Tuesday, November 30, 2004


The International Committee of the Red Cross says that the U.S. military has used psychological and physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners in Gitmo:
The team of humanitarian workers, which included medical personnel, also asserted that some doctors and other medical workers at Guantanamo helped plan interrogations in what the report called "a flagrant violation of medical ethics."

Medical personnel conveyed information about prisoners' mental health and vulnerabilities to interrogators, the report said, sometimes directly but usually through a group called the Behavioral Science Consultation Team, or BSCT. The team, known informally as "Biscuit," is made up of psychologists and psychological workers who advise the interrogators, the report said. ***

The report said investigators had found a system devised to break the will of the prisoners at Guantanamo, who now number about 550, and make them wholly dependent on their interrogators through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions."

"The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the report said.

It said that in addition to the exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold, detainees were subjected to "some beatings."
Now, can someone explain why the Chicago Tribune buried this story on page 11?

Monday, November 29, 2004


Because I am a vocal proponent of George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, several people have directed me to Political Animal Kevin Drum's negative critique of the book at his Washington Monthly blog.

While I regularly read -- and usually agree with -- Drum, his comments regarding the book, e.g. "[Lakoff] fails to provide very much compelling advice for liberals," disappoint me due to their lack of perspective. Lakoff's book is not a complete solution and I don't think it claims to be. The book is just a tool and so are the ideas contained therein.

Drum seemed to think that the book would/should contain a comprehensive list of magic words and phrases with which the Democrats could bewitch the U.S. populace. I guess: 1) I didn't expect that much for 10 bucks, and 2) I'd like to think that most Americans aren't vulnerable to a set of magic words.

For example, Drum says that framing taxes as "wise investments in the future" and a "membership fee in America" "aren't really as snappy as 'tax relief'." Well, not delivered like that. Drum is just exchanging an uninspiring list of programs for a uninspiring list of catch phrases.

A certain amount of the work that Democrats need to do is sales. "Tax relief" didn't mean anything the first time it was said, but GOPers said it time and again and associated it with related themes, i.e. big government and waste.

Drum also says that the "ten word philosophy for liberals", i.e. Stronger America, Broad Prosperity, Better Future, Effective Government and Mutual Responsibility, aren't "as zingy" as the GOP philosophy and that the list almost put him to sleep.

But when Barack Obama built his keynote address around the same themes they were pretty damn "zingy." They lit a freaking fire under Americans beyond traditional Democrats. And "street smart framers like Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz" weren't laughing, they were shaking in their boots.

But Drum doesn't seem to want to make the effort of applying the contents of the book to anything outside it. He wants the book to have "The Answer." Well, The Answer is "Work" and the book is a useful tool in that work.

The job ahead of Democrats is to communicate the values of the Democratic party in an appealing way. Lakoff recognizes that we can only accomplish that by changing the language we use.

While describing the broad appeal of Sen. Obama to In These Times, Rep. Jan Schakowsky put her finger on the type of language Democrats need to use:
He has found the language to connect with everyone, to inspire people, to take on the cynicism of the political arena, and speak of unity and hope. To express that we don't have to always be pitted against each other, racially, economically, geographically, in terms of our sexual orientation. You asked "Why don't Democrats go harder after Republicans?" and as things are I think we have needed to and may still need to. But ultimately I think the answer is to elect candidates and leaders like Barack Obama, who are going to lead us away from that, make us feel proud and good about ourselves. The people who supported Barack Obama felt a sense of pride in his primary victory and now feel good about themselves, not just good about Barack, but good about themselves to be supporting him.
Lakoff's ideas are tools that Democrats can use to take back the language, the context of the discussion and make Americans feel good about supporting Democrats. But because Lakoff's book is one of the first such tools, many of its critics, including Kevin Drum, seem to think it purports to be the only tool.

Sunday, November 28, 2004


A follow up to last week's discussion of Blagorgeous' public relations magic, this time a letter to the editor in the Chicago Sun-Times:
Flu vaccine on hold

On behalf of the most vulnerable residents of Illinois, New Mexico and New York City, we strongly urge you [David Williams, CEO of Aventis Pasteur Inc.] to cooperate with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and provide them the records and data about your flu vaccine that they need in order to allow us to provide European-made flu vaccine to the people in our cities and states who desperately need it.

Over the last month, since we learned about the severe shortage of flu vaccine in the United States, we have purchased vaccines made by Aventis Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline from licensed suppliers in Europe. The FDA agreed to review the vaccines expeditiously, and on Oct. 29, following a meeting with officials from the State of Illinois, acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford contacted Aventis to request information needed to approve the vaccines. That was more than three weeks ago. While GlaxoSmithKline has already agreed to provide the FDA with the information to evaluate the vaccine, we understand that Aventis has yet to cooperate, putting hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and young children at serious risk.

The flu season already has begun, and the shortage of flu vaccines threatens the health of the most vulnerable members of our population. We have no doubt that you have read about, or even witnessed, the long waits and desperate measures many senior citizens in the United States are taking to try to find flu shots. Through our own contacts, we were able to locate additional flu vaccine in Europe. However, we cannot provide the vaccine to our citizens without FDA approval, and the FDA cannot move forward without your cooperation.

We're not asking Aventis to manufacture more flu vaccine. We're not asking for a discount on the price. We solely request that Aventis start cooperating with the FDA immediately so we can fulfill our obligations to the sick, elderly and children we have been elected to serve and protect.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich;
Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico
So let's check our Blagorgeous score card...

1) A cause that no one could be against -- "the health of the most vulnerable members of our population" -- Check!
2) Money outside the state's budget responsiblity -- "that Aventis start cooperating with the FDA immediately" -- Check!
3) A press release -- an open letter to the president of Aventis -- Check!

Even the Blago-bonus applies in this case: The Guv has brilliantly positioned himself so that 1) action by the drug company means an apparent victory for Blagorgeous, and 2) if the flu becomes an epidemic Blagorgeous can say he saw the looming threat and tried to stop it. Either way Rod Blagojevich is the champion of "the most vulnerable members of our population".

Once again, it's all upside and no downside.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


The following strip was replaced with a substitute from 2002 which bore this explanation: "Today's Get Fuzzy strip does not meet our standards for taste"

While I did not find the above strip funny -- the primary consideration for a comic strip -- I think it is odd that the Tribune would ban it on those grounds when the Tribune continues to publish Out of the Gene Pool where "taste" doesn't seem to be a high priority.

UPDATE: A deep thinker has suggested that the Trib's "standards for taste" were violated, not by whatever actions are taking place below the second panel, but by gratuitously using the "Thumbs Up" catch-phrase of Sun-Times columnists Ebert and Roper.

Sneedlings . . . This theory will be tested next week when Blondie is scheduled to deliver the Upshot, Buckshot, and Backshot from Tipsville.


The AP reports on something to keep in mind when the Bushies trot out their "ownership society":
A third or more of the government property Halliburton Co. was paid to manage for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq could not be located by auditors, investigative reports to Congress show.

Halliburton's KBR subsidiary ''did not effectively manage government property'' and auditors could not locate hundreds of CPA items worth millions of dollars in Iraq and Kuwait this summer and fall, Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen reported to Congress.
Remember, in the early days of the Iraq invasion, when we were told that Cheney's Halliburton was handed all of those no-bid contracts because it was the only company that capable of handling the scope of the post-war reconstruction?

I'm pretty sure that I could have lost that government property for just a fraction of what KBR charged.

Friday, November 26, 2004


The Trib has a partial transcript of Obama's appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman." The interview airs tonight at 10:30 p.m. on WBBM-Ch. 2.


Rich Miller of the Capital Fax -- it makes a great gift -- was good enough to forward the following press release from the Governor's office regarding possible Pell Grant cuts:
Gov. Blagojevich calls on U.S. Department of Education to stop proposed changes in Pell Grant funding that could force 52,000 Illinois students to pay more for college

Action would strip $7 million in Pell Grants for state students

CHICAGO – In response to the proposed changes that would slash college aid, Gov. Rod Blagojevich sent a letter today to U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige urging him to stop attempts to make a college education more expensive by altering the way the federal government funds the Pell Grant program, which greatly impacts Illinois students and their families.

"The investments that give our young people the opportunity to earn a college degree pay tremendous economic dividends not only for the students but also for our entire society. It would be shortsighted and cost ineffective to cut back on this investment. I hope that by working together we can find a solution that does not require slashing these important federal education dollars," Gov. Blagojevich wrote.

Gov. Blagojevich also highlighted that more than 52,000 of the Illinois students who are eligible to receive Pell Grants would lose either all or a portion of their grants as a result of the new federal changes, based on initial estimates. This means $7 million in lost Pell Grants for Illinois students."Illinois has one of the largest need-based financial aid programs in the nation, the Monetary Award Program (MAP), which serves families with average incomes of $29,000. The new federal changes will put further stress on our statewide program, which helps fill the ever-increasing gap between college costs and federal resources," Gov. Blagojevich said.

Pell Grants and the state-supported MAP funds represented more than 50 percent of the total scholarship and grant funds for Illinois undergraduates in fiscal year 2002-2003. Spending bills that were approved by both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives on Saturday would allow these unfortunate changes to move forward.
As I said to Mr. Miller, this an excellent example of the Blagorgeous magic in action.

It combines: 1) A cause that no one could be against -- college education -- plus
2) Money outside the state budget -- federal education funds -- plus
3) A press release -- with a "Chicago" dateline rather than "Springfield."

And as a bonus, the problem addressed in the press release may never actually come to fruition. The spending bills authorize cutting Pell grants, they don't mandate it. That's why the press release is ambiguous about the threat: "Action would strip $7 million in Pell Grants for state students."

The Guv has brilliantly positioned himself so that 1) inaction by the Dept. of Ed. means an apparent victory for Blagorgeous, and 2) if the Bushies decide to cut Pell Grants, he can say he saw the looming threat and tried to stop it. Either way Rod Blagojevich is the champion of college education in Illinois. It's all upside and no downside. (It probably won't even get him into trouble with the US Dept of Ed because the letter was addressed to the outgoing secretary, Rod Paige, not Margaret Spellings, the presumptive new Sec of Ed.)

I still think that Blagorgeous is a disappointment, but he could teach Democrats a thing or two when it comes to choosing and framing issues.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley predicts:
America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic "armageddon.''


Roach sees a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that ``we'll muddle through for a while and delay the eventual armageddon.''
The chance we'll get through OK: one in 10. Maybe.
In a nutshell, Roach's argument is that America's record trade deficit means the dollar will keep falling. To keep foreigners buying T-bills and prevent a resulting rise in inflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will be forced to raise interest rates further and faster than he wants.
The result: U.S. consumers, who are in debt up to their eyeballs, will get pounded.
I miss the 20th century...


Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama says there is no clear understanding of what the national Democratic party stands and that has to change:
We tend to talk more in policy terms and we've got our 10-point plans, but we don't have a narrative, I think, of what it means to be a Democrat. ***

I think that if you ask the average person on the street, 'What does it mean to be a Republican,' whether they agree with the Republicans or not, they have a clear sense of what the Republican Party stands for, and we're going to have to, I think, do some intellectual work to make sure we understand what it means to be a Democrat.
Sen. Obama also discussed his drug and alcohol use as a young man:
I went through a period when I was a teenager, where I was rebelling against everything, and I think embracing a lot of the exaggerated stereotypes of what it means to be an African-American.

But, fortunately, I had some wonderful mentors and teachers who, I think, pulled me out of it. I had the love of my mother to stabilize me. And part of the reason I wrote about that period in my life in the book was to make clear that there are all kinds of young African-American males out there who are as talented as I am, as energetic as I am, but also as confused and they may not have the same margins of error that I did.
Video of the entire interview is available at CBS.

Monday, November 22, 2004


The Rockridge Institute is a group of distinguished scholars and researchers working to help achieve a just, democratic, environmentally sustainable, and humane society. And they wish you a happy Thanksgiving:
To help you through those sometimes difficult family conversations, we're posting a chapter from George Lakoff's recent book, Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. Try out these tips and approaches with family members and guests you'd like to enlighten.
What have you got to lose?

Unless you actually enjoy all that yelling...


The Nation features an essay by George Lakoff, the author of Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate:
Moral values at the national level are idealized family values projected onto the nation.

Progressive values are the values of a responsible nurturant family, where parents (if there are two) are equally responsible. Their job is to nurture their children and raise them to be nurturers of others. Nurturance has two aspects: empathy and responsibility--both for yourself and your children. From this, all progressive values follow, both in the family and in politics.

If you empathize with your children, you will want them to have strong protection, fair and equal treatment and fulfillment in life. Fulfillment requires freedom, freedom requires opportunity and opportunity requires prosperity. Since your family lives in, and requires, a community, community building and community service are required. Community requires cooperation, which requires trust, which requires honesty and open communication. Those are the progressive values--in politics as well as family life.

Take protection. In addition to physical protection, there is environmental protection, worker protection and consumer protection, as well as all the "safety nets"--Social Security, Medicare and so on. Equality means full political and social equality, without regard to wealth, race, religion or gender. Openness requires open government and a free, inquiring press. Progressive political ideals are nurturant moral ideals.


Democrats in Congress need to understand this. They must hold their ground, be positive and be aware that moving to the right is a double disaster. It will only help the radical right's agenda, break with values that unify us and make it harder to awaken our values in swing voters.

The only way to trump their moral values is with our own more traditional and more patriotic moral values. Proclaim them and live them, and we will find that there are many more than 55 million of us.
FYI: Amazon is offering Don't Think of an Elephant at 25% off the cover price -- which makes final total $11.49 after shipping.

You can't afford to not order one.


From the Tribune:
Alan Keyes will relocate at least some of the operations of his Washington, D.C.-based foundation and a companion political action committee to Chicago following his recent decision to leave his Calumet City apartment for a downtown condominium.


The former candidate has been meeting with staffers and is expected to move at least some of the operations of his Declaration Foundation and his Declaration Alliance PAC *** The foundation is an educational organization dedicated to popularizing the interpretation of the Declaration of Independence. The alliance lobbies for Keyes' interpretation of the First and Second Amendments, against abortion and in favor of a national sales tax to replace the income tax, among other issues.
That's going to make it a bit harder for Steve Rauschenberger and Dave Syverson to put the stench of the Keyes draft behind them.


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

The AP notes the inclusion of a presidential yacht in the GOP controlled Congress' $388 billion spending bill :
A potential boon for Bush, $2 million for the government to try buying back the former presidential yacht Sequoia. The boat was sold three decades ago, and its current owners say the yacht is assessed at $9.8 million and are distressed by the provision.
Since you and I are going to pay for the presidential yacht, I took a visit to the Official Homepage of the U.S.S. Sequoia Presidential Yacht, where I learned that the U.S.S. Sequoia is a meticulously restored, 104-foot, 1925 Trumpy-designed yacht that has served Presidents since Herbert Hoover.
Herbert Hoover promoted his use of the Sequoia during the Depression in a misguided effort to elevate the spirit of a starving public. *** A starving American public did not care that Hoover was using a 104-foot yacht instead of a 318-foot yacht. The public saw Hoover's use of the Sequoia as an example of a President who was out of touch with the needs of a poor populace.
Imagine that -- a President who was out of touch with the needs of the American public...

Sunday, November 21, 2004


The AP reports on a poll of 400 registered voters in Massachusetts that was conducted Sunday and Monday with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points:
Fifty-nine percent of the respondents in a WHDH-TV/Suffolk University poll said no when asked "Should John Kerry run again for President in 2008," while 33 percent said yes.


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., was the top choice for president in 2008 among Massachusetts Democrats with 25 percent, followed by Kerry (14 percent), former Kerry running mate John Edwards (4 percent), and new Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (4 percent).
Well, he did deliver quite a speech in Boston.


The New York Times tells us that our GOP controlled government is cutting back on higher eductation funding for lower income students:
The government moved to change its formula for college aid last year, but was blocked by Congress. Now, however, no such language appears in the appropriations bill lawmakers are considering, clearing the way for the government to scale back college grants for hundreds of thousands of low-income students.

Nearly 100,000 more students may lose their federal grants entirely, as Congress considers legislation that could place more of the financial burden for college on students and their families.


The exact impact of the new rules is difficult to predict, but had the new formula gone into effect last year, it would have prevented about $270 million from being spent on Pell grants, the nation's primary scholarship program, the Congressional Research Service found. Many students, perhaps more than a million, would have received smaller grants, many education experts estimated. And about 84,000 students would have lost their Pell grants altogether, the research service reported.
So the Republicans are slashing the nation's primary scholarship program. And just where are our GOPer masters spending your tax dollars? Let's ask Reuters:
The Senate voted 65-30 for the legislation late on Saturday that sets aside funds for a range of priorities including a presidential yacht, foreign aid and energy. It is one of the final pieces of work for the 108th Congress and they may return to finish a spy agency overhaul before the end of the year.
Once again, I don't think that our Red State brothers and sisters planned on exchanging their children's educations for a presidential yacht when they went into the voting booth.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


From Josh Marshall:

This weekend Congress was working on a massive $388 billion omnibus spending bill that will cover all manner of federal spending. But at the request of Rep. Ernest Istook of Oklahoma, chairman of the House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee, a special provision was inserted into the bill which allows the Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees or their "agents" to review any American's tax return with no restrictions whatsoever.

Specifically, none of the privacy law restrictions -- or the criminal and civil penalties tied to them -- would apply when the Chair or anybody he or she designates as his or her "agent" looked at your tax return.


Sen. Stevens of Alaska, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, originally blamed the provision on a 'staffer'. But later, according to the AP, Sen. Frist and "congressional aides" said it was inserted at the behest of Rep. Istook.

Let's hope the GOPers will get their story straight in time for the Sunday shows.


I was lucky enough to watch the controversy over this unfold live on C-SPAN2 (yeah, I lead a full and exciting life). The staff of Sen. Conrad (D - N.D.) performed a heroic service by finding and revealing this Orwellian invasion of privacy. Sen. Durbin did a great job framing the story of this malfeasance:
Hereafter, notwithstanding any other provision of law governing the disclosure of income tax returns or return information, upon written request of the Chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such Chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein.
(emphasis added)

That "any" includes my tax returns and information -- as well as yours. And the provision also prohibits any civil or criminal penalties for any misuse of the information gathered from the IRS.

Josh Marshall:
The key is that the privacy rights provisions, and criminal and civil penalties that go with them, don't apply for the appropriations committees. *** The Republicans are acting like it was all an innocent mistake. And it seems clear that there are Republican senators who didn't know anytihng about it and are pissed. But clearly this was no accident, unless provisions have started to write themselves.
He also links to this AP story.


Get this casting director an Academy Award!

Dubya the Movie.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


"I call on every man and woman of good will all over America today
...to take a stand on this issue. Tomorrow may be too late. The book
may close. Don't let anyone make you think that God chose America as
his divine messianic force to be, a sort of policeman of the whole
world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and
it seems that I can hear God saying to America 'You are too arrogant!
If you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of
your power! And I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't
even know my name. Be still and know that I am God.'"

-- Martin Luther King, 4 April 1967


When your employer decides that it can no longer afford to provide you and your family with health insurance, you can be thankful that the Bush administration shielded your baby's capital gains from taxation.

From the Washington Post:
Instead the administration plans to push major amendments that would shield interest, dividends and capital gains from taxation, expand tax breaks for business investment and take other steps intended to simplify the system and encourage economic growth, according to several people who are advising the White House or are familiar with the deliberations.

The changes are meant to be revenue-neutral. To pay for them, the administration is considering eliminating the deduction of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns and scrapping the business tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, the advisers said.
Somehow, I don't think that our Red State brothers and sisters planned on exchanging their health insurance for tax-free dividends when they went into the voting booth.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


While I have tried my best to flush all things Keyes from my mind for the last two weeks, many have asked the gloomy question, "What will be the legacy of the Alan Keyes Senate candidacy?"

Although it will no doubt be grand and multi-faceted, especially with respect to his poisoning of the Illinois Republican party, the bilious aspect of his legacy that I have noticed of late is that Keyes appears to have opened wide the door to questioning whether Barack Obama a "true Christian" or even a "true American."

There was a time, not so long ago, when one's statements regarding one's own spiritual beliefs went unchallenged. Politicians and pundits did not deign to challenge the legitimacy of another's relationship with God, church or other "things not of this world." Such lofty matters were left to be confirmed or denied by a qualified Higher Authority.

And most of us took it for granted that, in our nation of immigrants, citizens who sought public office -- and were statutorily qualified -- were sufficiently "American." To challenge the authenticity of someone's "Americanism" based on their ethnicity was viewed not only as the pinnacle of tackiness, but as a violation of the central tenets of our country.

But no more.

Alan Keyes took it upon himself to judge the soul of Barack Obama -- and by extension those that supported him. Keyes' supremely arrogant, condescending pronouncements on the state of Barack Obama's Christianity were unprecedented, but nevertheless have paved the way for others to follow.

For example, this p.o.s. fellow declares that Mr. Obama is "a black uber-liberal socialist Muslim, supposedly now Christian Democrat." That sentence alone would likely cause Keyes to beam with satisfaction, but it is merely a small part of a larger whole:
[Obama] is gifted at twisting his verbiage in such a way as to deform the truth. In his speech at the Democratic National Convention, he spoke of "... measuring up to the legacy of our forbearers." While that may sound good, there is a discernable difference between "forbearers" and the Founding Fathers of our country.

Obama's forbearers are Kenyan, and it is alleged his grandfather was a slave owner. His reference to "forbearers" had nothing to do with those who sacrificed their lives life to establish a free society based on equality.

His statements were code omitting same, referencing instead an Afro-centrism and Pan Africanism. It was a deliberate attack against the foundation of our country and what we represent.
It is truly an amazing piece of baseless mudslinging.

But note that it bears so many hallmarks of the Keyes campaign: the arrogant questioning Obama's faith ("He's not really a Christian, he's a Muslim"), the baseless questioning his heritage ("He's not really an American"), and the shocking return of the "slave holder mentality" charge. How charming that the author frames the smear-by-association as an unsourced allegation against his paternal grandfather -- a man Barack Obama never met.

It is all so loathsome that it can only be described as "Keyesian".

In his keynote speech, Mr. Obama spoke of "the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes." In light of the "anything goes" Keyesian attacks on him, Mr. Obama's words appear nothing less than prophetic.

And while such attacks on Mr. Obama still shock the conscience of thoughtful citizens, Mr. Obama and his supporters should expect to see this Keyesian brand of slander reoccur with greater frequency -- and in more mainstream fora -- as Mr. Obama continues his assent in the national spotlight.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Jeff Jarvis used the Freedom of Information Act to discover that
the latest big fine by the FCC against a TV network -- a record $1.2 million against Fox for its "sexually suggestive" Married by America -- was brought about by a mere three people who actually composed letters of complaint. Yes, just three people.


I examined the complaints and found that all but two of them were virtually identical. In other words, one person took the time to write a letter and 20 other people then photocopied or merely emailed it to the FCC many times. They all came from an automated complaint factory like the one I write about here. Only two letters were not the form letter.

So in the end, that means that a grand total of three citizens bothered to take the time to sit down and actually write a letter of complaint to the FCC. Millions of people watched the show. Three wrote letters of complaint.

And on the basis of that, the FCC decided to bring down the heavy hammer of government censorship and fine Fox an incredible $1.2 million for suggesting -- not depicting but merely suggesting -- sex on a show that had already been canceled because the marketplace didn't like it anyway.
Don't forget: The Republican party is the party of smaller government and free-markets... for some reason, people sometimes forget that.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


ANTI-OBAMA BLOG: Unfit for Publication (pdf)

One of the most vile smear peddlers of the 2004 election has found a new target.

Jerome Corsi just published a new book full of rehashed distortions and the same old lies about Barack Obama, and the right-wing noise machine is in full gear promoting it.

In 2004, Corsi helped launch the Swift Boat smear campaign with a book of distortions and lies he wrote about John Kerry.

It’s up to you to spread the truth, so here it is. We’ve posted some of the facts about Corsi and his desperate fabrications on this page, but there’s even more in our (PDF)PDF: Unfit for Publication.


LIE: “The year 1995 was a banner one for Obama. He had just married Michelle and the couple bought a Hyde Park condo, the first home Obama ever owned.”[p 145]


10/3/92 Obama And Michelle Robinson Were Married. [Chicago Sun-Times, 10/3/07]

1993 Obama Bought a Condo for $277,550. [Chicago Sun-Times, 1/22/06]


LIE: “Senator Obama could claim to be a citizen of Kenya, as well as of the United States. Obama can trace his heritage back to his mother, who was born in the United States and was an American citizen when he was born, and to his father, who was born in Kenya and was a Kenyan citizen when Obama was born.” [p 103]


Kenya Does Not Allow Dual Citizenship Applications for People Over 21 Years of Age. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management writes of Kenya, “DUAL CITIZENSHIP: Not recognized except for persons under 21 years old.” [U.S. Office of Personnel Management]

The Kenyan Constitution writes, “A person who, but for the proviso to section 87 (1), would be a citizen of Kenya by virtue of that subsection shall be entitled, upon making application before the specified date in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament, to be registered as a citizen of Kenya: Provided that a person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years (other than a woman who is or has been married) may not himself make an application under this subsection, but an application may be made on his behalf by his parent or guardian.” [Kenyan Constitution]

Even if Obama Had Applied for Dual Citizenship Before He Was 21 — Which He Did Not — It Would Have Expired. ”A person who, upon the attainment of the age of twenty-one years, is a citizen of Kenya and also a citizen of some other country other than Kenya shall, subject to subsection (7), cease to be a citizen of Kenya upon the specified date unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and, in the case of a person who was born outside Kenya, made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament.” [Kenyan Constitution]


LIE: “Christopher Hitchens noted on Salon.com that Michelle announces in her Princeton thesis that she has been influenced by the definition of ‘black separatism’ given by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton in their 1867 book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America.” [p 232]


The Thesis Used Carmichael And Hamilton’s Definition Of Black Separationism In Her Study But Did Not Suggest She Was “Influenced” By It. Michelle Obama wrote in her thesis, “Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton’s (1967) developed definitions of separationism in their discussion of Black Power which guided me in the formulation and use of this concept in the study…Thus, Carmichael and Hamilton define separationism as a necessary stage for the development of the Black community before this group integrates into the “open society”. The idea of creating separate social structure and cultural structures as suggested by these authors serves to clarify definitions of separationism/pluralism as they function in the dependent variable which tries to measure the 26 respondents’ ideologies concerning political and economic relations between the Black and White communities.” [Michelle Obama’s Thesis]

Saturday, November 13, 2004


In this Southern Illinoisan story, Barack Obama says we make certain that all presidential votes are counted -- but he won't put on a tinfoil hat:
The senator-elect also address the disheartened tone of the Democrat party, following Sen. John Kerry's defeat.

"I know there are some people who are still concerned with voter irregularities," he said.

Obama said he assessed there were some problems with voting this election, just as there were in the 2000 election. Those are problems, he said, that obviously need to be fixed, so in 2008 people still are not discussing the issue.

"Having said all that, I do think George W. Bush won fair and square," Obama added.
I agree that Bush got more votes than Kerry... but "fair and square?"

Thursday, November 11, 2004


The AP's story on Yasser Arafat's death, carried in the Sun-Times, contained this paragraph:
After the Arabs' humbling defeat by Israel in the six-day war of 1967, the PLO thrust itself on the world's front pages by sending its gunmen out to hijack airplanes, machine gun airports and seize Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
At the risk of appearing pedantic: The PLO's gunmen didn't just "hijack airplanes," they also killed passengers.

The PLO's gunmen didn't just "machine gun airports," they also machine gunned the people in the airports.

And the PLO's gunmen didn't just "seize Israeli atheletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics," they also butchered Israeli atheletes at the Munich Olympics.

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe commemorates some of Arafat's many achievements:
Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command.

And, yes, I will post something very similar if the life's work of Ariel Sharon is similarly sanitized after his death.


Although Barack Obama isn't the only new face joining the Senate, he may be the only one that isn't a harbinger of the Apocalypse. The Boston Phoenix's Dan Kennedy gives us the run down on "five genuine specimens of right-wing Republicanism." I will just subject you to South Dakota's own:
John Thune: A simple-minded campaign of flag-waving and heterosexuality

Of all the freshmen Republican senators-elect, there is one celebrity -- John Thune, of South Dakota, who knocked off Senate minority leader Tom Daschle. But though Thune, a former congressman, is an ultraconservative with ties to the religious right, he doesn't stand out for any particular policy outrage. Rather, Thune is a master of the sort of political cheap shot that excites the imaginations of those who like their symbolism both simple and stupid.

Take, for instance, a debate between Thune and Daschle on NBC's Meet the Press. Thune was agitated over something Daschle had said in March 2003, just before the war in Iraq began -- that is, that "this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war." Never mind that a) Daschle was speaking the truth, b) he had voted in favor of the war resolution and later backed the $87 billion in reconstruction money for Iraq and Afghanistan, and c) he was a veteran and Thune was not. Thune took the opportunity to accuse Daschle of something close to treason, saying, "What it does is emboldens our enemies and undermines the morale of our troops."

Or take a proposed constitutional amendment against flag-burning -- a cause that you might have thought had gone out of style with George H.W. Bush way back in the 1980s. Not, apparently, in South Dakota. "Unfortunately, Senator Daschle has consistently voted against this amendment. My record on this is very clear," Thune said at an event in Rapid City featuring some three dozen veterans, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Don't you wish you'd been there?

Or, finally, take a radio ad that the Thune campaign broadcast this past summer that attempted to lump together Washington, Massachusetts, gay marriage, and Daschle in one unsavory stew. "The institution of marriage is under fire from extremist groups in Washington, politicians, even judges who have made it clear that they are willing to run over any state law defining marriage," Thune intoned. "They have done it in Massachusetts, and they can do it here."

This is just ugly, nasty stuff. The intellectual dishonesty of it all is matched only by its sheer brazenness. By appealing to voters' fears and by demonizing anyone who would get in his way, Thune, unfortunately, demonstrated that he is well-qualified to join the Republican majority.
Read about the rest here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Atrios provides this passage from a member of the "moral values" crew:
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.
Even though I grew up in a Red State, I still don't have sufficient "family values" to appreciate a joke about raping members of Congress.


The Posts, Washington and New York, have articles on the likelihood of Barack Obama's writing book on public policy and getting some serious coin -- and controversy! -- for it.

Washington Post:
Senator-elect Barack Obama (D-Ill.) hasn't even moved to town yet and already he's in cahoots with literary super-lawyer Robert Barnett about a book. Or two. Not about his campaign -- but rather, we hear, about public policy.

Obama's autobiography, "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," written more than a decade ago, was reissued this summer and became a bestseller. Evidently he now wants to cash in on his newfound popularity: The Chicago Sun-Times earlier this week mentioned a possible advance "ranging from $500,000 to $1 million depending on the details of the deal." The married father of two has admitted to having concerns about making it in Washington on his $158,100 salary. (He pointed out Monday that he is a "member of the smallest caucus in the Senate -- the non-millionaires caucus.")

Obama's spokesman told us yesterday his boss hasn't signed a book deal and "nothing's been done that would give anyone figures yet." Barnett offered a blandly typical response: "I'm proud to be representing the senator-elect. He's a real hero to many of us and has a fabulous political future." Translation: money in the bank.
New York Post:
Barack Obama, new hotshot on the political scene, has been gifted with more than just Divine Grace. How's a hefty share of killer smarts?

Go back maybe 15 years. New York literary agent Jane Dystel reads he's Harvard Law Review's first black president. She reaches out. She suggests a book. Nobody knows him, so nobody cares. She hustles and finally pushes "Dreams From My Father" onto a publisher. The deal somehow becomes undone and she's obliged to peddle the manuscript twice. Its subsequent sales prove minimal.

Fade in, fade out. The guy's moving. He gets noticed. Gets the star spot at the Democratic National Convention. Gets elected senator from Illinois. His book gets reissued. Now it's selling. Result? Before the election, this brand-new nova and his longtime agent execute an agreement to do more deals. Dystel nails contracts for two future Obama books. One's "What I Believe" — his philosophies; stuff he lives by. The other is, so far, undefined.

However, Barack Obama now realizes who he is. He now understands where he is. He never gets around to signing with the publisher. Too busy. He's doing interviews. Signing autographs. On TV. Campaigning. Climbing. He'll handle this as soon as he can.

Meanwhile, what he was handling was a switch to the Clintons' book agent, attorney Robert Barnett. Washington's cocktail circuit is whispering that the intermediary was Vernon Jordan. Barnett's connected. Up to his assets in political expertise and Rolodex cards, all of which this new kid on the block, who sees himself as a future president after Hillary, wants to glom onto.

Everyone's staying polite but — trust mother, kiddies. This one could be lawyers up the kazoo.
I'll bet Oneman will just love that second story.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


The Wall Street Journal says Best Buy wants to get rid of the smartest 20% of it customers, and keep only the dopes:
Best Buy's angels are customers who boost profits at the consumer-electronics giant by snapping up high-definition televisions, portable electronics, and newly released DVDs without waiting for markdowns or rebates.

The devils are its worst customers. They buy products, apply for rebates, return the purchases, then buy them back at returned-merchandise discounts. They load up on "loss leaders," severely discounted merchandise designed to boost store traffic, then flip the goods at a profit on eBay. They slap down rock-bottom price quotes from Web sites and demand that Best Buy make good on its lowest-price pledge. "They can wreak enormous economic havoc," says Mr. Anderson.

Mr. Anderson's campaign against devil customers pits Best Buy against an underground of bargain-hungry shoppers intent on wringing every nickel of savings out of big retailers. At dozens of Web sites like FatWallet.com, SlickDeals.net and TechBargains.com, they trade electronic coupons and tips from former clerks and insiders, hoping to gain extra advantages against the stores.

Sadly, I suspect that Best Buy will continue to seek my business.


It's a good thing this guy's Dad got Him the job, cause He couldn't get elected in the Blue States talking like this:
Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me."

Then they will answer and say, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?"

He will answer them, "Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me."
Feed the hungry? Clothe the naked? Care for the sick? Care for the imprisoned?!? And not a word about tax cuts...

Obama visits capitol in capital to resign Senate seat so he can assume his Senate seat in the capitol at the capital.

The Tribune and Sun-Times cover the story of Barack Obama's farewell to Springfield.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Senator-elect Barack Obama appeared on Meet the Press with Tim Russert (emphasis added):

MR. RUSSERT: Senator-elect, why do you think John Kerry lost the race for the White House?

SEN.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, he was running against a very popular wartime president. And I think that that would have been a difficult circumstance for any candidate to run in, and I think that your previous guest, Karl Rove, had a lot to do with it. They've got one of the best political teams that we've ever seen in America, and I think that they deserve enormous credit for their win.

MR. RUSSERT: The Democratic Leadership Council, which has been a voice for more centrist views, if you will, in the Democratic Party issued the following statement: "What happened? ...we have to face facts. We got our clocks cleaned up and down the ballot. ... We didn't effectively make the case for firing the incumbents and replacing them with Democrats. ... The dynamics of this campaign have confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Democrats suffer from three persistent `trust gaps' in our message. The first...was on national security. ... [Kerry] could not overcome the party's reputation for being weaker. ... The second...was a `reform gap.' ... We never conveyed a positive agenda for reform. The third...was...values and culture. ... The problem is that many millions of voters simply do not believe that Democrats take their cultural fears and resentments seriously, and that Republicans do."

What do you think of that analysis?

SEN.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, I think that there's some important insights there. I absolutely think that when we talk about family, faith, community, I think it's important for Democrats to be able to connect with folks where they live. And I think that the Republicans have been more successful in some cases than we have in talking about values and morality with respect to our agenda and our program and our broader world view. I think that certainly with respect to national security, that as Karl Rove mentioned, they were interested in collapsing the issue of the war on terror with Iraq, and they did so successfully. And I think that we were less successful in making clear that we were as unified and as focused on the war on terror as anyone, but that the war in Iraq was a misguided strategy, at least in terms of how it was implemented.

And I think that what is always true when you run against an incumbent president is, is that you end up talking more about that president's record than your vision for the future, and I think that the Democrats do have to present a proactive agenda and vision for the country and not simply run against something if they're going to be successful.

MR. RUSSERT: When I asked Karl Rove about the meaning of moral values, he talked about the coarsening of our culture. Is it possible for Democrats to speak to that feeling within the American people, particularly with the close relationship Democrats have with the Hollywood community?

SEN.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, you know, I think I spoke about it in Illinois, and, you know, one of the reasons that I got 70 percent of the vote and that, in fact, I shared a million voters with George Bush is that from a Democratic perspective, I think I was able to talk to people about values in ways that people-- in ways that resonated with folks.

Look, the Democrats are as concerned about raising our kids and making sure that the values of empathy and hard work and discipline and self-respect are instilled in our children, and I've got a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and I'm not afraid to talk about how I want to provide them with the sort of cultural framework that's going to allow them to be successful, happy people.

And I think that Democrats can, in fact, and have successfully talked about it. I think that sometimes the Democrats have to run upstream or swim upstream because we've got the Republicans making it out as if we don't care about these things, and we should be able to engage and be willing to engage in the discussion about morality and values. Of course, part of our message has to be that moral values includes the immorality of 45 million uninsured or the immorality of working people who are having trouble raising a family despite working full-time. That has to be part of the moral equation. And if we are able to frame things in that fashion, then I think we can be successful.


Saturday, November 06, 2004


Hunter S. Thompson issues marching orders against the Bush "mandate":
Their army is how much bigger than mine? Three percent? Well shucks, Bubba. Now is the time to establish a network and an attitude," he said. "You make friends in moments of defeat. People in defeat tend to bond because they need each other. We can't take the attitude that it's over and we give up. We're still here.
Brothers and sisters, it's time to turn pro.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Chin Up.

It's On.


The AP reports other Democrats "who might seek the presidential nomination in four years include Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Govs. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and Tom Vilsack of Iowa."

If Illinois must put forward a presidential candidate, I would rather it was AmbASSador Keyes.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


The Great William Gibson:
Second terms, historically, are not cakewalks. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. Absolute power, this very moment, is patiently eroding the membranes containing the coming year's inevitable debacles and scandals. Unless you don't believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely, how can that be otherwise?
But it is the responsiblity of each of us to make sure that those in power are held accountable.


Dan Kennedy, senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix, asks that Democrats not throw the baby out with the bathwater:
Already we're starting to hear a lot of blather about how the Democrats need to change in order to win the 2008 presidential election. Of course the Democrats have to try something different. But let's not get carried away. The story of Tuesday night is that the Republicans and the Democrats each represent about half the country. The red half - especially white middle-class families and evangelical Christians - are more reliable voters than is the infinitely more diverse blue half: African-Americans, gay men and lesbians, Latinos, white liberals, young singles, and the like.

To some extent, I suppose the Democrats are going to have to take some action to neutralize the Republican appeal to "moral values." But the last thing they should do is alienate their own base. What would the critics have had Kerry do differently? Endorse a constitutional amendment against gay marriage?

In the weeks and months ahead, there is going to be way too much emphasis on what the Democrats have been supposedly doing wrong, and way too little acknowledgement that the two parties simply represent radically different constituencies at this point in history. If the Democrats had nominated a moderate Southerner whose opposition to gay marriage seemed less forced than Kerry's, would it have helped? Probably. But Democratic primary voters could have chosen John Edwards if they'd wanted to, and they didn't. (I happen to believe that Edwards would have done far worse than Kerry because of his inexperience and his easily lampooned background as a trial lawyer, but that's another matter.)

What the critics are looking for is a Democrat who will compromise his party's own moral values and sell out some of the party's most ardent supporters - oh, just a teensy little bit - in return for flipping one or two red states his way. Tactically, this might make sense. That, after all, was what eight years of Bill Clinton were all about. It might make sense morally, too. Would gays and lesbians today rather have the DOMA-signing Clinton or the Constitution-amending Bush? But Kerry shouldn't be criticized for being more principled than Clinton.
And let's not forget: Both Clinton wins were with Perot splitting the conservative vote.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Today is the first day of the rest of my life fight.


In 2000, America put the gun in its mouth, yesterday it pulled the trigger.
Updated throughout the day

Charles Pierce:

The country voted for these guys with its eyes open. Let us hear no complaining about "bait and switch," and a "uniter, not a divider," and on and on and on. It even returned a national legislature consonant with the incumbent's agenda.

There will be permanent tax cuts that will institutionalize a national debt that will force some sort of evisceration of Social Security and Medicare. There will be continued military adventurism in the Middle East. There will be Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Chief Justice Antonin Scalia. There will be more lying and more vengeance.

So let there be no whining when your husband's National Guard obligation leaves him under fire for six extra months, or when Granny and Gramps are eating cat food, or when it become increasingly impossible to meet the economic needs of the middle-class family.

No complaining. None of it.

You wanted this guy. Now you have him, unleashed.

Josh Marshall:
Before today, the course that America had charted in the world over the last three years could be seen as the result of a traumatic event (9/11) and the choice of a president who was actually put in office by a minority of the electorate. This was a referendum on what's happened in the last three years. And it's been validated.

Matt Yglesias:

I would caution anyone against deluding themselves into believing that a second Bush term won't be so bad. With a majority of the popular vote and expanded margins in the House and Senate, we're going to see Bush Unleashed — something that will probably be much crazier than what we've seen over the past four years.

Andrew Sullivan:

A MANDATE FOR CULTURE WAR: That's Bill Bennett's conclusion. He won't be the only one. What we're seeing, I think, is a huge fundamentalist Christian revival in this country, a religious movement that is now explicitly political as well. It is unsurprising, of course, given the uncertainty of today's world, the devastating attacks on our country, and the emergence of so many more liberal cultures in urban America. And it is completely legitimate in this country for such views to be represented in public policy, however much I disagree with them. But the intensity of the passion, and the inherently totalist nature of religiously motivated politics means deep social conflict if we are not careful. Our safety valve must be federalism. We have to live and let live. As blue states become more secular, and red states become less so, the only alternative to a national religious war is to allow different states to pursue different options. That goes for things like decriminalization of marijuana, abortion rights, stem cell research and marriage rights. Forcing California and Mississippi into one model is a recipe for disaster. Federalism is now more important than ever. I just hope that Republican federalists understand this. I fear they don't.
Dan Gillmore:
There's no secret about what's coming. We don't have that excuse this time.

Here comes more fiscal recklessness -- as we widen the chasm between the ultra-wealthy and everyone else, cementing a plutocracy into our national fiber, we'll pay our national bills on the Treasury Bill credit card for the next few years. Many economists expect a Brazil-like financial crisis to hit the U.S. before the end of the decade. If we muddle our way though the near term, we'll still have left our kids with the bill.

Here comes an expansion of the American empire abroad, a fueling of fear and loathing elsewhere on the globe. This is also unsustainable in the end. Empire breeds disrespect.
Our civil liberties will shrink drastically. This president and his top allies in Congress fully support just one amendment in the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. Say goodbye to abortion rights in most states. Roe v. Wade will fall after this president pushes three or four Scalia and Thomas legal clones onto the Supreme Court. Say hello, meanwhile, to a much more intrusive blending of church and state.

The environment? We'll be nostalgic for Ronald Reagan's time in office.

This is not sour grapes. This is reality.

John Shirley:

If you voted for George Bush then it's your own fault if you don't have health care;it's your own fault global warming continues unabated, wrecking the world for your grandchildren; it's your own fault your job will be outsourced; it's your own fault that terrorism will only get worse, because Bush will feed those fires; it's your fault that a fanatic religious cult will finish taking over the White House; it's your own fault that you're going to lose your civil liberties.

And you will get the theocracy, the thinly-disguisted dictatorship, the poisoned environment, that you deserve.

Wil Wheaton:
Apparently, my country holds a fundamentally different set of values than I thought we did, and that scares the shit out of me. I still believe that Bush is bad for America, and though I'm virtually certain that the next four years will be an absolute disaster. Not just because we have gotten four more years of the Bush agenda, but because this election has been an enthusiastic endorsement of that agenda.

I hoped I would wake up this morning to the good news that our long national nightmare was over.

It's not over.

It's just beginning.
Sidney Blumenthal:
The new majority is more theocratic than Republican, as Republican was previously understood; the defeat of the old moderate Republican Party is far more decisive than the loss by the Democrats. And there are no checks and balances. The terminal illness of Chief Justice William Rehnquist signals new appointments to the Supreme Court that will alter law for more than a generation. Conservative promises to dismantle constitutional law established since the New Deal will be acted upon. Roe vs. Wade will be overturned and abortion outlawed.

Now, without constraints, Bush can pursue the dreams he campaigned for -- the use of U.S. military might to bring God's gift of freedom to the world, with no more "global tests," and at home the enactment of the imperatives of "the right God." The international system of collective security forged in World War II and tempered in the Cold War is a thing of the past. The Democratic Party, despite its best efforts, has failed to rein in the radicalism sweeping the country. The world is in a state of emergency but also irrelevant. The New World, with all its power and might, stepping forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old? Goodbye to all that.


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