July 12, 2004

Elections Schmelections

Republicans have no intention of letting an election shake their hold on power

As the Republicans' position electorally becomes more and more untenable, they are looking at ways to hold on to power regardless of the will of the majority. Chatter about postponing or canceling elections over the predicted terrorist attack has been ongoing for some time. The more the Republicans seem cornered in terms of Constitutional processes, the more they seem to be considering extra-constitutional alternatives.

A Reuters report says, "U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to postpone the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda, Newsweek reported on Sunday... The magazine cited unnamed sources who told it that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department last week to review what legal steps would be needed to delay the election if an attack occurred on the day before or the day of the election."

Recall 2001 when Bush's approval ratings were below 50%. His first several months had already depleted Clinton's surplus and there was no room to maneuver in terms of budget. His tax cut gave that money to the wealthiest 5% and any further expenditures were likely to cut into the Social Security fund. Suddenly Bush's old friend Osama bin Laden, whom Bush had told the FBI to back off on their investigations of, came out of the woodwork with an attack, and Bush had the excuse he needed to do everything he ever wanted to do. As Bush put it at the time, "I hit the Trifecta."

This summer looks chillingly like the summer of 2001. Bush's political position looks increasingly desperate. In terms of normal electoral politics, he has virtually nothing going for him. His record is dismal in every way, and people are catching on. But the Bushies have never let Constitutional law stand in their way before, why should they now? What they need is another catastrophe like 9/11. And they know how to deliver it.

Postponing elections is all the rage now among the Republican-corporate-military set. The chatter has been going on a long time and its getting louder as election day draws closer and the results do not appear to be in the Republicans' favor.

CNN reports that, "The department [of Homeland Security] has referred questions about the matter to the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel." Now the same guys who provided the administration its supposed legal justification for torture is going to come up with a legal justification for nullifying election laws. Anyone who thinks this idea is far out and won't happen in America should read the Supreme Court's "Bush vs Gore" decision and the Patriot Act. It is all there in black and white. They do not intend to let anything like the Constitution stand in their way.

CNN continues, "The department wants to know about the possibility of granting emergency power to the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission, authority that Roehrkasse said was requested by DeForest B. Soaries Jr., the commission's chairman. Soaries, who was appointed by President Bush, is a former New Jersey secretary of state and senior pastor of the 7,000-member First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey. He wrote in April to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice asking them to seek such legislation from Congress, Roehrkasse said. Roehrkasse said the recent discussions were sparked by intelligence indicating al Qaeda wants to "disrupt our democratic process."

By the logic the administration is setting up, anything that threatens their hold on power can be considered an attempt to "disrupt our democratic process." In the Orwellian manner that has become their style, they will stop the elections to save "our democratic process."

If their former ally and provider of pretexts Osama bin Laden provides the necessary "Pearl Harbor-like incident" they can say that any preference in the polls for their opponents was brought on by a terrorist attack, their excuse for everything.

In a press briefing by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, a reporter asked, "On Ridge's security warnings, can the President today guarantee Americans that no terrorist attack can upset the U.S. elections this November, that they will go ahead as planned?" McClellan answered, "I don't think anyone can make guarantees. But the full intention is to move forward and hold those elections."

Now they are telling us they cannot guarantee that we will have elections. They are setting up the premise that it is up to them to grant us elections if they so choose. The Constitution says otherwise. The Declaration of Independence says these rights are inherent, not granted by any government. History has shown that democratic power has been wrested from kings and tyrants, not granted.

The best thing now is that this plot is beginning to find its way into public discussions. This needs to be out in the open and discussed widely. Like Total Information Awareness, or any of a large number of totalitarian proposals of the Bush administration, this scheme must be exposed to the light of day. Most Americans would respond with outrage to the idea that the administration wants to postpone elections. Hopefully the population won't allow itself to get burned again like it did with the election fraud of the Supreme Court in 2000.

The only way to derail such a plan is for the people to make plenty of noise and let their elected and non-elected officials know they will not sit idly by while their democratic power is taken from them.

According to Reuters, open public discussion of the issue is already causing some backing off among Republicans. "Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that the idea of legislation allowing the election to be postponed was similar to what had already been looked at in terms of how to respond to an attack on Congress. 'These are doomsday scenarios. Nobody expects that they're going to happen,' he said. 'But we're preparing for all these contingencies now.'"

Doomsday for democracy? The corporate whore politicians must be told in no uncertain terms that Americans will not stand for their votes to be stolen from them.

(See also Al Jazeera, Newsweek, Buzzflash. What Lincoln had to say about canceling elections during the Civil War Buzzflash.)


July 13, 2004

  • Reaching the Limit? While the Bushites toy with calling off the elections, even their own conservative base is defecting. Some conservatives still believe in elections. Have the Bushites gone to far even for them? Guardian
  • Altered Documents -- The Bush administration changed the CIA's report on Weapons of Mass Destruction, changing it from carefully hedged and qualified statements to "blunt assertions of fact." According to the LA Times,"In a classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared before the Iraq war, the CIA hedged its judgments about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, pointing up the limits of its knowledge. But in the unclassified version of the NIE — the so-called white paper cited by the Bush administration in making its case for war — those carefully qualified conclusions were turned into blunt assertions of fact, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence." The Intelligence Committee, which glossed over the administration's responsibility in its misuse of the information and put the blame on the CIA, nonetheless, "laid out numerous instances in which the unclassified version omitted key dissenting opinions about Iraqi weapons capabilities, overstated U.S. knowledge about Iraq's alleged stockpiles of weapons and, in one case, inserted threatening language into the public document that was not contained in the classified version." The administration not only omitted information from its revision, it also added false information to the CIA document.
  • Kerry leading Bush by six points in Newsweek poll. Reuters

    July 14, 2004

  • The Twisted Cheneys -- Randi Rhodes has been playing readings from Lynne Cheney's lesbian novel Sisters. It's unbelievable that the woman who wrote these scenes of lesbian lechery is the wife of fascist boss **ck Cheney and the author of phony right wing morality books like Telling the Truth, Academic Freedom and The Body Politic. (Check it out at Amazon.)

    whitehouse.org (not the real White House Web site) posts some excerpts from the book. Check them out at whitehouse.org! Reading Lynne's characters' lesbian lust is notable not because lesbian lust is any worse than any other kind, but because Lynne's husband is pushing a Constitutional amendment to prevent homosexuals from having equal rights to the privileges of civil unions.

  • The Bush-Lay letters -- Bush said there was no personal relationship. Check it out. PoliticalStrategy.org
  • Behind the Lines -- The Wall Street Journal says Fahrenheit 9/11 is finding a military audience.
  • Don't You Dare! An SFGate editorial expresses the appropriate reaction to the administration's suggestion that it may try to cancel the election. "This nation, which already ceded far too many liberties in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, needs to demonstrate its resolve and fearlessness. America's message to the world should be: We're prepared to vote on Nov. 2, no matter what."
  • A Pathetic Failure -- Meanwhile, the Republicans filibustered their own bill for a Constitional amendment outlawing gay marriage because they couldn't even get a bare majority, let alone the two thirds required to amend the Constitution.
  • Ashcroft Pitches -- Kerry's statement on the Intelligence Committee report: "Nothing in this report absolves the White House of its responsibility for mishandling of the country's intelligence. The fact is that when it comes to national security, the buck stops at the White House, not anywhere else. It's disturbing that the White House continues to lay blame for intelligence failures solely at the steps of the intelligence community, yet takes no responsibility for its own failings."
  • Peabrain Ashcroft presented a report to Congress to try to persuade them not to make any more attempt to weaken the mandate for dictatorship known as the Patriot Act. Ashcroft's report referred to 39 cases in which the act helped the department catch "terrorists". Even if these suspects are truly guilty of some act of terrorism, 39 closed cases isn't much of an excuse to nullify the Bill of Rights for 200 million people.

    July 15, 2004

    Beyond Conspiracy Theory

    Living in the USA under BushCheneyFeldCroft is like watching a massive nuclear explosion in ultra slow motion. And the harder you look, the more there is to see.

    Now everyone is a conspiracy theorist. The regular, homogenized packaged news is conspiracy theory. The official story of what happened on 9/11 is conspiracy theory.

    This last bit about calling off the elections really has me furious. How can Americans let them get away with even saying that? In the United States of America, the home of democracy!? I am so infuriated! This is so over the top.

    Who is for the Republicans now? Are you ready to admit that you prefer dictatorship? Are you still pretending to believe in democracy? Does anybody still have to be told that Bush is against democracy?

    I will not believe that Americans will stand by and let them get away with canceling or even "postponing" an election. Americans, if you feel you are too comfortable to risk losing what you have by fighting to uphold what your ancestors handed down, then you have nothing and you will have nothing.

    July 16, 2004

    Vulgar Men

  • Tonight I was going to quit, give up this web enterprise. What's the point? Too much time alone in front of a computer. Too much negative energy.

    Then I saw this: JiveTurkey: The single greatest event of my life at Livejournal.com. This is priceless! I just had to share this. This is life in the 21st century in a nutshell.

    In case your clicker finger doesn't work or you suffer from severe ADD and won't follow the link, here's the essence:

    After waiting around for about 45 minutes, the motorcade passed by us again. A few police cars, followed by a van or two, drove by. Then, a Bush/Cheney bus passed, followed by a second one going slower. At the front of this second bus was The W himself, waving cheerily at his supporters on the other side of the highway. Adam, Brendan, and I rose our banner (the More Trees, Less Bush one) and he turned to wave to our side of the road. His smile faded, and he raised his left arm in our direction. And then, George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States of America, extended his middle finger.

    I got flipped off by George W. Bush.

  • Hannity and Hart -- Flipping around on cable TV tonight I saw a white-haired Gary Hart and practically gasped when I became aware that he was on Fox News. He was just wrapping up an inane exchange with a character whose name I don't know but who looks -- as best I can describe him -- like Bert of Bert and Ernie. Then suddenly to Hart's left, the camera pans and there is -- WHAT?! -- Sean Hannity!! The cave dweller himself! Unleashed upon Gary Hart!

    I was very surprised they let Gary Hart on there at all. What good could they do for the White House agenda by letting out the news that Hart has a book. Someone might read it! But there he was. I thought for sure someone would shout him down or something. How could they let the guy talk.

    Hart was very very sharp, though, and tough, and Hannity couldn't really get over on him even with nearly total control of the format. Hart is not only smart, very determined not to be snookered, articulate, very experienced, with something like 15 years experience on the Armed Services Committee of the Senate, so not an easy guy for Hannity, or the best writers Ruppert Murdoch can buy to overcome.

    Hannity tried to rope Hart into a sucker punch, but Hart effectively parried. Hannity started with a standard right wing line right now. He read a couple of statements by Kerry and Edwards making statements to the effect that Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to gain nuclear weapons, that the U.S. can't stand by and let Saddam threaten us, and so forth. These statements exist in great volume by many Democrats who now oppose Bush, and it's a big right wing line now that because they made such statements they are equally to blame for the war -- or would have made the same mistake, or were complicit in Bush's mistake, or something like that.

    Hannity said, in effect, "How can these guys say these things and now be against the president? ...

    Hart avoided getting drawn into the trap of trying to defend Kerry and Edwards' positions, which would require trying to imagine what precisely they are and then staking out a position of defense. Hart said, "I don't know, you would have to ask them that," and made the point that there is a big difference between their positions as senators and Bush's position as commander in chief. The senators got their briefing from the president -- false information as it turned out -- and they made their decision to authorize him to use military options at his discretion when he had fulfilled his promise to exhaust all diplomatic and other options. Hart went on to make his main point, that "what I am saying in this book, after 15 years of serving on the armed forces committee, is that Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to us that required us to pre emptively attack Iraq."

    This is essentially the answer to that lame argument that is getting pounded relentlessly right now.

  • The most serious story -- still -- is the Bush administration's talk about calling off elections. According to Michel Chossudovsky, "America is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in its history. An Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack is being contemplated as a "trigger mechanism" for carrying out a Coup d'Etat. Whether it is going to be carried out is another matter. The statements of the Bush administration regarding the possibility of a red code alert must, nonetheless, be taken seriously." This analysis should be required reading for every American. This is also a good starting point for researching the issues entangled in the announcements that the government is looking for "guidelines" for how to call off elections in the event of an attack. Think, America. Global Research
  • Election Monitoring -- Click on Democrats.com to sign a petition urging that election monitors be placed to ensure fair elections.
  • Notes and Sources for Fahrenheit 9/11 at michaelmoore.com
  • Listen Here to Bush's Lies -- at Information Clearing House. And there is much more amazing information at Information Clearing House.
  • More on Terrorism and the Election, by Wayne Madsden.
  • Bush's Crumbling Credibility, by Chris Farrell: "While campaigning in Tennessee on Monday, President Bush tried to convince American voters he has made them safer since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and told them 'we were right to go into Iraq.' Reuters reported that Bush told employees at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 'Today because America has acted, and because America has led, the forces of terror and tyranny have suffered defeat after defeat, and America and the world are safer.' Oh, really? Is that why Bush administration counterterrorism officials are, according to Newsweek, planning to postpone the November presidential election if there is a terrorist attack at election time? – Because we’re more secure? President Bush should read his own State Department report that documents a 21-year high for significant acts of terror in 2003. You remember this report. It had to be 'reissued' when a 'new data system' incorrectly reported terror numbers that went 'unnoticed' in early drafts until the report was actually published. Sort of like the real costs for the Medicare prescription drug bill costs." lewrockwell.com


    July 17, 2004

    View from the Tunnel

    The sheepish dull-wittedness of the media is typified in this sudden adoption of this term "domestic diva" to refer to Martha Stewart. A diva is a singer. Some characteristics of the stereotype of an opera singer are obviously being alluded to here, but it's such a ridiculous leap. And the fact that it has been suddenly mimicked over and over by big media organs shows how stupid they are.

    I fully believe the mass media is consciously engineered to scatter meaning, introduce confusion and distract the public. The agents of this toxic extreme corporate culture must be seen as something to protect oneself against if one is to have a hope of genuine sanity in this environment. Those ordinary working Americans who are not wary of this culture, as portrayed by corporate media, are in serious danger.

    With addled brain I sit down after a mad two days in which I rode a train from New York's Penn station through Connecticut and Rhode Island to Boston; a bus to Portsmouth, N.H.; a car to Maine and back to Manchester, N.H., to board a plane to Chicago; and a plane back the next day to Newark International. During that time I spent a few sweaty moments sagging under the weight of two shoulder bags in an airport bookstore.

    It's great to see all the books that are taking on the right wing push of the Bush faction. And of course there are plenty of the Hannitys and O'Reillys. But the book publishing industry is not as dominated as a couple of years ago by right wing political voices like Coulter and Limbaugh and the above-named cretins.

    I saw the Michael Moore is a "Big Fat Stupid White Man" or whatever it's called. It is disguised to look like a Moore book, which is an advantage from a sales point of view because Moore is about the hottest brand name author right now with a crossover power between films and books.

    But I had heard about the book and was curious what it would say, so I checked it out. I wish I could say it was bad. Actually I would have to say from a quick look that it was just nothing. It was nothing, as most of the attacks on Moore have been, because it was an attack on his person, which is beside the point.

    The book says he's obnoxious, a self-promoter, rich and fat. And that's all true enough, but meaningless. It's the typical numbskull approach of discrediting the speaker because you can't discredit his argument. Actually because you want to utterly drown out his argument so no one can hear it.

    It can be relevant to discredit an argument by questioning the credibility of the speaker, I submit George Bush as a case in point. But you have to have something. Saying Michael Moore is fat doesn't carry a lot of weight, if you will. Saying he is rich is also pointless, obviously he's raking in millions, what is that relevant to?

    The point is that Michael Moore criticizes rich people and yet he is one. That is such a ridiculous simplification of Moore's criticisms as to be hardly worth addressing. Getting your money by killing people, for example, is different from getting it by entertaining them. It's not immoral to make money. It is immoral to steal it by bribing a public official.

    That Michael Moore is a huge self-promoter is also undeniable. I don't know how that separates him from most of the U.S. population, especially the successful ones, GWB again comes to mind. The problem with Moore is not that he's a self-promoter, but that he is so successful at it and more importantly because of the information he is getting out in spite of largely successful efforts to suppress it in the mass media.

    There's a lot of grousing about how it's all about Michael Moore's ego. If it really was only about that, none of these rightwingers would bat an eyelash. Moore wouldn't have a following. He wouldn't have been able to develop a massively successful career since 2001 as one of the most articulate and visible Bush detractors.

    The anti-Moore book pulls out one of the standard jibes at Moore by the highly indignant right wing, how instead of the usual list of thankyous at awards ceremonies, he used the moment of receiving his Oscar to make a political statement against Bush, who was at that moment bombing Iraq and killing thousands of people on false pretenses. A number of relatively reasonable people have adopted this indignation that Moore used his moment in the limelight to bring to the attention of the American people crimes that were being committed in their name at that moment. At that tuxedoed affair, it's not polite to talk about mass murder.

    It's really a bizarre form of disassociation to be offended by the disruption of a mood of oblivious self-congratulation by talking about a horrible war, but not offended by the acts themselves, and by those who pushed the country into a war on what they knew were false pretenses. Very puzzling. And indicative of the extent of the state of hypnosis engendered in the American people by their extremely effective media system.

    Moore's obnoxiousness -- in the perspective of the issues he is bringing to attention -- is the least Americans should be doing to protect this country from the onslaught of corporate America upon the republic.

    July 18, 2004

    The President Flipped the Bird

    Just think about it. The president of the United States giving a group of protestors the finger. (See JiveTurkey: The single greatest event of my life.) The magnitude of that is hard to grasp. Aside from the fact that this guy was going to "change the tone" that his own party had engendered in Washington, that he called himself a "uniter" and all that crap -- this guy is the president, allegedly. Shouldn't he have just a little more class than that?

    The picture that emerges is a guy who is so petty, so vindictive and spiteful that he cannot tolerate any disagreement, even when expressed by people who are relatively powerless in his world. He doesn't have an ounce of magnanimity, he doesn't care about trying to persuade those people of the validity of his program and win them over into his camp. He sees them as enemies and uses the most vulgar means he can to express his attitude. It's practically inconceivable that a U.S. president would behave in such a lowlife manner in public. Not any more I guess.

  • Justin Raimondo has some interesting observations on the finger incident and the general deterioration of everything under Bush. antiwar.com
  • Standing Up to Bush-- Accused by the US ambassador to Uruguay of being "totally lacking any sense of journalistic integrity" by comparing George Bush to Adolf Hitler, the editor of "La Republica del Uruguay" did not back down, as we are accustomed to seeing when the Bushes launch a flurry of flack at dissenters. In response he wrote that Bush is "a paranoid fanatic intoxicated by messianic passions and dimmer than a slug. A man drunk with power, as he was drunk with alcohol before -- and legally condemned for it on 4 September 1976, for driving drunk at full speed. Admonished, too, by none other than the evangelist Billy Graham who told him, 'Who are you, to think yourself God?'. A militant for the Christian Right, the Texan, Southern Christian right that is. A racist in love with the death sentence, especially when it comes to African-Americans. All in all, the worst US president for over a century, the man who will unleash the greatest tragedies on his own people. The opposite of Homo Sapiens, the incarnation of Homo Demens. And a misogynist, to boot, like any good racist. (You MUST see informationclearinghouse.info. This demands to be read). He continues: "From the theoretical point of view, the comparison between Bush and Hitler is correct. The scientists have described Nazism as a terrorist dictatorship of corporate expansionism. Bush, by putting himself beyond the law and invading a defenceless nation which it had not attacked in order to take over its oil wealth, the second largest on the planet, and then stating that other oil-producing nations will follow, comes close to the definition of a corporate terrorist dictatorship. Even though he may not like to admit it."
  • Bill Clinton: "Most of us don't agree with the way the Supreme Court handled the Florida election decision. Then, after 9/11, the president had another truly historic opportunity to unite the country around compassionate conservatism. And instead, they tried to push America way to the right and just pilloried anybody that disagreed with them as not patriotic, winning the 2002 midterm elections on the Homeland Security bill, which was, I think, the greatest political scam in modern American history." Rolling Stone
  • Tide Turning -- "A CBS-New York Times poll, released Friday, found that just over half, 51 percent, said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, while 45 percent said going to war was the right decision. Last month, people were evenly split on that question." Associated Press
  • Poor Whoopee Goldberg, she can't be the Slimfast spokeswoman anymore because a bunch of Republicans threatened to boycott the product since Whoopee made a sexual reference to Bush's name. Why someone with as much on the ball and as much money as Whoopee Goldberg would want to be a spokeswoman for something so lame is beyond me anyway. I can see a struggling actor doing ads to make a living, and someone established putting their name behind a worthwhile cause (like purging America of Bush and his right wing disaster). But I think someone of Whoopee Goldberg's caliber has better things to do than be an advertising spokeswoman for some undistinguished product. Good for her she's off the job. Now she is free to tell it like it is, much more her style. "I find all this feigned indignation about 'Bush bashing' quite disingenuous," she said, according to the New York Daily News.

    July 19, 2004

  • The Problem Was in the Oval Office -- "The answer to the shortcomings of our so-called intelligence apparatus is not simply a matter of prewar intelligence errors by the CIA but by pervasive group-think in the Oval Office. Looking beyond pre-9/11 failures, we should turn our attention to the tragedy of the war on Iraq, the direct result of propagandistic posturing by President Bush's incessant phony threat reporting. I call this warmongering. Bush misused available intelligence information to further his own shortsighted political ambitions. Shame on him." Boston Globe
  • Bushites Trying to Rewrite History -- "Perhaps you recall how eager the Bush administration was to invade Iraq last year? If so, you're mistaken. Senior administration officials weren't determined to invade Iraq, they were simply the victims of faulty intelligence. There they were, just minding their own business, when incompetent underlings kept hounding them with false information showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and close links to Al Qaeda. What choice did they have but to invade?" Toronto Star
  • Phony Tony Lied -- From Scotland: "Our troops died on a false pretext... but never mind, it was all in good faith"
  • Now the NeoLunatics are saying Iran was involved in 9/11 -- Telegraph
  • Bush not saying what he plans for a second term. Washington Post
  • Barbara Ehrenreich: It's over, Ralph. New York Times
  • Sir Elton John attacks U.S. "censorship" -- BBC

    July 19, 2004

    Pussycat Blitzer

    A Rare Displeasure -- I turned on CNN for some Sunday morning political reporting and there is Wolf Blitzer interviewing the acting head of the CIA John McLaughlin. When Wolf interviewed the director of the CIA he was a real pussycat, just as sweet as could be, purring sweet nothings and letting the director get away without answering much of anything.

    When former Ambassador Joseph Wilson came on, however, we saw a different Wolf, a vicious attacker, constantly interrupting before Wilson could complete his answers. The whole time Wilson was talking there was a banner under him saying "Defending his Record" (or something to that effect) so that the subliminal message for anyone not really paying close attention was that this guy is on the defensive. He's on the defensive, not the administration who ignored his intelligence because it didn't bolster their case for war. Not the administration official who revealed his wife's name as an undercover CIA agent. Not too hard to see where Wolf's sympathies lie. Is Wolf trying to become Fox?

    McLaughlin followed the basic Bush Catch 22 line. We know there is great danger but we can't tell you anything specific because that would make it harder for us to fight the terrorists. "One thing I can tell you about terrorists is they can keep a secret," he said. "In this country we don't keep secrets very well." Always hammering on that point about how we can't do our job because all these civil libertarians are always in our hair. If we could have a good solid dictatorship where we could keep secrets, we could fight these guys on their own terms.

    But why does keeping the terrorists' secrets secret help to defeat them? If your point is that they have an advantage by keeping secrets, then wouldn't it follow that getting the information out on as broad a scale as possible would reduce that advantage? If everyone knew, for example, what Bush was told in August 2001 about Al Qaeda trying to mount an attack on U.S. cities using civilian planes as weapons and flying them into buildings like the World Trade Center, would that not have helped to thwart the attack? If millions of Americans were watching out, including the security people at airports, the air traffic controllers, police, civilians who worked at the World Trade Center, it would have increased our security. There is no doubt about it. Just think about it. What advantage was there in everyone being caught off guard except those, like Bush, who had warnings?

    There is no logic that justifies their keeping everything secret and just telling us in a vague way that we are in great danger. The only logic to that is what is obvious, it is a good mechanism for population control. It keeps everyone on edge, but gives them no information that will help them protect themselves. It encourages dependence on the government.

    McLaughlin answered few of the questions, saying he can't get involved in politics. Wolf didn't crowd him. He was visibly very deferential to him, never pushed him or interrupted.

    In between segments they put up a notice that you could go to cnn.com/lateedition and vote on the question of whether or not elections should be postponed if there is a terrorist attack. I know it's just a market research tool to measure viewership, but I had to vote on that one. I went to the site and voted NO, then looked at the result. 96% opposed, 4% for postponing the elections. Right on! Good show America! Don't give up your right to vote! Never never never never never!!!

    Le Cartel Bush
    No Girlie Man.

    July 20, 2004

    Doo Doo

    Many members of the California legislature are very upset that Governor Arnold called them "girlie men". I'm not sure if that is the kind of insult to get really upset about. It's one of the most childish comments I've ever heard in politics. People who thought Schwarzenegger's election brought politics to a new low won't be disappointed if this is a sign of the level of discourse Arnie is bringing to California.

    It reminds me of riding my bike when I was about 10 in the suburbs and some 6-year-olds coming out to the ends of their driveways yelling "Doo doo!" at me as I rode by. How do you respond to something like that? Arnie needs to go home and have a conference with his speechwriter.

    Later Arnie "refused to apologize." He was going to let his "girlie men" comment stand the test of history. He was castigating his opponents, by the way, because they were not man enough to stand up to the unions and trial lawyers in order to pass his budget cuts.

    Arnie says they are girlie men for not standing up to unions, which may be far from perfect, but exist to represent working people. The issue he refers to is a measure to loosen the rules for contracting out of school services, that is, hiring cheaper outside help to avoid paying overtime.

    He mentions trial lawyers, partly as part of the Republican effort to slime John Edwards by making trial lawyers sound like vermin, and specifically because he wants to repeal a law that allows workers to sue their bosses to force them to comply with labor laws. Arnie doesn't mention standing up to the big corporations, to whom he pledges allegiance. When it comes to them, Arnie is as much a girlie man as the next politician.

    Does his insult mean that he thinks women legislators are weaker than men at fighting special interests?

    It was Arnie's good friend Ken Lay that broke California's budget. Does he have the guts to go after Enron to get California's money back, or would he rather cut the pay of state employees and cut the education budget?

    Arnie's flash and his celebrity slipped him into office without having to be subject the scrutiny that usually operates in a political campaign of standard duration. But it hasn't taken long for the former body builder/sexual harasser to express his true character.

    According to The Guardian, a protester holding a drawing of Schwarzenegger wearing a bikini, said, "He's the girlie man. I passed him in the Capitol a couple of weeks ago and he had on more makeup than an anchorman."

    See Washington Dispatch, SF Gate.

    July 21, 2004

  • Torturing Children -- The really big story in Iraq. The final collapse of American dignity. William Rivers Pitt, Truthout
  • The Emerging Catastrophe, Bob Herbert: "Drive through some of the black neighborhoods in cities and towns across America and you will see the evidence of an emerging catastrophe - levels of male joblessness that mock the very idea of stable, viable communities. This slow death of the hopes, pride and well-being of huge numbers of African-Americans is going unnoticed by most other Americans and by political leaders of both parties. A new study of black male employment trends has come up with the following extremely depressing finding: "By 2002, one of every four black men in the U.S. was idle all year long. This idleness rate was twice as high as that of white and Hispanic males." New York Times
  • Chirac to Sharon: You're not welcome. How about a one-way ticket to Abu Ghraib for Sharon? dw-world
  • Congratulations to Linda Ronstadt for standing up for something important and getting booted out of the adult Disneyland, the Aladdin hotel in Vegas for it. Billboard
  • Michael Moore wrote to the Aladdin manager who wouldn't even let Linda go back to her room to get her stuff after having the gall to say Moore was a great American. Says Moore: "Are you crazy?" AndPop

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