Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Sweet Living

The guys responsible for that awesome 'Fuck New York' (NYC GOP Convention protest) ad have got another. This one is called 'Sweet Living'. It features voters who benefit from Bush's war, and eventually, Bush himself. This shit is funny.

There are a lot of good lines, but my favorite is: 'Maybe I'll even put my face on the dolla bill - how bout that shit?'.

The end of the video sends people to indyvoter.org.

Monday, October 25, 2004

1,000 Coffins.org

Actually saw this story linked to a Moonie Times article via AntiWar.com. Really wish I knew about this - looks really cool.

Found the picture below at The Korea Herald website:

The Iraq War Memorial Coalition and 1,000 Coffins.org host a tribute to military personnel who have lost their lives in the Iraq war at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The tribute featured a flag-draped coffin for each of the more than 1,100 American servicemen and women killed to date in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. [Reuters-Yonhap]

The Iraq War Memorial Coalition doesn't appear to be a formal organization, but rather a loose affiliation of anti-war and/or anti-Iraq War organizations. More information about this demonstration/protest just held in DC can be found at 1,000 Coffins.org. The first appearance was at the memorable RNC protests in NYC.

Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace are the two groups responsible for setting up the events.

AP article here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Triumph at Spin Alley

We need to infuse this campaign with a little humour once in a while - especially after seeing stuff like this. Battling stupidity, laziness, ignorance, and blind trust all at once is never going to be an easy task.

So get a load of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at Spin Alley. Too frickin funny.

(Props to David.)

Police Brutality? Stupidity? Negligence? Criminality?

What was it? Who was responsible for firing the Boston Police Department's homemade mini-chemical-WMD into the eye of a bystander? Is this rocket science? Not to hit someone in the eye? Not to aim for someone's eyes? Not to aim at people's heads?

Here's the key graph:

"It appears from evidence we have reviewed thus far that Tori was killed when she was hit in the eye by a projectile fired as officers tried to control mobs outside the ballpark," O'Toole said. "Designated officers were equipped with less-lethal systems that use projectiles designed to break upon impact, dousing the target with (pepper-like) spray."

So, the Boston PD tells us that they are firing projectiles filled with pepper spray at people, and that those projectiles are supposed to explode upon impact and fill the eyes, ears, nose, and throat of their victims with acidic, life-choaking toxins.

Is anyone out there? Helloooooooooo, Boston????? WHAT THE FUCK?! What kind of maniacal shit do you guys got going on up there? I mean, when I watch NFL games on tv I see 250-pound football players drop like a ton of bricks to the ground in milliseconds when an umpire errantly throws his weighted penalty flag into their eyes. Should we expect that something different will happen during a riot, when presumably, police will have even less control over the exact destination of their Saddam-inspired projectile?

There are so many problems with this story. Where to start? First, how can you fire a projectile at someone that targets their respiratory system, and aim away from their respiratory system (their head), and hope to make good use of this dastardly weapon? Second, if in fact you are aiming for their head, how the fuck do you expect that your intended victim will not be gouged by your missile? And how exactly did this young lady die? Did she die from severe internal bleeding? Did her eye socket just shatter? Did the projectile enter her skull and then explode? Was it really necessary to fire this thing directly at a single person? Was it really necessary to fire this thing at all? Were the officers in fear for their own safety? What is police department policy on these weapons? What exactly are these weapons?

Jeez. The world has gone batty.

UPDATE: We finally have some more info on the killing device used by Boston PD. And we find out a damn supervisor was involved? WTF?

This article mentions the manufacturer of the device, FN Herstal, without actually mentioning the name of the killing weapon. A perusal of FN Herstal's site shows us their non-lethal weapon - the FN303. How would you like to get hit in the eye with one of these pretty little ditties?

And it explodes on impact. Oh, and upon impact it releases OC - that's Oleoresin Capsicum - a.k.a. pepper spray. Mmmmm....bet that must feel good. Bet that must have felt good to Victoria Snelgrove - the unsuspecting victim of this vicious attack. Hopefully she was immediately knocked unconscious and thus unable to feel any pain.

Guess the cops didn't plan on hitting a white person with this sadistic weapon. Not too good for the PR folks. I guess you could describe this situation as the 'Pearl Harbor of PR' for pepper spray-dispensing, exploding, supposedly-non-lethal, pellet gun law enforcement weapons.

Check out a question from the FAQ:

How long last the effects of OC ?
The reaction time at the impact is instantaneous (< 0.5 sec).
In order to alleviate the effects, the subject should rinse its face thoroughly with water. The residual effects can last a few hours.

This is classic because of the 'subject/its' wording. Dehumanize the victim - just like terrorists do. I take it that most cops see this 'subject', in their training, as a black person - probably a black male - and therefore very worthy of an exploding pellet. This is probably not because of their inherent racist notions, but because of their constant exposure to lopsided television coverage of the black-male-as-criminal stereotype. We're all victims of that stereotype - Victoria might have been a victim of that stereotype. How? If cops knew that they'd be using these weapons against white people, maybe one of them would have come to their senses about this dastardly weapon and said, "Hey chief, what the fuck? What happened to good old cans of tear gas to disperse crowds? It seems to me that they've been very effective over the last oh, say, 100 years or so - why mess with success?"


Vote pairing - vote trading - whatever you want to call it - is a way for Nader-type voters to cast their vote for their favorite candidate without 'spoiling' the election. The VotePair website matches Democrats in 'safe states' with Nader voters in 'swing states' and essentially has them agree to trade votes. Nader gets his vote - just in a different state, and Kerry gets his vote - only, in a state where that vote will actually matter in deciding whether he becomes president or not.

VotePair.or explains it in their FAQ like this:

Through Vote Pairing, Green Party members, Independents, Libertarians and others sympathetic to the David Cobb, Ralph Nader and Michael Badnarik candidacies in swing states register their personal decision to vote for Kerry-Edwards while Democrats in safe states register their personal decision to vote for Cobb, Nader or Badnarik. After a participant enters his or her home state and candidate preferences, he or she will then be "paired" with another progressive voter to give everyone a vivid personal glimpse of how this big political coalition is actually working. Votepair.org allows paired partners to contact one another directly (by email or other means of communication) to engage in a more detailed political dialogue. This can also provide an opportunity for participants to feel comfortable that others have joined the alliance in good faith. We do NOT facilitate any means of communication other than email.

The higher-level purpose of VotePair is to compensate for the shortcomings of the electoral college.

I'm signed up - just waiting for my marching orders. Just figured out I need to cast an absentee or early ballot, though - so not sure how it'll work out.

Art-O-Matic 2004

DC continues to impress me. Art-O-Matic 2004 seems to be this big, funky, art-type thing that will run for about a month near Union Station. Seems like it's put together 'by artists, for artists'. From their press release:

Artomatic, Washington's favorite art, music, theater, poetry, dance, and film extravaganza will open November 12th! Keep an eye on www.artomatic.org for more details!

More than 1,000 area artists, writers, and performers will transform an exciting space at 800 3rd St. NE into an open showcase for thousands of works, hundreds of performances, and dozens of educational presentations and discussions. Nearby Union Station provides easy Metro and there's plenty of parking.

"Artomatic is the pseudonym for artistic success," said Lou Stovall, one of the city's most admired senior artists. "I know of no other facility that gives artists, performers, collectors, browsers, and enthusiasts the forum, excitement, accessibility, and opportunity to get involved with the arts. I love the action of all that energy."

In 1999, a group of artists were inspired to create a grassroots art show at the old Manhattan Laundry building, which inspired the name: Art-O-Matic. The year 2000 brought a bigger, better Artomatic and an even larger show debuted on Halloween in 2002.

I almost surprised myself when I heard myself telling someone that I thought the DC art scene was better than New York City's. That might seem ridiculous to the hipsters, but to the artistically inept (moi) DC provides a very easy way to get into art. Art, here, is accessible. You don't have to dress cool, you don't have to act cool - you just show up. Lots of DC museums are free. We've got a mad international scene. Walkable streets. The list goes on.

ABDO Development is putting up the space, which they will renovate after the show.

I'm psyched. This should be cool!

UPDATE: Got a review from Blake Gopnik of the Washington Post here. Brutal. Dude sounds like a real elitist. I'll still check it out for myself. Even if all the art was bad I'm sure I wouldn't know, and I'm sure I'd still be amazed that a bunch of folks decided to put together an awesome community festival event that further distinguishes DC from its brethren as a city of art. And how can he discount thousands of art pieces, hundreds of artists - basically the entire event just because he doesn't like the art? That'd be like discounting an election because you didn't like the result, or discounting the NFL Super Bowl because you thought the game was played in an 'ugly' fashion.

The main contention of the unconvincing Gopnik is that real art is going unnoticed because art that Gopnik doesn't appreciate is drawing resources that it should not be:

Artomatic costs more than $100,000 to put on, drawing funds from the artists themselves as well as from the public and private sectors; it absorbs major gifts in kind and vast amounts of volunteer time; it gets plenty of media coverage and pulls in tens of thousands of visitors. And all the money and resources and attention that go Artomatic's way are, by definition, not going to serious art that needs a boost, and deserves a higher public profile. Artomatic isn't only good for nothing. It's bad for art that matters.

I missed the part on the Artomatic entrance flyer that said real artists with real, serious art need not apply.

An 'editorial review' of Artomatic was provided by Korin Miller, also of the WaPo, and it seems to be a little more-openminded. We've dropped it here in case it disappears, and because Gopnik's review was so elitist and brutal:

The Artomatic festival originated in 1999 when a group of artists created a self-contained show with the intent of exhibiting local art. Five years later, Artomatic has grown into a staple of the metropolitan arts community, with an anticipated attendance of more than 50,000 visitors.

According to the official Artomatic Web site, the show is designed to provide "a forum for all of our area's artists to convene, perform and exhibit, strengthening the visibility, cohesion and marketplace of Washington's arts community."

This year's exhibition features works from more than 1,000 local artists, whose talents range from sculpture and visual art to poetry and music.

What can attendees expect to hear? A wide assortment of musical genres, stresses Artomatic Music Chairman Kimani Anku. "We've got great shows planned for every form of music." Punk, all-women's, and folk-theme nights are just a few of the musical activities scheduled.

The driving forces behind the scenes of Artomatic are those who benefit from it. The festival is planned and staffed entirely by volunteers, many of whom also display their work at the show.

"Most of the volunteers are people who participated or were changed by Artomatic," says Anku. "People just love it -- you have to come out for the experience."

Anku notes that the show is continually expanding. "It's going to be known as the biggest art festival on the East Coast in a few years," he says. "Each year it's getting more popular and the crowd gets bigger."

Catch Artomatic while you can. The show only occurs every two years.

-- Korin Miller

UPDATE: OK, I've watched and read some more of Gopnik's work, and the dude seems to be generally more level-headed than his Artomatic review would suggest. He's brutal, and he's brutally unfair about his Artomatic review, but the dude is still interesting to listen to, especially for those like me who are not at all artfully inclined.

And I thought he really stuck it to the Artomatic folks until I read his review of J. Seward Johnson, Jr.'s work at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Check out the opening paragraph:

Don't you hate the way it feels when you've had a couple of rotten-egg-and-sardine milkshakes, and then you get stuck going backward on a roller coaster for an hour or two, and the only music you've got for your Walkman is an accordion version of "Carmen"?

You know that feeling?


Then go see "Beyond the Frame: Impressionism Revisited: The Sculptures of J. Seward Johnson, Jr.," which opens Saturday at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The exhibition provides the most mind-numbing, head-spinning, belly-flipping experience you're likely to come across.

But let's not mince words: This show is really, really bad.

If I ever need someone to do a character assassination for me, this is the guy to do it. This Post ArtWatch link has some broken links internally, but leads to other goodies of Gopnik doing reviews at the Hirshorn, one with Grant Hill, etc. The dude really seems to know his art, and now I'm excited to go check out more of DC's free exhibitions.

In the Grant Hill video, Gopnik admits that he's infamous for his brutal reviews. I guess that's one way to make a name for yourself. Maybe fairness would be one, too.


I flipped on the telly and just realized that I'd just missed the Daily Show. Sh*t.

So I flip around for a couple of minutes and run across a Telemundo show - Al Rojo Vivo. There was a video clip playing of this dog pushing his owner down the street. The owner was in a wheelchair.

Googled 'dog wheelchair wisconsin' (the video clip said something about Wisconsin) and found an article about our favorite puppy, Sparky - a ratty-looking one and a half-year-old black retriever.

What does this article have to do with anything? The inherent goodness of dogs, and dog stories. Quite the opposite of Bush, and Bush stories.

But it also tells a story of the power of the internet. All I need to research something these days is a keyword or two and I'm off to the races. Good stuff.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Vote for Bush? You smokin crack?!

Atrios points us to a clip of Peggy Noonan getting her swerve on for Bush in Florida. I liked what I heard in the first video clip when Noonan and her lackies are running around bothering people at their homes and a couple of folks had this to say:

Segment: 1
Time: 2:10
Who: Black guy watering his lawn

I don't want to read it. Cheney and Bush haven't done nothing for this country but kill a lot of young men just like in Vietnam.

Segment: 1
Time: 2:20
Who: White girl taxi driver in her car
I wouldn't vote for Bush again if they dragged me through burning coals.

Ouch. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Declare national flu emergency

On the flu shot shortage, I think this guy has it right:

We are facing a potential public health disaster and bolder steps are needed. The federal government should declare a national emergency and so should state officials. More than 30,000 people die each year from the flu and that is when we have a lot more vaccine to go around. This season could be far worse than usual in terms of deaths.

Bush's incompetence has once again resulted in the deaths of many Americans - and many more Americans will yet die as a result of his incompetence. Bush should do the right thing, and save people's lives, but that would be political death - the only death Bush is concerned with. This flu shot shortage is yet another catastrophic fuckup on his part. When will his supporters join the rest of us in the reality-based world?

And how funny is it that the French will be saving American lives by supplying us with desperately-needed flu vaccines? Fuckin wingnuts - hatin on the Frenchies. Cowardly wingnuts. Same old story. Too cowardly to think for themselves. Too cowardly to admit their own culpability in the nation's terrible state.

And I'll let you in on a little secret. This flu shot thing might blow wide open any day now. The Bushies can deny all day long that there's a problem - but that won't make the problem go away.

And how bizarre is this story?

WASHINGTON -- The organizers of Get Healthy Florida were all prepared to launch their annual free flu-shot clinic in Orlando yesterday when they discovered that the vaccine they were about to give out came from a Canadian supplier.

The organizers were unfamiliar with the manufacturer and were told that the vaccine, produced by ID Biomedical, hadn't been officially approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and couldn't be administered.

So yesterday's clinic was cancelled, as were several others planned by the group, and 30,000 Floridians were left in limbo.

Ironically, the U.S. government is simultaneously negotiating with the same Vancouver-based vaccine supplier to provide an emergency supply of as many as 1.2 million doses.

Ironic? In-fuckin-deed!

Let me help out Bush fans. Bush has banned Americans from buying Canadian drugs. It is against the law. He's banned state/local/municipal government agencies from buying Canadian drugs. It is against the law. But he reserves the right for the federal government to buy Canadian drugs. You can't buy them, but your government can. Sounds like a fair, open, capitalist trade policy, doesn't it? I mean, that is what Republicans stand for, right? Protecting American from themselves and all that? Good. Next thing you know, Democrats will be calling for the invasion of North Korea.

And what of Canadian drugs being unsafe? Well, Bush's flip-flopping this time may actually save lives that he put at risk. Good job, kid.

I'm tellin ya, I would love to be at peace with the notion that Bush's policies were just breathtakingly boneheaded, but they are so terribly tragic - it's tough to laugh this one off.

Why is the Bush Administration responsible for the flu emergency? Read:

But it's also true that the Bush administration received warnings that all was not well with Chiron's Liverpool plant last year and then again this past summer. When Britain got this news, it started making contingency plans. When the U.S. got the news, it listened to the rosy scenarios of Chiron and apparently was caught flatfooted when all the vaccine turned out to be contaminated.

The Bushies were warned twice! Unreal, these guys. Faith-based presidency.

Not buying into the hype that this flu shot thing is a big deal? Then just Google yourself up some headlines. Here's a sampling of results on the Google News search with keyword 'flu' as of 10:15 am, Thursday, October 21, 2004. I've listed out the URL's to give you an idea of the breadth of the epidemic:

Vancouver sets up flu-shot clinic for Americans

Canadians first for flu shots: PM CBC News

Vancouver holds flu shot clinic for desperate Americans

Douglas urges importing flu drug from Canada

US Physicians Believe Flu Vaccine Shortage is Crisis Situation ...

Anacortes man dies following heart attack in flu-shot line

Flu Shot Line Turns Unhealthy

Private Doctors in Frantic Quest for Flu Vaccine

Flu-shot clinics demand proof of need

Flu panic: Seniors told to be patient

Flu vaccine should be saved for neediest

NJ Town Employs "Flu Lottery"

Flu shots all but gone

Lack of flu shots impacts students

Ontario won't provide flu shots for Americans

Schools hope for mild flu season

Vaccine Shortages Need to be Better Anticipated

Shortage gives flu-shot seekers a big dose of reality


Texas to sue distributors of flu vaccine over prices

Congress, Agencies Rethink Flu Shots

Docs flouting flu rule will face a fine mess

State gets quarter of requested flu vaccine

Flu troubles a symptom of what ails US

Concerns Continue Over Area Flu Shortage

A month or so ago we wrote about non-terrorism-related events being more dangerous to Americans because they are infinitely more likely to happen. Found an opinion piece that concludes:

Instead of spending all its vaccine money on the production of all but useless bioterror vaccines, the government, through a more prudent flu subsidy, could increase the availability of a vaccine that might actually save lives.

Our government should be producing flu vaccine instead of Anthrax vaccine. It would be money well spent because you are actually somewhat likely to get the flu if you are an American, whereas you are extremely unlikely to be attacked via bioterror/anthrax/etc.

This article says the flu thing is a political yawner, but it does have a funny Cheney quote tying the flu vaccine shortage to tort reform:

Cheney, meanwhile, connected the vaccine problem to legal reform, an issue he has used against former trial lawyer and Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards. Cheney said the production of vaccine is not very profitable and is hampered by concerns over medical liability.

"We obviously are going to have to ... deal with medical liability reform before we'll find people willing to step up and take the risk of producing these kinds of products for the U.S. market," Cheney said.

Here, in 'reality world', we are not sure what logic Cheney is using to tie the flu shortage to tort reform, but you can always count on this Administration for a good chuckle when the chips are down.

Chiron, the one-time maker of the flu vaccine, has hired some lawyers.

Who doesn't believe it's a big deal? Oh - the Bushies:

While federal officials attempted to calm fears Tuesday about the national flu vaccine shortage, local health providers said they are considering drastic measures to ensure public health -- including reserving influenza shots for health workers or traveling to Canada to buy the vaccine.

Flanked by top U.S. health officials at a news conference in Washington, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson sought to quiet critics -- including Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry -- who have called the administration's handling of the crisis poor.

"We do have the ability to deal with the coming flu season," Thompson said. "We need, all of us, to take a deep breath."


But local health officials remained skeptical.

"It's not enough, it's just not enough," said Dr. Anthony Iton, Alameda County's public health officer.

The county is meeting with hospitals and other health care providers Friday to discuss a possible new strategy -- reserv ing any vaccine the county receives for health care workers.

"It's pointless to keep saying, high risk, high risk," Iton said. "We have to think about a fall-back strategy -- we have to make sure our health care sys tem is robust."

No problem. Nothing to see here. Move along. Tommy Thompson trying damage control - not a pretty site.

Listen, there are pages and pages of articles on the flu emergency. We're talking hundreds, thousands of articles. This is yet another major fuckup by the Bushies.

Worst. President. Ever.

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

Great school, and according to a lot of people, the guy was pretty great, too:

Paul Henry Nitze, author of the basic U.S. strategy against the Soviet Union at the start of the Cold War and later a key negotiator of U.S.-Soviet arms accords that helped dismantle the global conflict, died of pneumonia Tuesday at his home in Georgetown. He was 97.

Nitze, whose senior government posts spanned nearly a half-century and eight presidents, from World War II to the end of the Reagan administration, was nearly without parallel for the breadth and depth of his experience in world affairs.

(Hat tip to Josh Marshall.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Sinclair boycott email

I had to get busy with the Sinclair boycott, finally. Here is my personalized email from the email form on the sbgboycott.com website:


I respectfully ask that you disengage from advertising with Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) stations immediately, and indefinitely.

SBG's planned airing of an attack piece on John Kerry is reprehensible. As an American citizen, I did not agree to gift the airwaves to political organizations, but politically-neutral broadcast groups who programmed with the public interest in mind. Whatever your take on the presidential race, this abuse of the public trust by Sinclair should anger you as well.

Sinclair is obviously not afraid of the fallout from airing their attack ad, but I am. I am afraid that the one-sided picture it paints of Mr. Kerry will sway the electorate and result in four more years of President Bush. I am afraid that the American electorate will become even more disinformed. It may sound over the top, but I am afraid for our democracy itself.

This issue is bigger than John Kerry vs. George Bush - this is the heart and soul of America - free speech, the press, accurate information.

Sinclair's name has already been sullied. Your company's brand may become sullied, too. I hope you won't let that happen. I don't have an interest in your company, per se, but I do have an interest in making sure that you pull your advertising from Sinclair, and that will result in sparing your brand. Without Sinclair's unlawful activism, we may yet have an election more fair than not.

As Americans, I hope that you are as appalled as I at this threat to our democracy. If not for the profit-motive, then be a patriot and help me punish Sinclair for their shameful, un-American tactics.

With limited resources, I've decided to join thousands of others around the country in a boycott of all Sinclair advertisers to force Sinclair to change their ways. It is not what I and others would prefer to do in terms of action, but we have been forced into a corner, and the situation is dire. Without a DC Sinclair affiliate, I'm not sure how much I can affect the bottom lines of Sinclair and its affiliates and advertisers, but I aim to do my best.

I hope you'll pull your advertising from Sinclair immediately and disavow any use of their stations in the future.

Sorry this couldn't be a more pleasant email!

Thank you very much for your time.

Peter Smith
Washington, DC

At this point I expect I'll get on the horn and call most if not all of the advertisers on the advertiser list. There's no DC affiliate, but I have to drop a few dimes just to make sure they know we're out here. I urge you to do the same, especially if you live in a Sinclair affiliate's town.

President Awnuld

This guy is unbelievable. He's a political juggernaut. Unstoppable. I mean, if this guy continues to do what he's doing, he could easily win all 50 states by large margins. It's mindblowing how mesmerized Americans are with this dude.

[The term 'mesmerized' comes from the 'work' of Franz Anton Mesmer. (Hat tip to Justin Raimondo.)]

Don't know if he'll be able to help Bush enough to keep Bush in office, but Awnuld's future is guaranteed. If we ammend the Constitution, this dude will take the presidency next chance he has. If Kerry is elected president in a couple of weeks, he'll have to deal with all of Bush's mistakes. And Rethugs don't care about policies, they just want the person in office to have an 'R' before their name. And Americans, in general, just want an entertainer in office - not someone who's good at the job.

But, Awnuld's move to support stem cell research is smart. Very smart.

He helped bilk Californians out of loads of cash, but they elected him anyways. Who am I?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies

I'm always up for hearing about new think tanks - trying to figure out where they get their money - who they are shilling for, etc. The Jaffee Center, in Israel, is apparently one of the best in the world, by general consensus. They just issued their annual report - The Middle East Strategic Balance 2003-2004. It makes several important assertions, one of which reads:

During the past year Iraq has became a major distraction from the global war on terrorism. Iraq has now become a convenient arena for jihad, which has helped al-Qaeda to recover from the setback it suffered as a result of the war in Afghanistan. With the growing phenomenon of suicide bombing, the US presence in Iraq now demands more and more assets that might have otherwise been deployed against various dimensions of the global terrorist threat.


Saturday, October 16, 2004

Judge Judith Retchin: Fuckin Monster

I heard about this story - read a bit in the WaPo a few days ago - but now, I'm just fuckin speechless. That cruel, cruel fuckin evil bitch.

The earliest article I can find was published October 1, 2004, in the Washington Post. It reads:

Jonathan Magbie, a 27-year-old Mitchellville man, was sent to jail in the District last week for 10 days for marijuana possession.

He never made it home.

Paralyzed as a child and unable to even breathe on his own, Magbie died last Friday after being shuttled between the D.C. jail complex and Greater Southeast Community Hospital.


By the standards of D.C. Superior Court, the 10-day sentence rendered by Judge Judith E. Retchin was unusually punitive for a first-time offender such as Magbie. Along with his defense attorney, Boniface Cobbina, a pre-sentence report had recommended probation, and the U.S. attorney's office had not objected.

But Retchin rejected probation alone. A former federal prosecutor who became a Superior Court judge in 1992, Retchin is known to dispense stiff sentences.

Police, she pointed out, found a gun and cocaine in the vehicle in which Magbie was stopped in April 2003. And, despite pleading guilty to the marijuana charge, Magbie told pre-sentence investigators that he would continue using the drug, which he said made him feel better.

"Mr. Magbie, I'm not giving you straight probation," the judge said, according to a transcript of the Sept. 20 proceedings. "Although you did not plead guilty to having this gun, it is just unacceptable to be riding around in a car with a loaded gun in this city."

Details about Magbie's death were first reported by WJLA-TV (Channel 7). Magbie was struck by a drunk driver when he was 4 years old; he was paralyzed from the neck down, and his growth was stunted. Barely five feet tall and 120 pounds, he moved around on a motorized wheelchair that he operated with his chin.

For most everything else, from scratching an itch on his head to flushing his lungs of accumulated fluid, he had to rely on others. Along with his family, he had nursing care 20 hours a day.

The AP ran a short story that same day.

There were a lot of people here who were responsible for killing this dude - a lot of them, but none is more responsible than Judge Judith Retchin who thought it was just a wonderful idea to send this dude - who can't even fuckin masturbate himself! - to jail - as a fuckin first time offender - for possession of mari-fuckin-juana! FUCKIN BITCH!

An early editorial follow-up in the WaPo.

A couple of letters to the editor.

Guess what color Jonathan Magbie was? Really? How can you be so sure he was black? I didn't need to look at the photos of his family - I knew it. White kids don't go to jail like black kids do. The evidence is overwhelming. But who in their right minds would allow their racism to so corrupt their judgement as to send a paraplegic to jail - for being a first-time, non-violent offender?

Colbert King follows up today.

Never mind that the dude didn't own the gun, and obviously he wasn't driving the car. And a paraplegic 'possessing' a gun is just not the same as an able-bodied person 'possessing' a gun. Let's get real.

Was this racist-bitch-prosecutor-turned-judge thinking about a political career? That's what you have to do - put blacks in jail for drugs, right, bitch? Well you ain't gonna slide so easy on this one. You might fare well down in Mississippi, but not here in DC, bitch.

This was not an accident - this was preventable - this was criminal negligence - as close as one could come to murder - and if Judge Retchin is black, who knows, maybe she will be charged with murder. There's always hope.

Yes, Judith Retchin - your day will come. One day you'll be old and frail - unable to wipe your own ass just like the guy you killed. And maybe, just maybe, someone won't come to your rescue. And maybe your death will be as horrible and frightening and painful as it was for Jonathan Magbie. That would be poetic justice. Karma, bitch!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A miracle at 35,000 feet

Guess I'm a sucker for stories of kindness - especially given the horrors this Bush cat is perpetrating on the world. Here's the start of a good story from the Toronto Star:

Air Canada Flight 792, from Toronto to Los Angeles, brought out the worst in someone Wednesday night.

And the best in others.

Soon after the jet reached cruising altitude, the flight attendants came around with drinks. As usual, it was $4 U.S. or $5 Canadian for a drink with alcohol. What was unusual, however, was that the money the flight attendant had been collecting in two small change purses had disappeared. Vanished, while she was temporarily away from the cart.

No one else on board knew what had happened, except the person who apparently had stolen them. But something seemed unusual when the flight attendants passed down the aisle, briefly opening every overhead bin and peering inside.

Then the public address system came on and the employee who had been dispensing drinks, and is personally responsible for that money, came on and said words pretty close to this: "The small purses containing the receipts from the in-flight service have gone missing. If passengers would please take a look around their seats, I'd really appreciate it. I'm a single mother and I'm responsible for that money."


I'm sure you can figure out where it's going, but I liked this story a lot.

Going back to find the story at the Star's website, I found this other article of similar stories - letters from readers. Don't know if it's part of a regular series that runs in the paper, but it should be! Here's one:
In October, 1983 I was in a serious car accident with my sister and her family at Bayview and Highway 7. I was unconscious and unable to be removed from the vehicle. My sister was tending to her young ones, who had managed to climb out the back window of the Jimmy truck. As gas was leaking out of the tank onto the roadway, my sister would tell me later while I was in hospital, a gentleman came upon the accident, climbed into the vehicle through the back window and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived and got me out. I understand that I bled quite a bit on this man’s suit due to my head injury. With all the confusion, my sister didn’t manage to get his name. I have often wondered who this ‘angel’ was and would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you,” your act of kindness has never been forgotten.
Kelly Tunstell, Aurora, Oct. 13

Sometimes it helps to be reminded that the world is not filled with Republicans...

Terror warnings boost president's approval ratings

Us libruls have been crowing about Bush's fake terror warnings for months now. They are released every time some really damaging news about Bush is about to hit the news cycle. This WaPo article talks about an empirical study that documents the phenomenon:

A study released this week by a Cornell University sociologist found that nationally, Bush's approval ratings have jumped every time the federal government has issued a terrorism warning. The boost has even helped his ratings on unrelated issues, such as voter perceptions of his handling of the economy.

Here is a more detailed article specifically covering the research. The actual study (PDF) helps us to make our case using hard evidence. Bush is victimizing the American people for his political gain. Nice guy, that George.

Why haven't the Dems come out more forcefully with this issue when they know Rove is going to use it to bump Bush's approval ratings in the days leading up to the election? I'm not sure. They didn't want to sound like conspiracy theorists, but the Dems don't have the luxury of being able to get their surrogates on tv whenever they want - so this notion that Bush is using the terror alert system for political gain is just not well-known among the American people.

So, how will Rove scare voters in the days leading up to the election? Will he crash a plane? Will he detonate a bomb somewhere? Will the 'event' have to take place in a swing state, or can it happen anywhere? Will he actually have to kill someone or bomb something to achieve the desired lift? Probably not, but I wouldn't put it past him - so let's see how far Bush is behind in the runup to election day.

Here's my guess: Friday, October 29, 2004 - 4 days before the election. During the day - early afternoon - 1:23 pm. Dirty bomb scare. Washington, DC - Chicago - LA - New York - Houston. We're looking for a dark-skinned guy. He slipped over the border in Mexico with some cohorts. Keep your eyes open everybody. Stay indoors.

You heard it here, first.

The fake terror scare will have the additional benefit for Bush of suppressing Democratic votes. The massive police presence will intimidate voters. Cops toting shotguns will be out in force in all the swing states, in all the Democrat-leaning counties. In Florida, things will be the worst - or the best for Bush. Road blocks will check ID's. Troopers stationed at voting precincts will demand that people produce identification to vote.

That'll give voters all weekend to soak up the terror/fear thing. The GOP and their media shills will hit the airwaves starting that Friday afternoon and crow all weekend long about 'Bush is strong on terorrism, Kerry is weak on terrorism'. We'll get the stories about the American voters 'getting tricked by Osama into electing Kerry instead of Bush' - all that same jazz they did with Spain and Aznar. Ridge will be a busy guy with press conferences. Cheney will continue his very effective scaremongering.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

It Takes a Leader: The Lockheed/Bush Ad Campaign

Lockheed Martin has been running a lot of ads in the DC Metro system for at least the past several months. The ads have always seemed a little too close to being campaign advertising for Bush, but I just didn't take the time to write it up until now. The ads brand Lockheed Martin, and Bush, as leaders.

In the ads, Lockheed pimps their helicopters which are used for, among other things, transporting the President around. I work near the Pentagon and ride the metro there, so it's not surprising that I'd see so many Lockheed ads. I can't recall offhand if these ads show up in other Metro stations not in close proximity to the Pentagon (which is serviced by the 'Pentagon' metro stop on the blue/yellow lines).

The US 101 ad campaign website by Lockheed Martin has a good bit of info. Here is the ads link, and this is the ad (PDF) I most identify with the Bush/Lockheed campaign.

Who knows? Maybe it's all legal, but I doubt it...

Instant Runoff Voting in San Francisco

Not sure why this WaPo article doesn't use the words 'instant runoff voting' (IRV), but this is still good news. The Center for Voting and Democracy links to a few more pieces detailing San Fran's decision.

IRV isn't perfect, but it helps to eliminate the spoiler effect - a.k.a. the 'Nader effect'.


This full-page ad appeared in the express today, and supposedly the full Washington Post, but I didn't see the post. TELLHIM.NO is an organization from Norway that is collecting money to oppose Bush's wacky foreign policy. Their website starts out with this:

When the Norwegian government doesn't tell George W. Bush the Norwegian opinion on the Iraqi war, we have to tell him ourselves. That is why two ads are printed in todays edition of the Washington Post (the 12th of October).

The full ad text says this:

Mr. President

As friends of the United States, we respect your country’s strength, creativity and generosity. At this point in history however, we are compelled to speak out. Four out of five Norwegians oppose the U.S.-led war on Iraq and our government has failed to clearly express the majority opinion of its people.

Mr. President – we urge you to change your foreign policy. To pursue a flawed and failed policy is a sign of weakness. We want the United States to be strong and creative enough to apologize to the Iraqi people for an unjust war, and to the Allies for having misled them. We want the USA to be generous enough to compensate the innocent victims of violence, looting and trauma inflicted by torture. We firmly believe that the quest for peace in Iraq is best led by the United Nations and a democratically-elected Iraqi government.

Mr. President – your country can once again be a leading example of democracy and freedom, inspiring a world where terrorism can no longer breed. Your present policy only fosters resistance, more than ever, everywhere.

Mr. President – the choice is yours.


Concerned citizens and organizations of Norway

Norway is still a member of the Coalition of the Billing, technically, despite the overwhelming majority of their citizens being against the Iraq invasion. According to this July 15 piece in the WaPo, they have 15 personnel left in the country. They pulled out their 155 military engineers. Well, I guess 155 is better than nothing. Way to go, George.

Reuters does a quick info piece on the ad.

The Duelfer report's case for war in Iraq

Yes, I know what you're thinking - these guys are f*****g crazy - I'm thinking the same thing, but this is what we liberals have to put up with from the Right. This article in US News & World Report by one Michael Barone says that since Saddam didn't have any WMDs, Bush made the right decision by invading Iraq.

"U.S. 'Almost All Wrong' on Weapons" read the headline on the October 7 Washington Post. "Report on Iraq Contradicts Bush Administration Claims" read the subhead. But these headlines conceal the real news in the report of Iraq Survey Group head Charles Duelfer. For the report makes it plain that George W. Bush had good reason to go to war in Iraq and end the regime of Saddam Hussein.
You get it prole? The real news is not whether or not Saddam had WMDs or not - who cares about that? - the real news is that he intended to get them at some time in the future. Feel better?

Now, by now we're all used to hearing the tortured logic used by Rethugs to justify their wacky positions, but this one is actually pretty funny. Take the indefensible, and go on the attack - no matter how ridiculous it makes you sound. It'll keep the non-thinking base loyal - it'll keep them from having to take a defensive stance. Hurry up and turn on Fox and Rush to figure out how to answer that pesky liberal at the office water cooler who keeps saying 'Where are the WMDs? Where are the WMDs?'

I'll point out the obvious for those of you who haven't managed to figure out what is so anti-logic about this article, and the Bush/Cheney response to Duelfer's report. We'll start with a simplified premise - one far from agreed upon, but for the sake of argument we'll use it: If there were WMDs found in Iraq, then Bush's invasion would be justified. Ok, there, I said it. I don't agree with it, but a lot of people would. So, if we accept that premise as true, then what would be the opposite of that premise? How about this? If there were no WMDs found in Iraq, then Bush's invasion would not be justified. Makes sense, right?

Ok, so, Duelfer has come back and said 'no WMDs', and Bush/Cheney say 'Awesome! We were right to invade! ' This is problematic, not only because it is obviously dishonest, but because if true, the WMD rationale for the invasion of Iraq becomes completely unnecessary. If Iraq had WMDs, we invade - if they did not have WMDs, we invade anyways. The rationale for the invasion is the invasion itself. In other words, the Republicans did it, so no explanation necessary.

And check this, David Broder, huge Republican shill for the Washington Post, comes out bigtime against Cheney/Bush in this Dallas Morning News op-ed entitled 'No accountability'. His case is that a one-party Washington will continue to be corrupt, unaccountable to US citizens and reality. He's got ample evidence to support his claim, and he mentions a few in the article. Ouch.

Friday, October 08, 2004

FBI seizes Indymedia servers

The Bushies are doing well to crush dissent in the U.S., but I'm not sure why a private organization in the UK would have to comply with an order by a U.S. agency. I mean, can you imagine Halliburton caughing up a couple of hard drives because Mossad, Israel's spy agency/intelligence service, demands it?

I'm still learning about these Indymedia people myself, but it seems like a really cool operation. They publish in multiple countries, languages, and major cities. Here is DC. It seems like a totally independent media operation - the type of place that the U.S. government, and other governments, would most like to shut down first when it comes to hiding dissent.

UPDATE: Drudge catches up with the rest of the world and tells us about the FBI being involved in seizing computers from dissenters. Drudge's headline was 'Web Server Takedown Called Speech Threat...'. We had it on October 8. Drudge has it today, October 26. C'mon Drudge.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Rewriting History, Indeed

TPM points us to an article in NEWSWEEK by the hacktacular Isikoff and some other guy, Hosenball, which among other things, criticizes Cheney's brazen misstatements and lies. The article, titled 'Rewriting History', does some of that too by repeating at least one RNC lie about what Edwards said.

Their article says:

Republicans last night were able to point to their own lengthy list of instances when Edwards misspoke or made “inaccurate” claims during the debate...Among them:...by claiming that the United States has absorbed 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq (by leaving out uniformed Iraqi casualty deaths that would bring the figure down to 50 percent)

Here's what Edwards said (transcript):
You know, we've taken 90 percent of the coalition casualties.

So, for the record, Edwards did not claim that the U.S. had absorbed 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq. Therefore, this statement in the above NEWSWEEK article is wrong, and it should be corrected, Isikoff. Use some bleepin' fact checkers if you're too incompetent or lazy to do it yourself!

In response to this statement by Edwards, Cheney said:
Well, Gwen, the 90 percent figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well as the allies, they've taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent.

So Cheney calls Edwards' figure wrong (it wasn't), then proceeded to mix apples with oranges in order to confuse viewers and Isikoff - it seems it worked.

Follow a few minutes later when Cheney attempts to smear Edwards by suggesting that Edwards' criticism of the Administration's lack of coalition-building skills is equivalent to demeaning the contribution of Iraqi security forces:

EDWARDS: ...Not only that, 90 percent of the coalition casualties, Mr. Vice President, the coalition casualties, are American casualties. ...

CHENEY: Classic example. He won't count the sacrifice and the contribution of Iraqi allies. It's their country. They're in the fight. They're increasingly the ones out there putting their necks on the line to take back their country from the terrorists and the old regime elements that are still left. They're doing a superb job. And for you to demean their sacrifices strikes me as...

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm not...

CHENEY: ... as beyond...

EDWARDS: I'm not demeaning...

CHENEY: It is indeed. You suggested...

EDWARDS: No, sir, I did not...

CHENEY: ... somehow they shouldn't count, because you want to be able to say that the Americans are taking 90 percent of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in this effort if you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution the Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future.

So, Dick is a dick, but what remains clear is that Edwards did not make an inaccurate, nor misleading statement on coalition casualties, and he did not address overall casualty numbers at all. Cheney did address 'overall casualty' numbers, however, in order to turn attention away from the exacting criticism from Edwards.

Of course, all of this took place within the context of Edwards ripping Cheney for not building a proper coalition, so Edwards talking about 'coalition casualties' made perfect sense. At least Isikoff didn't repeat this nonsensical lie, too.

Rewriting history, indeed. Too funny. Or not.

p.s. The only explanation Cheney could use to confront his lie is that he was considering Iraqi forces to be part of the 'coalition'. Wouldn't be the first time this Administration tried to rewrite history.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 17

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Conclusion
Section Heading: <none>

On the whole, I tend to think that Bovard is a little too forgiving of the Bush Administration, or a little too harsh on the Clinton administration. At times, he seems to be saying that if Gore were in office he'd have perpetrated the same things that Bush has, and I just don't believe that's a credible scenario. What's my proof? Not much, other than the fact that I think Gore is a decent, albeit, imperfect guy. Gore, we remember, actually dropped out of the 2000 election - he conceeded for the 'greater good' of the country. That was monumental. Could you actually imagine Bush conceeding for the greater good? He might have to use that line a month or two from now after the Supremes fail to restore him to a second term, but it'll be a fake sentiment - just like all his other highly-touted platitudes.

Bovard's painting of the Clinton/Gore presidency as nearly as destructive or controlling as this Bush Administration just does not ring true for me. I imagine that Bovard has a particular disdain for Democrats because of taxes, and that punches up his rhetoric when it comes to Clinton/Gore/Reno, but that still does not color his worldview when it comes to ripping Bush. Bush, he says, is a danger to America, and a danger to the world.

Check one of Bovard's awesome concluding paragraphs:

Americans must cease hoping for some politician to ride in on a white horse and suddenly solve all the nation's problems. It is time for Americans to have the maturity to recognize that no one is coming -- that fatally flawed government programs and policies cannot be fixed by someone who claims to care more, or who is smarter, or who has (or doesn't have) an MBA. Americans should cease looking to a president as a savior and instead view him as a hired hand, put on the payroll for a fixed period to fulfill certain specific tasks.

That, my friends, is gold.

That's it. That's Bovard's book. Buy that mess - it'll be the best investment you ever made.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 16

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: IRAQ, The Iron Fist of Freedom
Section Heading: <none>

This story is old news to us who've been closely following the Bush treacheries, but it's really one of the most distasteful events, I think, in all of American political history (not that I'm a good judge of that, per se - I just couldn't imagine much worse; ok, Bush has set a new standard, but that's getting away from it all):

On March 24, 2004, President Bush treated attendees at the Radio and Television Correspondents annual dinner to a light-hearted slide show entitled the "White House Election-Year Album." One series of slides showed a perplexed Bush crawling around on ihs knees, checking behind a curtain and moving chairs in the Oval Office. Bush quipped for the crowd: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somehwere... Nope, no weapons over there... Maybe under here?"2

The president's jests got a hearty laugh and applause from the government and media dignitaries. The president's skit epitomized that, for Bush and many broadcast journalists, the primary fraud that led to war is now a big joke. The fact that lamost 600 Americans had been killed in Iraq did not dampen the spirits of the Washington elite.

It's difficult for me to put into words the fury I feel over this. It's just about beyond comprehension that we started this war, sent kids to die, killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, spent tens of billions dollars, and crushed America's trustworthiness by lauching this war on trumped up WMD evidence - and we have this Bush asshole laughing at the fact that we are unable to 'find' WMD's - as if there were actually WMD's to find. I think of the horror of it all - the injustice of sending young patriots to their horrible deaths - and often - to their horrifying disfiguring or crippling - emotionally and/or physically - existences - for a dumbfuck guy like this - who's making fun of the fact that he lied to us all.

How on earth someone could claim to support this guy Bush after hearing a story like this is really beyond me. It is not understandable - and it is not excusable. Not now - not ever. If people have been watching too much Fox, or for whatever reason, are just unable to bring themselves to vote for John Kerry, at the very least they should be campaigning against Bush. Anything less is morally treasonous to everything that America is supposed to stand for.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 17.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 15

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Afghan Absurdities

In the wake of the U.S. military victory, President Bush warned America in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002: "Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears....We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities....What we have found in Afghanistan confirms that, far from ending there, our war against terror is only beginning."1
. . .
Two years later, the Bush administration admitted that the president's statement was false and that no nuclear power plant diagrams had been discovered in Afghanistan. A senior Bush administrtion official told the Wall Street Journal, "There's no additional basis for the language in the speech that we have found."3 Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Edward McGaffigan, who had testified in 2002 on this issue on closed hearing on Capitol Hill, commented that Bush was "poorly served by a speechwriter."4

What a crock. Bush was busy lying to us for the entirety of his entire presidency. The so-called liberal media failed to act in a 'liberal' fasion and tell us that Bush had lied to get us to support his illegal war of choice.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 16.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 14

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Protecting Democracy from Freedom
Section Heading: <none>

I hadn't really followed too much on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. I knew that some folks were complaining about 'free speech issues' and things of that nature, but Bovard points out the specific goals of the legislation - to keep incumbents in office. Good for incumbents. Bad for the American people.

The pro-incumbent bias in campaign contributions helps members of Congress avoid bothersome relocations. While many Americans rightfully scoffed in 2002 when the Iraqi government announced that President Saddam Hussein was reelected after facing no opposition, the seats of most congressmen are almost as safe. As the Wall Street Journal noted in 2002, "After the last census, the people in state legislatures who map congressional districts -- ostensibly to reflect dmeographic changes but often to push political agendas -- stacked the fvast majority of them to favor one side or the other. That has left only about 40 races to be seriously contested by both parties, fewer than one-third as many competitive seats as ten years ago, by the reckoning of poitical handicapper Charlie Cook."3 In the 2002 elections, only four incumbent members of Congress who ran against nonincumbent challengers were defeated.4 Incumbents usually havea reelection rate in the 98-percent range.

3. John Harwood, "In Midterm Election, Money Is Raining on Strange Places," Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2002. (Article in PDF here.)

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 15.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 13

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Antiterrorism Abuses and Frauds

How about some more Republican criticism of Bush and his anti-justice policies? This chapter is, by far and away, the scariest to me. I mean, I'm horrified by the thought of what our military is doing to people in Iraq and elsewhere, but I'm more scared for myself at this point. Outrageously selfish and cowardly, I know, but honest, too. Well, I'm doing what I can. We all decide our own level of involvement - as Tyler Durden said.

New York Times columnist William Safire denounced Bush's edict for seeking the "replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts." Safire declared that, under Bush's decree, "noncitizens face an executive that is now investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and jailer or executioner. In an Orwellian twist, Bush's order calls this Sovient-style abomination a full and fair trial."43 Wesley Pruden, the editor in chief of the Washington Times, denounced Bush's proposal as "drumhead justice" and declared that it would be less cynical for Bush simply to "order his generals to shoot whoever he thinks needs shooting" in Afghanistan instead of pretending that his tribunal system is "a triumph of the rule of law."44
. . .
And Bush's order starkly ignored a famous Supreme Court ruling striking down as unconstitutional Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War. The Court ruled in 1866 that the president may not rely on military tribunals unless civil courts are "actually closed and it is impossible to administer criminal justice."45
. . .
On June 10, 2002, the president claimed even greater power. On that day, Attorney General Ashcroft announced during a visit to Moscow that the U.S. government had designated an American citizen arrested in Chicago as an enemy combatant. Jose Padilla, a Puerto Rican who grew up in Chicago and served time in Florida prisons, was transferred to a military brig after the feds realied that they had little or no evidence to justify his arrest.
. . .
Federal judge Michael Mukasey warned in 2003 that if the Bush administration continued denying all of Padilla's legal rights, "a dictatorship will be upon us, the tanks will have rolled."47

45. Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866)

47. Dan Mihalopoulos, "U.S. Rebuked Over Padilla," Chicago Tribune, March 12, 2003.

Let's look at what we have here. William Safire, Bush apologist extraordinaire, being harshly critical of Bush's kangaroo courts. The editor of the Moonie Times tells Bush to just kill who he wants to kill instead of putting up this charade of a 'fair trial for the accused'. Ashcroft arrests, hides away incommunicado, and declares as an ememy combatant an American citizen. Bush ignores a major Supreme Court precedent. And a federal judge says a dictatorship will be upon us if Bush's policy of denying Hamdi's rights continues.

What else can one say? How the fuck did we get here?

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 14.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 12

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: John Ashcroft, King of "Ordered Liberty"

The only paragraph I provide here contains a wicked quote from one William Blackstone:

Nothing better exemplifies "Ashcroft freedom" than the great roundup after 9/11. William Blackstone, the eighteenth-century British legal philosopher who profoundly influenced the Founding Fathers, warned, "To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government."8

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 13.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 11

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Airport Antics, The TSA Attitue Police

OK, there's gonna be some text here, and it's going to look like a joke - and it will be - but it will also be reality - the reality that the Bush Administration is imposing on us. The TSA is a joke - it's all for show. It's expensive, and inconvenient, and essentially meaningless. Now, read:

In reality, after 9/11, TSA shut down perhaps the most effective check-point testing system because it did not want to frighten its own screeners. In the late 1990s, the FAA created the Threat Image Projection System, which placed images of objects that might be threats on X-ray screens "during actual operations to record whether or not a screener detects a threat."4(PDF) This was the most frequently used method to test airport screeners prior to 9/11. But the system "was shut down immediately following the September 11th terrorist attacks due to concerns that it would result in screening delays and panic, as screeners might think that they were actually viewing a threat object," the General Accounting Office reported in September 2003.

I know this is so bizarre as to stretch credulity, or the very limits of your imagination, but this stuff is true. We're talking about a GAO report!

The feeling that really creeps up on you, though, the really scary one, is that someone at the TSA is no longer concerned that more attacks might happen. It's like they actually do know that nothing else will happen - for sure. I love conspiracy theories, especially ones backed-up with lots of facts, but this one is just bizarre. Why get rid of your most effective means of detecting weapons?

I don't actually believe, and really don't care, whether there's a conspiracy thing going on at the TSA. Any reasonable person will look at the facts that Bovard presents and conclude that the TSA is a monumental government waste, and if anything, gives Americans a false sense of security.

20. Philip Brasher, "Critics Decry Farm Bill Price Tag," Associated Press, May 7, 2002.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 12.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 10

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Government by Stealth
Section Heading: Protecting Presidents From History

The Bush Administration is secretive. I don't know what Nixon and LBJ and others were like, but damn - if any president in history was more corrupt and secretive than this one (Reagan, maybe?) - I just don't want to know about it.

Here, Bush basically tries to protect his records from ever becoming public - at least until he's dead:

On November 1, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order entitled "Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act." Bush's order effectively overturned an act of Congress and a Supreme Court decision and could make it far more difficult for Americans to learn of government abuses. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley declared that Bush's executive order "effectively rewrote the Presidential Records Act, converting it from a measure guaranteering public access to one that blocks it."44

44. Carl M. Cannon, "For the Record," National Journal, January 12, 2002.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 11.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 9

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: The Political Profits of Pointless Punishment
Section Heading: <none>

Bovard is hilarious. I haven't been pointing it out in the previous chapters, but it's there. He's got that whole Letterman understated irony humor thing going on.

In this chapter he tears apart that dumbass, Ashcroft, and his ridiculous war on drugs. Ashcroft should be out hunting Osama's U.S.-based agents, not Tommy Chong, who was netted during Operation Pipe Dreams - Ashcroft's 1,200-officer strong drug sting operation on drug paraphernalia:

Helicopters and SWAT teams were used in many Pipe Dreams arrests. Luckily, none of the G-men accidentally shot anyone during the raids. The U.S. Marshals Service magazine noted: "All of the arrests were without incident" -- which was not surprising, since selling glass bowls and rolling paper is not usually indicative of violent tendencies.
. . .
The bong raids were widely seen as a publicity stunt by Ashcroft and federal drug warriors. The fact that all of the businesses were operating openly (some were members of the local chamber of commerce) proved that the SWAT teams and helicopters were little more than theater designed to boost press coverage.

This Ashcroft cat is one crazy-ass motherfucker. No doubt. I don't even want to imagine what's going on in that dude's head, but damn, it must be scary in there.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 10.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 8

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Spending as Caring
Section Heading: <none>

Bush often ripped U.S. foreign aid for being wasteful and just plain unnecessary - until he became President. Bovard tells of yet more Republican-led criticism of Bush's policies. During Bush's gifting periods to the IMF and World Bank, he often claimed that funding the IMF and World Bank would help these dubious organizations to get poverty-stricken countries out of debt, and would thus keep those countries from producing terrorists. There are a couple of problems with this theory, but let's let our distinguished Republican colleague do his work:

Bush's portrayal of foreign aid as a silver bullet against terrorism was scoffed at by Sen. Christoper Bond (R-Mo.): "The premise that inadequate U.S. aid was the cause of the terrorist attacks is absolutely wrong. The terrorist hijackers were mostly from Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries per captia in the Middle East. Others came from Egypt, one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid."35 Regardless of whether foreign aid actually thwarts terrorism, Bush benefits from linking the two issues in his speeches.

Here's the kicker - even if you think you're paying attention really closely - it still might not matter. They'll still manage to slip some stuff by you - maybe even a lot. It's one of the problems with watching Fox News. Even if you are incredibly diligent in looking for their angles, they can still slip some stuff by you by being selective about which facts they present. And, of course, many of Fox's 'facts' are either just opinion, distortions, 'oversights', or outright lies.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 9.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 7

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Bush's Farm Fiasco
Section Heading: <none>

My dad always says to me things like 'but Kerry's gonna raise taxes'. I tried to tell him that Kerry's only going to increase taxes on those making over 200k a year, but decrease them for everyone else (both Bush and Kerry promise to cut taxes).

I also point out that Bush, while lowering some taxes, increases taxes through back-door means that actually end up costing U.S. taxpayers more - a lot more. Dad's definitely not buying that - too abstract - and I understand - this stuff is not easy to explain - but Bovard knocks it out. Example after example after example - after example. Dude puts it down in black and white. Many government policies were horrific before Bush came into office - he's just managed to make some of them - e.g. farming policies - even more horrific, much more horrific.

This chapter centers on the 2002 farm bill. But first, one quick fact from the introduction section concerning those poor midwest farmers we always hear so much about:

The average full-time farmer has a net worth of more than a million dollars.2

Doh! WTF?!

But here's a paragraph of criticism, also from the intro, of the 2002 farm bill by Republican Congressmen. And remember, both houses of Congress and the Presidency all belong to the Rethugs - so this travesty is all on them.
Some Republicans were aghast at the final bill. Sen. Lugar complained that the bill creates "a huge transfer payment from a majority of Americans to very few" and also warned that the lavish new subsidies would result "almost inevitably" in "vast oversupply and lower prices."17 Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Aomplained that the "legislation will cost the average American household $4,377 over the next 10 years -- $1,805 in taxes and $2,572 in inflated food prices because of price supports."18(PDF) Flake observed that 90 percent of the $50 billion increase in handouts "will go to farmers producing just five crops: wheat, corn, rice, cotton, and soybean. Two-thirds will go to just 10% of farmers." 19(PDF) The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of subsidies would increase almost 80 percent over the following six years.20

20. Philip Brasher, "Critics Decry Farm Bill Price Tag," Associated Press, May 7, 2002.

Here's a link to the 2002 Farm Bill - and isn't it nice that we get a nice little re-election picture of W.? I certainly thought so.

Thought I'd link to a couple of editorials on the Farm Bill that I found on the Environmental Media Services page. No, I've never heard of them either, but they listed a couple of articles which is quite harsh on Bushco. I stole some stuff from them:

Washington Post: "Mr. Bush signed a farm bill that represents a low point in his presidency -- a wasteful corporate welfare measure that penalizes taxpayers and the world's poorest people in order to bribe a few voters..."

Wall Street Journal: "Senate and House conferees this week unveiled their final farm bill, a 10-year, $173.5 billion bucket of slop that has even Washington agog....Where, we wonder, is the adult supervision?"

I'm not sure if the WaPo editorial page is supposed to be liberal or wacky, but I'm darn sure that the WSJ editorial page is way right-wing, so their criticism is tough.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 8.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 6

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: AmeriCorps and Moral Reformation
Section Heading: <none>

This is the first paragraph of the introduction of the chapter:

President Bush portrays good deeds as practically a curative for terrorist attacks. "Since this is a war of good versus evil, those of -- who want to participate in the war against terror can do acts of kindness to overwhelm the evil done to the country," Bush declared in a speech to Republican congressmen.2

Is this guy a f****in wacko, or what? I mean, if I go out and do a good deed by raking my neighbor's leafy yard then I'll be helping us win the so-called War on Terror? Do right-wing fundamentalists even believe in a line like this? Help a little old lady cross the street and you'll be helping to fight Osama & company?

Bovard rips Americorps as just one of many government financial sinkholes that are good for politicians and, well, good for politicians. As the big tax-and-spend liberal that I am (every liberal is a tax and spend liberal, right?), I love to see this stuff. If we had Bovard running as Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. he'd have us all paying about 50% the taxes we pay right now. How cool would that be?! Dude would slash all these whack 'social' programs that have no benefits, kill all the over-hyped wasteful military spending that the Pentagon loves to throw away, knock off a couple of departments like the Department of Education - that stuff would be great! (Well, the DOE thing sounds risky, but federal government-controlled education can't get much worse, can it? Why not try something new?)

But Bovard backs up all of his recommendations with strong research - much of it government funded, much of it done by that single beacon of credibility in the U.S. government (how is Bush going to try to fuck it up?) - the GAO. Bovard's research is the difference between his assertions and those made by right-wing-funded think tanks.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 7.

The Bush Betrayal: Chapter 5

We continue coverage of this awesome book with another small sample:

        Chapter Title: Ed Fraud 101
Section Heading: The Texas Model Scam

NCLB is the No Child Left Behind Act.

NCLB was based on what Bush proudly called the "Texas miracle"76--his education reform during his two terms as governor. ...

The reforms produced stunning numbers. ...

Nowhere in Texas was progress more dramatic than in Houston. Bush chose Rodney Paige as education secretary because of Paige's legendary achievements as superintendent of the Houston school system from 1995 to early 2001. ...

But by 2003, the Houston miracle had been exposed as a scam. ...

The fraudulent nature of Houston dropout claims should have been obvious at first glance. The New York Times noted of one school under Paige's rule: "This poor, mostly minority high school of 1,650 students had a freshman class of 1,000 that dwindled to fewer than 300 students by senior year. And yet--and this is the miracle--not one dropout to report."82 Robert Stockwell, the chief academic officer of the Houston school district, conceded in 2003, "The annual dropout rate was a crock, and we're not [using] it anymore."83

Footnotes without a direct link:
  76. Anjetta McQueen, "Report Derides Education in Texas," Associated Press, October 24, 2000.

If Rod Paige's name sounds familiar, it's because he's the dumbass who called the NEA a terrorist organization. The NEA is the largest union of teachers in the United States. Ah, teachers, Osama, same thing, right? People have been trying to get Bush to fire Paige for a long time now, but it hasn't happened yet. Bush doesn't remove people who help him stay in power.

Link to original article (and Chapter 1 - Introduction) here.

Link to previous chapter.

Chapter 6.