The Meetup Numbers

I checked over at Meetup to see how the candidates are doing. Here’s what I saw:

Dean in 2004 (>68,300 members)

Kerry in 2004 (>8,100)

Clark in 2004 (>5,900)

Kucinich in 2004 (>5,000)

Edwards in 2004 (>1,000)

Bush2004 (>800)

Gore2004 (>500)

Biden in 2004 (>400)

Gephardt in 2004 (>300)

Barack Obama for Senate (>200)

Lieberman in 2004 (>100)

Nader in 2004 (>100)

Graham in 2004 (>100)

Sharpton in 2004 (72)

Moseley-Braun in 2004 (69)

Voting Machines Story

In this story:

“Diebold Election Systems President Tom Swidarski defended his technology Tuesday as the safest, ‘most advanced out there.’ He dismissed the Hopkins study as a ‘homework assignment’ by a bunch of graduate students aimed as a ‘misguided,’ personal attack’ on his company.

Swidarski called computer science election watchdogs such as those gathered in Denver this week ‘fringe organizations’ ‘without much real practical knowledge of the election process.'”

This is a very odd statement coming from the president of a company that would MAKE MORE MONEY if they sold an add-on device to print voter-verifiable ballots! Why on earth is he opposing this add-on sale?

Go Read Digby

Go read Hullabaloo today instead of me. He get’s it just right.

“The DLC is still saying exactly what they said back in 1985, (which should be terribly embarrassing because it indicates that they have failed spectacularly to change the party’s image.) The truth is that they succeeded quite well at first, but the result was a GOP that saw the Democrats moving their way and seized the opportunity to move the goalposts ever further to the right and also become more aggressive and hostile. They did not meet us in the middle, guys, they just kept on going in the direction they wanted to go anyway.

And they lost all compunction about tarring the opposition with outright lies and character assassination.

The fact is that it does not matter if our candidate actually supported the war in Iraq or not. If John Kerry is the nominee rather than Howard Dean, do they actually believe that the Republicans will not find a way to portray him as soft on national security? Please.

It. Does. Not. Matter. What. We. Actually. Do.

We could sign on to a 0% tax rate for millionaires, repeal of Social Security, prison terms for homosexuality and oil rigs in the middle of San Francisco Bay and they would still say we are liberal, tax and spend, tree hugging, treasonous pacifists because it is in their interest to do so. “

Exactly right. It’s what they do.

Bush Campaign Commercials

Driving to get some lunch today I was listening to Sean Hannity. He was repeating what Joe Lieberman said about other Democrats:

“Senator Lieberman’s comments were aimed at some other Democratic presidential hopefuls, notably former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who are vocal opponents of the war. ‘Some in my party are sending out a message that they do not know a just war when they see it, and more broadly, that they are not prepared to use our military strength to protect our security and the cause of freedom,’ he said. “

Since there is no chance of Leiberman becoming the candidate, doesn’t this kind of thing just hand the election over to Bush?

Democrats “are not prepared to use our military strength to protect our security and the cause of freedom.” Thanks Joe! This quote will be a Bush campaign commercial!

Oil Profits

Thanks to BuzzFlash I saw this:

“Shell is the first of the world’s top three oil companies to report second-quarter results. World leader ExxonMobil Corp and No. 3 BP plc will follow next week.

All three have been producing some of the largest quarterly profits ever recorded by publicly traded companies, helped by oil prices that have soared on the back of the war in Iraq and supply disruptions in Nigeria and Venezuela. “

But no, it’s not about the oil. Of course not.

I think this one is a “do” from the phrase “what what they are doing, not what they are saying.”

Afhgan Election Scheduling

Karl Rove has scheduled the Afghanistan elections for October, 2004, and is sending $1 billion to help them look good. Do you think this might be timed to influence OUR elections a few weeks later?

U.S. mulls $1 billion in aid to Afghans: “The $1 billion package, which more than triples the $300 million Afghanistan receives, represents new spending on Afghanistan and is designed to fund projects that can be completed within a year to have maximum impact on the lives of the Afghan people before scheduled elections in October 2004, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.”

How much of that $1 billion do you think is for PR in the U.S.?

Thanks to Body and Soul.

Today’s Google Experiment – Screwing Your Supporters

The San Jose News had a story this weekend – Bush, Republicans losing support of retired veterans.

Normally Republican, many retired veterans are mad that Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are blocking remedies to two problems with health and pension benefits. They say they feel particularly betrayed by Bush, who appealed to them in his 2000 campaign, and who vowed on the eve of his inauguration that “promises made to our veterans will be promises kept.”

This reflects a recent Army Times editorial,

In recent months, President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have missed no opportunity to heap richly deserved praise on the military. But talk is cheap — and getting cheaper by the day, judging from the nickel-and-dime treatment the troops are getting lately.

For example, the White House griped that various pay-and-benefits incentives added to the 2004 defense budget by Congress are wasteful and unnecessary — including a modest proposal to double the $6,000 gratuity paid to families of troops who die on active duty. This comes at a time when Americans continue to die in Iraq at a rate of about one a day.

So for today’s Google Experiment, let’s look back to 1981. The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization – PATCO – had endorsed Reagan for President. (Was it the ONLY union that did?) How did Reagan repay them?

Blood wasn’t spilled, nor was a single life lost, but August 3, 1981 still stands as one of the darkest days in modern labor history. Tired of working clock-busting shifts on “obsolete” equipment, 13,000 members of the U.S. Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) chose this day to walk off the job. President Reagan fired back, threatening to fire any workers who were still on the picket line as of August 5th. A good chunk of the controllers stood their ground, though their determination wasn’t matched by the media and public relations savvy that now seem necessary for mustering-up popular support. Having seemingly won the battle of public perception, Reagan made good on his promise: citing a law that forbade strikes by federal employees, the President canned 11,500 strikers and decertified the union. A crop of replacement controllers was rounded-up, trained and quickly installed into the vacant positions. The PATCO strike ultimately triggered a protracted retreat by labor, as Reagan’s tactics emboldened employers to take a more aggressive stance against union activity.

I’m reminded of Whoopi Goldberg’s comedy routine about Reagan thanking PATCO for their support. Can I describe that in a blog? Let’s just say it’s a sight gag that has something to do with the title of this piece. Leave a comment if you know what I’m talking about.

Afghanistan

I was wondering why we never hear any news from Afghanistan, so I went to Google News, and found this:

A new threat of Taliban attacks in southern Afghanistan

The fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar is reported to have approved a new deputy military commander for southern Afghanistan.

A Taliban official says the leader has ordered the commander to intensify guerrilla attacks on international and government forces.

The announcement follows stepped-up activity by suspected Taliban guerrillas in southern Afghanistan which saw nine soldiers of the 11,500-strong U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan wounded in several attacks last weekend.

Mullah Abdul Samad, an intelligence officer in the hardline Taliban regime revealed the new strategy to Reuters newsagency.

He was speaking by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.

The location of the Mullah Omar remains unknown more than 18 months since the Taliban were forced out of Afghanistan.

Oh, I guess that’s why we never hear any news from Afghanistan. No news is good news.

Also this and this and this.

No One Is Acting Like It’s Real

War. Weapons of mass destruction. Presidential deception. Imminent threats. Nuclear bombs. Smallpox. Anthrax. Nerve gas. Let’s try to back away from the politics for a minute and look at all the things we are discussing as if they were real things, and the words we are using had real meanings and were not shaded by agendas and innuendo and elections.

We just went to war with a country, bombed them, invaded their territory, killed a LOT of people, and risked disrupting a region and possibly the world, because we believed that our lives were at immediate risk from that country threatening us with imminent use of weapons of mass destruction.

Now we’re occupying that country and we haven’t found those weapons. Therefore we MUST conclude those terrible weapons are now in the hands of terrorists, and that we are much less safe than we were before we went to war. It means all of our lives are at much greater immediate risk than before we went to war. Right? It means that smallpox is imminent – or anthrax – or nerve gas attacks – or nuclear weapons. Right? That’s WHY we went to war, and it is what the President’s words MUST mean today!

So is this what we are all talking about – including the Bush administration? Is this how we are all acting? Are we expressing the appropriate level of concern that all of our lives are at greater risk today than before the war? Once again – we went to war because we were in immediate danger of losing our lives to weapons of mass destruction and now we face an even greater risk.

So is the government taking more or fewer steps to protect us? Has the administration set aside all other concerns, and is it spending 100% of its time and energy working on ways to keep us safe from the terrible threat from the missing WMD? Is the Congress in a frenzy of concern over the terrible threat we face? Is the “terror alert level” higher than before the war? Are the newspapers carrying more or fewer stories about threats to our safety – smallpox, anthrax, nerve gas, nuclear weapons?

But no one is acting like that, especially not the government! What must we conclude from that? That the Bush administration is not concerned that we are all about to die from smallpox or nuclear attack! This MUST mean that they do not believe it. They just aren’t acting like we face the terrible risk that their WORDS must mean.

Forget the POLITICS of this – forget “how it is playing” or whether “the story has legs” or whether “the President can get past this” or “how it will affect his ratings” and look at what the WORDS mean! Are we in terrible danger or not? Either we face the most terrible and immediate risks to our lives OR we have been terribly deceived – one of the worst deceptions in the history of our country. There isn’t any middle ground on this.

But none of us – not the Bush administration, not the public, not the press, not the Congress – are ACTING like the reality of the situation demands we act! It’s like we’re all hypnotized or something. It’s like we are all playing a video game, or watching a TV show instead of living in the reality of the meaning of what is happening around us!

This started as a comment I left following this post over at CalPundit: The Real Reason for War. I edited it to make me look better.