Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Day 2 of the RNC: The Fix is In

Yesterday will probably go down as one of the worst day of the Republican convention. Republicans, eager to forget the record half million anti-Bush protestors in the streets the day before, say Rudi Giuliani use one of Hitler's favorite quotes (or was it Nietzsche or Bush --- they all liked "Whoever is not with us is against us). "Start spreading the news" that the Republicans forgot that the late Frank Sinatra didn't "want to be a part of it" so much he once wrote the campaign song for JFK. And let's not forgot Senator McCain's warning (as he himself described in an interview with Jim Lehrer afterwards) that the warned delegates at the end of his special to effectively "cool it", because Democrats were engaged in a legitimate process of political criticism. And we learned during McCain's speech that Republican delegates have apparently been conditioned, like Pavlov's dog, to become rabid and foam at the mouth and dangerously disruptive at the slightest mention of Michael Moore's film, a fact that will no doubt be used against them many times between now and November. That was bad. Today, however, the Republican tried to make up for yesterdays lackluster performance by putting on the Hollywood glitz with Arnold and the first lady.

The press coverage of Arnold so far has been fawning, even by the same reporters that gave him a very hard time during the convention. Like a majority of my fellow Californians, I don't support corrupt politicians of any party when given a viable alternative, and that's why Arnold now has the job of promoting California. He has very strong bipartisan credentials (the Kennedys campaigned for him; he's married to one, after all), and of late he's sent out fliers to Californians demanding our state finally behave in a fiscally responsible way. (We have, incidentally, more state debt than all the other states put together, so it is about time.)

If only he had come to the convention to bring that message to DC. Washington, under Bush, has never been more fiscally irresponsible. We have the largest deficits in history (although Bush points out under Reagan they were a slightly larger percentage of GDP). This is the only time in our history that we've had two wars and three tax cuts. The economic data shows Bush's tax cuts are in effect a return to regressive taxation. States and local governments have been forced to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for increased terrorism-related spending, while the federal government has reduced state payouts and enacted huge taxcuts that almost exclusively benefited the top 1% income bracket. (While Bush goes around bragging about how's "lowered taxes" and "will keep them low" for the middle class, the few dollars in checks he sent out to the middle clas were almost immediately all paid back in higher state taxes.)

If the Republicans in California are the party of the fiscal responsibility (largely forced upon them by their minority status) the Republicans in the capitol are the party of extreme fiscal irresponsibility. They are the party of tax-cut and spend, spend, spend on your corporate buddies at Halliburton.

This is the reality. The Republicans have squeezed the middle class, and the economic data shows it. The most recent economic figures show anemic economic growth at best, so he's been forced to drop the "I know how to make a strong economy stronger" --- most economists say that, statistically, the economy is no strong. Arnold today called those economists "girlie men", but, watch out Arnold, those guys with the sliderulers know what they're talking about here and you don't. They'd kick your butt with those figures and those sliderulers in any debate if not in a backalley. And you're showing your age so I'm not even sure you'd hold out in the backalley.

California sent Arnold to Sacramento to promote California, not Bush. Bush's unilateralist and ultra-nationalist foreign policies have been ruinous for California, whose high-tech economy is heavily-dependent on international intellectual property rights among other things. And everyone in California knows it. And Arnold knows that California knows Bush has been very bad for California.

Which is why, as some observers have pointed out, Arnold offered scant praise of Bush. He praised Bush's support of the troops and Bush's supposed "strong" and "unwavering leadership," but he mainly praised himself. He offered an explanation (or, perhaps, an apology to his fellow Californians) of why he was a Republican. He praised Nixon, a political feat only possible in the imagination of Hollywood.

No, Strong Leader Bush's leadership has not been unwavering. Even today, he renegged on his comments yesterday that the so-called "war on terror" could not be won, saying that it could be won after all.

We all, of course, remember the dark day when Strong Leader did not know what to do! After being told two planes had reduced the world trade center into a rain of fire and ash, Strong Leader was confused! Strong Leader's advisors were not around to tell him what to do! Strong Leader did not know what to do! Strong Leader decided "unwaveringly" to spend the next seven minutes reading "My Pet Goat" with an incredibly stupid look on his face. But this dark hour would soon pass, and Strong Leader would once again be Strong Leader, with the help of national media, which feared the consequences of what would happen if Strong Leader were not seen as Strong in hour of crisis.

And they are still doing today, which is why even Democrat-leaning reporters fawned Arnold and Laura Bush's speech today.

Remember the hard time they gave Theresa Heinz Kerry because she dared talk politics in her speech, or because she speaks seven languages (a really useful asset when the outgoing President has turned the world against you)? They said she should have not talked substance, only given anecdotes about her husbands character (which she also did).

Laura Bush talked politics today, in a fake Hollywood sort of way. She talked about how women's rights had begun to be improved in the Middle East (apparently she's forgotten her husband's frequent business dealings with the Saudis in remarkable fit of amnesia). How the Iraqis were so much better off and so much freer and so many of them were so grateful now that we've bombed them back to the stone age, they have less reliable electricity than under Saddam, and there are daily bombings in the street.

In a remarkable double standard, no one criticized Laura Bush for talking "politics." Maybe because she wasn't talking reality, so she reaffirmed their sexist opinion of the First Lady's role.

Laura Bush said that Bush "agonized" over the decision to go to war. But Bush is Strong Leader, as his political advisor Karl Rove tells him he must be, and, according to Bob Woodward's book, he told his dubious ads that there was "no doubt" to what they warned him was a real roll of dice.

Somebody is lying. Either Strong Leader Bush never had any doubts about Iraq, as Strong Leader, or he "agonized" over the decision, as his wife claimed today. Maybe Laura was telling the truth (trust me, the Republicans scrutinized her speech), or, more likely, maybe the Republicans have decided that Strong Leader shouldn't have been quite so Strong nor quite so Bloody in his (or his advisor's) fanatical determination to invade Iraq. Nobody in the press pointed out this contradiction.

Incidentally, there was a never a doubt in Dick Cheney's mind, who made a handsome profit off of Iraq when his Halliburton shares went up. Bob Woodward quotes Colin Powell as saying Cheney had "war fever." Or maybe it was Halliburton profit fever. Cheney seemed to think there was nothing wrong with holding on Halliburton shares while invading Iraq. Mr. Halliburton speaks tomorrow.

The twins, remarkably, even discounted their "irresponsible youth", which must have been a code-word admitting to the use of drugs. Their father used the same phrase to dismiss questions about his past use of drugs (he never denied it). And, of course, the twin's alcoholism and troubles with the law while their father was sitting in the White House have been well-documented. They hoped to dismiss all that a single dismissive phrase ("irresponsible youth") and some Hollywood glitz. The Hollywood fix, folks, was in.

Let's not forget that they spoke in support of the Man Who Lost Us The World Trade Center, not to mention cost millions of Americans their jobs and undermined Brand USA throughout the world. And, let's not forget the 95% erroneous voter purge list in Florida that, according to Bill Moyers, deprived hundreds of thousands of Democrat-leaning voters the right to vote in Jeb Bush's Florida, a de facto theft of a Presidential election, together with butterfly ballot and else have you, and a form of vote fraud which the Florida Republicans recently tried, unsuccessfully, to repeat.

They hoped tonight they could make you forget all that by constantly repeating the phrase "Strong Leadership" and "Unwavering Leadership." But constantly repeating "unwavering leadership" doesn't make it so.

Many Americans and many in our media, even Democrats, what to let the Republicans deceive us into believing that Strong Leader Bush is a Strong Leader. We fear what might happen to our country if the world learned the truth of how weak he really was, or if our enemies believed the country might not support his decisions between now and inauguration.

But Strong Leader has not been a strong leader. That was evident when he read "My Pet Goat" or told reporters to "Watch this [golf] Drive" when he learned that Osama, employee of Poppy Bush, was unhappy with his C.I.A. severance pay. It's just hard to take these disgruntled ex-family hands seriously; they are always upset about one thing or another. Bush never imagined Osama, with whose family he had such lucrative business ties, would be such an S.O.B. to destroy the World Trade Center. So Strong Leader read "My Pet Goat" after learning The World Center was being destroyed until he could get through to "Halliburton" Cheney back in D.C. Halliburton Cheney made a tidy profit off the whole affair.

So, tune in tomorrow, when living image of Halliburton speaks before the convention.

And, don't forget to tune in Thursday, when Strong Leader (or just plain Leader, or "Il Duce" or "Der Fuehrer" in other languages) speaks!

Strong Leader Bush is Great Leader and Strong Leader, just like Great Leader Mao Zeong in Mao Chinese propaganda cult!

Strong Leader Bush is strong leader, as he keeps repeating! Strong Leader is "unwavering," even when he reads "My Pet Goat!"

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!! Only pay attention to the Hollywood glitz that will keep us all safe from the mean, bad, disgruntled ex-CIA employee terrorists!

Strong Leader Bush will demonstrate strong leadership on Thursday! So it is very important you tune in Thursday to hear our outstanding convention coverage of Strong Leader speaking!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Day 1 of the Republican National Convention from New York, New York

Eager to stamp out memories the 500,000-strong anti-Bush protest march yesterday in New York City, Republican today wrapped themselves thoroughly in the flag and hailed the Strong Leadership of Great Leader Bush. The great Leader ("Il Duce" in Italian or "Der Fuehrer" in German) himself was not there; he will tout his Strong Leadership (TM) on Thursday.

Instead, we were presented with RNC videos and a number of speakers attempting to justify the unjustifiable.

One RNC video turned out to be a recruiting video for the U.S. military. Given the military's own advisors believe that Iraq is at about 1/4 of their recommended troop strength for reconstruction in a country of Iraq's size, based on recent history in other countries, I guess the U.S. military is now so vital to the RNC's efforts, the RNC had no choice but to give up the valuable convention airtime.

Senator McCain nearly ended the convention by mentioning Michael Moore's film in his speech. Delegates at the convention hissed and booed loudly; some appeared to be on verge of foaming at the mouth or hyperventilating, so great was their irrational hatred of Michael Moore. McCain appealed for calm, but the uproar in the convention prevented him from continuing for several minutes despite his repeated (and inaudible) calls for calm.

PBS coverage showed Michael Moore, who was up in a press booth covering the convention for USA Today, flashing a victory sign (or perhaps it was a culturally ambiguous sign) at McCain in response to the demonstration of extreme hatred by the delegates.

[Update: In his Sept 1 column in USA Today, Michael Moore explained that he believed the uproar was caused by the fact that McCain's erroneous comments regarding the film indicated he had not seen it, a fact McCain later admitted on MSNBC according to Moore. The fact that the Republican powers-that-be did not correct the text of McCain's speech prior to his presentation, perhaps deliberately, was a further embarrassment for the Republicans and for McCain, as was the fact that the Republicans had not told him that Moore was in the audience, covering the convention. Moore says he flashed a "two" to the delegates rather than a victory sign for "Two more months" (and then, subsequently, an "L" for "Loser") in response to mad chanting of "four more years" by embarrassed Republicans. It is worth noting that Republicans did not react to references to Saddam or Osama, but disrupted the convention at McCain's veiled reference to Michael Moore.]

"That line was so good I think I'll use it again." McCain said after the floor finally calmed down. [Update: Moore wrote in his column that he believes McCain misunderstood the delegates reaction. Likely the delegates also misunderstood McCain's need to repeat the line, for by this point the T.V. audience at home would have forgotten the beginning of the sentence given the extreme length and violence of the floor disruption.] McCain then repeated the line, which again produced a spontaneous demonstration of extreme hatred.

McCain largely gave the delegates what they wanted to hear, but speaking to Jim Lehrer after his speech he explained that he had attempted to tone down the speech. At the end, he explained to the delegates that the real enemy were the terrorists, while the Republican's political foes were also Americans and were merely engaged in a legitimate process of debate as to the correct strategy forward. Jim Lehrer asked him afterwards whether this was a call for domestic calm, and McCain said that it indeed was.

Some victims of September 11th spoke, who apparently did not realize that the weak leadership of Great Leader Bush, most notably his tendency to play too much golf and go on vacation right after receiving intelligence that a member of the family of his close business partners, the bin Ladens, and a former employee of his father, had gone off the reservation and was planning to hijack planes in the U.S. soon, and that former Bush help Osama had already enrolled a number of terrorists in U.S. flight schools. But who can blame Bush for underestimating disgruntled former family help. Of course there was Bush's desire for a "humble foreign policy", such as bringing home the troops after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole --- against the advice of European friends --- which many foreign policy experts believe encouraged the terrorists, but at least Bush waffled afterwards and decided an ultra-nationalist foreign policy --- again against the advice of European friends --- would be best for his re-election chances if not for the nation as a whole.

After the families came Rudi Giuliani, who blasted Kerry for waffling while ignoring Bush's own frequent waffling on everything from steel tariffs to U.S. foreign policy ("humble" versus "ultra-nationalist"), whether or not to allow the U a major role in Iraq, whether or not to even bother seeking a U resolution before invading, whether or not to be nice to our allies, and --- well --- I've left out a few big ones, I'm sure. Of course, there is radios own waffling on whether or not to run for the Senate --- first he was in, and then he had to withdraw, because of the cancer. And because his immoral extramarital affair was about to hit the front pages and he belongs to the party of the religious right, a double whammy. Abler.

Giuliani blasted various European governments (including some friendly to Bush's Iraq crusade) for apparent injustices they may have committed two decades ago, but failed to mention any of the many failures of the Bush Administration in the past few months, like Abu Sharpe.

Republican columnist David Brooks of the New York Times called Giuliani's speech "Giuliani's announcement of his future candidacy for President," perhaps after his extra-marital affair is forgotten by the party of the moral crusaders. Giuliani's Euro-bashing was no doubt an attempt to showcase his diplomatic skills as would-be future president.

Giuliani then repeated Nietzsche's famous Biblical misquote, "either you are with us or you are [against us]." Nietzsche's philosophy of the privileged, elite "superman", of course, set the stage for modern 20th century fascism, and the quote Giuliani used is the one of his most famous --- it was later used frequently by Hitler (no joke). Or perhaps he was quoting Bush, who may have used this quote as the basis of his Bush Doctrine, which Giuliani defended.

While it's not clear whether Giuliani was quoting Bush, Hitler, or Nietzsche, it is certain he was neither quoting Jesus nor his Republican forbearer, Lincoln. ("Those who are not against us are for us" (Luke 9:50). Unlike Bush, Abraham Lincoln also used this Biblical quote during the Civil War as his diplomatic doctrine towards neutral nations.)

While Giuliani selected famous quotes from Hitler to desperately defend the undiplomatic Bush Doctrine and the Iraq war, attempting once again to tie the war seamlessly (as one of the Newshour reporters pointed out) to 911 when many Americans weren't sure the two were related, other Republicans tried to defend other indefensible aspects of Bush policy.

An earlier Republican speaker, for example, attempted to defend the provisions of the PATRIOT act that allow FBI agents to collect patron's library and bookstore records secretly without a search warrant, saying the FBI needed to know who might be reading dangerous bomb-making books. The last time I checked out Barnes & Nobel or my local public library, I couldn't find any of those dangerous bomb-making books, but I did find a lot of books critical of George W. Bush. It's good thing they aren't interested in groups that might read those, like the people the organized the recent anti-Bush protests in NYC. Well, except for a few isolated incidents when they were, according to 60 Minutes. Which is why the PATRIOT act is so controversial.

The convention ended with an RNC video of the late Democrat Frank Sinatra, singing "New York, New York." Frankie wrote the campaign song for JFK, and no doubt would turn over in his grave before he'd "be a part of it" at the Republican National Convention.

That's it from us on Monday. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for more of our outstanding convention coverage, when the Republicans are planning even more flag waving, more foaming at the mouth at any mention of Moore's film, more ultra-nationalistic Euro-bashing, more famous quotes from Hitler's speeches (and scenes from Leni Riefenstahl's films, courtesy, no doubt, of Bush political adviser Karl Rove), and more desperate Iraq war justifications.

And be sure to tune in Thursday when El Presidente Bush will showcase his Strong Leadership (TM) skills in a speech on Thursday.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Record numbers protest GOP convention in NYC

It is being widely reported today that a record number of protestors marched in NYC to protest Bush's candidacy for re-election at the Republican convention there. The New York Times reported earlier today (with dateline August 30th due to time differences) that the organizers estimates of a crowd of 500,000 protestors was likely accurate, citing a city official, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the estimate was likely accurate. That would make today's protests one of the largest in the city's history according to the times, equally or exceeding a record 1982 anti-nuclear march that also drew a half-million. The story pushed the Olympic closing ceremony off all of the major news outlets, except Fox, which, in its usually slanted coverage, severly downplayed the largely peaceful record protests, as it desperately sought other newsstories to distract from their boy Bush's extreme unpopularity.

I don't recall Reagan or Bush Senior drawing this crowd at their conventions. I guess Bush really is a uniter, not a divider, as he promised to be.

I have to hand it Fox News, which barely mentions the protests, except in its headline, preferring to concentrate on the doings of the Republicans around town, except for a brief mention of the protests again, in which it downplayed them, suggesting they were only a few hundred thousand rather than the organizers' and New York Time's unofficial estimate of 500,000 or more than twice the number predicted by conference organizers.

This sort of thing is really to be expected in view of vote fraud that occured in Florida in 2000.

Recall the bogus felon list, 95% inaccurate, which, in absence of a provisional ballot rule like most other states have, disqualified hundreds of thousands of Gore-supporting African-Americans when the margin was around victory. This ignores the infamous butterfly ballot, the long lines and chad-filled machines in African American districts, the wrong punch needles used in some African American districts, and so on. Jeb Bush's Florida Republicans tried another 95% inaccurate felon list again this year, only to have it thrown out by a judge for the obvious attempt at election fraud that it was. It proves they are at it again, nationwide. And this year we've got the controversial Diebold machines as well.

Normally people express this type of pent-up frustration at the ballot box rather than in the protest march. But when you've got the theft of a presidential election through massive, multi-state vote fraud, coupled with a right-wing Republica media empire (Exhibit One: Fox News) that choses to censor these issues and squelsh the voice of those feeling disenfranchised, political expression has to take other avenues like the protest march.

In the unlikely event George W. Bush should win re-election, God forbid, one can expect to see a rain of further protest marches and even more fiery demonstrations, as people look to find an alternative means of inducing political change and airing their political views now that the ballot box and free press appear to have been compromised.

Tomorrow: convention coverage beings in earnest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Terror Alert: Terrorists may use Elephants in attack during convention (humor)

Breaking News: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned today that recent intelligence intercepts suggest terrorists may be planning to use African elephants in terrorist attacks against American interests in Rome, Italy timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention in NYC later this month. "We've never seen this level of specificity or quality of intelligence!" said Ridge, who said the intelligence was confirmed by mulitple sources and streams of information. Ridge praised the "great leadership" of the The Great Leader, El Presidente Bush, which Ridge said made the intelligence breakthrough possible. Ridge downplayed rumors that the intelligence might be slightly dated.

"American intelligence has learned that terrorists may be planning to drive African elephants from Africa through Spain, France, and eventually over the alps, and ultimately have them stampede down on Rome, thus surprising Italian anti-terrorism forces that were mainly watching for a terrorist attack by sea." Secretary Ridge said in a press conference this morning. "We have turned over the intelligence to our Italian counterparts, who are taking active steps to avoid any incidents during the Republican National Convention.

Ridge also denied that the use of elephants might in any way be symbolic, given that the Elephant is the animal mascot of the Republician Party, whose convention is later this month. "Terrorists just use whatever means they think might work," Ridge said. Some observers, meanwhile, wonder if the rising and failing intelligence alerts might be aimed at a domestic political agenda, perhaps part of Great Leader Bush's acknowledged political strategy to portray himself as the only candidate who can keep America safe. "It's a subconscious slip by the Republicans to claim elephants might be used in this latest terror alert. While we certainly do have real enemies in the world, thanks to this constant barrage of bogus terror alerts based on ancient intelligence designed to terrorize the American people, this election season everyone knows who the real terrorists are" said former Presidental candidate and firebrand Howard Dean.

Secretary Ridge decided against raising the national terrorist level to "Ernie" from its current level of "Bert," or yellow, except for Italian authorities responsible for anti-Elephant defenses, for whom the terror alert level was specifically raised to the dangerous level of "Ernie" from "Bert."

Italian authorities meanwhile played down the threat of any terrorist attacks involving elephants. "We have known for some time terrorists might try to employ elephants to sack Rome, and we have developed adequate defenses over the centuries. It is still safe to come to Rome during the Republican Convention and enjoy the tourist attractions. Any terrorist attacks are likely to be a Pyrric victory for the terrorists at best, anyhow" said Italian defense authorities Gen. Hannibal and Gen. "Africanus" Scipio.

Secretary Ridge also warned citizens of Spain, France, Austria, and Italy to keep an eye peeled for any suspicious movements by large herds of African elephants destined through their heavily-populated countries, en-route for Italy. "With cooperation of the citizenry of these countries, we think we can detect and prevent any elephant attack, which is another reason why we are coming forward now with this information." Secretary Ridge said.

In the United States, although the intelligence information mentioned Rome, Italy, local authorities nevertheless took no chances setting up roadblocks, closing the Holland and Lincoln tunnels to commercial traffic (at considerable inconveinence to Manhattanites, who rely on commercial vehical traffic for produce), and devising other anti-elephant defenses in response to the latest intelligence.

Controversy continues to swirl over the exact nature and reliability of the "new" intelligence, which some critics within the intelligence establishment claim is actually a few years old despite being confirmed by "multiple intelligence streams."

"They got the intelligence by reading books on Ancient Rome and Carthage in a library and just decided to time the annoucement right before the convention because of Great Leader Bush's attempts to potray himself as the war President," said one intelligence expert who asked to remain anonymous. "The intelligence is one or thousand years old, so it is a little bit dated, although we can't blame Secretary Ridge for taking the precautions in view of how specific the information was" the anonymous intelligence source continued.

American Tourists in Rome, Italy responded to the latest advisory by fleeing the city, while Mahattanites here in the U.S. put up with increased traffic congestion and food shortages in shops. Republicans demanded "death to Al Queda" in response to the latest terrorist warnings. The stock of major defense contractors here in the U.S. rose, reportedly increasing the wealth of the bin Laden family, apparently a major investor in U.S. defense firms.

There is no word on when the specific terror alert affecting Rome, Italy might be lowered back down to "Bert" from the more dangerous "Ernie" level.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bush reportedly to showcase militarism at convention

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Bush plans to announce formally his troop rotation plan at the Republican National Convention, where he will reportedly present himself (IMHO rather arrogantly given he lost us the World Trade Center) as the only candidate who can keep America safe. In my lost post, responding to the Republic T.V. ad in battleground states in which Bush (incredibly) takes credit for the triumph of the Olympic movement, I made references to Leni Riefenstahl and filming the convention as if it were a Wagernian opera, with its orchestrated sheep mentality-inducing crowd of worshiping militarists. If this Washington Post report turns out to be true, this promises to be an unusually miltaristic convention even by Republican standards -- the aircraft carrier photo I scanned in from Republican literature on the convention in one of my earlier postings here was no joke, and, in fact, the Republican "Insider's Club" will have "briefing" events on that aircraft carrier museum off of NYC.

Some analysts had been expected the Republicans to "cross-dress" their party in response to consultants and polls indicating public perception of the party's weak area. (Polls show Americans already trust Democrats more on social issues, so the Democrats showcased up their foreign policy expertise at their convention. Some analysts predicted Republicans would do the same, by showcasing their domestic social agenda, like they did in their last convention by paying lip service to a disappointing medical care reform bills, faith-based entitlements to conservative religious organizations (Christian so far only AFAIK), compassionate conservatism (e.g. start various unnecessary wars), and an "inclusive" token representation of minorities at the Republican that caused some analysts to label it the "Stepford convention.))

But Bush's domestic agenda has little to showcase. He's got his regressive tax cuts, which soaked the middle class (state taxes went up across the nation as the bills for extra security and a weak economy came home to roast, while Bush's federal tax cuts were designed to mainly benefit the rich). He claims they made "a strong economy stronger", but this seems, as usual with Bush campaign slogans, completely disconnected from reality, as the latest job figures showed very anemic job growth figures far below that considered as "strong" by economists.

In the past, reality has stopped Bush from using ridiculous campaign slogans, such as the one I just quoted about the economy being "stronger" under Bush, the infamous "mission accomplished" while the war in Iraq seems only to intensify, &c.

As Bush said in November of 2000, "the misunderestimated [sic me]." And so it wouldn't surprise if this is just an attempt by the Bush campaign to lower expectations of the convention. Despite the bad domestic news, the Republican convention might not be the fascist, militaristic, Wagnerian-opera spectacle that everyone is expecting.

But if it is, and Bush does make the arrogant boast that man who held office while we lost the World Center Center is the only one who can keep America safe, we will, of course, have the best blogger coverage of the Republican National Convention. (Already had, with the scanned Republican literature, with the media networks were respectfully refraining from showing. And insightful comparisons of Karl Rove's media strategy at staged political events with the media skills of Leni Riefenstahl) And the best parodies as well.

And we will have complete coverage of over heart-pounding urgent terror alert based on three-year-old intelligence and terror de-alert designed to ratchet adrenaline levels up and down during the Republican National Convention.

Analysts like "Mr. Fake Republican" and myself will revenge the 2000 fraud and for the AM talk radio coverage of the Democratic convention, I promise you.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Bush takes credit for Olympic Movement

In one of the more bizarre twists of the Presidential campaign, George Bush's most recent T.V. campaign ad (being run in "battleground states") takes credit for the triumph of the Olympic Movement (or Triumph of the Will? -- see below), citing the growth in the number of "free nations" participating from 40 to 120 since 1960, although Bush wasn't in power for most of that period. (The number of nations participating in absolute numbers also grew dramatically during that 40-year period, a trend Bush had absolutely nothing to do with, although he tries to take credit for it anyway.) The definition of "free nation" seems a little bit stretched to me as well. Most observers would consider a "free nation" to have free and fair elections, but those same experts would probably question whether some of the newly Bush family mafia-controlled countries really have "free and fair elections."

Take Jeb Bush-controlled Florida, for example. There's a good deal of evidence (see earlier post) that the 2000 elections weren't exactly free and fair.

Take Kuwait, which has just banned Fahrenheit 911 for distribution there, because it insults Bush and the leaders of other "friendly" nations like Saudi Arabia, and it is apparently illegal to insult Bush and other friendly nations in Kuwait, or at least to do so in cinema.

The T.V. ad takes credit for the fielding of (tiny) Olympic teams by "free" (i.e., Bush-family controlled) Iraq and Afganistan. How much did we spend buying up these countries? USD 75 Billion? USD 120 Billion just this year? I think it was more than that; the Bush Administation has been sketchy with the numbers, and the price keeps going up, along with the long-term committment of more Billions. How many schools could we have built for this money? How many sports-facilities for future Olympians?

For USD 120 Billion, we ought to be able to get Iraq and Afganistan a few Olympians on an Olympic Team. Its not that, you know, when you've got billions and billions of US taxpayer dollars to spend. Even Greece is sending a baseball team, made up of Greek-American baseball players, so with enough money (for persuasion in the form of various incentives and commercial tie-ins) you can qualified atheletes to reflag to play for you. Many Olympic atheletes are reflagged, having immigrated for work, marriage, or other reasons. Others play for a different country that where they live, because the sports facilities are better in their new country of residence. The main thing is just getting the permission of that country's team so you can represent them there.

Heck, Bush probably spent more money producing the campaign TV commerical bragging about how a "free" (read Bush-family controlled) Iraq now has an Olympic (soccer/football) team, then it actually cost sending some Iraqi soccer/football team over to Athens. (That is apparently all "free" Iraq sent.)

Nor is Olympic competition the most accurate indicator of a healty democracy, or even that of a prosperous nation. The Soviet Union, well known for its political freedoms and fair elections (not), was a real Olympic powerhouse.

The Soviet (and satellite East German) dictators saw the Olympics in political terms as a potential Cold War propaganda coup (trying to convince the world that the Soviets were Uebermenchen who could not be defeated on the Olympic and real battlefields). They screened every child for athletic talent, and then create special elite atheletic schools to train those children with athletic promise for potential Olympic roles, often beginning at very early ages.

Since Olympic training was effective a military endeavor, it should not surprise anyone that the Soviet and East German coaches often placed their proteges on regimes of special drugs to build physique. These drugs and blood dopeing would leave the system long before the games (or were engineered to be undetectable by the technology of that day) even if they endangered the lives or fertility of their "soldier" atheletes. This was the Cold War, and war is hell. (Following the almighty dollar, many of these coaches, incidentally, moved to China and the United States after the cold war ended.)

It's ironic that the Bush Administration has chosen to follow in the Soviet Union's footsteps in trying to use an Olympic team to disguise unsavory realities back home in Iraq and Afganistan.

What's even more ironic is that the Bush Administration, with all of our American know-how, has done a far less convincing job than the Soviets or East Germans ever managed.

Incidentally, there was one other "strong leader" and that infamously used the Olympic games to promote a militaristic agenda. Hint: It happened right before World War II, and an infamous propaganda film about it was made by one Leni Riefenstahl.

And that brings up another issue. Did you know you need to be either hand-picked by a Republican operative or sign an oath of fealty to Bush to get into a Bush campaign event? (This is not true of the Kerry events, where Bush goons have gained admittance.) Entrants are reportedly examined for possible anti-Bush items, like anti-Bush t-shirts or buttons (or even supporting positions that disagree with the Bush line, like pro-abortion buttons or t-shirt.) Those unfortunately enough to show up with a t-shirt that runs afoul of Bush family political dogma reportedly have their tickets unceremoniously publically shredded by Republica goons, after which they are then expelled -- unusual steps given that Bush is not just a candidate, but the President as well, whom many citizens would like to hear speak even if they don't support him enough to sign a contract swearing fealty.

This explains why, despite the polls, Bush events look like a Wagnerian opera filmed by Leni Riefenstahl, with attendees practically eating out of his hand and worshipping him as the Messiah, or The Leader (which has a nasty German translation). These are either Republican operatives or some unfortunate souls who believe the Republican propaganda that Bush was hand-picked by God to deliver us away from 911 (a situation many now realize was created by Bush negligence).

It's unfortunate that the self-proclaimed "war President" has tried to use the Olympic dove, torch, and rings, traditionally symbols of peace and fair-play on the atheletic field, to promote an agenda of militarism and fraud.

One of my darkest set of Amazon recommendations ever. Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda masterpiece Olympia is still shown today because of its visual stunning promotion of the Olympic games. It demonstrates the political, propagandistic power of both cinematic images and of the Olympics themselves:

Monday, August 09, 2004

Why the "War President" will lose

One of the main GOP talking points, which I hear repeated over and over again by right-leaning journalists (especially on AM talk radio, but in other media as well) is that George Bush is invulnerable in November because he is a "war President" and no "war President" has ever lost re-election during a "war." That may (or may not) be true, but, in general, no "war President" was ever responsible for the war. There's a pretty compelling case that George Bush wasn't watching the bubble in the days leading up to September 11th.

Does anyone think FDR was responsible for WWII, or Wilson responsible for WWI? Not really. No one ever seen the equivalent of FDR in the now notorious footage of George Bush saying "Now Watch This Drive!" right after receiving the infamous intelligence report. "Bin Laden determined to strike in United States" was the title of that report, incidentally, and it went on to say that he intended to hijack airlines and that his lackeys had enrolled in flight schools. "Now Watch This Drive" the now self-styled "War President" then went on moments later to tell reporters. The 911 commission agrees --- fault lay at many levels throughout government.

So this suggests a possible re-election strategy for future presidents. Start a war. Any war will do. Especially one that really frightens the American people. Then have your buddies at Fox News trump up how you are a "War President." No "War President" has ever lost re-election, so you will coast to a re-election victory (or so you hope).

Karl Rove, political advisor to President Bush, said it best: "[The] war is a [trojan] horse we can ride through the elections" (or something very similar).

Recall that, back in September 2001, there was consierable suspicion as to whether Bush even was the President. (Never mind the butterfly ballot, the long lines in African American districts, or the voting machines in those districts that were full of chad and had the wrong punching needle in some places. There's the issue of the felon purge lists in Florida, which were 95% in error, and, in the absence of "provisional ballots" like in other states, managed to eliminate tens of thousands of African-American voters who were legitimately entitled to vote. That was the margin of victory right there. The butterfly ballot's got plausible deniability. A felon purge list, put together by a company hired by the then-Florida Secretary of State (and chair of Bush's campaign in Florida) that's 95% in error and lists almost exclusively African-Americans (who vote 97% Democrat in Florida) with a legitimate right to vote while somehow mising almost entirely Latinos and Latino felons (who make a substancial part of Florida's prison population but do vote Republican) is hard to explain away as plausible deniability. And, of course, Jeb Bush, the brother of George Bush, was, and still is, the governor of Florida.

[By depriving poor African-Americans of the vote, incidentally, conservative Floridans watered down their own ability to influence a Presidential election and throw out an incompetent President. Incidentally, for all of this to have been possible, there must have been a lot of people in Florida who thought doing this was a good idea. You'd think that, given all that has happened in the last four years, some conservative Floridas might now realize that their right to occasionally vote Democrat might be an important one to preserve. You'd be wrong. The conservative Floridans are at it again, since they tried the felon voter purge trick again this year, again with a 95% error rate (and lost in a court challenge since it was so obviously an attempt a fraud). And we won't even go into the issues surround the controversial "new" Diebolt touch-screen voting machines here.]

So, going into September 2001, there was still the question in many minds as to whether Bush was really legitimately entitled to be President. The "President" was very unpopular, and re-election looked dubious. A war would certainly help unify the country and make re-election more likely. And Dick Cheney would make a lot of money given all the shares he still holds in Haliburton. The Bush family still had its own, rather substanical, connections to the defense industry, so everyone would do OK if there was another war. Or a terrorist attack by Bin Laden. And, anyway, George Bush was too busy playing golf in 2001 to worry about all of these things too much. "Now Watch This Drive!"

Which is why Bush won't win even if he is the "War President." Because the American people know his negligence helped bring about the "war," and they aren't going to reward him for that, nor his cronies for their smug reassurance that a "War President" cannot be defeated.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

S.F. man says gory video hoax was political statement

I can always tell a beheading video has been released when my Internet traffic surges. Reuters is reporting the beheading video broadcast earlier today on Arab television was a hoax. Its San Fransisco-based creator taped the "beheading" of a motionless head with a knife, then spiced up the video with video footage taken from an actual militant website, including a background of a man reading the Koran. He then degraded the video quality to make it match the low quality of the other such videos that have been released.

He says he did it to make a political statement and "test the system" to find out how quality the fake video would spread. Arab television immediately broadcast it as authentic. He makes a pretty good point that the American's public morbid fascination with these videos (often spread domestically by media outlets with a right-wing agenda) is ridiculous.

As they say in the Bay Area, you've been punk'd folks. It was a hoax. Sorry.

Related stories:
Record traffic due to gory video

Thursday, August 05, 2004

McCain condemns pro-Bush T.V. ad

AP is reporting that Republican Senator McCain is condemning an ad run by Bush supporters that suggests Kerry's Vietnam record is bogus. This is a tactic that backfired when it was used in previous campaigns, as such accusations angered Kerry's crewmates, who would then actively to campaign for him. You can imagine how this might anger people. McCain, like Kerry, was also a war hero, and spent several years as a prisoner of war. You can just imagine McCain seeing red during the 2000 Presidential campaign, when a group, also funded by a Bush supporter, adopted similar tactics against McCain, probably suggesting he was not really a prisoner of war as he claimed. According to the AP, McCain supporters have never forgiven the Bush camp for the 2000 ads. McCain (whose emails the Republicans recently spammed me with in support of Bush) has asked the White House to condemn the news ads; the White House so far has refused.

The Democratic counsel has written letters to TV stations asking them not to show the ads as they are an "outrageous lie." Kerry's war hero status is a matter of public record (with testimonials under oath and under penalty of perjury going back 20 or more years and subject to intense scrutiny, &c), while this new group was reportedly funded by a big Texas Republican contributor who paid this group a half million dollars to put out these ads and make these claims.

That Republican groups are trying to smear Kerry's war record will come as no surprise to readers of this blog. During and right after the Democratic convention, I tuned in (rather briefly) various local AM talk radio channels, a media that is well known to have a far-right bias. Minutes after the convention, it sounded like the right-win host was interviewing what was (to me) obviously a GOP operative pretending to be a liberal; the fake liberal then (incredibly!) that Kerry was a war hero to (fake) liberals because he avoided shooting people but won medals from the Pentagon for sympathizing with the enemy. This sounds similar to this story: one of the claims made by the groups was that Kerry was a coward who avoid combat. (The fake "veteran" operative also "interviewed" claimed he was angry at Kerry because he won metals for hiding behind trees. Folks, the Pentagon doesn't give you silver and bronze stars for frequent cowardice, as these groups, who are reportedly taking a lot of money from a Texas millionaire, are claiming.)

As I described earlier, the next day, I tuned in for less than a minute, and heard what a believe was a national radio personality claiming that Kerry denied 911 had happened in his acceptance speech the day before. (You can obtain Kerry's acceptance speech off a number of conservative sites and verify yourself he made exactly the opposite claim, and discussed 911's importance.)

As I wrote then, I'm not a political strategist, and don't know the best way to handle these things; I can only report what I observe. But the statements were easily verified as false, and that made them sound like actionable slander, even given that Kerry is a public figure.

The Democrats are dealing with some very ruthless people (the ones that brought you Florida and Abu Gharib, among many others, and even Republican Senator McCain seems to despise their attack dogs). So I'm not surprised that the Democrats might be going down a legal route with some of the more outrageous claims, as this time around they have to defend themselves.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Lapel-pins versus exclusive clubs (contrasting styles of political fund-raising)

"Exclusive" Inner Circle nomination for us war-profiteers

In an obvious fit of temporary insanity, the Republicans "nominated" me to join an "exclusive" club (price: $2500) that would let me hob-nob with fellow war profiteers from "around the country" in three D.C. dinners and receive personalized excuses for why the Republicans will ignore all of my suggestions.

Oh Welcome Defense Contractors!

More brochure photos:

The Benefits of Membership!

This "high honor" reserved for only "a few deserving Americans each year" like ME (ha ha!)

"A Place of Honor Has been Reserved for You" Oh War Profiteer

For $25 the Democrats will give me a lapel pin or bumper sticker

The Democrats (or at least the Kerry campaign), with their $25.00 lapel pins and bumper stickers, claim to have outraised the Republicans, with $2500 exclusive club membership for the last four months, supposedly. Go figure.

If you wanted in to the exclusive $2500 "Inner Circle" club to hob-nob with your fellow defense contractors and war-profiteers, I'm afraid it is too late for the July dinner in DC that was part of it. And, you have to have had an invite, like ME, to be able to join the supposedly exclusive (ha ha!) Inner Circle club, so if you didn't get one in the mail, or needed the $2500 to put food on the table or pay for your kids colege, you are out of luck! I'm sure they'll still take your $2500 checks, though, but don't expect a refund if (as now seems increasingly more likely with the latest polls) Bush loses in November.