Friday, August 20, 2004

Don't Bend It Like Bush 
In case you missed it, a recent Bush campaign ad shows the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan while an unseen narrator says: "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations -- and two fewer terrorist regimes."

It hasn't played well in Athens.

Salih Sadir Midfielder, Iraqi Olympian Soccer Team, from Najaf:
"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign. . . . I want the violence and the war to go away from the city, we don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away."
Ahmed Manajid Midfielder, Iraqi Olympian Soccer Team:
"How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes."
Manajid, whose cousin was an insurgent killed by US soldiers, went even further, saying he would "for sure" be fighting the occupation as a member of the Iraqi resistance were he not playing soccer.

Adnan Hamad, Iraqi Olympian Soccer Coach:
"My problems are not with the American people; they are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Michael Bloomberg for mayor of Crawford TX 
For a guy who, until his desire to be mayor outweighed his common sense, was a lifelong Democrat, Mike Bloomberg seems to have drunk not just a sip but an entire pitcher of neo-con Koolade.

Speaking to volunteers about potential protests at the upcoming Republican Convention at Madison Square Garden , Bloomberg said
People who avail themselves of the opportunity to express themselves ... they will not abuse that privilege. Because if we start to abuse our privileges, then we lose them, and nobody wants that.
Well, no, Mike - it is NOT a "privilege," it's a right, guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. When you want to ingratiate yourself with the Republican guard, that ol' Constitution becomes might inconvenient.

Rovian fingerprints 
"Why did Golan Cipel decide to bring his charges now? Is it because the Democratic Bosses who run New Jersey got to him somehow, and are using him to clear Jim McGreevey out of the way so they can run John Corzine for Governor next year and keep themselves from losing control of the most powerful Governor's office in America?" -- GOP gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler, 08/12/04

From PoliticsNJ.com
Schundler, typically, draws the wrong conclusions from the right information. Although he now has a 10%+ lead in most polls, two months ago New Jersey looked a bit dicey for John Kerry - the polls were making NJ look like a swing state instead of a comfortable "blue" state. What better way, then, to encourage undecideds and barely-committeds to believe that the Democrats and their candidate, led by an ethically challenged gay man, were unworthy of their votes. It would be hard to tie any of McGreevey's ethical lapses to Kerry or the national Dem ticket but, despite its bad odor in civilized company, homophobia still runs close to the surface in many people. It's not hard to tap into that for political advantage, and who is a better political manipulator of voters' baser impulses than Karl Rove? This is just the sort of thing he's the master of. Was a it a Rove special-op? I dunno, but it sure is his style.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Where's the Commander-in-Chief? 
Staff Sgt Joseph Darby, an MP in the Army reserve, thought he was doing the right thing, the American thing, when he reported prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib to his superiors. These were war crimes he was witnessing, after all, something we Americans prefer to think of as being in the province of the bad guys - the Idi Amins and Saddam Husseins of the world. For the world, he did the right thing - but for some Americans, he made himself the enemy. For himself and his family, he made a bad mistake.

This honorable, courageous citizen-soldier, following in the best American tradition of military might tempered by compassion, is suffering mightily for his mistake. Sgt. Darby's family is now living in protective custody due to threats against them by so-called "patriots" who think that nothing is bad enough for Iraqis or anyone who cares about them as people.
"People were mean, saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bull's eye on his head. It was scary," said Bernadette Darby from Corriganville, Maryland.

Mrs. Darby said it was difficult living in protective custody, and she missed her privacy. She did not say who was providing the protection.

"There's always someone with you," she told ABC's "Good Morning America" show.

Despite the threats, Mrs. Darby she believed her husband made the right choice exposing the abuse.

"Joe is the type of person to take what is going on around him and be like, 'How would I feel if that was my wife?' ... He just could not live with himself knowing that that was happening and he did not do anything about it," she said.

It's difficult enough for the families of active-duty reservists to get by, emotionally AND financially, but the mistreatment of Darby's family is criminal. Where does George W. Bush, the chief "Compassionate Conservative," supposed supporter of our troops, and Darby's titular boss, stand on Sgt Darby's courage in coming forward, and on what's happened to him since? A bit of highly public thanks and praise for upholding traditional American values might go a long way toward making things right for the Darbys. Unfortunately it hasn't even merited a mention, let alone a commendation.

As usual, Mr. Bush is AWOL.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

It ain't gonna be pretty 
Is Governor-in-waiting Dick Codey getting the heave-ho from the party? Is the Steve Adubato Sr./Sharpe James alliance no longer the center-of-gravity in the NJ Democratic Party? Steve Kornacki at PoliticsNJ.com suggests that South Jersey Demcratic power broker George Norcross and McGreevey king-maker John Lynch are pushing hard to euchre Codey out.

How? By inducing McGreevey to move his effective resignation date up - early enough to allow a special gubernatorial election in November of 2004 instead of 2005 (when there would have been one anyway). This would make Codey a very lame-duck Governor for just 3 1/2 months - from mid-September through inauguration day 2005, giving him a nice entry on his resume and allowing him to live out his life addressed as "Governor." It wouldn't leave him with enough time or money to mount his own campaign.

Why? To allow hugely popular senior Senator Jon Corzine to enter the race as the white-knight candidate. Corzine has more name recognition than any possible Republican candidate besides 2001 loser Brett Schundler, and Schundler is anathema to most of the R's movers and shakers.

Despite Corzine's recent statements that he wasn't going to run for the Governorship, McGreevey's resignation has changed the picture, leaving Corzine an open door, if he wants to walk through it. With Norcross, Lynch, Bergen County party chairman Joseph A. Ferriero, and Corzine himself pushing, I wonder how much push-back Codey and Adubato will be able to muster. McGreevey's going to need a job post-resignation, and Norcross, Lynch, and Corzine could smooth that path immensely. Is the Hudson/Essex machine going to get squeezed in a pincer action between Lynch and Norcross to the south and Ferriero to the north, with Corzine as fifth columnist in Hoboken?

It ain't gonna be pretty.

How many people was Cipel paid to smear? 
From the New York Post, reporting on Cipel's extortion requests:

"But sources said Cipel added a surprise demand: that the governor allow Manhattan-based Touro College to go ahead with plans to build a medical school in New Jersey.

'This immediately raised eyebrows,' one of the sources said, because it suggested a link between Cipel and ex-New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli, who is Touro's lead adviser on the project.

"The source said McGreevey aides asked themselves: 'What does Cipel have to do with Torricelli?' . . .

"Sean Jackson, a vice president of Rosemont Associates, a consulting firm run by Torricelli, said the company has been advising Touro on opening a medical school in the state since December 2003.

"'During this time, Cipel has never been present at any meeting. He has never been involved in any conference calls. We've never talked to the guy," Jackson said. "We find the whole thing bizarre.'"

Me too.

Six of one 
In a turnabout, the State of Florida has dropped its attempts to purge convicted felons from the voter roles. It was just too brazen and embarassing even for Jeb Bush.

I guess they figured they could fix it more discreetly on election day.

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