May 27, 2004

Hire faster speechwriters

...This one took a few years too long to get written.

Look, there's little I can argue about Al Gore's latest speech. Of course, it's fantastic, and you should all go read it now and tell all your friends to read it and so forth. But in the long run, reading this thing makes me kinda pissed off.

This speech is coming from Al Gore, who, to be quite honest, has made a change in personal politics that I find just slightly hard to believe. Either Al Gore is pandering to lefter-leaning Dean contingent to shore up support for rhetoric that he knows a Kerry administration will never totally follow-up on, or much worse: this is actually the way he's always felt, and four years ago he merely sold most of the left out to sound like a pussy in from of moderate voters. In other words, yeah Al, great speech, but where the hell were you four years ago?

This isn't to say Gore could have changed. I know a lot of politically apathetic people who have become wildly anti-Bush because of his policies, just as I know a few liberals who have joined the Republican Party based on their fanatical devotion to the war in Iraq. Gore's speech appeals to both of those: it highlights the massive- and I mean massive- level of screwups foreign and domestic courtesy of the Bush administration, perhaps giving light to the fact that keeping Bush around might not be the best thing for anyone- Iraqis included.

The line about Kerry making a "fresh assessment" is basically a shoutout to this cycle's Mondale moment- the simple truth is that both John Kerry and George Bush, and very likely their successors at this point, are going to preside over a fucked-up quagmire of chaos that is Iraq. The only difference is that Kerry's team isn't lying to you about it.

But coming from Gore it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don't see any denounciation of his previous platform; I don't see him condemning his former running mate for going even further to the right than he did when he was trying to be Vice-president. This is a fantastic speech, but what I see is an Al Gore who's desperately trying to play to an audience with a memory that doesn't go further back than January of 2001.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:15 AM

No negative side effects at all

Transcripts reveal role in Chile coup:

The transcripts show Nixon and Kissinger relieved about the toppling of Allende, who killed himself the day of the coup. The transcripts quote Kissinger, then national security adviser, as saying newspapers were "bleeding because a pro-communist government has been overthrown."

"I mean instead of celebrating - in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes," Kissinger told Nixon on Sept. 16, 1973, five days after the bloody coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. About 3,000 people were killed or disappeared under Pinochet's 17-year rule.

"Well we didn't - as you know - our hand doesn't show on this one, though," Nixon told Kissinger in the Sept. 16 transcript.

"We didn't do it. I mean we helped them," Kissinger told Nixon, adding that "(deleted) created the conditions as great as possible," in an apparent reference to a person or institution.

The National Security Archive, a Washington research institute that also serves as a library of declassified documents, released over 20,000 pages of taped telephone conversations on Wednesday involving Kissinger from 1969 to 1974.

Peter Kornbluh, Chile analyst for the National Security Archive, said the document was "damning proof, in Kissinger's own words, that the Nixon administration directly contributed to creating a coup climate in Chile which made the September 11, 1973, military takeover possible."

We'd later continue the practice of whatever was necessary to defeat those dirty commies by training Osama bin Laden, who gave us a nice 28th anniversary present.

The dates are, of course, a coincidence, but not the underlying proof that the warfloggers should sit back, look at their "nothing's more important that taking care of Iraq" rhetoric, and realize that they don't having a freaking clue what they're babbling about.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:53 AM

May 26, 2004

T-shirts

If you haven't already, get over to Designs on the White House and vote for your favorite pro-Kerry/anti-Bush T-Shirts. I'll be submitting a few myself, but judge for yourself, since the end result is for an important cause: getting Bush the hell out of office.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:29 AM

May 25, 2004

Just a reminder

Just in case anyone, you know, forgot or anything, Kevin Drum reminds us that Trent Lott is a subhuman piece of filth. And that's a nice way of putting it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:29 PM

George W. Bush - Varsity President

Jennifer Graham wrote an article for the National Review in what could, and this is without exaggeration, take the prize as the god-damned stupidest thing ever written. Basically, Graham argues that Bush is percieved as a jock, is a real athelete (as opposed to John Kerry,) and therefore in the hearts and minds of voters is more appealing and thus likely to win the election.

Relax in the knowledge that I will not find you rude in any way for abruptly leaving this site to read the article, as I fully understand your subsequent necessity to not believe something as fucking ridiculous as that. It's quite all right; I'll be here when you get back.

Now, let's pretend that this is a serious, legitimate article. Considering that Bush oh my god I can't do it. Jesus Christ. "That's what the president does, and why his resting pulse rate is somewhere around 45 beats per minute... a lot closer to professional cyclist Lance Armstrong's resting pulse than that of the senator from Massachusetts." She actually wrote that.

I'm sorry. Let me try that again.

Now, let's pretend that this is a serious okay I just lost it again. Sorry. I read the last line about the body fat thing because it was hanging in the background of another open IE window. It's resized now. I've taken a few breaths. Using this trick my sister taught me and thinking about dead puppies. Piles of dead puppies. Okay. Laughter over.

Now, let's pretend that this is a serious article. What I don't get it, amidsts all the myths and concepts the right would try to cast onto George W. Bush, it would be that he's a jock. Look, I can buy the "best friend" thing, and the "beer buddy" angle, but seriously. Look at the guy. I could kick his ass.

I don't mean that in a "I want to kick the President's ass" way, so please, all the members of the Secret Service who accidentally found this site while seaching for incorrect-grammar-laden Google searches like "women tight who fuck noodle" or something, don't start an investigation. I'm not stating a desire, just an observation. If, were time and space aligned in a way to suggest the situation, George W. Bush and I were in a one-on-one fight, I could safely say I'd kick the living crap out of him. Like, not even a debatable win either. He'd get a couple in, leave me winded, but I'd be the clear winner.

Now, what makes this funny is that I don't think I can say this for any other president. And I'll state it for the record. With the exception of George W. Bush, I think every President since WWII would kick my ass.

Bill Clinton - He'd kick my ass. So would Gore. In fact, I think Gore would beat me worse than Clinton. Height/reach stuff.
Bush Sr. - Maybe a hit or two, but you can see it in his eyes: that guy's a fighter. I'd give myself maybe six minutes.
Ronald Reagan - Jesus. Reagan would kill me.
Jimmy Carter - Personality aside, the guy's a carpenter. Builds shit out of wood. Farmer muscles. I'd be whooped.
Gerald Ford - I bet you were all expecting falling down jokes. I would wager that Gerald Ford would enter a fist fight loaded on Whiskey. You can see it in him. I don't think I'd be able to take on Gerald Ford in a drunken rage.
Richard Nixon - Mean fucker. Would go right for the balls and not stop until they came out my mouth.
Lyndon Johnson - the closest I think I'd come to winning. He'd get it in a decision. We'd both walk out.
John F. Kennedy - Would beat me for sport. I imagine him using blunt instruments and fighting dirty.
Dwight Eisenhower - Bitch, please. No one could beat Eisenhower with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson. Eisenhower wouldn't be as much "will I win or not" as it would be "will he or won't he rip off my arm and kill me with it."
Harry Truman - I can see him fighting dirty. Decent fight until he clubs me with a bar stool leg. After that I'd stay off-balance until he knocked me out.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Five-point Exploding Palm.

I could probably go down the whole list, but I think past World War II I'd actually have to do some research. I mean, some of them are obvious, and hell, most of 'em are Republicans- I think Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jackson likely got elected based on their liklihood of kicking everyone's ass. Also, Grant. Grant would go looking for fights.

But Dubya, no way. I'm sorry, but look at the guy. If you're over the age of 12 and weigh more than a hundred pounds, you have no excuse for not believing you'd crunch him. That's not a referendum on his administration, only a reflection on why Powell seems to be so angry in all the photos of them together. You know he's just wishing Bush could say he's not the President" for a few minutes like some shitty 70's cop drama. I've lost all concept to the point of this post at this point, so I'll just abruptly end it right now.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:07 PM

Conventional wisdom

I agree with Tapped, who I think agrees with a lot of other people: John Kerry's idea to "delay accepting the nomination" to meet parity with Bush for matching funds is, albiet logical, a really, really bad one.

To start, the GOP will, undoubtedly, go nuclear on Kerry. Considering that this is the party which only a month ago managed to take the silent reading of names from a Friday night newscast and declare it a partisan sham meriting a "necessary response" from Fox News, I'm hard-pressed to believe that the GOP will do anything in the face of Kerry changing the convention rules other than what they do best- go Form of Baby and throw every single on-air tantrum imaginable to the beat of the stigma that Democrats are dishonest and manipulative (as opposed to Republicans, who are apparently... I don't know... evil by nature or something.)

Since they're already telegraphing their moves, it's clear that the GOP reaction to Kerry trying to reach even grounds with Bush this way will be treated in two steps: announce that there was always a rule about this, followed by announcing that they've decided Kerry has now broken it. Kerry's already been given the "flip-flopper" label by the media; why fuel that by actually flip-flopping for real?

Last month, Bush outspent Kerry by tens of millions to accomplish, poll-wise, absolutely nothing to Bush's benefit. Kerry doesn't need to meet Bush on the funding plain; he needs to sit back and watch Bush crumble for... well... being Bush.

Other than the GOP convention, the weeks Kerry will be at a "financial disadvantage" will be the Olympics, which are going to dominate the coverage. Outside of ad buys, Kerry won't have much to worry about for rhetoric. It's not like anyone on Fox News or MSNBC or CNN is going to change their mind at this point. The biggest negative receptions to Bush from the American voter has been when, frankly, everyone just steps aside and lets Bush open his mouth.

Bush's campaign has been notoriously striken with a negative reaction to almost every clever strategy they think will be great: Mars, the steroid stuff, the press conferences, the lackluster speech last night that only Peggy Noonan could admire because of a cerebral hemmorage brought on by fantasizing about Ronald Reagan too long. The 9/11 GOP convention ("Join us in '04 for an Exploitation Celebration!") will likewise backfire, and as such Kerry doesn't need to advertise. He needs to wait for Bush to implode.

In the long run, if Kerry delays the acceptance, he'll earn five more weeks, but be faced with ten weeks worth of damage control. With that little time before the election, the public debate should be about the stupid things Bush does. Kerry can get that by not doing anything stupid himself.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:22 AM

May 24, 2004

Finding the cloud in every silver lining

As per tonight's speech, Bush will include a promise to, much like the Department of Homeland Security, take the initiative in doing what Democrats suggested a month ago:

In an attempt to clean up its tarnished image, the White House said the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad will be torn down. Photographs and video tapes of American soldiers abusing and humiliating Iraqi inmates at the prison have seriously undermined U.S. efforts in Iraq.

"America will fund the construction of a modern, maximum security prison. When that prison is completed, detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated," a White House fact sheet said.

"Then, with the approval of the Iraqi government, we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison, as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning."

I'm totally behing tearing the torture center down 100%, but "a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning" is going to be a new prison? Ummm.... 'kay.....

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:51 PM

Good enough for Saddam, apparently not for us

Sure to be shouted down as "un-American," I'm still amazed at the unmitigated gall of the people in charge of defending us. Amidst wisdespread incidents of soldiers torturing and murdering prisoners, revelaed and believed by American media sources only after photographic evidence arose, Donald Rumsfeld has taken decisive action on the matter: by banning cameras.

If the actions by the solders anger the Iraqis, there won't be much they can do about it, because although Bush is determined to "justice for the Iraqi people" by having Saddam Hussein face a court of the new Iraqi government, he apparently feels that Americans aren't worth such auspices, building the framework for U.S. soldiers to be immune from prosecution by the new Iraqi leadership.

And, feeling that the United States hasn't made perfectly clear that it reserves the right to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, to anyone and anything, without any fear of repercussion, within the same week as revelations continued to pour from Iraq about soldiers abusing Iraqis (again, mind you, the sole fault of there being cameras there to record it) the United States is demanding that it remain immune from the international war crimes tribunal.

Gosh, I wonder why they all hate us.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:48 AM

May 23, 2004

(Head explodes)

I... I just... just go.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:55 AM