Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Primary Returns

Update: The Governor's race is doner than done. Chris Gregiore will be our champion in the race against Dino Rossi. She's bright, competent, a proven statewide winner. We're in excellent hands for the General Election.

Deborah Senn has pulled ahead in the AG race, on the basis of a significant advantage in eastern Washington (she's up 10,000 votes in Spokane County alone). Votes out of King County (that's Seattle & the burbs to out of towners - the big dog in Demcratic elections) are painfully slow coming in, but Sidran continues to lead here, as well as in Snohomish and Kitsap, and Pierce County (Tacoma) is a dead heat. It's certainly possible that returns from these more populous western Washington counties make a Sidran win possible. This could end up in the late absentees from King County, or it could fade fast.

The slow count is affecting the 8th CD race as well, where the percentages haven't really changed, but then, the vote counts haven't, either. King County has to find a way to pick up the pace.

Don Barbieri is holding his own. He's only showing about 40% of the total vote cast, but he's handily out polling the leading Republican and their three way primary was bound to get more ballot action than the Democratic race. It's always going to be nip and tuck for a Democrat in the 5th, but he's coming out of the race unbloodied and poised to run strong for November.

Patty Murray's holding a hundred thousand vote edge over George Nethercutt which means the partisan ballot selection numbers still show a strong statewide advantage for the Democrats, but it's a little confusing since the Secretary of State's office is showing 7 million votes in lil' ol' Mason County. They must be counting slugs, squirrels and pine cones to get those number....somebody's got to fix that, too.

****

Well, there are some early results for the Primary. King County's first release represents about 40% of the absentee ballots returned. In the first Washington Primary requiring partisan ID on the ballot, 72% of the early King County absentees are Democratic ballots, which is a pretty sure sign of an energized base. So that's good news...

Less good, I guess, are some of the early returns for some Upper Left endorsees. Alex Alben is running third in the 8th CD, with 21%. Radio talker Dave Ross entered the race with an overwhelming edge in name ID, and his 51% shows it right now. Heidi Behrens-Benedict is polling 27%.

There's some hope, I guess, for Alex. These are real early numbers and he's been on TV a lot in the last couple weeks, has locked up all the relevant newspaper endorsements and could do much better with polling place voters, but it's definitely uphill.

In the Governor's race, Ron Sims is quickly proving that advocating tax reform is a political death sentence in Washington. He's polling a scant 29% to Chris Gregiore's 67% in the county he's been the Chief Executive of for the last several years, and the early statewide numbers have him at 25%.

His tax proposal was bold, put a critical issue on the agenda and earned him my endorsement and vote, but this outcome was quite predictable, and I expect similar numbers to hold throughout the night.

Better news in the Attorney General's race, where Upper Left's pick, Mark Sidran, has a 53-46% lead on Deborah Senn in King County, and is holding onto a 51-49% early lead statewide. Mark's also picked up a lot of print endorsements and good media in the last couple weeks and could fare well in the election day ballot boxes. This is one to watch...

Notable, too, are the statewide numbers in the U.S. Senate race. Neither Senator Patty Murray nor challenger George Nethercutt had meaningful Primary challengers, so this is largely a measure of their ability to motivate their base to turn out, and Patty's burying Nethercutt 2-1 according to the Secretary of State's office, which has the first returns at 112,196 for Murray vs. 54,008 for Nethercutt.

Looks like you did it, folks.

Washington's all lit up bright blue tonight!

Pop Quiz

via Tom Schaller at The Gadflyer

Which of the following statements is true?
1. The average daily fatality rate for American service personnel in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was captured is 17 percent higher than the daily fatality rate before his capture.

2. The average daily casualty rate for Coalition personnel serving in Iraq in 2004 is more than twice what it was in 2003.

3. The percentage of Coalition fatalities attributed to hostile actions in Iraq has increased by almost 20 percent between 2003 and 2004.

4. The American share of Coalition fatalities rose from 84 percent last year to 93 percent this year.

5. All of the above.
He's got the answer (and more detail) online today.

(hint - yes, it is as bad as you think)

Liars.

They just lie. All of them.

Even Laura, who said this...
After years of being treated as virtual prisoners in their own homes by the Taliban, the women of Afghanistan are going back to work. After being denied an education, even the chance to learn to read, -- the little girls in Afghanistan are now in school. Almost every eligible voter - over ten million Afghan citizens - have registered to vote in this fall's presidential election.
Even though we know this...
The thin veneer of liberation benefits those with power, money and guns, and unfortunately many of these people share the same ideology as the Taliban, albeit masked by their shaved faces, Western clothes, and facility with English rhetoric. In a telling moment of candor, Sebaghattullah Mujadiddi, the former, civil war-era, president and chairman of the Constitutional Loya Jirga, told women in December 2003: "Do not try to put yourself on a level with men. Even God has not given you equal rights…under his decision two women are counted as…one man."

Of the five million children who returned to school after the fall of the Taliban, only 34 percent are girls. Two to three thousand young women were removed from school in September 2003 when President Hamid Karzai upheld a 1970s law banning married "women" (no matter their age or whether the marriage was consensual) from attending school with unmarried "girls."
...and this, too.
...the U.N. figures show that over 107 percent of eligible voters have been registered to vote. In response, President Karzai, a leading candidate, responded: "This does not bother me. This is an exercise in democracy. Let them exercise it twice."
They. Just. Lie.

No more, Ralph.

Enough.

Ralph Nader has abandoned all pretense of offering a progressive alternative in the November election with his recent notice that his purpose is to "retaliate against Democrats" and abandoned all pretense of respect for the lawful order of democracy by turning to the politically corrupt Bush administration in Florida to make an end run around the courts in his quest for ballot status there.

There's just no excuse for Ralph Nader anymore.

But don't take my word for it. Ask these folks...


We, the undersigned, were selected by Ralph Nader to be members of his 113-person national "Nader 2000 Citizens Committee." This year, we urge support for Kerry/Edwards in all "swing states," even while we strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq and other issues. For people seeking progressive social change in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election. Progressive votes for John Kerry in swing states may prove decisive in attaining this vital goal.
David Barsamian, Author, Radio Interviewer
Juliette Beck, California Citizens for Fair Trade
Herbert Bernstein, Professor of Physics at Hampshire College
Thomas Berry, Author, Dream of the Earth
Wendell Berry, Farmer and Writer
Norman Birnbaum, Author and Educator
Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit Activist and Writer
Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Eric Brakken, Former Staffer, United Students Against Sweatshops
Ira Byock, Palliative Care Physician, Author of Dying Well
Edgar Cahn, Founder of Time Banking
John Cavanagh, Director of Institute for Policy Studies
Noam Chomsky, Author and Professor at MIT
Steve Cobble, Strategist, Jackson '88, Nader '00, Kucinich '04
Ben Cohen, Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's
Peter Coyote, Actor and Writer
Ronnie Cummins, Director of Organic Consumers Association
Herman Daly, Professor at University of Maryland
Iris DeMent, Musician/Songwriter
Phil Donahue, Former Talk Show Host
Mark Dowie, Journalist, Former Editor/Publisher of Mother Jones Barbara Dudley, Former President, Greenpeace and National Lawyers Guild
Ronnie Dugger, Co-founder of Alliance for Democracy
Troy Duster, Professor at New York University
Barbara Ehrenreich, Political Essayist and Social Critic
Richard Falk, Center of International Studies, Princeton University
Jim Goodman, Organic Dairy Farmer
Rebecca Goodman, Organic Dairy Farmer
Doris (Granny D) Haddock, Senate Candidate, Reform Activist
Paul Hawken, Author, Economist
Randy Hayes, Founder, Rainforest Action Network and Director of Sustainability, City of Oakland
Jim Hightower, Author and Commentator
Wes Jackson, The Land Institute
David Kairys, Law Professor at Temple University and Author
Ynestra King, Ecofeminist Writer/Activist
John Kinsman, Family Farm Defenders
Philip M. Klasky, Co-director, Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition
David Korten, Author of When Corporations Rule the World
Frances Korten, Director of Positive Futures Network
Saul Landau, California State Polytechnic University
Rabbi Michael Lerner, The Tikkun Community
Theodore Lowi, Political Scientist, Author
Howard Lyman, Former Rancher, Vegetarian Activist
Joanna Macy, Author and Scholar
Jerry Mander, President of International Forum on Globalization
Manning Marable, Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia
Redwood Mary, Plight of the Redwoods Campaign
Robert McChesney, Professor, University of Illinois
Carolyn Merchant, Professor of Environmental History, University of California-Berkeley
Peter Montague, Environmental Research Foundation
Gus Newport, Former Mayor of Berkeley, California
Ruth Ozeki, Novelist
Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York
Bonnie Raitt, Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter
Sheldon Rampton, Co-author of Banana Republicans
Marcus Raskin, Author
Tim Robbins
Vicki Robin, New Road Map Foundation
Susan Sarandon, Actor and Activist
John Schaeffer, Founder of Real Goods Trading Company
Michelle Shocked, Musician
John Stauber, Co-author of Banana Republicans
Andrew Strauss, Professor at Widener University School of Law Charlotte Talberth, Max and Anna Levinson Foundation
Meredith Tax, Writer and Human Rights Activist
Studs Terkel, Author, Oral Historian
Tom Tomorrow, Cartoonist
Sarah van Gelder, Editor of YES! Magazine
Eddie Vedder, Musician, Pearl Jam
Harvey Wasserman, Author of Harvey Wasserman's History of the US
Cornel West, Professor, Author of Democracy Matters
Sheldon Wolin, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University
Howard Zinn, Historian and Author

"They're being dishonest ...

...they're hiding the truth from you ... they're cheating the American people of the truth."
Whoa!

John Kerry probably hasn't taken this many shots in a single day since he was in command of twin .50s.
Kerry said Bush had not leveled with Americans about the financial cost of the Iraq war, by telling them it would be paid for with Iraqi oil. Instead, Kerry said, Americans were footing a bill that he predicted would top $200 billion.
Boom!
Kerry said Bush was being dishonest about the real cost of the Medicare old-age health insurance program. He cited new reports that showed America's seniors could expect to pay 37 percent of their Social Security benefits on Medicare expenses by 2006, and he accused the administration of withholding the figures.

"Once again, this administration hides the truth from the American people," he said.
Bang!
Kerry also charged that Bush was unable "to tell the truth" about health care. The president called Kerry's plan "a government takeover of health care with an enormous price tag," after the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank, estimated its cost at more than $1.5 trillion.
Pow!

In other words, they just lie.

Sic 'em, John!

Oh shucks.

The big news from Wonkette was the re-emergence of the fabled Bushco Sloganator, the nifty service that allowed so many of us to make our own custom posters, courtesy of the BC04 campaign.

By the time I got there, though, it seems that the 'custom text' feature was once again disable. Wonkette managed to crank out a few, though, including this one..



She's got more here.

Washington State Primary Day!

It's here. The polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. If you haven't already voted by mail, be sure to vote today.

Again, Upper Left recommends that you select a Democratic ballot and cast your vote for Rons Sims for Governor, Mark Sidran for Attorney General and, if you're in the 8th Congressional District, Alex Alben for Congress.

Regardless of your personal choice in those races, or the results, the net effect of today's Primary Election will be the development of a General Election ticket superior in every respect to what the Republicans will offer, but the chance to demonsrate our strength and motivation through a strong Democratic turnout today can't be underestimated.

Paint the state bright blue today! Vote!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Bush sez "Iraq = Vietnam"

Well, not exactly, but...

It's going to be a mostly PM blogging day, but this one's too good to put on hold.
I know a lot of folks say they're tired of talking about Vietnam, and I understand the sentiment to a large extent. History provides valuable lessons, though, and no matter how boring it is to hear us greybeard yammer on and on about our war, it's worth noting that the new war has some remarkable similarites.

I know it, you know it, and so does George W., it would seem.

Atrios rescues this gem from Meet the Press from the memory hole. Bush to Russert...
"The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me as I look back was it was a political war. We had politicians making military decisions, and it is lessons that any president must learn, and that is to the set the goal and the objective and allow the military to come up with the plans to achieve that objective. And those are essential lessons to be learned from the Vietnam War."
He was right, of course, except that he obviously hasn't learned a damned thing. Starting with Rummy's effort to shove every General officer who deferred from the Bushco war plan to the sidelines and right up to the recent retreat in Najaf, politics have been the ruling consideration in every step of the war in Iraq.

Does anyone really believe that the Marine Corps commanders on the ground are responsible for the repeated decisions to retreat just short of their objectives, time after time? That our Marines are unwilling to pay the price for victory?

Putting aside considerations of whether we should be in Iraq, the Bushco policy of being unwilling to pay the political price of expanded body counts on both sides of every battle required for military victory has disgraced our soldiers and Marines.

If every one of the lies our invasion was based on had turned out to be true, the disgrace brought to brave men by the political meddling of cowards should be reason enough to reject this pack of fools in November.

Of course, you already knew...

...but for folks who don't spend their time hanging out in the blogosphere, the popular impression is that while John Kerry sometimes adjusts his positions to accomadate new information or developments on the ground, George W. is the paragon of stablity, staking out a stand and sticking to it.

The Bush record of flip-flops has hit the mainstream media, as AMERICAblog notes an AP report on the subject. I'm wondering how many newspapers and broadcast outlets will pick up on these...
_In 2000, Bush argued against new military entanglements and nation building. He's done both in Iraq.

_He opposed a Homeland Security Department, then embraced it.

_He opposed creation of an independent Sept. 11 commission, then supported it. He first refused to speak to its members, then agreed only if Vice President Dick Cheney came with him.

_Bush argued for free trade, then imposed three-year tariffs on steel imports in 2002, only to withdraw them after 21 months.

_Last month, he said he doubted the war on terror could be won, then reversed himself to say it could and would.

_A week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush said he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." But he told reporters six months later, "I truly am not that concerned about him." He did not mention bin Laden in his hour-long convention acceptance speech.

"I'm a war president," Bush told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Feb. 8. But in a July 20 speech in Iowa, he said: "Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president."

Bush keeps revising his Iraq war rationale: The need to seize Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction until none were found; liberating the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator; fighting terrorists in Iraq not at home; spreading democracy throughout the Middle East. Now it's a safer America and a safer world.

"No matter how many times Senator Kerry flip-flops, we were right to make America safer by removing Saddam Hussein from power," he said last week in Missouri.

Bush has changed his positions on new Clean Air Act restrictions, protecting the Social Security surplus, tobacco subsidies, the level of assistance to help combat AIDs in Africa, campaign finance overhaul and whether to negotiate with North Korean officials....
Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with changing a position. It can be, as I say, the result of new information or conditions. Learning, and acting on what you've learned, can be a good thing, even - no, especially - for a politician.

What's notable about the Bush list is how many of his flip-flops are either the product of transparent lies or cheap political opportunism. He changes his positions without really changing his mind, because he doesn't actually learn, he just panders. And in more than a few cases, when he does change, he goes from bad to worse.

But 'flip-flop' has become an effectively negative political meme this year largely through the efforts of BC04, so it's nice to see some of the paint on that brush splashing back on W.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Shorter Dan Balz...

He said...

He meant...
If Kerry's going to win, he's got to get all the states Gore got, and then some. And he can.
Wow. Who knew?

A Don't Panic Data Point...


via Chris Bowers at MyDD (my emphasis)
While Bush is ahead nationally, he does not seem to be ahead where it counts. Instead, his lead is significantly, if not entirely, generated by greatly solidifying his own base in red states, and by a comparative weakening of Kerry's base in blue states. However, even according to Rasmussen, which saw a large bounce for Bush on September 11th (not surprising) to give Bush a 48.3-45.2 national lead, Kerry still leads in the 16 "battleground states 48.1-46.4...
C'mon, you must feel better now.

"I've been in worse situations...

...in my life. The attacks don't attack me as much as they attack Americans and America. They're trying to distract people from the real issues that matter.

America is not as safe as we ought to be after 9/11. We can do a better job at homeland security. I can fight a more effective war on terror. The standard of living for the average American has gone down. People's incomes have dropped. Five million Americans have lost their health insurance. The deficit is the largest it's been in the history of this country. They're taking money from Social Security and transferring it to the wealthiest people in America to drive us into debt. They're shredding alliances around the world with people we have traditionally been able to rely on. That's what bothers me."
Kerry talks to Time, and says what needs to be said.
"George Bush has made the wrong choices for America. He's leading the country in the wrong direction. John Edwards and I have better choices. We have a health-care plan for all Americans. We're going to stop subsidizing jobs that go overseas and create jobs here in America. We're going to fund education and not leave millions of children behind every day. The trail of broken promises and reversed decisions of this Administration is unlike any I have ever seen at any time that I have been in public life, and I'm going to draw that picture as clear as a bell."
Every talking point you could possibly need to win over one more vote every day between now and November is somewhere in the must-read interview. And the next time somebody tells you he hasn't been clear about Iraq, there's this...
TIME: Speaking of clarity, a number of your allies have said that you haven't drawn a clear contrast between yourself and President Bush on Iraq.

KERRY: The contrast could not be clearer. They spent a lot of money trying to confuse people, but I have been consistent. I would not have taken the country into war the way he did. I would not have put young Americans in harm's way without a plan to win the peace. I would not have interrupted as abruptly the effort to build alliances with other countries. I would not have turned my back on the international community. And Americans are paying a $200 billion cost today because this President rushed to war.

****

But I will tell you this, that we've gone backward in Iraq, and we've gone backward on the war on terror. I'm not President until Jan. 20, if America elects me. I don't know what I'll find in Iraq.

But I'll tell you this: I will pursue a far more aggressive, proactive statesmanship role to bring countries to our side in an effort in which they have an interest. Ninety percent of the casualties and costs are being borne by Americans. That's inexcusable.
...and if they ask about the infamous authorization vote?
TIME: One question that has left the President at a loss for words is whether he has had regrets. Do you?

KERRY: I've made mistakes, and I've done things that I regret, sure. I regret voting for Justice Scalia. I regret that any of us put faith in what the President said about how he would take America to war.
I take it back.

It's not a 'must-read.'

It's a 'must-study.'

Because this time, we must win.



10 reasons...

...George Bush should not be elected President

via Lambert @ Corrente. (He's taking advice on revisions, but I can't think of any to offer, so I just stole the whole darn thing...)
1. He fought the wrong war.

2. He fought the wrong war in the wrong way.

3. He fought the wrong war in the wrong way for the wrong reasons.

4. He has dishonored the military by allowing a culture of torture.

5. He hasn't protected the big cities against loose nukes or dirty bombs.

6. He has destroyed the retirement hopes for millions, since Social Security is funded out of general revenues, and his tax cuts have given that money to those who don't need it.

7. He promised to leave no child behind, then didn't fund the program.

8. He promised to reform Medicare, but the system is confusing and only benefits the drug companies.

9. He's the first President to lose jobs since Herbert Hoover.

10. He politicized science, and denied global warming to help out the energy companies.
To summarize, he's completely screwed his job up.

If you screwed your job up as bad as he's screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Red to Blue?

It's really up to you.

As I mentioned a few days ago, the DCCC has targeted 13 challengers to benefit from what The Stakeholder calls a "new hardcore fundraising campaign..." The official rollout, at least in the form of a publicly accessible website, is in place. Here's the candidate lineup...
Paul Babbit (AZ-1)
John Salazar (CO-3)
Dave Thomas (CO-7)
Jim Sullivan (CT-2)
Diane Farrell (CT-4)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Tony Miller (KY-3)
Patty Wetterling (MN-6)
Richard Romero (NM-1)
Lois Murphy (PA-6)
Ginny Schrader (PA-8)
Brian Higgins (NY-27)
Don Barbieri (WA-5)
I'll be honest. I don't know a lot about most of these candidates, or their races. Folks who do know, though, have picked them as the keys to Speaker Pelosi. If that's what it takes, I'll do what I can.

What I can includes telling you lots more about these people and the R2B campaign for the next few weeks, so stay tuned...

Remember Afghanistan?

This is a post about Afghanistan.

Site of our first great 'victory' in the War On (some) Terror(ists). The place where we vanquished the Taliban and put al-Qaida on the run.

Right?

Or just the place where we can't seem to get anything that we want?

An AP report from Bagram looks at the remarks of the top American commander on the scene, Officer Obie...err...Maj. Gen. Eric Olson, and the picture he paints isn't pretty...
BAGRAM, Afghanistan - The trail has gone cold in the hunt for suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden three years after the audacious attacks, but the al-Qaida chief and his No. 2 are still orchestrating strikes like the recent suicide car bombing of a U.S. security firm in Kabul...
Oh. Those guys. The ones on the run from Sheriff Bush and his neo-con posse. The guys helplessly hiding in their spider holes...when they're not "orchestrating strikes," I guess.

Of course, it's not like the old days, when a pan-Islamic force, inspired by Saudi and Saudi-influenced radical clerics, were recruited to wreak havoc on the people, right?

Bzzzzt.

Sorry, but thanks for playing.
There were reports Saturday of fresh fighting in the country, where more than 900 people — mostly Afghan security forces and rebels — have died in political violence this year.

****

Arabs, including Saudis and Yemenis, were among fighters recently detected in Kandahar province. Russian chatter was intercepted by radio monitors in the former al-Qaida stronghold of Khost, suggesting Chechen and Uzbeks were operating there, he said.
Bush says Afghanistan's a democracy now. Kerry says saying something doesn't make it so. Olson, who's there, says "I don't think we're close at all" to defeating the insurgents...

I say FUBAR.

Busted.

Sisyphus Shrugged nails the New York Times for sloppy sourcing. A qick check with Open Secrets turned up the goods on "nominal Republican" William Blair III, the Times' supposedly independent source for today's round of Kerry-bashing.
"With all he's got going for him, it's hard to believe Kerry is stumbling so badly here," said William P. Blair III, a Canton lawyer and lobbyist, a former Democrat and nominal Republican who now describes himself as an independent of sorts.
Let's see how independent and nominal Mr. Blair is.

1992-4: $250 to one Democrat, $700 to two Republicans

1996-8: $250 to a Democrat, $500 to a Republican

2000-4: $10,375 to Republican Leadership PACs, $2500 to the Republican Party of Stark County, $5,350 to individual Republican candidates, $500 to Dennis Kucinich in 1992.
So, are we to believe that the New York Times can't muster the investigative power of a freelance lefty blogger?

Sheesh.

But bravo for jmhm...

Brock Adams, Democrat



1927-2004
R.I.P.


I'll leave it to others to dwell on the cloudy circumstances that surrounded Brock Adams' departure from public life. The Brock Adams that served as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives, a Democratic Senator and a Democratic Cabinet Secretary - the Brock Adams that I knew - devoted his public life to fighting for the highest principles of the Democratic Party, and at this hour, it's time to honor that part of his life and legacy.

One personal story. The year Brock was elected to the Senate, 1986, was also the year I was elected to be President of the Young Democrats of Washington. Brock came to our convention, and instead of the usual hit and run appearance that candidates usually make at such events, he hung around, talked to people, showed real interest in our activities and our ideas.

When the events of the day were concluded, he joined us at a party hosted by a member who lived near the convention site. At the time, he was a double digit underdog in the polls, but he maintained a cheerful confidence that he could defeat the incumbent Republican, Slade Gorton. Put on the spot to account for that confidence, he took a long pull off a bottle of beer and smiled.

"I've got to beat him," the future Senator said. "Even his friends don't like him."

Brock beat Skeletor. For that alone, he deserves a moment of honor in his passing.

Fun with numbers.

Fun with numbers.

holden at First Draft runs the latest Zogby battleground numbers through ARG's electoral vote calculator and comes up with a cheerful outcome.

Kerry - 307, Bush - 231


Oh yeah, we're in deep trouble now.

Uh-huh.

But only if we panic.

So don't.

If wishes were...



Never Forget.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Hooray for my guy!

I don't say near as much as I probably should about my own personal Congressman, Rep. Jim McDermott. It's not that I don't admire and appreciate him and his work on behalf of the 7th District and the nation. I do. It's just too easy to overlook him in an election year, because his re-election is such a given.

The local punditocracy, in fact, has a tendency to tag him "Congressman for life" with a sense of derision, but it's pretty much a fact. Jim McDermott is so popular with his constituency that there's simply no liklihood of a successful challenge on the horizon, whether inter- or intra-Party.

Why is that? Well, because of items like this one from Pacific Views:
"It would be nice if we could give each of the dead a minute of silence... But we can't. Because we would be standing here for sixteen and a half hours." Congressman McDermott proceeded to read the names, ages, and ranks of the dead from Washington State. He asked other members of the House to do the same for the fallen from their states.
Here's the list that Rep. McDermott shared with his colleagues.
"From Washington State we have lost Lance Corporal Cedric E. Burns, age 22; Specialist Justin W. Hebert, age 20; Private Duane E. Longstreth, age 19; Private Kerry D. Scott, age 21; Second Lieutenant Benjamin L. Colgan, age 30, distinguished soldier who made his picture on to the front page of Time magazine, very courageous and very good soldier; Specialist Robert T. Benson, age 20; Specialist John R. Sullivan, age 26; Captain James A. Shull, age 32; Specialist Nathan W. Nakis, 19; Sergeant Curt E. Jordan, Jr., age 25; Staff Sergeant Christopher Bunda, age 29; First Lieutenant Michael R. Adams, age 24; Sergeant Jacob R. Herring, age 21; Sergeant Jeffery R. Shaver, age 26; Private Cody S. Calavan, age 19; Lance Corporal Dustin L. Sides, age 22; Staff Sergeant Marvin Best, age 33; Specialist Jeremiah W. Schmunk, age 21; Sergeant Yadir G. Reynoso, age 27; Lance Corporal Kane M. Funke, age 20; Lance Corporal Caleb J. Powers, age 21; Sergeant Jason Cook, age 25."
R.I.P.

And speaking of Pacific Views, happy belated 2nd blogiversary to Natasha. I'm looking forward to many more.

The lovely and talented...

...Audrey Hepcat.

Sometimes she won't have a thing to do with me.



I think she's feeling exploited...

I don't know...

although I guess I can't really say that I don't care, whether the Bush TNG memos are real or not. That will get sorted out on its own.

I do know that we don't need them to pass judgement on Bush's service record. David Corn puts it as plainly as possible...
No doubt, the debate over the memos will continue. But as it continues, the point should not be lost that even without the new information, Bush's account of his Guard service does not withstand scrutiny--that he still has not fully explained his missing year in the Air National Guard, that he has not presented any evidence that he engaged in training activity in Alabama (while commanders at the Guard unit there say they do not recall he ever reported for duty), that he has offered various misleading and false explanations for his failure to take a flight exam, that he has not addressed why he left his unit in Houston before his transfer to another unit in Alabama was approved, that he has misrepresented his Guard service in his autobiography, and that he has not explained why his annual performance review from May 1973 said he had not been seen at his unit for a year (when he claimed he was only in Alabama for a few months). All of these questions about his Guard service are backed up by official records that are unquestionably authentic.
Yep, he screwed that job up, too.

Nancy lays down some smack...

...and throws the guantlet at Tom Delay.

From The Stakeholder
I suppose if I were Zell Miller, I'd challenge him to a duel. But the fact is that I am not. So why don't I just challenge him to a debate? I will debate him on matters relating to intelligence, defense, jobs, health care, education, the environment, budget, fiscal soundness in our budget. I will debate him on any subject, any time, any place.
Speaker Pelosi.

Dare to dream...and work like hell to make your dreams come true.

Or give till it feels good. You can start here.

Can't let the Senate have all the fun.

The House took their turn to ignore a Bushco veto threat.

via The Left Coaster
Not only is it surprising that the Denny Hastert/Tom DeLay House didn’t show enough GOP discipline to stick with the president (22 GOP members voted with the Democrats), but the issue that prompted the “up yours” from the House was the Administration’s changes to overtime rules, as the House voted to prevent the Labor Department from implementing the new rules.
And the hits just keep coming...

Another "Don't Panic" post...

via Digby...
If Bush has a lead it is still small and manageable. And nobody's measured since the news came out that he was a perfumed little sissy in the national guard who called his daddy in every time he had to do something he didn't want to do. That could slow his alleged big mo just a tad.
Sure could. Or maybe something else will. There's still lot's of time to work hard. John Kerry seems resolved to fight back.

But good things will only happen if we don't panic.

There is no 'national' election.

That's a point worth repeating every time someone issues another national poll. That's why the most important numbers are registered state by state, not nationwide.

Ruy Teixeia had some of those state by state numbers up yesterday, some more agreeable to me than others, but this one I find simply delightful...
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of Washington state conducted September 3-7, 2004 has Kerry at 51 percent, Bush at 43 percent, Nader at 2 percent, and neither/unsure at 4 percent.
Hooray for the upper left!

You've just got to show up.

Matt Stoller has a thought provoking post over at BOPnews, and raises an interteresting question.
From Josh Marshall to my Mom to Ed Cone to, well, nearly everyone I know, there is advice for Kerry. Do this. Do that. People won't care about the swift boats. Hit back NOW! Attack Bush on the issues. Attack Bush on his service. You're losing! You have to stand for something! I wish Americans cared about the issues! Bush is going to win! Bush can't win!

The hysteria is really remarkable. But why? What causes Democrats to act as if they are on an unpredictable roller coaster?
His own answer comes close, but while some of the facts are right, some of the analysis is, well, at least incomplete in my experience.

For instance, Matt argues that
The Democratic Party is awash in secretiveness, and while there have been Kerry emails which explain a bit of polling, one is mostly kept in the dark as to the strategic direction of the campaign. It's nice to be asked to phone bank, door-knock, and give money, but without being given an honest (not gussied up) appraisal or why or how this fits into an overall strategic picture, Democratic activists get upset that they have nothing to do that will make a difference. And so they resort to panic.
There are a couple of problems there, based on common misperceptions and questionable definitions. First of all, the Kerry/Edwards campaign isn't the Democratic Party. While the campaign is arguably secretive, that's not the Party's fault, and the Party is actually a pretty transparent, grass-roots driven organization (more on that point in a bit). In fact, campaigns have become increasingly divorced from the Party apparatus over the last 30 years or so, for a variety of reasons, mostly financial. Confusing the campaign and the Party is commonplace, but erroneous. That's a little less true in the case of incumbent campaigns, but only a little.

I'm also left wondering who the "Democratic activists" Matt's talking about are supposed to be. Is a blogger who hates Bush enough to line up behind a nominee he ardently opposed in the primaries a "Democratic activist"? Is someone who walks their precinct for the D nominee every four years a "Democratic activist"? Is someone who pencils in "Democrat" on their voter registration form, but never attends a Party meeting or writes a Party check a "Democratic activist"?

As someone who's considered himself a Democratic activist for some decades now, and has a fairly extensive Party resume to prove the point, I wonder. Because I've always felt that Democratic activists were the people who are active in the Democratic Party, not just in Presidential years, but year in and year out. People who attend meetings, serve on committees and do all the day by day drudgery that actually constitutes a political party. That, of course, is a mere fraction of the folks who identify as Democrats, or vote for the Democratic candidates. It's the, well, the activists. And you know, most of the Democratic activists I know (and I know many) are working way too hard on way too many things to panic.

But Matt makes another point that's absolutely spot on.
...right now, there are very few Democrats who feel connected to a Democratic organization.
That's true, but why? It's not like we Democrats actually operate in secret. There's almost certainly a listing in your local phone book for your county or state Party organization, and a phone call would doubtless quickly generate the time and place of your next local Party meeting, and you'd almost certainly find a room full (or, unfortunately, maybe not quite full) of folks who'd love to meet you, and love even more to put you to work.

I've always said that the Democratic Party consists of the people who show up, and the leadership, at the most basic level, consists of the people who show up early to set up the chairs and stay late to clean out the coffee pot. It's from their ranks that, by a democratic process, county and state committeepersons, and ultimately the DNC are elected. The Democratic Party has an incredibly open, small 'd' democratic process for selecting leaders.

But you do have to show up. Early, if you can. And stay. All year. Every year.

If you don't, you may indeed be an activist of any number of kinds, but are you really a Democratic activist? Well, maybe in your mind, but maybe not to the actual Democratic activists.

And the actual Democratic activists? Like I say, I know lots of them (heck, I are one) and there's precious little panic to be found among them.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

To serve or not to serve...

...that was a big question for lots of us back in the day. How to serve was just as big a question for many, and I'm loathe to question anyone's answer. There were a lot of honorable ways, and all of us weighed our options carefully. I don't think many made their decision lightly.

Whether you served as a combat grunt or a draft resistance convict, there was a potential for honor in every choice. There was also a potential for dishonor, and it's becoming more and more clear that George W. Bush did an exemplary job of fulfilling the latter potential.

I really don't fault him for using whatever pull he had to get a coveted spot in the Air National Guard. Not many people got those precious Guard and Reserve assignments without a little pull in those days. What he did with the opportunity?

Another story altogether.

Jesse Berney at Kicking Ass outlines the conclusions we can draw from last night's 60 Minutes segment on Bush's service...
There is no doubt now that George Bush got special treatment getting into the Guard through family connections.

Bush went over his supervisor's head to avoid fulfilling his service.

Bush's supervisor had to write a note to himself titled, "CYA" explaining that he was getting pressure to "sugar coat" Bush's record.

Bush was grounded from flight status for not only failing to take his required medical exam per a direct order, but also because of his "failure to perform to (USAF/TexANG) standards."
...and the Boston Globe investigation on the same subject...
In 1968, Bush uses a family friend's connections to get into the Texas National Guard, avoiding service in Vietnam. He commits to six years' service with the Guard.

In 1972, Bush gets permission to serve with a unit in Alabama from September through November so that he can work on a Senate campaign. Pay records show a five-month lapse in duty between April and October, during which time Bush misses a "24-hour active alert mission" and fails to appear for a required medical examination.

In May 1973, Bush's supervisors in Houston report that they can't rate him for the prior 12-month period because he hasn't been there.

In July 1973, Bush leaves Houston for Harvard Business School and pledges to fulfill his remaining year of service with a unit in Boston, but never does.

From 2000-2004, the White House asserts multiple times that it has made all of Bush's military records public. In September 2004, the Pentagon releases more documents.
No matter what you think of what decision Bush made, or why, in regards to military service, how he acted after his decision is a disgrace.

Speaking of Speaker Pelosi

From The Stakeholder.
Seeking to demonstrate that it plans to fight House Republicans to a draw in the fall air wars, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved time in 30 media markets for a massive independent expenditure advertising campaign.

****

Greg Speed, communications director at the DCCC...pointed out that two-thirds of the buys to date are in media markets that cover Republican-held seats.
They're doing all they can, but they can't do it alone.

You can help here.

...but no thanks.



via Oliver Willis

Happy Labor Day, Part Two...

The Senate Dems offer up a belated Labor Day gift for federal workers.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (AP) - The Senate ignored a White House veto threat on Wednesday and voted to block President Bush from handing some Homeland Security Department jobs to private companies.

The 49-to-47 vote was a victory for Democrats and labor unions of federal workers. Five Republicans voted with the Democrats.
A win for the Senate Ds, a win for the federal workers, a win for America.

Just imagine what we could do with a Senate majority. And Speaker Pelosi. And President Kerry.

Lots to do.

Work Hard. Fight Back. Don't Panic.

(Tip o' the hat to The Left Coaster.)

Flip?

Flop.

Bush caves.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 - President Bush said on Wednesday that he wanted to give a new national intelligence director "full budgetary authority,'' a sharp shift from an earlier position and an acquiescence to a major recommendation of the Sept. 11 commission.

Mr. Bush was acting after weeks of intense election-year pressure from Democrats and members of his own party...
So much for Mr. "You Know Where I Stand."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

More poll pondering...

...and of course, I turn first to Ruy Teixeira for a look inside the new Gallup numbers.
Prior to the Republican convention, Kerry had a one point lead among RVs (47-46) in the battleground states. After the Republican convention, now that battleground voters have had a chance to take a closer look at what Bush and his party really stand for, Kerry leads by 5 in these same states (50-45)! Note that Kerry gained three points among battleground voters, while Bush actually got a negative one point bounce.
The Gallup poll's internals also show that Kerry continues to lead among independents (49-46) and that both parties' partisans are equally polarized for their respetive candidates (90-7)...
Still not satisfied? Here's Zogby.
This latest collection of polls shows that Mr. Kerry would win the White House by a margin of 264 electoral votes, to 231 for Mr. Bush.The votes of three states – Florida, Missouri, and Nevada – are held out of the count because the candidates are within one percentage point of each other and so are too close to call.
Feeling better yet?

Update: I've deleted the last line of the Zogby quote. As was pointed out in a comment, Zogby has issued a correction. Tt was transparently illogical, as I should have noticed. No, Kerry can't win with 264 electoral votes. It's also completely inessential to the point, which is that after a month that found the Kerry campaign having to conserve cash while fighting off one of the most slanderous attacks in modern American politics, winding up with the Republican Convention, Kerry's still in the ring, slightly ahead on points, and fighting toe to toe.

There are some rounds still to go, and a lot of work to be done, but the new is still pretty darn good for our side.

Here it is...



Thought I forgot, didn't you?

Nope. There's been a Blogger-induced delay, but there's still time for another Wednesday update of the Upper Left Scandal Scorecard, and here it is.
Today's entry comes courtesy of a GAO investigation, which reports that
U.S. subsidiaries of corporations headquartered in tax haven countries such as Bermuda are likely to enjoy advantages over American companies when bidding on federal contracts, congressional auditors said Friday.

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the subsidiaries have a "tax cost advantage" that enables them to shift income to their tax haven parent companies to reduce income subject to U.S. corporate taxes.

Because of that, they can offer lower bid prices on government contracts than their competitors, said the GAO, formerly known as the General Accounting Office.
Get that? It's not enough that companies use off-shore production to flood the US market with cheap consumer goods that undermine our production capability. Nope, they use foreign tax havens to get a competitive advantage over companies that pay American taxes, with the current US government policy rewards them for avoiding US taxes.

The Bushco response? Continuing the drive to "reform" progressivity out of the US tax code, without addressing the companies that use tax havens and outsourcing to pile up profits at the expense of the public.

Those are the corporations that John Kerry called "Benedict Arnold companies." It's a bit of rhetoric from the primaries I wouldn't mnd seeing reappear in the next few weeks.

Regardless of what you call the companies involved, the ability to exploit the federal contracting system by evading federal taxes is scandalous, and it expands the Scandal Scorecard to 58 entries - that's more than one for every day left until the election.

Painting the town...

...better yet, painting the country blue.

That's the plan, and it sounds good to me. MyDD scoops the blogosphere with a prevew of the DCCC's R2B plan...
The R2B program -- named for the effort to move House districts from "red to blue" when it comes to Congressional representation -- has a goal of raising $200K each for 13 Dem candidate across the country during the next two weeks.


The Stakeholder promises details right around the corner, but why wait? I'm pleased to see that Upper Left's own fave in the Fifth, Don Barbieri, is on the list. Give him a head start by dropping a few bucks right here.

Fire the Failure

General Zinni on George Bush:
"If you charge me with the responsibility of taking this nation to war, if you charge me with implementing that policy with creating the strategy which convinces me to go to war, and I fail you, then I ought to go."
Really. I mean, if you screwed your job up as bad as George Bush has screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?

Shrill? Me?

Please!

Shrill me.

I'm still not clear on what the secret blogging handshake that gets you into the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill might be. I was kind of hoping this would qualify.

Oliver Willis thinks this might. But it sounds so reasonable to me...

No, Cheney, stand by your damn words. People like you, you hate this country. You hate what we stand for, and you'll do anything possible to get around the American people. You're the worst sort of slanderer, because you're a coward. You sit in Washington, in your secure and undisclosed location, sending our soldiers off to die, enriching the pockets of your buckraking pals at Halliburton who fleece us, making up crazy theories to justify your misdeeds, and now you allege that the current leadership of the Democratic party is one with terror? You have no shame, no soul, no humanity.

May you rot. May your hollow husk of a being shrivel up and be discarded in the dustbin of history, along with all of humanity's mistakes and missteps. You've got no right. No God damn right.
See? Is that shrill or sensible? How can we tell what makes the cut anymore? Can any response to Dick Cheney or the Buscho war be considered shrill at this point? Is there really a top to go over these days?

Anyway, check in at ShrillBlog and see if Oliver or I made the cut. Even if we fell short this time, there's lots of dandy stuff there.

All depends on what you mean by "good"...

...or "progress." Or "we."

Bush says...
"We're still on the offense here in this country. We're chasing down these killers overseas so we don't have to face them here at home."

"We're making good progress."
So how does he explain this...

U.S. Conceding Rebels Control Regions of Iraq
WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 - As American military deaths in Iraq operations surpassed the 1,000 mark, top Pentagon officials said Tuesday that insurgents controlled important parts of central Iraq and that it was unclear when American and Iraqi forces would be able to secure those areas.

****

There is increasing concern in the administration over plans for the election, with some officials saying that if significant parts of the Sunni areas cannot be secured by January, it may be impossible to hold a nationwide balloting that would be seen as legitimate.
Oh yeah.

He just lies.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

1001

It was inevitable. We've seen it coming, day by day, week by week, death by death.

And now it's official.

23 this week.

147 since the "end of the occupation."

And now 1001 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have given their lives to Bush's war.

God damn it.

No.

God damn them.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, the whole crew.

God damn them to Hell.

Rounding up the Don't Panic Posse

Lest you think I'm just a voice in the wilderness, here are a few more singing in close harmony.

John McCreery at Best of the Blogs notes that we can't control the spin from the other side, but we can...
...refuse to panic, dig in our heels and work our buns off. Going into Chicken Little mode is, for sure, the way to wind up fried chicken.
While Mark Kleiman offers "More un-panic," noting that...
It's not that I don't want Kerry and his supporters angry and scared. Angry and scared is good. What I don't want to see is a replay of 2000, where the media convinced Democrats that Gore was losing, which made them think of him as a loser and start to pick him apart. The time for post-mortems is after the patient is dead. This one seems pretty healthy.
...the Carpetbagger Report calls you in from the ledge.
Admit it; I saw you looking for a window to jump out of when Newsweek and Time showed Bush jumping to an 11-point lead over Kerry. The hand-wringing done over the weekend was enough to cause a carpel tunnel epidemic...

...Well, forget it. Things just aren't as bad as you think.

...the national polls really aren't terrible; and 2) all national polls should be taken with a grain of salt because it's a state-by-state race.
And, yes, this means you can climb back in from the ledge now.
Elswhere, Kos counsels keeping your fingers off the button...
The sky isn't falling. The race is tight and will tighten. And though the national polls may be showing a small Bush lead, we still haven't seen much from the battleground states -- the only place the polls matter. So what if Bush has solidified his support in Alabama and Texas? I'll hold off on the panic button until we see numbers from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
...and Professor Krugman observes that the task ahead is as simple as telling the truth.
To win, the Kerry campaign has to convince a significant number of voters that the self-proclaimed "war president" isn't an effective war leader - he only plays one on TV.

This charge has the virtue of being true
. It's hard to find a nonpartisan national security analyst with a good word for the Bush administration's foreign policy. Iraq, in particular, is a slow-motion disaster brought on by wishful thinking, cronyism and epic incompetence.

Meanwhile, Digby has some of the day's best advice (again). Keep your wits about you and let Kerry be Kerry. He's actually pretty good at this, you know. Meanwhile, try to resist the temptation that so often accompanies the panic response - the insistence that unless Kerry says a particular thing, goes a particular place, strikes a particular note, all is lost. Or, as Digby himself puts it...
Kerry's biggest problem right now is too many cooks throwing fetid garbage into the soup. (If I were of any influence instead of a kibbitzer, I'd include myself as one of them.) For all that the Republicans are myopic, simplistic and overly controlled, we are the opposite. Democrats are embarrassingly undisciplined about this stuff and can't keep our mouths shut, so this all plays itself out publicly.

At this point, it's all about Kerry's political instincts. There is no consensus on the right approach going into the stretch. The race is a nail biter and he's got people all around him telling him different things. He has to sort out for himself what he thinks will work. It's up to him.
So there it is. Posse bloggers everywhere agree.

Work Hard. Fight Back. Don't Panic.

Open Seat Update

Next to - actually, equal to - the Presidential contest in my political heart are the races for the two open Congressional seats in Washington. I see them as both winnable and as fundamental pieces of a Democratic House majority. The good news is that there's good news in both districts.

In WA-5, the Don Barbieri campaign has announced (PDF warning on the latter link) a fundraising landmark, raising over $150,000 during the July 1-August 25 filing period to put them over the $1 million mark for total fundraising. With no primary contest, he's been able to shepherd his money carefully and had over half a million dollars on hand at the time of filing.

Of course, the campaign to recapture Speaker Tom Foley's old seat could always use more help, and if you're too far away to walk a precinct, you can contribute here.

On the east side of King County, Upper Left's support for Alex Alben in the three-way Democratic Primary for WA-8 (just a week away) has been confirmed by a clean endorsement sweep by the relevant dailies, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Seattle Times and the King County Journal.- PI Times King Co. Journal. They join Governor Gary Locke, both of our US Senators, five of six WA Democratic Congressmen, NARAL, the WA Labor Council and Upper Left's favorite weekly, The Stranger, on the Alben endorsement list.

You can offer your financial support for Alex here.

Of course, you can help them both, along with everyone else with a stake in electing Speaker Pelosi, by contributing to the Campaign For A New Majority through the Upper Left Majority Makers page. (And since I've had a bum url in my sidebar link to the page, it could really use some help...)

Do anything. Do everything. But do something to elect Speaker Pelosi today!

Have you read your Ruy today?

Then you know that...
...The new Gallup poll , conducted entirely after the GOP convention and therefore the first poll that truly measures Bush's bounce, shows Bush with a very modest bounce indeed: 2 points, whether you look at RVs or LVs...
and that...
...Bush's 2 point bounce (which, remember, is defined as change in a candidate's level of support, not in margin) is the worst ever received by a Republican after his convention. In 2000, Bush received an 8 point bounce. And even his hapless father received a 5 point bounce in 1992.
Admit it.

You feel much better now, don't you?

What's wrong?

John Kerry explains it all for you...
"...there's nothing complicated about it. It all comes down to one letter: W.
W stands for wrong. Wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities for our country."
...and scores the Quote of the Day.

Sic 'em, JK!

The wrong war, the wrong way...

...and we know who's really to blame. A little job review for the "war President."
In Iraq, the list of places from which American soldiers have either withdrawn or decided to visit only rarely is growing: Falluja, where a Taliban-like regime has imposed a rigid theocracy; Ramadi, where the Sunni insurgents appear to have the run of the city; and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf to the south...
Add Samara to the list, with Sadr City and who knows where else pending. While George Bush continues to tout Iraq as a new haven of democracy, conditions on the ground hardly match that description.
Most significant of all, the withdrawal from these cities calls into question the practicality of nationwide elections scheduled to take place before the end of January. At the moment, the Americans appear to be prepared to hold elections without cities like Falluja and Ramadi. But excluding the largely Sunni Arab areas from the elections would raise serious doubts about their legitimacy.
And who's running the show? As much as Bushco would like you to believe that the problems are with some isolated Islamic radicals and a handful of imported terrorists Knight Ridder's Hanna Allam reports that our intitial "victory" in Iraq was somewhat less complete than the administration claims.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (KRT) - By day, Iraqis loyal to Saddam's Hussein's much-feared Baath Party recite their oath in clandestine meetings, solicit donations from former members and talk politics over sugary tea at a Baghdad cafe known as simply "The Party."

By night, cells of these same men stage attacks on American and Iraqi forces, host soirees for Saddam's birthday and other former regime holidays, and debrief informants still dressed in suits and ties from their jobs in the new, U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

Even with Saddam under lock and key, the Baath Party is back in business
Meanwhile, the 20 US fatalities in the first week of September bring the total reported death count to 998. Given the turmoil of the last few days, it may pass the 1000 mark by the time you see this.

We're losing lives. We're losing battles. We're losing ground, literally and figuratively.

It's the wrong war, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, fought the wrong way for the wrong reasons.

And it's Bush's war. He wanted it, he started it, he's in charge of it. He's the Commander in Chief.

So, if you screwed your job up as bad as he's screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?

Monday, September 06, 2004

Happy Labor Day!

A musical tribute to the wonderful people who brought us the weekend...

When the Union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun.
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?
But the Union makes us strong.

It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops; endless miles of railroad laid.
Now we stand outcast and starving, 'midst the wonders we have made;
But the Union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power; gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong.

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold;
Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old.
For the Union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
Solidarity forever!
For the Union makes us strong.

Deja vu all over again...

The LA Times looks at the Kerry/Weld contest of 1996...
...polls had Kerry trailing Weld in August by 8 percentage points

****

Kerry won his second term 52% to 45%.
and quotes a veteran Kerry watcher, who reminds us...
"The key to understanding Kerry is that he fights best from an underdog status," said Lou DiNatale, a University of Massachusetts pollster who has followed Kerry's career for years. "You can't underestimate his ability to find the crease, the cutting issue, at the right moment and ride it all the way to election day."
JK's been there, done that, and is ready to do it again.

We all have to help.

How?

Nail down one more vote every day from now to November.

Ooops...

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The most wanted Saddam Hussein aide still on the run in Iraq, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has not been captured, Iraq's interior ministry said, adding that medical checks on a man in custody showed he was not Ibrahim.
The 'September surprise' that made headlines yesterday turns out to be completely unsurprising - just as we thought, you can't believe a word they say...

An Upper Left Endorsement

I have to admit that after former State Senator and State Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge dropped out of the Democratic Primary race for Governor due to health reasons, I became largely disinterested in the contest. We were left with a pair of mainstream Democratic candidates, neither of which particularly stirred my spirit, and either of which I could willingly support in November.

As the race has developed, though, King County Executive Ron Sims has distinguished himself as a clearly superior choice. While the differences between Ron and his opponent on most issues aren't particularly dramatic, and both have executive experience that demonstrates their respective abilities to manage the responsibilities of the Governor's offices, there is one essential difference that makes all the difference required to merit my support, and if you're a Washington voter, yours as well, I believe.

Democrats throughout the state have long given lip service to the need to reform our state tax system, one of the most regressive in the country. Specific proposals from candidates are exceedingly rare, though, and if they're forthcoming at all, they usually chip away at the issue and virtually never combine the words 'income' and 'tax' on the same page. Yep, a state income tax, to replace our high sales tax and onerous Business and Occupation Tax (which applies to the gross revenues of businesses regardless of profitability) is the third rail of Washington politics.

Ron Sims has made his stand firmly atop that rail, with a proposal for comprehensive tax reform that has become the centerpiece of his campaign. To be honest, I haven't studied his proposal in detail. In reality, there's little chance that it would withstand the constitutional amendment process it would require without serious alteration, if at all. Still, it's an act of political courage to simply put a serious proposal on the table. Political courage deserves reward, and Upper Left is proud to offer whatever reward our endorsement provides.

There's much more to Ron Sims than a tax proposal, of course, and you can find all the details at his campaign web site, where you can also contribute your financial support to his efforts.

If you're eligible, choose a Democratic ballot in the Washington State Primary and vote for Ron Sims for Governor.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Amen.

It behooves all of us, and especially the panic people, to spend a little time with Ruy Teixeira over at Donkey Rising before passing judgement on any poll. First of all, he knows more about the business of interpreting the infernal things than most of us ever hope to. As, maybe more, importantly, he's got one of the most consistently level heads in the Democratic Party.


Today, under the heading Could Everyone Please Just Calm Down Out There? he offers some insight into the new Time and Newsweek polls that have ruffled feathers all over the lefty blogosphere. A couple key points...
So why do Newsweek and Time insist on doing their bounce polls wrong so they're almost guaranteed to get misleading results? Simple: their publication schedule. They've got to have to data in time to dump it into their print publication. If they waited to do it right the poll would be too old to put in their magazine the subsequent week.

This is especially egregious since even a poll conducted entirely after the convention needs to be viewed with caution. As Charlie Cook points out:

A week or 10 days after the GOP convention, the electorate should have stopped bouncing and settled back down enough for horse race poll results to once again have some real meaning.
and
Aside from the timing, there are other reasons to be skeptical of the Newsweek poll. As has been widely reported in various blogs, the partisan distribution of the RVs in the Newsweek poll is quite startling: 38 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 31 percent independent. This 7 point lead for the GOP on party ID does not comport well with other data on partisan distribution this campaign season--which have consistently shown the Democrats leading by at least several points--and can't be blamed on a likely voter screen since there was none.
and a reminder.
It's still a long time 'til election day. People should resist the urge to push the panic button...
Remember this, too.

Every ounce of your energy will be needed to beat Bush, snatch back the Senate and recapture the House. If you've got any time or attention left after all that, there must be a legislature near you in need of another D or two or maybe a Governor's mansion in need of some attention.

Surely something.

No time to waste on distraction, no energy to spend on despair.

Work hard, fight back, don't panic.

And if you haven't checked in with Ruy, don't even read the damn polls.

While Republicans mocked...

...the decoration awarded to our war wounded with their Purple Heart bandaids, the troops they claim to support were earning the real thing at an accelerated pace in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Sept. 4 -- About 1,100 U.S. soldiers and Marines were wounded in Iraq during August, by far the highest combat injury toll for any month since the war began and an indication of the intensity of battles flaring in urban areas.
Yep. Over a year after the "end of major combat" and two months after the "end of occupation," the casualty count continues to climb. Not just in Najaf, either. On top of
...more than three weeks of fighting by two Army and one Marine battalion in the southern city of Najaf...U.S. units frequently faced combat in a sprawling Shiite Muslim slum in Baghdad and in the Sunni cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra, all of which remain under the control of insurgents two months after the transfer of political authority.
...and bandaids won't help much.
Normally, perhaps half the patients who come to the emergency room qualify as "acute" cases, a term that indicates severity and urgency. "A soldier who comes in and is almost bleeding to death will require more care than someone who is just shot with a bullet," Beitz explained. In August, however, the rate of acute cases jumped to three of four ER patients.
Meanwhile, the Vietnam analogies take on a disturbing new dimension...
More and more often, children are lobbing the grenades, Ford said. Insurgents offer boys of 10 or 12 years old $150 to toss a grenade at a U.S. patrol, the captain said.

"For the longest time, we've had a good relationship with the children," Ford said. "Now this. Who enjoys putting a bead on a kid?
George Bush is the "war President." He made that term part of his job description.

So tell me. If you screwed your job up as bad as he's screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?

Another Poll-Pondering Post

While the panic people tear their hair out screaming "11 points! The sky is falling!" it's good to get a little perspective, which the LA Times kindly provides...
The first poll released after the convention, conducted by Time magazine, found that 52% of likely voters said they intended to vote for Bush, against 41% for Kerry — the widest lead for Bush in months. A similar poll conducted by the magazine before the convention had Bush barely ahead of Kerry in a statistical dead heat, 46% to 44%. The polls have a 4-point margin of error in either direction.
That's 52% for Bush during the convention, as opposed to 46% before. A six point, not an eleven point, bump. In a poll with a ± of four points.

It's not nothing, but it's not all that, either.

And it really doesn't change much of anything. What we have to do is pretty much what we've had to do all along. Work hard. Fight back.

More valuable perspective comes via DemFromCT over at Kos.
There's much more to come in the news. There may be scandals that break in time for the election. Things that no one can control may change the dynamic, but until the debates, this seems to be where we are. And that doesn't mean Bush wins. But it doesn't mean Kerry's the next President unless a tremendous amount of hard work, GOTV, etc. is put in place. If you thought you weren't needed, get rid of that idea. Do what you can where you can. Every vote counts. And it seems more useful to me than giving interviews.
More useful than panic, too, IMNSHO...

Some things change...

...some don't.

The Stakeholder takes a look at what we knew about Abu Grahib then...
"Did senior officials order torture? We know of two relevant cases so far. One was Mr. Rumsfeld's December 2002 authorization of the use of techniques including hooding, nudity, stress positions, "fear of dogs" and physical contact with prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay base. A second was the distribution in September 2003 by the office of the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, of an interrogation policy that included these techniques as well as others, among them sleep and dietary manipulation."

-- Washington Post editorial, June 21, 2004
...and now...
"Several abuses in particular are highlighted by the two reports released last week: the use of dogs to frighten detainees, the repeated stripping of detainees, and the use of extended isolation and sensory deprivation. Each clearly violated Army rules and violated Geneva Conventions that protect civilians under military occupation from threats of violence, isolation from visits by the Red Cross, and humiliating and degrading treatment, the Army report said."

-- Washington Post, August 30, 2004
...and shines a little light down the memory hole with a graphic gallery of the results of the Rumsfeld/Sanchez prisoner policy.

The DCCC has lots to talk about and lots to do, but kudos to Jesse for not letting this story die.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Best wishes for the Big Dog...

...from everyone at Upper Left World Headquarters.

And let's get those cards and letters going folks. You can send them to
The William J. Clinton Foundation
55 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027
and you know you should.

Weekend update...

...Iraq still FUBAR.

Juan Cole runs down developments around Iraq on Friday and Saturday, including...
Tal Afar: US troops engaged in a fierce battle with Sunni Arab nationalists, killing 13 and wounding "53 civilians."

Kirkuk: A suicide bomber killed nearly two dozen people and wounded at least 36 in front of the police academy.

Latifiyah: Iraqi National Guards supported by US forces conducted a major operation against Sunni nationalist forces, arresting 200 men and suffering 12 policemen and 5 National Guardsmen dead.

Basra: Two oil pipelines were bombed.

Tikrit: Two US troops were injured on Friday.

Najaf: US troops surrounded the city amid fears of a Mahdi Army resurgence.
...and offers this...
"So it wasn't a catastrophic success that caused the problem. It was that Iraq was being run at the upper levels by a handful of screw-ups who had all sorts of ulterior motives, and at least sometimes did not have the best interests of the country at heart. And Bush is the one who put them in charge."
He's explicitly refering to Iraq as the country in question, but he could as easily have meant the US, which has similarly been run by a handful of screw-ups who have all sorts of ulterior motives.

And Bush not only put them in charge, but is among the biggest screw ups of all.

And if you screwed your job up as bad as he's screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?

Things that make you go hmmmm...

Atrios has this from Saletan...
Recession. Unemployment. Corporate fraud. A war based on false premises that has cost us $200 billion and nearly a thousand American lives. They're all hills we've "been given to climb." It's as though Bush wasn't president. As though he didn't get the tax cuts he wanted. As though he didn't bring about postwar Iraq and authorize the planning for it. All this was "given," and now Bush can show up, three and a half years into his term, and start solving the problems some other president else left behind.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it.

I mean, if you screwed your job up as bad as he's screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?

Hmmmmm?

Oh dear.

The panic people are about to have a field day, I suppose. First Time, now Newsweek, have post-RNC polls reflecting a significant bounce for Bush. They're worth what they're worth, but I'm not at all sure what that might be, exactly. First of all, they're not the only numbers out there, and some of the others paint a somewhat different picture. At Corrente, the farmer offers these, for instance...

ZOGBY - Zogby America Poll. Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2004.
"Do you think George W. Bush deserves to be reelected as president of the United States, or is it time for someone new?"

Among likely voters nationwide:
8/30 - 9/2/04
deserves reelection - 46%
someone new - 48%
unsure - 6%
American Research Group Poll. Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2004.
"If the election for president were being held between George W. Bush, the Republican, and John Kerry, the Democrat, for whom would you vote: Bush or Kerry?"

Among registered voters:
polled 8/30 - 9/1/04
Bush - 46%
Kerry - 48%
unsure - 6%
Even when they look better for Kerry, though, I'm skeptical of national polling. Bottom line? It isn't a national election. Over the next few days, we'll see new polling from the battlegrounds that will effectively measure the convention bounce and the Kerry response, which will tell us where this thing is really at.

Meanwhile, we know we've got to do what we've known we've had to do all along.

Work hard.

Fight back.

And panic? Still unproductive.

So don't.

Wanna be a liberal do-gooder?

A message from Steve at I Like To Write:
I have never done this before, but I am trying to raise a few bucks for America Coming Together, which is a GOTV organization for Swing States. This is the first of many projects I am doing over the next 58 days. This is one I will be working on until Sunday at midnight. I am asking anyone who links to me to contribute five or ten bucks , or if you can’t, to spread the word on your blog about what we are trying to do (or both). What my wife and I did was contribute 10 dollars to them last night and we asked our handful of readers to chip in 5 or 10 here or there. We have been able to raise 365 bucks in less than two days. I know that’s a small amount, but it is more than 35 times what we started out with.
OK, I'm in for ten. Pop over to ILTW and check out what Steve's up to, and if the spirit moves you, toss a few bucks at ACT.

Good people, good cause, good idea.

Good going, Steve!

Sometimes...

...life is just good. The Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and I took time for a ferry boat ride and a drive along the coast of Hood Canal today, with a pit stop at our favorite oyster farm for a batch of fresh yearlings and a bag of steamers on the side.

It wasn't a totally apolitical experience, though. We had lunch with the Father of the Bride and his companion, and while the polling sample may be exceedingly small, it's still personally satisfying. A hard R from Dewey to Reagan, the Father-in-Law of Upper Left softened a bit during the tenure of the Big Dog, and in the wake of the nightmare in New York, he's completed his 180.

Chalk up one in the JK column.

Yep, sometimes life is just good.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Maybe I'm an idealist...

...but I'm really not a Pollyanna, despite my constant refrain of "don't panic." I know exactly how wrong things can go, and over the years I've seen a lot of good causes and candidates go down. But I've seen a lot of good causes and candidates prevail, too, and I stubbornly cling to my optimism. I really believe that the course of history favors the advance of liberty and justice, and I really believe that someday that will truly be "for all."

And I really believe that we're going to prevail this year. I could offer any number of reasons, but the source of my essential optimism can't be summed up much better than Ezra Klein put it in a post at Political Animal.
Voters aren't always informed, but they're almost always decent and they well know that no party's candidate is that singularly wrong, exclusively evil, and determined to bring America to its knees. The right insisted on a caricature of Kerry too satanic for any reasonable person to believe, and that dissonance will say all that needs to be said.
Do we need to work hard? Absolutely.

Do we need to fight back? You bet. Every day.

But we can, and I really believe will, win this thing. Don't panic.

Quote of the day

"Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America."
John Kerry
Sic 'em, JK!

Time to let him go...

Bush's basic characteristic is not steadfastness, as the convention attempted to argue, but rashness. He is a gambler who goes for the big bang. He loses his temper easily, and makes hasty and uninformed decisions about important matters. No corporation would keep on a CEO that took risks the way Bush has, if the gambles so often resulted in huge losses.

Juan Cole


Which raises the question...

"If you screwed your job up as bad as he's screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?"

Repeat daily.

Oh yeah, it's Friday...

Audrey Hepcat...



...mighty huntress.


Note: No squirrels were harmed in the creation of this post.

While the Republicans ranted...

Nathan Newman offered a link to the ajusted jobless claims for 8/28 (up 19,000 to 362,000) and a link to the August retail sales figures (weakest since March 2003), while Atrios serves up this link to the August job numbers, where we learn that
U.S. employers added 144,000 workers to payrolls in August, the most since May and the first acceleration in five months, suggesting the economy is emerging from a midyear lull.....

...Economists such as Ethan Harris at Lehman Brothers Inc. in New York, say the economy needs to create about 150,000 jobs a month to absorb a growing workforce...
Is it just me, or do all these links seem to be adding up to a heavy chain for Bush to be hauling around as he heads toward the electoral finish line?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

1000 words...

...or the pictoral equivalent, on Zell Miller...



via Best of the Blogs

OK, it sounds so easy...

...to say you'll recruit one more Kerry vote every day, right? But how?
I think Josh Marshall offers the most straightforward case you can make. Short, simple and within the realm of most people's experience and understanding. A case you can make across the bar or at the checkout line. A case to make over and over, to everybody and anybody.
The message is straightforward and explainable in ascending levels of specificity.

At its simplest: President Bush has screwed everything up.

A tad less simple: President Bush lied the country into war and then screwed up Iraq. He's racked up huge deficit numbers but no good jobs numbers. He's blown a lot of stuff up; but he's made America less safe.

****

In the real world the consequence of screwing everything up is getting canned. Little of the president's life has been lived in the real world. But we have to. So he should be fired.


That's it. Just say "Well, if you screwed your job up as bad as he's screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?"

Lots of folks are bound to agree...

Who was that mad man...

...from Georgia with the funny name and the frightening rhetoric?
Sully sez...
Remember who this man is: once a proud supporter of racial segregation, a man who lambasted LBJ for selling his soul to the negroes. His speech tonight was in this vein, a classic Dixiecrat speech, jammed with bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric.
Remember, indeed.

Remember, especially in November.

And remember every day between now and then. If you need any more reasons than Zell Miller provided last night to make a personal commitment to nailing down one more vote for Kerry every day between now and election day, you're just not paying attention.