Friday, October 29, 2004

Notes on the Maelstrom 

Things are really getting pretty nuts right now among political junkies and news addicts.

We have voter challenges, the looted explosives, the upcoming wag-the-dog assault on Falluja, Arafat near death, and now, a piece of news just strong enough to knock every single one of those stories out of the anchors' lips and on to the crawl, Osama Bin Laden is alive (apparently) and speechifying in a studio. He takes full responsibility for 9/11 (which may or may not be true) and says some nasty things about Bush before adding that Al-Qaeda, like the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, will not be endorsing either candidate this year. UBL then added whimsically that his "most embarassing vote" was for Harry Browne in 2000.

Now -- watching each and every high-traffic blog's comments go nuts with predictions, attempted spin, Cassandra imitations and occasional joy at how they assume this will play among voters they've never met, I have to step back and admit that I have no fucking idea what this means for either candidate.

Honestly, I and everyone who has a political blog are too far inside the news and spin bubble to know, at this point, what people think about news they pick up between football highlights and Everybody Loves Raymond repeats.

But I do know this: this video was not planned or even predicted by either campaign -- if the Bushes knew this was in the pipeline, they would not have tossed this shoddy video out there a couple days ago. And they've been trying to erase UBL from our collective memory since mid-2002 -- they don't need him out there reminding us of Bush's interest in a little girl's pet goat. And Kerry's people, well, they know that any statement from a terrorist critical of Bush will be played as an "endorsement" of their guy, a reverse-psychology play by those damned clever Islamo-Fascists. While keeping bin Laden's name floating about was an effective play against the memory hole and the Bush "strong on national defense" meme, having the actual guy show up and talk trash can easily turn into "UBL wants Kerry to win" -- which, I might as well point out, is bullshit.

I think it's a wash for both sides, but its effect destroys the current media narrative: Kerry on offensive, Bush on defensive. That rule no longer applies, but remember how many people have already voted early or absentee, and that, election returns aside, most people are fairly intelligent, as evidenced by their deep distrust of all politicians and media figures.

So, folks, fuck the news, but keep abreast of it anyway. Just go to a swing state and get out the fucking vote this weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Wednesday Night Libel 

Go Red Sox!/No Edits Edition
WASHINGTON DC -- According to freelance journalist Wayne Madsden, "George W Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs and his constant references to 'evil doers,' in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations--the anti-Christ."

Madsen, a Washington-based writer and columnist, who often writes for Counterpunch, says that people close to the pope claim that amid these concerns, the pontiff wishes he was younger and in better health to confront the possibility that Bush may represent the person prophesized in Revelations. John Paul II has always believed the world was on the precipice of the final confrontation between Good and Evil as foretold in the New Testament.

New Get Your War On 


I Got Stripes 

TROUT: I’ve never voted in my whole damn life. I didn’t want to be complicit. But is it time I did?

KV: The planet’s immune system is obviously trying to get rid of us, and high time! But sure, go vote for somebody. What the hell.

(via the dust congress)

Because You're Mine, I Vote the Party Line 

In light of Fafnir's recent endorsement, A Big Ol Dog For President, I must admit that, like the New Yorker, Eminem, those equivocating assholes at Slate, and Chris Hitchens (so nice he endorsed twice!), I'm thinking over a possible break with my own 6-month tradition of remaining completely outside the political process and endorsing candidates for various offices this year. Because my audience, small though it may be, needs as much as anyone else to have their (his) predetermined views validated.

He's Also Counting On Support From 12 Year-Old Convicted Felon Foreign Nationals 

Kerry's won both the heretofore nonexistent New Yorker Endorsement (whole lengthy column here) and the support of the ever-nuanced Eminem.

He's got the mook and the non-little-old-lady-from-Dubuque vote sewed up.

Unfortunately, mooks are 15 years old and Kerry needs little old ladies from Dubuque a hell of a lot more than another couple New Yorker readers.

But the sentiment is appreciated, guys.

A Town Fulla Losers 

Giant fork missing from Grand Forks, officials say

If it's anything like the typical Grand Forks resident, it'd been waiting to get the hell out of that wasteland for years. I expect it's cruising down I-29 right now, blasting "Thunder Road." It'll cruise though Fargo to Minneapolis, rent a house with a coupla guys from high school, start a band, open for the Jayhawks, almost get signed, then end up settling down in a deadend office job, visiting its parents back in ND every Thanksgiving.

Heaven's waiting on down the tracks, Fork!


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

As the Camel Falls To Its Knees, More Knives Are Drawn 


Monday, October 25, 2004

Hyphens On the March 

So (via Gawker) I stumbled upon this message board for disgruntled copy-editors (the kind of people who would strongly object to my placing a hyphen in their job-description [I did it again!]). At first, it was all fun and games, funny curmudgeons arguing about the proper spelling of theatre/theater.

Then, they all ended up as more fuel for the fire of my anti-press crusade. In a perfectly legitimate discussion of the worth of newspaper endorsements, it became a high-minded "I went to J-School" bitch-about-the-ignorant-readers elitist bullshit session. Honestly, folks, you work for barely-written wire-reprinting rags with no importance or journalistic integrity. Where does some wage-slave at the Daily Podunk Tribune get off calling his readers (with only partial sarcasm) the "unwashed public" and bitching about how they occasionally call the paper and talk to him? You people work for the Unwashed Masses -- you are not smarter or better than them.

This is the shit that fuels the backlash, folks -- you're elitism is not doing your profession (or the country) any favors.

Please Don't Put a Price On My Soul 

Well, this is it.

If we fuck this one up, there will be hell to pay.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Drag Your Wagon and Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead 

Fucking scum of the earth.

Useless wastes of carbon. Soulless scumbags.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Flying Circus Veterans for Truth 

President Bush has words with the Almighty
Terry Jones
"George, of course I'm listening - it's you who is not listening to Me!"
"And I'll tell you why! 'Cause You ain't addressing me right."
"What d'you mean, you jumped-up little Ivy League draft-dodger?"
"If you're so 'omniscient', God, you oughta know that you gotta go through Karl Rove, John Ashcroft, Rumsey and Dick ... those fellas know what they're talking about! I can't listen to just any deity who can pick up the phone!"
"But, I'm God, George!"
"Does Karl say you are?"
"But why do you believe Karl?"
"Because my gut tells me he's right!"

How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?

None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.
-- John Cleese

Eric Idle's FCC Song
So fuck you very much, Dear Mr. Bush
For heroically sitting on your tush
For Halliburton, Enron, all the companies who fail
Let's send them a clear signal and stick Martha straight in jail
She's an uppity rich bitch
and at least she isn't male
So fuck you all so very much

So fuck you dickhead Mr. Cheney too
Fuck you and fuck everything you do
Your pacemaker must be a fake
You haven't got a heart
As far as I'm concerned you're just a pasty-faced old fart

Michael Palin tries the nice approach:
Michael Palin is looking for the next destination to beam into your living room or to thump on your coffee table in a book. Ever affable, he's open to suggestions. "It's got to be somewhere remote and rather difficult with bad food," he says. How about Palin's Axis of Evil - Iraq, Iran and North Korea?

"That would be a good series," he says, laughing. "It would be very different to George Bush's axis of evil. But he would say (imitating Bush) 'What do you know, Mike? You don't know these guys. You're too nice.' If you go have tea with Saddam Hussein, you could possibly be too nice. (But) I'd quite like to go to Iraq."
"In a rather woolly and unfocused way I think that if you can somehow bring people together, so you can see that the family in the middle of Kansas is very similar in many ways to a family in Egypt, that would be an enormous benefit because they just don't think that way," he says.

"For a start, people in the middle of Kansas probably don't know where Egypt is. Egypt is a Muslim country and Muslims are all out to get us. There's just a huge, sweeping swathe of ignorance out there.

Even the not-very-funny (but very Minnesotan) one:
"I'm not sure if enough people in America have gotten wind of what's about to happen now — and, if it does happen, whether it's right or wrong. That may be the only difference. But we certainly have criminals in the White House. These are even more successful than the last time. I mean, Nixon and company were kind of petty in their ambitions. These guys are ruthless beyond belief, and boy, are they pocketing a lot of money." - Terry Gilliam

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Scum Also Rises 

I gotta say, the unmitigated contempt for John Kerry displayed by the press is alarming. I mean, I have no problem with destructive cynicism or even a healthy amount of contempt for the democratic process, but these guys don't really bother to disguise their hatred of the man they're supposed to be covering according to their own made-up and increasingly useless rules of "objectivity."

Check it and see.

Is their job too hard? Is Mr. Kerry not nice enough to them?

No, he's simply not treating them with the respect that their lofty positions and important roles deserve.

Now to my mind, the best piece of campaign journalism ever produced is Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, which has enough contempt and derision to overpower even the jadedest of jaded journos, but Hunter Thompson's bile comes from righteous anger at a country's principles twisted beyond recognition, and a moral code ignored. The man didn't defame Humbert H. Humphrey because HHH wasn't friendly enough to him on the bus, he did it because the guy was a fucking establishment-friendly Chicago '68-enabling hawk, a "treacherous, gutless old ward-heeler who should be put in a goddamn bottle and sent out with the Japanese current." Thompson savaged politicians when they betrayed ideals, not when they didn't invite him to a photo-op.

If there was some substance to the pissed-off adolescent bitch-fest of the Pool Report, some inkling that the anger was directed towards the stage-managed big money-controlled jokes we call the campaigns instead of priviliged cool-kid bullshit, then I wouldn't mind the disgust or the snark. If their published pieces actually reflected their insider knowledge of how useless and meaningless the whole affair has become, they would have a leg to stand on. But these people are about 50-60% of what's wrong with the system they deplore, so they get no sympathy from me.
"Guys write down what a candidate says and report it when they know damn well he's lying," [Thompson] told Newsweek's Thomas M. Defrank, "Half the conversation on a press bus is about who lied to whom today, but nobody ever prints the fact that they're goddamn liars."
Newsweek, '72

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Wednesday Night Libel 

Actually, it would be hard to prove malicious intent with this one:
During a visit, as Mr. [Bush] and I talked on the porch, a set of wind chimes ringing in the late autumn season with a quickening breeze, [Karl Rove] laid his large muzzle like a wet towel in my lap. [First Lady Laura Bush] pushed at my hand, though I had mixed feelings about the affection after watching her plunge her nose into piles of donkey dung wherever discovered: in the pig barn or in the meadow, and usually superbly fresh.

[Karen Hughes] herded me.

It doesn't come off much stranger than a press pool report.

All right, two-fer-one this week.

Here we go:
Rescuers were searching through rubble for survivors on Thursday after [America]'s deadliest [elected official] in a decade ... killed at least 44 people and left 36 missing.

[Vice President Cheney] headed out to sea after sideswiping [Ohion] and was downgraded to a tropical depression around 9 a.m. on Thursday.

It was a record 10th [Bush administration official] to hit [Ohio] this year and the death toll was the highest since the 48 people killed or still unaccounted for after a [visit from Ambassador John Negroponte] in 1993.

Many people died in landslides set off by [the Vice President as he] pounded much of [Cincinnati] on Wednesday. Others died in flooding or were swept away by massive waves as [Cheney] ... roared northeast.

Thirty-seven people, most of them elderly tourists, were forced to spend the night huddled together on top of a bus after being stranded by [Cheney].
A man on the same bus told ... national television: "As the [Vice President struggled to rise from his podium], we all held on to each other's shoulders to stay together. My back is still hurting."

Sound the Charge 

A Child of the Algonquin Looks for a New Generation of Wits
Recalling the days when the owner Frank Case sent plates of olives, popovers and celery sticks to the poor scribes at the Round Table, the hotel now offers lunch discounts for struggling writers.

You heard 'em, hacks.

I'm Afraid of Americans 

I've been pretty quiet lately because I'm terrified. By everything I see and read. I'm scared of this and this and this and shit, I'm even scared of getting the flu.

Why am I so scared? Because of John Kerry.

The man has terrified me with threats of terrorists with nuclear bombs, of tainted third-world poison masquerading as socialized Canadian prescription drugs, of white people stabbed by crackheads in black neighborhoods while trying to vote, and of higher taxes.

Mr. Kerry, cease this fear-mongering! The American people will not be terrified into supporting your endless war against an ill-defined enemy! And they will not let that war distract them from your attempts, well-documented and easily verifiable, to reverse every liberal public policy reform of the 20th Century! So just give it up already.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Material Too Frightening For a Funny Headline 

The scariest article ever.

In response to a question, he talked about diversity, saying that "hands down," he has the most diverse senior staff in terms of both gender and race. He recalled a meeting with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder of Germany. "You know, I'm sitting there with Schroder one day with Colin and Condi. And I'm thinking: What's Schroder thinking?! He's sitting here with two blacks and one's a woman."

Friday, October 15, 2004

Bizarro Libel 

"And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a [Republican], she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."


HEMMER: I want to talk to Liz a second here and talk about your family.

Almost every interview you've done lately, this issue comes up. You have an openly [Republican] sister. Her name is Mary. The reason I'm bringing it up, today, is because there was news on this issue last night.

Alan Keyes, who is here in New York as well, running for the Senate in Illinois, referred to Mary based on his definition, about how he sees [Republicans] in America as a selfish hedonist.

When you hear those words, how do you react?

LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF DICK CHENEY: I guess I'm surprised, frankly, that you would even repeat the quote, and I'm not going to dignify it with a comment[.]


The communications director for Bush-Cheney, Nicolle Devenish, said Kerry miscalculated the impact of his remarks and now is "backpedaling from what is a crass, below-the-belt political strategy to attack the vice president's daughter."


"This is not a good man," she said. "Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."


"I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with the issue," [Kerry] said in a statement.


The vice president stated no objection when Edwards, a North Carolina senator, brought up Mary Cheney during their debate last week. Edwards expressed "respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a [Republican] daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing."


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Wednesday Night Libel 

Bringing a new tone to Washington:
In [their first four years], [the Bush White House was] unregulated and often run as [a] private idiosyncratic fief.... Punishments were meted out for the slimmest of reasons, often at the whim of sadistic [cabinet members]; and, former [administration officials] said, many [departments] were suffused by a weird undercurrent of sexuality.

A surprising number of former [senior administration officials], for instance, describe how when they lined up en masse, naked, for baths or showers - always cold, according to the practices of the time - certain [members of the Joint Cheifs of Staff] would always seem to materialize, unduly eager to watch.

A former [ranking administration official] at a [White House] .... described rules and behavior that seem bizarre, even Dickensian. Among other things, he said, the [Secretary of Defense] used a billiard cue to beat [White House aides], then required them to shake his hand and thank him.

Oh, I'm sorry -- I'm getting my stories mixed up again.

Get Your Smear On 

For those of you not keeping up with your campaign dirty trickery and crony capitalism vis-à-vis Sinclair Broadcasting, as detailed on every single one of the internets (here, here, and here, for example), a corporation controlling a number of local television stations across the country, with ties to the Bush campaign and the defense industry, is forcing its affiliates to run a Kerry smear movie funded by the newly merged POWs For "Truth" and Swift Boat Veterans for "Scare-Quoted Truth" organizations. Many of the quid-pro-quo insinuating details are here.

As part of their plan, they're offering Kerry the chance to respond to the film's allegations in an interview to be played immediately afterward. In light of Michael "No Sex, Please, We're Deregulated" Powell's recent crusade against tits both pixilated and bare, alone and in pairs, I have a brilliant, election-winning solution for John Kerry.

Demand that the post-movie interview be live and undelayed. Then, as soon as the cameras are rolling, let loose with a string of obscenities. Try to get just enough "fucks" and "cocksuckers" out before your mic is cut to bankrupt the already poorly-performing Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The interview can go something like this:

Angry Guy: Senator Kerry, what do you have to say to the thousands of--
John Kerry: Fucking shit-assed cock-faced cunt-lapping motherfucker. John O'Neill is a douchebag. Can I say "douchebag"? I mean dumb fucker. What are we up to, now, $10k per affiliate?
Angry Guy: Senator Kerry, why have you consistently refused to respond to charges that--
John Kerry: Because you're a rimdiving asshole. Shit shit shit.

Tinkers, Tailors, Soldiers, Spies For Kerry
Or, Why Should Ohioans Carré What He Thinks?

The Guardian has an insidious plan to influence our elections. If their letter-writing campaign fails, they may blow up a commuter train.

Or ask spy novelists to write letters for them.

John Le Carré:
And here in Britain, for as long as we have Tony Blair singing the same lies as George Bush, your nightmares will be ours.

Right back at ya, Frenchy!

Wouldn't It Be Nice 

Perhaps it's a fool's errand, but why not spend these last few weeks trying to like John Kerry?

The Frontline comparative biography

Free download of "Going Upriver"

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Scalia: I Will Put An End to the Making Unto Thee Likenesses Of any Thing That Is In the Water Under the Earth 

I hope you enjoyed all that "making no law respecting an establishment of religion" business while it lasted, 'cause the SCOTUS will be answering to a higher law this session: Chuck Heston (he dead yet?).

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Display of

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will take up the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays on government land and buildings, a surprise announcement that puts justices in the middle of a politically sensitive issue.
In the past decade, justices have refused to get involved in Ten Commandments disputes from around the country. Three conservative justices complained in 2001, when the court declined to rule on the constitutionality of a Ten Commandments display in front of the Elkhart, Ind., Municipal Building.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, said the city sought to reflect the cultural, historical and legal significance of the commandments. Rehnquist noted that justices' own chambers includes a carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments.

What's great about these Public Displays of God-Fearing is that, over about 150 years, they have established a "cultural, historical, and legal" precedent in the US where there simply was never one intended by the framers of the constitution, a rag-tag bunch of deists, Free-Thinkers, proto-Unitarians, and rich agnostics. But, in a century or so of concentrated effort by many people, progressive and reactionary, left and right, suddenly God (the Christian one) began poppping up in the Public Sphere, and by now, he's on our money, in our Pledges, on the lips of every politician, and in our courtrooms.

Decalogue, n. A series of commandments, ten in number -- just enough to permit an intelligent selection for observance, but not enough to embarrass the choice. Following is the revised edition of the Decalogue, calculated for this meridian.
Thou shalt no God but me adore:
'Twere too expensive to have more.
No images nor idols make
For Robert Ingersoll to break.
Take not God's name in vain; select
A time when it will have effect.
Work not on Sabbath days at all,
But go to see the teams play ball.
Honor thy parents. That creates
For life insurance lower rates.
Kill not, abet not those who kill;
Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless
Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete
Successfully in business. Cheat.
Bear not false witness -- that is low --
But "'hear 'tis rumored so and so."
Covet thou naught that thou hast not
By hook or crook, or somehow, got.


Monday, October 11, 2004

Public Editor Relishes Lofty Position, Irony of Title 

In closing, let’s note the part of this piece that has come to define Okrent’s work for the Times. That is the open tone of derision he takes toward readers who bother him with their e-mails. As usual, Okrent takes sidelong shots at these “irate readers” and their reasons for disputing his judgments .... Okrent began displaying this tone in his fourth column (1/18/04), and the tone has been present from that day to this. By the way: Was there something he might have learned from the “hundreds of messages” he received about the Swift Vets? There is, of course, no way to know—Okrent brags that he has ignored them! Indeed, he hasn’t even read “every word” of the coverage in the Times! Nobody does that, he says.

Dickens invented characters like Okrent, as he strove to describe a world in which idle, privileged, insolent people felt unvarnished contempt for their social inferiors. Okrent strolls straight outta those novels. But make no mistake—powdered people like Daniel Okrent are now in control of American discourse. Lazy, pampered, self-indulgent and stupid, they’ve made a sick joke of your interests for years. At some point, the public will have to find ways to end their control of our discourse.

Friday, October 08, 2004

We're all friends here. 

Well, now that Alex is off to raise Caine and register him to vote for Kerry, I guess I'm running the show. Which doesn't mean much when the audience consists of the gel Al is currently sleeping with. (Hi, Sav!)

I'll do my best to post something once in a while, maybe even twice. But I don't promise anything. I have neither the time nor the proclivity for much pointless satire these days. Being an economics major isn't all fun and games; Game theory's no fun. And I haven't got a cat to brighten my days.

I gotta admit, after a little research, I wonder what Alex is actually doing in Ohio. According to Ohio's secretary of state, the deadline to register has already passed. So, what good is a busload of New York hipsters gonna do in Cleveland, if they can't register the downtrodden? I'm guessing they didn't go for the chili. But I can't think of any other reason to go to Ohio, the toenail of America, now that Thurber's dead. Perhaps they're just going to hold a little rally for democracy. Everyone knows how much Rust Belter's look forward to their annual visit from the Manhattan Pep Squad.

Godspeed, wankers.

The Shmatte kid

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Reynolds Says Existence Of Religious Liberals Justifies Libertarians' Support of Bush's Legislation of Morality 

Roy Edroso wants to know what dumb shit let some "libertarian" (read: Republican) blogger write a column for The Guardian.
He explains to his foreign hosts that American Liberalism is typified by neo-Puritans such as Hillary Clinton and Andrea Dworkin, who presumably lunch together on the Upper West Side and plot matriarchy, while Reynolds and his fellow not-conservatives dream of (but do not actively support) "an America where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons" -- a nifty sitcom premise, at least.

Glennnnn makes the very relevant point that because many high-profile Democrats and a couple pseudo-intellectual liberals consider themselves to be religious, the Left is a puritanical force trying to crush the separation of Church and State. That's a bit of cognitive dissonance almost as fun to entertain as this Times/AP headline from earlier today:
Cheney Says Report Finding No Illicit Arms in Iraq Justifies War

It's fun to take documented evidence against (or simply irrelevant to) your point and use it to bolster your rhetoric. Here, let's all try:

Thurmond Says Mulatto Daughter Proves His Support of Civil Rights Act
Reagan Says 9/11 Attacks Justify His Support, Arming, Training of Islamic Fundamentalists
Friedman Says Sales of Rueful Outsourcing-Related T-Shirt Justifies Globalization

Hey, that last one's true!

Dayton, Ohio - 2004 

I'm going to Ohio with Downtown for Democracy this weekend -- leaving this evening, be back Sunday night. I'm leaving my reticent friend Ross in charge.

Ross is an economics student with no job, so he's like Duncan Black but younger and with better musical taste. Also, he doesn't post pictures of his cats. He doesn't even have a cat. Also, his dad is a dentist.

More Like Bitchmeyer! 

It's all true.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Wednesday Night Libel 

Kristof is weird today:
If this sounds like a gloomy assessment, it was reinforced when I located [Mary Cheney]'s father, [Richard Cheney], a [Vice President], and spoke to him on the street in his [Washington, D.C.] neighborhood. He told me that he was arranging for his daughter to be released to him - but he vowed that he would no longer allow her to "be so free."

He did promise me that he would not beat Ms. [Cheney] or force her to marry her cousin. I asked him to show mercy toward his daughter, but I have a bad feeling about what lies ahead.

Joey Ramone, Singer Seeking to Avoid Basements 

Absurd headline construction watch:
Rodney Dangerfield, Comic Seeking Respect, Dies at 82

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

My Aunt Hates America 

All right -- my Great Aunt lives in Colorado Springs. She's wonderful -- once, when I was 12 or 13, she lectured me about how Elvis Presley was a white boy who stole the music of black people -- "Hound Dog? That was a Black Woman's song! What's that white boy doing singing a Black Woman's song?" -- seemingly without noticing that her distant nephew, through melting pot genetics and family tree distance, was whiter than Elvis Costello. She's got to be approaching 80 years old. But when my asshole Republican uncle (by marriage) sent off one of his occasional missives from misinformation headquarters about why he just couldn't stand John Kerry, my Aunt delivered the smack-down. She ought to be a Kerry speech-writer, if you ask me.

Let me say first that "freedom of speech" is one of greatest privileges we have in this country. So John here goes.

I am a Democrat and a (liberal and all those other names they call us). I have voted [for a Republican] one time and that was when that sniveling lying Nixon said he would stop the Vietnam war because he had a "secret plan". My work in civil service was in the communication center and they would send the young recruits in to learn from us civilians who had been there several years. (we were Signal Corp). Many of the ones we knew where and I felt sad and took Nixon at his word.

Yeah-right!!! approximately 75,000 of our boys were killed after he became president. Was that his secret plan?

I heard about dubya and how his father used his influence to keep him from going over there. Since I have worked for the military all my life I heard many things (also had a Top Secret and Crypto clearance.) The military I worked with was very upset about it. They called him a coke-head, an alcocholic and a B------->. Regardless what papers Dubya has the fact remains he was too cowardly to serve!!! I couldn't believe it when he ran for the presidency!

Now you talk about what Kerry did and said. At least he went over and with his families money there is no doubt in my mind that he could have gotten out of going. In case you aren't aware not many rich and privileged fight our wars.
John Kerry was telling the truth about what some of our soldiers did in Vietnam! Have you forgotten My Lai? I've forgotten the Lt. name that was imprisoned for it after all the blame trickled down to him? John Kerry was only repeating what many, many said and felt after returning. But you know if you are still in uniform you are forbidden to speak against the President---for fear of being called a traitor and court-marshalled and kicked out of the military no pay no matter how many years in. Many of them were very bitter about Vietnam but dare not say anything around anyone they didn't trust. If you saw the carnage done in My Lai would you remain quiet about it?

I do not like Dubya because I think he's silly and certainly not the person to be president. If he didn't have Cheney, Powell and Condaleesa (SP?) he'd be up a creek. Remember how he acted in that school room when he was told, on 11 Sept , that we were under attack? He sat there for 7 mins. Looking downright stupid and when he did leave do you know he had to call Condaleesa Rice to see if it was true? Then he rode all over the country in Air Force One trying to find a place to hide. FOr a while they contemplating hiding him in the Mountain here (NORAD) then they figured this might not be a good idea ---that NORAD MIGHT BE A TARGET TOO. So next they went to SAC in Omaha and then it suddenly dawned on him and the rest that maybee he should get to the White House. Instead they went to Camp David when they figured out that the White House just might be a target too! How cowardly can one get? Later his 7 min. delay was explained away by saying he didn't want to scare the Children. Don't you think he could have told them that there was urgent business and he enjoyed his time with them but he had to leave? What was scary about that? He wasn't going to stand up and say we have been attacked and thousands are dying> How can one respect such a man.

The straw with me was when he had a press conference and he was ranting about Saddam (his father called him Sadum). Someone asked him why he wasn't going after Osama instead of Saddam and he said "Because he tried to kill my daddy" and walked out with that silly grin on his face. I couldn't believe my ears and thank God other people heard it too.

And shortly our troops were in Iraq. Now I can understand his anger with Saddam but if someone said anything about my "daddy" I wouldn' t put thousands of young people (21-22 etc.) in harms way just to avenge my father. Since "Daddy" didn't get killed I would have thanked God and do as President Clinton advised him to do. They knew where he was and Clinton advised to go after him now!! Of course Dubya wasn't going to listen to a Democrat who was a hell of a lot better Prisident then he was.
I liked President Clinton and always will. He was liked all over the world. He is a brilliant man who made a stupid mistake (what you want to bet he wasn't the only one carried on like athat in the Oval Office).

Several times I've heard over T,V, that if he could run again he would be voted in by a land slide. I feel sorry for Powell who made a fool out of himself by appearing on T.V. and showing the world where the WMD's were and what a threat they were to us. Tony Blair in England believed him and now his country is against him. Powell loooked right pitiful when he had to retract his statement.

Now explain this to me--Which was the worse--causing our soldiers to fight and die for something and someplace where we have no business-----or Dan Rather not checking his story and who it came from before broadcasting it (altho it was the truth)? My question is Why are we there in Iraq? Why do we think we must "save" other countries for what they want to believe in? Our own country has lots of defiencies---like out vets who fought gallantly in Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq and now with no job and no home must sleep under bridges and many die from starvation. The enemies are within our own country and it's not Osama people. We have hate groups that are trying to destroy this country --Little children who are alone with no parents, no homes, no food. God does'not approve of that which means that we could help. I know you've heard of Pat Roberson. In our paper I read where he said the Lord told him that Bush should be voted in again regardless of whether he's GOOD OR BAD. i COULDN'T BELIEVE WHAT I WAS Reading!! I'm sure you all know the shortest verse in the BIble--Jesus Wept--well if it's ever added on to (The Bible that is) another verse would say (JESUS WEPT AGAIN)

And I mustn't forget that not too long ago Dubya said he "Had a plan to get us out of Iraq" Sounded just like Nixon. Yeah right--and how many more soldiers lost.?
Guess I'd better stop now but Dear Nephew John if you are curious as to why I'm a Democratic and not a Republican I will be more than willing to tell you. (Please give me the chance--smile)

I hope no one has hurt feelings after reading this. I do love you all and true the family should have their differences without falling out.

Aunt Eula
P.S. (Princess--Where's my baby) the cat has approved this msg. (tee hee)
I meant to say I voted one time for a Republican----Nixon
Princess still approves

Monday, October 04, 2004

Tired, Tired Uncle Pennybags 

I take it all back!!! Political cartoons rock!!!

What does it mean? Who cares!

Nast Comic Standing 

What Slate's political cartoon round-up inadvertently does with depressing regularity is expose how tired the editorial cartoon format is and how astoundingly lazy its practitioners are. Every topic features three jokes rendered in slight variations styles over what seem like a million indistinguishable cartoons by "artists" across the country. Conventional wisdom, as determined by the most recent Maureen Dowd column, is successfully disseminated.

It's beyond parody. Look, I'll try:

See -- even this is accidentally more insightful than anything the dailies have to offer.

I'll expect my syndication deal forthwith.

You could feel the loneliness in your hairstyle 

Paul Westerberg:
Q. I don't think it's any secret that things have been a little snippy between you and Tommy over the last couple years-mainly played out in comments through the press.
A. He keeps pulling out the "Paul Westerberg's more difficult to deal with than Axl Rose" line. And I think, "Yeah, of course." Wouldn't Van Gogh be more difficult than Norman Rockwell?

Kinder Surprise 

Considering the disinclination of the administration thus far to commit any time or effort to the war in Afghanistan, I find myself agreeing with this Time article -- the bin Laden October Surprise is an increasingly unlikely possibility.

But a seven-month-long Pakistani offensive designed to flush bin Laden from Waziristan has come up empty. The Pakistanis say bin Laden is hiding in Afghanistan, while the Afghans agree with the Americans that he's on the Pakistan side. Says Lieut. General David Barno, U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan: "They probably feel more protected by their foreign fighters in remote areas inside Pakistan."

The U.S. has shifted its search strategy. Out of an estimated 18,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, some 5,000 are scrambling through the impossible terrain in places where bin Laden might be hiding. That area is a saw-bladed mountain range 1,500 miles long. But most troops aren't just looking for him specifically. Instead, they are patrolling the border against incursions by Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.

This AP article doesn't add much to the debate, except to call democrats conspiracy theorists and nutcases for actually thinking the people in charge might be capable of trying to influence an election through illegal or immoral means.

Gee, not the Bush administration. Of course, given this piece's "history" of October Surprises, one would have to draw the conclusion that such talk is nonsense.

Bush is no stranger to October surprises; his family has been on the receiving end.

The revelation of Bush's drunken-driving arrest as a young man came right before the 2000 election.

The Friday before the 1992 election, former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who served in the Reagan and first Bush administration, was indicted in the Democratic-inspired investigation of the Iran-Contra affair. That posed yet another worry for the elder Bush's re-election bid, which failed.

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.

Yet the Suez Canal crisis in the fall of 1956 contributed to Dwight Eisenhower's re-election landslide, historians suggest.

That's right: October Surprises are actions by Democrats against Bushes. Interesting that all of their examples are against Republicans. It would be fruitless to point out, of course, that Bush's DUI records were discovered by an independent reporter (working for a Fox Affiliate), and the investigations into Iran-Contra were investigations into a suspected October Surprise attempt by Reagan's campaign which led to well-documented illegal activities very worthy of indictment.

The AP piece doesn't bother to mention that after the term gained prominence as a theorized tactic by the supposedly desperate Carter, former CIA head George H. W. Bush (allegedly) went to Iran to strongly encourage them not to release the Hostages until it was politically expedient for rising star and famed half-wit Ronald Reagan. Inexchange for future arms sales. The money from which was funneled to terrorists. While we publicly supported Saddam Hussein. And secretly supported Iran too. I was only three when the Reagan years ended, so I don't pretend to understand it either.

Then we have Henry Kissinger's 1972 declaration that "Peace is at hand."

Kissinger again in 1968 (quoting Christopher Hitchens in the February 2001 Harper's):
In the fall of 1968, Richard Nixon and some of his emissaries and underlings set out to sabotage the Paris peace negotiations on Vietnam. The means they chose were simple: they privately assured the South Vietnamese military rulers that an incoming Republican regime would offer them a better deal than would a Democratic one. In this way, they undercut both the talks themselves and the electoral strategy of Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The tactic "worked," in that the South Vietnamese junta withdrew from the talks on the eve of the election, thereby destroying the peace initiative on which the Democrats had based their campaign. In another way, it did not "work," because four years later the Nixon Administration tried to conclude the war on the same terms that had been on offer in Paris.

To be fair, the worst examples of Republican electoral dirty tricks occur when they're out of office, which does make the next couple weeks look a little less ominous, but it's times like these that we have to rely on the incredibly cynical nature of the elctorate. After all, does anyone remember or care about this still?

(CBS/AP) A Somali native living in Ohio has been charged with plotting with other al Qaeda operatives to blow up a Columbus-area shopping mall, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

It had all the makings of a brilliant October Surprise -- swing state, all-American Mall in danger, swarthy foreigner to string up -- and it just fell off the radar in days. Nice try, John. You blew your load a few months early.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Debate Analysis Is Easy! 

Candidates Most Telling When They Aren't Talking
But he moved gracefully. Mr. Bush slouched and stayed coiled tight, but Mr. Kerry seemed at times to be waltzing with his partner, the lectern. Mr. Kerry moved his hands almost continuously, at one point folding them over his heart like a French mime as he explained that he felt "nothing but respect" for Tony Blair and British soldiers serving in Iraq
[emphasis added]


October Surprise 

Paranoia? Maybe. But I am still fairly certain that Karl Rove is behind this.

Baseless Innuendo Friday 

Pundits' gut reactions
Oct. 1, 2004
...An instant poll from ABC indicated that undecided viewers who watched the debate thought Kerry had won by a 44-36 margin, while Gallup showed Kerry winning by a margin of 53 to 37. During real-time monitoring of a debate focus group, CBS found Kerry scoring consistently better than Bush, particularly among women voters. And 52 percent said their opinion of Kerry had changed for the better.

96 Insurgents Believed Killed in U.S. Assault on Iraqi City
Iraq, Oct. 1 — More than 4,000 American and Iraqi soldiers mounted a military assault on this insurgent-held city here Thursday night, in what appeared to be the first major operation to retake areas from guerrillas before the January elections. An American soldier from the First Infantry Division was killed, the military said in a statement today.

A spokesman for the First Division, Master Sgt. Robert Powell, told The Associated Press that 96 insurgents were believed killed during today's clashes, but a coalition spokesman in Baghdad said those figures could not be confirmed.

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