Reasons for Optimism III

I don't know if Oregon here is still listed as a swing state. Probably not, but I don't think that it ever should have been in the first place.

Oregon was close in 2000, but the Democratic voter registration and GOTV effort this year is the most intense by far that I've ever seen. (Canvassers end up canvassing each other.) Nader isn't a factor this year, and a significant number of moderate Republicans, including former statewide officeholders, have come out in support of Kerry. (The wingers Bush plays to have crippled the Oregon Republican party statewide, and winger control of the legislature has led to crisis after crisis.) Furthermore, I've seen reports that in Southern Oregon, which is usually reliably right-wing, Kerry and Edwards are doing far better than expected.

Everything I know tells me that the media are lowballing Kerry's chances to prevent the bandwagon effect. Some of it is political bias, some of it is pure airheadedness, and some of it might just be the desire to see a close election. But I don't think that there's any countervailing anti-Bush media tendency at work, and there's also not much voter movement in Bush's direction from Democratic ranks.

Kerry is in the driver's seat -- if the voters get to vote, and if the votes are counted. The only other thing to worry about the October Surprise, and people have been talking about that for so long that its effect should be pretty diluted by now.

(Or I could be wrong. But if I am, I'll have far more serious things to worry about than simply having miscalled this election. )

Send To Relatives and Friends!

Go see Needlenose: Visualize Winning and send it to relatives and friends.



I have a prediction for election day. Republicans will be challenging lots of voters at lots of Democratic-majority precincts. The intent will be to tie up the polls, creating extremely long lines, and causing people to turn away and not vote.

I usually work at a polling place on election day, and I know how quickly one roblem can back up a line. I can imagine that a few people, frequently challenging voters, could cause as very large percentage of voters to leave without voting.

Anyone want to bet this happens all over the country, in the Democrat areas of swing states, as well as in minority districts in the South?

Update - Right after posting that I came across this story. In Ohio the Republicans are hiring thousands of people to do exactly that - to challenge voters in minority precincts, in an attempt to cause long lines. Ohio is a swing state with a very close race. Causing a few thousand voters to leave without voting could very well change the results!

Another Defector

Paul Craig Roberts defects. Writing at VDARE, in a piece titled Three Books On The Brownshirting Of America, he says:
"Bush’s conservative supporters want no debate. They want no facts, no analysis. They want to denounce and to demonize the enemies that the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Savages of talk radio assure them are everywhere at work destroying their great and noble country.

I remember when conservatives favored restraint in foreign policy and wished to limit government power in order to protect civil liberties.

Today’s young conservatives are Jacobins determined to use government power to impose their will at home and abroad.

[. . .] Today, there is no one to correct a lie once it is told. The media, thanks to Republicans, has been concentrated in few hands, and they are not the hands of newsmen. Corporate values rule. If lies sell, sell them. If listeners, viewers, and readers want confirmation of their resentments and beliefs, give it to them."
Here is a brief bio for Roberts, from the end of the piece:
Dr. Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. During the Cold War era, he was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger. He is a former Associate Editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal editorial page and a former contributing editor of National Review.

Reality-Based Election

The phrase "reality-based" entered the lexicon last weekend, in a New York Times Magazine story by Ron Suskind, titled Without a Doubt. The story contained the following remarkable passage:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
Salon has an interview interview with Suskind, titled Reality-based Reporting.

Along these lines, a public attitudes poll released yesterday by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes shows how voters' understanding of reality itself is affecting the election. From the survey:
72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.

This tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information extends to other realms as well. Despite an abundance of evidence--including polls conducted by Gallup International in 38 countries, and more recently by a consortium of leading newspapers in 10 major countries--only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq. Forty-two percent assume that views are evenly divided, and 26% assume that the majority approves. Among Kerry supporters, 74% assume that the majority of the world is opposed.

Similarly, 57% of Bush supporters assume that the majority of people in the world would favor Bush's reelection; 33% assumed that views are evenly divided and only 9% assumed that Kerry would be preferred. A recent poll by GlobeScan and PIPA of 35 of the major countries around the world found that in 30, a majority or plurality favored Kerry, while in just 3 Bush was favored. On average, Kerry was preferred more than two to one.

Bush supporters also have numerous misperceptions about Bush's international policy positions. Majorities incorrectly assume that Bush supports multilateral approaches to various international issues--the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the treaty banning land mines (72%)--and for addressing the problem of global warming: 51% incorrectly assume he favors US participation in the Kyoto treaty. After he denounced the International Criminal Court in the debates, the perception that he favored it dropped from 66%, but still 53% continue to believe that he favors it. An overwhelming 74% incorrectly assumes that he favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. In all these cases, majorities of Bush supporters favor the positions they impute to Bush. Kerry supporters are much more accurate in their perceptions of his positions on these issues.
I think this points to a major failing on the part of those opposed to Bush. The Republican "machine" - their network of "think tanks", and advocacy/communications ideology marketing organizations - has for decades studied how people receive and retain information about the world and is using that information to get their information into people's minds.

And they certainly have been using their understanding of the ways people receive and retain information to full advantage in this election. We should not underestimate how important the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Paul Harvey and Fox News are to the election process! I suspect that many of you sophisticated, well-informed blog readers don't know that Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc. reported -- over and over -- that the recent Iraq Duelfer WMD report supported President Bush's position that Iraq had WMD, and that the 9/11 Commission found that Iraq did support al Queda! You probably assumed that these reports would help Kerry in the election because they flatly contradicted Bush's positions. But Limbaugh and the rest have a lot of listeners and viewers, and they repeated over and over that the reports backed up President Bush, as this poll shows.

How many of us make assumptions based on what we know about the facts? But what if others are using different facts? What if others believe that 2+2=5, and are using that as the basis for their decision making? You can not effectively communicate with them if your arguments start with an assumption that you share agreement that 2+2=4, when actually you do not. Instead, to be effective, you need to start your discussion by proving that 2+2=4!

Where MoveOn and The Media Fund have been running election ads based on an assumption that basic facts are understood, it might have been better to run ads that served the function of news organizations and simply reported over and over nothing more than basic facts, like that the Duelfer Iraqi WMD and the 9/11 Commission reports did NOT back up Bush. That is the starting point -- proving that 2+2=4 before you can move on to broader arguments. Another example of the basic facts problem -- as we saw above, the survey found that among Bush supporters, "An overwhelming 74% incorrectly assumes that he favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements." Sheesh.

When President Bush said during the most recent debate that we should not accept mainstream news organizations as credible sources of factual information, he was revealing his understanding of the core deciding factor of this election, in my opinion. That core fact is that people are being propagandized by a right-wing machine that simply tells lies. They are intentionally misinforming people, tricking them into voting for people who will, once in office, do things like hand their retirement savings over to big corporations, start wars, ignore public health concerns -- and tell them not to believe what they hear on the "mainstream" news.

The entire report of findings is available as a PDF document here.

Voting Machines in Florida

See a short video about electronic voting machines in Florida.


"Win Back Respect"

Via Josh Micah Marshall, here's a link to "Win Back Respect", a group which produced an ad juxtaposing Bush's clown show in front of a media group last March (the one where he joked about the missing WMD) with statements by the sister of a GI killed at shortly after then. I haven't been able to view the ad because of my software-hardware problems, but it's guaranteed to be very powerful. At the WBR site it is possible to donate money so the ad can be shown more widely.

Social Security

Here is my Social Seucrity post from Wednesday's American Street. I'm hoping we can get a discussion going here.

There's a lot of talk about Social Security today, so I thought I would weigh in.

You and I pay a big Social Security tax, something like 15%. (If you work for someone the employer pays half of that.) But you don't pay when you make more than about $88,000. You don't pay it at all on capital gains, which are also taxed much lower than income, or dividends, which are not taxed at all. For many people this is the largest tax they pay.

Once again, just to make sure you hear it, you only pay this tax on the first $88,000 of your income, even if you make vastly more than that. And rich people don't pay it at all if their income is from capital gains or dividends.

So where does this money go -- this money collected from a tax that ONLY lower and middle incomes pay, and only on income from actually working for a living?

How Kerry can blow this race wide open

There's been a lot of chatter about Kerry's goose-hunting expedition. Supposedly it makes him seem like a down-to-earth, regular guy with a macho streak.

Maybe, but any yuppy can hunt goose. In England, that kind of hunting is the preserve of the pansy aristocracy. What Kerry really wants to do is go to the town dump somewhere and shoot rats. Shooting rats is so down-to-earth it makes you sick. He'll put himself right square in the middle of NRA / militia territory, and Dubya won't know what hit him.

Famous asshole Karl Malone endorses Bush

The Bush campaign has scraped together 24 -- count 'em -- Olympic and professional athletes from five decades to endorse George W. Bush. Included on the list are Todd Walker, Janet Lynn Salomon, Dot Richardson, Natalie Golda, Adam Dunn, Chris Spielman, Josh Davis, and Daniel Beery, plus 16 other people who you've actually heard of. Altogether there are eight football players, seven Olympians, seven baseball players, a basketball player, and a golfer.

Here's what Rove is having them say, and tell me if you think it makes any sense at all:

"We have given much thought to the values and characteristics that make a great athlete. Our lives have been spent trying to run farther, push further, and jump higher than the person beside us, or across the field of our chosen sport. With years of training and exhaustive competition beneath our belts, we have identified the values necessary to compete and win--values like personal strength, determination, a sense of fair play and faith.

The same qualities that make a great athlete make a great President...."

That's not George W. Bush. Maybe they forgot what year it is or something.

I was saddened to see Ernie Banks and Bob Feller on the list, but a lot of the rest of them could have been predicted: Steve Largent, Roger Staubach, and Jack Nicklaus, for example, or the notorious asshole Karl Malone. Rove might have asked himself whether some of these guys actually are going to gain the Republicans more votes than they lose.

If that's the best they can do, I think that we should just award the election to Kerry right now.

P.S. "Beneath our belts" sounds odd -- shouldn't it be "under our belts"? Perhaps the phrase "under our belts" sounds a little too close to the groin for these nice Republican folk.

Voting Machines - MOVIE!

There's a new movie about the problems with electronic voting machines! Go see Votergate.

(If you move your mouse over the brown "Card" at the top of the page you'll see a button that says "Enter." Click that to enter the site.)

(full disclosure.)


Well done, young man

The Grey Lady nods approvingly in the direction of Jon Stewart. One wonders what might be said were Stewart to tell the world what he thinks of Judy Miller.

How to

Jeanne at Body and Soul regularly amazes me. She has a special talent for putting a simple story, something that lots of blogs cover, into a genuinely personal context. It's enlightening, not some stupid kool kids me-me-me framing. Jeanne runs a how-to for blogging.

If They Win With Lies II

Rick Perlstein, in 'Sucking democracy dry':
"These are the people whose candidate just might win this election. If he does, he will have proven but one thing: Those who are willing to do anything to win can win."
Go read.

In If They Win With Lies?, I wrote,
What does it mean for the future of the country, and the world, if they are able to hold power using methods like these? In history, what kind of governments emerge from such tactics and lies, and what are the consequences to the citizens and the rest of the world?
What is in store for us if they do win? What do you think they will do? Will they be putting bloggers in jail? Maybe that's not as important to you as to me ;-)


Enjoy the DRAFT!
Posted by Hello

Another "chain letter" from our side.

[Nancy Macy is a prominent Santa Cruz area environmental activist. I thought this was a detailed and well written letter, so I'm passing it along, and encourage you to do likewise. -Thomas]

Here is a letter my sister and I composed and are sending to family and friends throughout the US. I hope you will do something similar. Feel free to use any of this if it helps. Thanks Nancy Macy [deleted]

October 20, 2004

Dearest Family and Friends,

We decided we had to write to you to express our concerns about the importance of this election, because of an issue that is being ignored, in spite of its overwhelming importance to us, to our children, and to our planet. This issue is global warming.

The consequences of global warming can no longer be ignored. It¹s not just that polar bears are losing their habitat as the ice floes melt in the arctic, not just that coral reefs are bleaching and dying as their waters heat up, not just that whole island nations are being submerged as the seas rise. Global warming will affect us all. In California wewill have water shortages as winter snow is replaced by rain. This will cause either huge floods, or the rainwater will have to be stored in expensive new reservoirs. Tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue fever will migrate north into California as the temperatures rise and rainfall increases. The eastern U.S. coastline will change radically as lowlands are flooded much of the Gulf Coast within the next 70-80 years, and Manhattan Island lose land mass. Weather extremes such as tornadoes and hurricanes will increase, with enormous social and financial impact. Increased water shortages and eternal droughts will affect the Prairie states, and worsen tensions between Western states. Water will become more precious than oil, and disputes over water will increase armed conflict around the world. As land becomes uninhabitable, whole populations will migrate to cooler climates, causing massive social disruption. Florida had four hurricanes in a few short weeks this year country and around the world as global warming progresses. We are having small tornadoes here in Richmond, California, already. The climate models all agree on the major effects: the weather is only going to get worse and worse. We must take action now since our government is ignoring this problem.

Our President has sided with his friends in the oil, coal and power industries, and has caused a desperate situation to worsen. President Bush still refuses to acknowledge the fact of global warming, and the importance of taking strong, effective steps to reduce the emissions that cause global warming. He refuses to work within the Kyoto Treaty, which is taking effect in December 2004. We have lost credibility in the world for our failure to take responsibility for our own pollution.

Mr. Bush¹s claims that reducing emissions will damage the economy are NOT correct. The Global Warming articles in Business Week of August 16, 2004 confirm this. (www.businessweek.com) Economists all agree: there will be some job loss in specific industries such as coal mining, but our economy will actually benefit by implementation of limits on carbon dioxide emissions. New industries will spring up to provide the needed products for reducing emissions, creating thousands of jobs. Huge companies such as BP (formerly British Petroleum, now Beyond Petroleum), IBM, Royal Dutch Shell, Boeing, and many others have already reduced the carbon dioxide emissions of their operations. They have found that investments in energy conservation and changing their business processes are SAVING them HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.(www.pewclimate.org) Again and again it has been proven that environmentally responsible business practices, especially conservation, are money savers and moneymakers for business.

In addition, Mr. Bush is responsible for widespread and unprecedented manipulation, distortion, and suppression of government science on a wide range of issues relating to public health and the environment. It is now unstated policy to ignore scientific information and research when they disagree with it, and they try to hide it. This has been documented over and over by the Union of Concerned Scientists, among others, who have documented hundreds of examples of this. More than 4000 scientists have publicly signed a statement of concern, urging us to speak out against this effort to mislead the country. This report and their reports on the effect of global warming in California, the Gulf Coast, and the Upper Midwest are found at the UCS website, www.ucsusa.org. (We apologize to those of you who do not use the internet. Your local library will be able to help you find information on this issue, and the other issues covered in our letter.)

Mr. Bush has undermined every important environmental Law of the past thirty years -- all which had passed with bipartisan support. The Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act have been responsible for the improvement to the air in Los Angeles, the improvement in the Hudson River, and all the environmental improvements we¹ve seen since their passage. We have been enjoying the benefits for decades. Protections of our air, water, rivers, wetlands, oceans and deserts, their many forms of life, and our health! have all been drastically worsened by hundreds of changes in regulations; by removing funding for enforcement of the law; and by initiating moratoriums on regulations and relaxing rules. Mr. Bush is implementing policies that are bringing commercial development and resource extraction into areas preserved for generations as wilderness. These policies will continue and be exacerbated by four more years of the President¹s actions. The country cannot stand four more years of Mr. Bush. Our environment will be devastated if he remains in power.

Please vote for Senator Kerry for President. He understands global warming and the importance of a healthy environment to a healthy economy and healthy communities. His environmental record is at 100% FOR the environment, according to Environmental Defense and other institutions which track such records. He will engage the international community again on this most important issue of global warming. He will restore the hard-won protections of our environment put in place under President Nixon. He will work with the developing countries that have no carbon dioxide emission limits in the Kyoto Treaty to help them implement energy policies that reduce the total load of carbon dioxide emissions. China, India, Brazil, and other booming economies in the third world are facing huge environmental problems, and are already coming to recognize that they will also need to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases. We have to face this problem NOW in order to prevent major disaster for our children and grandchildren. It is our responsibility! Please vote FOR Senator Kerry.

Global warming is THE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM facing us. The war on terror is big, but global warming is MUCH more important in the long term. We must act NOW.

If you have questions on global warming, what it is, more specifically what will happen soon, please contact Martha. I have been studying this for over 5 years, and am familiar with the issues.

Sincerely, with love,

Martha Booz and Nancy Macy
[contact info for both available on request]

Social Security Street

I have a piece on Social Security, over at The American Street.

"Left Out" Tour - Interview with Pat LaMarche

[One more short one. Then I'll return you to your regularly scheduled Anybody But Bush Again programming.

The Green Party's nominated candidates are laying it on the line for the values and principles that they advocate. John Edwards talks about "Two Americas" - Pat LaMarche lives it. Actually, I think John Edward's "Two Americas" speech leaves out the "Third America" - people like the ones Pat encounters in this article, who aren't just struggling, but are completely wiped out. I'm proud to have my party's banner carried forward in 2004 by people like David Cobb and Pat LaMarche.

Oh yeah...

Pat on the Bush Administration:

"The bums need to go. Period. End of sentence. They’ve got to get fired. It’s
the worst administration in the history of the United States of America. And
it’s run by cowards."

Pat on the Democrats:

"Well, you know, I think your toaster oven would be better. And you’d get
toast. An occasional Pop Tart. So, they can’t help but be better. Will they be
better enough? No. If they would be better enough, I’d be a Democrat."


Pat LaMarche feels left out

And not just because Dick Cheney and John Edwards wouldn't let her debate
with them

David Cobb, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, resorted last Friday to
civil disobedience, getting himself arrested in St. Louis while ambushing the
second presidential debate of the campaign. That’s the kind of tactic you
need to get attention in the presidential campaign if you’re a third-party
candidate. It’s clear that getting ballot status in 28 states and representing a
party that collected 2,882,995 votes in the last presidential election isn’t

Cobb’s running mate, Maine’s Pat LaMarche, took a slightly different tack.
She decided to embark, on September 21, on her "Left Out" tour, during which
she would sleep either on the streets or in homeless shelters in 14 cities
across the US, "to raise awareness about America’s least-privileged citizens"
because "no vice-presidential candidate has ever been bold enough to walk in
their shoes."

Sure, it was a bit of a public-relations gambit, but LaMarche hardly took the
easy way out. She traveled by herself, with fellow Greens picking her up at
airports and helping her with transportation but then dropping her off to fend
for herself in what were possibly dangerous situations. As LaMarche herself
notes in the following interview, women are raped after only an average of 11
days on the streets. LaMarche spent a total of 14, winding up in Cleveland on
the day when John Edwards and Dick Cheney debated there, while the rest of the vice-presidential candidates had their own debate across town.


full story on the Portland (Maine) Phoenix web site

--Thomas Leavitt

Top 12 Issues Censored From the Bush-Kerry Debates.

[Excerpts from a Green Party press release. Greens have a fundamentally different agenda from that of the two major parties in the United States--who are happy to remain silent about the unweaving of the global web of life and the fact that our economic and trade policies under the last two presidents, Clinton and Bush alike, have fostered a global "race to the bottom". Opinion surveys I've read recently show that a majority of Americans favor a single payer system (which is what senior citizens have with Medicare), and yet it isn't even on the radar screen of the national Democratic Party. -Thomas]

Thursday, October 14, 2004


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders and candidates charged that the presidential debates, limited to the candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry, have effectively censored numerous issues important to Americans.


Greens listed the top twelve issues censored from the Bush-Kerry debates:

(1) When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, it violated international laws against "preemptive" and "preventive" war (enacted after Hitler used these excuses to justify invading Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France); and violated the U.S. Constitution's limit on the deployment of armed forces to immediate protection of U.S. borders (Article I, Section 8), and requirement that the U.S. adhere to international treaties (Article VI).

[four other Iraq-specific issues deleted -Thomas ]

(6) The USA Patriot Act violates numerous rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution, especially freedom of speech, freedom from search and seizure without a warrant, and guarantee of due process. Whether Mr. Kerry or Mr. Bush is elected, if another terrorist attack occurs there are already plans to extend the USA Patriot Act even further, effectively nullifying the Constitution.

(7) If we intend to avert catastrophic global climate change, the U.S. must rejoin the Kyoto agreement, strengthen and adhere to its provisions, and make conversion to non-fossil and non-nuclear energy the great project of the 21st century. (Mr. Bush withdrew the U.S. from Kyoto, Mr. Kerry is silent about rejoining the accord.)

(8) Republicans and Democrats have abandoned working people, while coddling CEOs and major shareholders with a $137 billion tax break package for corporations. Neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Kerry mentioned a national guarantee of livable wages, repeal of Taft-Hartley limits on workplace organizing, or the Million Worker March, planned for October 17 in Washington, D.C. .

(9) Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry rejected "government-run" coverage, but Congress's General Accounting Office has determined that the only health care reform that will save money is single-payer national health insurance. Under single-payer, all Americans would be guaranteed quality treatment and medicine regardless of income, employment, age, or prior medical condition, and patients will enjoy choice of physician. Middle and lower income Americans will pay far less for single-payer coverage than they do now for private coverage through profit-driven HMOs and insurance firms.

(10) The 'War on Drugs' has not only failed to stem drug abuse, it has resulted in the highest number ever of Americans incarcerated (over 5.6 million have served time, the highest percentage in the world) -- especially young people, poor people, African Americans, and Latinos.

(11) Thanks to the 1996 Telecommunications Act and other deregulation measures, fewer and fewer corporations own more and more of the media and regulate our news and entertainment. Democrats who voted for the Telecommunications Act have only themselves to blame for the Sinclair Broadcast Group's plan to air an anti-Kerry documentary on 62 TV stations.

(12) At-large winner-take-all elections have allowed two parties corrupted by corporate lobby money to dominate our political system. We can restore our democracy through various reforms: Instant Runoff Voting, Proportional Representation, "clean election" options that enable candidates to run without taking corporate money, free time for candidates on our publicly owned airwaves, and auditable paper ballots. More information on election reforms: http://www.fairvote.org

Read the complete release on the Green Party web site.

Renegade Green for Cobb

[Take that Dave. :)

From the Boston Globe. The question is not: is there a real difference between Kerry and Bush... but rather, is there more of a difference between David Cobb/the Green Party, than there is between John Kerry/the Democrats and George Bush/the Republicans? David Cobb makes a strong case that there is. -Thomas]




Most Americans, I'm sure, believe that people working full-time should be able to support their families without using public assistance, but many full-time wage earners making minimum wage have to do just that. I support increasing the minimum wage to a living wage; Bush and Kerry do not. Most Americans are burdened and scandalized by the skyrocketing costs of health insurance and prescription drugs. I support single-payer health insurance that will provide lifetime coverage to every single citizen and cost less than our current system; Bush and Kerry do not.

Most Americans value their privacy, cherish the Constitution, and believe in due process. I support a repeal of the invasive and unconstitutional USA Patriot Act in its entirety; Bush and Kerry do not.

Most Americans are tired of spending cuts in education, social services, and environmental protection. I support shifting 50 percent of the military budget over 10 years to fund these programs; Bush and Kerry do not.

more on unrepentandnadervoter.com...

--Thomas Leavitt

Republican National Convention in a nutshell.

This hilarious video montage (courtesy of BuzzFlash) of Repblican National Convention quotes demonstrates quite concisely the Republican Party's strategy in this election cycle. Terrorize the American public into re-electing Dubya. Pure and simple.

--Thomas Leavitt


Don't let up

A diarist at dKos has the right take on Sinclair:
See, almost everyone is missing the point here. Sinclair has not changed its position one bit. They are spinning, hoping to relieve the pressure of the boycott by giving a false impression of what they are doing. But what they are doing is even worse than if they were airing Stolen Honor in full. In fact, the whole thing is a winger's dream, a Free Republic version of the perfect media event.
Read what he says, and don't let up on Sinclair. These are really nasty bastards and they will say anything to get you off their backs. But they won't stop the smear!

Calming the Public -- THIS Time

The Bush Administration is doing everything it can to calm fears caused by the shortage of flu vaccine.
"We've successfully worked through vaccine supply problems in the past and we're doing so this time as well," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. "We need all of us to take a deep breath."
This is because the flu vaccine shortage makes the Bush administration look bad, and they are afraid people might vote against them as a result.

Compare this to the Bush Administration's stoking of terrorism fear! IMAGINE Bush telling people to take a breath,calm down, and not be afraid!

Ain't gonna happen.

"Love of power for its own sake is the original sin of this presidency."

Al Gore yesterday:
"Most of the problems he has caused for this country stem not from his belief in God, but from his belief in the infallibility of the right-wing Republican ideology that exalts the interests of the wealthy and of large corporations over the interests of the American people. Love of power for its own sake is the original sin of this presidency.

[. . .] The essential cruelty of Bush’s game is that he takes an astonishingly selfish and greedy collection of economic and political proposals then cloaks it with a phony moral authority, thus misleading many Americans who have a deep and genuine desire to do good in the world. And in the process he convinces them to lend unquestioning support for proposals that actually hurt their families and their communities. Bush has stolen the symbolism and body language of religion and used it to disguise the most radical effort in American history to take what rightfully belongs to the citizenry of America and give as much as possible to the already wealthy and privileged, who look at his agenda and say, as Dick Cheney said to Paul O’Neill, “this is our due.”

DRAFT - Krugman

Krugman: Feeling the Draft:
"Those who are worrying about a revived draft are in the same position as those who worried about a return to budget deficits four years ago, when President Bush began pushing through his program of tax cuts. Back then he insisted that he wouldn't drive the budget into deficit - but those who looked at the facts strongly suspected otherwise. Now he insists that he won't revive the draft. But the facts suggest that he will.

[. . .] Mr. Bush's claim that we don't need any expansion in our military is patently unrealistic; it ignores the severe stress our Army is already under. And the experience in Iraq shows that pursuing his broader foreign policy doctrine - the "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive war - would require much larger military forces than we now have.

This leads to the justified suspicion that after the election, Mr. Bush will seek a large expansion in our military, quite possibly through a return of the draft."

Vote Watch

Vote Watch 2004
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004


No one wants us to vote

The Republicans don't want us to vote. Neither do the terrorists. Voter suppression, terror alerts, terrorist attacks -- be sure to vote, no matter what.

Kos on voter suppression
Recent history of voter suppression
Education department declares all schools (many of them polling places) to be terrorist targets
Terror warnings spread fear
Election day terrorism warnings have chilling effect

"Mission Accomplished" again

He's going to fly to Iraq again for another flightsuit photo-op? Mmmm... someone tell Peggy Noonan. He's one sexy guy who can really dish out the turkey. He just has to move that bulge down where it belongs.

But this is Halloween, not Thanksgiving -- maybe an Alfred E. Newman mask might help the troops lighten up a little. Some of them are reportedly taking all this more seriously than they really should. Or he could give them all little Snickers bars.

The same old "Mission Accomplished" banner should be fine. He'll be able to use it every year from here on out, if he gets reelected. The war against terrorism is an endless one, so you can declare victory any time you want to. Or maybe make it an annual event -- every Halloween, maybe, or every April first. Peggy's a sentimental, old-school babe, and she never gets tired of that kind of shit.

October Surprise?

There's a rumour going around. October Surprise: Would Bush Make Another Visit to Baghdad?

Would this be an effective gimmick by Bush, or just transparent? And what do YOU think the October Surprise will be?

Reasons for Optimism, II

Reading the polls can be depressing, so here are a few things to remember:

1. Very few of the polls take new voters into consideration, and this year the Democrats are putting on the biggest voter-registration drive in my memory.

2. Traditionally, undecideds break for the challenger.

3. Some of the polls have a Republican bias, especially Gallup. (And incidentally, did anyone take the recent GI poll seriously? The military has its own special way of handling that sort of thing, and I wasn't too surprised at the 70-30 Bush advantage. Let's just hope that the troops get to fill out their ballots personally.)

4. In 2000, the polls wildly underestimated Gore's vote in the Presidential race.

The main things we have to worry about are election fraud, voter suppression, and the October Surprise. I think that given the present polling numbers, Kerry should be the favorite.

Salon on the polls
Soto on Gallup (October)
Soto on Gallup (September)

Reality-based community

A lot of people are commenting on the following passage in Susskind's NYT article. According to a Bush aide, Bush's critics are from

"the reality-based community....[people] who believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.....That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

You can get a great anti-Bush zinger out of this, and I heartily endorse doing so. However, people are, to a significant degree, missing the point. The Bush aide's statement actually highlights one of the Republican party's strengths and one of the Democrats' weaknesses, especially in political campaigning.

Democrats are too tied to public administration and to the normalizing social sciences, where you try to keep things under control and running smoothly, or try to figure out the most likely thing to happen based on observed regularities. Republicans are more likely to come from wildcat entrepreneurial backgrounds, often of a semi-criminal type, where the goal is to seize a momentary advantage, find an exception or a weak spot, or find a new angle. As a result Republicans are better at spotting and exploiting the unrevealed potentials of an unstable or evolving situation.

If you don't believe me, name a national political campaign since 1976 when the Democrats outcampaigned the Republicans. There's only Bill Clinton, and he strikes me as a pretty good guy at finding an angle. Republicans hated Clinton's sleaziness, not because they hate sleaziness, but because they want a monopoly on it. Clinton beat them at their own game.

On Matt Yglesias's comments, "Cranky" pointed out that the Republican aide's assertion is pretty much what they teach in business schools these days – you don't manage based on your past experience, but upon what is going to happen in the future – and the future is something that you can do something about. Another commenter, JS, cited Marx: "Philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it."

Ariel Sharon's "facts on the ground" is another example of what I mean. By taking bold actions, the executive can make his opponent's objections and proposals irrelevant, and this method works even if the bold action makes things worse. "So what are you gonna do now, buddy?"

However, most entrepreneurs fail, and most adventurists are defeated. Bush's great adventure is in collapse phase. In Iraq, things didn't go the way the Bush team had planned. (This is true even if you grant that their actual plans were different than their publicly-expressed plans). They gave it their best shot, but that wasn't good enough.

Adventurists cannot afford to admit defeat, because they've staked too much on success; once the jig is up, they're through for good. Bush can only try to save himself by upping the ante. If he wins in November, we can expect him to invade Iran, institute a draft, and attack the traitors and naysayers in our midst even more viciously than before.

Adventurists are only forgiven if they succeed, and Bush didn't. He gambled and lost, and now is in the running to be named the worst President in American history. It's time to escort him off the stage.


These two designs happen to be by my wife Sudeep.


Kevin at The Washington Monthly adds his voice to corporate efforts to block consumers from being able to sue corporations that harm them -- except he doesn't really realize that he has done so.

He cites a right-wing article, written by a right-wing think tank fellow, saying "huge awards in liability lawsuits" is part of why much of the American public can't get flu vaccines this year. This triggers readers to leave comments like, "Thank the trial lawyers, and those in power who get furious if a medical company makes a profit."

This is how it works. Watch your backs.

Renegade Greens for Kerry

Go here.

Christians will be judged too

Everything that the Bush team has done in the last several months has been calculated to stave off disaster in Iraq until after the election. At this point, even the Green Zone is no longer secure, so disaster looks pretty close.

If Bush wins, he'll have a free hand and a four-year blank check. If he loses, Kerry will have to clean up the mess (sort of like Clinton inheriting Somalia from Bush the first, except a hundred times worse).

There are literally thousands of media people and Republicans who pretty well know what's going on, but who aren't saying anything because of their career agendas, ideological obsessions, and utter cynicism and shallowness.

If Kerry wins, there really have to be recriminations and score-settling (as I think Krugman has said).
One peculiarity of the moral-clarity people and the religious right is that they frame their political fight as a moral fight against cynicism and relativism, but seem completely unaware that they too will be judged. The most dangerously cynical people in the U.S. today are conservative Republicans.

Anyone who's knocked around a bit has met cheesy, semi-criminal revival Christians who think that their piety gives them a special connection to Jesus, who they're counting on to save them if they ever get caught. That describes the Bush administration to a T.

(Apropos of Susskind's NYT article and this thread on Brad DeLong. Krugman called for recriminations here).


Times Change(s)

In 1971, in what is known as the Pentagon Papers case, the NY Times went to the mat to defend the right of the press to reveal that the government was lying to us about a war. A courageous individual risked everything to bring the "Pentagon Papers" and the information they contained to the public, and the Nixon Administration was trying to stop their publication.

Revealing government lies and corruption used to be an important role of the press.

Times sure have changed. The Times sure has changed. And, as we all know so well, the press and the role they see for themselves sure has changed. Now The Times and others are going to the mat to protect government officials who conspired to make war, and who hurt efforts to stop weapons of mass destruction from reaching terrorists.

A courageous individual named Joe Wilson risked all to reveal to us that the Bush administration was lying about their reasons for starting a war. To punish him, White House officials illegally revealed to reporters the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative. (This also intimidated others in government who might talk to the press.) To make matters even worse, Valerie Plame's job was hunting down people trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. They not only stopped her from this effort, by revealing her identity they alerted countries and organizations worldwide to look at who she has been meeting with over the years, in case they were informing on them.

See some editorials against revealing who in the White House did this: here, here, here, here, here, here ... many more...

Electoral College Update

Matt Hubbard has a new Weekly Electoral College Status update.

Explanation here.