Tuesday, August 31, 2004

An iVoteValues Poster Child

The Drudge Report has this item:

Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for a vacant U.S. Senate seat in Illinois, said Tuesday that Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary is a "selfish hedonist" because she is a lesbian.

His comments came during an interview with SIRIUS satellite radio.

Keyes said: "The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principal excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism."

Asked whether that meant Mary Cheney "is a selfish hedonist," Keyes said: "That goes by definition. Of course she is."

Remarkable How Hypocrisy Always Happens to the Best People!

From Daily Kos:

Rep. Ed Schrock is a two-term Republican congressman from Virginia's Second District. The National Journal ties him as the second most conservative person in all of Congress in 2003, behind only Dennis Hastert. This isn't necessarily a turn-off in his district, which includes Virginia Beach, home of Pat Robertson, as well as Hampton Roads, home of 300,000 active-duty military and veterans. A strong family man with a wife and kids, Schrock was a co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment and opposes any possible rights for gay people, including non-discrimination in employment.

The problem is, his constituents may soon discriminate against his employment, as Schrock also seeks out gay sex on telephone dating services, and gay activists are about to release the tapes.

The tapes were circulating, thanks to the blog Blogactive.

Suddenly, as the import of the tapes became increasingly obvious, the links to the tapes disappeared from Blogactive. The strategy was clear -- if Schrock thought the tapes were a hoax, he would continue his reelection battle. And if he remained on the ballot at Friday, 5 p.m., it would be impossible to replace him on the ballot.

Alas, Shrock knew the jig was up.

U.S. Rep. Ed Schrock withdrew from his re-election race this afternoon, citing unspecified allegations.

"In recent weeks, allegations have surfaced that have called into question my ability to represent the citizens of Virginia's Second Congressional Distict," Shrock said in a press release.

Schrock, who would have been seeking his third term, did not elaborate on the nature of the allegations.

"After much thought and prayer, I have come to the realization that these allegations will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region," the statement said. "Therefore, as of today, I am stepping aside and will no longer be the Republican nominee for Congress in Virginia's Second Congressional District."

Monday, August 30, 2004

Bush: "We can't win the war on terror"

Our TV's always tuned to C-SPAN in the morning, so we completely missed the Matt Lauer/George W. Bush interview on this morning's Today show:

So Matt Lauer asks, "Can we win it?" meaning the War on Terror.

And El Presidente, in one of those rare tell-the-truth moments, answers, "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the -- those who use terror as a tool are -- less acceptable in parts of the world." (Coverage found so far only in the foreign press ... speaking of the "liberal media"!)

"Making Terror Less Acceptable In Parts of the World!" Now there's a campaign slogan!

The ivotevalues Style Hits Florida

The Republican Senatorial primary to pick a candidate (tomorrow!) to run for retiring Bob Graham's seat is taking on a certain Vernon Robinson/Virginia Foxx air. El Presidente's handpicked candidate for the job, Mel Martinez, a former Bush cabinet member, has viciously attacked one of his six opponents in the race, former congressman Bill McCollum, as "the new darling of the homosexual extremists" because he supported a hate crime bill that included protection of gays.

So nasty have Martinez's ads become that the St. Petersburg Times rescinded its endorsement of Martinez. In an editorial published today, the newspaper said it took the unusual step of withdrawing an endorsement because Martrinez "took his campaign into the gutter with hateful and dishonest attacks" over McCollum's support of a hate crimes bill and expanded embryonic stem cell research.

"The Times is not willing to be associated with bigotry," the editorial said. (Coverage here from the Raleigh N&O.)

Confronting Their Own Hypocrisy in N.Y.

While the Southern Baptists stalk the countryside with their ivotevalues "truck" identifying the Big Gay Menace as the greatest threat to America, their masters in the Republican Party are trying to put lipstick on the corpse of their Big Tent in New York, shoving forward to the microphone the four "moderates" still willing to front for them and hoping that the rest of us don't notice the mixed messages.

Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans, some 12,000 openly gay Republicans, are calling the bosses on the hypocrisy. As a group they were dissed last week by the Republican Platform Committee's refusal to add "reconciliation" language to that (irrelevant) document. And in a rally yesterday in a park far from Madison Square Garden, the Log Cabiners said that their party has been "hijacked by the radical right" and demanded that President Bush square his actions with his rhetoric of inclusiveness or risk losing their endorsement."

Sounds serious.

Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, blasted party leaders for cynically trying to have it both ways, and Log Cabin political director Chris Barron said:

"We are not going to let anybody use gay and lesbians and our families as a wedge issue and then try to dress it up to score points in an election year. There is no way to make writing discrimination into the Constitution palatable."

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (R-At Large), an openly gay Republican activist who had personally raised some $80,000 for Bush's reelection, stopped raising money after Bush came out in favor of the anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment. He's also ruled out voting for Bush this year. In response, D.C. party leaders booted Catania out of the city's convention delegation, prompting the only other citywide elected Republican, council member Carol Schwartz, to boycott the convention in protest. On Friday, Catania endorsed Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry.

Steve Gunderson, a former member of Congress from Wisconsin who is gay and was active in Bush's 2000 campaign, said, "If the president actively pursues that amendment, no gay Republican with integrity can be supportive of his campaign."

So what? screams back the radical-right hijackers of the party. Who cares? Well, here's an interesting statistic supplied by the Log Cabiners themselves: they cite exit polls showing that 1 million of 4.2 million gay voters supported Bush in 2000, including 45,000 in Florida. They also say the president has seriously jeopardized his chances of receiving their support when the Log Cabin's 25-member national board meets Sept. 7.
Kevin Phillips, a self-described "populist conservative" and long-time Republican Party activist and author who switched to independent because of the deficit-spending of the current ruling Republican oligarchs, was interviewed in Sunday's WashPost and did not mince words about El Presidente:

"I've never understood why we take Bush and his family seriously," he says. "They come from the investment-inherited-money wing of the Republican Party. They display no real empathy for anyone who is not of their class. They aren't supply-siders; they're crony-siders. As far as I'm concerned, I would put Bush on a slow boat to China with all full warning to the Chinese submarine fleet .... George W. is the first president to come directly out of the oil industry, even if he was a failure at the actual business of looking for it. And who did he pick as his vice president? Another man from the oil industry. It's astonishing that nobody really questions the implications of this."

Whole article is worth reading and is another object lesson to Democratic timidity in forcefully opposing this president's regime.

The Rise of the 'C' Student

Interesting article in this a.m.'s NYTimes about El Presidente's "management style," which gets to this unnamed former Bush official in about the 12th paragraph: "A former White House official who worked for Bush for more than two years -- and left in disappointment at the neglect of domestic policy -- said the president had a 'workmanlike' approach to governing that brought 'no curiosity, no policy fire.' 'With argument comes refinement, and there was none of that,' said the official, who declined to be named to avoid ending his contacts with Bush's inner circle. 'It's fine to say he's a big-picture leader and doesn't get bogged down in the details. But that's another way of saying he's lazy -- not physically lazy, but intellectually lazy.' "

Maybe intellectually lazy but also commendably decisive, right? That's the PR on him among his true believers, a line of belief that does not stand up to too much scrutiny: "Bush has allowed crises to fester. Bush has never resolved deep disagreements within his war cabinet about how to deal with North Korea, with the result that the isolated nation, which had appeared close to a missile deal with the Clinton administration, has quadrupled its stockpile of nuclear weapons, from two to eight, during Bush's tenure."

But we've been programmed by 24-hour TV News to accept that Iraq was the nuclear threat, not North Korea, while the reality of North Korea (and the reality of Iraq, too, for that matter) should be making all of us mighty apprehensive. There ARE consequences to willful ignorance.

Student Bush, did you study for your test? The president told Woodward in "Bush at War": "I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel I owe anybody an explanation."

Not feeling you owe anybody an explanation -- when your course of action is based on news filtered to you through a Palace Guard with a big ideological axe to grind -- leads to sad admissions, like the one he gave the New York Times last Friday (and which hasn't been much reported on in the press): Bush said he made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be" in postwar Iraq.

We doubt that there was any calcuation at all by the cowboy who planned on riding into Baghdad whooping and hollering like the posse in "Blazing Saddles." And Bush has admitted to Time magazine that he failed to plan for a speedy victory in Iraq, describing the sudden collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime as a "catastrophic success."

He was probably absent from class that day at Yale when the professor discussed oxymoron, but he might want to look up the word now.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Life Among the Baptists

The last time I remember the Southern Baptists getting so obviously committed to one candidate over another was back in 1960, when Senator John Kennedy became the first ever Catholic elected to the American presidency. I was in high school in West Texas, and Southern Baptists in that part of Texas were ready to go to the wall over the thought of the Pope taking over America.

A pamphlet circulated at my high school about how, if JFK were elected, Americans would be sending their tax payments direct to The Vatican. Catholicism was little more than idolatry, the preachers yelled. That conviction that "Protestant America" (which was a way of saying "Christian America") was about to go down the tubes certainly got into my young head, and I became something of a local activist against the prospect of a Catholic becoming Our Leader. Nixon carried Texas that year, I believe, partly by peeling off sufficient Baptist vote that under normal circumstances would have gone to a Democrat.

Not that I was a Baptist then. My mother and I were members of a pentecostal congregation on the poor side of town. We were poor people. We lived on a 3,000-acre dryland wheat farm owned by someone else. We lived in his house and farmed his land.

So while there was plenty in my young experience to make me see the functioning of social class from the bottom end of the spectrum, I was the perfect recipient for the message contained in the anti-Catholic pamphlet passed around by the Southern Baptists. I could be induced to fear and then hate what was said to be dangerously different.

I prayed. I prayed a lot. I was the only teenager in my church, so I prayed that other teenagers might somehow see the light and come join us. I prayed the prayers that many poor people pray ... that God would give me the strength to endure what I had to endure and that He would incidentally somehow find a way to make me rich. Quickly.

Never got money-rich, but the strength and values of my family and our lives of hard work and the basic hopeful outlook always of my father -- who never went a day in school past the 6th grade -- gave me a resilience and a perspective worth more than mere dollar wealth. Particularly, I developed a physical revulsion at any spectacle of social injustice (not pausing to consider at that time that branding all Catholics the agents of Satan was itself a spectacle of social injustice).

Later, when I went to a Southern Baptist College, I became a Southern Baptist convert. When I was the lone pentecostal in my high school -- known locally as "that Holy Roller" -- my friends all put pressure on me to join on up with the cool church, where teenagers were as thick as fleas. I dated the daughter of a Southern Baptist deacon, who took me to revival services at First Baptist. She never came to my church. My own brother joined up with the Baptists when he started dating a Baptist girl and then became a Southern Baptist preacher after attending seminary. But I held out until college and then gave in for romance, the very thing, I've found, that has motivated most of the weakness in the human race's knees since time began.

At my Southern Baptist college I took the required Bible class and learned a little something about Baptist and Protestant history. The Baptist Church had taken to heart one of the major foundations of protestantism: "every man his own priest." (I've never given up that tenet, and it was gender-specific. "Every man his own priest" did not apply to women in the Baptist church, which was odd to me since I had grown up with women preachers among the pentecostals, who practiced gender equality long before it was politically correct). "Every man his own priest" was one of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, I believe, nailed up on the church house door, which started the Reformation.

So when I see Southern Baptists today all lining up as obedient little servants of a particular Caesar, making their churches the willing handmaidens of a political party, I get a rash. I think, "When did you drink the Kool Aide, Southern Baptists?"

Protestants generally and Baptists particularly have a long history of saying no to political power. My brother's copy of "Fox's Book of Martyrs" provided me plenty of opportunity to see the consequences of saying no to power -- the gruesome excesses of the Inquisition were laid out in intricate detail -- and my own copy of "Pilgrim's Progress" reassured me of why we must say no to political power. Our very souls depend on it. So when I see my Southern Baptists not only saying yes to political power but also maneuvering their own congregations to vote like sheep in the interests of a political party that controls most of the levers of power, I develop something akin to prickly heat.

The massing of Southern Baptist prejudices against a Catholic presidential candidate in Texas in 1960 came to a head in a famous confrontation between candidate John Kennedy and a bunch of Texas Southern Baptists preachers in Houston, on September 12, 1960, before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. Kennedy won, not so much in Texas but with the rest of the nation, by standing up to the bullying. The Baptist preachers in the Greater Houston Ministerial Association looked like exactly what they were: a potential religious lynch mob bent on using outright bigotry to defeat a candidate for public office.

They had rationalized their propaganda by saying they were saving the U.S. from "foreign" domination. Fire-breathing Southern Baptist preacher W.A. Criswell, from my part of the Panhandle, preached widely reported sermons on the Catholic threat. There's still a brag about Criswell on an official Baptist website that "As a Baptist, Criswell's concept of a church free from government control was paramount." Forty-some years later, the Southern Baptists of today can't wait to put themselves under government control.

Just compare what Criswell preached in 1960 to the "for pastors" page on this year's Southern Baptist sponsored website ivotevalues.com. The ivotevalues.com interpretation of Matthew 22:15-22 -- where Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees with the question "Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" Jesus responds by looking at the coin and saying, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's." The ivotevalues.com website interprets Jesus thusly: "His point: All citizens -- including His followers -- are obligated to support their government." (Thanks to Tommy for showing this to me, along with a whole sermon he wrote about it.)

To which I repeat, "When did you drink the Kool Aide?"

The followers of Christ "are obligated to support their government"? The government that brought us Abu Ghraib, that brought us the doctrine of preemption, that brought us the jolliest features of the USA Patriot Act, that is busily unleashing corporate polluters on our air and water. That government? "Render unto Caesar whatever the hell Caesar wants"?

Any why? What's the motivation for overturning 400 years of Protestant attitudes toward principalities and powers? Because Baptists are terrorized by The Gay Menace, which has apparently replaced The Vatican of 40 years ago as our greatest bug-a-boo.

"Every man his own priest"? In Texas, at least, that meant we didn't need no stinking church hierarchy and especially no stinking government to tell us what was right, what was wrong. Fair dealing is right. Character assassination and bigotry are wrong. And spreading fear and divisiveness are wronger. An election campaign built on character assassination, bigotry, fear, and divisiveness isn't anything for Southern Baptists to be proud of, let alone associated with.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Texas Law-Maker Says He's Ashamed He Helped G.W. Bush Avoid Vietnam

Ben Barnes, once powerful Texas Democrat and hob-nobber with the rich and powerful, has admitted on videotape that he helped the young George W. Bush avoid service in Vietnam by getting him into the Texas Air National Guard: "I became more ashamed of myself than I've ever been because it was the worst thing I did -- help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get in the National Guard," he said. "I'm very sorry of that and I'm very ashamed of it and I apologize to the voters of Texas for that."

"I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard ... and I'm not necessarily proud of that, but I did it."

Will the so-called "mainstream press" be at all interested in that? Will they be as interested in that as they've been in "Swift Boat Veterans Willing To Lie For a Grudge"?

Can't wait to see the Sunday morning gasbags discuss it.

17-Year-Old Thrown Out of Bush Rally

We received this news from former Watauga County residents now living in New Mexico (our thanks to Carol), about an incident during El Presidente's recent appearance in Farmington, N.M., written by the 17-year-old who got hassled by Bush's Secret Service:

"At a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally appearance by US President George W. Bush on August 26, 2004, in Farmington, New Mexico, the Secret Service denied me entrance based on the fact that I have voiced opinions against the policies of the Bush administration. They falsely asserted that I was there to protest within the event. At a supposedly public event, I, a minor, was denied access and threatened with arrest. I am 17 years old and will not be old enough to vote in the November election. However, I wished to go and see what the president had to say. When I went to the event, I passed through the first gate with no trouble, but as I approached the second gate and the metal detectors, a man who appeared to be a local organizer came up to me and asked me if I was Nikhil Krishnaswamy. When I said, "Yes," he told me I was not welcome there and tore up my ticket. He then called a Secret Service agent who ripped up my ticket again, then tore up the ticket of the person who I went with and told us both to get out. They said we were on a list of people who were not to be let in. On our way out, we were accosted by a local police officer who told us that the Federal Government had leased the property on which the event was to take place, that since we did not have tickets, we were trespassing, and that if we returned that same day, we would be arrested."

We'd very much like to see what Nikhil Krishnaswamy had written that got the local Republican power base so exercised. What does a 17-year-old non-voter have to say these days to get his rights taken away so swiftly? What words can get a minor child branded an enemy of the people?

And where do they keep the list? And am I on it yet?

Friday, August 27, 2004


News from the Christian/Republican nexus: Marvin Olasky, part of the brain trust currently leading the fight against "immoral liberalism," explains so much about why opposing George W. Bush in this election is not only unAmerican but ungodly: "Being born again, we don't have to justify ourselves. Being saved, we don't have to be saviors. John Kerry, once-born, has no such spiritual support, nor do most of his top admirers in the heavily secularized Democratic Party .... Kerry can't say that [once he was a sinner and made mistakes] because he evidently does not believe that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He and his handlers portray him as virtually perfect in the past and omniscient in the present. In and of itself, that's also not unusual: it's so hard for a presidential candidate not to get puffed up when laudatory remarks follow him as closely as Secret Service agents. But do we want a president who pretends that he can do no wrong and never has...?"

So much there to work with! "Do we want a president who pretends that he can do no wrong?" coupled with "Being born again, we don't have to justify ourselves" produces a perfect circle of logic. Being "born again," our president has been presenting himself as exactly the kind of president Olasky says we don't need ... one who can do no wrong. When's the last time you heard George W. admit to even the teeniest mistake, in Iraq or elsewhere? But he has admitted that the Hand of God guides him in all he does, and evidently that's beyond question.

And I just love that description of Kerry as "once-born," meaning (O my non-Baptist Brethren) that he's condemned to hell everlasting, where there's weeping & wailing & the gnashing of teeth.

The smugness of Olasky, the bland, prideful intolerance of the ivotevalues Pharisees ... this is the stuff of a false Christianity that my mama told me to turn away from when I was a youngster. But the ayatollahs of the Southern Baptist Convention want to have us all by the throats, and they intend to throttle the disagreement out of us. Because being twice-cooked, they don't have to justify themselves.


Here's what doesn't register at all with the ivotevalues crowd (from this a.m.'s NYTimes): "The ranks of the poor and those without health insurance grew in 2003 for the third straight year, the government reported on Thursday .... Those trends, spelled out by the United States Census Bureau, signaled a clear shift in the way the 2001 recession and its aftermath have spread across the country. The economy's troubles, which first affected high-income families even more than the middle class and poor, have recently hurt families at the bottom and in the middle significantly more than those at the top."

But if it's not about gays and abortion, who cares, right?

What does it mean that The Godliest President In The History of the Universe has presided over the increasing pauperization of more and more Americans, while Halliburton and 1 percent of the richest Pharisees have gotten fatter and fatter off the policies of this Saint in the White House? The disparity between rich and poor widens at a clip. And who are these ivotevalues pastors alligned with? Rich men, who I used to hear as a kid in those West Texas Baptist churches would need a celestial shoehorn to get into heaven. But rich men got themselves an escalator clause now, evidently, ever since the Southern Baptist Convention signed its pact with the Republican Party and gave up its conscience because of QueerFear.

"Poverty rose most sharply among single-parent families last year. Health-insurance coverage fell only for families with annual income of less than $75,000."

Serves 'em right for being single parents, eh, pastors? Let 'em eat wallpaper! Sick and dying, heal thyself! Thus saith the Lord.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hell to the Chief

No doubt about it ... the Swift Boat Veterans' crap is working to hurt Kerry. But it's also working to hurt Bush, too, as in "the smearer gets covered by the same crap he flings." How do we know it's hurting Bush? By the fact that he's now scrambling to sound self-righteous about "527" advertizing. El Presidente is all over today's news calling on the Federal Elections Commission to impose controls on groups like "Swift Boat Cranks Against Kerry."

One of our favorite bloggers, Josh Marshall, of "Talking Points Memo," has the best suggestion we've seen about how to deal with this new incarnation of Bush-the-campaign-advertizing-reformer:

"A simple strategy note to the Kerry campaign: If President Bush is going to try to pose as an advocate of campaign finance reform to dodge the Swift Boat issue, there's a really, really, really easy rejoinder to this one: mockery. Don't get bogged down on the details. Just mockery. Full out. "George W. Bush, Mr. Campaign Finance Reform? Please" ... A laugh and a smile. Simple as that. His credibility on the issue is zero. Voters know it. Let's try being smart on this one, okay? Just once?"

Couldn't agree more.

The "What Me Worry?" President

El Presidente and his administration, which has spent the last three and a half years denying the scientific evidence of global warming and the impact of hydrocarbons and other human activity on that phenomenon, is about to be run over by its own science.

Back in June 2002, in a submission to the United Nations under a climate treaty, the Bush administration's own science officers issued a document suggesting that global warming had a human cause and posed big risks. When El Presidente got wind that his own government was saying such things, he immediately dissed the scientists and distanced himself from the document they wrote: it was something "put out by the bureaucracy," Bush said, indicating yet once again that he has about as much use for science as for a used Kleenex.

Now the scientists in the Bush administration, a persistent if dispirited lot, have spoken up again: "In a striking shift in the way the Bush administration has portrayed the science of climate change, a new report to Congress focuses on federal research indicating that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are the only likely explanation for global warming over the last three decades."


Bush's close friends in the fossil-fuel industry are going to be a little upset at these mixed messages. Big oil and big coal don't wanna hear any steenking science. Simply put, they "oppose any restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and have attacked science pointing to dangerous human-caused warming as flawed" (NYTimes story here).

And Myron Ebell of the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute said the report was "another indication that the administration continues to be incoherent in its global warming policies."

For the type of cattle farming that goes on in Watauga County, the report contains an especially alarming warning: "It also says the accumulating emissions pose newly identified risks to farmers, citing studies showing that carbon dioxide promotes the growth of invasive weeds far more than it stimulates crops and that it reduces the nutritional value of some rangeland grasses."

That's great news for the Eurasian garlic mustard that's been busily taking over our mountain meadows, and terrible news for the small cattle-farmers.

Not that "Cattleman Bush" would lift a finger to actually DO anything. No, not him. Wouldn't be good to upset the fossil-fuel guys.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Life Among the Bushies: A Pot Pourri

The panel investigating the Abu Ghraib prison scandal yesterday issued a report that drew the lines of responsibility all the way to Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "The panel cited what it called major failures on the part of Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides in not anticipating and responding swiftly to the post-invasion insurgency in Iraq." (NYTimes story here.) Meanwhile, seven poor soldiers ALONE are being made to bear the punishment for Abu Ghraib, while their commanders get off scott-free. The American Way, under El Presidente!

The Bush campaign's top "outside lawyer," Benjamin L. Ginsberg, said Tuesday that he had given legal advice to the Swiftboat Veterans smearing Kerry, the group of veterans attacking the senator's Vietnam War record and antiwar activism in a book, television commercials and countless appearances on cable news programs. (NYTimes story here.) The web of deceit tightens around You Know Who.

Cheney disagrees with El Presidente on gay marriage, but does it matter? During a rally in Davenport, Iowa on Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked by a woman, "What do you think about homosexual marriage?" His verbatim answer: "Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with. With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone .... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to. The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that's been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage."

The resulting cognitive dissonance from Cheney's answer was said to have blown a megawatt transformer at Southern Baptist headquarters in Nashville. Workmen are on the scene. Cheney's comments also drew criticism from the conservative Family Research Council, with President Tony Perkins saying, "Ifind it hard to believe the vice president would stray from the administration's position on defense policy or tax policy. For many pro-family voters, protecting traditional marriage ranks ahead of the economy and job creation as a campaign issue."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Kerry To Be On "The Daily Show" Tonight

John Kerry will be Jon Stewart's guest tonight on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" for "an extended interview."

Jon Stewart continues to eat NBCCBSABCCNNFOX's lunch, O my brethren, and the fact that Kerry actively sought out this show -- and not one of the broadcast networks -- for his first live interview following the emergence of the "Swifties for Bush" crap-o-rama ... well, it shows Kerry really is the stand-up guy he's supposed to be. Let's see El Presidente go on there and handle Jon Stewart's hard questions.

"Daily Show" executive producer Ben Karlin told Lisa de Moraes of the WashPost that "All of us [on 'The Daily Show'] are just blown away by the turn the campaign has taken. We cannot believe that this [the Vietnam War] is what is being talked about at this juncture. It's so astounding to us. We are trying to work through our amazement and to conduct a meaningful conversation absent of incredulity, because [the interview] is not going to go anywhere if you just say, 'What the [expletive] is going on?"

Karlin said he will nonetheless suggest that that be the first question Stewart puts to Kerry tonight.

"If you just want to pinpoint the success of the Republican Party and Bush, this is a perfect case study," Karlin continued, "because George W. Bush has put a moratorium on talk about his behavior under the age of 40 and everyone [in the press] is abiding by it. 'Were you or were you not an alcoholic or did you just have a drinking problem?,' 'Were you or were you not a drug abuser?' Meanwhile they're debating whether [Kerry's war] wounds drew blood or were they superficial, or occurred in the same day, or whether he shot a guy wearing a toga .... How is that possible?"

How is that possible? It's possible because, as Howard Dean knew over a year ago, the so-called mainstream press had consciously or subconsciously decided to give up its duty of speaking truth to power to become carbon copies of the media whores at FOX ... craven toadies passing on El Presidente's PR! And now we have ONLY Jon Stewart who dares tell the truth to power.

Monday, August 23, 2004

"Personal Growth" Gets You Kicked Out of the GOP

David Miner was one of the "moderate" Republicans purged in last month's Republican primary. He had represented Wake County in the N.C. House for six years and co-chaired the powerful finance committee. His sin? Being an ally of co-speaker of the N.C. House Richard Morgan, who is persona-non-grata these days in the state Republican Party.

This morning's News & Observer contains a profile article on Miner, and it sounds like he might drift on over to the Democratic Party, where he would be welcomed. The N&O characterizes the primary assault on him this way: "A series of vicious radio ads and direct mailings, funded by well-heeled Republicans such as Art Pope, painted Miner as a tax-raising, homosexual-protecting, criminal-loving liberal. Nelson Dollar, a perennial candidate, won more than two-thirds of the vote [in the primary]."

Miner himself admits that he's not, in fact, a conservative any more, that he has "grown as a person and as a leader."

"It's so easy to spew this stuff about cutting the fat from the state budget," he said. "What I learned in six terms is that there's some waste in state government, but there's not a lot."

"If that sounds a lot like something you'd hear from a Democrat, listen to this: Miner not only co-sponsored the bill imposing a two-year moratorium on the death penalty, he opposes the death penalty outright. He also opposes a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. And yes, he was one of two Republicans to vote in favor of a bill that added sexual orientation to the state's hate crimes law; he was one of the few Republicans who voted to allow Orange County to ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation."

This is the sort of governmental philosophy that drives Republicans completely nuts. They don't need no stinking "personal growth"! And they'll not stand for it in their elected representatives either. So much (again!) for the Big Tent.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

This a.m.'s New York Times contains insider info on how the Republicans intend to turn protests against El Presidente in New York during the Republican National Convention to their advantage: "Republicans said they would seek to turn any disruptions to their advantage, by portraying protests by even independent activists as Democratic-sanctioned displays of disrespect for a sitting president .... Republicans made clear they would seek to link Mr. Kerry and the Democratic Party to any disorder."

On the floor of the convention, the hard-edged hyper-conservatism of gay- and immigrant-bashing, no-stem-cell research, it's my way or the highway approach of the Cowboy in Chief will be put into the deep freeze for a return to the warmed-over "compassion" of 2000.

Will they get away with the fakery? Probably. Because the American people have ceased to take an interest in how things work, beyond how they look on TV.

More Light on the Smear of Kerry's War Record

This morning's Chicago Tribute contains a 1,700-word first-person account of what went down on the Dong Cung River in Vietnam, written by someone who was actually there, unlike the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans" currently trying to snatch John Kerry's bravery under fire away from him ... at the behest of Karl Rove.

The author of the piece is William Rood, an editor on the Chicago Tribune's metropolitan desk, who said he was breaking 35 years of silence about the Feb. 28, 1969, mission that resulted in Kerry's receiving a Silver Star because recent portrayals of Kerry's actions published in the best-selling book "Unfit for Command" are wrong and smear the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

The Tribune accompanies Rood's first-person account with a lengthy article summarizing the details he offers and how they differ from the crap being dished by "Swift Boat Veterans."

Must reading.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Saturday Morning Pot Pourri

First, the Charlotte Observer's coverage of Kerry's Friday visit in the Queen City:

North Carolina hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976.

More than 700 people attended (according to the Observer ... the Raleigh N&O yesterday reported 300 -- quite a discrepancy from our objective friends in the press!)

Kerry said, "Let me talk today to North Carolina, and through North Carolina, let me talk to people all through the South as some people try to separate parts of our country. Some people want America to be blue states and red states. I don't. I want us to be one America, red, white and blue."

Aiming for the unaffiliated voter, Kerry said, "If you're a conservative or an independent or a Republican ... and your mind is open, think about this. There's nothing conservative about running up deficits as far as the eye can see. There's nothing conservative about mounting debt on our children. And John Edwards and I want to restore what we did in the 1990s .... We're going to put pay-as-you-go back in place and cut the deficit in half."

Kerry cited the 162,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the state since Bush took office. Unfortunately, he spoke on the jobs issue on the very day that new figures came out showing North Carolina's jobless rate at 5 percent, the lowest in months.

But the biggest standing ovation came on this line: "Let me make one thing clear," he said. "I defended our country as a young man and I will as president of the United States." People are pissed at the "Swift Boat Veterans" crap, evidently. And well they should be.

Mike Easley didn't attend, natch. Neither did Erskine Bowles. But ex-governor Jim Hunt did, to introduce Kerry and because he knows -- bottomline -- that everything's still about him: "Some folks say Democrats can't win in North Carolina," Hunt said. "Well, I won in North Carolina five times. [Governor] Mike Easley won in North Carolina. And John Kerry and John Edwards are going to win in North Carolina in November."

In other news of the day, and just two days after Kerry's visit, John Edwards will also be in Charlotte on Sunday to attend church at University Park Baptist Church, an African American congregation on Beatties Ford Road.

Finally, yesterday the North Carolina Democratic Party filed an official complaint with the state board of elections over a TV ad airing in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Patrick Ballantine, "saying the ad uses illegal contributions to promote Democratic Gov. Mike Easley's challenger. The complaint ... argues the ad by the Washington-based Republican Governors Association amounts to an in-kind contribution to Ballantine's campaign, a contribution Easley's campaign has said is worth $300,000. Any contribution of more than $4,000 would violate state law."

"Meanwhile, Rick Thames, editor of The Charlotte Observer, said he contacted the Republican group Friday and asked that it pull or revise the ad because it gives viewers the false impression that the newspaper has endorsed Ballantine."

Friday, August 20, 2004

Bush Religion Advisor Resigns Over Sex

What is the definition of "irony"?

"Deal W. Hudson, publisher of the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis and a close ally of the Bush White House, has resigned as an adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign because of allegations that he sexually harassed a Fordham University student a decade ago.

"Hudson, 54, had been a key player in the Republican Party's effort to attract Roman Catholic voters. Because of his connections to the White House and his friendship with senior presidential adviser Karl Rove, he was widely regarded as a Catholic power broker in Washington." (WashPost story from this a.m.)

Some days the ducks are just too easy to shoot.

Getting to the Bottom of the Smear of Kerry's War Record

That certain Republicans running for office will say absolutely ANYTHING to get elected, or in the case of Virginia Foxx, allow their campaign consultants to say absolutely ANYTHING and then dodge behind the old "I didn't proofread it" defense -- that notorious habit of reaching for the slime-bucket approximately eleven minutes after filing for office is on generous display in the current "Swift Boat Veterans Against John Kerry" round of noxious TV commercials and their book, "Unfit for Command."

(The apparent contempt these guys feel for Kerry because he came back from the war, wounded and beribboned with merit, and yet started opposing that war in strong terms, is no excuse for their deciding 30 years later to start rewriting history-as-revenge. No excuse whatsoever.)

The New York Times has a very lengthy investigative report today into these soldiers, their contradictory statements, their outright fabrications, and most interesting to me, the nexus of money and PR operatives (which naturally includes Karl Rove) that brought their resentments against Kerry both into sharp focus and onto our airwaves.

I'll leave the full article to your studied reading but highlight just this:

"Records show that the group [Swift Boat Veterans against Kerry] received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family -- one a longtime political associate of Mr. [Karl] Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election."

Given the proclivities of this tribe, John Kerry has GOT to exercise the same bravery under fire now that he did on the banks of the Mekong in 1968, and in fact, he's got to go after these little creeps the same way he went after that Viet Cong soldier with the grenade launcher ... run 'em down in the high weeds and shoot 'em. In the head, preferably. He started doing that -- coming out strong against this crap -- in the last couple of days, but it won't do to stand on the boat deck and proclaim. He's got to get in the weeds. (Same goes for Erskine Bowles and Jim Harrell, and if they don't have the guts to battle this slime, they'll lose, because the voters won't elect a gutless wonder.)

The first mistake Democrats make is assuming that being nice and "positive" will get them elected. It will get them smeared into oblivion by the most vicious machine politics we've ever seen in this country, is what NICE will get 'em.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Get Ready for the Negative TV Campaign Against Bowles

Erskine Bowles himself made the announcement: look for a $3 million negative TV campaign against him starting September 7th, paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and featuring ads designed by the same upstanding ad shop that produced the nasty ad featuring Vietnam veterans accusing Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of lying about his Vietnam War record and later betraying his fellow veterans by opposing the war. Nasty, nasty ad, and probably effective.

How Bowles found out about the coming assault, no one knows. But a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee confirmed it.

And what does Bowles follow this announcement with? He WHINES! "It causes me great concern that they are going to come in here and I suppose do negative advertising. This means I will have to spend more time raising money instead of going out and doing other things."

"GOING OUT AND DOING OTHER THINGS!!!!" Like, what? Picking dead leaves off the ivy? Petting the cat? Sweeping the front walk? Does Bowles not get what this is? This isn't a company picnic, catered by a nice little bistro with vegetarian options. THIS IS FRIGGIN WAR, and we have an unarmed soldier here leading us.

I'm reminded of Sean Connery, playing the cop Malone in "The Untouchables" (1987), giving advice to Elliot Ness: "If he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. If he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way. That's how you get Capone."

Somebody needs to be saying similar things to Erskine Bowles. Or we're in big freakin' trouble.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Church Leaders Cry "Shame" at Bush/Cheney Campaign

"When certain church leaders acceded to the request of the Bush/Cheney campaign to hand over the names and addresses of their congregants, they crossed a line. It is proper for church leaders to address social issues, but it is improper, and even illegal, for them to get their churches to endorse candidates or align their churches with a specific political party."

So wrote ten teachers of Christian ethics at leading seminaries and universities, including some of your more conservative Southern Baptist institutions, in a personal letter addressed on August 12th to President Bush and outed today in the WashPost.

The letter asked Bush to "repudiate the actions of your re-election campaign, which violated a fundamental principle of our democracy." It also urged both presidential candidates to "respect the integrity of all houses of worship."

"The letter's signers included evangelical Christians who teach at generally conservative institutions, such as the Rev. George G. Hunter III of Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and Richard V. Pierard of Gordon College in Massachusetts. Other signers included the Revs. Paul Raushenbush of Princeton University, Walter B. Shurden of Mercer University in Georgia, James M. Dunn of Wake Forest Divinity School in North Carolina and Ronald B. Flowers of Texas Christian University."

"...when any church leaders contend that they speak for God," the letter said, "and have the right to tell congregants how to vote, such leaders have assumed prerogatives to which they have no right."

Three Democratic Congressmen Question FBI Tactics Against Protestors

Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and two other Democrats on the panel, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Robert C. Scott of Virginia, have had the guts to write and sign a letter to the inspector general of the Justice Department, asking for a Justice Department investigation into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's questioning of would-be demonstrators about possible violence at the political conventions, saying the questioning may have violated the First Amendment. (See the earlier post, "Free America," for background.)

The three lawmakers, who evidently can tell s**t from Shinola, said the F.B.I. inquiries appeared to represent "systematic political harassment and intimidation of legitimate antiwar protesters." (NYTimes story here.)

And in some cases, obviously, this sinister s**t has worked: "Officials of the F.B.I. would not say how many interviews the bureau had conducted. Civil rights advocates who have monitored the process estimated that at least several dozen people had received visits from agents at their homes and elsewhere in recent weeks. They said they were continuing to collect anecdotal information from demonstrators who had been approached by federal agents. In a newly disclosed episode in Colorado, two college students said that an F.B.I. agent approached the faculty adviser for their campus group late last month and that the agent showed photographs of the students, Mark Silverstein, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said. The students did not want their names or college disclosed, Mr. Silverstein said, because 'they're really scared out of their minds.' "

Scared s**tless ... a fitting motto for El Presidente's America, no?

Virginia Foxx's Victory Statement

Virginia Foxx, last night at 9 p.m., at the Morning Dew Coffee Roaster, a coffee shop in Winston-Salem, her victory party hang-out, Virginia said, "The first thing I want to say is how sweet it is. I really have been at peace about this for seven months because I have felt God's hand guiding us every day."

So you gonna blame God for that lie about the endorsement of the NRA and Grass Roots North Carolina, eh?

If the last seven months was "Virginia Foxx at peace," we dread seeing her at war.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

It Takes a Liar to Know a Liar

Virginia Foxx ended her campaign against Vernon Robinson for the 5th District congressional race by accusing Ole Vern of "the big lie." The announcer in the ad said that Foxx had been endorsed by the NRA and Grass Roots North Carolina.

Only problem is ... that's a big fat lie. Virginia was endorsed by neither group, and Grass Roots North Carolina has actually been recommending Vernon Robinson to its membership, not Foxx. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, in a mailer dated Aug. 10, Foxx's husband and campaign manager Tom Foxx wrote that Grass Roots North Carolina and the NRA had endorsed her for the 5th District.

"We've never endorsed her, we've never recommended her," said Paul Valone, the president of Grass Roots North Carolina.

When confronted with the lie, Virginia, in classic Virginia style, said, "I'm very sorry that the letter was not precise of the wording." According to the W-S Journal, she said that neither she nor her husband had proofread the letter before it was mailed out.

Which is worse, the original lie, or the lie to cover up the original lie? Didn't they impeach Bill Clinton for this kind of parsing? But Virginia will get away with it because she loves God and was born poor. She can't be blamed.

W-S Journal: "Foxx said that the information about Grass Roots North Carolina came from a statement from the organization that said she had a 100 percent voting record in the Senate. The Grass Roots statement, however, actually recommended Robinson over Foxx...."

We're waiting right now for election results in this sorry little race between two sorry little people.

Rowan County Restricts Asphalt Plants

Rowan County Commissioners last night, to the "thunderous applause" of some 200 spectators, imposed tough new restrictions on new asphalt plants which will prevent such industrial polluters from locating within one-half mile of churches, schools, daycares, health care facilities, and public parks, and in a surprise move, the commissioners voted to add "inhabited dwellings" to the list, a restriction left out of the recommendations forwarded to the commissioners from Rowan County's planning board.

"County Attorney John Holshouser expressed concern that adding homes in the separation requirement could cause a legal challenge. Holshouser said there is no information available on whether adding homes will prevent an asphalt plant from being permitted anywhere in the county." (Salisbury Post coverage here.)

The commissioner who introduced the "inhabited dwellings" clause, in a display of foolhardiness or bravery, depending on which side you're on, essentially said in reply to the county attorney, "Let 'em sue us." Refreshing attitude, after many years of observing our own county commissioners, who look to their attorney for advice before going to the men's room.

According to the Salisbury newspaper, the staunchest no-zoner among the Rowan commissioners made the motion to adopt the zoning text. And yes, Watauga County Commissioners, they passed the text under zoning authority and will require a conditional use permitting process to allow any new asphalt plant (or 12 other "high-impact" uses) in Rowan.

(I'm trying to find out -- but haven't yet -- whether the no-zoner is up for reelection this year and what the issues are. Clearly, though, on just a cursory look, Deborah Greene needs to get herself to Rowan County immediately!)

When the attorney for the asphalt company that precipitated this new zoning reg got up to ask the commissioners to "clarify or strike down" some of the language in the new ordinance, the audience hooted and booed her so bad the chairman of the board had to restore order. Apparently unable to function as a lawyer on the occasion, she took to stand-up comedy, with this: "She rebuffed claims of potential harm for air and water, saying North Carolina has among the toughest regulations in the country." Guffaw! Reminds us of the definition of lawyer: someone who will lie for you at $100 an hour.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Republican "Big Tent" About to Blow Down?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that pro-choice Republicans are uniting with the gay Republican Log Cabin group to mount a challenge to the anti-gay, anti-abortion Republican platform, only asking that the platform reflect reality ... and simply declare that "Republicans of good faith disagree" on family issues.

Log Cabin Republicans (who, incidentally, were barred from having a contact table at the North Carolina Republican convention) and Republicans for Choice were supposed to hold a press conference today to discuss their strategy for forcing the "big tent" idea on the hypocrites who claim they practice it.

"We are giving President Bush an opportunity for a Sister Souljah moment," said Christopher Barron, political director of the Log Cabin Republicans. "This is an opportunity for the president to make clear that the GOP is a big tent. If there's room in the party for free-traders and protectionists, they've got to make room for us." Sister Souljah? You know, El Presidente standing up to Jerry Falwell and the other jihadists on the right, saying something like, "Listen, Beloved, shouldn't we welcome our gay Republican brethren into this party and stop identifying women as involuntary breeders in our no-abortion-for-no-reason-no-way party platform?"

Yeah, that could happen! The president who decided a few weeks ago to make a constitutional amendment barring equal rights to gays a big campaign issue is suddenly gonna change his direction!

"...the Log Cabin Republicans are marshaling their voting power and strategies to bolster their cause. If the platform committee, which meets the week before the convention, rejects their plank, they hope to collect enough signatures from six state delegations to force a fight on the floor -- a prospect convention planners dread. The proposed unity plank states: 'We recognize and respect that Republicans of good faith may not agree with all the planks in the party's platform. This is particularly the case with regard to those planks dealing with abortion, family planning, and gay and lesbian issues. The Republican Party welcomes all people on all sides of these complex issues and encourages their active participation as we work together on those issues upon which we agree.' "

Does the following sound big-tentish to you? "In one recent example of the White House commitment to ideological unanimity on abortion, campaign workers evicted a woman and her family from a Bush rally because she was carrying a rolled-up T-shirt with an abortion-rights slogan."

"Our constituents are ready to walk [out on this election]," said Ann Stone, founder and chairwoman of Republicans for Choice, a political action committee with 150,000 members which has joined forces with the Log Cabin Republicans. "Our message to the president is: 'Stay out of the bedroom.' "

"But I like to watch!" whines El Presidente. Or maybe it was John Ashcroft.

Storm Warning

"Under the Dome" in the Raleigh N&O reports that despite several months' worth of positive TV ads about himself, Republican Senate candidate Dick Burr has failed to move his poll numbers against Democrat Erskine Bowles ... "a trend that has been causing some private grumbling among GOP activists." The most recent N&O/WRAL poll shows Bowles holding at 47 percent to Burr's 38 percent.

Where's the slash-and-burn negative TV spots that we've all come to know and love? Republican insiders are asking.

Republican in-fighting this year extends to Burr's political consultant Paul Shumaker, who also happens to be advising Republican co-speaker of the house (and full time pariah) Richard Morgan, whom the state Republican party threw out this year at their convention. State Rep. Art Pope questioned how GOP Senate candidate Richard Burr can continue to have Shumaker work as his consultant because of his ties with Morgan.

So I would look for the sunny, positive message in Burr's TV spots to take a decided turn toward The Dark Side of the Rovians. Erskine Bowles better get ready to see his face morphing into ... who? ah yes! Hillary Clinton!

Due Process

On July 20th, a Pakistani man, Kamran Akhtar, was arrested in Charlotte after videotaping Charlotte skyscrapers. Authorities found later that he also had videotaped buildings in Dallas, Houston, and Las Vegas. Akhtar is charged with immigration violations, and authorities are investigating whether he also has ties to terrorism. (N&O details here)

But Vernon Robinson has decided mere suspicion will do, so he quickly got up a TV spot using Akhtar's photo and saying, "This is Pakistani terrorist Kamran Akhtar. He got arrested videotaping targets in Charlotte, North Carolina. He came here illegally, across our Mexican border. I'm Vernon Robinson and I approve this message because Akhtar didn't come here to live the American dream. He came here to kill you."

The American way, Vernon Robinson style. Getting arrested on suspicion is tantamount to being guilty. I certainly want this man in Washington representing the Fifth District! He'll blend right in.

Free America

Comes out this a.m. in the New York Times that teams of FBI agents have been "interviewing" (the interviewees say "intimidating") certain anti-war activists and other perceived "troublemakers" about their plans for public protests at the Republican National Convention in New York in two weeks.

You see, they have a little list (of people who won't be missed?): "F.B.I. officials are urging agents to canvass their communities for information about planned disruptions aimed at the convention and other coming political events, and they say they have developed a list of people who they think may have information about possible violence."

"They think." (And what does a "canvass" of the local community entail?)

And here I was all this time under the impression that in our democracy you actually had to be guilty of something before the agents came to get you. It's the Bush doctrine of preemption, applied domestically. As a caller on C-SPAN this morning said, "Well, it's fascism, is what it is."

"The message I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern at a Denver antiwar group who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' "

The NYTimes says there's been internal dissent at the FBI about this course of action, with some agents pointing out that this looks like an attempt to stifle free speech. But John Ashcroft's Justice Department whipped out a handy memo opining that no, that any possible "chilling" effect would be vastly outweighed by the good that will be bestowed on the Republic by the intimidation. Abu Ghraib again, about which the Justice Department also wrote a notorious legal opinion ... "a little torture in the interests of freedom is a-okay!"

Since we don't fly any more, we take it as true from people who do that travelers are now asked to answer a questionnaire that asks such gently probing questions as "Do you plan to blow up this plane?" Under the presumption, we assume, that terrorists will tell the truth. This same logic appears to be at work in the FBI "interviews" with anti-war activists: "Interrogations have generally covered the same three questions, according to some of those questioned and their lawyers: were demonstrators planning violence or other disruptions, did they know anyone who was, and did they realize it was a crime to withhold such information."

If you know the question you're asking is stupid, and if you know you'll never get an honest answer to such a question, especially if the interviewee really is planning violence, then the only possible therapeutic outcome from asking is the possibility of intimidation. It's what any honest person calls "a police state," where stupid questions presage the strong arm.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Foxx "Pimping Off" the Forsyth D.A.

We published on this site a few days ago a report that the Forsyth County District Attorney was involved in a criminal investigation of Vernon Robinson's campaign finances. That information came out of a Raleigh News & Observer story, which, it now turns out (and why are we surprised?), was planted by the Foxx campaign.

And the Forsyth District Attorney Tom Keith is not amused to have his office "pimped off" in this fashion. That's a direct quote: see today's Winston-Salem Journal.

"He made the remarks at a news conference to deal with allegations by the campaign staff of Virginia Foxx .... Members of Foxx's staff said that Keith's office was investigating campaign contributions made to her opponent, Vernon Robinson .... Keith said that there is no such criminal investigation."

Speaking of pimps, "Tom Foxx, Virginia Foxx's husband and campaign manager, said that the campaign had never tried to involve the district attorney's office in the matter and that he was surprised that Keith held a news conference about it. 'It shocked the daylights out of us,' Tom Foxx said. No one in the campaign had spoken with anyone in Keith's office about the case, he said."

Ain't nobody in this henhouse but us chickens, said the Foxx.

"Keith, a Republican, would not say whom he planned to vote for Tuesday. He said that his favorite candidate lost in the primary."

Kerry to Be in "Charlotte Area" Friday

The Raleigh N&O commissioned a poll of 600 "likely voters statewide who vote regularly" (published today) which finds that Kerry has moved to within three percentage points of El Presidente (and that's well within the margin of error, sports fans!). Kerry in this new poll stands at 45 percent, to Bush's 48 percent. People are saying it's the presence of Edwards on the ticket that has made Kerry come up in their estimation (but we'll wager the presence of Bush on the opposing ticket also has something to do with making North Carolina a battleground state).

"Kerry, to show he is serious about competing here, plans to visit the Charlotte area Friday and discuss economic security, jobs and affordable health care...."

We heard just this morning that "the Charlotte area" might be as close as Lenoir.

Friday, August 13, 2004

The Girly Men in the Bush Administration

Last night on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart had the clip of Dick Cheney mocking John Kerry for using the "s" word (out of context, natch! but according to Cheney, Kerry is a "sensitive" little pussy!) and followed it with a clip of El Presidente saying we must be "sensitive" in the war on terror, which was delicious but made us all know there must be more, and I knew that by noon today someone would have compiled the full print record of this administration's rampant hypocrisy. So here 'tis, right on schedule.

Just a teaser, but the following official pussies in the Bush administration have called for "sensitivity" in the War on Terror: Prez Bush, Vice Prez Cheney (multiple times), Air Force special forces spokesperson Chief Master Sgt. Robert Martens, Donald Rumsfeld, General Richard Myers, General Tommy Franks, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Senator Trent Lott, Paul Wolfowitz ... you get the drift here?

Huge homos, all of them!

Like, We Didn't Already Know This?

"Since 2001, President Bush's tax cuts have shifted federal tax payments from the richest Americans to a wide swath of middle-class families, the Congressional Budget Office has found." That, reported in this morning's WashPost.

It's probably not healthy to set one's blood a-boiling on a daily basis, so read on at your own risk: "...taxpayers with incomes from around $51,500 to around $75,600 saw their share of federal tax payments increase. Households earning around $75,600 saw their tax burden jump the most, from 18.7 percent of all taxes to 19.5 percent."

The Congressional Budget Office, incidentally is a nonpartisan government agency headed by a former senior economist from the Bush White House, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. That will not stop the Rovians from spinning this as a Democrat plot to make El Presidente look bad.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Potential of the New York Protests

Eric Alterman, whose opinions I respect without necessarily agreeing with all of them, is VERY worried about the potential for the New York City protests at the Republican National Convention being turned to Bush's benefit. Like Alterman, I can remember the Democratic National Convention of 1968 and how those anti-war protests were used against Hubert Humphrey. But, here, let Alterman speak for himself: "Anarchists and idiots ruined the Seattle protests and the media -- loving conflict and hating context -- will eat any violence and property destruction, even bad language, to smear not only the protesters but also anyone and everyone who opposes Bush. Chicago '68 unquestionably helped elect Nixon. And the same thing could happen here. Second, as with Johnson, Nixon and Reagan, it hardly requires an act of imagination to prepare for the possibility that Republican conservative spies and thugs will infiltrate these protests and cause the violence themselves, with the knowledge that it will be blamed on the protesters and their cause."

As in ... Karl Rove will DO ANYTHING to win this election.

So now Alterman has me worried too (and his posting today on his blog "Altercation", about how wrong John Kerry is on the Iraq war, is right on!)

Republicans Will Hide the Bible-Thumpers at Their Convention

Pat Robertson hasn't gotten his invitation to the Republican National Convention yet. Neither has Jerry Falwell. And neither has our own Franklin Graham. According to news posted today on the Drudge Report, the guys in charge of the convention seem intent on hiding the halo crowd from the general public. Robertson, for one, isn't particularly amused: "I've had no request from anybody to be there." Unlike Falwell, Robertson believes the GOP is deliberately keeping him and other evangelicals away. "In the last convention, the thought was to keep all the conservatives out of sight," said Robertson, who has attended every Republican convention since 1988, but said he won't go this year. "The general thrust will be to entice the so-called independent moderates, and I am not sure that there would be much reason for a conservative to be there."

Maybe Rev. Pat and Colin Powell, who also won't be attending but for slightly different reasons, can microwave some popcorn and watch the convention together at the 700 Clubhouse.

Republican spokesmen like Ralph Reed are rationalizing that it doesn't matter that such prominent evangelicals as Falwell, Robertson, and Franklin aren't being given prominent roles at the convention, since the Christian Right has infiltrated and taken over the Republican Party. The evangelicals don't need to be there on the podium. They're in most of the delegate seating.

As Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition, so aptly said, "We'll have a huge presence there. We have the president." Indeed they do. And he has them.

My Bible warns against that time when rulers own religion. Seems like the Constitution warns against that too, but I could be wrong about that.

Robinson, Foxx Under Investigation for Campaign Fund-Raising

The traded allegations from earlier this year, Vernon Robinson accusing Virginia Foxx of money-raising irregularities and vice versa (here and here), are coming to something of a head, especially in the case of Vernon Robinson (whose newest cable TV ad attacking Foxx could be used to strip oak furniture).

According to the N&O (scroll down), the State Board of Elections has subpoenaed bank records from Robinson's 2002 legislative campaign and from a federal committee called Black America's PAC. This subpoena came after consultation between the State Board and the Forsyth County district attorney, so something serious may be up with that.

Virginia Foxx, meanwhile, is dealing with the Federal Elections Commission and has hired a lawyer. (We always love it when Republicans say they have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong, yet hire lawyers. The ever "frugal" Virginia Foxx might have saved her money, if she's done nothing wrong.)

While the Robinson investigation seems to be gathering steam, the Foxx investigation is gathering cobwebs. The candidate's husband (and campaign manager) is quoted saying that the FEC has warned that their investigation could take two years. Virginia will be running for reelection to Congress by then.

FLASH! Gov. Easley Seen in Public!

Gov. Mike Easley actually showed up in public yesterday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, pandering to "NASCAR dads" by signing two bills that will give away $2 million of tax-payers' money for a new test track and create a special $30 license plate honoring the billion-dollar stock-car racing industry, which might be expected to pay its own way in building that new test track. Wouldn't you think? Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

No report on any adverse effects the guv might have suffered from being in such close proximity to actual living human beings.

Bush's EPA Pressuring N.C. to Relax Air Pollution Rules

If the Bush administration has its way, North Carolina's tougher air pollution rules will be scaled back to satisfy the wishes of some of El Presidente's biggest campaign contributors. "The Bush administration in December 2002 issued changes to EPA rules, creating broader exemptions for industries to expand without installing new pollution equipment. States operating their own air programs, such as North Carolina, have until 2006 to decide how to change them in response." (N&O coverage here.)

One option supposedly being considered by the Environmental Management Commission is ... doing nothing. That is, ignoring the Bush administration's laxer rules and keeping North Carolina's more stringent. But Keith Overcash, head of the N.C. Division of Air Quality, is quoted in this morning's N&O saying, "We have been talking to EPA about the option of doing nothing," Overcash said. "Verbally, we have been told that is not an option. We're trying to come up with a rule that EPA will accept so we don't jeopardize putting our program in bad straits with EPA."

Does anybody remember the gospel of state's rights, preached by the Republicans when it's to their advantage, and actively ignored by the Republicans when it might impinge on their high-dollar donors, as in this case?

These are not only hypocrites. They are hypocrites with a death wish.

Bless the Youth, For They Shall Lead Us

The Washington Post has an analysis of Bush's sinking esteem among the 18-29 year old cohort: "...if the election were held today, Bush would do about as badly among younger voters as Republican Robert Dole did in 1996 when he lost to incumbent Bill Clinton by 53 percent to 34 percent in this age group."

And nowhere in its article does the WashPost credit Jon Stewart as the real reason young people see through the strutting El Presidente. But Mondays through Thursdays, every week at 11 p.m., Stewart and the gang at "The Daily Show" offer more real news about the hypocrisies, lies, and outrages of this current regime than any of our so-called "legitimate" news organizations.

Somebody at the Kerry campaign ought to be taping those shows.

Is ANYONE in Charge?

Who's running the Kerry campaign? When the most mockable president in recent memory takes the gambit of mocking Kerry on his Iraq war "problem," and Kerry lets him get away with it, don't we have a slight problem? An article in today's New York Times contains sentences like this: "So far, [Kerry's] aides and advisers concede, he has failed to get his message across."

And this: "It [Kerry's vote to authorize the Iraq war] is a problem that has dogged Mr. Kerry since he walked through the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire, and suffered the barbs of Vermont's former governor, Howard Dean, who made Mr. Kerry's vote to authorize action an issue. Now Mr. Bush has taken up where Dr. Dean left off."

Howard Dean ... trainer extraordinaire for El Presidente? That's salt in the recent wound of watching the Democratic National Committee and the media do in Gov. Dean, who even now is a far more effective counter-puncher than Kerry.

And why is it that the New York Times can point out Bush's glaring weakness and Kerry can't? "...but Mr. Bush has his own problems, since the argument re-ignites the question of whether he rushed to war without a plan about what to do next. It is an issue on which Mr. Bush can still sound defensive. On Wednesday in Albuquerque, he responded to Mr. Kerry's suggestion that the United States could begin pulling troops out of Iraq next year by saying, 'I know what I'm doing when it comes to winning this war, and I'm not going to be sending mixed signals' by discussing pullouts."

"I know what I'm doing when it comes to winning this war." That statement is one of the more mockable lines that this eminently mockable president has uttered over the last three and a half years.

Come on, Kerry!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A Hack Politician to Head the CIA

Billmon has the goods on what's wrong with the Porter Goss appointment to the top CIA post ... and what's wrong (again!) with Senate Democrats, who seem intent (again!) to roll over and play puppy dogs to El Presidente's clear intention of turning the CIA into a political arm of the Bush/Cheney Reelection Committee. Once in a while it would be such a relief to take some pride in our Democratic senators!

Jim Harrell Makes Daily Kos

When an international blog that has raised zillions for Democratic congressional candidates singles out our local candidate, Dr. Jim Harrell of Mount Airy, for notice, and suggests that the 5th District race in North Carolina might be winnable for the Dems ... well now! This deserves some attention.

Daily Kos today posts an assessment of the 5th district situation which is mostly correct (even though Kos seems to be under the impression that Vernon Robinson has won the Republican nomination). Kos is getting his info from the Rothenberg Political Report, which is saying that Robinson has become an embarrassment to moderate Republicans in the district and that Virginia Foxx has been tainted also by the viciousness of the contest.

And certainly Harrell is the strongest candidate to step forward in the 5th District since Steve Neal retired. He's raised respectable money but will need much more. The fact that he'll be running against Foxx and not Robinson doesn't help, but Virginia is also vulnerable as a two-faced opportunist who will lie to your face. More on her, after she wins the primary run-off next Tuesday.

Run-Off for Sec. of Education Next Tuesday

In a quandary about who to vote for in the primary run-off between Atkinson and Stewart next Tuesday for Secretary of Education? Didn't know there was a run-off? Maybe this article in today's News & Observer can help you sort it out. It helped me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Politics of Terrorism

The story about the outing, for immediate political advantage, of another intelligence "asset" in Pakistan has begun to emerge in fairly coherent fashion. As we understand the sequence of events, this is what happened:

1. July 29th the Democratic Convention gives a big boost to the international and national security "cred" of John Kerry.

2. August 1st, the Bush administration breaks up the Kerry boomlet by raising the terror alert to orange in New York and Washington, earning the suspicion that they're playing politics with terror.

3. Taking a drubbing in the press for getting everyone all upset with four-year-old intel, someone in the Bush administration, in a panic to recover the political upper hand on terror, leaks the information that the new orange alert is really based on brand-new inside information gathered from a newly captured Al Qaeda computer expert, and the Bush administration leaker even names the guy: Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan. Khan, after his secret capture in Pakistan in July, had been cooperating with Pakistani and CIA officials in tracking Al Qaeda operatives, especially in Great Britain and Nigeria. Pakistani intelligence told Reuters that Khan was still working undercover when the U.S. security status was raised to orange and his name appeared in a U.S. newspaper.

4. The leaking of Khan's name sets off falling dominoes around the world, as Al Qaeda leaders suddenly realize they've been "made" and start disappearing. British military officials are forced to scramble and hurriedly stage a daylight raid on Qaeda operatives in Great Britain, to avoid losing them because of the leaking of Khan's name. "Security analysts said the outing of the source was a major blunder that forced Britain to arrest 12 terrorism suspects in a hurry."

5. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York writes a letter to the White House demanding to know why Khan's name was leaked to the press, suggesting that the outing of Khan may have hurt the war on terror. Duh.

This sorry sequence of events led to this Reuters lead paragraph today: "The unmasking of an al Qaeda mole after a U.S. security alert points to disarray within U.S. intelligence and could mean President George W. Bush is accused of playing politics with security, the top U.S. election issue."

And to this assessment by David Wright-Neville, of the Monash Global Terrorism Research Unit in Australia: "If it's true, at the very least it would suggest a breakdown in communication between the Pakistanis and the Americans. At worst, it smacks of political opportunism and, if that is indeed the case, it suggests that political survival ranks more highly than generating potentially valuable information on the extent of the [Qaeda] network."

Friday, August 06, 2004

Bishop of Raleigh Will Not Deny Communion

For the record, the Catholic Bishop F. Joseph Gossman of Raleigh has opted out of the moral bullying being practiced by his fellow prelates in Charlotte, Atlanta, and Charleston. Bishop Gossman said the sacrament of the Eucharist -- the receiving of bread and wine transformed into the body and blood of Christ, according to the Catholic faith -- should not be denied. "It is also been the long-standing practice in the Church not to make a public judgment about the state of the soul of those who present themselves for Holy Communion," said Gossman in a letter July 8. "For the present, this will continue to be my position."

Apparently, Bishop Gossman actually thinks "morality" takes in more ground than just the politics of abortion, since the decision to go to war might also qualify as a "moral" decision. Along with the decision to tilt every tax cut toward the richest while leaving the poorest to fend for themselves.

Friday A.M. Pot Pourri

The Washington Post is reporting that the TV ad attacking John Kerry's service in Vietnam was paid for "in part by a major Republican Party donor in Texas." Gosh. It had the whiff of Karl Rove all over it already, and now it's a full-out stench.

The same group of Vietnam vets featured in the ad above have also collaborated on a book, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," to be published next week. Yesterday it reached number one on the bestseller list on Amazon.com, based on advance orders, in part because of publicity about it on the Drudge Report. But this morning, in the Boston Globe, one of the chief Kerry accusers of this bunch recants: "...a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry's former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a 'terrible mistake' in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star -- one of the main allegations in the book .... Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said ... he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star."

Bloomberg is reporting that European stock markets slumped noticeably today after the U.S. government reported an almost flat job creation rate in July. After forecasting an expected gain of some 241,000 jobs in July, only 21,000 were added (according to MSNBC): "The labor force participation rate, which generally rises in good economic times, fell to 65.9 percent of the nation's adult population, the lowest since 1988." Oops. Makes a certain recently minted slogan look particularly ill-chosen: "We've turned the corner, and we're NOT going back!"

Yesterday, as he signed the $417 billion defense spending bill into law, El Presidente spoke the unintended and unvarnished truth: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

Alan Keyes (who once ripped Hillary Clinton as a carpetbagger) has decided to run for Senate in Hillary's real home state of Illinois, even though he lives in Maryland. Obama now faces oh brother.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

John McCain Condemns Anti-Kerry Ad

A group calling itself the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" -- none of whom, incidentally, served on John Kerry's swift boat in 'Nam -- have produced a TV ad that is set to run in Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin that accuses Kerry of lying about his decorated Vietnam War record and betraying his fellow veterans by later opposing the conflict.

This tactic has brought Sen. John McCain roaring out of his seat, denouncing the ad as scurrilous and calling on El Presidente to denounce it too. This kind of campaigning, you see, is something John McCain knows about, since it's very similar to the lies the Bush campaign told about McCain during the South Carolina primary four years ago.

"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush. "Dishonest and deplorable," McCain added.

Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, "I hope not, but I don't know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad."

For the record, all the veterans who actually served with Kerry on that swift boat have endorsed his election, with the one exception of the crewman who is now deceased.

"We Pledge Allegiance to the United States of Dick"

This story was featured on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart last night, so I went looking for the Albuquerque Journal source, and here 'tis:

Citizens seeking tickets to an appearance of Dick Cheney at Rio Rancho Mid-High School in Albuquerque July 29th were told they would have to sign a loyalty pledge to vote for Bush/Cheney first. It only became news when a reporter for the newspaper was informed he couldn't attend without signing the pledge.

Call this the USA Patriot Act as applied to campaign events, since the Republicans' excuse for demanding signed loyalty oaths was based on the fear of "terrorism": "State Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell, speaking on behalf of the Republican Party, said Thursday that a 'known Democrat operative group' was intending to try to crash Saturday's campaign rally."

Who knew Democrats had such a hold on Republican imaginations!

"...some who left ... without tickets on Thursday said they're not affiliated with an operative group and should have a right to see their vice president without pledging their allegiance to Bush. 'I'm outraged at this. I'm being closed off by my own government. It's crazy,' said East Mountains resident Pamela Random, who added that she is an unaffiliated voter. John Wade of Albuquerque said he initially signed the endorsement but was having second thoughts before he even left the office. Wade, a Democrat, said he returned his tickets and demanded to get his endorsement form back. 'It's not right for me to have to sign an endorsement to hear [Cheney] speak,' Wade said. 'I'm still pissed. This just ain't right.' "

Republican In-Fighting in the 10th District

In the run-up to the August 17th run-off in the 10th Congressional District between former Catawba County Sheriff David Huffman and state Rep. Patrick McHenry, all three Republican candidates who ran against Huffman in the July 20th primary have signed a complaint to the Federal Elections Commission alleging that Huffman failed to properly disclose the source of more than $266,000 collected during the primary campaign.

The race is to succeed Rep. Cass Ballenger.

"These funds received by Huffman in the form of uncollateralized, undocumented, no interest, no due date and still-secret loans constitute unlawful and excessive political contributions," said the complaint filed by The Williams Law Firm in Hickory and signed by the other candidates including McHenry.

This causes us to recall that Virginia Foxx was the subject of a complaint to the FEC (wasn't it?) about her commingling of funds from her state senate campaign committee and her U.S. House race. Whatever happened with that?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Alabama Sen. Shelby Leaked Classified Info

When is it NOT a crime to leak classified intelligence information? According to the Bush/Ashcroft Justice Department, it's not a crime if you happen to be a Republican senator from Alabama.

The Washington Post is reporting this evening that Sen. Richard Shelby first divulged classified intercepted messages to FOX News reporter Carl Cameron, who didn't use the info, and then to CNN reporter Dana Bash, who put it on the air some 30 minutes after she heard it from Shelby.

"Last month it was revealed that the Justice Department had decided to forgo a criminal prosecution, at least for now, and turned the matter over to the Senate Ethics Committee." Can't imagine why.

What did Shelby tell? The disclosure involved two messages that were intercepted by the National Security Agency on the eve of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but were not translated until Sept. 12. The Arabic-language messages said 'The match is about to begin' and 'Tomorrow is zero hour.' "

When Shelby spilled these particular beans to the FOX & CNN reporters, he had just stepped out of a classified briefing by the CIA, where he had learned these nuggets. Shelby's motive? He wanted to underscore his belief that the intelligence services were incompetent. Fair enough. But he also underscored just what the CIA is (or was) able to gather on a daily basis, even if they can't seem to get the stuff translated fast enough.

Mitre-Heads Get Nasty

Three Southern Catholic bishops, led by the Bishop of Atlanta John F. Donoghue (and including the Bishop of Charlotte Peter Jugis and the Bishop of Charleston Robert J. Baker), have issued a draconian declaration that any Catholic politician not toeing the line on the church's doctrine on abortion cannot receive communion until "they publicly recant their views" (the application of thumb-screws was not mentioned, though this comes close enough to auto-da-fe), PLUS "get permission from a bishop before again receiving Communion."

The only politicians singled out, natch! were those in favor of abortion rights. For those of you slow on the uptake, that would mean Democrats. None of those Southern Catholic Republicans who hate abortion but love a good capital murder execution from time to time were even mentioned, yet the bishops' statement implicitly condemned capital punishment too: "We declare that Catholics serving in public life espousing positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on the sanctity and inviolability of human life, especially those running for or elected to public office, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in any Catholic church within our jurisdiction," the bishops wrote.

"But we're only singling out abortion rights and not capital punishment, because, after all, we're in the friggin SOUTH, and we KNOW how to play politics in the friggin South," the bishops could have (but didn't, so far as we know) add.

Robinson Has Got National Conservatives Arguing

According to the Raleigh N&O, 5th District congressional candidate Vernon Robinson has sparked a debate among national conservative leaders, with Jack Kemp on the thumbs-down side and Pat Buchanan on the thumbs-up side. Robinson "lost the support of Jack Kemp, who endorsed Robinson but changed his mind after deciding that Robinson is among the 'protectionist xenophobes' who are dividing the Republican Party." "Xenophobe" = "A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of strangers or foreigners, especially as reflected in his political or cultural views." That's ole Vern to a T!

But "that's OK with Pat Buchanan, who weighed in on Robinson's behalf in a column this week in The American Conservative."

In the meantime, we hear Virginia Foxx has gotten the Cruella de Ville endorsement, just to keep things balanced.

Credibility Watch; Or, The Little Shrub That Cried Wolf

This lead paragraph from a story in this morning's WashPost pretty much sums up my incredulity from yesterday (see the previous post):

"The White House's failure to make it clear that the dramatic terrorism alert Sunday was based largely on information that predated the Sept. 11 attacks is a case study in the difficulty of managing such warnings for an administration whose credibility is a central issue in a difficult presidential campaign."

Bottomline: who believes these guys, particularly with this track-record on WMDs, Niger yellowcake, and the cost of the drug prescription benefit added to Medicare? Everybody I know whose opinion I trust say Karl Rove would do ANYTHING to win this election for El Presidente. ANYTHING.

Only Howard Dean had the cojones on Sunday to call this latest ramping up of the terrorist threat what it transparently is: "...former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean strongly suggest[ed] political motives behind the announcement. 'I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism,' Dean said Sunday."

Howard Dean and Jon Stewart ... virtually the only guys we know who'll give it to us straight.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Puppets on a String?

Mighty suspicious, this current ramping up of the terrorist threat on certain financial institutions in New York, Washington, and Newark (NEWARK?) ... based on, according to the New York Times, intel that's fully THREE YEARS OLD!

"Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday. They reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terrorist plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way....

"Federal authorities said on Monday that they had uncovered no evidence that any of the surveillance activities described in the documents was currently under way. They said officials in New Jersey had been mistaken in saying on Sunday that some suspects had been found with blueprints and may have recently practiced 'test runs'' aimed at the Prudential building in Newark."

Not that the Rovians would EVER use the terrorist threat as political manipulation, right? It would be practically treasonous to even suggest that, right? Assinine, at the very least!

Proof of how trumped up and phony all this high alert at certain banking institutions in New York City is El Presidente's dispatching of Laura and The Twins to cheer on the brave bankers who showed up for work. Safe photo-ops for the Age of Terrorism (or terrorism as it's practiced during a reelection campaign) -- send the wife and kids out to the building you think is about to be blown up! Ri-i-i-ight!