Monthly Archives: October 2004

Happy Kerry Story

Prairie Angel tells a wonderful tale from Virginia:

And here’s anecdotal evidence from Leesburg, Virginia, which every October 31st has a big halloween parade downtown. Every firetruck, marching band, karate class and insurance company for miles around decorates a truck to parade down King Street past the courthouse (and not incidentally, right past the front of my store.)

This year we (Esoterica) fielded a truck, complete with bellydancers and cloaked witches. This all to explain why I was standing outside my store with a camera as the parade went by. This is the first election year since we purchased the store, so I wasn’t aware that the various candidates’ supporters fielded trucks and cars as well.

And here in Leesburg VA, Bastion of the Right, the Kerry trucks and cars were greeted with cheers and cries of “Help is on the way!” and the Bush trucks and cars were greeted with boos and cries of “Ker-REE Ker-REE” and “Two More Days”.

Wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it; that’s how Republican Virginia tends to be. But it sure cheered me up.

It’s become common in the last five or six years to talk about red states and blue states, as if this country was made up of a kind of crazy quilt of safe areas and danger zones, places where one opinion was acceptable and others were not. It might be safe to back a particular candidate in one state, but not in another, it might be all right to talk about politics here, but not there.

It’s bullshit. We are, as Barack Obama reminded us so eloquently at the convention, one country. There is no wall that separates us from our fellow men and women, no fence we have to jump to feel secure in our political identities.

I’ve caught myself recently feeling relieved to live in Illinois, where Kerry’s going to win in a walk and the Republican senate candidate is a national joke. That’s completely crazy. I am an American; I have a right to say what I want to say without fear of reprisal wherever the hell I damn well please. And Jane’s story reminded me that when you start confounding expectations of what it’s all right to say, the response you get may surprise you.

Tell your own stories in this thread. What have you seen that’s given you hope for the future of this country?

A.

Happy Kerry Photo: Halloween Edition

Courtesy of First Drafter CrispyShot:

A.

Travels In A Purple State: The Ultimate Happy Kerry Photo

Check that out, kids. That’s in the “conservative” city paper in Madison, Wisconsin, the day after a Kerry/Springsteen rally that drew 100,000 people.

By the time I got there the next day, city workers had cleaned up most of the debris from the rally, though I did see a guy walking down the street carrying a Kerry/Edwards sign and wearing, round his neck, a beer funnel.

Every other ad on the radio, and I mean on the football broadcasting radio, was for Kerry. Unions, Planned Parenthood, left-wing loonies I remember from my student days, all said “Vote Kerry.” And perhaps it wasn’t surprising in the city, but I’ve been there during elections before. And I’ve never seen anything like it in all my livin’ life. Nobody walking down the street got away from those handing out Kerry stickers, Kerry signs, Kerry fliers. I live in a safely blue state, but driving up to Wisconsin I was in Kerry Nation, and damned if it didn’t feel like home.

At a student hockey game Saturday night, the scoreboard cameras zeroed in on a guy wearing a rubber Bush mask. And the boos shook the rafters and rattled the rink. It’s not just kids come to those games; the people who sit in front of me own a farm and drive two hours into the city every weekend for the contests. They have a tiny daughter who has been coming to the games with her parents since she was three weeks old and slept through them. Now she shakes her tiny fists and cheers. She’s a reason to vote for Kerry, that’s for sure. Kid deserves a better preznit. My team, on the other hand, deserved a better coach; they got thrashed by Denver 6-3.

Oh, sure, there’s a belligerent college Republican contingent that went around town shouting “Four more years!” and in the farm country between there and Chicago there’s plenty of signs that Bush and Cheney have some people fooled. But as I walked out to my car after checking out of the hotel this morning, a young couple stopped me and asked if I’d take their picture in front of the football stadium. Seeing the Kerry sign on the back of my car and the Kerry hat on my head, they smiled and said, “We’re with you.”

Look at all those people. They’re with us. We’re with them. And on Tuesday, we’re all going to win.

Together.

A.

Go Pack!

At this point, I will take all the signs of hope and happiness I can get. If a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan and it gives us a hundred more votes in Ohio, I’m over there feeding the butterfly whatever butterflies eat and telling that little bitch to flap harder, dammit.

So while this prediction model may be a load of crap, I still say the final score of Green Bay 28, Washington 14 warms my political heart as surely as it does my cheese head.

Al Harris for Secretary of Football.

A.

Polls and More Polls

From Holden:

Newsweek pegs Georgie’s Job Approval Rating at 46%, same as last week. Can he poll higher than 46%? I doubt it.

As for the horse race, here are some Sunday numbers:

Democracy Corps

Bush 47 (unchanged)

Kerry 48 (+1)

Fox

Likely Voters

Bush 46 (-1)

Kerry 46 (+1)

Registered Voters
Bush 45 (-1)

Kerry 47 (+1)

ARG

Likely Voters

Bush 48

Kerry 49

Registered Voters

Bush 48

Kerry 49

Link.

Expatriates return to U.S. to work on the campaign

Steve Gilliard has a story up from the WaPo, about Americans living overseas who have returned to work on the election.

“What began as a steady trickle of overseas volunteers two months ago has developed into a concentrated final push in the last week before the election. Some expats are returning to their home towns in crucial swing states to take part in door-to-door canvassing; others are running phone banks or driving voters to the polls. a number have arrived in Florida to act as election observers.
Whether they are from as far afield as Japan or Europe, or are simply crossing the border from Canada these expat volunteers, for the most part describing themselves as anti-President Bush, say they are motivated by the belief that this election is the most important in their lifetimes.
[snip]

Among those coming back to the U.S. election are Sunshine and Gators, a groups of American expats from Japan, including one of [Giliard’s] longtime readers, Hubris Sonic…”

I find this story immensely cheering on many levels. First and foremost, the resurgence of activity by Americans in their election process reverses the sickening trend of decades of rising voter apathy and disinterest in our democracy. And of course I am encouraged that most of these expats have come home to work to get John Kerry elected, as well. With this kind of dedication to the promise of American, I believe that we cannot but win this election for our democracy and for our freedom and for sanity and reality, all of which means that we cannot but win this for John Kerry. And as has been said so many times this last year, we will have done this ourselves, with no help from the media. John Kerry’s victory is our victory, it is America’s victory. I am immensely grateful to Hubris Sonic and all those who have spent so much money and time working for our common goal. Thank you all so much. And Kerry/Edwards in a landslide, my sweet bitches. Bush to Mars.

Sunday Happy Kerry Photo

From Holden:

VICTORY!

I have a neighbor here in South Austin, TX, who worked for Rove & Company throughout the 1990s and during the 2000 election. Last night, at a costume party, she told me she was voting for Kerry this year. She came as close as her pride would let her to an outright apology for what has happened to our country over the past four years.

Kerry in a landslide!

Hey, How Come Osama is Free Three Years On?

From Holden:

The New York Times tells us why:

[I]n mid-December 2001, the United States intercepted a radio transmission on which analysts believe they could hear Mr. bin Laden giving orders to Qaeda fighters from within Tora Bora. The intercept was the most solid piece of evidence of Mr. bin Laden’s location since the war in Afghanistan had started two months earlier, and was corroborated by sightings of the distinctive Qaeda leader.

[snip]

“We made a conscious decision, the United States government, that there were organized Afghan forces on the ground that could be helpful to us,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference on April 17, 2002. “Did we think they would function exactly the way United States armed services organized units would function? No. We knew they would function differently. And we said to ourselves, ‘O.K., on balance, how do we feel about that?’ And the answer was, ‘Well, we feel pretty good about it. Let’s go ahead and use them.’ ”

[snip]

General Franks was so frustrated by the failure to capture Mr. bin Laden that by Dec. 19, 2001, American officials said the general had proposed sending up to several hundred United States marines or Army troops to comb the region’s wild terrain. The proposal was a tacit, if perhaps belated, recognition that the Afghan allies may not have had the ability or the will to establish control over Tora Bora.

But the plan was never carried out. Mr. Rumsfeld and other officials in Washington had always worried about alienating Afghan tribal leaders by deploying large numbers of conventional American forces. Moreover, some commanders said it was not at all clear that a few hundred forces would be enough to seal the myriad mountain trails leading out of the region.

By the end of December 2001, an American-backed effort to combing of the caves of Tora Bora for signs of Mr. bin Laden, his fighters and intelligence on terrorist attacks that might be in the works had made little progress and seemed to be fading as a top priority. Afghan officials reported that Mr. bin Laden had survived the bombardment at Tora Bora and slipped across the Pakistan border on one of the region’s many mountain trails.

For some perverse reason the Bush campaign seems to be happy that Osama bin Laden is still free and healthy. My reponse is anger. I’m angry that the man responsible for the horrible deaths of more than 3,000 American’s lives comfortably free. Angry that we have a president who thinks it makes him look good when a vicious murderer taunts us.

Change is long overdue. It makes me angry.

Today’s Zogby Poll

From Holden:

Kerry 47

Bush 46

Y2K4

From Holden:

Remember what it was like as the end of the millineum approached in 1999? All the dire warnings about ariplanes falling from the sky and our toasters attacking us with laser beams if we did not resolve the Y2K problem in time?

This election year, with the fear that something will go wrong on Tuesday followed by weeks of litigation, reminds me of Y2K. As we were on December 31, 1999, this country is fully prepared for Y2K4. We’ve been forewarned and forearmed. Be it Florida felon lists, Ohio voter challenges, or paperless Diebold machines, we’ve been preparing for this election for years. And so I think we won’t see the vast debacle that many have anticipated.

Sure, there will be some problems — electronic voting machines that fail to register voter preferences, Republican attempts at intimidation — and they should not be ignored. But, overall I anticipate a rather smooth election.

Call me crazy, stupid, or just plain wrong. But I think that the anticipation of voting problems will far outweight what actually occurs on November 2.

Kristof Somewhat Redeemed

From Holden:

Last week I criticized the Times’ Nic Kristof for for making the ridiculous claim that George W. Bush never panders.

This week he redeems himself, a bit, by reciting a series of Bush promises that have either gone unmet or been directly contradicted by his actions.

Read it.

The Bin Laden Bounce

From Holden:

I’m with DHinMI over at Kos. If the latest OBL video breaks for either candidate it’s Kerry. I can’t fathom any benefit for Bush from a healthy Osama reminding voters that he’s still alive and free while he criticizes Georgie’s resolute reponse to September 11th. The statements I’ve seen from both Bush and Kerry suggest that neither man wants to be seen as taking advantage of Osama, so it may be a wash.

But a wash is the best Bush can hope for. The video also plays into the theme of the week, the fact that Bush is incompetent. Kerry has been mentioning this fact for weeks, and was wise to clothe the missing explosives issue in the President’s incompetence before wrapping it around Georgie’s neck. A free Osama simply reinforces this argument.

The Bush Pledge

I’m kind of late in the day with this, since both Josh Marshall and Kos posted stories on it this morning. I’m talking about the story of the Bush rally in which the 2000 or so people who were there were asked to stand, raise their hands and recite the following in unison: <p.

“I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care I promise to work hard to re-elect George W. Bush president of the United States.”

To be perfectly honest about this, I find the idea of 2000 people standing up and raising their arms in the air and reciting this a whole lot scarier than Osama bin Laden. This is not America, at least, not the America that Jefferson envisioned. This is the real threat we face, a cult of personality that wants to subsume everything else within it, including our liberty and our freedom, especially our freedom to dissent and to criticize our government. I think this story needs more circulation, and I hope it gets out there before the polls open Tuesday morning. I don’t want to face a future where every day we all have to stand up and raise one arm in the air and pledge some oath of loyalty to a person, as if that person was our freedom and our liberty.

Mr. Bush, you do not understand democracy and you do not understand our constitution. Anyone who requires an oath of loyalty to him personally is wholly unfit to be the leader of this country.

Happy Kerry Photo of the Day

From Holden:

Athenae is out for the weekend (I think she’s getting her vowel collection cleaned), so here’s your photo.

Spider-man’s girlfriend says, “Go Big John!”

Things to Come

From Holden:

CRAWFORD, TX, Nov. 3 – President George W. Bush concedes defeat as Sen. John Kerry is elected as the 44th President of the United States in a landslide victory.

Mission Accomplished

From Holden:

Everyone’s favorite pouched blogger skippy points us towards Bill in Portland Maine’s DKos diary which in turn leads us to this photo of Chimpy getting pissed when the confetti went off too early during his speech today in Manchester, New Hampshire.

HA!

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle: Explosives Are Bad, mmm-Kay.

From Holden:

In today’s gaggle Little Scottie went so far as to claim that David Kay doesn’t know anything about Iraqi munitions or US efforts to locate them. We also got a peak at Scottie’s big asterisk again today.

Q The former chief weapons inspector, David Kay, said that, to him, it looked like that white powder was HMX. Are you disagreeing with his assessment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think there’s others that have said they’re not sure what’s in those boxes. It’s not clear, it’s not clear what’s in those boxes. And there are others that question what’s in those boxes. But, regardless, it also —

Q I’m sorry, who questioned that?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’ve seen some of the media reporting, and I’ll go back and look at the media reporting and pull that for you.* And the military, I mean, they haven’t said that it’s clear what was in those boxes, other than it’s some type of explosives. But it leads to the possibility, if our troops were there and found those munitions, it’s certainly a possibility that those munitions were part of what was destroyed, because we know that they destroyed a large volume of munitions that they found in Iraq at the — these munitions were spread throughout the country.

Q Did they keep records of —

MR. McCLELLAN: Now you’re drawing conclusions without knowing all the facts, and I don’t think you can do that.

Q I’m saying David Kay reached the conclusion.

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s what I’m saying. You cannot draw the conclusions without knowing all the facts, and the facts are still unclear.

Q Wouldn’t we stipulate that David Kay is not just some casual observer, but somebody who actually knows intimately about operations on the ground, particularly during the time —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Ambassador Bremer is someone who knew about operations on the ground as well, because he was —

Q Was he conducting weapons inspections?

MR. McCLELLAN: — he was there, and he was very well aware of what was going on there. Our military was very well aware of that, and they have not come out — the military has not been able to confirm what, exactly, this video shows.

*CNN reported, “‘That’s either HMX or RDX,’ Kay said, referring to the types of explosives. ‘I don’t know of anything else in al Qaqaa that was in that form.'” ยท “But Michael Lysobey, a former U.N. weapons inspector, said it was unclear from the videotape whether the barrels contained the high-grade explosives.”

Obsession Part II: Some People are Saying Scottie is a Liar

From Holden:

I’d advise Little Scottie to get his missing Iraqi explosives story straight, but apparently he doesn’t have a story. He was all over the map today and seems to have forgotten his GPS equipment:

Q ABC ran some tape of the seals still being on that bunker when U.S. troops got there, suggesting the explosives were still in there. What do you think?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think, you know, it’s premature to draw conclusions because the facts are not known. We seized or destroyed — our troops seized or destroyed already more than 400,000 tons of munitions. Securing and destroying these kind of munitions was a priority for our troops. The Department of Defense released a satellite image showing trucks at the facility within days after the inspectors left. That shows that there was activity going on there in early March.

It’s not known what kind of explosives these were that you were talking about. It’s a real possibility that these munitions were — or these explosives were part of the munitions that were destroyed. The facts are not known. And as the President said, in Ms. Keen’s interview with him yesterday, he said, Senator Kerry has shown that he will attack for political gain, without knowing the facts. He puts politics above the facts. And it is irresponsible for Senator Kerry to draw conclusions without knowing the facts. These are wild accusations that he has made, and they just demonstrate that he will say anything for his own political advantage.

Q What part of the —

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, you have —

Q Were these munitions that were destroyed by U.S. troops? Is that what you’re saying? Or U.S. forces, these munitions were destroyed —

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s a real possibility. We don’t know the facts. There is new information that has come to light in recent days and continues to come to light. But the facts are still not know [sic].

Q There are facts known now, which is that these pictures show IAEA-sealed explosives. The IAEA people say that they only sealed HMX, and that these look like their seals. So will the President acknowledge those facts?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think others have suggested that it does not appear to be HMX.

Q Who?

MR. McCLELLAN: So it’s not clear what the facts are. Just some of the media coverage. I can go back and look at some of the media coverage. But you have some experts questioning this whole issue, because as I said, we’ve seized or destroyed more than 400,000 tons of munitions. That shows that securing and destroying these munitions was a priority for our troops. You have experts saying that this issue is “absurd,” or “bogus.” Yet Senator Kerry is the one who is jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts. And I think that’s a real issue in this campaign —

Q Does the President believe this is absurd and bogus?

MR. McCLELLAN: — a real issue in this campaign. And in terms of the video that you’re referencing, again, it’s a very real possibility that those explosives could have been part of what was destroyed by our troops, because we know that our troops made it a priority because of how much they have already destroyed. They’ve destroyed a large volume of munitions since the beginning of the war in Iraq. I think that you are looking at — you’re trying to attempt to draw some conclusions based on this videotape, and I’m not sure that you can draw those conclusions from that videotape.

Q Does the President believe this issue is absurd and bogus?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I was pointing out — I mean, I was pointing out that people were saying that the facts are not known, and that you have to look at the facts — there’s a wild charge been made here that it wasn’t a priority for our military. It was a priority for our military to secure and destroy munitions, and that is documented by the fact that they have already destroyed or secured more than 400,000 tons of munitions.

Q And you’re suggesting that the munitions — that the high explosives tagged by the IAEA that have been photographed as having been there when the 101st arrived could then have been destroyed by American troops?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that’s a real possibility. We don’t know the facts. There is new information still coming to light, but we still don’t know all the facts. And for someone to draw conclusions without knowing the facts, it shows their reckless disregard. It shows their reckless disregard.

Obsession Part III: Rummy is to Blame for Halliburton Scandal

From Holden:

Such a juicy gaggle today that I’m breaking it into three parts and posting them in reverse order (don’t try too hard to figure it out, just obsess with me).

In Part III, it looks like Little Scottie is setting up Don Rumsfeld to take the fall for the no-bid Halliburton contracts:

Q Are you concerned about the timing of this Halliburton probe expanding now?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I mean, one, you ought to talk to the Department of Justice or the FBI about any specific matters they’re looking into, because I don’t have knowledge of those issues. But let me just say a couple of things.

One, the Department of Defense has the responsibility for these contracting matters. There are clear guidelines and procedures in place when it comes to contracts. And if there is wrongdoing, the President expects it to be investigated fully and dealt with.

Q I’m asking you about the political timing. Is the President concerned this comes four days before the election?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know that — I know you all always look at it in that context. I’m not — that’s not the way I’m looking at this. That’s why I pointed out what I just did. I mean that, one, these are contracting matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Defense. The President has always said if there is wrongdoing involved, he expects it to be pursued to the fullest. And that’s what we’ve made clear previously and that’s what I’m making clear again today.

Fallujah Offensive as October Surprise

From Holden:

It’s pretty obvious that U.S. forces in Iraq are preparing for a major push into Fallujah soon. It’s obvious to the major media, the citizens of Fallujah (espcially the 300,000 who have reportedly fled the city in advance of the attack), and the Brits who have reluctantly shifted their forces to fill in the gaps our attacking Marines will leave behind.

I think we all were assuming that any big offensive would be delayed until after the election so that voters are not reminded of the carnage that Georgie’s incompetence has wrought. But now I’m not so sure.

I get the feeling that the offensive may start this weekend, ’cause Karl Rove thinks the voters will choose to support their War Preznit while our boys and girls are dying in the War on Terra. If so, he’s dead wrong – the preznit’s popularity plummeted last April when U.S. forces first tried to re-take the embattled city. But I don’t think Mr. Rove has learned his lesson.