VLADRUSHKA by John Linton Roberson (c) 2022.
I Didn't Write That!
30 October 2004
  Mystery Pollster: Mobile Phones Mystery Pollster: Mobile Phones

An article on why the poll results may be off a bit, given that :

...if not exclusively college age, wireless only adults are predominantly under age 45 (81%). They also tend to live in large metropolitan areas (82%), earn less than $40,000 annually (66%) and rent rather than own a home (62%; the comparable percentages for adults with a landline are 51% age 18-44, 73% metro area, 39% <$40K and 24% renter).


  Now We Know Why They Let Osama Go Now We Know Why They Let Osama Go

Because, according to a "senior GOP strategist," who called the new tape a "little gift,"
"anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

I'm glad that the GOP thinks that the American people being frightened--which they're not--is good for Bush. That explains a lot, doesn't it?

Remember back in the old days when it was considered good for a president to make you feel safer? So the GOP likes the idea that the US feels less safe right now. Who's president? Whose responsibility was it to make us feel safer, and to make us safer, period?

All this does is bolster the charge that Bush has made us less safe. How can that be good for them?


  The Explosives: The Evidence The Explosives: The Evidence

So much for the Bush administration's claim that the explosives were moved before we got to Iraq. Here we see US soldiers walking around that very bunker in April 2003, before it was looted--and by the way, they left it open afterward.

Isn't it hilarious that everything in the bunker has a bright orange sticker saying "explosives" and yet the army claimed they didn't know what this stuff was? Plus IAEA seals.

Oh, and just as Kerry said, Osama is still at large thanks to our incompetent president. I don't see how Bush thinks this will benefit his own chances, but apparently he does, judging by his rhetoric. He's saying this somehow proves Kerry's the wrong man to lead us against Bin Laden. Eh?

Um--Bush, you've had four years to catch him. Why should we re-elect you when you'd only let him go again?


  What Would Ronnie Do? What Would Ronnie Do?

He took our
troops out of a situation like this, that's what.

I don't have much good to say about Reagan but at least he knew when to cut our losses and not waste the lives of soldiers.

Not George, though...


29 October 2004
  Bush's Bulge Bush's Bulge
Not the one he wanted us to notice in the flight suit, mind.

This one, from debate 2:

Not that remote help piped into his jacket seemed to help him at all. But it does add to the list of dishonest things Bush did that, in the end, were for nothing.


28 October 2004
  Denver Post: Uh...Would You Call This An Endorsement?... Denver Post: Uh...Would You Call This An Endorsement?...

Typically, in the case of an incumbent, our endorsement calculation would begin this way: Are we, as Coloradans, better off today than we were four years ago?
In a word, no. Since 2001, Colorado has lost more jobs than we've gained, and the ones we've gained pay less than the ones we've lost. We pay less in taxes, but our household and medical expenses have skyrocketed. Ninety thousand of us have lost our health coverage. Washington is ringing up record deficits and sticking the next generation with the bill. In Iraq, Colorado-based military units and reserves are deployed in a hostile environment for questionable purpose and uncertain result...

It's no secret that we part company with the president over many issues. Two glaring sore spots are his obsession to cut taxes even while piling up record deficits, and his mishandling of all things Iraq. He squandered global good will by taking a "my way or the highway" approach to matters of global warming, international law, Iraq weapons inspections and ultimately the Iraq invasion. He bows to corporate preference in matters of energy and environment, and his education funding levels leave far too many children behind.
Kerry has infused the 2004 campaign with energy and gumption, offering fresh ideas on health care and sensible plans for our tax structure. His are the superior proposals on environmental protection, on stem-cell research and judicial nominations. Sure, we've seen Kerry bend to the political winds over his long career, but we wouldn't mind one bit if more Washington politicians would reconsider their past judgments and ideological certainties. Kerry's growth on the campaign trail gives a glimpse of his potential.

Um...this is a very odd thing to say at the start of what's supposed to be an "endorsement," particularly when the president in question is facing a very, very tough election.


  John Zogby: Bush Will Lose John Zogby: Bush Will Lose

John Zogby just told Jon Stewart, in all seriousness, that Bush will lose.


  Pentagon Official Talking To The FBI

Pentagon Official Talking To The FBI

...about Halliburton's no-bid contracts, as it happens. Behold:

The FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co., seeking an interview with a top Army contracting officer and collecting documents from several government offices.
...it elevates to a criminal matter the election-year question of whether the Bush administration showed favoritism to Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company.
FBI agents this week sought permission to interview Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers’ chief contracting officer who went public last weekend with allegations that her agency unfairly awarded KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars for work in Iraq, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Asked about the documents, Greenhouse’s lawyers said Thursday their client will cooperate but that she wants whistle-blower protection from Pentagon retaliation.

Couple this with the massive amounts of missing explosives from Al Qaqaa(pronounce that aloud. Isn't life hilarious sometimes?)--and wasn't that what we were supposed to be securing in Iraq?--which Bush only yesterday began to answer, and you have what was called a "perfect storm" of political shit for Bush and it's less than a week until the election.

The pattern for this administration for dealing with bad news has been, pretty consistently, to count on the presumed ADD of the U.S. public. When possible they either ignore bad news, or hope it goes into the void by the classic method of announcing it on a Friday (as few read the Saturday papers). But most often they hope that if they wait a story out for a sufficient time, it will simply be forgotten and therefore lose its force. To deny or even acknowledge is never even their second choice, because that can only add fuel to the fire. Better to let entropy take its grip. This worked all the way back to 2000. You may recall the media blasting you with the word "chad" until you just didn't give a shit anymore. And that's how Bush eased his way into the presidency, our weariness. We didn't even care as much as the people of East Timor about fighting to protect our democracy, and I think we got the president we deserved. We needed to be taught what happens when you let an illegitimate fool become president.

Because, as Rush Limbaugh so likes to say, words have meanings and actions have consequences. This is a president who, throughout his life, has never once had to work to succeed at anything, whose daddy and friends thereof made everything nice and cozy for him. As he said in 1992, "I can get my dad on the phone anytime. Access is power." Then he got the presidency without having even to firmly secure the vote. And none of us did a damn thing to stop that from happening. How else is such a man going to behave, when he knows he hasn't got to deserve or earn anything to get it? He will act like the dictator he once said he'd like to be, because it'd be "a heck of a lot easier"(and we all know how he feels now about "hard work." An illegitimate leader will act illegitimately.

The only people he was answerable to were Daddy's friends, which is to say Dick Cheney's friends. And we can see how well he rewarded their help.

This time they haven't got time to fight these stories and trying to ignore them, as Bush did, has not made them go away. They can only resort to whiny, bitchy personal attacks on Kerry. And Rudy Guiliani, fascinatingly, blamed the troops.

Campaigning for Bush, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani wandered off message when he said troops in Iraq, not the president, bore the responsibility for searching for the explosives.

As John Stewart said, "At last we have a leader with the courage to support the war, and blame the troops." Hey, a poor craftsman blames his tools, no?

The truth is bearing down upon them and being pushed by pop culture. And they seem to have run out of steam.

"Hey, freedom is messy."--Donald Rumsfeld on the looting of the Iraqi museums

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  No, Bush Can't No, Bush Can't

Received an e-mail from
this Pro-Bush organization, "Yes. Bush Can," where they apparently have decided to tell bloggers everywhere that they are endorsing Kerry, adding more rats determined to abandon the sinking ship. Which is not pejorative. Rats are pretty smart and know how to survive.

I quote:

A week ago, we sent you an email asking for help debunking anti-Bush documents. After receiving hundreds of responses, it become clear that all the documents were actually real: the Bush/Cheney DUIs, the Ken Lay letters, and even the bin Laden memo. For more information visit thedocuments page:http://www.yesbushcan.com/falsedocs.shtml

We also received hundreds of emails from concerned bloggers thateloquently expressed the problems with the Bush administration. And as we traveled across America campaigning for Bush, we learned more than we wanted to know about Bush's policies. We came to see that this administration is a catastrophe for most people.As a result, we are abandoning our support of Bush and officially endorsing John Kerry for President. You can read more at the Yes Bush Can web site:http://www.yesbushcan.com/We deeply regret our misguided support and apologize for our previousemail. This will be the last email we will send directly to bloggers.If you want to join us in supporting Kerry, you can find out more here: http://www.yesbushcan.com/act.shtml

Thank you for your understanding,
Yes Bush Can

Congratulations for figuring this out after everyone else, guys. But better late than never. At least some Republicans are sane. It's interesting, traveling around the country campaigning, that they found out more than Bush about how the people feel, but then Bush has been at GOP-true-believer-only events the whole time, where a loyalty oath was demanded of attendants, and the only "questions" allowed were actually just fawning praise. That way Bush could continue to live in his bubble and pretend his detractors were the minority. I hope he's happy his staff fucked him like that. Or maybe he demanded that. But what it meant was that he had no idea how to correct his mistakes. But then, he doesn't believe he's made any, as he thinks he's the messiah.

At this rate, Bush will soon have only the most hardcore of right-wingers left, the gun nuts and the anti-choicers. This is why I think the polls--which aren't taking into account the massive anti-Bush sentiment among college students--are full of shit and that Kerry's not at all neck-and-neck. He's ahead. I have a very difficult time finding Bush supporters who don't support him with a massive number of qualifications to their support, i.e. excuses.

They gambled everything on him and he let them down, as he let all of us down. (like I ever expected any different from him) He single-handedly embarrassed their party for quite some time to come and doesn't seem to care. Like father, like son.

Was it worth it to let us all see your fangs, GOP? Was it worth making sure we'll always know now what you're up to? For Bush was only revealing what their real intent is. Bush forgot Reagan's lesson: seduce, don't attack. He seemed to think he could ignore everyone that disagreed with him. He squandered political capital. And what does he hjave to show for it?

Nothing whatsoever. Bush is the GOP's Jimmy Carter--except that, however unsuited Carter may have been to be president, he was a good man. Bush is not. And he only has himself to blame that even his own side sees it now, and probably wishes they'd supported John McCain. Hell, I might have voted for McCain in 2000.

The GOP finally needs to see past the delusion that they only need the religious right to govern. The Nixon strategy no longer works. Bush should have governed as everybody's president, but he decided to only be theirs, and took advantage of a national tragedy to do it. Unforgivable.

I said it before, I'll say it again. He'll go down in history as the worst president ever if he loses on Tuesday, and he knows it. So I wonder what he thinks about the opinions of the historians now. It's fortunate for him that he can't read.

I wait for Tuesday with bated breath to cast my vote early in the morning for Kerry. Vote early. The more early turnout for Kerry the less likely Bush will be able to inject any doubt into the results.

Fingers crossed...

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27 October 2004
  Whoops Whoops

Sometimes I wonder if an inability to do anything correctly or think in detail is a prerequisite for being in the GOP.

It appears
lot of e-mails from Republican party operatives were mistakenly sent to georgewbush.org rather than georgew.bush.com.



  Andrew Sullivan Endorses Kerry Andrew Sullivan Endorses Kerry

Conservative journalist Andrew Sullivan comes over to the side of the angels. The bleeding of the GOP continues apace.


26 October 2004
  The New Yorker: The Choice The New Yorker: The Choice

According to Bob Woodward in “Plan of Attack,” Vice-President Dick Cheney put it this way: “From the very day we walked in the building, a notion of sort of a restrained presidency because it was such a close election, that lasted maybe thirty seconds. It was not contemplated for any length of time. We had an agenda, we ran on that agenda, we won the election—full speed ahead.”

...Bush signalled his approach toward the environment a few weeks into his term, when he reneged on a campaign pledge to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions, the primary cause of global warming. His record since then has been dictated, sometimes literally, by the industries affected. In 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed rescinding a key provision of the Clean Air Act known as “new source review,” which requires power-plant operators to install modern pollution controls when upgrading older facilities. The change, it turned out, had been recommended by some of the nation’s largest polluters, in e-mails to the Energy Task Force, which was chaired by Vice-President Cheney. More recently, the Administration proposed new rules that would significantly weaken controls on mercury emissions from power plants. The E.P.A.’s regulation drafters had copied, in some instances verbatim, memos sent to it by a law firm representing the utility industry.

“I guess you’d say I’m a good steward of the land,” Bush mused dreamily during debate No. 2. Or maybe you’d say nothing of the kind. The President has so far been unable to persuade the Senate to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but vast stretches of accessible wilderness have been opened up to development. By stripping away restrictions on the use of federal lands, often through little-advertised rule changes, the Administration has potentially opened up sixty million acres, an area larger than Indiana and Iowa combined, to logging, mining, and oil exploration.

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24 October 2004
  Alternatives to Bush's Lame Wolf Ad Alternatives to Bush's Lame Wolf Ad

"Wolf! Wolf!"

My favorite example:

The scene opens on a meadow near a tiny village. Suddenly we see a shepherd dressed in liederhosen and holding a shepherd's crook; it's George W. Bush. As quotes from the Bush administration about Iraq, WMDs, uranium and mushroom clouds flash across the screen, shepherd boy Bush begins shrieking "Wolf! Wolf!" Cut to a scene of panicked villagers, rushing to and fro.

The screen goes black, then flashes the words "Later that day." We see George Bush again, though this time, he's wearing a flight suit under his liederhosen. As the screen flashes the words "Yellow Alert! Orange Alert! Red Alert!" we hear Bush yelling "Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!" Cut again to a scene of panicked villagers (though, this time, we notice several people among them who appear calm, and some even appear angry). The scene cuts back to the meadow, and we see shepherds Bush and Karl Rove watching their own "wolves" commercial on a TV monitor, while laughing hysterically. Oddly enough, there's traces of wool around their mouths, and there seem to be a few less sheep in the meadow.

The screen goes black again, then again flashes the words "Later that day." Now George W. Bush looks truly panicked. He has a copy of "My Pet Goat" tucked into his liederhosen. "Wolf!" he screams. "Wolf! Wooooooooolf!" Cut to the village. The villagers roll their eyes and look bored. The camera cuts to an overhead shot, as a bomb with the words "Courtesy of North Korea" falls from the sky. As a mushroom cloud wipes out the village and the meadow, the screen goes black for the final time. The screen stays black for several seconds and then stark white words slowly appear: "George W. Bush. The President Who Cries Wolf." --written by Phil E. Young


  The Effect Of Constipation On World History The Effect Of Constipation On World History

Proof once again of the virtues of reading on the toilet.


23 October 2004
  100 Facts and 1 Opinion 100 Facts and 1 Opinion


  In Case You Forgot... In case you forgot...


  Synthesizing Reality - A how-to guide from the Bush White House. By TimothyNoah Not for the easily frightened.


22 October 2004
  American Conservative Disendorses Bush American Conservative Disendorses Bush

Salon.com Politics


  Flashback: 2000 Flashback: 2000

A very prescient classic you may have forgotten.


  He's Back He's Back

This must be why they're resorting to wolves (what, no bears anymore?) to scare us.

Republicans everywhere must be as apoplectic as I am gleeful that John Kerry's possible win might mean Bill Clinton would be nominated Secretary-General of the U.N., succeeding Kofi Annan.

Despite that this is a Friday story, it's true that this might help the GOP turn out their base, particularly the ones who might be insulted that Bush felt so comfortable lying to Pat Robertson (update: White House--especially Karen Hughes--suggests Pat is lying or crazy, and Robertson still stands by statement, and some RW leaders try to diminish), because their hatred for Clinton exceeds even mine for Bush.

I know, you're thinking Huh? but really, there were at least one or two times I wanted to give Bush a chance, whereas they wasted Clinton's entire two terms trying to destroy him (hey, we didn't stick you with Bush 1 or Dole) and can't stop raving about him to this day.

This after years of peace and prosperity and thousands of Americans not horribly killed. By contrast, after Bush is gone, I will do my very best, I promise, to never even think about him again. If I hate something and it goes away, obsessing about it further only continues what you hated about it and its power over you, correct? If something I hate goes away, my reaction is at least to try to be, I dunno, happy.

This is what makes me suspicious about conservatives' obsessive "hatred" of Bill Clinton, particularly the way it focuses so much, so very much, upon sex. Kind of like the way Bill O'Reilly is so obsessed with pornography.

Would Bill be voted in? Probably. Clinton is very popular among U.N. members, who are probably every bit as nostalgic about him now as most of us are. And this is definitely a man you want negotiating on behalf of the United States. In fact, this is probably the only better job for him than the one he had. I think it's a splendid idea and exactly the way to begin to repair our shattered alliances that Bush has so shat upon.

So, if you needed any more reasons to vote for Kerry this Nov. 2, there you go.


  Meanwhile, Here In Illinois... Meanwhile, Here In Illinois...

A pretty fair assessment of the rather surreal debate between Barack Obama and the completely and utterly psychotic fascist Alan Keyes.

One has to wonder--why do the Republicans want to lose so badly and embarrassingly in this state, and why drag Keyes all the way from Maryland to represent them?

But it was hilarious to watch, certainly. I haven't seen a candidate--Keyes--wipe the floor with himself so handily since, well, since Bush in the presidential debates. Mainly, it came down to this: Keyes brushed aside any question about his policies and always tried to turn the subject back to abortion as single-mindedly as Bush insisted "All Children Left Behind" was a cure for virtually all domestic ills. (Well, except the flu. The president said you were fucked there.) Obama struggled visibly to take Keyes seriiously enough to have something like a debate, but you could tell he was thinking, "This is almost sad."

Keyes is typical of the kind of maniacal extremist the GOP seems increasingly populated with. He doesn't care if the people who he supposedly represents don't share his views--like all the GOP he thinks he can hammer that square peg till it's wedged quite firmly and inescapably in the round hole. And he's very surprised that this scares the bejesus out of others.


  Dueling Battleground State Stories Dueling Battleground State Stories

(cue banjo)

Has Bush Given Up On Ohio? (Slate)

Bush makes plans to return to Ohio (Salon)


21 October 2004
  Know Your Place, God! Know Your Place, God!

Terry Jones on Bush & God.


  Ranting Demagogues: how censorship works in free societies Ranting Demagogues: how censorship works in free societies


  Ex-CIA Chief Tenet Calls Iraq War "Wrong" Ex-CIA Chief Tenet Calls Iraq War "Wrong"


  The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket (The Nation)


20 October 2004
  Now That's Incentive! Now That's Incentive!

Taking a cue from Lysistrata, some enterprising and patriotic folks have come up with some creative ways to encourage this country to come to its senses Nov. 2.

The last appears effective enough that Rush Limbaugh tried to get its servers crashed, so they must be on to something.

Labels: ,

  Bush: Lying To God And Man Bush: Lying To God And Man
...or at least that's how one would have to take this:

Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life.""You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' " Robertson said on the CNN show, "Paula Zahn Now.""And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

While this isn't surprising, it is revealing. At the very least, as Andrew Sullivan has pointed out, this means that either Bush really is that stupid and drunken with hubris(and isn't it interesting that the more horrifying for the rest of us, the more cheerful Bush gets? Particularly when people are dying or will die...), or that he was willing to lie to an important supporter, implying that he thinks the Religious Right is his bitch, that they will swallow whatever he spews and ask for more. Which is, of course, so.

But there's something more interesting implied. Given Bush's fundamentalist beliefs, one could suppose he believes Robertson is a man of God and speaks for and to God, wouldn't this tell us that Bush believed he could even lie to the Almighty? Which would probably lead us back to choice A.

The White House has denied the statement and even hinted that Pat Robertson is lying, while Robertson stands behind his statement, while also claiming to be standing behind Bush.

But given the simmering of a conservative revolt against Bush, and given that usually all parts of the GOP are united, on-message, and on the same attack, the fact that Robertson even told Paula Zahn that, knowing how quickly the information would disseminate, tells me that perhaps something similar to Buchanan's mini-insurrection against Bush the First, or Robertson's own challenge to the same Bush in 1988, is taking place. The moderate Republicans are already quite soft on Bush and may stay home on Nov. 2. But other Republicans might be thinking past Bush already and may sit this one out too, and Robertson's dissent could be a signal of that.

There may be a split going on in the right wing of the GOP. The money conservatives--the type represented by Cheney or DeLay--are the only ones that might benefit from a second Bush term, because they are only interested in profit, and whether from further tax cuts or further war, Bush will be good for them. This group latches onto the Christian Coalition mainly because that actually represents a significant portion of people, while greedheads are, thankfully, fewer. In the end they only care about how much money they have. To that end, the party is just a car they'll ride till it burns out. Many of those would rather there were no government at all.

But the party's social policies, and ability to implement them, will end up in tatters with the party, which will end up being destroyed by 2006 over Iraq if it remains in power. The Christian Right actually believes in government, even big government, if that government benefits them. If they remain in power, whatever is left of their credibility will be tied to Bush, and Bush will do further damage to it accordingly. And then the things the Christian right wants will have no chance whatsoever. Whereas if they lose this one, they still might be able to operate through Congress, keeping their hopes of abortion bans and the Ten Commandments tattooed on the inside of our eyelids alive. Best of all, responsibility for Bush's messes becomes Kerry's, because it's up to him to fix it.

They may see the writing on the wall(and who better than a Christian?) and refuse to go down with the ship. I think they're separating from Bush and I think Bush may be very surprised on election day.

For which record turnouts are expected, incidentally. Happy voting.

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19 October 2004
  Quote of the Day... Quote of the Day...


18 October 2004
  More on the Iraq Mutiny More on the Iraq Mutiny

Update: Appears I'm not the only one to call it a mutiny...

The Reserve Mutiny - How the Iraq war is crippling the Army Reserve. By Phillip Carter


16 October 2004
  New York Times Endorses Kerry New York Times Endorses Kerry

In a strange about-face given how much favorable coverage they've given Bush, the New York Times today formally endorsed John Kerry for president in a two-page editorial. I quote:

We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.

It seems the media have waited till the very last minute to crush Bush. Well, better late than never. And one must make sure such things are fresh in the public mind. Besides, given more time, Karl Rove would have intimidated them into going back on it.

In the same issue is a somewhat scary article about how Bush's faith affects his decision-making and curiosity (or lack thereof) about understanding the world. On the latter point, this anecdote sums it up well:

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.
''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''
Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.
Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''
The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.
A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ''You were right,'' he said, with bonhomie. ''Sweden does have an army.''


  Mutiny Begins Mutiny Begins

Reservists refuse convoy mission in Iraq (MSNBC)

This is only the inevitable result of Bush making it clear that none of the lives of our soldiers matters any more to him than the individual sheets of toilet paper he might use in a day. These guys are in hell for no reason, and if they come back they're missing large pieces of themselves, by which I mean physically. And what does the government do for them?
Less than for Vietnam veterans. He allows them not even the respect or honor of their service, discouraging shots of the coffins coming home.

Bush is certainly trying to bring in the military vote, isn't he? (or maybe that's why he's ensuring there are fewer every day?) I doubt very seriously any troop stationed in Iraq will be voting Republican this November.

If I were a soldier, or a veteran, I'd look at Bush as the chicken hawk who feels free to play with others' lives that he is and say "The hell with him." Oh wait, many already have...


15 October 2004
  So Very, Very Tired So Very, Very Tired

A pledge I make: if Kerry gets elected, I will be taking at least a year's rest from writing about politics, from Jan. 20 onward. My two-days early birthday present to myself.

Not that I'll be ceasing to blog about other stuff. In fact, anything else. I've already begun another one, at which I've already archived all my old film reviews. I'll be catching up, I assure you, but first please have a look at my much more detailed examination of the Passion of the Gibson.


14 October 2004
  Red States: Think They're Self-Reliant? Well... Red States: Think They're Self-Reliant? Well...
After all Bush's repetition of "Massachusetts" through the last two debates, to remind his base who'd vote for him anyway(?) that Kerry is a northeastern liberal, I'm a bit tired of the blue-state bashing. So it's refreshing to read the following from Timothy Noah in Slate.

Want to know something funny about Taxachusetts? For every dollar it pays Uncle Sam in taxes, it receives only 79* cents back in federal services and subsidies. That ranks it 44th among the 50 states in federal expenditures per dollar of taxes. Indeed, there's a very strong correlation between liberal, pro-government "blue states" and states that are least dependent on federal spending. There's also a strong correlation between conservative, anti-government "red states" and states that are most dependent on federal spending. (Click here for details.) If you think of Red America as stubbornly self-reliant and Blue America as a drain on the Treasury, you've got it exactly backward.

I don't begrudge the South and the West their many military bases and national parks. But I do wish people in those parts of the country would stop feeling superior to Northeastern welfare-staters.


  An American in London, by Carol Gould A few of the ways Bush's decisions have caused us to be misunderstood. (see first debate)


13 October 2004
  Debate 3: Say Goodnight, Georgie

Debate 3: Say Goodnight, Georgie

Tonight may have been America's farewell to Bush, He was certainly no better tonight than Friday, and on Friday, if you recall, he stunk. MSNBC's online poll already has Kerry as the victor by a whopping 85% at this writing.

Bush sounded, as some have remarked, like an abusive husband begging his sweetie to stay when she's not only halfway out the door, but the neighbors can see and hear from the hallway. (Just as some once said his father looked like every woman's first ex-husband) That was the look on his face, and though at the beginning of the debate, his voice was that arrogant Texas holler it was at the walkin' one on Friday, around the first third it dropped, realizing aggressiveness wasn't helping, and Bush tried to sound gentle, quiet, almost hurt that people think so ill of him. That must have been the intent.

But what it sounded like against Kerry's assuredness was in fact the timid, careful voice of a loser. It was a voice of contrition that promised many changes, that allowed mistakes of the past without acknowledging them. The very sound of contrition would imply awareness that at least people generally think he's fucked up. He offers the promise to us all that, given the chance, he'll be happy to convince them he's changed, though of course he says he was right and would do everything the same again given a second chance.

Dude, um...I don't think you're getting a second chance.

Kerry once again demonstrated his consistency from debate to debate, which is what we've really been getting to see--he's looked steady debate to debate, while Bush flails and flails, each time seeming to have only come with twenty minutes of material, and then after the first twenty minutes he starts to slouch and to scowl, or at least look tired in resisting the urge to do so. Tonight it looked at though Bush had been told--as the format was once again podiums, not Bush's friend because he can't wave his arms or pace to get rid of his nervous energy--to smile and crane his head every time he felt like scowling or felt tired or impatient. And he's still stuttering and still giving the deer-in-the-headlights look when caught off-guard by a question.

This wasn't good advice. It was the dancing-as-fast-as-I-can smile of denial so often seen on the faces of suburban housewives on uppers. It looked like a smile to conceal nervousness. And worse, it's incredibly crooked. I mean literally. But when he makes the effort to smile with both ends of his mouth, he looks, again, every bit the chimp. But you could tell under it all that he was quite frightened. His eyes looked startled. And Bush mistakes rigidity for consistency.

Where Kerry has been consistent in building an aggressive, but positive, attack on Bush and mapping out his policies through these three debates, Bush has merely been rigid, in his repetition of talking points even when they've been knocked down and reflexive--and often hilariously inaccurate--negative attacks on Kerry. After the incredibly bad performance in the first debate, the only real suspense through the second and third was whether he wouldn't fuck up again. It seemed accepted pretty quickly that if he did manage not to fuck up again, this in itself would be a victory.

I doubt if we keep presidents just because they manage not to look like complete idiots some of the time.

The opening of the debate was interesting. Kerry's wave to the audience was assured and easy, Bush's was narrow and nervous. And this time, they somehow managed to wear matching ties--red with gold dots. Only Bush's was not as deep a red as Kerry's, more of a fire-engine or emergency or Stop-sign sort of red. Probably not the best subconscious impression to leave if one is seeking re-election.

The framing of the podiums on C-Span again was interesting. They did everything they could to try to frame them equally, because in debate 1, also at podiums, Kerry filled the frame and Bush, given his lesser stature, looked shorter and more defensive, more hunkered down and, standing alongside Kerry, certainly not presidential. Bush's frame appeared to be mostly podium, Kerry's mostly, well, Kerry. This time they did their best but in the end, it just focused our attention on the details of Bush's face more(which is good, because his makeup was better than Kerry's; Kerry's face looked a bit tired and shiny, while Bush looked flushed, but the George should blush, shouldn't he?) , and worse, one's attention was drawn to the much greater length of Kerry's mike than Bush's, which tips you off both to a difference in all sorts of sizes.

Kerry scored many points on the job losses because Bush, whenever he was asked about them, tried to change the subject to education, even saying that the All Children Left Behind Act is a jobs program. Well, maybe 15-20 years from now, Bush, but what about right now? No answer each time it was brought up. Instead he reminds us that--horrors!--Kerry is from Massacussetts tried to claim that "Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachussetts" and that Kerry's politics were "far Left Bank," a clumsy way to imply that Kerry is a Francophile or...something, I'm not sure. And again "liberal," as though it packs the punch of "communist."

Again, George, the swing voters don't care; your base will vote for you no matter what, you idiot. Saying "liberal" doesn't score you points in your favor anymore, unless the best-seller lists are no indication where the country's swinging. Having as your only refutation of Kerry's promises that they're "empty" only makes us want to take a chance on the guy who hasn't broken any to us yet, unlike, say, Bush. Calling "pay as you go" "pay-go" doesn't help. And repeating "freedom's on the march" which he began doing at 8:07 pm CST just irritates us. And issuing a smug little snicker like you're expecting Karl Rove to give you a biscuit after you've managed to repeat a talking point really. Pisses. Us. Off.

Bush hasn't outlined any positive program of his own; he believes all his decisions have been the right ones. But they've led to disaster to all but Bush's most wealthy supporters. He really has no intention of changing course at all. This means to the average person that things are bad now--and most believe that--and therefore, they will be worse. He's not reassuring. Being unbearably smug wasn't what got Reagan votes--being reassuring was. Bush has read the attitude wrong. Admitting mistakes indicates to others that you now have the wisdom to not make them again. But he doesn't even give us that. "I'm sorry if some people think I'm wrong," Bush's attitude says. Problem is, those people are the American people. How can a man be overconfident and frightened at the same time?

And then he tells outright lies, which doesn't help him look less desperate. For instance, he denied his statement that he didn't worry too much about Osama Bin Laden, that he "isn't that important." Just issued a bald-faced denial. He also said Kerry didn't have anything to do with any health-care legislation. Also not true. Does no one tell him these things can be instantly checked these days? Throughout these debates I kept saying, out loud, is that all you've got? I keep thinking maybe Republican playbooks never change--it's just that, when they have the power to do so, they try to reshape the world into something in which they can operate. As you can see, that climate best suited to them is fear, deprivation, insecurity and paranoia. Like living in that?

Repeating talking points never made us believe anything. That was the illusion that Bush maintained for himself by the fear he kept us under for so long. Were we ever asked for our consent when Congress gave Bush the Patriot Act(which, as it happens, very few if any read first) or the authorization to attack Iraq? He has never really had to face the wrath of the American people. Unless he has a really good plan with Diebold regarding the voting machines, Bush is fucked.

And given that the polls are swinging away from Bush(Kerry now has the edge in Wisconsin and Republican bellwether state Ohio, which both have barnstormed very heavily), if they do have something like that planned, it will be obvious. Not that being obvious has stopped them before.


  It's God's Will We Cheat For Bush It's God's Will We Cheat For Bush

Voter Registration Personnel Being Paid Bounty for Republican Registrations.

Oh, and as they're not being paid for Democratic or independent registrations, most tear those up or throw those away.

The consequence is, of course, that someone who might have voted for Kerry will find that they're not registered to vote at all.

I'm glad to see Bush's supporters are so obviously sure God wants their candidate that they're willing to bear false witness to get him in. Honor? Truth? What are those?


08 October 2004
  I want 'em all voting for me. "I'm not tellin'!...Plus, I want 'em all voting for me."
Bush answering a question on who he'd pick to be on the Supreme Court

In bad taste? The audience inside the hall thought so. There was a palpable change in their expressions.


  Bush: More of A Jerk--Yeah, That'll Work! Bush: More of A Jerk--Yeah, That'll Work!

It seems Bush learned nothing from the last debate except to keep his face immobile while listening. Only problem is, he chose a horrible smirk to freeze his face in. He had a joke about the scowl in the last debate. It fell with a thud. I mean literally. He must have accidentally tapped his mike after saying it.

Otherwise, Kerry is completely on the offense and Bush seems to think the same talking points whose repetition annoyed us all so much last time just needed to be delivered in a better-rested voice. He's interrupted twice, had one temper tantrum(once again listing Poland in the coalition when they announced their withdrawal two days back), and sounds defensive. He has no defense--though he sounds defensive--of his record, and it's what this is all about. He can only say Kerry couldn't do better, and oh, by the way(he actually said it), he's a liberal.

That crap must really give his rock-solid but eroding base a hard-on, but it doesn't wash with the swing voters. This is coming off like the '92 debate. Oh, he's about to call him liberal again.

I had a bet he'd start mentioning folks working hard in Homeland Security at 8:40 pm Central. It was 8:39. He's mentioned it again. And he can only say that Kerry is going to break promises. But George, you already did that. So we should keep you why?


  The Wink? The Wink?

Who has Bush been winking to, twice now, in the audience?


  Bush's Strategy: Who Else Ya Gonna Pick? Bush's Strategy: Who Else Ya Gonna Pick?

It seems to me that an implicit narrative woven throughout the Bush campaign is not that Bush has done a good job, because they know they can't claim that, overtly, with a straight face. They'd have liked to but events are just too messy and muddy; spin will only make them stick.

The narrative is a negative one. It's that Bush may not be the most competent person to lead, but that he's president already and that Kerry, somehow, is not good enough, not to replace him, but to even unseat him. Apparently the Bush campaign decides who's good enough for the succession. It fits in with their general monarchical character, including their impatient condescension to even stand for re-election.

It's a great way to justify failure. I wonder if this is how it's done in the corporate world. Nah, can't be. There, useless failures get fired, don't they?


07 October 2004
  Frank Rich: Why Did James Baker Turn Bush Into Nixon? Frank Rich: Why Did James Baker Turn Bush Into Nixon?


06 October 2004
  Cheney's Factcheck.com Fuckup Cheney's Factcheck.com Fuckup

It just gets funnier...

God only knows why Dick Cheney directed millions of people to
factcheck.com last night regarding details of his evil deeds with Halliburton. As it turns out, he probably meant factcheck.org, which is run by the Annenberg foundation. Because the former, as it turns out, is just a site advertising encyclopedias. Or rather, it was until heavy traffic crashed their servers, after which they redirected all traffic to, of all things, georgesoros.com.

Which is strange, considering George Soros is known as the wealthiest man in the world fighting actively to unseat Bush. (according to a message on the site's homepage, they're just as surprised as anyone and provide a link to the site they, and most, believe Cheney actually meant)


And this is the first thing you see when you go there.

Way to defend your commander in chief, Dick! Or have you forgotten it's not your record you were supposed to be defending (badly) last night?

And by the way, what does one find at the site Cheney actually meant?
All sorts of information on Cheney's (and Edwards') "mangling" of the truth last night.

Cheney wrongly implied that FactCheck had defended his tenure as CEO of Halliburton Co., and the vice president even got our name wrong. He overstated matters when he said Edwards voted "for the war" and "to commit the troops, to send them to war." He exaggerated the number of times Kerry has voted to raise taxes, and puffed up the number of small business owners who would see a tax increase under Kerry's proposals.

And Cheney made certain millions would read this.

Between this and Cheney's statement a few weeks ago that high Ebay sales are a hidden sign of a much stronger economy, one gets the feeling that Cheney either just discovered the web or has an assistant who's been hipping him to it. It's always cute watching old people think they understand these things...

Labels: ,

  Looky Here Looky Here

Cheney And Edwards, Meeting Before.

Oh, and look, Lynne's there too.

But I guess the Vice President can't be expected to remember everyone he was right next to. He's an
old, unhealthy man.

Although the media seemed quick at first to try to pronounce Cheney authoritative--Chris Matthews being the most embarrassingly wrong one--they must have noticed the polls that showed an overwhelming majority of Americans realized Cheney was trounced. (Memo to Cheney: hunching, sneering and rubbing your hands together constantly like Mr. Burns does not help your image--what happened to the warm, grandfatherly bullshit that worked so well against Lieberman in 2000?)

So now the post-debate spin shows at best a draw (if it's extremely partisan lemming right-wingers talking) or favors Edwards(everyone with any sense). The media, it appears, see the momentum and seem to be developing a spine and letting the momentum have its way, as opposed to covering the Bush administration's ass as it has for so long. Perhaps they're tired of being told what to do and say by the administration and this is the first time Bush & Cheney have been caught out and vulnerable. And more, the media are pointing out Cheney's many lies. It's almost like they've been waiting for this.

William Saletan summed it up well:

Cheney and Edwards apparently went into this debate with different theories of what it was for. When moderator Gwen Ifill asked them to discuss their differences, Cheney said "the most important consideration in picking a vice president" was having "somebody who could take over." Edwards answered the same question by outlining Kerry's platform, virtues, and accomplishments. Cheney seemed to think most viewers were tuning in to judge the vice presidential nominees. Edwards seemed to think they were tuning in to hear about the presidential nominees.
If Cheney guessed right on that question, he probably won. But if he guessed wrong—and I suspect he did—Edwards kicked his expletive. If you watched this debate as an uninformed voter, you heard an avalanche of reasons to vote for Kerry. You heard 23 times that Kerry has a "plan" for some big problem or that Bush doesn't. You heard 10 references to Halliburton, with multiple allegations of bribes, no-bid contracts, and overcharges. You heard 13 associations of Bush with drug or insurance companies. You heard four attacks on him for outsourcing. You heard again and again that he opposed the 9/11 commission and the Department of Homeland Security, that he "diverted" resources from the fight against al-Qaida to the invasion of Iraq, and that while our troops "were on the ground fighting, [the administration] lobbied the Congress to cut their combat pay." You heard that Kerry served in Vietnam and would "double the special forces." You heard that Bush is coddling the Saudis, that Cheney "cut over 80 weapons systems," and that the administration has no air-cargo screening or unified terrorist watch list.
As the debate turned to domestic policy, you heard that we've lost 1.6 million net jobs and 2.7 million net manufacturing jobs under Bush. You heard that he's the first president in 70 years to lose jobs. You heard that 4 million more people live in poverty, and 5 million have lost their health insurance. You heard that the average annual premium has risen by $3,500. You heard that we've gone from a $5 trillion surplus to a $3 trillion debt. You heard that a multimillionaire sitting by his swimming pool pays a lower tax rate than a soldier in Iraq. You heard that Bush has underfunded No Child Left Behind by $27 billion. You heard that Kerry, unlike Bush, would let the government negotiate "to get discounts for seniors" and would let "prescription drugs into this country from Canada." You heard that at home and abroad, Bush offers "four more years of the same."

Labels: ,

05 October 2004
  Cheney Has Met Edwards Before Cheney Has Met Edwards Before

Maybe it's Cheney's advanced age that made him forget, but in fact he has met Edwards before. According to
Elizabeth Edwards, they've in fact met twice:

...Elizabeth Edwards corrected Cheney right after the debate, according to Kerry advisor David Ginsberg. The two men first met at a National Prayer Breakfast, the Kerry-Edwards campaign said, and then later in the Senate when Edwards escorted fellow North Carolinian Elizabeth Dole to her swearing-in.

Chris Matthews just acknowledged
poll results--including MSNBC's own poll--all over that put Edwards as the winner, with a large number saying the debate improved their opinion of him. The Republicans leapt in surprisingly quickly to pronounce this a win for Cheney, Joe Scarborough trying to make up for admitting his man, Bush, lost the last one (which, to his credit, earned him a torrent of "traitor" e-mails from what he called on the air "idiots") by jumping in to declare it a full win for Cheney.

On the last one even they seemed amazed by how Bush got caught like a deer in the headlights, and maybe they were unprepared for the heavy spin actually required. They were overconfident, but they don't seem to have corrected that. Instead they're just getting nasty, between Cheney's personal attacks on Edwards and willingness to aggressively lie and the new, inept Swift Boat ad out today calling John Kerry a traitor (and yet I still see their lawyer not only also still a Bush campaign lawyer but also one of the talking heads on Hardball every night. In the Bush world, do all of his people know too much dirt on him to be fired? Consider the case of Paul O'Neill) They seem more prepared to spin this one but it doesn't seem to be working well.

Labels: ,

  George Bailey Trounces Mr. Potter George Bailey Trounces Mr. Potter (Barely)
The consensus at the moment seems to be that Edwards won over Cheney. Cheney's strategy tonight seems to have been to go on the offensive against Edwards but all this did was give Edwards the opportunity to bring up Halliburton(which actually was first brought up by moderator Gwen Ifill) and mention a great deal about the record of Halliburton without directly blaming Cheney for the company's offenses. Cheney responded by not at all seemly--and rather, well, bitchy--comments about Edwards' voting record in the Senate, and wasted his own time, looking very much the mean bastard most view him as. And why do Bush and Cheney both hunch like weasels at debates, regardless of whether at a podium or table? They seem to cling to the respective furniture for dear life, but in the case of 2000's Debate 3 and Dubya that would be understandable: one almost gets seasick, looking at that old footage, as the camera pans side to side trying to keep Bush, who bounces repeatedly side to side from one foot to another like a nervous little boy, centered in the shot.

Among Cheney's comments of the night that drew most interest was that he, Dick Cheney, never once alleged there was any connection between Bin Laden and Hussein, a "distortion"(I'd call it, either way, a lie, but I'm much less polite than Edwards) that Edwards rightfully kept hammering upon regardless of how Cheney tried to wave it away. Having to keep addressing it was probably what caused Cheney to try to go in for the kill about 26 minutes in after a fairly courteous opening round. I imagine he was getting irritable, as Bush did, at having to address this at all. But to his credit, the pacemaker helped him avoid too much fidgeting as Bush did(and will again, at the town hall meeting-style debate on Thursday) and raising his voice.

Edwards had a few bad reaction moments. The first shot of him had him flashing a very phony-looking smile at the camera, which came up a few times more, and he should keep that smile a bit more moderate. It has a quality of looking too perfect which makes him seem at the least cutesy and at worst like a slick salesman. But then, we've voted in slick salesmen before, haven't we? Like Cheney himself, who wasn't at all the quiet, nice grandpa he presented himself as against Lieberman in 2000. He had fangs and wasn't at all cautious about bringing them out, nipping at Edwards' throat and ankles at surprise moments. You could see an "all right, motherfucker" reaction on Edwards' face each time.

But overall the impression given is still of an administration that thinks it's done a fine job, doesn't like being questioned, and frankly thinks it's ahead in the election, with nothing to tell us they'll do any better in the future. Now let's see Thursday.

Labels: ,

02 October 2004
  In Case They're Really As Bad As They Seem... In Case They're Really As Bad As They Seem...

Sure, Kerry may be ahead. Which is why, between Cheney's warnings of an imminent terrorist attack in the case of a Kerry administration and the dropping of hints barely noticed in the news, the administration has had a last-resort plan all ready to postpone the election. Or so speculation, based on their own attempts to get legislation passed to give them said power, is going.

This would be risky, as the administration would have to immediately declare full martial law, because nobody would believe this was mere coincidence. Bush would have to be willing to assume absolute dictatorial control in such a situation. At the very least, the fear of attack will be used to kill turnout, and low turnout is the GOP's best friend.

If it did play out, what would it look like? Here's speculation from The Village Voice's James Ridgeway, specifically theorizing by former NSA official Wayne Madsen:

If, on November 2, Kerry is ahead in key battleground states, then Bush will announce an imminent terrorist threat in California and maybe Washington state.

By 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. on the Pacific Coast), Bush HQ will know whether Kentucky and Indiana?key states?are lost. If it looks like they are going down the drain, then the White House will flash the go-ahead, and the U.S. Northern Command (which has military jurisdiction over the U.S.) will, along with the Homeland Security Department and California authorities, declare an imminent terrorist threat.

Polls will remain open, but everyone will be trying to get out of urban centers as fast as they can. Traffic jams will cause panic and make people change their plans to vote after work. "A number of working-class voters in urban centers," Madsen theorizes, "will either be caught up in California's infamous freeway traffic and be too late to get to their polling places or be more concerned about their families and avoid voting altogether."

The people mostly likely thrown off balance who will decide not to vote will be middle- and low-income Californians?the Democratic base. Well-to-do voters (Republicans, more often than not) will likely have cast their ballots early.

By reducing the turnout among urban Democrats, Bush HQ will thus be manipulating the state's 54 votes into the Republican column. If things get worse for Bush as the Eastern vote comes in, the "terrorist alert" can be expanded to Washington state, where panicky rush-hour traffic jams in cities like Seattle can reduce the Democratic vote there, too.

Labels: ,

  Boy, When Things Go Wrong... Boy, When Things Go Wrong...
Well, the media poodles are scurrying to shift their alliances, because the conclusive victory by Kerry last night is a fact according to nearly all who watched. Bush's supporters are terrified and disappointed and Kerry's are emboldened. The contributions keep gushing in.

Wolf Blitzer made an odd attempt to silence Mike McCurry with bad transmission of his part of an interview, giving prime Bush shill Karen Hughes a chance to hog the mike. Sure enough, she fucked up the opportunity. This is what she had to say to the media about Bush's completely petulant demeanor:

“On his face, you could see his irritation at the senator’s misrepresentations…He was answering the senator with his face.”

Pretty wobbly spin. I thought they paid her better than that.

Bush today went to more of his hermetically-sealed events and thought a few more lame jabs at Kerry's very utterances of criticism against the war got cheers but fell flat with anyone not a Republican operative. The National Review wondered if Bush even particularly wants to be president anymore. (would you, with the mess he's made?)

And even Joe Scarborough was incessantly rolling the footage of Bush's scowls, as was everyone. Also, Jon Stewart mocking Bush's emphasis on Poland being in any way an important ally in the war on terror. The tone I picked up from a scan around the punditsphere is that Bush somehow seems comical, diminished. They smell blood. Kerry has picked up heavy momentum going into the next debate--which looks to be bad for Bush as it's on domestic policy.

Could this be a repeat of '92, when the media at the last minute fell in love with Clinton and made Bush the First look every inch the Old and In The Way irrelevancy he was?

Thing is, Bush has sounded and looked this way all along. Last night I was very struck by how much like his spring press conference, in which he couldn't think of a single mistake he's made, it sounded: robotic reiteration of talking points and surprise and anger when those aren't enough to make the bad questioning people go away. How is it that most are only noticing it now? Some of us knew all along what an incompetent this was and that the emperor was running about naked.

Interesting to see how cranky the press are when they wake up.


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