Each year, on the day after Thanksgiving, I'm helpfully reminded by the local media that I know nothing about my fellow Americans. The distance is properly established by shots like this:
explains the origin of the Black Friday thing, which I didn't know. But I maintain that it's also a reference to how goddamned early these nuts get up to prostrate themselves before Mammon.
Oh dear. The pranksters
LAFAYETTE, La. - The busiest shopping day of the year turned out to be a sticky affair. Vandals apparently glued the locks on dozens of Lafayette's biggest retailers, preventing managers from opening up promptly on lucrative "Black Friday." Hundreds of shoppers, some of whom arrived before dawn, were forced to wait outside Barnes & Noble, Old Navy and other stores while managers summoned locksmiths.
At least 200 locks on dozens of businesses were glued, including main entrances, rear doors and employee entrances, locksmith Garan Wilson said. Wilson's first job at about 5 a.m. Friday was to make his way to the front door lock at Old Navy - by pushing through about 500 shoppers waiting outside, he said.
"I found about a half a tube of glue stuck inside," he said.
Kevin Vizena, head locksmith for Pop-A-Lock in Lafayette, said the vandals squirted the glue deep inside the keyholes, forcing him to drill holes and remove the locks from the doors.
"We've never run into a day that's been quite so busy with these particular problems," Vizena said.
Chuck Trenchard, an employee of S&K Menswear, said the prank had cost his store more than $1,000 in business, because potential customers had arrived early, then took off because they couldn't get inside.
Most of the stores had their doors open for customers by midmorning, Vizena said.
Lafayette Police had no suspects but were investigating the vandalism as cases of possible criminal mischief or criminal damage to property, both misdemeanors, Lt. Angelo Iorio said.
The vandals! Such little regard for property rights! Common street filth!
I can't wait for this
to come out.
...and I'll confess a certain excitement about this
FRANZEN ON PEANUTS
I really enjoyed the estimable Jonathan Franzen's New Yorker piece on his family and the personal relationship he formed with Charles Schulz and Peanuts. It's available here
Happy Thanksgiving all!
YOU. ARE. SHITTING. ME.
Yes, it's real. Here's the Yahoo link
. And read the comments
It's hard, sometimes, not to literally jump out of my chair and wave my hands around and scream "Do you see what they're doing? Do you? Can't you see the goddamn pattern
That was my reaction, anyway, about this thing
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 - Democratic leaders and senators from both parties expressed outrage on Sunday about an obscure provision in the huge end-of-session spending bill that would allow the chairmen of the Appropriations Committees and their staff assistants to examine Americans' income tax returns.
Republican leaders said that their motives had been misread and that there was never any intention to invade the privacy of taxpayers. They promised that the provision would be deleted from the bill in a special session on Wednesday before the spending measure, which cleared Congress on Saturday night, was sent to President Bush for his signature.
Look at him. Do you trust that guy
The use of the power of the state to investigate, persecute, and smear the opposition is like, not too conservative. It's, like, fascist.
Here's the question: if they're bold enough to try to slip shit like this into legislation, what do you think they're doing, extralegally, right now
Didn't we just tear shit like this down in Baghdad?
Click the pic.
WHERE'S THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT?
today (in the Post) is a must-read:
Has there ever before been a war that so many people disapproved of but so few wanted to stop? Have the reasons for starting a war ever been so thoroughly discredited without turning into reasons for ending it?
The Vietnam-era antiwar movement had an agenda: Bring the troops home. Or, in two words -- suitable for a picket sign or a T-shirt -- "Out now." ("Out," children, meant something different back then, but liberals were in favor of it just the same.) What seems to be today's antiwar position -- it was a terrible mistake and it's a terrible mess, but we can't just walk away from it -- was actually the pro-war position during the Vietnam era. In fact, it was close to official government policy for more than half the length of that war.
Today's antiwar cause doesn't even have a movement to speak of, let alone an agenda. It consists of perhaps 47 percent of the citizenry -- the ones who voted for John Kerry -- who are in some kind of existential opposition to the war but aren't doing much about it and aren't very clear about what they would like to see happen. Meanwhile, American soldiers die by the hundreds and Iraqis -- military and civilian -- by the thousands in a cause these people (and I'm one of them) believe to be a horrible mistake.
I rode the San Francisco MUNI to work on the morning of November 3rd. People's faces? Like death. Like somebody had died. Somebody close to them.
So where is this antiwar movement? It's coming, I think. The left had its spirit crushed on November 2nd. It'll take at least six months for the election-night horror, and that wrenched-stomach November 3rd hangover, to finally fade and for the American left to stand up again.
But when it does?
You may have seen links to this
floating around. It's the response to this
I am still grieving about this election, and for my shattered expectations, and for the direction this country seems to be heading. It's a complicated thing, this grief, vanishing totally for three days or a week, and then charging up from out of nowhere.
But this site
made me feel a little better. Which is rare beef these days, my sweet bitches.
At least you can say you lived in interesting times
Principal is whipped to punish two teens
By ZAZ HOLLANDER
Anchorage Daily News
November 13, 2004
WASILLA -- Matanuska Christian School's principal has been fired and a teacher has quit over a disciplinary incident in which the principal had himself whipped in front of two students.
Principal Steve Unfreid, who said he was inspired in his choice of disciplinary tactics by the actions of Jesus, asked teacher Joe Brost to whip him in front of two male students in the school's basement last month after the boys were caught kissing girls in the locker room for the second time in a week.
Unfreid, in an interview Friday at his home, acknowledged he should have called the boys' parents first but expressed no regret for his behavior.
The school's board of directors unanimously decided in a closed door session Sunday to fire Unfreid.
Brost resigned Monday night at a crowded meeting in the school's chapel. He did not want to comment for this story.
Roughly 120 students now attend the Palmer school. About 20 students have left in the incident's aftermath, school officials said. It could not be learned whether the departing youths were motivated to leave by their support of Unfreid.
In a letter sent to the school's board Wednesday, Unfreid said he would not fight his dismissal. He also apologized for "outbursts at the school board meeting" on Monday.
Unfreid violated school policy by not notifying parents before going ahead with discipline, particularly with "anything that unusual," school board president and acting administrator Scott Richardson said Friday.
The decision to take the boys' punishment on himself showed a form of Christianity that was too radical for some members of the school community, Unfreid said, sitting cross-legged on a leather couch in his Wasilla living room Friday afternoon.
Since coming to the school as a teacher several years ago, he said, he pushed for the school to admit a married student, laid on hands in an effort to heal a girl basketball player's injured ankle, and has taken troubled students into his family's home.
"The vision I had is the love of God can change everything," Unfreid said.
When the two seniors, 17 and 18, got caught kissing girls in front of younger students in late October, Unfreid said that while contemplating what discipline to hand out, he woke at 3 a.m. and prayed how to avoid expelling them. He said that was when he remembered years ago he had cured his son of chronic lying by telling his son to hit him with a wooden ladle instead of spanking the youngster. ...
It's hard to know what to say about this. On the one hand, there's the self-imposed flagellation of a religious nutjob. On the other hand...dammit. Okay. There's basically just the self-imposed. Flogging.
I have to say, honestly? I'm all for it
Then I looked at my friend's own blog, and noticed that he is promoting a bumper sticker with the initials "TGWW" -- a special discreet code that stands for, "Thank God W Won," a subtle indicator like the Skull and Bones handshake, so fellow supporters can notice each other without calling undue attention to themselves in hostile environments. ("It's a big 'hell yeah!' that will impress your friends and confound your enemies.") How is it that, if Bush's mandate is so clear, his supporters still feel the need to operate as if they were early Christians in the catacombs? Yes, it's true that my friend lives in a "blue state," but it's not exactly the East Village. He is represented by a reelected Republican member of Congress, his state has a Republican governor, and he lives in a municipality where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 2:1, the kind of place where Robert Lowell's lines seem fitting: "even the man scavenging filth in the back alley trash cans,/ has two children, a beach wagon, a helpmate,/ and is 'a young Republican.'" So why the secret handshake?
Your friend or lover may be a secret supporter of the Treacherous Little Freak! But now (thanks to Salto) you can crack the code. Baby.
FILTHY TRIAL LAWYERS
Filing lawsuits to help out these whiny little babies
Filthy, filthy trial lawyers.
At least two influential members of the small-media left are talking about abolishing the NEA
"as one way Democrats could appease cultural conservatives."
Is this helpful?
COMEDY THURSDAY CONT'D.
President Bush's election victory, combined with GOP gains in Congress have given America's Christian conservatives, well, whatever it is they get instead of boners.
[Via Lean Left]
is on fire today.
Salto turns one today.
CAR MODEL HIJINX
Diligent readers will remember that Salto has recently moved to a new place in the heart of the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
Salto has a number of roommates. He heard today that one of his roommates, the one who occupies the room next to his, will be leaving for a week. In his place, a friend of another roommate is coming to stay, and she's -- wait for it -- a model. Not only that, but she's a model for car shows
. And she's coming to SF to work
Salto will keep you abreast of the sure-to-ensue hijinx, including a trip to the car show, digital camera in tow.
FUCK CONDI RICE
Figure we'll make it three-for-three with the nasty invective. Safire and Powell first.
Besides the serious weirdness
involved with her relationship with the Treacherous Little Freak, Bob Somerby explains how Condi lied under oath
far better than I ever could.
Goddamn criminals. All of 'em.
(And she's ugly
UNPLEASANT BUT COMPELLING
AND, IN OTHER NEWS, ANOTHER MILLION IRAQIS TURN AGAINST US
FALLUJAH, Iraq — The U.S. military is investigating the killing of a wounded and apparently unarmed Iraqi prisoner inside a mosque during combat operations here, the Defense Department told NBC News on Monday.
NBC’s Kevin Sites, who witnessed the incident Saturday while assigned to represent a pool of news organizations, reported Monday that the man was shot by a Marine who appeared to be unaware that the Iraqi was a wounded prisoner and did not pose a threat.
Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for the Defense Department, told NBC News that the military was investigating the incident observed by Sites. “We’re confident it will be a thorough investigation,” he said.
Matt Y. argues
that it's as bad as it'll get.
It would be disingenuous of me to argue that it's further alienated Sunni Arab opinion (either in Iraq or elsewhere) from the United States, since that would hardly be possible.
Matt may be referencing something else here, and he's got the snark on, but the problem is that when shit like this hits Al-Jazeera, more until-now-peaceful Sunni Arabs might consider picking up guns.
in Iraq, you know. Watch this boulder pick up steam as it rolls downhill.)
I DON'T WANNA GO
today in the Times:
The Army has encountered resistance from more than 2,000 former soldiers it has ordered back to military work, complicating its efforts to fill gaps in the regular troops.
Many of these former soldiers - some of whom say they have not trained, held a gun, worn a uniform or even gone for a jog in years - object to being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan now, after they thought they were through with life on active duty.
They are seeking exemptions, filing court cases or simply failing to report for duty, moves that will be watched closely by approximately 110,000 other members of the Individual Ready Reserve, a corps of soldiers who are no longer on active duty but still are eligible for call-up.
The draft is not coming. Repeat.
"I consider myself a civilian," said Rick Howell, a major from Tuscaloosa, Ala., who said he thought he had left the Army behind in 1997 after more than a decade flying helicopters. "I've done my time. I've got a brand new baby and a wife, and I haven't touched the controls of an aircraft in seven years. I'm 47 years old. How could they be calling me? How could they even want me?"
FUCK COLIN POWELL
Except for maybe Gary Hart, a serious man
whose political career was derailed by an affair that looks positively straightedge nowadays, there is no sadder story in politics than Colin Powell's.
He probably could have been President if he had run. He brought so many things to the table when Bush picked him: substantial popularity and credibility in the US, equally substantial prestige abroad, and, of course, he was black, which helped to moderate Bush's southern drawl and Texas roots. At least it did for me.
But then he became Bush's bitch. He got cold conned by Cheney's office and Stephen Hadley
(remember that name: someone said he's gonna be National Security Advisor after Condi gets the bump), who were fucking with the CIA's raw intelligence -- "stovepiping," Seymour Hersh called it
-- to bolster their fake-ass war in Iraq.
[And for those of us just joining us, you really should read that Hersh piece. It's a primer on how this administration lied us to war. It is incredible journalism.]
Powell. When Powell went before the UN, charts and graphs in hand, big fake-ass photos lookin' highly, highly serious, Cheney and Wolfowitz and the PNAC zealots
were calculating that Powell, and his cred, might make the difference between tacit acceptance of their stanky lil' war and serious international condemnation. They won. The world gave us a dirty look, shrugged, and looked away.
Colin got used
. It's gotta fuckin' hurt. But don't feel sorry for the man. He could have resigned at any time. And he goddamned well should have. So this is why Salto's position on Colin Powell is this: FUCK COLIN POWELL
...more good stuff here
Ol' Dirty Bastard died Saturday. Read Pitchfork's obituary
I'm sad about this.
I have a favorite ODB story that I'll try to dig up and append to this post.
Rest in peace, Dirt McGirt.
...here's one good ODB story
In November 1997, Ol' Dirty Bastard was arrested for failing to pay nearly a year's worth of child support -- around 35,000 dollars -- for the three children he had with his wife, Icelene Jones (by this point, he'd fathered a total of 13 children, beginning in his teenage years). Things picked up in February 1998: he started his own clothing line, dubbed My Dirty Wear, and along with several protÃ©gÃ©s [sic], he rushed out of a New York recording studio to help save a four-year-old girl who had been hit by a car and lay trapped underneath.
The very next day, at the Grammy Awards (where the Wu had been nominated for Best Rap Album), there followed the incident that truly established the Ol' Dirty legend. During Shawn Colvin's acceptance speech for her Song of the Year award, ODB rushed the stage seemingly out of nowhere, clad in a bright red suit. He took over the microphone and launched into a rambling complaint about buying an expensive new outfit but losing the Grammy to Puff Daddy, whom he described as "good" but not as good as his own group, because "Wu-Tang is for the children." Hustled off-stage after this puzzling, oddly timed outburst, ODB was the talk of the next day's news reports, and many mainstream outlets had to find ways of avoiding the "bastard" portion of his name. He further confounded the public by announcing in April that he was scrapping his Ol' Dirty Bastard alias (which headed up a long list that included Osirus [sic], Joe Bannanas [sic], Dirt McGirt, Dirt Dog, and Unique Ason) and calling himself Big Baby Jesus. None of his explanations in interviews even verged on coherence, and the press never took the switch all that seriously; even the erstwhile Big Baby Jesus himself seemed to forget about the idea after a short time.
Wu-Tang is for the children.
But my favorite ODB story has always been the time he was wanted by the police but showed up for a Wu-Tang gathering anyway
. Wait for the money quote:
"I think they're ready for some old shit," said a leather-clad Method Man, facing the crowd alongside Raekwon and U-God. The exclamatory response assured the crowd that it was time to bring it back to where it all started -- back to a time when you could find the entire Wu-Tang Clan on stage together at once; a time when the whole crew could form like Voltron at the drop of a beat; a time when Ol' Dirty Bastard wasn't AWOL. When the luring piano licks of the classic ODB single "Shimmy Shimmy Yaw" tingled the spines of a readily frenzied multitude, a baggy-outfitted man wearing a fluffy orange coat emerged from the background of on-stage spectators and began dropping the infectious hook, "Oh baby, I like it raw." It took but one moment for the entire crowd to realize that the gritty voice belonged to none other than Ol' Dirty Bastard; therefore, it took no time at all for the foundation to shake relentlessly.
Unfortunately, it could only last so long. After spitting only one verse, the music stopped and Ol' Dirty Bastard was ready to flee the scene of the crime, but not before pardoning himself.
"I can't stay up here much longer, y'all . . . you know they had ODB on lock-down," he said, his voice basically drowning from the crowd's hysterical feedback during his dialogue. "The whole fuckin' world was after me. But I'm survivin', y'know what I'm sayin'? Dirt Dog had to come through . . . y'know what I'm sayin'? Just like a fly on your window pane, I'm here lookin' right at you. The cops is after me, so I gotta get outta here."
The cops is no longer after you, Ol' Dirty. RIP.
FUCK BILL SAFIRE
Yeah. Bill Safire resigns
Bill Safire, the New York Times' conservative op-ed guy, wasn't always
a lying piece of shit. But Josh is right
: the last two years or so have seen him take an ugly turn towards hack-dom. It's not always that he lies
; more often than not, lately, his factual statements are sly half-untruths, seemingly sourced by the darker parts of our intelligence services.
I never thought he was such a chump in the 90s. He didn't much like Bush the Elder much, if I remember correctly. So what happened? Maybe somebody finally got his number.
But, if I make speak a moment for all who think the truth should retain some importance in politics: good fuckin' riddance!
First question: Do you think Salto should have more bloggers?
Second question, to regular readers: Would you like to fill that role on an semi-occasional basis?
If you would be interested, let me know. Privately.
Though I moved several weeks ago, I'm putting furniture together today and finishing unpacking.
Chat about anything (this does not apply to Monster: Monster, chat about non-obscene, interesting things).
ELITISM VS. IGNORANCE
I read lots of blogs and I've noticed that the biggest, most established blogs with the widest readership (and the concomitant occasional media attention) seem to want to, as a matter of strategy, moderate the tone of the left. Kos and Atrios, for example, were extremely reluctant to get into the allegations of fraud. The reason is, I think, that as de facto spokespeople and representatives of the left, they feel a responsibility not to do harm, and they believe that "wild allegations" and "unproven speculation" and even, sometimes, too much anger
can hurt our "cause," whatever the hell that is.
I'm not sure that I care anymore (if I ever did) whether what is written here is "helpful" in the grand political fight that's going on. Relatively speaking, very few people read Salt which gives me at least a little more freedom to tell the truth.
So, for example, Andy Sullivan
links to this column by Ted Rall
"But if militant Christianist Republicans from inland backwaters believe that secular liberal Democrats from the big coastal cities look upon them with disdain, there's a reason. We do, and all the more so after this election. ... By any objective standard, you had to be spectacularly stupid to support Bush... So our guy lost the election. Why shouldn't those of us on the coasts feel superior? We eat better, travel more, dress better, watch cooler movies, earn better salaries, meet more interesting people, listen to better music and know more about what's going on in the world." - Ted Rall, one small reason Kerry lost.
But Sullivan does so without substantive rejoinder. For Sullivan, it's just another example of snide liberal elitism.
Except that the most important parts of what Rall is saying are probably true--and the least important parts of what Rall is saying are elitist in tone and angry but completely understandable, given the rest.
Sullivan cuts and pastes like a pro when it comes to Rall's semi-snide conclusions. But he mysteriously fails to copy Rall's arguments about red-state ignorance, which are compelling and have not been refuted
, in any way, by anyone I know of:
72 percent who cast votes for George W. Bush, according to a University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and Knowledge Networks poll, believe that Iraq (news - web sites) had weapons of mass destruction or active WMD programs. 75 percent think that a Saddam-Al Qaeda link has been proven, and 20 percent say Saddam ordered 9/11. Of course, none of this was true.
Kerry voters were less than half as idiotic: 26 percent of Democrats bought into Bush-Cheney's WMD lies, and 30 percent into Saddam-Al Qaeda.
Would Bush's supporters have voted for him even if they had known he was a serial liar? Perhaps their hatred of homosexuals and slutty abortion vixens would have prompted them to make the same choice--an idiotic perversion of priorities. As things stand, they cast their ballots relying on assumptions that were demonstrably false.
Educational achievement doesn't necessarily equal intelligence. After all, Bush holds a Harvard MBA. Still, it bears noting that Democrats are better educated than Republicans. You are 25 percent more likely to hold a college degree if you live in the Democratic northeast than in the red state south. Blue state voters are 25 percent more likely, therefore, to understand the historical and cultural ramifications of Bush's brand of bull-in-a-china-shop foreign policy.
Inland Americans face a bigger challenge than coastal "cultural elitists" when it comes to finding high-quality news coverage. The best newspapers, which routinely win prizes for their in-depth local and national reporting and staffers overseas, line the coasts. So do the cable TV networks with the broadest offerings and most independent radio stations. Bush Country makes do with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity syndicated on one cookie-cutter AM outlet after another. Citizens of the blue states read lackluster dailies stuffed with generic stories cut and pasted from wire services. Given their dismal access to high-quality media, it's a minor miracle that 40 percent of Mississippians turned out for Kerry.
The left is supposed to respect ignorance? We're supposed to kowtow to citizens with the right of the franchise who can't be bothered to educate themselves on the fundamental issues of the day?
I forgive Rall his anger, and I suspect he doesn't particularly give a shit what kind of car a Nebraskan drives (as I don't). But fuck Andy Sullivan. He should've addressed the ignorance argument. To not do so is pure bloggy sleight-of-hand.
[this post has been edited for clarity]
THE NEXT BIG THING
We here at Salto pride ourselves on being the types to really get
popular culture, to be consistently ahead of the curve on the Next Big Thing. And, from time to time, we like to share our infallible insights with you, the loyal reader.
So, in 2005, look for the big musical comeback of ZZ Top.
That is all.
And remember, this is a Salto exclusive
DEAN FOR DNC CHAIR
What Ezra said
...except that Atrios apparently knows who it's gonna be
. He's got the inside word.
COMING: HOARDING OF RUBBERS
Canada lookin' better?
And the worst part is that this would disproportionately affect small rural communities. Not too likely you couldn't get the pill (or whatever) in SF.
ABC GETS IN THE MUD
Well, it goddamned took long enough. ABC has finally run a story
on fraud allegations. Unfortunately, it's a dismissive piece of shit, and ends thusly:
Clearly for many people, however, results are not enough. When Mark Twain remarked that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can put on his shoes, it's astounding to think he was speaking decades before the invention of the Internet.
Thanks, dickheads. Not much substance here, but that's par for the course for ABC political coverage, which continues to be insider-y process bullshit.
Atrios finally muddies his boots with a very interesting analysis of total voters vs. registered voters in a couple key Ohio counties. The interesting thing is that the first number is bigger than the last. But it gets more interesting than that.
Go take a look
FUCK THE SOUTH
. Oh dear me:
Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.
All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.
There's soooooo much more deliciousness here
Salon surveys gleeful right-wing hatefulness
after the election and, in doing so, makes the argument that (many of them) are enemies
, not opponents
--an argument I happen to agree with.
Here's a tasty morsel:
"To the sneering punks who called Bush a smirking chimp, the conspiracy nutjobs who couldn't say four words without Halliburton dribbling out of their mouth, the goons who tried to shut down GOP campaign offices, the morons who think Bush is an idiot, the defeatists who encourage our enemies while demanding that we don't dare question their patriotism, the thugs who painted swastikas on Bush campaign signs, the sophists spouting 'regime change begins at home', the historically challenged fools who compare Bush to Hitler, the 'It's all about oil' idiots, the 'Fahrenheit 911' watching simpletons, the delusional paranoids who claim that fascism is now upon us, the self-important nobodies who fancy that their dissent is even worth crushing, and the disaffected expatriates who trash our president and country overseas to curry favor with their Euro buddies, I have a simple message using the straightforward words of Dick Cheney:
"Go fuck yourselves."
Turns out there's an extra-exclusive A-list for some extra-deserving offenders:
"I also want to extend my one fingered victory salute to some specific individuals and groups. So here's a big Fuck You victory shout out to:
"Michael Moore, The City Pages, Al Franken, National Public Radio, Bruce Springsteen, MoveOn.org, Barbara Streisand, the a-holes at The New York Times (big-time!), Dan Rather, Rock The Vote, Garrison Keillor, CBS News, George Soros, The Guardian, Michael Stipe, The Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board, P Diddy , Minnesota Public Radio, Nick Coleman, CNN, Paul Krugman, Kim Ode, the eastern half of Canada, Molly Ivins, Whoopi Goldberg, and France.
"And I have a further message to all those (especially relevant for Michael Moore) who claim that they'd rather leave the country than spend another four years in George W. Bush's Amerika: Don't let the border gate hit your ass on the way out."
You're so pretty when you're unfaithful to me. But seriously, isn't it time to play hardball, even if the fraud stuff turns out to be unresolvable?
The Keith Olbermann clip where he talks about voting irregularities may (or may not) be here
LARRY LESSIG WEIGHS IN
The six news organizations at the left contracted with two polling organizations at the right to provide exit poll information one week ago today. Those data were inconsistent with the actual results — significantly so. Dick Morris says that “this was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play.” The aim of the evil doing in Morris’ judgment was to suppress Bush votes — which it apparently didn’t. But the same data are used by skeptics on the other side, to suggest that those who had a hand in tallying the vote — in particular, one company whose President had promised to deliver Ohio for the President — changed the votes that the exit poll surveyed.
I think both claims are bunk — I don’t think there was a conspiracy to suppress the Bush vote, nor do I think Diebold stole the election for Bush — but there are obvious puzzles that need to be resolved. First, there is Morris’ point — exit polls are just not that wrong. Second, there are the insanely inverted county votes in the many heavily Democratic counties in Florida that had their votes counted by optical scan (and tallied by Diebold machines among others). Why were the polls so bad? Why did Democrats in those counties overwhelmingly defect to the President while remaining “liberal” in their other votes?
These are questions of fact that can be answered, or at least understood, if the facts were known. The Exit Poll Consortium should enable that knowledge. It would be a relatively simple regression to map exit poll data against counties or precincts with suspect machines. More importantly, it would be relatively easy to isolate where, if anywhere, suspicion should be directed.
And if you read the whole thing
, there are valuable comments to his post appended. Be sure to do so.
THE LEFT DEBATES
And the debate is whether or not we should be airing speculation about stolen elections.
Check this post
from Atrios. The debate is raging here
, in the comments.
There's a strange reluctance among established lefty bloggers to discuss this stuff. They seemed to be worried about the political implications--the "sore loserman" argument. But I don't think that's entirely fair, and I know
that it fails to take into account the essential nature of this administration: the use of state power to intimidate, destroy, hide information, and lie, all to keep a firm hold on power. There's not that much debate about the last. So why so much debate about the first?
...I know Atrios doesn't read this site but why
is the responsible speculation that his original post inspired buried
in his comments? Why should people have to search for this stuff? Isn't this the point of blogs?
A very well-written article on chad problems, ballot spoilage, and the provisional ballot issue by Greg Palast is here
This stuff is exhausting.
DICK MORRIS SPEAKS
Below I've reprinted, again in its entirety, Dick Morris' article
from the Hill on the exit poll discrepancy. His conclusion: "This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play."
He suspects a plot to chill Bush turnout across the West, but there's one problem with that analysis: aside from the relatively small electoral peanuts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, there just wasn't much in doubt in the left side of America on Election Day.
Regardless of his causal theory, Dick's observations on the historical accuracy of exit polling must be given their due. He should know what he's talking about in this regard.
Before we get to the article, who is Dick Morris
Probably the most prominent American political consultant, Dick Morris is almost universally credited with piloting Bill Clinton to a stunning comeback re-election victory in 1996 after the president lost Congress to the Republican two years before. Called "the most influential private citizen in America" by Time Magazine Morris helped steer Clinton to the center and away from the liberal policies he had pursued in his first two years in office. Morris is also credited with advising Clinton to sign the welfare reform bill of 1996 and getting him to back a balanced budget, both key centrist positions.
Morris began his relationship with Clinton in 1977 when he handled the Arkansas Attorney General's successful campaign to become the youngest Governor in the nation. Morris did not work on Clinton's defeat for re-election in 1980 but did oversee his comeback victory in 1982 as well as his Arkansas re-election victories in 1984, 86, and 1990.
In addition to Clinton, Morris has handled the winning campaigns for more than 30 Senators or Governors including Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Governors Bill Weld of Massachusetts and Pete Wilson of California.
In recent years, Morris has turned to foreign campaigns and served as chief strategist for Mexico's reformer Vicente Fox in his upset victory in July, 2000 over the PRI after the party had ruled the nation for 71 years. He also was the chief strategist for the winning campaign of Argentina's new president Fernando de la Rua in November, 1999. He also worked for Jorge Battle in his victory for president of Uruguay that same year.
He's no hero
to the left--you tend to see the word "whore" used, over and over, probably because he has worked extensively for both parties.
With that in mind, here's Dick
The Political Life: Those Faulty Exit Polls Were Sabotage
by Dick Morris
By now it is well-known and a part of the 2004 election lore how the exit polls by the major television networks were wrong.
Likely this faux pas will assume its place among wartime stories alongside the mistaken calls on Florida’s vote for one side and then for the other in the 2000 election. But the inaccuracies of the media’s polling deserve more scrutiny and investigation.
Exit polls are almost never wrong. They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state.
So reliable are the surveys that actually tap voters as they leave the polling places that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries. When I worked on Vicente Fox’s campaign in Mexico, for example, I was so fearful that the governing PRI would steal the election that I had the campaign commission two U.S. firms to conduct exit polls to be released immediately after the polls closed to foreclose the possibility of finagling with the returns. When the polls announced a seven-point Fox victory, mobs thronged the streets in a joyous celebration within minutes that made fraud in the actual counting impossible.
But this Tuesday, the networks did get the exit polls wrong. Not just some of them. They got all of the Bush states wrong. So, according to ABC-TV’s exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points.
To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here.
The mistaken exit polls infiltrated all three networks and the cable news outlets and had a chilling effect on the coverage of election night.
While all anchors refrained from announcing the exit-poll results, it was clear from the context of their comments that they expected Kerry to win and wondered if Bush could hold any key state.
Indeed, one network hesitated to call Mississippi for Bush because of the uncertainty injected by the bogus exit polls. Dark minds will suspect that these polls were deliberately manipulated to dampen Bush turnout in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones by conveying the impression that the president’s candidacy was a lost cause.
The exit pollsters plead that they oversampled women and that this led to their mistakes. But the very first thing a pollster does is weight or quota for gender. Once the female vote reaches 52 percent of the sample, one either refuses additional female respondents or weights down the ones one subsequently counted.
This is, dear Watson, elementary.
Next to the forged documents that sent CBS on a jihad against Bush’s National Guard service and the planned “60 Minutes” ambush over the so-called missing explosives two days before the polls opened, the possibility of biased exit polling, deliberately manipulated to try to chill the Bush turnout, must be seriously considered.
At the very least, the exit pollsters should have to explain, in public, how they were so wrong. Since their polls, if biased or cooked, represented an attempt to use the public airwaves to reduce voter turnout, they should have to explain their errors in a very public and perhaps official forum.
This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play.
MSM ON EXIT POLLS
Hey, if the loonie right can pile on to the mainstream media, we here at the loonie open-to-considered-speculation-of-conspiracy-theory left can dis on the MSM too.
Here's the Times on the exit poll fiasco
The new $10 million polling system used by many news organizations to predict the outcome of the presidential race had a number of problems that led to the early erroneous impression that John Kerry was heading for victory, according to a report prepared by the system's architects.
The report, written by Joe Lenski and Warren Mitofsky and obtained by The New York Times, details systemic glitches that skewed the data in ways of which several news organizations, who paid tens of thousands of dollars for the service, were not aware.
In some cases, the report said, survey takers could not get close enough to the polls to collect adequate samples of voters opinion. They were often stopped by legal barriers devised to keep people electioneering - not necessarily bona fide poll canvassers - away from voters.
The report also theorized that the poll results more frequently overstated support for Mr. Kerry than for President Bush because the Democratic nominee's supporters were more open to pollsters. Whatever the case, according to the report, the surveys had the biggest partisan skew since at least 1988, the earliest election the report tracked.
What a lukewarm explanation. Sounds more to me like they have no idea why
stuff didn't turn out as it was supposed to.
I believe exit polls have proven to be extraordinarily accurate, historically speaking. Someone should look into this and see if it's actually true.
LISTEN FOR YOURSELF
On last Friday's NewsHour, Terence Smith interviewed Warren Mitofsky, co-director of the National Election Pool, about why the exit polls in the presidential election were so misleading. The audio is here
Here's part of the transcript
. Does this sound credible to you?
TERENCE SMITH: Why did the early numbers show Senator Kerry ahead?
WARREN MITOFSKY: Well, Kerry was ahead in a number of the -- in a number of the states by margins that looked unreasonable to us. And we suspect that the reason, the main reason, was that the Kerry voters were more anxious to participate in our exit polls than the Bush voters. That wasn't the case in every state. We had a few states that overstated the Republican margin. But for the most part, it was Democratic overstatement for the reason I just gave you.
TERENCE SMITH: So you're saying that some Bush voters would come out of the polling places and simply decline to participate; if so, why?
WARREN MITOFSKY: Well, in an exit poll, everybody doesn't agree to be interviewed. It's voluntary, and the people refuse usually at about the same rate, regardless of who they support. When you have a very energized electorate, which contributed to the big turnout, sometimes the supporters of one candidate refuse at a greater rate than the supporters of the other candidate.
TERENCE SMITH: Well, if you thought those numbers were suspiciously high for Senator Kerry, couldn't you correct the sample, as you say in your business?
WARREN MITOFSKY: Well, we recognized the overstatement in the exit polls in mid-afternoon, and we told the members of NEP about the suspicions we had, which they chose to ignore. The correction, in this case, is to wait for the vote returns in those same sample precincts and use that for projections. There were no mistakes in the projections. We were very cautious with them, and none were wrong, even though the exit polls did overstate Kerry in a number of states.
? "[S]ometimes the supporters of one candidate refuse at a greater rate than the supporters of the other candidate." Maybe so. But strange.
I've been having trouble getting to this webpage
(commondreams.org), so this article is here reprinted in its entirety.
Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked
by Thom Hartmann
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.
"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.
And some believe evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on November 2, 2004.
The State of Florida, for example, publishes a county-by-county record of votes cast and people registered to vote by party affiliation. Net denizen Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information into a table, available at http://ustogether.org/Florida_Election.htm, and noticed something startling.
While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios largely matched the Kerry/Bush vote, in Florida's counties using results from optically scanned paper ballots - fed into a central tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking – the results seem to contain substantial anomalies.
In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.
In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.
The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.
Yet in the touch-screen counties, where investigators may have been more vigorously looking for such anomalies, high percentages of registered Democrats generally equaled high percentages of votes for Kerry. (I had earlier reported that county size was a variable – this turns out not to be the case. Just the use of touch-screens versus optical scanners.)
More visual analysis of the results can be seen at http://us together.org/election04/FloridaDataStats.htm, and www.rubberbug.com/temp/Florida2004chart.htm. Note the trend line – the only variable that determines a swing toward Bush was the use of optical scan machines.
One possible explanation for this is the "Dixiecrat" theory, that in Florida white voters (particularly the rural ones) have been registered as Democrats for years, but voting Republican since Reagan. Looking at the 2000 statistics, also available on Dopp's site, there are similar anomalies, although the trends are not as strong as in 2004. But some suggest the 2000 election may have been questionable in Florida, too.
One of the people involved in Dopp's analysis noted that it may be possible to determine the validity of the "rural Democrat" theory by comparing Florida's white rural counties to those of Pennsylvania, another swing state but one that went for Kerry, as the exit polls there predicted. Interestingly, the Pennsylvania analysis, available at http://ustogether.org/election04/PA_vote_patt.htm, doesn't show the same kind of swings as does Florida, lending credence to the possibility of problems in Florida.
Even more significantly, Dopp had first run the analysis while filtering out smaller (rural) counties, and still found that the only variable that accounted for a swing toward Republican voting was the use of optical-scan machines, whereas counties with touch-screen machines generally didn't swing - regardless of size.
Others offer similar insights, based on other data. A professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, noted that in Florida the vote to raise the minimum wage was approved by 72%, although Kerry got 48%. "The correlation between voting for the minimum wage increase and voting for Kerry isn't likely to be perfect," he noted, "but one would normally expect that the gap - of 1.5 million votes - to be far smaller than it was."
While all of this may or may not be evidence of vote tampering, it again brings the nation back to the question of why several states using electronic voting machines or scanners programmed by private, for-profit corporations and often connected to modems produced votes inconsistent with exit poll numbers.
Those exit poll results have been a problem for reporters ever since Election Day.
Election night, I'd been doing live election coverage for WDEV, one of the radio stations that carries my syndicated show, and, just after midnight, during the 12:20 a.m. Associated Press Radio News feed, I was startled to hear the reporter detail how Karen Hughes had earlier sat George W. Bush down to inform him that he'd lost the election. The exit polls were clear: Kerry was winning in a landslide. "Bush took the news stoically," noted the AP report.
But then the computers reported something different. In several pivotal states.
Conservatives see a conspiracy here: They think the exit polls were rigged.
Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular, wrote an article for The Hill, the publication read by every political junkie in Washington, DC, in which he made a couple of brilliant points.
"Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote. "They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."
He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points."
Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the various states the election was called for Bush.
How could this happen?
On the CNBC TV show "Topic A With Tina Brown," several months ago, Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown as guest host. His guest was Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org from her living room. Bev pointed out that regardless of how votes were tabulated (other than hand counts, only done in odd places like small towns in Vermont), the real "counting" is done by computers. Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the machines that simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.
That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.
"In a voting system," Harris explained to Dean on national television, "you have all the different voting machines at all the different polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a thousand polling places in a single county. All those machines feed into the one machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course, if you were going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would it be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines, or just come in here and deal with all of them at once?"
Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued. "What surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like what you and I use. It's just a regular computer."
"So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into a central tabulator?"
Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold uses a program called GEMS, which fills the screen of the PC and effectively turns it into the central tabulator system. "This is the official program that the County Supervisor sees," she said, pointing to a PC that was sitting between them loaded with Diebold's software.
Bev then had Dean open the GEMS program to see the results of a test election. They went to the screen titled "Election Summary Report" and waited a moment while the PC "adds up all the votes from all the various precincts," and then saw that in this faux election Howard Dean had 1000 votes, Lex Luthor had 500, and Tiger Woods had none. Dean was winning.
"Of course, you can't tamper with this software," Harris noted. Diebold wrote a pretty good program.
But, it's running on a Windows PC.
So Harris had Dean close the Diebold GEMS software, go back to the normal Windows PC desktop, click on the "My Computer" icon, choose "Local Disk C:," open the folder titled GEMS, and open the sub-folder "LocalDB" which, Harris noted, "stands for local database, that's where they keep the votes." Harris then had Dean double-click on a file in that folder titled "Central Tabulator Votes," which caused the PC to open the vote count in a database program like Excel.
In the "Sum of the Candidates" row of numbers, she found that in one precinct Dean had received 800 votes and Lex Luthor had gotten 400.
"Let's just flip those," Harris said, as Dean cut and pasted the numbers from one cell into the other. "And," she added magnanimously, "let's give 100 votes to Tiger."
They closed the database, went back into the official GEMS software "the legitimate way, you're the county supervisor and you're checking on the progress of your election."
As the screen displayed the official voter tabulation, Harris said, "And you can see now that Howard Dean has only 500 votes, Lex Luthor has 900, and Tiger Woods has 100." Dean, the winner, was now the loser.
Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, "We just edited an election, and it took us 90 seconds."
On live national television. (You can see the clip on www.votergate.tv.) And they had left no tracks whatsoever, Harris said, noting that it would be nearly impossible for the election software – or a County election official - to know that the vote database had been altered.
Which brings us back to Morris and those pesky exit polls that had Karen Hughes telling George W. Bush that he'd lost the election in a landslide.
Morris's conspiracy theory is that the exit polls "were sabotage" to cause people in the western states to not bother voting for Bush, since the networks would call the election based on the exit polls for Kerry. But the networks didn't do that, and had never intended to.
According to congressional candidate Fisher, it makes far more sense that the exit polls were right - they weren't done on Diebold PCs - and that the vote itself was hacked.
And not only for the presidential candidate - Jeff Fisher thinks this hit him and pretty much every other Democratic candidate for national office in the most-hacked swing states.
So far, the only national "mainstream" media to come close to this story was Keith Olbermann on his show Friday night, November 5th, when he noted that it was curious that all the voting machine irregularities so far uncovered seem to favor Bush. In the meantime, the Washington Post and other media are now going through single-bullet-theory-like contortions to explain how the exit polls had failed.
But I agree with Fox's Dick Morris on this one, at least in large part. Wrapping up his story for The Hill, Morris wrote in his final paragraph, "This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play."
Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show. www.thomhartmann .com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," and "What Would Jefferson Do?: A Return To Democracy."
I post this without additional comment.
FIRST AVENUE MINNEAPOLIS
Oh dear me. I leave for a second and things go to shit
First Avenue, the famed Minneapolis concert venue that has fostered the city's independent music scene since the early 1980s, shut down last Tuesday, as a result of a year-long struggle amongst those involved in running the club. During its 34-year tenure, First Avenue was a Twin Cities fixture and served as a launchpad for acts like Prince (who filmed several performances for 1984's Purple Rain there), The Replacements, and Hüsker Dü-- not to mention innumerable other non-local indie artists touring the midwest. One faction in the dispute has begun plans for a new nightclub in the same building, while the other is hinting that a second "First Avenue" could reappear elsewhere in the city.
Here's our (admittedly mostly hearsay) account of what apparently went down: Last year, club founder/operator Allan Fingerhut sued his accountant, Byron Frank, over a contract dispute. The settlement involved Frank's stake in the building growing from 40 percent to 60 percent. Then, this summer, Fingerhut fired managers Steve McClellan and Jack Meyer, who together owned 20 percent of the building, stating at the time that, "I'd have to drop dead before I would ever allow this club to close." The former managers and the accountant, who were now collectively entitled to 80 percent of the rent and property taxes that-- oops!-- the club was allegedly not paying, sued Fingerhut for the cash. On Tuesday, two days before Fingerhut and First Avenue could have been evicted, Fingerhut filed for bankruptcy, gave the employees a final check, and called it a day.
Steve McLellan, a 31-year veteran of First Avenue, is often credited with giving the club its shining reputation, by fostering the local music scene and determining which acts deserved gigs. First Avenue's smaller sister club 7th Street Entry, which resided in the same building (and was the site of many of Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber's earliest interviews) specialized in smaller shows and local bands.
In the most recent development, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that the attorney in charge of the assets and debts for First Avenue has said that the club could reopen soon under the stewardship of McClellan and Meyer. They're currently working out the details, and while it's unclear whether it will happen that soon-- or even if the club will reopen under the same name-- it seems likely that the building will be hosting live music in the near future. Meanwhile, Fingerhut told the Star-Tribune in vague terms that he might re-enter the nightclub business in the future. One thing remains certain: The club is yet another substantial loss for a city whose commitment to independent music and artists will simply not die. Next they're gonna be telling us 770's off the air.
First Ave was beholden to the evil empire that is TicketMa$ter. Other than that, with the Seventh Street Entry next door, place was just about goddamned perfect. Hard to find decent venues these days.
Next thing they'll say is Bottom of the Hill's gonna close. Yikes.
DIGBY ON NORTH/SOUTH
very interesting, thanks Ezra
I'm not going to take a stand against "heartland values" or "southern culture" whatever it's defined as this week. It seems to me that it would be worthless, because this battle is obviously tribal, not specific to any particular issue. Slavery and Jim Crow are long gone. Now it's religion and gays. The lines are drawn as they've always been and there will be no reconciliation through politics. Even a bloody civil war couldn't do that.
History suggests that the southern culture has always been as defined by it's resentment toward the rest of the country as much as anything else. The so-called bi-coastal liberal elites certainly don't think of themselves as having a lot in common with each other, other than being Americans. People from Los Angeles and Vermont call themselves Californians and New Englanders, respectively. I don't think they believe they share a "culture." People in Seattle call themselves pacific northwesterners. People in New York call themselves New Yorkers --- Chicagoans midwesterners. They identify themselves by their specific region and a broader identity as Americans, not by this alleged Bi-coastal cultural alliance. This notion of two easily identifiable cultures is only held by the people who used to call themselves the confederacy and now call themselves "the heartland." That alone should be reason to stop and question what is really going on here.
One thing this little historical trip should show everyone is that it is nonsense to think that this cultural resentment and cultural contempt was created by Hollywood movie stars and limosine liberals from New York City. Indeed, this has been a problem since the dawn of the republic. And it isn't a problem that will be solved by the Red States gaining and maintaining power. They have held power many times throughout our history and they were still filled with resentment toward "the north" (now "the liberal elites.") And, it won't be solved by adopting different stances on "moral issues," or telling the current Democratic southern constituencies to suck it up. Maybe it's time we looked a little bit deeper and realized that this tribal problem isn't going to be solved by politics at all.
The "liberal elites" will no doubt be making more compromises in the direction of heartland values for pragmatic reasons. But, judging by history, it won't change a thing. Neither will Republican political dominance. So, maybe it's time for the heartland to take a good hard look at itself and ask when they are going to adopt the culture of responsibility they profess with such fervor. It sure looks to me as if they've been nursing a case of historical pique for more than 200 years and that resentment no longer has any more meaning than a somewhat self-destructive insistence on maintaining a cultural identity that's really defined by it's anger toward the rest of the country. They are talking themselves into a theocratic police state in order to "crack the whip over the heads of the northern men" and it's not likely to work out for them any better this time than it did the first time. The real elites in the church, the government and the corporations will take them down right along with us when that comes to pass.
Read all of this
. It's worth it.
Yet some would argue truth be damned, the left must make concessions, bend over backwards, eat shit and like it too
. Enough of that.
Did you see this
over at Kos?
MORONS UNTIE FOR BUSH
I recognize that there is a political argument to be made that we should not make a big deal about the following, but the clear policy here in this joint is that we must stare levelly at the truth
, even if it's painful and sad.
Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.
Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.
These are some of the findings of a new study of the differing perceptions of Bush and Kerry supporters, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and Knowledge Networks, based on polls conducted in September and October.
Read the whole thing.
It may not be their fault. It may be the media's fault. It may be this lying administration's fault. But the truth is that Bush voters were deceived. And I would suggest that many of them are either A) not particularly bright or B) so uninformed about the issues that their ignorance is hurting our country, whatever the cause.
...oh yeah, you should read Herbert
on this too.
...and here it is again
, in the face of uncontroverted evidence, some counsel silence. Why? What does it get us?
I would like to use this time to revel in my reality-based elitism. Won't you join me?
Serious goings-on about, yes, but we here at Salto are not above some light comic relief on another hazy and uncertain Monday.
So click here
THE BIG QUESTION
So Bush won an election and an integral part of the heartbreak that millions of Americans felt (myself included) was shock
that so many Americans could vote for such a treacherous little freak. Right?
Think about this. And think carefully.
What if it turns out there was massive voter fraud in Ohio and Florida? Let's say, hypothetically, that it was the voting machines. They wuz ginned up and goofed with. Kerry should have actually won. Etc.
There's no good evidence that I know of
that this is true. But if it were
What, exactly, would you be prepared to do about it?
is an interesting question. But talk of fraud can get you tinfoil-hat treatment, right? There seems to be ongoing debate
, for example, whether we should even talk
about fraud without overwhelmingly persuasive evidence. Speculation is frowned upon.
There's a lot more to say on this topic that I haven't thought much about yet. But I think that even in the world of the pure hypothetical, there is some value in hypothetically answering the following hypothetical question:
What would you be prepared to do if this election was stolen too?
ARE THEY AMERICANS AT ALL?
Read Harold Myerson
in today's Post
Time was when the right bemoaned liberals' reliance on identity politics, but no one has played the identity card more expertly than Bush and Rove. Stoking fears of cultural deviance and cosmopolitan ascendancy, the Republicans ran against John Kerry as, above all, an alien. In the reddest precincts of red America, Republicans question whether Kerry and the Democrats are Americans at all.
True. And outrageous.
MORE MAPPY FUN
Stolen from this place
BUY THE T-SHIRT
Blue states on the front, 20-star American flag on the back.
And last night, I noticed that my roommates' bathroom reading was this
Electing to Leave: A Reader’s Guide to Expatriating On November 3
So the wrong candidate has won, and you want to leave the country. Let us consider your options.
Renouncing your citizenship
Given how much the United States as a nation professes to value freedom, your freedom to opt out of the nation itself is surprisingly limited. The State Department does not record the annual number of Americans renouncing their citizenship—“renunciants,” as they are officially termed—but the Internal Revenue Service publishes their names on a quarterly basis in the Federal Register. The IRS’s interest in the subject is, of course, purely financial; since 1996, the agency has tracked ex-Americans in the hopes of recouping tax revenue, which in some cases may be owed for up to ten years after a person leaves the country. In any event, the number of renunciants is small. In 2002, for example, the Register recorded only 403 departures, of which many (if not most) were merely longtime resident aliens returning home.
The most serious barrier to renouncing your citizenship is that the State Department, which oversees expatriation, is reluctant to allow citizens to go “stateless.” Before allowing expatriation, the department will want you to have obtained citizenship or legal asylum in another country—usually a complicated and expensive process, if it can be done at all. Would-be renunciants must also prove that they do not intend to live in the United States afterward. Furthermore, you cannot renounce inside U.S. borders; the declaration must be made at a consul’s office abroad.
And there's much more.
The real schism has just started, maybe.
From the AP
The Independent bore the front-page headline "Four more years" on a black page with grim pictures including a hooded Iraqi prisoner and an orange-clad detainee at Guantanamo Bay.
The left-leaning Guardian led its features section with a black page bearing the tiny words, "Oh, God." Inside a story described how Bush's victory "catapaulted liberal Britain into collective depression."
Across Europe, many newspapers expressed dismay at the prospect of another term for Bush, a president often regarded as inflexible and unilateralist.
"Oops -- they did it again," Germany's left-leaning Tageszeitung newspaper said in a front-page English headline. The cover of the Swiss newsmagazine Facts called Bush's re-election "Europe's Nightmare." "Victory for the hothead: how far will he go?" asked another Swiss weekly, L'Hebdo.
Excerpts from Salon's survey of post-election reaction
Already there are those in the party convinced that, in the interest of expediency, Democrats need to put forth more "centrist" candidate -- i.e., Republican-lite candidates -- who can make inroads in the all-red middle of the country.
I'm sorry to pour salt on raw wounds, but isn't that what Tom Daschle did? He even ran ads showing himself hugging the president! But South Dakotans refused to embrace this lily-livered tactic. Because, ultimately, copycat candidates fail in the way "me-too" brands do.
Unless the Democratic Party wants to become a permanent minority party, there is no alternative but to return to the idealism, boldness and generosity of spirit that marked the presidencies of FDR and JFK and the short-lived presidential campaign of Bobby Kennedy.
The Democratic Party bureaucracy and A-list consultants need to be disassembled like matchstick men. After Kerry's failure to win crucial states in the great red sea of the South and Midwest, it should be obvious that party strategists have lost the national war of ideas. First step: Fire DNC chief Terry McAuliffe, a shallow hack whose political expertise is at the Chamber of Commerce level. This is no way to pick the leader of the free world.
Mark Crispin Miller
Democrats have got to go cold turkey on their tedious old rhetoric about the suffering masses in their World of Pain. The Democrats' condescending portraits of African-Americans and the poor are manipulative, patronizing and ultimately self-destructive. The humanistic vision of progressive liberal politics (which I subscribe to) needs to be projected in inspiring, poetic language.
First of all, this election was definitely rigged. I have no doubt about it. It's a statistical impossibility that Bush got 8 million more votes than he got last time. In 2000, he got 15 million votes from right-wing Christians, and there are approximately 19 million of them in the country. They were eager to get the other 4 million. That was pretty much Karl Rove's strategy to get Bush elected.
But given Bush's low popularity ratings and the enormous number of new voters -- who skewed Democratic -- there is no way in the world that Bush got 8 million more votes this time. I think it had a lot to do with the electronic voting machines. Those machines are completely untrustworthy, and that's why the Republicans use them. Then there's the fact that the immediate claim of Ohio was not contested by the news media -- when Andrew Card came out and claimed the state, not only were the votes in Ohio not counted, they weren't even all cast.
I would have to hear a much stronger argument for the authenticity, or I should say the veracity, of this popular vote for Bush before I'm willing to believe it. If someone can prove to me that it happened, that Bush somehow pulled 8 million magic votes out of a hat, OK, I'll accept it. I'm an independent, not a Democrat, and I'm not living in denial.
What now? Take the full measure of the religious fanaticism that has seized control of the federal government. Senators who advocate capital punishment for abortion. A Supreme Court about to be filled for the next 40 years with certified John C. Calhounites and theocrats. A president who stands up for "the right God." A mass media apparently dedicated to lobotomizing the America people and hiding these facts. An honest recognition that this isn't because of some cheating or deception or false impression the American people have received. Participation in this election, after all, went up. This is what an electoral majority of the American people have become in the current mood. We should, in short, face facts. No recriminations: just facing the fact that, for now and the foreseeable future, we really are two countries.Dan Payne
1. Forget the unity stuff. When Republicans lose, they set out the next morning to challenge, undermine and overthrow the Democrats. Democrats are no less united against George Bush than they were the day before Election Day. Stay unified; stay on Bush's case.
2. Hire a strategist, not a fundraiser, to run the Democratic National Committee. The ability to raise money is valuable, but the ability to design and execute a strategy is crucial.
3. Develop values issues, such as Internet censorship, the export of white-collar jobs, stem cell research, etc. The DNC should send every Democratic official "What's Wrong With Kansas?" by Thomas Frank. Learn how the Republicans ate our lunch, using values issues to smother economic self-interest.
Sort of. Check it:
Pace Josh (and do read this
, cuz it's important), somebody should study how closely antebellum sentiment against ending slavery corresponds with current attitudes favoring discrimination against gays.
Six of one, half-dozen of the other, really.
NOT MUCH, BUT SOMETHING
Steve Gilliard writes
All countries have national bouts of madness and mistakes. Nixon was reelected after Watergate.
He was, wasn't he? Well. People are odd creatures.
THIS IS WHAT WE FACE
A portion of a letter to Eric Alterman
from Lisa in Houston, TX:
Thanks for all you’ve done over the last years to enable civil discourse between all people in this forum. I’ve been trying all day to think about how best to approach organizing against this perilous tide of religious fervor that has apparently swept over 51% of this country. I truly do think that these 51% predominantly believe The Rapture is near, that Bush talks to God, that God delivered this election to Bush, and that gay marriage is more morally indefensible than invading a country that never attacked us. How do you combat a group that collectively sees itself and its dubious leader as infallible or as having some kind of a Divine mandate? How can Bush claim to want to reach out to the other half of this country to unite us when in the eyes of his religion the rest of us are all Hell bound sinners because we haven't accepted Jesus as our personal lord and savior? How does he plan to accomplish uniting us when intelligence prevents us from going along with his Divinely inspired vision for this place? Fundamentalist evangelicals like Bush are immovable from their positions and cannot compromise, so how are they going to accommodate the rest of us? Are they going to try to convert all of us?
I feel so bad writing in this tone about a group of people, singling them out for their religious views. It almost makes me feel like a bigot, except I’m not saying that these people are wrong to hold their views. They are just wrong to want to impose their views on the rest of us without any consideration of what we think or believe and with no regard for the separation of church and state. Funny, they'd say that Roe v. Wade or that teaching evolutionary theory only in schools is imposing our beliefs on them. How difficult is it for them to see that we're not mandating that they have abortions, that they don't have to have them if they don't want to, and that we're not preventing them from teaching creationist views at their own places of worship outside of the secular school system? The compromise has worked just fine for a long time, but now they are going to try to change all of this because their religion is right?! I just don’t see how we will find any common ground if one side of the equation won’t compromise. What happened to religious freedom in this country? When will we ever arrive back to a place where Reason reigns supreme? Are we talking decades here?
Salto hereby encourages you to seriously consider the implication of fifty-plus-million voting for Bush. Salto encourages you to consider why
they voted the way they did. And Salto further urges contemplation of the task before us, the first part of which is to come to terms with the fact that this country has been taken over by fundamentalist Christians, cultural conservatives, and near-fascists.
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
Just as Zell Miller was so over the top at the G.O.P. convention that he made Mr. Cheney seem reasonable, so several new members of Congress will make W. seem moderate.
Tom Coburn, the new senator from Oklahoma, has advocated the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions and warned that "the gay agenda" would undermine the country. He also characterized his race as a choice between "good and evil" and said he had heard there was "rampant lesbianism" in Oklahoma schools.
Jim DeMint, the new senator from South Carolina, said during his campaign that he supported a state G.O.P. platform plank banning gays from teaching in public schools. He explained, "I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend should be hired to teach my third-grade children."
John Thune, who toppled Tom Daschle, is an anti-abortion Christian conservative - or "servant leader," as he was hailed in a campaign ad - who supports constitutional amendments banning flag burning and gay marriage.
Seeing the exit polls, the Democrats immediately started talking about values and religion. Their sudden passion for wooing Southern white Christian soldiers may put a crimp in Hillary's 2008 campaign (nothing but a wooden stake would stop it). Meanwhile, the blue puddle is comforting itself with the expectation that this loony bunch will fatally overreach, just as Newt Gingrich did in the 90's.
But with this crowd, it's hard to imagine what would constitute overreaching.
Reasons for optimism? Oh yeah. Not many. More on this to come.
IT'S JUST POLITICS
Repeat to yourself: "It's just politics."
"It's just politics."
That's it. Plain and simple. Nothing more. Except, unfortunately, for stuff like this
My 11 year old daughter in the 6th grade was the ONLY student to wear a Kerry/Edwards button to school, out of 729 students in her middle school. Her classmates ridiculed her, told her to get the hell away from them, and kicked at her desk all day to separate her from them. They even told her she was not a "Christian" because she supported Kerry. They told her that Kerry was gay because he supported gay marriage. Today was even worse. They gloated, jeered and sneered at her from the minute she stepped out of the car to the minute she was picked up from school. They did not have to kick her desk because she intentionally moved it away from them.Orcinus
gets it. Not everybody does. His ongoing work
on right fascism in today's America is a must-read.
YEAH, THAT'S ABOUT IT
Blogger eats shit often and I'm tired of it. Yet I believe migration of all my stuff to a form other than Blogger would be difficult. Is this true?
OPPONENTS OR ENEMIES
In politics, they say, you have opponents, not enemies.
Except for this guy
, who probably qualifies as an enemy.
So, George W. Bush won. And he’s done so by a solid margin. The Democrats’ attempted coup managed to last all of eight hours. Not only is the President the first candidate to win a majority of the vote in a Presidential Election since 1988, but he also won more popular votes than any other candidate in history. The Democrats spent months telling us that high voter turnout would equal a win for them but, as it turns out, when 60% of the electorate showed up at the polls it translated into a Bush lead of nearly four million votes. In short: take that, you sons of bitches.
The Democrats are now talking about how this is a signal that Bush should “bring the country together”. Translated into American, this means “now that you’ve won, you should surrender to us.” The hell with that. We’ve won. Winning means not having to say you’re sorry. Bush already brought a majority of Americans together: they voted for him. He doesn’t need to reach out to them: they need to reach out to him.
If anyone needs to work to “bring the country together” it’s those on the left who have divided it so badly. Those who sought to destroy this great man should get down upon their knees and beg the victors for mercy. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll let a few of them linger on for the simple reason that they amuse us. My life’s goal is to see the Democratic Party virtually obliterated and left as a rump of people like Stephanie Herseth who both mostly agree with us anyways and are easy on the eyes.
That’s the future of the Democratic Party: providing Republicans with a number of cute (but not that bright) comfort women.
Ain't he cute? You can see him lying there at night fantasizing about how good his legs would look in jackboots, cantcha?
There are more of these types out there than you think. What're you gonna do about it?
THANK GOD FOR SF
SUMMARY REPORT SAN FRANCISCO UNOFFICIAL RESULTS #3
NOVEMBER 2, 2004
RUN DATE:11/02/04 10:51 PM
PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 578). . . . . 578 100.00
REGISTERED VOTERS - TOTAL . . . . . 486,937
BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL. . . . . . . 271,058
VOTER TURNOUT - TOTAL . . . . . . 55.67
PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT
KERRY/EDWARDS (DEM) . . . . . . . 222,013 82.75
BUSH/CHENEY (REP). . . . . . . . 41,157 15.34
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 1,594 .59
COBB/LA MARCHE (GRN). . . . . . . 1,311 .49
BADNARIK/CAMPAGNA (LIB). . . . . . 1,059 .39
PELTIER/JORDAN (PAF). . . . . . . 863 .32
PEROUTKA/BALDWIN (AMI) . . . . . . 297 .11
83% for Kerry in San Francisco. And that is one reason why I live here.
You need perspective. I shall provide links.
James Wolcott wins the award for the best title of a post-election article: Anyone Know How to Make a Noose?
The Bull Moose
has some encouraging observations about the likelihood of Bush having a disasterous second term. [Via Wolcott]
in the Guardian
So how did Bush even get this far? By demonising an entire group of people -- gays and lesbians. By cynical appeals to religion. By slandering a true war hero. And, most importantly, by scaring people. You see, terrorists would detonate a nuclear bomb in a major city if Kerry were elected. Only Bush can protect us.
And those efforts, as I have written before, were all aided and abetted by a well-oiled message machine the likes of which the American left is still unable to match.
channels my anger and loathing in an extremely cathartic Gadflyer piece. Thanks, Cliff. [via Pandagon
is unreasonably calm, reasonable, and measured. Too bad for him. A little anger might do 'im some good.
is angry, god bless him. Angry!
Let’s face it. It’s not Kerry’s fault. It’s not Nader’s fault (this time). It’s not the media’s fault (though they do bear a heavy responsibility for much of what ails our political system). It’s not “our” fault either. The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the “reality-based community” say or believe about anything.
They don’t care that Iraq is turning into murderous quicksand and a killing field for our children. They don’t care that the Bush presidency has made us less safe by creating more terrorists, inspiring more anti-American hatred and refusing to engage in the hard work that would be necessary to make a meaningful dent in our myriad vulnerabilities at home. They don’t care that he has mortgaged our children’s future to give trillions to the wealthiest among us. They don’t care that the economy continues to hemorrhage well-paying jobs and replace them with Wal-Mart; that the number without health insurance is over forty million and rising. They don’t care that Medicare premiums are rising to fund the coffers of pharmaceutical companies. They don’t care that the air they breathe and the water they drink is being slowly poisoned and though they call themselves conservatives, they even don’t care that the size of the government and its share of our national income has increased by roughly a quarter in just four years. This is not a world of rational debate and issue preference.
It’s one of “them” and “us.” He’s one of “them” and not one of “us” and that’s all they care about. True it’s an illusion. After all, Bush is a millionaire’s son who went to Yale and Harvard and sat out Vietnam, not even bothering to show up for his cushy National Guard duty, and succeeded only in trading on his father’s name and connections in adult life. But somehow, they feel he understands them. He speaks their language. Our guys don’t. And unless they learn it, we will continue to condemn this country and those parts of the world it affects to a regime of malign neglect at best—malignant and malicious assault at worse.
Read the whole thing
gives us, and the media, a reality check:
Reading the various commentary and chatting with a few people I've come to a couple of realizations which I think we all need to come to terms with. First, as Eric Alterman puts it, there are more of "them" than "us" right now. The people who voted George Bush and the Republicans into office this year didn't do so because they were conned by a right wing asshole posing as a compassionate centrist. They did so precisely because he is a right wing asshole. Yes, the modern Republican party consists of nasty bigots and liars and the media rarely bothers to point out just how nasty they are (all the talking heads talking about the role of "moral values" in the election know that what that really means is "fag hating," but they won't say it). But, don't be fooled - people know what they voted for.Kevin Drum
goes catblogging crazy! Strangely, suave Kevin returned to the catblogging fold bigtime after he made it into the New York Times. Cats be a little soothing today, though.
Let me jump right to the question that will occupy our minds for the next four years:
Just how fucking retarded is America?
I've been scouring the election sites and blogs and both Florida and Ohio seem exceptionally close. If Kerry wins one of those, however, he's almost certainly going to be the 44th POTUS.
PA 53 46
FL 51 49
NC 48 52
OH 51 49
MO 46 54
AK 47 53
MI 51 47
NM 50 49
LA 43 56
CO 48 51
AZ 45 55
MN 54 44
WI 52 47
IA 49 49
ZOGBY PREDICTS KERRY WIN
311-213, with Nevada and Colorado too close to call...
Zogby is here
. Eschaton, the source, is here
At the Earle Brown Elementary School in Brooklyn Center, one woman got to skip to the front of along line because she was in labor, election judge Nancy Carlson said.
``Two minutes labor and she's still in line to vote,'' Carlson said.
Once the woman cast her ballot, she was put into a wheelchair and carted away, Carlson said.
, via Andy Sullivan
MORE EXIT POLLS
TAKE THE POLL(S), YO
How angst-y are you? Click to take the 'Angst Poll'
Results are here
More polls to follow.
Kos has the scoop
on the first batch:
AZ CO LA PA OH FL MI NM MN WI IA NH
Kerry 45 48 42 60 52 51 51 50 58 52 49 57
Bush 55 51 57 40 48 48 47 48 40 43 49 41
Kerry ahead in
Minnesota (look at that margin)
Wisconsin (look at that margin)
and New Hampshire (look at that margin).
Iowa and Colorado are sketchy.
Interesting. Will these hold up?
OK. Here we go:
Cross yo' fingers.
...think I'm nuts? Check the New Republic's Campaign Journal
MORE BIBLE-SWEARIN' HIJINX!
Finally, she produced a Bible.
I was ready to lie, ready to sign a loyalty oath if necessary, but I wasn't ready for this.
"I want you to swear on this Bible," she said. "Look me in the eye and swear that you are really a Republican and promise not to disrupt the rally tomorrow. No signs, no t-shirts—nothing like that."
I hesitated briefly, then did as I was told.
"I am a proud Republican and swear not to disrupt the president's visit to the Onalaska Omni Center tomorrow. So help me God."
The oath finally put my interrogator at ease. In her mind, nobody—not Mohammad Atta, not Gloria Steinem—could put their hand on a Bible and lie so brazenly.
tells the story in this week's New York Press.
A PAEAN TO AMERICA
From Charles Pierce in today's Altercation
This is why I've come to so love this election -- because it is going to be decided by how many people decide to get off the parliamentary side of their arses and vote. If enough of them do, then John Kerry's picking a Cabinet by this time next Tuesday. If enough of them do, then we can have not merely a defeat, but a resounding public repudiation, of the cramped and twisted view of America held by an administration that holds in fundamental contempt a lot of ideas that are a great deal more noble than the members of the current government ever will be.
"Beware the risen people," warned the doomed Irish rebel (and distant relative, if family legend is to be believed) Padraic Pearse, "you who slander and scorn."
God, this can be a great country when it rouses itself and begins to move.
And that is what is left at the end of it. The people standing in line, refusing to be misled, or frightened, or cheated out of their most basic voice, ferociously demanding through all the noise their most basic right to be heard. Stay there, you lovely people. Give water to those who are thirsty and food to those who are hungry and a shoulder to lean on to those who get weary. Pack the polls. Swamp the bastards, setting off a floodtide that even Republicans won't be able to steal themselves out from under.
Sing all the old songs. Learn all the new ones. Teach "We Shall Overcome" to the young folks. Let them teach you "Mosh," even the dirty parts. Keep in your hearts the advice that the boxing trainer gave Joe Louis before the second fight with Max Schmeling. Joe was afraid of being cheated out of a victory.
Joe, the trainer told him, let your right hand be your referee.
Let your ballots -- millions of them -- be your Supreme Court justice.
All of you, standing in line, is what they all fear -- the administration, of course, but also the cheap political gabbing class that has so abdicated its serious work in favor of tinpot performance skills that would embarrass Soupy Sales. Do any of you believe that Little Tim, or Tuckerboy, or any of them have more to say about this election that Eminem does, or Bruce Springsteen, or everyone of you? That line is a living, breathing, voting rebuke to the professional cynicism by which truth is rendered merely a tactic, less effective than most.
Be proud of being in that line. As Lyndon concluded on that night long ago, "Their cause must be our cause, too ... and we...shall...overcome!"
And all say amen to that.