August 2nd, 2004


A different view of Iraq.

There's a new post by Riverbend, an Iraqi in Baghdad. It's the first post she's made in over a month.

"The electricity has been quite bad. On some days, we're lucky to get 12 hours- 3 hours of electricity for three hours of no electricity- but more often than not, it's four hours of no electricity and two hours of electricity. A couple of weeks ago, there was a day when our area had only one hour of electricity out of 23 hours with no power. The hellish weather had everyone out in their gardens by sunset, trying to find a way to stay cool."

She also mentions that kidnappings of Iraqis have become extremely widespread, and that there is a growing political resistance to all the parties and organizations that joined with the CPA -- independent and previously unrepresented political parties are trying to unify in opposition to them.

She ends, omenously enough, hinting that Iraq's new freedom of speech isn't all it's cracked up to be...

"Word on the street has it that email, internet access, and telephone calls are being monitored closely. We actually heard a couple of reports of people being detained due to the contents of their email. It's a daunting thought and speaks volumes about our current 'liberated' status..."

Kerry pulls out ahead where it counts.

The latest Zogby Interactive poll, taken during the Democratic convention and before Kerry's speech, shows John Kerry ahead in 13 out of the 16 key battleground states they are tracking. Most notably, he's pulled out to a 3% lead in Florida, a 9% lead in New Hampshire, a 3 1/2% lead in West Virginia, a 2% lead in Tennessee... with Missouri, Arkansas, and Nevada currently a deadheat. This is a very noticeable tilt towards Kerry from previous polls in these regions, indicating that the Democrats huge efforts to win these states are paying off. There is also reason to suspect that Kerry's lead might have expanded even further in these regions after Kerry's speech at the convention.

All he needs is one of these states to win, so he's very well positioned to win the election at this point, even if a comparable number of Bush voters come out to the polls on Election Day.
Polls for "likely voters" are quite close between Kerry and Bush, so for the battleground states to be increasingly tilting towards Kerry, it seems obvious that one (or both) of two things is happening.

1> Established pro-Bush states are getting even more pro-Bush.
2> "Likely voters" is less of a factor in this election, and voter turnout will be higher than in previous elections.

That said, having more "cemented" Bush voters in uncontested Southern states won't help Bush in this election, and larger turnouts will almost certainly indicate better results for Kerry nationwide.

Still, wouldn't it be amusing if Kerry won the election with fewer votes than Bush?! As much as I'd hate to see our country further divided, you have to admit that it would be amusing to see Republican pundits wail at the inequity of it all.

Of veiled threats.

This is scary.

No, not that there have been unsubstantiated "terror warnings" in New York and Washington, but that politicians who are speaking at the upcoming Republican convention, such as Pataki and Bloomberg, are trying to make political hay on the verge of the convention, and are willing to use this "terrorist threat" to milk our fears all the way to the White House. They're acting as if vague terrorist threats are something new, and parading around for public opinion as if this were the Reichstag fire.

Neither we nor our elected officials have any way whatsoever to know whether this supposed threat is valid, or, indeed, whether N.Y.C. is in any more danger now than it has ever been. I'm not saying that Americans shouldn't be mindful of the risk of terrorism, but these bastards want us to be fearful and turn to them for comfort, as if they're somehow being anything other than manipulative by doing what they're doing.

I can tell you now with some degree of certainty that in the event of a terrorist act in NYC, George Pataki and Michael Bloomberg aren't going to save your life. If they really wanted to, maybe they'd find a way to check the 97% of cargo containers that arrive every day in NYC that are never inspected by customs officials.

Pataki and Bloomberg aren't leaders, because leaders take the initiative and do something to protect their people. They aren't celebrities either, although they fight for their time behind the cameras. No, they're vultures, and they are feeding off the dead of 9/11. 'Nuff said.

Sometimes I hate it when I guess right.

The New York Times reported today that much of the information that led to the heightened alert in New York and Washington D.C. is actually three or four years old and that authorities have found no concrete evidence that a terror plot is actually under way.

Sometimes it just disgusts me off when my gut tells me that the Bush administration are being dishonest and manipulative, and then the facts come in and tell me that my hunch was right.

Why are they so transparently trying to manipulate us? Terrorism is bad. We get it. But it doesn't have to be the end of the world. The Bush adminstration's policies on terrorism need a lot more to work than the kind of crass marketing they keep flooding us with. They want to make terrorism the biggest issue -- hell, the only issue -- in America, but it shouldn't be.

Everything matters... not just terrorism. And not just the appearance of being resolute, but actual leadership. Real policies which make a difference in people's lives, that safeguard their liberties, and that bring them closer to achieving their happiness and their version of the American Dream. It's sad and unfortunate that the Bush administration seem to want to do everything possible to get us to forget that.