11/3/04

Election Day, 2004


We all heard the Four
Horseman (Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, and Rummy)
and we did what we could to stop them. I've
been out for Kerry four times now, today for
over six hours. First registering people to vote, then, later, knocking on doors, telling
people where their polling place was and to go
vote, dropping literature, and meeting many
really great people who all want the same
thing. It was very cold this morning,
election morning, and yet at the Kerry HQ on
Dahlia and 33rd street there were over fifty
people ready to head out into the snowy yards
of Denver to drop off VOTE TODAY door
hangers.

Denver is awash in Kerry
signs. They are plastered everywhere: on
every corner, on the medians, on cars, on
kids strollers, in store window after store
window along Colfax. There are vans with
loudspeakers driving through the
neighborhoods playing music, young people of
all races out on street corners holding signs
to cars honking in sympathy, people pointing
proudly to their "I voted" sticker affixed to
their shirts and blouses...there is something
like democracy happening in Denver. No
loyalty oaths or pledges, no country club
membership background checks, no closed door
energy policy meetings. Just normal people
acting more like citizens than I have ever
seen before. Never happened in Texas. Imagine
that.

Now it's returns time and I am
sick with worry. Not because there is any
good reason to be, but because this is the
first Republican whose prospect of reelection
ever filled me with Millennial-sized dread.
If I could, I'd pray. I can't so I will hope.

And if Bush wins, the people who
banded together to oust him will remain
united and will work to undermine him every
minute of every day. We will boycott the
Sinclairs, deluge CBS when its courage flags,
call our congressperson to complain, write
letters to our newspapers, and support our
MoveOn's. Bush has taught us an important
lesson: democracy is fragile, and it's all of
our part-time jobs to keep it healthy, let
alone off of John Ashcroft's ICU.


That is all. Back to our lives.

--- DH, 8
p.m. MST on Election Day in Denver, CO.



P.S. This morning, the Denver Post and the
Rocky Mountain News were on folks lawns
wrapped in a white plastic bag advertising
the NRA and Pete Coors. Do these papers
really represent our city? Why shouldn't
every subscriber to these papers not suspend
their papers for a month, just to send a
message? How about a boycott of a bit longer?
Serious news is on the internet anyway, so I
don't see why they should see a little
reverse marketing from a predominantly
Democratic readership. BOYCOTT these papers!

10/20/04

Arendt on Bush


If you wondered why Cheney persists in his
9-11/Saddam link, look at the last
sentence. These quotes were found in a Michelle Goldberg piece in
Salon.



"Before mass leaders seize the power to
fit reality to their lies, their
propaganda is marked by its extreme
contempt for facts as such, for in their
opinion fact depends entirely on the
power of man who can fabricate it."


"The chief qualification of a mass leader
has become unending infallibility; he can
never admit an error...The stubbornness
with which totalitarian dictators have
clung to their original lies in the fact
of absurdity is more than superstitious
gratitude to what turned the trick, and,
at least in the case of Stalin, cannot be
explained by the psychology of the liar
whose very success may make him his own
last victim. Once these propaganda
slogans are integrated into a 'living
organization,' they cannot be safely
eliminated without wrecking the whole
structure."


Hannah Arendt, 1951 The Origins of
Totalitarianism

10/19/04

Why were the Cheney's soft on Alan Keyes?

'Little over a month before Kerry said, "I
think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's
daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell
you that she's being who she was, she's being
who she was born as," Illinois GOP Senate
candidate Alan Keyes condemned
homosexuality as "selfish hedonism"
in a
satellite-radio interview during the
Republican national convention. Asked if Mary
Cheney was also "a selfish hedonist," Keyes
replied, "Of course she is."


Dick and Lynne Cheney, who have
roundly criticized Kerry's pro-gay remarks,
said nothing in the face of Keyes' highly
derogatory comments.
This should come as
no surprise: There is a long history of
suspicion in moral conservative circles that
the vice president has not been adequately
supportive of their agenda because of his gay
daughter. And that has led the vice president
and his family to be exceptionally tolerant
of those who talk about his daughterĊs
sexuality -- as long as they are anti-gay.'

From
Garance
Franke-Ruta, "Don't Ask? Do Tell!", The
American Prospect Online, Oct 18, 2004

10/10/04

Bush's bulge migrated south


Some long pent up thoughts about this election thingy.



In the second debate there was no sign of
the little box behind the suit coat, but Mr. Petulence
still simmered like a frat boy whose fake ID was just
laughed at by the guy checking ID's. Kerry is still playing too
nice, in my opinion, but did I win the primaries?



About that first debate, I have to admit that Jim Lehrer did a better job this time. His follow
ups were worthwhile and while he didn't ask Bush who was actually
answering the questions, he kept hope alive that perhaps the candidates
would be tested. It's a shame he didn't ask about the Plame affair.



Now that Derrida is dead, the infamous security moms can finally
leave behind deconstruction and proceed to
just plain old destruction of common sense, aided and abetted by the guy they
tell pollsters is
best equipped to protect them. (Well, maybe not, but he clears a
mean brush.)



At some point we're hoping that the mainstream press either (a) gets spine enough
to spite the WH (which has locked out, shut up, or just plain neutered most of
them for the past four years) and GO AHEAD AND ASK THEM ADULT QUESTIONS AND DEMAND ADULT ANSWERS,
or (b) follows the same craven self interest that
has allowed this resident of the White House to plunge us and thousands of innocent
civilians into a carnage the likes not seen since Bush didn't see Vietnam.
Surely they will want to switch sides just before the ship goes down, won't they?




A friend of mine involved with the Kerry campaign has been urging that Kerry talk
as if Osama had been captured already. Kerry has not listened, apparently, as they
seem to be putting a lot into the "why haven't you caught Osama" rhetoric. Does
Kerry know something about Osama that we and Bush don't know? Intriguing.



One last question: how many people will watch the third debate? I am assuming
a major drop off in viewership; if that's true, then Kerry did well if most
stopped watching after the first debate, and less well if after the second.
Bush secured, as Michael Berube put it, the Drunken Aggressive Asshole vote
in that debate which, after 11 years in Texas and 3 in Tennessee, is
electorally numerable.



Meanwhile, in the Nature Strikes Back Against the Worst Environmental
President in US History category, Mount Saint Helens warms up for the
final aria, comfortable with the chin music that 3 hurricanes laid down for
Florida, land of the Governor Who Just Happens to be the President's
Brother. Here's hoping the eruption doesn't screw up the delicate touch screen
voting machines.

9/15/04

Unreleased document shows Bush failed to fulfil his commitments


From this website
A newly discovered document that was withheld by the White House when it
released 'all the records' shows that Bush promised to serve in the Air
National Guard well beyond the termination of his six year Military
Service Obligation.



In this document, simply labeled 'AGREEMENT', Bush acknowledges that his
training will require 'the expenditure of extensive public funds' and in
exchange for 'undergraduate pilot training', he agreed to serve for at
least five years after the completion of that training. (It has not been
determined what 'undergraduate pilot training' refers to. Bush completed
his initial pilot training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia on
November 26, 1969, his 'Pre-Interceptor Training' at Ellington AFB in
February, 1970, and his F-102 pilot training was completed on June 20,
1970.)

9/12/04

About these Bush National Guard memos, I've been watching the blogs

cover this and I have a sneaking sense this is all a big waste of time.




Let's look at the big picture: Karl Rove knows that Bush cannot compare
his bravery or service to Kerry's. So, the longer the Guard story drags
out, the longer the more global comparison is put off. Bush wins.




Also along these lines: the longer the story continues to be Vietnam,
the longer Bush's actual record is not evaluated. Bush wins.



In a nutshell: Guard story keeps Vietnam alive, Vietnam keeps focus off
present and future consequences, distraction succeeds, Bush wins.

3/28/04

8/2001 Timeline: Bush vacations while Tenet's Raising Terror Alarm



While reading a piece in the New York Times today on the summer of
2001, it occurred to me that this was just about the time that Bush went
on the first of his unusually long vacations.



ITEM #1





Consider first
what href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/28/politics/28PANE.html">the Times
said today:




March 28, 2004
9/11 Panel Provokes a Discussion the White House
Hoped to Avoid

By DAVID JOHNSTON and ADAM NAGOURNEY, New York
Times

WASHINGTON, March 27 - In the summer of 2001, according to
witnesses interviewed by the independent commission investigating the
Sept. 11 hijackings, President Bush was told repeatedly of terror
warnings pouring into American intelligence agencies, mostly about
threats overseas.

The director of central intelligence, George
J. Tenet, who briefed Mr. Bush on threats almost daily, "was around
town literally pounding on desks saying that something is happening,
this is an unprecedented level of threat information,"
said Richard
Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, who was quoted in a
Congressional report last year.



But even as the warnings spiked in June and July that year, there
appeared to be little sense of alarm at the White House,
officials of
the Central Intelligence Agency told the commission. It was not until
Sept. 4
that Mr. Bush's national security team approved a plan intended
to eradicate Al Qaeda and not until Sept. 10 that Mr. Tenet was told to
put the plan into effect.





Now let's look back at what Bush was
doing about these warnings from Tenet:

ITEM #2


From href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/august01/2001-08-03-bush-
vacation.htm">USA Today, August 3, 2001

White House to move to Texas for a while


By Laurence McQuillan, USA TODAY



WASHINGTON - Six months after taking office, President Bush will begin a
month-long vacation
Saturday that is significantly longer than the
average American's annual getaway. If Bush returns as scheduled on Labor
Day,
he'll tie the modern record for presidential absence from the White
House, held by Richard Nixon at 30 days.




I think these facts speak for themselves.



3/27/04

Goodbye Louis Mackey, A wonderful teacher, scholar, wit


I heard via the email grapevine that Louis Mackey has died. As far as I
know now, he died after a long and grave illness on Wednesday, March 24,
2004 in Austin, TX. He was, I believe, 78 or 79 (b., 1926). Louis was
one of my graduate professors of philosophy at the University of Texas
at Austin (I was there 1990-1997). Mackey was the chair of graduate
admissions when I got in to UT so he may be the reason I am in
philosophy altogether.



In addition to taking Louis' 12th Century graduate seminar, I was his
teaching assistant for both Knowledge and Reality and Introduction to
Philosophy. I sat in on his American Philosophy: Puritans to
Transcendentalists and his Medieval Philosophy courses, too.



I guess I knew Louis the way a lot of graduate students did; I
considered him a friend but I did not know much about his personal life.
I still don't. But we shared a sense of humor which is based on the
sense that life is manifoldly and manifestly ridiculous, obscene, and
sacred all at the same time. Often one could find Louis in the David L.
Miller conference room, our lounge, eating lunch at 12 every day. He'd
hold court there, quietly and without ceremony, telling dirty jokes or
bantering about literature to whoever was at the table. He somehow
managed to be both acerbic and approachable.


Louis was by far the most popular professor at UT while I was there.
Everyone wanted him on their committee and until his later years he
seemed to always say yes. He had "groupies" from all over the
campus--art history, english, comp lit graduate students would sign up
for his seminars and it was virtually guaranteed that there'd barely be
a seat open by the end.



Louis Mackey was one of the most brilliant and creative minds I have
ever met. Exceptionally well read, Louis had a take on the history of
philosophy, the history of religion, and, it seemed, all of literature.
Everything he absorbed became part of his vision, and he made that
vision sparkle for us. It was a lens we could try to peer through to get
a better perspective on the puzzle of existence. Louis never promoted or
proselytized this vision; rather, it pulled you along after it, like a
comet, and made you want to find out what it would be like to tag along,
to go where it was going.

And now the Comet Mackey has passed. What
a loss this is for all of us. What a great subtraction from the cosmic
mix. There will never be another. How thankful I am to have known Louis
Mackey.

1/29/04

Iraq Weapons Inspector WMD Checklist



Check any that apply:



__ Weapons of Mass Destruction: Any nuclear, chemical, or biological
weapons, or
stockpile of such weapons, especially those capable of being launched
within 45
minutes.



__ Weapons of Mass Destruction Program: Facility for the production of
nuclear,
chemical, or biological weapons.



__ Weapons of Mass Destruction-Related Program: Any nuclear, chemical, or
biological
facility that might conceivably be used for the production of weapons.



__ Weapons of Mass Destruction-Related Program Activities: Anything, or
anything
having anything to do with anything.

Thanks to Sam Walker for this.