Saturday, November 06, 2004

Talking Sense to the Pro-War Crowd

I normally don't do weekend posts, but I came across this at TalkLeft and thought it was so to-the-point that I hope Jeralyn Merritt and Terry Kindlon don't mind a small level blogger like me posting it in its entirety:

Fallujah Reaction

---Terry Kindlon, criminal defense attorney and former U.S. Marine Sergeant who fought in Vietnam, responds to one of Talkleft's conservative commenters:

Whenever I read one of your comments in support of "the war" I truly wonder what planet you're living on. As a former Marine Sergeant who was seriously wounded during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and as the father of one son who's an active duty Marine Captain, and another son who's worked for the UN in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two years, it is my opinion that you don't have the slightest idea of what you're saying. If you had ever seen the smashed body of a decapitated little civilian girl, or carried the still warm dead body of an 18 year old Marine in your arms, as have I, you would know better than to stand on the sidelines yakking about statistics and cheering while my Marine Corps, the best military force this country has ever assembled, is consistently misused by a delusional civilian administration for highly questionable purposes of very questionable morality.

It is at times like these that I want to say to guys like you that if you love the small of napalm in the morning (you wouldn't, incidentally, because it stinks) and if you think this war is such a great idea, why don't you go fight in it! If you're too old, or too scared, send your son. They have lots of openings, and I'll be happy to cook you up a nice, warm cassarole. Semper fi, pal...Terry Kindlon

---Thanks, Terry, for your service past and present.

I'd also like to express my thanks to Mr. Kindlon.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I Guess There's No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

The New York Times tells me what to do when I'm visiting Baton Rouge...

Now, for those who really would like a good time, let me offer a few extras: SwampMama's, downtown on 3rd Street. Formerly M's Cafe, there's good atmosphere, decent food, and quality music. To be honest, Marian had a better list of bands in her Rolodex, but those days came with a price--the wrath of M for whoever spoke above a whisper--in a BAR, for chrissakes.

Chelseas Cafe is my other haunt when I go looking for music, and has the added benefit of being walking distance from where I live.

If you're into football, so be it, but I tend to avoid the crowds on game-night Saturdays to the extent that I can.

And I'm glad The Times made no mention of the casinos. (Correction: the last paragraph made brief mention of Argosy, but only in context of its attachment to the Sheraton Hotel).

All in all, it wasn't a bad piece. They were a little charitable in describing the chemical city monstrosity on the north side of town, but otherwise they delivered a more or less fair assessment.

Now, if I was actually TRAVELING to The Gret Stet, BR would take third place to of course NOLA--and Lafayette. Timshel might know of several points of interest in Vermillionville, but I can say you'll definitely pass a good time there.

Have a good weekend. Back on Monday.
The Lesser of Two Evils

Is never a good choice:


Source: Brad's Life
No Winners in this War

Update (4:50 pm) The Los Angeles Times has more details.

Via Unfair Witness, I came across this horrible report about two US soldiers facing a possible court martial and death sentence:

Two U.S. soldiers could face murder charges in a military trial in Baghdad for shooting and killing a severely wounded Iraqi teenager who had been mistaken for an insurgent by American troops, The Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site.

The newspaper said on Thursday that the two army staff sergeants had admitted that they had shot the Iraqi boy as he lay moaning on the ground but that they had said they did so out of mercy.

A total of seven Iraqis were killed in the incident in August in the Baghdad slum of Sadr City, in which U.S. troops fired on a garbage truck on Aug. 18 after mistakenly concluding that it was planting roadside bombs, the newspaper said, quoting Iraqi witnesses and U.S. military officials.

The two soldiers told U.S. officials that they had killed the teenager to "put him out of his misery," the paper said.

Put him out of his misery--these are the people we are supposedly liberating, yet we treat them like diseased or injured livestock. Moreover, if you read the article, you'll note that medics were available AND that one of the witnesses was a relative of the boy. And, as Unfair Witness points out, the attack on the truck was a mistake to begin with.

Your tax dollars at work.
Freedom--One Dead Iraqi at a Time

It looks like "moral values" include blasting people to smithereens indiscriminately. Fallujah has been sealed off and an assault is reportedly imminent.

I'm beginning to wonder: If this is how we're going to deal with Iraq, what the hell did Bush have against Saddam anyway? That he wasn't killing people fast enough?

More on Fallujah here (link from Juan Cole).
World Reaction

The Times of India pretty much sums it up with their headline:

Doh! Four more years of Dubya

But The Independent takes the blue ribbon with their front page:

a stark black background, overlaid with six bleak, sometimes brutal images to sum up Bush's first term - the self-satisfied grinning US President against the giant letter 'W'; the Abu Ghraib prison torture; coalition forces in Iraq; the orange-hooded detainees at Guantanamo Bay; a gung-ho placard held up for all the world to see, inscribed with the legend 'Finally, a Christian fighting evil. Thank you George Bush'.

Note: this and the previous post were both inspired by an email from a friend of mine--so let me give credit where it's due.
How Do You Cure a Chicken Killing Dog?

Molly Ivins tells us:

Now, you know you cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise.

The way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast.

Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans. And at least Democrats won't have to clean up after him until it is real clear to everyone who made the mess.

Now, if the dog was killing chickenhawks instead...
One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

Maybe it isn't that simple. The Poor Man has some interesting numbers regarding who supported which candidate:

Vote By Race
Total Bush Kerry
White (77%) 58% 41%
Black (11%) 11% 88%
Latino (8%) 44% 53%
Asian (2%) 44% 56%

Latinos and Asian-Americans go to Kerry in roughly the same proportions as whites go for Bush, but African-Americans favor Kerry by about 9 to 1. It isn't immediately clear to me why this should be. It's obviously not a red state/blue state thing - there are large black populations in the solidly red South, and there's white people everywhere.

First, I'd note that African Americans in general don't seem to trust Republicans--and with good reason. Many of the southern GOP'ers are old Dixiecrats. And the rest of the party seems to be letting them call the shots. But I didn't link to the numbers for that reason. Instead, I'm wondering what Bush intends to do.

It's evident to most sentient beings who follow politics that Bush and Rove are as addicted to punishing nonsupporters as they are to laying out sop for their constituency. And Bush made it clear yesterday that he views the election result as an overwhelming mandate--and intends to govern as such, i.e., it's his way or the highway (I'm guessing everyone who wants to read it has, but The Rude Pundit has a few things to say in this regard). So, what does Bush have in store for a large group of people who gave him almost no support?

Let's see--well, there's the possibility that blacks, asians, and/or latinos could find themselves remarkably fit for duty should there be a draft. Hell, economic conditions already account for a relatively high number of "volunteers" in the army being people of color. I also expect a full frontal assault on any vestige of affirmative action and/or quotas/percentages when it comes to things like government contracts. Don't expect any sort of grand plan for revitalizing cities or ensuring quality education at the primary level. And so on.

But, perhaps more than anything else, I expect we'll see Bush going out of his way to insult minorities/people of color/blacks/latinos/however you wish to express [x]. This will take the form of snubbing, say, the Congressional Black Caucus even more egregiously than he did during his first term. I also expect he'll nominate at least one Charles Pickering-type for the Supreme Court (possibly Pickering himself).

While I'm not holding out a lot of hope, there's a possibility that the degree of insults Bush hurls in their direction could potentially cause a backlash. We'll see, I guess.

Note: I was busy this morning dealing with some personal legal stuff--but I also saw that Blogger was bloggered anyway (why am I not surprised?). The legal stuff is done and I should be back at least a few more times today.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Stages 3 and 4: Bargaining and Depression

Of course, The Rude Pundit also manages to insert a bit of good old fasioned and well deserved anger. As always, be warned as to language.

On another note--Atrios linked to Bush's "press conference." God, is he ever an insufferable asshole. People actually would want to "sit down and have a beer with him?" When he wasn't smirking and saying things like "pull my finger" he'd be telling you about how he gets more ass than a toilet seat--even though you never see him with anyone.

Have a beer with the guy? I wouldn't sit next to him if it was the last empty chair and I'd been on my feet for six hours straight.
My Fellow Americans

A friend of mine pointed out this from BSAlert: The John Kerry Concession Speech That Should Have Been:

I concede that I misjudged the power of hate...

I concede that I put too much faith in America's youth...

We in blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes, and you in the red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about 'em. We in the blue states are the only ones who've been attacked by foreign terrorists, yet you in the red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name. We in the blue states produce the entertainment that you consume so greedily each day, while you in the red states show open disdain for us and our values. Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of the war on terror, while red state civilians are the ones standing behind us and yelling "Oh, yeah!? Bring it on!"

We, the people at risk from terrorists, the people who subsidize you, the people who speak in glowing and respectful terms about the heartland of America while that heartland insults and excoriates us...

Check out the rest by clicking on the link above.

One note: I've seen several arguments about "blue states" subsidizing "red states" via fund shifts. I haven't looked up any data, but I don't doubt it's true--the "blue states" are where you see the greatest concentration of monetary wealth. I see the point being made, but worry about the effect. A lot of red states have significant numbers of progressives, who would likely be the ones hurt if there really WAS a committment to "small government" (which will never happen anyway).

Al Giordano also has some interesting things to say.

I'll be honest. For the next few days I'll be laying off broadcast media, and not looking at a lot of election related stuff. I've seen enough: Bush supporters like his homophobia and viciousness, whether or not they call it that. They also seem to like his religious stance, although there's one question I'd like to ask these folks: would you wish the plagues and pestilences of the Biblical apocalypse upon your children? How about your grand-children? Or their kids? In other words, how many generations before you don't give a shit what happens. Just curious. I've always wondered about the mind set of folks who wish such horrible things on their own.
Day Tripp

Ben Tripp has a few words about those who voted against sane policy:

After four years of a government with all the integrity of a syphilitic pimp shoplifting at Woolworth's, it comes to this: you want more. The maladministration of George W. Bush is a disaster, the first four years of which will echo down the dust-farinated halls of history, turning heads for centuries like an outburst of flatulence at the New York Public Library...

It's just our bad luck that the entire course of history happens to hinge on this particular span of years, and we chose Bozo the Hun for a president...

Why is Nero still remembered? Because he presided over the destruction of something important. Washington? He fathered a great nation. Lincoln? He saved that nation's life. Bush? See Nero.

Note: Nero, according to my own readings, remained popular even after he killed himself--this apparently had a lot to do with a generosity of spirit he had towards the people, at least those who didn't get on his bad side (and those whom he victimized when trolling around with his youth gang). But it's a cimplicated story...

Anyway, back to Tripp:

How dare you vote against other Americans? That's all 'morals' is, these days: a code word for hate. How many millions of puffed-up poisonous psalm-singing sons-of-Birchers voted, not for Bush, but against queers? Against black people and Northerners and single women and poor children? What is the matter with you, that you want nothing more in this life than to stick a jackboot into the ribs of the downtrodden? There is no common good any more. Jesus Christ Himself would barf all over his anointed feet to see you venal, venomous vermin vituperate via votes. You elected George W. Bush, the Pontius Pilate of our age. Quit playing the outraged outsider, Christian soldiers. You got away with another election, you outnumbered the righteous, and we will all get everything you deserve. Bush and his gang of Confederate oliomaniacs will see to that. Here's what makes me sick: the last time, Americans voted for this Hakencreuz Hillbilly because he misrepresented what he was about. This time, they knew exactly what he was about, and they voted for him anyway.

Sometimes a good loud yell is exactly the right medicine...
Lost in Electioneering

Almost forgot--a year and a week ago I began this page. In that time, I've been lucky to record--wait, I need to check--ok, not quite 12,000 hits. Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure less than half are me.

Yeah, not exactly Atrios's numbers...but, then again, the fact that ANYONE takes a look is, well, humbling and gratifying.

So, to those that stopped by--thanks.

Also, I haven't given up on making sure Bush's reign of error is chronicled, if nothing else. I still think his policies are a disaster, and we'll see what happens. Hopfully, all of us will still be around when his sorry legacy is finally given the judgement it deserves--that of worst.president.ever.

Back in a bit.
Iraq: More Like America Than We Thought

Los Angeles Times has a report on the looting by Iraqis at Al Qaqaa (remember that?). As one officer said:

"It was complete chaos. It was looting like L.A. during the Rodney King riots."
Foreign Reaction

The Iraqi response to the presidential election was what might be expected: more violence. A Lebanese-American businessman was kidnapped, a US soldier was killed, four Iraqis were beheaded (three were alleged to be in their National Guard, the fourth in the regular Iraqi Army), an official in the Oil Ministry was assassinated, several car bombs exploded in Baghdad, Fallujah was pounded by airstrikes (prompting Juan Cole to note that the wanton brand of killing exemplified by bombing from the air is exactly the kind of action that groups like Al Qaeda respond to), um, and, let's see--anything else? Nothing yet, but there will be...of course, these days the question could be asked, "If a bomb goes off in Baghdad, but the press doesn't cover it, does it make any noise? Does it kill people? If a hostage is beheaded, but isn't American, does anyone care? Of a hostage is beheaded, but is LEBANESE-American, will the press even bother to mention it?

On the Afghanistan front, things are, fortunately, a little better. Rebels loosely affiliated with the Taliban extended their deadline for killing four hostages (UN employees)--begging yet more questions about the press, American public opinion, and the reality of the "war" on terror. Somehow, beheadings equal progress. And, hey, Karzai was elected president--guess we can move on now.

Last night I was mentioning to a friend who called on the telephone that, thanks to decision 2004, we have truly entered the lottery phase of the "war." Anyone naïve enough to think they--or their children--are safe need only look at the massacre at the school in North Ossetia (my friend told me last night that a friend of his, over a year ago, was worried about this exact scenario). Then there's the possibility of an attack on a chemical plant--and considering the number of plants between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, that certainly gives me pause.

Now, I don't want to give the impression that I'm fretting about this--no, I'm not. The odds of something happening in a particular location are miniscule, and I doubt seriously Louisiana is high on any sort of terrorist target list. However, the fact remains that there are vulnerable locations throughout the world AND right here in the United States (although, without trying to change the subject, you're still more vulnerable to getting horribly injured or killed in, say, a car wreck, instead of a terrorist attack). By upping the ante, and engaging in a bit of feel-good killing of anything walking around, like we're doing in Fallujah, we literally invite retaliation. A genuine review of the Israeli/Palestinian situation would be a good place to look for examples of this type of insanity. Only this time, it will be on a global stage.

Which begs yet another question--if/when the United States is attacked again (and it seems like everyone is suggesting it WILL happen), will the world pay any attention at all? And, if they do, will they respond with something like "those who live by the sword..."?).

This doesn't look good.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Odds and Ends, Rants and Raves

OK--it looks like a number of progressive bloggers are sorting things out right now--including yours truly. I've been reading the usual websites, and have found any number of posts expressing, quite eloquently, many of the thoughts going through my head. Regarding said thoughts, yes, like anyone hoping for sanity and the end of Bush's reign of error, there's been quite the range...

Hubert Humphrey High lets the anger flow--and no, there's nothing wrong with that. Kerry can be commended and condemned, and hell yes I've done my share of both. Trying to win the election was a steep hill to climb under the circumstances, but Kerry made plenty of mistakes--not the least being that he, and the party leadership, still seem to think there's some sort of "gentleman's honor" in the game of politics. If I ran the Kerry campaign, for instance, I would have personally promised to kick John O'Neill's fat, flabby ass on national television if it could be arranged--right after shoving a copy of his book and video down his lying throat.

If I was running the Kerry campaign, I would have run television advertising placing George W. Bush next to Osama bin Laden, a la the smear campaign against Max Cleland in 2002. I would have run television advertising noting that if everyone in the National Guard did what Bush did back in the 70's, we would already have lost in Iraq (not that we're going to win--Iraq is OVER except for the withdrawal of the troops). I would have run the dauphin's flight suit stunt over and over--and maybe juxtaposed it with Robert Acosta's statement.

Instead, Kerry tried to stay above the fray. That works fine for people who think, i.e., Kerry's, and, by extension, the Democratic base--but red state types (that is to say, red staters who are true believers) require a diet that includes a little bit of professional wrestling. It doesn't have to be the candidate himself--proxies work just fine--but you need to promise some smack down. I don't like that, but it's the way things are.

I've also seen several posts of this variety from Steve Gilliard. Bush got his re-election--and he's got majorities in both houses to boot, not to mention the chance to pack the Supreme Court with lord knows whom...and, on that note, let me thank the younger voters who DID turn out. It looks like a number stayed home, unfortunately. Note to them: if/when a woman's right to choose is REALLY taken away--not just rendered impractical thanks to the paucity of abortion clinics--don't say you haven't been warned. Also, when you are called up for military service--to become cannon fodder in the Iraqi meatgrinder--likewise considered yourselves informed. Getting killed can really ruin your day. So can losing a limb, or your eyesight, or control of your body thanks to nerve damage.

And don't think you can simply refuse an order because it's too dangerous.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Anyway, Bush no longer has anywhere to run. He no longer has anyone to blame. What happens in the next twelve months, not to mention the next four years, will be all his.

Something tells me that it's not going to be pretty.

David Corn tries his best to look at some positives. For instance, 49% of those who voted saw through what he termed "the buck naked and butt ugly" emperor. Yes, that's a good thing. Corn goes on to note what Gilliard does: that Bush will have to clean up the mess he's created. But he ends feeling like most of us--"I can't stand [the] "good" news. Same here, David. I don't care if dealing with Bush's mess is the ultimate sour grape--I wanted to see Kerry pop it into his mouth.

Ian McGibboney captured a lot of what I felt while watching the returns with this post--hell, as late as yesterday afternoon conservatives were looking for targets to blame. Well, let 'em gloat, I guess--because when the shit DOES hit the fan, it's gonna splatter all over them.

I saw something over at Pandagon suggesting that the left avoid the mistake of demonizing the South as a region of racist homphobes who only stop beating people with baseball bats long enough to catch what Brother Swaggert barks about on Sundays. To which I'll say "amen." Hey, there ARE progressive voices in the South. For instance: not that it's a gigantic victory, but last night Baton Rouge elected Kip Holden, a progressive Democrat, mayor. There were untold numbers of Kerry/Edwards signs in evidence here, and not just around LSU.

Are there complete creeps who have more toes than teeth, and less upstairs than the average invertebrate? Of course--apparently they comprise more or less 57 percent of the voting public. However, there are a large number of progressive Southerners who have to wince not only when the grass eaters win, but when the rest of the country thinks they speak for us as well. No, we're actually fighting hard to overcome these folks--it will just take time--and education.

As for myself, tonight will be a day off from the news media--the first in a long while, even if I don't post on weekends. Instead, I'm going to treat myself to a nice dinner, a few glasses of my favorite alcoholic beverage, and go from there. The sun will rise tomorrow...

And when things start going badly thanks to Bush's utterly insane policies, I'll be watching, noticing, organizing--and posting. He may have won, but he's still wrong.

Denial and Anger

The Rude Pundit has stages 1 and 2 for your reading pleasure...

Several things--first, I'll admit error: I was WAY OFF in thinking Kerry would win comfortably. My bad.

At the same time, I'm curious as to why exit polls and actual results were so skewed. Also, I'm surprised that "record turnout" only amounted to about 12 million additional voters--yes, this is good; however, given the news reports about long lines, you'd think there would be even more. Now, admittedly, if the long lines were in "safe" states, they unfortunately don't matter.

Greg Palast once again is noting issues related to voter suppression, and there's nothing wrong with examining what he has to say.

Still, you've got to wonder about the 58 million or so Americans who voted for the candidate endorsed by Osama. As James Wolcott notes:

It was also a victory for Osama Bin Laden. I don't believe for a moment Bin Laden was trying to sway voters to Kerry with his taped address. This was the outcome he wanted, a gift from us to him: an unapologetic Christian Crusader in the White House whose reelection giving lie to the notion that Abu Ghraib was an aberration and that the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians weigh upon America's conscience. This morning America could not look more like a grinning aggressor to the Arab world, an aggressor with fresh marching orders.

Billmon is a bit stronger, citing a Hunter Thompson passage:

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

Finally, I'm not yet ready to concede Ohio. Count the votes. If Bush carries it--fairly--then so be it. If the provisional and absentee ballots go to Kerry, then it's still a race.

Update: CNN reports that Kerry conceded. Goddamn.

Get ready for a real midieval time--youth of America, enjoy your draft. Workers of America--good luck with your job or lack thereof. Maybe you can join the military too (or get a well paying job as a truck driver in Iraq--but hey, don't get in over your head--pun intended). Hope everyone likes the People's Republic of China being Daddy Warbucks for us. Welcome to the era of the new Crusades...

I've got a headache.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

I cast my ballot at around 1:30 at my precinct (LSU Lab School). The line wasn't long, but there WAS a line. The last time I waited to vote was the gubenatorial primary. About twenty minutes after signing in, I went behind the curtain.

So far, I don't see a need to delete my previous post. I've also been checking out websites both local and national--things look good.

Since I'm sure all interested persons want to check the returns, I'll keep this short. Tonight I'll be watching some returns from a friend's house, and might even make it to the party for Rufus Holt Craig, Jr. Craig ran for US House against Richard Baker. Unfortunately, the national Democratic Party considered opposition to Baker a lost cause, so my guess is that Craig will consider it a moral victory if he can garner, oh, say, twenty percent or so.

Here's to good news tonight on a national and state level--President Kerry and a runoff for US Senate...

Don't know if I'll have anything to post later, but tomorrow I'll be back.
It's Over

I'm watching a Bush rally on C-Span--it's over. Bush sounds defeated. He's going through the motions, but his heart isn't in it.

Rove must have already delivered the bad news. The only question is how Bush responded--did he blink, did he accept responsibility, or did he toss feces around?

But it's over. I'm terrible at predicting but: Kerry, with over 300 Electoral Votes.

Like Timshel said, thank heavens blogger lets you delete posts...

Update--Concluding Unscientific Analysis:

One thing I just thought of: Rove's final gambit could be to try to underplay anything better than getting beat is...but maybe that's overanalysis. Let's just hope everybody who can vote DOES vote...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Gotta Be Careful

From Scaramouche, I heard about this: Blogger's Head Explodes:

"His browser history documents that he went from Drudge to Real Clear Politics to Talking Points Memo to Instapundit to Fox News to The New York Times to MSNBC to Kos to Roger Simon to Little Green Footballs to The Corner to Atrios to Google News to Allah to The Belmont Club to Wonkette and finally, and probably fatally, to Andrew Sullivan . All of a sudden his hands flew to his temples and he screamed in pain. Then, as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium, Van der Leun's head popped like a firecracker."

Incredibly, Van der Leun's is not the first case in which a blogger's head has spontaneously exploded during these last few days of the campaign. Five bloggers are known to have exhibited of HCB in the last week.

The most recent explosion occurred just two days ago at Instapundit, when Glenn Reynolds' skull burst but his blog kept on updating itself oblivious to Mr. Reynold's absence. Documents unsealed in Washington today, disclosed that fading blogger Andrew Sullivan's head actually exploded in early 2004, but duct tape, chewing gum, and love has kept that blog's keyboard humming in the grisly aftermath...

Although Dr. Martinenko says there are probably many undiagnosed cases, he hastens to add that very few bloggers will die from HCB . "Most people who have it will never know. Their heads will explode and they will keep right on posting. At this point, medical science still doesn't know much about HCB . And since fatalities are so rare it will probably be years before research money becomes available. This tragedy today is just another instance where human embryo stem cell research could not have made a bit of difference, but we'd have been glad to have the money from the Federal Government anyway."

In the meantime, the doctor urges bloggers to take it easy and not think too hard for long periods of time concerning the outcome during the last week of this election.

The good news is that I've rarely wandered over to Drudge, LGF, Roger Simon--or even Wonkette...oh, and even better news. I just reread the last line above--it says "take it easy and not THINK too hard..." Wow--for a second I thought it said "drink."

Mission Accomplished.
bin Forgotten yet Again

Friday I held my breath, along with most other thinking folks, when Osama took to the airwaves in a last minute attempt to elect George W. Bush. Fortunately, it looks like his video didn't do much either way, and that particular October surprise fizzled.

Now, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair are suggesting that bin Laden could easily be sitting in a US jail--or lying prone in a coffin--had it not been for several months of bungling by the incoming Bush team back in 2001. Check their article out--they cite Kabir Mohabbat as their source, and contend that the Bush team didn't so much as take their eye off the ball but completely shut them prior to September 11th, whereupon the rules of the game morphed rather quickly. For this, Counterpunch awards Bush an "F" for the War on Terror.

Cockburn, to be sure, is enigmatic. In this piece from last July, he rips John Kerry and suggests that four more years of Dubya could make the empire tumble (which he considers a good thing). For this, Steve Gilliard rips into him, accusing he and Ralph Nader of "hoping nobody notices that they're rich." Gilliard then lays off the personal stuff and hits the real nail on the head, comparing "let Bush ruin it" to the Communist gambit in 1930's Germany. They paid the price for that.

So, perhaps this article on Bush's failure is a way to balance out the rhetoric. I've been hoping to see Cockburn criticize the dauphin a bit more. However, if all goes as I expect tomorrow, it will be president-elect Kerry who will be on the receiving end of Al's sharp pen. And, good for that. As I've said, a Kerry victory tomorrow is the first step, not the end of the line.
Countdown, Continued: "Bush Win Would Mean Dark Times"

Helen Thomas has a few things to say about the election:

There are many reasons -- in foreign policy and on the domestic front -- why President George W. Bush should not be reelected.

Thomas's list should be read in its entirety--so I won't enumerate it here. Check out her op-ed.

One thing I WILL say, though, is that Helen Thomas has kept her dignity intact--and good for her. The So-Called-Liberal-Media has been piling on Ms. Thomas for some time, and the Bush administration did everything short of sanctifying this ugliness. Thomas was and is one of the few voices covering the White House who doesn't grovel at the collective feet of the arrogant assholes running the country. For this, she's paid the price, being shut out of the few news conferences Bush has given (and being denied her traditional role of asking the first question--probably because Bush knew she wasn't a pushover). Brit Hume had the temerity to call her "the crazy aunt who lives in the attic," or words to that effect--which is something, considering that Brit looks like a cross between Cro-Magnon Man and a Bassett Hound (minus the keen sense of hearing and smell).

I realize Ms. Thomas is getting on in years, but I hope she continues to cover the Kerry White House for at least the near future. The country is well served by journalists of her caliber.
Lo Siento, Señor Bush

Reuters reports that Bush will lose the Latino/Hispanic vote by a 2 to 1 margin.

My guess is that the only Latino votes he'll garner are the rabid single issue anti-Castro Cubans and the evangelicals. I think even some Cuban Americans aren't happy with the travel and currency restrictions Bush put in place. I'm not sure exactly what Dubya was thinking--maybe the reptile part of his brain got off on some gratuitous Fidel bashing--but that'll hurt him in Florida. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and guess that the first pundit to bring that up will be David Brooks and it will be uttered at roughly 8:42 Eastern Time (Dan Rather noting it in passing won't count, unless he immediately follows up with some sort of 'Texas' saying about a frog on a log with a dog...).

I'll suggest two posts from Hullabaloo, and the link should allow each to be accessed in order.

The first post, Notes on Turnout, has a couple of strong paragraphs that are worth citing in their entirety:

The underlying fact that cannot be ignored by Democrats and moderates of all stripes is that they stole the goddam election last time and then governed like they'd won in a landslide. They rubbed our noses in it for four long years with a far right agenda, treating us like shit every single step of the way. Apparently, they believed their own ridiculous hype and convinced themselves that we would just roll over and take it. They were wrong.

It didn't have to be this way. 9/11 could have wiped the whole thing out if Junior had behaved even slightly as the president of the entire country instead of just his base. They made their bed...

If it is fear and loathing of George W. Bush that made that happen, so be it. The modern Republican Party will rue the day they pushed us to our limit. Their hubristic dreams of a permanent majority are dead. We are going to crush them with our numbers.

About the only thing I can add is "hear, hear!"

Digby's previous post, Here's Johnny, offers "reason number 5,769,438 not to vote for George W. Bush," that is, the Justice Department signing off on the voter challenges in Ohio. Two U.S. District Judges in Ohio have blocked attempts by the GOP to systematically intimidate voters there (the GOP is trying a last minute appeal--funny how all their railing against "trial lawyers" goes out the window when they decide to bring something to court).

So, Asscrossed is trying to limit the franchise--why am I not surprised? The GOP knows very well that increased voter turnout will end their dreams of running the show. The fact that the Democrats haven't been more active in getting non-voters registered--and voting--is shameful. The DLC "Republican Lite" strategy might have put Clinton in the White House, but it damn near wrecked the party.

If Kerry wins--and I'm starting to think he will--these new voters will be the folks providing his margin of victory. And Kerry would do well to listen to their agenda, which includes but is not limited to: providing good jobs at good pay, decent and affordable healthcare, a progressive tax structure that helps states with education and public works funding, and an end to the ridiculous war in Iraq--a war which is both dumb strategically and tactically.

As I scan the latest headlines, it looks like this one is going Democratic--polls show "a neck and neck" race--and, given what is known about polling methods, that's got to be good news for Kerry.

There's no such thing as "Only Wounded"

From Today in Iraq: The Houston Chronicle carries a story from Leonard Pitts, Jr:

ABC News offered an appalling glimpse in a report two weeks ago. A critically injured soldier spoke of being sent a collection notice from the Pentagon while he was recuperating at a military hospital. The Pentagon was demanding the return of a $2,700 bonus because the soldier — who now lives in his car — could not fulfill his three-year tour of duty. A National Guardsman with a leg injury said he'll have to sell his home to pay his bills. A double amputee complained of getting the runaround from the Pentagon while financial ruin closes in like the shadows of twilight.

Bush, recall, wants to cut veteran's benefits--and don't believe the GOP ruse that "they're increasing" funding for veterans. If there's a 5% increase in funding, but a 10% increase in the number of people applying for veteran's benefits, that amounts to a CUT. As for the veteran's noted in the above paragraph--well, kicking people when they're down is this administration's specialty--except for when it comes to Osama bin Laden. In that case, you let the guy go so he can come back to give you a "gift" come election time.

Just Plain Weird

The Guardian has a two part series about the various US Army psy-ops units and a brief history of this branch of service. Welcome to bizarro world...

Bob Harris provided the link. Harris was/is a frequent poster to This Modern World, and his own site is worth looking at.
Countdown, Continued

As we enter what I hope--and am beginning to think--the twilight of the Bush mistake, here are a few more items that make the case for Dubya calling up the movers. CBS News ran a piece last night on 60 Minutes about the shortages faced by the troops in Iraq--everything from armor (body and vehicle) bullets to night vision goggles to radios. The National Guard in particular has borne the brunt of the shortages. Thanks to Steve Gilliard for the link to CBS and for this post about the possible return of the draft, as people quite sensibly are leaving the National Guard--if not retained by stop-loss--and/or not enlisting in the first place.

Aside: George W. Bush Will You Please Go Now?! has "the joke of the year." Check it out.

But, back to the CBS story: while troops are being shortchanged, Halliburton keeps raking it in. And when it's not Halliburton, it's good old fashioned Congressional pork: Pentagon budgets, according to the 60 Minutes story, pay for all sorts of pet projects that either barely have a connection to national defense, or no connection at all.

Welcome to Bush world: where anything goes, as long as the term "national security" is bandied about.