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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Moron the Earpiece Thing 


Looking at that photo of W. at the debate, the mysterious bulge seems more and more like a simple wrinkle or crease in his finely-tailored suit. But I don't know. I vaccilate on it. I flip flop, and I do so proudly. But Atrios has an interesting link to a video (though I could only get audio) of the infamous D-Day speech in which another voice can be heard speaking Bush's words before he himself does. At one point, Bush steps over the voice and misspeaks, then corrects himself. Frankly, I'd be amazed if Bush had never used some sort of remote system. I just don't know if he did at the debate.


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More Castro Oil, Please 


I really don't know that much about Fidel Castro and Cuba. I doubt I could draw too many relevent conclusions anyway, not having lived under the conditions that led to the revolution, nor under those of the country now. I know they have the highest literacy rate in the western hemisphere and that Castro has made a policy of imprisoning dissident poets. I know they're good at baseball and boxing. I know Castro is a dictator. (Right now, this scale doesn't seem to be tipped very evenly, does it?) There are those that despise him and those that love him. I have read some of his writing, and, while much of it is lucid and impassioned, he's also killed a lot of people.

I also know BushCo (and an important voting bloc of Cuban-Floridians) hates him. And now, they have the testicular audacity to admonish Castro for Cuba's presence in other countries. Notably, Venezuela and Colombia; in the latter, the US says his peeps are training rebel forces. But in Hugo Chavez land, they're doing something else entirely.
The official, who could not be identified under State Department ground rules, said in the written response that the United States worries that the large Cuban presence in Venezuela might harm Venezuela's democratic system.

In an attempt to bolster the Chavez's Venezuelan government, Cuba has dispatched thousands of health care workers, teachers and sports trainers to poor neighborhoods in the country.

The populist Chavez is widely popular among poor Venezuelans, who consider his self-proclaimed revolution a means for them to get better health care, education and greater access to the country's vast oil wealth.
The case has clearly been made through histoical fact much better than I could articulate here that the US cares far less about defeating dictatorships than it does popular leaders with a leftist bent. I cannot chime too much on Chavez, either, but I know they have oil, and I know BuchCo wants him out, and that's near enough to a convincing polemic for me.


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Civil Rights Too Can Wait 


They're folding like origami.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted Friday to wait until after next month's election to discuss a report critical of the Bush administration's civil rights record. Republican members had objected to the report's timing. The report remains posted on the commission's Web site, however, despite objections from GOP commissioners who sought to get it removed.

The 180-page report written by commission staff says Bush "has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words" on the subject. Among other criticisms, it finds fault with Bush's funding requests for civil rights enforcement agencies; his positions on voting rights, educational opportunity and affirmative action; and his actions against hate crimes

[A] Republican commissioner, Abigail Thernstrom, said she was "concerned about issuing a report that looked as if it was driven by an impending election."

"I'd rather just withold the report to the apparent detrement of civil rights in this country," Thernstrom went on to hiss, "so as not to perpetuate the image that we're not driving every single fucking thing by an impending election." She then devoured a small child.

The logic is... is... unlogical. My brain really hurts too much to articulate any smarmy argument or analysis. I think you know what I would write.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the French!

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Friday, October 08, 2004

(Something Witty/ Punny) 


Everybody's talking about how someone may be talking to George W. Bush -- through an war piece. During debates. And other public appearances.

There has long been conjecture that Bush was being fed lines: his broken cadence, the monotone, the vacuous looks that accompany seemingly thoughtful speech. And now, as you know, Bush was spotted with a spot on his back.

Today, Salon.com ran an article on the whole escapade, and the expanding blogger discourse. Maybe we can pull a Dan Rather on this, exposing it to the mainstream -- except that we're on the left, I guess.
Bloggers stoke the conspiracy with the claim that the Bush administration insisted on a condition that no cameras be placed behind the candidates. An official for the Commission on Presidential Debates, which set up the lecterns and microphones on the Miami stage, said the condition was indeed real, the result of negotiations by both campaigns.

So what was it? Jacob McKenna, a spyware expert and the owner of the Spy Store, a high-tech surveillance shop in Spokane, Washington, looked at the Bush image on his computer monitor. "There's certainly something on his back, and it appears to be electronic," he said. McKenna said that, given its shape, the bulge could be the inductor portion of a two-way push-to-talk system. McKenna noted that such a system makes use of a tiny microchip-based earplug radio that is pushed way down into the ear canal, where it is virtually invisible. He also said a weak signal could be scrambled and be undetected by another broadcaster.

[Wire-Conspiracy theorists]say the president and his handlers may have turned to a technique often used by television reporters on remote stand-ups. A reporter tapes a story and, while on camera, plays it back into an earpiece, repeating lines just after hearing them, managing to sound spontaneous and error free.

Suggestions that Bush may have using this technique stem from a D-day event in France, when a CNN broadcast appeared to pick up - and broadcast to surprised viewers - the sound of another voice seemingly reading Bush his lines, after which Bush repeated them. Danny Schechter, who operates the news site MediaChannel.org, and who has been doing some investigating into the wired-Bush rumors himself, said the Bush campaign has been worried of late about others picking up their radio frequencies - notably during the Republican Convention on the day of Bush's appearance. "They had a frequency specialist stop me and ask about the frequency of my camera," Schechter said. "The Democrats weren't doing that at their convention."


And furthermore, there's a whole web site dedicated to this theory: Is Bush Wired.com. So now, the blogosphere demands that I say something about it. So...

President George W. Bush is probably wearing a wire.

There. It feels good to say it. Ahhhh. It really does.


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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Incredible 


Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, the InterWeb! The access it affords a crafty user to hilarious videos is unprecedented. It's like a drug. A damned drug.

Hey kid, wanna see Orson Welles, deep in his autumn years and fourteen sheets to the wind, struggle through a champagne commercial? What about a Winnebago executive come this close to absolute meltdown while shooting a corporate video? Yeah? Then this is the place for you.

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Tuesdays With Cheney 


Like the heart-warming Mitch Albom book, last night's performance by the Vice President was full of charming senilities. Cheney screwed up the facts on almost every single issue. The only difference is that Morrie is dead and Cheney, unfortunately, still walks -- or sits menacingly -- among us.

Okay, so I've never read Tuesdays With Morrie. So kill me.

I didn't do ANY of this InterWeb research, but some of my friends on the Truth Squad did take the liberty of googling the hell out of Cheney's distortions last night. Nick provides this photo proving that Cheney and Edwards had at least shared the same physical space as carbon-based, smiling entities on this planet.

And my good friend Jim, who has no InterWeb representation, refuted Cheney's attacks on Edwards's voting record.


In fact, not only does Edwards actually have an 84.8% lifetime voting
record,

[(1999 Cast 371 out of 274 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2000 Cast 298 out of 298 votes for a 100% voting record
2001 Cast 377 out of 380 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2002 Cast 253 out of 253 votes for a 100% voting record
2003 Cast 281 out of 459 votes for a 61.2% voting record
2004 Cast 84 out of 198 votes for a 42.4% voting record

(OVERALL Edwards has cast 1664 out of 1962 votes for a 84.8% voting
record )- From senate.gov], but a certain President of the Senate has only shown up TWICE in the 126 Tuesdays the Senate has been in session during his tenure. Senator Edwards has TWICE been the Acting President of the Senate in Mr. Cheney's
absence.

Mr. Cheney and Senator Edwards have spent approximately the EXACT SAME
AMOUNT OF TIME doing the Vice President's main job. [This is also from
senate.gov]

Yes, that's all well and good, but what is this dubious senate.gov? Oh, it's just the official fucking webn site of the US Senate.

PS. I was too lazy to double check these stats. You can yell at me if they're wrong. But I'm not running for VP am I? Or am I....?


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I'm Obsessed 


With the debates and the horse-race analysis of minutae I claim to despise. Maybe it's "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," kind of thing, with me on the right side. There's so much at stake, and they have to float their image and their message through the media, so I'd at least like to see them do it right. I'll have to look at this in myself. Hmm.

But anyway, I hope NBC is as good at refuting Cheney's delusional statements as Atrios is.
First he claims he never met Edwards when he has at least 3 times. Then he bragged about being the presiding officer of the Senate, and being there most Tuesdays, even though he's only acted as the presiding officer on two Tuesdays.



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Where Evil Lives 


Man, Cheney is talented. He obfuscated as well as ever, and did it with an agressive, grimmacing, bloodthirsty onslaught. He tried to be a bully, and in a lot of ways, he looked like one. He made no bones about his personal attacks on both Democrats; in fact, he was unabashed. The only thing disquieting about Cheney's style, besides the dead, soulless eyes that appear only to be calculating coldly when not flashing with naked rage, and the crooked, quivering mouth, was the way he CLAWS at the air when trying to make a point, as if he's strangling some little wood nymph. This aggression makes it difficult to say he didn't "win" the debate, insomuch as one can win that kind of a competition. Kerry won the first debate with Bush: he was better with the facts, calm, determined and clear. This VP debate is harder to judge, because both men stuck to the message.

Edwards, as in the Democratic runup, stayed above the fray, so to speak, rarely defending Cheney's personal attacks. I wish he had a little more. He planted more seeds about BushCo's deceptions, but I would like to hear Edwards and Kerry call those two out on how they change the subject and attack Kerry all the time. Call it out! Say you won't respond to ridiculous claims! Let the facts speak for themselves! The American people are tired of scare tactics and hateful campaigning and the President's credibility is shot, so we want to stick to the facts and stick to the message! Answer the questions the American people are asking, Mr. Bush, and stop avoiding and deflecting blame!

Etc.

Among other lies, Cheney claimed never to have met John Edwards in one of his sternest, I-don't-care-who-you-are moments against handsome John. But here's a little something-something that sort of, you know, refutes that.



Edwards came across as much more likeable. He had a real dignity about him -- though he did blink an awful lot -- whereas Cheney was clearly agitated. The people who are going to root for Cheney are going to root for Cheney no matter what. They'll have loved that stuff. For the rest of America -- if they were even watching; I fear all they'll see are the recaps on the news -- he came across a bit, shall we say, well, Evilllllll. Which is a good thing.

Edwards was not flawless. He parroted a lot of Kerry's lines from the other night, which is exactly what the Repubs do, but it somehow sounds less genuine when the Dems do it: I think it's because that's all BushCo can do, so that's all people know, so there's nothing to compare against it. Edwards is also pretty weak, as we all know, on foreign issues. There was more bait he could have bitten upon, and, as I mentioned, if BushCo attacks them in an obviously deflective way they need to call them out on it, show the American people the mechanics behind what they're doing. Edwards did it a couple times, sort of, last night, when he urged America to listen very carefully to what the Vice President says, but they need to ask us to listen more often.

In a final show of disrespect and petty malevolence, Cheney didn't even thank Edwards. What a respectable guy.


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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

It's Good To Be the King 


King W. must be shitting his pants out of all three assholes, because the Royal Consul on Relations Publick has decided to stop everything and give a one-sided Part II to last week's drubbing by Sir John the Kerry.
In a rare, last-minute change in the presidential schedule, Bush has scrapped a planned talk on medical liability and instead will give what the White House called a "significant speech" about the two central issues of the campaign -- the war on terrorism and the economy, the newspaper said.
Mc Clellan was also boo-hooing about how Sir John "misled" the entire country on these important issues using such questionable information as "the facts" and "common sense". What a knave!

This is one of the advantages of sitting on the throne. Every appearance, every speech, every statement made anywhere on "official business" is part of the campaign. It's free advertising, but under the guise of President of these United States. That's why when the Democrats were all slugging it out for the nomination, Bush stayed "above the fray" while still touring Ohio and Texas with huge banners and crowd-approval specialists. He has an inherent advantage over Kerry in addition to the spending gap. The Royal Court must really be in trouble for them to arrange a desperate measure like this. Why don't they just schedule another State of the Union address for next week, and Bush can go to a soldier's funeral, bury his dog, hug a widow, salute a youjng child, and recollect Reagan one more time, while kicking out the chair from under Osama bin Laden, leaving him dangling in front of Mt. Rushmore, eating a Whopper and taking a dump on some French wine? I'm just saying...

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Foolproof 


Something has just come to my attention, and it has certainly put me at ease. After all the hubbub around the electronic balloting this year, it's good to finally get a definitive answer as to how it will work. Diebold has set up a trial run for anyone who doubts the e-voting, so you can see, first hand, its near infallability. This should answer any doubts.

(Thanks, Pat.)


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Monday, October 04, 2004

America 


My 8 year-old nephew made this for his Social Studies class. Amazing how fast kids learn.



Man, they really are the future.

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Soon to Be Forgotten 


Perhaps the most memorable line from the last debate is "You forgot about Poland." (And, they tried, pathetically, to paint it so that Kerry looked like he was being disrespectful to US allies in the invasion. Snore.) Well, it seems that that country would like to soon forget about their time in Mesopotamia.
Poland said that it aims to withdraw all of its 2,500 troops from Iraq during the course of next year, a major disappointment for Washington which sees Warsaw as one of its staunchest allies in Iraq.

Poland is the fourth largest troop contributor to the US-led coalition in Iraq, but there is strong popular opposition at home to the deployment.

Kwasniewski's remarks here after talks with French President Jacques Chirac followed confusion in Warsaw, where the defence minister announced the troop withdrawal only to be contradicted by other top government figures.

The president said the situation in Iraq would be different after January, when general elections are to take place, supposedly the last step in setting up a legitimate Iraqi government.

Yet another flip flop from the Bush Administration.


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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Punked! Blogged! Served! Or whatever. 


Atrios did some damage to the GOP Spin Machine post-debate. And the Blogs march all the way toward Washington. I guess.
A humorous side note, the GOP held a "conference call" with Ken Mehlman in which campaign "Team Leaders" call in to be told what to think and get their talking points for the debate. Atrios, bless his heart, posted the number and the password to be accepted to the conference call. I got in without a problem and, after enduring ten minutes of painful smooth jazz, got to hear firsthand how the Bush campaign was going to spin this.
Now, it's not exactly jamming phone banks or tricking old ladies, but it's pretty nifty, nonetheless.

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Cousins 


It's a shame that a christian church choosing to take a classically-christian stand will likely be labeled anti-semitic. But I think that's certainly in keeping with the perverse form of the religion practiced by George W. Bush and his followers. At any rate, the Episcopal Church is considering economic action against Israel until that country ceases aggression against Palestinains (but what? I thought it was the Palestinians who are the aggressors -- you know, pushing the Jewish nation into the sea) and specifically the gigantic fortress wall Israel is now contructing around Palestine.
Palestinian religious leaders have welcomed efforts by two US-based Christian groups to exert economic pressure on Israel in response to its repressive policies against the Palestinians.

This week, the US-based Episcopal Church said it would contemplate action against companies involved in the occupation of Palestine.

Earlier, another American church, the Presbyterian Church, embarked on a campaign against companies involved in the building of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territories.

Church groups went to Palestine to witness the damage. "They dispatched their representatives to Palestine who saw the enormity of Israeli repression and persecution. It is imperative to point out that no real Christian can accept, condone or ignore the colossal crimes Israel is committing in this holy land."

Some Jewish leaders have denounced the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches' attitudes towards its barrier. "There is a certain moral blindness here that is very hard for me to understand. There is no parallel pressure on the Palestinians. That is unfair," Rabbi Erec Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, was quoted as saying.

Responding to the claims of a Jewish leader that the campaign was motivated by anti-semitism, Ikrima Sabri, the mufti of Palestine, said he would welcome any American or European church leaders in Palestine so they would see for themselves the "indescribable reality of Israeli persecution of our people. I want to ask them: Would Jesus have condoned the demolition of innocent people's homes? Would he have condoned the wanton destruction of farms, orchards, vineyards, roads, businesses and environment? Would Jesus have condoned this pornographic oppression Israel is practising against our people?"
Nor would Jesus likely condone suicide bombings and rifle attacks on settler families. There are no favorites in God's eyes. Not in my idea of God. But perhaps it is time people looked at the situation in Palestine beyond the filter of fear and terror, and consider what is actually happening there on a human level. Far too much blood shed, especially in the past week. No one could possibly look at the way Palestinians are living there and believe that's simply their destiny. It's a simple matter of human dignity and human rights. Not politics. Not race. Not religion.

Al Jazeera sums up the dynamic around Israel in this country fairly well in a few words.
Israel enjoys overwhelming support among millions of evangelical Christians in the United States... The evangelicals follow a religious doctrine that stipulates that Jews are God's ethnic people while Christians are the Almighty's spiritual people.

They also believe that Israel's actions are mandated and sanctioned by God and that any criticism or opposition to Israeli policies is inconsistent with the Divine's will.

Interesting piece from the Fox News of the Middle East.

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