"They don't even know who we are."

I know we're all occupied with the holidays (the good) and the tragedy in Southeast Asia (oh so very bad) so the last thing any of us want to think about right now is more politics. And no, this isn't going to be a high-pitched rant about the Shrubbery's latest dickheadedness, of which there are multitudinous multitudes.

No, tonight, I'm (briefly) talking DNC reform. More specifically, a reform candidate for the DNC Chair because whether the DNC establishment knows it or not, they are speeding the Democratic Party toward utter extinction. No matter the lazy media, the right-wing spin machine, Bush and his evil cronies, the grinding pathology of corporate fascism...none of these things is any more to blame than the completely spineless Democratic Party as it exists today. The DNC establishment has gotten entirely too comfy and insulated in their political power games that matter not a whit to the 99% of the rest of the Party and have absolutely zero to do with representing us. They'll take our money and gladly benefit from our hours and hours of campaigning, dollars we can ill afford and time that none of us has.

But they aren't fighting for us, they appear to have very little interest in being a true opposition party, and though they seem genuinely disgusted by Bush et al, it's in a rather detached, aloof sort of way, the kind of perspective that's the luxury of those who aren't truly desperate and are the least likely to be affected by what the Republicans are about to wreak on our country and the world. Oh sure, they may be out of power, may find themselves without the control they're used to, but none of them worries about losing their home, paying for college, whether they'll have tiniest of Social Security nets to catch them in old age, going to the doctor, being able to breathe clean air, or being able to buy a fucking bag of groceries.

(Yes, I know some of them care very passionately about some or all of these causes. But I defy you to find one who will be the first to lose their home when the economy plummets after Bush's reckless stewardship or who will be sacrificing a son or daughter when the draft cranks up. I defy you because you won't be able to find one, I guarantee it.)

Kid Oakland over at Daily Kos has more: bloggers and citizens

Howard Dean gets this. He knows that the biggest obstacle to Democratic Party ascendancy in the years ahead is the Democratic Party establishment. Look, I don't care whether Howard Dean was your candidate in the primaries or not. I don't care if you thought he was too liberal or too conservative or too moderate, whether he was too angry or outspoken or whatever. The fact is, he's our best hope for rescuing the party from itself, for Democrats like you and me to take it back from the people who either have a vested interest in the status quo or who don't remember (or never knew) what it's like to be just a citizen.

Jerome over at MyDD has more on Dean's chances. (They're excellent, but click the link anyway.)


Oh, what a wonderful world it would be

A world without Donald Rumsfeld?!? I know what I'm asking Santa for this year...

A Not So Wonderful Life

Via Pandagon.


We interrupt this blog for a moment of vanity

No More Mister Nice Blog has posted a copy of an email he was sent by someone who may or my not be me (by the author's permission, of course) about a topic that I may or may not know something about. I have nothing meaningful to add, other than it never fails to surprise me how often seemingly useless knowledge has an unlikely application.

Of HOAs and the ex-prospective candidates for the Department of Homeland Security

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.


Dr. Dean does the DNC

Howard Dean gave his long-anticipated speech today about reforming the Democratic Party from the ground up. And Ezra at Pandagon has a nicely bulleted summary of Dean's main points.

Pandagon: Dean Speech Summary

You might remember that the state memberships have agreed to vote as a single bloc and they're looking for some big things from the future DNC chair -- namely, extensive party reform and a targeting of state and local races, not just the presidential. Looks like they've found their man.

(you can read the whole speech at Democracy for America)


My man John

Just when I think I'm over the choking-up phase of dealing with Kerry's loss, there's something like this to bring it all home again:

This is what John Kerry did today.

George Bush is President in name only. I'll be looking to my man John for the leadership and guidance this country should've had from the White House for the next four years. And I'll be watching "Going Upriver" on Inauguration Day.

More pictures in the comment thread of that diary.


Godmium is the new black

Since Bush & Co. have decided science is just an inconvenient nuisance to their Grand Plan and that hundreds of learned scientists and entire bodies of work meticulously cultivated by some of the brightest minds of humankind are both inaccurate and stupid, what need of science? And Fafnir, being a good and patriotic American, has kindly obliged by creating a convenient New Science. Helpful topics include:

"GODOLOGY! Why believe in God on crummy ol faith when New Science proves for a fact that he absolutely has to exist? Trained Godologists have determined that God orbits the earth in the celestial empyrean beyond the ninth sphere of the primum mobile. He is composed of 23% copper, 12% zinc, 4% nickel, and 61% Godmium, a special metal only used in the processin an manufacture of God. NASA Godnichians are hard at work buildin a space probe to launch into God by 2015!"

Godology: coming soon to a highschool science textbook near you.

The rest of the Party gets it

So we all know I'm pushing a Dean/Rosenberg co-chairmanship, or at least a Dean chairmanship at the DNC. And you'd have to be mentally deficient not to recognize the DNC needs reform in a major way, hence the push for a reform candidate. Unfortunately, the old school power brokers of the DNC and DLC aren't on the same page and could doom us to another 4 years of misery and marginalization.

But Kos has a nice piece about the possible winds of change a-blowin', with an excerpt from The Hill about the county and state DNC members who are pushing for reform, including a recognition of grassroots campaigning and the need to focus on electoral races at all levels, in all states. Hmm, is there an echo in here? Apparently, they're ready to play hardball with the old school factions to get their way, too. That doesn't necessarily mean a Dean chairmanship, but it does mean some serious reform. Apparently, they don't like getting their heads handed to them any more than the rest of us. Awesome.


Where do we go, from here?

So I watched "Once More With Feeling" on Thanksgiving...sue me.

If you felt anything like I did on November 3rd, you were feeling lost, bewildered, angry, depressed, disillusioned, scared, and other messy emotions that don't lend themselves to normal functioning. Actually, if you felt anything like I did on November 3rd, you were a volatile mix of all of these emotions and probably contemplated chemically-induced coma.

After all the time spent on blogs and reading papers, the hard and unglamorous work of voter canvassing and phone banking, the multiple donations of more money than you could really afford to every progressive organization who came calling, the obsessive watch of daily poll results and electoral calculus...all of that, and we all thought, hoped, prayed that we'd neared the end of King George's reign. And though I'll never be convinced this election wasn't subverted to a heinous and corrupt conclusion, the fact that it was even close enough for stealing, that it was anything but a monumental rejection of Bushco's Administration, meant that many millions upon millions of Americans collectively bent us over and kicked us in the proverbial gut.

I sought refuge in the progressive blogosphere for reassurance that I wasn't as isolated as I felt and looked to my leadership for guidance on what to do next. I won't get into my thoughts on the vote count thing because it's going to take me off on a tangent and involve me banging my head on my desk -- again -- but I, like the rest of the Democrats, was waiting for someone to tell me where to direct my energy.

It never came. Not from Kerry, not from the DLC, the DNC, the DCCC, or the DSCC. MoveOn didn't have any action items, either, and though I dearly love Air America and all their rightful anger, they had very few answers to offer about what to do next. With the exception of the DLC and the DNC, I don't blame any of those people/organizations because everyone, everyone, was just as stunned as I was. We got the wind knocked out of us and it took awhile to catch our breath.

What should've happened, however, was a clear directive from the DNC/DLC to all of those organizations, throughout the lefty blogosphere, in emails to everyone on the databases of every progressive organization in the country, to every Democratic politician and activist and voter about what the next step should be. For whatever combination of reasons, the Democratic leadership failed us and it's time to take a book out of the professional sports playbook, time to fire the managers and bench the players that aren't team players, recruit some new blood out of the minors, get the team back into training, decide on our play strategy, and start collecting some victories. We've got the mother of all championiships in 4 years and if we want to have any hope of winning, the work starts now.

The regrouping has finally begun, and that's good. But I'm not content to wait for direction from the leadership anymore. I'll have a lot more on this topic soon, including a project I'm working on with a small group of others to actually do something about taking matters into our own hands. But in the meantime, much of what I've been contemplating has been contemplated more deeply, and articulated more eloquently, by many other people. Among them, Pericles over at DailyKos, who's nailed 10 killer topics that we as a progressive movement should be tackling and refining and addressing right now.

Daily Kos :: 10 Ideas for 2008

We have to to start laying the foundation for the changes we want to make, to build the framing and the structures of the progressive community that we need to win. Are you ready to fight?


Oh happy day!

Vilsack's out. Which means even he knows he's not what we need right now. Thanks, Governer Vilsack, you're a good Democrat.


Walmart: bigger than the internet?

Holy kee-rap is this disturbing. Walmart, as we all know, is a greedy corporate giant that's driving economies -- including ours -- into the proverbial ground. Not intentionally, but when the economy tanks and we're all living in cardboard boxes, who gives a shit whether it was intentional or not?

Anywho, Walmart also happens to be quite fanatical about information gathering. All the better to sell those bottles of Sam's Club bottled water, my dear. Watched an interesting little piece Frontline the other night on just that subject, as a matter of fact. Seems it's the secret of their success. But did you know that the amount of customer data they have stored is twice the size of the internet?

Let that sink in for a minute. Then read it for yourself.

The New York Times: What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers' Habits

Yet another reason I'm glad I don't shop there.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum posts information from several knowledgeable sources that there's no way Wal-mart's information database is twice the size of the internet. Which, yay! And also, duh. Because if I'd really thought about it, 460 terrabytes isn't that big when considering the billions of webpages number that Google lists on their main page. So apparently, the NYT is pulling numbers out of their asses again. But still, 460 terrabytes is a pretty damn big database and something to be wary about. Still glad I don't shop there.


Ads I'd like to see

Oliver Willis, of "Kryptonite to Stupid" fame, has an excellent series of print ad ideas for marketing the Democratic message. Quick, simple, easy-to-remember:

Brand Democrat

They'd make good posters, bumperstickers, t-shirts, buttons, LJ icons, blogads, banner ads, whatever. This is the kind of thing the DNC should be doing. Hell, they should've been doing this a long time ago. But since the DNC apparently doesn't know whether to scratch its watch or wind its butt, it's time we the people took matters in our own hands. Spread the word, people.


Faces of the Fallen

The Washington Post has compiled a database of every soldier who's died in Iraq, including their name, dates, and pictures. The database is searchable by name or the date/period they were killed. Remember them and their sacrifice.



So much good stuff to read, so little time to write about it. Sorry, guys..."Lost" is on tonight so I only have time for some drive-by linkage. Well worth your time to read through them all, or at least bookmark and read when you've got a few.


Regional inferiority complexes

The seeming disaffection of the South has been a long-standing interest, though even I'm surprised by the extent of my current focus on it. Apparently, however, I'm far from the only one, as evidenced by the glut of posting on the topic pretty much all over the lefty blogosphere.

Digby's had me thinking about this disaffection with a post from this weekend about the historical entrenchment of the Southern resentment of Blue America. Or, to be more precise, Northern Blue America. I agree that the long-standing North/South divide is at play here. But I hadn't actually thought past that to what Digby and others suggest, that it actually goes back further, and is more syptomatic of a culture of both victimization and constantly simmering rage (for lack of a better word) that not only contributed to the Civil War, but to pretty much all the rest of the South's problems. In other words, the Civil War, among other things, were the result of a Southern penchant for a dissatisfaction with everyone, not the cause of it. From Digby's quote of historian Stephen Starr:

Granting the existence of cultural differences between the North and South, can we assume that they would necessarily lead to a Civil War? Obviously not. Such differences lead to animosity and war only if one side develops a national inferiority complex, begins to blame all its shortcomings on the other side, enforces a rigid conformity on its own people, and tries to make up for its own sins of omission and commission by name-calling, by nursing an exaggerated pride and sensitiveness, and by cultivating a reckless aggressiveness as a substitute for reason. And this was the refuge of the South.

Digby later notes:

History suggests that the southern culture has always been as defined by it's resentment toward the rest of the country as much as anything else.

Josh Marshall has more on this idea and its present-day implications and Digby advances the concept further today.

That's not to say that they have only themselves to blame for the state of affairs they now find themselves in, nor for the historic situation of the South in general. Nor that the root of the regional divides in this country can be so easily explained and blamed. And frankly, I'm not interested in the South's problems on this topic in and of themselves, nor in their solutions. I don't mean that as callously as it sounds, but the solutions are going to be complicated cultural adjustments, attitude shifts, and generational progress. Digby rightly notes that such changes aren't really the province of politics.

My interest in this topic pertains to how it relates to a winning strategy for progressives. More to the point, how it informs current debate on whether and what we should compromise in the so-called "values" debate in order to coax more conservative voters to our side. And what I think the topic of the Southern culture of dissatisfaction-with-anyone-but-themselves demonstrates is that such a debate is a non-starter.

Note that I don't mean writing off the South, my previous half-angry/half-joking posts notwithstanding. The South is an integral part of the United States and for all the stereotyping of redneck assholes, there're a lot of liberals, moderates, and even, reasonable conservatives in the Southern states that are worth coaxing to our side.

But that's missing the point, really. If we're going to modify our strategy based on clarifying our ideology (because it's inherently popular with the majority of Americans when we clearly define it) or even, being willing to meet in the middle on certain topics, fine. But what our strategy shouldn't be based on is any sort of compromise, pandering, or submission to the South as an entity in the hope that they might reward us with some votes. History has shown that they won't.

What they said

The next forwarded email I get from my Republican friends/coworkers gloating about the power of the red states gets this here link emailed in response.

Fuck the South

Yeah, I get that red states aren't only in the South. And that red states have lots of pockets of blue. (Which helps us how, exactly, in the electoral college?) Don't care. The things that apply in the South apply in other red states, too. And the things that apply in the Northeast apply in other blue states, too. Consider it a metaphor.


My thoughts exactly

Thanks to _vert1go_:


I got as far as page 27 before I had to stop for the night. I plan to look at them all. My favorites thus far:

"51% of the USA has been hoodwinked, 49% of the USA will work to deprogram them"

"This is one of the 55,902,001 Americans that voted against Bush [who] would like to apologize for the 59,422,689 idiots that did"

"Dear Rest of the World, there have been some troubles at home recently -- as you may have heard. Do you think it would be alright if I crashed at your place for about 4 years...I can pay rent."

"I'm sorry about the election & Paris Hilton"

"Believe me, almost half of us are VERY goddamn sorry."

And this one made me cry a little:

"We still love USA. Good luck my friend. France stay with you."


Couple more things

I owe the youth voters an apology. Yesterday, I said the youth vote didn't materialize and that they didn't give a shit. I was wrong. They did turn out and they voted in their highest numbers since 1972. Because their turnout was 17% of the total turnout, which is the same percentage as 2000, I thought that meant no increase. But if I'd used the most basic probabilty and statistics skills I learned in, well, junior high, I would've realized the fallacy in my thinking. They turned out in high numbers, but so did everyone else. Thus, the unchanged percentage. Anyway, a reader over at Daily Kos has it right, along with a map of how the electoral college would've looked if the youth had had their way. You kicked ass, youth voters, and I thank you for doing your part.

Another bright spot in Day Two of Temporary Political Depression: found out that a very staunch Republican coworker voted for Kerry. And, as proof that there just might be a God and/or Goddess (or two or more), he also voted against the Gay Marriage Hate Amendment here in Oregon. He's not quite ready to call gay unions "marriage", but he's cool with civil unions that provide the same benefits as marriage. At that point it's just linguistics, which we both agreed will take time for people to warm up to. I call that progress.

And finally...yes, Commander Codpiece actually did say today, in his smug and smarmy "press conference", that he "will reach out to every one who shares our goals". As Atrios rightly notes, this is the not-so-cleverly reworded version of "you're either with us or against us".

Well, Mr. Bush -- and for good measure, you too, Mr. Cheney and the rest of the Administration, neocons, religious wingnuts, and for that matter, Bush voters -- here's my response:

Go Cheney yourselves.

In other news, it's entirely possible I'm going to be a wee bit angry about this for awhile. Carry on.

Dear Santa

Guess what y'all are gettin' for Christmas...


"Lost" is over, I'm calling it a night

Regarding all the navel gazing...you know what? I'm tired of that shit. We ran a pretty damn good campaign but when you're up against George Bush The Anti-Christ and his Pantheon of Hell, well, those're some long odds, skippy. The Poor Man nails it.

We're still angry, but we're staying. We love our home and our adopted city too much to leave, we've decided. And we're angry. Why the fuck should we get out? They're the ones who screwed this place up, not us. Oh sure, we were (and I suspect, still will, from time to time) seriously contemplating it, hellatious logistics be damned. But someone on one of the blogs this morning made what I think is a powerful point. They said that moving to Canada or England or Australia or Borneo means that you give up one of your most important powers: control. See, the rest of the world may not live here, but everything that America does affects them and they have no control over it. They don't get a vote. They can't contribute money. They're not allowed to canvass or phonebank or drive people to polling places. They're entirely at our mercy. Leave this country and you leave behind your responsibility to the world to fix this mistake, to make it better, to be the world citizen you should be. As Americans, we have a responsibility for the control we have in the world and we must not go quietly into that good night.

Still, secession isn't out of consideration, as far as I'm concerned. The Blue States can all band together and start our own country and the Red States can try making it without us...good luck with that, Red States. Or, if you prefer, we can keep it to just the Pacific Northwest.

But in the meantime, we're going to take a few days to recover and then it's back to work. Personally, I'm quite fond of this idea. As I said on Heather's LJ today: Word up Republican mofos, we're gonna git all up in yo face.

(Hee. It's funny when white girls do street.)

Kerry will concede later today. God bless you, John...you are probably the best President we never had.

For those of you wondering what happened:

  1. The youth vote didn’t materialize. The 18-24 year-olds apparently can’t be moved to give a shit about anything more than themselves. There’s also some talk that the gay marriage issue mobilized enough of the evangelicals to negate some of the inroads the Dems made in voter registration/turnout. Congrats to the religious dickheads for promoting hate -- way to exemplify Christian values, assholes.
  2. Electronic voting – been reading lots of stories about electronic votes coming out Republican even though the voter voted straight Democrat, especially in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear more about this in the coming weeks, though it’s too late and because there’s no paper trail, nothing can be done about it. Then again, there’s so much unreported scandal, corruption, and crime in this Administration that it also wouldn’t surprise me if it never makes the news. We have the most craven, lazy, and complicit media ever and they’ve been predicting Kerry’s defeat before the primaries had even started.) This isn't the tinfoil hat talking, but I don't have the energy to link to all my sources...click on the link list over there and read for yourself.
  3. Voter suppression – a not insignificant number of people were turned away or forced to use provisional ballots because of Republican dirty tricks (outdated voter rolls, challenged precincts, erroneous felon lists, etc.) that won’t be counted. Absentee ballots haven’t been counted, either, but I don’t know how many states/precincts and how much effect they have. Again, the link list is full of info if you want to read for yourself.
  4. George Bush is the Anti-Christ and the Republican Party is the Pantheon of Hell.
I take cold comfort in the fact that this Administration is about to reap the whirlwind -- the Medicare thing hits in 2006, the tax policy is a ticking time bomb set to go off within 12 months...environment, gas prices, deficit -- the list goes on. And don't even get me fucking started on Iraq. They're about to see the consequences of all of this and more, but we're all going to have to suffer with them and that, my friends, is reason enough to question your belief in a just God.

I am probably the most optimistic person you'll ever meet. The glass is always half-full, people are fundamentally good, blah blah blah. But Bush & Co. ruled the last 4 years as if they had a mandate and proceeded to divide this country in the most hateful and diabolical ways possible. If you think that after winning more control of Congress, 51% of the vote, and the chance to pack 4 ultra-conservative judges into the Supreme Court, they're suddenly going to rule with a moderate and welcoming hand, you're not optimistic, you're fucking delusional.

There's a lot more I want to say, but I don't have the energy or the heart and anyway, it's all stuff you're thinking right now. I hope I'll come out of this funk and be ready to fight like hell to save my country. In the meantime, I'll be making plans to get the fuck out of here.

Riding the short bus

Regardless of the outcome, there's no rational reason this election should've been so close, nor any rational reason this president wasn't frogmarched to a jail cell. Except, of course, that a frightening percentage of my fellow Americans have the intellectual capacity of Ralph Wiggum>:

"I look at the big map and all of the red in flyover country and I feel like I've been locked in a room with the slow learners. We have become the country that pulls a dry cleaning bag over its head to play astronaut."


Okay, so I was wrong. Sort of.

Not a landslide. But not over, either. As someone on Daily Kos said tonight: "My new battle cry is going to be 'hold the line you bitches'." That's my battle cry and it should be yours, too.

Something's up with the voting results vs. exit polling, not to mention that Faux News called Ohio an hour ago with 200,000+ ballots left to count and 14% of precincts left to report, including the largest Democratic counties. And it's very likely all of our fears about electronic voting are coming true:

"Neverknowsbest points out that the only two states in which exit polls differ markedly from the recorded vote are Florida and Ohio: both critical battleground states, and both states with widespread use of electronic voting machines. In that thread, I note that the normal way of confirming that an election was properly conducted is by noting that exit poll results match the number of votes officially recorded."

The fight has just begun and it's going to be brutal. But Kerry isn't conceding a damn thing and neither should we. This time last year, the media all called it for Bush and I went to bed depressed. I woke up early the next morning to an undecided race and a media with egg on their faces. They apparently didn't learn their lesson, but I sure as hell did, and if you're smart, you did, too. Don't let the media dictate the results to you. Every last fucking vote gets counted, damn it.

The revolution begins

If you haven't already voted, my god, turn off your computer and get yourself to your polling place.

Okay, for everyone else...thank you. A few more hours and we'll have an idea if it's too close to call (and thus, the Republicans begin trying to steal the election...again) and we must take to the streets to defend our country from fascist takeover, or (optimistically more likely) if it is indeed Kerry in a landslide and no amount of Republican shenanigans can change that fact. Either way, thank you for doing your part to save our country from self-destruction.


Help is on the way

Sorry for the dearth of posting. Have family visiting until Tuesday morning so I don't think I'll be blogging at all until Tuesday at the earliest. We have an election party downtown on Tuesday, in which we, along with other like-minded Democratic friends, watch the poll results come in and either cheer or scream in unison, depending on the results and/or vote suppression shenanigans. Either way, I expect everyone's planning to get well and truly plastered. And, as an indication of how crazy-making this election has been, this non-drinker is seriously considering getting plastered right along with them.

Anyway, depending on how things go, how much fun we're having, and who's still sober by later in the evening, we may or may not return home later that night to blog the rest of the election results. In lieu of blogging it with us, I highly recommend Daily Kos as your one-stop shop for all things election-day.

Last and most importantly, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!


Kerry in an effing landslide, baby!

Pictures from Philadelphia today. One. Hundred. Thousand. PLUS.

Larger versions here, here, and here.

Left vs. Right

If you've been reading my blog for the last few months, you know about my ongoing interest in what's becoming of the Republican party and how it got there in the first place (previous posts here, here, and here).

In that vein, Paul Waldman has an excellent piece in The Gadflyer that discusses another aspect of today's GOP, namely, it's false dichotomy of the "real" and "fake" America:

Why does Bush get away with this? Because the press corps buys the Republican argument that the areas of the country where there are lots of Republicans are "really" American, and the areas of the country where there are lots of Democrats aren't. So they never asked whether the fact that Bush was a "Texas conservative" would hurt him, while they constantly wonder about how damaging it is that Kerry is a "Massachusetts liberal." Disparage Texas – or Alabama, or Mississippi, or Kansas – and you're in for a heap of trouble. Throw insults at Massachusetts or California or New York, and the press will laugh right along.
Truth is, rural America isn't any more American than urban America. For that matter, neither the Midwest nor the South are more American than the Coasts, East or West. And I don't know about anyone else, but as a member of the left coast, I'm getting pretty good and goddamn tired of being accused of not loving my country as much as the mythical down home folks of middle America. I lived in middle America for the better part of my lifetime and I'll tell you, they're no more patriotic than I am. Some of them less so. To try to paint any region or type or demographic with any kind of broad brush is both absurd and insulting. And it's about time the Republicans started paying the consequences for that divisive little tactic.

Matthew Yglesias has more.


Life Imitating Art

One of the stories I've been working on for awhile is a kind of "espionage and international intrigue" sorta thing (with supernatural elements...yeah, I know). I haven't been working on it for a few months (this goddamn election has taken most of my free time) but I've been doing online research about government stealth training and tactics. Since I do most of my research late at night, when it's easy to believe conspiracy theories and the normal sounds of an old house settling sounds exactly like the sly approach of a serial killer, I've thought on more than one occasion that Ashcroft & Co. might be suspicious of my online habits. In the cold light of day, however, such thoughts of course seemed quite preposterous. But apparently, I was right to be paranoid.

Author's Civil Liberties Violated By Federal Agents:

SB: Did you have any reason to suspect you were being targeted for a raid, any advance notice?

Dilyn: No. Not a clue. Although, for awhile prior to the raid, I thought I was being stalked. Mail was missing from my box, I caught someone searching my trash, I saw a prowler in nit yard and actually called the police. One of my neighbors saw someone watching from across the street--she wasn't sure if it was my house or hers. She called the police, too--turns out they taking surveillance photos.


100 Facts and 1 Opinion

Need a handy refutation for that wingnut coworker or die-hard Republican in-law? The Nation has put together a list of FACTS, complete with linked sources, that your Bush supporter will have a hard time disputing.

100 Facts and 1 Opinion
(they've even consolidated it into a convenient, one-page .PDF)

Oh, they'll try -- as I mentioned yesterday, "Ignorance is the new black" -- but cognitive dissonance can only go on so long before the head must explode.


Mad Photoshop skillz


"Bush is toast." Literally.

Eleven days and counting....

October surprise

Well, we've been speculating for months what it was going to be. Capturing bin Laden? Announcement that the elections will be suspended indefinitely due to increased terrorist chatter? Staged event in which "God" confirms that Kerry is, indeed, the Anti-Christ and anoints Dear Leader as "Grand High Emperor of the Universe"? Only Karl Rove really knows.

But since the announcement that Bush is taking the day off on Saturday to spend some time at Crawford, well...the conventional wisdom that it's going to be another secret Iraq trip stunt is probably the best guess. Digby's got the right idea about how to blunt the effect of such a possibility.

Ignorance is the new black

I'll just let this one speak for itself:

Bush Supporters Still Believe Iraq Had WMD or Major Program, Supported al Quaeda

If I start believing that I have a million dollars despite all evidence to the contrary, I can finally go on that 3 month trip to Europe I've been dreaming about!


It starts

These went out yesterday.

Click here and here to see the large versions.

The revolution has begun.


"Visualize Winning"

This is the future we're working toward, people:

Visualize Winning

My bold prediction that I'm sure to regret

I'm going to put down in writing what I've been reluctant to even say out loud, for fear of jinxing it or looking like an outright loony or both. But here's my bold prediction that I'm sure to regret later:

We're not just going to win, we're going to win in a landslide.

I know, unrealistic optimism speaking. But I still believe it. Why? Because I've been hearing people in places like grocery store lines and MAX stations making comments about the disaster of this presidency. Because I've got Republican coworkers who are voting for the Democrat for the first time ever. Because the streets of my neighborhood -- even the spendy UP district, where homes cost 3x what homes on my street cost -- are awash in Kerry/Edwards signs.

Of course, the plural of anecdote is not data. But I've read about the unprecedented number of newly registered voters, the number of people not being accurately counted in polling (due to people using cell phones, which pollsters don't call, instead of landlines, as well as newly registered voters, who aren't counted in polling, either), the dissatisfaction of some Republicans' with their President and their party, the avalanche of newspaper endorsements, the unprecedented fundraising..it's all given me reason to hope that no matter how much electioneering the Republicans engage in, the numbers will just be so overwhelming that there's no way they can steal it this time.

Motivation: now is when it really counts

Got my ballot yesterday. I've been waiting four years to fill in the little circle for the Democrat. I'm proud that Democrat is John Kerry. My ballot goes in the mail tomorrow.

Depending on how much blogging you do, you may already have read Suskind's piece on Bush, but if you haven't, please...make yourself some coffee, get comfortable, and take the time to read it. It's long, I know, but important.

The New York Times > Magazine > Without a Doubt

From the article:

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.''

Look, I realize I'm preaching to the converted here. But as I said previously, one of my main goals with this blog is to keep you motivated. Scared, angry, frustrated? This is the time to do something about it. We're down to the wire, the last days before what will be the most important day in your civic life to date, I promise you. No vote you have ever cast will be as important as the one for the 2004 Presidential election. You know this.

I beg of you to make sure everyone else knows it, too. Sign up for the GOTV efforts of any of a dozen organizations -- MoveOn, League of Conservation Voters, ACT, the DNC, the Kerry/Edwards campaign, whatever-- or, do what Sal and I have and sign up with all of them. I know, you don't have time. We don't, either. Do it anyway. It takes about an hour to get through the list they give you, going door-to-door and reminding people to vote. I know it's hard to believe, but that little appearance at people's doors makes all the difference, especially for voters who aren't as motivated as we are, but who really just need a polite kick in the ass. And I'm no fan of knocking on doors and talking to perfect strangers; to say that I'm painfully shy would be the understatement of the decade. But I'm doing it anyway. (And it's much easier than I thought it would be. People are much more receptive than expected and it turned out to be one of the more positive and uplifting things I've done this election season. If nothing else, it helped boost my confidence that the dark storm that's been over my country for the last four years is about to lift.)

If the door-to-door thing just wigs you out too much, volunteer for an hour or two at the phone bank of any of those organizations. Again, I know it's none of our favorite things, but it's so so so necessary (and also a lot easier than you'd expect). The Republicans aren't going to give up the seats of power easily or willingly, and making our voices heard, making our collective will so loud that it's deafening, is the only way to get rid of them. They're gearing up for stealing this election -- that's not an exaggeration -- and we're not letting it happen.

And to my Oregon readers: you've got your ballot, now vote.


I heart Fafblog

You know, sometimes humor is the only way to point out the absolute absurdity of the Repug's positions on shit. Thank God for Fafblog.

Cheney's Daughter


President Bush, your days are numbered

Just to provide a little balance to the tone of that last post, I encourage you, if at all possible, to either watch the PBS Frontline special "Choice 2004" (check local listings, buy it on video/DVD, or watch it online) or watch the outstanding documentary Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry, which is in theaters now and will be out on DVD on Tuesday. I promise you, no matter who your pick was during the primaries, learn this man's history and you will never be prouder of a candidate. Sure, you can be motivated by your outrage at the Bush Presidency, but there's about 50 reasons to be deeply inspired by the Kerry Presidency.


This is the kind of people we're up against this year, folks. The next time one of your Democrat friends bemoans the ruthlessness of the campaign, or complains that the Democrats shouldn't sink to that level, make them read this article and then ask them if they still feel we should take the high ground. And if they don't immediately reverse themselves and agree that we must win by any means necessary (and legal), administer several sharp raps on their heads until they wake up to reality.

Karl Rove in a Corner | Joshua Green:

"If this year stays true to past form, the campaign will get nastier in the closing weeks, and without anyone's quite registering it, Rove will be right back in his element. He seems to understand -- indeed, to count on -- the media's unwillingness or inability, whether from squeamishness, laziness, or professional caution, ever to give a full estimate of him or his work. It is ultimately not just Rove's skill but his character that allows him to perform on an entirely different plane. Along with remarkable strategic skills, he has both an understanding of the media's unstated self-limitations and a willingness to fight in territory where conscience forbids most others.

Rove isn't bracing for a close race. He's depending on it. "

The Swift Boat Shitheads for Profit episode wasn't the worst of it (and if you haven't heard, we'll be seeing "SBSfP, Part 2: More Assholery and Outrageous Lies about Kerry's Vietnam Service" shortly, though the Kossacks have been waging a kickass war on Sinclair Broadcasting to blunt the attack as much as possible). Repug efforts to disenfranchise voters and to sabotage the huge voter registration success of the Democrats have been hitting local news in Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, and, well, pretty much all over the damn place, but even though it's good that they're getting busted, it's probably too late to mend the damage done to voter registrations.

There are 19 days left in this election, John Kerry and John Edwards kicked ass in all 4 debates, the electorate got a chance to see Kerry looking downright fucking presidential, the Iraq war continues to go to hell, Dick Cheney scares the shit out of everyone, George Bush is lucky if he doesn't actually drool all over himself, and the Administration is so obsessed with power, they're not going down without the holy mother of all fights, so if you don't think things are about to get truly nasty, you are indeed smoking some high-grade crack.



In answer to a reader's question...yes, I've changed my contact address on the blog to my gmail address (writerscramp@gmail.com). Which is probably what I should've done way back when, but whatever. So don't freak when you email me and this previously unknown email pops up in the "TO" line.

And for those of you going "gmail-wha?"...try crawling out from under that rock, people. I've got invites so let me know if you want one.

In answer to a question from Friday

During the discussion after the debate Friday, one of our guests asked me why I'm so motivated in this particular election. That is, what about this election had invigorated me more than, say, the 2000 election. (As I remember, it was really a meta-question about the motivation for those of us who are so passionately against the other side this election and not necessarily a question for me specifically, even though she asked me for my specific motivation. If I've got that part wrong, I'm sure she'll correct me in email or comments.)

Another guest had mentioned previously that four years ago, most people who were unhappy with the outcome of the 2000 election had managed to reconcile themselves with it with the question, "How much damage can they do in four years?" I think she's right on that front...the base of the outrage we're seeing from the left is that we've seen the answer to that question, and it's chilling.

With every Administration, there's an inherent understanding that government is like a very slow game of tug-of-war, where each side will alternately gain ground and lose it but overall, the game itself will naturally seek a state of balance, a swing to the middle that keeps the battle going. (This analogy doesn't fit as well as I'd like because over a longer period, the game itself shifts, most usually in a progressive manner, since both technology and knowledge favor progressivism, which is why totalitarian regimes and dictatorships are doomed to a fixed shelf life. But for my purposes here, the analogy will suffice.)

Traditionally, the balance is struck not just between supporters and opponents of a particular administration, but between the multiple interests that compose those two sides. A balance between labor and management, public and corporate, environment and business, secular and religious, young and old, poor and rich. And really, this is the role government plays, or should play: referee. Now, we can disagree about how well the government performs this job, and argue that the two party system necessarily makes the referree biased toward whatever team is in power, but as part of the larger argument, I would submit that overall, the two sides balance out. Or did, at one time.

What sets this Administration apart is that they, in their role of referee, don't just favor the other side, but have actually moved the center line to the right, greased the rope on our side, and awarded extra points to the their team just because they can. In other words, they've violated the basic understanding we've traditionally had between the two sides, the trust that the referree would hew to the middle.

This was the essence of my answer to the question about why this election is so important to me, albeit without the tortured tug-of-war analogy. As I said Friday, on every issue, every topic, the Administration and the Republicans at large have reversed years and years of small victories and hard-fought compromises on everything from the environment to healthcare to labor protections to foreign policy. In four years, we the people have been under assault on every front by those in power, and believe me when I tell you I know exactly how radical and yes, paranoid, those words must sound.

What I didn't answer then, and what I've been thinking about since, is one of the truer and deeper reasons I've been more obsessed than usual. That reason is much more visceral, much more emotional and difficult to verbalize than talking about healthcare or the economy, which is why I didn't talk about it then. But it better explains the sense of urgency that I feel about this election, a feeling so deep and overwhelming it borders on desperation.

That desperation, that feeling that I had to do something, is what prompted me to start my own blog. And I've had three goals with it:

  1. VENT. Jeebus knows we've had more reasons for outrage than there are pebbles on a beach. Writing is my vent of choice and venting on the web is like standing on a street corner and screaming about the evils of the Republicans, except you get all the satisfaction of saying whatever you want without all the strange looks and whispers about the crazy lady in the Dr. Seuss hat.
  2. INFORMATION. I make no secret of the fact that I'm a political junkie and in the last year, I've become so addicted to blogs that I read far more than is probably good for me. Fact is, there's a mountain of information out there, the vast majority of which most people will never even hear about. If I linked to every story I thought was worth reading or blogged every nugget of information I thought more people should know about, I would be blogging full-time, my posts would be nothing but link lists, and you, no doubt, would run screaming from the room. Look, I realize most people aren't as interested (obsessed, whatever) as I am. But I know a lot of people who are interested so I strive to add a little snippet here or there to whatever your usual sources of information are, just to give you a peek into what's out there. If you want to read more, you know where to start.
  3. MOTIVATION. As I said before, we the people have been under a full assault for the last four years. (Well technically more, but that's a post for another time.) It's easy (and understandable) to be completely overwhelmed by the sheer mendacity of this Administration and to want to just throw your hands in the air and call it a day. No one understands or appreciates this sentiment more than I do, believe me. We all have jobs and families and lives. We know politics are important, the issues affect our lives, blah blah blah, but we've also got mortgages to pay and dentist appointments to make and family to care for. I know. But they're counting on us to get so overwhelmed that we give up, because they know that while they might have the money and the power, we've got the numbers, the one thing that threatens them and their way of doing things. So I try to toss in some motivation, Daily Show clips that get you laughing and energized, links to Photoshopped pictures of Darth Cheney and Zell "I'm not a Democrat but I play one on TV" Miller, and encouraging posts about our GOTV efforts and grassroots successes. I hold no illusions that I'm influencing more than a small circle of people, but in an army of any size, all you can do is pick up the comrades around you and hope that everyone else will do the same.

What I don't often blog about, however, is that deeper feeling, that visceral emotion. Most of the time, it's all I can do to cope with it, let alone write about it, and since I want you to be motivated, not depressed, I choose not to blog it much. Which is why I stay on topics like Republican scandals, candidate ineptitude, and policy discussions. I feel strongly about all of it, but my emotions aren't nearly so close to the surface as they are about the war and the suffering.

We went ahead and watched Fahrenheit 9/11 after everyone left on Friday. We saw it this summer in the theater so we knew what to expect. And even when we'd seen it before, we already knew most of ground the movie covered. Nonetheless, there's no way not to be overcome by it, no matter how prepared or informed you are. You see the pictures of Iraqis before their world disappeared, whose concerns were no different from ours. They worry about their children's futures, they work hard everyday just to put food on the table, they look forward to the simplest of joys -- holidays with family, a day at the market, the birth of a healthy baby. You see these pictures, and they're superimposed with scenes of devastation and chaos, pain and loss and bewilderment, Iraqis who were struggling just to survive their hardscrabble life, now trying to understand what had they done to deserve this. And while you're watching these poor people, angry and sobbing, you can't help thinking, "What if that were my child? What if that were my husband? What if? What if?" The heartbreak, it overwhelms.

But there are soldiers, too. American soldiers, who believed they were avenging a terrible, terrible tragedy, who thought their targets were men worthy of attack, that they were doing a good thing, that they were protecting one country from terrorism and freeing another from tyranny. American soldiers, who were told a lie and did their jobs and must now face, every day, the haunted looks of the people they thought they were freeing, the mistrust and the fear and the desperation and the anger. American soldiers who willingly sacrificed, whose purpose was the most noble of any, who were ill-used by a leader they believed in and trusted not to send them casually to their deaths. American soldiers, who had families in that country they thought they were protecting, but who were losing their benefits and taking pay cuts and ordered to stay away from those families longer than they'd been promised. You watch all of this, these American soldiers now angry and disillusioned and broken and cheated, and you can't help thinking, "What if that were my brother? What if that were my sister? What if? What if?" And the heartbreak, it overwhelms.

It's all the suffering that motivates me. The suffering caused by the war, the economy, the Administration. The suffering of the poor and the hungry and the homeless who've been pushed down to their knees by policies that seem intent to not just ignore them, but seem bent on destroying them. It's the suffering of children who go to schools that have outdated textbooks and whose teachers must pay for pencils and paper out of their own pockets, whose hungry little minds are slowly starving to death on a diet of aptitude tests and stripped-down curricula, where art and music and sports are considered unnecessary. It's the suffering of women who must constantly fight off the groping invasion of this government and its selfish morality, who must fight just for the most basic to control their own bodies, women both here and abroad who are fighting to be something more than an incubator. It's the suffering fo the elderly who must choose between food and medicine while big pharma lines their pockets, holding the weakest among us hostage to their greed, the suffering of all of us who live with the worry of how to pay for care if anything should happen to us, the suffering from not going to the doctor when we're sick or getting new glasses when we need them because we can't afford to pay for it. It's the suffering of families who must work long hours and long weeks to keep the bank at bay and who worry that their kids are missing out because they spend more time in daycare than at home. It's the suffering of the environment, of the birds and the trees, the fish and the air, all of the life between sea and sky, caused by corporations and cronyism who care nothing for any of it, whose only driving force is money, more and more of it, by any means necessary.

Suffering isn't new and it most certainly isn't going away any time soon. But I believe we should always strive to end it and every victory, no matter the size, puts us one step closer to a better world.

That's why this election so important to me.


That crazy internet rumor

A speech made by Ohio Representative Tim Ryan (D) is making the round of the blogosphere and hopefully, email. If you know anyone of eligible age -- and rumor has it that it'd be 18 to 35 year-olds this time around, with no deferments for college, marriage, or family...and don't even think for a moment it'd be men only -- email them this link to the video. Actually, even if you don't know anyone who's of eligible, email it anyway.

Mathew Gross: You're Gonna Get Drafted

As Teresa Nielsen Hayden once famously said, "I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist."


Ah, Memories...

So, unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Charlie Duelfer has confirmed, once again, that Hussein not only didn't have WMD, he had been ramping down his capability for even acquiring them for quite some time.

Funny, I'm having the oddest sense of deja vu. One of these days, this crazy bizarro world we're living in will turn back into the real world we're all so fond of.

November 2nd sounds like a good day to me.

Lies and the Lying Liars...

Had myself a post nearly finished this morning on the multitude of lies spewing forth from Cheney last night, complete with a wealth of links refuting most of them, but Blogger ate it up and never spit it back out. Sigh. The hazards of electronic media, I guess.

Doesn't matter, though. The rest of the blogosphere has been on it (as one would expect), and Kevin Drum has put together the top 6 most egregious ones into a handy chart format. With pictures, even!
The Washington Monthly: Lie Patrol

Too bad Edwards had to waste so much of his time calling Cheney out. But it's to his credit that he managed no only to accomplish that, but to also hit all the major Kerry/Edwards talking points, and doing it with polish and that million dollar smile. The Bushies are just happy that ol' Dick didn't peel his face off and scare all the little children before bedtime.


Fun with JPEGs

It always makes me giggle when The Daily Show accompanies pictures of Darth, er, Dick Cheney with the Imperial March from Star Wars. This however, made me laugh out loud:

The Real Edwards and Cheney

Hee. Debate starts at 6 PM PDT and as always, PBS or C-Span are your best bets.


DeLay going down?

Could it be? Could it really, really be? Could Tom "Lucifer was a Wussy Do-Gooding Saint Compared to Me" DeLay really be at the end of his destructive reign?

Laura Rozen of War and Piece says yes.

In addition to a Kerry win, the ousting of DeLay will be an answer to the very fervent prayers of this non-religious agnostic. Whether it's the corporation corruption scandal, the Texas redistricting kerfuffle, or the whole fake charity front thing that finally brings that evil little man down, I don't care, just as long as he's brought down, preferably with a mighty-satisfying smackdown, but whatever, as long as he's frogmarched all the way to a Texas prison.

Look, George Bush isn't the only problem with what's happened to our country in the last four years. It was a confluence of events, almost all of it engineered by the GOP beginning in 1994 and the "Contract With America" horrorshow, coupled with the party's exchange of traditional conservative idealogy for power-hungry zealotry, that has brought us to the brink of the abyss we're all staring down into right now.

And make no mistake. It's not just George Bush that's culpable, here. Nor is it just Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. It's Doug Feith, Scooter Libby, Armitage, Wolfowitz, etc. within the Executive Branch, working in tandem with the hacktacular Bill Frist and Denny Hastert and unbelievably craven and corrupt Tom DeLay that have driven us to our knees. (I consider people like Condi Rice and Colin Powell only slightly less culpable, mainly because their blame comes from either incompetence (in the case of the former) or selling out their integrity in exchange for god-only-knows-what (in the case of the latter). Either way, they're not the driving force behind the situation we now find ourselves in, but they sure as hell made things a whole lot worse.)

That's why it's not just important that we get Kerry into office NOW, it's also imperative that we do everything we can to change the make up of the Congress to rid ourselves of the totalitarian stranglehold the Republicans usually have, as well as getting rid of the High-Asshole-In-Chief DeLay. Frist and Hastert are, as I said, hacktacular, but it's DeLay who has an iron-fisted grip on the Republican caucus and it's DeLay's brutal, Machiavellian, take-no-prisoners methodology that has turned the Congress into nothing more than a check-writing machine for the most vile, contemptible, and corrupt factions imaginable. Getting rid of him isn't going to magically make everything all better, but just like getting rid of the Shrubbery also gets rid of his entire evil Administration by default, it's where we have to start if we have any hope of turning things around.


Them vs. Us

Haven't had time to blog the debate, though I hope to have a few minutes to get my thoughts down tomorrow.

In the meantime, thought I'd pass along the following link that encapsulates perfectly one of the many hundreds of reasons I'm so violently opposed to the GOP in its current form

GOP Hit Parade

To my Republican friends, again I say: is this really a party to be proud of?


Debate Watching

So tomorrow, apparently, these two guys that're running for President or something are gonna yak at us about, like, policy 'n stuff? Groovy.

Maybe you're planning to watch, maybe you're not. Frankly, I could understand not watching -- I myself will be slightly occupied with Other Things while I watch in order to avoid an Unfortunate Incident With My Television (it's that smirk of his that sends my blood pressure into orbit). Or, if you want a fun party activity with friends, have them join you around the TV, order a pizza, crack open some beer, and do an MST3K of the whole thing. Some people also do a drinking game as a part of the festivities, but this must only be undertaken by serious alcoholics, as the rules include downing a shot every time Bush says "freedom", "terra-ist", and "nine-eleven". Most people pass out from alcohol poisoning within the first 15 minutes.

However, if you just can't stomach watching (or even if you can), I highly, highly recommend Pandagon's coverage. Ezra and Jesse liveblog the whole thing (as does basically the entire blogosphere) to hilarious result. A few of their greatest hits:

Note to the White House: using epidemic voter fraud as a measure of your success in promoting democracy is a little bit like promoting second degree burns as a measure of your success in producing oven mitts.

from Bush's convention speech

I have a six-pack of Killian's Irish Red, and I'm playing a little drinking game. It's called "Drinking". The goal is to take a sip every 15 seconds or so.

If the purpose of this press conference was to open a dialogue between Bush and the nation, or even the world, I can tote out my dusty, half-functioning Teddy Ruxpin and have the same sort of "dialogue".

from the infamous
4/13/04 press conference

See what I mean? Laughter guaranteed, and a sure antidote to that heartburn you'll be feeling when Georgie trots out the nonsensical "freedom is on the march" bromide for the ten billionth time.

Psst...pass it on

Hunter, a regular contributor over at Daily Kos, has built a reputation for some of the best writing around, both political and otherwise. So many of his posts have had me shaking with laughter, wiping tears from my eyes, trembling with shared anger...several all in the same post. He's just that good.

So when I tell you to pass this one on to everyone -- your email lists, your local paper, your office bulletin board, anywhere and everywhere -- I want you to understand my full meaning.

An Open Letter to President Bush

Please, spread it around. I don't know if it'll do any good, if it'll break the surface of media miasma that's threatening to swallow us all, but if I can get an inbox full of chain letters and tired jokes that have been cycling around the internet since 1996, this has a good chance of getting some well-deserved attention.


Kerry and BCCI

When the media reports about Kerry's career in the Senate, they usual don't say much other than touting the GOP talking points. Misrepresenting his votes on everything from taxes to war to portray him as a flip-flopper, yada yada, yada.

So it's helpful to remember that during the greedy 80s, when times were a-boomin' for the rich and pretty much no one else, it was the Junior Senator from Massachussetts who pursued the institution that funded both terrorists and Texas Senators' sons in money-losing ventures. No one else was touching it with a ten-foot pole, and despite both heavy bureaucratic resistance and threats to end his career in politics from both sides of the aisle, he pushed hard and in the end, brought down the biggest terrorist-backing institution in the world. The fact is, Kerry was talking terrorism years before it was fashionable to do so and what's more, attacking them in one of the most effective ways possible: by squelching their funding.

Excerpt from "Follow the Money" by David Sirota and Jonathan Baskin:

Second, the BCCI affair showed Kerry to be a politician driven by a sense of mission, rather than expediency--even when it meant ruffling feathers. Perhaps Sen. Hank Brown, the ranking Republican on Kerry's subcommittee, put it best. "John Kerry was willing to spearhead this difficult investigation," Brown said. "Because many important members of his own party were involved in this scandal, it was a distasteful subject for other committee and subcommittee chairmen to investigate. They did not. John Kerry did."

The next time some asshole conservative questions Kerry's integrity or courage or willingness to serve the people's best interests, you shove BCCI in their uniformed faces and tell them to stuff it.


Campaign Finance

Well, well, well…seems the Rethugs have found a loophole in McCain-Feingold:

Daily Kos

Kos is right, the Democrats need to get better at picking up on these loopholes. Normally, I'd say it's good that our party doesn't always look for a sleezy way to bend the rules. (I'm talking in broad strokes here so don't go flaming me and telling me how the Democrats bend the rules. We all know what I mean so let's not be disingenuous and pretend we don't, alright?) But as long as we're up against a party that will stoop to the depths that they've proved themselves willing to stoop to, it's not only pointless for us to continue to follow the spirit of the law, it's stupid. We're not going to win that way. Winning isn't always everything, but this year, it damn sure is.

(posted for the one who called me last night, which is why this is at the front of my brain right now...you know who you are)


Hurricane Johns

The Johns have hit Florida and thousands waited in line to see them. Pics are here. Let the media and the Rethugs keep deluding themselves with distorted pictures and coverage of this election race. Pictures like this tell the real story.

In other news, Dems are finally coming out swinging -- rumors that they've been listening in to the blogosphere, Daily Kos chief among them, are entirely speculative but not wholly without merit. Whatever the reason, they're rolling out the next phase of the attack "strategery" tomorrow morning, capitalizing on Kerry's latest offensive on Iraq, Bush, and other tragic farces. Is it coincidence that the music playing on my stereo right now is "Fight the Future"? I think not.

And finally...Must. Have. This.


Need some inspiration?

How 'bout these?

Big John delivers the smackdown on the Chimpster. This is the kind of red meat even vegetarians can enjoy.

Or, try out the JeffLieber's 2nd installment: "Mute Your Flipping Meat-Maw", or "Shut Your Fucking Pie Hole, Part II"

From my very cool neighbor

This is just fucking brilliant:


Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and
fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. (Does Joe read the small print of listed side effects? Nah...)

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his workday. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

It's not a long drive, the city is near the country, because some commie-pinkos have instituted urban growth boundaries, allowing farms to remain farms and not be developed into distant suburban lots.

Joe arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Fafnir interviews God and Satan...

...and I have snorted hot chocolate all over my monitor. Damn you, Fafblog!

Shut your fucking pie hole...

This needs to be blown up to billboard-size and pounded into every lefty in this country.
Shut Your Fucking Pie-Hole by JeffLieber: a motivational speech

First of "a daily series that will continue until Election Day"? Awesome.


You don't say!

Reporting about Bush and Kerry during the RNC was biased in favor of Bush? No shit?

"We should never have to apologize for believing our President."

Belle Waring's done a little soul-searching on why she supported the Iraq War and what she's learned since then:

Why I Was So Totally Wrong About Iraq

Kudos to her...mea culpas are never easy and it takes a certain courage to make one. Her explanation is thoughtful and enlightening; I have a better understanding now of why some of the people I spent those frustrated hours arguing with in early 2003 about Iraq -- people who are smart, reasoned, not easily fooled, people whose political opinions I respected even when I didn't agree with them -- had been persuaded to support Bush's Follly.

Too bad Belle didn't have D-Squared's handy little instruction, "Avoiding Projectes Pursued by Morons 101". Too bad, in fact, that the rest of the war supporters didn't have it, either. 'Course, they did have literally millions of us shouting the same things that D-Squared lists, but who can be expected to listen to millions of people who might actually be right, even when they do it in mass protests around the world in marches of hundreds of thousands, because they are, after all, liberals and progressives. Nope, those liberals and progressives just don't know what the hell they're talking about.

The saddest part of of this whole thing? Mea culpas are all well and good, such as they are, but they can't change where we're at now. As commenter SusanG writes in Belle Waring's comments:

As someone who opposed the war from the very beginning, I suppose I should be taking pleasure in the mea culpas and explanations of illogical thinking that led to positions of support for the invasion.

But I'm not. I'm just very sad about it all.

The best response to the honest re-examinations I've seen comes -- believe it or not -- from Michael Moore, after Howard Stern publicly apologized for berating Moore in the run-up to the war.

Moore simply said: That's the problem, isn't it? We should NEVER have to apologize for believing our president.

Paging John Haldeman

Thanks to No More Mister Nice Blog for pointing me toward this story over on Rising Hegemon:

The Bogus Assault -- Father Freeper of the Year (should buckhead not be able to serve)

Apparently, this guy is taking his instruction straight from Nixon's campaign playbook. Which isn't the thing that pisses me off nearly as much as the fact that the media is already chasing after it like a dog after a stick. Except in this case, it's like when you pretend to throw the stick but don't really throw it, and the dog goes bounding off into the weeds anyway. Cute when a dog does it, because dogs are loyal and energetic animals, but infuriating when the media does it because they're lazy and easily distracted.


Bounce? What bounce?

Since the media at large apparently flunked 10th grade Probability and Statistics, thereby heralding the nonexistent post-convention Bush bounce and unable to distinguish the Time poll as an outlier from their own asses, the big kids did their homework and learned how to do it the right way. Huh, imagine that.

This thing is too close to call and will remain so right up to November 2nd. Anyone who tells you otherwise has gotten their hands on a really potent batch of crack.


Love, Marriage, and Equality in the City of Roses

Reason #2,562 why Portland is my home.

And reason #176 why I heart Randy Leonard:

'The issue here is one of equality, [and] equality is not the privilege of the majority,' said Leonard as he introduced the resolution. 'Civil rights are non-negotiable.' He expressed his concern over what would happen 'not just to citizens but to children of those citizens' if Measure 36 were to be approved by Oregon voters.

Our guy

Digby's right: time for our game faces, folks. Long past time, really, but no point in wasting time bitching about the Chicken Littles to date. I don't care who your candidate was during the primaries, this is who we've got. And if you take a little time to learn about the guy, you might find that he really was the best choice.

I just wish that Dems could put on their game faces and try to sell the guy a little bit instead of constantly writing his epitaph. He's really a good man, you know. He's spent his life in public service, trying to do the right thing, working hard and carrying our agenda. He's our most liberal nominee in decades. He's smart and energetic and he's never been tainted by corruption or scandal. Is it so hard for Democrats to get behind a man like this or are we just as shallow as everybody else? Would we too be happier with a brand name in a suit?

He is a good man. And we would do well to elect him.



So it's been a year since I started this blog. Technically. I don't think it really counts, though, since my posting turned non-existent from October to July (with the exception of a solitary January entry). So really, my true blogiversary, as far as I'm concerned, should be July 6th.

But I've been a good little blogger since Edwards' VEEP announcement and hopefully, will continue to be right on through the election and beyond. I'd like to think that with Kerry winning and the (possible) Dem takeover of the Senate and the (optimistic) improvement of Dem numbers in the House that I won't have anything infuriating enough to write about anymore and can semi-retire the blog. But then I wake up to reality and laugh myself silly. Because that? Isn't going to happen.

Don't get me wrong; I'm wildly optimistic about our chances in November. I'm like the little girl in Miracle on 34th Street at the end when she's chanting "I believe, I believe" even though she thinks he didn't get her a house. (It's possible I might be taking hallucinogenic medications, also.) But the fact is, until the Republican party starts hewing to their party's originally-intended course instead of this psychotropic binge they're currently on, they're not to be trusted.

I don't say that lightly. Democracy is of no value without reasonable opposition within to balance extreme interests and keep it on a fairly straight and upward path. That means a respectful opposition of ideas, a nationally loyal minority party (or parties), and compromise. The GOP, in its current form, allows none of those things. We're well on our way to some thing other than the democratic republic that this country is supposed to be...some say we're headed toward fascism, to totalitarianism, to some kind of hegemonic mutation...something very bad. We're probably further along that path to something very bad than any of us care to admit.

So until we settle down to something other than the current state of things, I'll be blogging. Maybe not frequently, maybe not regularly, but I'll be doing it, as long as I have a voice.



I'm not sure that I'll ever have the words to express how much I despise Dick Cheney, but likening him to the Big Bad of Harry Potter is about the easiest way to do it.

The Curse of Dick Cheney

This especially gives me warm fuzzies:

Those who have known him over the years remain astounded by what they describe as his almost autistic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others. "He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met," says John Perry Barlow, his former supporter. Cheney's freshman-year roommate, Steve Billings, agrees: "If I could ask Dick one question, I'd ask him how he could be so unempathetic."

The man is fucking dangerous.


I want to be Jon Stewart when I grow up

So, while we're all waiting for the entertainment that will be the upcoming 3 weeks*, how bout taking a little time out to laugh your ass off with The Daily Show?

Jon Stewart does Zell Miller

Watch the whole thing 'cause it's all good, but the truly transcendental stuff starts around 3:15. Oh, and I recommend keeping some tissues handy. And don't drink anything while you watch or you might have to replace your monitor.

(if you have any trouble with the link, go here and click on the "Headlines: Zell on Earth" video link)

*Among some of the big ass chickens that're coming home to roost:

  • Senator Bob Graham's new book, which discusses the Bush Administration cover up of Saudi funding of the 9/11 hijackers
  • Bush's Guard service, including Ben Barnes' admission that he pulled strings to get the young lad into the Guard, bumping him ahead of candidates who'd been on the list for years, as well as Jerry Killian's documents of running interference for Bush during those years (and we'll just ignore the fact that all of this has been pursued by the blogosphere for more than a year, and that anyone the media has had multiple opportunities to put the lie to the Administration's repeated assertions that Bush fulfilled his service requirements)
  • The mysterious, complicated, and still-unraveling story connecting Larry Franklin (a neocon underling in Doug Feith's office, one of the chief architects of the "case" for the Iraq war) to the Israeli/Iranian spy infiltration and possibly, links to the Plame investigation
  • Indictments in the Plame investigation, possibly including Scooter Libby, Cheney's chief of staff
  • And probably the most likely to get real media coverage, the allegations in Kitty Kelley's upcoming release on the Bush family, most of it sensationalist claptrap, some of it probably true, and all of it likely to captivate our media for weeks since they seem so easily entertained by shiny objects

Too bad the really horrific scandals -- among them, record deficit numbers, anemic job creation, the eternal FUBAR that is Iraq, Bush's gross incompetence -- won't get the same attention. But one way or the other, these guys are going down. Preferably in handcuffs, but I'll take what I can get.


Is it snowing outside?

'Cause it surely must be Christmas.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we have witnessed the self-immolation of the Republican Party. Venality, to paraphrase the illustrious Bart Simpson, is a horrible bitch goddess.

I haven't watched any of the RNC to date. Though, god help me, I did try -- in the interest of balance, donchyaknow. But 2.5 minutes elapsed on Monday night and I was inches from putting my foot through the television; my husband and I decided it was in the best interests of all involved that I just put the remote down and back away slowly.

So of course I missed tonight's entertainment, namely, Darth Vader's (aka "Dick Cheney") snarlfest and Zell "I'm not a Democrat but I play one on TV" Miller going bugshit crazy on national television not once, but thrice. Good times, good times.

Bugshit Crazy, Interlude #1: Kos has the rundown.

Bugshit Crazy, Interlude #2: Even CNN -- that bastion of media hacks -- gets in on the action.

Bugshit Crazy, Interlude #3: And finally, the coup de grace, ol' Zell has a meltdown on Hardball.

So, just to recap:

Our kinda guys...

Their kinda guys...

And as if that weren't enough, Santa has decided that we've been good girls and boys and has rewarded us with a little extra sumpin'-sumpin' in our stockings...looks like that backlash I blogged about is on its way and it's gonna be a doozy.

The guy who got Dubya his cushy assignment in the Guard finally speaks up.

Salon -- Bush family friend recalls Dubya's younger years. (click the free pass option to read the whole thing)

And it turns out, the Swifties' aren't as a big a group as they would have you believe.

That sound you just heard was Karl Rove whimpering in the corner.

I know we don't want to think about it, but...

No, I'm not hiding, I've just been both too busy and too fucking enervated about politics at the moment to post anything that wouldn't devolve into the literary equivalent of frothing at the mouth. But I'm working on a fairly long observational post that may or may not appear here within the next couple of days.

In the meantime, this is a good little article.

"The Scandals Finally Break" by Kevin Drum

I know I'm not the only leftie out there who's had those quiet moments of desperation, those brief interludes of thinking the unthinkable: a second Bush Term. God, just typing that out almost makes me physically ill. However, ever the optimist, I've been thinking about what good might come of it. Believe me when I tell you that we are actively, seriously figuring out a way to move to Vancouver, BC if November 2nd goes to the Amazing Smirking Chimp. Realistically, it probably won't be possible for us to do so, but neither was the move to Portland and we did that so who knows. Anyway, worst case scenario, he manages to steal the election just enough to squeak by for another reign of terror...then what?

Well, if you believe as I do at my worst moments that he's the Anti-Christ, it would mean Armageddon's probably not long around the corner. But in my more lucid moments, I think that there will be one good thing to come of it: the assured impotency of the GOP for the better part of a generation. Because if anything's going to put a stake through the heart of the Republican party in its current ugly incarnation and permanently turn the American public away from from its dangerous flirtation with the right-wing radicals and the horror show that has been their ascendancy. Well, for the next 50 years, anyway.

Look, we all know the Bush Administration is evil incarnate. The mind scarcely has the energy to boggle anymore at the true breadth and depth of the various and sundry scandals, atrocities, crimes, and bad acts committed by this man and his administration. And, as Kevin Drum so ably states, those are some big-ass chickens coming home to roost. If we end up getting stuck with him again, I'll derive no small amount of sadistic glee from watching him pay the price for his tyrannical policies, watching him flee in terror from the kind of popular uprising not seen since the French Revolution.

A sick part of me wants to see Bush finally see the consequences of amoral policy-making, wants him to see the catastropic consequences of taxing the low- and middle-classes into oblivion, of letting the rich amass even more obscene wealth at the expense of our nation's economy, of allowing the energy companies to set the energy policy, of throwing away environmental protections, of outing covert agents and desclassifying information for political gain, of making backroom deals with Baathist flim-flam men, of pushing out science in favor of the Bible, of making stupifyingly outrageous demands of our educational system and then underfunding it, of calling it a win when the big bombs go boom and not bothering to worry about what needs to be done afterward, of letting big pharma get away with extortion of the most vulnerable among us, the consequences of all these and countless other acts of malfeasance he's perpetrated just in the last four years. He's lived the frat boy dream his entire life, never had to answer for his actions, never had to pay for his mistakes, never known suffering or want or desperation, never had to survive in a world that seems at times designed to crush you. It's about fucking time he did.

PLEASE NOTE: Am I panicked about Kerry's chances? Hell and no. Concerned a little, yes. But there are 60 days left in this election, which might as well be a paleolithic age when it comes to politics, which is to say that there's a lot left to happen between now and November 2nd. The Chimpster and the Rethugs are basking right now in their little confab (though as conventions go, I have to say that the suckitude on display won't likely be matched in the near future, my bias not withstanding) and they're high on life after the damage of the Swiftboat Shitheads for Profit. We're a little battered, sure. But this is what we expected, this is the game they were planning to play all along, and all they've managed to accomplish after slinging the mud like insane little monkeys during the month that our side had to go dark (funding restrictions and campaign law) is a whopping tie.