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Nov 2
I hope you're voting today. I don't plan to be harping on here so regularly anymore. Hey, thanks for reading. Good luck to us all.

I'll leave you with some strong words from some smart people.

First is a link to information on a new book called Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
by Michael C. Ruppert. This is potent stuff. Not for the weak at heart. To learn about the author, go to fromthewilderness.com

If that's a little much, at least take the time to read this. You won't find this point of view on the network news. I reproduce it in full below. (go to original in TheAustinChronicle.com)

Letters at 3AM
Welcome to the Situation

The administrations of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as the candidacies of John Kerry and Ralph Nader, all relate to what may be called the Situation – a Situation that they have not and will never discuss frankly. Which is not entirely their fault. Whatever mix of ambition, self-deception, and fear that each must struggle with – for they are merely human and we all struggle with such weaknesses – they also know that Americans of the left as well as the right are an immature people hell-bent on remaining immature. The mass media market immaturity so successfully because Americans crave immaturity on a mass scale. Most of our entertainment and fashion, as well as the presentation of most news, and virtually all our phenomenally effective advertising, assumes that one must not treat Americans as adults – and America eats up such condescension manically, if not happily. No one can hope to lead by confronting the Situation honestly and directly. So each concocts his own brand of gibberishy cant, shaded to his constituency, and hopes his rap will give him enough cover to deal with the Situation as he sees fit. And the Situation is this:

The great days of the United States of America are over. Nothing will bring those days back. It's too late. The damage has been done. There is no possible political, military, or economic solution. The general prosperity of the Fifties and Sixties (as opposed to the one-sided prosperity of the Nineties) is irretrievable. The capacity of the U.S. to lead the world has been drained. The only question is how America will decline – gracefully, clumsily, or tragically? Will we decline with our Constitution intact? Will our decline make us more tolerant and interesting, or meaner and more dulled? Britain declined drastically between 1914 and 1950, yet still produced great literature and a leader of the caliber of Winston Churchill. France declined just as badly, yet still had the cultural power to produce influential art and philosophy. Europe as a whole declined during the 20th century, but retained the intellectual vitality to reinvent itself for the 21st and become another kind of power. How will America decline? At this moment in history, that is the important question: How will America decline?

Look briefly at some specifics of the Situation:

China has become a manufacturing colossus while our factories are gone or going, for keeps. Our agriculture is on welfare: 18% of U.S. farm income comes from government subsidies; what happens to U.S. agriculture when we're too broke to sustain such subsidies? China invests vast sums a year in its infrastructure, on all levels, from cultural and educational institutions to grand construction projects; we're spending comparable sums futilely in Iraq while our infrastructure, on all levels, crumbles. We're fighting for oil in the Middle East; China is in negotiation with Russia to have oil piped through its backdoor – while, through its front door, it has a sweet deal with Australia for natural gas (while we spend millions "defending" Australia against – China!). We've allowed our corporations to become non-national entities. Not only are they financing the rise of China, moving our manufacturing to China or to its sphere of influence, but through off-shore tax havens and the like these so-called American businesses contribute next to nothing to the only entity empowered to ensure our domestic tranquility: the federal government. As to our heavily indebted federal government, its solvency is now supported mostly by Asians buying our bonds. Why do they buy our bonds? Because the American consumer is still the engine of world prosperity. How is this possible? Because of credit cards and the like. Without the American way of credit, we'd be in a depression. The paramount fact: The United States (as opposed to its nominally American corporations, which demonstrate no allegiance) is now important economically only because of its citizens' consumption. That consumption is fated to decline while in the near future – maybe five years, maybe 10 – China will prosper enough for its 1.3 billion citizens to become significant consumers. There are so many of them that they don't have to consume as much as we do to become the world's economic engine; if, individually, they consume merely one-fifth of what we do, they will surpass us in buying power. When that happens, China and Southern Asia can support their own growth and will have no more use for us. Then they need not defeat us militarily. They have merely to stop buying our bonds. Or even to threaten to stop buying our bonds. America will have the choice of being either severely destitute or following China's lead – perhaps both! That is the Situation.

To cope with the Situation, each of the five men mentioned in the first sentence of this column has had, beneath his pointless rhetoric, a plan.

George H.W. Bush tried to proclaim a "new world order." The U.S. still had enough credibility, manufacturing clout, and consumer strength to lead and control the big changes that were afoot – or so Bush the First hoped. He temporarily secured both our oil dominance and our world leadership. But he couldn't be honest with our childish voters about the Situation, so he was accused of not having the "vision thing," though in fact he did. He lost his moment and his momentum, and America lost its last chance at dominance. (Do not take this to mean that I approved his policies. He sold out the American worker in order to retain American world clout. I'd rather we not be dominant. I'd rather we grow up.)

Bill Clinton knew the score. He opted for a relatively soft landing. His plan: Let the corporations have whatever they want – given the makeup of Congress and the immaturity of the American voter, they'd get it anyway (so his thinking went); serve big business, but keep the American way of life more or less viable. Thus his priority was to balance the budget. I hate the way he balanced it; for instance, with a double-digit lead in the polls in '96 he cut school lunches for impoverished children to appease the right. Clinton knew that our middle class is small-of-heart and run by fear, and that they care nothing for the suffering of others as long as they're taken care of. He balanced their budget. But say this for him: His goal was that America decline gracefully, retaining most freedoms and some privileges. With a balanced budget America wouldn't be beholden to creditors, and would retain its agriculture and much of its powerful consumer value. China would dominate the 21st century, but would still need the U.S. as a junior partner, as the U.S. needed Western Europe in the last half of the 20th century. With their combined power, China and America could stabilize the world. So Clinton hoped. Not an entirely ignoble plan.

George W. Bush sees things differently: America may be lost, but the American elite must still call the shots on the world stage. Screw the middle class as well as the poor, bankrupt the government long-term for power short-term. His goal: a military solution. A missile shield would allow us to dictate to China and Europe; even a fake missile shield might be a playing card. Find any excuse to root the American military in the Middle East. Its oil would be under our command, while a poorer America would swell the ranks of our "volunteer" forces. Gut the Constitution's checks and balances, for belief in raw power admits no checks and balances. Iraq is a mess? Inconvenient, but ultimately it doesn't matter as long as the American military is committed to the Mideast. That keeps everybody off balance. With everything so crazy, China will hesitate, Europe will hesitate, and the American elite will have enough time to move entirely off-shore, and then – screw America too, who needs it? How will America decline in the Bush plan? Precipitously, but the elite will still be the elite. That's all Bush cares about.

Ralph Nader says to the Situation: "End corporate welfare!" His stance was barely viable in '96, when I voted for him, but now it's '04 and the damage has been done. Corporations don't need us anymore, yea or nay. Their profits are ultimately Chinese. Nader can't fix that. His plan is politically unfeasible and economically outdated.

And John Kerry – he's like one of those damaged but functioning Mars landers. Clinton's soft landing is no longer possible, but bumpy is better than a crash. Given the Situation, make things as bearable as possible. That's Kerry's real policy: Salvage what's salvageable. His goal is straight from Mars: a damaged but functional landing. It won't be pretty but it might work, and when all is said and done we might yet have a functioning Constitution. With that, we can pick up the pieces of what's left of America. Which is still something worth fighting and voting for.

Meanwhile, Osama Bin Laden continues to taunt president Bush in a full translation of his recent video-tape, previously only excerpted in the American media.


November 1
Shame, Shame. Bob Herbert speaks out. (excerpt)

... Also mind-boggling is the attempt by Republican Party elements to return the U.S. to the wretched days of the mid-20th century when many black Americans faced harassment, intimidation and worse for daring to exercise their fundamental right to vote. A flier circulating extensively in black neighborhoods in Wisconsin carries the heading "Milwaukee Black Voters League." It asserts that people are not eligible to vote if they have voted in any previous election this year; if they have ever been found guilty of anything, even a traffic violation; or if anyone in their family has ever been found guilty of anything.

"If you violate any of these laws," the flier says, "you can get ten years in prison and your children will get taken away from you."

In Philadelphia, where a large black vote is essential to a Kerry victory in the crucial state of Pennsylvania, the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House, John Perzel, is hard at work challenging Democratic voters. He makes no bones about his intent, telling U.S. News & World Report:

"The Kerry campaign needs to come out with humongous numbers here in Philadelphia. It's important for me to keep that number down."

That's called voter suppression, folks, and the G.O.P. concentrates its voter-suppression efforts in the precincts where there are large numbers of African-Americans. And that's called racism.

These are days of shame for the United States. (read entire editorial at nytimes.com)


Oct 30
Eminem reminds you to VOTE

Alternet.org has a pretty good analysis of Bin Laden's new videotape. At least it asks questions that struck me when I first heard the tape: Why has Osama's rhetoric changed from taunting to justifying. It is an interesting shift and it is discussed by Cole here: (excerpt)

The talk about being "free persons" (ahrar) and fighting for "liberty" (hurriyyah) for the Muslim "nation" (ummah) seems to me a departure. The word hurriyyah or freedom has no classical Arabic or Koranic resonances and I don't think it has played a big role in his previous statements.

I wonder if bin Laden has heard from the field that his association with the authoritarian Taliban has damaged recruitment in the Arab world and Iraq, where most people want an end to dictatorship and do not want to replace their secular despots with a religious one. The elections in Pakistan (fall 2002) and Afghanistan went better than he would have wanted, and may have put pressure on him. He may now be reconfiguring the rhetoric of al Qaeda, at least, to represent it as on the side of political liberty. (read whole article at alternet.org)

It seems to me Bin Laden is positioning himself as a freedom fighter against American mid-East policies in order to win the hearts and minds of the world against Bush's America. This is a frightening development.

If you want to read a really stupid commentary on the Bin Laden Tape, well you can always count on David Brooks, talking about John Kerry's empty soul. What a pile of steaming ka ka. Does he get payed to write this stuff?


Oct 28
II haven't checked in for a few days. Know why? It's just the same old shit. The mud-slinging is so bad I had to take a break. Basically, the Republicans have turned this country into a steaming pile of bile, spreading HATE and FEAR so thick there's no turning back. They say the first casualty of War is the truth. The casualty of this administration is the moderate. You may think I'm a lefty, and maybe so, but I believe in compassion, comunication, and compromise above all. Oh, so sorry, does that make me a girlie-man? Soft on terror? Guess so. All that moderate stuff, that's all out the window, in the dustbin, trampled under foot. Here's Friedman on the subject.

Next Tuesday promises to be an eruption of demonic nastiness that'll make Iraq look like a kid's birthday party. Here's some Seasonal fun from Mareen Dowd, and an unexpected treat from alternet.com.


Oct 25
If you haven't yet, might be worth checking out Bush's Brain the book. If you haven't time for that, how about Bush's Brain the film? If you haven't time for that, you could try reading this L.A. Times article. No time? How 'bout reading the excerpt below?

 Rovism regards any form of compromise as weakness. Politics isn't a bus we all board together, it's a steamroller.

No recent administration has made less effort to reach across the aisle, and thanks to Rovism, the Republican majority in Congress often operates on a rule of exclusion. Republicans blocked Democrats from participating in the bill-drafting sessions on energy, prescription drugs and intelligence reform in the House. As Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) told the New Yorker, "They don't consult with the nations of the world, and they don't consult with Congress, especially the Democrats in Congress. They can do it all themselves." (full article at truthout.org)

No matter what, do not underestimate Karl Rove and his disdain for YOU.


Oct 24
The national debate has been framed by the right wing, which is Bush's greatest achievement. We have Kerry saying he'll KILL every terrorist, he's out KILLing geese and waving a gun around, and the environment is never mentioned by the media as a campaign issue. It is telling that the only debate in which the environment was a topic was the one in which citizens asked the questions. Here's a summary of the problem for all you swing voters who might want a different issue from Iraq and the Economy with which to make your decision: (excerpted from a speech by Robert F Kennedy, the nation's premiere Environmental attorney and author of Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy)

They have concealed their radical agenda from the American public using Orwellian rhetoric. When they destroy the forest, they call it the Healthy Forest Law; when they destroy the air they call it the Clear Skies Bill. And most insidiously they have put polluters in charge of virtually all the agencies that are supposed to protect Americans from pollution. The head of the Forest Service is a timber industry lobbyist. The head of public lands is a mining industry lobbyist who believes that public lands are unconstitutional. The head of the air division at EPA is a utility lobbyist who has represented the worst air polluters in America. The second in command at EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist. The head of Superfunds, an agency critical to quality of life here in Oregon, is a lobbyist whose last job was teaching corporate polluters how to evade Superfunds.

If you go through all the agency heads, sub-heads and secretaries in the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy and EPA, you'll find the same thing: The polluters are running regulatory agencies that are supposed to regulate them. And these are not individuals who have entered government service for the sake of the public interest, but rather specifically to subvert the very laws that they are in charge of enforcing. This is impacting our quality of life in America in so many ways that we don't know about because the press simply isn't doing its job of informing the American public, scrutinizing these policies, connecting the dots between the corporate contributors and the dramatic decline in American quality of life that we are now experiencing.

Yeah Yeah, we've all heard about the Orwellian thing. But here's the part where Kennedy get's to the crux of the matter: For all you die-hard capitalists and free-marked types, this is the real crime perpetrated by this administration:

 Environmental injury is deficit spending. It's a way of loading the costs of our generation's prosperity onto the backs of our children. There is no stronger advocate for free-market capitalism than myself. I believe that the free market is the most efficient and democratic way to distribute the goods of the land. It's also the best thing that can happen to the environment because a true free market encourages efficiency and the elimination of waste, and waste is pollution.

So free market capitalism does not pollute our environment. It's always the suspension of free market rule. In a true free market economy, you can't make yourself rich without making your neighbors rich, without enriching your community. So what polluters do is make themselves rich by making everybody else poor. They raise standards of living for themselves by lowering quality of life for everybody else, and they do that by escaping the discipline of the free market, by forcing the public to pay their production costs. You show me a polluter and I'll show you a subsidy. I'll show you a fat cat who's using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market. (read whole article at truthout.org)

Remember that Republicans used to be the conservation party. Well I wouldn't blame you if you didn't remember. It's been a while.


Oct 23
For people who like lists: 100 Facts and 1 Opinion | The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration


Oct 22
I'm tired of hearing George Bush talk about Kerry's record in the Senate. And I'm glad Kerry is finally getting a moment to speak for himself:

 I've spent thirty-five years dealing with these kinds of issues. When I came back from fighting in a war, I fought against the war here in America. As a senator, I led the fight to stop Ronald Reagan's illegal war in Central America. I helped expose Oliver North and Manuel Noriega. I've been at this for a long time. You know, I led the initial efforts to change our policy on the Philippines - which ultimately resulted in the elections, and became part of the process that helped get rid of Marcos.

    I negotiated personally with the prime minister of Cambodia, to get accountability for the killing fields of the Pol Pot regime. I've negotiated with the Vietnamese to let me and John McCain in and put American forces on the ground to resolve the POW-MIA issue. I've spent twenty years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; I've been chairman of the Narcotics Terrorism Subcommittee. I have five times the experience George Bush does in dealing with these issues, and I know that I can get this done. (read the Kerry interview at RollingStone.com)

Read this article. These are the words of a thoughtful, solid public servant. This man deserves a chance. We deserve a break.

Meanwhile, in Bush's America, Marriage is down, Abortion rates are up.

Under Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.

For anyone familiar with why most women have abortions, this is no surprise: Two-thirds of women who have abortions cite "inability to afford a child" as their primary reason (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). In the Bush presidency, unemployment rates increased half again. (read entire article at HoustonChronicle.com)


A new survey reveals that Bush supporters choose to keep faith in their leader than face reality.


Oct 21
Even the good folks at The American Conservative Magazine are hesitating to vote for Bush (excerpt)


... It is ... an election about the presidency of George W. Bush. To the surprise of virtually everyone, Bush has turned into an important president, and in many ways the most radical America has had since the 19th century. Because he is the leader of America’s conservative party, he has become the Left’s perfect foil—its dream candidate. The libertarian writer Lew Rockwell has mischievously noted parallels between Bush and Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II: both gained office as a result of family connections, both initiated an unnecessary war that shattered their countries’ budgets. Lenin needed the calamitous reign of Nicholas II to create an opening for the Bolsheviks.

Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation’s children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy. Add to this his nation-breaking immigration proposal—Bush has laid out a mad scheme to import immigrants to fill any job where the wage is so low that an American can’t be found to do it—and you have a presidency that combines imperialist Right and open-borders Left in a uniquely noxious cocktail. (read full article at amconmag.com)

On this site, my main preoccupation continues to be spin, the media, and how the Hell half of America has gotten so off track. You should be following the Sinclair Broadcast Group story, and the CIA report suppression, but all I want to talk about here is the degredation of thought at the hands of the Republican party.

Outraged pundits ignore Bush's lies: False indignation remains cornerstone of post-debate strategy
Joe Conason
The New York Observer

... Fake indignation has become a standard feature of post-debate spin by Republicans whenever they feel that their man did poorly. They played the same game on Al Gore in 2000, with considerable help from their press claque, by focusing on minor errors that they transformed into falsehoods. Now they hope that this degrading charade will erase George W. Bush's inadequate performance at the podium by stirring phony anger over the "lesbian" remark -- which scarcely drew any attention in the first flush of Mr. Kerry's decisive debating victories.

It is remarkable indeed that the Cheney remark could obscure the truly stunning moment in the last debate, when the President claimed that he had never expressed a lack of concern about Osama bin Laden -- when the videotape showed that was exactly what he had said two years ago. And it is amazing, too, that the President can get away with denying that he has made any serious mistakes during his first term, when the disastrous errors are so obvious. (read full editorial at workingforchange.com)


Oct 19
Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Seymour "Sy" Hersh has some harsh words to say about our foreign policy.

The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of failures" in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest muckraker of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of journalism for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and the Pentagon for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image, he was stymied by how it all happened. "How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?" (read full article at www.berkeley.edu)

Meanwhile, the Administration, drunk on power, is stepping up its rhetoric against the city that bore the brunt of 9/11 and hosted the RNC. How many more times on this site will I assert that WE ARE ENTERING A TIME OF CIVIL WAR IN THE U.S.A.

During the closing weeks of the 2000 presidential campaign, at a campaign rally, George W. Bush spotted a veteran political reporter and turned to Dick Cheney, standing next to him on the platform, to remark, "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the New York Times." "Oh yeah, big time," replied Cheney. Unbeknownst to them, their locker-room exchange was caught by an open microphone. Four years later, nobody connected with the Bush-Cheney campaign appears even slightly concerned about being caught denigrating the Times; they're more than happy to do it on the record, as the White House has all but declared open warfare on the nation's leading newspaper. (read full article at salon.com)


Oct 18
Ron Suskind's article on Bush in the Times is essential reading. (excerpt follows)

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''


And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.


'Faith can cut in so many ways,'' he said. ''If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

''Where people often get lost is on this very point,'' he said after a moment of thought. ''Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want.''

And what is that?

''Easy certainty.'' (read whole article at nytimes.com)

Oct 15
Finally, someone makes this point.

To the Editor:
As a resident of Massachusetts, I am offended by the president's repeated efforts to single out the state from the rest of the United States.

He is the president of the "United States," not the "United States less Massachusetts."
Such narrow-minded parochialism not only erodes the unity of the country, but it also shows a lack of compassion. I urge the president to remember that a lot of the good things that happened to this country started from these hallowed grounds.

Even today, this place of learning brings innovations in science and technology and an effort to better understand human values to the rest of the country.

Somnath Mukherji, Arlington, Mass., Oct. 14, 2004

A Democrat wouldn't get away with saying "those yahoos from Texas" in a debate.

Hope you're following the Sinclair News story. All part of our decent into Civil War, thanks to Republican tricks.


Oct 14
Good debate. Each man showed his best side. The choice should be clear. Here's a vivid editorial from Thomas Friedman in the Times: (excerpt)

Lastly, politicizing 9/11 put a wedge between us and our history. The Bush team has turned this country into "The United States of Fighting Terrorism." "Bush only seems able to express our anger, not our hopes," said the Mideast expert Stephen P. Cohen. "His whole focus is on an America whose role in the world is to negate the negation of the terrorists. But America has always been about the affirmation of something positive. That is missing today. Beyond Afghanistan, they've been much better at destruction than construction."

I wish Mr. Kerry were better able to articulate how America is going to get its groove back. But the point he was raising about wanting to put terrorism back into perspective is correct. I want a president who can one day restore Sept. 11th to its rightful place on the calendar: as the day after Sept. 10th and before Sept. 12th. I do not want it to become a day that defines us. Because ultimately Sept. 11th is about them - the bad guys - not about us. We're about the Fourth of July. (read full editorial)


Oct 13
Have you noticed that Bush's new line for John Kerry is the one he used to use for Osama Bin Laden? "You can run but you can't hide." There you have it, the Republicans aren't for America, they are for the Republicans. Everyone else is the Enemy. To Karl Rove Democrats and terrorist are one and the same. Are these people in full possession of their facilities? These evil clowns could learn from Republicans like Bob Barr that Conservatives Have Plenty of Cause to Abandon Bush.

Hope you are aware of the Sinclair Broadcast Group's intention to air an Anti-Kerry movie two weeks before the election. Turns out Sinclair Ventures is deep into defense contracts.

The Lone Star Iconoclast, a Texas newspaper, endorses Kerrry in its editorial, and recieves threats from it readers. Some of our staunchest patriots seem to HATE free speech and democracy.

Debates tomorrow will highlight two Americas. Paul Krugman offers a pre-emptive look at Bush's line of attack.

And if you're watching, keep an eye out for Bush talking in code to his base. Why Bush Opposes Dred Scott: It's code for Roe v. Wade.


Oct 12
Bush is rabid on the campaign. Meanwhile, a soldier's Mom asks why her boy has to buy his own equipment? (hint: Cheney's privatized military)

... Support our Military? Why is the government not fully supporting and protecting our Military? Issue everything they need or do not send them until they have it! I was not fortunate enough to have been born RICH. I have to scrounge to help my son. My family, his wife, and her family got together to help my son purchase everything he was "required" to have. I have met other Marines and their families who are in the same situation. Apparently our "Commander and Chief" meant SEND YOUR MONEY TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN AND RELATIVES, because the government is unable to do so. This administration is NOT PUTTING THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS!!

    This is just one reason why I will vote for Senator Kerry! I believe that under his command, all or our Military personnel will be treated fairly and equally. I also believe that he will have a PLAN to bring ALL our children home! I also support Senator Kerry because I believe if the need arises to call again on our Military, President Kerry will not send our children into situations without everything they need to protect themselves and their lives!

    I sent my letter to John Kerry but I also sent it to the following people. President George W. Bush, Representative Robert S. Rangel/Committee on Armed Services, Senator John Warner/Committee on Armed Services, Representative Robin Hayes, and Senator Elizabeth Dole. The only people who cared enough to read my letter and respond was John Kerry’s office. I wonder why no one else cared! (read entire letter at truthout.org)



Oct 11
If you had the time to read the Times article referenced below, then this from CNN is a fine follow up.

We are living in an era where the strategy is to cannibalize opposing positions and use them as devastating self-inflicting weapons. This strategy demolishes all hope for a vigorous and objective debate. We are reduced to emotional cat-calling.

Oct 10

Kerry's Undeclared War New York Times Magazine, Published: October 10, 2004
Essential reading. Though I am distracted by the odd bias of the author-- some desire he shows to be won over by candidate Kerry-- when we get to the issues (half way through the article!) we see, at least, a coherent depiction of the Kerry Doctrine on Terrorism. It is essential that this alternative view on our strategy of survival and dignity be articulated. The sad fact seems to be America is not ready for this conversation. The author of the article barely seems to be.

Conservative Clyde Prestowitz tells how the Republicans are no longer "conservative" but RADICAL. (MotherJones.com)


Oct 9
Hope springs eternal.



Oct 8
A day before the second presidential debate, Bush's rational for war is becoming self-satire:

Bush is beginning to sound desperate: President Bush defends the war in Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein had "the means and intent" to produce weapons of mass destruction. (read whole article at msnbc.com)

Support Richard Morrison for U.S. Congress in Texas! Get Tom Delay out of office! You know Tom Delay? He's the majority whip, and he makes George Bush look like a moderate! But let him tell you in his own words.

That's all for today. Let's see if the petulant one can control himself tonight.


Oct 7
The petulant little turd George Bush is so pissed he lost the debate last Thursday that he's overhauled his line of attack in a desperate bid to reclaim his lead. It's taken his script-doctors nearly a week to come up with this zinger:

After running through a litany of what he said were Mr. Kerry's vacillating positions, Mr. Bush said, to roars of laughter and approval from his audience of supporters in Wilkes-Barre, "You hear all that and you can understand why somebody would make a face." (read whole article at NYTimes.com)

I'm glad those Bush supporters find this all so amusing. Hey, at least they're going to rallies. The question is, how did we come to this? Here's a gloomy point of view about voting, American apathy, and the rest of the world from San Francisco commentator Mark Morford.

Why Don't Americans Care? Do you know who Halliburton is? Dick Cheney? How about Karl Rove? Alas, most Americans don't



Oct 6
Well well well.

Bush to give major speech on Wednesday (today) because he couldn't get it right in the debates.

Bush Flip-flops on allowing torure. Bowing to preasure like a kid who couldn't get away with it.

Who Was Right About the "Global Test"- Jefferson or Hitler? Bush is harping away about the "Global Test" Kerry quote ad nauseum. These guys are like washed-up ad men.

Oh yeah, the VP Debate... Have you noticed how both parties promise to KILL KILL KILL as many terrorists as possible? How about "bring them to justice"?

I hope our media will analyze the truth of each candidate's numbers. That would seem to me to tip the scales rather significantly. For example, I have always heard the figure spent in Iraq up to now was $200 Billion. Cheney seems to dispute that. I have been lead to believe that Hussein was not a sponsor of Al Qeada. He seems to dispute that as well. Cheney said he'd never met John Edwards before. That's a bit far-fetched. Also, Cheney advised you to get your facts from factcheck.com. I think he'd be surprised where that leads...


Oct 5
Let's see what Darth Cheney has to say tonight. Will he reel it in, or reveal his TRUE IDENTITY?!

From Paul Krugman in today's New York Times editorial: (excerpt)

... Now it's Dick Cheney's turn.

Mr. Cheney's manufactured image is as much at odds with reality as Mr. Bush's. The vice president is portrayed as a hardheaded realist, someone you can trust with difficult decisions. But his actual record is one of irresponsibility and incompetence.
Case in point: Mr. Cheney completely misread the nature of the 2001 California energy crisis. Although he has stonewalled investigations into what went on in his task force, there's no real question that he placed his trust in the very companies whose market-rigging caused that crisis.

In tonight's debate, John Edwards will surely confront Mr. Cheney over that task force, over domestic policies and, of course, over Halliburton. But he can also use the occasion to ask more hard questions about national security.
After all, Mr. Cheney didn't just promise Americans that "we will, in fact, be welcomed as liberators" by the grateful Iraqis. He also played a central role in leading us to war on false pretenses.

No, that's not an overstatement. In August 2002, when Mr. Cheney declared "we now know Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons," he was being dishonest: the administration knew no such thing. He was also being irresponsible: his speech pre-empted an intelligence review that might have given dissenting experts a chance to make their case.

So here's Mr. Edwards's mission: to expose the real Dick Cheney, just as Mr. Kerry exposed the real George Bush. (read whole editorial at nytimes.com)

While we're watching old Dick, let's recall the wounded soldiers who's lives will never be the same again since fighting the Bush/Cheney War of choice. From Purple Hearts, a new book of photos and essays on the 16,000 wounded Americans back from Iraq:

After having seen a couple of his buddies turn up dead in a ditch during high school, Tyson Johnson decided to leave his Prichard, Alabama home and make something of himself "because I knew where my life was headed."

So he joined the National Guard first, and then, for a bonus of $2999, he joined the army.


"Well, uh, shrapnel down the back, shrapnel that came in and hit my head, punctured my lungs. I broke both of my arms. I lost a kidney. My intestines was messed up. They took an artery out of my left leg and put it into this right arm. They pretty much took my life. Pretty much."

He has trouble teaching his son how to count on his hands because, "You can see my fingers is messed up." Cpl. Tyson Johnson is 100 percent disabled, cannot support his family – and the National Guard wants its bonus back. (full book profile at alternet.org)

But Haliburton did just fine in Iraq.

In the first debate, George W. Bush intoned:

"If I were to ever say, "This is the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place," the troops would wonder, "How can I follow this guy?"

Quite true Mr. President.

Have you heard about FOX News posting bogus Kerry quotes on their website after the presidential debate? Are you reading The Progress Report daily? A good source of news in your busy day.


Oct 4
A big week begins. With polls in a dead heat, the Vice-presidential Debate Assumes New Importance. (Washington Post analysis)


Oct 3
David Brooks is given a lot of credit as a moderate conservative pundit. I have always found his editorials manipulative and ingenuous. In particular, his analysis of the debate between Kerry and Bush is dependent on a ridiculous, widely proliferated assumption: That Bush is acting within a higher moral code than the pragmatic "lawyerly" Kerrry.This is hogwash, and dangerous as well. Bush's policies have caused the death and suffering of countless thousands, while lining the pockets of corporations and cowards. Is this God's will? To make the rich richer while polluting our planet? This is inexplicable and irresponsible propaganda.

Kerry is in pursuit of policies that will reduce economic inequity and bring consensus to the world community. Bush is not. It is preposterous that, after he failed miserably to say one thing of clarity in the debate, we are being told by one of the nation's top "intellectual conservatives" that Bush has a higher calling than Kerry.

Kerry does not need to lay out his "guiding principals". He is a civil servant trying to make moral decisions.

If America needs to get religion there's a church on every block. We don't need a deluded preacher in the White House. (COMIC pg. 20)

Bush had this to say in the debate: I am a Jesus lover, and I "know how the world works." Well blow me down. Half of that statement is true, anyway.

Look at this claptrap from Brooks:

Sense and Sensibility By DAVID BROOKS (edited where indicated)


... The atmosphere of Kerry's mind is rationalistic. He thinks about how to get things done. He talks like a manager or an engineer.

The atmosphere of Bush's mind is more creedal or ethical. He talks about moral challenges. He talks about the sort of personal and national character we need in order to triumph over our enemies. His mind is less coldly secular than Kerry's, but also more abstracted from day-to-day reality.


When John Kerry was asked how he would prevent another attack like 9/11, he reeled off a list of nine concrete policy areas, ranging from intelligence reform to training Iraqi troops, but his answer had no thematic summation. If you glance down a transcript of the debate and you see one set of answers that talks about "logistical capacity" or "a plan that I've laid out in four points," or "a long list" of proposals or "a strict series of things" that need to be done, you know that's Kerry speaking.

If, on the other hand, you see an answer that says, "When we give our word, we will keep our word," you know that is Bush. When you see someone talking about crying with a war widow, you know that's Bush.

These contrasting casts of mind influence how the two men see the world - for example, how they define the enemy. On Thursday night, Bush defined the war on terror as a broad moral and ideological struggle. He said, "We have a solemn duty to defeat this ideology of hate."

Bush believes that Iraq is a crucial battlefield in the war because a free Iraq will be a rebuttal to radical Islam right in the heart of the Arab world.

Kerry, on the other hand, defined the enemy in narrow, concrete terms. He emphasized that it was Osama bin Laden who attacked us. He emphasized the need to defeat Al Qaeda's network. He called Iraq a diversion from defeating that network.

Each cast of mind comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. The mechanically minded Kerry is much better at talking about realities like securing the Iraqi border. On the other hand, he is unable to blend his specific proposals into guiding principles.

That's why he's been fuzzy about the big things over the entire course of his career. That's why he has changed his mind on big issues with such astonishing rapidity. That's why he gets twisted into pretzels, like vowing to continue fighting the Iraq war, which he says was a mistake to begin.

Bush, by contrast, is steadfast and resolute. But his weakness is statecraft. That is the task of relating means to ends, of orchestrating the institutions of government to achieve your desired goals.

Bush sometimes acts as if it's enough for a president to profess his faith. But a coach can't just dream up a game plan. He has to understand what his specific players can and can't do, and adapt to those realities.

Bush launched a pre-emptive war even though his intelligence community was incompetent. He occupied a country even though he didn't really believe in, or work with, the institutions of government he would need to complete the task.
Nonetheless, I suspect that the reason Bush's approval ratings hover around 50 percent, despite a year of carnage in Iraq, is because of the reason many of us in the commentariat don't like to talk about: in a faithful and moralistic nation, Bush's language has a resonance with people who know that he is not always competent, and who know that he doesn't always dominate every argument, but who can sense a shared cast of mind.

All Brooks' editorials end with a condescending conclusion, which undermines any hint of balance in the argument presented. For here he says Bush may be incompetent, but there is a "faith-based" integrity to the man that that smarty pants Kerry with all his thoughtful policy stuff jest don't have. I can see Brooks sliding into that old authentic Texas drawl as he writes those words.

If you think I am over-reacting to Brooks, it's only because he is presenting a dressed-up version of an insidious message out there. A message that will be widely available on DVD this coming Tuesday! Here's entertainment critic Frank Rich on the subject of "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House"

... Though you can buy the DVD for $14.95, its makers told the right-wing news service WorldNetDaily.com that they plan to distribute 300,000 copies to America's churches. And no wonder. This movie aspires to be "The Passion of the Bush," and it succeeds.

More than any other campaign artifact, it clarifies the hard-knuckles rationale of the president's vote-for-me-or-face-Armageddon re-election message. It transforms the president that the Democrats deride as a "fortunate son" of privilege into a prodigal son with the "moral clarity of an old-fashioned biblical prophet." Its Bush is not merely a sincere man of faith but God's essential and irreplaceable warrior on Earth. The stations of his cross are burnished into cinematic fable: the misspent youth, the hard drinking (a thirst that came from "a throat full of Texas dust"), the fateful 40th-birthday hangover in Colorado Springs, the walk on the beach with Billy Graham. A towheaded child actor bathed in the golden light of an off-camera halo re-enacts the young George comforting his mom after the death of his sister; it's a parable anticipating the future president's miraculous ability to comfort us all after 9/11. An older Bush impersonator is seen rebuffing a sexual come-on from a fellow Bush-Quayle campaign worker hovering by a Xerox machine in 1988; it's an effort to imbue our born-again savior with retroactive chastity. As for the actual president, he is shown with a flag for a backdrop in a split-screen tableau with Jesus. The message isn't subtle: they were separated at birth. (read whole article at NYTimes.com)

Why is all of this so upsetting? Because moral philosophy has preoccupied the human mind since time immemorial and all of a sudden, a band of self-interested hoodlums has claimed to have all the answers, and a bewildered public, beaten down by commercialism and avarice is willingly succumbing to this preposterous fiction. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, George W. Bush. One of these things is not like the other.

Here's a simple editorial on the debate that follows my line of thinking a bit more succinctly.

Retreat Into a Substitute Reality By Sidney Blumenthal The Guardian U.K.

    After months of flawless execution in a well-orchestrated campaign, President Bush had to stand alone in an unpredictable debate. He had travelled the country, appearing before adoring pre-selected crowds, delivered a carefully crafted acceptance speech before his convention, and approved tens of millions of dollars in TV commercials to belittle his opponent. In the lead, Bush believed he had only to assert his superiority to end the contest once and for all.

    But onstage the president ran out of talking points. Unable to explain the logic for his policies, or think on his feet, he was thrown back on the raw elements of his personality and leadership style.

    Every time he was confronted with ambivalence, his impulse was to sweep it aside. He claimed he must be followed because he is the leader. Fate, in the form of September 11, had placed authority in his hands as a man of destiny. Scepticism, pragmatism and empiricism are enemies. Absolute faith prevails over open-ended reason, subjectivity over fact. Belief in belief is the ultimate sacrament of his political legitimacy. (read full article at truthout.org)


Oct 2
One month from today we shall know the outcome of this infernal contest. But America will not have resolved its differences I fear.


October 1
The first debate
. A very revealing evening. Let's see where the spin takes it. David Brooks said the debate was a tie. So much for his credibility. I'm sure for Bush's "base" he won, but Hanity looked a bit shell-shocked last night trying to wrap his brain around Bush's performance. The right wing spin-meisters seem to settle on calling Kerry "lawyerly", versus Bush's "regular-guy". Someone has to remind them that Bush is the leader of the free world and not a car mechanic.

Kerry mentioned Global Warming twice. That was music to this tree-hugger's ears. Even Russia acknowledges there might be an grain of truth to the climate issue.

Oh, speaking of spin, here's something: Lawmaker expresses "dismay" that White House allegedly wrote Allawi speech



September blog