The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004


 

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For your edification and viewing pleasure, here is a link to the CBC news report and video about the Canadian demonstration.

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Oh, Canada
 
Home of the REALLY free press. From the Toronto Star:

The President of The World is not President of The World for Life, at least not yet. But is he a weenie?

What evidence is there of Dubya's weenieness, apart from him chickening out when it came to going up against the filthy Commies in the skies over the Rio Grande during the unpleasantness in Vietnam?

He was afraid to speak to real, live U.S. voters except in situations where everybody had been required to sign a loyalty oath.

He was afraid to speak to the British Parliament.

The thought of being anywhere near Parliament in Ottawa has scared him speechless.

Every American who heckled him during the election campaign got arrested. But in satellite nations like the United Kingdom, not to mention rogue countries like Canada, it's out of his hands. Anybody could holler anything when he's here next week and get off scot free. This makes him very, very anxious.


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Ukraine 101
 
Ok - time to git mahself edjuhkated.

For those who - like me - are trying to figure exactly what's going on in Ukraine, don't know enough about the place, and have discovered (as usual) that the press is no help at all, a DailyKos diarist (of course) has come to the rescue. With an excellent article explaining the whole history of the place and the situation. It's in parts, and this is the first one.

Thanks to Matt Gunn for bringing this to my attention.

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Another ally gone?
 
"The occupation has turned into barbarism. The U.S. administration is committing genocide … in Iraq.

"Never in human history have such genocide and cruelty been witnessed. Such a genocide was never seen in the time of the pharaohs nor of Hitler nor of Mussolini."

"This occupation has entirely imperialist aims." -
Mehmet Elkatmis, head of the human rights group in the Turkish Parliament.

Exagerrated? Sure.

But he appears to be echoing the sentiments of many, many people.

"Elkatmis' comments drew barely a flicker of interest in Turkey, where polls point to growing anti-American sentiment."

Remember: Turkey was our ALLY in the war on terrorism, and has been cited by experts as a model for a Moslem democratic state.

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Support the troops
 
Are they in your part of the country, too? You see them everywhere on the backs of cars - ribbons that say "Support our troops."

Good idea.

I think everyone who has one of those on the back of his car should send it to George W. Bush with a letter demanding adequate body armor, adequate equipment, and an adequate assessment of what the troops will face before they get committed to war.

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Monday, November 29, 2004

What have you done?
 
A song by Heather Lev.

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A new record.
 
"The U.S. military death toll in Iraq rose by at least three Monday and the November total is approaching the highest for any month since the American-led invasion was launched in March 2003.

At least 133 U.S. troops have died in Iraq so far this month — only the second time it has topped 100 in any month. The deadliest month was last April when 135 U.S. troops died as the insurgency flared in Sunni-dominated Fallujah, where dozens of U.S. troops died this month."


How long since they predicted that we'd be greeted by Iraqis throwing flowers?

How long since Rumsfeld said it would be a cakewalk?

How long since "Mission Accomplished"?

How long since Bush had Allawi publicly claim that everything in Iraq was just ducky?

How long before the puppy-dog press insists that Bush either make good on his bullshit - or ADMIT that it was bullshit?

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Tweedledum, meet Tweedledee.
 
According to the New York Times, Bush is going to overhaul his economic team, largely because he previously had at least some token resistance to the totally failed ideas that have destroyed the economy, and now he want to go whole hog and finish the destruction.

This is a great statement:

"One senior administration official said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow can stay as long as he wants, provided it is not very long."


And I'll let you have all the money you want, provided it doesn't exceed three cents.

However, THIS is chilling:


"But Republican officials said Bush is also considering well-known officials from outside, including New York Gov. George E. Pataki (R)."


The truth is that George Pataki has borrowed New York State into oblivion. He's loves deficit spending, because it enables him to put off all the hard economic choices until they are somebody else's problem. He uses tax cuts as political tools, and damn the economic effect of piling up crushing debt. The result of his Governorship is that New York State is now DEEPLY in the red. During the 90s, almost the whole nation experienced an economic boom EXCEPT for New York State. Upstate New York is turning into a chain of ghost towns. And that change occurred during the Clinton miracle - one of the greatest economic booms in American history.

And Bush is considering him for economic advisor.

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Speechless
 
You don't even know what to say when the Ukrainians insist on accurate vote counts - and Americans don't.

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"We can generate more military power per square inch than anybody else on Earth, and everybody knows it. If you ever even contemplate our nuclear capability, it should give everybody the clear understanding that there is no power that can match the United States militarily." - Army Gen. John Abizaid


Translation: "We are the Empire, and everybody had better just do what we say."

"Per square inch"? What does that mean? They measure military might by the square inch?

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"We can generate more military power per square inch than anybody else on Earth, and everybody knows it. If you ever even contemplate our nuclear capability, it should give everybody the clear understanding that there is no power that can match the United States militarily." - Army Gen. John Abizaid


Translation: "We are the Empire, and everybody had better just do what we say."

"Per square inch"? What does that mean? They measure military might by the square inch?

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Bush Kills Turkey; Pardons Tom Delay
 
From Newsweek.

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Does Nicholas Kristof Read This Blog?
 
Of course not; don't be silly.

But he DOES make the same point that I've made: imagine if the Muslim world had a runaway best-selling novel in which the climax was Allah killing all the Christians - not to mention, in addition, the Jews, Hindus, atheists and and every other non-Moslem in the entire world.

Well, we'd be screaming bloody murder over on this side of the world, wouldn't we?

We'd be citing it as proof-positive that Islam was a violent, blood-soaked religion, wouldn't we?

Well, that's exactly what we have with the Left Behind series.


"The "Left Behind" series, the best-selling novels for adults in the U.S., enthusiastically depict Jesus returning to slaughter everyone who is not a born-again Christian. The world's Hindus, Muslims, Jews and agnostics, along with many Catholics and Unitarians, are heaved into everlasting fire: "Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and . . . they tumbled in, howling and screeching."

Gosh, what an uplifting scene!

If Saudi Arabians wrote an Islamic version of this series, we would furiously demand that sensible Muslims repudiate such hatemongering.

Silly me. I'd forgotten the passage in the Bible about how Jesus intends to roast everyone from the good Samaritan to Gandhi in everlasting fire, simply because they weren't born-again Christians."


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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Zip up, you fool.
 

(Yes, it's real. Here's the AP link. Before you laugh too hard, remember: 61 million people voted for this moron.)

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Debate
 
This is something I haven't done before: below is an online debate I came across on soc.religion.christian. I thought the fellow writing was so good that I didn't want to keep it to myself, and thought I would share it with anyone interested. Here 'tis.


Forwarded from soc.religion.christian

>>Don't you care what the rest of the world thinks of you?

Does the rest of the world care what we think of them?

To some extent, they do. They have to, since we intrude on them all the time. We intrude all the more obnoxiously when we think we know what is right, and they are not doing it.

>>Don't you care what impact American foreign policy has on the rest of the planet?

Yes, we want the world to be a freer place.

I don't believe you. If we did, we would not have elected a man who has done more to undermine civil liberties than all his predecessors for so many years.

If we did, we would not have elected a leader who is determined to lead into disaster, ignoring all the mounting scientific evidence of global warming.

>>Does Iraq look like a success to anyone?

It's a bit early to tell.

Not according to the man we re-elected, it isn't. He is already calling it victory. Remember his victory speech after "major combat phase is over"? This is one of the many untruths he tells that announce to the world what an un-christian ruler he really is.

But this too is very unchristian behavior. Remember:

Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
but those who act faithfully are his delight. (Pro 12:22 RSVA)


And:

The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
the words of the pure are pleasing to him. (Pro 15:26 RSVA)


How can he claim to have such pure speech after this? Only by sinking even deeper in his deception of the American public, as he did by spreading rumours through the "Swift Boat Veterans for 'Truth'" while denying any connection to them. Only by blinding himself with his amazing arrogance, such as when he claimed in the final debate to not have made any mistakes!

But how can you miss what this reveals about him? How can you not shudder to think of it, when you remember the Proverb:

Every one who is arrogant is an abomination to the LORD;
be assured, he will not go unpunished. (Pro 16:5 RSVA)

Those of us who don't want to share in that punishment, did not vote for him.

>>Doesn't it bother you that he s alienated every friend you have?

Fair weather friends, that cave in to terrorists and take bribes from monsters.

But they are NOT 'fair weather friends'. That is one of the big lies that certain people keep repeating over and over until we believe them. Only the case of Spain gets close to what you claim. But even in their case, it is unfair.

Their feeling, after all, was that they were not losing casualties in a war against terrorism, but rather being unfairly targeted on account of American misdeeds in Iraq. And now that the bipartisan 9-11 Commission has confirmed that Saddam has nothing to do with 9-11, the rest of the world agrees with them. Only those with a bag over their heads can fail to see the evidence that Spain was right.

>>Prior to this, it was American policy and the American government that was so universally hated around the world.

Yes, we had the audacity to be strong, free and prosperous.

And use our strength to deny that freedom and prosperity to anyone else.

Remember the assassination of Allende? The bombing of Cambodia? Remember who sold all those weapons to Saddam Hussein before he suddenly became our enemy? Yet instead of repenting of this wickedness, what does he do? He calls down condemnation from heaven by ignoring the proverb:

It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
for the throne is established by righteousness. (Pro 16:12 RSVA)


But no one can "establish by righteousness" while resorting to unnconstitutional Supreme Court interference to get elected, fighting against civil liberties, and lying to the voting public to lead us into an illegal war. Yet he has done all of these.

But as if this wasn't bad enough, by ignoring the evidence concerning global warming, and pursuing oil above all else, he is again denying that freedom and prosperity to anyone else. After all, it is primarily outside of the US that global warming is already destroying people's homes and livelihoods. And by the time it does the same in the US, the criminals here in the US who ignored it in the crucial phase will either be already dead, or moved inland and to high ground, coming up with schemes to make themselves richer off the plight of those losing their homes.

>>More sympathy for Bin Laden... More attacks on American institutions... More isolation.

Not from those who don't tremble at his every threat, as if that didn't encourage him. Trust me, he will attack those he thinks can be persuaded to appease him.

You miss the point. He will attack with even more ferocity against those who are stubborn in wickedness, and call that stubbornness 'steadfastness'.

>>How blind can you dumb rednecks in middle-America be, not to see this?

Sighted enough to see that Chamberlin and appeasement failed in the past and will in the present as well.

But not sighted enough to see that there is a lot of territory between the disastrous appeasement of Chamberlain and the stubborn recklessness of the US. We left that vast territory unexplored, and chose an incredibly foolish course of action when a wise course was called for.

>>If you get hit again, or your economy goes into a deep depression, the American people will be getting exactly what they deserve!

If we go into a depression the rest of the world will likely go into the dark ages, since our enterprise sustains most of the world's economy.

You are really out of touch. The rest of the world is now more independent of our economy than ever before. It is now easy to see America sinking into a deep depression while the rest of the world is barely touched. Where do you think all the economic productivity is nowadays? It is in Asia, not the US. That is why we have been losing so many manufacturing jobs to them for 20 years. And now we have been losing even high-tech jobs to Asia!




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Minority Rules
 

Liberal Oasis on Intelligence Reform, and the filthy politicking with our lives that is the modern Republican Party:


"Perhaps the most stunning part of the intel reform debacle is that the Speaker of the House admitted he had the votes to pass it.

Just not enough GOP votes to avoid making the Dems look good."

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Profanity
 
"George W. Bush: Our Leader" is now on a highway billboard. I was going to reproduce the picture here, but then decided that I didn't want to sully this space with it. Go look at the article. Postpone your next meal till after you read it, though.

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Moral Indictment
 
Ronnie Earle, the Texas District Attorney who is investigating corruption by Tom Delay, has decided to go on offense and call the Republicans out for impugning his integrity. The Democratic Party should take a few tips from this:

"Politicians in Congress are responsible for the leaders they choose. Their choices reflect their moral values.

Every law enforcement officer depends on the moral values and integrity of society for backup; they are like body armor. The cynical destruction of moral values at the top makes it hard for law enforcement to do its job.

In terms of moral values, this is where the rubber meets the road. The rules you apply to yourself are the true test of your moral values.

The thinly veiled personal attacks on me by Mr. DeLay's supporters in this case are no different from those in the cases of any of the 15 elected officials this office has prosecuted in my 27-year tenure. Most of these officials - 12 Democrats and three Republicans - have accused me of having political motives. What else are they going to say?"

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Intelligence Reform without intelligence.
 
According to right-wing sycophants, Bush is THE man who can handle 9/11.

So how come he can't even pass a 9/11 bill that the Democrats, most Republicans, the 9/11 commission AND the 9/11 families all want? After just getting elected, no less? And after making a huge public deal about how much "political capital" he now has?

Either he is lying about wanting Intelligence Reform passed, or he is a political weakling.

So which is it?

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Monday, November 22, 2004

The Really Loud Engine That Couldn't.
 
The Bushies are protecting us from terrorism by arresting people for changing their college advisors.

A jury has just acquitted Sami al-Hussayen. He was held for a year-and-a-half for total bullshit.

Doesn't that make you feel SAFER?

"In early 2002, the investigation of al-Hussayen began in earnest. The government's effort, it now appears, turned up a number of bogus clues leading to mistaken conclusions.

For example:

He had switched advisers for his dissertation midway through the school year. To the FBI, that meant he was trying to slow down his graduation, that his dissertation was "fictitious," and that his real purpose in coming to the United States was to help raise money for jihad, a holy war, using the Web. Al-Hussayen's explanation? His first adviser was battling cancer, and he switched so he could finish his dissertation on time.

He studied computer-security systems. "They would always mention it with a sneer," said John Dickinson, al-Hussayen's faculty adviser. Al-Hussayen's explanation? He was working on a way to detect computer break-ins, not bring the nation's computer systems down.

He moved his office from the computer-science building to one that years ago had housed the science department's nuclear reactor. To the FBI, that meant he might be seeking radioactive material to make a dirty bomb. The reality? The reactor was long defunct and the nuclear materials inaccessible, according to school officials.

"This case really stood the normal order of business on its head," said al-Hussayen's lawyer, David Nevin. "The typical situation would be a crime gets committed and you go and find the people you think committed it. In this situation they instead focused on people they were suspicious of and set about trying to prove they had indeed committed a crime."

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Deuling Quote
 
"I was disappointed the bill didn't pass. I thought it was going to pass up until the last minute. So I look forward to going back to Washington to work with the interested parties to get it passed." - George W. Bush


"But there's been a lot of opposition to this from the first. Some of it is turf, you know, quite frankly. Some of it is from the Pentagon. Some of it, quite frankly, is from the White House, despite what the president has said. - Pat Roberts (R-Forgot That He Wasn't Supposed To Tell The Truth), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.


It looks like the Chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee just said that George Bush was full of shit.

And it looks like the interviewer knew that he was supposed to ignore that and not pursue it.


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FUBAR
 
Gee whiz - right after the election, they say that they might need more troops.

They won't institute a draft - yet: They'll just completely use up the poor bastards who are over there now. Then they'll cut their benefits as a way of saying "thank you for sacrificing your youth to make us even richer."


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"Us"? You got a mouse in your pocket?
 
You know what drives me crazy? (Well, many things, obviously, but bear with me.) The tendency of the media to refer to their own perrception of the public as "us." From ABC News Websie:


"What captivated us about the Scott Peterson murder trial? Were there any real winners?"


Speak for yourself: it didn't "captivate" ME at all. Who, exactly, is this "us" that they are talking about? Try to define it: you can't.

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Brand Democrat
 
Oliver Willis is attempting to spread an ad campaign whose purpose is to use the concept of "Product Branding" for the Democratic Party. I think it's terrific. Check it out.

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Thursday, November 18, 2004


 

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The Faith Factor
 
Read the whole thing.

"Of all the loathsome spectacles we've endured since November 2--the vampire-like gloating of CNN commentator Robert Novak, Bush embracing his "mandate"--none are more repulsive than that of Democrats conceding the "moral values" edge to the party that brought us Abu Ghraib. The cries for Democrats to overcome their "out-of-touch-ness" and embrace the predominant faith all dodge the full horror of the situation: A criminal has been enabled to continue his bloody work with the help, in no small part, of self-identified Christians."

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"Colin Powell and three others resigned today. President Bush said that this proves that he's winning the war on his own staff." - David Letterman

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Plague of Toadies
 
MoDo has got the mojo.

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Surprise, surprise
 
The Bush administration has made a rosy prediction about Iraq, and it's turned out not to be true.

How UNUSUAL. THAT'S never happened before.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The recapture of Fallujah has not broken the insurgents' will to fight and may not pay the big dividend U.S. planners had hoped — to improve security enough to hold national elections in Sunni Muslim areas of central Iraq, according to U.S. and Iraqi assessments.

Instead, the battle for control of the Sunni city 40 miles west of Baghdad has sharpened divisions among Iraq's major ethnic and religious groups, fueled anti-American sentiment and stoked the 18-month-old Sunni insurgency.


Have ANY of this crew's predictions about Iraq panned out?

ANY of them?

And Bush seems bent on only having yes-men for advisers. People who will tell him that's he's never made a single mistake. When, inreality, he hasn't done a single thing RIGHT.


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Wednesday, November 17, 2004


 
Wave the flag
Wave it often
But never show it
On a coffin.
- GOP Patriotism, by Tony Peyser

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Voter Bill of Rights
 
From Code Pink. Read it and sign it.

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Saddam's Religious Tolerance
 
I guess this is old news, but it's new to me.

Saddam Hussein was tolerant of Christians in Iraq, and NOW they face possible persecution. From an interview with an Iraqi Jesuit priest:

How has life been for Iraqi Christians and other non-Muslims under Saddam Hussein?

With regard to Christians and churches, there's been peace with regard to his politics. There was no religious persecution; there was tolerance. The regime of Saddam Hussein has friendly relations with church leaders.

So even though people think he's a bad ruler in other ways, you—and many other Iraqi Christians--approve of his position on religious tolerance.

Right.

If there is democracy, is it possible that conservative Muslims might vote for an almost fanatical leader?

I agree it will not be easy. The leadership in the beginning might try to be tolerant. The difficulty is connected with the ever-growing vexation and dissatisfaction of the Muslim "street" all over the world with America's unchanging policy towards Israel, for siding persistently with Israel and neglecting the just rights of the Palestinians. Any leadership in Iraq might be democratic at first, but there will be a problem unless U.S. policy begins to be more balanced towards the Palestinian cause.


Saddam Hussein was far more tolerant of Christians practicing their faith in his country than Bush's good friends, Saudi Arabia.





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Do you realize...
 
that we purchased most of the red states from FRANCE?

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Off With His Head.
 
When Bush was asked during the debate if he had made any mistakes, the only thing he would say was that he wished he hadn't appointed certain people.

Turns out that the "people" was Colin Powell.

Not Rumsfeld, who has yet to right about ANYTHING. Not Rice. Not the various maniacs whose heedless policies have created disaster and tarnished the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world.

It was Colin Powell.

The guy who told Bush about Iraq, "If you break it, you own it."

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A new record?
 
"U.S. deaths in Iraq this month are approaching 100, making it the second-deadliest month since American forces invaded the country in March 2003, Pentagon records show."
- Attribution

And the month isn't over.

And the second term hasn't even yet begun.

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Nice Picture
 


"As I was telling my husb...as I was telling President Bush." - Condoleeza Rice, April 2004

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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Looks like Ms. Pelosi has a little fight. Now, where is her amen chorus?

"If they make this rules change, Republicans will confirm yet again that they simply do not care if their leaders are ethical. If Republicans believe that an indicted member should be allowed to hold a top leadership position in the House of Representatives, their arrogance is astonishing."

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Back-door draft.
 
Is there ANYTHING so insane that Bush won't do it?

The Army has encountered resistance from more than 2,000 former soldiers it has ordered back to military work, complicating its efforts to fill gaps in the regular troops.

Many of these former soldiers - some of whom say they have not trained, held a gun, worn a uniform or even gone for a jog in years - object to being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan now, after they thought they were through with life on active duty.

"I consider myself a civilian," said Rick Howell, a major from Tuscaloosa, Ala., who said he thought he had left the Army behind in 1997 after more than a decade flying helicopters. "I've done my time. I've got a brand new baby and a wife, and I haven't touched the controls of an aircraft in seven years. I'm 47 years old. How could they be calling me? How could they even want me?"

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What's an indictment or two among friends?
 
Senate Majority Leader and crackpot Tom Delay is about to get indicted.

So The Republicans are changing the rules so he can stay in charge anyway.

House Republicans were contemplating changing their rules in order to allow members indicted by state prosecutors to remain in a leadership post, a move designed to benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates, GOP leaders said today.

The rules change, which some leaders said is likely to be adopted Wednesday, comes as House Republicans return to Washington indebted to DeLay for the enhanced majority they won in this month's elections. DeLay led an aggressive redistricting effort in Texas last year that resulted in five Democratic House members retiring or losing reelection. It also triggered the grand jury inquiry into fundraising efforts related to the state legislature's redistricting actions.


So - the Republicans appear to have increased thier Senate lead through illegal fundraising.

And instead of PUNISHING the criminal in their midst, they are going to REWARD him by CHANGING RULES so he doesn't have to suffer the consequences of his criminality. Because they are GRATEFUL for him criminality because they benefitted from it

Now - are the Democrats going to have the sense to SHOOT this fish while it's sitting there in the barrel?

Or are they just going to ignore it, as usual?



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Holy Grilled Cheese, Batman.
 
I swear I am not making this up.

"The Internet auction house eBay Inc. reversed itself Tuesday and is allowing bids for half of a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich that its owner says bears the image of the Virgin Mary....

Duyser thought eBay would be the best place to show off the sandwich, made on plain white bread and American cheese and cooked with no oil or butter. She said she took a bite after making it 10 years ago and saw a face staring back at her from the bread.

Duyser, 52, put the sandwich in a clear plastic box with cotton balls and kept it on her night stand.

At first, she was scared by the image, "but now that I realize how unique it is, I wanted to share it with the world," Duyser told The Miami Herald.

She said the sandwich has never sprouted a spore of mold."


The current bid is $10,100.00, and will probably be higher by the time you go and look at it.

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"We're From America, and we're here to help you."
 
THIS is the way to win those old hearts and minds:

A Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: "He's f***ing faking he's dead. He faking he's f***ing dead."

"The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head. The pictures are too graphic for us to broadcast," Sites said.

The report said the Marine had returned to duty after being shot in the face a day earlier.

Sites said the shot prisoner "did not appear to be armed or threatening in any way."


And that's far from the worst thing that's happened.

I'm debating whether or not I should publish some pictures from Fallujah here, because frankly, they make me want to throw up.

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Fundamentalism
 
Much has been made of the effect of "moral values" on the Presidential race. But - leaving aside the obvious and well-belabored fact that "moral values" cuts both ways - what affected the Presidential race wasn't "moral values." It was fundamentalism.

And I don't mean religion.

It is common to think of fundamentalism as a specifically religious phenomenon. And religious fundamentalism played a role in this election, but only as one part of political fundamentalism.

The word "fundamentalism" was coined by a guy named Benjamin Warfield, who wrote a book called The Fundamentals, outlining what he believed to be the "essentials" of Christianity, which was pretty much traditional evangelical doctrine. But that is no longer what the word means.

Instead, the word describes an extreme approach to one's own ideology, demonstrated by a few characteristics. Some of these characteristics are:

1) Absolute certainty in one's own ideology. The fundamentalist does not believe that he is right - he KNOWS.

2) A sense of persecution. The belief that one's own group is constantly under some sort of attack from "outsiders."

3) Insularity. A tendency to only deal with those who are like-minded. This increases the sense of persecution, and makes the ideology get more and more extreme and more and more unreasonable as time goes on. The person's world becomes a great big echo chamber in which she only hears different takes on her own point of view and that point of view gets louder and louder.

4) The demonization of those who differ. Those who differ are not simply mistaken - they have bad motives and "a hidden agenda." This enables the fundamentalist to ignore any information that goes against his world view - if those on the other side are evil, all information that differs becomes suspect, and is assumed to be false.

The old Communists were often fundamentalists. Anarchists are often fundamentalists. Some liberals are fundamentalist liberals. Some atheists are fundamentalist atheists.

And there are conservatives who are fundamentalist conservatives.

And this explains why so many people simply refuse to see how thoroughly cynical the Bush regime is. It has befuddled me that so many people seem to be willing to ignore the evidence of their own senses and still believe this guy. No matter how many times he changes his justification. No matter how many times he changes his story. No matter how many times he says one thing and does another, they still view him as "honest" and a "straight shooter." And the guy doesn't tell a few white lies; he tells HUGE lies and he tells them constantly.

It's because ideological fundamentalism has largely taken hold in a very large swath of the population, no doubt aided and abetted by a defensive reaction to 9/11. And that has enabled Bush's followers to ignore or mentally whitewash all negative information.

"Four legs good, two legs bad," as the sheep babble in Orwell's Animal Farm. And this simple distinction is all they need to know.

"Bush good, liberals bad" is the chant of the Bush-worshippers. And that's all they need to know.

The question is, how do you break THROUGH such willful blindness? What do you do when people treat all unwelcome information by mentally covering their ears and yelling, "I can't heeeear youuuu"?

Because that's what Bush's followers are doing.

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Monday, November 15, 2004

Mission Accomplished
 
Cowering in their house with nothing to eat or drink as bombardments and firefights shook their neighborhood, Iyad al-Mashadani and his family dug a 3-foot hole in their yard and drank the brackish water.

"We were sure that we would die," said Mashadani, 32, a car mechanic.

He and his family -- his wife, his six children, his mother, and his father, who has heart disease -- made their way south out of Fallujah on Wednesday and now live in a 6-by-9-foot tent in a refugee camp in Baghdad. Attribution
It's fascinating how different our claims are from the claims of independent observers. Here's ours:
"US officers said the operation took every possible step to minimize civilian casualties."
Compared to this:

"The rules of war protecting civilians and wounded combatants have been broken by both sides in the week-long assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja, the human rights group Amnesty International said on Monday.

"Amnesty International fears that civilians have been killed, in contravention of international humanitarian law, as a result of failure by parties to the fighting to take necessary precautions to protect non-combatants," Amnesty said.

Amnesty said 20 Iraqi medical staff and dozens of other civilians were killed when a missile hit a Falluja clinic on Nov. 9, according to a doctor who survived the strike -- though it was not known who fired the missile.

On the same day a 9-year-old boy bled to death after being hit in the stomach by shrapnel. Unable to take him to hospital because of the fighting, his parents buried him in their garden.

Elsewhere a woman and her three daughters were reported killed when their house was bombed, Amnesty said."

We are liberating the Iraqi people by killing them and destroying their cities. Our justification for doing so appears to be that a man who is no longer even there was an evil man who killed them first.

We are forcing democracy on them at the point of a gun. And we have become so full of our own arrogance and pride that we don't even see how totally reprehensible that is.

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Sunday, November 14, 2004

C.S. Lewis on politics.
 
"I am a democrat... I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretentions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to the rulers and to the subjects.

Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.

And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic, held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt."

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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Nation's Poor Win Election for Nation's Rich
 
From the Onion:

WASHINGTON, DC—The economically disadvantaged segment of the U.S. population provided the decisive factor in another presidential election last Tuesday, handing control of the government to the rich and powerful once again.

"The Republican party—the party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite—would like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America, and the God-fearing underpriviledged minorities who voted George W. Bush back into office," Karl Rove, senior advisor to Bush, told reporters at a press conference Monday. "You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. For this, we humbly thank you."

Added Rove: "You have acted beyond the call of duty — or, for that matter, good sense."

"The alliance between the tiny fraction at the top of the pyramid and the teeming masses of mouth-breathers at its enormous base has never been stronger," a triumphant Bush said. "We have an understanding, them and us. They help us stay rich, and in return, we help them stay poor. See? No matter what naysayers may think, the system works."


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Friday, November 12, 2004

'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked'
 
An Interview with Tony Campolo

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Good riddance to bad rubbish
 
Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush's decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday.

In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday, Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called "a profoundly disturbing trend" among some judges to interfere in the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war.

"The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war," Ashcroft said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers' group.

- Attribution

Got that? Judges shouldn't be allowed to disagree with Bush on legal matters.

"Intrusive judicial oversight." Ashcroft actually thinks the GOVERNMENT as the right ro be free of intrusion from CITIZENS, instead of the other way around.

Just think: Bush put this clown in charge of the nation's law enforcement.

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Just a thought.
 
The difference between REAL moral values and the Republican approach to moral values?

A REAL moral outlook say, "It is just, therefore we will do it."

The Republicans say, "We do it, therefore it is just."

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And Why Don't More Black People Vote Republican?
 
The Republicans often seem to be completely befuddled by that.

It wouldn't have anything to do with stuff like this persistent refusal to remove segregation laws from the books, 40 years after they've been declared unconstitutional, and the entire world-view that such a stance implies, would it?

With an amendment to delete segregation-era language from Alabama's Constitution headed toward defeat by a narrow margin, state officials say an automatic recount would likely be set for November 29th.

Officials are still tallying provisional ballots cast on November second, but it did not appear there were enough votes to change the outcome of the unofficial count. Even if a recount fails to change the vote, lawmakers have already introduced legislation to place a reworked version of Amendment Two before voters.


Nah - COULDN'T be.

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Meet the New Boss, Worse than the Old Boss
 
The Bush administration, apparently believing that John Ashcroft just wasn't extreme enough, has decided that the nation's highest law enforcement officer should be a guy who thinks that torture is justifiable, and has a sterling record in figuring out how to get around the laws against it.

What's next? Benny Hinn for Surgeon General?

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Why do they hate us, Pt. 257
 
"United States? Now that you've bombed the crap out of a city, we'd like to get the civilian survivors some food and water. Would that be ok?"

Aid agencies called on U.S. forces and the Iraqi government to allow them to deliver food, medicine and water to Falluja on Friday and said four days of intense fighting had turned the city into a "big disaster."

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which receives support from foreign agencies including the Red Cross and UNICEF, said it had asked U.S. forces and Iraq's interim government to let them deliver relief goods to Falluja and establish medics there.

But it said it had received no reply. - Attribution

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Armistice Day
 
"Y'know, it seems to be me this is all backwards....We, Ever'body, ought to keep our big mouths shut all the whole year long so's we'd have time to think of two minutes worth of somethin' to say on the eleventh day of November." - Walt Kelly, Pogo

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This kid is GOOD.
 


Oliver Willis just posted something from this kid, so I went over to look at his site, and I was FLOORED. This kid is GOOD.

So of COURSE he isn't syndicated. Go over and check out his whole archive.

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Israelis Arrest in Church
 
While the world is distracted by Arafat's death:

Letter from the Bishop in Jerusalem on the arrest of Mordechai Vanunu from St George's Cathedral Close this morning

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East
The Diocese of Jerusalem
The Rt Revd Riah H Abu El-Assal


It is with tremendous grief and sadness that I inform you that the Israeli special police force entered St George's Cathedral Close today without permission and took Mordechai Vanunu into custody. Approximately thirty officers, many with guns, entered the cathedral gardens and interrupted breakfast in the Pilgrim Guest House. It was a traumatic event that terrorized many of our tourists, pilgrims, and staff. In the 100 years of the cathedral's history, such an event has never taken place.

Immediately I related how they have come into a sacred place, and that their guns were not welcome. The officers with guns withdrew to outside of the Cathedral Close; however, it came to my attention later, that at least one of the officers still carried a concealed weapon. This was after I had been reassured that all weapons had been removed from the church grounds. It is inconceivable why such force is mandated for procedures like today's.

Mordechai was calm during the search, questioning the need for the interrogation, and they searched his room in his and my presence. They took his papers, laptop, and other possessions into custody. I called his lawyer, and he will meet Mordechai in Petah Tiqva.

This type of entry into a sacred space must not be tolerated by the churches throughout the world, and it must not be accepted by those who respect the rights and dignity of every person. We ask the government of Israel to stop such actions as these, and we call for the respect of sacred places in the Land of the Holy One. It is with extreme sadness and disappointment that I must write this letter, and please continue to pray for us in these difficult times.

Peace of God to all of you,

The Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal
Bishop in Jerusalem

In case you are wondering who Mordecai Vanunu is:
The Vanunu Story


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Rules for Radicals
 
Posted by Hecate, over at atrios.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004


 

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Arafat - as presented by the news.
 

ishedeadyet?

no.

ishedeadyet?

not yet.

ishedeadyet?

nope, still not.

ishedeadyet?


no, and if you don't sit down and be quiet you'll miss it when it finally happens.

ishedeadyet?

okay, he's dead.


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Real Conservative II
 
Chris Bowers over at MyDd seems to want to develop the "Real Conservative" thing (already quoted here) into a genuine working meme (and just for the record, I HATE the word "meme").

In my humble opinion, he is absolutely right, and it is a POWERFUL one - more powerful for being totally accurate.

Read it (and also read his first installment) and use it when you talk about this stuff.


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Values Redux.
 
Wow. Sounds like the mainstream press is taking ideas from the blogs:

Washington Post:


"Liberal Christian leaders argued yesterday that the moral values held by most Americans are much broader than the handful of issues emphasized by religious conservatives in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Battling the notion that "values voters" swept President Bush to victory because of opposition to gay marriage and abortion, three liberal groups released a post-election poll in which 33 percent of voters said the nation's most urgent moral problem was "greed and materialism" and 31 percent said it was "poverty and economic justice." Sixteen percent cited abortion, and 12 percent named same-sex marriage."

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What Amazing Timing
 
What a remarkable coincidence. We have just happened to have decided that the right time to enter Fallujah is right after the election.

I guess that now just happens to have been the optimal time, right?

I mean, Bush wouldn't intentionally have left the insurgents alone so they could consolidate and strengthen and kill more of our troops just to avoid upsetting the electorate before the election, would he?

He wouldn't play partisan politics with the blood of American soldiers, would he?

He wouldn't allow political calculations to trump life-and-death decisions, thus causing lots and lots of death of Americans and Iraqi civilians for the sake of politics, would he?

Of course not. He's moral.

Isn't he?

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Obstruct
 
Some of the other nattering nabobs are saying (as they always will say after losing an election) that the Democratic Party should move further to the right in an attempt to reclaim some of the folks that they have lost.

There is only one thing that they are saying that I actually agree with: the Democrats shouldn't be afraid to use unambiguous moral language in order to communicate their ideas. Absolutely. Too many Democrats are, indeed, squeamish of using that sort of language. But moral language is not only accurate, but emotionally moving, and we should use it.

But the Democrats sure as HELL shouldn't follow the right by defining "moral values" as disgusting crapola like "hating gay people." What they should do instead is communicate ideas like this:

"Health care is a moral value."

"Conquering poverty is a moral value."

"Peace is a moral value."

The moral values issue should be OURS.

You get the idea: add your own slogan.

But they should NOT simply cave in to the right-wingers for fear of seeming "obstructionist." That's nonsense. People will get turned off IF the Democrats are seen as obstructing simply to obstuct, But they will respect the Democrats obstructing an agenda which is anathema to their principles. As long as they communicate that fact.

Look what the Republicans did when Clinton was elected the first time.

They obstructed, obstructed, obstructed. In fact, Bob Dole Bob Dole said it was his JOB to obstruct. They didn't even TALK about "compromise." It was simply not an option.

And two years later, they took control of Congress.

If you aren't willing to fight, people get the impression that you have nothing worth fighting FOR.

And why would they vote for an agenda that you aren't even willing to defend yourself?

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"Let me tell you one thing that I want to make clear: Fifty-four-plus-million Americans voted for health care, they voted for energy independence, they voted for unity in America, they voted for stem cell research, they voted for protecting Social Security. We need to be unified, and we have a very clear agenda. And I'm going to be fighting for that agenda with all of the energy that I have and all the passion I brought to the campaign." - John Kerry


Good.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Family Values
 
In Walking the walk on family values, William V. D'Antonio points out that

"President Bush and Vice President Cheney make reference to "Massachusetts liberals" as if they were referring to people with some kind of disease. I decided it was time to do some research on these people, and here is what I found.The state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts. At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1.

The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont....

For all the Bible Belt talk about family values, it is the people from Kerry's home state, along with their neighbors in the Northeast corridor, who live these values. Indeed, it is the "blue" states, led led by Massachusetts and Connecticut, that have been willing to invest more money over time to foster the reality of what it means to leave no children behind. And they have been among the nation's leaders in promoting a living wage as their goal in public employment. The money they have invested in their future is known more popularly as taxes; these so-called liberal people see that money is their investment to help insure a compassionate, humane society."

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Dean?
 
Why not?

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean is considering a bid to become chairman of the national Democratic Party.

The 240 members of the Democratic National Convention will elect a new chair early next year. Several names are already being mentioned, including former Clinton aide Harold Ickes; Donna Brazile, who ran Al Gore's presidential campaign, and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack.

Dean has been outspoken since the beginning of his presidential bid in saying that the Democratic Party must establish a separate and unique identity from Republicans.


Howard Dean is actually a pretty good choice - considerably better than anyone else on that list, at least. He's a fighter. He's a moderate. He knows what he believes and why he believes it. He understands that Democrats can't just "me, too" the Republicans and expect to succeed. And he was one of the few with the sense and the independence to vote against the Iraq war in the first place. Which means he can spend the next four years forcefeeding Bush's folly right down his throat.

The new Chairman won't be chosen for a couple of months, but we will see.

For an alternative view that's seriously provocative, check the Liberal Oasis.

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Monday, November 08, 2004


 

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Real Conservatives.
 
From Chris Bowers:

One of the more preposterous things I see many on the lefty blogosphere post about is how George Bush is not a "real" conservative. In making this argument, many bloggers go on to cite the supposed conservative values that George Bush does not represent. These values go something like this:

* "Real" conservatives value fiscal responsibility and solvency, but George Bush does not

* "Real" conservatives value personal liberties, but George Bush does not.

* "Real" conservatives are not interested in overseas adventurism, especially without the help of our allies, but George Bush does not.

To all of this I say hogwash. George Bush is a self-proclaimed conservative. In this election, 84% of those people who identify as conservatives voted for George Bush, thereby endorsing his policies. I say, and my Catholic upbringing says, that your actions are your beliefs, and there is no difference between the two. Considering this, it is time to face some facts:

* Real conservatives value fiscal insolvency, including irresponsible tax cuts, corporate giveaways, massive spending increases, huge undisclosed pork-barrel spending projects hammered out during congressional conference, rather than actual budget legislation on the Congressional floor that is open to the public and recorded in the public record. You know that conservatives value these things, because these are the things the vast majority of self-proclaimed conservatives do.

* Real conservatives do not value your personal liberties. They like disenfranchising voters, challenging voters, and making it more difficult to vote. They like it when the government is in your bedroom. They want to be able to spy on your personal files. They do not respect your right to privacy. They like to tell you who you can and cannot love, and what you can and cannot do to your own body. You know these are conservative values, because conservatives regularly pass laws of this nature.

* Real conservatives like to recklessly use the military They love war, and regularly resort to it as one of their first choices. They have no respect for the lives their policies destroy, as long as they have more bases overseas. They derive their values from violence, and detest peace. They will come up with any excuse possible, and cynically invent several more, to use force whenever possible, wherever possible. You know these are conservative values, because these are the actions conservatives take.

Real conservatives are bloodthirsty, reckless with our tax money, and want to tell you how to live your life. They are intolerant, warmongering and irresponsible. You know these are real conservatives values, because you can find anyone's beliefs in what they do, not what they say.


And you now what? He's right. I'm one of the folks who has previously said "those aren't REAL conservative values" in an attempt to get conservative to vote and govern in a manner consistent with what they claim they believe in.

But I was wrong: they don't actually believe a word of what they say. As Jesus said, "You shall know them by their fruits." And the fruit of the conservative is profligate spending, the infringment of freedom, and war, war, war.

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Never Give Up That Ship
 
Over at MyDd, Jerome Armstrong points out that the right-wing seems slightly befuddled that we don't seem to be even SLIGHTLY inclined to just roll over and die.

What they don't realize is that we don't give up because we are RIGHT.

I am VERY disappointed, of course, but curiously, I have seldom been more at peace with myself after an election in my whole life.

In almost all of the others, I voted for one guy over the other, but wasn't ever certain that I'd made the right decision. I was just doing the best I can, and if my side lost I'd think, "Well, I lost - but perhaps I was wrong and it was for the best. Perhaps the new president will do well."

But this time, I don't feel that way at ALL.

I'm proud that I voted for John Kerry, and I will be proud that I voted for John Kerry when I die.

I am certain of that.

I know for a stone fact that I used my vote for what was best for my country, and I know for a stone fact that history will vindicate that vote.

I also know for a stone fact that four years from, it will be obvious to nearly everyone that the wrong man won.

This has been the clearest and most obvious choice I have ever seen in a Presidential election. I fear for my country that so many of my fellow citizens could possibly make a choice that was so OBVIOUSLY a bad one. But thank God, whatever happens I'm not one of the deluded.

Give up? Why would you give up when truth, righteousness, justice, decency and history are on your side?

Keep fighting. The truth shall set them free.

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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Emergency
 
"BAGHDAD, Iraq (Nov. 7) - The government declared a 60-day state of emergency throughout most of the country Sunday, as U.S. and Iraqi forces prepared for an expected all-out assault on rebels in Fallujah. Insurgents escalated a wave of violence that has killed more than 50 people the past two days."


Gee, wasn't it just about a month ago that Bush stood in front of the American People and swore that the situation in Iraq was just fine?

WOW, but that's a damned rapid descent. "Just fine" to "an emergency" in a month.

Bush is a liar, and his followers are liars and the dupes of liars.

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Saturday, November 06, 2004

The more things change...
 
Draw your own conclusions.

Free States and Slave States, before the Civil War

Map Key: Free Sates or Territories
Map Key: Slave States
Map Key: Territories open to slavery


Source

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Activism
 
Kos is posting contact information for major activism. So will I. I'm also going to be placing this stuff - and other things I may find in the future - in the section on the left.

Contact the Media
This site contains links and forms for email just about every major media organization that there is - TV, radio and newspapers. I think the left has to do a LOT of this.

Contact Elected Officials
Congress.org home page
Official House pages
Official Senate Pages

Use them in good health.



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The End of the World As We Know It
 
Michael Stipe and R.E.M. won't just be good little boys.

God, how I wish I was at this concert last night.

If you believe they put a dope in the White House.

"His name was never uttered - "Mr. Still-Not-My-President," the "Commander-and-Cheat." There was no need.

When R.E.M. opened its show with its traditional closer, the not-so-fond farewell to the Reagan era "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine,)" the crowd knew what was going on. When singer Michael Stipe would scream "I feel fine!," there was no mistake. This would be something special.

"Frankly, I had no idea what to say tonight," Stipe explained later from the stage. "I decided to let the music speak for itself. For me, music has been a great source of inspiration and epiphanies."

And so, in the spirit of downturned economies and making do with less, R.E.M. repurposed its sprawling catalog into a potent, two-hour message of defiance. "Let's begin again," Stipe sang, as Peter Buck's guitar snarled during "Begin the Begin."

"Welcome to the Occupation" was dusted off and given new meaning. So was the stately "Cuyahoga," where the line "Let's put our heads together and start a new country up" received one of the night's biggest ovations. That was followed by a lush, gorgeous "Sweetness Follows," where "Live your life filled with joy and thunder" became a call to arms.

"This is our 'State of the Union' address," Stipe said, as the band launched into a stirring version of the new album's "I Wanted to Be Wrong" that became the evening's centerpiece.

By the time R.E.M. reached the encores, especially the heartbreaking new single "Leaving New York" and the flashy new, punk anthem-to-be, "I'm Gonna DJ," the concert had moved beyond the disappointment of the election results toward the acceptance of the challenges ahead.

The extraordinary performance seemed even to cheer the band, to the point where a jubilant Stipe dropped his pants and hopped around in his boxers as he sang, "If you believed, they put a man on the moon." If you believe - and R.E.M. still clearly does - they'll put their man in the White House someday, too.

R.E.M. Post-election group therapy for broken-hearted Bush-bashers."

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Friday, November 05, 2004

Beam them up.
 
A fine example of how government spending has been managed SO MUCH BETTER now that the Republicans are in charge of it. And no, I am not making this up:

Air Force report calls for $7.5M to study psychic teleportation


Star Trek fans may be happy to hear that the Air Force has paid to study psychic teleportation.

But scientists aren't so thrilled.

The Air Force Research Lab's August "Teleportation Physics Report," posted earlier this week on the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Web site, struck a raw nerve with physicists and critics of wasteful military spending.

In the report, author Eric Davis says psychic teleportation, moving yourself from location to location through mind powers, is "quite real and can be controlled." The 88-page report also reviews a range of teleportation concepts and experiments:

• Quantum teleportation, a technique demonstrated in the last decade that shifts the characteristics, but not the location, of sub-atomic particles at great distances.

• Wormholes, a highly theoretical possibility whereby the intense gravitational field near black holes could rip open entrances to distant locales.

• Psychokinesis, or psychic teleportation. In support of the idea, the report cites UFO reports, Soviet and Chinese studies of psychics and U.S. military studies of spoon-bending phenomena.

"It is in large part crackpot physics," says physicist Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University, author of The Physics of Star Trek, a book detailing the physical limits that prevent teleportation.

Some experts have long criticized what they see as a military sweet tooth for junk science.


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Students stage protest
 
If Kerry had won, the right-wingers would have been on him from day one like flies on shit, disgusting analogy thoroughly intended.

Our goal, as I see it, is to make George W. Bush rue the day he ever won an election.

This is the sort of thing that does my heart good.

"Students Won't Leave Until GOP Answers

BOULDER, Colo. — About 85 students remained holed up inside the library at Boulder High School (search) early Friday, saying they're concerned about the direction the country is headed and refusing to leave until they've met with leaders from the Republican Party.

Some of the students involved in the protest, organized after President Bush (search) won re-election to a second term on Tuesday, placed calls to Republican politicians and left messages.

"We want them to reassure us that our fears are misguided and that the government is doing everything in its power to prevent our futures from being destroyed," said senior Brian Martens.

The students said they were not protesting this week's election, but said they were worried about the huge national debt run up during the first four years of the Bush administration, along with military recruitment in schools and other issues.

The students, who brought sleeping bags and enough food to last through the weekend if needed, said they wanted to talk to representatives of GOP Gov. Bill Owens (search) and 4th District Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan, who sponsored the failed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage."


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A headline I never thought I'd see:

"Yasser Arafat is stable."

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Electronic Voting
 
What about the possibility of election fraud?

If you keep up on your cyberspace scuttlebutt (and, really, why wouldn't you?), you are probably aware that all sorts of stuff is flying all over the blogosphere questioning the validity of the vote counts. Greg Palast is flatly claiming that Kerry won Ohio, and many people are suspicious, and pointing out that there is such a strong difference between the exit polls and the actual vote, and the difference all goes in one direction.

I've stayed out of it and haven't commented because

1)I don't like conspiracy theories.

2) I think if you can't come up with real, hard evidence of such a thing (and although the exit polls are provocative, they aren't hard evidence), there is no sense in it. You won't actually accomplish anything but to look like a nut. Even if you're right.

But you know what's completely unacceptable? All these conspiracy theories are floating around - and it's impossible to prove that they're right, of course. But it's ALSO impossible to prove that they're wrong.

We have a system is some states where there is no backup and where there is no oversight of any kind. There is NOTHING ensuring that the process is accurate and fair. And that's insane. That's not a partisan issue. It's unacceptable, and it isn't the way we have EVER conducted elections of any kind at any time. There has ALWAYS been oversight, and a ton of it. There has ALWAYS been a way to double check. Until now.

And that means that even if the result of THIS election was accurate, the next one WON'T be. Or the one after that. Or the one twenty years from now. You put into place a system like that, and SOMEONE will use it to cheat. If not now, eventually. And there is, or will be, no way to even know that it happened. And that is completely unacceptable.

The issue is so obvious that the only possbile reason for disagreeing would be that you wish to be able to cheat.

Anywho, there is a group called Black Box Voting that is filing a gigantic Freedom of Information Request. Here's their info:

Voting without auditing. (Are we insane?)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON Nov 3 2004 -- Did the voting machines trump exit polls? There’s a way to find out.

Black Box Voting (.ORG) is conducting the largest Freedom of Information action in history. At 8:30 p.m. Election Night, Black Box Voting blanketed the U.S. with the first in a series of public records requests, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Networks called the election before anyone bothered to perform even the most rudimentary audit.

America: We have permission to say No to unaudited voting. It is our right.

Among the first requests sent to counties (with all kinds of voting systems -- optical scan, touch-screen, and punch card) is a formal records request for internal audit logs, polling place results slips, modem transmission logs, and computer trouble slips.

An earlier FOIA is more sensitive, and has not been disclosed here. We will notify you as soon as we can go public with it.

Such a request filed in King County, Washington on Sept. 15, following the primary election six weeks ago, uncovered an internal audit log containing a three-hour deletion on election night; “trouble slips” revealing suspicious modem activity; and profound problems with security, including accidental disclosure of critically sensitive remote access information to poll workers, office personnel, and even, in a shocking blunder, to Black Box Voting activists.

Black Box Voting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer protection group for elections. You may view the first volley of public records requests here: Freedom of Information requests here

Responses from public officials will be posted in the forum, is organized by state and county, so that any news organization or citizens group has access to the information. Black Box Voting will assist in analysis, by providing expertise in evaluating the records. Watch for the records online; Black Box Voting will be posting the results as they come in. And by the way, these are not free. The more donations we get, the more FOIAs we are empowered to do. Time's a'wasting.

We look forward to seeing you participate in this process. Join us in evaluating the previously undisclosed inside information about how our voting system works.

Play a part in reclaiming transparency. It’s the only way.



More information is at the site.


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How the world sees us
 

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Chicken-killing dog
 
From Molly Ivins


Do you know how to cure a chicken-killin' dog? Now, you know you cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise.

Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could. He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast. Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

And at least Democrats won't have to clean up after him until it is real clear to everyone who made the mess.

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Want to fell like activism can work? Go read The Liberal Oasis.



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Chapter 11: Bush spends all the money.
 
Gee, where were the reporters BEFORE the election?

"With federal deficits already running amok, it is unclear how President Bush will pay for his second-term agenda, a potentially multitrillion-dollar smorgasbord that includes overhauling [read: "gutting"] Social Security and revamping the tax system." [read: "raping the public treasury"]
Well, well, well. Remember when Bush said that he didn't know how Kerry would pay for HIS proposals? How come none of the reporters guys pointed out that Bush had no plan to pay for HIS?

"I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it," the president said."
Translation: "I'm accountable to nobody, and I do what I want."

"But all the political capital in the world won't pay for his pricey priorities. And unlike four years ago, when his first term began amid projections for $5.6 trillion in federal surpluses over the next decade, the budget's future looks bleak. Thanks to recession and the burden of higher spending and tax cuts that Bush won, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now sees $2.3 trillion in accumulated deficits over the next 10 years."
A $5.6 trillion surplus to a 2.3 trillion dollar deficit. That's 8 trillion. Bush's policies have lost EIGHT TRILLION dollars.

Is any reporter going to ask him point blank how he justifies that?

"That excludes the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, easing the alternative minimum tax's growing burden on middle-class families, and the long-term crunch retiring baby boomers will place on federal support programs like Medicare."
Excuse me: It's a lot MORE than $8t trillion. It's 8 trillion if you don't count minor things like the cost of two wars.

That leaves deficit hawks wondering how Bush would pay for his second-term wish list, finance the wars and meet his goal of halving federal shortfalls by 2009."
They're "wondering"? Why don't they just say "he can't"?

"I don't think you can do all of that and still cut the deficit in half in five years," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the bipartisan Concord Coalition, which favors deficit reduction.

Bush could decide to simply borrow the needed money, which would drive deficits higher, "and the real economic consequences of such a binge would come after he leaves office," Bixby said.
And there's your answer: "Now that I've bankrupted America, I'm out of here. Not my problem."

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Thursday, November 04, 2004

Soldiers helplessly watch looters
 
Nice thing to come out AFTER the election:

"In the weeks after the fall of Baghdad, Iraqi looters loaded powerful explosives into pickup trucks and drove the material away from the Al Qaqaa ammunition site, according to a group of U.S. Army reservists and National Guardsmen who said they witnessed the looting.

The soldiers said about a dozen U.S. troops guarding the sprawling facility could not prevent the theft because they were outnumbered by looters. Soldiers with one unit — the 317th Support Center based in Wiesbaden, Germany — said they sent a message to commanders in Baghdad requesting help to secure the site but received no reply.

The witnesses' accounts of the looting, the first provided by U.S. soldiers, support claims that the American military failed to safeguard the munitions. Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency — the U.N. nuclear watchdog — and the interim Iraqi government reported that about 380 tons of high-grade explosives had been taken from the Al Qaqaa facility after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003. The explosives are powerful enough to detonate a nuclear weapon."






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Bush sets record
 
For spending like a drunken sailor.

"After four years of rapidly rising budget deficits, the Treasury announced on Wednesday morning that the government will borrow $147 billion in the first three months of 2005 - a new quarterly record, but one that is likely to be eclipsed before that year is out."

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Hearts and Minds
 
Hey, whatever you have to say about the foolishness of the Iraq War, at least they're better off than when Saddam was in power, right?

Not according to some of them.

"Bush talks about freedom and democracy but all the Americans have brought is death and destruction. Where's our electricity? Where's our oil money?" asked Abu Ghazwan, a greengrocer in southwestern Baghdad.

"Bush got rid of Saddam, the madman behind the mass graves, the wars and the huge debts. Now let him do better. Bush wants to play occupier, then let him improve security."

Struggling with daily bombings and kidnappings that have plagued the country since last year's invasion, many Iraqis were dismayed Bush had won another term, though few had hoped for much better from his Democratic challenger John Kerry.

While glad to be rid of Saddam, many Iraqis, like most Arabs, worried that another four years of Bush would bring more bloodshed to a country that has borne the brunt of his administration's doctrine of preemptive attacks.

"They call Saddam a criminal, but Bush is the biggest criminal and terrorist in the world. I only expect crimes and killings and occupation of Muslim countries from him," said Waad Mohammed Ali, a butcher in Baghdad's central Karrada area.


Gee, isn't the latest excuse that we are there for the Iraqi people?

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

From Howard Dean
 
Montana, one of the reddest states, has a new Democratic governor.

First-time candidates for state legislatures from Hawaii to Connecticut beat incumbent Republicans.

And a record number of us voted to change course -- more Americans voted against George Bush than any sitting president in history.

Today is not an ending.

Regardless of the outcome yesterday, we have begun to revive our democracy. While we did not get the result we wanted in the presidential race, we laid the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leaders.

Democracy for America trained thousands of organizers and brought new leadership into the political process. And down the ballot, in state after state, we elected Dean Dozen candidates who will be the rising stars of the Democratic Party in years ahead.

Tens of millions of us are disappointed today because we put so much of ourselves into this election. We donated money, we talked to friends, we knocked on doors. We invested ourselves in the political process.

That process does not end today. These are not short-term investments. We will only create lasting change if that sense of obligation and responsibility becomes a permanent part of our lives.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

We will not be silent.

Thank you for everything you did for our cause in this election. But we are not stopping here.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

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Remember the Stages of Grief
 
From "The World Around You" by way of the Gutless Pacifist. I thought that some of us may need to read this.

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Go for it?
 
I got an email from moveon. org, relating THIS email that they received:

Subject: Running for Congress
Eli,

In light of what happened yesterday, my friend and I have decided to get personally involved. He wants to run for Congress in 2006, and I'm his campaign manager at this point. Do you know of a good information source for how we handle the legalities of forming a campaign, opening bank accounts, registering with the FEC, etc?

Thanks,
Chris


Perfect. That's how we change things. By refusing to sit down and by getting involved.

Have YOU ever thought of running for office?

Why don't you?

There may be real reasons why you can't, of course. But if you can't THINK of any real reasons....

maybe you should.

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Cut 'em off.
 
Here is an idea from the Angry Bear, which I find extremely tempting, although I hope that isn't just anger talking.

The Republicans are against government subsidies and social spending, right? Well, the states that vote for Bush receive more goverment subsidies than ANYONE. Despite their whining about "welfare," you and I are subsidizing THEM with OUR taxes, while they act put upon.

Here's Bear:

"I also have a substantive recommendation to the Blue states: Do all that you can to shut off the spigots. Completely. Shut it down. All of it. No more sucking on the government's teat for the Red states. Transform the rhetoric of your Republican brothers into practice: Slash federal spending (is that still a Republican position?). Wipe out the farm subsidies. Eradicate all block grants to the states. End the transfer of thirteen cents out of every Blue State Tax Dollar to the Red states (call it "Real Welfare Reform".) Replace every dollar of reduced federal spending with a dollar of in-state spending.

Let Illinois, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington, California, and the rest of the Blue States keep their own damn money. Let the Red states keep out the gays, which is apparently their highest priority. Wait ten years and see who comes out ahead. And yes, this is bad policy. But it's clearly great politics. And winning on the political dimension is, sadly, a necessary condition for winning on the policy dimension."


Here are the actual numbers:

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

D.C. ($6.17)
North Dakota ($2.03)
New Mexico ($1.89)
Mississippi ($1.84)
Alaska ($1.82)
West Virginia ($1.74)
Montana ($1.64)
Alabama ($1.61)
South Dakota ($1.59)
Arkansas ($1.53)

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

New Jersey ($0.62)
Connecticut ($0.64)
New Hampshire ($0.6
Nevada ($0.73)
Illinois ($0.77)
Minnesota ($0.77)
Colorado ($0.79)
Massachusetts ($0.79)
California ($0.81)
New York ($0.81)

Source: Tax Foundation.


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Spare me
 
"The president struck a conciliatory tone, too. "A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation," he said, speaking directly to Kerry's supporters.

"To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it," he said. "I will do all I can do to deserve your trust." Attribution


Does anybody swallow this, even the guy's bootlicking sycophants?

George W. Bush didn't behave in a bipartisan fashion when more Americans voted for his opponent than for him. Anyone who thinks he will now is a gullible fool.

Bush's consistent pattern is to TALK like he's going to do something for you - and then behave in the totally opposite fashion.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, don't get fooled again.


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God bless Margaret Cho
 
Here.

"I think Bush is probably really scared, if he is smart enough to be. He should be, because he has an enormously difficult task in front of him. There is no way he will regain public popularity. All he can manage to do is not fuck up too badly, which will probably prove to be impossible, as he is the rare maestro of the fuck up. Look at it this way. We might have some fun. Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think."

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There's Got To Be A Morning After
 
Yes, we are all sad. Yes, we are all wondering if we could have done more. Yes, we are all trying to figure out exactly what went wrong, and we are all holding long, extended conversations with ourselves.

But it isn't the time for ranting and raving. It isn't the time for recriminations and blame. Sober examination and criticism is useful. Finger-pointing isn't.

It's time to retool, calm down and soberly think.

Here's an insane fact: polls show that most people don't like the direction the country has gone in for the last four years.

If you don't like the direction the country is going in, why would you vote for more of the same? Well, that's what they did. That does NOT say good things about the alternative that people saw in Senator Kerry. But, to be honest, I didn't think Kerry ran a bad campaign. He made some mistake, to be sure, but so would anybody.

I suspect that it's more accurate to say that Bush's mischaracterizations and smears raised sufficient doubt in people's minds. Which REALLY bothers me. Lies should not work, and them working grossly offends my sense of justice. But I think that's what happened, and I think they worked.

People do NOT like Bush, they don't like his policies and they don't like what he's done. But, perversely, they believed that John Kerry would be "soft" on terrorism, and other policies don't much matter if you think you're in danger of getting bombed. Bush convinced people that they were in danger of getting bombed unless he was in charge. Totally ludicrous, but there it is.

I think that we have to concentrate on three areas. I will no doubt think of more later.

1)The Press. In my opinion, the one thing that he was most aided and abetted by was the American press. And that, I think, is the one thing that we must work hardest to change. The press has almost entirely abrogated its responsibility as a Fourth Estate. They have almost completely ceased to function as an authentic check and balance on government power. Almost the only ones doing that are the blogs and Air America. And they help, but their megaphone just isn't loud enough (yet). With one party controlling all branches of government, it is IMPERATIVE that reporters do their jobs. And, being notoriously lazy and venal, they won't unless their customers DEMAND it. We HAVE to demand that they do real investigative and critical reporting.

The Republicans have figured out how to exploit a well-known weakness of the press: a desire to do no critical thinking. One side says something reasonable, and the other side says something that is both unreasonable and false; but the press treats both statements as though they had equal validity, in the name of "objectivity." That has GOT to stop. The press has GOT to start examining the statements made by those in power for both accuracy and reasonableness. And again, they won't unless we demand it.

2) Local elections. Much of the groundwork for the recent success of the Republicans was laid many years ago, when they began concentrating on small potatoes - School Board Elections, Mayoralties, Council seats, State senators. Ex-Lizard-of-the-House Newt Gingrich put a lot of energy into State Senate races because they draw the lines for Congressional Districts. And those redrawn lines led directly to some Senatorial gains. And the holders of those small offices went on to win larger ones.

3) Grass roots. You are currently signed on to the greatest organizing tool that the world has ever known: the Internet. We have to remain in touch with the like-minded, trade ideas, discuss solutions and use the raw numbers that cyberspace generates to make our voices heard. We must also deal in actual persuasion instead of invective (although a bit of open mockery aimed at some asshole who desperately needs it is certainly occasionally appropriate). As James Carville said, "We're Right, They're Wrong." I am firmly convinced that that is the case. We have got to move the debate away from people's emotions and move it to the pragmatic question of what actually works. If we do that, we win, because our ideas have proven to be successful and there's have proven to be failures. We should not be afraid to say so. Loudly. Again and again.

And in case you are wondering, this blog isn't going anywhere. If we lie down, we get flattened. When President Clinton won a second term, the right-wingers didn't sit around moaning and saying "Woe is me" - they fought like maniacs and actually succeeding in tying Clinton's hands (somewhat), winning the Senate and Congress and instituting an IMPEACHMENT based on a pile of nonsense.

I would love nothing more than to return the favor.

And I intend to try.

And I hope you'll join me in the effort.

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Don't mourn, organize
 
Hi.

I really wanted to write something serious and thoughtful this morning, but I am extremely busy and simply can't. So it's going to have to wait.

So for now, I am simply going to ditto an article by Meteor Blades from Dailykos:

"Why were we in this fight in the first place? Because terrible leaders are doing terrible things to our country and calling this wonderful. Because radical reactionaries are trying to impose their imperialist schemes on whoever they wish and calling this just. Because amoral oligarchs are determined to enhance their slice of the economic pie and calling this the natural order. Because flag-wrapped ideologues want to chop up civil liberties and call this security. Because myopians are in charge of America’s future.

"We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy.

"Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. It’s only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere – indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I don’t think the Democrats shouldn't make the attempt. And I’m not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. I’m talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions.

"Not a few people have spoken in the past few hours about an Americanist authoritarianism emerging out of the country’s current leadership. I think that’s not far-fetched. Fighting this requires that we stick together, not bashing each other, not fleeing or hiding or yielding to the temptation of behaving as if “what’s the use?”

"It’s tough on the psyche to be beaten.Throughout our country’s history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.

"After a decent interval of licking our wounds and pondering what might have been and where we went wrong, we need to spit out our despair and return – united - to battling those who have for the moment outmaneuvered us. Otherwise, we might just as well lie down in the street and let them flatten us with their schemes."


To that, I'll just add an "amen."

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