Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Rittenhouse Review

I need to call attention to these folks, especially when they post a very important Guide to Election Day. I hope you all read it, and if possible, help oput your fellow voters for Kerry. Also, since I'm moving into their neighborhood in just a couple months, I thought I'd do them a favor.

Folks, the GOTV doesn't stop until the last Democrat votes. That's going to be right around 7:00 EST. And the blogging here on ASZ doesn't stop until Kerry is declared a winner by FauxNews.

So, anyone else have a picture that is inspiring? Maybe a song? Oh, I know a few people have some songs. How about some Springsteen? Mary Queen of Arkansas, maybe?

Sorry for the silliness, but this may be my last post for a while. I'm grading papers for the next couple days.

Hey, those are the same "Firefighters for Kerry" signs I saw yesterday!

One Last Little Edit: Has anyone ever read Roger Ailes' Blog? It's highly entertaining. I understand he's got a good take on O'Reilly's troubles there, and also a letter from the E Street Band Veterans For Truth.

What is Wrong With the Bush Administration

At least concerning the Middle East, sen. bob has it right as he references T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The Bush Administration has not looked to history, has not examined the culture of the near east. So their take on Bin Laden is woefully inadequate as they focus on the prejudices about the Middle East that have been built here in the West for over two hundred years. The scholar Edward Said forcefully makes this case in his Orientalism, absolutely essential reading for anyone in government working the Middle Eastern desk.

Said's thesis is that attitudes towards the Middle East have been built through imagery that tells a distorted tale, and I would pick up on that even more -- it is imagery that offends evangelical Christians more so than run-of-the-mill Westerners. Below is a small copy of Jean-Leon Gerome's The Snake Charmer, featured ont he cover of Said's text.
And here you can find a larger reproduction. As described by the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, where the painting resides: The Snake Charmer "focuses on a naked boy handling a python while an old man plays a fipple flute. Watching intently is a group of mercenaries differentiated by the distinctive costumes of their tribes, by ornaments, and by weapons. Such erotic and exotic imagery of Near Eastern subjects was very popular in the late nineteenth century. Despite the nearly photographic realism employed by GĂ©rome, the painting is a pastiche of Egyptian, Turkish, and Indian elements that have no basis in reality."

Imagine that this is what folks like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney think of when they imagine Arabs and others of the Middle East, savage mercenaries positively lusting not only about our women, but about our boys. These men of the collective Western imagination, these Arabs, are comfortable with the serpent, which evangelicals clarly see as symbolic of the devil. Edward Said makes an impressive argument that the unexamined Western mind has picked up such cultural baggage concerning the Arab, and it all seems to hit hot buttons of evangelicals, who are not noted for examining pre-conceived notions.

There isn't time to make Edward's case by examining all the distorted images he cites, from Richard Burton's translation of the Arabian Nights in the mid-19th Century to David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, but each of those touches on images of savagery, of ruthlessness, and of homoeroticism that must drive evangelical Christians nuts. It is not just that these Arabs are infidels bent on destroying our Christianity, but they are, in this imagery Said finds rooted within the Western subconscious, all about undermining the most sacred values of Evangelical Christians, those values they seem most nervous about, such as sexuality.

But, of course, Evangelicals don't know what drives their actions, because they don't examine their own motives, and the sources of their motives. No, not at all. And that is why we must get rid of them in the political arena, because of this lack of self-reflection.

Edit: A bit more about my notion of Evangelicals and their lack of self-examination is necessary, lest I come off as stereotyping. Of course I mean those Evangelicals who are so believing of literal interpretations of the bible that it has become the center of their subconscious vision, so much so that nearly all decisions are guided by it, unquestioned. There ARE good Christians out there who are tolerant, but it is my feeling that the extreme Evangelicals, such as Mr. Bush and Mr. Ashcroft, are unable to adequately examine their motivations because they believe to be guided by God and the Bible.

This manifests itself in many ways, not least an intolerance of other religions. Their view of women results in this campaign's ugliness regarding Mrs. Kerry. Their view of gays and lesbians manifests itself in many ways, not least at being offended that someone would call Mary Cheney, long living an open life as a lesbian, a lesbian. There simply is no compromise on their beliefs, and when there is no compromise there is no room for tolerance, much less understanding.

Tomorrow's Newsweek Today

Hell to Pay:

...the insurgents, by most accounts, are winning. Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general who stays in touch with the Joint Chiefs, has acknowledged this privately to friends in recent weeks, NEWSWEEK has learned. The insurgents have effectively created a reign of terror throughout the country, killing thousands, driving Iraqi elites and technocrats into exile and scaring foreigners out. 'Things are getting really bad,' a senior Iraqi official in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government told NEWSWEEK last week.
I wonder if we'll get any closer to the truth about what's going on in Iraq after the election on Tuesday. That's my barometer of how challenged a Kerry administration will be - dealing with the truth on the ground.

Even Republicans Fear Hate Bush (and our media sucks for not reporting it)

Not often do I come across articles that fill me with as much indignation as one today did. First, it illustrated the sad state of the mainstream media in this nation as servants of the major parties' political campaigns. Second, it did so by pointing out the disgusting lack of attention paid to longtime traditional Republicans endorsing Senator John Kerry for President. The article is entitled "Even Republicans Fear Bush", and was written by John Nichols of The Nation.

If the United States had major media that covered politics, as opposed to the political spin generated by the Bush White House and the official campaigns of both the Republican president and his Democratic challenger, one of the most fascinating, and significant, stories of the 2004 election season would be the abandonment of the Bush reelection effort by senior Republicans.
Nichols is quite scathing with his words, and I have little to add to what he writes.

The first half of the article is a damning of the mainstream media and an overview of the reasons many of these Republicans have strongly endorsed John Kerry for President. The second half of the article contains 12 forcefully-worded criticisms of our President accompanied by words of support for the Kerry-Edwards ticket from lifelong Republicans. Included in these twelve are Ambassador John Eisenhower (son of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower), former Kentucky Senator Marlow Cook, former Michigan Governor William Milliken, and former U.S. Senator Bob Smith. All but two of the statements are from Republicans who have served in high-level positions in either state or the federal governments.

Nichols concludes by saying:

In the end, of course, the vast majority of Republicans will cast their ballots for George w. Bush on Tuesday, just as the vast majority of Democrats will vote for John Kerry. But the Republicans who plan to cross the partisan divide and vote for Kerry have articulated a unique and politically potent indictment of the Bush administration.
Nichols is completely correct in this statement, but we can still affect some Bush-leaning voters that each of us know. And as Richard said, every vote counts, whether or not you're a resident of a "swing state". Here, most of us have passionately believed for a very long time that Bush has been ravaging our nation. Much of the American public is under the impression that the only people who believe as we do are extreme leftists or anarchists. They have a right to know the truth. Make our position unmistakably clear to them. Kerry must win in a landslide, otherwise this victory may not be enough. The only way to do that is to force the media into reporting that Kerry demolished Bush in this election.

For those who don't have the time to read Nichols' article, I say make the time, but if its not possible, here's a couple of the statements that have been avoided most by the media:

  • "Before the current campaign, it might have been argued that at least in affirming the importance of faith and respecting those who profess it the administration had embraced traditional conservative views. But in the wake of the Swift Boat ads attacking John Kerry, even this argument can no longer be maintained. As an elder of the Presbyterian Church, I found that those ads were not at all in the Christian tradition. John McCain rightly condemned them as dishonest and dishonorable. The president should have, too. That he did not undermines his credibility on questions of faith. Some say it's just politics. But that's the whole point. More is expected of people of faith than "just politics."

    "The fact is that the Bush administration might better be called radical or romantic or adventurist than conservative. And that's why real conservatives are leaning toward Kerry."

    -- Clyde Prestowitz, counselor to the secretary of commerce in the Reagan administration and an elder of the Presbyterian Church.

  • "George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism. His international policies have been based on the hopelessly naive belief that foreign peoples are eager to be liberated by American enemies -- a notion more grounded in Leon Trotsky's concept of global revolution than any sort of conservative statecraft."

    -- Scott McConnell, executive editor, The American Conservative.

  • "The current administration has run the largest deficits in U.S. history, incurring massive debts that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. Two and a half million people have lost their jobs; trillions have been wiped out of savings and retirement accounts. The income of Americans has declined two years in a row, the first time since the IRS began keeping records. George W. Bush will be the first president since Hoover to have a net job loss under his watch... President Bush wanted to be judged as the CEO president, it is time to say, 'you have failed, and you're fired."

    -- William Rutherford, former State Treasurer of Oregon

Two with Jack, Hold the Mayo

Family Halloween Blogging
Boo and Jack (1984)

Jay and Jack (1975)

For more recent photos of the jack-o-lantern kids see my first Friday Family Blogging adventure. As election day approaches I keep thinking about the many reasons why activists are activists. Boo and Jay have always been my motivation. There now. I've dragged you along in my stroll down Memory Lane AND demonstrated my civic spirit, all in one felled-swoop!

Your bonus prize for the day is a pointer to Google's latest holiday logo for Halloween. Have some fun and google at Google their "holiday logos".

Non-Swing State Voters - CRITICAL TO SUCCESS

The "swing state" fallacy is one I want to destroy right here, right now. Many netizens of Left Blogistan are lamenting the fact that they don't live in swing states, and therefore won't have as great of an influence on the presidential election.

I disagree on so many levels. Here's why:

Listening to the media whores, you'd think that the vote of anyone not residing in a swing state is less important. Like it's only worth 1/2 a vote or something. But this media fixation on swing states does bring up a legitimate question - if someone is not in a swing state, does their vote mean as much this coming Tuesday?

My answer: you bet. Maybe even more so.

John Kerry needs more than just a win in the presidential race - in addition to the electoral college, he needs a clear blowout in the popular vote, so that any accusations by the GOP of voter fraud are rendered useless for all practical and operational purposes. Also, a popular vote blowout, in conjunction with a Kerry electoral college victory, confers a strong mandate for change. It's as important that Senator Kerry hears that message as the neocon movement.

Lastly, a Kerry administration is going to need a dose of spine in the form of congressional representation - Senate and House. There's quite a few competitive congressional seats in non-swing states.

So that's why, even in states that are (at this time) solid blue need to really turn out the vote.

I somewhat fault the DNC for not hammering this point home over the course of the past month. It's not just the swing states.

Every single vote matters, regardless of where the votes are coming from. The more, the merrier.


Visualize Winning

This is too precious and absolutely spot-on. Makes my punky Flash effort below seem, well, punky. ;-)

Needlenose: Visualize Winning


Saturday, October 30, 2004


Wow! GOP Chair in DeLay's District is recommending DeLay's opponent?

Thanks to one of our newest linkages, Prairieweather.

Here's a good one, too!

They are disposable lighters. Let's send them to the trash can Tuesday.

Thanks to Rooks Rant!

There's Still a Lot of Excitement Out There

This is DeMoines, IA, but there is excitement going on in Appleton, WI, here in Florida, and even in Cleveland.

In Cleveland I've heard of Kerry Surrogate Paul Newman shaking hands in town, and women now refusing to wash their hands. Dang, he's still a sexy beast, I suppose.

Here in Florida I ran across about 40 Kerry supporters blanketing one the intersection of State 520 and A1A. It was stunning, from a boy named Max, nine years old and furiously waving his Kerry sign, to a young robust man waving his which said "Firefighters for Kerry." From two young schoolteachers imploring cars to honk for Kerry to a little old lady with a peace sign necklace -- all for Kerry and and all excited. How do I know? I parked my car and went out and slapped them all on the back and asked some of them their stories.

Here in Florida there is good news for them to celebrate, also. Kerry has squeeked ahead in Zogby, and there's even nicer news than that:

However, pollster John Zogby said much can be learned from the gridlock that seems to plague the race.

At this stage, incumbent Bush shouldn't be struggling in key states where 131 electoral votes are at stake, he said. Bush's struggles, he said, are Kerry's gains.

Undecided voters historically break toward the challenger at the end of a campaign, he said.

That's why he said he has no compunction about calling the race for Kerry.

"It's a hunch," said Zogby, who is known for his unconventional methods. "I'm looking at the president's numbers as an incumbent, and they're not good."

Tonight is looking good, and there was none of that predicted "Osama" bounce the pundits were calling last night.

Not One

(The Not One video has been moved here. It was sucking up too much bandwidth on ASZ.)

© All Spin Zone, 2004

Tutor Turtle Calls for Help

"Save me Mr. Wizard! Save me!

I know this has been around for a couple of weeks now ... but I tried to ignore it at first. Today, it poked a sore spot in my mind, and so here at ASZ you get the aftermath. The Goddess loves blogging.

It seems the ShrubCo faux religious blitzkrieg has officially endorsed the creationist book being distributed at the Grand Canyon... Yes, friends... the Grand Canyon was created by the Old Testament recorded flood that little children learn about in the biblical story of Noah and the Ark. (Bill Cosby's version leaps to mind now. Voice of God: "NOAH... I want you to build... an ark -- Noah: RIGHT!") Think: all the animal species on the Happy Planet, two-by-two, squabbling adult children and a real pooper-scooper problem. But don't take my word for it. Read the theo-con, theo-crat bullshit in all it's "glory" here...


"Washington, DC — The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)"

I've started to think the crew of the Mothership has forsaken me for good and for all.


Nothin' but Sunshine

Listen, at this point in the game, Monkey Boy™ could produce Osama's head on a stick, and it wouldn't matter.

Ruy Teixeira concurs.

In the horse race homestretch, Kerry is pulling away like a thoroughbred. Fast. This doesn't mean you don't have to work 24 X 7 in the next four days. It just means the job is a bit easier. And you should have a little more spring in your step as you canvas door-to-door.

So don't be worrying about a little video tape. Hell, by the end of the weekend, OBL's going to be painted as the Boy King's most vocal supporter. Just the fact that OBL's still around and able to put out a vid four days before the election is a major black eye for Bush. And that on top of the other severe beatings that the Bushbot's have been taking this week.

It's all good.


Friday, October 29, 2004

Who is this little girl?

She is the face of the future concerning the gay and lesbian partnership/marriage issue. Her mothers are lesbians. One of her mothers is my sister.

This issue has not been front and center for lots of reasons this year. Sure Bush pushed for a Marriage Amendment that would deny rights to gays and lesbians. And sure there are eleven states that are voting for similar issues. But the issue hasn't caught on and it should. We should plaster little Jillian's picture all over as an example of why we should fight for this issue, because it is all about getting children good and caring parents who have the state behind the durable relationships they fight for.

Unfortunately, defending that viewpoint can get a boy in trouble, at least in Missouri it can. Even though all other students are allowed to advertise their support of the ballot amendmant that is palpably against gays, young Brad Matthewson has been censored:

Mathewson was sent to the principal’s office by his homeroom teacher on October 20 after she spotted his t-shirt. The shirt bears the name of the Gay-Straight Alliance at his old high school in Fayetteville, Arkansas (FHS Gay-Straight Alliance), a pink triangle, and the words, "Make a Difference!" When an assistant principal saw it, he told Mathewson to go home and change shirts because someone might be offended by it. Although Mathewson pointed out the anti-gay marriage stickers seen throughout the school, his concerns were ignored. Mathewson was again disciplined when he came to school on October 27 wearing a t-shirt featuring a rainbow and the phrase, "I’m gay and I’m proud."

"Even though nobody complained about my t-shirts, my school told me I couldn’t wear them just because someone might get offended," said Mathewson, a junior at Webb City High School. "But every day I see students at my school with anti-gay stickers on their notebooks and sometimes on their shirts, and I find that offensive. I understand that they have a right to express what they think, but I have a right to do the same thing."

What a bright kid. I'd like to invite him to write here on ASZ, because this kid can definitely detect hypocrisy and put it back in their faces.

We've got a long way to work even after this election, folks.

One Thousand, One Hundred and Forty Four Days

September 11, 2001 was that long ago.

And one man still survives; the poster child of the 2004 presidential election and alleged perpetrator of the attack.

1,144 days.

Not one person sits in a jail cell anywhere in the world convicted of direct involvement or complicity in the events of 9/11/2001.

Not one.

Not a single person in the Bush administration was fired for letting it happen.

Not one.

3000 Americans dead. Not one person held accountable, anywhere in the world.

Not one.

Think about it.

Speaking Truth to Power

A Friday Afternoon Picker-Upper

The first is from Ernest Partridge, co-editor of the Crisis Papers - An Open Letter to Colin Powell and John McCain:

Excerpt: "Gentlemen,

Rarely in the course of human events, does an opportunity fall upon a single individual to dramatically and favorably alter the course of history.

Each of you stands at that crossroad of history and each of you, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “hold the power and bear the responsibility.”

Along with millions of our countrymen, I implore you to pause, to reflect, and then to follow the demands of your duty to your country and to its enduring principles: renounce your support of George Bush and his corrupt and incompetent administration, and join us in our determination to cleanse our body politic of greed and deliberate ignorance, and to restore the good name of the United States among the community of nations."

The next is from Citizens for Legitimate Government: It’s Satyagraha Time: A Manifesto by Thomas I. Ellis, Ph.D.

"Satyagraha is the word coined by Mahatma Gandhi to describe the essence of his brilliant and visionary political strategy, later adopted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It literally translates as "holding fast to truth" and—contrary to popular misconceptions, is not merely a synonym for civil disobedience. Rather, Gandhi defined it, in practice, as "nonviolent noncooperation with evil." As such, it refers to any and all nonviolent strategies for mindfully confronting, resisting, and transforming all forms of political evil and oppression. It can range from simply speaking truth to power all the way to massive civil disobedience and to setting up a parallel alternative government. A Satyagraha campaign, Gandhi insisted, is always a last resort, after all other legally sanctioned forms of redress have been exhausted. To succeed, however, Satyagraha campaigns need strong and impeccable moral leadership, strategic intelligence, persistence, and above all, widespread grassroots support.

The time has come, I feel, to mount a nationwide Satyagraha campaign against the Bush regime. Here are three major reasons why such a campaign has become necessary:

First and foremost, they have no legitimate authority to govern ..."

Gentles, if you need "inspiration", read the rest at the links... 'Twas good for what ailed me today.

Tomorrow does not belong to them.

note: I'm hoping to do some Friday Family Blogging later tonight LCT - Left Coast Time.

Too many strings to pull

I've written about Jim Bunning and his apparent failing mental health in the last couple months. It pains me to do so, as I am a Phillies fan, and he's one of the greatest they evert had on the mound. Bunning's various antics recently, of accusing his opponent of molesting his wife, for instance, or of ducking debates he'd already agreed to, has helped his opponent, one of the biggest underdogs in the country, into the race.

Dr. Mongiardo, the challenger, has Bunning on the ropes, and as Josh Marshall notes, Mongiardo has the Republicans so worried that they've resorted to calling Mongiardo gay. Yes, politics for these boys is evidently an extension of Junior High. Hopefully when Bunning loses they won't give him a swirly.

I especially liked this line in the Lexington Herald-Leader article cited by Josh Marshall.

Bunning told reporters yesterday that President Bush might be in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati on Sunday as he campaigns for his own re-election. Plans are still tentative, but Bunning said he would want to join Bush if it happens.

Imagine, Bunning, who it is widely assumed is suffering some sort of dementia, standing tall with Dumbya, who can't put down such scintillating fiction as "My Pet Goat."

Alert the stand-up comics, because this will be some epic material.

To be serious, I believe Bunning to be a good man, and he should withdraw from the race and retire. I am sure his fellow Republicans will not allow that, and that is yet one more definition of "no shame."

Ohio GOP Loses Bid to Fight Registrations

Score one for the good guys. The only question - will Blackwell make emergency appeal to SCOTUS?

Ohio GOP Loses Bid to Fight Registrations

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Republicans lost an attempt Friday to restart hearings on thousands of voter registrations the party has contested, and the court's decision could mean the hearings will never be held.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati turned down several Republican appeals, clearing the way for a lower-court judge to decide whether to extend her temporary order stopping the hearings...
The 6th CCA is (if I remember correctly) two Republicans and one Demcrat, so this is incredibly surprising.

Score one for the good guys.

WAYBACK MACHINE: Richard's Closing Argument

This ASZ blog post was originally written on 8/22/04, and was selected for inclusion in the ASZ Wayback Machine project. All text is exactly as originally posted. Formatting has been updated to fit current Blogger templates, and in many cases, original links may no longer work. This will be my last "wayback" posting prior to the election. I selected this as my "closing argument" because it is the most powerful case for a Bush defeat that I've encountered in the past 10 months. -- Richard

This past Tuesday, August 17th, four members of the New Hampshire Air National Guard returned from deployment in Iraq. Sergeants Chris Moisan, Nancy Young, Dave Guindon, and Mike Steer left for duty on February 18th, 2004, according to an article in the NHANG newsletter, The Refueler.

In the photo to the left from Wednesday's edition of the Manchester Union Leader, the four airmen appear pretty darn happy to be home. While six months in Iraq is not an extended tour (at least in terms of the length of time that many units are remaining in country) it's still a long time to be away from friends and family. So, it's not surprising that in an airport interview, Dave Guindon told a reporter:

“It feels fantastic. It’s hard to explain it, it feels so good,” Guindon said about being home, shortly after he arrived at Manchester Airport. “I’m just going to take today slow, wake up tomorrow, and see what it’s like to be back in a normal place.”

...Sharon Guindon, Dave Guindon’s wife, said she was elated. While no definite plans for his return had been made yet, she said, the two plan to catch up on all the things that have happened during the past six months.

“I tell you, it’s such a big relief that he’s coming home,” Mrs. Guindon said, adding later, “You don’t realize what they go through until you have someone over there.”

On Wednesday, not 24 hours after saying those words, Dave Guindon put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

TSgt Dave Guindon was 48 years old, and left behind his wife and daughter.

At the risk of seeming like I'm profiling, it's almost axiomatic to conclude that Dave Guindon was very much a supporter of the war in Iraq, and by extension, the Bush administration. It's not rocket science. He worked for Raytheon (a major defense contractor), and in the past served a hitch in the regular Army, then the Army Reserve, prior to joining the NH Air National Guard. By all accounts, he was a gung-ho guy who believed in the selling points of this lousy war.

So, what the hell happened that would drive a middle-aged man to a) play GI Joe at a time when most in Guindon's demographic are more tuned into annual colon polyp screenings and worrying about paying the kid's college tuition, and b) take his own life less than 24 hours after a reunion with his family? We might never know the answer to either of these questions, but perhaps the article in The Refueler gives us a clue:

...We started off with a couple of days lugging baggage at Fort Benning Ga. We then traveled to Kuwait and spent a couple of days at Camp Wolverine, before heading north to Camp Virginia. We spent almost 45 days there being trained on convoy procedures and went out to a live fire range at a place called Camp Udari. We were in field conditions for 6 days, the only thing close
to home were the 8 Porto potties that were there. No showers or hot food. Only all the MREs that you could eat. Some retired special forces put us through the paces, and tried to teach us as much as we could remember for those six days...

If you find yourself on a tough deployment, you haven’t seen anything like what we are faced with. Well, some of you may have. We have been all over Iraq. Driven by Fullujah and by the prison.
The NHANG team was stationed at Camp Anaconda in the Sunni triangle of Iraq. They ran over 100 missions in their short time in Iraq. A quick google search on Camp Anaconda turns up many hits - many of them relating stories of mortar attacks, insurgent activities, convoys being attacked (the NHANG team appears to have been largely involved in convoy escort), and the generally crappy conditions in the camp.

It's impossible and completely unnecessary to speculate what Dave Guindon and his mates may have seen while in Iraq. But it's clear that none of the team members had the opportunity to "decompress" after leaving the battlefield. Major General John Blair, the commander of the NH Air National Guard, lamented:

..."There is a process in place by the National Guard for helping returning guardsmen as they readjust to civilian life, but it is usually scheduled after guardsmen are settled in at home.

“We thought it was something we could do after they had some private time with families. I guess we realize — or I realize now — it needs to be sooner rather than later,” said Blair.
Kate Storm previously brought you the stories of Ken Dennis and Kevin Lucey. There's a disturbing trend developing here. So disturbing that the Army is now calling in part time counselors from elementary schools to address the issue of suicide prevention with Army personnel returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres:
For Ropp, who spends two days a week counseling Meadow's Edge Elementary students in the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp., this will be her first work with the military. She has taught ASIST to people working in the mental health and education fields, and does not plan to do anything differently at Fort Bragg.

It's no secret to anyone who reads this or any other forum in Left Blogistan that the war in Iraq has been mismanaged from the first day George Bush took office, and the neocons started whipping up the war plans. People like Dave Guindon are so much cannon fodder to the policy wonks and neocon think tanks like American Enterprise Institute within the comfy confines of the I-495 Beltway in Washington.

Guindon was old enough to be a grandfather. He had no business being on the front lines in combat operations. His mature eyes saw things in Iraq that perhaps, as a younger man, he could have walled off in his mind. By all accounts, he was a very stable individual, with a good civilian career and a loving family.

And now, in the halls of Pentagon, in some dusty file cabinet, TSgt. Dave Guindon becomes just another statistic.

More From the Campaign Trail Last Night

Last night, Doc posted a picture of yesterday's Madison, Wi. Kerry rally (scroll down...) This morning, Jo Fish at Dem Vet posted some pictures taken at a Kerry rally yesterday evening (I believe in Columbus). Jo was the lucky duckie and had a front row seat. Great pics and commentary from Jo. Go visit this morning.


Bush Campaign Accepts Blame!

Let that sink in for a moment. This is the campaign that would rather give a buck to its wealthy backers than to let it stop anywhere near the President. This is a President who, with overwhelming evidence staring him in the face can only think of a couple appointments he got wrong. And now they admit wrongdoing?. This is hard to take. It changes one's worldview! I'm DIZZY!! Perhaps I'm just seeing too many soldiers?

So, why DID they doctor the picture? Could it be that they haven't enough crowd shots that look sufficiently large, as is suggested in one of our comment threads?

YOU make the call. Why did the Bushies make such an unnecessary blunder?

Activism and Coping on the Happy Planet

I just came across an excerpt from Claire Wolfe's little book, Think Free to Live Free: A Political Burnout's Guide to Life, Activism and Everything. Below is her list of the raw material, the characteristics, if you will, of an activist:

We're devoted to knowing the truth. This doesn't mean you never let a lie pass your lily lips. Some activists are, in fact, championship liars. But we all tend to want to blast away veils of official secrecy, to demand accounts and accountability from politicians, to launch the spin into outer space so we can get at the down-to-earth reality. We don't like people in power hiding things from us. We hate plots and cabals, closed-door meetings and old boy networks.

We find ethical significance all around us. We value morality, ethics, or proper action. It's true even of we who see ourselves as pretty nihilistic or unusually open-minded. We make value judgments in places where most people don't even bother to glance.

We want to make a difference. It's why we're here.

We see potential for positive change. For some of us, this means visionary thinking, utopian dreams or actions to alter the nature of society. For others, it may mean no more than having a hope of undoing devastation or evil. If we didn't believe positive change was possible, we'd be over there with Mr. Beer Gut, taking a nap.

We have a tendency toward self-sacrifice. This shows up in the very fact that we're here, getting involved instead of hanging back. Some would say that's not self-sacrifice at all: "I'm doing this to build the kind of world I want to live in," but as a practical matter, we tend to sacrifice money, time, pleasures, and peace of mind to do what we do. Occasionally we put our lives or well-being at risk for our ideals.

We have very strong egos. We have to, to believe we can make a difference. We must, to endure living in a world that frequently tells us we're wrong-headed goofball extremist incredibly annoying wing-nuts.

We are concerned with social systems. We direct our energies toward reforming, revolutionizing, replacing, or sabotaging institutions -- governments, societies, churches, businesses, and schools. Activists on the left may put the emphasis on social, while their compadres on the right may focus on systems. But as activists, even we libertarians (who see everything in terms of individual freedom) usually focus our political efforts on the institutions that can support -- or destroy -- what we most care about.

We have a strong work ethic. If not in our vocations or our home lives, at least in our activism.

We are empathetic. Unlike a certain snake-souled former president, many of us truly do feel others' pain -- be it flood victims in Bangladesh, beleaguered taxpayers, inner-city mothers, or the family of a child shot dead by DEA agents in a botched raid.

We value action, not just words.

We worry about society falling apart. Or man's inhumanity to man. Or moral decay. Or the destruction of nature. In other words, we tend to see sweeping danger (and sweeping ethical implications) beyond every individual cause or issue.

We want to be of service. For some, this may mean direct, recognized service to humanity. For others, it may simply mean knowing in our hearts that the world is a better place because we were here.

We are driven by principles. Though some of us may be very pragmatic in action, we're always aware of the values that underlie both our actions and our goals.

You and I may otherwise be so different we couldn't find a word to say to each other if we were thrown together in a crowded room. But I'm as certain as I can be that every reader of this book shares at least 10 of those 13 traits.

You can read the rest of this excerpt from the book here: Doing Freedom: Information for Living Free. And... has the book.

Now. About coping to fight another day... One of the things I have done in the past, and am trying to do again, is break glass. Not by chucking rocks through windows. No, friends. I break stained glass and mirror pieces with a hammer and construct rough mosaic canvases with the pieces... rather like a jigsaw puzzle I create as I go along. The photo above is of one I did in 1991. It's about 2 X 3 feet. Hair of figure is goldish, the body is mirror, the skirt, blues. The reflection is me. ;-) I'm currently at the work of restoring a much larger piece that is glass and other mixed media elements. Coping. I do whatever works. Sometimes breaking glass helps. Other times it's supper in bed with the covers pulled up to my neck and the television tuned to the "Mindless Channel". What works for you, ASZ-ers?

GOP Desperation is Palpable

The mountain of shit that's been piling up high behind BushCo has finally started to cascade down on the GOP this week. A political avalanche of this magnitude has been a thing of beauty to observe. I previously summarized some of my indicators on how desperate I think the Bush campaign is getting - and I wake up this morning to the latest:

Cheney to Campaign in Hawaii

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney will campaign in Hawaii on Sunday, making a rare stop on historically Democratic turf where the presidential race is unexpectedly close, a spokeswoman announced Thursday.

"We are competitive in the state; this is a very close race," Anne Womack said.

The trip was announced hours after news broke that the FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co., the oil services corporation formerly headed by Cheney...
Two days before election day, and BushCo's going to burn many precious hours sending one of their primary attack dogs on a fool's errand? Hawaii is no more in play for BushCo than is New Jersey (Ed Gillespie's protestations to the contrary). In fact, the mere notion that Darth is heading to Hawaii instead of New Jersey pretty much sums up absolutely everything you need to know about the alleged competitiveness of the Garden State.

Or, maybe Darth is just working on a head start for his getaway.


Bush: Minus One Vote in FLA

West Boynton man allegedly threatens to kill girlfriend for backing Kerry:

WEST BOYNTON -- When an 18-year-old couldn't convince his girlfriend that George W. Bush was the right choice for president, he became enraged, put a screwdriver to her throat and threatened to kill her, sheriff's officials said.

"You won't live to see the next election," Steven Soper told Stacey Silveira on Tuesday night as the two fought inside his gray, two-story home west of Boynton Beach, according to a police report.

Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge William Bollinger ordered Wednesday that Soper be held without bond in the Palm Beach County Jail pending a mental health assessment.

His next court date is Friday...

Yeah, but Jeb wants to know if Soper still plans to make it to the polls on time. Maybe the guy voted early.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Rude Dude

Jo Fish at Dem Vet pointed me toward a divinely inspired post from Rude Pundit. This is the post I intended to write on election eve. Now I'll have to write something else. I'm OK with that.

Please. Please. Please. Fire up your email program and shoot RP's post out to everyone you know. Now.

A Few Outrages, and Positives, Too

First stop on our review of the news is Halliburton. Yup, they are being investigated. I'm sure you're all surprised. Kate, pick yourself up off the floor. InsultComicDog, your jaw is slack -- get it in shape, man! I love this bit by the Halliburton spokesperson:

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the company is cooperating with various investigations, but she dismissed the latest revelation as election politics. She noted Congress' auditing arm, the Government Accountability Office, found the company's no-bid work in Iraq was legal.

"The old allegations have once again been recycled, this time one week before the election," Hall said. "The GAO said earlier this year that the contract was properly awarded because Halliburton was the only contractor that could do the work.

"We look forward to the end of the election, because no matter who is elected president, Halliburton is proud to serve the troops just as we have for the past 60 years for both Democrat and Republican administrations," she said.

"Election politics?" She's talking about the Bush Administration's FBI. Does she understand anything?

Iraqis are claiming to have some of those looted explosives while the Bush Administration, highlighted on the Drudge Report, has been blaming the RUSSIANS! The Iraqi story is at CBS, so the Bushite chorus will discount it immediately. It's a wonder CBS has the cojones to print it.

Ok, that's a bit to chew on for now. Before I forget, I want to post up a picture of the crowd in Madison Wisconsin today:

Dang, our boy is attracting them in droves. This is big even for liberal Madison, home of The Onion, a source that gives us this:

MIAMI, FL—With the knowledge that the minority vote will be crucial in the upcoming presidential election, Republican Party officials are urging blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to make their presence felt at the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

"Minority voters should make their unique voices heard, especially the African-American voting bloc, which is always a major factor in every election," said Florida Republican Party voter-drive organizer Mark Monreal, as he handed out flyers at a community center in the mostly black Miami neighborhood of South Farms. "That's why we put up hundreds of brightly colored banners featuring Martin Luther King Jr. and the 'Vote November 3' reminder. We needed to make sure they know when we want them at polling places."

"You can't walk through a black neighborhood here in Miami without seeing our 'Don't Forget Big Wednesday!' message up on a billboard, tacked to a phone booth, or taped to a bus shelter," Monreal added. "The Republican Party has spared no expense in this endeavor."

Have a nice evening, folks. Don't forget to argue with your neighbor tomorrow about Bush's record. Don't forget to point out to your mailman about how Bush has lied about the explosives in Iraq. And definitely don't forget to urge EVERYONE to vote!

Blood Brothers

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a Vietnam era veteran. The desperate last-minute tactics that the Bush administration and their party shills and media whores have been using today are beyond reprehension. We can only hope that every active duty serviceman (and woman) has been paying attention as the day wore on.

Not that I'm not already completely and thoroughly disgusted with this crew - but that they hype their bravado and engage in faux "support the troops" sloganeering, when exactly the opposite is true, makes my veteran blood boil.

The men and women of America's armed forces continue to be used as pawns in the Bush administration's royal power play. Perhaps that's because so few of the chickenhawks actually served, and never experienced a sucking chest wound on a battlefield. I hear from reliable sources that such an experience changes a person.

Here's a couple of examples of overt disrespect for those in the armed forces, ripped from today's GOP headlines:

Rudy Giuliani:

The actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?

BushCo CGI plants phony GI's in ad:

INDIANOLA, Iowa - President D'Esperation's campaign acknowledged Thursday that it had doctored a photograph used in a television commercial to remove the president and the podium where he was standing. The campaign said the ad will be re-edited and reshipped to TV stations.

A group of soldiers in the crowd was electronically copied to fill in the space where the president and the podium had been, aides say...

And finally, from my new best friend, Josh Marshall:

Back on December 6th of last year, you’ll remember, the Washington Post reported that in 2004, four of ten Army divisions would not be combat ready for up to six months. Specifically, they would be rated at C-3 or C-4, the Army’s two lowest readiness levels.

Since then, Army internal reporting and a classified Government Accounting Office study of the combat readiness of all US ground forces have further underscored the problem. The Secretary of the Army and others were briefed on the GAO study, which is still under review, earlier this month. Senior uniformed Army officials are, of course, also receiving regular briefings on the situation.

The picture this reporting paints for Guard readiness is, I’m told, considerably more bleak than the December news about readiness in the Army...
I could rant all night. The examples of the Bush Administration flat out disrespecting our troops overseas (and their families back home) is fast becoming the stuff of military legend.

Someone on another blog or online forum brought up a really good point - maybe the dissin' of the troops in the past few days is the reason why access to the site has been cybertastically embargoed outside the borders of the U.S. It would be interesting to read how much internet access GI's in Iraq are getting these days. It's also rather curious why BushCo is not already making a big stink about overseas military ballots yet. Hmmm. Perhaps the word is getting around to the men and women in uniform, and their families.

Ya think?

A little heads-up

I'm sorry I didn't notice this earlier for you East Coast folks, but for those of in Central, Mountain and Left Coast timezones, Jim Wallis, the leader of the Sojourners organization that released the statement that inspired this post as well as this one, will be on CBS Evening News tonight with Dan Rather.

Try to catch it if you are at all interested in the nationalistic drift of the conservative Christian movement in this country.

The Whole World is Watching!

We have it on good authority. The whole world is watching now, and will be watching the "election" on November 2nd. I caught an idea from a commenter at Eschaton. Those of us going to polls anytime between now and then should take along our digital (or otherwise) cameras, just in case. You know, in the interest of "history". So whether poll-watching or poll-casting act like a good scout and Be Prepared!

I got mine ready. Lock and load, as my baby sister says. ;-)

WAYBACK MACHINE: Cognitive Dissonance

This ASZ blog post was originally written as a two-part posting on 7/21 & 7/22/04, and was selected by the author for the ASZ Wayback Machine project. All text is exactly as originally posted. Formatting has been updated to fit current Blogger templates, and in many cases, original links may no longer work.

The Roots of Cognitive Dissonance - Part I (7/21/04)

I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday. And now I understand why folks at the middle-high / high end are going, "Bad economy? What bad economy?"

Here's the story. A recent acquaintance of mine is somewhat of a bigshot for a marine electronics supply company. This particular company sells boating electronic equipment to a fairly high end clientele - we're not talking 18 foot SunRay boats here. Their primary niche is a customer base who own 25 to 75 foot pleasure boats - what you would generally refer to as "yachts" if you saw them docked at a local marina.

As we were wrapping up our conversation (after being interrupted several times by phone sales and inquiries), he closed with this:

"Business has never been better. I keep hearing all of this stuff about a bad economy, well, I'm not seeing it here. Yesterday, I was talking with one of our suppliers, and even this deep into July, they're having a hard time keeping up with demand. So, where's the disconnect? I can't see where things are that bad."

Obviously, a hard core Republican. Unfortunately, I wasn't in a position to set him straight at that particular time.

But I hope you get my drift. One thing we've clearly seen over the past several years (and I'll go as far as to indict the conservative Democratic Party administration that preceded the current business-friendly neoclowns) is that the rich have most certainly gotten richer. So, someone catering to that clientele clearly isn't going to see ongoing problems with the economy. They're not selling to the guy that's working two jobs just to pay the rent.

Like anything in life, your perspective is skewed by the lenses with which you view your immediate surroundings. When your station in life is working trade booths at sold-out boat shows, of course you're not going to see the soft underbelly of the country, which is getting softer by the day.

You can google the stats yourself; I don't have the time today to get into a long discussion on the widening gap between the "haves" and the "have nots". It's disheartening to note that the company my acquaintance works for pays the folks that push the product out the door to their high end customers $9 or $10 per hour.

And they're grateful for that.

The Roots of Cognitive Dissonance - Part II (7/22/04)

In the first half of this piece, I described a conversation with an acquaintance of mine at a marine electronics shop, and his personal view that there are no problems with the U.S. economy. As I pointed out, it all depends on the lense through which you view the world.

Kate Storm (rightly) commented that "Cognitive dissonance happens when one's perception of the world around one collides with another reality, when attitude and belief begin to get tweaked by the handwriting on the wall." And I fully concur. The question then becomes, how do we facilitate a national case of cognitive dissonance at the high end of the economic spectrum?

Let me offer the following as an example: at the same time that I was writing Part I yesterday, I was also crewing the set up and staffing of "hot dog day" at a local inner city food bank (I'm a helluva multi-tasker). It's a fun event that's held once per year, and has kind of a carnival atmosphere - games, waterslides, dunk tanks, hoop contests, local celebrities, and of course, food. The kids that you seen in the picture to the right (part of a crowd of about 500 that attended) are not wastrels who just wandered in off the street from the inner city neighborhood that surrounds the food bank. Each one is a client of a social service agency served by the food bank (food pantries, churches, shelters, etc.) - a child who, if not for the services of the food bank, wouldn't be eating very well or very regularly.

Demand for services at food banks throughout the country is booming, yet operational funding is hard to come by (more about this in a future post). But you know what? Donated food is not hard to come by, both from food outlets (stores and food processing plants) and private donations. It's even perplexing to the president of the food bank where the picture above was taken. She recently noted that she's never seen anything like the conditions that exist today - a crappy economic situation at the low end; bountiful food donations from the high end.

So, does the opportunity for cognitive dissonance lay somewhere between the children who attended hot dog day and the sale of a $25,000 fish-finding sonar unit?

Perhaps if my boating acquaintance spent a Saturday morning passing out food at a local food pantry, and ran into one of his $10 per hour employees, he could be persuaded that the economy isn't as good as his own business would indicate. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for him to rub elbows with the unwashed lower caste.

I'm pretty sure that food pantry operating hours would conflict with teeoff times at the club on Saturday morning.

No Re-blogging Here...

I'm not averse to misappropriating other great blogging (with proper attribution, of course...), but I'm a wee pressed for time this morning, so I'll just point you to Tristero, who is doing some damn fine blogging today on breaking events.

Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!

Boggles the mind...

Our own personal Terminator, Kaiser Schwarzenegger, leader of the land of Kuleeforneeya, has disappointed worshipful volk in his hometown of Graz, Austria. They will not, I repeat, not be building the 80-foot statue of "him" after all. They're also considering re-re-naming the stadium bearing his name. His offense? (Humming Jeopardy music ...)

Ding! Ding! Ding! Time's up. His offense? Supporting George W. Bush.

It seems Maria is not the only one cutting Ahnuld off. Mother Uni-verse is no longer amused.

The brief article

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said -- "two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Percy Bysshe Shelley

And thanks for playing. ;-)

Matt Lauer

7AM Today Show lead: "And, with the explosives story in Iraq, is the Kerry campaign using fear like they accuse the Bush Administration of?"

No Matt, they're playing the "incompetency card". There's a difference.


Taking Time to Honor the Fallen

In some comments to a thread below one of our readers, a certain "sen. bob," mentioned as the most egregious Bush blunder a name, that of Pfc. Anthony D. D'Agostino, who died in the line of duty on November 2, 2003 in Iraq.

It is all too easy for us bloggers on the web to write about Bush blunders and dishonesty. It is all too easy for us to gather our disgust and outrage and spew it forth here. We must, I think, stand above the Bush Administration in every way possible, and that means stopping once in a while to honor the men and women who have served admirably in a truly rotten war. No, as another commentator said, Bush has not attended a funeral of any of the servicemen and women he has sent into harm's way. He bars us from seeing the coffins as they come back to Dover. Let it be known that we at Allspinzone do not forget.

You can view the short obituaries of our fallen troops at
Army Pfc. Anthony D. D’Agostino

20, of Waterbury, Conn.; assigned to the 16th Signal Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; killed Nov. 2 in an attack on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter near Fallujah, Iraq.

In letters and e-mails from Iraq, Pfc. Anthony D'Agostino asked his family for Kool-Aid to flavor his water, pictures of his cousins, crossword puzzles and books to help him learn Spanish. "He was always looking for ways to better himself," said his aunt, Beth Santos. "He wanted to make good use of his time over there." D'Agostino was among 16 soldiers who died in the Nov. 2 downing of an Army helicopter carrying troops from Iraq on leave. Stationed at Fort Hood, he would have turned 21 on Nov. 6. Born at Fort Gordon, Ga., while his father was in the military, D'Agostino graduated from high school in Waterbury, Conn., with a specialty in electricity. D'Agostino joined the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, looking for an education, career and a place to belong, Santos said. He hoped to go to the U.S. Military Academy. When he wrote letters or e-mails to home from Iraq, he talked about the hot weather and how uncomfortable the situation was, Santos said. He was proud to be serving in Iraq, family members said. But his family was nervous. "You never stop worrying," said his aunt, Beth Santos.

Thanks for the reminder of our duty, sen. bob. Of course, I had to stumble on another and disgusting story while searching for that photo of Pfc. D'Agostino's funeral in a google search. It's another story about how Marshall L. Edgerton died.

You see, a General was decorating his office, and he needed a new carpet. The furniture truck came into the compound and. . . here's the words of a witness:

We understand water trucks and gasoline trucks. We need that stuff, even though there are still plenty of ways they could detonate one of those too. Let me tell you what was being delivered though, and what Marshall Edgerton died for. A general is decorating his office here. It's a nice office, a luxury office you might say. And it needed a carpet to go with all the new furniture. Now while the grunts and we [deleted] can get along with field tables and folding chairs, of course the general has to trick out his office like he's a Roman caesar or something. So these furniture trucks come onto our compound when we already know that a lot of people out there want to kill us. This truck was loaded with carpet.

Marshall came to Iraq to die for a general's carpet. Marshall's family will grieve so a general could have carpet. What we really need here are big trucks that can haul away all the bullshit. And a few to get our asses back to an airport.

God bless Marshall L. Edgerton, too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

WSJ Gone Round the Bend?

As of a couple days ago, WSJ was actually criticizing President Bush! I said CRITICIZING PRESIDENT BUSH!

No, I am not kidding, folks. And it's all about this guy here, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

You all remember the story in March by NBC where they reported that Bush was urged by his military leaders to take out Al-Zarqawi three times before the Iraq war started, but that he evidently hesitated for fear it would harm his chances at building a coalition. Likely he was afraid Poland would balk or something. Seriously, this was during the time he was trying by hook or by crook to get Turkey on board, through bribes, but failed at that, too. ("Failed." Do I hear a trend here?) Anyway, it may have taken six months, but the venerable conservative newspaper The Wall Street Journal has finally stumbled on the VERY SAME STORY! Why does it take so long for some conservative sources to figure things out? Could it be that they need to stop drinking the koolaid? Regardless, here's a little bit of their story:

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who was in the White House as the National Security Council's director for combatting terrorism at the time, said an NSC working group, led by the Defense Department, had been in charge of reviewing the plans to target the camp. She said the camp was "definitely a stronghold, and we knew that certain individuals were there including Zarqawi." Ms. Gordon-Hagerty said she wasn't part of the working group and never learned the reason why the camp wasn't hit. But she said that much later, when reports surfaced that Mr. Zarqawi was behind a series of bloody attacks in Iraq, she said "I remember my response," adding, "I said why didn't we get that ['son of a b-'] when we could."

Administration officials say the attack was set aside for a variety of reasons, including uncertain intelligence reports on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts and the difficulties of hitting him within a large complex.

"Because there was never any real-time, actionable intelligence that placed Zarqawi at Khurmal, action taken against the facility would have been ineffective," said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the NSC. "It was more effective to deal with the facility as part of the broader strategy, and in fact, the facility was destroyed early in the war."

Another factor, though, was fear that a strike on the camp could stir up opposition while the administration was trying to build an international coalition to launch an invasion of Iraq. Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said in an interview that the reasons for not striking included "the president's decision to engage the international community on Iraq." Mr. Di Rita said the camp was of interest only because it was believed to be producing chemical weapons. He also cited several potential logistical problems in planning a strike, such as getting enough ground troops into the area, and the camp's large size.

Still, after the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, President Bush had said he relentlessly would pursue and attack fleeing al Qaeda fighters regardless of where they went to hide. Mr. Bush also had decided upon a policy of pre-emptive strikes, in which the U.S. wouldn't wait to be struck before hitting enemies who posed a threat. An attack on Mr. Zarqawi would have amounted to such a pre-emptive strike. The story of the debate over his camp shows how difficult the policy can be to carry out; Mr. Zarqawi's subsequent resurgence highlights that while pre-emptive strikes entail considerable risks, the risk of not making them can be significant too, a factor that may weigh in future decisions on when to attack terrorist leaders.
Dang, the WSJ sure employs good writers, and this is a TIGHT article. The bolding is mine for em-pha-sis.

That last bit of bold print says it all to my view. Bush set into his policy a stance that said he would make preemptive strikes on terrorists, and vowed to the American people that he would do so. But when it came to Al- Zarqawi, he hesitated as if his scrotum had been frozen. Could it be, and this is the Michael Moore in me speaking, but could it be that Bush though Al Zarqawi was an investor in the Carlyle Group?

No, what it really means is that Bush simply does not have the cojones to run a war on terror. Clinton would have taken Zarqawi out. And certainly Kerry would as well, because they wouldn't have to worry about building coalitions.

Bush is a miserable failure.


All indications are starting to point to a blowout for the ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards. And I'm here to tell you right here, right now, that this is good for not just eight years of good government, but at least sixteen years if the chips fall right and John Squared does what I think they can do.

(Flashback - I'm a big John Edwards guy - more on this some other time...)

The first good indication I received on how desperate BushCo is at the moment -- they dragged out the Crypt Keeper today -- Zell Miller is stumping for Bush. It simply gets no more desperate. Zell has no pull - zip, zero, nada - on the national scene. On the 'inside politics' side of the tape, everyone knows what Zell is all about. We saw his Joe Goebbels imitation at the GOP convention. This move smelled pretty fetid to me.

The second sign from my political ouji board was simply listening to Bush's voice and inflection over the past few days. This is a guy who already knows he's following in poppy's footsteps. He's reading from Rove's script now. There's absolutely no passion in his inflection. For Bush, it's become, "if it's Wednesday, it must be Cleveland". I'll give the RNC credit, though - that they've been able to hold him together this long is either testament to the miracles of modern medicine, they're using a body double, or it's Weekend at Bernie's with Rove behind the body, waving the arms (if you didn't see the movie you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so let it pass).

As Exhibit 3, I offer the results of internal polling from Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates (FMA), a GOP polling and strategic consulting firm based in Alexandria, Va. The results are quite enlightening, shocking, and energizing. Basically, FMA is saying that Bush is burnt toast. Unless BushCo can somehow supress every minority vote in America, they might as well be reserving the U-Hauls right now.

Lastly (and this is from several sources), CBS was supposed to release a Florida poll earlier this week. The poll showed a 6 to 8 point Kerry advantage. CBS told the polling organization to go back and do it again. (Sound familiar? "Clarke, go back and look again. See if Iraq is connected.") The second poll Florida poll came back with a 4 point Kerry lead. Now CBS is conflicted, and won't release the poll. I guess Rathergate really did rattle the cages at the Tiffany Network.

I want no one to get complacent - but this is looking really good. We have 5 days and a wakeup to sprint to the finish line. At lunchtime today, I was passing out flyers on the streets of Philly. I'll do the same tomorrow. Friday, I've got something really unique planned for a busy corner. And I've already offered my services to the DNC anywhere in the country from Saturday through Monday evening. Don't know if they'll take me up on it...if they don''s local phone banking (and the DNC's loss).

From here on out, it's all GOTV, folks. Do what you can. Fire off emails to everyone in your address book - and do it daily, if you feel so moved - tell 'em why you're so passionate about regime change. Call you local Kerry / Edwards headquarters, and offer to do some canvassing or phone banking this weekend. They'll appreciate the offer, believe me. Set up a card table outside of your local grocery story, and pass out stuff you downloaded and printed from the web. Talk to people at church on Sunday.

But for jeebus' sakes, don't do nothing (I know, I know, double negative for you pedants). This is within our grasp. We can sleep when we're dead. Don't wake up with any regrets on 11/03/04.

Newspapers falling Kerry's Way

Yes, even papers which backed Bush in 2000 are going Kerry's way, some of whom have backed Republicans for decades. The Washington Post leads off with the Orlando Sentinel, smack dab in the middle of the I-4 corridor so crucial to this election:
The Orlando Sentinel has backed every Republican seeking the White House since Richard M. Nixon in 1968. Not this time.

"This president has utterly failed to fulfill our expectations," the Florida paper said in supporting John F. Kerry, prompting some angry calls and a few dozen cancellations.

"A lot of people thought they could trust that the Sentinel would always go Republican, and when that didn't happen, they felt betrayed," said Jane Healy, the paper's editorial page editor.

The Sentinel is among 36 newspapers that endorsed President Bush four years ago and have flip-flopped, to coin a phrase, into Kerry's corner. These include the Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, according to industry magazine Editor & Publisher. Bush has won over only six papers that backed Al Gore, including the Denver Post, which received 700 letters -- all of them protesting the move.

Leave off whether newspapers have any sway. Surely 700 protest letters to the Denver Post says something, though. I'm familiar with the Orlando Sentinel, and also with the Detroit News, which has NOT swung to Kerry, but has instead withheld its opinion this year, after recommending Republicans for dozens of years in a row. These are good newspapers as a general rule. Of particular note is how far the Sentinel goes to show it is not being partisan:
Our choice was not dictated by partisanship. Already this election season, the Sentinel has endorsed Republican Mel Martinez for the U.S. Senate and four U.S. House Republicans. In 2002, we backed Republican Gov. Jeb Bush for re-election, repeating our endorsement of four years earlier. Indeed, it has been 40 years since the Sentinel endorsed a Democrat -- Lyndon Johnson -- for president.

But we cannot forget what we wrote in endorsing Mr. Bush in 2000: "The nation needs a leader who can bring people together, who can stand firm on principle but knows the art of compromise." Four years later, Mr. Bush presides over a bitterly divided Congress and nation. The unity following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- the president's finest hour -- is a memory now. Mr. Bush's inflexibility has deepened the divide.

Four years ago, we expressed confidence that Mr. Bush would replace the Clinton-Gore approach of frequent military intervention for one of selective involvement "using strict tests to evaluate U.S. national interests." To the president's credit, the war in Afghanistan met those tests. But today, U.S. forces also are fighting and dying in a war of choice in Iraq -- one that was launched to disarm a dictator who did not have weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea have worsened.

It's also noteworthy that the Sentinel strikes at Bush's lack of ability at uniting and concensus-building. It's a thinking man's endorsement and doesn't dwell on failure of policy, but more on the failure of style that leads to the failure of policies.

Though the News does not endorse Kerry, its withholding of an endorsement for Bush is far more damning in its language than the Sentinel is:

With the nation and the world firmly behind his operation in Afghanistan, he turned his sights too quickly to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, his family's old nemesis.

Acting on intelligence that was faulty and too eagerly interpreted by the administration to match its agenda, Bush moved against Iraq without the support of key allies.

We backed the invasion of Iraq, accepting the Bush assertion that Saddam's weapons programs presented a gathering threat to the United States. While America, the world and the Iraqi people are better off with Saddam gone, we now believe that Iraq was a fight that might have waited, or been avoided altogether.

Regardless, a president who takes the nation to war has an obligation to win that war as quickly, efficiently and painlessly as possible.

Bush has not done that. The management of the conflict in Iraq is abysmal. The United States went into Iraq without enough international support and brought too few of our own troops to complete the job.

In shorting the generals, in allowing political concerns to trump military strategy, in assuming too much cooperation from the Iraqi people, Bush allowed Iraq to become a hotbed of terrorism, the very condition he struck to prevent. The messy result has allowed our enemies to portray the United States as a villain, and use our role as a rallying cry for terrorists elsewhere.

There were too many poor calls, including disbanding the Iraqi army, leaving the borders undefended and trusting shady Iraqi nationals, all of which combined to turn what could have been a stunning liberation into a still uncertain, nation-building morass. Iraq has stretched America's military capabilities, strained friendships and will hamstring future strikes against rogue regimes.

Such bad management cannot be forgiven in a wartime president.

Will anyone pay attention to these papers? I certainly can't say, but if the Orlando Sentinel and the Detroit News have abandoned Bush, he must have preformed as badly as we on ASZ have been saying for months.

Catch Up - Some Headlines from Today

Either these guys are scared, broke, or incompetent.

I'm guessing a bit of all three.

Bush website blocked outside US:

Surfers outside the US have been unable to visit the official re-election site of President George W Bush.
The blocking of browsers sited outside the US began in the early hours of Monday morning.

Since then people outside the US trying to browse the site get a message saying they are not authorised to view it.

The blocking does not appear to be due to an attack by vandals or malicious hackers, but as a result of a policy decision by the Bush camp.
And you think Americans have a hard time getting anything out of Bush...

From Sludge:



In the last week before the election, ABCNEWS is holding on a videotaped message from a purported al Qaeda terrorist warning of a new attack on America, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The terrorist claims on tape the next attack will dwarf 9/11. "The streets will run with blood," and "America will mourn in silence" because they will be unable to count the number of the dead. Further claims: America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda...
No word if the cloaked "terrorist" in the tape was wearing a wire and telling Rove to STFU.

The attempted GOP theft of the election continues apace:

MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. Postal Service investigators on Wednesday were trying to find thousands of absentee ballots that should have been delivered to voters in one of Florida's most populous counties, officials said.

The issue evoked memories of the polling problems that bedeviled the Florida election in 2000 and which the state has been trying to address before next Tuesday's presidential election, which is again expected to be a very tight race.

Broward deputy supervisor of elections Gisela Salas said 60,000 absentee ballots, accounting for just over 5 percent of the electorate in the county north of Miami, were sent out between Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 to voters who would not be in town on election day.
Now, can we really blame loss of this election on "bad postal service"? I mean, come on. 60,000 absentee ballots?? You know as well as I do that they're in the trunk of someone's car. And the car has a "W04" sticker on it.

I can't wait until the trials start under a Kerry Administration...



Having a heck of a time with Blogger today - I'm actually inputting this from the BlogThis! desktop interface. That's working but Blogger isn't.

Open thread until I can get in.

More dirty, desperate tactics from the GOP

After reading a couple of articles today that briefly mentioned the possibility of "poll watchers" being present on Tuesday in battleground states to challenge the legitimacy of voters, I did a little more research and turned up this article from the NY Times and this article from Salon. Here's a quote from John Pappageorge, a Republican state representative in Troy, MI in the Salon article to fire you all up.
Pappageorge declared, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election."
In the NY Times article, an interview of a top Republican official in Ohio reveals that the GOP has a program in place to register "poll watchers" (aka voter intimidators) in swing states who are intended to

challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots.
Now, what criteria are going to be used by these euphemistically-termed "poll watchers" to weigh whether or not a person is eligible to cast ballots. I have a few ideas what these whining wolf-criers will be watching for, considering where the Republicans are focusing these efforts.

Republicans said they had enlisted 3,600 by the deadline, many in heavily Democratic urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Dayton and other cities.
To me, the most obvious two signals the poll watchers will be looking for in these areas are a) race and b) estimated level of income. Since minorities and poorer Americans, especially those in urban areas, tend to vote Democratic, this is an obvious strategy for the Republican Party. Its not enough for them to rationalize and sanction racial profiling in aiports by Homeland Security, and by various law enforcement agencies elsewhere, now they need it at the polls. Standing up for the foundational values of the United States, my foot. What happened to "all men are created equal" ?? Oh, thats right, its just inconvenient for your fascist tendencies, like the First Amendment. I'm digressing, but here is a quote from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy that relates:

The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.
Thats right, eat it, Ashcroft.

Anyhow, back to the poll watching... I have two large concerns about this.
  • People are busy, and this poll watching nonsense could really slow down the process. Especially if it gets really serious and nearly everyone is being questioned at the polls.
  • Threats and intimidation. Technically, anything occurring along these lines is illegal, but where is the line drawn?
With the Right's love affair with firearms, it really will not surprise me at all to hear about some of these poll watchers packing heat. That would definitely intimidate me. Probably not enough to scare me into not voting, but I'm sure it would do just that for others.

However worrisome this may be for some of us, that these challenges are being taken so seriously by the Republicans is a strong sign of how desperate they are. Sure, they have definitely used voter intimidation tactics in the past, but I doubt its been anywhere near this scale. They're scared, folks, and with good reason. We are strong, we have more numbers, and we have momentum. But don't let down, make your efforts of the next 6 days your strongest yet. The more Kerry wins by, the better.

I attended a lecture at my college last week that was given by a political science professor concerning predictions on the outcome of the election. Dr Michael LeRoy stated his prediction that if voter turnout is at 55% or higher, Kerry will win clearly. He gave solid points for this assertion, and I found it extremely interesting. If Republicans rely on the votes of approximately 28% (one-half of 55) of Americans to win this election, what does that say about the values of most American citizens? Well, that not enough vote, but, more importantly, it seems that liberals are a very sizable majority.

On a different note, I want to publicly thank Richard, Kate and SpinDentist for giving me the chance to do some blogging here. I love this site and the community around it; its my favorite political blog, and to be given the opportunity to write here was amazing and I'm incredibly grateful. Richard has "left the door open for me" to return here occasionally to do some more, and if Kate and SpinDentist are down with that, I trust I'll be back as often as I'm welcome! Thank you all for your great comments and discussions concerning the topics on which I posted. You're a great, kind, and fun group. I hope the perspective, views and concerns of a 21 year old liberal Christian have been interesting for most of you. And even with how little this means to most of you (I still have heard it from self-proclaimed agnostic members of the ASZ community), God bless.

(Forrest will still be hanging around; be sure to visit his blog, American Bodhisattva. - ed.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Let's get ENERGIZED!

Like I need to tell the frequenters of the Allspinzone, but I'm getting back here after a long weekend in Cleveland, of all places, and a very long weekend it was. Yes, all my Republican relatives would vote for a specimen of some tropical disease if it were named Bush. But I had one fun fashion moment that's sure to please.

You see, I was walking down the aisle of Brown's Stadium Sunday in my new Eagles scarf, a stitched together hodgepodge of many Eagles shirts from the past, when a large black woman shouted at me and asked where I got the scarf.

OK, not as cute a picture as the one of me as a kid. Anyway, I showed her the scarf, even the section of it with the Peanuts gang in Eagles helmets, and told her all about the woman in Manayunk who makes them, and she appreciated it. I also told her I'd get her more specific information before the game finished. Finally, before I turned away towards my seat I said, "A similar scarf would look good on you, Mrs. McNabb, and by the way, I love your TV work."

So, I had fun, but now I'm energized. On this weekend the election never really left my consciousness. Could it be partly because my flight preceded Bush's at Akron Canton Airport by only 40 minutes, and the State Troopers were out in force? Alas, it brought memories of my viewing my first President in 1969 when Dick "Don't call me Cheney" Nixon arrived at the same airport back when I was 12.

But this isn't about me. This is about how we keep our sense of outrage going right up until November 2nd and beyond. And this is a dare.

I'm betting nobody can do it. Nobody can recite just one. But try, would you?

Give me ONE Bush Administration Outrage, the one that is most egregious to you. Just one!

Give it down there in the comments.

Mine is that Bush wouldn't go after Zarqawi before the war, in effect aiding and abetting beheadings and the execution of dozens of Iraqi policemen this weekend. Yes, three times he was advised by his military advisors to go after Zarqawi, but Because it might have harmed Bush's lame attempts to build a coalition to invade Iraq, Bush wimped out.

If you want to look at a couple other outrages before making your choice, here are a couple extreme ones.

Post your favorite Bush evil HERE!


Quite a bit of buzz has been floating around the 'internets' today about Marshall Mather's new video, "Mosh". Gotta tell you, even though I'm way out of the demographic that Eminem is trying to reach, his newest rap video is one powerful statement. You can be sure you'll never see it on the tube - if nothing else, it has about a 7 day shelf life - but take a look for yourself.

Here's a link to the Yahoo! Launchcast stream for Eminem; click on "Mosh".

After you've watched the vid, here's a link to the lyrics of the rap. A nasty case of spyware, etc. was reported with the lyrics site. I'll see if I can find the lyrics somewhere else - tomorrow!

I'd be interested in reading your reaction.

Incompetence of Biblical Proportions

So, who gets promoted for this whole cataclysmic Al-Qaqaa fuckup? Seems like everyone who's been associated with some aspect of George Bush's successful attempt at nation wrecking has either received a promotion or a wink and a nod.

I know this story's now over 24 hours old, but with each passing hour my outrage grows, because I know this whole episode of high explosives (and high drama) is probably just the teensey tiny tip of a huge iceberg. The GOP's got their talking points out there, and they've surely clamped down on the State and War Department leakers by now, but damn if there isn't enough documentation and people talking to hoist these sonsabitches by their petards once and for all.

It's axiomatic that no one will ever spend a minute of jail time as a result of this gross incompetence of biblical proportions - but perhaps we can at least insist that Chimp and his stepford wife pack their own boxes as they move out. Just make sure that security's guarding the White House silverware.

Al-Qaqaa Spokesman Says No Weapons Search:

When the troops from the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade arrived at the Al-Qaqaa base a day or so after Baghdad's fall on April 9, 2003, there were already looters throughout the facility, Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, deputy public affairs officer for the unit, told The Associated Press.

The soldiers 'secured the area they were in and looked in a limited amount of bunkers to ensure chemical weapons were not present in their area,' Wellman wrote in an e-mail message. 'Bombs were found but not chemical weapons in that immediate area.

'Orders were not given from higher to search or to secure the facility or to search for HE type munitions, as they (high-explosive weapons) were everywhere in Iraq,' he wrote.
I'm not settling for after-life accountability for these bastards anymore. A good old fashioned witchhunt is definitely indicated. I want public floggings. I want each of these asshats (and all of their "media" enablers) to be so thoroughly taken down and discredited that they're ashamed to even walk out to the curb in the morning to pick up their newspaper.


9PM: Thanks to eagle eyed ASZ netizen Bean for catching the Al-Qaqaa timeline compiled by Jeanne @ Body and Soul earlier today.

9:40PM: Thanks to ASZ regular BradfordChild for the hookup with - even as I was typing the words "tip of the iceberg", Salon posted a very revealing article that says the same thing. Certainly worth suffering through the ad to get the day pass.