October 29, 2004
October 28, 2004
King of the World!
from - Buck
When you think about it the world should be able to vote in the upcoming election. After all we are electing the king of the world so should not the world have a say in who will lead them? What a wonderful way to spread democracy.
I realize that there are those who would argue that since 88% of the world is for Kerry that is proof positive that Bush is the man for the job. After all, aren't 88% of the world's population terrorists?
from - Buck
I still check on Neal Boortz a couple of times a week. I am always amazed at how this man has changed since 9/11. There was a time when he was entertaining but that was back before he started taking himself so seriously. Nowadays he panders to those out there with the lowest of intellects. He uses worn out scare tactics like the one below pulled from his website today:
Drudge broke a story that ABC News was secretly holding a videotape they got from Pakistan that shows a man threatening a massive attack on America. The man on the tape claims to be a U.S. native and Al-Qaeda supporter and says that the "streets will run with blood." Sources also say that the attack will dwarf that of September 11, 2001.
Other than the appearance of the videotape, this is not news. Al-Qaeda has threatened to kill millions of Americans already, but will people take it seriously? In case after case, Islamic terrorists have warned they are going to do something, and then they did it. Are you listening?
We already know that the terrorists' candidate of choice is The Poodle. They decided to throw the election in Spain, and attacked Madrid, and were rewarded by the defeatist surrender monkeys at the polls. Can the same thing happen here? You bet, and people need to pay attention.
The United States is engaged in a world war on terrorism...a global struggle against Islamo-fascism that threatens our freedom. And yet more people are worried about jobs and health care. Amazing
Can you imagine how many tapes already exist of kooks shouting out that they are going to attack America? Can somebody tell me why Al-Qaeda is afraid of George Bush when they are having their way with him any and every time they want to? George Bush has reacted exactly like Bin Laden has hoped he would react in every instance. How is it that we have supposedly destroyed 75% of Al-Qaeda but the 25% remaining is a greater threat to us now more than ever?
I am not nearly as concerned about “Islamo-fascism” as I am “Americo-fascism” and the voters in this country are on the brink of electing Kerry with or without an attack by Al Qaeda. Islamo-fascists are a much smaller threat to “our freedoms” than the Ashcroft Department of Justice is and any fool should be able to see that. What is Al-Qaeda going to do? Drive their modified Toyota Pick-Ups over here and take over the White House? Al-Qaeda may be a limited threat to Americans but it is no threat whatsoever to America.
I heard Dick Morris, a man whose political savvy I greatly admire, say on The Sean Hannity radio show that the reason Al-Qaeda has not attacked us is because they know an attack will help get George Bush re-elected. This is after months of listening to him say that the reason Al-Qaeda has not attacked us is because of the sterling job our Fatherland Security guys are doing.
These guys need to get on the same page. They are all certifiably insane and they practically control the airwaves. They rage against the mainstream media and they are the mainstream media. They have convinced millions of Americans that America is threatened from the outside while America is crumbling from the inside.
This is mass madness and I have no idea as to how to turn it around.
October 27, 2004
from - smijer
Looking good for the BoSox, and I'm off to bed.
Here's to winners from Massachusetts (not tax-achusetts)
from - smijer
One of the reasons I like Josiah Q of Chattablogs is this wonderful community spirit he has. This is his invitation to local teachers, civic leaders, and foundations to get the Chattablogs treatment. So, Josiah, I salute you. And I'm belatedly adding Chattablogs to the blogroll.
from - smijer
Wonder how the flat-earthers will spin this...
Not much to say........
from - Buck
Just thought I would bore you guys with my most recent letter to the editor.
Will Durst once said, “The American voter only wants a fraud that they can believe in”. This may be the reason for the higher than average voter turn out that is expected this upcoming election day. Voters would be hard pressed to find two more fraudulent candidates than this election offers.
The bumper sticker that reads “I actually voted for John Kerry before I voted against him” captures the essence of the democratic challenger better than any other sound bite that I have heard. Kerry has reached levels of ambiguity and tergiversation attainable only by those that have spent twenty years or more in the Senate. He has the ability to bloviate out of both sides of his mouth more articulately than any politician in recent memory.
The Republican incumbent has a record that speaks for itself which is fortunate because he is only marginally able to speak for himself. After running on a platform promising a kinder and gentler foreign policy we were promptly thrust into a war in the Middle East for reasons that have since been proven false. It is a war that has already cost this country more than the First World War even after making adjustments for inflation. The size and scope and cost of government have exploded during his tenure and it has all been done with borrowed money. It will take a generation to clean up the financial mess that has been made over the last four years.
There are only a few questions that need to be answered before choosing a President. Are you better off than you were four years ago? Have your wages kept up with the cost of living? During the past four years has the nation known peace and prosperity? Are you happy with our current foreign, domestic and economic policies?
If you can answer yes to those questions then you would have to be crazy to vote against the incumbent. If you answer no to these questions then you would have to be crazy to vote for him.
Changing Presidents will not change the fact that we are engaged in a war that will still be being fought when our great grandchildren have grandchildren. Changing Presidents will not change the fact that hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars will have to be paid back by somebody somehow someday.
About the only thing changing Presidents will do is give a different herd of swine the opportunity to feed at the public trough.
And keep in mind that just like oil industry executives, trial lawyers have to eat too.
Hopefully this will rattle everybody's cage.
Quote of the Day
from - smijer
"Sixty-five. ... Nearly dead"
- John Cleese in talk at Cornell University.
Happy birthday to maybe the funniest person ever.
October 26, 2004
As If You Needed Them
from - smijer
I ranted the other day that Bush vigilantism was good enough reason to vote against him by itself, no other factors considered. I honestly don't know if people understand that a vote for Bush is a vote for "every man for himself", survival-of-the-fittest mentality in the world community, or what the the price of that mentality is in security risks. But, for those people who still find yourself sitting on the fence - maybe you've believed some of the Republican attacks on Kerry's character, or maybe you've believed the propaganda that "Bush will keep us safe" - here are some other reasons to vote against Bush.He let a terrorist go to preserve his rationale for and garner support for his pet war (the one in Iraq - not the one on terrorism).
The "buck" stops nowhere. He refuses respsonsibility for sending in too few troops to secure Iraq's borders and weapons dumps. The Army chief of staff warned him that he needed more troops and the U.N. warned him that Al Qa Qaa needed securing, but he was more interested in proving Rumsfeld's theory that a ground invasion type war could be fought "on the cheap" with all the fancy new gadgetry that the Pentagon has its hands on. That gamble is still costing lives, yet no responsbility from the President - as usual.
Another $70 billion on the credit card.
The slide into poverty is becoming an avalanche. Women's earning declined for the first time since 1999. 12.9 million American children are now living in poverty. 45 million people are now without health insurance.
I guess you could say that these attacks - these reasons not to vote for Bush - are "torn from the headlines". I laughed and laughed. It's true that the most damning attacks on Bush's record come from the headlines. What's funny is that they are trying to spin that as a weakness for the other side. I think if "the facts had a bias" against me, I'd be trying to keep my mouth shut about it.
Side note: The Passion of the Present is a website dedicated to helping stop the genocide in the Sudan. Pay them a visit. If you live in an area where they are being held, consider attending a Sudanese Peace Meetup. Don't let this thing fall off the radar.
October 25, 2004
Are you kiddin' me?
from - Buck
Never in a million years would I have believed this. I guess it is proof positive that you cannot tell a book by its cover.
October 24, 2004
from - smijer
Nathan at Holding Down the Fort
Cube at Sandcastles and Cubicles
John at Somewhere Near Marker XIV
William at You'll Always Find a Fifth
Austin at Mocephus
Jim at Opinion Times
Clark at Clark Stooksbury
Dan at Library Monk
Philip at Soulfish Stew
Nathan at MooreThoughts.com
Ned at Land Surveying Weblog
Lobbygow at Dope on the Slope
All the folks at Meanderthal
Ok, I noticed that most of these new additions are boy names, so I guess I take back the sloppy wet kisses. Masculine handshakes all around.
Oh yeah - I noticed that I screwed up before when I listed Scrutiny Hooligans with the RTB. It appears that this is actually a North Carolina based blog. I couldn't bear to see Screwy Hoolie and friends disappear from my blog-roll (especially since they are so gracious as to include the entire RTB on theirs!), so I moved them into the "liberal politics" section where they will hopefully feal right at home.
October 22, 2004
Blair Witch Wolves
from - smijer
I watched the new ad Campaign Extra! lampoons here. My subject line says it all.
P.S. I spoke with a member of Wolfpacks For Truth on the condition of anonymity. She reminded me with a wink that wolves mostly dine on chickens and sheep. I'm just sayin'.
from - smijer
According to Taegan Goddard's Political wire, a vote for Kerry in 2004 might be a vote for Clinton in 2006, as Secretary General of the United Nations. Now, you may disagree, but from where I sit, the big dog would make a helluva, helluva, UNSG. And, can you imagine the coniptions we could witness from the wingers? I think that it would be worth it just to see all the shiny new tin-foil hats that would come out from the radical right.
... and, if Clinton served two terms, there would be the possibility of a Clinton in the White house and in the U.N. from 2013-2016... Rush Limbaugh, grab your nitroglycerin patch. You're going to need it!
Friday Billy Goat
from - smijer
This ain't my goat.
He, Casper the goat, does belong to a member of the family. Since my dogs and walking sticks were camera shy this week, I figured, "why not"? I'm still working on the plug-in that will make my goat pictures scratch-n-sniff. You'll need that feature for the full effect.
(I'm also submitting this to the wonderful Friday Ark from the Modulator.)
October 21, 2004
from - smijer
Via Kevin "Washington Monthly's Political Animal" Drum, I was just gazing through this wonderful list of well-known libertarians and their votes for president in 2000 and 20004. Guess who got left out. Sad, really. Even his amateur internet "Nemesiz" can't be bothered with him much lately.
Maybe it's time for Neal to be thinking about getting off the air and collecting himself some good old fashioned socialist social security before it goes belly-up
2004 vote: Most likely George Bush, and for one reason: the war. I’m having trouble trusting Kerry on that.
2000 vote: Harry Browne.
Most embarrassing vote: Dukakis, ’88.
Favorite president: Calvin Coolidge, who knew his limitations.
Predictably, my own favorite resonder was Michael Shermer:
2004 vote: John Kerry. I’m a libertarian, but in 2000 I voted my conscience under the assumption that it probably didn’t matter who won between Bush and Gore (Tweedledee and Tweedledum when compared to Browne), and I was wrong. It did matter. The world situation is too precarious and too dangerous to flip a coin, the Libertarian candidate cannot win, Bush’s foreign policy is making the world more dangerous and more precarious rather than less, and Kerry has a good chance to win and an even better chance to improve our situation. Most important, he’s a serious cyclist who wears the yellow "LiveStrong" bracelet in support of Lance Armstrong’s cancer foundation and Tour de France win.
2000 vote: Harry Browne, because like the Naderites on the other end of the spectrum I voted my conscience.
Most embarrassing vote: Richard Nixon, 1972, my first presidential vote cast, just out of high school. My poli-sci profs the next several years of college regaled us with daily updates about Watergate. Ooops...
Favorite president: Thomas Jefferson, because 1) he was a champion of liberty, 2) he applied scientific thinking to the political, economic, and social spheres, and 3) when he dined alone at the White House there was more intelligence in that room than when John F. Kennedy hosted a dinner there for a roomful of Nobel laureates.
And, of course, the ineffable Penn Jillette. Ok. Maybe he's effable... but he's still Penn Jillette.
from - Buck
The movie “Network” was released the year I graduated from high school. I remember hearing about it but I had never seen it. I was muddling around through various blogs a couple of weeks ago and came across these.
These are some of the major rants that Howard Beale makes in portions of the movie. As soon as I heard this one I knew I had to have it.
I ordered a copy from Amazon and the movie is fabulous. Now would be a great time to re-release it. There is almost an entire generation of people that need to sit down and watch it. Sobering and hilarious at the same time. A definite two thumbs up from Buck.
Put on your tin hats......
from - Buck
from - Buck
For those interested in an in depth look at George Bush and how he operates behind the scenes this article written by Ron Suskind is a great place to start.
The article is long but it is well worth the time it takes to read it. I find it incredible that a guy like Bush has actually been given the job of governing the planet. For those who believe that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise George Bush is the perfect personification of their vindication. A more foolish man would be hard to find.
Now that Pat Robertson has announced that Bush told him that we would “have no casualties in Iraq” it should be obvious that we are dealing with a man who has serious limitations.
I watched an interview that Charley Rose had with Ron Suskind last night. It was both informative and entertaining. At the end of the interview Charley asked Ron if he thought another four years of Bush would be bad for the country. Suskind said that even though he had no evidence to back him up he had a gut feeling that this country had a lot to be worried about if George is given four more years.
I still believe that Bush will win the election. And I also believe that if he does the next four years could be the most tumultuous in our country’s history.
Time will tell.
Laughing at ESPN
from - smijer
Apparently, Steinbrenner didn't spend enough money on this team.
Sorry it's been so quiet. I had a nice post typed up for my new "energy" category on Monday, but I lost it to a network failure. It consisted of some noise from me about Joe Connelly and some fellow from the Detroit News. I'll leave you with a few quotes from Connelly and no punditry from tired old me:
Pledging a "Manhattan-type project" to develop alternative energy sources, and aggressive moves to prevent Enron-style manipulation of power markets, Sen. John Kerry yesterday came courting the Pacific Northwest.
"I want to push technologies such as wind turbines, biomass and biofuels grids," he said. "Early this year, for instance, I went to a project funded by the University of Northern Iowa. They produce a lubricant made out of soy for use on railroads. It is 99 percent biodegradable, versus oil lubricants that are zero percent.
Kerry also pledged to create a $20 billion fund for investment in energy conservation and efficiency.
"We can set and meet a goal of getting 20 percent of America's electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2020," said Kerry.
A House-passed energy bill, backed by Bush, is heavily geared toward investment in fossil fuels and nuclear power. It would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling.
October 19, 2004
from - Buck
Is the abiogenic theory plausible?
October 18, 2004
Regular or Super Sized?
from - Buck
I need help understanding the state of our economy. George Bush insists that in order to get good jobs Americans must be well educated. Okay then. That sounds logical. My question is, where are these jobs to be found? What are these high paying jobs that only the well educated can perform? What kind of classes do they need to take? How much education do those who work for pennies a day overseas have? I read today that the Tech Sector is cutting jobs at an alarming rate.
Am I to assume that the Tech Sector does not employ the well educated or am I supposed to assume that those fired by the Tech Sector were let go because of their lack of education?
It seems to me that the real question is exactly how much education does one need to have in order to ask the question “do you want fries with that?”
A Nation That Has Lost its Way
from - smijer
I have a knot in my stomach, after reading this MSNBC piece touting a Bush lead in three of four polls. Now, I don't think these leads are necessarily an accurate reflection of the state of the race right now. For one, they left out the Rasmussen tracking poll which agrees with Zogby that the race is even and moving toward Kerry. For another, I've looked at some of the internals involved, as well as state polls, and the numbers aren't convincingly Bush. The real problem is that there is a race at all.
In 1968, after Johnson led the nation into a disastrous, illegal, and unnecessary war in Vietnam, he made the famous statement, "I shall not seek, nor will I accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President." If Americans now were as thoughtful and aware as we were then, we can be certain that Bush would have no chance at re-election.
Our leaders have made our homeland into a vigilante state, above the law, above reason, and above accountability. I know that Bush isn't the first to do so, but he is the first to do so without apology and without an attempt to conceal his purpose. I remember him telling us in the 2000 debates that he felt America should be humble but strong. Now, he is using millions of dollars of campaign money to tell us that America should be arrogant, and that arrogance is strength. This, perhaps, will be our undoing. Because, until now, America's people have never believed that. Now, to an unprecedented degree, Americans are beginning to believe that America's power is fit for use indiscriminately, without regard to the well-being of the world, or the legality or justice of our action. Now the "ends" (which are supposedly to "keep us safe") justify any means.
Bush often brags that he will not give anyone veto power over the United States' ability to defend itself. But, when he says "defend", he really means attack without provocation. Now, any military action that the leaders of the U.S. choose to undertake is a means that is justified under that umbrella goal of "keeping us safe". The ironic thing is that this sort of military overreach, this sort of hubris and unaccountability is exactly what will make the world the most dangerous for us. Our military is mired in a conflict from which there is no exit, and our enemies multiply and gain legitimacy from our arrogance.
One time, Americans really knew that the ends do not justify the means. One time, Americans respected the rule of law. That political awareness is being eroded, successfully, by the President of the United States and his re-election campaign. Our nation has lost its way. Let us all hope that we will repudiate our mistakes and once again join the world of reason and justice before it is too late. On November second, let us cast our votes for John Kerry, or Michael Baradnik, or Michael Peroutka, or even (heaven forbid) Ralph Nader. Let us tell the world that unthinking agression against all Arabs is not something the American people will stand for.
As True Now As Ever
from - smijer
Thought for the day:
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
- Isaac Asimov
October 15, 2004
Letting the Dog out of the Bag
from - smijer
It must be Friday!
A personal hero
from - Buck
Before I disappear into my lair for a weekend of college football I did have a political and personal thought to share.
One of my favorite writers and thinkers is H.L. Mencken.
Now I realize that Mencken has been characterized as an anti-Semite and was hated by both sides of the political spectrum in his day. Maybe that is why I love him so much. He was an individualist and a true free thinker. He said what he thought and thought what he said and was as consistent as consistent can be. I never try to deify a man any more than I try to destroy one. I have never met a man that I did not agree with on some issues and disagree with on others but I have never respected any person that cannot take their position and be proud of the position they take. That brings me to a quote attributed to Mencken that popped into my head after reading Smijer’s post this morning:
“A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.”
I thought of this while pondering the fact that the Cheney’s are willing to use their own daughter for political gain and then act shocked and angry when others do the same. There is no honor in these people. There is no honor in any of these people. It gets harder and harder to take seriously the charade at the top of the political dung heap while viewing it from the bottom but take it seriously we must because it is our lives and our money that they enjoy squandering for their own personal benefit.
Maybe a weekend of beautiful autumn weather and college football will help my mood. I hope to go see Team America: World Police. Laughing at disaster is sometimes the best medicine even though sometimes even laughter is depressing.
Another New Scandal
from - smijer
Just when you thought the tempest over Mary Cheney's dirty gayness being publicly, professionally, and politically exploited by herself, the Coors Brewing Company*, her father**, John Edwards, John Kerry, and now even her own mother, was over, another scandals rises to the surface to take it's place. Perhaps Lynne Cheney reacted so vocally to charges that her daughter was a dirty*** lesbian because she knew this was coming and she hoped to draw attention away from the other skeleton in the Cheney's closet.
I know how Matt Drudge must feel when he is about to break news for the first time that a sleeping nation will soon be awake to, and repeat first in shocked whispers, then with a furiously building crescendo, will be outraged nationwide in a media storm full of sound and fury. For I am about to reveal to you another family secret of the Cheney's. Lynne Cheney is married to a dirty Republican. Rumor has it that she is a dirty Republican herself.
I hope that John Kerry will have the decency not to bring up in his campaign, that his opponent's VP candidate is a dirty Republican. He has already sullied the honor of the office of Candidate for President by mentioning his opponent's VP's daughter is a professional* dirty lesbian (who has been oddly quiet about dirty gay rights in a campaign year when her father is running on the ticket of the dirty Republican Party who hopes to extinguish any hopes in the dirty little hearts of dirty gay people everywhere that one day they will be entitled to full citizenship). So, enough, already. Show some taste. Show some respect for a family that doesn't want people to know about their dirty daughter, and her dirty gay ways... and try to keep a tight lip about her dirty father and his dirty Republican ways, too.
*Mary Cheney has worked in the past for Coors Brewing Co. in their public relations department as their liason to the dirty gay and lesbian community.
**Dick Cheney was the first to make his daughter's dirty gayness a campaign issue in his speech in Davenport, IA on August 24.
***Perhaps this comparison isn't quite fair. Many gays and lesbians somehow dont' consider themselves dirty. Surely all Republicans know in their heart of hearts that they are dirty through and through.
Update: It seems I may have accused John Kerry falsely in this post. It turns out that he doesn't remember saying anything about Mary Cheney. He is quoted as saying in response to the allegations that, "this is kind of like one of those ex-agg-erations." My apologies to the Senator.
October 14, 2004
from - smijer
It looks like Buck and I may be in the minority, calling the debate for Bush. The polls show a clear win for Kerry, for which I am grateful. It will be good for the election chances to have a post-debate narrative showing that Kerry won all three debates.
And yes, I'm torqued that there was no mention of energy supply, and the critical problems facing us from that direction. Not even Bush claiming to have invented the hydrogen generated car. Bad Bush. Bad Kerry, Bad moderator.
Guns and God
from - Buck
John Kerry made one HUGE mistake tonight when he insisted that he would have FOUGHT to see the assault weapons ban extended. There was not one politician in all of Washington that would touch that issue with a ten foot pole and Kerry calmly bent over and picked it up. His passion about the ban left the Kerry team looking like gun-banning liberals and made the Bush team look like gun rights champions. He lost precious votes that he cannot afford to lose on a meaningless issue. Far, far more people will vote against him because of that position than will vote for him because of it. There are many that are single issue voters with gun rights being the single issue. There are few out there that will vote against you because you let a law like the assault weapons ban lapse. It was a terrible misjudgement but you could tell that he truly believes that the assault weapons ban was important. Since he supposedly knows a little bit about guns he should have known that the ban was pure window dressing. In my opinion he stepped into it up to his chin when he made that mistake.
George Bush won the debate tonight because he connected with people. His answer to the question about his faith surely set the evangelicals on fire. Rove had lamented that there were over four million of them that did not vote in the last election. Well, you might as well start playing "Just As I Am" down at the polling places because they are coming now.
The bottom line is that Kerry alienated many voters while Bush energized many others. It is a mistake to judge a debate on substance. Politics is about feeling and emotion not facts and figures.
Bush nailed it tonight.
October 13, 2004
The Last Debate
from - smijer
I'm going to have to declare this a tentative win for George Bush. I'm still optimistic for the Democratic ticket however. For those watching the debate, Bush seemed sincere and genuine, where Kerry was ill-prepared and may have given an impression too consistent with the attacks against him coming from the Bush people. He left himself open to attacks on his lack of conviction and the charge that he is a "finger-in-the-wind" politician. I still have my own private doubts about the senator where it regards his status as a pandering politician, but I remain optimistic. Why do I support Kerry so strongly? Because I continue to support Kerry on the grounds that he is running against Bush, and it is crucial that we show the world that the American people repudiate the Bush Doctrine of unbridled agression against anyone we wish to attack. Why do I remain optimistic about his chances? Because I hope the debate sound-bite will be Bush's smarmy use of the phrase "one of those ex-ag-er-aations..." and the simple fact that he was calling Kerry a liar for bringing up Bush's very own, very real words from the time that he decided that bin Laden was less important than Hussein.
Where will it go from here? We will see. I hope for Kerry because I don't want the world to see the American people as supportive of the arrogant policies of the Bush administration in foreign policy. I will have more to say about why I support Kerry in the morning.
A Good Read from MSNBC/Newsweek
from - smijer
While biding our time, we could have a look at what Al Gore is doing these days from Melinda Henneberger. On a side note, she makes an interesting point about a Bushism from the last debate:
[Bush: ]"That’s why I proposed a hydrogen automobile—hydrogen-generated automobile”—a statement that, coming from Gore, would have been seen as a literal claim that he had himself dreamed up the idea of inventing such a vehicle.
If the Democrats had the
mind message control the GOoPers have, the statement that "Bush claims to have invented the fuel cell" would be getting front page headlines from all the major news outlets. Maybe the blogosphere will come to the rescue.
from - smijer
There have been a lot of things going on in the past days, and a lot on my mind. I just haven't had the discipline to put hands to keyboard and get new content up here. I notice that my friend Buck is quiet lately, too.
I hope I'll be able to sit and type tonight or Wednesday morning. Meantime, you won't hurt for reading material if you have a look through kos and the reader diaries there. There seems to be a blitz lately of voter fraud allegations, and some very troubling reporting from Iraq by Seymour Hersh, if the stories are true. That's not to mention the latest horse-race numbers and senate race analysis.
The biggest problem for a blogger like myself is that I learn more with my mouth shut. So silence really is golden sometimes.
October 11, 2004
from - smijer
Bush's latest attack on Kerry is based on Kerry's wordsmithmanship where it concerns his goal of reducing terrorism to a nuisance. Ezra points out that this is also a miltary goal. From Brent Scrowcrott, via Pandagon:
"Can we win the war on terrorism? Yes, I think we can, in the sense that we can win the war on crime. There is going to be no peace treaty on the battleship Missouri in the war on terrorism, but we can break its back so that it is a horrible nuisance and not a paralyzing influence on our societies."
This is but one reason I say the Bush team is desperate. They are now busy denying reality in any conceivable way to make their position seem "tougher" than their opponents'.
October 10, 2004
Another Simple Sermon
from - smijer
I'm going to have a simple sermon this Sunday myself:
I'm looking for a championship where the Massachusetts team beats the Texas team, but I'm not talking about baseball.
A simple sermon
from - Buck
As the boys choir softly sings Rocky Top in the background, the associate pastor of the Church of Rational Mysticism approaches the pulpit and gives his simple two word sermon..........
he says, and then turns and leaves through a back exit door before the baying of Ol' Smokey becomes too much for him to tolerate.
October 09, 2004
Bush Drastically Improved, Still Lost
from - smijer
I don't want to rehash what "everyone else" is saying. It's obvious that Kerry people think Kerry won and Bush people thought Bush won. That just means it was close enough to spin. The real test will be the next week as we see how the debate influenced undecideds and soft supporters. I think we will see that Kerry won.
One of my biggest beefs with Bush is this problem he has with his own fallability. I want to start with his answer to Kerry's charge that he didn't provide enough troops for the occupation and didn't heed Shinseki's advice. At a time when it is absolutely clear that there were mistakes in the post-war planning, Bush's response is to inform us that he met with his generals and put the question to them: "do you have what you need?" Kerry's response to this was dead on, but he should have prefaced it with the attack that goes to the core of Bush's weakness. "Mr. President, Harry Truman said the buck stops here. You cannot place the blame for your failure to plan for a post-war Iraq on the men and women in our military." Or something else that more eloquently expresses the fact that Bush was, in his subtle and conniving way, maneuvering to shift the blame for his failures to his generals. This isn't just a rhetorical dodge. Asking the generals what they need only makes sense in terms of the invasion. The occupation is a complex political process that is has to be handled by the state department and defense together. As Kerry correctly pointed out, the generals' job was to win the war - the Presidents' job was to win the peace. What with all the fluff that will be rehashed in the media from this debate, don't expect to hear too much more about this very important point.
Bush is a belligerent little punk at points during the debate. I have in my mind a picture of him charging off of his stool and talking over the moderator to tell us how it "denergates are allies if you tell 'em we go it alone". Why that was so important that he had to come out hands flailing to make sure we all heard it is beyond me. Kerry was calm and reasonable in his response, but he might have made it a point that the rest of the world, our allies included, already know the truth of the situtation. If I were Kerry (and had prepared for this line, knowing it was coming from Bush) it would have gone like this, "Our allies and the rest of the world don't need me to tell them how your administration undertook this operation. And they know that my criticism, Mr. President, is of your choices, not the cooperation that we have received from some of them. But,..." at which point Kerry would continue with his line about Missouri's troops being the third largest member of the coalition.
The point awarded to Mr. Bush in the thirteenth round is hereby withdrawn and awarded to Mr. Kerry, for the latter's enterprising hoisting of his opponent on said opponent's own petard.
Mr. Bush is also penalized three points for a truth foul.
Mr. Bush is further penalized two points for getting snarky while in the act of being factually incorrect.
Ok, so I did have to rehash at least that from what everyone else was saying.
I would have liked to have seen some specifics about energy policy from either side. I don't think "hydrogen generated cars" quite cuts it.
I loved Kerry's answers on stem cells, drug re-importation ("we took care of the safety" - succinct!), and abortion. I think that he was credibly sincere on the cultural and moral issues, and that is going to count with a lot of people out there who are uncomfortable with abortion, but who are equally uncomfortable with another four years of Bush's mis-rule. And, I think there are a quite a few people out there like that. Many of them will vote for Bush anyway, but some will start to feel more comfortable with Kerry after hearing his position.
Finally, Bush shows his true lack of humility or sense of responsibility by identifying his three biggest mistakes as being appointees. We all know he means appointing people like Paul O'Neill, John DiIulio, and Paul Bremer (among others) who have the temerity to publicly disagree with the President. Bush's biggest mistake in his own eyes is not appointing enough yes-men!
October 08, 2004
The energy line
from - smijer
We're going to free ourself from this dependency on foreign oil.
Kerry promised a ten year plan to make the U.S. energy independence. Pie in the sky? Maybe... but it was, at least mentioned.
Update: It appears some of the Bush people read smijer.com as well. Bush made mention of energy independence in his closing statements.
I'm curious to know whether the President has partial ownership in a timber company. Not because I want to buy any wood (update again - that was quick).
And, I'm pleased with the outcome of the debate. I hope I will have a chance to follow up with some critiques of Bush's words in it tomorrow.
Friday Dog Blogging
from - smijer
(click to enlarge)
The dogs are sleeping. That is a very large red snake behind them. I do not believe they know it is there.
To you-know-who-you-are, best of luck with you-know-what.
October 07, 2004
A spoiler for whom?
from - Buck
Electoral-Vote.com gets more and more interesting everyday. At one point they had Bush having 301 electoral votes. Now he is down to 264. The debates are not helping him at all.
Spoiler news: No, not Ralph. There is a secret spoiler lurking out there that only political junkies have ever heard of: Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party. He is on the ballot in 48 states, vs. about 35 for Nader. Some polls show him pulling in 1% to 3% of the vote. To a much greater extent than Nader, Badnarik is an equal-opportunity spoiler--he pulls at least at much support from Bush as he does from Kerry. His message is balanced budgets, low taxes, and minimal government. Minimal government means turning many government functions, from welfare to social security to national parks over to the private sector. Voters who support a balanced budget, free trade, and abortion on demand, and who oppose high taxes, gun control and laws telling consenting adults what they can do in private but can't stomach voting for a Democrat may go for Badnarik.
Would it really be a wasted vote?
from - smijer
I'm not sure if I don't like the European model for supporting Democracy in the Middle East a little better than George Bush's model. And that's all I've got to say about that.
October 06, 2004
Something To Talk About
from - smijer
It's been building up for a while now, but after my disappointment last night, it's at a head. Getting energy policy right is perhaps the biggest single opportunity and challenge facing America right now. Today, crude topped $52/barrel, nearly double it's price just a couple of years ago. These price surges are being driven by ever-increaasing oil demand. It's time to change that. Energy is too vital. Dependence on foreign oil is among our biggest national security liabilities, but it's also one of our biggest economic liabilities, an environmental threat, and an increasing health risk. Something has to change.
From now on, between my political rants, my Sunday pontifications, animal blogging, and general tomfoolery, I will be finding time to blog about energy-related issues. I've added a new category on the right-hand side of the page to hold these posts, and I'll be breaking down my blog-roll further to include energy-related web-sites and blogs. Let me welcome yokayo biofuels to the not-blog links, and their blog, Fueled For Thought, to the blog-roll.
Edwards had a golden opportunity to get the public talking about energy last night while he shared the lime-light with Dick "Behind-closed-doors" Cheney. He blew it. But I'm not.
And besides, this will give me something to talk about long after November 2 is past.
And the Winner is?
from - Buck
After the first debate Bush the son had set the level of expectation so low that Dick Cheney could not have crawled under it. It was inevitable that Cheney would do better than his boss and he did not disappoint. I am amazed that Cheney continues with the line “there is a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein”. When he said
we had to go after the terrorists where ever we might find them, that we also had to go after state sponsors of terror, those who might provide sanctuary or safe harbor for terror.he was describing in varying degrees at least 60 countries, none of which happen to be Iraq.
One of the most interesting parts of the debates was when Cheney said
With respect to how we‘ve spent our careers, I obviously made a choice for public service. And I‘ve been at it for a good long time now, except for those periods when we lost elections.
I am truly humbled by the honorable, self-sacrificing public servant. Here is a man whose net worth is estimated at around 50 million dollars and who, according to his biography, has spent the vast majority of his working life selflessly serving the public. Oh yeah, we have been selflessly served and should appreciate Dick's sacrifices.
As far as I can tell he only spent 5 years of his private sector working life at Halliburton Am I to believe that he has accumulated the kind of wealth he has from the salary of a public servant? Dick plays the game well and has the bank account to prove it. For that he is to be commended.
As far as who won the debate it depends on whose poll you read. MSNBC has Edwards winning 63-37. An ABC news poll has Cheney listed as the winner 43-35. I guess it depends on where you are and who you ask.
In my opinion if the debates were football games Bush the son lost 54-6 and Cheney won 17-15.
But the debates are really more like professional wrestling than football.
Can you imagine a four man tag team death match and you are Dick Cheney, about to have to tag your partner and put his puny ass back in the ring?
It must be mortifying.
VP Debate: Cheney Beats Bush
from - smijer
I didn't have anything to say, really... I just wanted that headline out there for me to grin at.
October 05, 2004
from - smijer
First, I have to give props to Dick Cheney for coming out strong in the Veep debate. He stayed on message, and he gave a better performance than John Edwards, and a much better performance than his Boss, George W.
My beef with the debate is energy policy. Energy policy is the Bush/Cheney ticket's major weakness. It is a national security issue and an ecomic issue, and the administration's answer has been following a policy of continued reliance on foreign petroleum. Dick Cheney is especially weak on this issue, because he led the "energy task force" that met with unnamed industry executives to decide energy policy. Apparently, the cartel with which Cheney conferred was pushing for continued reliance on foreign oil. This is a huge downfall for Cheney and the Bush administration. Not one word about it from the moderator or from John Edwards. I fault them both.
The other issue that has my dander up is Cheney's insistence on a "nexus" between terrorism and WMD, and Edward's failure to call him on this point. This "nexus" talking point was repeated more than once. Hello! You have to have WMD in order to have a nexus between WMD and terrorists. If you are looking for a "nexus" between WMD and terrorism, look to Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Syria.
Before I finish, I must also give Edwards his props. He didn't do the necessary thing and attack on domestic security and energy policy. He didn't defend Cheney's attacks properly. But he didn't allow a route (as Cheney's boss did last Thursday). He did hold a line on domestic policy, and he did keep the ticket viable into Friday. So, thanks J.E. for not screwing up any worse than you did. I hope that, by the time you seek the top seat, you have a better command of the relevant issues.
P.S. I'm the only liberal blog I know of to mention energy policy in connection with this debate. Shame on the rest of us.
The Spin from Beulah Land
from - Buck
Pat Robertson made a foray into Israel to assure that nation that it has Bush the younger in its back pocket. If the Israeli's watched the debates they already know that they have nothing to fear from either candidate. After all, according to both of the debaters the war in Iraq is to help make Israel more secure.
Acting as spokesman for the Evangelicals Robertson said
"Evangelical Christians feel so deeply about Jerusalem, that if President George W. Bush were to "touch" Jerusalem, Evangelicals would abandon their traditional Republican leanings and form a third party.
Reckon what the going price for a prostitute would be at an Evangelical National Convention?
He also made this amusing statement:
"I see the rise of Islam to destroy Israel and take the land from the Jews and give East Jerusalem to [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Yasser Arafat. I see that as Satan's plan to prevent the return of Jesus Christ the Lord," said Robertson, a Christian broadcaster.
"God says, 'I'm going to judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip,'" Robertson said. "'It's my land and keep your hands off it.'"
Don Rumsfeld: Flip-Flopper
from - smijer
Even now, elements within the the Administration are clinging to the narrative that there was a "link" between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Just hours after Rummy publicly admitted obvious reality, he was pushed back on to the stage to take it back. Candor is a dangerous commodity around the White House these days. Or so it would seem.
It is interesting to see the strategy behind Rummy's new orders. Everyone who is paying attention knows that the "links" and "ties" between Al Qaeda consisted of a few efforts by Al Qaeda to gain assistance from Saddam, and that they never actually obtained the support they sought. The reality of the "links", then, is even more damning to the case for war, because it shows not only that Saddam didn't work with Al Qaeda, but that he had opportunity to and still chose not to. So, these "links" are evidence against the case for war, yet they are continually cited by the administration, because Karen and Karl know that the majority of voters will only see the headlines "link between Al Qaeda and Saddam".
This makes it all the more important to get the truth out about those links, and let the world know that the trumpeted "links" between Saddam and Al Qaeda are of the nature of "contacts, but no cooperation".
October 04, 2004
Thinking About Dick
from - smijer
When Dick Cheney squared off against Joe Lieberman, four years ago, he went off-character in a debate where the surrogate is expected to come out swinging, and conducted himself in a gentlemanly and statesmanlike manner. This put Lieberman, who was expecting an attack dog, off his stride, and served the Republican's strategy in three ways:
1.) By lending credibility to the "compassionate" part of the "compassionate conservative" ticket.
2.) By reassuring voters that at least half of the Republican ticket had gravitas and was "Presidential.
3.) By playing to the media meme that "voters want a positive campaign". I don't know why the media decided in 2000 that voters were "tired of all the negativity". I do know that Rove and friends were better able to pick up on the media's decision on behalf of the people and put themselves into that narrative in a way that would appeal to voters in this media-created reality.
But we all know there are two (or more) sides to Dick Cheney. We don't call him "Big Time" for nothin'. We know he doesn't mind speaking his mind to Pat Leahy.
So which Dick shows up, Tuesday night? My view on it is that Cheney will show up all smiles, a lá 2000. However, at some point in the debate, when Edwards feels safe to go on the offense, he will attempt to turn suddenly and softly lethal. He will have a few stock phrases prepared, based on which offense Edwards uses most effectively, designed to turn the force of the attack back on the Democrats. How successful he will be depends on how well Edwards is prepared for just such a strategy. I think the advantage goes to the trial lawyer in a case like this. But, John, don't leave so much as a square inch unprotected while on offense. Cheney can't attack you when you are boosting your boss, or playing defense. But, as soon as the word "Halliburton" escapes your lips, you are fair game. So, don't do it unless you can see your way through the remaining moves to a convincing check-mate.
I once predicted that Cheney would come off of the ticket. It is approaching or possibly even past the time that it would be too late for him to do so and the strategy be effective. I will, nevertheless, save my concession for after November 2.
P.S. I wonder what Neal "I-use-graduated-from-public-schools-as-a-put-down" Boortz thinks about Dick's statement from the 2000 debate:
I think public education is a solution. Our desire is to find ways to reform our educational system, to return it to its former glory. I'm a product of public schools, my family, wife and daughters all went to public schools. We believe very much in the public school system.
P.S. Dollars to doughnuts that Boortz mentions this fake news about WMD and terrorists in Iraq in his Tuesday lineup. What a maroon.
October 03, 2004
Various Sunday Thoughts
from - smijer
I have a lot of thoughts on my mind, but none in particular that I "feel led" to develop a sermon on. I will just share them, in no particular order:In a discussion about religious liberty, someone once suggested that it was "always the atheists" raising a fuss about prayer in schools and what not. Actually, that has never been true. There have been numerous plaintiffs among other religious minorities. But in effect, yes: it is religious minorities who are most apt to be in a situation to "make a fuss" about majority religions using the apparatus of the state to promote themselves. I ran across an unlikely ally for us atheists and other religious minorities: a group of Baptists. Funny. When I was growing up, it was Baptist preachers that I heard regularly railing about the evils of the "secular humanists" who were determined to "take God out of the schools". I'm glad to see that some of them have grown up. Going back to my prior sermons about Christianity's portrayal of God as unjust, and particularly with reference to the portrayal of him as one who delights in administering punishment to the innocent, I wanted to bring up another example of it. For the pharaoh's crime of holding the Israelites hostage, the plagues were visited upon all of Egypt. Particularly, the final plague, wherein God slaughtered the first-born of every Egyptian family (and, with ironic symbolism - the Jews slaughtered sheep) because of Pharaoh's hard heart. Some skeptics and apologists like to get sidetracked over the issue of whether it was God or Pharaoh who hardened pharaoh's heart, leading to the ultimate massacre of the first-borns. I don't see the point in quibbling over it. The real injustice is in punishing families and killing the innocent for the misdeeds of one man. This is a particularly onerous depiction of God, when a real, powerful, and good God could have used the same situation to show His real power and justice by removing the Israelites miraculously, and without the pharaoh's consent, then miraculously placing the pharaoh at the command of Moses to work for the Israelites and pay off his debt to society. A punishment that fits the crime, in other words. Raving Atheist makes much sport of people on the left - some who are "skeptical" in the realm of religion, becoming devout people of faith during the CBS memo scandal, and the converse where people who normally allow faith to trump reason resorting to that skeptical empiricism when they sought to disprove the memos. (He has posts here, here, and here.) I would like to brag that I was not among those people on the left who abandoned skepticism and pushed the partisan line. I held the skeptical view throughout. In the beginning, I held a moderately high degree of confidence in the memos, as they were reported by a major news organization and not in dispute. When the questions were raised, I decreased my confidence in the memos, while also maintaining a healthy skepticism about the reports of evidence of fraud. When it became clear that expert opinion was in consensus against the documents, my confidence in the authenticity of the documents went to near zero, where it will remain until evidence surfaces that takes it further down or increases it again. I cannot say with absolute certainty that the memos are fake, but I am completely satisfied of their inauthenticity. One of the most overlooked elements of a skeptical world-view is that there is never absolute certainty. There are only degrees of confidence. Speaking of Raving Atheist, one of my private pleasures is to fisk bad arguments against God. A good skeptic eschews bad arguments just as much when they support his own position as when they support an opposing view. I hope I won't offend the Raving Atheist by publicly fisking one of his arguments against the possibility of God. Actually, I have problems with each of his seven arguments, but I don't feel like putting too many irons in the fire just now. His first point is that an all-powerful (omnipotent) God is a contradiction in terms - a logical impossibility on the lines of a square circle. His argument is formulated this way:
Omnipotence is impossible because God would, at a minimum, be unable to limit his powers, e.g., make a stone he cannot lift; if he could make such a stone, then his inability to lift it would defeat his omnipotence;
The problem is that we have left "all-powerful" (or omnipotent) insufficiently well defined. It may include the ability to change anything that exists into any of its potential configurations. If so, and if God is to be omnipotent, then "so heavy that God cannot lift it" is not a potential configuration of a rock. Therefore, God could make a rock of any finite weight, or of infinite weight, but God could not create a rock that is a logical impossibility. Under this view, God could not make a "square circle". The "all" or "omni" is the set of all logically possible actions, not all actions whether logically possible or not. Another view is that God transcends logic. Such a case leads to absurdities that more mature thinkers would reject out of hand. God could create a square circle, and he could create a rock that he could not lift - yet he could lift it. The argument as it is phrased by the Raving Atheist seems to ask us to believe that omnipotence must require the ability to violate logic, and that therefore it is logically self-defeating. However, if it truly does include the ability to violate logic, then we cannot consider it a problem that logic forbids it. If it transcends logic, then logic can be no obstacle. If I were addicted to a religion, I would prefer the first viewpoint, and leave God with complete power over nature, but not imbue him with the power to lift an object that he cannot lift. No matter, though. The argument against the possibility of God does not stand under either view. I think the atheist is far better served to argue against the accuracy of religious beliefs than against the existence of an ill-defined God.
It would be unfair for me to fisk a pro-atheism argument without similarly fisking an apologetic argument as well. The one I have in mind is the ineffability of God. Often, when a religious belief can be shown to be self-contradictory, contradictory with the evidence of our senses and reason, or in some way morally damning (thinking here of the incident described above from Exodus), the reply is that God is unknowable. According to this view, whatever apparent problem we perceive would go away if only we had God's perspective. It is our inability to comprehend God and his ways that make us unable to understand this particular problem with a religious claim. This argument is actually wonderful for the atheist - because religion is an effort to do just that impossible thing: to understand God's plan for people. This argument is an admission that the main goal and focus of religion is impossible. Of course, the Christian believes that he is not defeated by his own beliefs about the unknowability of God, because God chooses (in some cases) to reveal Himself and His plans,... and we know it when He does.. But the sticking point is the unspoken next line - "Or does he? And, do we?" According to the view that God's ways are incomprehensible to us, we can never answer those questions. We cannot know whether this or that revelation is from God or is a deception - because our comprehension is not up to the job of discerning the one from the other - by the believers' own insistence.
October 01, 2004
Friday Stick Blogging
from - smijer
Forget Kerry's missed opportunities, Bush's miserable failures, and further deconstruction of the debate. I'm tired and a little bit under the weather. So I'm going to feature a visitor I found on my door today. We call it a walking stick, but Carl Linnaeus would have called it a member of Diapheromera femorata. These insects are truly striking. They are a member of the order Phasmida, and they are extraordinarily adept at camouflage. I'm not sure how this individual found it's way to my door, or what it hoped to accomplish by being there, but I consider it lucky, as I never would have seen it had it been perched in a more natural pose.
This is it, dead on. It is facing the top of the picture. The two hooks that resemble a broken loop at the bottom are are adaptations for holding a female stick in place during love-making. It must be sad to live in a world where you can't rely on them hanging around just for the sheer fun of it.... Ok, that wasn't fair. Obviously, the claspers aren't going to prevent her wandering off during the middle of intercourse. They are adaptations for preventing "slippage". As such, I'm just going to leave the sentence about how nice it must be to live in a world where... ...incomplete. But I'll venture so far as to say that you might have found the words "hands free" after those ellipses somewhere. This individual is obviously a male. If you enlarge it and stare hard, you can see it's little back eyes protruding from the sides of its head:
Here's the view from above. You see only four legs extended to the sides. The last two legs are the extensions that look like obscenely thick and long antennae at the top. They aren't visible in these photos, but the walking stick, does also have obscenely long (if not thick) antennae:
From below. Notice how it's posterior resembles a human face, or more morbidly, a skull
All of these pictures are clickable, and clicking is recommended. Yes, the door is long overdue a new coat of paint. I know. It's on the list.
I'm not done
from - smijer
Last night's triumphalism aside, there are quite a few specifics that need to be looked at from the debate. I will be looking at a transcript today, and I hope to be ready with another post tonight. Among other things, I want to have a look into Vladmir Putin's soul.