Saturday, December 27

Dean Who? 

In case you were wondering, I had a wonderful time visiting George and Laura at the eco-ranch.

Now, what's the fuss about Dean?

"George Walker Bush and Howard Brush Dean III are from opposite sides of the nation's political fault line. Yet besides energizing the left wing of his party, Dr. Dean has some Republicans worried that the characteristics he shares with President Bush could appeal to swing voters, especially when Dr. Dean's current image as a Vermont liberal is leavened with details of the fiscally conservative way he governed Vermont for 11 years."

We aren't scared of Dean. Not at all. That's why we formed a special task force to come up with plans to smear him as pessimistic, angry, and heading in the wrong direction. You'll fall for that for us, won't you? You won't notice that he's funding his campaign, not with lovely corporate checks, but with lots of individual contributions from ordinary freedom-loving Americans. You'll ignore his message of taking back the country, and the optimism of those supporting him. You won't notice that we're the angry, out of touch, pessimistic crowd that uses fear to subdue you.

Repeat after me: "Dean is Pessimistic" See how easy it is? Sounds like a disease.

We're so good at coming up with things, and no one has figured that whatever we say, we mean the opposite. Air pollution? Clean Skies! Take away your freedoms? Patriot Act! Howard Dean? Angry.

Luckily, the fake Democratic candidates are all supplying us with lots of great sound bites that we can use in our attack ads. Try this one out: "Here's what the Democrats say about Dr. Dean...," and imagine the fun we can have with 30 seconds of video.

We're not scared at all. Just because every Democratic attack makes him more popular, and these arguments aren't working, doesn't mean we won't use them.

All the money in the world is at stake, from our perspective. We want it all. For us. Not you, just us.

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Tuesday, December 23

Rumsfeld Made Iraq Overture in '84 Despite Chemical Raids 

In an article, which appeared today in the New York Times, it was reported that even during the height of the Iran-Iraq War when Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons and gassing thousands of Iranian soldiers and Kurdish people, current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld continued to urge the Iraqis to use U.S.-supplied chemical weapons, something that Rumsfeld denied all last year, but which was recently revealed in a series declassified reports requested by the National Security Archives.

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Dean Leads Dems in Pennsylvania 

The Quinnipiac University poll shows Dean, the former Vermont governor, holding a double-digit lead in the Keystone State, the nation's fifth-largest electoral prize. Dean nabbed 28 percent of the 1,092 registered voters surveyed. Undecided accounted for 18 percent of the vote - more than those supporting any other candidate.

Seventeen percent supported Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rep. Dick Gephardt pulled 10 percent, Wesley Clark collected 9 percent, and Sen. John Kerry had 7 percent, the poll showed.

Two months ago, Dean held a mere 5 percent of support among state voters.

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Dean leads among Democratic presidential hopefuls in Georgia 

Dean garnered support from about 18 percent of those surveyed, compared to 7.5 percent for Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt and 6.5 percent for retired Gen. Wesley Clark, according to the Zogby America poll for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Al Sharpton was fourth with 5.6 percent, followed by Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman with 5.5 percent, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry with 2.7 percent, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun with 2.6 percent, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards with 1.9 percent and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich with 0.2 percent.

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Monday, December 22

Dean's N.H. Lead Jumps To 29%  

CONCORD, N.H. - Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean leads Sen. John Kerry by 29 percent in New Hampshire, an increase of 7 points since a similar survey last month.

Dean leads the Massachusetts senator 46-17, according to a poll released Wednesday by television stations WMUR in Manchester and WCVB in Boston. Wesley Clark had 10 percent and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman 7 percent.

Trailing were North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, 4 percent; Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, 3 percent; and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton, 1 percent each.

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Dean Gaining Strength In South Carolina 

12/22/2003 1:22 P.M.

Howard Dean appears to be gaining strength in the Democratic presidential race in South Carolina, according to a poll that suggests the race remains competitive in the state with a Feb. 3 primary.

Dean was at 16 percent in the poll released Monday by the American Research Group of Manchester, N.H. Wesley Clark and Al Sharpton were at 12 percent and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was at 11 percent. While Dean appears to have a slight lead, the poll suggests the race is wide open.

Edwards had a slight lead in a Pew Research Center poll in November.

The ARG poll had a sample with 39 percent of respondents who were black, about the same as the makeup of the sample in the Pew poll. Blacks could make up from 40 percent to half of a Democratic primary turnout in South Carolina.

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New York On The Tigris

Soon after the first Gulf War began, I picked up a 1985 (January) copy of National Geographic for a quarter in a used book store. What caught my eye was a teaser on the cover, “The New Face of Baghdad.” In true Orwellian style, propaganda changes with the times. In 1991, the Iraqis were portrayed as demons, with myths about them eating zoo animals and tossing premature babies from their incubators being spread far and wide by the commercial media. In 1985, however, they were our friends, as the Reagan/Bush Administration armed Saddam Hussein’s government with chemical and biological weapons for use against Iran. If the National Geographic can be counted on to do one thing, that’s tow the official line—and no doubt the 1985 issue would show a modern secular Iraq that had all but disappeared from our 1991 media.

And it did. The article, written by William Ellis, shows a modern and prosperous city of new hotels, housing developments and shopping malls such as the Thulatha Market, where 30,000 shoppers each day engaged in the American passion of conspicuous consumption. It wasn’t just the architecture that was “normal” by American standards. It was the culture as well. Conspicuously absent from the article was any mention of Saddam Hussein’s vicious use of American-supplied chemical weapons against Iraq’s own ethnic minorities. Instead, we were treated with passages that supported cultural kinship between Americans and Hussein’s government, as it waged a secularist battle against the demonized fundamentalist Iranians. Ellis writes:

“Women in Baghdad dress fashionably. They attend universities and hold some of the highest offices in the land. There are women engineers here, and woman pilots, doctors, architects, and lawyers. Overall, nationally, women now account for 25 percent of the work force. It is official doctrine of the Baath Party that women have full equality with men. On the other side is Iran, where, it is reported, lipstick is removed from women by a swipe of cotton in which a razor blade is embedded.”

In contrast to evil Iran, Ellis described Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad as containing new neighborhoods rising up around the ancient city, such as Haifa Street with its “schools, clinics, parks, and entertainments centers, “built by “contractors from many nations.” He described superhighways so modern that, “Indeed, a motorist here might imagine himself in Germany…” Ellis made much of the fact that, unlike in “other large cities of the Middle East,” bus passengers “ride inside the buses,” which were British-built, London style double deckers. Soon, he promised, they’d be whisked along in a new modern subway system. For me, these signs of normalcy past now provide a vibrant image of horror—of a modern city bombed, in 1991, into what the U.S. media has termed, “the stone age.” Most upsetting was this caption, placed next to a photo of a woman engineer holding blueprints and wearing a short sleeve shirt and a hard hat, giving direction to a construction foreman. It read:

“New York on the Tigris, Baghdad and its building boom have attracted top-rate architects from Europe and the United States, who have reshaped the skyline. New construction includes the Haifa Street housing project, a community of nearly 2,000 high-rise units; the 312 room Sheraton Hotel, one of five luxury hotels built in the past five years; and housing project Number 10, one of several new developments that will provide low-rent living space.”

Ellis is quick to point out that while Baghdad seems like an American city, it is set apart primarily by its rich archaeology stemming from its 1,200 year history as a major center of trade. He writes:

"There are other reminders—subtle to be sure—that this is, after all, Baghdad and not Milwaukee. It is not unusual for workers to uncover ancient and valuable artifacts while excavating for one of the many new buildings…"

With these images still fresh in mind, think again about 800 cruise missiles, collectively forming possibly the most powerful weapon of mass destruction ever used in warfare, raining down upon this urban area, upon these human beings and their material treasures.

[Excerpt from "Baghdad On The Hudson, Let The Blitzkrieg Begin", Michael I. Niman, Feb. 6, 2003]

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Sunday, December 21

U.S. Safer Now That Hussein Is In Custody 

Terror Threat Level Raised to Orange is what the Washington Post says:

"The government on Sunday raised the national threat level to orange, the second-highest, saying attacks were possible during the holidays and that threat indicators are 'perhaps greater now than at any point' since Sept. 11, 2001.

'Extensive and considerable protections have been or soon will be in place all across the country,' Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said at a hastily arranged news conference at department headquarters. "

See, the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive attacks on soveriegn nations for spurious reasons works!

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The economy is great.:

"An average 90,000 jobless workers each week who exhaust their state benefits after Saturday won't get the extra 13 weeks of federal aid that others have received since March 2002, when Congress first approved the help. Most states provide up to 26 weeks of aid to people who lose their jobs.

'The truth is, there has not been a recovery in the labor market,' Chris Owens, public policy director for the AFL-CIO, said Thursday."

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Wesley Clark Is Nice 

You have to watch C-Span. The best times to watch, too, are after events, when the cameras and sound are still on and the candidates work the crowds. The you get moments like this:

"Moments after praising his opponents in the Democratic presidential race as worthy running mates, Wesley Clark said, in no uncertain terms, how he would respond if they or anyone else criticized his patriotism or military record.

'I'll beat the shit out of them,' Clark told a questioner as he walked through the crowd after a town hall meeting Saturday. 'I hope that's not on television,' he added.

It was, live, on C-SPAN."

I missed that gem, but heard him talk with another supporter. The man came up and said he thought Clark's position on pharmaceuticals was "flaky." Clark then argued with the man, saying his position wasn't flaky and that he had worked with Big Pharma. The man tried to point out some actual facts about increasing costs of drugs, marketing budgets, etc. Clark said "You are wrong!" and repeated that his words were not "flaky".

Clark also stopped to pose with some 8th grade girls who were going to give a speech about him, or introduce him, or something along those lines. he said "what are you going to say about me?" They started to answer but he cut them off and told them what to say.

Yes, sir! No, sir! Request permission to speak freely, sir! God Bless America, sir!

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