Saturday, January 31, 2004

Dems: Either Help Draw Attention to the 9-11 Cover-up, or Perish 

White House Holding Notes Taken by 9/11 Commission
Panel May Subpoena Its Summaries of Bush Briefings

The White House, already embroiled in a public fight over the deadline for an independent commission's investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is refusing to give the panel notes on presidential briefing papers taken by some of its own members, officials said this week.

The standoff has prompted the 10-member commission to consider issuing subpoenas for the notes and has further soured relations between the Bush administration and the bipartisan panel, according to sources familiar with the issue. Lack of access to the materials would mean that the information they contain could not be included in a final report about the attacks, several officials said.
Full story.

Here's a simple formulation: unless the Democrats can bring themselves to draw attention to the fact that there has been a massive 9-11 cover-up, they will lose the election. Whether or not the Bush administration has been covering-up out of nefarious, conspiratorial intent or simply a desire for executive privacy is irrelevant. If the Dems allow the Repugs to successfully distract the country from this massive, blatant, criminal cover-up and actually win on the "issue" of 9-11, then they (the Dems) really don't deserve to govern anything.

Alert...Calling Diebold...Alert... 

One in seven Republican primary voters cast ballots for candidates other than Bush, holding the president to just 85 percent of the 62,927 ballots cast. In some parts of the state, such as southwest New Hampshire's Monadnock Region, a historic bastion of moderate Republicanism, Bush did even worse. In Swanzey, for instance, 37 percent of GOP primary voters rejected Bush. In nearby Surry, almost 29 percent of the people who took Republican ballots voted against the Republican president, while a number of other towns across the region saw anti-Bush votes of more than 20 percent in the GOP primary.

In all, 8,279 primary voters wrote in the names of Democratic challengers to Bush on their Republican ballots.

That's a significant number. In the 2000 general election, Bush beat Democrat Al Gore in New Hampshire by just 7,212 votes.
Hence the need for "black box" voting!

Friday, January 30, 2004

Join the One-Minute Boycott of CBS 

A request from MoveOn:
This Sunday, during the Super Bowl half time show, join us in changing channels on CBS. At 8:10pm and 8:35pm EST, switch over to CNN to watch "Child's Pay" on a channel which doesn't censor its ads. We'd like to keep a tally of the number of people who participate -- you can sign up here.

Coprophagiac of the Decade 

Well, folks, I've been cleaning out my old emails and came across what must stand as a belated Tri-Annular Flashback, as well as a restrospective AmCop credo. I'm not going to post the whole thing here--nor do I have the link--but I think those of you so moved will have no trouble scrounging up the rest. And now, from Hustler:

George W. Bush

Just as the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, the turd never drops far from the shitter, particularly in the case of rectal slime baby and current Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush. Just "Junior" splashes down to join his father, former President George Bush (Asshole of the Month, November 1988), in the toilet of infamy as HUSTLER's Holiday 2000 Asshole of the Month.

While no intelligent person would doubt that Dubya has spent a lifetime cruising on Papa Bush's fumes, only a fool will deny that W. has earned his crown of sphincters all by himself.

Welfare Patriots 

Givers and Takers


78 percent of Mr. Bush's electoral votes came from Taker states.

76 percent of Mr. Gore's electoral votes came from Giver states.

Of the 33 Taker states, Mr. Bush carried 25.

Of the 16 Giver states, Mr. Gore carried 12.

Juxtaposing these maps provides a new perspective on the political landscape. (Interactive moment: Color in the blue and red states — then you'll get the full picture.) Republicans seem to have become the new welfare party — their constituents live off tax dollars paid by people who vote Democratic. Of course, not all federal spending is wasteful. But Republicans are having their pork and eating it too. Voters in red states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are some of the country's fiercest critics of government, yet they're also among the biggest recipients of federal largess. Meanwhile, Democratic voters in the coastal blue states — the ones who are often portrayed as shiftless moochers — are left to carry the load.

For President Bush, this invisible income redistribution system is a boon. He can encourage his supporters to see themselves as Givers, yet reward them with federal spending in excess of their contribution — and send the bill to those who voted for his opponent. It's shrewd politics.
Full story.

Quote of the Night 

"And as far as Mr. Bush saying that he doesn't need a permission slip from the U.N., he doesn't think he needs votes from the American people to be president."

--Al Sharpton

Given the circumstances of September the 11th... 

From Joe Conason:
"I said in the run-up that Saddam was a grave and gathering danger, that's what I said. And I believed it then, and I know it was true now. And as Mr. Kay said, that Iraq was a dangerous place. And given the circumstances of September the 11th, given the fact that we're vulnerable to attack, this nation had to act for our security."

Leaving aside those incoherent references to "programs" and what the world obviously "felt," what is most notable in Bush's answer is that he again said Saddam "did not let us in." This is the second time he has made this weird statement, as if Hans Blix and UNMOVIC had never existed, nor conducted the most intrusive weapons inspections ever done in Iraq. (The first time was last July, when Bush said, in the presence of an astonished Kofi Annan: "And we gave [Saddam] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.")

How dare the press mock Howard Dean when they listen respectfully to this arrant lunacy?
This arrant lunacy, as well as the arrant ass-lickery of official court imp "nucular" expert David Kay.

As long as the media keep pretending that lying nonsense-talk is language invested with the authority of meaning, we are fucked.

Cheney and friend trade self-directed volleys of duckshot, exulting in incorruptibility of their physical persons 

Scalia, Cheney hunting together raises questions

Complex circuitry embedded behind Cheney's eyes can process billions of bytes per second.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

How the Economy Works 

Remarks by the President to the Press Pool
Nothin' Fancy Cafe
Roswell, New Mexico

11:25 A.M. MST

THE PRESIDENT: I need some ribs.

Q Mr. President, how are you?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm hungry and I'm going to order some ribs.

Q What would you like?

THE PRESIDENT: Whatever you think I'd like.

Q Sir, on homeland security, critics would say you simply haven't spent enough to keep the country secure.

THE PRESIDENT: My job is to secure the homeland and that's exactly what we're going to do. But I'm here to take somebody's order. That would be you, Stretch -- what would you like? Put some of your high-priced money right here to try to help the local economy. You get paid a lot of money, you ought to be buying some food here. It's part of how the economy grows. You've got plenty of money in your pocket, and when you spend it, it drives the economy forward. So what would you like to eat?

Q Right behind you, whatever you order.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm ordering ribs. David, do you need a rib?

Q But Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Stretch, thank you, this is not a press conference. This is my chance to help this lady put some money in her pocket. Let me explain how the economy works. When you spend money to buy food it helps this lady's business. It makes it more likely somebody is going to find work. So instead of asking questions, answer mine: are you going to buy some food?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. What would you like?

Q Ribs.

THE PRESIDENT: Ribs? Good. Let's order up some ribs.

Q What do you think of the democratic field, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: See, his job is to ask questions, he thinks my job is to answer every question he asks. I'm here to help this restaurant by buying some food. Terry, would you like something?

Q An answer.

Q Can we buy some questions?

THE PRESIDENT: Obviously these people -- they make a lot of money and they're not going to spend much. I'm not saying they're overpaid, they're just not spending any money.

Q Do you think it's all going to come down to national security, sir, this election?

THE PRESIDENT: One of the things David does, he asks a lot of questions, and they're good, generally.

END 11:29 A.M. MST


From Dawkins:

I can't remember where, but I could have sworn that I heard somewhere that the students will help to register new voters, enlist Bush Team Leaders to spread President Bush's positive message, and get out the vote in November.
Young Voters to Rock '04 Election

Responding to an erroneous editorial in The Albuquerque Journal , University of New Mexico student Scott Darnell sets the record straight -- students stand firmly behind our President and are ready to play a vital role in the reelection of George W. Bush.
In New Mexico— and across the nation— youth will mean more to politicians and their aspirations during this year's campaign season than ever before. …

The events of the past four years have shocked young people into remembering what is at stake and shocked politicians into reaching out to get a mandate from those who do indeed hold the key to America's future. …

It seems that, not only are young people becoming more energized when it comes to political matters, but a true revolution has taken hold as we have seen the positive agenda carried forward by the president.

The revolutionary and overwhelming support that young people are demonstrating for President Bush is directly attributed to his positive, principled, and passionate leadership. His down-to-earth, straight-shooting, positive nature resonates with young people often turned off by partisan political wrangling. He's proven to young voters that his principles and faith— not polls or focus groups— dictate the direction of his foreign and domestic policy. This president has done today what is necessary to ensure for all Americans a brighter tomorrow.
[Editorial postscript: We are sad to report that Scott Darnell has taken his own life, evidently leaving the above article as his suicide note. Our thoughts go out to the families.]

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Today's testimony 

GOP Senator: Mr. Kay, would you agree that although you have asserted that Saddam Hussein had neither large nor small stockpiles of WMD, nonetheless there is no conclusive evidence that he did not have programs which may have resulted in either medium or medium-small stockpiles?

David Kay: Absolutely, sir. May I compliment you on the acuity of your thinking.

GOP Senator: Yes. And you also mentioned a large bag of anthrax.

David Kay: Sir, a bag of anthrax has in fact been referred to.

GOP Senator: A bag that, were it to exist, could result in the deaths of millions of Americans in a single unspeakable "day of horror"?

David Kay: It is an undeniable fact that it is possible for words to refer to objects in the physical world which could and can, given time, come into actual being. May I also say that I personally believe Saddam Hussein was bad man and that the world is a safer place without him. I would draw your attention to the rape rooms.

GOP Senator: As well as the babies boiled in oil?

David Kay: Then thrown in mass graves following the boiling, sir.

GOP Senator: And would you also agree that despite apparent flaws in certain lower realms of the intelligence community, it would be impossible for President Bush to deliberately mislead the public, because of the fact that his heart is pure?

David Kay: Senator, all of our evidence shows that the President's heart is in fact pure and good. May I also add God Bless America, as the President has himself noted.

GOP Senator: Thank you, Mr. Kay.

David Kay: No, thank you sir. May I also observe how fetching you look in that tie.

Democratic Senator: Mr. Kay, isn't it true that in light of the evidence you've presented before this body today, that various representations made repeatedly and insistently by the President personally, as well as members of his cabinet including the Vice President, the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense, have now been shown to be demonstrably and factually false?

David Kay: [...]

Democratic Senator: Mr. Kay?

David Kay: I can't hear.

Democratic Senator: Would you like me to repeat the question?

David Kay: I disagree with whatever you said. I'm bored. I want lunch.

Democratic Senator: Yes. Well, thank you for your service.

GOP Senator: Moving on to tort reform...

Dean v. Kerry, cont'd. 

Dawkins writes:

I'd been meaning to say something about these notions of playing the media game and Dean getting destroyed by the media. I'll say a little here:

I saw Dean's scream speech live, the moment it was unfolding, before being told by any media outlets how to feel about it. And I feel that, notwithstanding what I'd already read about Dean's personality, I'm able to make up my own mind about things I see and hear for myself.

As I watched Dean's speech, I thought to myself, "Wow, Dean is fired up." Then he went, "Yeahaaaah!" and I thought to myself, "Wow, this is a little much."

(Others felt this way. I have talked to many people with reasoned, sound, non-media-perverted judgment, and, yes, some reasonable people do think that Dean's speech was somewhat extraordinary.)

This aspect of that Media Whores item you sent around earlier is right on:
The most that can be said is that, if the phony outrage harms Dean, he was not sufficiently prepared either to avoid or respond to the phony outrage over his speech (what a disgraceful "standard" for political performance we've sunk to).
Yeah, it's a disgraceful standard, and yeah, we've sunk to it, but at a certain point, unless Howard Dean's election will bring with it a concomitant widespread reformation of the media business, he's got to play the game set up by the press.

Dean can certainly choose to behave however he wants. But my contention is that, given that he's already been tarred (yes, unfairly, stupidly) by the media as "angry and unstable," maybe he should try harder not to seem "angry and unstable."

So getting up and screaming after Iowa does not mean, in the world of sense and reality, that the man is, indeed, angry and unstable, but in the media world in which we live, yes, it will mean that he appears to be thus.

It's not my fault he got up and screamed, it's not the television cameras' fault he got up and screamed. At a certain point it is Howard Dean's fault.

(Can you see that I'm cynical, and utterly browbeaten by the way things are? Yes, I am. But is this cynicism not sort of a realism?)

Now Dean knows, viscerally, what the game is all about, and he's now begun to play it.

In his first speech after the Iowa scream, he acted calmer and more statesmanlike. Then he went on TV with his calm and mellow wife.

Yes, playing the game is utter bullshit, but until we have an entirely different media in this country, it's what a candidate must do.

I submit the notion that John Kerry at the outset of his campaign was tarred (unfairly, stupidly) as seeming aloof, arrogant, aristocratic, patrician. His campaign, consequently, started to sink, fast.

What did he do? He left New Hampshire - the place where these perceptions were stronger than anywhere else - and went full time into Iowa. And he went out and acted against what may (or may not) be his true nature. He started speaking in shorter sentences, gave shorter speeches, worked hard at going door to door, going to schools, going to the American Legion halls, answering questions, eating chili with firemen, wearing sweaters, all that. He leaned heavily on his war experience and on his ties to veteran communities. He stopped talking like a smarty pants and started yelling a bit more.

Then he won in Iowa (and now in NH), and the storyline on him now is how he "reinvented" himself, tightened up, got back to his grassroots, matured, learned how to campaign again. In short, he got plastered by the media, he saw the game, he played the game, and it served him well.

Yes, he played the game, and sold out to the media, etc. But without changing the substance of what he stands for, he's managed to avoid constant, crippling coverage about his "aloofness" and "arrogance." Isn't that the thing to do?

….Maybe he's already played the media game to the media's satisfaction… ….Maybe they'll not seek to destroy him again should they have another opportunity….

The media spin on Dean is, of course, that he's angry, volatile, out of control, and un-presidential. I think the problem that some Dean supporters, and perhaps the Dean campaign itself, are having is that they've been (very rightfully) pissed off by the shallowness and imcompleteness of this picture. They've become defensive and denied that the charges are true.

But it doesn't matter if the charges are true. What matters is what the candidate and the campaign do in response to the charges. Dean folks, I think, demand purity, true belief, and commitment from their candidate and their campaign, which is noble. But the choice is only: either play the game or don't play the game.

To that end, I think by now Dean ought to know how the game will portray him, and if he knows that the press is calling him "angry" and "unstable," the last thing he should do is go onstage and yell and scream. So maybe that's his nature, maybe he does "lead with his heart and not with his head," but even if so, if he wants to win, perhaps he's got to stop being himself, or at least modulate his self a bit.

It's true: Dean's not played the game by its rules yet, but he's starting to play it now. After Iowa, he's changing his message, he doesn't talk about how politicians "lie to voters," he's not going to hoot and holler, and he's going to drag his wife out to talk to Diane Sawyer. Good. It's the smart thing to do.

Regarding Gore, maybe I'm a revisionist, but I tend to no longer believe that the media (on their own) destroyed Gore. I think they had some help from Gore himself. Think about how you'd rate Gore if he were running today, among Kerry, Dean, Clark, and Edwards. I honestly believe (unless I can no longer trust my own sentiments) that I'd rate a Gore candidacy BEHIND those of Kerry, Dean, Clark, and Edwards. All these guys are actually better candidates than Gore was.

I was just thinking the other day that if Dean had run in 2000 against Gore, I think he might have beaten Gore and even beaten Bush!

(I've been thinking back to this notion, too: how was there any way, under Heaven, that the choice of Lieberman for Vice President was going to do anything other than sink Gore's candidacy? Think about it. Did you think, after Lieberman was chosen, that Gore had any chance to win? I don't say this as an Anti-Semite - I love Semites, by God, and I love America! - but c'mon!)

Reckless Optimism 

speakingcorpse writes:

2,500 registered Republicans WROTE IN the name of a Democratic candidate tonight in New Hampshire. The presidency may be ours for the taking. I sense the media warming to the new story line: "It's time for a change." Now I could be crazy. I may not have much longer to live. Perhaps a psychopharmacologically-induced dementia is setting in. But if I AM right, then it does make sense to think that Kerry should be the one, with Edwards as VP. Because if it's ours for the taking, we don't need to make the race about anything other than "handing off" the presidency from Bush to another trustworthy and experienced leader. If it's ours for the taking, we shouldn't make the race about changing the system, but letting the system work in our favor. I still want Dean to do well. He deserves A LOT of credit for changing the entire race. And I know this entire analysis may be wrong--probably is wrong, probably is demented. If the media is going to treat the nominee, whoever he is, the way they treated Gore, then I think that Dean in the end is our only shot. But if the media learns to like the Kerry/Edwards idea, I think we should gratefully settle for that...

...and from a comment at the Daily Kos:
The spotlight on Dean wasn't because he was the frontrunner, it was because the media wanted to destroy him. There was no frontrunner spotlight on Gore until the general when the media decided to destroy him. Kerry is going to get a free ride until the general. Then it's game over.
I hope it's wrong. But it may be right. I don't know. It is within the realm of possibility that the media, not Bush/Rove, will get bored and decide to destroy Kerry. Not turn against him--destroy him. Perhaps it's likely. If they don't, then, as I said, Kerry makes sense. But if they do decide to whip up several shitstorms, then the "it's best to lose with Dean" line begins to make sense. It's important to remember that the media (and not the RNC, alone) destroyed Gore, and have crippled Dean as well. I don't deny for a second that Dean's support is less widespread than it seemed, and that he made mistakes. I'm not saying that Kerry wouldn't have beaten Dean without the media--people obviously like Kerry. But the media oversaw Dean's collapse--it was the media that invented the gaffes, and the media (and only the media) that was terrorized by the utterly inconsequential Iowa speech. The media hates Dean for all the obvious reasons, starting with the fact that for a long time he was able to run without playing their game. Perhaps they won't treat Kerry as badly. But they can certainly, absolutely, if they wish, do the same thing to him that they did to Dean. Whether they do so or not depends upon a variety of circumstantial factors--the first of which will probably be Kerry taking a big lead in the polls, necessitating a takedown. They won't do this to Bush because they know that Bush is nothing without their ass-kissing--his success makes them feel self-important; Democratic success makes them feel irrelevant. (This is the Clinton principle.)

Dawkins adds:

Let's also give Kerry a little credit. He's proven that he appeals to a lot of people (in two states, sure). Are Iowa and NH not good battlegrounds for Dean? Why did he have those big leads in each state and then lose them? Dean's support is strong, passionate, steadfast... but not as widespread as we'd thought (at least in these two states).

The concept is emerging among voters (yes, voters I've personally spoken to on the phone in those two states) that Dean is cool, Clark is compelling, but Kerry has the best shot at taking on Bush while withstanding the fewest crippling attacks. He's the pragmatic choice.

And there's the concept that I've been pitching which is that people do want change, and to get enough people to want to change, you're going to have to convince them to make that pragmatic change, rather than a sweeping, riskier-seeming one.

For example, why would conservative types want to change from a guy with little governing experience (Bush) to a guy with less (Dean) when they could go to a guy with arguably more (Kerry)? Just like speakingcorpse said.

And this is not a sell-out.

It's only a sell-out if you're a true believer in Dean's purity, and many of us are (I recall speakingcorpse once suggesting that since we're going to lose, it'd be better to lose with Dean), but many of us around the country are not. We'll see within a week how widespread Dean's support is outside of Iowa and NH.

In any event, I've always said I'll support fully the candidate who emerges, while arguing for as long as is germane that Kerry is the best. I think he can do it.

Blicero, in a recent post, expressed concern about Kerry's potential ability to respond to the Bush/Rove attack machine in a general election.

It's a good question. Has anyone proven they can respond to it? No.

But it may be a good sign that Kerry makes specific reference to that point in his boilerplate speech.

If you've not seen it (and I have, about 25 times now), it goes:
"Now George Bush and Karl Rove say that in 2004 they want to run on national security.

Well, I know something about aircraft carriers for real. And if George W. Bush wants to make national security the central issue in this campaign, I have three words for him I know he understands:

Bring it on."
Whether or not you like the rhetoric, I think it's a good sign that he's calling this shot this early on.

al-Sistani for Prez or: "I love America more than you" 

An AmCop reader commentary from Scats:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but if you bear with me I think I can back it up. The more I look at it, the more I think that Islamic Fundamentalism is the most liberalizing force in the world today and the best hope for democracy's future in world history.

I'll start in New Hampshire. One thing and one thing only will be demonstrated in New Hampshire today and that is whether or not a pro-democracy movement has a snowball's chance in hell in this country. If Dean loses, and if his candidacy does not survive because of it then we will know with some certainty who wields power in the US at the moment. For the purposes of the argument I will take it as given that the media is applying a more rigorous standard to Dean than is being applied to anyone else. Of course I chide them for paying more attention to "process" and "character" than real policy positions, but that's not because Dean's candidacy has much to do with his policies. The press is missing the story, and the story is that Dean is the people's candidate. Whatever else one could say about him, one cannot say with any justice that he is bought and paid for by plutocrats. Consequently, whatever power he has is power that people have vested in him.

If we cannot agree on this, then I cannot continue. I also cannot continue if you in any way insist that coverage of his candidacy has been in any way 'fair'. If you consider that it makes me a 'conspiracy nut' to assert this, then you are ipso facto so indoctrinated that we cannot have a conversation. The way Dean has been treated in the media is prima facie evidence of pro-plutocracy media bias. The harshness with which he has been dealt is in direct proportion to the fear that he could win, and if he wins it means people can actually choose who governs them. I can prove this empirically if you go in for that sort of thing.

Until Dean throws in the towel, the verdict is still out on the American pro-Democracy movement. Personally I'm a bit pessimistic, and because it sets me up for a neat parallelism I'll say for now that Democracy is on the wane in the US. It does not bode well for us that the word 'populist' is perjorative.

So where is it on the wax, so to speak? Well, let's turn to our favorite distraction for when things get too ugly at home: the Middle East.

Iran's pro-Democracy movement is in full-swing. Having overthrown the US puppet/monster and tasted a bit of real freedom, the Iranians are finding that it suits them fine and they are quite adult enough to deal with it. Now for the second time in a generation they are poised to gently usher out a tyranny and get on with the business of being human beings. If we could just match American historical-mythology to Iranian political reality we would have a perfect synchronicity between fact and value.

Let's recap: a small bunch of initially marginalized religious fanatics, mortally sick of oppression by a foreign power, revolt, gain their freedom, and their subsequent history is an edifying tale of the initially limited sphere of freedom expanding slowly but surely ever outward and upward to embrace larger segments of the population and more constitutional protections as an initially imperfect democracy attains greater perfection. Only a rabid anti-American would take umbrage at this version of the narrative.

Moving on, we have the Ayatollah al-Sistani agitating for a direct election in Iraq. A pro-democracy movement by definition. Now, of course, responsible people will want to find some way of constitutionally protecting Kurdish and Sunni minorities from the tyranny of the Shia majority, and this is a good reason to not jump into the democratic maelstrom too hastily, but beyond that "bring [it] on" as they say. Let the enemies of freedom make their self-serving counter arguments.

But wait, you say, won't the imposition of Sharia law violate the rights of a free people to practice their religion as conscience dictates? Yes it will. But if I absolutely HAD to trade, I'd sacrifice a PORTION of the First Amendment if it meant that I would be guaranteed to keep the rest. INCLUDING the 4th and the 6th which are now effectively dead letters according to the PATRIOT act. I know, it's crazy, but I love freedom that much.

So we've got two vigorous and principled pro-democracy movements growing out of seeds sown by Islamic fundamentalism.

I take the thesis as proved.

In case you were wondering, Afghanistan is not an exception. It is true that the Taliban would likely not have been overthrown from within. But due to their lack of infrastructure and industrialization they represent a more feudal society than either Iran or Iraq. Both Iran and Iraq, having high literacy rates have been exposed to the pernicious notions of the Enlightenment thinkers. These ideas being evolutionarily superior, as all true Americans must admit, they naturally will gain currency in the "marketplace of ideas" as long as we have a "free-market". Afghanistan does not represent a "free marketplace of ideas".

You may say that Islamic fundamentalism alone is and was not able to free the Saudi's or the Iraqi's from their oppressors, and you are correct. The oppressors of the Saudi people are vastly more powerful, and more on their guard since losing Iran. In the case of the Iraqi tyrant, I will assume a high degree of probability that the Shia/Kurd uprising post-Gulf War I would have been successful had Saddam been unaided while suppressing it.

a-Salaam aleikum,
Scats (citizen of the free-world)

New, easy to follow criteria for invading nations 

Dawkins writes:

Whew! So what if Bush lied about the whole thing? At least we can rest easy tonight knowing there isn’t (and was never) any sarin gas, no mustard canisters, no nuclear weapons pointed at our bedrooms.

Plus, here’s how Scott McClellan puts the newest justification we had for invading Iraq:
But he said that whatever the group's conclusions, Mr. Bush had done the correct thing in deposing Mr. Hussein because Iraq was clearly working on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

"We know he had the intention, we know he had the capability," Mr. McClellan said. "And, given his history and given the events of Sept. 11, we could not afford to rely on the good intentions of Saddam Hussein."
Four requirements to have before attacking, with full justification, another country:

1. They had intention
2. They had capability
3. They have a history
4. 9/11 happened

This is a comprehensive, catch-all policy that happily can justify an attack on just about any nation.

Take Switzerland, for example.

I’m sure at some point in that nation’s history, they’ve had an intention to build a weapon. Surely, they have the capability. That country has a history (consult your local library). And 9/11 did, in fact, occur. So…

…let’s take ‘em out!

Finding: Clinton defeated Saddam's regime in 1998 

Dawkins writes:

Long, interesting, detailed article about the tomfoolery in the United States intelligence community leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and David Kay's new findings to that effect.

The essence: Saddam Hussein was neither reconstituting weapons programs nor preparing to use weapons against anyone. Rather, he was busy getting duped and bilked by his own military officials while obliviously crafting the manuscript of his novel.

Another interesting nugget that sticks out:
In addition, Dr. Kay said, it is now clear that an American bombing campaign against Iraq in 1998 destroyed much of the remaining infrastructure in chemical weapons programs.

An Honest Livin' 

Dawkins writes:

Welly golly gosh, there's just too many of these gosh durned junk lawsuits, I reckon. Gee-whiz shucks 'cause when folks' lives and health get destroyed by medical malpractice, docs or hospitals fuckin' up and not doin' they're job right and whatnot, some folks just a-reckon they can go and sue the doc or the HMO and get some compensashun' for them inj'ries that been done to 'em. And gee-golly gosh, that just hurts them hard workin' insurance companies, who're workin' just as hard as folks like you and me to make an honest livin' bilkin' these right-darn litigious folks out of they're hard-earned cash. Well, I tell ya, to see an HMO or an insurance company lose money, it just right makes my heart break.


President Discusses Solutions to Medical Liability Crisis, Rising Health Costs

Dean's Disturbing ["Raucous"] Speech 

Media Whores on the Whoop:
Dean delivered a speech after losing in Iowa. Dean spent two years in IOWA. Dean spent a lot of money in Iowa. Dean, if a normal person, was stunned, disappointed, and frustrated that, after all of his exhaustive and exhausting effort, he did not win in Iowa. Dean was faced with the task of trying to keep his supporters and himself energized.

Dean's speech was entirely appropriate under that scenario.

What's more, everybody who has commented about "the scream" knows it.

Dean's opponents, Republican, Democrat and unaffiliated, are pretending to think the speech was noteworthy. They know it wasn't, and they know they are pretending. Those members of the public who are reacting similarly also know they are pretending. They know the others they have heard reacting are pretending.

Everybody who has publicly reacted has agreed to pretend Dean did something extraordinary. Their reasons for pretending range from amusing themselves to gutting the Dean candidacy.

But they all know they are pretending and, despite the affected puzzlement or concern in the voices of cable news media whores delivering the story, they all know that they, themselves, were not "disturbed" (or puzzled or concerned) by Dean's speech. They know Dean did not betray profound mental incapacity or lack of political savvy in the speech. Had they not heard someone else pretending the speech was noteworthy, they would not have noted it even if they had seen it.

The only thing that can be said is that candidates must be certain they know how vulnerable they might be to phony outrage contained in RNC blastfaxes and regurgitated by media whores, and be prepared to either aggressively turn any such phony outrage back onto those reacting phonily, or avoid any action that will provoke it.

The most that can be said is that, if the phony outrage harms Dean, he was not sufficiently prepared either to avoid or respond to the phony outrage over his speech (what a disgraceful "standard" for political performance we've sunk to).

But nobody thinks there was anything wrong with Dean's speech.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Paddington Shopkeeper Shakes Head Sadly in Response to Seeing Cheney's Malicious Sneer on the Television Screen 

That was the news from over the weekend.

Tomorrow I'm back in America. And let me say: I'm really looking forward to it! It seems like a lot of great things have happened since I left! Let's go, 2004!

[Editorial apology: sorry.]

Sunday, January 25, 2004


speakingcorpse writes:

I'm beginning to agree with Dawkins that Kerry is our best shot--especially if he chooses Edwards as VP. But the race is not over. I think Dean may pull a strong second in NH and then put in a good showing five days later. That's just a guess though. Perhaps I hope he does, because as long as the candidates stay positive, a tight race all the way through is good for the party. Unfortunately, Dean is attacking Kerry now vigorously. (See below.) This is not good for Dean and it is worse for the party. The attack is instructive, though. Because the Republicans will use it. Kerry voted against Gulf War I. And they, with the media's help, will find other stuff, too. The media will insist on virtually destroying the candidacy of the eventual nominee at least once before next September. (Thus making possible, though unlikely, the "miraculous comeback upset" story.) And they will have no trouble doing this to whomever is nominated.
Candidates Spar Over Iraq As Balloting in New Hampshire's Leadoff Primary Draws Near

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. Jan. 24 — Howard Dean sharply questioned John Kerry's judgment on Iraq on Saturday as Democratic presidential rivals raced through a final, frozen weekend of campaigning before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

"I would be deeply concerned about that kind of judgment in the White House," said Dean, the one-time front-runner struggling to overcome a reversal that has vaulted Kerry into first place in the New Hampshire polls.

Dean said Kerry opposed the first Persian Gulf War in Iraq in 1991, and supported the 2003 invasion, views contrary to his own. "I think my position has proven to be right twice," Dean added.
Blicero adds: True I have been holding forth on politics to rapt Flemish audiences and not following the post-Iowa death dirge as closely as I would (not) like--but from where I'm standing, I find it very hard to agree with speakingcorpse's remark about Kerry's viability. Has Kerry ever shown--ever--that he is cognizant of (not to mention prepared to fight) the Republican-media-death-complex that is all set in place to destroy the Democratic candidate and continue to assist in the ushering-in of one-party rule, permanent war, terror, and national-millenial corpsification?

The answer seems to be no. I would remind speakingcorpse of his (and many others') earlier remarks to the effect that the Democrats cannot live on Gore voters alone. Tens of millions of eligible voters did not vote in 2000, and unless the Democrats can inspire/persuade/implore a couple million of those voters to come out and vote, they are guaranteed to lose. Dean has proposed one version of an answer to this problem, with his appeal to the actual (though widely ignored and denied) Democratic majority. So, to some degree, has Clark, with his appeal to non-traditional Democrats. But has Kerry? I don't know. Maybe I missed something.

Don't get me wrong: I love hockey. But no one's skating to the White House on "steady-handedness" this year.


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