Nov 05, 2004

Working Capital


vol6no31mymandate80


(by vawolf, via MyDD, via DailyKos):

>>1% more than 50% is not a mandate but a bare, thin, majority.

>>This was the largest number of people who have ever voted AGAINST a president.

>>At 80% approval after 9-11 and guaranteed a landslide election by prognosticators 2 years ago, only half the country supported Bush.

>>Assuming Bush wins New Mexico and Iowa, he will have gotten the lowest percentage of electoral votes (54%) of any incumbent running for reelection since Wilson. If those two states should swing Kerry's way (NM might), it'll be even lower.

>>Bush will have won with the lowest percentage of the popular vote (51%) of any incumbent running for reelection since Truman (when a viable third party candidate wasn't involved).

>>Bush will have won the three states that put him over 270 (OH, NM and IA--assuming the last two go his way) by only 161,989 (not counting the provisional ballots, absentee, etc.).

Nov 05, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Nov 03, 2004

About Face

I have only two words to say:
Civil Disobedience.


vol6no29doomsday80


Nov 03, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Nov 01, 2004

Retail Politics

vol6no28gwmart80

Apparently, corporate America is putting it's mouth where it's money is. Last week, it was Sinclair. Now Walmart weighs in (press release). Is Diebold next to be heard from?

(source: lostremote.com)

Nov 01, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 31, 2004

Kerry Victory in the Bag?

vol6no27welcomeexercise80

There have been a number of stories recently about how badly the polls failed to predict Gore's (popular vote) victory four years ago. In most cases, the last set of 2000 numbers showed Bush with a lead of between 3-5%.

Also, MyDD has a piece this morning about how CBS and the NYTimes have decided not to release their latest poll numbers from Florida because it shows Kerry with a substantial lead, causing the pollsters to doubt their own results.

Finally, there is a new piece of conventional polling wisdom floating around the last few days explaining why Bush is in trouble because, in most polls, he's under 50%.

Oct 31, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 28, 2004

No Sequel for the Wizards of (Shocks And) Awes


vol6no26endofroad80

Oct 28, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Oct 25, 2004

Fact Checking The Forest

You've seen the original (see "Wolves.") You've seen a parody or two. But let's not be fooled as to who the real wolves are.

vol6no24realwolves80

(Oh yeah, here's the fact check.)

(parody source: Jillian)


Oct 25, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 21, 2004

Bush's Last At Bat


vol6no23breakingcurse80

How politicized have things gotten? Check out this post.


Oct 21, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Oct 19, 2004

Endorsement Season: Score One For Guy In The Poorly Tailored Suit


vol6no22teleprompter80

Oct 19, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 17, 2004

The Aftermath


vol6no21debatehurricanes80

Oct 17, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 14, 2004

Debate #3: Desert Scorn (Unfortunately -- Because He's Got Nothing New To Say --The Story Is Still His Face)

vol6no19pumkinnearyou80

Oct 14, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

From All Indications, the Frontline of "BulgeGate" Has Spread To Iraq

vol6no17bushtransmitterall8

Oct 14, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Oct 13, 2004

The Latest on "BulgeGate"

vol6no16checkcroniesblair80

Oct 13, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 07, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Seconds Helping


vol6no13ultrabright80

As I noted earlier this week regarding the 1st Presidential debate, many analysts perceived the President as "tired." Perhaps I'm perseverating, but I had the same impression watching the Vice President. Although Cheney is older than Edwards, he's not that much older. However, he looked, at points, like he could barely get through it.

My sense is that George and Dick have become war weary.

Oct 07, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 05, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Masking Weakness


vol6no12secretweapon80

Oct 05, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oct 03, 2004

Final Consensus on 1st Kerry-Bush Debate: Temperment

KerryBushTemperment

Oct 03, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Final Consensus on 1st Kerry-Bush Debate: Confidence

KerryBushConfidence

Oct 03, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 01, 2004

Latest BAGnews (Debate) Cartoon: So That's Why It's A Quagmire!


vol6no11winningtoofast80

Oct 01, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Debate Coverage: Once Again, Bush Proves That Rules Are Made To Be Broken

Did you happen to notice that Kerry and Bush were working off of different timers? Paging Jim Lehrer!


(Kerry's Debate Timer)

kerrytimer

(Bush's Debate Timer)
bushtimer

Oct 01, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, Worthy Links: Illustration | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sep 30, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: The public eagerly anticipates the "Joint News Conference of the Century."

vol6no10ropeadopes80

Sep 30, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sep 22, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: James Baker Successfully Neutralizes October 8th Town Hall Format

vol6no9finalpreparations80

New York Times Debate Update (here).
----------------
9.26.04 Further Update:

There is a report this morning that the first debate, scheduled for Thursday, might be cancelled because the election commission is hesitant to sign off the terms of the "side agreement" between the two campaigns. (Or, should we say, the agreement imposed by the Bush campaign on the commission and the Kerry team?) (via command-post.org)

Sep 22, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sep 16, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Imagining What's In The Margins

vol6no7fitsthetype80
Why not Karl?

If most key players concede Killian found Bush at fault, even if these specific memos are discredited, where's the motive for the forgery? Maybe what we're seeing here is a classic "misdirection" play. As FAIR's advisory points out, evidence that Bush used family influence and shortchanged his commitment is becoming more and more obvious. Maybe this was the perfect distraction.

(By the way, how's that Valerie Plame investigation going...?)

--------------------
Bloggers Note: I actually had some qualms about this cartoon, until I saw where the White House spokesman accused the Kerry campaign of being behind the documents.

Sep 16, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sep 13, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: These Days, One Can Never Be Too Prepared

Maybe I've got to stop reading those polls for a week or so.

vol6no6breakglass80


Sep 13, 2004 in BAGannouncements, BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Sep 10, 2004

Dick Cheney: Once A Bad Cop, Always A Bad Cop?

copscheneymiller1
(After Republican Convention)
copscheneymiller2
(After Cheney Wandered Off Message This Tuesday)

If you factor out the ideology, the Bush spin machine is a pure wonder to behold. Look at the way the Republican's used the convention to moderate Dick Cheney's image, for example. By featuring his speech alongside a decompensating Zell Miller, the GOP managed to make the (typically Zell-like) Veep seem mild mannered and statesmanlike in comparison.

To function at peak efficiency, however, this spin machine requires a high level of discipline. As expected, the post-convention scenario was playing out perfectly. The polls were ticking up, and the Kerry campaign staff was suddenly undergoing its own emergency bypass surgery. That was until Tuesday. That was until the cantankerous Dick Cheney, in a speech in Des Moines, somehow strayed from his written remarks. The election of John Kerry, he warned ominously, would bring with it the danger that "we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating."

Although famous for fear-mongering, Cheney and the White House are always incredibly careful about how (and when) to couch such things. Rarely can you find a phrase that is not pre-formulated in the most carefully coded terms. In this case, however, Democrats freaked out that Cheney had gone too far. Republican insiders, as well, conceded that Cheney had crossed a line. What had to irk the Bush campaign most, however, was how Cheney had suddenly wiped out his "Zell differential."

In a "Political Memo" in yesterday's NYTimes, Adam Nagourney analyzed Cheney's gaffe, and his propensity for alienation. Nagourney commented that Cheney's fear tactics were the worst in a presidential campaign since LBJ broadcast the infamous 1964 mushroom cloud commercial to try and undermine Barry Goldwater. The article went on to cite the belief among Kerry officials that Cheney's warning had been deliberate. "A sitting vice president does not make a comment like that without knowing the implications of it," said Kerry's communications director.

Personally, I'm not so sure. I think Cheney realized afterward that he had fallen out with the team. Given his general level of contempt, however, he probably couldn't help himself.

daisy
(To view Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" ad, go here.)

(video source: AMMI)

Sep 10, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, Political Psychology, Worthy Links: Advertising | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sep 09, 2004

Caught With That Silver Spoon In His Mouth (or: "We Worked it Out With the Military")

vol5no90warcommercial80.jpg

It's quite possible we will look back on this week as the turning point in the cover-up of George Bush's military record. As the article in today's NYTimes elaborates, confirmatory evidence has emerged which indicates Bush not only lied about the use of family influence, but also whether he actually fulfilled his National Guard obligations.

It's not that the President looked so innocent prior to this week, however. For example, way back in February, Bush appeared on "Meet the Press" to discuss his justification for going to war. In the course of the interview, Tim Russert asked Bush about allegations that he failed to report for part of his guard duty.

Here's the exchange between Bush and Tim Russert on the "failure to report" issue:

RUSSERT: The Boston Globe and the Associated Press have gone through some of their records and said there's no evidence that you reported to duty in Alabama during the summer and fall of 1972.

BUSH: Yes, they're -- they're just wrong. There may be no evidence, but I did report. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged.

RUSSERT: When allegations were made about John McCain or Wesley Clark on their military records, they opened up their entire files. Would you agree to do that?

BUSH: Yes. Listen, these files have been -- I mean, people have been looking for these files for a long period of time, trust me, and starting in the 1994 campaign for governor. And I can assure you in the year 2000 people were looking for those files, as well. Probably you were.

And absolutely, I mean, I...

RUSSERT: But you will allow pay stubs, tax records, anything to show that you were serving during that period?

BUSH: Yes. If we still have them, but I -- you know, the records are kept in Colorado, as I understand, and they scoured the records.

Before the disclosures of this past week, Bush was able to rest on (or hide behind) what was commonly recognized as an inconclusive paper trail. If you notice, however, Bush spends less energy denying or countering the charges than he does reiterating his confidence that nobody is going to find any incriminating evidence.

Still later in the interview, Russert touched on another aspect of Bush's military service, concerning whether Bush used family connections to cut short his commitment. Interestingly, this issue has earned relatively little attention as compared to the issue of Bush's attendance record:

RUSSERT: You were allowed to leave eight months before your term expired. Was there a reason?

BUSH: Right. Well, I was going to Harvard Business School and we worked it out with the military.

Personally, I find this to be the most incriminating statement Bush has made to date. In asking the question, Russert does not lead Bush in any particular direction. Perhaps because special privilege is second nature to him, however, Bush offers an unqualified admission that a special arrangement was made.

Sep 09, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sep 07, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Your Keynote Eats Kitty Litter!

vol6no4exorcist280

Sep 07, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sep 06, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Torpedo Season

vol6no3swiftworkrev80

Sep 06, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Aug 05, 2004

As the Vote Rocks, the Stiff Wander the White House

yeltsinrocksout
(Apparently, even Boris Yeltsin was cooler than W)

In his Arts (and Politics) column in the NYTimes about a half year ago, Frank Rich speculated that the biggest reelection blindspot for Bush had to do with his ignorance of popular culture. This article was written just as the wheels were coming off the Dean wagon, but at the same time people were realizing how much his sudden rise was fueled by the (populist) internet.

Despite the skill and savvy of Rove and Co., the model they operate out of is a generation behind, geared too much toward the tools (direct marketing) and constituencies (Bush Pioneers, fossil fuel industry) of pre-dot com culture and consciousness.

I realize that most of what has been attracting my blogging attention recently (and not just mine) is the backlash to Bush in the popular culture. However you care to slice it (youth culture, art culture, movie culture, music culture), Bush has catalyzed an emotional and expressive response that is building exponentially toward November.

You know what I find the most telling though?

Despite the intense level of creativity energy circulating now, it's not that Bush and Co. are failing to push back on it, it's that they don't even seem to register it!

(Pulitzer Prize winning photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko. Yeltsin Rocks In Rostov. 1996. Associated Press.)
(Newseum.org Pulitzer Prize "Capture the Moment" interactive exhibition here)

Aug 05, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, Worthy Links: Photography | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Aug 04, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Flipper Makes Splash at the White House

vol5no140complexthinking80

Aug 04, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Duct Tape All Over Again

vol5no139terrorchatter80

Aug 04, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/War On tErrorism, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jul 30, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Boston Wrap Up

vol5no137bandofdemocrats80

Jul 30, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jul 28, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon/Convention Edition: Who's Who (...vs. Who Was Who)

vol5no136conventiondogs80

Jul 28, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Jul 25, 2004

My Name is John Kerry, and I Approve of this Personality ...I Think

As part of my convention coverage, I am running some signature images from the campaign.

Early in the primaries, John Kerry's lack of presence looked to be his undoing. On the eve of the convention, he is still battling with obscurity. So far, Kerry runs well in the race between Bush and Bush. But, if Kerry doesn't make a big impression this week, can he still make it up?


vol5no5kerrymeaway80.jpg

Jul 25, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jul 15, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Pulling Out all the Schnapps


vol5no135campaignmakeover80

Jul 15, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jul 12, 2004

Latest BAGnews Cartoon: Bush Takes the Mittens Off

vol5no134childishattack80

So the sparring last week over the Edwards V.P. selection basically ended in a draw: President Bush attacked Edwards for his lack of experience (six years in the Senate), and Kerry responded with the fact that Bush only had six years of elected experience before he won the Presidency.

There are a couple other facts bouncing around that I like: One is that Dan Quayle had 12 years of Senate experience when Bush 41 tapped him for V.P., but it's generally acknowledged he had nowhere near Edward's stature. Also, Cheney wasn't Bush's first choice in 2000. McCain was, but he turned Bush down.

Jul 12, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Jun 16, 2004

Getting A Handle On The Economy

What Steve Roach at Morgan Stanley had to about politics and interest rates (complete comments):

"Hans Tietmeyer [former president of the Deutsche Bundesbank] went out of his way to venture into perhaps the most delicate and important aspect of monetary policy — political independence.  Fiercely independent in his own right, he maintained that central banks should not even be located in the same city as the seat of government.  The monetary authorities need to be removed totally from the political debate.  In this vein, he was clearly worried about the political pressures currently bearing down on America's Federal Reserve in this election year.  He framed his concerns in the context of a simple but powerful counter-factual example: He was reasonably certain that if there were not an election looming in the US, the decisions to tighten would have already been made.  Some of the most difficult moments in economic history have been accompanied by the politicization of central banking.  As I saw it, Hans Tietmeyer was sounding the alarm in that regard."

(thanks to eric at umass)

Jun 16, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Politics:General, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 04, 2004

Going Down Down Under

operahouse1

I was trying to track down what happened to the two guys who got arrested for painting the "No War" sign on the Sydney Opera House right before the Iraq War started.

Apparently, British astronomer Dr Will Saunders, 42, and Australian David Burgess, a 33-year-old environmentalist, were sentenced to nine months of periodic detention as of February 14th (Will in Silverwater Prison in Sydney, and Dave In Tomago near Newcastle). However, it seems there is a further appeal pending for the charge of “Wilfully marking a building with chalk / paint etc.”

In another piece of news, last December the pair won a 2003 WINK award for ‘Best Subversion of the Dominant Paradigm’. The WINK Awards are held in Australia, and are given for "excellence within electronic arts with political overtones."

Will and David were also assessed a fine of $151,000 to compensate the Opera House for damages. Although their supporters say the amount is grossly exaggerated, they have set up a website to raise funds for the clean up, and provide updates on the case. As part of the effort, they have also produced some nice postcards.

May 04, 2004 in BAGannouncements, BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, Worthy Links: Protest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apr 29, 2004

Enter The Meatrix

In case you we're unaware of the danger of factory farms...

(Click)

If that's not enough beef for you, also check out our "Conservatives Most Wanted" cartoon targeting the Director of the Agriculture Department.

Apr 29, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent, Worthy Links: Protest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Circus That Is Iraq

In a wonderfully creative and humanitarian act, a group of activists and performers have taken a circus to Iraq. According to their website, circus2iraq.org, members of the troupe have also performed and run circus skills workshops in the middle of war in Bosnia, Serbia and East Timor. Click here for the photo gallery.

By the way, I found out about this at Rene Amini's luxomatic, a very good blog.

iraqcircus

Apr 29, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent, Worthy Links: News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mar 22, 2004

Mean Cuisine

Richard Clarke, President Bush's former top counter-terrorism, officially sliced up the Administration's pre-9/11 terrorism policy on the 60 Minutes program last night. Apparently, the White House refused to take seriously the urgent pleas of the Clinton people to get serious about al Queda. And, just for good measure, Clarke grated the President to pieces on the Iraq agenda. As Clark reports, Bush personally directed him to tie Iraq to al Queda.

With the bad economy, the WMD mess and it's erosion of our European support, and now the damaging facts pouring out of the 9/11 inquiry, we can be sure the Bush attack machine will be going with its sharpest blade.


Mar 22, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mar 15, 2004

Bush "100 Days" Commercial: (Not Much) Variation On A Theme

It wasn't until those planes hit the towers that sometime-pilot, George W. Bush, found his mission in life. Now, as his administration hits heavy turbulence and desperately needs a course correction, his 9/11 obsession leaves him incapable of altering the flight plan.


Mar 15, 2004 in BAGnews/MediaWatch, BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mar 11, 2004

Man Overboard

...First the Independents left.
...Then, the Republicans left.
...Finally, the rats left.


Mar 11, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mar 09, 2004

Can't Buy Me Love (Or: Is There A Real Fireman In The House?)




Because the Presidential election is so far away, and there is only so much news to report, one of the current punditry themes involves questioning the conventional campaign wisdom.

The question I like best right now involves how much of an advantage Bush's war chest really is.

In an article in the NYT the other day, Kerry spokesman, Michael Meehan, was quoted as saying: "The roadside of American politics is littered with candidates who raised the most money."

I think the President's war chest has already begun to show its lack of significance (and, even possibly, disadvantage).

The best example is Bush's first set of campaign commercials (an investment of between $4 -6 million). Of course, with the antagonism the 9/11 families are feeling toward the Administration over the 9/11 commission, and with Kerry and the Democrats in a "take-no-prisoners" mood, the Trade Center imagery in the ads made for an "easy" point of contention.

What's more interesting, however, is how these costly commercials continue to unravel. The latest flap, reported by Newsweek, involves the use of actors--rather than the real thing--to play New York City firemen.

It would be a typical "knee-jerk" reaction to accuse Bush and Co. of using actors, but I don't think the practice is that unusual. What is significant, I believe, is why people would be attracted to this information right now. It's significant because of how beautifully it reveals Bush's interest in symbols at the expense of the things they symbolize.

At a time when the public is taking a more unvarnished look, it shows how much Bush is an act.

Mar 09, 2004 in BAGnews/MediaWatch, BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mar 08, 2004

Labeling The Bush Ads

In honor of what the Republican's claim was just a "palate cleanser," we provide nutritional information for President Bush's first 3 television commercials.

The major controversy around the ads centered on their use of 9/11 footage (an event Bush needs to claim for himself, or he can forget about any more dinners at the White House).

To us, however, the most significant thing about the ads are how completely trifling they are. The response from FactCheck.org was: No facts to check!

(...Except for the claim that the recession started on Clinton's watch, when the official word is that it didn't start until after the Bush party was seated.)


Mar 08, 2004 in BAGnews/MediaWatch, BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Most Recent | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Mar 03, 2004

Warning Shots

In a smooth p.r. move, Bush's telephone call to Kerry last night was among the most newsworthy events of both a spectacular and spectacularly anti-climatic evening. Even before the votes were done being counted in Kerry's final crushing of the Democratic field, there was Bush, already in his face (okay, his ear).

Of course, who could take issue with a gracious congratulatory call from the President?

Given the duplicity of Rove and Company, however, it seemed just as much a warning shot across the bow.

Mar 03, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

VVAVVAK

Given the high ranking of Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry on Google, and how aggressive Kerry has been in countering Bush's attacks, we were wondering how long until we see Vietnam Veterans Against Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry.com.

And etc.

Mar 03, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mar 01, 2004

Log Cabin Fever

After what gay Republicans claim was a "wink and a nod" from a newly-elected President Bush that he would respect gay rights, that understanding has apparently gone up in flames. As they approach their annual convention in Palm Springs in April, the Log Cabin Republicans are actually contemplating an open fight against the right wing's Marlboro Man. Although the group claims that 1 million gay and lesbians voted Republican in 2000, it seems that Rove and Company believe the math is in their favor--at least in the near term--by splintering that affiliation.


Mar 01, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feb 18, 2004

Say Cheese

It looks like Kerry's through buttering up voters.

(...At least through February, anyway.)


Feb 18, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feb 10, 2004

JFK Meets KFC: Kerry Whets NASCAR Appetite

Pretty good day for Kerry. He knocked Edwards flat in Virginia and Tennessee, and sent Clark packing for good. He also showed that Southerners have a taste for his message.

Back in Washington, George "AWOL" Bush released new documents showing he was paid by the military for the time he spent in Alabama with the Air Guard. Was that supposed to prove he was actually there?

Comparing his military record with his service in the oil business, baseball, and government, the only thing it reveals is a guy who is mostly invisible.

...Except for pay day.


Feb 10, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feb 09, 2004

George AWOL Bush Meets The Press. (Or: "I Worked It Out With The Military!")






It's interesting to listen to the President's language and logic. Here's the exchange between Bush and Tim Russert on Meet the Press this morning regarding Bush's AWOL status:

RUSSERT: The Boston Globe and the Associated Press have gone through some of their records and said there's no evidence that you reported to duty in Alabama during the summer and fall of 1972.

BUSH: Yes, they're -- they're just wrong. There may be no evidence, but I did report. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged.

RUSSERT: When allegations were made about John McCain or Wesley Clark on their military records, they opened up their entire files. Would you agree to do that?

BUSH: Yes. Listen, these files have been -- I mean, people have been looking for these files for a long period of time, trust me, and starting in the 1994 campaign for governor. And I can assure you in the year 2000 people were looking for those files, as well. Probably you were.

And absolutely, I mean, I...

RUSSERT: But you will allow pay stubs, tax records, anything to show that you were serving during that period?

BUSH: Yes. If we still have them, but I -- you know, the records are kept in Colorado, as I understand, and they scoured the records.

Basically, what Bush is saying is that it's his word against whoever elses, and nobody is going to find those records.

The other interesting comment, which the President made off-handedly, involved his use of family connections to avoid extended service:

RUSSERT: You were allowed to leave eight months before your term expired. Was there a reason?

BUSH: Right. Well, I was going to Harvard Business School and worked it out with the military.

Listening to the interview, I though Bush said "we worked it out with the military." In any case, the comment clearly reveals Bush's use of family privilege. That fact that he would mention it so casually and obviously reveals how much he takes it for granted.

Bush Senior got nailed in his re-election bid when he revealed the same attitude. In his case, he was taken to task for failing to recognize that supermarket checkout counters used scanning equipment.

It will be interesting to see if the public latches on to the same perception about Junior.

Feb 09, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Politics:General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feb 08, 2004

George AWOL Bush: "Be Right Back!"

So, did George A"W"OL Bush report to Alabama, or didn't he?



Feb 08, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Politics:General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 30, 2004

Kerry Vetted By The Vets

If your state hasn't gotten the message yet, the Mekong Delta-ed, My Lai-d, agent oranged veterans of Vietnam now have their very own Presidential nominee. And they're already reaching out to other influential group (including the Gulf War-syndromed, land mine-foddered, buy-your-own-plane-ticketed men and women of the contemporary armed forces).

While most voters went AWOL when it came to picking a favorite candidate, the veterans had no such problem. Two weeks ago, vets demonstrated more pull than the unions in getting people to the caucuses in Iowa. Last week, veterans from 26 states showed up in New Hampshire to man the front lines for JK.

Having apparently shaken off his Viet ambivalence, the Democrats are now hoping (praying, actually) that they have the right soldier. Fortunately, Kerry has the opportunity right now to reshape his public identity (before Rove gets to do it). And, now that war is in fashion again, you can bet Vietnam is going to be a big part of the story. (Afterall, Kerry not only saved lives over there, he saved Republican lives!)

In the short run, at least, George Bush will probably be staying away from the aircraft carriers.



Jan 30, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 28, 2004

Goodbye New Hampshire: The Sweet Sorrow Of General Clark

If he has accomplished nothing else this week, General Wesley "No There, There" Clark has demonstrated the limits of intelligence in the absence of common sense.

As we elaborated in our psychological study of Mr. Clark, it is not really possible to be a viable presidential candidate in the absence of basic social and political instincts.

These capacities being virtually absent in the General, he spent this past week demonstrating his ignorance of Roe vs. Wade; defending Michael Moore's charge that President Bush was a military deserter; and getting into a status contest with John Kerry over military rank.

We can't wait to see what confections the General serves up before next week's primaries.


Jan 28, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 20, 2004

Sad Beats Mad In Kerry Caucus Victory

As Dean and Gephardt tore up the low road, the John's (Kerry and Edwards) were the beneficiaries of Iowa's disgust for having to endure this slugfest. Given his greater stature, the emotionally burdened and typically "hang dog" Kerry was able to best the smiley faced, yet "wet behind the ears" Edwards.

With the increased exposure that comes with the victory, however, the question is whether Kerry will be able to pick up his chin enough to benefit from the momentum.



Jan 20, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 15, 2004

Two For The Price Of None: Bush Shoots For The Stars

It's not that we're skeptical about President Bush's plans for space. It's just that, for a guy who can spend a billion dollars like it's nothing, it's unusual this plan is so long on ambition while so skimpy on budget.

(Amidst the hoopla, Bush only proposed $1billion in new spending. The other $11 billion is supposed to come from "reprogramming" --i.e. cannibalizing--NASA's existing budget.)

The Administration could have chosen to go for the moon base or the Mars mission. Given the President's grandiosity and sense of entitlement, however, he picked both. (Or, Cheney did.) In term of cost, however, they aren't budgeting for either. And, for some reason, they are being almost too obvious about it.

Of course, Bush needs window dressing for the campaign. Being a man who lacks vision, he also needed some wing-ding idea to pitch for a possible second term (even if he did end up overcompensating). In an administration for which money has been no object, however, the obvious penny-pinching is a little curious--considering how calculated and media savvy this outfit is.

What the White House is telegraphing in this announcement, I believe, is their recognition that we've had quite a party the last three years. With the Congress about to reconvene and many congressional Republicans squirming over the Bush "live for today" spending philosophy, Rove and Company recognized the need to get in front of the issue before their constituents or, heaven forbid, the Democrats had a chance to. Having created one of the most cataclysmic financial holes in the history of earth, the first phase of the mission is to make a demonstration of the fact that budgets are taken seriously.

Of course, that doesn't mean the White House has to stop promising the Moon. It just means they have to lose the "money is no object" attitude. So, how do they reconcile the difference?

The answer is "creative accounting,"(which is easy when the press fails to ask hard questions in the face of obvious financial mumbo-jumbo). They will probably deal with the rest of it, however, just by making a show of fiscal responsibility.

After all, they only have to get though next November. After that, the economy starts becoming somebody else's problem.


Jan 15, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 14, 2004

Hail For The Red, Brown and Blue

"Cucaracha" Karl is not just exploiting the immigration issue to capture the Latino vote. As he did during the mid-term elections, he is also doing his best to play "the Hispanic card" in the congressional sweepstakes.

One of the more interesting situations taking form in the last few weeks involves the crucial Senate race in Florida. Faced with the prospect of Bush "henchperson" Katherine Harris representing the GOP, Karl and Company convinced HUD Secretary Mel Martinez to quit that post and quickly jump into the race.

Although it's been rather hush-hush, the Administration has spent a good part of the last week leaning on Harris not to run. Apparently, they're worried that the high-profile former Florida Secretary of State could serve as a "vote magnet" for Democratics angry over her throwing the election to Bush in 2000. I don't know what they are offering her, but I'm sure Karl's using a full complement of carrots and sticks.

This week's rapproachement with Mexico is another sign of the Administration's "full court schmooze." Although President Fox knows he's being used, he (like Bush) is a businessman, and knows how the game works. If Fox has to serve as a poster boy for the Bush re-election campaign, now--at long last--he has something "in trade" to generate a dialogue with the U.S. and to prop up his image at home.


Jan 14, 2004 in BAGnews/Conservatives Most Wanted, BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ImmigrANT Farm

Despite all the earnest discussion and debate generated by the Bush announcement to accomodate immigrant workers (there wasn't enought there to even call it a proposal), don't bet anything will come of it.

(Poppa Bush floated the same immigration concept --also around election time, I believe-- and it just ended up going poof.)

The timing of Bush's announcement couldn't have been more impressive. (It was floated right before the State of the Union; the Iowa caucus; and Bush 43's next-generation space initiative.) Years from now, if this immigration idea disappears into the ether like Poppa's did, people will look back and see that this announcement served as the effective and symbolically elegant kick-off of the '04 Bush re-election campaign. It must also be said that the politics of the proposal is equally impressive. The concept couldn't have done a better job "splitting the middle" between conservative and liberal interests.

If the idea does manage to take hold, however, and does make it's way through Congress, the concept actually serves a more ulterior aim of the Bush administration. More than anything else, it provides corporate employers (still greater) power to leverage immigrant labor to extract (still greater) wage and benefit concessions from the general work population.


Jan 14, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 08, 2004

Dean Commercial #3: Treading Your Own Way



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voiceover:

"Hi, I'm Howard Dean.

It's not easy being the namesake of a successful father. I followed my dad to Wall Street before I figured out who I was. I just doubt America can survive long enough for "43" to do the same."




Jan 08, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 07, 2004

Dean Commercial #2: Pyrotechnic Conservatism



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voiceover:

"Hi, I'm Howard Dean.

How long are we Democrats going to let Republicans brand us as the "tax and spend" party? The fact is, no Republican president has balanced the budget in 34 years. I've spent a career balancing budgets and cutting deficits. Meanwhile, this cowboy spends money like it's burning a hole in his Levi's. Just because he gave up the sauce doesn't mean he forgot how to binge."




Jan 07, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 06, 2004

Viva Bush!

As election time approaches, it's time, once again, for the illegal alien in the White House to jump the borders of decency and patronize the electorate.

The front page of today's L.A. Times depicts the irony. While Bush proposes a "new" immigration policy with "guest worker" quotas for Mexicans (Read: Let's Get That Hispanic Vote!), the photo alongside this lead story depicts our newest security measure: the photographing and fingerprinting of foreign air passengers as they cross into the U.S. (Pretty soon, it might be pretty hard to say you're illegal, but "undocumented.")

By the way, you couldn't get a better measure of skepticism than Mexican President Fox's reaction. Having gotten burned two years ago after Bush pulled the same stunt (and having gotten roughed up again after Mexico refused to play "lap dog" and support the U.S. Iraqi war resolution in the U.N. Security Council), Fox failed to even respond personally to the latest proposal.



Jan 06, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jan 04, 2004

Dean Commercial #1: The Road Less Traveled



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voiceover:

"Hi, I'm Howard Dean.

Are you tired of America stomping all over its allies and going it alone in the world? That's what happens when we elect a leader who has hardly been out of his own backyard. I've been in over 50 countries, more than that hayseed will have visited by the time you vote in November. And his Dad was the ambassador to the U.N., for crying out loud!"




Jan 04, 2004 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dec 12, 2003

Fight of the Week: Dennis “Media Killer” Kucinich Versus Ted “The Trivializer” Koppel. (A BAGnews Blow-By-Blow Account.)

If you didn’t have a ringside seat, underdog Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich mounted a courageous defense of the political process in a heavyweight bout with newsman and bullyboy Ted Koppel Tuesday night.

As moderator of the Democratic Presidential Debate in New Hampshire, Koppel came out the aggressor, often pinning all nine candidates to the ropes over demeaning issues such the battle for endorsements and the size of campaign war chests.

Late in the confrontation, having backed the three least-regarded challengers--Kucinich, Reverend Al “Silver Tongue” Sharpton and Ambassador “Auntie” Carole Braun--into a corner, Koppel demanded to know when the three would be “throwing in the towel” on the election.

After a counterpunch from Sharpton about money and politics, the underweight Kucinich let loose a ferocious counterattack. With a flurry of deft verbal jabs, the “lefty” took the overbearing media hack to task for trivializing the debate.

Having caught the Nero of Nightline with his guard down, Kucinich took center ring with a series of piercing statements as to his own credibility. Finally, staring down the suddenly sheepish paperboy, Kucinich finished him off with a deft apology for having become “an inconvenience” to the Presidential race.

Key Links:
Debate Transcript
"On The Importance of Running Against The Media":
(Regarding the media response, and how it played on t.v. versus print.)



Dec 12, 2003 in BAGnews/MediaWatch, BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nov 27, 2003

No “There” There: The Psychology of Wesley Clark

The New York Times is running a series of profiles on the Democratic presidential candidates. The article they ran this week was titled: “General Clark on the Hustings: Complexity and Contradiction.”

Newspaper writers are like psychologists. They are trained to observe situations, fit the data together, and draw conclusions. In this case, however, the only piece of sense the reporter could make about the General was that he didn’t make much sense.

In observing how people present themselves in everyday life, we are socialized to ignore or overlook loose ends. For this reason, people make the assumption that Clark must be more put together than he appears. The “data,” however, suggests otherwise. The obvious facts about Clark are that he votes all over the ideological spectrum; keeps shifting his religious affiliation; has no political ideology; and repeatedly contradicts himself on almost every issue.

Other things stand out too. He has frustrated and alienated almost everyone he has ever worked for; he has no emotional reaction to being in Vietnam; and he hardly ever blinks or directs his glance to the side.

Before I became a psychotherapist, I used to think “the self” was strictly a symbolic concept. I don’t think that anymore. I have come to understand how removed someone can be from his own experience (be it emotional, sensory or intellectual).

Sometimes, a person who lacks identity “decides” what to feel or think by calibrating himself to those around him. This is easy to see in passive or dependent people. Other times, though, people can derive direction through the creation of “systems in their head.” You see this is in rigid personalities, such as General Clark.

Such people will develop rules or matrices that kick in, like default programs, in situations that call for more individuality. When he was in Vietnam, for example, Clark switched from the Baptist religion to Roman Catholicism not for any philosophical or spiritual reason, but because he liked the greater “structure and rigor.” When requested to describe himself in 10 words, Clark asked for help answering the question. “You’ve got to give me a series of axes,” he replied. “Lay it out on a series of dimensions.”

In Clark’s case, the military was probably a good place to be. For a long time, his unyielding focus and his ability to calculate solutions within fixed parameters served him well. The only problem was, Clark’s effectiveness eventually led to his elevation into the higher ranks, where he was required to think more for himself and take into consideration the unpredictable (the behavior of Slobodan Milosevic, for example). When that happened, Clark’s performance became an unmitigated disaster.

The main problem with Clark is that he is not capable of original thinking. In other words, he is virtually unable to take previous knowledge and experience, apply it to new circumstances and then synthesize it effectively. Instead, Clark work backwards, taking the circumstances in front of him and force-fitting it, usually in the most concrete and automatic way, to something he already knows.

This is why, when he was ambushed in Vietnam and felt stings in his legs, he thought about hornets. While almost anyone else would have realize they had been shot, Clark’s mental process was to recollected what they told him in Ranger school, which was: In Vietnam, if you hear a buzzing noise and feel a sting, it’s most likely a hornet. This psychology eventually led to Clark’s removal from the Army. After taking over command of NATO’s military wing, his agenda was to defend Kosovo from the Serbian threat. To the horror of the Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs, however, Clark’s strategy was to enact what had worked in Bosnia —although the situation bore few political or militarily parallels.

Although he is continually misjudging situations or abandoning one belief for the opposite, Clark continues to maintain credibility. Why? Because he appears to knows better. Guided by rules in every situation, he maintains an unshakable belief in everything he says and does. And people mistake this for confidence. Up to now, people have taken General Clark’s nonsensical honesty as humor, and his strong-mindedness for assertiveness (although most of his military peers attribute it to arrogance or blind ambition). Just listen to him speak, though. When he says he became a Democrat because Karl Rove wouldn’t return his phone calls, there’s no sign he’s joking.

With the right handlers, its possible this phase of the Presidential race could shape up like Clark’s earlier run in the military. If someone can lay out the game for him and keep him “on script,” he might look pretty good for awhile. Afterall, the same strategy hasn’t hurt George Bush any. On the other hand, George Bush might not think very deeply or deal well with complexity, but he does have a philosophy (as Reagan demonstrated, simpler can be better) and his social and political skills are highly refined.

The fatal problem for Clark’s campaign is probably his inability to genuinely make a connection with others. When pressed by the Times reporter to try and really describe himself, the General explained that he had a hard time listening to people. “Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t,” he said. Then, descending into that algorithmic way of thinking, he explained: “…when time is short and people start down a path that you’ve been briefed on before, sometimes you say, ‘Wait, I understand what you’re going to say.”

One could spend a lot more time laying out the psychology of Wesley Clark, and it would probably be just as hard to believe. Like the character, Chauncey Gardner, in the story Being There, it’s difficult to look at someone with Clark’s stature and expect less than meets the eye. On the other hand, it’s only logical to take Clark at his own word. And what he’s saying is: Almost every encounter is a repetitive trip down a short path leading to someplace he’s already been.


Nov 27, 2003 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, Political Psychology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nov 09, 2003

Howard Plays The "Pick-Up" Card

Did Howard Dean really err last week in a candidate debate when he said that he wanted to be "the candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks." Although slammed for his remark by his fellow candidates (for which he also issued a “no offense” apology), Dean went on to tell the Des Moines Register that "we can't beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats."

Two schools of thought exist on Howard Dean. One says he’s just "big hat and no cattle," the other that he knows exactly what he's doing. The former group believes Dean has trouble with temperment and is prone to put his foot in his mouth. What if Dean, however, had every intention to say what he did last week?

Having secured the favor of the left with his antiwar stance, I believe Howard Dean has begun to lay claim to a broader share of the political spectrum. That being the case, the Governor (also known for signing a state law honoring the civil union of gay couples) was probably just having his Sister Souljah moment.

According to Wikipedia, a Sister Souljah moment is: "a political tactic wherein a politician will appeal to a large centrist voting base by repudiating an allegedly extremist person, statement, or position that nominally has some affiliation with the politician."

(Specifically, it refers to an incident in the ’92 presidential race, when Bill Clinton criticized the “white hate” comments of a black rapper, Sister Souljah. Although seen as a repudiation of Jesse Jackson and the African-American wing of the Democratic party, it helped Clinton achieve a more moderate image and reinforce the message he would not be beholden to a particular interest group.)

So, while the rest of the Democratic candidates are fiddling around in Iowa and New Hampshire, Rebel Howard has moved on to South Carolina and those Clinton “swing voters” who still haven’t heard about the “economic rebound.”

By the way, Dean’s jawboning didn’t seem to hurt him much with the good 'ole boys in the conservative media, either.


Nov 09, 2003 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sep 24, 2003

Clark Takes Aim At Campaign

Presidential warfare is not proving easy for Wesley Clark. While the other candidates have been running through the foxholes of Iowa and the bunkers of New Hampshire for the better part of a year, Clark is only now getting into uniform. And, so far, he is looking like the political buck private he is.

His first week out proved to be a particularly ugly one. With the Clinton braintrust and his military stature at his advantage, he promptly shot himself in the foot over his Iraq policy. When it came to declaring whether he would have supported the intervention or not, he found himself taking up positions on both sides of the line. On all other issues, things were even worse. All the General could say was that he wasn't ready to engage the fight. With time of the essence, it seems Wes needs to spend a whole lot of it over the coming days consulting his troops.


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Sep 24, 2003 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sep 22, 2003

Dems Shooting For The White House

While the nice guys are languishing, the bad boys can do no wrong. Dean is still on fire, while Gephardt is starting to heat up.

(Apparently, it helps if the rough edges are real.)


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Sep 22, 2003 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sep 14, 2003

Naked Gun

What's the saying? Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it?

W has been so careful to avoid Dad's mistakes, he hasn't bothered to look back any farther. Anyway, what's a cheap little tank ride when you can comandeer an entire aircraft carrier?

What was that address to order the Bush GI Joe doll?

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Sep 14, 2003 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004, BAGnews/Politics:General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sep 06, 2003

Try Not To Get Kerried Away

Poor guy announces his candidacy and then drops in the polls.


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Sep 06, 2003 in BAGnews/Politics:Campaign 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack