September 30th, 2004 ~ Tonight, the first of three Presidential "debates" aired.  Kerry looked and sounded like a contender.  Bush looked and sounded like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  Both took some creative license with the facts and there were few actual facts to be had; courtesy of the draconian format restrictions imposed on all the debates.  If this seemed like a beauty pageant, it was.
      Tuesday night, the spares, Edwards and Cheney, duke it out.  If Edwards can keep that smarmy, Hughie Long, kissin' babies, smile off his face and Cheney remembers to charge his batteries, it might actually be worth watching.  I'm not holding my breath, though.
      I still think these things cry out for a wrestling ring and plenty of spandex.  I want to see one guy, head to toe in blue, with silver lightning bolt accents and the other covered in red, liberally augmented with golden flames.  They should have masks (like the Mexican Lucha Libre) and they definitely should have capes.
      I'm sure Tuesday's match up will have none of this.  It will be a serious presentation of two serious men answering serious questions seriously.  Perhaps, when we're able to have a true Citizens' Debate instead of these tightly scripted Demopublican affairs, we might actually hear some questions on the environment, the Patriot Act, fusion energy, drug prices, or the outsourcing of American jobs.  And who knows, we might actually see a flashy tie or neck scarf once in a while.

      September 21st, 2004 ~ Four stories dominated the news today...
1.     Even as Fed. Chairman Greenspan announced another quarter point rise in the prime lending rate, crude oil prices soared above $47.50 per barrel on fears of storm-related offshore interruptions.  Yet American markets ended on a positive note and the dollar gained some lost ground against the Euro.
2.     The followers of Wahabbi "holy man", Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed the brutal murder of a second American civilian hostage in as many days.  Iraqi authorities recovered a headless body purported to be Jack Hensley, following yesterday's grizzly murder on camera of American engineer, Eugene "Jack" Armstrong.  Efforts are still underway to secure the safe release of a third hostage, British civilian, Kenneth Bigley.
3.     The media feeding frenzy over CBS News' admission that it could not confirm the authenticity of the Killian/Bush ANG memos received more chum as it was further revealed that one requirement of former Texas ANG official, Bill Burkett, before turning over those documents to CBS, was to speak with Kerry campaign director Joe Lockhart.  A "60 Minutes" producer, Mary Mapes, then gave Lockhart Burkett's number and Lockhart subsequently called Burkett where he claims Burkett had several suggestions about campaign strategies, but did not say anything about the documents.  I don't know if the phone call was Burkett's idea or not, but it was a nice added touch to an already brilliantly played bit of subterfuge.
4.     President Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly, trying once more to patch up the chasm between his administration and the U.N. in his usual chiding-the-children manner; with the usual lukewarm reception.  The one point both Bush and Kerry seem to miss is that there is zero incentive for other U.N. nations to now get involved in Iraq.  They smell the carrion stench of tribal warfare, perfumed with the hypocritical incense of Islamic fundamentalism and they want no part of it.  Of course, they'll have to deal with this newly forged dynamo of abomination at some point, but for now, Les Champs d' Elyse is still for lovers and Friedrichshain und Mitte are still Party Central.
      One unifying thread I find in much of the news is the end justifies the means. Islamic xenophobes believe sawing the heads off defenseless civilians, or blowing up their neighbors is "o-tay" as long as they can look forward to righteous, pre-game torture and beheadings at the football stadium.  CBS News fell into a trap that had neon signs flashing "Egress this way!" all over it, in their desire to take down a truly deadly and dangerous administration.  And that administration thought it could slip a dropcloth over the portrait of Dorian Grey with a single polemic before the U.N. General Assembly.
      The ancient Greeks had a word - Hubris - to define those who refuse to cut their wine with water; an allusion to arrogance and ultimate ruin.  Our world seems to be headed toward that ruin in a drunken stupor and I pray that we sober up and correct our course before we ALL end up on the jagged shoals of the proverbial Sirens.

      September 17th, 2004 ~ So, what do we know about the 60 Minutes/Bush ANG memo flap, beyond what we've seen on TV, or read in the papers?
·     We know this is a closely contested Presidential race.
·     We know that Bush campaign proxies have aggresively attacked the active duty, Vietnam War record of John Kerry.
·     We know they would not like to see REAL memos from Lt. Col. Killian, critical of Lt. Bush, surface at a politically inopportune moment.
·     We know the 24x7 news cycle is an unforgiving taskmaster. "Use it or loose it" is today's news mantra.
·     We know that CBS News is regarded in conservative circles as a bastion of liberal sentiment.  We also know their flagship program, "60 Minutes", is universally recognized for journalistic excellence.
·     We know that REAL memos from Lt. Col. Killian would be EXACTLY the sort of exclusive CBS News would leap at.

Given these points of reference, what can we assume?

·     We can assume that GOP operatives would do whatever it takes to shield their employer from the same sort of pummeling they have visited upon John Kerry's active duty record.
·     We can assume there is a high likelyhood REAL memos, written by Lt. Col. Killian and critical of their employer, exist and GOP operatives have formulated a strategy to nullify the political impact of those memos.
·     We can assume such operatives would be aware that CBS News' ratings might make them less than exhaustive in establishing the bona fides of a source offering such memos; especially if that source suggested other copies might exist and surface at any time, allowing another news organization to "scoop" CBS.
·     We can assume the dual "gotcha!" of discrediting both CBS News and any REAL memos which might surface would be too juicy to let actual ethics or scruples get in the way.
·     We can assume the logic of discrediting the content of any REAL memos would dictate floating a set of FORGED memos, containing essentially the same content as the real memos, but so obvious in their forgery that should the real memos later surface, they too could be discredited as "just more dirty politics".

Have I missed anything?

      Oh...  Right.  There's Dan Rather.  I'm sure the GOP political operatives missed him as well.  Arrogance will do that.  I think we can quite safely assume they will soon find out how costly their arrogance is.

      September 14th, 2004 ~ Some of the worst violence against Iraqis BY Iraqis took the lives of nearly 60 and injured another 116 today.  Yet, in the midst of this Iraqi fratricide, Iraqis were heard in the streets yelling "Damn the Americans!"  With America's youth putting their lives on the line EVERY MOMENT for those ingrates, it really PISSES ME OFF that they have the gall to blame America for the acts of their own countrymen.
      Putting aside for the moment personal beliefs I may have about the motivations for the Iraq invasion, I wonder if those cursing America in the streets of Baghdad have ANY idea how many thousands of Americans fought and died during our own Revolutionary War to secure our own democracy?  Are they so stupid that they would rather be enslaved to another bloodthirsty monster and his perverted spawn, than embrace this one - and only one - chance, handed to them on a silver platter, to be free?
      If so, we should bring all our brave soldiers home immediately and let those idiots stew in their own blood.  They don't deserve liberty and they don't deserve the brave lives - both Iraqi and American - being sacrificed for that liberty.

      September 11th, 2004 ~ Today marks the third anniversary of the mass murder of nearly 3,000 innocents by Wahabbi zealots from Saudi Arabia.  To date, their Charles Manson, Usama Bin Laden, has eluded capture.  To date, over 1,000 American soldiers, 200 Spanish commuters, and over 300 Russian babies have died to glorify this "Holy Man".
      To date, our President is still throwing our children and our tax dollars into the Iraqi cespool, rather than hunting down this rabid dog in Afghanistan as he should have.  To date, our President has no alternative to Saudi oil, other than raping our wilderness, or generating even more radioactive waste which will remain deadly for the next ten thousand years.  To date, our President's only solution to securing America is to continue supporting Saudi madrasas with our petro-dollars while turning our Constitution into toilet paper with his "Patriot Act".
      Ben Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety".  Franklin also defined insanity as "...doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."  Brilliant man, that Franklin.  If this is not insanity, I certainly don't know what is.