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Step off, old man!
Friday, 29 October 2004
The next best thing
Lots of people assumed Bib Laden would show up gift wrapped right before the election. Instead, what we got today was his videotaped image, delivering another message to the U.S. I saw it on CNN and the crawl beneath said "Bush to address Bin Laden tape shortly." I guess this is the next best thing to catching him, setting for a split screen video debate sort of like the one demented Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning arranged for when he realized he coudn't cut it in a face-to-face debate with his opponent.

There was the other terror tape controversy earlier in the week. Here's what's sick: everyone knows that places like the Drudge Report are simply communications tools of the White House. So when Drudge goes all crazy that ABC won't release a terror tape from some anonymnous dude with an American accent, they are accused of media bias.

That's the sick part. The Administration wants you to be scared. They know it's their only shot at getting reelected.

Posted by brettdavey at 6:21 PM EDT
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Thursday, 28 October 2004
Bush scarefest
Maureen Dowd of the NY Times exposes the scarefest that is the Bush-Cheney team.

"Dick Cheney peaked too soon. We've still got a few days left until Halloween.

It was scary enough when we thought the vice president had created his own reality for spin purposes. But if he actually believes that Iraq is "a remarkable success story,'' it's downright spooky. He's already got his persona for Sunday: he's the mad scientist in the haunted mansion, fiddling with test tubes to force the world to conform to his twisted vision.

After 9/11, Mr. Cheney swirled his big black cape and hunkered down in his undisclosed dungeon, reading books about smallpox and plague and worst-case terrorist scenarios. His ghoulish imagination ran wild, and he dragged the untested president and jittery country into his house of horrors, painting a gory picture of how Iraq could let fearsome munitions fall into the hands of evildoers.

He yanked America into war to preclude that chilling bloodbath. But in a spine-tingling switch, the administration's misbegotten invasion of Iraq has let fearsome munitions fall into the hands of evildoers. It's also forged the links between Al Qaeda and the Sunni Baathists that Mr. Cheney and his crazy-eyed Igors at the Pentagon had fantasized about to justify their hunger to remake the Middle East.

It's often seen in scary movies: you play God to create something in your own image, and the monster you make ends up coming after you.

Determined to throw a good scare into the Arab world, the vice president ended up scaring up the swarm of jihadist evil spirits he had conjured, like the overreaching sorcerer in "Fantasia." The Pentagon bungled the occupation so badly, it caused the insurgency to grow like the Blob.

Just as Catherine Deneuve had bizarre hallucinations in the horror classic "Repulsion,'' Mr. Cheney and the neocons were in a deranged ideological psychosis, obsessing about imaginary weapons while allowing enemies to spirit the real ones away.

The officials charged with protecting us set off so many false alarms that they ignored all the real ones.

President Bush is like one of the blissfully ignorant teenagers in "Friday the 13th'' movies, spouting slogans like "Freedom is on the march'' while Freddy Krueger is in the closet, ready to claw his skin off.

Mr. Bush ignored his own experts' warnings that Osama bin Laden planned to attack inside the U.S., that an invasion of Iraq could create a toxic partnership between outside terrorists and Baathists and create sympathy for them across the Islamic world, that Donald Rumsfeld was planning a war and occupation without enough troops, that Saddam's aluminum tubes were not for nuclear purposes, that U.S. troops should safeguard 380 tons of sealed explosives that could bring down planes and buildings, and that, after the invasion, Iraq could erupt into civil war.

And, of course, the president ignored Colin Powell's Pottery Barn warning: if you break it, you own it.

Their Iraqi puppet, Ayad Allawi, turned on Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush this week, in a scene right out of "Chucky.'' Mr. Allawi accused coalition forces of "major negligence'' for not protecting the unarmed Iraqi National Guard trainees who were slaughtered by insurgents wearing Iraqi police uniforms. Iraqi recruits are getting killed so fast we can't even pretend that we're going to turn the country over to them.

If you really want to be chilled to the bone this Halloween, listen to what Peter W. Galbraith, a former diplomat who helped advance the case for an Iraq invasion at the request of Paul Wolfowitz, said in a column yesterday in The Boston Globe.

He said he'd told Mr. Wolfowitz about "the catastrophic aftermath of the invasion, the unchecked looting of every public institution in Baghdad, the devastation of Iraq's cultural heritage, the anger of ordinary Iraqis who couldn't understand why the world's only superpower was letting this happen.'' He told Mr. Wolfowitz that mobs were looting Iraqi labs of live H.I.V. and black fever viruses and making off with barrels of yellowcake.

"Even after my briefing, the Pentagon leaders did nothing to safeguard Iraq's nuclear sites,'' he said.

In his column, Mr. Galbraith said weapons looted from the arms site called Al Qaqaa might have wound up in Iran, which could obviously use them to pursue nuclear weapons.

In April 2003 in Baghdad, he said, he told a young U.S. lieutenant stationed across the street that H.I.V. and black fever viruses had just been looted. The soldier had been devastated and said, "I hope I'm not responsible for Armageddon.''

Too bad that never occurred to Dr. Cheneystein."

Posted by brettdavey at 8:54 AM EDT
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Wes Clark on target
I was the head of Rhode Islanders for Clark during the primaries and I thought he would have made a great Commander-In-Chief. In the end, I don't think he had the political skills and background to make it through the grind of the process, but I still hold him in very high regard and think Kerry will utilize him some way if elected. (Secretary fo Defense, anyone?)

Here's a statement he put out yesterday. As usual, it's right on:

"Today George W. Bush made a very compelling and thoughtful argument for why he should not be reelected. In his own words, he told the American people that "... a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your Commander in Chief".
President Bush couldn't be more right. He jumped to conclusions about any connection between Saddam Hussein and 911. He jumped to conclusions about weapons of mass destruction. He jumped to conclusions about the mission being accomplished. He jumped to conclusions about how we had enough troops on the ground to win the peace. And because he jumped to conclusions, terrorists and insurgents in Iraq may very well have their hands on powerful explosives to attack our troops, we are stuck in Iraq without a plan to win the peace, and Americans are less safe both at home and abroad.

By doing all these things, he broke faith with our men and women in uniform. He has let them down. George W. Bush is unfit to be our Commander in Chief."

Posted by brettdavey at 8:50 AM EDT
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Sox win!
Yes, the World Series was anti-climatic but goddamned that feels good! My family went to spring training this year and my wife and I probably watched 75 percent of the Sox games this year. I've been a Sox fan since I was a kid and my dad's a Yankees' fan so that's a bonus.

Just awesome.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:48 AM EDT
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Steve Earle's Revolution
I went to see my favorite living artist Steve Earle a couple nights ago in Boston with my wife. Before he came on stage, they were playing "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by The Last Poets. Then, Earle came on stage and played his new song, "The Revolution Starts Now." I said to my wife, "Wouldn't it be cool if he played the Beatles' 'Revolution'?" And damn if he didn't play it at the end of his set.

His new album is really good, especially the song "F**k the FCC". I first heard it acoustic this summer at the Newport Folk Festival, but there's nothing like hearing it cranked up. and he did the song "Condi", which is a tongue-in-cheek love song to Condoleeza Rice. Also, I got to hear my all-time favorite song, "Copperhead Road."

There's nothing like it.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:46 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 27 October 2004
Pay no attention to that white man....
There's probably as much of a threat from a Timothy McVeigh-style terrorist as there is from Al Quaeda. Of course, when a white supremacist gets nailed in a terror plot, we don't hear much about it, I guess because it doesn't fit into the neat plotline of radical Islamic terrorism. I posted a few months ago about the arrest of a similar white supremacist in Texas. Imagine if either of these guys had an Islamic name. Every station in America would be carrying this story live right now as you read this:

"A McKenzie (TN) man has been charged with attempting to acquire chemical weapons, explosives and weapons of mass destruction with the intent to attack government buildings. Demetrius "Van" Crocker, 39, was characterized by U.S. Attorney Terrell Harris as having "hatred for the government, and anti-Semitic and racist views." Crocker is accused of attempting to obtain Sarin nerve gas and C-4 explosives, according to a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Monday. Crocker was arrested Monday after an undercover federal agent met him in Jackson to deliver fake explosives and what Crocker believed were ingredients for Sarin, considered one of the world's deadliest chemical warfare agents.

His arrest ended a seven-month investigation that began with information provided to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation by officers with the 24th Judicial Drug Task Force. A witness reported to local law enforcement officials that Crocker had inquired about where he could get "nuclear waste and/or nuclear materials," according to the FBI's affidavit for his arrest. Crocker was charged with attempting to obtain chemical weapons; attempting to receive explosives in interstate commerce with the intent to damage and destroy a building and real property; and receiving stolen explosives. He faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges and fines totaling $750,000. "This is a good example of how important it is for residents in the community to work with law enforcement to address terrorism," said Ken Moore, supervisory senior resident agent for the Jackson FBI office. The witness told the FBI that Crocker "had absolute hatred for the United States government and had made comments in the past to the effect that the country needs to be taken back by the people." According to the arrest affidavit, Crocker met Sept. 16 with an undercover federal agent after being introduced by a witness cooperating with federal authorities. Crocker told the agent he disliked the U.S. government and that "it would be a good thing if somebody could detonate some sort of weapon of mass destruction in Washington, D.C., while both the U.S. Congress and Senate were in session." Crocker also told the agent that he admires Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party ideology, that he has a hatred for Jewish people and believes that establishing a concentration camp for Jewish insurance executives "would be a desirable endeavor." On Sept. 29, the agent again met with Crocker. He asked the agent if he had access to VX, a nerve agent, but the agent told Crocker he could instead obtain Difluoro, a precursor and key component for Sarin. Crocker told the agent he had made mustard gas, a chemical weapon, in the past. Crocker also told the agent that he had also produced nitroglycerin and explained how to use it to construct a booby trap to injure someone. Crocker told the agent he had an AK47 and other assault-type weapons and would be willing to kill law enforcement officers that try to take away his weapons.

On Oct. 7, Crocker met with the agent and gave him $500 cash to obtain Sarin nerve gas or its precursor. On Monday, the agent delivered to Crocker what was represented as a container of Difluoro, but was filled with an inert substance. The agent also delivered to Crocker a block of substance identical to C-4 explosive materials, but was predominantly inert material. McKenzie is located about 40 miles northeast of Jackson.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:20 AM EDT
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Monday, 25 October 2004
Get ready to rumble
I still think Kerry is going to win the election, although I don't think it's going to be clean. Expect court battles that last for months. This time, however, the Dems will fight back harder than they did in 2000.

Don't discount either, the public relations battle. Part of Bush's winning strategy in 2000 included flying Republican congressional staffers into Florida and having them storm the offices of local boards of elections posing as concerned voters. Remember the "Sore/Loserman" signs that were prevalent during the contested part of the election? Think those just appeared out of nowhere?

Democrats, in general, like to play nice with others. Flush that instinct for the next few months. It could be ugly.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:16 AM EDT
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Can they steal it?
Wednesday night's "60 Minutes" has a piece on the problems with electronic voting that I'm sure is going to be scary as hell. I go back and forth between believing Rove & Company will steal the election to thinking thievery on this scale will be too much for even them.

Notice how no one ever accuses the Dems of trying to prevent pepople from voting?

Outside of the electronic voting areana, there's evidence that the Repubs are also trying to steal the election the old fashioned way too: through intimidation and trickery.

This is from www.democraticunderground.com:

The GOP is clearly worried that they can't beat Kerry at the polls, so they've decided to simply try and stop Kerry voters from getting to the polls in the first place; the proof is found in various stories this week reporting vote suppression by Republican operatives. We made brief note last week of a scam in Nevada where a GOP-funded firm allegedly tore up Democratic voter registrations - turns out that firm has also been operating in Oregon.

But Nevada and Oregon aren't the only places where the GOP are doing everything they can to make life more difficult for voters. According to Philly.com, "Republican operatives working to re-elect President Bush submitted last-minute requests in Philadelphia on Friday to relocate 63 polling places ... Of the 63 requests for changes, 53 are in political divisions where the population of white voters is less than 10 percent." Fortunately the GOP failed in this blatant attempt at suppressing the vote.

In Scranton, PA, however, officials "successfully moved 21 polling places over both citizen and Democratic objections. The GOP had just grabbed a 2-1 majority on the county's board of commissioners ... opponents say the relocated voting spots will affect as many as 10,000 voters, and they fear that as many as 10 percent, or 1,000, might be thwarted by the moves."

In New Mexico, electronic voting machines have been recording a vote for John Kerry as a vote for George W. Bush. Early voter Kim Griffith "went to Valle Del Norte Community Center in Albuquerque, planning to vote for John Kerry. 'I pushed his name, but a green check mark appeared before President Bush's name,' she said."


In Ohio, anonymous callers have been contacting elderly voters and falsely telling them that their polling places have been changed.

And also in Ohio, officials "took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots ... Republicans said they had enlisted 3,600 by the deadline, many in heavily Democratic urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Dayton and other cities. Each recruit was to be paid $100." Republican James P. Trakas said, "The organized left's efforts to, quote unquote, register voters - I call them ringers - have created these problems."


So what does this tell us about the Republican party? Simply, if they fear one thing above all others, it's the will of the people.


Posted by brettdavey at 9:05 AM EDT
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Thursday, 21 October 2004
Bin Laden endorsement must be next
Wow, Bush is really racking up the important endorsements. From Yahoo news:


TEHRAN, Iran - The head of Iran's security council said Tuesday that the re-election of President Bush was in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's axis of evil label, accusations that Iran harbors al-Qaida terrorists and threats of sanctions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

Historically, Democrats have harmed Iran more than Republicans, said Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security decision-making body.

"We haven't seen anything good from Democrats," Rowhani told state-run television in remarks that, for the first time in recent decades, saw Iran openly supporting one U.S. presidential candidate over another.

Though Iran generally does not publicly wade into U.S. presidential politics, it has a history of preferring Republicans over Democrats, who tend to press human rights issues.

"We do not desire to see Democrats take over," Rowhani said when asked if Iran was supporting Democratic Sen. John Kerry against Bush.

The Bush campaign said no thanks.

"It's not an endorsement we'll be accepting anytime soon," Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said. "Iran should stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons and if they continue in the direction they are going, then we will have to look at what additional action may need to be taken including looking to the U.N. Security Council."

Kerry, who says halting nuclear proliferation will be a priority if he becomes president, believes Bush should have done more diplomatically to curb Iran's alleged nuclear weapons ambitions. He says Iran should be offered nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, but spent fuel should be taken back so it cannot be used to develop nuclear weapons.

"It is telling that this president has received the endorsement of member of the axis of evil," Kerry campaign spokeswoman Allison Dobson said. "But Americans deserve a president who will have a comprehensive strategy to address the potential threat of Iran's growing nuclear program."


Posted by brettdavey at 9:42 AM EDT
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Another grand success: Army recruitment tanks
It's funny that pundits always question whether Kerry has a plan to get us out of Iraq, but no one ever hits the President for the same thing. I guess "Stay the course..." is good enough for the clowns who work in the national media. It's hard to conceive of someone screwing up the country more than Bush has, even if they tried.

Now, look at the enlistment figures for the Army. "Join the Army, get sent to a war with no end." Gee, guess that recruiting slogan isn't working too well.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"For the second straight year, U.S. Army recruiters fell short of their goal for signing up enlistees in the first month of a new recruiting cycle.

For the first 30-day period in its new recruiting year, the Army was 30% shy of its goal of signing up 7,274 recruits. The Army had a particularly hard time recruiting for the Army Reserve, on which the Pentagon has relied heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Enlistments for the reserves were 45% below the target.

In the same period last year, the Army came up 25% short in its goal in the first month for enlisting 6,220 regular recruits and 40% short of its reserve enlistment goal."


Posted by brettdavey at 9:40 AM EDT
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