Howard Stern's Anti-Bush Web Page

Howard Stern.com

And it points to my current favorite song!

And this.

The Media Blackout: Single Payer Healthcare

Here's an excellent example of how "liberal" ideas get no play in today's media:

Single Payer Healthcare

It you went by the right-wing manufactured conventional wisdom, you would think that this is completely off the agenda, anywhere in the United States, and that only wingnuts like the Greens are willing to put themselves on the record as being in favor of it.

Except for the fact that the California Senate passed a single payer healthcare bill, SB 921, by a 23-14 margin last year - and the Assembly Health Committee passed it by a 12-5 vote this year (a couple of days ago). Obviously, a lot of non-wingnut types think it is a credible idea (8 members of the State Senate, and 18 members of the Assembly, are authors or co-authors, for example).

Pretty newsworthy, eh? Yet, a search in Google for information about AB 921 ("SB 921" california) results in *zero* hits among major media outlets. In fact, only on page five does coverage by even a single minor media outlet appear (LatinoLA) in the results.

I double checked this astonishing result by searching with Google News. The results? Just 7 hits (at least one of which is a letter to the editor)! #1? The Sonoma Index Tribune. #4? The People's Weekly World. #5? Good Housekeeping, of all things! NOTHING in the L.A. Times. Nothing in the San Jose Mercury. NOTHING in the San Francisco Chronicle. Let alone any national newspapers, such as the Washington Post, New York Times, the major newsweeklies, CNN, MSNBC. NADA. ANYWHERE.

The biggest state in the union is credibly close to implementing Single Payer Healthcare, a massive debate is going on between various sectors of the electorate and interest groups, and NOTHING is being said about it in our major media. Anywhere. For the last thirty days. Despite the fact that the only action on the bill since July of 2003 has occured during that period.

How is this possible? ...well, readers of this blog know the answer to that question. And we also know what the answer is: a media messaging infrastructure of our own, to counter the Mighty Wurlitzer built by the right over the past thirty years, at a price in the billions.

It appears that Californian's are "against Bush", not "for Kerry".

The results of two recent polls show that the relationship between the two major Presidential candidates and their respective voter base is completely different.

The Field Poll, in a May 26th, 2004 Press Release, says:

Voter support for Kerry is based more on voters’ desire to unseat Bush than it is a positive endorsement of the Massachusetts Senator. Two in three (65%) of those who prefer Kerry say their vote is more of a vote against Bush than it is support for the Democrat. The pattern is completely different among Bush voters. Seven in ten (71%) of those who prefer Bush say they are expressing support for him and just 25% say they are voting against Kerry. [33% of Kerry supporters say they are voting for Kerry.]

This echoes the sentiments recorded in a May 7th press release on polling done by Survey USA, which showed even wider disparities on the Republican side: 80% for Bush, and 17% against Kerry, 35% for Kerry and 61% against Bush.

This demonstrates that 2004 a classic "lesser of two evils" election, in the view of voters to the left end of the spectrum. The result may, ultimately (hopefully?) be a victory for Kerry this fall, but at the same time, points up how weak and out of contact with their base the Democratic Party as a whole is... a very dangerous situation, politically, to be in. Republicans are FOR their candidate, Democrats are AGAINST the other candidate. Which is a more sustainable position? I think the answer is obvious.

California's two recent gubernatorial elections demonstrate this quite clearly:

Election One: Davis runs an all out attack campaign, and paints Simon as a dangerous fanatic and an incompetent fool, and narrowly wins by convincing people that whatever reservations they have about him, he's the "lesser of two evils".

Election Two: On an up or down vote, Davis gets dumped. His party's proposed replacement, Cruz Bustamante, attracts barely a third of the voters, and is wiped out by a tidal wave of pro-Arnie sentiment... why? All the voters in the middle didn't feel it necessary to vote AGAINST Arnie.

Moral of the lesson? You can't build a sustainable majority on a negative. When the negative is neutralized or lessened, you lose.

That said, perhaps the more interesting question is, how did the Democratic Party wind up in this position? It could be argued that this is a product of how utterly repulsive Bush is to the average Kerry supporter - so much so, that, on our side, all the energy that might otherwise go into pro-Kerry sentiment has been diverted to anti-Bush sentiment... but it seems to me that the answer is more complex (and in line with the core theme of this blog): the media environment is like a super-conductor for pro-Bush/pro-conservative sentiment, and an insulator for pro-Kerry/pro-liberal sentiment. In a sense, Kerry and the Democrats have no choice but to pursue a "lesser of two evils" campaign, because that is the only way they can get their message out: they have to fight Bush on his own terrain, and on his own issues, in order to be heard.

It is fortunate that Bush is so bad... can you imagine how hopeless the situation would be, if Bush *hadn't* pursued such a radical agenda? I shudder to think of it. As it is, it looks like Kerry is ahead in the polls by a narrow margin.

Myths and Green Campaigns

[I'm reproducing this essay because it is a very cogent statement on the official Green position re: this fall's elections, and of the debate within the Green Party over the "anybody but Bush" strategy. This nuanced position (remember, the more liberal you are, the more you appreciate and embrace complexity :) ), in essence, is what the Green Party endorsed when they nominated David Cobb, as opposed to Nader/Camejo's more in your face tactics.

The "Safe States" strategy is not about avoiding the blame for a loss by Kerry, it is about focusing the energy of the campaign on building the Green Party where its message can be most effectively communicated without distractions.

--Thomas Leavitt]

Myths and Green Campaigns

by Steve Herrick estebandido _at_ gmail.com

During the 2000 Presidential campaign, "everyone knew" that Nader was
going around saying that there was no difference between the Democrats
and the Republicans. However, what "everyone knew" was a myth - Nader
never actually said that. What he in fact said was that there was not
enough difference to make a difference. Between the media and the
Democrat spinmeisters, this scathing indictment of the similarities
between the parties was subtly but crucially recast as a dismissive
oversimplification, one that anyone would recognize as simply
inaccurate. This myth is still being perpetuated four years later,
though it hasn't become any more true.

Now we have a new campaign and a new Green Presidential ticket. Within
a day or two of the convention, the myth machine was again at work on
the Greens. This time, it's telling people that Green Presidential
candidate David Cobb is encouraging people to vote for Democrat John
Kerry. One media outlet in Maine even went so far as to assert that
Vice-Presidential candidate Pat LaMarche didn't plan to vote for
herself. This is nonsense, of course, yet LaMarche found herself
obliged to clarify the point.

Cobb and LaMarche are campaigning heavily in states that either Kerry
or Bush is guaranteed to win in November. In toss-up states, they are
taking their cues from the state-level Green Parties, and in the
meantime, encouraging voters to "vote their consciences." The campaign
has said repeatedly that this phrase means just what it says, no more
and no less. It is no way a call to vote for Kerry, whom Cobb has
called "a corporatist and a militarist."

But then, why say anything except "vote Green?" In essence, Cobb is
recognizing that this is not an easy decision for progressives. As
much as he and LaMarche do indeed want people to vote Green, they
recognize that progressives see Bush as being the worst administration
in living memory, and possibly in the entire history of the United
States. As they (the non-Green progressives) see it, Kerry, almost by
default, would have to be a step up. This position is known as ABB,
"anybody but Bush."

A large majority of Green activists reject this stance, citing a long
list of Kerry's positions which bear a far greater similarity to
Bush's than to the Green Party's. Just "anybody" isn't good enough for
them. However, it would be disingenuous - and impolitic - to callously
dismiss the concerns of the ABBers out of hand, given that they are a
large majority of progressives outside the Green Party. After all,
this is the segment of the population most likely to vote Green
farther down the ballot, even if not for President.

So, when David Cobb tells people to vote their conscience, here's what
he's saying: "I understand what you're going through. You've looked at
the Green Party and realized that we represent your values and
convictions better than the Democratic Party. At the same time, you've
seen what a disaster the Bush administration has made of things, and
you want to be part of stopping it, which the Green Party is not yet
in a position to do. You're caught between what you see as the right
thing in the short run and the right thing in the long run. I don't
pretend that's an easy decision. I'm asking you to vote Green, which
is why I'm running and campaigning in your state. In the end, though,
it's your vote to cast."

Republican Thinking

I got an e-mail that is part of an exchange a friend is having with a Republican. I'm going to excerpt from the Republican's e-mail so we can see what is out there circulating. Think of this as being like a small focus group. There is much to learn here.

On Bush's intelligence -- in response to being told that the King of Jordan was more literate in English than Bush in a recent press conference, that Kerry is more intelligent, and that Bush speaks in slogans:
"I ... have known ... fighter pilots and they just don't let "dumb" people fly supersonic jets like the ones that W has flown. Therefore, he IS intelligent. If the Texas pronunciation gets in the way of people's judgement of him, then they haven't been around too many Hoosiers. All of us sound like we are from the backwoods but that doesn't mean they are dumb. The Jordanian is probably American educated and spent most of his youth in American. His dad was and his mother is American.

[. . .] Kerry may be an educated man with no slogans yet, but he also hasn't said anything about specifics except that he would wait for the UN to tell us what to do and that all the tax breaks that helped all Americans would be repealed.
The Republicans use "When they make fun of Bush they are making fun of YOU." It works. It's a big part of their technique to make their people feel like victims.

On Cheney as an architect of the war:
I would have liked to have seen Cheney replaced with Condi. They could have used his health as a basis of retirement and using her would have given W as woman and a minority as a Veep. That would have driven the Dems wild. I have never been real impressed with Cheney. I think his wife would be a better choice even.
Note the racist dig at Democrats here.

On terrorism:
I will vote for Bush because he didn't fool me the first time. I have been proud that he has been our President during these very difficult time which called for stern measures and will for generations to come. We suffered through 8 years of Clinton refusing to face the brutality of terror after the first WTC attack, The USS Cole, the embassy bombings, etc. We did take out an aspirin factory and a toy factory.
Cheney just repeated this lie about the Clinton Administration two days ago! Obviously the campaign to blame Clinton for terrorism has been very effective. The lie about the "aspirin factory" is from when Clinton ordered a full-scale attack on bin Laden's holdings, including a chemical plant in the Sudan, and more than 50 cruise missiles into his Afghanistan camps. I have no idea what the "toy factory" is about. "Stern measures" is the "strict father" metaphor. (See also here and here.) The whole thing about "generations to come" carries a subtle undertone of this being a war between Christianity and Islam. (Talk radio host Glen Beck was talking about this today - saying this is a "Christian nation" and this is obviously a religious war...)

On government spending, and exporting jobs:
I do agree with the government spending being too large except for the military which is the only thing that is protecting us and our way of life. We could do without many of the "entitlements" and make people responsible for their own care. I also do not like the sending of jobs overseas; however, Kerry's family has 57 of their factories overseas now. They could bring all those plants back to the US as a token of practicing what he believes.
Here is where the under-the-radar smear machine is very effective. Note that this guy has heard a lie that Kerry's "family" has 57 factories overseas. (This probably means the Heinz company, as in "Heinz 57".) This is effective and follows the "hypocrite" strategy.

On the Patriot act:
I don't believe that Americans have lost one civil right. I have always felt that our safety was more important. This is not the first time that Americans have had to tighten their belts. During the Civil War, Lincoln was a close to a dictator as we have ever had. Most of the basic constitutional rights were in limbo during those four year and the present time is nothing close to that. I have heard this from students and I always ask them what effect the law has had on them. Obviously, this was written before the recent Supreme Court decisions. Remember on this note they agreed with W and the Department of Justice. Also the House and the Senate including Kerry voted for the measure. He probably voted for it before he voted against it. When people, including American citizens, are picked up on a battlefied and fighting against us, they have forfeited their rights and deserve whatever happens to them.
If they are in jail they must be guilty.

On Bush's alienating the rest of the world:
America has never been liked by the Arabs or many other countries. It's called jealously. Many of them are incapable of achieving what America has and they want some but don't or can't figure out how to achieve those goals. The Cold War wasn't even close to starting again because there is only ONE major super power now. I am glad that all of those countries are worried about us. However, the French, Germans, Japanese, etc benefited from and appreciated our generosity after the W Wars. Why do we even worry about the Europeans. That's why our ancestors left there because they understood America would be a better place for the future generations to live. Suggest a read of deCrevecour again.
In response to, "it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey, windsurfs, rides motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks French:
If John Kerry does all of that stuff, I would be worried why a person would be proud to speak French. This writer seems to think that W doesn't do all of that too or other things. Bush is fluent in Spanish. Do we have more Frenchmen or Spanairds living in America? Why would a writer assume that we elect Presidents on what they do for fun or exercise? Why would that be "fun"? Most of the worst teachers in public schools are the ones who try to make learning "fun". Hopefully, we will stay away from the "touchy, feel good" stuff of the 70's and 80's. We need a forceful person who will take no stuff off anyone.
Notice how this turns into a "culture wars" thing here. The word "fun" sends him immediately into the "strict father" metaphor.

On Kerry's military experience:
Remember there are witnesses that the VC that Kerry killed was a wounded man on the beach and Kerry finished him off. Quite a hero!! ... Of all our buddies who went to Vietnam, I never knew any of them who spent only four months there. They all had one year or more.
First, this shows how valuable Rush is to the Republicans. Obviously this guy is a listener. And he's going to be someone who repeats this stuff to others. See how a good smear campaign neutralizes the fact that Kerry is a war hero?

These kinds of lies that the Republican spread don't work unless they fit into a larger "story" that people buy. Once they fit into the framework of the larger story, people will let a lot a lot of contradictions slip by them. The Bush is "strong" is a HUGE thing for them. So it is very important to spread stories that say Clinton didn't do anything about this problem. And to spread stories that neutralize that Kerry is a war hero.

The level of "cognitive dissonance" here is striking. He is just not going to accept that Bush lies, or that he wasn't paying attention before 9/11, or that he was AWOL from his military service. EVERYthing he hears is turned back around against Bush's opponents. And the base of it is this culture war thing: the elite liberals are making fun of people like you and want to let the government take your money and give it to the irresponsible welfare cheats.

Dave Winer on F-911

Dave Winer on Wednesday:
"Nicholas Kristof: "Insults and rage impede understanding." Amen.

About the Michael Moore movie, Farenheit 9/11. I haven't seen it and I don't plan to. I'm an American before I'm a member of any political party, and I have more invested in the intelligence of our decision-making process than in any one decision. I'd rather re-elect Bush than elect a president based on Moore's politics.

Yesterday on NPR they played an excerpt where he confronts members of Congress and asks if they would send their children to fight in Iraq. What a ridiculous question. No parent will say yes to that question. You could have asked that question on the Capitol steps during World War II and they still wouldn't say yes. See how this cheapens the question of whether we should be in Iraq? In a smart world, we wouldn't be there, but it isn't because Congress people won't say yes when confronted by a camera crew.

Moore is the worst of American politics, an opportunist, an anti-intellectual.

Vote no on Moore."
All I'll say is, he starts out by saying he hasn't seen the movie.

Hacked on Wednesday, Dave Winer Misses The Point With Fahrenheit 9/11. (Read the following comments, and learn a bit about where much of the country is at on these things.)

Dave Winer on Friday:
"Okay, Murphy-willing, I'm going to go see Farenheit 9/11 today. And I'm also going to see the new Spiderman movie."
Why do SO MANY PEOPLE who are supposedly ON OUR SIDE spend time discussing whether Moore goes too far dissing Bush? And the ones who do that usually haven't even seen the movie! Which means they are reacting to what is being said about the movie. Which means they are being fed opinions by the elite media. Which means ... NO WONDER THERE WAS A WAR!

Once again, I suggest people tune in to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity occasionally and learn what the Republicans are saying! After the shock and awe of THAT settles down, see if you have any energy for dissing fellow moderates and Progressives. Maybe you'll instead recognize that the country is in an emergency.


The Bush-Saudi Connection

Interested in going deeper into some of the facts from Michael Moore's movie F-911? Check out the Center for American Progress' page, The Complete Saudi Primer.

They also have "Analyzing F-911."

Southwest Airlines: Exploding the myth of unions being bad for business.

I'm not sure how I came across it, but I was astonished to learn a few days ago that Southwest is one of the most heavily unionized (if not *the* most heavily unionized) airline in the U.S. The figure I saw quoted was "85% of the workforce is unionized"... a figure confirmed by Southwest on their web site.

Now, normally, I'm not one for quoting corporate executives, but this article by Herb Kelleher (co-founder and Chair of the SWA Board of Directors), is worth quoting for this paragraph alone:

"Many observers of Southwest Airlines assume that our outstanding relationship with our People is due to a non-union work force. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a percentage of total Employees, Southwest is probably the most heavily unionized airline in America. More than 4 out of 5 Employees at Southwest are union members."

I have to admit, this had been my assumption as well... tells you how easy it is for even media-saavy folks to swallow the implicit anti-union rhetoric that pervades the American media (especially when covering the airline industry).

In case you've missed it, Southwest is the one and only major airline that has managed to be consistently profitable over the course of the last few decades. This would seem to indicate that the problems experienced by other airlines are less due to union intransigence over benefits and wages, and more due to management level incompetence.

The example of Southwest would seem to disprove the idea that a unionized workforce is bad for business, and bad for efficiency.

It appears that Henry Harteveldt, principal airline analyst at Forrester Research in San Francisco, agrees, judging by this quote from a recent article:

"What matters is how productive and efficient the airline is," said Harteveldt. "Southwest Airlines is heavily unionized, so if you have good labor relations and keep things focused, you can run a good airline."

To top it off, Southwest employees also own about 12% of the company's stock (and now the flight attendants are being cut in on this deal, through the contract they just negotiated). This doesn't sound that great, until you realize that employees owned 60% of United Airlines before it went into bankruptcy, but are likely to own squat once/if it comes out of bankruptcy. I'm sure Southwest's employees are happy to own a smaller chunk of a successful airline--and the rest of the stockholders to continue own a larger chunk, themselves. I'll bet if you ask the latter whether they think Southwest's unions have been bad for business, you won't find many takers.

--Thomas Leavitt

Bush Bad For Business

Saw the blog below referenced in a posting to Dave Farber's "Interesting People" mailing list...

The Big Picture: Bush Slipping Amongst Corporate America?

Check out this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:

"Among Kerry supporters is Eric Best, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, who says Mr. Bush's tax cuts go too far at the expense of mounting deficits. "I was raised as a fiscal conservative, and I think his fiscal policy is scary," he says. Mr. Best, who remembers Mr. Bush as an upper-class dormitory proctor at Phillips Academy Andover boarding school, says that what really motivates him to stump for Mr. Kerry is the hostility the global strategist finds as he travels.

"I can testify to the extraordinary destruction of 'American Brand Value' accomplished by this administration, from Europe to Hong Kong to Shanghai to Tokyo, and beyond," he wrote in a recent e-mail that he widely distributed. "If any CEO of a global multinational had accomplished this for his enterprise as quickly and radically as George Bush Jr. has done for the U.S., he would be replaced by the board in no time."

Geez, who would'a thunk it? Bush's blunderings abroad engendering hostility, and lost sales for American business?!? What a concept... NOT. We have only to look at the level of hostility in the U.S. towards France during the run up to the war in Iraq, over nothing more than mild displomatic resistance, to see an example of this in our own back yard.

--Thomas Leavitt

Question for Catholics

I have a question for Catholics. I'm not a Catholic, so I don't know how this works. I know that the Church is opposed to abortion, the death penalty and the war. Why is one considered a bigger deal than the others?

Why does the Church think Bush should be re-elected, even though they opposed the war?

Why Blogs Are Becoming More And More Popular

I don't know why I punish myself by reading the rich, white elite Washington columnists at all anymore.

This supposed "liberal" insults me and millions of others, calling us the "loony left," for going to see Michael Moore's movie F-911. Of course, he doesn't refute a single fact from the movie, referring only to " a farrago of conspiracy theories."

He writes of justifications for the Iraq war, "Was there no footage of a Kurdish village that had been gassed? This is obscenity by omission." Well, that happened way back when Reagan was President, and Iraq was allied with, and supplied by, the United States. It happened to a village that was in Iranian hands after the Iranians had gassed Iraq. I'm not justifying gassing the village -- they killed CIVILIANS! -- but I am saying this is not a reason for the United States to go to war more than a decade later, and almost a decade after we had destroyed Iraq's weapons. Using this as a justification for going to war, killing tens of thousands of Iraqis and killing or wounding thousands of Americans was the obscenity.


Digby! Digby! Digby!

Credibility Gap:
"It's never easy to admit you were wrong. But, it is almost more important to realize why you were wrong than to admit it in the first place. If we could all wait to see how things turn out and then just say 'whoops, sorry' and all would be well, then life would be pretty easy. "
The guy frequently says what I am thinking. He must be brilliant.

Discussing The Movie

Thanks to The Sideshow I learned of this, at A Level Gaze:
"These guys voted to send thousands of our young men and women into harm's way. These guys voted to kill a whole mess of Iraqis. These guys voted to blow over 100 billion dollars in the interest of doing so.

It would seem to me that if you vote for those kinds of things, you'd better mean it. In one sense, saying the goal was worth risking your child's life, being willing to make a sacrifice, the same sacrifice that countless families here and in Iraq are making, would be an appropriate statement of such.

We have a professional, volunteer army. You can choose not to join. That's how the system works. Congressmen's sons are, well, fortunate. Most of them have better choices available to them than to make a career in the armed forces. They go to college and to graduate school, they get jobs, and their family name opens a lot of doors for them. For a congressman to say that his son or daughter should be put into the Middle Eastern meatgrinder when there are better choices available would be stupid.

There's actually an easy and correct answer to this question: "Yes I would. I believe in this war. It's vitally important that we win, and we need every soldier we can get to make sure we do. I can't force my son to join, but I wouldn't stand in his way. In fact, I'd salute him." Boom. End of question."
Have you noticed the full-scale media assault on Moore's movie? I have yet to see an HONEST criticism of the movie. And the moderates I see and read all seem cowed into picking up the right-wing line that there are "factual errors" in the movie. Bull. They can't make that case without making up stuff about what the movie says.

And I have yet to see a single media outlet investigate the points Moore is making. Fat fucking chance of that, huh? How did Moore phrase it in the movie? "Imagine what they'd be saying if the Clinton administration had arranged to fly the McVeigh family out of the country after the OKC bombing." HOW many investigations of the Clinton administration did the Congress and Justice Department and press conduct? Has there been even ONE of the Bush administration?

Bush a Deserter: More Evidence

I suppose everyone here saw this in Atrios, but I'll put it up anyway. There seems to be new information out about Pres. Bush's military service showing that he indeed was a deserter:

"The proof of this is the “ARF Retirement Credit Summary” dated January 30, 1974, which shows that Bush was placed in an “Inactive Status” effective September 15th, 1973. This document is the proverbial “smoking gun” which proves that the Air Force considered George W. Bush to have been a deserter.

Under Air Force policy in force at that time, the only way that someone in Bush’s position could be placed in an “Inactive Status” was if they were being “completely severed from military status.” And the only way that could happen is if someone had become permanently disabled, or deserted. Bush was not disabled.

Instead, consistent with contemporaneous laws, regulations, and procedures, ARPC had reviewed Bush’s records, and found that he had failed to “satisfactorily participate” as a member of TXANG. Bush was then ordered to active duty, for which he did not show up. ARPC then certified him for immediate induction as a “non-locatee” (e.g. a deserter) through the Selective Service System.

This is the only explanation that is consistent with Bush’s military records and Air Force policy of that era."

Source (Paul Lukasiac)

Background (from Orcinus)

I think that we should have a Presidential election this fall

While we're working to win the election, we should also takes steps to make it more likely that we'll have one. There have been lots of trial balloons put up about cancelling an election in the event of terrorism, and lots of suggestions that al Qaeda plans to disrupt the election, and suggestions that al Qaeda wants Kerry to win. Furthermore, even without al Qaeda, the Diebold mess is a disaster waiting to happen, as is the wrongful disenfranchisement of supposed felons in Florida and probably elsewhere.

Democrats should put the Republicans and the media on notice that this time around we will fight just as hard as the Republicans do. We should assemble squads of staffers to go to problem areas to agitate if necessary -- just as the Republicans did in Florida last time. Everyone should know that we will not accept an unfair count this year, and that we are prepared to respond if we don't get one.

This has to go beyond one funky little website. The idea has to circulate widely, and ultimately elected officials and Party leaders will have to be involved. If we allow the election to be stolen again, it will be.

It was crazy to go ahead with an election a mere three days after the Madrid massacre..... But I do know that reversing course in the wake of a terrorist attack is inexcusable. (David Brooks, March 16, 2004)

The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission. Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel. (AP, June 25, 2004)

A steady stream of intelligence, including nuggets from militant-linked Web sites, indicates al-Qaida wants to attack the United States to disrupt the upcoming elections, federal officials said Thursday. (AP, July 9, 2004)

Osama bin Laden could have made a good living as a political consultant if he did not choose to kill babies instead. The al Qaeda/Ba'ath Party strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is, at core, a political one. They seek not just to pull Iraq into chaos, but to defeat President Bush as well. ("Terrorists for Kerry", Dick Morris, NY Post, June 5, 2004)

"While a political resolution to the election might not be quick and might be a brawl, Souter argued that the nation would still accept it," Kaplan wrote. Souter tried desperately to get Kennedy to vote with the minority, according to the book, but he wouldn't flip. "He thought the trauma of more recounts, more fighting — more politics — was too much for the country to endure," Kaplan wrote. (Kennedy had been intimidated specifically by the "Brooks Brothers Riot" of paid Republican staffers which ended the recount in Miami-Dade County; that was the only actual violence that there had been, though a number of Republicans had stated their unwillingness to accept a result which made would put Gore in the Presidency).
(Story: AP/CBS, Sept 10, 2001)

Not only is the country's leading touch-screen voting system so badly designed that votes can be easily changed, but its manufacturer is run by a die-hard GOP donor who vowed to deliver his state for Bush next year. (Salon, Sept. 23, 2003)

George IV is worse than George III

Abu Ghraib and the recent Supreme Court decisions have brought attention to the Bush Administration's horrible civil liberties record, but I think that the picture never quite gets talked about as a whole, and is worse than anyone realizes. (The fact that they went beyond what Justice Scalia was willing to accept tells you a lot).

Consider the following propositions in their combined effect. All of them have been asserted by the administration or its defenders.

1. The Geneva Conventions do not apply to anyone but uniformed troops of a signatory.

2. American law does not apply to Guantanamo, which is controlled by the U.S. but is Cuban territory.

3. Illegal combatants essentially have no rights. The definition of "illegal combatant" is not restricted by the conditions of the single precedent case from WWII.

4. During the War on Terror, extraordinary wartime measures can be taken by the Commander in Chief.

5. There needn't be a declaration of war in the War on Terror, and the enemy isn't any specific group, much less a nation, but simply all terrorists. All enemies in the War on Terror are by definition illegal combatants.

6. The Congressional authorization of the first Iraq War remains in effect, and no further Congressional authorization is necessary. If not, then the authorization of the Afghan War remains in effect, with the same significance.

7. No one will be able to know when the War on Terror has ended. "The duration of the war" or even "the heat of battle" can last for years.

8. "Torture" is a meaningless word, and international agreements forbidding torture are quaint.

8. American citizens are not exempt from the above principles, even if arrested within the U.S.

9. Americans acting overseas in support of American policy are exempt from prosecution by any foreign government or international body, and the application of American law to their actions is limited.

10. Actions taken under these principles are not subject to American judicial review, nor does any international body have any authority over them.

If you add it all up, it amounts to a completely free hand for the executive branch, the police, and the military.

In the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and in American common law, you will read about "star chamber proceedings", "cruel and unusual punishment", the refusal of habeus corpus, "bills of attainder" and the like as the crimes of George III which justified the American revolution. But our present ruler, George the Fourth, doesn't see what the fuss was all about.

I keep repeating this, but it remains true. Libertarians who still are considering voting for George Bush are pornographic human units with no redeeming social value.

The social value of libertarians comes from their dedication to liberty, pretty much by definition, but if they vote for Bush they obviously have none, and thus are pornographic according to the Supreme Court definition: "In Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964), Justice Brennan, writing for the Court, said for the material to be obscene, it must be 'utterly without redeeming social value.'" (Link)


New York Times Interviews Ronald P. Reagan (the son of you know who)

[Brilliant stuff here. In this case, like father is not like son - he didn't vote for Bush in 2000, and he's not voting for Bush in 2004 either. Love the comment re: Cheney... "I don't think he's a mindful human being. That's probably the nicest way I can put it." -Thomas]

The Son Also Rises

Published: June 27, 2004


How do you account for all the glowing obituaries of him [Ronald Reagan, Sr.]?

I think it was a relief for Americans to look at pictures of something besides men on leashes. If you are going to call yourself a Christian -- and I don't -- then you have to ask yourself a fundamental question, and that is: Whom would Jesus torture? Whom would Jesus drag around on a dog's leash? How can Christians tolerate it?
It is unconscionable. It has put our young men and women who are over there, fighting a war that they should not have been asked to fight -- it has put them in greater danger.


I just saw Richard Just on CBSnews.com. I hadn't known that he's a TNR guy.

The mystery is solved. Shafting Democrats is what TNR is for. And upward mobility is what TNR is all about.

Probably some of the opportunistic, dishonest media people who got us into Iraq are going to be replaced by new, different, dishonest opportunistic media people, and Just is lobbying for one of the slots. So is Chafetz of Oxblog, whom I saw at the NYT recently. (Chafetz objected a few months ago when I called him an opportunist, but if he cares aboiut his reputation, he shouldn't act like one. "Counterintuitive liberals" and "life-long Democrats" can't fly under the radar any more.)

I've been asking for sometime whether anyone in the media would be punished for their part in the Iraq fiasco. The answer is apparently yes -- the dispensable ones will be replaced by fresh new faces who are willing to write to the same script. Somerby won't run out of work.

(And where does our Matt stand on all this? You might well ask. But I think that he's redeemable).


Steady Eddie on Brad Delong asked:

"What concrete steps could be taken -- by a Kerry Administration, by concerned and informed individuals like many commenters on your blog, by those who can exert some influence on government including Congress -- to make these motivations more responsive to the information needs of a vibrant democracy?"

My answer was:

I'm not Brad, but a Kerry administration should put together a poison list of journalists who should only be talked to, on or off the record, by someone planning to write a resignation letter immediately thereafter.

There shouldn't be too many names on it, but at least 30. Dishonesty, stupidity, inaccuracy, and bias should all be taken into consideration in making up the list. Their careers as Washington journalists should be completely ruined for at least four years, and hopefully forever, by this denial of access.

Rove already has such a system in place, and he has used it successfully to control the media. If and when Kerry tries it, however, I expect a bunch of fucking bleeding heart liberals and counterintuitive Democrats to compare him to Hitler, Stalin, and Charley Manson, and compare the poor victim to Mother Theresa. Judith Miller is really a very fine person, you know.

Tell your Republican Senator to Go Cheney Himself

In accordance with the new Cheney civility rules, we're asking you to contact your Republican Senator, if you have one, and tell him to go Cheney himself. If you have a Democratic Senator, ask him to tell a Republican Senator to go Cheney himself.

Majority leader Frist can be told to go Cheney himself here.

Other Republican Senators can be told to go Cheney themselves here.

Good Americans Believe That No American President Should Ever Apologize For Anything. Especially Not to Terrorists like Leahy

Not an Issue for Bush

Not an Issue for Frist

In a surprise move Dick Cheney has pushed forward an amendment to the recent Senate proposal to increase ten-fold the maximum penalty the Federal Communications Commission may issue for a decency violation on television and radio. The modification allows that the word "Fuck" can now be used in circumstances where it makes the person saying it feel better.

UPDATE (thanks, 56k): "Fuck" won't get through the spamscreen. Use the word "Cheney" instead.

The software above allows you to contact everyone who represents you, from the President on down, all at once!

Here's my letter:

Dear Senators:

Pursuant the new Cheney civility rules, could Sen. Smith please go "Cheney" himself? And on behalf od the voters of Oregon, could Sen. Wyden please tell Sen. Smith to go "Cheney" himself, and also tell the presiding officer of the Senate, whether Sen. Frist or Vice President Cheney, to go p**s up a rope?


John Emerson

Shoe, Foot, Other Foot

OK, Greens and Nader fans, now YOU get to choose -- between Nader and the Greens.

From the story Nader Plays Down Green Party Rebuff"
"A day after not getting the Green Party's endorsement for president, Ralph Nader brushed off the rejection as an inconvenience, described the party as "strange," called the party's national nominating convention "a cabal" and predicted who the big loser in its decision not to endorse him would be."
So ... shoe. foot, other foot. For those of you who don't get it, I'm saying the shoe is on the other foot. For those of you who don't get THAT, I'm saying that now it's the Greens who are the targets of unfair attacks and insults. And for those of you who still don't get what I am saying, think about this: if you don't feel it is fair for these things to be said about the Greens, and feel that the convention was not a "cabal", and don't think the TRUE Progressive vote should be divided up into smaller and smaller chunks, shouldn't that also make you think again about the things said about the Democrats -- the People's coalition that has historically banded together to oppose the moneyed interests, brought us worker protections and Social Security and Medicare and Civil Rights and overtime and weekends and vacations and environmental regulations and everything else that we have been able to accomplish over the objections of the rich and powerful?

So, are the Greens just ANOTHER hack political party?

What is most important, getting WHAT you want (or at least, as much of it as you can get?) or getting WHO you want?


President Bush's inability to answer impromptu questions or speak off the cuff is an embarassment, but the attitude displayed when he was asked some unfriendly questions in Ireland is rather frightening: White House staffers registered an official protest with the Irish government.

To my knowledge that was the first hardball Bush interview since 1999 or even earlier. His handlers shepherded him very carefully through the 2000 campaign, and as President he has been handled with kid gloves. The way the Bush team has the American media cowed is bothersome indeed, but now they apparently want to extend his exemption from argument and skepticism to the whole rest of the world. This attitude of imperial entitlement has been matched only by the Popes and Chinese emperors of old.

White House protests tough Bush questioning

"On June 26, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy arrived at Dublin airport aboard Air Force One for a triumphant Irish visit. Yesterday, June 26, 2004, President George W Bush left Shannon Airport on Air Force One having spent 19 hours in an armed camp." Sunday Business Post (Ireland)

I'm bipartisan now

Nothing Cheney does is OK with me, but I like the precedent he set when he told Senator Leahy to go fuck himself. Just as an evil priest can perform a valid sacrament, a loathsome Vice President can set a binding precedent.

As you know, I have expressed my principled opposition to civility many times, both here and elsewhere. Few agree with me, and I get my allies wherever I can find them -- most often in the Republican Party.

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Fahrenheit 9/11

I think that the Democrats who are distancing themselves from Moore's film are being terribly stupid. This film is going to be EXTREMELY effective with "gut-thinking" (M), "intuitive" (F) moderates, independents, and undecideds. These are exactly the voters the Democrats need.

Not everyone makes up his or her mind reasonably after the careful examination of evidence. Many decide on the basis of hunches and feelings. The Republican Party has paid a lot of attention to this demographic, and their efforts have generally been successful -- to the extent that many assume that these voters are hopeless, dyed-in-the-wool Republicans.

They aren't; it's just that the Democrats haven't approached them effectively.

You really can't talk too openly about this -- Republicans are very quick to scream that Democrats think that the American voters are stupid. I don't put it quite that way. I just say that people who make decisions based on whims tend to get suckered a lot, and that the Republicans have done a great job of suckering them. (Of course the Republicans don't call the voters dumb, because when you're suckering someone you always tell them how smart they are).

If Moore's manipulative, demagogic, cheesy tricks succeed in wising these voters up, then Moore will have done the Democrats an enormous, and mostly undeserved, favor.

You gotta play the game the way it's played. I don't know how many times liberals and Democrats have told me "Well, I'd rather lose than descend to that level". I just don't know what to say when I hear someone saying that. Sometimes it just seems that the Democrats really deserve to lose.