Thursday, May 27, 2004



"Gore to Call for Resignation of Bush Team Members Responsibe for Iraq Involvement ( "Major address will cite imminent risk to U.S. soldiers and Homeland from Bush failure to hold top officials accountable --Former Vice President Al Gore will deliver a major foreign policy address in New York City on Wednesday,May 26, sponsored by MoveOn PAC, calling for the resignation of five members of the Bush Administration team and one member of the military command responsible for the failed policy and abuse of prisoners in Iraq. Gore will identify the various ways in which all Americans--soldiers in Iraq, residents and travelers abroad, and citizens at home—are endangered by the bitterness created throughout the Islamic world—and beyond—by US policy. He will also explore the linkages between the President[sic]’s Iraq policy and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison."

I'll say! That summary is guilty of gross understatement. You must read this. Here's a quote:

"How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people."

Here's another link.

Could any of us have said it better? Not John Kerry. At least not yet.

It now seems sad that so many of us lacked the passion for Al Gore back in 2000, I think partly because he appeared to lack any passion himself. But when I look at the passionate and courageous person he seems to have grown into, at least as evidenced by these amazing and moving MoveOn speeches, I wonder--had we that passion, would Florida even have happened? (And by the way, where's ol' Bubba in all of this? His silence is revealing, too. Maybe the VP should have been P.)

I wonder too if we are making the same mistake with John Kerry. Certainly most of us have not mustered any passion for him. Granted it's not just his style, but the content as well. But I didn't think that highly of Al Gore's content then either.

Will Kerry too grow and evolve into the mensch we wish he would be now? Who knows? Would Gore have grown as he has, or been as forthright on whatever the great issues would have been, had he been allowed to claim the office he won and thus the circumstances that instigated and aroused such feelings now not occured? Who knows?

But maybe it's another mistake to merely begrudgingly accept and vote for Kerry. Maybe we need to muster enough passion for him to guarantee his victory, by a margin so large that Jeb Bush, Diebold, or the repugnant tactics of Karl Rove can't stop it. I'm thinking maybe if he felt secure about his victory, then maybe he too would start to speak like Gore instead of some damn second-rate automaton pandering to the holy middle. Or like the speech I wrote for him in yesterday's post. (And the final irony is that we used to say that about Gore.)

That'll be hard, finding that passion. So many maybes, so many doubts. But maybe it's just too important not to.

I'm gonna try.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004



I missed 60 Minutes this Sunday, but a transcript of Rooney's commentary is buzzing around the net.

It would have been interesting to see Andy Rooney read it. I don't much like his sociopolitical opinions when he goes there--usually too conservative (not rightwing), or at least centrist. But I do like his curmudgeonly style.

And I don't agree with all his points in this commentary either, but there's enough good stuff in his piece that it's worth reading. While he states that Abu Ghraib "belongs high on the list of worst things that ever happened to our country," I would have included slavery and its legacy, and the genocide of Native Americans, but in fairness he was talking about singular events like 9/11. And that part about booting the offenders out of the country is not my style. I'd publicly humiliate them, like getting them all nekkid and piling them up on some of the bullshit that comes out of the Whitehouse. Rumsfeld especially(The horror, the horror).

But it got me thinking. Specifically, that if these kinds of thoughts are coming from the center maybe there's hope that Bush will be defeated.

And I got to thinking about that phraseology. I didn't say that Kerry will win, but that Bush will lose.

Because if that doofus doesn't figure out this campaigning thing soon, we only have the continuing neocon implosion to hope for. We'll only win because they will lose. Or we won't win, because a critical mass of frustrated lefties will go for nadir--as many apparently are. I'm having deja vu all over again.

As for Kerry's strategy so far, it's almost inexplicable that he and his team don't get it. And it's not that hard, especially since every liberal or democratic pundit in the country is telling him the same thing, and it's pretty obvious anyway.

And can't his handlers get him to stop rambling off into incoherent one-size-fits-all politico-babble?

Can't they stop regularly supplying Mr. Bush with great fodder for his snarky and degrading attacks, like that stupid declaration that he might postpone the nomination until after the convention.

How hard can that be? The neocons have been street smart, but have no wisdom. Kerry and his team seem to understand what that wisdom is--sometimes--but are quite dumb about applying it.

For instance, he might say something like this:

"My fellow citizens, I want to tell you how this administration's extremist basis for reproductive health policy is responsible for death and suffering of women of all ages in our country and around the world. And I want you to know that an enlightened country, the world leader in science and medicine, cannot continue to let ignorance and radical ideology dictate a health policy that ignores, or worse, distorts that science for its own ends. In 2004, in fact, it's criminal.

Every time I hear Mr. Bush talk about the rights of women in Afghanistan and Iraq, I am reminded that on the first day he took office, he reimposed the gag rule. Since then, WHO estimates 75,000 women worldwide have died due to lack of reproductive health care and advice. The only right they had was the right to die.

Since Mr Bush essentially banned anything but abstinence to be taught in schools by withholding funds from those that do otherwise, teenage pregnancy rates have increased significantly. In the face of multiple studies in schools that support that fact, Mr. Bush's team claims they were flawed, and ignores them.

Since Mr. Bush has removed any mention of condoms from the CDC website pages on HIV/AIDS, how many STD's that could have been prevented are now plaguing our citizens? And do you know why he has banned references to condoms? Because they don't work, his minions claim. And they lead to teenage promiscuity. The former statement is patently absurd, and the latter is unsupported by any data--any at all. In fact, as with the abstinence-only policies, if anything leads to increased sexual activity in our teenagers it's the lack of responsible and truthful education about all aspects of reproductive health in our schools. I hold this administration completely responsible for increased rates of pregnancy and std's among our youth, and that is just unacceptable.

Bush has banned the OTC sales of Plan B (levonorgestrel), the emergency contraceptive that can be used after unprotected sex, even though the FDA approved it for OTC. Amazingly, though even the FDA knows it's a contraceptive, they even ignorantly call it an abortion pill. They claim it will lead to promiscuity, and can cause health problems for teenagers. Apparently it's "healthy" for a 14 year old victim of rape or incest to be pregnant, but not take an FDA-approved contraceptive.

If this administration really cared about the rights of women and the wellbeing of our teenagers, they would stop spreading this nonsense, and stop prohibiting our public health teams from telling the truth. But as in so many areas of public policy that affect our daily lives in countless ways, they are more concerned about supporting their radical agenda than the real health of our citizens.

They must think we are stupid. Why else would they continue to feed us such nonsense on a daily basis? They think that if they repeat these lies enough times, we'll eventually start believing them. Well, we're not stupid. And as citizens we demand respect from our leaders.

This madness must stop. Isn't it time we confronted every instance of Mr. Bush's telling us the opposite of what we know is true? Isn't it time we held this administration accountable for its lies and ignorance? Isn't it time we stopped letting science be manipulated or suppressed to support an extremist ideological program that results in death and misery? Is ignorance and willful misinformation in the service of this hateful agenda part of the legacy we want?"

Now, unlike any proclamation from this administration, everything I wrote here is true, and hardly radical. So why won't Kerry talk about these things? Who's telling him that it's in his interest to constantly redefine himself as a centrist, and that being a centrist means dancing around the real hot-button issues that affect our lives immediately and perhaps more than Bush's debacle in foreign policy, as awful as that is? Are they all that dumb?

And that's only on one of many issues that's not getting much press coverage these days. Imagine if he talked that way about Medicare. Deficits. Class warfare. Environmental policy--or destruction. Budgetbusting budgets. Unfunded mandates. Spending, secret and public, lawful and unlawful. Secrecy itself. Ashcroft's primitivism, priggery and oppression. Attacks on the Constitution. Delusions of Theocracy. Refusal to accept responsibility for anything. Judicial appointments. Pandering to idiots. Blaming the victims. And on, and on.

Kerry could address these issues and expose the deceit in every one of them by merely stating fact. It would just be the truth, after all. It's out there.

And wouldn't it be refreshing to hear Kerry talk this way? Wouldn't it be so satisfying to finally hear a contender speak truth to power, to address the unrelenting and insulting doublespeak of this administration?

Anyone holding breath?

How did we get to this point?

I think it's the mercury in the tuna.

Here's Rooney:

(Broadcast on Sunday, May 23, 2004 by 60 Minutes / CBS News)

Our Darkest Days Are Here by Andy Rooney

If you were going to make a list of the great times in American history, you'd start with the day in 1492, when Columbus got here.

The Revolution when we won our independence would be on the list.

Beating Hitler.

Putting Americans on the moon.

We've had a lot of great days.

Our darkest days up until now have been things like presidential assassinations, the stock market crash in 1929, Pearl Harbor, and 9-11, of course.

The day the world learned that American soldiers had tortured Iraqi prisoners belongs high on the list of worst things that ever happened to our country. It's a black mark that will be in the history books in a hundred languages for as long as there are history books. I hate to think of it.

The image of one bad young woman with a naked man on a leash did more to damage America's reputation than all the good things we've done over the years ever helped our reputation.

What were the secrets they were trying to get from captured Iraqis? What important information did that poor devil on the leash have that he wouldn't have given to anyone in exchange for a crust of bread or a sip of water?

Where were your officers? If someone told you to do it, tell us who told you. If your officers were told – we should know who told them.

One general said our guards were "untrained." Well, untrained at what? Being human beings? Did the man who chopped off Nicholas Berg's head do it because he was untrained?

The guards who tortured prisoners are faced with a year in prison. Well, great. A year for destroying our reputation as decent people.

I don't want them in prison, anyway. We shouldn't have to feed them. Take away their right to call themselves American - that's what I’d do. You aren't one of us. Get out. We don't want you. Find yourself another country or a desert island somewhere. If the order came from someone higher up, take him with you.

In the history of the world, several great civilizations that seemed immortal have deteriorated and died. I don't want to seem dramatic tonight, but I've lived a long while, and for the first time in my life, I have this faint, faraway fear that it could happen to us here in America as it happened to the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Too many Americans don't understand what we have here, or how to keep it. I worry for my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. I want them to have what I've had, and I sense it slipping away.

Have a nice day.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Citizen posters at the acclaimed political web log contributed ten of their best ideas for progressive bumper stickers to this effort.

Here they are.

Asses of Evil
Thanks for Not Paying Attention
Four More Wars!
More Trees, Less Bush
It Takes a Village Idiot
One Person, One Vote (*May Not Apply in Certain States)
Putting the "Con" In Conservative
We're Gooder!
Leave No Billionaire Behind
Bring Back Monica Lewinsky

This one is from a friend:
Jail The Neoconmen

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


The Miami Herald reports that the Treasury Department has more than 20 people assigned to catching people who violate the trade and tourism embargo on Cuba. It has four employees assigned to tracking the assets of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

I think I can forego my normally sardonic comments, which are clearly unecessary. Except for that last sentence, of course.


Findings from a new national poll show support for impeachment, growing
opposition to war on terrorism.

May 11, 2004
For Immediate Release

Berkeley--Reporting from an ongoing survey of public knowledge and
opinion, Berkeley based NGO Retro Poll released startling results
suggesting that 39% of Americans favor impeachment of President Bush.
The poll, taken between April 19 and May 5 asked whether people believe
that misleading Congress and the Public on weapons of mass destruction
to take the country to war is grounds to impeach the President (39% said
yes, 40% said no). On whether the U.S. should have invaded Iraq the
poll results are consistent with findings of Gallup and other major
polls (48% said yes).

Other surprising findings were that almost half of respondents (46%)
favor an independent investigation of the U.S. role in the overthrow of
Haiti's democratically elected president, Juan Bertrand Aristide, and
57% favor a national moratorium on the death penalty because of the
procedural problems that have put many innocent people on death row (112
released so far). Four out of five Americans also repudiate the use of

As in earlier Retro Polls most support for the war in Iraq and the War
on Terrorism was found among people who still think that Saddam Hussein
worked with Al Qaeda (though no evidence has been published) and among
the 32% of people who believe the War on Terrorism is preventing
terrorism. However, 24% of Americans believe that the War on Terrorism
is actually creating terrorists. In addition, 56 % of people who gave
an opinion say the War on Terrorism is removing important democratic
rights in the US and large percentages (50-80%) oppose various intrusive
provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.

The poll reached 513 random Americans and has a "margin of error" of +/-
3.5% Full results are available at