to the Streets

From the Consortium in an article originally published in Salon.com:

In December 1985, when Brian Barger and I wrote a groundbreaking story for the Associated Press about Nicaraguan Contra rebels smuggling cocaine into the United States, one U.S. senator put his political career on the line to follow up on our disturbing findings. His name was John Kerry.

Yet, over the past year, even as Kerry's heroism as a young Navy officer in Vietnam has become a point of controversy, this act of political courage by a freshman senator has gone virtually unmentioned, even though -- or perhaps because -- it marked Kerry's first challenge to the Bush family.

In early 1986, the 42-year-old Massachusetts Democrat stood almost alone in the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America.

Kerry assigned members of his personal Senate staff to pursue the allegations. He also persuaded the Republican majority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to request information from the Reagan-Bush administration about the alleged Contra drug traffickers.

Government Machine Trying to Silence Black Leaders on Election Eve?

Read this.

The Iraqis We Freed From Their Lives

This is getting little play since ABC News first mentioned it yesterday but:

A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000 more people may have died throughout the country in the 18 months after the U.S. invasion than would be expected based on the death rate before the war.

There is no official figure for the number of Iraqis killed since the conflict began, but some non-governmental estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000. As of Wednesday, 1,081 U.S. servicemen had been killed, according to the U.S. Defense Department.


If Only Lucienne Goldberg Had Used Birth Control During Her Love Tryst with J. Edgar Hoover

(She was the male, don't you know.)

They actually pay Jonah (Lucienne's son) for this:

If Bin Laden's aim is to get Bush elected, that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong to vote for Bush.
And this (same link):
Folks - I don't mean this to be a "Is it good for the Jews" moment. But, the Osama tape is good for the Jews.

I know that 99.98% of the people who read the Corner -- liberals, leftists and conservatives alike -- understand that "the Jews" or Israel had nothing to do with 9/11. But that doesn't mean there aren't hundreds of millions of people around the world who think otherwise including, alas, more than a few Americans. I hear from them quite often.

Osama Bin Laden confessed (again) today on that tape. It's not talking point number one. But it's worth noting.
He's also suggesting that Michael Moore scripted bin Laden's statement.

Now if only Jonah could grow the thick facial hair his mother does...

Belzer Bites Coulter

Well, not exactly, but it was close. Bill Maher on HBO's Real Time began to complain that people were being mean to his "good friend" Ann Coulter and Belzer said get a grip, that she's a totally repugnant person who says the most vice, hate-filled things.

Would Belzer be interested in running in 2008?

John Stossel, Contemptable Human Being

The last Friday before the election and the worm ABC calls John Stossel is doing a piece on how accurate gaydar is, making it all quite insulting. The only redeeming moment was when a gay man said to him, "If I saw you on the street, your look would make me think you were gay."

Another Hostage Beheaded

From CNN:

A Japanese hostage in Iraq has been killed after Tokyo refused to meet his abductors' demands to withdraw its troops from the region, a spokesman for the nation's foreign ministry said.

Shosei Koda, 24, was taken hostage Tuesday, and his captors threatened to behead him unless Japan agreed to withdraw its military from Iraq within 48 hours.

Proving Testosterone Levels?

Both Kerry's and Bush's comments in response to the most recent release of a bin Laden tape struck me both as peculiar or, let me say, struck me as completely political "last weekend before the vote" responses.

Both of them made it sound like 9/11 or something comparable just happened, both seemed far too intense. Before you think I want them to be nice to bin Laden... hardly. But sometimes an over-intense response seems to speak more about the speaker's state of mind than what the threat posed by the other party. Both made us sound like bullies who are extremely fearful.

On a side note, bin Laden's comment about "if I hated freedom, I would have attacked Sweden and not the U.S." nearly made me laugh. See, I honestly don't buy the "he hates our freedoms" bullshit. If that were true, we wouldn't have been so fast to strip away so many of those damned freedoms. But I think Rove-Bush-Murdoch etc love that freedom line because it strikes an emotional chord. Stop and think about it for 10 seconds however and it's ludicrous.

The New Bin Laden Tape

From CNN:

Osama bin Laden delivered a new videotaped message in which he told Americans their security does not depend on the president they elect, but on U.S. policy. "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda," bin Laden said in the video aired on the Arabic language network Al-Jazeera.
Hate to say this, but on this one point, bin Laden may be correct. I don't think our security hinges on just who is president. If John Kerry is elected next Tuesday, nothing gets magically fixed.

But it's a start. It's a start.

Engaging Halloween Costumes

This one's making the rounds on the 'net this morning, so I thought I'd share it. The kid with the leash is much prettier than Lindy England.

How Do You Think the Election Will Go

That's the question asked by the new poll at the right. Please vote (especially on the 2nd but we'd love your vote here, too).

The last poll - are you worried about the direction the country is going in produced some interesting results:

    59% said worried isn't the term, scared shitless is more accurate
    38% admitted worry
    3% responded, "No"

The O'Reilly Loufa Factor

I'm not happy that the suit against O'Reilly for sexual harassment has ended with a big pay-off (anywhere from $2-10 million) and no admission of wrong-doing. Ms. Mackris, of course, is under no obligation to be a role model.

But if this is truly O'Reilly, he really has no reason to change based on this settlement. Yeah, sure, go ahead and argue that having to pay out all that money will change him. But it won't. If he indeed brings in about $60 million a year, $2-10 million out of a peak year (as a Bush election year would be), is chump change. He isn't going to modify his behavior but Faux or someone will be very careful who they place around him and probably employ various tactics to be sure that when he pulls this nonsense again, she won't be in a position to embarrass or sue him.

So I hope Ms. Mackris spends her new-found fortune wisely and, should she have a daughter who one day experiences what Mackris says she did, that Mackris explains you're just supposed to take the abuse unless you can sue someone rich and important. I don't envy Ms. Mackris one bit. She's history in the workplace and her one claim to fame unfortunately is this.

I don't think I - and my debts rival hers right now - could have made such a decision. That doesn't make me a better person. It just means that I have high standards for myself and don't like situations where I have to go against societal interests to better my own welfare. That self preservation instinct doesn't seem to work so well for me (hence, my blog, my decision to vote against Bush, etc).

Bush's Community Service?

I'll supply the link here but trust me, there are lots more important reasons to vote Kerry than the fact that the only volunteering Dubya ever did was because he was threatened with jail. If you want 300-500 reasons, drop me a note. Cough.

DoJ Will Decide Who Votes?

Crud. Democracy Now reports today that the Department of Justice under Cotton Mather...er...Never met a dead man he could win an election against...um... John Ashcroft is taking the position that only he can decide to sue if a voter claims he or she was denied the right to vote. This goes completely against the Voters Rights Act and the change, we're told, was slipped in through the Help (White Republican) Americans Vote Act, called HAVA.

The President's Bulge

No, this doesn't refer to his sock-stuffed flightsuit bulge during the "Mission Accomplished" debacle, but to his bulge for all three prez debates. A scientist who works on images for things like the Cassini-Titan fly-by looks the images over and says it's consistent with a radio receiver. I know Photoshop and I believe what this man says. It's a shame the prez couldn't own to cheating for the debates.


Our Beloved Leader

Pretty good guess what he thinks of the voters and democracy from this little video.

Giuliani: Blame American Troops, Not Bush

See, when I heard Rudy say this I was sure I was mistaken (it was 7 am and I'd been up sick and working til 3:30 AM) but apparently I'm not. This is from Wonkette, but you can find similar versions elsewhere (CNN has avoided it):

Rudy Giuliani actually blames the troops for Al-Qaqaa. "No matter how you try to blame it on the President, the actual responsibility for it should be on the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough?" Later, he realizes he botched it and reverses course. Compares the Iraq war to the Civil War and WW2, says capturing Saddam Hussein makes it a remarkable success. Uses the word "nuisance" about 10,000 times. I Cannot Believe He Said: "I want to see us successfully finish what the terrorists started in New York City. George W. Bush will do that." Bush will knock down the rest of the skyscrapers in New York?
Nice, Rudy. Real nice.

Getting Bushed

Join General J.C. Christian in praying that our Furious Leader does a better job of staffing the polls with attorneys than he did securing Iraq's explosives bunkers.

A Bow to the Red Sox

And they said it couldn't happen.

But then, I wasn't just wishing for a Sox win tonight as I gazed at the eclipse. The mental image of a big moving van entering the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue came to mind and Mr. Bush leaving to the same huge crowd who protested during the boy king's inauguration.

Your Election Protection Card

Get it, print it, take it to the polls, and encourage others to do the same.


Shorter George Bush

"Those missing 360 tons of shit isn't a problem. The only problem is that John Kerry is mentioning it. That's the problem."


If it's true that he's on death's door, this is very bad. There won't be a good time for the loss of Arafat, but this is a time of incredible unrest in the world - the Muslim world in particular.

Like Arafat or not, I think he will be a loss. I think he has been a moderating voice at times in the conflict. I have no doubt about two issues related to what may happen:

    1. Arafat's replacement is apt to be far more militant and
    2. Mr. Sharon will not be able to help himself from making some kind of play against the Palestinians in their dark hour. Sharon specializes in making matters worse.

In Recognition of Mr. Bush's Tireless Efforts These Past 4 Years

He's been voted the best movie villain.

What? No supporting role honor for Dick Cheney?

Wolcott: Faux Laying Groundwork to Blame Liberal Media for Bush Loss

From James Wolcott's blog:

There are no coincidences at Fox News. Three times today, and the day is still relatively young, Fox hit the note of liberal bias to sound the theme that the press is "in the tank" for Kerry, and that any victory he gets will be a tainted gift from the media elite.

I'm not saying Fox News is anticipating a Bush loss, only that they seem to be laying the ground work for the blame game should he cough it up on November 2nd. They are taking the first baby steps to denying the legitimacy of a Kerry win, preparing the first batch of sour grapes.

P.S. John Gibson's "My Word" commentary tonight reprises the same talking points Cavuto made with more volume and anger. Again, there are no coincidences. Roger Ailes claps his hands and the monkeys go into their little dance.
I made a point of catching a bit of Faux News over the past weekend (not to be done on a quesy stomach, I might add) and I had a similar impression. I got the feeling, too, that the Faux crew is bloody amazed Bush isn't wiping the campaign trail with Kerry.

But among all the media, there is this strange phenomenon about poll numbers and phrasing:
    * Bush can be ahead by just a point or two and the press labels him "the clear frontrunner"
    * Bush can be 2-4 points behind (sometimes outside the margin of error and they'll say "it's a dead heat" or "Kerry has gained little over the president."
    But Kerry can be ahead by 6-7 points and he's not "the leader".
I'm not sure I understand the standard being used here. It's relatively rare for the incumbent to be so low in the polls (except for Bush 41, for example) so if anything, it should at least appear more significant that the challenger is ahead beyond the margin of error. Instead, Bush is always labeled as ahead or in a dead heat with Kerry. Bill Schneider was doing it on the afternoon CNN news. Wolf did it over the weekend. MSGOP, too.

The Man Who Aimed His Car at Katherine Harris

From CNN:

Police in Sarasota, Florida, arrested a man accused of trying to run down Rep. Katherine Harris and her supporters with a car Tuesday, a police spokesman said.
To be fair, he probably wasn't really aiming for her, but the huge amount of makeup Ms. Harris uses probably extended her face out several feet, making the Cadillac seem closer.

Where was this fellow four years ago? Cough.

This Can't Be Happening

Check out the book and the Web site. It's got more material on BulgeGate (the president's strange boxy-device in the jacket during each of the debates), too.

Of course the president says it's a badly tailored shirt (WH says it's a bad suit - three bad suits in fact) and I can't think of an instance when he's lied to us except for a few little, unimportant matters like:
* Saddam has WMD
* Saddam is tied to Osama
* We'll get Osama dead or alive (followed by, "Sammy WHO?")
* There will be no draft (until November 3rd)
* I'm a uniter not a divider
* God wants me here
* We're all safer
* gynecologists need to go back to the job of "lovin' those women"
* the Iraq war will pay for itself
* the economy's great
* my Medicare initiative will help seniors

(and I could keep going for a few weeks)

Do Something

Here's something every voter - and I do mean every voter of every party or non- party - can do on Election Day besides haul ass to vote.

Nobody who is registered should be denied the right to vote.

If you or someone you see is challenged or prevented from voting, raise a fuss. I don't mean anarchy, I mean not lying down and taking it. Get names, get printed rules, get a firm reason and demand a solution. Do this for yourself. Do this for others you see at the polls.

I'll post some numbers you can call as we get closer to Tuesday.

The Times

Funny, most of the documented election fraud I've seen is coming from the GOP:

he Republican Party has announced plans to place thousands of election challengers in Ohio polling places next week. It says it is only trying to prevent fraud. But there is a real danger that these challengers could be used to block eligible voters from casting their ballots or, just as bad, to drastically slow down voting in some parts of the state. Election officials must be vigilant about ensuring that partisan challengers do not disrupt the voting.

Republicans have been raising a lot of charges of fraud lately. Fraud is a danger in any election, and neither party has a monopoly on it. But the Republicans have come up with little in the way of specifics. They have pointed to a few instances in which paid canvassers apparently submitted registrations with phony names. But it is highly unlikely that anyone will show up on Election Day claiming to be Mary Poppins or Dick Tracy. The Republicans have made much of the fact that some jurisdictions have more names on their rolls than they have eligible voters. But that is generally because election offices are slow to remove the names of people who move away or die.

For Swing Voters (I Think)

Check out BushKerrytest.com. I wish I had something like this for my more local candidates although I know I don't want to return Jim Douglas/Dubie as gov-lt gov (GOP) and my votes for Bernie Sanders(I-VT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are pretty much guaranteed.


Do you feel the tension?

It seems quite palpable everywhere in this last week before the election. I'm concerned that within it, most people have the tension even though many aren't really keeping track of how bad Iraq is getting.

Fuel prices went through the roof while the stock market has tanked (and there's word we won't see a positive change until after the election). Voter fraud is spreading like a very bad flu epidemic and I'm afraid many people - especially those of color or a particular political persuasion - will be challenged or have their vote stolen.

If there isn't a clear winner next week, we cannot just decide to ignore it and rush back to coverage of the Laci Peterson trial. We should have stood together in Election 2000. Instead, we taught the GOP machinery that they can completely ignore the will of the American voter, that they'll be rewarded for stealing votes.


Busy, Busy, and Busy

My apologies that I haven't posted much or responded to comments in the last few days. Both are affected by bad deadlines, and the comments issue has the added handicap that a firewall I'm documenting isn't allowing me to open any pop-up windows (and how the HaloScan comments system works).

I should be back up to snuff by mid-week and I'll sneak in a few posts as I can.


49 Iraqi Solidiers Executed After Graduation

From CNN:

A group of at least 49 soldiers in the new Iraqi army were ambushed and killed while on their way home after graduating from training, U.S. military officials said today. The men had been shot at close range while they were lying on the ground, Iraqi police sources said.

More on Stolen Votes

From today's Times:

In Florida, voter registrations are being thrown out on pointless technicalities. Missouri is telling soldiers to send nonsecret ballots by e-mail through a Pentagon contractor with a troubling past. Nationwide, eligible voters are being removed from the rolls by flawed felon purges. And nearly a third of this year's votes will be cast on highly questionable electronic voting machines. No wonder a large percentage of Americans doubt that their votes will count. The election system is crying out for reform.

After the 2000 election mess, Congress responded with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, an anemic piece of legislation. Its major promise was that any voter whose eligibility was in doubt could cast a provisional ballot, whose validity would be determined later. But that promise is being broken, as states invoke legal technicalities to throw out provisional ballots. The law failed to address many other deep flaws in the system, like routinely misapplying ID requirements and suppressing minority votes.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Has Kerry Endorsement Overruled

From Jim in Chicago posting at Daily Kos:

I learned this morning that tomorrow morning's edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer will endorse George Bush for a second four-year term. What makes this particularly disgraceful and quite terrifying is that the seven-member editorial board of the PD voted 5-2 to endorse John Kerry. The publisher overruled them and announced the paper would support Bush. Similarly, the Lorain Journal editors were told that either they endorse George Bush or they endorse no one. So, they are endorsing no one.