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March 24, 2005

Vegetable splits GOP party

Reading this post by conservative blogger John Cole, I realized how serious this issue looms as a watershed for the GOP. Now it would have been nice if a phony war, a deadly "peace" and a bungled reconstruction in Iraq [or, you know, our gazillion dollar defecit] would have woken up the "non-radical conservatives" but thank goodness they are finally rousing. Seriously... read the comments on Cole's post. After taking so much heat from the Fundagelicals on the Virginia site, it's heartwarming interesting to see the wingnut wing of the party beat up the slightly-less-insane wing of the party. Enjoy!

March 07, 2005

BetterDonkey.org

Last night after dinner, Julie, David and I saw some attractive youngsters postering Wallingford lightpoles with a flyer for a group called BetterDonkey.org. Awfully interesting group... check out their site. I can't go to their next two events but later in the month I'd like to. I definitely like the way they talk about the issues, both local and national. Lord knows we do need a better donkey!

March 05, 2005

Best open letter EVAH!

I love Canada. And I especially love it when Canadians set aside their native resolve and point out how full of shit we Americans so often are. This open letter from a former Canadian foreign minister. Really. It will make you laugh hard. I bet Condi had to put on her dominatrix outfit again after she read it!

Just a sample:


I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.

But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence.

Sure, that doesn't match the gargantuan, multi-billion-dollar deficits that your government blithely runs up fighting a "liberation war" in Iraq, laying out more than half of all weapons expenditures in the world, and giving massive tax breaks to the top one per cent of your population while cutting food programs for poor children.
Just chalk that up to a different sense of priorities about what a national government's role should be when there isn't a prevailing mood of manifest destiny.

February 13, 2005

The Doctor is in!

Let's all be clear about this. Either the Democratic Party fights the President and the Congressional Republicans tooth and nail, or the country is pretty much toast. Harry Reid is doing a damn fine job as Senate Minority Leader giving 'em hell on Social Security, but we are going to have to stay low, fight hard, and enforce discipline if we have any chance against their message machine and media dominance.

But the good news is that we finally have someone in charge of the party who understands that the Democratic Party should belong to individuals, and not just a corporate-funded clone of the GOP. Howard Dean used "the Internets" to great effect in his campaign. Now that he is (thank the good Lord) head of the DNC, he will no doubt do the same.

If you are, like me, happy that Dean beat out a bunch of idiots who thought the right response to Nov. 2 was to chuck our core values and go "Repub Lite," why not chip in some cash for the cause to welcome him? Best of all, the button below will take you to a page where you can make that happen--while letting them know nonfamous.com sent you. [Secure contribution link provided by ActBlue.]

Get to it!

Contribution amount: $

November 16, 2004

Help GI Joe call mom

Maybe it's because I have strep throat and am doped up on vicodin, but this post on Steve Gilliard's News Blog made me cry. The upshot: the soldiers lying in beds at Walter Reed Army Hospital with broken bodies and missing limbs, can't call their families. Because the damn government doesn't provide them with free long distance. Is that too much to ask--that the people who come back from BushWar III (that's Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iraq, if you're counting) should be able to call their families? A lot of the poor kids (and I mean that literally) who are there now will be stuck there through the holidays.

I'm going to go to Costco and get a whole bunch of phone cards-- you can get 100 minutes for $5-- and write "From a Democrat in WA" on them, and send them to this address:

Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

It's not much of a Christmas present, but it's a start.

November 13, 2004

Take Paulette's Advice: Shake It Out

At Jay & David's 'wagon circle' the other night, Paulette recommended seeing some live music to help exorcise any demons lingering and festering from Black Tuesday, or the appropriately Euro date order, 2-11.

Apparently, a Russian punk band inspired Paulette to mimic her dog shaking out water in his fur -- kickstand legs, starting at the tip of his nose, working its way through the head, neck, body, limbs and tail. The effect was less ridding her body of a cold-inducing layer of liquid and more a physical fighting off of frustration molding into despair. She felt bathed and clean afterwards, surprisingly refreshed and invigorated.

Yeah, I thought, I could really use some of that. I think I smell rot.

My Eastern European punk band took the form of Wilco last week and Blonde Redhead last night. A combined one-two punch to my sad soul. Jeff Tweedy even asked if we were "bummed about the election." He lamented his own bummed-outness but went on to say the election was supposed to be a "political solution" while "tonight was a spiritual solution." He asked if we understood how amazing it was to be alive and feel the human spirit. To feel the power of transcending the world for a few hours and "get our minds blown at a rock show."

No. Show me. So they did, a head-nodding two hours later replete with a killer "Don't Fear The Reaper" cover. Nice dude.

Am I cured? Absolutely not. I'm despondent. Frankly, I've been deeply hurt by this either grossly misinformed or downright malevolent country. I don't know how to overcome it. I'm still getting used to this never-expected concept of another Bush term.

That said, a good shake is a god-send. Thanks for the advice Paulette. And for those meatballs. Good lord.

November 12, 2004

Zombie therapy

Chris Frizelle's "LEAVING THE HOUSE ISN'T ESCAPISM, IT'S A POLITICAL ACT FOR THE WEEK OF NOV 11-17" kind of ties in with the whole discussion we had here last week about retreating into the happy little lefty enclave that is our Seattle. It's a bit of a love-letter to the eccenticity of our city. And a call-to-arms for those of us who like being different from the rest of the zombies in the flyover states to take a stand and support those differences by going out and living it up for the next week.

And it just made me kind of happy reading it.

November 08, 2004

Purple

What we need is more color in our lives. The blue to red spectrum map at the bottom of this page makes me feel less lonely.

November 05, 2004

A few words of comfort

Jay's posting of that awesome quote by Thomas Paine led me to look up some other words that might provide some comfort (or at least a reminder that the country has been through roughness of this magnitude and greater and survived) and inspiration. I hope some of them serve you well:

"If the Constitution is to be construed to mean what the majority at any given period in history wish the Constitution to mean, why a written Constitution?" --Frank J. Hogan, President, American Bar Assn. (1939)

"One man with courage is a majority." --Thomas Jefferson

"The whole of the Bill of Rights is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of." --Albert Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789

"When my country, into which I had just set my foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir." --Thomas Paine, 1788

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." --Lord Acton, English historian, 1907

"It is the American vice, the democratic disease which expresses its tyranny by reducing everything unique to the level of the herd." --Henry Miller, American author, 1947

"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America." --Bill Clinton

"The countries the most famous and the most respected of antiquity are those which distinguished themselves by promoting and patronizing science, and on the contrary those which neglected or discouraged it are universally denominated rude and barbarous. " --Thomas Paine

"There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion. " --Lord Acton

"The power of a movement lies in the fact that it can indeed change the habits of people. This change is not the result of force but of dedication, of moral persuasion." --Steven Biko

"The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion. "--John Adams

Kind words from Tena

Tena at First Draft, kind of a spinoff of Eschaton, has a message I needed to hear:

No link, just another editorial. But this is important and I must say it publicly.

I have never in my life been so disappointed in people as I am in the so-called liberals who are all over the blogosphere bashing gays and blaming them. If y'all want to be fascist appeasers, then be my guest, but you are not going to have me as a companion on your particular road to tyranny and hell.

I will never give up my principles. I will not alter my morality. I will stand with my gay and lesbian and transsexual fellow citizens to the bitter end. It is non-negotiable. I will go where they go and I will fight for them with my last breath. That's final.

Those of you now joining the witch hunt can go to hell. Fine bunch of progressives some of you are. I cry "Shame" on all of you who are daring to blame same sex marriage for the loss of this election.

really, help is on the way

It's true. It might take a while, and certainly with the loss this week, it's easy to forget that some incredible things happened during this election. Incredible things that, if we can keep momentum around, mean that we can still turn this country around.

I was actually very hearted by Eli Pariser's mail to the MoveOn faithful today. We lost this battle, but we've got a lot of new recruits, and they're young, they're going to be voting for years to come, and it's up to all of us to keep them feeling a part of the process.

Keep reading for Eli's message. And take heart. Please.

Dear MoveOn member,

As the Wall Street Journal points out, Bush's victory was "the
narrowest win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916."
Narrow defeat still hurts. But today, the staff here at MoveOn
can't help but be hopeful, even elated, by the clear impact we've all
had together.

In the shadow of our loss, it's easy to forget what a difference our work
made. Together, we changed the lives of thousands of people, one
conversation at a time. We brought people to the polls who had never
voted. We challenged our neighbors to rethink the information they had
been given by Fox News and the right wing echo chamber. We turned
co-workers into activists. And in the end, we turned out enough voters
to provide the margin of victory in several states.

You don't have to take our word for it. Just look at the numbers. Our
goal in this program was to turn out 440,000 extra voters for Kerry. We
figured only about one third to one half of them would actually check in
with us after they voted. This morning, we figured out that the number
of people who HAD CHECKED IN ALONE was over 472,000 -- an outstanding
success. And the actual total number of our targeted voters who showed
up is much higher.

In New Hampshire, where Kerry won by 9,171 votes, 9,820 people on our
target lists got to the polls. In Wisconsin, where Kerry won by only
11,813, we turned out over 37,000. The 119,000 people we got out in
Pennsylvania almost exceeded the margin of victory there, too. The
effort that all of you put in clearly had a decisive impact in winning
these states.

And that impact wasn't just at the Presidential level. In Colorado, the
voters that we brought out helped elect a new Democratic Senator, win
back control of the legislature for the first time since 1960, and pass
progressive ballot measures. In Minnesota, as one TV channel pointed
out, "Kerry supporters turned out, and they sparked a [Democratic] rout
in Minnesota House races, nearly toppling the Republican majority." In
fact, Kerry won Minnesota by a larger percentage of the vote than Gore
did in 2000.

All of the media hullabaloo about the "missing youth vote" is false,
too, by the way. More people between 18 and 30 turned out this year than
ever before, even though the total percentage of young people in the
population is smaller than it was in previous races. And the youth age
bracket voted emphatically for Kerry -- a good sign that future
generations are more progressive, that history continues to move in our
direction.

But the numbers only tell part of the story. You helped build a new
progressive movement, a movement that is just beginning. And because of
the work you've done, because of the relationships you've formed and the
people you've brought in, we are stronger now than we were when we
started this campaign. Because of groundswell that you have created, we
are better able to stop Bush in Term 2 than we were in Term 1.

Victor, one of the precinct leaders, wrote:

"This program helped me overcome a sense of passive hopelessness about
our country leading me to become empowered to work for a positive
change. One of the best outcomes of this experience was meeting and
becoming friends with a host of like-minded neighbors. This election was
just a first start for us. Realizing how much power we have to effect
the political process when we work together as part of a well organized
team, has changed us and prepared us for future battles.

"I am going to be keeping a list of my team members (and encourage other
precinct leaders to do likewise), and will distribute this list to all
team members. When it is time for our next political action, we will hit
the ground running."

And there's a historical precedent for believing this is a beginning,
not an end. In 1972, Richard Nixon ran against George McGovern, a
progressive populist with a great message about stopping the Vietnam
War. McGovern lost in a landslide, winning literally only one state even
though the Watergate scandal was swirling around Nixon. But a year and a
half later, Nixon resigned; two years later, reformist Democrats won
back control of both legislative chambers.

History is on our side. We look forward to working for you and with you
in the months and years to come. You're real heroes to all of us on the
MoveOn staff. Thank you so, so much, for everything you've done.

--Eli, Adam, and the whole MoveOn PAC Team
Thursday, November 4th, 2004

P.S. We'll definitely want to learn as much as we can from you about how
to make this process better the next time through. We'll be sending you
a survey next week; we really want your input.

November 04, 2004

God bless Molly Ivins

Via corrente:

Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could. He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast. Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

And at least Democrats won't have to clean up after him until it is real clear to everyone who made the mess.

November 03, 2004

And no, I'm bloody well not done

I want to keep the category "Help is on the way" around, because it might be delayed, but I'm not ready to give up on the idea that it will get here.

I had a few more thoughts I wanted to share that have come up as a result of this election.

First of all, you can count on me not to take my vote for granted ever again. I will be there first thing in the morning every election day until I die. And I'm going to devote at least some time to pestering friends, neighbors, coworkers, or just more people in Tukwila to do the same.

I will not support this president, but I AM a patriot, and I am not going to stand for him insinuating (much less stating) that criticism of his reckless policies is anything but patriotic. I care, probably more than I ever have before, what happens to this country, and I want to make this place better.

I also will not stand for the right of this country co-opting the notion of values. How many times last night did we hear the news outlets say that of those people who listed "values" as their top issue, Bush was their guy. I have values, deeply held ones that jibe very well with my Christian upbringing, and I am sick and tired of the right confusing bigotry and fearmongering with anything related to "values."

So from now on, I want us on the left to support candidates who are strong on our values: who believe that all people are of equal value, that one's gender, race, religion, country, and sexual orientation don't make one iota of difference in how we should be valued; who believe that if God gave us this earth as our home, then we have a responsibility to take care of it and treat it with respect; who will remind us all that Jesus said the most important thing to remember was that whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to him; and who will not relent in their defense of OUR family.

Our offensive suffered a really crushing defeat yesterday, but bloody and limping, I'm willing to keep fighting. It might happen that one of these days, we need to admit defeat and get out before it's too late. I haven't yet ruled out that possibility, but I still think it's a fight worth continuing.

Oh, and yeah, I know how hokey that all sounds. But I really do mean it.

October 29, 2004

From a Texas Air Force vet

Via The Poor Man, a retired soldier's eloquent and very sobering take on the election, written to family and friends. Worth a read (Porters and Tompkins, especially you).

Friends and relatives,

In only five days, most of us (minus those of us who have already voted early) will be going to the polls to vote for our next president and various state and local candidates. Not trying to sound overly dramatic, I believe this is the most important election in my lifetime. I want to make sure my choice is correct and that I leave a better country, state, county and city for my children and grandchildren, plus all the others who will be affected by my vote. Normally in the past, I have not revealed my choice for national office, not even to close family members, nor have I campaigned for a specific candidate. This election in 2004, however, has spurred me to action. As well as the importance of any election, I believe this one election offers a choice between a foreboding or a bright future, between promises of a one-party country and a true democracy, between mean-spirited actions and inclusive concern. I cannot sit by and not speak my mind. I don’t pretend to try and sway undecideds to my way of thinking, not convert those who disagree. Nor do I want to pander to those who agree with me. I simply want to put down on paper my thoughts in as candid a manner as possible.

By now many of you have received the email from S---- which included a letter I had received from a former Air Force General, Tony Verrengia whom I had known when I was stationed in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was commenting on an article by Texas political commentator, Molly Ivins, regarding what she sees as a disturbing trend toward fascism in the Republican Party, not necessarily wanted by moderate Republicans. My letter may strike some of those same notes, but I felt like I had to explain why I am voting for John Kerry this year. As you read on, I hope you will understand why I had to.

S---- and I have lived in Texas for over 21 years – first as a military family bouncing between Wichita Falls and San Antonio, and then as employees in the private sector of the Texas economy. Many of you do not understand all the ins and outs of Texas politics – be they from a Democratic or Republican Party perspective. The one thing I did understand, and I gathered a lot of information from S---- when she worked for an analytical think-tank in Austin called The Center for Public Policy Priorities, was the wretched state of affairs in this state when then Governor George W. Bush ran for election for president in 2000. He left this state (and it still is, thanks to his successor, Rick Perry) close to last in most measurable categories of excellence, but at the top in the less desirable categories such as the percentage of children without health insurance. Unfortunately, nothing is going to change in Texas, because our present governor started out the last legislative session with the proclamation, “No new taxes!” So, with the downturn in the economy and corporations getting huge tax breaks to attract them to this state, there will not be enough money in the State budget to correct the problems that affect us all. Of course, statements like “No new taxes” will play to the masses – people who don’t want to or can’t understand that the lack of money in the state treasury will affect them much more than the wealthy who could care less.

It was for these reasons that in 2000, whenever someone would realize I was from Texas, they would say, “So you’re from Texas; you must be voting for George Bush.” I would emphatically respond, “No, and that’s because I AM from Texas.” I realize that there are many people from Texas who have voted and will vote for George W. Bush. I don’t believe they have carefully examined George W. Bush’s record these past 3-1/2 years and are unwilling to educate themselves as to the character problems displayed by our current president. A lot of these people are what I called, single-issue voters. They base their vote on one single issue without looking at the bigger picture.

I served my country as an Air Force officer for more than 27 years. Back in early 2003, before we went to war in Iraq, I was at the demonstrations here in Austin carrying signs that said “No, to war in Iraq.” I did not feel threatened by Hussein and his minions, nor did I believe the rhetoric coming out of the White House, State Department and the Pentagon. I, like John Kerry, fought in Viet Nam, but I was hardly down at the grass roots levels as was Bush’s Democratic challenger. Yes, we lost several pilots from my squadron during my year in Southeast Asia, but these were deaths that seemed more distant than someone being shot in front of your eyes. Yet, as the years went by, I, too, realized that our rationale for going to war in Viet Nam was seriously flawed, and I saw the same reckless decisions as we headed into war with Iraq.

While I volunteered for my duty in Viet Nam, I must say that W’s “escape” from war duties by jumping ahead of other applicants for the Texas ANG in Houston was deplorable. Yet, it’s not the only example I know of. During my 20th class reunion at my high school in Washington DC in 1981, I discovered that many of my classmates got deferments by enrolling in college and getting married. These were mostly the well-to-do classmates who are now mostly Republicans. They could have been just like the Neo-conservatives (Neocons) in this present administration who purport to understand all about war and have no qualms about sending us and our young men and women into war, but who never actually were in the military or fought in a war themselves. I guess I was a bit naïve to assume that all my classmates would have done their patriotic duty. In fact, I applaud those who demonstrated against the war and who risked jail or who left the country more than I do those who relied on legal technicalities to escape service to their country. One group followed their conscience, while the other just “chickened out.” And I didn’t consider moving to Canada as deserting, because the alternative was being thrown in jail here in the States.

I remember returning from Viet Nam in May of 1969 to Seattle-Tacoma Airport to a rousing welcome by…no one. I guess I didn’t realize it at the time – just how unpopular the war was – until I witnessed just how the troops returning from the first Gulf War were greeted. It was even later, as I mentioned above, that I realized that our rationale for being in Viet Nam, and the loss of American and Vietnamese lives was not worth it to accomplish our muddled goals. John Kerry understood much earlier than I did how folly our goals were when he lobbied against the war after his return. Of course, George W. Bush could not have cared less. He wasn’t within arms distance of a combat unit and thumbed his nose at Air Force and Air National Guard regulations requiring that he perform his duty with the Guard. If you’re pampered enough to get into the Guard unit in the first place, then you really have no reason to fear any repercussions about failure to perform your duty in the Guard. He understood that all too well.

Now fast forward from Viet Nam to the present era. I was against GW Bush in the 2000 elections mainly because of what he had done in and to Texas. Like a friend and candidate for a Texas House District seat here in Austin, Kelly White, I used to consider myself independent as a voter. But in recent years, and especially since I have read about the character and career of one George W. Bush, I have become more stridently a Democrat. As I sat and listened to friends and colleagues discuss why they favor the Republican Party, I began to realize that I was not a part of that group. In fact, I wasn’t even close to them. Rightly or wrongly, I began to see Republicans as a repudiation of all the good attributes that were instilled in me by my mother since I was a child. I began this journey, I believe, when Ronald Reagan became president. I saw through his plan to privatize all that was being done in the public sector. He was going to rely upon private businesses to solve the unemployment problems and many other social ills that had befallen our country. I was incredulous. I remember heated debates in class at the Air Force Academy about whether the private sector would act for the general good or for what was good for them and their shareholders. The answer to me was obvious – but it took 8 years of Reaganomics to show the unbelievers that the private sector was corporately selfish when it came to helping the general population. It demonstrated that there is a definite need for the federal government in the protection of the general population.

The present administration and its Neo-conservative politics have gone way beyond that approach to governance. It has catered to special interests in a way that no other administration has ever dared to do…and all under the guise of “family values.” “If you’re not with us; you must be the enemy.” That’s exactly the approach this administration took to those who dared question what happened before and after September 11, 2001. Like most Americans, I supported the president’s decision to go after Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan. And like many in this country, I strongly opposed the decision to invade Iraq. My arguments at the time - this is for oil and to bail out the senior Bush’s decision not to go into Iraq – were a bit simplistic, but not far from the truth. I have read reports, analyses and books in recent months and discovered, to my surprise, that many moderate conservatives and MANY former military officers hold views similar to mine or even more insightful as to the danger of the neo-conservative strategy for domestic and international dominance. It’s not a coincidence that all these threads intertwine, nor is it a coincidence that so many people have written about the basic flaws within this administration, more than have written about any other administration in our history. It’s actually scary. If you have any questions as to how and why, just READ. There are plenty of sources that bring to light all these ties.

That’s just a small piece of the evil puzzle. I use that word, “evil” with hesitation. It’s not a word I use lightly, but after seeing what this administration has forced onto the people of the world, it’s the only one that fits. Sure, radical Islam is often to be feared as being dangerous to us, but I equate what the Bush Administration is doing to us, citizens of the United States, with a technique we learned when we were on a survival trek at the Air Force Academy. Each group of 10 cadets was given a live domestic rabbit for food (broth, smoked meat, etc). After the hunter in our element cut the rabbit’s throat and let it bleed all over the place, our element leader/instructor suggested an approach that was a bit more humane and a lot less messy. He told us that the best way was to pet the rabbit running your hand down its head, over its ears and down its back to get it to relax. Once it was relaxed, you would then deliver a swift karate-type strike to the back of its neck which would kill it swiftly and with a lot less mess. That’s what I see this administration attempting to do – pacify those of us who are unbelievers (be it with tax cuts or promises of better this or that) until we become relaxed and unawares. Then comes the karate chop – the one-party system envisioned by Karl Rove. Then Big Brother really will exist.

I know that our family is very concerned about life issues. I would like to recommend a truly holistic, world view of life issues. I know that I stand on firm ground from the perspective of two respected Catholics, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. I would suggest that life issues go well beyond the single issue of abortion. As our pastor here in Austin stated in a letter to the parish two weeks ago, abortion is just “one of many” issues in the pro-life arena. Others include quality education, health care (both physical and mental health care), being against the death penalty, and (here’s Pope JP II) being against pre-emptive wars. Also on this list are trade and foreign policies that knowingly harm other societies; constructing more prisons today than schools, rehabilitation programs and mental health facilities; refusing to look at the imbalance in racial makeup in our prison systems; asking why and then formulating city, state and national policy around the issues of racial profiling, and economic inequity (a BIG one for Mother Teresa); domestic and foreign trade and environmental policies that compromise the physical and mental health of children that are not our own; a foreign policy that obliterates whole groups of women, children and elderly to prove a point; treating prisoners in ANY system over which we have authority in an inhumane, sadistic and cruel way – behind our backs and without our consent; and demonizing one religion over another. None of these practices presently part of our body politic is pro-life. That’s one reason I have a difficult time when they play and sing “God Bless America” at sports contests. To many in our American society, that is providing fuel to the belief that whatever we do is good – even torturing prisoners ala Rush Limbaugh, because God is on our side. Is God really on our side if we are that barbaric? It’s the “Crusades” mentality. That mind set is patently wrong. There are other issues I have not addressed here, but the final one that is creating a threat that my grandchildren – and their children will live with for decades – is definitely not pro life. I do not want my grandchildren to fear, or worse, hate a Muslim child because of 9/11. But that is the horrible probability we have created by occupying the Middle East and insisting that we, not they, know what is best for them. Is that, too, because God is on our side? To me that is the scariest part of the Neo-conservative movement in this country – that faith, even when it is misplaced and misguided is justification for whatever we want to do, including to our own citizens.

My biggest fear is the increased polarization of this country under the present regime. It has reached heights that I never believed it would. I can foresee the day when we run the risk of a coup or civil war (again) in this country because so many people are being disenfranchised or marginalized (what else would be the reaction to Karl Rove’s one-party society). People don’t understand why terrorists are willing to strap bombs to their bodies and blow up innocent civilians or even our soldiers. It’s because they have no hope. That’s their way of speaking out – the only way they know how. I can see the day that segments of our society feel themselves so cut off that they, too, must resort to insurrection to make their plight known. Make no mistake; there will be no complicated ideology behind such actions, only hopelessness.

This last picture - that of civil war in this country - is the main reason we must have regime change NOW. Unlike our inane local newspaper in Austin, I would vote for anyone other than Bush. He and his people are a danger to America – a fascist menace to paraphrase my good friend BG Verrengia. I care about our country. I love its inhabitants. I cherish its history. I relish its friendships. That’s why I will, must vote for John Kerry on Election Day 2004.

----
October 2004

Far right wingers for Kerry

Daily Kos sheds light, I think, on Bush's odd trip today to tiny New Hampshire: I think he had to shore up his base given a stunning defection:

Bob Smith of New Hampshire lived at the far right of the GOP. He even left the Republican Party at one point because he considered it too moderate. In fact, he was one of those guys who waved around plastic fetuses whenever abortion was debated.

But in 2004, this hard right winger is endorsing Kerry.

As someone who worked with you daily for 12 years as a United States Senator, I am acutely conscious of the fact that we disagree on many important issues. Despite our differences, you have always been willing to engage in constructive debate in an effort to forge sound public policy.

I deeply respect your commitment to our nation and your patriotism which, I believe, was forged when you-like I-proudly wore the uniform of the United States Navy in Viet Nam...

Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism.

President Bush has failed to restrain federal spending, sending our deficit spinning into the stratosphere. I well remember that you were one of a handful of Democrats who crossed the aisle to forge a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to balance the federal budget [...]

John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you. So will my wife, Mary Jo, and all three of my children: Jason, Bobby and Jenny.

Moreover, I will do all that I can to encourage my friends in New Hampshire and Florida to join me in supporting you.

October 20, 2004

What's next, what's needed, and who's game?

Here's a long and serious post, friends. Please read it, think about it, and get back to me.

I may cry bitter tears into cheap whiskey on Nov. 2 remembering these words, but I now believe that (barring catastrophe) Kerry is going to win the election. So now I'm mostly worried that it will be close enough that the inevitable voting screwups will tarnish the win--in which case it will be pain to watch the Bushies argue the exact opposite of what they screamed from the rafters in 2004. But my money is actually on a 20 EV margin by Kerry. (Some people are way more optimistic.) I've read more than I really care to America is going to let the incumbent off the hook, and a lot of these supposed "battleground" states (like Oregon) will fall blue with 5-7% margins.

Great, you say. We can go back to normal. Whoopie!

No. Hell no. To relax our pre-election posture for more than a moment would be as dumb as my least-favorite horror movie cliché. Because The Monster Is Never Dead. Especially if that monster is the American Right. There are enough think tanks and policy foundations and pressure groups to keep monsters like Neoconservatism, Neo-Imperialism, and a whole host of Christofascist ideas alive almost indefinitely. (Who thought supply-side economics had survived the 1990s? But here it is, alive, well and eating us in to a trillion dollar debt!)

So we have to keep doing what we've been doing, and then some. We have to win back the House in 2006, and the Senate--assuming we don't get there sooner. We have to attack the state and local groups that are pushing anti-choice and anti-gay legislation--even in Washington. And we have to keep raising money to support a truly diverse and representative grassroots on every major policy front. We have to reach out around the world and try to undo the damage done to our reputation. Oh, and by the way, we probably have to re-invent or flat out innovate around the Democratic Party. Clearly, left to its own devices neither it nor the Kerry campaign could afford to be this hopeful. Finally, we have to figure out how to wake up the media so that they will, and I quote, "stop hurting America." (Alternately, we could just use the Super-Size ray to make Jon Stewart 50 feet tall and let him eat all the hacks).

I don't pretend to know what this effort will look like, but I think the 527s offer a pretty good model. I have a laptop and even a little bit of time on my hands. (I have a couple of URLs I quite like, too.) Anyone interested in getting formal about this? What I want to hear is what you think, friends. What can we all commit to doing to ensure that this become the "It's Not Over" election? Because I want this to be a real turning point in American history, not just a bump in the road of continuing national decline. There are a lot of great new organizations doing important work, and we have to continue supporting them. Maybe that's the best course--just opening our wallets. But I'm not convinced that the people who make up this community don't have something unique and worthwhile to offer as well.

No mincing words here. I want the head cut off the snake. I want the ring thrown into the volcano. I want the ideology that has gotten us to this terrible place to become as discredited as Stalinism, National Socialism, and belief in spontaneous generation. I want to sow salt in the fields of the Right and to fight them on any soil where their pernicious ideas take root. No more of this "we are history's actors" bullshit. Nobody gets to create their own reality--there's just one, and we all have to share it.

In short, I want my country back. For good. So that David and I can live here in peace with you nice people. Because it's not just about this election, any more than the WWII was just about the Battle for Britain.

So talk to me... what are we going to do? Because we can't afford to assume that everyone else has it covered. Because nothing ends on November 2, and if you stop for even a moment to gleefully kick the corpse it will grab you by the ankles and start in again.

October 18, 2004

One less undecided voter

Unshrill and beautiful. Good patriotism is reality-based.

Agreeing with WFBjr

There are very few true conservatives like William F. Buckley Jr. left. He can be an ass, but he is a consistent ass... I might even go so far as to say a reality-based ass. Steve Clemons quotes him here on the inanity of the GOP's argument that Kerry somehow smeared Mary Cheney. To wit:

It is not in question that Mary Cheney's gayness had already become a part of the cast of characters in the political play. Senator Kerry was in no sense "outing" someone who had hidden her sexual impulses. So that the question narrowed to whether what was said was an expression of magnanimity and inclusiveness, or whether it was a bid for votes from the bigoted.

This last interpretation of it was taken by an evangelical Christian politician, Gary Bauer, who ran for the presidency four years ago. He reasoned as follows: that traditional-values voters would react to the public reference as to an animadversion against the Bush ticket, and that by saying what he had said, Kerry could reasonably hope "to knock l or 2 percent off in some rural areas by causing people to turn on the president." This view holds that Kerry was in fact trading on bigotry.

That position is of course irreconcilable with the position that Mr. Cheney has profited politically from publicizing his daughter's gayness -- that he has, in effect, said to the gay community: Look, my own beloved daughter is a member of the Cheney family, and a member also of the gay community. You can hardly suspect in the GOP ticket prejudice against gays, when you see that we have one in the family, whom we cherish.

October 01, 2004

Bugging Out

From the site that keeps us all awake a night wondering who those people are, comes this choice bit:

“President Eisenhower's son, John, a lifelong Republican, has switched his party registration to independent and is going to vote for John Kerry. This makes the second child of a Republican president who is jumping ship (Ron Reagan spoke at the DNC). Eisenhower does not feel he is leaving the party; he feels the party has abandoned the principles his father stood for, including balanced budgets at home and working with our allies abroad. To read his story, entitled "Why I will will Vote for John Kerry for President," click here. So far Chelsea Clinton, Amy Carter, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg have not announced for Bush. But they still have a month if they want to.”

August 24, 2004

Absentee Ballots

Get one. If you live in King County, get yours here.

August 11, 2004

"Build a better Bush"

This is funny. If you give him "drunk eyes," thinning hair and a little bit of stubble, you probably have a fair approximation of what he'll look like in 2006 after a couple of years all alone at the Crawford Ranch with his old flame, Wild Turkey.

August 06, 2004

Text of King County marriage decision

Tim at security risk" quotes extensively from Judge Downing's opinion Wednesday. We're lucky to have a public servant like this. Some highlights:

There was no deeply rooted tradition of interracial marriage at the time of the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of anti-miscegenation statutes in Loving v. Virginia, supra; yet, the Court analyzed the issue of their constitutionality in terms of the broad right to marry and found that right to have been infringed. There was no deeply rooted tradition of marriage while delinquent in child support payments at the time of the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of statutes prohibiting this in Zablocki v. Redhail...(1978); yet, the Court analyzed the issue of their constitutionality in terms of the broad right to marry and found that right to have been infringed. There was no deeply rooted tradition of inmate marriage at the time of the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of statutes restricting this in Turner v. Safley...(1987); yet, the Court analyzed the issue of their constitutionality in terms of the broad right to marry and found that right to have been infringed....

It is true that marriage has long been defined as the union of one man and one woman. It is equally true that the shape of marriage has drastically changed over the years. It took a very long time for the courts (with legislative bodies sometimes understandably following just a little behind) to break down the traditional stereotypes that relegated women to second class status in society and in the marital relationship....Serving tradition, for the sake of tradition alone, is not a compelling state interest....

Some declaim that the institutions of marriage and family are weak these days and, in fact, stand threatened. Any trial court judge who regularly hears divorce, child abuse and domestic violence cases deeply shares this concern. It is not difficult, however, to identify both the causes of the present situation and the primary future threat. They come from inside the institution, not outside of it. Not to be too harsh, but they are a shortage of commitment and an excess of selfishness. Before the Court stand eight couples who credibly represent that they are ready and willing to make the right kind of commitment to partner and family for the right kinds of reasons. All they ask is for the state to make them able....

Of course the laws never have placed a requirement on marriage that the parties procreate nor do they prohibit from marriage those who are unable or disinclined to procreate....

Unlike the documented impact of children's exposure to domestic violence and substance abuse in the homes of lawfully married heterosexual couples, as to children raised by intact same-sex couples there is no science, only questionable assumptions based on stereotypes. The Court concludes that the exclusion of same-sex partners from civil marriage and the privileges attendant thereto is not rationally related to any legitimate or compelling state interest and is certainly not narrowly tailored toward such an interest.

If there is indeed any outside threat to the institution of marriage, it could well lie in legislative tinkering with the creation of alternative species of quasi-marriage.... Better, perhaps (in terms of simplicity, fairness and social policy) to allow all who are up to taking on the heavy responsibilities of marriage, with its exclusivity and its "till death do us part" commitment, to do so - not lightly, but advisedly....

The privilege of civil marriage and the various privileges legally conferred by that status are not being made equally available to all citizens....[In addition, the] denial to the plaintiffs of the right to marry constitutes a denial of substantive due process.

[T]hese plaintiffs...include exemplary parents, adoptive parents, foster parents and grandparents. They well know what it means to make a commitment and to honor it. There is not one among them that any of us should not be proud to call a friend or neighbor or to sit with at small desks on back-to-school night. There is no worthwhile institution that they would dishonor, much less destroy....The characteristics embodied by these plaintiffs are ones that our society and the institution of marriage need more of, not less.

August 02, 2004

July 30, 2004

Zogby poll shows Rove strategy in tatters

I've been reading a lot about Karl Rove--you know, "Bush's Brain"--and pace Mencken I think he's going to make Bush lose by overestimating the stupidity of the American people. It is Rove we have to thank for the "divider not uniter" reality W has unleashed--Rove believed that Bush I lost because he didn't protect the Republican base (read: "wingnuts"). Thus, everything Bush II has done has been about pumping them up, secure that the rest of the nation was too disorganized to do anything about it. Not only was he wrong about that, he seems to have completely discounted the possibility that people who hadn't voted for a while (or ever) might be motivated to fight back. The Zogby numbers reveal that among non-voters in 2000, Kerry is leading Bush 2-1 and that he's picking up Nader 2000 voters 3-1 over W.

While the evidence that non-voters are more likely to vote this year is mainly anecdotal so far, the latest polling must be giving Rove and his stuffing-headed boss a lot of heartburn. By way of Eschaton:

The most recent Zogby poll shows deeper trouble for President George W. Bush beyond just the horserace. Mr. Bush has fallen in key areas while Senator John Kerry has shored up numerous constituencies in his base. The Bush team's attempted outreach to base Democratic and swing constituency has shown to be a failure thus far, limiting his potential growth in the electorate.

Um, is this attempted outreach? If so, anyone surprised it's failing? Seriously, read the Zogby numbers below... it will make you smile. They certainly confirm my suspicion that single women are the smartest people in the country!

Among Hispanic Voters:
Kerry 69%
Bush 19%

Among Southern Voters:
Kerry 48%
Bush 46%

Viewed Favorably in the South:
Kerry 55%
Bush 55%

Bush's Job Performance in the South: 44%

US Headed in the Right Direction in the South: 43%

Among Young Voters (18-29) :
Kerry 53%
Bush 33%

Among Single Voters:
Kerry 69%
Bush 19%

In the Red States:
Kerry 46%
Bush 48%

In the Blue States:
Kerry 50%
Bush 38%

Among People Who Did Not Vote in 2000:
Kerry 50%
Bush 25%

Open Thread

Wracked by a spasm of optimism, I created a new category. Marti, you asked for it, so keep the good news coming. Of course if Kerry loses the very thought of this moment will require an entire bottle of whisky to drown my sorrow... but seriously, I haven't felt this optimistic since my sophomore year in college, walking across the damp flagstone paths at Yale, hearing Clinton's acceptance speech echo across the courtyard from every window.

So, here's an open thread. Everyone please chime in with thoughts about Kerry's speech (or the convention as a whole).