Thursday, October 28, 2004
William Hershey and Mei-Ling Hopgood write in the Dayton Daily News that Bush's rally at the Hancock County Fairgrounds in Findlay, Ohio, "had a religious tone. A pastor invoked a prayer to 'dispel the spirit of deception' and to bless Bush. Supporters waved signs that read 'Finally, a Christian fighting evil' and 'One Country under God and President Bush.'"
Here's an AP photo of one of those signs.
And here are recent AFP photos showing Bush touching a girl's forehead, and grasping a supporter's Bible
These are the kinds of people that scare the crap out of me. Religious discourse has no place in our democracy. We are not a christian nation - we are a secular democracy. Any familiarity with our history prove this easily (and for those that say the founders were men of faith, then you should consider this: If you believe, does that mean your job is a christian job? a jewish job?) Add another thing to the list of reasons not to vote for bush: his supporters.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
"Real People" aren't just those that agree with you!
Are people who live in cities real Americans? NRO says no!
Of all the Republican arguments for maintaining the Electoral College, the one that Gary L. Gregg makes today in the National Review Online is both the most honest and the most appalling. Gregg's piece, titled a "Counting the Real People's Vote" argues that without the electoral advantage given to small, rural red states, American elections would be dominated by "a metropolitan elite who distain the cultures and values of middle America." In other words, the urban vote needs to be diluted because it's so Democratic.
It's perfectly fair to argue that the Electoral College is needed to protect the interests of minority voters against the tyranny of the majority. But Gregg's argument is more sinister. By separating voters into "real people," whose votes should be given extra weight, and the "secular urban base" who don't quite count as fully legitimate citizens, he reveals one of the driving forces behind the modern Republican party -- a party which professes to embody Americanism while hating a great part of America. "Al Gore demonstrated in 2000 that the national popular vote can be won by appealing to a narrow band of the electorate heavily secular, single, and concentrated in cities," Gregg writes. This is an amazing statement -- if this band is so "narrow," how can it also be a major part of a popular majority? The answer, in the right-wing imagination, is that only a certain kind of citizens constitute real Americans, and thus are implicitly deserving of power despite the fact that they're a minority.
"The electoral college is a democratic way of electing presidents that has produced good and moderate candidates in the past and gives some voice to the men and women who serve in the military, raise our families, and keep our communities of faith vibrant entities," he writes. Herein lies a central assumption that has infected America's political discourse -- that people in the so-called red states are somehow more virtuous, more hard-working and more patriotic than the decadent coastal elites. This assumption is why George Bush can so cavalierly insult Massachusetts -- a state that, as president, he ostensibly represents as much he does Alabama -- while John Kerry must genuflect before heartland culture of guns, NASCAR and beer. It's why the patriotism of people on the coasts is considered suspect while the loyalty of the red states is regarded as unquestionable, despite the fact that so much of Southern culture is devoted to celebrating the region's Confederate treason.
Although the self-loathing media perpetuates red-state chauvinism, there's no factual basis for it. As the Economist reported in 2002, despite the American heartland’s reputation for self-reliance and entrepreneurial zeal, "Sadly, its true characteristics are not vigour and independence but economic decline and government handouts. The small communities that are supposed to embody the American spirit are, in fact, haemorrhaging jobs, people and wealth." Meanwhile, the kind of poverty and moral decay that the original neoconservatives lamented in America’s inner cities are even more endemic in the middle of the country. "What about the heartland's much-vaunted moral qualities?” The Economist asked. "Here again the image of small-town piety bears little relation to reality in rural America. The states that Mr. Bush won in 2000 boast slightly higher rates for murder, illegitimacy and teenage childbirth than the supposedly degenerate states that voted for Mr. Gore."
But the argument that red staters deserve more power because of their virtue would be pernicious even if they were, in fact, virtuous. As Richard Hofstadter tells us his "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life," Hiram W. Evans, the Imperial Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, wrote in 1926 of the struggle between "the great mass of Americans of the old pioneer stock" and the "intellectually mongrelized 'Liberals.'" The language has changed, but the idea remains. Like other Republicans, Gregg seems to believe that some Americans, because of their racial or spiritual authenticity, have the right to rule others. There's a name for that, but it's not democracy.
A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.
Election supervisor Ion Sancho believes some voters are being intimidated
Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".
It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.
An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."
Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.
Just makes me sick.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Monday, October 25, 2004
J.F.K. had to fight the anti-papist expectation that his Oval Office would take orders from heaven. For W., it's a selling point. Some right-wing Catholics want John Kerry excommunicated, while evangelicals call the president a messenger of God. "God's blessing is on him," the TV evangelist Pat Robertson says, adding, "It's the blessing of heaven on the emperor."
I play video games for a little escape from reality - not because they fortell reality. Good lord, what the hell is happening in this country?
As if the policies of the president aren't enough to vote against him, how about the people who support him? Do we really want a theocracy?
Everyone needs to hear this...
Lenord Lopate Show
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Mom gets it exactly right...
The Republican monkey
Got his butt kicked
By the Democrat donkey.
That's maybe the best summary of the debates I've seen yet...
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
From the Financial Times today:
Germany might deploy troops in Iraq if conditions there change, Peter Struck, the German defence minister, indicated on Tuesday in a gesture that appears to provide backing for John Kerry, the US Democratic presidential challenger.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Struck departed from his government’s resolve not to send troops to Iraq under any circumstances, saying: “At present I rule out the deployment of German troops in Iraq. In general, however, there is no one who can predict developments in Iraq in such a way that he could make a such a binding statement [about the future].”
Mr Struck also welcomed Mr Kerry’s proposal that he would convene an international conference on Iraq including countries that opposed the war if he were to win next month's election.
Germany would certainly attend, Mr Struck said. “This is a very sensible proposal. The situation in Iraq can only be cleared up when all those involved sit together at one table. Germany has taken on responsibilities in Iraq, including financial ones; this would naturally justify our involvement in such a conference.”
Berlin has refused to comment on the outcome of the US election, but Mr Struck's comments are significant as Mr Kerry has argued that he would be able to draw in countries to work in Iraq that opposed the war. Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, was a leading opponent of the US-led Iraq war and his re-election in 2002 was secured in part on support for this stance....
Monday, October 11, 2004
The House of Representatives begins to actually speak the truth:
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Eschaton quotes from the LA Times:
Eschaton: WASHINGTON — The Bush administration will delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November, say administration officials, mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.
Although American commanders in Iraq have been buoyed by recent successes in insurgent-held towns such as Samarra and Tall Afar, administration and Pentagon officials say they will not try to retake cities such as Fallujah and Ramadi -- where insurgents' grip is strongest and U.S. military casualties could be the greatest -- until after Americans vote in what is likely to be a close election.
"When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously," said one senior administration official involved in strategic planning, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Once you're past the election, it changes the political ramifications" of a large-scale offensive, the official said. "We're not on hold right now. We're just not as aggressive...
Think about what this means. Think hard. Think very hard.
The generals say we should move now. Moving now gives us the greatest chance of victory at the lowest likely cost. Moving later gives us a lesser chance of victory at a higher cost in terms of our soldiers' lives. But moving later is helpful to the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Impeach them now.
Friday, October 08, 2004
From Electoral-Vote.com on how the image was obtained:
I obtained a copy of the debate video and the Red Hawk image intensification software (developed for NASA), which combines multiple images into a sharper image and then had the contrast enhanced with Photoshop. Other than cropping and resizing of the image, no other manipulation was done. I stand 100% behind the fact that this image was taken from the debate video, independently confirming the Salon.com photo, but interpretation is up to you.
George bush had got to go!
Friday, October 01, 2004
Why We Cannot Win
by Al Lorentz
Before I begin, let me state that I am a soldier currently deployed in Iraq, I am not an armchair quarterback. Nor am I some politically idealistic and naïve young soldier, I am an old and seasoned Non-Commissioned Officer with nearly 20 years under my belt. Additionally, I am not just a soldier with a muds-eye view of the war, I am in Civil Affairs and as such, it is my job to be aware of all the events occurring in this country and specifically in my region.
I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win here for a number of reasons. Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality.
When we were preparing to deploy, I told my young soldiers to beware of the "political solution." Just when you think you have the situation on the ground in hand, someone will come along with a political directive that throws you off the tracks.
I believe that we could have won this un-Constitutional invasion of Iraq and possibly pulled off the even more un-Constitutional occupation and subjugation of this sovereign nation. It might have even been possible to foist democracy on these people who seem to have no desire, understanding or respect for such an institution. True the possibility of pulling all this off was a long shot and would have required several hundred billion dollars and even more casualties than we’ve seen to date but again it would have been possible, not realistic or necessary but possible.
Here are the specific reasons why we cannot win in Iraq.
First, we refuse to deal in reality. We are in a guerilla war, but because of politics, we are not allowed to declare it a guerilla war and must label the increasingly effective guerilla forces arrayed against us as "terrorists, criminals and dead-enders."
This implies that there is a zero sum game at work, i.e. we can simply kill X number of the enemy and then the fight is over, mission accomplished, everybody wins. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We have few tools at our disposal and those are proving to be wholly ineffective at fighting the guerillas.
The idea behind fighting a guerilla army is not to destroy its every man (an impossibility since he hides himself by day amongst the populace). Rather the idea in guerilla warfare is to erode or destroy his base of support.
So long as there is support for the guerilla, for every one you kill two more rise up to take his place. More importantly, when your tools for killing him are precision guided munitions, raids and other acts that create casualties among the innocent populace, you raise the support for the guerillas and undermine the support for yourself. (A 500-pound precision bomb has a casualty-producing radius of 400 meters minimum; do the math.)
Second, our assessment of what motivates the average Iraqi was skewed, again by politically motivated "experts." We came here with some fantasy idea that the natives were all ignorant, mud-hut dwelling camel riders who would line the streets and pelt us with rose petals, lay palm fronds in the street and be eternally grateful. While at one time there may have actually been support and respect from the locals, months of occupation by our regular military forces have turned the formerly friendly into the recently hostile.
Attempts to correct the thinking in this regard are in vain; it is not politically correct to point out the fact that the locals are not only disliking us more and more, they are growing increasingly upset and often overtly hostile. Instead of addressing the reasons why the locals are becoming angry and discontented, we allow politicians in Washington DC to give us pat and convenient reasons that are devoid of any semblance of reality.
We are told that the locals are not upset because we have a hostile, aggressive and angry Army occupying their nation. We are told that they are not upset at the police state we have created, or at the manner of picking their representatives for them. Rather we are told, they are upset because of a handful of terrorists, criminals and dead enders in their midst have made them upset, that and of course the ever convenient straw man of "left wing media bias."
Third, the guerillas are filling their losses faster than we can create them. This is almost always the case in guerilla warfare, especially when your tactics for battling the guerillas are aimed at killing guerillas instead of eroding their support. For every guerilla we kill with a "smart bomb" we kill many more innocent civilians and create rage and anger in the Iraqi community. This rage and anger translates into more recruits for the terrorists and less support for us.
We have fallen victim to the body count mentality all over again. We have shown a willingness to inflict civilian casualties as a necessity of war without realizing that these same casualties create waves of hatred against us. These angry Iraqi citizens translate not only into more recruits for the guerilla army but also into more support of the guerilla army.
Fourth, their lines of supply and communication are much shorter than ours and much less vulnerable. We must import everything we need into this place; this costs money and is dangerous. Whether we fly the supplies in or bring them by truck, they are vulnerable to attack, most especially those brought by truck. This not only increases the likelihood of the supplies being interrupted. Every bean, every bullet and every bandage becomes infinitely more expensive.
Conversely, the guerillas live on top of their supplies and are showing every indication of developing a very sophisticated network for obtaining them. Further, they have the advantage of the close support of family and friends and traditional religious networks.
Fifth, we consistently underestimate the enemy and his capabilities. Many military commanders have prepared to fight exactly the wrong war here.
Our tactics have not adjusted to the battlefield and we are falling behind.
Meanwhile the enemy updates his tactics and has shown a remarkable resiliency and adaptability.
Because the current administration is more concerned with its image than it is with reality, it prefers symbolism to substance: soldiers are dying here and being maimed and crippled for life. It is tragic, indeed criminal that our elected public servants would so willingly sacrifice our nation's prestige and honor as well as the blood and treasure to pursue an agenda that is ahistoric and un-Constitutional.
It is all the more ironic that this un-Constitutional mission is being performed by citizen soldiers such as myself who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, the same oath that the commander in chief himself has sworn.
September 20, 2004
Al Lorentz is former state chairman of the Constitution Party of Texas and is a reservist currently serving with the US Army in Iraq.
Operation American Repression?
An Army sergeant in Iraq who wrote a highly critical article on the administration's conduct of the war is being investigated for disloyalty -- if charged and convicted, he could get 20 years.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Eric Boehlert
Sept. 29, 2004 | An Army Reserve staff sergeant who last week wrote a critical analysis of the United States' prospects in Iraq now faces possible disciplinary action for disloyalty and insubordination. If charges are bought and the officer is found guilty, he could face 20 years in prison. It would be the first such disloyalty prosecution since the Vietnam War.
The essay that sparked the military investigation is titled "Why We Cannot Win" and was posted Sept. 20 on the conservative antiwar Web site LewRockwell.com. Written by Al Lorentz, a non-commissioned officer from Texas with nearly 20 years in the Army who is serving in Iraq, the essay offers a bleak assessment of America's chances for success in Iraq.
"I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win here for a number of reasons. Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality," wrote Lorentz, who gives four key reasons for the likely failure: a refusal to deal with reality, not understanding what motivates the enemy, an overabundance of guerrilla fighters, and the enemy's shorter line of supplies and communication.
Lorentz's essay contains no classified information but does include a starkly critical evaluation of how the Bush administration has conducted the war. "Instead of addressing the reasons why the locals are becoming angry and discontented, we allow politicians in Washington DC to give us pat and convenient reasons that are devoid of any semblance of reality," Lorentz wrote. "It is tragic, indeed criminal, that our elected public servants would so willingly sacrifice our nation's prestige and honor as well as the blood and treasure to pursue an agenda that is ahistoric and un-Constitutional."
The essay prompted a swift response from Lorentz's commanders. In an e-mail this week to Salon, Lorentz, declining to comment further on his piece, noted, "Because of my article, I am under investigation at this time for very serious charges which carry up to a 20-year prison sentence." According to Lorentz, the investigation is looking into whether his writing constituted a disloyalty crime under both federal statute (Title 18, Section 2388, of the U.S. Code) and Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
According to the UCMJ, examples of punishable statements by military personnel "include praising the enemy, attacking the war aims of the United States, or denouncing our form of government with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection among members of the armed services. A declaration of personal belief can amount to a disloyal statement if it disavows allegiance owed to the United States by the declarant. The disloyalty involved for this offense must be to the United States as a political entity and not merely to a department or other agency that is a part of its administration."
Under UCMJ guidelines, the maximum punishment in the event of a conviction would be a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for three years.
Prosecutions are rare, however, says Grant Lattin, a military lawyer and retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, because members of the military "have the constitutional right to express their opinions pertaining to the issues before the public. Short of there being classified material and security issues, people can write letters about military subjects. If you look at the Army Times, you'll see letters from people on active duty complaining about this and that."
For instance, in September 2003, Tim Predmore, an active-duty soldier with the 101st Airborne Division, based in northern Iraq, wrote a scathing letter to his hometown newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star in Illinois. "For the past six months, I have been participating in what I believe to be the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom," Predmore's letter began. "From the moment the first shot was fired in this so-called war of liberation and freedom, hypocrisy reigned," he continued, labeling the war "the ultimate atrocity" before concluding, "I can no longer justify my service on the basis of what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies."
Going beyond the UCMJ and prosecuting disloyalty as a federal crime is "extraordinarily rare," Lattin says, noting that the last published case was in 1970, in U.S. vs. William Harvey. Under Title 18, Section 2388, it's a crime, punishable up to 20 years in prison, "when the United States is at war, [and a person] willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States."
In the Harvey case, a Vietnam-era soldier was accused of making disloyal statements by urging a fellow soldier not to fight in Vietnam. "Why should the black man go to Vietnam and fight the white man's war and then come back and have to fight the white man," Harvey told the soldier, adding that he "was not going to fight in Vietnam and neither should [you]." The case was brought before the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, which noted "the language of the comments were on the line between rhetoric and disloyalty," as well as the fact that "disagreement with, or objection to, a policy of the Government is not necessarily indicative of disloyalty to the United States." The court alternately upheld and reversed portions of Harvey's conviction for disloyalty.
As for Lorentz's case, Lattin, who served as a Marine judge advocate, says it's not uncommon for commanders to threaten soldiers with legal action in order to make a point: "If they know there's an offense for a disloyal statement, I wouldn't be surprised if he said, 'Knock it off.'" Lattin doubts that in the end Lorentz will face prosecution for his writings. "After this gets to lawyers and prosecutors who think about the consequences and the First Amendment, I don't think this will go anywhere."
See the next blog entry for the actual article
GOD, I LOVE MOVEON!!
Gives new meaning to the phrase "hoisted by his own petard."
I'm *SO* Happy right now
John Kerry was articulate, and more than that, he was deeply facile with the facts that are in play in this election. While Kerry was able to speak articulately and intelligently, mr. bush (and I refuse to capitalize his name from now on) was forced to blindly repeat his campaign tag lines, in pavlovian response to the green, yellow and red lights.
God, now I'm not going to be able to sleep.