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Saturday, October 30, 2004


There have been numerous reports of Republican operatives challenging overtly Democratic voters throughout the country. If a Republican operative can target an obviously Democratic voter, the GOP dirty trickster will tell the pollworkers that they have witnessed the victim voting already, requiring the likely Democratic voter to instead fill out a provisional ballot, which the GOP lawyers can try to challenge later. It’s a dirty game but they are desperate and will do ANYTHING to win this election regardless of legality, or whether their behavior is ethical.

Here’s how to beat this game:

First, arm yourself with the Neighborhood Votewatch shirt stickers/pinables. On it is the Election Protection Hotline number, 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Second, if you or someone near you is challenged like this,


LOUDLY but calmly state that you are registered to vote and have the right to vote in this polling place.

DEMAND to know where and when the accuser allegedly witnessed you or the victim voting.

DEMAND the accuser’s name and proof of identification.

WARN THEM you will have them arrested for Election Fraud for knowingly interfering with your (or the victim’s) Constitutionally-protected right to vote (because they know damn well that you didn’t vote earlier and that they are doing this fraudulently), and that you will also personally sue them in civil court for everything they have, and that you WILL win. (You will, by the way).

DEMAND proof that they are US Citizens, and that what business they have at the polling place.

DEMAND to know how many people the accuser has already accused, either here or at another polling place.

TELL everyone in the polling place what is happening, that your (or the victim’s) Constitutional right to vote is being infringed upon, that this is a tactic currently in wide use by Republican party operatives to suppress Democratic and minority votes, and that you will not tolerate it.

CALL the Election Protection hotline and the local police if necessary to get the accuser’s identification on legal record.

INSIST that the police arrest the accuser for Election Fraud, and that the accuser knowingly is perjuring him or herself to interfere with the Electoral Process.

They will either run away with their tail between their legs or they will end up going to jail and sued.

Have courage and conviction and you will win.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Bold Vision of Losing 380 Tons of High Explosives in Iraq

The administration’s bold plans in Iraq have kept the Massive Weapons of Destruction (MWDs) out of the dangerous hands of the International Atomic Energy Commission by making sure it stays with terrorists, where it belongs. Thank God. And to think I was worried!

And of course, no one knew until a month ago. Right, Condi.

What a bunch of completely incompetent morons, dontchathink? And all this in the context of the most recent round of spin from the Republicans about “George W. Bush’s BOLD vision in the Middle East,” and, by the way, how we might not really see results until ten or fifteen years from now but then it will remake the entire Middle East into a Democracy, by gum! Hm.

Let’s talk about the word “bold.”

There are a myriad of words to describe political style, including bold, strong, weak, nearsighted, farsighted, smart, stupid, thorough, broad-ranging, inclusive, secretive, pragmatic, or my personal favorite, wise, which is not one you hear bandied about to describe George W. Bush much, is it?

But they’ve glommed onto “bold” and I hear it repeated from every Tom, Dick, and Rush in the country, and those who follow them.

Now, lots of people are “bold” in their visions and behavior. And there’s more than one definition. Webster’s defines bold as:

1. Forward to meet danger; venturesome; daring; not timorous or shrinking from risk; brave; courageous. Throngs of knights and barons bold. - Milton.

2. Exhibiting or requiring spirit and contempt of danger; planned with courage; daring; vigorous.

3. In a bad sense, too forward; taking undue liberties; over assuming or confident; lacking proper modesty or restraint; rude; impudent. Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice. - Shakespeare

4. Somewhat overstepping usual bounds, or conventional rules, as in art, literature, etc.; taking liberties in composition or expression; as, the figures of an author are bold. The cathedral church is a very bold work. - Addison.

5. Standing prominently out to view; markedly conspicuous; striking the eye; in high relief.
Shadows in painting . . . make the figure bolder. - Dryden.

6. Steep; abrupt; prominent. Where the bold cape its warning forehead rears. -Trumbull

The Bushies are obviously trying to define an image of courage, strength, and decisiveness. Of a maverick, a daring Johnwaynesque hero who knows what’s right and doesn’t care who he offends. But let’s remember that there are lots of people history could describe as “bold,” and “bold” behavior doesn’t mean for a moment that it was wise, thoughtful, moral, or even effective in the least.

Here’s a short list of some other “bold” people with “bold” visions:

Ken Lay

Adolf Hitler

Emperor Hirohito (of WWII Japan)

Osama bin Laden

General Custer

Baby Face Nelson

Randolph Hearst

Charles Manson

… and many more.

Bush’s “vision” in this case is of remaking the Middle East in his own image, a Halliburtonized small-d democracy full of contracts, legislated cronyism, directed democracy, and lots of oil money.

But apparently, it’s so bold that it didn’t even consider such trivial irritations as the old adage “when throwing tantrums and lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction, keep an eye on other massive stockpiles of destructive weapons.” It was clear from the get-go that there was no plan for securing even the most obvious and immense weapons depots, just the oil wells; that’s not what a “bold” leader does—a leader leads, cleaning up is for the house boys and other coloreds. And, as Rummy says, “In a democracy, people are free to do what they want.” In this case, loot some of the most dangerous high explosives around, which are often used not only for shells, demolitions, bombs, and conventional missiles, but also to detonate nuclear warheads. Nice one.

Remember, he’s a “doer.” He does, the world watches, and the little people clean up afterwards.

Personally, I want a President who’s wise, who’s pragmatic, who’s creative and constructive, who’s a problem-solver, not a problem-maker, who’s responsible, and who has the humility to realize that “bold” and “daring” is best left to people like Bonnie and Clyde, not the leaders of the free world.

Beside which, can someone explain to me exactly where the intersection of “conservative” and “bold” is? It’s escaped me somehow.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Judging Conservative Judges

If you’ve ever listened to a Republican mouthpiece talk about judicial appointments, you’ll hear something like I heard on the radio the other day:

“Republican-appointed Federal judges are more serious about their constitutional duties than Democratically-appointed Federal judges. The Republican appointees carefully follow the Constitution while the Democratic appointees are mostly activist judges.”

I wish I remembered who I was listening to but I’ve heard the arguments before no matter who’s talking. “Conservatives honor the Constitution, liberals tend to reinterpret it to meet their own political agenda.” What a crock.

I kept trying to call into the show, to say what I wish the “liberal” opposing guest didn’t: It’s truly interesting that while so-called liberals seem to understand that there is more than one way to interpret something, which by the way is called an opinion, so-called conservatives* seem to think that their opinions are simply fact. They either have no insight into the concept that they are just as human and fallible as everyone else, with opinions, biases, and interpretations, or they are purposefully using this fallacious argument as a political tool.

I tend to believe the latter, because I don’t think they’re that stupid.

The topic is a perfect microcosm of the entirety of current so-called conservative thought and publicity. In their minds, conservative opinion is true to the values they interpret to be the core values of America, while all other opinions are at worst heresy, or at best pie-in-the-sky idealistic liberal silliness.

Judicial appointments are a particularly important area to be aware of this game and to call it to the carpet early and often and in public. The remaking of the Federal judiciary changes the way laws are applied. Much the same way as anti-gun-control politicians keep saying “we don’t need new laws, we need to enforce existing laws,” and then don’t either enforce laws or create new ones, so-called conservative appointees on the bench will interpret the law in what they consider to be accurate. Which likely means harsher treatment of drug-and-violence defendants, and more lax treatment of business interests, more prisons, less school funding. More vouchers, less affirmative action. More what they consider “traditional values” applied to divorce and child support, less inclusive interpretations of family law (gay and lesbian), governmental interference (like zoning, environmental laws, punitive damages towards offenders), and, as they say in the sales world, “much, much more…”

*I say “so-called” because I don’t see these people as actually preserving or conserving anything; rather, I see them dismantling, reacting, and destroying Democracy, tolerance, and inclusiveness. I use the term for liberals because the word “liberal” is bandied about without actually meaning anything other than more or less an expletive.