Thursday, September 30, 2004

OK, Kerry did his job.

He won the debate.

Now it's our turn to pitch in and help win the spin. The DNC marching orders are a few posts down the page, and AmericaBlog has direct links to a bunch of online polls. If you find more, put 'em in a comment.

And pitch in to elect a new Democratic Congress to help our new Democratic President do his job.

And tonight's big winner is...

...the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left, who rolled over the Elder Daughter of Upper Left and I in Bush Debate Bingo, scoring with "The Squint," "Washington, D.C.," "Operation Iraqi Freedom," "Weapons of mass destruction" and "Stronger."

The debate itself? Oh, yeah. Kerry won that yesterday.

Whipping up some news...

On a day when the Presidential campaign is grabbing most all the attention, it's easy to forget that there are other stories just as important to the lives of Americans. One of those, of course, is the continuing mismanagement of the public business by the Republican Congress. Hat's off to Steny Hoyer for some valuable focus on the facts...
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today at a press conference drawing attention to the failed Republican Congress's decision to wait for a lame-duck Congress to finish 12 of 13 appropriations bills and other important legislation.
Here's some of what he had to say...
"Tonight, when the clock strikes 12, the United States of America will begin a new fiscal year, closing the books on the most fiscally irresponsible year in our history - a year in which we will run a record budget deficit of $422 billion.

"And yet, as the new fiscal year looms just hours away, this Congress has enacted just one - just one - of the 13 annual spending bills that keep the federal government operating.

"As our workload piles up, consider this fact: This Second Session of the 108th Congress is on course to work fewer days - 94, as of today - than any single Session of Congress since 1948.
Of course, while the Republican leadership of the 108th Congress has accomplished practically nothing, it wouldn't be exactly right to say they're a "do-nothing" Congress. They're doing things, alright. The wrong things, the wrong way, at the wrong time.

Like this...
WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House emphatically defeated a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Thursday, the latest in a string of conservative pet causes pushed to a vote by GOP leaders in the run-up to Election Day.
...and putting assault weapons back on the gun shop shelves, Saturday night specials back in D.C. neighborhoods and making an end run around the Constitution in a purported attempt to 'save' the Pledge of Allegiance.

In fact, the Republican failure to pass a budget makes the entire session an end run around their Constitutional responsiblity to do just that.

It's, well, it's un-American! Literally.

And it's time for a change. It's time for Speaker Pelosi. It's time for a New Majority.

And there's time to follow this link before you settle onto the sofa to watch the Kerry debate victory. Kick in a few dollars and sign up for D-Trip updates before you get too busy doing all of this.

Oh, the suspense!

No, not about who won the debate. We already know who won the debate.

Here at Upper Left World Headquarters, the night is all about who will win Bush Debate Bingo, courtesy of our friends at the DNC.

You can play, too. Just print out a card for everyone at your own personal Upper Left Outpost and make the evening more meaningful.

With victory in hand...

...there's still work to to do. When the candidate's go off-camera tonight, John Kerry won't need your advice, but he will need your help, and the DNC provides your job description:
Tonight, don't let George Bush's henchmen steal another victory. We need your online help immediately after the debate, so save this email, print it out, and have it ready with you as you watch the first Presidential debate tonight.

We all know what happened in 2000. Al Gore won the first debate on the issues, but Republicans stole the post-debate spin. We are not going to let that happen again, and you will play a big role.

Immediately after the debate, we need you to do three things: vote in online polls, write a letter to the editor, and call in to talk radio programs. Your 10 minutes of activism following the debate can make the difference.


National and local news organizations will be conducting online polls during and after the debate asking for readers' opinions. Look for online polls at these national news websites, and make sure to vote in every one of them:

ABC News:
CBS News:
Fox News:
USA Today:

And be sure to check the websites of your local newspapers and TV stations for online polls. It is crucial that you do this in the minutes immediately following the debate.


Immediately after the debate, go online and write a letter to the editor of your local paper. If you feel John Kerry commanded the debate and had a clear plan for fixing the mess in Iraq, put it in your letter. If you feel George Bush dodged tough questions on Iraq and didn't level with voters, put it in your letter.

With just a few clicks, you can write your letter at our online media center:


Do you listen to national or local call-in shows on the radio? How about on TV? Call them and let them know what you thought of John Kerry's plan to keep America secure and George Bush's continuing refusal to admit the truth about his record.

Here are some national shows to get you started. (All times are Eastern.)

Air America (all day): 646-274-2346
Alan Colmes (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.): 212-301-5900
Ed Shultz (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.): 701-232-1525
Bev Smith (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.): 412-325-4197
Doug Stephen (5 a.m. 10 a.m.): 1-800-510-8255
Find shows in your area on our media website:

Your actions immediately after the debate tonight can help John Kerry win on November 2. Make your voice heard!

Don't forget to visit our 2004 Debate Center before, during, and after the debate for important information, including questions Bush must answer, a Bush/Kerry contrast on keeping America safe, and Bush Debate Bingo, a game you can play with friends during the debate.

Thank you,
Terry McAuliffe

Debate Wrap-up Follow-up

The first Presidential debate took place about seven hours from now, and Steve Gilliard has complete reaction...
"George Bush was completely inarticulate. I still don't understand what he meant about Iraq"

"I am so disappointed in Bush. We're seeing carbombs explode every day in Iraq and he won't admit failure"

"Bush thinks this is about him. Meanwhile American soldiers are dying in Iraq every day"

"Why won't Bush admit he blew the hunt for Osama Bin Laden"

"John Kerry convinced me he can do something about Iraq"

I think Kerry is better on Iraq than Bush"

"I'm going to vote for Kerry, I no longer trust the president"

"Bush lost my confidence last night. He just falls short against Kerry"

"I can't believe that Bush embarassed himself like that. It's amazing he's president".
America agrees! Kerry won!

It's Digby's turn... dive down the memory hole.
Do note that, much as Dean's nomination is inevitable, it is also inevitable that at some point in the not-too-distant future, his nomination will cease to look inevitable. Nevertheless, it will still be inevitable as has been clear for some time. When you combine the most impassioned supporters with what's obviously the best-run campaign, and the most money, you're looking at a winner.
While those were the actual sentiments of a particular person (not Digby) last December, they were fairly representative of wide opinion in the then Deaner dominated lefty blogosphere. Sentiments like that, in fact, were no small part of my motivation for starting Upper Left in the first place, because I thought they were just as silly then as I think much of the handwringing about Kerry's poll position from many of the same sources is now.

There are days when I wish I could improve on Digby's take, there are days I actually try and there are days when I just give up and quote him verbatim. This is one of the latter days. Here's the quote (spiced up, as usual, with my emphasis).
The reality is that this race is close. It is NOT clear that Kerry has lost momentum. It is simply unknowable from the polls who has momentum, if anyone, and whether Kerry is ahead by a few points or behind by a few points --- because the race is close. These divergent polls are likely the result of the impact of technology on polling methods finally coming to fruition, a shifting undecided electorate as they finally tune in heavily and some very bad polling methods that don't matter a lot when the race is a blowout. We simply don't know anything more than that the race is within spitting distance for both candidates at this point.
Remember - if any of your favorite bloggers offering profound predictions were so damn smart (present company included) we'd have six figure consulting contracts, not PayPal buttons.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Wanna bet?

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. and Iraqi forces will retake rebel-held cities in Iraq in October, Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan told Reuters on Wednesday.

"You wait and see what we are going to do. We are going to take all these cities in October," Shalaan said.


...where credit is due.

As someone who has long appreciated the work of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's ace political reporter Joel Connelly, I'd like to join in with all those from hither and yon who are lauding him for uncovering Dick Cheney's flip-flop on the wisdom of invading Iraq.

I'd like to, but...

I blogged a damning quote from Cheney's 1992 speech for the Dicovery Insitute last Saturday, having lifted it from a longer excerpt offered by Oliver Willis the day before. I don't know where Oliver got it. Maybe from Will Bunch of Campaign Extra! who ran his first report on the speech back in January '03.

Kudos to Joel for expanding the audience for the story, but how 'bout a little love for the blogosphere on this one, huh?

(Of course, due credit should go to the uber-blogger for giving the same to another blogger...)

Debate Wrap-up

You can bet they've got their spin ready, so I figured I better polish up mine.
On Thursday night, George W. Bush demonstrated that he's...


and a coward...

and, oh yeah, he just lies.

So Kerry won!
See how easy that is?

Here I go again...

While Americans indulge in an orgy of self-congratulation over the acknowledgement, via the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, that American Indians deserve some notice for having played a role in the history of our country, it seems appropriate to devote another Scandal Scorecard update to American Indian issues.

In all fairness, this one isn't about a problem that arose under the Bush administration. The abuse of the lands held in trust for Indian people by the federal government knows no partisan bounds. It is, though, a scandal which has continued and deepened during the four years of the Bush administration, and it has been in the administration's power to end it on any day they chose to.

But they didn't so choose.

The New York Times editorialized on the subject this week, noting the extent of the problem...
Those who examine the trust - including members of Congress - come away stunned by how badly and how fraudulently it has been handled. Records have been lost and purposely destroyed. Even a conservative guess of the amount owed to Indians from the trust runs as high as the tens of billions of dollars.
...and the responsibility that Justice and Interior, departments which are under the direct and personal control of George W. Bush, have for extending the scandal...
The plaintiffs have won in court every step of the way. Interior officials have repeatedly been placed under sanctions for misconduct and malfeasance. So far Interior has worked as hard to discredit the judge in the case, Royce Lamberth, as it has to actually fix the problem. The department essentially argues that the judiciary has no business telling the executive branch how to do its business...

...and points out that the real solution is found by pursuing Bushco's real enemy - the simple truth.
The central question is simply: Who has profited from economic activity on the individual Indian trust lands? Certainly not the Indians who owned them. The only real reason to block a historical accounting of this trust - and real reform - is to block the real answer to that question.
It's a disgrace that's rooted in a lie - and it's a scandal.

Just one more of many.

Bush just lies...

...and more and more people are starting to notice. Even 'serious news reporters.'
Juan Coleoffers an example...
Serious news reporters who have gone back over the record find that Bush's charge is without merit, and that Kerry has been consistent on his Iraq position.
It's true that there are plenty of folks on both sides of the political fence that disagree with Kerry's position, although for differing reasons, but serious people who pay serious attention will find it coherent and consistent. That's a point that needs to be driven home again and again, and the proof is getting wider and wider circulation.

The best response to the frivolous 'flip-flop' charge is simple.

Bush just lies.

(Juan also provides one of the most amusing moments in the blogosphere today when he writes "It is indisputable that the Iraq situation is Fouled Up Beyond Repair, or FUBAR."

"Fouled Up Beyond Repair."


Academics are so cute...)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

We interrupt your regularly scheduled panic attack

...for this public service reminder from AmericaBlog.
...23 of 26 polls in 2000 showed Bush winning the popular vote in the 3 days before the election (and two of the polls had Bush winning by 9 points!). And we all know who actually won the popular vote. Believe the polls at your own peril.

Need I say it?

"...forcefully and effectively."

That's our Nancy.

And that's how Juan Cole describes the intervention of Speaker in waiting Pelosi which derailed administration plans to use the CIA as a conduit for campaign cash in the scheduled (if increasingly improbably) elections in Iraq.

Commenting on a Time Magazine report, Cole goes on...
She appears to have mobilized a bipartisan "powerful women" network with Rice, whom she strong-armed...
Get that? Nancy Pelosi "strong-armed" Condi Rice. It's the kind of thing you can do when you're in the right instead of on the right.

Just imagine what she could accomplish if she worked out of the big chair in the front of the House.

Just imagine the impact a few more dollars in a few key places could have in putting her there. Or if a few more bodies walked a few more blocks in some critical districts.

Then click here and just make it happen.

I, Anonymous...

I wonder if these guysare related to the crank in comments who signs in with the same (lack of) name...
"We're trying to climb out of a hole," said an official with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, who spoke on condition of anonymity. American missteps during the occupation, the official said, "continue to haunt us."


"We simply don't have enough trained Iraqi forces right now to do what we need to do," said a senior U.S. military official in Iraq who spoke on condition of anonymity.
...but I guess not. Because they're right, and he's wrong.

Ummm, Kevin?

Pay attention. Mr. Drum predicts...
What do we have to look forward to if George W. Bush is elected to a second term? One word: scandal.
"look forward..."?!?

Heck, man, look around.

We're soaking in it.

No we don't.

Not this Democrat, anyway, and hopefully none of you. Taegan Goddard opines...
Even Democrats have to agree President Bush's new ad is devastating.
Sorry, but not hardly. Plucking a handful of Kerry quotes and stringing them together to create a false impression - that is, a lie - isn't devastating, it's Bushco S.O.P., and we don't have to concede and inch to the smears, deceptions and distractions of the Rovian fog machine.

Democrats shouldn't be devastated. They should be pissed off and fighting back. The most powerful weapon in the fight is the truth, and the truth is this.

Bush just lies.

Of course, a little turnabout isn't only fair play, it can be a lot of fun, and The Talent Show obliges...
George W. Bush :

"We are in a war on global terror, and because of you, we're winning the war on global terror."

"I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world"

"We will tear down the apparatus of terror, and we will help build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free."

"I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called 'nation building.'"

"America and the world are safer because Saddam Hussein sits in a prison cell"

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."

"I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind."

"Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president."
There's no time to be devastated. There's no time to panic.

There's still plenty of time to work hard and fight back.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Good question.

AmericaBlog wonders "How Would You Spend $200 Billion?" and offers an intriguing suggestion.
Instead of invading Iraq, Bush could have paid off the ENTIRE debt of some 30+ Third World countries, given countless nations a radical chance at improving their economic livelihood, created tremendous good will for the US, encouraged them (through incentives) to embrace democracy and economic reform (which would be far harder for governments to avoid with the huge opportunity this would have provided) and in the end helped turn impoverished nations into vibrant nations and -- hey, it's good for the US economy -- growing markets for our goods and services.
Of course, there's health care, education, hunger, homelessness, an amazing array of possibilities.

And oh yeah. We're deep in debt ourselves, and getting deeper every day.

So, how would you spend $200 billion?

Post of the Day

The link to follow if you're only following one.

Remember when comparing Iraq to Vietnam was controversial? Will Bunch blows the controversy out of the water with a Vietnam-Iraq timeline at Campaign Extra!
Summing up, he writes...
1963-1975: More than 58,000 Americans, and many more Vietnamese, die in the Vietnam War. Ultimately, U.S. troops withdraw without victory, clearing the way for a Communist takeover of South Vietnam. The war leads to violence and unrest at home, and a loss of American prestige abroad.

2003-?: Iraq War. It is not too late to change the course of history.
...but don't settle for the summary. It's a dandy piece of research and it's today's real must read.

With friends like this...

The National Guard is the centerpiece of U.S. plans to turn over security responsibilities after elections slated for January and guardsmen have been targeted repeatedly by insurgents who are trying to undermine Iraq's interim government and drive out the U.S.-led coalition.

But the threat may not only come from outside the force. Guard Brig. Gen. Talib al-Lahibi, who previously served as an infantry officer in Saddam Hussein's army, was detained Thursday in the province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, a U.S. military statement announced.
and this...
Even before the arrest of General Lahibi, other signs had emerged of the fractured loyalties of the Iraqi security forces. In August, the Marines said they had arrested the police chief of volatile Anbar Province, which includes Falluja, and were investigating him on suspicion of ties to the insurgency. Like General Lahibi, the police chief, Jaadan Muhammad Alwan, was a high-ranking Baathist during the Hussein years.
...I find myself oddly nostalgic for loyal, effective allies like the ARVN...

Step by step...

The LA Times offers a rundown of expert opinion on the outcome of Bushco's decision to divert attention from the international Islamo-fascist terror movement represented by Al Qaida in favor of adventurism in Iraq. Bottom line?
"Any assessment that the global terror movement has been rolled back or that even one component, Al Qaeda, is on the run is optimistic and most certainly incorrect," said M.J. Gohel, head of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a London think tank. "Bin Laden's doctrines are now playing themselves out all over the world..."
Whatever else has come out of this crazy mixmaster admninistration, there's been one clear message. The willingness to quickly take Bin Laden out of the bulls-eye means you can hit the US with relative impunity.

It's a rough world out there. I'm not someone who believes that we can ever really be "safe." I'm fairly certain, though, that we can be relatively safer, and that the first step in that direction has to be the removal of an administration populated by liars and fools which has made us less safe.

Should-Be Speaker Pelosi puts it perfectly.
"We would be much safer today if President Bush had kept his focus on al-Qaida, rather than diverting crucial resources from the war on terror in Afghanistan to a war of choice in Iraq."
If President Kerry is step one, Speaker Pelosi is the critical followup, and you can play a critical role in that by going here and doing what needs be done.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

No mix up here...

Like his patron in the White House, Allawi just lies.
After his speech to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, Allawi described Baghdad as "very good and safe." In fact, during the period for which security reports were available, the number of attacks in the capital averaged 22 a day.

On Wednesday, there were 28 separate hostile incidents in Baghdad, including five rocket-propelled grenade attacks, six roadside bombings and a suicide bombing in which a car exploded at a National Guard recruiting station, killing at least 11 people and wounding more than 50.

Washington Post, 9/25/04

Hope there's a good warranty on that thing...

...because Bushco seems to have lots of messages to mix.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the United States is committed to allowing all Iraqis the chance to vote, but the top U.S. military commander in the region cautioned against expecting that sort of achievement.

Both Powell and Gen. John Abizaid spoke of a major political and military effort before the scheduled elections to take back areas that insurgents now control.

Bad blogger.

OK, so I'm a little slow off the line today. I'm afraid it's just one of those fall Sunday's when no news story seems to compare to the fate of my fantasy football squad in my personal horizon, and I can't imagine a more boring topic for y'all than a chronicle of my alternately ranting at the tv and computer screens attempting to squeeze one more point out of an injured tight end.

Of course, lots of folks seem to be busy with other interests, since traffic's down a bit this weekend. Not so much, though, that the Upper Left Majority Makers page hasn't logged some more activity - we're at $600 and counting now.

And there are a couple stories on my mental back burner that I'll get to in a bit. So hang in there...and oh, yeah, my team? Doing just fine so far.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

You're doing great...

...but we're not done yet.

Thanks to some generous Upper Lefties, the Upper Left Majority Makers page has raised a total of $575 - 11% of our $5000 goal. It's good enough to put the page in the top 25 at the Campaign for a New Majority, but #24 is a pretty vulnerable position.

If you're sitting on a buck or two that needs a highly effective Democratic home, well this is it.

And if you've got more time than money, hit the same link to sign up with the campaign, so that they can let you know what they're up to and know where you are when they need you.

And either way, THANKS!

The gang that couldn't talk straight...

"...we will never be intimidated, and freedom is winning. We're making steady progress."

George W. Bush

"...(Iraq)'s never been peaceful and perfect and it isn't likely to be."

Donald Rumsfeld

The message seems to be, ummm, mixed...

Quote of the Day

E.J. Dionne, via The Sideshow

"A very intelligent political reporter I know said the other night that Republicans simply run better campaigns than Democrats. If I were given a free pass to stretch the truth to the breaking point, I could run a pretty good campaign, too."

Of course, he might have said "Bush just lies."

And the "press" just lets him.


...but no cigar for the AP's Jennifer Loven.

She starts off strong...
WACO, Texas - President Bush opened several new scathing lines of attack against Democrat John Kerry, charges that twisted his rival's words on Iraq and made Kerry seem supportive of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein
...and backs her lede with the facts...

He stated flatly that Kerry had said earlier in the week "he would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today." The line drew gasps of surprise from Bush's audience in a Racine, Wis., park. "I just strongly disagree," the president said.

But Kerry never said that...


Bush attacked Kerry for calling "our alliance 'the alliance of the coerced and the bribed.'"

...But Bush mischaracterized Kerry's criticism...
But she just can't resist throwing in some of that 'balance' that reporters use to inocculate themselves from attacks from the Rove machine.
That's not to say Kerry hasn't been playing fast and loose with Bush's words.


The e-mail from campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill accused the president of having "no plan to get us out of Iraq" and thinking "the future of Iraq is brighter than the future of America."

Bush has a plan for Iraq — Kerry just disagrees that it is working. And the president wasn't comparing Iraq's future to that of the United States, only accurately reflecting one recent survey in Iraq and the latest trends in America that asked participants for their assessment of the direction their countries are going.
We can argue about the existence of an actual Bush plan for Iraq, I suppose (though I don't think there's any resonable argument to be made that he has an effective one), but that "recent survey in Iraq"?

Juan Cole, as usual, has the goods...
President George W. Bush cited a poll done in June and July to argue that Iraqis are more optimistic about their future than Americans are about theirs. First of all, even if this were true, it is not good news for Bush.

Second of all, that poll was done before the US assault on Najaf, and the significant deterioration of the security situation in August and September. Many Iraqis had at that time been willing to give Allawi a chance, hoping security would improve. I am sure those numbers would be much lower now.
So the only defense for Bush is to cite yet another deception.

It's time to say it.

Bush just lies.

What it is.

An Un-American Way to Campaign

We did not, however, anticipate that those on the Bush team would dare to argue that a vote for John Kerry would be a vote for Al Qaeda. Yet that is the message they are delivering - with a repetition that makes it clear this is an organized effort to paint the Democratic candidate as a friend to terrorists.


This is despicable politics. It's not just polarizing - it also undermines the efforts of the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency to combat terrorists in America. Every time a member of the Bush administration suggests that Islamic extremists want to stage an attack before the election to sway the results in November, it causes patriotic Americans who do not intend to vote for the president to wonder whether the entire antiterrorism effort has been kidnapped and turned into part of the Bush re-election campaign. The people running the government clearly regard keeping Mr. Bush in office as more important than maintaining a united front on the most important threat to the. nation.


We think that anyone who attempts to portray sincere critics as dangerous to the safety of the nation is wrong. It reflects badly on the president's character that in this instance, he's putting his own ambition ahead of the national good.
Now if the New York Times would just hire some reporters worthy of its editorial board...

More from the mixer...

Allawi said yesterday in a White House press conference with Bush that there are 100,000 Iraqi forces ready to mount operations. Yet earlier in the day Allawi, speaking in a speech before a joint session of Congress, put the number at 50,000. A State Department briefing provided to members of Congress, meanwhile, put the number at 22,000, according to a Democratic congressional aide who received the briefing.

God damn him to Hell.

From an American Prospect piece by Matthew Yglesias...
An important point comes next, so it gets a paragraph of its own: This plan will get people killed. If an assault is to be mounted, it should be done as soon as possible, before the adversary has been given months to prepare for it. The Marines and soldiers serving in Iraq volunteered for the military, but they've been conscripted into the Bush campaign. Decisions, as Lieutenant General James Conway recently stated, are being made on the basis of narrow political considerations rather than military ones. It's appropriate for generals to be subordinate to civilian politicians, but not to civilian campaign strategists. We're waging war as an extension of an electoral campaign, exposing our soldiers to harassing attacks right now and to a more difficult fight later on in order to help secure the president's re-election.
Shorter Matt, via Digby...
George W. Bush is setting up our soldiers for a killing field in order to keep the casualty count down during the election campaign. There's a word for that and starts with a "t" and ends with a "reason."
There's another word. It starts with an "m" and ends with an "urder."

It's a sin.

God damn him to Hell.

Mixing the Master's Message

"You can embolden an enemy by sending a mixed message," Bush said. "You can dispirit the Iraqi people by sending mixed messages. You send the wrong message to our troops by sending mixed messages."

George W. Bush
Maybe he should have told these guys...
Powell Deputy Says Elections Must Be 'Open to All' in Iraq

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said all regions should participate, contradicting the secretary of defense...

Mining the memory hole

Oliver Willis braves the depths and comes up with a gem...
And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many.

Richard Cheney, 8/14/92
To date, there have been 1048 American military fatalities as a result of the Bush/Cheney campaign to depose Saddam. In other words, too damn many.

They must be adding a wing to Hell for the wave of Bushco arrivals...

Friday, September 24, 2004

Just in time for Friday...

...the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left finally managed to elicit a pose of sorts from the lovely and talented Audrey Hepcat.

Maybe by next week she can be lured out of the shadows...

It's working!

A few days ago I mentioned that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had begun running ads which express the notion that although the Republican candidate for the open House seat in WA-8 may be a celebrity lawman, he's notably unprepared to assume the duties of lawmaker.

The ads were timely, coming right on the heels of a primary election that had left the Democratic nominee, Dave Ross, with depleted resources while he turned his focus from a three-way intra-Party battle to a general election campaign abbreviated by Washington's relatively late primary election.

If you need any evidence that the work of the D-Trip can be essential to victory in the tough races, this one is a classic example. The 8th has become increasingly swingy over the years, with statewide, county and other races producing good results for Democrats, but it's consistently swung Republican on the Congressional level. It's doable, but hard, and even a week of slack at the outset of the beginning of the general election campaign could have been fatal, but our friends in the other Washington were ready, and the early results are incredibly promising.

Here's where we stand, according to Lauer Research...
Ross(D) 45%
Reichert(R) 43%
Undecided 12%
That's possible because Democrats all across the country have given the DCCC the dollars to get the job done. Every time one of those ads runs, though, the reserves get a little smaller. So every day, I'm going to remind you - we only get a majority if we make one, and we can only make one if enough people click links like this one and keep investing in the promise of Speaker Pelosi.

(And thanks to all those who've chipped into the Upper Left Majority Makers account so far - $425 and growing!)

Why we fight.

The Republican-controlled Congress is shambling to the end of one of the lightest workloads in decades without a hint of embarrassment, concentrating on the defense of the flag, tax cuts and marriage while failing at the most demanding obligations of government.

New York Times editorial, 9/24/04

(now if they'd just hire a couple of similarly honest reporters...)

It takes one...

So Rummy allows as how an imperfect election in Iraq would be better than no election at all. He should know, since he owes his job to an imperfect election...

Thursday, September 23, 2004


"If we stop fighting the terrorists in Iraq, they would be free to plot and plan attacks elsewhere, in America and other free nations."

George W. Bush
God damn him to Hell for what he's doing to my Army.

(Jesse Taylor's take on this particularly inane Bushism merits your attention.)

On the other hand... encouraging as an effort like the SF Chronicle's Marc Sandalow can be, there's still plenty of high profile hackery in the SCLM.

Steve Soto finds "another example of crappy journalism" by Lois Romano of the Washington Post, who decided to run with the discredited claims about an alleged Kerry shortfall among women voters (there must be a Karl Rove press release out there somewhere).

The Left Coaster post relates that
The overall premise of the story is that Bush will have a large advantage with men over Kerry and Kerry needs to have an equally large advantage with women to offset that and win the election. Yet Romano says that Kerry doesn’t have that offsetting advantage with women and is in trouble.
Of course, the facts being on his side, Steve has no trouble dispatching that premise.
Really? Then why does today’s national American Research Group poll show that Bush has only a 9-point lead with men over Kerry, while Kerry has an offsetting 8-point lead with women over Bush? Am I missing something here, or doesn’t that sound like an equally offsetting gender gap? And is a nine-point Bush lead with men really a sign that he is "running as strong as ever among men?"
It's just lazy reporting, really, this casual regurgitation of Republican talking points. It requires vigilance, though, because there's a calculated effort by the forces of darkness to discourage people who are anxious for change, and anxious about the possibility that change may be thwarted.

Tom Tomorrow nails it at This Modern World.
It's all bollocks, of course. Republicans just want to psyche you out. They want you to think they can't be defeated. They want you to doubt yourself, to stumble, to give up. But there are way too many variables at play. Iraq, the economy, terrorism--it's a confluence of events which hasn't come together like this before. We're in uncharted territory.

The future hasn't been written yet. Don't forget that.
Be not dismayed.

We stand for women, and the polls reflect that.

W stands for 'wrong,' and if we work hard, fight back and don't panic, come November 'the only poll that counts' will reflect that, too.

Journalism? Wow!

Marc Sandalow, Washington Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Chronicle, commits an act of journalism in an American daily newspaper. Examining the Buscho 'flip-flop' attacks on John Kerry's Iraq position, Sandalow says in print what many of us have known all along.

Bush just lies.
President Bush, seated beside Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Tuesday: "My opponent has taken so many different positions on Iraq that his statements are hardly credible at all."


Yet an examination of Kerry's words in more than 200 speeches and statements, comments during candidate forums and answers to reporters' questions does not support the accusation.

As foreign policy emerged as a dominant issue in the Democratic primaries and later in the general election, Kerry clung to a nuanced, middle-of-the road -- yet largely consistent -- approach to Iraq. Over and over, Kerry enthusiastically supported a confrontation with Saddam Hussein even as he aggressively criticized Bush for the manner in which he did so.


...taken as a whole, Kerry has offered the same message ever since talk of attacking Iraq became a national conversation more than two years ago.
And in response to the charge that Kerry's vote on the resolution that authorized the possible use of military force in Iraq was a vote "for the war," Sandalow tells some more truth.
Yet in the fall of 2002, several months before the air strikes on Baghdad began, Bush himself insisted the vote was not the same as a declaration of war but instead gave him the hand he needed to negotiate the peace.
It's kind of sad when an honest reporter is considered remarkable, but there it is.

Encourage him with a note of commendation.

Where's Edwards?

In Florida, scoring the Quote Of The Day.
"Today George Bush is laughing again," he told reporters in Miami. "Over a thousand Americans have lost their lives, Americans are being beheaded. Iraq is a mess and they think this is a joke."
Sic 'em, John!

I'm with Trippi.

Folks who've been lurking around here since Upper Left's Dean-bashing days of yore may be taken aback by that header. 'Twas a time when I could get pretty testy on the subject of the Doctor's campaign manager. Truth is, of course, that over the years I've been on the same side of lots of intra-party battles as Joe Trippi and come general election time, we've both always been Democrats.

This year, I'm on his side as much or more than ever. Recently I've had the pleasure to participate in a couple of telephone conversations with ("don't call me Mr.") Trippi on the subject of where the election stands, and where our efforts can be most effectively focused. He sums up the general tone of those conversations in a guest post at The Stakeholder, where he relates that...
Last week we had a conference call with a group of bloggers and I talked about how, I feel, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gets a bad rap. Of all the DC committees, it covers the most ground and moves the fastest. When a congressional campaign hits the panic button, the DCCC swings in to action, swoops down and spends a lot of money in a district - and we get closer to a Democratic Congress.


This cycle we've got a chance to take the House - and it's not just a feeling in my bones, it's evidence based on the DCCC's unlikely victories in South Dakota and Kentucky (due in a large measure to the blogosphere) , DeLay's current troubles, and a mood in the country - a mood fueled by the radical actions of this Republican Congress. But in order to win, we've got to act together - and we've got to raise more money. If we raise the cash for the DCCC, then Jim Bonham (the executive director at the Dtrip) and others can turn around and spend that money in the races that need it most right before the election.
I agree. While it may seem like the longest shot in some ways, taking back the House can be done. Odds are, though, that it can't be done in your district. It certainly can't be done in mine, which is already as safely Democratic as a district can hope to be. There are a couple of real possibilities close to me, and maybe some close to you, but the folks who really know where the best odds are and where the most help is needed are the people at the DCCC, who study this stuff night and day.

That's why the only institutional fundraising link on Upper Left is for the D-Trip's Campaign for a New Majority. That's why I've set my goal for helping them out so high. That's why I need your help to make that goal so much. That's why you'll see this link so often. That's why I hope that if you appreciate what I do here, you'll dig down for five, ten, fifty or a hundred bucks and click here.

Because we can win the House, but we can only do it together.

(Of course, the only other fundraising link here is my PayPal account, and if you really like what I do here, well, I wouldn't mind finding a couple bucks in there, too. But for the next few weeks, at least, do the D-Trip first.)

"...a free market of demons. "

That's Phillip Robertson's assessment of Iraq after five months on the ground.

There's plenty of frightening detail in his latest dispatch for Salon, a piece that provides further proof that a Salon subscription is an obligation for anyone who claims to care about progressive journalism.

Laughing through my tears

This would be hilarious if it weren't so damn true...
Noting that the campaign Tuesday night neared Disney's "fantasy land" in Orlando, Fla., Kerry said: "The difference between George Bush and me is that I drove by it. He lives in it."

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Just imagine...

Democrats in the US House are scoring points against the odds.

Rep. Jim Davis (D-FL) managed to cobble together the votes to block the administration's punitive Cuban travel regulations by a 225-174 margin, noting that most of the punishment would fall on the shoulders of Americans with Cuban relatives."The United States should not be in the business of separating families," Davis said, and he's right.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) lined up 210 votes against the 187 Republican holdouts to fight off the Bushco attempt to contract out nearly half of the federal work force, keeping vital public services off the private sector auction block.

It's good work in hard times. The House Ds are doing everything they can do, but there's so much left to be done.

Just imagine a Democratic majority.

Better yet, make one.

What do women want?

Today's prod to panic comes via Katharine Seelye in the New York Times, who tells us
In the last few weeks, Kerry campaign officials have been nervously eyeing polls that show an erosion of the senator's support among women, one of the Democratic Party's most reliable constituencies. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week, women who are registered to vote were more likely to say they would vote for Mr. Bush than for Mr. Kerry, with 48 percent favoring Mr. Bush and 43 percent favoring Mr. Kerry.
Wow. And here I thought that Kerry campaign officials were dismissing the NYT/CBS poll as an outlier, skewed by a reliance on an inaccurate party distribution in their sample (as usual, see Ruy Teixeira for the details).

But hey, Seelye is a real live fact checked, line edited journalist with access to actual Kerry campaign officials, right? Not some wild eyed blogger relying on the buzz of all night internet surfing and too much coffee. Right?


She did talk to some Kerry campaign officials. Here's what they had to say...
Mark Mellman, a pollster for the Kerry campaign, said that the campaign was not especially disturbed by the reduced support from women.
Hmmm. "...not especially disturbed..." vs. "...nervously eyeing..." Well, she must have meant some other Kerry campaign official, right? Maybe this one...
Diane Feldman, a pollster for the Kerry campaign, said she did not accept that Mr. Kerry was losing among women and insisted that the campaign's own polling showed Mr. Kerry winning among women.
Oops. Not that one, either. But those are the only ones Seelye cites, which leave us wondering about that lede.

Well, not really wondering. Because the NYT/CBS poll is an outlier. Duckman GR, in a piece taking Cokie Roberts to school on the same issue at The Left Coaster, points out that Pew has the most recent breakdown of women voters favoring Kerry by a 48/43 margin, not too far from the latest ARG details offered up by Oliver Willis, which have the split favoring Kerry by a 50/42% margin.

So, what do women want?


Because no matter Seelye says, W stands for wrong.

If America were Iraq...

what would it be like?

Juan Cole wonders, and writes a must read


There's this...

Senators Move to Put Off New Highway Bill

and this...

Senate Delays Decision on Military Housing

and there's this...
WASHINGTON (AP) - Flag-burning and the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are about to join gay marriage among the volatile issues that congressional Republicans have pushed to votes ahead of the election to remind the public how the GOP and Democrats differ.
and then there's the Democratic perspective...
"It seems that my Republican colleagues have lost sight of our priorities," said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat.

"We are a nation at war. The death toll of our men and women fighting for our right to be free from terror has reached record limits and continues to rise every single day. Why then is something so arbitrary and so unnecessary at the top of our list of things to do?"
Hmmm...Chairman Conyers. Has a certain ring to it, don't you think?

Kinda like Speaker Pelosi.

And yes, there is something you can do about it.

The Scandal Scorecard Update

It just keeps going and going and growing....

Among the things I don't focus on much (or really, enough) here is my interest in American Indian/Alaska Native issues. I've been involved in them both as a matter of personal and professional interest for a number of years, and currently serve as a Commissioner with the Seattle Indian Services Commission, which puts me in contact with the urban Indian population of the northwest. While tribal politics really falls outside my realm of influence, there's enough traffic back and forth between the rez and the city that I have some insight into the issues that affect each.

Which leads me to this weeks entry to the Upper Left Scandal Scorecard. While the celebrations for the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian are underway, there are many Indians with little to celebrate, as a Senate hearing this week revealed.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Indian prisons are "a national disgrace" in which 11 people have died and hundreds have tried to kill themselves or escaped over the past three years, government officials said Tuesday.

Senators said they were deeply troubled by the report of the situation from the Interior Department's top watchdog and likened the jails to the U.S. military's mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Earl Devaney, the department's inspector general, painted a grim picture for the Senate Finance Committee. His report, capping a year of investigation, found at least 11 fatalities, 236 suicide attempts and 632 escapes since the Bush administration took office in January 2001.
"...likened the jails to...Abu Ghraib..."

We're talking about US government jails holding American citizens. Our first, and in many cases our most fragile, citizens.

And it's a scandal. #61 on a list that just keeps going and going and growing...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Don't Panic Pictoral...

via Bopnews, the WSJ maps the Zogby Battlegrounds..

That's a Kerry win, 297-241.

Let's Vote!

It's only a problem...

...if we don't solve it.

Atrios quotes John Quiggen
In my view, any rational supporter of the Republican party should hope for Bush’s defeat, since a victory will be disastrous for all concerned. A Kerry victory would be better for the United States and the world, but not necessarily for the long-term interests of the Democratic party.

And Atrios concurs...
This is sadly correct, especially if we have a Kerry White House with a Republican House and Senate...
I understand the argument, I suppose, although my particular blend of patriotism and partisanship persuades me that what's good for America is good for the Democratic Party, and vice versa. It's a matter of faith, reasonable arguments to the contrary notwithstanding.

Still, there's a way to avoid the worst fears of my fellow bloggers. Give John Kerry a Democratic Congress.

Start by tossing a couple bucks in here...

And hurry! There's still a couple of these left.

And while you're at it, or if you're broke, use the same link to sign up for news from the DCCC on all the things they're doing and you can for the next 6 weeks to help us all have a happier forever.

More Matheson...

As noted in a comment, Upper Lefty bluesky wrote to 4th District Dem Sandy Matheson for a clarification on her $2000 contribution to BC04 last summer. Here's the substance of Matheson's response.
I was actually recruited to run for Congress because of my non-partisan, community-oriented approach to working on the Tri-Cities community. Prior to this, I was politically independent. Part of the reason for that was that I ran a Hanford contract (HEHF) and chaired several community boards, including the economic development board. As part of my work and my community involvement, I have always been called upon to support politicians who support our community when they come to our community. It is a common role in business, labor unions, and with community leaders. My political giving history is therefore somewhat balanced, although I have given more to Democrats than Republicans. Some people restrict their giving to ideological reasons. My role in supporting my community required me to support the political process. That is obviously different for me now.

When I did decide to enter politics, I selected the Democratic party. Although I am centrist, which is a good position in this district for serving the general public, I will always be on the side of the individual or people, which is why the Democratic party is the right one for me.
The call to "support politicians who support our community" seems to be of relatively recent origin for Matheson. doesn't reflect any federal contributions from her during the 2000 or 2002 cycles. It's true, though, that her Democratic contributions outweigh her Republican ones, but that's a fairly recent phenomenon, too.

In 2003 she gave $250 to Senator Maria Cantwell, who wasn't on the ballot, and the infamous $2K to the Bushco primary campaign. Nothing else appears until March of 2004, when Matheson had apparently made the decision to run for Congress as a Democrat and stepped up with a corresponding $2K for Kerry and $250 for Senator Murray.

Still, I'm wondering about those Bush bucks. That's a healthy nod from a federal contractor to a politician for supporting "our community."

But Sandy's a D on this year's ballot, and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, if she'll erase a few of mine, so I'm dropping this note to her. I'll keep you posted.
To: Sandy Matheson, Democratic candidate for Congress
From: Shaun Dale,

Dear Sandy,
While preparing a post for my blog, Upper Left, on your race I came across your history as a political donor. One of my readers subsequently wrote to you regarding your contribution of $2000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign last year, and has shared your response with me.

I've told my readers that if they are 4th District voters, I hope that they'll vote for you. My blogging motto is "Proudly Partisan," and while I understand that you've carved an independent stance in the past, there's a D after your name now. That's good enough, in my book, for you to merit the vote of any Democrat in your district. We know how bad the alternative can be because, well, he is that bad.

Still, I'd like to do a bit more and be able to urge my readers across the state and the nation to make some tangible contribution to your effort, but there are a few nagging questions I hope you'll address first.

1. Did you believe that the re-election of George W. Bush was the right choice for the country when you made your contribution? If so, what issues or actions by the Bush administration inspired that belief?

2. Did you feel compelled to make the contribution because of your status as a federal contractor? If so, the back story there might be of interest to your constituents and others.

3. Will you make a public comittment to support Rep. Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership in the Congressional reorganization if you are elected?

4. Have you received the endorsement of any Democratic Party organizations or Democratic leaders and elected officials? If so, who are they, and why don't you include them in the list of endorsers on your website.

In partisan solidarity,

Shaun Dale

Quote of the Day

Taegan Goddard says this is it.

Hey, who am I to disagree?
"If you want to go backwards, you put it in 'R,' and if you want to go forward, you put it in 'D'"

Sen. Tom Harkin
Words to live by...

"They have no decency. Not a sliver...

not a shred."

James Wolcott tears 'em up.
Look at how Max Cleland has been treated, look at how George Soros has been smeared as some sort of Jewish intriguer who oozed his way out of Nazi Germany by Tony Blankley and a drug kingpin by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, look at--oh, we know what the examples are.
Limbaugh wanna-be Ben Ferguson tipped him over the edge into pure shrill with a wisecrack about John Kerry's war injuries, but Wolcott correctly identifies it as a continuous thread in the attitude of the American right wing over a period of decades.
Ben Ferguson can snicker that if John Kerry had incurred real injuries he'd be in a nice wheelchair today and the middleaged white fools sitting in the bookstore don't even raise a peep, which makes you wonder if ten years from now it'll be open season on any American vet from the Iraq campaign who's missing limbs or carrying shrapnel and gets out of political line. There is a myth that the Left spat on returning Vietnam vets in the Seventies. Well, the Right spits on Vietnam vets every day with impunity, and will spit on future vets. Conservatives support the military only in the vague abstract; beneath their patriotic bluster and sentimentality, they basically think soldiers are chumps, risking their lives when they could be staying home, making money, and carving out a neat career, as Ben has done.
The business of how we were treated by who when we got back from Vietnam has always been a sore spot with me. Both before and after I went to Vietnam, there was a steady drumbeat on the left to 'oppose the war, not the warrior.' They knew we were mostly a gaggle of working class kids caught up in a situation beyond our control and in most cases beyond our comprehension.

It was the left that set up the FTA coffehouses, that provided readjustent counseling, that fought to get Agent Orange victims the treatment they needed. Vietnam vets didn't leave their service off of their resumes for so many years because the left was making the hiring decisions in corporate America. The left didn't run the VFW and Legion posts that turned us away, leading to the creation of Vietnam Veterans of America. World War II vets didn't need their own group, nor did Korea vets. We did, and the left wasn't the reason.

If you support the troops, those of yesterday, today, or tomorrow, you've got no damn business voting for the right wing Republican chicken hawks that have made careers out of smearing the service of others.

No damn business at all.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Slip Sliding Away?

While BC04 panders to their base, they seem to be losing ground in the Senate Republican Caucus. It's not just Republican Senators airing concerns about their President's "mistakes" and "incompetence." At least one is pondering whether he can even vote for his own party's nominee...
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee said Monday he plans to support his party in November but may write in a candidate instead of voting for President Bush.

The Rhode Island lawmaker, known for moderate views that often run counter to the Bush administration, said he was going to vote for a member of his party even though he disagrees with the president on many issues.
...and whether it's even his own party anymore.
The Republican said the party's direction in the future will determine his political career as well. He said he's "not OK" with the conservative platform from the Republican convention, but would not say if he'd consider switching parties in his next election in 2006.

"It wasn't that long ago that moderates had more of a voice," Chafee said. "It's a cycle that I hope will come back."
Ummm, Senator Chafee? Moderate's do have a voice. It's in the Democratic Party. The welcome mat is out now. Why wait?

More Congressional considerations...

Some commenters at the Washington State Political Report have expressed dismay that I didn't make mention of 4th District Democrat Sandy Matheson's challenge against the Republican incumbent Doc Hastings when I was touting the DCCC involvement in Washington's open seats.

No disrespect meant to Ms. Matheson, really. There were a couple reasons for the lack of mention. One is that I'm unaware of the D-Trip taking an active role in targeting the race as a prime pickup opportunity, and that was really the subject of the previous post (I didn't hype any of our reasonably safe incumbent Ds, either).

The other is that I simply haven't paid as much attention to the 4th District as I probably should. It's the only CD in the state with an incumbent R on the ballot, and up till a week ago there was a three way primary for the Democratic challenger. Matheson won the primary handily, with over 60% of the ballots cast, so she's our standard bearer now.

I wish she seemed a little more proud of that. It's hard to find that little 'D' on her website, obscured as it is by repeated references to her independence. (Really, Sandy, all those 4th District voters are going to know you're a Democrat. Doc won't let the point go unnoticed, so you might as well just go with it.)

On the plus side, she's managed to raise about a quarter of a million bucks, 80% of it from individuals, so she's clearly industrious. After the primary, she's still got over 100 grand on hand, so she has the resources to keep Hastings pinned down at home fighting the challenge, regardless of the odds he may see in his favor.

There's no doubt that I'd vote for Sandy Matheson if I lived in the 4th, and I commend her to every 4th District voter, simply on the basis of her party ID and the fact that if she can pull off a win, it's one more vote in the Speaker Pelosi column. It's a little harder to recommend her to folks outside the district, though.

While she's got an encouraging list of labor endorsements, there's not a partisan endorsement, from a group or an individual, on her website. There's scant evidence of her positions beyond some undetailed boiler plate support for jobs, education and access to health care. There's the simple fact that it's far more likely that we'll prevail in the open seats than in a race between a novice candidate and a five term incumbent in a district that's been engineered as safe R.

And there's this, from
Any Matheson fans with insight into that?

Bottom line? If you live in the 4th, vote for Sandy Matheson. If you're out of the area and looking for a Democratic race to make a difference in, I'm still pushing either Dave Ross or Don Barbieri.

Better yet, support the DCCC and let them sort it out.

Eyes on the prize, after all. Speaker Pelosi. Make it happen.

Oliver observes...

"Ditto for the other RNC senators that made the rounds on the Sunday news shows. They're sounding more and more like an abused spouse. "George will straighten up, I know it"."
Of course, the insightful Mr. Willis surely knows that abusers never do 'straighten up' without a forceful intervention.

There's one scheduled on November 2nd. We're meeting at the voting booth.

In case someone asks...

...Atrios has the answer.
"Kerry's plan for Iraq is simple - put competent people in charge."
And since it's unlikely in the extreme that he'll re-employ Rummy, Rice, the Pathetic Hack, the Shameless Liar & Co., he has a chance to pull it off.

Yes, indeed. America can do better.

We must.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The D-Trip Digs In... wage war in Battleground Washington.

For months, I've been preaching that the two open House seats in WA-5 and WA-8 looked like keys to the election of Speaker Pelosi, and my opinion seems to be confirmed by the blasts from the big guns in DC.

First, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tagged Don Barbieri in the 5th for their first roster of candidates to benefit from their Red To Blue campaign. As usual, the Republican primary in the District saw the 'moderate' choice fall to a local idealogue, and Don Barbieri's deep community roots in the district's most populous community and business oriented 'New Democrat' approach make him an even more attractive choice for 5th District voters. With an extra financial boost from the D-Trip, we're on our way to taking back Tom Foley's old seat while winning back his old job for our new Speaker.

I didn't support Dave Ross in the Democratic primary for the 8th District, but that doesn't diminish my enthusiasm for his potential to be a fine Congressman or his prospects in November. It's a celebrity contest of sorts, with long time talk radio host Ross up against King County Sherrif Dave Reichert, who's chief claim to fame comes from his involvement in a notorious serial killer investigation. With the primary past us, the D-Trip has weighed in with a TV campaign that points out the obvious - tracking bad guys in this Washington isn't a particularly relevant credential for doing good work in the other Washington. It's a potent attack, and one that Ross would be hard pressed to finance this early himself, since he's been dumping resources into our pitifully late primary election.

That's one of the main values of an organization like the DCCC. A candidate like Ross is able to reload the coffers without abandoning the airwaves because people from across the country are able to pool resources to lend a hand. That's why efforts like the Majority Makers campaign are critical to taking back the House, and that's why I've pledged to raise $5000 through the Upper Left Majority Makers page. Because it's important to races that are near to home, and those races are important to each and every one of us.

If you've got five or ten (or what the heck, five K) to toss in the bucket, I'd sure appreciate it. And just for fun, the next five folks to kick in and send me their snail mail address will get a coveted 'Complete Sentences' button along with my heartfelt thanks.

Winning here in the Upper Left can produce victory for Democrats everywhere, and the D-Trip is providing important artillery in the battle. Lend a hand!

Nattering nabobs.

The Senate Republicans are busy chewing off their feet trying to get out of the trap the Bush war has put them in.

Pick a wire. Any wire.

"The fact is, we're in deep trouble in Iraq ... and I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of policy," Sen. Chuck Hagel - R

"We made serious mistakes." (Bush) is not being "as straight as we would want him to be." Sen. John McCain - R

"This is the incompetence in the administration." Sen. Richard Lugar - R

"Allowing the Iraqis to make the decisions not to go into some of these sanctuaries, I think, turns out to have not been a good decision, which we're going to have to correct now by going in with our Marines and Army divisions." Sen. John Kyl - R
Me, I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of Presidency...

Q and (no) A...

Bush weighs in on the TANG memos.
"There are a lot of questions about the documents and they need to be answered," Bush told the Union Leader newspaper of Manchester, New Hampshire, after a week in which some experts questioned whether the documents had been fabricated by those seeking to damage Bush in his re-election race.
Actually, there's one question that needs to be answered, and George W. Bush could easily answer it.

Are the memos, whatever their provenance, true? Did Lt. Bush refuse a direct order to report for his flight physical?

He knows. He's not saying.

(And aren't there at least a few folks questioning whether the documents were fabricated by those seeking to assist Bush in his re-election race? Karl Rove knows. He's not saying, either...)

David Neiwert has (lots) more at Orcinus.

King Ralph?

Ralph Nader's shadow campaign to re-elect George Bush took a step forward this week when the Florida Supreme Court affirmed Nader's belief that he's above the law, and Steve Gilliard is pissed.

A family friendly excerpt from a post that's considerably less so...
He thinks he can become the king of the left if he manages to swat down another Democratic candidate and that we will all turn to a 70 year old bachelor with a taudry record of violating worker rights and consorting with the hard right. Yep, that's my idea of a progressive hero.

I wish there was a more charitable interpretation possible, but it's really down to this. Ralph Nader is a despicable fraud. Whether he's always been one or has recently become one may be a matter of debate, but it's a debate for another day. Right now, it's just that.

God help us if he was disappointed.

"I'm pleased with the progress."

George W. Bush, 9/18/04

The 58 coalition fatalities in the first 19 days of September have set a pace of death that's the highest since the cross-country assualt in April, and the fourth highest since the invasion.

Such progress. How, ummm, 'pleasant'...

(image via AmericaBlog)

Well blow me down!

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Souls too timid to say things like "avast" and "arrr" and "shiver me timbers" out loud in public can consider the comments thread a safe place to Post Like A Pirate all day.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

It's pretty safe to assume...

...that no matter where you are, there's probably a citizen in your neighborhood who doesn't think much of Bush, doesn't know much about Kerry and probably isn't going to vote in November. There's a pretty good chance that citizen isn't even registered.

That citizen may be the key to victory in your precinct, which may be the key to victory in your county, which may be the key to victory in your state, which...well, you get the point.

If you want to dump Bush, then, your mission seems clear. Find that citizen and deliver that vote.

Pacific Views says it all in their header today:
Get active: Not even a $2,000 check can get up and walk a precinct.
And activity is, of course, a specific and effective remedy for panic.

Go look.


No excerpt could do it justice, but Greg at the Talent Show has combined some WWII vintage political cartoons from the pen of none other than Dr. Seuss with some contemporary political quotations to creat one of the best damn blog posts ever.

You have to see the whole thing to appreciate it.

It's right here.

Go look.



...the post at AmericaBlog was about something in particular, but the punch line is really universal.
"Bush denies it . Which pretty much much confirms it's true."
Because after all, the subject notwithstanding, he just lies.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Just in case you haven't heard...

...the new Gallup poll is bunk.

Steve Soto knows why and tells all.

Hey, it's a pet...

...even if I had to use one of the kid's pets.

Diane is pleading for Friday cat blogging in comments, but the lovely and talented Audrey Hepcat is still feeling exploited and refuses to pose, so here's the Grandpuppy of Upper Left, the endlessly endearing Bentley...

Why, you might ask... it that I can still be taken aback by examples of idiocy and hypocricy coming from the whacko wingers?

I don't know, but I guess I'm glad that I can retain just enough idealism to find this kind of thing outrageous.

Via an AmericaBlog story about Dick and Mary Cheney...
"It's disappointing — but not surprising that a father would stand up for his daughter," agreed Georgene Rice, spokeswoman for the Defense of Marriage Coalition, the group backing Constitutional Amendment 36.
These are the 'family values' people? The ones standing between the libertine homos and our precious family units?

A father standing up for his daughter is "disappointing"?

Well, Ms. Rice, as a matter of fact, I happen to find my own family unit very precious indeed, and on behalf of my gay daughter, may God damn you to Hell.


As someone who has worked with a lot of classified military information, I have my reservations about the process and criteria used in the creation of official secrets. One area, though, that indisputably deserves the protection of classification is information about the readiness of military defenses in combat areas. Revealing areas of weakness is an open invitation to attack, and a likely death sentence for the defenders.

Which is why this story inspires more than a bit of rage in me. (my emphasis)

"US military officers in Baghdad have warned they cannot guarantee the security of the perimeter around the Green Zone, the headquarters of the Iraqi government and home to the US and British embassies, according to security company employees. At a briefing earlier this month, a high-ranking US officer in charge of the zone's perimeter said he had insufficient soldiers to prevent intruders penetrating the compound's defences."

Financial Times
Get that? The US military briefed the civilian security contractors on the state of our defenses, and the conractors fed the information to the press.

It's treason.

And it's a predictable outcome of the Bush/Rumsfeld policy of privatizing the DoD.

So the President and his "splendid" Secretary of Defense are complicit in treason.

Somebody should alert Ann Coulter...

Train at the end of the tunnel.

Sid Blumenthal finds those who know, and are willing to say...
"Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost."

"Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."


"I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."

Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency

"The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, former Marine Corps commandant and head of US Central Command

"I see no ray of light on the horizon at all...

"I see no exit. We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College

"We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."

W Andrew Terrill, the Army War College's top Iraq expert
Turns out Iraq isn't really like Vietnam at all. After all, whatever the political outcome, in Vietnam we won every military engagement.

Nope. Iraq is even worse.

More here.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hey, if Steve likes it...

...I like it.

Steve Soto at the Left Coaster may be a longtime Kerry supporter, but he's hardly a Kerry apologist. One of the reasons he's a daily read for me is his ability to de-glaze my rose tinted shades with sound strategic critiques of the mis-steps that are inevitable in any campaign. "Don't Panic," after all, doesn't mean "It's Perfect."

Anyway, when Steve says a line of attack is effective, he's worth paying attention to, and Steve likes this one.
"This president has created more excuses than jobs," Kerry said in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club.

"The president wants you to believe that this record is the record of the victim of circumstances, the result of bad luck, not bad decisions," Kerry said in his speech. "Well, Mr. President, when it comes to your record, we agree -- you own it."

"His is the excuse presidency -- never wrong, never responsible, never to blame ... no, it's not our fault; no, there's nothing wrong; no, we can't do better; no, we haven't made a single mistake," Kerry said.
And you know what? I like it, too.

Wednesday in Iraq.

Juan Cole offers an overview...
*In Ramadi, running gun battles broke out between local Sunni nationalists and US Marines. Guerrillas set off a bomb, killing 1 person. Altogether the fighting killed 13 and wounded 17.

*In Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, guerrillas detonated a roadside bomb, killing 4 policemen and one civilian.

*In Samarra, due north of the capital, Sunni nationalists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at US and Iraqi troops who were guarding a city council building. The action imperilled that agreement reached between the US and local clan elders, which had allowed US troops back into the city.

*In Suwayra, to the south of the capital, guerrillas detonated a car bomb at the base of the Iraqi National Guard, killing two persons and wounding 10.

*Near the southern Shiite shrine city of Karbala, an unknown assailant assassinated Labib Mohammadi, an employee of Iran's pilgrimage commission in Iraq.
It's, yep, FUBAR.

I dig Digby...

...for many reasons, not the least of which is his diligence in digging around the memory hole for the much needed note of reassurance.

One reason that I'm such a strong subscriber to the "Don't Panic" approach to the Kerry campaign is simple longevity. Those of us that were 4JKB4IA have lived through this before. "He need to attack!" "The staff sucks!" "He sounds like a...a...a Senator!"


Remember this? Digby does...
With the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary looming and Dean holding a commanding lead in the state, the pressure on Kerry to break out is immense. But even on his home turf, there are troubles. In a Nov. 19-21 poll by RKM Research & Communications, he trailed Dean by 9 points in Massachusetts. What's the problem? Kerry's detached sang-froid seems to pale in the face of Dean's fiery populist orations. "Dean is having a virtual coronation in New Hampshire," says a Democratic strategist. "If you're second, you have to take the guy down. Kerry isn't making Dean play defense."
No, it doesn't mean we've won...yet. There's much to be done, and we all have a hand in doing it. But we've been through this before. Panic wasn't the solution then. It isn't the solution now.

Work hard. Fight back. And...well, you know the drill.

"It's amazing..."

Norbizness has a post up that doesn't say, but might suggest, that the President of the United States is a victim of powerful hallucionogenic flashbacks. Seems to be the easiest explanation to me, anyway, for stuff like this...
Ask The President, 9/7/04: Freedom is a powerful -- freedom is powerful. Iraq will have elections in January. It wasn't all that long ago that Saddam Hussein was torturing and killing the people of Iraq, and now they're headed toward presidential elections -- or prime -- or elections for their Prime Minister. (Applause.) It's amazing what happens.

Actuality: "I presume the election will be delayed," says the Iraqi Interior Ministry's chief spokesman, Sabah Kadhim. A senior Iraqi official sees no chance of January elections: "I'm convinced that it's not going to happen. It's just not realistic. How is it going to happen?" Some Iraqis worry that America will stick to its schedule despite all obstacles. "The Americans have created a series of fictional dates and events in order to delude themselves," says Ghassan Atiyya, director of the independent Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy.

More evidence here.

A known known.

I've largely avoided the Killian memo story for a couple reasons - I don't know and the truth is, I don't much care. Whatever advantage CBS thought the documents gave them in covering the story of Bush's "service," his inadequacies as a Guardsman have been well documented elsewhere with non-controvertible evidence. He was a lousy trooper, plain and simple.

And even he knows it, as Atrios points out...
CBS and Dan Rather have their problems which they're going to have to sort out, but as anonymous reminds us in comments, this is the key point:
Q Scott, on the National Guard documents on "60 Minutes," the First Lady says she believes these are forgeries. The RNC has accused the Democratic Party of being the source of these documents. Knowing then what you know now, would you still have released those documents when you did?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's a hypothetical question, John. We received those documents from a major news organization. We had every reason to believe that they were authentic at that time.
If the basic thrust of the memos was false - if, say, Bush came forward and said "Hey, wait a minute! Those can't be real! I never disobeyed a direct order..." then why would our dear Scotty say such a thing?
Why, indeed?

He was a lousy trooper. And even he knows it.