Sunday, December 19, 2004

Interesting Vote Facts/

I've been out with the flu compounded by holiday stress, but the following article roused me sufficiently from my torpor to pass it along to those still faithfully visiting this site.

20 Amazing Facts about Voting in the USAA BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Angry Girl,

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as senior managers and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.

13. Jeff Dean, Diebold's Senior Vice-President and senior programmer on Diebold's central compiler code, was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree.

14. Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.>

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here .)

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.

Friday, December 10, 2004

A bleak Christmas for an Army amputee

This comes a day after the publicity about Rumsfeld's cavalier response to the Army soldier who asked him why the troops were not getting the armor that they need.

I think that we should be responding by contacting those listed at the end of the article.

And Merry Xmas to you too Secretary Scrooge Rumsfeld.

Postscript: Markos at provides evidence that the lack of protective equipment cannot be blamed on insufficient manufacturing capacity:

Bush, Rummie lie about armor
by kos
Fri Dec 10th, 2004 at 18:47:04 PDT

The press is suddenly showing some spine on the issue. Shocking.
The Bush administration moved swiftly to quell criticism from troops Thursday by outlining plans to protect all military vehicles used in Iraq. But two companies under contract to the Pentagon said their offers to boost production went unheeded [...]

Former Republican congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona, a spokesman for ArmorWorks in Tempe, Ariz., said his company will finish a $30 million contract with the Pentagon this month to make 1,500 armor kits for Humvees. "We are at 50% capacity, and we could do a lot more," he said. "They are aware of it."

Armor Holdings of Jacksonville told the Army last month it could add armor to as many as 550 trucks a month, up from 450, said Robert Mecredy of its aerospace and defense group. "We're prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month," he said.
This all comes only a day after Rumsfeld claimed it wasn't an issue about money, but about "physics". In other words, there was no humanly possible way to increase production of vehicle armor.
I'm sure it wasn't about money, and it sure as hell wasn't about physics. So what was the reason for this borderline criminal neglect for our soldiers' safety?

What else? Rank incompetence.

Senator Norm Coleman, Republican tool par excellence

Senator Coleman, it should be noted, beat former Vice President Walter Mondale in an election to succeed Senator Paul Wellstone after Wellstone was killed in an airplane accident

Senator Coleman, thus far has been more of an embarassment than an asset to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Seems ol Norm last week called for the resignation of Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN, over the Oil for food scandal currently being investigated by the Volcker Commission. Norm got 5 US representatives to join him in his denunciation, one of whom said Mr. Annan should be jailed immediately (so much for innocent until proven guilty, eh?). Of course, no mention of the fact that one of the biggest corporations to profit under the Oil for Food program was Halliburton. But never mind.

Yesterday came word from the Bush Administration throughthe mouth of former Missouri Senator John Danforth (who's mostfamous act prior to this was shepherding the nomination of that horrid US Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas through the Senate back in '91). Danforth is the US Ambassador to the UN. Here is what Danforth had to say to Reuters:

"We are expressing confidence in the secretary-general and his continuing
in office," Danforth said, "No one to my knowledge has cast doubt on the
personal integrity of the secretary-general. No one."

"We are not suggesting or pushing for the resignation of
the secretary-general," said Danforth, adding that he was speaking forthe White
House and the State Department.

Sen. Coleman has just had his rear end carved up and handed to him by his own Administration. He is considered to be, by Danforth's words: "No one." Coleman has demonstrated how easily he is bought by his party. Wellstone, it should be remembered, had the principles and the guts to stand up to everyone, including his own party. Let us hope that Minnesota voters throw this bastard out.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The absent candidate

I listened to the press conference last Friday where Paul Berendt announced that the Democrats had gathered enough money to pay for a manual recount. Present at the podium were Berendt, and Booth Gardner and Gary Locke. Where was Chris Gregoire? Why was she playing the shy violet? What's the deal? This was HER recount. She had said she wasn't going to play unless ALL the votes were counted. She should have been up there taking responsibility for the whole thing. But once again, she will not step up to the plate. If the recount fails, she will have less than nothing to show for it. A most lackluster performance.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

42 votes

May I refer all and sundry to my Sept. 17, 2004 piece? Ms. Gregoire became yet another example of the fate that awaits a politician who starts to believe her own press releases. That's like drinking the kool aid. I'm afraid we are in for another month of hand wringing. But I would point out that if the shoe were reversed, I would fully expect the Rossi camp to be clamoring as loudly if not louder still for a hand recount. Only thing is that they would have no trouble posting the deposit.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

I am thankful for these Republicans

Today is Thanksgiving and we are to be giving thanks for all those good things that providence has blessed us with. I was not in a particularly thankful mood this am until I read the Seattle Times. There were two articles there that made me remember that not all Republicans are menacity personified as is Geo. Bush and Dick Cheney and the other members of their cabal.

So here are the articles, and may we hope that the coming year will provide us with the will and the opportunity to rid ourselves of the plague that currently occupies D.C.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A site to savor

Courtesy of Sisyphus Shrugged. I thought I had seen it all, but an observer of contemporary political life, who pens in verse, now this is worth pointing out:

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Prequel: This here's the south

I went to law school at the University of Kentucky in the early part of the '70s. For those that don't know, it's located in Lexington, Kentucky, a lovely bit of geography if you like rolling hills, white fences, large mansions and thoroughbred horses. All picture perfect.

One of my classmates, actually two of them, were named Andrew Thornton. The first Andrew Thornton, the one this story is not about, was an inoffensive type. Wrote a letter to the editor of the student newspaper complaining about how smokers were trashy because they left their butts and ashes everywhere without regard to cleaning up after themselves. He, of course, was marginalized, because this was the center of tobacco production. There were tobacco warehouses and drying barns w/in blocks of the law school. During certain times of the year you couldn't escape the smell. But cigarettes were 35 cents a pack, and practically everyone smoked, so nobody paid attention to that Andrew Thornton.

The second Andrew Thornton, or Drew, as he liked to be called, was a former police officer from Fayette County (Lexington's County) on the narcotics task force. Drew was not someone that I tended to gravitate around for many reasons, chief among them his law enforcement background. Turns out Drew had been high society Lexington, his family was in the Blue Book that listed only the top names, and he had gone to Sayre School, the private school for those of a certain class. How he ended up in law enforcement, I do not know. But what came clear a few years later, was that Drew did not leave his narc background behind. He started dealing in drugs at some point, probably during his law school career and used his connections to help his career. Several years after graduation from law school he had a huge network built up where he and those who worked for him were regularly importing huge amounts of cocaine up from Mexico and/or South America. There's a badly written book out there about his story titled The Bluegrass Conspiracy. Although, the writing is execrable, the gist of the story is true. Drew was able to convert or subvert law enforcement through out the Commonwealth of Kentucky so that he could run his drug business.

However, this being Kentucky, things can and do have a tendency to go badly wrong. As they did for Drew. Seems that Drew's preferred mo was to fly a plane up from S. America or Mexico w/ large bales of cocaine, each with a parachute and transponder attached for ease of recovery. Then at pre-arranged locations, the bales were pushed out of the plane, the parachutes opened and voila, instant mega cash. Drew would jump out at the last minute, put the plane on automatic pilot directed into the Appalachian or Smoky mountains, the plane would crash in wilderness presumably, and Drew would be laughing all the way to the bank.

Until his last flight, when Drew jumped out strapped to a bale of cocaine. Turns out that the combination was too much for the parachute, which couldn't take the excess weight and collapsed. Drew 'bought the farm' so to speak on someone's driveway in eastern Tennessee or western Carolina. The plane crashed into the mountains further east. The authorities, finally driven to investigate after the homeowner put in a complaint, found the plane and located some of the cocaine bales. Well at least one. It was also up in the woods. It had been opened by a bear, who had engorged himself on the contents and died nearby shortly afterward.

Drew Thornton, a sterling example of Lexington's finest in law and in law enforcement.

Friday, November 19, 2004

This here's the south part 2

Well, in Lexington, Ky yesterday word came out that a trooper who was speeding down Harrodsburg Road at 81 mph w/o his lights flashing or siren running, and ran into a woman in another car, and did not apply his brakes, will not be charged with murder, negligent homicide, vehicular homicide or even some sort of assault or battery. No, he will be charged with speeding and pay the appropriate fines. It also appears that he had no grave emergency that he was responding to at the time of the crash. I bet the family of the young woman killed, feel mighty relieved by these findings.

More on Lexington cops later.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Why we must only fight a just war

Today comes word of war atrocities perpetrated by Americans in a mosque in Fallujah.

The U.S. military has begun an investigation into possible war crimes after a television pool report by NBC showed a Marine shooting dead a wounded and unarmed Iraqi in a Falluja mosque, officials said on Monday [...]
The pool report by NBC correspondent Kevin Sites said the mosque had been used by insurgents to attack U.S. forces, who stormed it and an adjacent building, killing 10 militants and wounding the five.
Sites said the wounded had been left in the mosque for others to pick up and move to the rear for treatment. No reason was given why that had not happened.
A second group of Marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports it had been reoccupied. Footage from the embedded television crew showed the five still in the mosque, although several appeared to be already close to death, Sites said.
He said one Marine noticed one of the prisoners was still breathing.
A Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: "He's fucking faking he's dead. He faking he's fucking 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."

Atrocities are unfortunately a by product of war. There is absolutely no way in hell that we or any other military can ensure that in the heat of battle, unarmed combatants or civilians are not murdered or worse by soldiers raised to a blood lust. Look at the Vikings and how they would goad themselves into aboslute paroxysms of battle fury when all that mattered was killing. They used to break open a combatant's back and pull out the lungs, making a gruesome parody of wings and call it a 'blood eagle.'

"Einar had his ribs cut from the spine with a sword and the lungs pulled out through the slits in his back. He dedicated the victim to Odin as a victory offering."Orkneyinga Saga

It is next to impossible to escape our violent roots. And as a Poli Sci professor from my undergraduate institution was fond of saying, civilization is a thin veneer holding our society together, which can be broken readily by exigent circumstances. He knew. His family barely made it out of Germany before the Holocaust.

That is why war is not something that can be declared lightly, as was done in the present case by the current US administration. Because when our wars are fought on a pretext, there is no way to absorb and give meaning and ultimately understanding to the atrocities whatsoever. Those who declare war must take the responsibility for acknowledging and atoning for the acts of horror perpetrated in our name. This will not be done by those installed in the White House. Being president means never having to say you're sorry for the current holder of the mantle. And that is a special horror all its own.

In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign.... Secondly, a just cause.... Thirdly ... a rightful intention.
Saint Thomas Aquinas

It is well that war is so terrible--we shouldn't grow too fond of it.
General Robert E. Lee

This here's the south

A Louisville man charged with reckless homicide in the head-butting death of a teenager outside a party in Lexington last year agreed Monday to plead guilty to a lesser charge and could face a year in jail.
Aaron A. Roth, 20, of Louisville was charged in the death of Nicholas J. Holmes, 19, of House Springs, Mo. The incident occurred early Jan. 18 at Royal Lexington Apartments off Virginia Avenue. Holmes died of head trauma after Roth delivered a head-butt and knocked Holmes to the sidewalk. Holmes hit his head on the concrete.
Roth originally was charged with manslaughter and was indicted on a charge of reckless homicide.
Yesterday, witnesses and jurors were sent home, and Roth, 20, signed a plea agreement for fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor that carries a 12-month sentence or a $500 fine. Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson told Circuit Judge Mary Noble that he recommended Roth serve 12 months in the Fayette County jail.

That's the South for you. Now if our fine upstanding citizen, Mr. Roth, had stolen a radiator from someone's car, I would bet a minimum sentence would have been 5 years.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Hunting for roaches

The headlines coming from US media seem to indicate that our military is getting ready to declare "Mission Accomplished" in Falujah. Well, I'm not there with them, but sometimes a longer perspective appears called for in determining whether success can actually be claimed.

25 years ago I lived outside of Washington, D.C. in Old Town, Alexandria, VA. Prior to that I had lived for 5 years in Lexington, Kentucky. Both places where I lived had roaches. You wouldn't see them if you were actively roaming around the kitchen, but early in the morning or late at night, if you turned on the light to go in, there they would be, scurrying under cupboards and refrigerators, hiding out. I'd fumigate for them frequently, but they would just move to other parts of the apartment buildings and come back a week or two later, no worse for wear.

And that's what I think is going on in Fallujah. Our forces (which according to 7 retired generals in the current issue of rolling stone magazine, are way undermanned: ) cannot wipe out the roaches in Iraq because they lack the ability to cordon them off and round them up. As I write this, the very last of them are no doubt scurrying to Mosul, or Baghdad or a hundred other places where they can hide out before their next unmanned bomb or sniper attack on our forces. Those civilians unlucky enough to have been trapped in Fallujah (and make no mistake, the US forces violated international law by refusing to let civilians leave prior to the offensive's start this past week) provided probably the majority of the casualties. The blog site Baghdad Burning ( has news of this as does an article in Scotland's press. They make for horrific reading.

We have not stomped out the roaches in Iraq. We have only created more.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Ashcroft meets equal in Gonzales

Ok, I stole this from Eric Alterman, but he used my favorite term:

Can anyone be a worse attorney general than John Ashcroft? Meet Alberto Gonzales who never met a provision of the Geneva Convention he couldn’t find a way to ignore. Congratulations Mr. President. I promise to stop misunderestimating you, right now.

12 Nov 2004

further thoughts:

This confirmation will be the first test of new Senate Minority leader Harry Reid from Nevada. I am afraid that Sen. Reid, coming from a red state, will have the same handicaps that hindered Sen. Daschle in the role (and alert readers will note it was my frustration w/ Daschle that led to the creation of this blog...).

Further, if latino groups are mobilized by the Bush administration to chant racism against Dems opposed to his appointment, I would suggest that said latino groups be directed to something that has a more substantial and immediate effect on the welfare of their members: the proliferation of clone Arizona Proposition 200's around the nation. And please note that some of the current Administration's most fervent supporters are also supporting this idea. What is Arizona Proposition 200 you ask? Glad you did. See Orcinus or and the following for more information:

Nothing like the administration for taking attention away from the important stuff.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Most vacuous statement coming from the adminstration post Nov 2

I just cannot decide. There are so many choices. First there was Bush the eternal prevaricator extending the hand of conciliation to those who agree with our goals. Next Ashcroft said that his mission was accomplished--that of reducing the terror threat, which he proved by lowering our color from orange to yellow. Then there was this from Paul Bremer, former procurator of the IPA:

Bremer: "Just Outcome" Possible in IraqLAST UPDATE: 11/10/2004 6:08:31 AMPosted By: Jim Forsyth
(SAN ANTONIO) -- The US diplomat who ran Iraq for 14 months said today that despite the current unrest in that country, he remains convinced that the US effort in Iraq is a 'noble undertaking' and the end result will be 'a just outcome for the Iraqi people.'
Former Civilian Administrator L. Paul Bremer III told a corporate real estate group here today that the US has already rescued Iraq from the 'spectacular economic mismanagement' of thirty years of dictatorship, and begun to turn around a 'chaotic system' in which inflation was running at 115,000 percent a year, and expenditures on everything from health care to public infrastructure was gradually declining.
Bremer, who left Iraq when the Interim Iraqi Government was sworn in in late June, declined to comment on current developments in that country, but he did defend one very controversial decision which many critics of US Iraqi policy blame for many of the current problems, the decision to disband Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army and bar officials of Saddam's Baath Party from holding any role in that country's future military or civilian administration.
"This was very important because it was a signal that not only had we thrown out Saddam, but that the coalition intended to help the Iraqis create a new Iraq," he said. "That was my most important and symbolic decision."
Bremer said he would sum up his 14 months as civilian administrator by saying he served as a 'psychotherapist to a nation suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.'
The career diplomat also criticized US officials back home for attempting to micromanage the rebuilding of Iraq, a process he called the 'eight thousand mile screwdriver.'
He said at one point he had to call National Security Adviser Condolleezza Rice and ask her to stop National Security Agency staffers from giving orders to his employees behind his back.
"I told her that if they had any tasks they felt should be performed, that they should task me and I would give that assignment to the people I felt could best fulfill it," Bremer said, adding that after his conversation with Rice, the 'problem stopped.'
Bremer also criticized US media coverage of the Iraq operation, saying once that during his tenure, 18,000 reconstruction projects were completed, from rebuilding schools to installing generators and repairing water systems.
"These were the good news stories you never read about in US papers," he said.
Security at Bremer's speech before Core Net Global, an organization of commercial real estate professionals, was extraordinarily tight, with four plain clothed security agents and at least two uniformed San Antonio police officers ringing the stage where he spoke. Bremer dodged two attempts by insurgents in Iraq to murder him during his tenure.
While Bremer said he 'has no time for the rear view mirror' when it comes to critics of his administration, one thing that he is afraid will retard efforts to bring true democracy to Iraq is the tendency of Iraqi leaders to see it as a 'zero sum society.'
"Each group sees the other group's advantage as it's disadvantage, and a victory for me is your loss," he said.
After saying he would not comment on the US military effort in Iraq, Bremer said, "I of course am a strong supporter of the liberation of the Iraqi people, I feel strongly that it was the correct decision."

Please, a word of caution. Do not practice psychotherapy w/o a degree and a license to do so. Freud must be spinning around his cigar.

If you didn't think we were in a Crusade

Think again. The second photo in the embedded link in the title of this post is horrifying. Which is not to say that the first photo is any better. A rosary wrapped around the barrel of a tank cannon is beyond abomination.

The Roman Catholic Church should condemn this asap.

Are we masochists?

I've done a fair amount of soul searching in the past 8 days as well as read post mortems on the internet and discussed the results w/ friends and acquaintances. What has become clear to me is that I am not interested in blaming John Kerry or John Edwards for anything. I think that the voting irregularities in FL and OH are sufficient to cause most considerate folks to start to demand recounts and verification of the votes. But that is grist for another mill, another time.

What I am truly struck by is the politics of victimization. I read one commentator, whose name is lost in the fog at present, who thinks that Democrats have and are behaving like victims of domestic violence. And I think he has a point there. Democrats have always been willing to take abuse, both from within and without, and turn the other cheek or seriously discuss the merits. The Republicans don't even let it on their porch. I think these differences in approach are telling about the mindsets of the two parties and it is continuing to permit the demonization of Democrats that is going on in the press today.

And the Democrats don't either realize it or they contribute to it themselves. Case in point. There's a very funny rant out in the blogosphere at htttp:// I posted it on a political discussion site and was immediately vehemently denouced by Democrats for conduct unbecoming. Yet not 2 hours previously a rant advocating elimination of the Democrats that the author admitted was modeled on Swift's 'A Modest Proposal,' (which btw advocated eating Irish babies during the height of the famine) with the only distinction, the author said, was that Swift was satirizing and HE was not, garnered not one whit of condemnation.

When I was in college I was on the staff of the school newspaper which at that time was being run by a couple of hard core feminists--very au courant for 1972. We had one male columnist whose weekly column was rejected by the editors when he wrote about how a friend of his had shit in a hat and given it to him as a 21st birthday present, from which he drew parallels about coming of age in the VN era. Too crass was the editors' comment. In that same issue, there was a column by a feminist who led off the article with a definition of 'menses,' and proceeded to talk about that function and its oppression in society. The next week, the male columnist delivered a diatribe, which at least the editors were open minded enough to print, that contrasted the banned column with the published one and asked: why was one bodily function not ok and the other one was?

So why is it ok to trash Democrats in the most unkind and cruel manner, and yet Democrats condemn this same tactic when applied to Republicans? Democrats will remain in the one down position unless they get a lot better at recognizing and attacking Republican bigotry. Democrats can start their rebuilding process by leaving their more aggressive brethren alone to seek out and engage the Republicans nastily and vociferously, and not sanctimoniously condemning them. We need that vanguard.

For additional thoughts, I would recommend:

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Something to cheer you up

as we grieve our losses.

Some definitions, proving once again that puns are the lowest form of humor.

1. Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much
weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having
a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which
you absentmindedly answer the door in your

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks
you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor
assumed by a proctologist immediately before he
examines you.

13. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his
conversation with Yiddish expressions.

14. Pokemon (n), A Jamaican proctologist.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you
die your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck

16. Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of
boxer shorts.

I'm gonna become a frisbeetarian to take on all those right wing assholes.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Light one candle for hope

I woke up at 2 am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep until after 4. I've read that some are calling this anxiety PEAD, or Pre-Election Anxiety Disorder. I can tell you that alcohol doesn't really help the condition long term. Maybe meditation might, or a good workout, or good Belgian chocolate in abundant quantities.

But what I am proposing is that Monday night, all of us who are in favor of regime change, light a candle against the darkness. And that we place these candles in our windows as signals to our neighbors that we will not allow the forces of darkness to overwhelm us. And that we will battle our enemies, both outside and within the US, until justice triumphs and freedom is ours once again.


p.s. Of course, make sure not to put your candle next to anything flammable such as draperies or left over Halloween candy. ;>)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Washington gubernatorial race tightens up

According to the NYT, linked above in the title, the race for Washington state governor has pulled to a virtual tie. They may be right, but I do think that Gregoire, the Democratic candidate known as COG, will probably eventually win as a result of Kerry's coattails. However, I don't think that the Times got the real reason for Dino Rossi's surprising showing in the state polls. The answer is actually: personality. In his ads and with voters, Dino comes across as a warm likeable fellow. Truly someone you could sit down and have dinner with, if not a beer. In contrast, COG is an ice queen. Any reference to family, or attempt to show emotion comes across in a very forced manner. She seems she would be much more comfortable cracking the whip, or screaming at flagging subordinates, as in fact has been the case, witness the Janet Capps fiasco as the tip of CoG's management temperament iceberg. Surprisingly, voters seem to get that and recoil from her presentation.

COG may have the better policies to provide the state, but she has forgotten that what Mary Poppins sang about was true: a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Dino seemingly has that ability.

Bush's missing TANG time 'splained for us

It appears that the pResident's volunteer work at a Houston project for the disadvantaged in 1973, adroitly acronymed PULL, was: a) not volunteer; and b) not management experience. It also occurred during the time that the pResident was supposed to be reporting for his National Guard service in Alabama. Which he did not do. Now what would be so overwhelmingly important that the pResident would risk being found AWOL and sent to Vietnam? Hmm....could it have been a cocaine charge that was only going to be wiped out if said 'volunteer' service were performed?

If I were a betting man......

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Sexual Politics

When was it that the door was opened and the sexual pecadillos and orientations of our elected officials became a subject of public discourse? Certainly after LBJ and JFK had exited stage left. To my mind, the first ghost of it came with the interview of Jimmy Carter where he confessed that he had 'lust in his heart' for women other than his wife, Roslyn. Or maybe it showed up with Congressman Wilbur Mills who danced in the fountain with Fanne Fox, the young woman of questionable virtue. Such is the value of age, that these foibles fade from mind, though they were sharply incised once.

Then at some point the focus veered from hetero to homosexual philanderings. I remember when Bob Bauman, the very conservative congressman from Maryland was outed in 1981 for his taste in young boys. The jokes around D.C. were fast and furious: "born in Maryland but reared in D.C." was one of them. Eventually Barney Frank and others gave a sober face to gay politicians but the whinge factor is still there. As witnessed by the cringing when John Kerry uttered the "L" word in his third and last debate with President Bush, referring to Mary Cheney and her sexual orientation. What it seems to come down to is that the Republicans, though they refuse to say it, think that being gay or lesbian is a choice, like whether you have gas or oil heat in your house. The Democrats, by and large, believe that it is an innate preference, akin to being lefthanded or having brown eyes.

I have a brother who is gay. Back when we were closer than we are now, he asked me, "Do you think that, knowing all the trouble that this would cause me in life, I actually chose this oritentation?" I believed him. But my mother as late as 4 years ago still said daily rosaries for him to 'come to his senses,' and my sister gave him a pamphlet that indicated with enough prayer he could lead a happy hetero life. Obviously, they saw his homosexuality as a choice.

I think they fear that if it isn't a choice, there is no accountability, no responsibility for his actions. He is free to do as he pleases. Kind of like when W found 'god'--it absolved him from his responsibility for his 20 year drug and drinking binge and obtaining an abortion for his girlfriend. What they forget is that one always has accountability for one's actions regardless of sexual orientation. And if this sexual orientation 'thingy' as GHWB used to say is a matter of choice, then all it takes is an act of will for gays to come back to the fold. That is why Republicans can support a Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. Because if they admitted that being gay is not a matter of choice, then they would have to admit that they are imposing second class citizenship on a group of US citizens that is simply akin to that done to African Americans in the Dred Scott decision. This is the real place for Dred Scott, not the abortion debates. But then that makes the Republicans no better than Justice Taney, which should be an anathema. Thus, they continue to perpetrate their illusions.

But in the end and at the core, this is all about sex, and American society has at least since Victorian times been schizophrenic when it comes to sex. Always a sunny, androgynous, face to present to the world, with the darker implications of one's sexuality left in dank, dark basements of our minds and sometimes even literally in our lives. Until we as a society can address this conflict that lies at the foundation of our weltanschaung, we will never be able to free ourselves from the chains that such an approach creates.

Lets start to clean out our basements and actually bring out sexuality in to the open for a good, thorough examination. Ironically, if we can do this, things might get healthier in our lives and in that of the body politic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Want to make a difference?

Sinclair Broadcast Group has announced plans to air "Stolen Honor" a nasty smear job on John Kerry, in a thinly disguised attempt to win the election for W. Fight back. Attached is a list of those companies who advertise on Sinclair tv stations. Use the list to identify companies you have patronized then write to them and tell them that if they don't get off their butts and either yank their ads or pressure Sinclair to drop the hatchet job, you will take your bidness elsewhere.

And mean it. Vote with your wallet as well as your ballot. The link is in the title of this note. And btw, thanks. Every little bit helps.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

What a difference two years makes

Bush gave the following speech:

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 7, 2002

President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat
Remarks by the President on Iraq
Cincinnati Museum Center - Cincinnati Union Terminal
Cincinnati, Ohio
8:02 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thank you for that very gracious and warm Cincinnati welcome. I'm honored to be here tonight; I appreciate you all coming.

Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace, and America's determination to lead the world in confronting that threat.

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions -- its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.

We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability -- even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.

Members of the Congress of both political parties, and members of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons. Since we all agree on this goal, the issues is : how can we best achieve it?

Many Americans have raised legitimate questions: about the nature of the threat; about the urgency of action -- why be concerned now; about the link between Iraq developing weapons of terror, and the wider war on terror. These are all issues we've discussed broadly and fully within my administration. And tonight, I want to share those discussions with you.

First, some ask why Iraq is different from other countries or regimes that also have terrible weapons. While there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone -- because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. This same tyrant has tried to dominate the Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor, has struck other nations without warning, and holds an unrelenting hostility toward the United States.

By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former chief weapons inspector of the U.N. has said, "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime, itself. Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction."

Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.

We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th.

And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.

Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles -- far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations -- in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work. We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack; all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it.

And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein's links to international terrorist groups. Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.

We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary; confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror. When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network.

Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil. Our security requires that we confront both. And the United States military is capable of confronting both.

Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don't know exactly, and that's the problem. Before the Gulf War, the best intelligence indicated that Iraq was eight to ten years away from developing a nuclear weapon. After the war, international inspectors learned that the regime has been much closer -- the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. The inspectors discovered that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a workable nuclear weapon, and was pursuing several different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.

Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites. That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue.

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists.

Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there's a reason. We've experienced the horror of September the 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing, in fact, they would be eager, to use biological or chemical, or a nuclear weapon.

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. As President Kennedy said in October of 1962, "Neither the United States of America, nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world," he said, "where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nations security to constitute maximum peril."

Understanding the threats of our time, knowing the designs and deceptions of the Iraqi regime, we have every reason to assume the worst, and we have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from occurring.

Some believe we can address this danger by simply resuming the old approach to inspections, and applying diplomatic and economic pressure. Yet this is precisely what the world has tried to do since 1991. The U.N. inspections program was met with systematic deception. The Iraqi regime bugged hotel rooms and offices of inspectors to find where they were going next; they forged documents, destroyed evidence, and developed mobile weapons facilities to keep a step ahead of inspectors. Eight so-called presidential palaces were declared off-limits to unfettered inspections. These sites actually encompass twelve square miles, with hundreds of structures, both above and below the ground, where sensitive materials could be hidden.

The world has also tried economic sanctions -- and watched Iraq use billions of dollars in illegal oil revenues to fund more weapons purchases, rather than providing for the needs of the Iraqi people.

The world has tried limited military strikes to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities -- only to see them openly rebuilt, while the regime again denies they even exist.

The world has tried no-fly zones to keep Saddam from terrorizing his own people -- and in the last year alone, the Iraqi military has fired upon American and British pilots more than 750 times.

After eleven years during which we have tried containment, sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.

Clearly, to actually work, any new inspections, sanctions or enforcement mechanisms will have to be very different. America wants the U.N. to be an effective organization that helps keep the peace. And that is why we are urging the Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate requirements. Among those requirements: the Iraqi regime must reveal and destroy, under U.N. supervision, all existing weapons of mass destruction. To ensure that we learn the truth, the regime must allow witnesses to its illegal activities to be interviewed outside the country -- and these witnesses must be free to bring their families with them so they all beyond the reach of Saddam Hussein's terror and murder. And inspectors must have access to any site, at any time, without pre-clearance, without delay, without exceptions.

The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself -- or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

Many nations are joining us in insisting that Saddam Hussein's regime be held accountable. They are committed to defending the international security that protects the lives of both our citizens and theirs. And that's why America is challenging all nations to take the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council seriously.

And these resolutions are clear. In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade outside the Oil For Food program. It must release or account for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot, whose fate is still unknown.

By taking these steps, and by only taking these steps, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict. Taking these steps would also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. America hopes the regime will make that choice. Unfortunately, at least so far, we have little reason to expect it. And that's why two administrations -- mine and President Clinton's -- have stated that regime change in Iraq is the only certain means of removing a great danger to our nation.

I hope this will not require military action, but it may. And military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures. If Saddam Hussein orders such measures, his generals would be well advised to refuse those orders. If they do not refuse, they must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and punished. If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully; we will act with the full power of the United States military; we will act with allies at our side, and we will prevail. (Applause.)

There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued we should wait -- and that's an option. In my view, it's the riskiest of all options, because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become. We could wait and hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I'm convinced that is a hope against all evidence. As Americans, we want peace -- we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I'm not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events. The United Nations would betray the purpose of its founding, and prove irrelevant to the problems of our time. And through its inaction, the United States would resign itself to a future of fear.

That is not the America I know. That is not the America I serve. We refuse to live in fear. (Applause.) This nation, in world war and in Cold War, has never permitted the brutal and lawless to set history's course. Now, as before, we will secure our nation, protect our freedom, and help others to find freedom of their own.

Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq. The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban. The dictator of Iraq is a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and control, within his own cabinet, within his own army, and even within his own family.

On Saddam Hussein's orders, opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents have been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch their own children being tortured.

America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture. America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a, Sunnis and others will be lifted. The long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.

Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time. If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.

Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only chance -- his only choice is full compliance, and the time remaining for that choice is limited.

Members of Congress are nearing an historic vote. I'm confident they will fully consider the facts, and their duties.

The attacks of September the 11th showed our country that vast oceans no longer protect us from danger. Before that tragic date, we had only hints of al Qaeda's plans and designs. Today in Iraq, we see a threat whose outlines are far more clearly defined, and whose consequences could be far more deadly. Saddam Hussein's actions have put us on notice, and there is no refuge from our responsibilities.

We did not ask for this present challenge, but we accept it. Like other generations of Americans, we will meet the responsibility of defending human liberty against violence and aggression. By our resolve, we will give strength to others. By our courage, we will give hope to others. And by our actions, we will secure the peace, and lead the world to a better day.

May God bless America. (Applause.)

END 8:31 P.M. EDT

Purple Hearts

Very, very powerful. Worth recommending to all your friends

The view from the USAF jet in Iraq

Not for the fainthearted:

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Walk that way

Over the past few months I've read the opinion of a number of commentators that one of the Shrub traits that they find offensive all by itself is Bush's swagger. Now, I have never seen Bush walk on television, mainly because I tend to turn it off when he comes on. Extends the life of the television set.

But buried in a long kos thread a few days ago, a poster by the name of DCdrone or DCinsider (something that gives the impression of a well-placed federal govt worker in the Capital),said that the inside the beltway rumor was that Bush has genital herpes and when it flares up, he tends to 'walk that way.' Now I am sure a thorough physical would either confirm or disprove this rumor, but guess what? Bush is not going to take his 2004 physical. How convenient. How history repeats itself.

moe, feeling malicious today

edit: Like any good lawyer, I feel more comfortable when I have the citations to back up my statements. Here is the info on Bush shrugging off his 2004 physical.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Exhibit A in why the Dems need to get rid of Tom Daschle

Today Porter Goss, who was recntly confirmed as the uber head of the CIA, named 4 partisan politicos to positions of power and influence directly reporting to him in his new agency. Where the bipartisanship he claimed during his confirmation hearings? Geezum Peezum. We are left like Charlie Brown on the ground after Lucy has pulled back the football for the umpteenth time. And why exactly is that? Well, because Tom Daschle, the Minority Leader of the Dems is running for re-election in a tight race that has completely emasculated him. And frankly, given his locale, his seat will always be iffy. Undoubtedly he is constantly looking over his shoulder, thinking of the fate of House Speaker Tom Foley, whose Eastern Washington constituency is very similar to that of South Dakota.

The Democrats have to shake off their current system of governance and instead select a leader who can, well, to be frank, lead. Right now we've got Chester Milquetoast and his minions giving it all away to the Pubbies. This is ludicrous. Even if the Senate some how magically becomes Democratic after Nov. 3, Daschle will still be a frikkin wimp. He has to go. Sentiment has no place in the equation. We need someone who will force discipline on the rank and file (bet the Senators love to be called rank and file). Get the g*dd*mned whips out!!


moe, w/ patch on eye

Update 10/04/04

Well, Porter Goss seems to be on his way to setting a certain 'tone' at his uber agency per Tapped:

October 04, 2004
OH, PORTER. I misspoke last week when I strongly implied that Porter Goss just might reinforce the notion that he's a partisan hack by installing four partisan hacks in senior positions at the CIA. I want to apologize to Michael V. Kostiw, whom Goss has named to the number-three position in the agency, for implying that he’s a partisan hack. What I meant to call Kostiw was a petty thief:
Michael V. Kostiw, chosen by CIA Director Porter J. Goss to be the agency's new executive director, resigned under pressure from the CIA more than 20 years ago, according to past and current agency officials.
While Kostiw, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, longtime lobbyist for ChevronTexaco Corp. and more recently staff director of the terrorism subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has been through the CIA security vetting procedure, final clearance to take the job has not been completed pending review of the allegations. The job is the third-ranking post at the CIA.

In late 1981, after he had been a case officer for 10 years, Kostiw was caught shoplifting in Langley, sources said. During a subsequent CIA polygraph test, Kostiw's responses to questions about the incident led agency officials to place him on administrative leave for several weeks, according to four sources who were familiar with the past events but who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information.

Goss sure is showing spectacular, confidence-inspiring judgment in these early decisions. Just wait until he gets to make the really momentous decisions pertaining to the whole-scale restructuring of America’s intelligence community.
--Sam Rosenfeld

Final Debate I comments

This goes to some of the substantive misrepresentations made by Bush during the debate, that Kerry did not pick up on in rejoinder. I know how hard it is to keep track of all the spinning balls when you are in a debate situation, so I think it imperative that others point these critical lapses by our Commander in Thief, often and loudly:

BUSH: And that's what people are seeing now is happening in Afghanistan.
Ten million citizens have registered to vote. It's a phenomenal statistic. They're given a chance to be free, and they will show up at the polls. Forty-one percent of those 10 million are women.
[Moe: Current population of Iraq is 9.5 million including children who obviously cannot vote]

BUSH: That wasn't going to work. That's kind of a pre-September 10th mentality, the hope that somehow resolutions and failed inspections would make this world a more peaceful place.
[Moe: pre-September 10th? What happened on that date?]

KERRY: The president -- 95 percent of the containers that come into the ports, right here in Florida, are not inspected.
Civilians get onto aircraft, and their luggage is X- rayed, but the cargo hold is not X-rayed.
Does that make you feel safer in America?
This president thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in America a tax cut rather than invest in homeland security. Those aren't my values. I believe in protecting America first.
BUSH: I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap.
[Moe: remind me how we got into this huge tax gap situation to begin with]

BUSH: Let me first tell you that the best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job.
BUSH: And that's what we're doing. We've got 100,000 trained now, 125,000 by the end of this year, 200,000 by the end of next year
[Moe: Actually, we have less than 10,000 Iraqis fully trained to do the job at the present time]

more debate comments pt 2

Here are a couple more misspeaks from the Leader in Thief from last night's debate:

1. Dont' forget Poland? WTF? Poland has called Bush on the lack of WMDs as being a fraud perpetrated to get us into this war. And their troops (such as they are) will be gone from Iraq at the end of the year. So, tell me why it is so important to remember Poland when counting up our allies on the ground w/ us in Iraq?

2. vociferously when the word choice should have been viciously. Hmmm.....

3. "Of course we're after Saddam Hussein, uh, Osama bin Laden."

4. the grimaces, the lipsmackings, the eyerollings, the muggings. I guess Shrub thought split shots would not be allowed. Silly him. He behaved worse than Al Gore w/ his sighs in 2000. But of course, he will not get called for it. Geo. Bush was always the kid who sat in the back of class throwing spit wads and smiling beatifically while denying it to the teacher.

more debate comments

Geo W is famous for his wordsmithing. Hence the title of this blog. Last night, he made a couple that are worth mentioning because it shows something about the way his mind works. And in fact I would argue that deep down, his subconscious is warring with his conscious mind over all the lies and deceit he's engaged in over the years, and it's showing up in his speech. Not that his history of drinking and drug use would have anything to do with it either, but there you go.

The first one, is one that I cannot find in the transcripts and I think it's because someone's spell checker corrected it, but at some point Bush misspoke and said "mexed missages." Now when he mixes the words trying to convey that his opponent sends out mixed messages, somehow I think he's unconsciously saying that this is in fact a lie.

The other one is more fun, simply because this phrase came up over Labor Day weekend in a speech where he was talking about medical malpractice and how OB-Gyns could not find insurance (which is a debatable point in and of itself). At any rate here is the quote:

BUSH: You know, every life is precious. Every life matters. You know, my hardest -- the hardest part of the job is to know that I committed the troops in harm's way and then do the best I can to provide comfort for the loved ones who lost a son or a daughter or a husband or wife.
You know, I think about Missy Johnson. She's a fantastic lady I met in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and her son Bryan, they came to see me. Her husband PJ got killed. He'd been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq.
You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her loved one to be in harm's way.

Nice work George. Hope Missy wasn't wearing a blue dress.

Change is good

I changed the title of my blog this ayem. Decided that the Moe's misadventures was not as descriptive as Moe's misunderestimations. And as I generally post about political subjects, and enjoy alliteration, and detest the current occupant of the White House (OWH) who coined the word, it seemed appropriate. I await the verdict of my loyal readership. All 2 of you.


Putting his girls on leashes?

I only heard part of the debate last night as I was attending one child's tennis match and taking the other to a dr's appointment, so most of my knowledge comes from reading the transcript.

But count me amazed at the following exchange:

KERRY: You begin to get a sense of what [having your father be president] means to your families. And it's tough. And so I acknowledge that his daughters -- I've watched them. I've chuckled a few times at some of their comments.
BUSH: I'm trying to put a leash on them.
KERRY: Well, I know. I've learned not to do that.

As a parent and as a dog owner, I find that appalling. Without going into the weird Abu Ghraib associations it brings up (I understand Andrew Sullivan who I generally detest has already done so), there are a couple of points that need to be made.

1) Mr. Bush, your daughters are adults now. They get to do whatever they want to do and all you get to do is grin and bear it. They did not choose to have a father in the public eye, that was your decision.

2) If you want them to behave better, perhaps you should have set a better example for them when they were young. Most kids' behavior is modeled on their parents' behavior, either mimicking or rebelling against. I won't speculate as to which camp Jenna and Bar's party hearty behavior has its roots in.

3) Leashes are only for dogs and only in leash only areas.

I fear for your family dog. I hope that you didn't go home and kick it last night.

moe, just returned from taking Scooter the wonder weiner dog out to barf in the backyard.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

email from Iraq

Steve Gilliard posted the following email from a medical professional stationed in Iraq. I think it should be required reading. Unfortunately, with all the MASH reruns, we have forgotten the horror that attends this sort of grueling but necessary work:

This is an e-mail a reader sent me. It's from a friend of his in Iraq

The daily news reports are somewhat antiseptic and it's easy to lose track of the meaning of the words. Those in our positions should not.This is a note I received this morning from a colleague working in Iraq. This is what it's like. Today. Last week. I've taken the ID off of it, but it's a trustworthy source from my immediate sphere of friends and I know him well.

GSW is gunshot wound. EPW is Enemy Prisoner of War. IED is Improvised Explosive Device (a roadside bomb). KIA is Killed in Action.

Subject: Casualty reportHello,How is everyone at [Deleted]? I suspect things are all still going well and the clinic continues to run smoothly. Apart from a sighting of the bat in the bat cave, things in general are about the same out here. The bat was a trip, as it flew around in circles in the hooch like, well, a bat out of hell I guess. The casualties picked up some this week which was too bad, and we had one day in particular which was a bad one. Otherwise life out here has developed a routine, and it seems as though the time is starting to go by faster. The team itself is getting better and more efficient with each resuscitation, and we all seem to work well with each other for the most part. Our surgeon, although for the most part a really good guy, can get a little uppity sometimes if things don't go exactly how he says they should (he seems to think the only person in the room with any clinical judgement is him), but even that isn't really a big deal. It's just a bit of an adjustment stepping out of the role of being in charge and being the boy again. I'm good at being the boy and can do what I'm told as well as anybody else, but it has been a bit of an adjustment.

Anyway, I thought I'd drop you a line to let you know we've seen over the last couple of weeks or so.I'm not sure if I told you about the family who came in I think a little over a week ago (time out here is a weird thing and hard to keep straight). The story is a little muddled, but apparently they ran a check point. It's unclear whether they confused stop with go or if they were really running the check point, but regardless of the specifics they ran a check point and were taken under fire by a combination of M-16's and at least 1 50cal machine gun. The car was apparently a wreck and we had 5 casualties come into us. There were apparently 2 or 3 KIA at the scene, including a young child who I think was 8 (they don't bring the civilian KIA in to us thank goodness). The guy I took care of had his right foot nearly taken off by a 50cal round. It was hanging by tissue and sinew, and ultimately got amputated. Apart from now being a legless old man, he otherwise did fine. The other casualties included an old woman with a GSW to the L chest who had a large L sided hemothorax with 800cc of bloody drainage. She eventually developed respiratory distress and got intubated, but otherwise didn't have any injuries. She was transferred to Al Asad, but I have no idea what happened to her after. Another woman had a GSW to her L flank, and despite maybe having a hemotoma around her L kidney on FAST exam was otherwise hemodynamically stable and did fine while she was here. Another guy had a GSW to his L shoulder and developed a tension PTX (picked up on follow up exam as subQ air). He had a chest tube placed and his shoulder dressed and did fine while he was here. He was also sent to Al Asad. The 5th guy had a some superficial wounds but did fine.

We had a couple other Iraqi civilian/EPW casualties related to check point violations around the same time (I'm not sure if this was because the Marines have been jumpy recently, or there was some kind of insurgent offensive going on).One guy was driving a water truck and had both feet nearly completely taken off by a 50cal round. Impressive injuries which shattered the bone and left his L foot dangling, but he was amazingly neuromuscularly intact. He kept both legs, and after having on external fixater placed on his L leg he was sent to Baghdad for definitive repair. Another guy had several GSW to his chest but had amazingly had no significant injuries and didn't require any procedures. Bullets are funny things and seem to have a mind of their own sometimes.

And the last Iraqi civilian was a poor old woman who came in last night at around 0400. The Marines were apparently conducting a house to house search, and this woman didn't answer her door right away. Can't blame her really because at 0400 we didn't answer our door right away either when they came to tell us about her. She apparently did answer, but not in time, for as she was reaching to open the door the Marines blew the lock with a shotgun. It appears as though she took most of the shotgun blast to her L arm, for when she came in the L distal L humerous and proximal radius were shattered with no complete loss of structural integrity to her L arm. Although the arm was vascularly intact, she had no sensation and ended up losing the arm. I got to intubate her in the OR, but otherwise all of these stories are pretty tragic and sad, and events like these unfortunately will not go far in the campaign to win the hearts and minds of the people. It's difficult to really explain the emotions they conjure (other than sadness I'm not sure I had to many), but one question comes up over and over again when I see these types of accidents- "What the fuck are we going out here?" I guess that's not really for me to ask right now though. I don't place any blame on the Marines for this stuff. They are doing their job, and if I went out everyday with the prospect of getting killed by an IED or some other unseen enemy, I would most assuredly shoot first and ask questions later in the wake of any suspicious activity. It's a dangerous place, and one can only hope that it gets better over the next few years.

We've also unfortunately had some Marine casualties. On Monday (at least I think it was Monday), we had a slew of them. We got two guys initially with superficial shrapnel wounds sustained when their Humvee was hit by an IED. They had minor wounds and did fine.

About an hour later we got two Marines from different locations. One guy had taken a head shot by what people think may be a sniper out there. He had a GCS of 3 and was initially intubated, but after a more thorough exam was found to have a transcranial injury with a fixed and dilated L pupil and was triaged to expectant. He was given morphine for comfort care, and eventually died an hour later. The second guy ran over a mine in his Humvee. He had some facial burns and had sustained by bilateral lower extremity wounds. His R leg was twisted at impossible angles and pulseless, and had open fractures to his L foot and I think he may have and an open femur fracture. He was intubated for airway protection in light of his facial burns and had a disarticulation of his R leg at the knee, the L leg was just splinted, and he was transferred to Baghdad. Apparently they fixed his L leg somehow, and Pete is probably now taking care of him in Germany.

While that guy was in the OR we got a call about another guy who was coming in as an urgent surgical (really sick). He unfortunately had also sustained a head shot from a sniper (who knows if it was the same one or not), and he died before he got here. When we saw him, the back of his head was shattered and you could feel the bones floating around. While moving him into the body bag, his bandage slipped off his head, and I found myself looking into the young man's eyes. He had big green eyes, and appeared to be looking right through me. What he was asking me I don't know, and will probably never know. Although I had his blood all over my boots and pants and was a bit shaken as I was washing it off, he has not haunted me the way some of the others have, so I don't think he was angry with me in any way. It was a bit disturbing and capped off a shitty day.

The last 2 Marines we had come in the other day. Their tank was hit by some kind of missile, and I think these were the guys up in the turrets. One guy came in KIA with the left side of his face blown away, and his left arm missing. I didn't go see this guy (I don't know but maybe I needed a break). The other guy came is with an open fracture of his L humerous with exposed muscle and the like all up the back of his arm, and open fractures of several of his R metacarpals with avulsion of most of the skin off his R hand. He had a small L neck hematoma and some superficial facial lacks, but he had a GCS of 15, was talking to us, had bilateral breath sounds and was hemodynamically stable. Our anesthesia provider and I both thought his airway was intact, and felt that although he needed to go to the OR for debridement and the like, he was not in need of an emergent airway. I suppose because of the neck hematoma, our surgeon disagreed and started to tell us to intubate him in that pompous holier than thou kind of way all surgeons seem to have. Despite his urgings, we took the opportunity to finish our exam before placing the ET tube, to which he took further exception. The guy eventually got intubated and went to the OR for a successful debridement of his wounds and arrived in Baghdad without incident. The surgeon, however, made a big deal about us not following his instructions to the letter when he told us to, sqwauking about he was the resident expert on trauma (he is), how we were making him look bad in front of the corpsmen, and how we were hurting his feelings by questioning his clinical judgement (like we don't have any of our own).

We had a meeting about the whole thing which resulted in people deciding that because he is the resident expert we will do whatever he tells us to do. Hence my earlier comments about being the boy. I guess that's just surgeons, but the fact that he cried like a woman because he didn't get his way irked me for a few days. He's really a good guy and I've gotten over it. I'll just be the boy. I am the junior guy with the least experience in this stuff after allAnyway, that's all I have for you guys. I hope you are all well. I'll keep sending periodic updates about what is happening over here. Hopefully things will slow down some.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Where does the time go for political seers?

We are down to almost a month before the election and 2 days to the first presidential debate and the trends, if there are any, in this fevered period are less visible than Cassieopeia on a cloudy Seattle night.

It seems that Washington, the state, will go Democratic in a big way. Rossi has failed to create any momentum from his first debate with Gregoire and McKenna is a nonentity. Normally in state wide races, I could care less how the republicans do, it's just that McKenna's opponent, Deborah Senn, is such a walking disaster that it's hard not to worry about the long term ramifications should she win.

The Attorney General is the second most visible statewide office in state government and one of the keys to a successful tenure is a good relationship with the state legislature. Not only does the legislature fund the 460+ attorney office, it also must approve any legislative initiatives coming from the AG's office which seek to amend bad laws and propose new laws to meet new situations. And from my insider informant in the state house, it is clear that a Senn election would be met not just by stony silence from both sides of the aisles in Olympia, but by active sabotage efforts. When Senn was the Insurance Commissioner, she regularly tried to ride over the backs of state legislators to get what she wanted. And when that didn't work, she resorted to connivance. Many of these legislators are still in office and they not only have long memories, they have long knives as well. As I can certify, testifying before a legislative committee is not as fun as a root canal. But it is necessary if you want to get those things like pay raises that are so necessary to running the AGO. Don't expect Senn to do the hard work required. Instead I predict that should she be elected, her tenure will be marked by guerilla warfare and a trenches mentality, with Senn sending in proxies to do her job so she has someone else to blame when things go south

Hope I'm wrong.

Moe, busy reading entrails on this harvest moon night

Friday, September 24, 2004

Publius hits one out of the park

Legal Fiction

law, politics, and culture from a southern, non-Federalist Society (ex)-law clerk
Friday, September 24, 2004


___________Lately I’ve been trying hard to avoid shrillness. After reading Dana Milbank’s collection of quotes today, I’m convinced that shrillness is the only proper response.Before I get to that, let’s start with the latest Glenn Reynolds/Andrew Sullivan outrage – Joe Lockhart’s disparaging comments about Allawi being a puppet. Sullivan is outraged by them – Reynolds is as well. Now, I will agree that under normal circumstances, the following comments would be irresponsible:

The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and
you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips.

But these are not normal circumstances. Allawi was brought here – forty days from the election – as part of the Bush re-election strategy, and everyone knows it. This was supposed to be a victory lap, further solidifying the themes presented at the Republican Convention – until Kerry and reality intruded. Indeed, Allawi even adopted Bush talking points about how much progress Iraq was making, and that the terrorists were "getting more desperate."

So, let’s dispense with the little charade about how this trip was beyond politics. It was entirely about politics.Second, given that Bush is so radioactive in Iraq right now, I think that trotting out Allawi in the Rose Garden does little to help his legitimacy in the eyes of American-hating Iraqis. On this point, Lockhart is right on. The more Allawi is seen as a puppet of Bush (which was pretty much confirmed this week), the less chance of success he – and thus we – have. If I'm right, then Bush is sacrificing Allawi's legitimacy for the sake of his re-election.I also want to address some of the despicable quotes listed in Milbank’s article today in which he describes the clearly coordinated attack that Kerry’s criticisms are hurting our troops and helping the enemy. Here are a few:

Bush: “You can embolden an enemy by sending a mixed message. You can dispirit the Iraqi people by sending mixed messages. You send the wrong message to our troops by sending mixed messages.

Cheney: John Kerry is trying to tear down all the good that has been accomplished, and his words are destructive to our effort in Iraq and in the global war on terror.The surrogates were even more explicit. Milbank lists more. My favorite was Orrin Hatch: “[Democrats are] consistently saying things that I think undermine our young men and women who are serving over there.”I’ll tell you what undermines our troops – getting troops killed undermines troops, Mr. Hatch – not criticizing the failed policies that got them killed in the first place. Bumbling an occupation and having no plan undermines troops. And Mr. Cheney, I’ll tell you what’s destructive to our effort in the global war on terror – your invasion of Iraq, which was Osama’s wet dream. And Mr. Bush, I’ll tell you how to embolden an enemy – invade the second-holiest land of Islam for no reason and then execute the war without a shred of competence. Lying about our progress also sends the wrong message to the people who are actually fighting your terrorist-aiding war. Let’s not forget that. We know exactly who – and what policies – have emboldened our enemies and undermined our troops. And it’s not John Kerry, or his criticisms of your failure. Nice try, though.And last thing, Glenn Reynolds wins the Hermann Goering Award today.

If you’ll remember Goering’s famous line:
Gilbert [the interviewer]: "There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars." Göring: "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

And now, Glenn Reynolds:
This is behavior that is absolutely unacceptable coming from a Presidential campaign in wartime, and it's not an isolated incident but part of a pattern of such behavior. Joe Lockhart should apologize for these remarks, and Kerry should fire him. Otherwise you're going to hear a lot of people questioning Kerry's patriotism. And they'll be right to.I for one am sick and tired of hearing attacks on those who attack failed policies that got our troops killed, destabilized the Middle East, and have been the biggest gift ever to militant Islam. Don’t blame the messenger, buddy.

Iraq: looking through the lens of history

By Barbara Garson

Barbara Garson is the author of the 1960s antiwar play "Macbird" and, most recently, "Money Makes the World Go Round" (Penguin, 2002).

September 23, 2004

During a lull in the war between Athens and Sparta, the Athenians decided to invade and occupy Sicily. Thucydides tells us in "The Peloponnesian War" that "they were, for the most part, ignorant of the size of the island and the numbers of its inhabitants ... and they did not realize that they were taking on a war of almost the same magnitude as their war against the Peloponnesians."

According to Thucydides, the digression into Sicily in 416 BC -- a sideshow that involved lying exiles, hopeful contractors, politicized intelligence, a doctrine of preemption -- ultimately cost Athens everything, including its democracy.

Nicias, the most experienced Athenian general, had not wanted to be chosen for the command. "His view was that the city was making a mistake and, on a slight pretext which looked reasonable, was in fact aiming at conquering the whole of Sicily -- a considerable undertaking indeed," wrote Thucydides.

Nicias warned that it was the wrong war against the wrong enemy and that the Athenians were ignoring their real enemies -- the Spartans -- while creating new enemies elsewhere. "It is senseless to go against people who, even if conquered, could not be controlled," he argued.
Occupying Sicily would require many soldiers, Nicias insisted, because it meant establishing a new government among enemies. "Those who do this [must] either become masters of the country on the very first day they land in it, or be prepared to recognize that, if they fail to do so, they will find hostility on every side."

The case for war, meanwhile, was made by the young general Alcibiades, who was hoping for a quick victory in Sicily so he could move on to conquer Carthage. Alcibiades, who'd led a dissolute youth (and who happened to own a horse ranch, raising Olympic racers) was a battle-tested soldier, a brilliant diplomat and a good speaker. (So much for superficial similarities.)

Alcibiades intended to rely on dazzling technology -- the Athenian armada -- instead of traditional foot soldiers. He told the Assembly he wasn't worried about Sicilian resistance because the island's cities were filled with people of so many different groups. "Such a crowd as this is scarcely likely either to pay attention to one consistent policy or to join together in concerted action... The chances are that they will make separate agreements with us as soon as we come forward with attractive suggestions."

Another argument for the war was that it would pay for itself. A committee of Sicilian exiles and Athenian experts told the Assembly that there was enough wealth in Sicily to pay the costs of the war and occupation. "The report was encouraging but untrue," wrote Thucydides.
Though war was constant in ancient Greece, it was still usually justified by a threat, an insult or an incident. But the excursion against Sicily was different, and Alcibiades announced a new, or at least normally unstated, doctrine.

"One does not only defend oneself against a superior power when one is attacked: One takes measures in advance to prevent the attack materializing," he said.

When and where should this preemption doctrine be applied? Alcibiades gave an answer of a sort. "It is not possible for us to calculate, like housekeepers [perhaps a better translation would be "girlie men"], exactly how much empire we want to have. The fact is that we have reached a state where we are forced to plan new conquests and forced to hold on to what we have got because there is danger that we ourselves may fall under the power of others unless others are in our power."

Alcibiades' argument carried the day, but before the invasion, the Athenian fleet sailed around seeking allies among the Hellenic colonies near Sicily. Despite the expedition's "great preponderance of strength over those against whom it set out," only a couple of cities joined the coalition.

At home, few spoke out against the Sicilian operation. "There was a passion for the enterprise which affected everyone alike," Thucydides reports. "The result of this excessive enthusiasm of the majority was that the few who actually were opposed to the expedition were afraid of being thought unpatriotic if they voted against it, and therefore kept quiet."

In the face of aggressive posturing, Nicias appealed to the Assembly members to show true courage. "If any of you is sitting next to one of [Alcibiades'] supporters," Nicias said, "do not allow yourself to be browbeaten or to be frightened of being called a coward if you do not vote for war... Our country is on the verge of the greatest danger she has ever known. Think of her, hold up your hands against this proposal and vote in favor of leaving the Sicilians alone."
We don't know how many Athenians had secret reservations, but few hands went up against the war.

In the end, the Athenians lost everything in Sicily. Their army was defeated and their navy destroyed. Alcibiades was recalled early on; Nicias was formally executed while thousands of Athenian prisoners were left in an open pit, where most died.

The Sicilians didn't follow up by invading Attica; they just wanted Athens out. But with the leader of the democracies crippled, allies left the Athenian League. Then the real enemy, Sparta, ever patient and cautious, closed in over the next few years. But not before Athens descended, on its own, into a morass of oligarchic coups and self- imposed tyranny.