We've set up this site as a way to keep the Comic relevant and up-to-date, and to link to articles that continue this harrowing narrative.
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Why is this page full of pessimism and rage? Because the real Ideas and resources for change are being ignored.
Come visit our new page (under construction) where we lay out some issues and solutions for change.


Sept 30 - First debate tonight. Too bad it's not a debate. It will most likely be just a series of speeches, as the candidates are not allowed to respond to each other. Still, these two men haven't been in the same room together on camera anytime recently. It'll be remarkable, there's so much buildup about these two figures, like Freddy and Jason, Alien and Predator.

Here's a guy who would probably want a shot at Bush, but he already had his chance...

  How to Debate George Bush by Al Gore (excerpt)

... The debates aren't a time for rhetorical tricks. It's a time for an honest contest of ideas. Mr. Bush's unwillingness to admit any mistakes may score him style points. But it makes hiring him for four more years too dangerous a risk. Stubbornness is not strength; and Mr. Kerry must show voters that there is a distinction between the two.

  If Mr. Bush is not willing to concede that things are going from bad to worse in Iraq, can he be trusted to make the decisions necessary to change the situation? If he insists on continuing to pretend it is "mission accomplished," can he accomplish the mission? And if the Bush administration has been so thoroughly wrong on absolutely everything it predicted about Iraq, with the horrible consequences that have followed, should it be trusted with another four years?

  The biggest single difference between the debates this year and four years ago is that President Bush cannot simply make promises. He has a record. And I hope that voters will recall the last time Mr. Bush stood on stage for a presidential debate. If elected, he said, he would support allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada. He promised that his tax cuts would create millions of new jobs. He vowed to end partisan bickering in Washington. Above all, he pledged that if he put American troops into combat: "The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well defined."

  Comparing these grandiose promises to his failed record, it's enough to make anyone want to, well, sigh. (read whole editorial at truthout.org)

Tonight's debate is on foreign policy. You might want to refresh your memory on what's going on in Iraq from those who've been there, because I have a feeling you're going to hear quite a bit of spin from Dubya. Question is, of course, which Kerry will we get tonight?



Sept 29 - If you're reading this, I figure you're already reading the news in general, so I'm not going to talk about Ohio, and Iraq, and Florida and all the other startling day-to-day revelations about this administration and the upcoming election.

But here are a few articles on Bush's character that seem revealing... is it relevant to critique the character of the president? Well yes, when his disposition is affecting the future of the planet.

These questions are posed by a book excerpted at Harper Collins.

Bush On the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President by Justin A. Frank, M.D

• How can someone so friendly and playful be the same person who cuts funds from government programs aiding the poor and hungry?
• How is it that our deeply religious president feels free to bomb Iraq -- and then celebrate the results with open expressions of joy?
• How can a president send American soldiers into combat under false pretenses and then proceed to joke about the deception, finding humor in the absence of weapons of mass destruction under his Oval Office desk?
• How can someone promise to protect the environment on the one hand and allow increased arsenic in the public water supply on the other? And why does he feel he can call his plan to lift logging restrictions in national forests the "Healthy" Forest Initiative?
• If the president's interpersonal skills are strong enough to earn him the reputation of being a "people person," why is he so unwilling and even unable to talk to world leaders, such as Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder, who disagree with him?
• How can the president sound so confused and yet act so decisively? And given the regularity with which he confuses fact with fantasy, how can he justify decisions based largely on his own personal suspicions with such unwavering certainty?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Here's something about Bush's school days.Tsurumi was Bush's teacher. These are excerpts.

... In 1973, as the oil and energy crisis raged, Tsurumi led a discussion on whether government should assist retirees and other people on fixed incomes with heating costs. Bush, he recalled, "made this ridiculous statement and when I asked him to explain, he said, 'The government doesn't have to help poor people -- because they are lazy.' I said, 'Well, could you explain that assumption?' Not only could he not explain it, he started backtracking on it, saying, 'No, I didn't say that.'"


... Bush once sneered at Tsurumi for showing the film "The Grapes of Wrath," based on John Steinbeck's novel of the Depression. "We were in a discussion of the New Deal, and he called Franklin Roosevelt's policies 'socialism.' He denounced labor unions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Medicare, Social Security, you name it. He denounced the civil rights movement as socialism. To him, socialism and communism were the same thing. And when challenged to explain his prejudice, he could not defend his argument, either ideologically, polemically or academically." (whole article at solon.com -subscription)

There's an article in The Village Voice that addresses the corrosive effect of Bush's swagger on the dignity of American values. An excerpt follows. Read the whole article for a 10 point breakdown.

DIME-STORE COWBOY: George W. Bush Disgraces the Code of the West.

"The idea of the American cowboy is the direct lineal descendant of the chivalric knight," observes Bonnie Wheeler, a medievalist in cowboy country. "The only serious difference is that your status doesn't depend on your social class." Editor of Arthuriana, the journal of Arthurian studies, Wheeler teaches at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
"Our president," she says, "is neither a knight nor a cowboy. He doesn't believe in taking care of the little guy, nor does he have the restraint or dignity of the cowboy."

Many ask why there is so much anger towards Bush and his Administration. The answer, hinted at in these examinations of Bush's character, is that he disgraces us and steals our dignity, redefining our national identity in the image of his childish posing. I reject him as callow and immoral. He represents the worst of us: superficial, posturing, phony, incurious. (COMIC pg. 29)


Sept 28 - In the media, barely a word on Kennedy's speech delivered Monday at George Washington University. Check it out on C-Span: Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) Speech on Iraq Policy (09/27/2004). He focuses on Iraq as an experiment in Laissez-fair economics by the neo-cons. This is an essential observation that is rarely highlighted in criticisms of the war. Try this experiment: watch the speech on C-Span, then read the summary on cnn.com. I know you don't have the time. Who does? But beware of the pundits and journalists telling you what's going on, what's being said, peppering brief summaries of detailed speeches with flippant Republican rebuttals.

The Democrats are speaking out now, is anyone listening? Probably not. Really, the story of this election is the total collapse of the media as watchdog for truth and the willful disregard of reality by a jingo-loving public. There may be a debate on Thursday, but Fox News is giving Bush a three-night pre-emptive interview leading up to it.

NYTimes commentator Paul Krugman does his own pre-emtive strike by critiquing the press coverage of the upcoming debate: (excerpt)

Interviews with focus groups just after the first 2000 debate showed Al Gore with a slight edge. Post-debate analysis should have widened that edge. After all, during the debate, Mr. Bush told one whopper after another - about his budget plans, about his prescription drug proposal and more. The fact-checking in the next day's papers should have been devastating.

But as Adam Clymer pointed out yesterday on the Op-Ed page of The Times, front-page coverage of the 2000 debates emphasized not what the candidates said but their "body language." After the debate, the lead stories said a lot about Mr. Gore's sighs, but nothing about Mr. Bush's lies. And even the fact-checking pieces "buried inside the newspaper" were, as Mr. Clymer delicately puts it, "constrained by an effort to balance one candidate's big mistakes" - that is, Mr. Bush's lies - "against the other's minor errors."

The result of this emphasis on the candidates' acting skills rather than their substance was that after a few days, Mr. Bush's defeat in the debate had been spun into a victory. (read whole editorial at NYTimes.com)

There is one truth about the Bush presidency that all the spin in the world can not alter: THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS CLEAVED A DIVIDE THROUGH THE HEART AND SOUL OF THIS COUNTRY. THAT WILL BE HIS LEGACY. HE HAS WEAKENED AMERICA, BY OBLITERATING THE UNITY OF THIS NATION, PERHAPS IRREVOCABLY. That is the true measure of his leadership.



Sept 27 - Sobering words from Newsweek. (excerpt)

‘Staying the Course’ Isn’t an Option
Iraq is probably already lost, says former military-policy planner Mike Turner.
But there are still some smart strategies for Kerry to adopt

... To discern the truth about Iraq, Americans must simply look beyond the spin. This war is not some noble endeavor, some great struggle of good against evil as the Bush administration would have us believe. We in the military have heard these grand pronouncements many times before by men who have neither served nor sacrificed. This war is an exercise in colossal stupidity and hubris which has now cost more than 1,000 American military lives, which has empowered Al Qaeda beyond anything those butchers might have engineered on their own and which has diverted America's attention and precious resources from the real threat at the worst possible time. And now, in a supreme act of truly breathtaking gall, this administration insists the only way to fix Iraq is to leave in power the very ones who created the nightmare.

    Absent an unequivocal plan from Kerry, the Bush administration's "stay the course" strategy has become the de facto solution. Yet this is a recipe for even greater tragedy, setting the stage for far more crippling attacks on Americans. It means adhering to a plan that may very soon make it impossible for the U.S. to respond to significant threats from elsewhere against its vital strategic interests. The administration's policies are tearing down America's military readiness worldwide, while ignoring the real war on terror.

    So what strategies should candidate Kerry propose? The first steps are patently obvious to anyone who has worked even briefly as a military policy planner. First, Americans must understand it is highly probable that Iraq is already lost. Americans must stop believing the never-ending litany of "happy thoughts" spewing forth from the Bush campaign and start thinking about our men and women dying wholesale in Iraq. Having acknowledged that painful reality and the genuine, long-term danger posed to Americans by remaining in Iraq, here are some obvious actions for Kerry to propose at his first debate next week with Bush. (read the whole article at truthout.org)

This is debate week. We'll see how it all goes down. Here's a preview from democraticunderground.com. I'm afraid they've probably got it right.

Don't be surprised! Here's how the media will cover Kerry's and Chimp's debate performance:
If he's serious, they'll say he's glum, gloomy, pessimistic, and uninspiring.
If he's jovial, they'll say he's phony and trying too hard.
If he's serious, he's, presidential, the war-time commander in chief.
If he's jovial, everybody wants to have a beer with him.
If he's forceful, they'll say he's too aggressive, mean, negative, desperate.
If he's calm, they'll say he's weak, unsteady, dull, lacks energy.
If he's forceful, he's strong, resolute, unwavering.
If he's calm, he's prepared, on-message, disciplined, reserved.
If he's specific, they'll say he's wonkish, presenting "laundry lists," being overly-intellectual, show-offy, and nobody likes the smart kid.
If he's not specific, they'll say he's vague, criticizing but not offering solutions, not addressing the issues, and nobody knows who he is.
If he's specific, he "lays out his plan" and "makes his case."
If he's not specific, he's spanning the issues, giving a global presentation, painting a broad outline of his plans.
If he jokes, they'll say he lacks gravitas, trivializes important issues, doesn't understand troops are in harm's way, nation's at war, disrespects the president, etc.
If he doesn't joke, they'll say he needs to lighten up, he's too stoney, he's wooden.
If he jokes, he's a man of the people, a regular guy, people relate to him.
If he doesn't joke, he truly cares about the American people and his sincerity resonates with voters in this difficult time.

Plus, if he finds his podium and doesn't trip on his way to it, he's surpassed all expectations. (Extra points for correct pronunciation of "Abu Ghraib" or "nuclear.")

Well, as the Gipper might have said, "here we go again." (COMIC pg 4)


Sept 26 - When Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) was refused entry into the country, I posted an objection on this page immediately, on the grounds that if we antagonize moderate Muslims then we have no hope of winning over hearts and minds in the so-called war on Terrorism. And anyway, I like Cat Stevens' music. Then I was reminded that he had come out calling for Salomon Rushdie's head for desecrating Allah in THE SATANIC VERSES. So I took my post down: there's nothing worse than taking a knee-jerk position without considering all the information. Not that I believed Cat Stevens was a direct threat, but maybe he was not a friend to peace. There's been a lot of discussion about all this. Here's one article that caught my eye because it addresses the pop star's past statements, and it stresses the element of the story that is MOST ESSENTIAL:

Demonizing Moderate Muslims

The recent U.S. decision to ban entry into the United States to former singer Cat Stevens was a blow to the peacemaking efforts of moderate American Muslims. (read full article at alternet.org)

Speaking of old news, here's the conclusion to a nice chronology of Bush's Iraq policy written as a letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush: (excerpt)

... I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the "intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.

And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with what you call the "many positions" he has taken on Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed you. That was his position. You told him and the rest of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John Kerry, want to live in a country where they can believe their president.

That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let him and this great country down. And that is why tens of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest of the world off. (read full letter at truthout.org)



Sept 25 - How can we claim to be moral or sane if we refuse to even raise the question of environmental protection and Global Warming?? So California's done something about it. About f**ckin time! California Backs Plan for Big Cut in Car Emissions (NY Times)

Meanwhile, Kerry's getting feisty (NY Times), and it's about time.

How 'bout the reaction to Bush's U.N. speech by the world community? How 'bout several other recent "Bushisms" that reveal him to be increasingly deluded and detached. Look, anyone would acknowledge we must be patient, hope for the best, strategize and stand firm until we have a plan to get out of the mess we've made in Iraq. But listen to Bush when he is "off book". He is clueless. (on C-SPAN: Pres. Bush & Interim Iraqi P.M. Iyad Allawi Joint Press Conference)

My Apologies to those who have placed their trust and sense of self and patriotic pride in this Administration. You have been duped. Wise Up.

Did you hear about what the Republicans have been alleging now?



Wow these guys are real ass holes.

Sept 24 - Novelist E. L. Doctoro's essay THE UNFEELING PRESIDENT concludes:

I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over he world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.
Finally, the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail. How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves. (read whole essay at easthamptonstar.com)

Staying home this Friday night? Why not cozy up and watch a little Boob Tube?


Residential debates can change the course of elections, but George Farah, a remarkable young author and executive director of Open Debates, has evidence showing that the debates' rules of order have been hijacked by the two main political parties. The result? Moderators can't ask follow-up questions, important issues are never raised, and credible third-party candidates are excluded from the proceedings altogether. On Friday, September 24, 2004 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), NOW with Bill Moyers details the secretive process by which the party handlers ensure there won't be a substantive discussion of the issues at what are, for many voters, the most important events of the campaign.

PBS Airdate: Friday 24 September 2004 Check local listings at www.pbs.org/now/sched.html.

And while I'm promoting work in other mediums, an essential article about the neo-con effort to privatize war and control the reconstruction is devastating. Might want a hard-copy of this one, but here it is on-line:

BAGHDAD YEAR ZERO: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia By Naomi Klein.
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004. Originally from Harper's Magazine, September 2004.



Sept 23 - The sad truth is that it's tiring defending Kerry all the time: he doesn't speak as plainly as he should, and plain talk is what we need from our politicians. This site supports Kerry because he is a smart committed civil servant. But he hasn't always gotten it right. And though I believe he has been generally consistent about the Iraq war (It's all Republican spin, the flip flop stuff) -- it doesn't mean he's been right.

I don't know where you fell with the war before it started. Personally, I didn't believe Bush. Without any inside knowledge of the facts, I did not believe Bush. I find him ingenuine and oportunist. He has lied and mislead, and I did not trust his eagerness to go to war. Sorry, that's how I saw it. Anyway, Maureen Dowd writes with flourish and speaks plainly here. We pick her up in mid-article:

... Yet Mr. Kerry's case has a hollow center. He was asked at his press conference on Tuesday about W.'s snide reminders that his rival gave him authority to go to war (and, playing frat pledge to W.'s rush chairman, inanely agreed that he would still have voted to give that authority even if there were no W.M.D.).

That vote, he replied, was correct "because we needed to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for weapons. That's what America believed."

Not all Americans.

The administration rolled the Democrats on the authorization vote. It was clear at the time that going after Saddam to punish Osama made no sense, that Cheney & Co. were going to use Saddam as a lab rat for all their old neocon agendas. It was clear, as the fleet sailed toward Iraq, that the Bush crew had no interest in diplomacy - that it wanted to castrate the flaccid U.N., the flower child Colin Powell and his pinstriped State Department, snotty Old Europe, and the despised Saddam to show that America is a hyperpower that is not to be messed with.

As I quoted a girlfriend saying in September 2002, a month before Mr. Kerry's authorization vote, "Bush is like the guy who reserves a hotel room and asks you to the prom."

When Mr. Kerry says it was the way the president went about challenging Saddam that was wrong, rather than the fact that he challenged Saddam, he's sidestepping the central moral issue.

It was wrong for the president to take on Saddam as a response to 9/11, to pretend the dictator was a threat to our national security, to drum up a fake case on weapons and a faux link to Al Qaeda, and to divert our energy, emotions and matériel from the real enemy to an old enemy whose address we knew.

It was wrong to take Americans to war without telling them the truth about why we were doing it and what it would cost.
It wasn't the way W. did it. It was what he did. (read full editorial at NY Times.com)

One thing about Bush, he's inspired the left, the progressives, the democrats, and the moderates to express themselves and address the underlying philosophies that are bringing ruin upon civilization. Read this interview with The Yes Men, a pair of filmmakers who infiltrated World Trade Organization conventions and proposed outlandishly satirical policy initiatives with a straight face and found complicity and acceptance. They've identified the real Religion that Bush Practices. An excerpt follows:

BuzzFlash: During the making of the film "The Yes Men" what were the most dramatic moments for you? Was it the protests in Genoa, Italy, that turned violent?

Mike Bonanno: Probably what shocked us was the first time when we went and lectured and nobody reacted to what Dr. Bicklebarrow was saying. When you can stand in front of an audience of trade law experts and nobody sees a problem with selling votes to the highest bidder as a way to create a free market and democracy, then there’s got to be a huge problem.
I think that was the most shocking moment -- when we realized that either people weren’t listening to us, or they were listening and they were tacitly agreeing with these terrible ideas simply because they were in line with this philosophy of free trade. Free trade is a deeply held, almost-religious belief, that freedom of trade can somehow benefit people and increase democracy.

BuzzFlash: You guys went into this hoping to upset and anger people, and, in fact, they didn’t respond that way.

Mike Bonanno:
They loved it. They thought: Sure, why not? This fits with our philosophy -- open the free market and democracy. Let people buy votes. Let’s outlaw the siesta. The type of thing that people were a little bit more up in arms about were the cultural implications; they were a little more sensitive to that, perhaps because we were in Europe and people are a bit sensitive to that with the European unification. It’s a large discussion. But overall the thing that was shocking was what didn’t happen, rather than what actually did. (read whole interview at buzzflash.com)


Sept 22 - Michael Moore has a few words to say about hand-wringing democrats down on Kerry.

Eric Alterman celebrates our comic for its footnotes (end of Sept 21 entry).

Bush spoke to the U.N. on Tuesday. (NY Times editorial)

U.N. Speech on C-SPAN. (Pres. Bush Address to United Nations General Assembly (09/21/2004)

Condolences to those suffering loss in the name of Freedom.



Sept 21 - An essential article by William Rivers Pitt on the Media is excerpted below. A worthwhile read if you ever stand scratching your head in stupified bemusement at the reckless pandering of mainstream media.

Your Media is Killing You

... How is it that little truthout.org, with its limited resources and small staff, got it right time and again while ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN and Fox - with their massive financial resources and their huge pool of reporters - got it so totally and continuously wrong? The answer comes in two parts.

    The first part is the degree to which these nationally broadcast news stations have become compromised by the corporations that own them. The ownership of the media is key to understanding the process. Take the example of General Electric, owners of NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. This company is one of the largest defense contractors in America; they get paid every time we go to war, and yet we somehow believe they will tell us the truth of war, even though it affects their profit margin. Such thinking is folly.

    Take the example of AOL/TimeWarner, owner of CNN. This company lives and dies by the 'outsourcing' of American technological jobs overseas, where labor is cheaper. Do you think they will tell a straight story about the economy with so much on the line? Such thinking is folly, and never mind the fact that AOL/TimeWarner's largest investor is a Saudi. So much for the truth about who really supports Osama bin Laden and international terrorism. So much for the truth about what really happened on September 11, and why.

    The decision by the mainstream television news media to get into bed with the very entities they are supposed to stand watchdog against has been a mortal one. Once it becomes acceptable to get your reporting from Defense Department and military spin-doctors, without doing any work on your own, the game is over. What started with the Gulf War as a new 'reporting' technique has become an institutionalized process of standing as mouthpiece for those who deserve the strongest scrutiny. (read whole article at truthout.org)



Meanwhile, Kerry is coming on strong. The fight is not over. I've heard it said "I don't know John Kerry." Well watch his speech. (Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Iraq & Foreign Policy Address) He speaks intelligently about the issues.

Why wouldn't we want a different strategy than that off Bush's approach of torture, lies, deception and incompetence? Kerry is an adult and a statesman, a veteran. Here is a thoughtful man. Somewhere the national dialogue shifted to: "What is the John Kerry Personality? I just don't feel I know him." That seems so extremely bazaar! Don't you know Bush to be a Liar??!!! I believe Bush's so called lead will suddenly unravel. Watch that Kerry speech. And never say he doesn't have a policy. So sorry if he's not entertaining. I find him quite convincing.

One of Kerry's four points for a solution in Iraq is to bring in troops from other nations. Many point out that this might not work and indeed they would be right. Why? Because Bush alienated all of our allies by rushing to war.

The intellectual lap dog David Brooks of the NYTimes writes a classic Brooks essay in today's paper. Watch the structure of his editorial: He starts with a lofty praise of Kerry, signaling a non partisan discussion of the situation in Iraq. Then whoops! Three-quarters of the way through he slips in the knife with a cunning devolution into familiar republican talking points: "liberal", "anti-war" (horrors! an anti-war president!), and of course various allusions to "flip-flopping." Read any Brooks editorial and you get this same structure: he starts with a reasoned, inclusive opening and then wraps up with a condescending admonition that reinforces his partisan party line.

Oddly, while Brooks uses Kerry's speech as evidence of the distinction between the two candidates,(one pro-war one against war) Bush himself accused Kerry of having the SAME policy as the administration.

"Forty-three days before the election, my opponent has now settled on a proposal for what to do next," Mr. Bush said there, "and it's exactly what we're currently doing." (read full article)

So there you have it. One of these two accusations ought to work! Go get'em cowboys!



Sept 20 - The only real news story left is why do 50% of Americans still believe in this presidency? Even compiling this blog has become a tiresome exercise in futility. How many more exposés can we read? How much more outrage can we compile? Even Republicans are becoming impatient with the whitewash, spending Sunday's talk shows calling for more truth about our situation Iraq. I haven't lost hope about the election: There's a myth going 'round that Kerry's good at coming from behind, and there are the debates where Kerry could kick some ass. But you know what? None of that matters if the American public wants to keep its head in the sand.

A new book I've encountered, Strategic Ignorance : Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress goes a long way in describing the effect these scoundrels have had on our AIR, WATER, and LAND! This isn't about gay marriage, people, or some far away war being fought by the underclass, this is about the natural systems that keep humans alive and healthy-- undermined by greed and ignorance. I don't know how much more clear we need to be here. I'd like to see Bush and Cheney sidle up to the office cooler near one of those Superfund sights and take a long tall drink of water. Yep, I'd like them to have a sip of the cool aid they've been serving up to 50% of the population.

"This won't hurt a bit, America."


Sept 17 - I'm running this article in full. It's worth a read. If you scroll down this page, you'll find shades of these themes recurring throughout. But here in one timely and concise piece of writing is the whole picture.

Kerry Must 'Reframe' Bush -- And Fast

JOHN KERRY is in trouble because the Bush campaign has seized control of what psychologists call the "frame" of this year's presidential contest. Bush, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and company have framed the election starkly: Bush will keep us safe in a time of terror. He will put money in people's pockets by cutting our taxes, and somehow that will also be good for the economy.

Bush and Cheney have also framed Kerry. He is inconstant, an effete elitist who lives in a lah-de-dah neighborhood, speaks a foreign language, keeps changing his mind on everything from Vietnam to Iraq. This signals that Kerry is culturally different from ordinary folks (like Bush) and that if he wavers on everything else, you can't trust him to be resolute on terrorists.

If this imagery hardens, Kerry is toast. Experts who study how public issues become framed in people's minds, like Susan Bales of the FrameWorks Institute, say that you can't change views merely with evidence. You have to change the frame.

For Kerry and for Democrats, the frustrating reality is that everything important about George Bush and his presidency is a lie. Bush himself is far more of a phony. As several biographies have documented, he virtually fell upwards, benefiting from family connections to survive a dissolute youth, draft avoidance, and several business failures. But Bush has seized the iconography of the honest cowboy, the regular guy clearing brush on his Texas ranch, the war hero arriving by fighter plane to rescue America. That Kerry actually served in combat, that he made his way upwards with far less family help, gets buried under the smears.

Bush's presidency has been an even bigger lie, beginning with the dishonest way he assumed office and the gap between his moderate posture and his extremist policies. There is such a huge medley of lies that a challenger almost doesn't know where to start.

The tax cuts didn't create jobs. No Child Left Behind is big government without the resources. The deficit will sandbag the economy for decades. The Medicare drug plan is a fake. Privatizing Social Security will leave retirees worse off.

And his national security policy is worse. Whether the venue is Iraq, the phony case for war and the disastrous aftermath, the hit-and-run policy in Afghanistan, North Korea's quest for nuclear weapons, or the vaunted "war on terror" and the Keystone Kops Homeland Security Department, it all leaves America and the world less safe.

But the ordinary citizen is gulled by the stagecraft and numbed by the details. And if Kerry tries to explain the particulars, he plays policy wonk to Bush's John Wayne.

Bush and Cheney keep grabbing headlines with ever more outrageous lies. Just this week, speaking in Michigan, Bush described Kerry's health plan as "a government takeover of health care." In fact, the plan would have government compensate private health plans that faced excessive insurance losses because they had sicker-than-average members. The political press, rather than explaining Bush's lie, played the story as mere attack and counterattack.

In an ideal, civics book democracy, citizens would explore the details and vote based on the merits. But in our frantic, overworked daily lives, where talk show rants pass for public discourse, the truth gets buried by the rhetoric, and the imagery of leadership wins the day.

Successful candidates have seized on a big theme that carried within it both the hopes of ordinary people and the seeds of a program. John Kennedy did it with his "We can do bettah." Bill Clinton succeeded with "putting people first." The idea that people who work hard and play by the rules should earn enough to live decently combined respect for the struggles of ordinary people with the idea that government could help. Ronald Reagan turned the national pessimism of the Carter years into a sunny "Morning in America."

So what on earth is John Kerry to do? He cannot possibly win a hearing to challenge all that is fake about Bush and his policy particulars unless he first changes the frame. First, he needs to reframe Bush by pounding on all the ways that Bush is a fraud, and he needs to do it with grace and wit. Second, he needs a clear, simple vision of a secure, prosperous America more compelling than Bush's vision.

If Kerry doesn't have the nerve to take on Bush, voters will conclude that he lacks the nerve to protect America. Kerry has about two weeks to break the frame before the election freezes into a lock. (go to original)

(Robert Kuttner's is co-editor of The American Prospect. His column appears regularly in The Boston Globe.)

I'm not as pessimistic as this. I think it may all be true, but listen up, here's a quote from Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign advisor since November. She reminds us of the distinction between the two campaigns, and increasingly, the two parties:

... She rather describes Kerry as a man who is "polite to the core" and "deeply reserved" and "a tough guy, but tough on the issues." She adds: "If sheer protestations of strength get you to success, then Osama would have been captured."
If the Kerry campaign hasn't taken the low road, it is partially because, she says, "win or lose, and my deep belief is he's going to win, you run a campaign you live with for the rest of your life. George Bush Sr. is forever tarred by the craven way he went after Dukakis." (read editorial in The Boston Globe)

Sept 16 - I really do hope that Kerry doesn't find his footing four years from now, as Gore has done. Big Al has been consistently fiery and articulate these last six months, and he's got no one advising him as to how to behave. He's letting his natural intelligence and genuine patriotic outrage be his guide. Here's Gore speaking about Bush in a profile of the former v.p. by David Remnick in the September 13 issue of The New Yorker:

"The real distinction of this Presidency is that, at its core, he is a very weak man. He projects himself as incredibly strong, but behind closed doors he is incapable of saying no to his biggest financial supporters and his coalition in the Oval Office. He’s been shockingly malleable to Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the whole New American Century bunch. He was rolled in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He was too weak to resist it."

“I’m not of the school that questions his intelligence,” Gore went on. “There are different kinds of intelligence, and it’s arrogant for a person with one kind of intelligence to question someone with another kind. He certainly is a master at some things, and he has a following. He seeks strength in simplicity. But, in today’s world, that’s often a problem. I don’t think that he’s weak intellectually. I think that he is incurious.... But I think his weakness is a moral weakness. I think he is a bully, and, like all bullies, he’s a coward when confronted with a force that he’s fearful of. His reaction to the extravagant and unbelievably selfish wish list of the wealthy interest groups that put him in the White House is obsequious. The degree of obsequiousness that is involved in saying ‘yes, yes, yes, yes, yes’ to whatever these people want, no matter the damage and harm done to the nation as a whole -- that can come only from genuine moral cowardice. I don’t see any other explanation for it, because it’s not a question of principle. The only common denominator is each of the groups has a lot of money that they’re willing to put in service to his political fortunes and their ferocious and unyielding pursuit of public policies that benefit them at the expense of the nation.” (read entire profile online)

Let's be honest now, it's all been said before at this point, and still there are Bush supporters calling for CBS to reprimand Dan Rather and apologize to the nation for questioning Bush's National Guard service. In fact the Republicans in Congress are calling for an investigation into the forged National Guard documents! They didn't want a 9/11 commission, but this stuff is a serious Democratic plot to undermine the election!!!!!

... So no amount of intelligent and considered criticism from Al Gore is going to set this country right.

I had always intended to use this BLOG to lay out my ideal agenda for change in America, with the implicit understanding that Kerry is going to come a lot closer than Bush to supporting my agenda. So starting today, when not swayed by a bout of outrage at some preposterous lying scandal, I will try to lay out some ideas for a future I'd want to be part of. The Republicans often point out that Kerry is only running as the anti-Bush candidate, with no positive message of his own. They often refer to Kerry's tired old initiatives, taking us backward not forward. Alas, that is just another campaign attack line. Kerry has a book and a web site with detailed policies laid out. Go read them.

Meanwhile, I'm going to work on my own platform.

Bitersweet: Remember when America had dignity? This will remind you. Quiet Calls for Change by David S. Broder (Washington Post Editorial)

And this is right-on too! Funny. Are You Undecided? Or Not? By Larry David (NY Times Op-Ed)


Sept 15 - New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman urges Kerry to take the gloves off. (excerpt)

... Can Mr. Kerry, who voted to authorize the Iraq war, criticize it? Yes, by pointing out that he voted only to give Mr. Bush a big stick. Once that stick had forced Saddam to let W.M.D. inspectors back in, there was no need to invade. And Mr. Kerry should keep pounding Mr. Cheney, who is trying to cover for the absence of W.M.D. by lying, yet again, about Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda.

Some pundits are demanding that Mr. Kerry produce a specific plan for Iraq - a demand they never make of Mr. Bush. Mr. Kerry should turn the tables, and demand to know what - aside from pretending that things are going fine - Mr. Bush intends to do about the spiraling disaster. And Mr. Kerry can ask why anyone should trust a leader who refuses to replace the people who created that disaster because he thinks it's bad politics to admit a mistake.

Mr. Kerry can argue that he wouldn't have overruled the commanders who had wanted to keep the pressure on Al Qaeda, or dismissed warnings from former Gen. Eric Shinseki, then the Army's chief of staff, that peacekeeping would require a large force. He wouldn't have ignored General Conway's warnings about the dangers of storming into Falluja, or overruled his protests about calling off that assault halfway through.

On the other hand, he can argue that he would have fired Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary who ridiculed General Shinseki. And he would definitely have fired Donald Rumsfeld for the failure to go in with enough troops, the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and more.

The truth is that Mr. Bush, by politicizing the "war on terror," is putting America at risk. And Mr. Kerry has to say that. (read full article at truthout.org)

Molly Ivans has a few words to say on the subject as well: (excerpt)

Iraq Outrage: Troops are following orders from General Rove, against the advice of military officers on the ground.

... John Kerry is not in a particularly good position to bring up the subject himself. Through some truly adroit political maneuvering (I am tempted but resolutely resist use of the word genius), every time Kerry opens his mouth about Iraq these days, the Bush camp bursts into a loud, well-trained chorus of "He's changing his position again. Yoo-hoo, flip-flop!" (read full article on alternet.org)

Richard Cohen has has similar advice, concluding: (excerpt)

Ted Kennedy's Lesson for Kerry

... Kennedy did not vote to authorize George W. Bush's war. Kerry's problem is that, whatever else he intended, he did. Had he Kennedy's zest for boldness, he would have admitted a mistake and moved on. But he chose a supposedly safe and overly nuanced route that has left him tongue-tied. Kennedy, who was right from the start, is not similarly burdened, but his formulation of "arrogant ideological incompetence" can be used by Kerry anyway. In three words, it answers the question of why we are -- still and in coming years -- in Iraq. All the rest is commentary. (read full editorial at washingtonpost.com)

Will John Kerrry find his voice in time for the election? Inquiring minds want to know.



Sept 14 - Recent news articles confirm a sinking senstation that we have turned a corner here in America, we have succombed to a complete surrender to impressions over truth. The Republicans have embarked on a final sprint to the finish line, laying out lies and slander and scare tactics and utterly avoiding the realities of their record-- on Iraq, the Economy, the Environment, Education and on and on. We have become a country where reality TV and Advertizing have eroded our ability to distinguish facts from fiction.



Speaking of facts and fiction, a worthwhile article on the Christian Right (COMIC pg. 21) concludes:

There are many perils to our democracy today, many of them coming from within it: paperless voting machines, invasion of countries without pretext, and single-minded ideologies posing as monolithic truth, with the supporters galvanized around the notion that no truth exists apart from theirs, and who will go to any length to force that putative truth through the political process. Eternal vigilance against their eternal hostility is the responsibility of all who truly respect the democratic process. Such is the case with the "Christian nation" hypothesis: it does not stand against the weight of history or reason, and must be rejected by all who can think critically. (read whole article at truthout.org)

If you doubt Bush's commitment to making the U.S. a theocracy, try this article on How Bush speaks in religious code.


Even Bush's old WAR PAL Tony Blair acknowledges that it's going to take a little more than prayer to get us out of this mess. (Blair warns of Climate Change Catastrophe). Think Bush will listen? I'm not so sure. I think Team Bush has...

New Priorities in Environment

... Over the last three and a half years, federal officials have accelerated resource development on public lands. They have also pushed to eliminate regulatory hurdles for military and industrial projects.
From the start, Bush officials challenged the status quo and revised the traditional public-policy calculus on environmental decisions. They put an instant hold on many Clinton administration regulations, and the debates over those issues and others are intensely polarized.
The administration has sought to increase the harvesting of energy and other resources on public lands, to seek cooperative ways to reduce pollution, to free the military from environmental restrictions and to streamline - opponents say gut - regulatory and enforcement processes. (read full story at NYTimes.com)


Sept 13 - Not every American is a true believer. (recent letters posted at truthout.org)

    I don't know if this message will get to you but I wanted you to know that I had to catch my breath after reading your letter about your brother. I am so sorry about your loss. I am a veteran of the first gulf war and am thoroughly disgusted with Bush & this war in Iraq. Your brother is a true hero having gone into combat despite seeing that the reasons we were given for going to war were completely phony.

    I am dedicating the next two months to electing John Kerry & I will be thinking of you and your family.

    Your friend,
    Steven T. Ling
    North Canton, Ohio
    US Army Reserve
    Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm 1990-1991




Sept 11 - A number of articles on the web mark the third aniversary of 9/11, a dark day for America and the World, but a real WINDFALL for the Republican party. Here's one that struck me from The Nation.

Vote for Bush or Die

On August 11, John Kerry criticized the Bush Administration for blocking a bipartisan plan to give seniors access to lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada. With almost 80 percent of Medicare recipients supporting Kerry's position, the Bush campaign was faced with the prospect of defending a politically unpopular position.

That same day, in an interview with the Associated Press, FDA Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford said terrorist "cues from chatter" led him to believe Al Qaeda may try to attack Americans by contaminating imported prescription drugs. Crawford refused to provide any details to substantiate his claims.

Asked about Crawford's comments, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security was forced to concede, "We have no specific information now about any Al Qaeda threats to our food or drug supply." The Administration had brazenly used Americans' justifiable fears of a future terrorist attack to parry a routine criticism of its policies.

How did it come to this? (read full article)

A worthwhile publication year after year is back in print and on-line.

Top Ten Censored Stories of 2003-2004 (read full article)

1. Wealth inequality in 21st century threatens economy and democracy.
2. Ashcroft vs. the human rights law that holds corporations accountable.
3. Bush administration manipulates science and censors scientists.
4. High uranium levels found in troops and civilians.
5. The wholesale giveaway of our natural resources.
6. Sale of electoral politics.
7. Conservative organization drives judicial appointments.
8. Secrets of Cheney's energy task force come to light.
9. Widow brings RICO case against U.S. government for 9/11.
10. New nuke plants: taxpayers support, industry profits.

No wonder these stories have gone unreported, the media is too busy covering political advertizing and covering their coverage of those ads. This article barely scratches the surface of the topic... (COMIC pg 4)

Media Culpa

We got mea culpas from the media for shoddy reporting about Iraq, but the presidential election coverage from this summer shows that the same mistakes are being repeated. (read full article)



Sept 10 - ACT NOW!! ASSAULT WEAPONS SHIPPING TUESDAY! Thanks to Bush, who pledged in 2000 to renew the ban, the ban hasn't been renewed! Thanks Bush. The world will be safer after Monday!! Safe safe safe!!!!!!!!!! This is just what Jesus would have wanted I'm sure. Cool Dude!! Thanks for really taking a stand dude!! I can't believe I have to wait until Tuesday to get my Assault rifle!!! Safe safe safe!!! Thanks George and Dick!

And speaking of safe how 'bout that Crazy Al-Qaida dude threatening us again?

The whole world is watching...


Sept 9 - This is the second article I've encountered about a wave of self-criticism sweeping the Muslim press after the Russian school massacre.

(Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the widely watched satellite television station Al Arabiya) ... recalled that in the past, leftists and nationalists in the Arab world were considered a "menace" for their adoption of violence, and the mosque was a haven of "peace and reconciliation" by contrast.
"Then came the neo-Muslims," he said. "An innocent and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of hate and a universal war cry." (read full article at NYTimes.com).

Why this gives me some comfort is my eternal yearning for reason and temperance to punch through the loud noise of hate and aggression that dominates public discourse across the globe.

There is an author, George Lakoff, who is about to release a new book on the language of politics and public discourse called Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate'. Have a look at this excerpt if you want some insight into how the neo-cons here in the U.S. have mastered the terms of the national debate.

... Don't think of an elephant! Whatever you do, do not think of an elephant. I've never found a student who is able to do this. Every word, like elephant, evokes a frame, which can be an image or other kinds of knowledge: Elephants are large, have floppy ears and a trunk, are associated with circuses, and so on. The word is defined relative to that frame. When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame.

Richard Nixon found that out the hard way. While under pressure to resign during the Watergate scandal, Nixon addressed the nation on TV. He stood before the nation and said, "I am not a crook." And everybody thought about him as a crook. This gives us a basic principle of framing, for when you are arguing against the other side: Do not use their language. Their language picks out a frame — and it won't be the frame you want. Let me give you an example. On the day that George W. Bush arrived in the White House, the phrase “tax relief” started coming out of the White House. It still is: It was used a number of times in this year's State of the Union address, and is showing up more and more in preelection speeches four years later. Think of the framing for relief. For there to be relief there must be an affliction, an afflicted party, and a reliever who removes the affliction and is therefore a hero. And if people try to stop the hero, those people are villains for trying to prevent relief.

When the word tax is added to relief, the result is a metaphor: Taxation is an affliction. And the person who takes it away is a hero, and anyone who tries to stop him is a bad guy. This is a frame. It is made up of ideas, like affliction and hero. The language that evokes the frame comes out of the White House, and it goes into press releases, goes to every radio station, every TV station, every newspaper. And soon the New York Times is using tax relief. And it is not only on Fox; it is on CNN, it is on NBC, it is on every station because it is "the president's tax-relief plan." And soon the Democrats are using tax relief — and shooting themselves in the foot. (read full story on AlterNet.com)

You think Kerrry might have a quick read of Lakoff's thesis? Might help.

By the way, look who's "flip-flopping" again.



Sept 8 - A couple of articles I've run into refute the 11 point lead Bush supposedly got from his convention:

It has been a wild week for numbers. Immediately after the Republican Convention, Time and Newsweek released poll numbers indicating a significant bounce for George W. Bush, and an 11 point lead over John Kerry. A few days go by, however, and the air appears to have been let out of the tires... The 'Bush bounce' after the convention has either disappeared completely, or never existed at all. (read full story at truthout.com).

As we marked the tragic milestone of the 1000th American killed in Iraq on Tuesday, V.P. Dick Cheney reminded us that voting for Kerry would bring about a massive terrorist attack! If you don't believe him, then listen to Tom Ridge who assured us yesterday that terrorists hope to disrupt the election. At the same time of course, America is safer under President Bush's Reign.

Meanwhile, while the Candidates are hurling insults at each other, Team Bush is considering wiggling out of one of three proposed debates. Look at the language they use in discussing the issue:

Democratic nominee John F. Kerry accepted the proposal in July. But even as the time for the first debate nears -- it's set for Sept. 30 in Miami -- the Bush campaign hasn't committed and may be trying to limit the number of presidential debates to two. "We look forward to these debates," Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "We look forward to having a debate about debates." (read full editorial at washingtonpost.com)

"A debate about debates"-- that is their strategy in a nutshell, avoiding the issues at all cost, talking about the talking.

An example lies in the semantic squable that unfolded yesterday when Kerry called Iraq "the wrong war at the wrong time." Team Bush responded, not with a defence of the war, but by saying that Kerry was using the language of freaky peace-nick Howard Dean. (NYTimes article on all this) This response does not answer the charge, only fogs the debate. Truth is, the phrase has been used to describe Bush's war in Iraq by General Anthony Zinni and Senator Ted Kennedy as well, and is essentially a play on the cliché "wrong place, wrong time." The Republican strategy is to deflect criticism by focusing on the way in which it is mounted. This also allows them to connect Kerry to Dean, which, for all we know, might already have been on the aganda for this week's round of character smears. Don't doubt it: If you follow these guys long enough, you start to see a pattern...

I contend that these New Republicans are the ultimate deconstructionists and relativists (an intellectual movement they would revile), using language in an endless cycle of absurdity, using ethical and moral language entirely at their own convenience. Tsk tsk.

In Texas it's called walking.


Sept 7 - A worthwhile commentary in Time Magazine discusses my favorite topic: "How DO they do it?"

... The attacks on Kerry ranged from the reasonable—he certainly has empretzeled himself on Iraq—to the outrageous: Zell Miller's assertion that Kerry would take his orders from Paris. The Miller speech was the ugliest I've ever seen at a convention. It certainly trumped Pat Buchanan's 1992 "culture war" speech, in which the target was an abstract army of social liberals. This was a direct assault on the character and integrity of the Democratic nominee. And it followed a familiar G.O.P. attack pattern: like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Miller wasn't an official part of the Bush campaign. He claims to be a Democrat, and so, several Republicans told me, he was free to say anything he pleased. But Miller's speech wasn't the most disgraceful part of the G.O.P. show. That honor went to the Purple Heart Band-Aids ridiculing John Kerry's Vietnam wounds that were distributed by a past associate of Karl Rove's. It goes without saying that Rove had absolutely nothing to do with the idea—except perhaps for setting the scabrous tone of the Bush campaign. (read the whole article at time.com).

I'm quite fed up with my fellow Americans I'm sorry to say, giving Team Bush a Bounce after the Convention.Is this who we've become? How are we teaching our children to behave if we're teaching mockery, taunting, and no accountability? Just plain rude. I'm becoming the marginalized East Coast Liberal now-- they've got me where they want me, now I'm reading crazy articles by French People and nodding my head in agreement!!

Let's All Vote November 2!

I t would be legitimate for all the peoples of the world to participate in the election of the United States' president.

... Those who would rejoice in George W. Bush' reelection are Al-Qaeda's people- they've already said as much - because he's the one whose policies dovetail the best with their strategy. Hasn't the intervention in Iraq offered this movement's terrorists an opportunity to develop and to pass for resistance to a colonial occupation in the eyes of the Arab world? (read whole article on TruthOut.com)

Here's an interview with liberal Eric Alterman (author, THE BOOK ON BUSH). If you have a fast connection and an hour to spare, it's startling to see such lucid and candid downright lefty talk on the television. Where? C-SPAN of course!

The Summer is over. How's everybody feeling?




Sept 6 - Interesting exchange on MEET THE PRESS between Tim Russert and disgruntled Conservative Pat Buchanan, who's written a book titled Where The Right Went Wrong.

MR. RUSSERT:  Pat Buchanan, let me just jump in here, because you...
MR. RUSSERT:  ...have written something in your book that I think is going to be quite controversial and I want to put it on the screen and share it...
MR. RUSSERT:  ...with you and our viewers and give a chance for our group to respond to it.  "U.S. dominance of the Middle East is not the corrective to terror.  It is a cause of terror.  Were were not over there, the 9/11 terrorists would not have been over here.  And while their acts were murderous and despicable, behind their atrocities lay a political motive.  We were attacked because of our imperial presence on the sacred soil of the land of Mecca and Medina, because of our enemies' perception that we were strangling the Iraqi people with sanctions and preparing to attack a second time, and because of our uncritical support of the Likud regime of Ariel Sharon" in Israel. Are you suggesting that our alliance with Israel is one of the reasons that we were attacked on September 11?
MR. BUCHANAN:  Sure.  That's one of the reasons given by Osama bin Laden.  In his fatwa of 1998, he wrote that there are three causes of the problems and three causes for a declaration of war by all Arabs and good Muslims against the United States.  One, America's imperial presence on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia.  Secondly, the sanctions policy against Iraq which was persecuting and basically starving, he said, the Iraqi people, and we were planning another invasion.  Third is the United States' uncritical support of the Ariel Sharon regime in Israel, which he argued is persecuting the Palestinian people.
In my judgment, Chris, this one-sided support for Sharon, the refusal to condemn that wall snaking through the West Bank, the agreement to support Sharon's claim to virtually half of the West Bank, this has caused enormous hostility and animosity and hatred for this country in that part of the world, not just among the Palestinians.  And if we want to drain off some of this hatred, this venom against us, we have got to adopt a more evenhanded policy here.  We have got to stand up for the same rights for the Palestinian people, a homeland, a nation, a state of their own, a viable one, on the land their forefathers farmed for a thousand years, because those are first our principles and secondly, that is in the national interest of the United States of America.  I don't care what Ariel Sharon believes.
MR. RUSSERT:  They are not attacking us because they hate us and hate our culture?
MR. BUCHANAN:  This is the fundamental point.  Are they attacking us because of who we are and what they believe or are they attacking us because of what we do?  I believe it is our policies, not our principles that are causing these attacks.  Osama bin Laden wasn't sitting in some cave in Afghanistan and stumble on the Bill of Rights and go bananas.  It is because of what we are doing.  Most fundamentally, it wasn't Israel number one.  Number one, Saudi Arabia, female soldiers, American soldiers sitting there on the land of Mecca and Medina.

This stuff is never discussed.

Meanwhile, there's still a chance for the OCTOBER SURPRISE that everyone used to predict before the Republicans stopped talking about Osama Bin Laden: according to recent reports, U.S. Official Says Close to Catching Bin Laden.

Finally, the real story this past week was the bloody seige in a Russian school, which has promted a prominent Arabic commentator to write:

“The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!”

Al-Rashed ran through a list of recent attacks by Islamic extremist groups — in Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen — many of which are influenced by the ideology of Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi-born leader of the al-Qaida terror network.
“Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been Muslims,” he wrote. Muslims will be unable to cleanse their image unless “we admit the scandalous facts,” rather than offer condemnations or justifications. “The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us,” al-Rashed wrote. (full article, msnbc.com)

Our government should embrace voices of the moderates abroad... and at home.


Sept 4 - So, Convention hangover... some observations I've encountered, the headlines reveal the slant.

It really has become a divided country, not to harp on the obvious...

Festival of the Smug By Todd Gitlin (openDemocracy.net)

Feel the Hate By Paul Krugman (NYTimes)

The Republican Convention: Another Catastrophic Success? By Kevin Kelton (The Washington Dispatch)

Worldwide terrorism-related deaths on the rise
NBC News findings run counter to recent Bush administration claims | By Robert Rivas and Robert Windrem (NBC NEWS)

...the more things change, the more they stay the same...


Sept 3 - Bush speaks. I liked when he listed his faults and blamed the old bag with the white hair. Otherwise, familiar stuff. I really have no idea if Kerry can get out from under all these oft-repeated allegations that the right has been heaping upon him. I was quite naive to be surprised when they started rolling out all those clichés from the news cycle during their convention. But of course, that's their entire approach, it's worked. why stop now. To me, it felt like "old material," like they've become show-biz hacks.

Did you notice there was a lot of talk about "science education". But Bush hates science. (COMIC pg 19)

Anyway, glad it's over. Did their balloons fall correctly? I missed it writing this.


I, Cheney


Sept 2 - We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore By Garrison Keillor gets at the melancholy of a nation transformed by rabid vitriolic politics.

How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk? (read full article at In These Times)

A few things about Cheney's speech Wednesday night: (Republican National Convention: Day 3, Part 2): Look up Libya on google. The Republicans persistently use Qaddafi's cooperation with the U.S. after Saddam's Fall as proof positive that pre-emptive war would bring about world peace. But Qaddafi was already on the road to cooperating with the U.S. Why must they stretch the truth to justify the Bush Doctrine?

Beyond that, Cheney mostly provided a "greatest hits" speech-- lots of lines we've heard before. (Kerry voted for the war, then against the troops; permission-slip from foreign leaders; Edwards was chosen for his looks, so was Cheney; the Sensitive War mockery, and Kerry's Flip-Flopping). It makes it easier to digest Cheney's speech, as these concepts were rebutted and analyzed when they first appeared.

Except this one: Bush is "a man with a heart for the weak, the vulnerable, and the afflicted." That was news to me.

Despite their show of strength and unity at this week's convention, the Republicans are fracturing over the ideological direction of the party:

When conservatives became the majority in Washington, they discovered that public management is impossible without any governing principles. How does a movement that was built upon the premise that government is inept, wasteful, useless and downright evil actually govern? As we've found out over the past two years, the answer to that question is not very well.
Safe in the cocoon of minority status, never able to "fully" put their grand plans into practice, and always with someone else to blame, conservatives were free to spout their pie-in-the-sky ideology, attack their opponents as government-loving communists, and sell Americans on the conservative mythology of having it all for nothing. (read full article on Alternet.com)

After Cheney spoke, there was a rousing country tune that opened with the Star Spangled Banner played as an electric guitar solo in perfect imitation of Jimi Hendrix. It was an odd choice: Are Republicans mocking the left, or usurping it; are they able to take anything they want, and divorce symbols from meaning?


Boy Genius and the Gubornator


August '04 blog