Saturday, November 13, 2004

View From The Inside: "The Republican Party Became The Christian Right, The Most Radical In Modern History Ever"

Described as "Gov. Pataki's top political adviser," GOP strategist Arthur Finkelstein is widely recognized as the driving force behind the successes of New York Republicans like former US Senator Alfonse D'Amato and current Governor George Pataki. But he's apparently had it with the hard right turn his party has made under the leadership of President Bush.

November 10, 2004 -- ALBANY -- Gov. Pataki's top political adviser has trashed President Bush, attacked the "Christian right," and said Bush's re-election means Pataki can't become president in 2008.

The shocking comments by Arthur Finkelstein appeared in the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv, which also quoted the nationally known GOP consultant as saying that in the presidential election, "the Republican Party became the Christian right, the most radical in modern history ever."
Finkelstein, who is credited with orchestrating Pataki's stunning upset victory over then-Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994, told the newspaper Bush's victory is bad news for Pataki, a social liberal who supports abortion and gay rights, because it means the "Christian right" is in charge of the GOP.

Asked if Pataki could run for president in 2008, Finkelstein responded:

"Bush's victory not only establishes the power of the American Christian right in this candidacy, but in fact established its power to elect the next Republican president."
This really illustrates something I've been talking about since even before November 2. After Bush, how does this coalition survive?

Already, there is dissent among the ranks of the Christian Right. Some are complaining that Bush is allowing Mary Cheney to be seen in public with her partner. Others have branded Bush's new AG pick Alberto Gonzales a baby killer since he's not sufficiently anti-choice. (The actual question being asked is, "Why is President Bush betraying the babies?" No. I didn't just make that up.)

I'm hearing a lot of talk about a permanent Republican majority. Forget it. The far right believes they -- not the President -- have a mandate. They've completely bought into the idea that all of Bush's votes came from evangelicals. Forget terror. Forget war. Forget tax policy. Forget likability. The Christian Right believes that their agenda was on the ballot. Karl Rove told them so -- he needed them to win. It wasn't really true, though, so they're in for a big shock. And so are the Republicans who believe they're going to win every election from now until the end of time.

And no, I'm not banking on an implosion on the right to ensure Democratic success in the future. We need to get our house in order, but I believe we're well on the way to doing so. And that implosion sure isn't going to hurt, either.

posted by Scott | 11/13/2004 | |

Friday, November 12, 2004

Christian Right Shows Its Stripes

It seems that the honeymoon between Bush and the Christian Right is just about over.

...A Virginia pro-family advocate says the people who helped re-elect President Bush don't support homosexual relationships -- the administration apparently does. Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network, has worked tirelessly for family values, including the fight against legalized homosexual "marriage." He says it was conservative Christians who put the president back in office and who held to the belief that the president shared their views. But Glover says the day after the election, that all seemed to go out the window. "The day after George Bush was elected president again, because of this morals revolution taking place in our country, he allows his vice president to not only put his lesbian daughter on the platform, but to bring her lesbian 'partner' up on the stage with him," Glover says. "It almost seems to be a slap in the face from the get-go against the very conservatives that re-elected the president at a time when he ought to paying them some homage and respect." Glover says the Cheney daughter's open flaunting of her homosexuality is the antithesis of what the administration claims to stand for -- and that the post-election display sends a mixed message to Bush supporters. [Rusty Pugh]
I'm not even sure who to side with on this. On the one hand, Bush did indicate that he was totally with the extremists on this issue. On the other hand, it's a little bit more than disturbing to hear them blame Bush for allowing Mary Cheney on stage with her father. In their sick world, the President is supposed to be "paying them some homage and respect" by... what? Kicking Mary Cheney to the curb?

At the end of the day, I don't feel sorry for any of them, actually. I have no sympathy for people who are so full of hate that they want fathers to abandon their children. And as a politician, if you pander to nutcases, you have to answer to nutcases.

(From Agape Press, by way of America Blog, by way of Atrios. Whew!)

posted by Scott | 11/12/2004 | |

Scott Peterson Is Guilty

Now maybe the media can start covering the real issues and questions facing America in the upcoming electi... oh wait.

Yes, I'm sorry for Lacey and the unborn child. But seriously, this never should have gotten the level of attention that it did. Those in the media who fetishized this trial should be ashamed of themselves.

posted by Scott | 11/12/2004 | |

Right Wing Revisionist History

Harry Truman hated the Republican Party. That is a fact. Proof?

"A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants."

"A leader in the Democratic Party is a boss, in the Republican Party he is a leader."

"I've said many a time that I think the Un-American Activities Committee in the House of Representatives was the most un-American thing in America!"

"Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he'd lie just to keep his hand in."
But still, the modern Republican Party loves thinking of itself as Truman-esque. Truman would undoubtedly bristle at the suggestion, wanting nothing to do with the party that will stop at nothing to stop his greatest domestic policy goal -- universal healthcare.

Here are a few other quotes that show just how opposed Truman would be to Bush were he alive today.

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."

"Experience has shown how deeply the seeds of war are planted by economic rivalry and social injustice."

"It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow's viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences."

"The United Nations is designed to make possible lasting freedom and independence for all its members."

"When even one American -- who has done nothing wrong -- is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth -- then all Americans are in peril."

"You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on."
But I digress. The real reason I'm ranting here is because David Gelernter at The Weekly Standard is an idiot.

Kerry 2004 was a lot like Dewey '48: the stylish Establishment candidate. No one could figure out exactly where he stood, but it didn't matter. He was bound to win. Bush 2004 was a lot like Truman '48: the unstylish former businessman. Both men served in the National Guard. (Truman's unit was sent to France during the First World War, and the future president served with distinction.) Bush, like Truman, did fine in local politics, was well liked by all sorts of people--but never planned to be president. Bush, like Truman, took office with no clear worldview or plan of action--but with non-negotiable moral principles. Both men developed a worldview and plan of action when they needed to, and moved up boldly to take their places in the front line of world struggle and the long line of American heroism.
First of all, Truman was not an "unstylish former businessman" in the Bush mold. In fact, in 1947, Truman was named one of the top ten best-dressed men by the Fashion Foundation of America. And is Bush really unstylish? I hadn't noticed him being overly sloppy.

And I have a problem with "former businessman" as well. How can one compare a well-connected member of American aristocracy, with an MBA from Harvard Business School, yet still an utter failure in capitalism to a successful, small town haberdasher?

Comparing Bush and Truman's National Guard Service? Please!!! This is absolutely insulting. Truman joined the Missouri National Guard during peacetime, left during peacetime, and then reenlisted during WWI. He took part in serious combat operations in France in 1919. I'm not going to get too into the facts of Bush's Guard service, but to say that he joined in wartime, when signing up for the Guard was seen as a way of avoiding the draft since few Guard units were deployed to active combat duty. Needless to say, he never saw combat.

As for the idea that both men "never planned to be president," this is equally stupid. Truman was elected to the US Senate in 1934, was then asked to join the Democratic Presidential ticket in 1944 as VP, and became President upon FDR's death. So the idea that he "never planned to be president" is acceptable. But George W. Bush ran for President. Was he planning on losing?

And Truman "took office with no clear worldview or plan of action"? He took office in the middle of a war and conducted that war with great intellectual seriousness. He certainly did have both a "clear worldview" and a "plan of action".

You hear that sound? It's Harry Truman rolling over in his grave at 3,000 RPM.

posted by Scott | 11/12/2004 | |

Cobb And Badnarik Demand Ohio Recount

Now this is democracy in action!

WASHINGTON -- November 11 -- David Cobb and Michael Badnarik, the 2004 presidential candidates for the Green and Libertarian parties, today announced their intentions to file a formal demand for a recount of the presidential ballots cast in Ohio.

"Due to widespread reports of irregularities in the Ohio voting process, we are compelled to demand a recount of the Ohio presidential vote. Voting is the heart of the democratic process in which we as a nation put our faith. When people stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote, they need to know that all votes will be counted fairly and accurately. We must protect the rights of the people of Ohio, as well as all Americans, and stand up for the right to vote and the right for people's votes to be counted. The integrity of the democratic process is at stake," the two candidates said in a joint statement.

The candidates also demanded that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who chaired the Ohio Bush campaign, recuse himself from the recount process.

The Ohio presidential election was marred by numerous press and independent reports of voter intimidation, mis-marked and discarded ballots, problems with electronic voting machines and the targeted disenfranchisement of African American voters. A number of citizens’ groups and voting rights organizations are holding hearings this Saturday in Columbus, Ohio to investigate voting irregularities and voter suppression in the Ohio 2004 general election. The hearings will be held from 1-4 p.m. at the New Faith Baptist Church, 955 Oak Street. Voters, poll workers, journalists and voting experts are invited to testify. A second hearing will be held on Monday at a location TBA, from 6-9 p.m.

The Cobb and Badnarik campaigns are in the process of raising the required fee, estimated at $110,000, for filing for a complete recount. The campaigns are accepting contributions through their websites. The Cobb-LaMarche website is The Badnarik-Campagna contribution page is

The Cobb and Badnarik campaigns have displayed a level of cooperation and civility rarely found in electoral politics. The campaigns jointly participated in and/or sponsored a series of independent debates. Cobb and Badnarik were also simultaneously arrested in St. Louis protesting their exclusion from the restricted, two-party corporate-sponsored debates.
I have no idea what an Ohio recount will uncover, but just the idea that two independent candidates are stepping in to a political mess that no one else seems willing or able to get a handle on is absolutely beautiful to me. Neither one of these candidates is going to come out of a recount a winner. And that's not the point.

The point is that when people vote, they have a right to have their voices heard. They have a right to make sure that their votes count.

If you can give, use the links above and do it.

posted by Scott | 11/12/2004 | |

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Rosenberg For DNC Chair

Donna Brazile doesn't want it. Neither does Harold Ickes.

Simon Rosenberg of the New Democrat Network apparently does. Or if he doesn't, he hasn't been very vocal about it. (Translation: He wants it.)

There has been some talk about a Howard Dean/Simon Rosenberg split-ticket, power-sharing arrangement. I think that's silly. Dean can -- and will -- certainly be active and involved in the party without being the chair. By committing himself to the DNC, Dean precludes himself for running for office for another four years. This would mean the good doctor could not run for President in 2008. Personally, I'd like to see Dean go for the nomination one more time.

And besides, I just think Rosenberg knows what needs to be done and he's ready for the job.

Rosenberg believes the root of the party's current problem can be found in how it evolved over the past twenty years. Republicans, he said, "made a transition to a data-based driven party in the 1970s.They were in the minority, and they were always asking how they could add new voters" to their coalition.

By contrast, Democrats, he said, based their party structure on a model that won elections when enough voters in their majority coalition stayed put.

Since Democrats are now the minority party, he said, they need a massive, demographic and geographic strategy to attract new voters into their camp.
Right on!

If nothing else, Rosenberg is a uniting figure for the party. His New Democrat Network was officially spun off of the Democratic Leadership Council, but he was never one to attack liberals the way the DLC's From and Reed seemed so eager to do. Though he's a moderate, Rosenberg doesn't seem to fall for the tribal games other party faction leaders do.

So there it is, whatever it's worth... DemWatch endorses Simon Rosenberg for DNC chair.

posted by Scott | 11/11/2004 | |

Yasser Arafat Is Dead

Wow. I'm really not sure how I feel about this. Most of all, I'm sad for his family. Beyond that...

While I hope Arafat's passing means real reform for the Palestinian cause, it scares me a bit that we're trading a secular nationalist for, essentially, the unknown. The question that is constantly asked in Iraq is "what if the people elect to choose an theocratic Islamic government?"

Now with Arafat's passing, the same must be asked in reference to the Palestinians. Will they choose Islamism or nationalism? Does it even matter? Which would be better for the Palestinian people, the Israeli people, the Middle East in general, and the rest of the world?

Before any elections can take place, two senior officials -- Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and PLO Secretary General Mahmoud Abbas -- will take the reins of the Palestinian leadership. Both men have taken the peace process much more seriously than Arafat ever did, even to the dismay of many of the people they represent. This is undeniably a good thing.

Like I said, I'm not sure how I feel about this. As always, my prayers are with all of the peace loving people of the Middle East, whatever the outcome.

posted by Scott | 11/11/2004 | |

The Base Turns Out For Bush

At the $800 per plate Al Smith Dinner in New York City in late October 2000, then-candidate George W. Bush told an innocent joke that was later immortalized in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."
As is the case with most successful jokes, this was funny because it was, at least in part, quite true. Philip Klinkner, writing in The New Republic, contends that more than neocons, evangelical Christians, or other social conservatives, it was the rich who really turned out for Bush on Election Day.

For all the talk of how religious voters made Bush's victory possible, their performance didn't change from 2000 to 2004. Four years ago, those attending church once a week or more were 42 percent of the electorate and gave Bush 59 percent of their vote--for a performance of 25 percent (that is, 42 percent multiplied by 59 percent). In 2004, these voters were 41 percent of the electorate and gave Bush 61 percent of their votes, for a performance of 25 percent--no change from 2004.

By contrast, Bush improved his performance with voters at the upper end of the income ladder. Among those making less than $50,000, Bush actually lost ground, as his performance fell from 21 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2004. Among those making over $50,000, Bush's performance jumped 3 points, from 28 percent to 31 percent. And most of this improved performance was concentrated among the wealthiest of voters, those making over $100,000. In this group, increases in turnout and support for Bush raised the president's performance from 8 percent to 10 percent. In fact, Bush's gains among the wealthiest Americans account for a good chunk of his popular-vote margin of victory.
So, contrary to the conventional wisdom, Bush's re-election wasn't about morals. It was about preserving tax cuts for the rich. It was all about greed.

posted by Scott | 11/11/2004 | |

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Tanks Roll Through LA Antiwar Protest

Last week, when I'd heard that a fighter jet shot up a school in New Jersey, I chuckled to myself (after I found out no one was hurt, of course) at the idea that the Bush administration had finally just decided to start bombing the Blue States.

Last night, at an antiwar rally in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, two military tanks showed up to circle the federal building and then face down the protesters. After a tense ten minute standoff between the tanks and the protesters, the tanks drove away without explanation.

Oh, how I wish I was joking...

Needless to say, I'm not chuckling this time.

(From Chris Bowers at MyDD... he's got the full story and the video.)


One of Chris Anderson's readers at Interesting Times has been doing some incredible research into this story, speaking to representatives of the National Guard, the Marines, the DEA, and others. No one seems to be claiming ownership of the vehicles, though it seems from anecdotal accounts that they were Army Reserve.

LA Indymedia has even more...

I talked to one Marine with one of the "Striker" vehicles. He told me they had driven the vehicles up from Camp Pendleton the night before (Tuesday) on the freeway. Getting off the 405 Freeway going north, they would have passed Wilshire and Veteran where ANSWER had called a rally to protest the attack on Fallujah in Iraq.

I asked him if he was "rolling around Westwood" Tuesday night. He said, "Yeah, and we drove past that anti-war demonstration. We was lost. We're not from L.A. We didn't know where this place (WLA VA) was. We were trying to find it."

"Did you drive around the block twice?" I asked.

"Yeah, we did. We stopped to ask them (the protestors) directions, but they weren't very nice."
So... they were lost. They needed directions. And they figured the antiwar protesters would be the people to help.

I couldn't have made this up if I tried...

posted by Scott | 11/10/2004 | |

...Fifty-Seven Cents On The Dollar And All I Got Was This Lousy Black Eye

I love New Jersey. I love our diversity. I love our culture. I love our environment.

The fact that, for every dollar we give the federal government in taxes, we only get back 57 cents in federal spending? I don't love that so much. But hey, if we've got the money and red states like Alabama ($1.69 back for every $1 they're taxed), Kentucky ($1.52), and Montana ($1.60) need it, then that's fair.

What really gets me about this is the fact that for our generosity, it's said that Jerseyans are not "real Americans" and that our state should be thrown out of the Union because we vote Democratic:

The truth is, America is not just broken--it is becoming irreparable. If you believe that recent years of uncivil behavior are burdensome, imagine the likelihood of a future in which all bizarre acts are the norm, and a government-booted foot stands permanently on your face.

That is why the unthinkable must become thinkable. If the so-called "Red States" (those that voted for George W. Bush) cannot be respected or at least tolerated by the "Blue States" (those that voted for Al Gore and John Kerry), then the most disparate of them must live apart--not by secession of the former (a majority), but by expulsion of the latter. Here is how to do it.

Having been amended only 17 times since 10 vital amendments (the Bill of Rights) were added at the republic's inception, the U.S. Constitution is not easily changed, primarily because so many states (75%, now 38 of 50) must agree. Yet, there are 38 states today that may be inclined to adopt, let us call it, a "Declaration of Expulsion," that is, a specific constitutional amendment to kick out the systemically troublesome states and those trending rapidly toward anti-American, if not outright subversive, behavior. The 12 states that must go: California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware. Only the remaining 38 states would retain the name, "United States of America." The 12 expelled mobs could call themselves the "Dirty Dozen," or individually keep their identity and go their separate ways, probably straight to Hell.
Undoubtedly a few of you are going to jump down my throat, claiming this a joke. It's not a joke and you know it. The right wing would like nothing more than to have us blue states tossed out on our asses. The author himself admits that the piece "is nevertheless serious in pointing out the cancer that continues to threaten our body politic."

"The cancer"?!?! THE F#@%ING CANCER?!?!

This past week, I have absolutely had it with all this talk about "real Americans" living only in Red States. And this after incessant Republican whining that Democrats are mean, angry, and hateful. To the extent that any of that is true, it's a defense mechanism against exactly this kind of puerile venom that is constantly spewed at us from the right. When did the Republicans become such sore winner brats, anyway? I guess humility went out with fiscal responsibility and small government.

I will not be bullied into giving up my flag. I will not be made to feel like an outsider in my own nation. It's disgusting that jerks like this writer talk about 'respect' and 'tolerance' while trying to slam the door in the faces of ten of the original thirteen colonies.

Someone point me to the harbor. There's some tea that needs dumping.

posted by Scott | 11/10/2004 | |

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Dean To Seek DNC Chair?

Chatter on this topic has erupted in the progressive blogosphere since the election. With Terry Mac undoubtedly on the way out, who would take his place at the DNC?

The short list of potential DNC heads now also includes Harold Ickes and Donna Brazile as well as Dean. All three are strong candidates. Each has his or her own individual strengths and none of them should be left out of the (re)building of the Democratic Party infrastructure over the next few years.

Dean's certainly a sentimental favorite for me, but the DNC chair cannot also pursue the Democratic nomination for President, leaving him out of the 2008 race. While I'm not yet ready to make an endorsement of any single '08 candidate before I even know who's running, I really would like to see him make another run for the White House.

So for DNC chair, I'm leaning hard towards Brazile as she seems like exactly the type of tough, exceedingly competent manager we need at the head of our party. That said, I'm still quite open to suggestions.

posted by Scott | 11/09/2004 | |

2014: "National Museum Of The Middle Class Opens"

This new piece in The Onion would be so much funnier to me if I didn't secretly suspect that the writers didn't make this up, but rather built a time machine and are writing from the very near future...

During the modern industrial age, the middle class grew steadily, reaching its heyday in the 1950s, when its numbers soared into the tens of millions. According to a study commissioned by the U.S. Census Bureau, middle-class people inhabited great swaths of North America, with settlements in the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, and even the nation's urban centers.

"No one predicted the disappearance of the middle class," said Dr. Bradford Elsby, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "The danger of eliminating workers' unions, which had protected the middle class from its natural predators for years, was severely underestimated. We believe that removal of the social safety net, combined with rapid political-climate changes, made life very difficult for the middle class, and eventually eradicated it altogether."
Funny, but certainly no joke.

posted by Scott | 11/09/2004 | |

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Back Door Draft Opens Wider

The Bush administration has called Gulf War veteran David Miyasato of Hawaii to report for duty 13 years after he was honorably discharged and 8 years after he completed his Reserve duty. During the first Gulf War, Miyasato served as a refueling truck driver. He's pointed to the recent refusal of a group of Army Reservists as the likely reason he's being called up now.

From the AP:

The Army announced last year that it would involuntarily activate an estimated 5,600 soldiers to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Army officials would be tapping members of the Individual Ready Reserve — military members who have been discharged from the Army, Army Reserve or the Army National Guard, but still have contractual obligations to the military.

Miyasato said he never re-enlisted, signed up for any bonuses or was told that he had been transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve or any other Army Reserve unit.

"I fulfilled my contract," Miyasato said. "I just want to move on from this, and I'm optimistic that I'll be successful."
I've gotten into a few arguments with Republicans who say there's no proof a draft is imminent. I know (and knew before any Republican ever told me) that it was Donald Rumsfeld who was one of the most outspoken opponents of the draft during Vietnam. I know the President has promised there would be no draft. I know that the draft bills circulating around Congress were sponsored by Democrats.

But I also know that we're at war. Our troops are stretched thin. God forbid another war breaks out with Iran or North Korea, where are the troops supposed to come from?

Eric Rosenberg of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Washington bureau has written a number of pieces examining the evidence of renewed interest in the draft from the Pentagon. In March of 2003, Rosenberg wrote of coordination between the Pentagon and the Selective Service System to look into the possibility of activating only those with "special skills".

WASHINGTON -- The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is adamant that he will not ask Congress to authorize a draft, and officials at the Selective Service System, the independent federal agency that would organize any conscription, stress that the possibility of a so-called "special skills draft" is remote.

Nonetheless, the agency has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it and the lawmakers agree to such a request.
In May of 2003, more questions about a potential new draft arose with Pentagon discussions on how to expand Selective Service registration to include women and those over the age of 25.

The Selective Service System plan, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, highlights the extent to which agency officials have planned for an expanded military draft in case the administration and Congress would authorize one in the future.

"In line with today's needs, the Selective Service System's structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered toward maintaining a national inventory of American men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills," the agency said in a Feb. 11, 2003, proposal presented to senior Pentagon officials.

Brodsky and Richard Flahavan, the agency's director of public and congressional affairs, reviewed the six-page proposal with Pentagon officials responsible for personnel issues. They included Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary for personnel and readiness, and William Carr, deputy undersecretary for military personnel policy.
Rosenberg has written about the topic as recently as October 30, refuting Donald Rumsfeld's repeated claims that "the idea of reinstating the draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration."

This may come as a shock to the Pentagon chief, but most of the rumors have arisen from actions within the Bush administration, which has studied how to expand draft registration to include women, target some civilian work specialties for special attention by the draft and extend the required draft registration age from 25 years old to 34 years.

These draft plans were discussed at the Pentagon on Feb. 11, 2003, by the chief of the Selective Service System, the federal agency that would operate a draft, and senior Pentagon officials.

At the Pentagon meeting, the Selective Service System's then-acting director, Lewis Brodsky, and the director of public and congressional affairs, Richard Flahavan, met with Rumsfeld aides responsible for personnel issues.

Those aides included Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; William Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy; and a top Army personnel aide, Col. David Kopanski.

According to a copy of the meeting agenda, the Selective Service System leaders reviewed the past 30 years of draft registration planning and then made their pitch for more aggressive draft preparations.

"In line with today's needs, the Selective Service System's structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered toward maintaining a national inventory of American men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills," the agency said in its February 2003 proposal.
I'd argue that it doesn't seem that we're not headed towards the kind of mass call-up, fast-track "training," and shipping off of 18 year old kids, like we saw in Vietnam. However, those who can look at the President's stop-loss orders and the recent flurry of activity in the previously dormant Selective Service System and say that a draft of some sorts is not imminent have their heads in the sand.

Just ask David Miyasato.

posted by Scott | 11/08/2004 | |

Sunday, November 07, 2004

It's Over... Right?

So I'm really not sure where all of this is going, but some very legitimate questions have been raised about funky vote counts across the country. There are counties where Bush got thousands more votes than there are registered voters. There are counties where Bush won in a landslide, despite the fact that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by huge margins. These are not conspiracy theories. These are facts.

Note to Republicans: It seems to me that, even if there was severe vote count irregularity -- I'm absolutely not accusing anyone of fraud -- Bush still would have won the popular vote. A few vote shifts in Ohio, though, and Kerry would have won the electoral vote. This is serious stuff.

This week on his MSNBC show, Countdown, Keith Olbermann is going to be examining some of the most prominent examples. As he points out, the non-underground media has even been looking into the questionable vote counting, with The Cincinnati Enquirer questioning why Warren County, Ohio's vote tally process was a closed affair. Local officials have given the reason "homeland security," but no one seems to be buying that.

Like I've said though, I have no idea where all of this is going. I'm very interested to see what develops this week on Countdown and if any of the stories actually start making it up to the more legitimate levels of television and print journalism.

A warning to potential commenters on this topic.

1. To any Republican readers who may think I'm totally out of line with this. I've been exceedingly fair about this, going out of my way to point out that I believe Bush definitely won the popular vote, fair and square, and not accusing anyone of anything untoward. If the comments get overly vitriolic or bullying, you will be banned.

2. To any Democratic readers who are may use this as a jumping off point to talk about wildly rigged elections or Kerry/the party being gutless for not fighting hard enough for accurate counts or recounts. We need a reasoned argument for an examination of what, if anything, went wrong on Election Day -- not angry accusations. Again, if the comments get overly vitriolic or bullying, you will be banned.

So there. That said, go have fun.

posted by Scott | 11/07/2004 | |

Thanks, Ted

On election day, I posted an MP3 of a song by Ted Leo + The Pharmacists as a special treat for our side as a little thank you. It turns out quite a few of you were familiar with Mr. Leo and many of you who were not were pleasantly surprised by what you heard.

Ted's been getting more and more attention in the last couple of years, phenomenally more than he got when my band opened for him on a college radio show here in New Jersey in the nineties. It's been great to see as Ted is a super nice guy and one hell of a talented musician and songwriter.

Imagine how happy I was to see this on the front page of's entertainment section...

Very cool.

posted by Scott | 11/07/2004 | |
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