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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Why I Should Be Kerry's Campaign Manager

There is a great scence in the movie Mississippi Burning where William Dafoe confronts Gene Hackman about "going into the gutter" in his attempt to crack the KKK in Mississippi. Hackman angrily responds, "These people are crawling out of the fu**ing sewer! Maybe the gutter is just where we should be!".

This election isn't between Democrats and Republicans. It's neocons vs. the rest of us. I have a pair of steel-toed boots. Let me show ya'll how it's done.

First, let's look at a classic example of White House circumlocution:

We know this. This fact is irrefutable, and even Bush will not deny it. Bush refused to take a National Guard physical.

The Texas Air National Guard stripped Bush of his pilot status in August 1972 for failing to take the annual medical exam required of all pilots. Former Air National Guard officials say it was rare for a pilot to skip his physical exam.

In response to questioning, the White House responded with the following:

Earlier Wednesday, the White House said Bush never was disciplined while serving in the Texas Air National Guard, never failed a physical and never asked his father or family friends for help to get him into the Guard.

...See how they've changed the issue? They've strongly denied what was never an issue. You can't fail a test you never take. But the point is, that's not the question which was asked.

How We Can Control The Issue:

George Bush didn't refuse to take the Texas National Guard Physical because he had an embarassing rash, a third nipple, or protruding horns. Many strongly suspect that he didn't take the physical because he was on drugs, and in 1972 the National Guard instituted a drug test.

Air Force Regulation 160-23, also known as the Medical Service Drug Abuse Testing Program, comes in. The new drug-testing effort was officially launched by the Air Force on April 21, 1972, following a Jan. 11, 1972, directive issued by the Department of Defense.

We can control the issue by changing the issue, just like the White House did in the example above. Instead of asking "Why didn't he take his physical?" we should be stating unequivocally: "President Bush was kicked off active duty flight status because he refused to take a drug test".

Millions of Americans have been forced by their employers to pee into a cup. They know what would happen to them if they refused a drug test. Refusing a physical, on the other hand, lacks the same cultural resonance. Both statements are factually accurate; both aren't effective use of language.

Seattle Post Intelligencier Article


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Coalition of the Dissolving:

On the eve of the war, President Bush proudly proclaimed a 50 country coalition. The pro-war global now reports that the coalition is comprised of 30 nations. Hmm...

Our stalwart coalition parter, Great Britain, is pulling back 5,000 troops.

Of those remaining, several are reducing troop sizes, (Uzbekistan, Britain), or threatening to pull out (Turkey).

Costa Rica: Nominally Gone
Turkey: Threatening to Leave
Norway: Pulling Out
Kazakhstan: Pulling Out
Nicaragua: Pulled Out
Spain: Pulled Out
Dominican Republic: Pulled Out
Honduras: Pulled Out
Phillipines: Pulled Out
New Zealand: Pulled Out

What does it all mean? We're left holding the bag, and it ain't full of candy.">

The Blog Minister of Disinformation

Sorry to bring you down. If you're ready for some good news* about Iraq, read Chrenkoff--Australia's answer to Baghdad Bob. Victory is just around the corner! Yay, America!

* Good news is a very subjective term. If you think planning good work is the equivalent of doing good work, Chrenkoff's your man!

The Search Engine Swami

"Environmentalists for Bush": Four hits (two of which were sarcastic).
"Environmentalists for Kerry": Two hundred and twenty five hits.

Forget The Guy With The Fez...Keep An Eye on That Sombrero

From the incomparable muckraking journalist Greg Palast:

...Some months ago, a little birdie faxed to me what appeared to be confidential pages from a contract between John Ashcroft's Justice Department and a company called ChoicePoint, Inc., of Atlanta. The deal is part of the War on Terror.

Justice offered up to $67 million, of our taxpayer money, to ChoicePoint in a no-bid deal, for computer profiles with private information on every citizen of half a dozen nations. The choice of which nation's citizens to spy on caught my eye. While the September 11th highjackers came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the Arab Emirates, ChoicePoint's menu offered records on Venezuelans, Brazilians, Nicaraguans, Mexicans and Argentines. How odd. Had the CIA uncovered a Latin plot to sneak suicide tango dancers across the border with exploding enchiladas?

Greg Palast's Blog

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Michael Moore Pulls His Punches

For at least a half an hour, President Bush did nothing to respond to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th.

The 9/11 commission supports this assertion, and the timeline remains undisputed. Michael Moore let him off easy. He only focuses on Bush's stupor during the seven minutes immediately after the 2nd plane hit.

What he doesn't mention is that Bush was informed about the first plane hitting">while back in his hotel
, and that Bush stayed around for almost half an hour after class for a photo-op.

Mr. Bush remained in the elementary school for nearly a half an hour after Andy Card whispered in his ear.
-Michael Kranish, “Bush: US To Hunt Down Attackers,” B
oston Globe, September 11, 2001.

Even though Michael Moore pulled his punches, the unedited clip of President Bush sitting there like a deer in the headlights after Andrew Card informed him that terrorists had attacked the second tower of the world trade center is the most damning indictment of a sitting president in my lifetime.

Because there's always two sides to every story, I attempted to google conservative responses to the footage. What I found was that very few conservative bloggers wanted to take this one on. Hear no evil, see no evil; if they don't discuss it, it didn't happen. The Bush Administration and its minions will always attempt to impugn character rather than engage in a discusssion of the facts and evidence.

Even rabid right-wing idealogue and Michael Moore hater Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute concedes that "no one has ever disputed the factual accuracy of the segment".

I first saw the video back in 2001 shortly after the attacks, and couldn't believe people weren't calling Bush's behavior on that day into question. Of course, I was dismissed as a conspiracy theorist for even suggesting that perhaps the president acted less then heroically.

If Michael Moore hadn't included that clip in his movie, conservative pundits would deny its existence to this day. We owe him.

Here's The Footage


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Two Parties...

The Republican problem is keeping people out of the voting booth. We have an entirely different strategy. We want everyone who has a right to vote to vote. They want to deny people their right to vote. They have a history of doing it. They've done it all over the country.

-Terry McAuliffe

Given the number of vote fraud allegations against Republicans from Tom DeLay in Texas and Jeb Bush in Florida, it seems we have a two party system in America: The Democratic Party and The Undemocratic Party.

How To Win a Rigged Election

Get pissed. You have to. Otherwise, you're immobilized by depression, and then we lose.

If they can't convince you there's nothing to see behind the curtain, then they'll hope you'll assume you're powerless to change the pre-ordained outcome. Good enough.

Because the Republicans are always the beneficiaries of low voter turnout, the Republican strategy this election is to smear John Kerry to the point where undecided voters are too demoralized with both parties to make it to the polls.

But it doesn't stop there. Oh no. Simple smear and sleaze aren't enough. They have to cheat to gain the upper hand. The following articles are only the tip of the iceberg of a well-documented threat to our democracy generally ignored by the mass media:

Bob Herbert From The Times Reported The Following Last Week:

The big story out of Florida over the weekend was the tragic devastation caused by Hurricane Charley. But there's another story from Florida that deserves our attention.

State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March.

Officials refused to discuss details of the investigation, other than to say that absentee ballots are involved. They said they had no idea when the investigation might end, and acknowledged that it may continue right through the presidential election.

Read The Full Times Article By Clicking Here

Did it make your paper? Had you read about it in the Star-Tribune? Why isn't it big news that the state presided over by the brother of the president has police officers being investigated for shaking down elderly black voters?

One thing is for sure: They won't report anything negative about the president on CBS before the election. Dan Rather's not going to take the heat.

Consider this from Alan Elsner of Reuters:

Millions of other votes in the 2000 presidential election were lost due to clerical and administrative errors while civil rights organizations have cataloged numerous tactics aimed at suppressing black voter turnout. Polls consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

"There are individuals and officials who are actively trying to stop people from voting who they think will vote against their party and that nearly always means stopping black people from voting Democratic," said Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights.

Vicky Beasley, a field officer for People for the American Way, listed some of the ways voters have been "discouraged" from voting.

"In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle," she said.

Read The Full Reuters Article By Clicking Here:

Always remember: Republicans can never win a fair election.

Whereas Democrats seek to "get out the vote", Republicans seek to suppress it.

This should make you angry rather than depressed. Do something about it.

Visit Black Box Voting by Clicking Here:


Friday, September 24, 2004

Who is Ayad Allawi, and Why Does Bush Believe Him?

Yesterday in the Rose Garden, President Bush attempted to paint a picture of an increasingly stable Iraq. Why should we believe in this assessment? Because Allawi told us so. What more do we need?

A reporter asked Bush the following question...

"Yesterday, in Valley Forge, you said that there was a handful of people who were willing to kill to try to disrupt the process. Isn't that really understating the case, particularly when there are intelligence reports that hundreds, if not thousands of foreign fighters are streaming across the border from Syria to take up the fight of the insurgency?
And do you believe, given the situation on the ground and Fallujah and other northern cities in the Sunni triangle, that elections are possible in four months"?

Bush's response was true-to-form:

"I do, because the prime minister told me they are. He's interested in moving this country forward. And you heard his statement. And I believe him".

So let me get this straight. The president believes that only a "handful" of insurgents are carrying out over 80 attacks on coalition forces per day...These guys must really get around. Maybe instead of coating shells with depleted Uranium, we should coat them with Kryptonite.

...But that's not his point--we should believe things are getting better in Iraq because Allawi told us so.

Perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on the president...Allawi's argument, after all, is awfully convincing...

"Iraq is made out of 18 provinces. Out of these 18 provinces, 14 to 15 are completely safe; there are no problems. And I can count them for you, starting from Basra, moving into Iraq Kurdistan... So really few care to look at Iraq properly and go from Basra to Nasiriyah to Kut to Diala to Najaf to Karbala to Diwina to Samawa to Kirkuk to Sulaymaniyah to Dahuk to Irbil there are no problems. It's safe. It's good.

Thanks, Dr. Allawi. I feel so much better now. There's only one problem with this statement: It's demonstrably false. Anyone with a modem can prove you're a lying sack.

Case in point. The peaceful, tranquil Southern city of Basra. Here's a bit of what Paul Wood of the BBC has to say about a place you claim has "no problems":

Last month, the British Army fired 100,000 rounds of ammunition in southern Iraq.
The base in al-Ammara sustained more than 400 direct mortar hits.
The British battalion there counted some 853 separate attacks of different kinds: mortars, roadside bombs, rockets and machine-gun fire.
No British regiment has had such intense "contact", as they call it, since Korea.

BBC Article

And let's not forget that other city of brotherly love, Kirkuk, which is "safe" and "good" according to Allawi:

A car bomb has exploded outside the Iraqi national guard headquarters in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing at least 23 people and wounding many others...">Read It

I could go on and on, but why bother? Clearly, Allawi has taught his ass to talk, and our gullible buffoon of a President is happy to traipse down the primrose path.

But who is Allawi? Good question. Here's the abbreviated version from Webster's Online Dictionary:

" A former Ba'athist, Allawi set up and leads the CIA-supported Iraqi National Accord which carried out bombings in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the INA provided intelligence about alleged weapons of mass destruction to MI6. Allawi is also alleged to have executed 6 Iraqi prisoners in June 2004 himself to "send a clear message to the police on how to deal with insurgents"...Allawi channelled the report from an Iraqi officer claiming that Iraq could deploy its supposed weapons of mass destruction within "45 minutes" to British Intelligence. This claim featured prominently in the September Dossier which the British government released in 2002 to gain public support for the Iraq invasion...An Allawi spokesman admitted in January 2004 that the claim was a "crock of shit."

So there you have it. Allawi's lies convinced Bush to take us to war, and his current lies convince the president that things are going great now.

The truth is obvious. So obvious, in fact, that even Republicans are contradicting the president:

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel: "No, I don't think we're winning. We're in trouble, we're in deep trouble in Iraq."

Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar: "Of the $18.4 billion the Congress appropriated for Iraq more than 10 months ago, only $1.1 billion has been disbursed. This is an extraordinary, ineffective administrative procedure. It is exasperating."

Nebraska Congressman Doug Bereuter: "The cost in casualties is already large and growing, and the immediate and long-term financial costs are incredible."
">IHT Article

It's time to denounce the proven liars loudly and unequivocally.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Time for a War Tax

Ever since the Iraq debacle began, we've been assured by the administration and Iraq provisional authorities that the media refuses to cover the "good news" about Iraq--all the hospitals that have been built, all the glorious schools, etc.

Let's give them the benefit of the doubt...Let's assume that the media is only covering the bad news about Iraq--let's assume that things are much, much better than they seem. Forget the past--although the neocons predicted the war would be over in weeks, although Bush believed the mission was accomplished 900 casualties ago, and although presumptions of victory after the capture of Saddam Hussein were premature, we should all assume that the administration is correct in assuring us that freedom is on the march.

Because the war will soon be over, our conservative friends should be willing to accept my proposal:

A war tax to finance the war in Iraq.

If the war ends tomorrow, the tax will amount to approximately 300 dollars per household if you divide the current cost of the war by the current population. Military families would be exempt from this tax, so the figure might be a bit closer to 300 dollars. All the same, I think most conservatives would agree that's a small price to pay if we consider that we've (presumedly) ridded the world of an evil dictator and brought freedom to 30 million people.

Adopting a war tax would enable our leaders to appeal directly to the cause at hand, thereby eliminating red tape and bureaucratic hangups--and don't the soldiers deserve a more streamlined prosecution of the war effort?

In addition, we would pay for the war right now rather than stretching out the payments over time...After all, I don't remember our creditors offering us 0% financing on the war.

Of course, one couldn't deny the therapeutic benefits of being able to see the connection between one's pocketbook and the war effort. Why the next time some greasy, long-haired liberal denounces a fifty-ish conservative as a chickenhawk, they could show them their tax receipts and ask:

"So how much money did your taxes contribute to the war?"

We could even have a little checkbox on 1040s that ask "Would you like to contribute a portion of your Bush Tax Cut to the War"? To sweeten the pot a bit, contributions to the war tax could be deductible from other taxes for superfluous things like public education, roads, and Medicare.
Now I realize that there might be some naysayers out there who question whether our conservative brethren are truly willing to face up to the true cost of war, but I'm sure that brave, patriotic countrymen and women will soon rise to the challenge.

There you have it. An equitable, commonsense solution to financing and winning the Iraq War brought to you by the Shameless Antagonist Institute. Our think tank is still working out the kinks in the proposal, so if any of you could help fine-tune the cost/citizen ratio or offer any other feedback, we'd appreciate hearing from you.
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