Saturday, November 13, 2004

Real War, Real Veterans

In belated honor of Veterns Day, here is a link to much needed presentation of those who have fallen in Iraq:

Faces of the Fallen

It's on the Washington Post so you may need to register to see it. The current administration may not wish us to see them coming back in their coffins or know what respect they are given at their funerals, but we can see them here. They died in a war that was pursued to make the Chimperor look tough for domestic voters.

Decision to Invade Iraq Decided Before 200 Election

Read the article and then think about the reasons politicians send our men and women in uniform into battle. Think about how veterans are treated once they get home. Think on who is getting the money the Congress allocates for the military - is it going to support our soldiers or does it disappear into the black maw of war profiteers?

Why is it unpatriotic to question the rush to war and to demand that these people's lives be put in danger only for clear and unequivocal reasons? How am I not "supporting our troops" by questioning whether the White House is lying about this? How do I fail to honor service men and women by denouncing Pentagon political appointees like Paul Wolfowitz being in league with Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi?


Monday, November 08, 2004

Real Iraq

Danziger cuts to the chase:

Jeff Danziger cartoon of US soldiers under fire, realizing George Bush considers their sending them to their deaths to be part of his political capital. Please visit for more of Jeff Danziger's work.

Please be sure to visit Jeff Danziger's cartoon site.

I thought I was going to write about electoral reform, but current events got in the way. Given the invasion of Fallujah, I thought this an excellent reminder of what the war is *really* about - George W. Bush making political hay.

The invasion of Iraq was on the Chimperor's agenda before he seized the White House in 2000. It has always been his obsession, and the WTC attacks gave him the opening he wanted to conduct his glorious little war. Now that he did win an election (however much money had to be spent, however low the Turd Blossom Rove had to go), he figures Iraq is his playground. The lives of our soldiers and of ordinary Iraqis are his to spend as he sees fit.

W has no respect for life, and neither do those who voted for him. They'll "save" 2 month old US fetuses, and turn a blind eye to the butchery of 2 year old Iraqi children - how else can I look at their claim to respect life except as cynical mockery? These people did nothing to us. Iraq had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden or the WTC attack. The terrorists who killed the contractors are not even *from* Fallujah - it was a carefully staged event. But W and his supporters will praise the killing of those children anyway.

Those of us who actually judge the efficacy of the administration's foreign policy are called traitor and un-American for pointing out the truth - invading Iraq was done for short-term domestic political gain, and it will reap long-term intrnational and, yes, domestic grief. Have no doubt - we'll "win" the battle in Fallujah insofar as we will flatten the place and butcher the inhabitants. In the longer run, every dead child from that city will raise a dozen jihadists who each will wish to kill a dozen US children in revenge. And a few will probably succeed.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

Reality Check

Nope, I haven't disappeared nor am I the slightest bit daunted by the Chimperor's win. Let's be clear - W. won this round. There are a lot of reasons why, but the biggest one is that his supporters are ignorant of the world and voted for him under false assumptions about what he is doing in office. This is something that can be corrected in the next few years, and I don't think the Left will have much work to do on that count. Reality can be suppressed for only so long, after all.

1. Stingers missing in Iraq
2. High power explosives also gone missing
3. Osama bin Laden untrammeled and gaining prestige in the Muslim world
4. Increasingly few allies for the US
5. The coming collapse of the dollar (hat tip - Brad Delong)
6. The battle over privatizing Social Security
7. The growing deficit and debt (the fundamental root of the collapse of the dollar)
8. Rising interest rates and their effect on the housing market
9. The looming US draft to back imperial military adventures
10. Lack of any substantive homeland security coordination at a federal level (hat tip - Phil Carter, Intel Dump)

and other lesser issues that will percolate to the top of the swamp over the next four years. Chimpy thinks he won a mandate when he won with a narrow majority. He will over-reach.

Now, let's talk about this values nonsense. Please take a good look at amileoj's analysis at Granfalloon Junction on how the pollsters are missing the point. First off, "values" is not the issue that drove people - Iraq/War on Terror is. The way the questions were asked split this into its (correct) constituent parts (The Iraq invasion having nothing to do with fighting bin Laden), but most people see it as two sides of the same coin. They are linked as the debacle in Iraq is increasing the strength of jihadists around the world, but Saddaam Hussein and his Baathist regime had nothing to do with bin Laden.

But that's a secondary issue. What has pissed me off most is the talking heads and media heathers and pundits instantly agreeing that somehow I don't have morals because I'm not a member of some mega-church in the "heartland".

'Scuze me?

I'm a progressive liberal, and I have some very powerful values. I believe in human equality. I fight for substantive justice. I uphold the laws of my land, pay taxes to support my country, and serve in a public job. I protect the division of church and state, for the benefit of each. I refuse to watch or pay for exploitative, crude or vulgar entertainment (haven't owned a TV in years). I don't patronize places that exploit or demean other people, like Hooters restaurants. While I do not believe in an afterlife, I have been raised in the same judeo-christian ethos as most Americans of European descent, and my sense of right and wrong comes right from the Good Book. I live my life simply and responsibly. It goes on, but you get the picture.

Before declaring morality and values to be the private possession of a particular sub-group of Christians, the media might actually want to do some leg work on substantive ethical behavior.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Did We Really Expect Anything Else?

The Rethugs know they cannot win in a direct vote, so they are trying to use court orders to stop people from voting in Ohio.

Sorry, anyone who retains Republican Party membership after tonight's behavior is declaring themselves to be in active support of criminality to stay in power.

This is the kind of thing we shake our heads over in third world countries, you know? It will be interesting to see how the international press reports on the American elections tomorrow. I wonder how they will compare us to the recent elections in say, India or Venzuela?

I don't think we'll quite measure up...


Kerry/Edwards - the choice of the voters, regardless of Carl Rove's fascist tactics

Faith in America


"Florida's early polling was designed to make voting easier, but enormous voter turnout swamped the limited number of early polling sites. Over the weekend, people in some polling places had to stand in line for four, five, even six hours, often in the hot sun. Some of them - African-Americans in particular - surely suspected that those lines were so long because officials wanted to make it hard for them to vote. Yet they refused to be discouraged or intimidated.

Here's what a correspondent from Florida wrote to Joshua Marshall, of "To see people coming out - elderly, disabled, blind, poor; people who have to hitch rides, take buses, etc. - and then staying in line for hours and hours and hours ... Well, it's humbling. And it's awesome. And it's kind of beautiful."

Yes, it is. I always get a little choked up when I go to the local school to cast my vote. The humbleness of the surroundings only emphasizes the majesty of the process: this is democracy, America's great gift to the world, in action.

But over the last few days I've been seeing pictures from Florida that are even more majestic. They show long lines of voters, snaking through buildings and on down the sidewalk: citizens patiently waiting to do their civic duty. Those people still believe in American democracy; and because they do, so do I.

In truth, I wasn't sure what would happen in Florida this year. After all that has gone wrong with voting in that state, it seemed all too possible that many people would simply give up and stay home.

But it's already clear that the people of Florida - and, I believe, America as a whole - have refused to give in to cynicism and spin.

Far from being discouraged by what happened in 2000, they seem to realize more than ever - and better than those of us in the chattering classes - what a precious thing the right to vote really is. And they are determined to exercise that right.

And it's not just in Florida. Similar stories are coming in from across the country, wherever early voting is allowed: everywhere, huge numbers of voters are coming to the polls, determined to exercise their democratic rights.

Of course, most Americans won't get their chance to vote until today, but I have no doubt that they will turn out in record numbers. I don't think the rain that will blanket some parts of the country will deter them. Regardless of their politics, most Americans understand that this is a crucial election, and that never before has their vote mattered so much for the nation's destiny.

The talking heads on TV will no doubt frame all of this in partisan terms: light turnout favors one party, heavy turnout favors the other. True enough.

But this isn't a zero-sum game: the more people vote, the more vital is our democracy.

By coming to the polls, citizens are literally giving a vote of confidence in American democracy. And in so doing, they are proving themselves wiser than some of those they elected.

Those who govern us seem to have learned little from the 2000 electoral debacle: voting machines are still unreliable, voting officials are still unforgivably partisan.

But the public seems to have learned a lesson. Instead of becoming cynical, people seem to have become motivated. After an election in which a few hundred votes determined the fate of the nation, after four years of an administration that has demonstrated, for good or ill, that it matters a lot who becomes president, citizens know that their votes matter. And they are determined to cast those votes.

What will happen when they do cast those votes? I don't know; neither does anyone else. That's how democracy works.

Regular readers won't be in any doubt about who I want to win, though New York Times rules prevent me from giving any explicit endorsement. (Hint: it's the side that benefits from large turnout.) Above all, though, I want to see democracy vindicated, and the stain of 2000 eradicated, by a clean election in which as many people as possible get to cast their votes, and have those votes counted.

And all the evidence says that's what the American people want, too. May all of us get our wish."

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Reality of Voting - Rethugs Hate Democracy

Much though some people want to pretend that there is an equivalence between the "dirty tricks" played by Democrats and Republicans as concerns voting, the facts simply won't bear them up.

I received one claim of voter registration fraud concerning ACORN, and there evidently really was somone in Pennsylvania who fraudulently filled out some registration cards with Disney cartoon characters - allegedly for some cocaine in exchange. Farhad Manjoo on Salon has demonstrated that the ACORN story is, in fact, a fabrication of the Florida Republican party. There was only ever one source for the news, a Rethug astroturf operation that fights against unions and living wages for ordinary Americans. So, folks, before you send me links to "proof" do your homework and see if the information can be sourced to more than one location.

However, the jerk with the cocaine habit is a true loser.

What the apologists for the Rethug tactics keep overlooking is that the Republican National Committee, state Republican parties, and local Republican party chapters are knowingly conspiring to destroy voter registrations and intimidate voters at the polls. There was Sproul's multi-state fraud effort, there are the guys under indictment in South Dakota for voter registration fraud are working for Bush in Ohio, another guy indicted on felony charges for crimes in the *last* presidential election is working for Bush in New England, and the increasing number of scams in swing states to bully and threaten Democrats into not voting.

They aren't worried about double voting - they are worried about voting period. They are deliberately targeting African-Americans, revealing the deep committment of Republicans to racist disenfranchisement of 12% of the population. After all, when the Dixiecrats finally abandoned the Democrats after the Civil Rights victories of the 60's and 70's, they ran their racist butts right over to the Republicans. They engage in elaborate schemes to find anything to challenge a Democratic voter's right to vote - like saying the lack of an apartment number on a registration should invalidate the voter.

It is a sorry state of affairs when the only way you can win is by being anti-democrats, not by promoting your own policies and true successes. Even with the Media Whores cheering for them, BushCo doesn't have a damn thing to say for itself. So they engage in voter intimidation, in the finest Southern tradition.

But it is backfiring. Voters aren't intimdated - they are mad. 30% voter turnouts already in states with early voting, disproportionately going for Kerry.


Kerry/Edwards - Not just Democrats, democrats

OT, but Real

The hubby surprised me yesterday with a present. He bought me Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which I have been wanting since I read a review of it in Salon.

I'm only a few pages into it, and I love it. I'm going to have to dole this out.

Back to our regularly scheduled program of commentary on America.


Kerry/Edwards - Less than 24 hours now....