As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Grumpy Old Man Out of His Cage Again

Karl Rove's latest "Why the $%#@! did you say that, Dick?" moment happened today:

FARMINGTON, N.M. (Reuters) - The Soviet Union might still exist and Saddam Hussein might dominate the Gulf if Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had been president in recent years, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Saturday.

Cheney told supporters that Kerry had run for the U.S. Senate in the 1980s on a promise to do away with many of the weapons that U.S. President Ronald Reagan used to end the Cold War.

"So if John Kerry had been in charge, maybe the Soviet Union would still be in business," President Bush's running mate said on a campaign trip to the swing state of New Mexico.

The weapons that Reagan USED? Hmm, I don't remember any MX missiles hitting Stalingrad, pounding the USSR into submission. Seems to me they collapsed under their own weight. Sure, their need to keep up in the arms race subverted their economy, but then again so did ours. It amuses me to no end that conservative anti-communists love to call Communism a failed system that could never work, then try to take credit for bringing about its downfall. If it could never work, what the hell did you have to do with it?

Whoever this David Wade guy is, by the way, he needs to get some TV time for the next couple weeks:

"The desert heat is making Dick Cheney come unglued," said Kerry spokesman David Wade.

"Soon he'll be arguing that John Kerry lost the Battle of Gettysburg and sank the Lusitania," Wade said.

I'm thinking of coining the world in which Cheney and Bush live "Desperation Station." It's several miles away from the reality-based community.


Friday, October 22, 2004

Wolves... Great Idea, Guys.

Today's political "bombshell," the Bush campaign's "Wolves" ad (You can see it at the President's re-elect site and make him think he's generating "buzz" through his Web traffic) has got to be the most unintentionally funny thing I've seen in a long time. It barely even works as metaphor, considering the "wolves" are so small and docile-looking, it seems like my Boston terrier can beat them up. I don't even think they're wolves, they look like chows to me.

If you will allow the metaphor, it's still ridiculous, the most pertinent example of fearmongering from a campaign that likes to accuse the other side of the same. (Do you think Bill Safire will offer an apology for lambasting the Democrats for scaring America now?) The ad blatantly misleads by saying "After the first terrorist attack on America, John Kerry and the liberals in Congress voted to cut intelligence and defense budgets," trying to make people think that "the first terrorist attack" in question is 9/11, when in fact they're talking about the first WTC bombing in 1993. Never mind that these intelligence cuts never passed, or that greater cuts were proposed by Dick Cheney and Porter Goss, or that Kerry also voted for huge intelligence and defense budget increases. But it distills the BC04 message nicely: vote for us or die. By being eaten. By wolves. Or at least puppies that kind of look like wolves.

Here's the funny thing: yesterday, in a speech in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the President had this to say:

He charged that Kerry "considers the war on terror primarily a law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation" and that the senator's top foreign policy adviser has "questioned whether it's even a war at all, saying that's just a metaphor, like the war on poverty."

Bush added, "I've got news. Anyone who thinks we're fighting a metaphor does not understand the enemy we face and has no idea how to win the war and keep America secure."

Unless the metaphor is, you know, wolves. That can eat you. And scare you. That is, if we could find wolves that were scary.

[UPDATE] The Wolf Packs for Truth speak out!


Follow the Money

The Axis of Friendlies are funding the insurgency, according to the Pentagon:

WASHINGTON - Iraq's new security forces are heavily infiltrated by insurgents, and the guerrilla groups have access to almost unlimited money to pay for deadly attacks, according to a U.S. defense official who provided new details on the evolution of the rebels.

A significant part of the insurgents' money is coming from sympathizers in Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi government is neglecting the problem, said the official, who was authorized by the Pentagon to speak on the issue this week, but only on condition of anonymity.

Money is flowing into Iraq through Syria, the official said.

Exactly when are we going to, you know, talk about Saudi Arabia as an enemy, not an ally?

And to anyone that thinks the "grown-ups" are in charge of our military policy, read this fascinating little bit near the end of a New York Times article about disbanding the Iraqi military:

There was another problem with the plans for the Iraqi Army. The acronym for the New Iraqi Corps turned out to be a profanity in Arabic, so the name had to be changed.

Not that we have translators over there at Langley or anything. It's a simple but a revealing oversight.


Two Days in a Swing State

I haven't been able to post at all this week. My grandfather died on Sunday, and I flew across the country to get to the funeral, etc. Blogging had to take a back seat.

What it meant was that I spent two days in the swing state of Pennsylvania, and while I was not focused on politics, in a swing state two weeks before the election you can't escape it. It's all around you. Yard signs, commercials, chatter in the air. Living in LA, I've heard more about my local city council than I have from Kerry, Bush, Boxer, or Jones. But Pennsylvania is far different. Within two minutes on Wednesday morning, I saw four straight Republican attack ads, against Joe Hoeffel, against Lois Murphy, against Allyson Schwartz. The Murphy ad accused her of aligning herself with an organization ( that is pro-terrorist and anti-troops. It's a disingenuous and distasteful ad, and it was wedged in with the rest of them. You barely had time to think about it before the next one popped up.

Yard signs were everywhere. I traveled mostly in Bucks County, in the Philadelphia suburbs. There were plenty of Kerry and Bush signs. I saw signs for Mike Fitzpatrick, Allyson Schwartz, Specter, Hoeefel, and several other Congressional candidates. Strangely, I saw none for Ginny Schrader.

Politics is so in the air, that even at a funeral, even after the funeral, talk can turn to it. The two issues most on Philadelphian's minds, based on my unscientific random sample, was the flu vaccine and the draft. My 13 year-old cousin (who's from Palm Beach County, FL) said "I'd rather vote for my dog than Bush. If he's still President, then my brother (who's 19) might have to go to Iraq!" Others couldn't believe that elderly people (of which there were lots at this setting) might not be able to get their flu shots this year. At one point, my father (who is, in a word, blunt) took an informal poll by shouting, "All right, who's voting for Kerry!?!" I'd say 90% raised their hands.

Postscript: When I was waiting in the airport to fly home yesterday, I looked up to find a woman standing over me, and she pointed to my left and said, "Air Force One." The President was in Downington (Philly suburbs) yesterday, and he flew into Philly International. It shut down the airport for about an hour, with nobody going in or out. Needless to say, the natives were restless about having to wait. One lady behind me said, to nobody in particular, "Great. Another reason not to vote for this guy."


Monday, October 18, 2004

Internet Problems

All day. Makes it difficult to post.

Have you read Ron Suskind's article from the Sunday NYT Magazine yet? Well, what are you waiting for?