Saturday, October 09, 2004

Life Against Death 

After these debates, the choice will be clear. It won't be an easy one for a lot of sick people. There are profound and refractory forces in all of our psyches that drives us toward death, toward self-degradation, toward the elevation of corpses into figures of our own desire to be dominated.

But there are other forces that drive us toward getting up and trying not to die. We too often stifle these forces out of shame. We feel we don't deserve to live, and that our desire to live is something to hide. But the desire demands satisfaction, and sometimes gets it.

Kerry is giving Americans a choice. He is giving us the opportunity to say together that our country is filled with people who are unashamed of their own wish to be free. He is giving us the chance to say that our lives matter more than the corpses we are being asked to worship.

There is a deep connection between the corpse that is the Republican nominee for President and the corpses killed by the terrorists and on the Iraqi battlefield. Both receive the compulsive respect of people who cannot respect themselves, who do not have the courage to say that they themselves are really alive and therefore deserving of honor.

A vote for Kerry honors the living population of this country. This country deserves honor. But only if it has the courage to honor itself.


To state the obvious about Friday night: Kerry was assured, earnest, and appealing. He relied calmly on the the authority of his well-earned belief in himself. Bush was shrill, petulant, and stupid. His only achievements were keeping his lips straight and keeping himself from attacking Charles Gibson.

The whores' claim that Bush's performance was better than last week's, and that the debate was therefore a draw, are completely irrelevant. The impact of Bush's eye-tics, his laughter at his own jokes, and, most importantly, his whiny imploring querulous dementedly shrieked pleas--the impact of all of these will be deep and probably unchangeable.

UPDATE: You may have heard about the Gallup poll showing that the debate was a draw, with 47 percent of viewers saying Kerry won, and 45 saying that Bush's attempt to scream away his own castration was highly persuasive. But the poll oversampled Repugs. See Gallup's own breakdown: among independents, Kerry crushed Bush, just as he did last week, 53-37.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Some of Bush's Debate Notes from Last Week 

The rest are here.

Bush Bulge, Part II 

Part I was the codpiece on "Mission Accomplished" Day, which little stunt isn't doing Bush any favors these days. Part II may do him ever fewer favors. This may well go the way of the Killian memos, but right now somebody has some explaining to do.

The hypothesis/rumor is that the rectangular bulge is either a) a gigantic, solid, rectangularly-shaped mole, or b) a little radio thingy transmitting to an earpiece lodged within Bush's head. This particular image comes courtesy of the Votemaster, who explains his enhancement method here and stands 100% behind the image.

Salon is running a story about it.

As they say, developing....

Thursday, October 07, 2004

AP: Bush Wins 

This is the kind of shit that sends an already-paranoid individual like me almost over the edge.

And what's with the math? Who gets the other 9%? Baradnik?

Kerry, Armed with the Truth, Fights 

Kerry just gave his press statement about Bush and the Iraq WMD report. The CNN anchors are calling it "very aggressive" and Candy Crowley just called it "the toughest we've seen John Kerry."

Me like.

Thursday Cat Blogging 

With major apologies to Atrios (whose "Friday Cat Blogging" feature I am now shamelessly ripping off) I present The Christmas Ape II [above; aka "The Ape"] and President Bill Clinton of the United States of America [below; aka "The President"]. Sorry for the quality--I'll try to do better next week.

Up Is Down; Day Is Night, Part MCXVIII 

This has got to be the single most surreal headline I've ever seen in the New York Times newspaper:

Cheney Says Report Finding No Illicit Arms in Iraq Justifies War

MIAMI (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney asserted on Thursday that a finding by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq that Saddam Hussein's government produced no weapons of mass destruction after 1991 justifies rather than undermines President Bush's decision to go to war.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


A brief survey of the headlines in today's national papers shows two things:

1) Polls split on who won debate; i.e., both did well (this despite the fact that the ABC poll with Cheney winning by 8% surveyed a group with 8% more Republicans; and despite the fact that the CBS poll with Edwards winning by 12% surveyed a far-more-relevant group of undecided voters).

2) Iraq Had No WMD's.

I can live with those headlines. So Bush can chatter on all he wants. I think today's news is clear.


I haven't heard anyone mention this yet, but it just occurred to me that Cheney's single most outrageous assertion in the entire debate was that Zell Miller's appearance at the Republican National Convention was an example of the bipartisanship that has disappeared from Washington.

Amazing. Could there be any more flagrant example of a VP shitting onto the debate table, shitting in the mouths of his opponent, the moderator, the American people, his own party, the mouth of Conscience itself?

Still Time to Ante Up 

From the Kerry Camp:

Our first critical deadline is just two days away: midnight on Friday, October 8. It comes just hours after John Kerry and George Bush meet in their next debate. The money we raise this week will guide our decisions about the advertising we can air in the crucial swing states.

Our goal this week is to raise an extra $5 million for vitally important ads. With that kind of support, the Democratic Party will use an aggressive ad campaign to build on the momentum coming out of two strong debate performances.

Help us meet our goal:


Two other deadlines loom right around the corner. By midnight on October 15, we will make final decisions about last-minute investments in swing states, and by October 27, our online fundraising drive must be finished for the money to go to the most extensive get-out-the-vote effort in our nation's history.

Time is short. The stakes are high. It's four weeks of hard work or four more years of Bush and Cheney.

A Victory for John Kerry 

I watched the debate, alone. It was cold in my apartment. The chills, coupled with the adrenaline coursing through my veins, nearly sent me into a full-blown seizure. Monitoring my response to this debate, I realized why I was unable to respond adequately to the last one. The instant the candidates start to talk, deep wells of adrenaline are suddenly released. Last week, I felt relatively relaxed sitting down to watch, and was thus unprepared for my dangerous physiological reaction to Kerry's answer to the first question (which wasn't very good. Do I have permission to say so?). I was sent into such a state, enhanced by Blicero's similar response right next to me, that I wasn't able to pay attention for at least an hour.

In any case, despite what anyone says, last night was a victory for Kerry. Edwards performed very well--significantly better, I think, than Cheney. There was a very real, and really unfathomable, continuation in Cheney's demeanor of the petty indignation displayed by Bush on Thursday. It has been remarked upon as "bitterness" and "anger" and even "snarling," but it was worse. He appeared disgusted by Edwards. He refused to answer several questions. Responding to the Halliburton charges was, he felt, beneath him. No matter what the spinners say, among undecided voters, this will sink in. They will remember it, even if no one talks about it, at an emotional level, in feelings of perhaps unconscious revulsion. The idea that the Republicans disdain the very idea of criticism, and are unable to discuss ideas rationally due to deep psychological deficits, is alive and well.

Cheney's misbehavior was coupled with a sadder, and perhaps more damaging, inability to project any interest in the proceeding. The two failures are separate, in my view, because the latter goes beyond an arrogant disdain for the idea of debating in public. As Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan (scroll down; God help me) have noted, Cheney seemed tired. Tired of talking, tired of explaining himself, tired even of being vice-president. Even hopeless, especially in the second half of the debate. Let me put it this way: if massive fraud, massive terror attacks, or massive Osama-related tricks are not in the offing, then the Republicans don't have much reason to hope. Tied polls mean Kerry is winning. Bush is going to shit on America on Friday. What is their plan? What is the purpose of continuing, without an October surprise? Maybe Cheney's on-screen passing away is an indication that no surprise is in the offing.

Edwards, as I said, was very strong. I thought he was poor at the DNC, and he has been reciting his canned stump speech without passion, in least in all the recent clips I've heard from the trail. So I was slightly worried. But I knew he was capable, and he proved articulate and responsive and, most importantly, he appeared serious. He leveled the harshest charges on foreign policy with real plausibility. The media whores have all talked about his sunny presentation, his smiles, his court-room style appeals to the "jury" of TV viewers. All bullshit. He appeared plausibly grave. Though still reassuringly healthier than his opponent, and totally subordinated to his running-mate.

A couple thoughts about the next two debates. It seems to me obvious that the Democrats' best argument has been thus far withheld. It is this: "We are concerned with the practical realities of stopping another 9/11. The reality is that stopping another 9/ll does not involve high-flown rhetoric, but concrete steps taken to protect our cities and to reform out domestic intelligence so that we can 'capture the terrorists and crush them before they get us' [Edwards' chorus last night]. But George Bush has not adequately funded homeland security (and was in fact against the department from the beginning). When John Kerry listed the measures that still need to be taken at the first debate, George Bush said, 'That's quite a wish list. How you gonna pay for all that? It's a big tax gap--but that's for another debate. Heh, heh, heh, nnnnnnnggghnnnhh.' John Kerry will pay for all that. He will find a way to protect Americans. And if that means rolling back tax cuts for millionaires, so be it. Tax giveaways to the rich are just less important than preventing another 9/11. George Bush obviously has a different set of priorities."

I have been anxious to hear the Democrats (starting with Edwards last night) make this point. And I must admit to being concerned that they haven't. But as AmCoppers insist, I probably should recognize that this attack is too obvious for the Democrats not to make. If they haven't yet, they haven't for a reason. And perhaps the reason has to do with Bush's "joke" about tax policy being for "another debate" (i.e., the third debate, on domestic policy). Perhaps, that is, the Democrats are planning to hold this attack in reserve for another two weeks. They could leave it unsaid even on Friday. And then, at the supposedly not terror-related domestic policy debate, Kerry could ambush Bush with his most potent condemnation of Bush's war on terror. It would be within bounds, and Bush wouldn't have any response to make; he wouldn't be able to start talking about "going on the offense," "spreading freedom," etc., because he would have to confine his response to issues of domestic policy (which includes the funding of homeland security, but does not include crusader ideology).

Holding off on this attack until the last debate would also be a way for Kerry to roll with the punches on Friday. The media whores are obviously champing at the bit to give a debate win to Bush/Cheney, primarily for purposes of selling the roller-coaster campaign story. (The "Hardball" criminals unanimously declared Cheney the victor last night; the fact that this meme has not taken attests to Edwards' effectiveness.) So let them say after Friday's debate that Bush has done OK, that he has "returned to form," etc. It won't be possible to declare him the winner, but the meme of his improved performance will gives the whores their desired shift in the story flow. And this will leave an opening for a decisive Kerry victory in the last debate, in which he will surprise everyone by pivoting from his "strenth" (domestic policy) to his "weakness" (terror), leaving Bush with only his own stuttering and demented soul, dying between his clenched teeth.

And then, if necessary, the magic bullet, to be fired in the third week of October. Kristen Breitweiser, the face of the 9/11 families and the person most responsible for the convening of the 9/11 commission, will appear in a Kerry advertisement. (She is a Republican, a former Bush-voter, who publicly endorsed Kerry without any request, and campaigned with Edwards last week.) She appears on screen and says the following: "On 9/ll my husband was killed in the WTC. I was devastated. But I was happy that George Bush was president. I had voted for him, and trusted him to lead the nation in the aftermath of that tragedy. So much has changed since then. I led a group of 9/11 widows in calling for an investigation into 9/11. [Picture of Breitweiser testifying before Congress.] But George Bush thwarted our efforts every step of the way. He never wanted a commission, agreed to the idea only under political pressure, and tried to keep the commissioners from receiving the time and funding they deserved. He didn't want the truth to come out. And he hasn't been truthful with the American people about the purpose or cost of the Iraq war. John Kerry has been truthful. He has a lifetime of service to back up his word. I have met and worked with many senators, and I trust him deeply. I urge you to vote for him Nov. 2."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Truth Hurts, Whores 

A CBS News poll of 169 uncommitted voters found that 41 percent said Edwards won the debate, versus 29 percent who said Cheney won. Thirty percent said it was a tie.
Take that, fuckers. No "draw."

Update: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough just crumpled up and threw away the CBS poll (showing a 12-point Edwards victory among undecideds) and read the ABC poll (showing an 8-point Cheney win). His "joke" was that since CBS is "no longer credible" he didn't need to acknowledge the poll. Wasn't that a funny "joke"? So the viewers actually didn't get to hear the poll results.

Why is that jackass--a former GOP congressman and professional partisan hack parading tongue-and-cheek as a "middle of the road"er--allowed to run the entire post-debate show at MSNBC?

PBS in the tank, as usual 

An anonymous reader writes:

What was up with the questions by Gwen Eiffel (sp?)???Is it just me or were her questions heavily weighted against Edwards? The subtext was basically:

Would a Kerry victory threaten the U.S.?

What about this "global test" issue, which is an important issue in the election?

What about this "flip-flop" issue, which is an important issue in the election?

Is Edwards part of the problem b/c he's a trial lawyer?

Sen. Edwards, what makes you, a barely experienced Senate freshman, who has little experience - basically a young, inexperienced guy - qualified to be in a position now occupied by Dick Cheney, who we all agree is very, very experienced? And older. An experienced elder statesman.

Sen. Edwards, are you, as a trial lawyer, insulted by Cheney's attacks on trial lawyers? Trial lawyers, trial lawyers. Trial. Lawyers. Lawyers on trial. Terrorists on trial. Terrorist lawyers.

Was it an effort to inoculate PBS from the old "liberal" charge? To be fair, she brought up the Rumsfeld/Bremer criticisms about the war and questioned Cheney about them. But on the whole, I feel like her questions lent legitimacy to a lot of Republican talking points. Paranoia?

Here We Go... 

Wolf Blitzer just had a stunning analysis of the debate--get this: that supporters of Vice President Cheney will think Vice President Cheney had a good debate, while supporters of John Edwards will believe John Edwards had a good debate.

Unbelievable, huh?

Look, there's no doubt about it, Edwards kicked major corpse ass in this debate. But the pundits (I'm hearing Scarborough right now) are embarrassed about the last debate and gung-ho to try and spin this for Cheney.

Let's hope and believe TV viewers saw the truth for themselves.

I just heard an MSNBC pundit say clear Edwards victory. (Oops, scratch that--it was Joe Lockhart.)


Update: Well, great! All the pundits--get this--agree with one another, that the debate was--get this--a draw!

Stupid fucking pandering sheep. Edwards kicked major ass. I hope the viewers have the good sense to believe what they saw and heard, not this crap from the chattering holes.

Update: And why are all the signs behind the CNN and MSNBC crews Bush/Cheney signs this time, whereas last Thursday they were all Kerry? Who decides these things?

Update: I truly think there is just no connection between the sounds that come out of the pundits' mouths and what they have observed in reality. After last Thursday, they clearly were threatened with torture and death (perhaps extraordinary rendition) if they called the VP debate for Edwards. There is nothing Edwards could have done that would have made them say anything different. Probably the Repugs consider last week's loss a mere slip-up in their ongoing media pressure-intimidation-coercion campaign.

Cheney Completely Falls Apart at End of Debate 

What an embarrassment. Cheney has imploded. On health care, education...he's just mumbled, giggled, hemmed and hawed. He gave an incomprehensible and unfocused and dishonest and sneeringly accusatory mini-lecture on congressional bipartisanship. And it's obvious why he can't talk about these issues: he doesn't give a shit.

Edwards has been clear, knowledgeable, forthright, strong, compassionate. No comparison.

The Distinction Couldn't Be More Clear 

Edwards: The company Cheney was CEO of did business with sworn enemies of the United States.

Cheney: It's not true.

OK. Well, clearly someone's telling the truth, and someone's lying. What will the media say?

Cheney Comes Across as Nasty, Shady 

Cheney's bitter little personal snipes at Edwards won't fly with the American people.

Edwards Wins First Exchange 

If Edwards performs like he just did in that first exchange on Iraq over the course of the rest of the debate, this will be no contest. Cheney might as well have a seventeenth heart-attack right now. He also better grab hold of his own ass before he has it handed to him.

Take Action After the Debate 

First of all, who among us does not like to take online polls? As soon as the debate ends, go take all the online polls you can. Here are some:

• CNN: http://www.cnn.com/
• MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/
• Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/
• LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/
• Akron Beacon-Journal: http://www.ohio.com/
• Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/
• Orlando Sentinel: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/
• Philadelphia Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/
• South Florida Sun-Sentinel: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/

Then, write a short letter to the editor. Copy it. Then go here and have it automatically sent to as many newspapers as you choose.

Another item. Go here to watch the new MoveOn ad featuring a mother whose son was killed in Iraq. If you find it effective, chip in a few bucks to help air it.


I saw two senatorial debates last night on C-Span, and both were quite interesting. In PA, Dem Joe Hoeffel was up against Arlen Specter, along with two fringe crazies: Clymer from the Constitution Party, and a scary lady named Betsy Summers from the Libertarian camp. (Have you noticed how these Libertarians--whenever they're allowed in the debates--are always the stupidest people you've ever seen? They sound almost literally retarded, as though they have no clue what language is. They're like sub-Republicans but with an anti-war bent.)

Specter--who very nearly lost to wingnut Clymer in the Republican primary--tried to do his "I'm being attacked from the far right and the far left, and here I am in the center" dance. Hoeffel is really a good candidate--smart, appealing, engaging, unfortunately bald--it's a shame he doesn't seem to stand a chance in this race, if the polls are to be believed. Specter looks like the dyed- and rouged-up old fop from Death in Venice. A tired old man who may have done some good things for his state, but who serves at the pleasure of criminals.

The other race was pretty incredible--Democrat Brad Carson vs. Tom Coburn for the Oklahoma seat being vacated by Don Nickles. If you've never seen Oklahoma politics in action, it's really something. You have to mention faith or God in every line. Carson truly looked evangelical, possessed by some kind of otherworldly grace. He alluded positively to President Bush whenever he could. He's basically running as a conservative Republican, with Tom Coburn as a kind of off-the-map goblin. I've never seen a worse candidate than Coburn. He looks and sounds miserable. He's made gaffe after verbal gaffe in this campaign, insulting Indians, western Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, and the working class. He's been hounded by a resurfaced news story in which he was found to have sterilized a woman without her consent during an operation (Coburn is somehow a doctor).

And yet, he's still running close with blond, golden-faced, golden-tongued (but conservatively Democratic) Carson. That tells you something about Oklahoma, a state that can endure any amount of abject economic suffering and still cite gay marriage as its number one issue of concern.

So: Edwards. Does he go all Smily Nice Guy to preserve his positive image and contrast with Darth Cheney? Does he echo Kerry's potent homeland security themes from the first debate, or leave Kerry's message to Kerry? Does he go on the attack and try to press Cheney on some of Cheney's most egregious, stubborn lies (like the Saddam-9/11 connection)? Does he beat the Halliburton drum, shaking a little Enron in there, and connect it to larger economic themes? What does he do when Cheney, sneering and speaking in a soft, measured tone, unabashedly lies into the camera?

Your thoughts in the Comment window.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Utter Brilliance 

Watch this little movie. The RNC Convention in a nutshell.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

"Torture is not part of our soul and our being" 

Obsidian Wings has the update on the House Republicans' immanent attempt to pass a bill legalizing "extraordinary rendition," the deporting of prisoners to torture-friendly countries for some neighborly assistance in the TWAT.

If you're as outraged by this crap as you should be, OW provides a simple template for a letter you can write to your congressperson--

I am writing to you to express my strong opposition to Sections 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act." Section 3032 and 3033 would make it legal for the Secretary of Homeland Security to deport people to be tortured in other countries. We call this "extraordinary rendition", but a more accurate term would be "outsourcing torture." The 9/11 Commission itself opposes Section 3032 and 3033.

Please vote in support of Representative Edward Markey's amendment to remove Section 3032 and 3033 and replace them language outlawing "extraordinary rendition" from his bill, HR 4674*.

Your vote on this issue will strongly influence my vote on election day.

--as well as a link you can use to send it.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?