Friday, September 30, 2005

Pathological Liars

I DEMAND an immediate MRI of the Presidents brain.

From HealthCentral's web site:
FRIDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Looking into the brains of people who habitually cheat and lie, neuroscientists have found abnormalities in the area that controls higher thinking.

Pathological liars have less gray matter and more white matter in their prefrontal cortex, according to a report in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry. Gray matter consists of the cells that do the thinking, while white matter consists of the cells that connect them.

Rig Damage

There have been alot of reports on the rig damage due to the hurricanes. Everything I'm reading is not good news....which is why even Bush came out asking people to conserve. I hope I'm wrong, but energy shortages over the next six months to a year may be the big story. And this is not just gasoline, but natural gas may be even worse.

The pictures I've included are of two rigs that are "beached". From an "insider":
You might also point out that in order to beach one of these rigs, ALL THREE of their 150’ legs must be broken off by the storm. So to fix these rigs, they would require 3 new legs, a new derrick, a new block and draworks, repair of everything broken….it is most likely that they will be scrapped or at a minimum, stripped to the hull and rebuilt. Rebuild will take longer than building a new rig because of inspections and removal of damaged stuff, but with material costs high, it may be viable.
The rest of the post is quite informative, talking about exactly why rigs are built to only withstand a category 3 hurricane (hint $$$$). It's a good read if you're an energy junkie.

The point of this post is that it's gonna take a long time to repair the hurricane damage done to the energy sector of 25% or more of American domestic oil and natural gas supplies. This is gonna hurt.

Nice Shoes

In my former life, we had a name for the kind of shoes that Judy Miller is wearing. I won't repeat it here, but let's just say that nice girls didn't wear em'. Now I know that some nice girls do wear these fashionable shoes. But somehow, I don't think the Judester is one of em'.

We also had a standing joke. Never make a borderline stay'll drive them nuts!


I just couldn't resist.

I'm such an asshole. But hey, the odds of him reading it are nearly zilch anyway. But I feel better.

John, at Americablog has an issue on his mind that I think is of paramount importance:
I've been thinking some more about my post, below, about the fact that our troops are STILL being forced to buy their own body armor.

It's time for Democrats to take an obvious issue handed to them by God himself and run with it in an intelligent, strategic way.
He goes on to blog about the importance of Dems really using this issue to their benefit and to the benefit of the troops. I couldn't agree with him more.

But I couldn't resist posting this in the comments section of his open thread:
Hey John,

I agree with you about the armour.

BUT, I gotta disagree with your tactics.

All you're doing is blogging about it?

Throughout history, people have written to try and influence their representatives with little success. Sure, occasionally they'll listen, but only when it suits them. And blogs are a dime a dozen.

Besides, everyone knows that politicians listening to blogs will find a diluted message. After all, there are alot of A.N.S.W.E.R blogs calling for the same kind of actions by Dems. And NO ONE listens to them, and you wouldn't want to be associated with their tactics? Now would you.

And everyone knows that the only way to affect real political change is through a "new media stratagem".


Ok, seriously. I agree with your position. And I totally support your efforts to effect change. And I personally will do what I can to support you in your efforts.

It takes a big person to admit they've made a mistake (just ask Bushie). I would hope you'll come to realize that the rally in D.C. really could have used your support, not your criticism.
What the hell. It's worth a try to get folks to understand that hypocrisy is not a rarity in politics.


Remember this?

From Greatscat (a must visit blog btw):
~Quote of the Day~
“Being called partisan and vindictive by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog.”

~Ronnie Earle

The Fall Guy

David Corn has done a great synopsis of the Miller/Libby situation. His conclusion?:
But you don't have to look too far between the lines to discern Libby's cover story. It goes something like this: Wilson wrote his Times article. All hell broke loose. The White House asked, "Who authorized this trip?" Someone called the CIA for information. The CIA reported back that Wilson was contacted by the counter-proliferation office, where his wife Valerie was working. But--and here's the crucial "but"--the CIA did not tell the White House that Valerie was undercover. Thus, if any White House officials--say, Rove or Libby--repeated this information to reporters, then they may have been engaged in leaking classified and sensitive information to discredit a critic but they were not committing a crime. And who was at fault? George Tenet, the CIA director at the time.

How convenient. Tenet has already taken the fall for Bush's decision to launch the war in Iraq. He reportedly told Bush that the WMD case was a "slam-dunk." And subsequent investigations--from the Republican-controlled Senate intelligence committee and an independent commission that only looked at the intelligence community, not the White House--have excoriated Tenet's CIA for botching the WMD job. (Still, Bush saw fit to give Tenet a nice medal.)

Tenet is finished in Washington. (Paul Wolfowitz got a medal and was given the top job at the World Bank.) Is Libby looking to point to the dead body in the room and say, "It was him!"?
Read the whole thing if you need a good roundup of the history on this thing.


Ever hear of eugenics?

I read alot. It's one of those terms that I've heard, I've even read a little about about it. But I never understood the full breadth of the subject.

Then I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. They have a temporary exhibit on eugenics in Germany, focusing on the murdering of thousands of healthy German children who were "unsuitable". It was awful, fasinating, and scary all at the same time.

Here's a brief definition of eugenics:
Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through social intervention. The goals have variously been to create more intelligent people, save society resources, lessen human suffering and reduce health problems. Proposed means of achieving these goals most commonly include birth control, selective breeding, and genetic engineering.
Eugenics has a long history in the United States and Germany. In Germany, prior to the Nazi's, there was a very large movement to study human characteristics and genetics in detail, cataloging those traits, and applying pseudo-science to the theory of improving human performance and "cleansing" some "negative" traits out of the population.

At the museum, it was stunning to view pictures of the mental hospitals, the equipment used to study and catalogue traits such has eye shape, eye color, hair color, hair type in addition to other traits like height and weight (you can view a tutorial of the exhibit here). Particularly quaint was the measure of "feeblemindedness". Of course, Adolph Hitler used eugenics to prop-up his policy of genocide against Jews and "gypsies", claiming that the inferiority of these humans meant they must be eliminated. He used the eugenics "research" to support his insane contentions....and the German people bought it. I suspect the German media practiced the even-handed "on-the-one-handism" where any view is given equal weight when spoken by those in power.

Anyway, if you ever get a chance to see this exhibit, go.

But I have another point as well. Yesterday, Media Matters had this quote from Bill Bennett , former official of the Reagan administration and gambling afficiando who likes to lecture America on values:
[R]adio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett dismissed such "far-reaching, extensive extrapolations" by declaring that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."
The quote was in the context of a response to a listener of Bennett's radio show, who was using even worse hyperbole regarding information from the book, Freakonomics:
CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I've read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn't -- never touches this at all.
I then went to the Freakonomics web sit where I found this:
Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: if morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work.
Wow. The crap in this exchange is really extensive. Bennett's passive racism is clearly apparent and the caller is a typical fundamentalist nutbar. Yes, Bennett was using an absurdity to counter and absurdity, but the fact that he even thinks that his statement has truth in it is quite revealing. I could go on all day writing about the nonsense of both statements.

But what was important to me was hearing this right after having been introduced to eugenics. It's getting to be more acceptable in this country to talk about such subjects. Add to this the flooding (sorry) of images of Bush's neglect of the New Orleans poor during Katrina, and it really begins to paint a picture that is none too pretty. How far is it to move from feeling comfortable publishing a book stripping the importance of any kind of morality in issues, focusing soley on the importance of economics in everything, to government policy based on individual "suitability".

I feel fairly comfortable saying that greed is rampant in this country. Yet, take a look at health care. It's expensive. Hard choices face us all in how to spend precious health care dollars vs. a person's right to live. Schiavo was, in the majority of the country's opinion anyway, an extreme clear-cut case. But how about a 90 year old man with heart failure? Or how about my mother's friend who at 70-something, has advancing alzheimers yet needs a pacemaker?

Finally, add to all of this the relaxing of the rigorous standards of science in areas such as creationism vs. evolution, global warming, petroleum reserves, and the morning after pill to name a few. Then stir in a little fanaticism like neocon/religious fundamentalism. These conditions are not unlike existed in Germany in the 1920's during the explosion of eugenics. If we have a major economic meltdown, the conditions will be complete.

I doubt Bennett will apologize or be removed from his show, much less be shamed by the public. I'm quite sure the right-wing noise machine (unlike the way the left wing does it) will back him up with all kinds of arguments. If the story lasts more than a single news cycle I'll be amazed.

I hope I'm chickenlittle in what I fear could happen in the future. But unless people pay attention and complain loudly and frequently, who knows?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

She's Back

Guess who's out and who's going to testify tomorrow. After consulting the Scootster, she gets to be questioned by Fitzgerald.

I guess all those principles of protecting sources and all...well.... nevermind. I'm gonna guess she cut a deal after Fitzgerald put together a good case for criminal contempt against her.

Fitzgerald is like a bulldog. He's gonna get whoever, whatever needs gettin'

Bird Flu

I'm an avid listener of Dr. Dean Edell (on radio). I've been listening for years. He's a no-nonsense, fact-based doctor who helps me keep up with the happenings in medicine. I found this
The U.S. Department of Health and Services said Wednesday it has contracted with drugmaker MedImmune Inc to develop a series of nasal spray vaccines against bird flu.

Scientists have long warned of a possible human pandemic if the bird flu virus mutates and becomes more easily passed between people. So far, the H5N1 strain of the virus has led to the deaths of more than 50 people in Southeast Asia and the slaughter of millions of birds.
Deano is not impressed by panicy situations and is certainly no chickenlittle (pun intended). But he sounded scared today on the radio about this bird flu thing. Currently the bird flu can only be caught by human exposure to an infected bird. Nonetheless, there have been 50 deaths meaning it's a nasty flu. His take was that if it mutates to be able to pass from human to human, we're all in trouble. Or, to quote him, "it'll make New Orleans look like a flooded bathtub".

When he's nervous, I'm nervous.

BTW, the U.S. has 2 million doses on hand for vaccination. Yep. Only 2 million........

Sheesh. And Bush is running the store? Maybe it's his new GOP dominance strategy...kill the opposition.

Off a Cliff

Remember, consumers keep the American economy afloat by spending spending spending....


I ran across this in the summary of MSNBC's First Read:
Democrats' growing conviction that they've come up with a formula to win in 2006 overlooks the fact that while Bush's standing in the polls has dropped, theirs has not risen.
This is some more of that "coventional wisdom" that should be challenged.

While true in substance, polls at this point in the election cycle are always a referendum on "government" in general. In other words, people respond to questions in polls rating their satisfaction by painting a very broad brush. I suspect many in this poll don't even know who controls Congress.

When election time rolls around, perception tends to clear and separate those who are "in" vs. those who are "out". Indeed, one of the main jobs of a campaign is differentiation. Let's hope Dems know how to do it well.

DeLay, whom the Post describes as having run "the legislative agenda on Capitol Hill for the better part of a decade," denied the charges, describing the prosecutor who lodged them as a "rogue district attorney," a "fanatic," and "an unabashed partisan zealot."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Jon Stewart, on The Daily Show, did a piece on the protest and on the counter-protest this weekend, making fun of the fact that the liberals had every speaker under the sun on the podium. Satire is what Jon does and does well. I can understand his finding the humor in the rally's this past weekend. This is what one blogger had to say about "The Daily Show" bit.

Happily, Stewart DID mock the absurdly small counter-protest, something the MSM failed to do properly. But when Jon Stewart believes -- just like John in DC -- that throwing in every issue under the sun at an anti-war protest is stupid, people should listen.
This is a classic comment from the "liberal bloggers" on the protest last weekend.

I want to take a minute and give an overview of what happened, and why I think liberals missed another opportunity.

What Happened

The original rally was scheduled far in advance of Cindy Sheehan's activities in Crawford by A.N.S.W.E.R. They're far more radical than I, but they raised the money, they got the permits, paid for the infrastrictire (no small expense, particularly the extra television cabling required due to the location and the park police limiting the location of the satellite trucks), and began the organizing. In other words, they paid for most of the microphones and the podium. They also fought the city of D.C. for the right to march in front of the White House, something that has not been allowed for years. They had their speakers and the topics that they wanted promoted. A.N.S.W.E.R has these rally's all the time, presenting a basket of left wing issues.

Cindy Sheehan in Texas happened after the initial planning for this rally. She and several other more mainstream (and acceptable to establishment liberals) anti-war groups (Gold Star Mothers, Code Pink, United For Peace and Justice, Veterans Against the War, to name a few) piggy backed on an already scheduled event.

The speeches (C-Span covered only the speeches) occurred first and were all over the place topically (i.e. Haiti, Free the Cuban 5, the environment), though with the common theme of being anti-Bush, and ending the war. About half-way through the speeches, the crowd impatiently called for the march to begin and began leaving the area, many commenting on the fact that the speeches didn't focus on their concern, ending the Iraq war. RIVERS of the crowd left the ellipse area where the speeches were occuring and began the march without the organizers, while the organizers pleaded for people to stay and listen to the speeches. Before the end of the speeches, the ellispe area was virtually empty and the speakers spoke to an empty field. C-Span, nor any other mainstream media outlets did any live coverage of the "march" itself.

Those who only watched C-Span only saw the speeches. This left the impression of an unfocused message, and the "usual suspects" protesting, unleashing a fury of criticism from mainstream liberals.

I can tell you from personal observation that the vast majority of the crowd were pretty much ordinary folks like you and me. Yeah, there were some freaks. But anytime there's an event of this size, that occurs...on either side. To focus on the fringe is to miss the point, and to miss the bigger story. As a reporter, it's no more accurate or fair to claim that groups like A.N.S.W.E.R were this protest, than saying that all those who showed up for the pro-war rally the next day were like G. Gordon Liddy, their featured speaker. That protest was primarily made up of ordinary people (albeit a much smaller number) who support the Bush administration and the war....many with sons in Iraq.

Hundred's of thousands (by the DC police chiefs own estimates) came from literally all over the country to stand with Cindy Sheehan in her efforts to end the war. And it was not easy to get there as the public transportation was closed down due to a "power outage" and "maintenance" (another story no one picked up). Because of the lack of on-the-ground reporting, the real story has been missed. Again, it should be noted that A.N.S.W.E.R. has been holding protest rally's for years in D.C. Attendance is normally a fringe and a few hundred at best.

The difference in turnout was Cindy Sheehan, who is looking for support and help wherever she finds friends and opportunities. Given she's fighting the biggest city hall in history, this is understandable. Could it have been organized differently? Sure. But I didn't catch any mainstream liberals offering their help to Cindy Sheehan, ponying up the money for the protest, offering to speak, or helping endorse the rally. Nor have any of these same people organized anything as an outlet for the apparent groundswell of public support for Cindy Sheehan.

Ironically, I think liberals were as surprised by the turnout and the demographics of the turnout as A.N.S.W.E.R and everyone else. I'll give A.N.S.W.E.R credit in this respect. They continually put their money where their mouth is in organizing grassroots actions against this instance they hit the jackpot.

Missed Opportunity

I've said this here, and in other places. But I want to reinterate it.

Since 2000 (and before), pundits all over the media, liberal outlets, and liberal blogosphere having been beating the crap out of Democrats for not having a message, and not promoting the message well. I don't think I could name a single political writer that I read on the left who has not mentioned this is one form or another. The "circular firing squad" notion is a rampant joke shared amongst Democrats anytime we look at issues and messaging in the Party.

The Republicans, particularly the Lee Atwater-Karl Rove Republicans have hit upon a strategy that has worked miracles. By all poll results on issues, they are the minority. Yet they have dominated the Presidency except Clinton, who was better at messaging than they. Yet in Clinton's instance, you guessed it, he was marginalized by the conservative message machine. Oh, and in case anyone didn't notice, they've also have dominated the Congress for years too.

The key to the conservative strategy is to take an event, a current event of any type, and spin it to their advantage. They do this REGARDLESS OF ALL THE FACTS! If Bush can't talk because he's an idiot, it's because he's a "common man". If the Lebanese march in the streets, it's "democracy on the march". If Robertson mouths off some crap, he's exercising freedom of speech and traditional values for Amerika. Eliminating Social Security is "securing retirement for the future", eliminating Medicare is "making services available to seniors in need". The counter-protest, which by all measures was a failure this last weekend was a "sobering event attended by those who love their children fighting in Iraq", and has been megaphoned throughout the conservative blogosphere.

I could go on and on with this, but you get the point.

And conservatives are disciplined. Losing from 1932 to 1980 has that effect on you. They have amassed a large media infrastructure including radio, tv, newspapers and bloggers. When the talking point of the day comes out, they all sing in unison like the Mormon Tabernacle Chorus.

Let's compare that to the liberals. What liberals are we talking about?

I'm purposely avoiding the party politicians in this discussion because they are totally hopeless at this point in the election cycle. Gutless. That's another entire post. For now, just think of the liberal radio, newspapers and blogs (we don't have liberal TV despite guessed it.... conservative noise machine having successfully labeled the MSM TV as liberal). In other words, I'm talking about all those same liberal analysts who previously have beat to death the notion of messaging and discipline in order to compete with the conservative message machine.

Anyone remember even a few months ago when admitting in public that you were against the war was touchy? Remember when Cindy Sheehan sat in the ditch alone? That was a few months ago. Anyone remember when Max Clelland went to Crawford and the story fell flat?

No matter who organized the protest....a representative hundreds of thousands of people of all stripes came out to protest Bush, and the Iraq war. And not just Washington D.C., but San Francisco, L.A., and London. This was by any measure a huge, and I think surprising, turnout of people challenging the Republicans. There were literally hundreds of heart wrenching stories that average Americans could relate to, hundreds of photo ops, and lots of post protest commentary that could be made.

How did the liberal message machine respond?

Atrios said NOT ONE WORD about the protest. Not even to criticize it. Daily Kos said nothing but some of his minions put up several posts critical of the organization. When another defended the rally, the flame war started. These are two of the most visited blogs on the left. Al Franken said zilch. Look over at my blogroll. The protest was either not mentioned, was mentioned as a brief report, or was criticized by that list of mainstream liberal bloggers. Period.

The MSM, including the WaPo and NY Times did a better job of covering it than all the pundits who are supposed to be part of the new "liberal" message machine. It seems like most things involving the liberals, analyzing seems to be more fun than, like, actually get off their asses and contributing something positive to the cause of rebuilding liberalism in this country. Even if that contribution is only sitting on your ass and writing about it, why not spin it to the positive? If you want to point out the lack of focus and your dislike of A.N.S.W.E.R., ok. But do it in the last paragraph after talking about the WWII veteran (pic below) with a purple heart who was arrested in front of the White House.

There were a few exceptions that I know of, and I'd gladly like to hear of others. Susie Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla offered some coverage. And some lower tier blogs (like mine) covered the march. Randi Rhodes did a great job of covering the event as did Big Ed Schultz. Ed, particularly, hit the message...the ordinary Americans taking the time and trouble to come out against the President in numbers.

It appears that liberals are so ineffective at helping each other and watching each other's backs, that in order to win our country has to get so awful that even someone who is ill-informed notices that something's wrong. We, as a group, are sure as hell not doing anything to make it easier for our message to penetrate, while the other side is superb. And let's face it folks. The majority of voters are lazy. The louder the message, the more unified the chorus, the more likely the message is to penetrate.

The issues that surround us where the GOP is whipping our butts will continue to get worse. That is, until it's SO bad that even Joe Six Pack starts to grumble. That's an awful strategy for winning, and an awful strategy for the country. Isn't it really time that Democrats set aside their personal vanity and get on board? Quality spin is a part of the current political it or not (and I don't like it). We either live by that sword, or die by it.

It Was A Long Trip

We're home. Got in about 2 am pacific time this am (about 5 am DC time). Laying low today. But have many many ideas of posts that resulted from my experiences in DC.....nearly as much from visiting the museums as the protest.

I'd be remiss in not mentioning this though.

Tom DeLay was indicted today and had to step down from his House leadership job.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Cindy Speaks.....

.....After her arrest. She's going to challenge the constitutionality of being arrested in front of the White House. You go girl......


To the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. If you're in the west and can see it, do it.

THEY did a segment on the protest that was fair, balanced and gave some realistic perspective on what happened this weekend. Also, in their usual fair way presented the pro-war position as well. It's a must see. Hopefully they'll put the segment up on their website for later viewing (they don't put all of them up).

Busted in DC

The big story was that Cindy Sheehan was arrested.

The other, bigger part of the story was that some 369 others were also arrested. In my estimation, this number represents about one-half of those who turned out to protest today. The rest were behind a police barricade choosing not to be arrested. That makes today's protest, an auxiliary to Saturday's march, bigger than the whole pro-war rally Sunday. Hell, there were more ARRESTED today than showed up for the pro-war counter rally yesterday.

Also note that earlier today, a large group of Gold Star Mom's met with Representatives and Senators from their various states to let their feelings be known. Today's activities mark the end of three days of rallies, protests, civil disobedience, meetings with representatives, trainings, and vigils. I spoke with a representative of Cindy Sheehan who informed me that Cindy's intent is to continue on a bus tour across the country, trying to gain support for the anti-war cause. Tomorrow, she is scheduled to speak at the University of Maryland.

Here are pics of today's event. Please note all the "fringy" radicals in the group arrested:

Click each picture for enlargment

Buses were pulled in front of the protestors to block the visual of the protest and the arrests. There were, however media cordoned off to the right.

A WWII veteran being arrested. Note the purple heart. Yesterday, he carried a sign that proclaimed "I Didn't Fight in WWII For This", in reference to the war in Iraq.

Scary characters threatening the White House. Also note how fringy they are.

This picture is looking back across the barricade at the "arrestee" group. There were at least as many behind me in this pic who were not to be arrested.

Code Pink. God Bless em'.

Watch out!

Does this woman look like anything but a grandmother from Indiana?


Code Pinkers, Iraq Vets, and Gold Star moms.

Speaks for itself.

Heading home tomorrow. I'm exhausted. Frustrated with some fellow Democrats, especially the bloggers who have proclaimed themselves progressives. However, I was also energized by seeing the National Holocaust Museum, The American History Museum, all various monuments, Ford's Theatre and the Lincoln Museum (a must see), and the spirit of so many regular folks willing to talk with their feet.

We'll keep pitching until there's no choice but for all to admit that the Iraq War was.... is a mistake. The die was cast when we went in, and we really don't have much control over the inevitable results be they a theocracy, democratic state, civil war, or split state.


This is the best overhead shot I've seen. Note that the march extended well beyond what's pictured, winding down 15 st. and in front of the White House (top center), and around the park across from the White House. March route show below.

I'm really experiencing a fair amount of frustration today.

The media really has given the anti-war protest rally short shrift. I expected that.

But the mainstream liberal bloggers have also been pretty much silent, or critical. It's a long story, and I'll blog about it more later in some detail.

Once again, liberals miss the opportunity to maximize a message, using all the public outlets they have....blogging, TV, radio (Randi Rhodes excepted). Instead, the liberal blogosphere has been analyzing the hell out of it, finding what they didn't like about it, or totally ignoring it. In other words, doing the work of the GOP for them.

Many of the points of criticism about the rally have been very valid, and analysis spot on. But I think they, like James Wolcott (below) miss the point. RIGHT NOW, it's not about getting the message perfect. It's about perfecting the message through the outlets we have available. It's called SPIN for a 30 second sound bite. LATER is a time to perfect the organizing aspects of events, including more involvement by those who criticize.

I've been saying it anywhere I can in the blogosphere. The GOP is fantastic at taking a turd and turning into a gourmet meal. The left has shown, yet again, that it can be presented with a golden opportunity to maximize it's anti-Bush message, and turn it to a turd that the Republicans then smash in their face.

In the meantime and along these same lines, here's an article by a Detroit News Columnist that sums up the media respect given the rally. I'd include the liberal blogs as well. It's called, 500,000 People Vanish in Washington, DC.

More pics of todays arrests to come soon. I'm hungry right now.......

Sunday, September 25, 2005

More Pics II

The sparse pro-war protestors. They were along about 20 yrds of this section, no deeper than you see here.

Should have seen the men lining up to take pics of these gals who were redefining indecency

And finally, camp casey today:

Award Winner

Meteor Blades gets the Mikey medal for this post.

The Fringe

Wolcott Takedown

James Wolcott, like many of the mainstream "liberal" bloggers has done a takedown of yesterday's rally. I like James Wolcott and read him regularly.

Like many others who have commented on the rally, he's reaching his conclusions based on what he saw on C-Span. And to the degree that this is all he saw, his observations deserve merit.

But he's also missing the point. Not all rallies are created equally. And not everything is a TV event.

He points out some credible criticisms of the speakers, the shrill far left issues that got televised, and the lack of focus. All true. But did he leave his armchair and actually, like, go take a look at what was happening, or maybe talk to some people who attended? Or did he perform the very thing he's most critical of...lazy armchair journalism? For example, did he see the SEA of people moving like a river away from the speakers podium and toward marching as the message lost coherence?

One of the reasons liberals are getting their asses kicked is because of plain old laziness. The anti-war left is getting passionate and willing to work. The rally yesterday (especially the demographics) showed that this movement is ready to move from the fringe to a greater, broader, constituency that is willing to work.....including implementing change at the local and state level. This is the type of energy that Howard Dean brought to the game. Yet, anytime anyone shows some guts and energy, the takedown begins.

BTW, this rally was no secret. How many James Wolcott's (just to name one) volunteered to come help organize, lending their considerable expertise to the anti-Bush cause, provide rally focus, and helping stay on message? Or, perhaps like Wolf Blitzer, these folks would rather sit at their fighting keyboards and perform another tactic little seen on the right, eat their own.

It would be nice to see some focus on the positive, i.e. the peace movement went from d...e...a...d, to Cindy Sheehan sitting in a ditch alone a very few months ago, to several hundred thousand people gathering in DC to protest with her. No. The liberal elite (yeah, I used that term) has held back with their latte's and chosen to be snarky rather than pitching in. And if I hear one more gripe about protest being outmoded as a method of expression, I'm gonna set up a protest in front of their house and see how they like that. Rovians know the value of mass turnouts which is why they've stage counter protests as well as the Reich'sMarch from the Pentagon.

I don't want to hear anymore gripping about the centrist DLC, the "inside the beltway liberals" who are "out of touch" from these guys who have had little but snarkiness to contribute to countering the Bush nonsense. It's with cohesion, focusing on what we've done RIGHT, and pitching in to improve it that distinguishes the smooth well-oiled political machine called the GOP from the fractious, snarky, creaking carriage called the Democrats.


I drove by. There may have been 300 or less people there:
WASHINGTON - Support for U.S. troops fighting abroad mixed with anger toward anti-war demonstrators at home as hundreds of people, far fewer than organizers had expected, rallied Sunday on the National Mall just a day after a massive protest against the war in


Organizers of Sunday's demonstration acknowledged that their rally would be much smaller than the anti-war protest but had hoped that as many as 20,000 people would turn out.
The main speaker was Jeff Sessions, right-wing Senator of Alabama.

Nuff said.....

Did Some Good

Like Billmon, Juan Cole is now calling for immediate withdrawal of the troops from Iraq:
The ground troops must come out. Now. For the good of Iraq. For the good of America.
He gives a very reasoned explanation for his change in position that cannot be denied.

Perhaps yesterday is having some slight effect. If you'll remember, Juan had written a long phased-out plan for withdrawal about a month ago. His position has now changed to immediate withdrawal.

Bill For First Lady

Here's a blog entry of Bill experiences being photographed yesterday. I saw him and cracked up.

Here's Cindy

Cindy Sheehan wrote a note in DKos about the rally yesterday. Here's the link.

It's Happening

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Couldn't Say It Better

Than this.

Get Her Name!

More Danger

Another really radical group from that hotbed of anarchy, Napa.....

This is the group we walked with most of the time.


Early in the of your more radical elements


Looking Down Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House..the line extended behind at least as far as in front, and went on around the block about 2 miles. This pic represents (in my estimation) about 15% of the total.

Having calmed a bit....

There were alot of people at the rally today. Too many to ignore.

The criticisms are appropriate. Like any gathering of liberals, there were too many speakers, too many issues, and a lack of focus. Some of what I'd call fringe groups got a big say-so (free the Cuban 5, Hati), but then they put up some organizing money and volunteers. So, they got 10 minutes on stage.

There is no doubt in my mind that people gathered because they were pissed at Bush about IRAQ, not the other issues. The organizers missed some focus, but the protestors didn't seem to mind, even starting the march while the speeches were still going on. And since when have liberals ever shown "focus"? It's not the point and if anyone highlights this aspect of what happened today, they're missing the point.

Make no mistake about it. From someone who was there and understands human nature. This was not a crowd of left-wing freaks. Yeah, there were some there. But anytime you gather people, you'll have some of those. I was impressed with the number of people, like myself, who are ordinary people who quietly walked with a shirt saying "end the war" or "bring the troops home". This march looked like Cindy Sheehan, not a freak show.

The most impressive part of it was the Iraq veterans who led the parade. They literally marched, while chanting the same end the war chant over and over and over and over. It was quite moving....and sad in a way.

The press is describing it as a marathon and that it was. There was a concert tonight on the ellipse which I just couldn't make. But I have no doubt that there was a huge turnout for that as well.

Will any of this make any difference? Who knows. A smart politician would have been checking out the demographics of the crowd and realized that there's opportunity there.

One final note. Jan pointed out something (actually two things) that I think are small and symbolic. First, there was zero violence or even arguing. Even with the very very small number of counter protestors, there was some back/forth, but really they were pretty much ignored by most. Second, and this is really a small thing but maybe more important. There was ZERO litter. And EVERYONE was handing out literature, signs, and selling water/food. Yet the streets were clean. I even saw a person next to me bend down and pick up an eaten apple core. The trash cans were overflowing, but any trash was right there and nowhere else.

I've been to a lot of big events and never seen this. Not quite sure what that says except that perhaps it's indicative that this was not a group of rowdy anarchist types. More likely a bunch of moms and dads who are just as likely to gripe at you to clean your room as burn down the White House.......

Take That

By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 4:26 PM

CNN reported earlier in the day that 600,000 people were here. That seems, to me, a little bit of an overcount. I cannot be sure because this thing is spread in all directions and I'd need to be in a helicopter to get a good idea, and never mind the fact that counting noses is not my forte. But I have been covering these things in DC and New York since they started, and I feel comfortable saying there are at least 300,000 people here right now.
Even if you assume that THIS estimate is high, wouldn't half that constitute a major protest?

Early MSM Bullshit

The early reports by the press are proclaiming a low turnout, small by London's standards. Even the D.C. police chief admits it was 100K at least. They're also giving the counter protestors equal press.


I kept expecting to see counter protestors. There's was one section of em, lined up behind barricades of maybe 100-200 counter protestors. They were lined up like the animals in the zoo for the anti-war protestors to chant at as we walked by. I took pics (up tomorrow) to prove it.

Maybe a scheduled pro-war protest tomorrow will have more participants. But the nonsense of giving equal time in the press to this very, very small contingent today is a total distortion of the facts.

I guess I'd have to murder my wife and dump her in SF bay to get some decent press coverage. Gee...100K+ people showing up at the nations capital to speak out in an 12 HOUR MARATHON doesn't count.....

Utter BS


If I was Jerry Orbach in L/O, I'd be all over this:
Amtrak Power Failure Delays Thousands to Anti-War Protests

Thousands of anti-war protesters en route to D.C. from major Northeast cities were delayed for hours due to an Amtrak power failure.

In a hitch for some coming to the protest, 13 Amtrak trains running between New York and Washington were delayed for up to three hours Saturday morning for repair of overhead electrical lines. Protest organizers said that held up thousands coming to the rally.

Organizers delayed the start of the march, originally planned to begin at 12:30 p.m., to wait for protesters arriving on the Amtrak trains. There were other reports of Metro delays in northern Virginia on the Blue and Yellow lines.

It made for a very long day. The Washington Metro also stopped running for awhile, delaying the arrival of protestors.

You know what? These guys in government are for real, if you ever doubted it. We'd better do something about what's going on (having been under a helicopter all day and with snipers watching from the White House roof).

Still pissed in Washington.


Liberal blogs my ass.

I attended a protest against government policy today that included literally thousands of people.

The liberal blogs (many of which are represented in my blogroll) have had nothing to say about the anti-war effort. Susie Madarak of Suburban Guerilla had one post on it.

I marched today with a whole bunch of ordinary people. People with jobs/kids/mortgages, who gave up a lot to be there. I had dinner with a woman and her son who have lost their home in New Orleans. They are staying in New Jersey and drove to Washington for the protest because they are so fed up with Bush. An given the "power outage" in the northeast corridor on Amtrak today (that stopped the trains), some had to protest in train stations and take alternative buses to get here. The entire march was delayed two hours. A government attempt to stop the protest? I don't know. Sure smells though.

Where was atrios? How about of the other's who proclaim themselves as "progressives"? At least Billmon admits his ambivalence. The other's are apparently absent.

No only were they not there, but not a word was said ahead of time about the protest. Tell me. How is this different from the criticism these same folks often level against the "DLC" who plays it safe politically? None of them supports Bush or his policies. But none of them seemed to get much out in front.

As might be said by them, "what a bunch of hacks". I guess we have a new and growing level of cocktail crowd.....the big-name bloggers. It's not easy to admit that you were wrong, and that your government is screwing up. It's not easy to raise your voice against government policy with people yelling you're a traitor. But bullshit. You do what's right. And you do the hard work of staying informed and challenging yourself to admit what's right. There's been plenty of information that has come out to show that Bush has been wrong AND incompetent. Yet many...many of our citizens are still reluctant to admit it. Read Billmon (above, and you'll see what I mean).

BTW, if I'm wrong. Prove it.

Pissed in Washington......


I want to welcome Billmon.


I can't tell you'all how tired I am. Screaming at Bush all day is "hard work". But I did get to see downtown Washington from the center line of Pennsylvania Ave! The anger that was outpouring in front of the White House was enormous....while the snipers looked on......

I'll post more later and some pics. Was really quite a protest/march.

Civil Rights

Some of the best civil rights you didn't know were under attack. Excerpt from David Corn article detailing the FBI's attempted at (basically) unlimited subpoena power:

But the FBI, with the presumed approval of the White House, has been pushing for power that would go beyond that of the controversial Section 215. In particular, the bureau has wanted the new Patriot Act measure to award it the right to issue administrative subpoenas. With an administrative subpoena, an FBI agent could--without going to a court or a grand jury--demand that a person or institution hand over any record on another person or organization: financial papers, health records, library records, e-mails and more. The order would be subject to judicial review only if the recipient--say, an Internet service provider--opposed the order.


This is what happens when you put young men in an unwinnable insurgency...
Other images appear to be of Iraqi civilians. A series of photos showing two men slumped over in a pickup truck, with nothing visible above their shoulders except a red mass of brain matter and bone, is described as "an Iraqi driver and passenger that tried to run a checkpoint during the first part of OIF." The post goes on to say that "the bad thing about shooting them is that we have to clean it up." Another post, labeled "dead shopkeeper in Iraq," does not explain how the subject of the photo ended up with a large bullet hole in his back but offers the quip "I guess he had some unsatisfied customers."
Bad enough to have to fight. But to take pics is piling on. Then to post them (in exchange for free porn) is sick. Then for the site to get a tremendous increase in traffic is a sign of our times.


And another new emerging story here. The atrocities accumulate.
As much as Katrina revealed the ugly underbelly of poverty and race in the country, 9/11 revealed the ugly underbelly of sadism and blind fury. This is a sick culture.


From the Oil Drum:
Just so I can make this point as clearly as possible...
The worst tracks are those which put landfall between Freeport and Sabine Pass Texas. [...] Another bad spot is right up through Port Arthur and Beaumont - another big refining center.
Well, Rita chose option number 2.

The KAC/UCF damage estimates at this hour are pretty interesting: See that grey? Those are rigs.

However, I think from what I am hearing about the pressure of this hurricane (930-932mb at landfall, which is a Cat 4 by definition), I think the damage may actually turn out a little worse, especially because of the geography of the area, there is nowhere for the storm surge that was out front to go, so it may end up looking like a Cat 5 hit around Beaumont. I hope I'm wrong.

Though Rita appeared to weaken a bit, it hit in a critical area to petroleum.

Fingers crossed.....

Friday, September 23, 2005

Separated at Birth

(in case you're too young to know)

Ratfuckers Training

This really a must read.

These college Repubs have been doing this garbage...and learning quite well...since the USC days of Haldeman et al.

More Pics

This was the saddest part.

As we arrived on the scene, they've set up Camp Casey like they did in Crawford.....with crosses and boots......

Press Conference

The wife and I decided to do a little site-seeing today. We started the morning with the National Holocaust Museum. This really is a must-see for every American....lest we forget. It's tempting to see the Germans of that time as crazy. Yet, they were actually a very ordinary western culture that adapted to a very stressful times by demonizing others. Scary.

While the Bush administration isn't Nazi Germany, it sure carries the whispers of the Nationalist Socialist Party. I'm glad this piece of history is being preserved, hopefully for all time.

Anyway.....we're walking toward the Washington Monument when we see a gathering of people near where tomorrow's peace march begins. We stroll up and there's a news conference going on with Cindy Sheehan and many gold star moms.

We joined the pack and took some pics. Here are a few of the better ones (click on the picture for a better look):

The press gaggle. Probably 6-8 different news stations there filming

Cindy making a statement and taking questions

Cindy with a couple of the other moms who have lost kids. Several spoke for the interview. It was really quite sad

Poor thing. While Cindy hails from Vacaville CA where it gets quite warm, it was 90/90 outside in the sun. People were coming up to her from everywhere (including me) to wish her well. All she wanted was a quiet moment and some lunch. I suspect she doesn't get many quiet moments.

Memorable quote of the day. When asked about some of the specific plans for the march tomorrow she said:
"Just like the way George Bush is running the war, we're kinda making it up as we go along, so I don't know quite yet all the plans for tomorrow."

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