Tuesday, September 14, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Batman Will Save Us!

The Big Bounce, Part 1 Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, lately the commander of the Marine Corps in Western Iraq, is leaving his job, but not before pointing out what a clusterfuck of a job we've done in that benighted country. Conway is especially scathing in his condemnation of the botched attack on Fallujah back in April. Conway, interestingly, said the dumbest thing in the world was to invade the city following the killing of four civilian military contractors, and that doing so essentially ensured Anbar province would go over to the insurgents. It will be interesting to see how the Republicans try to smear a Marine Corps general.

The Big Bounce, Part 2 As we mentioned last week, August was the worst month yet for American forces in Iraq, and this week's Newsweek devotes its cover story to the fact that the insurgency, far from dwindling away to nothing, is actually getting worse. "The few relief groups that remain in Iraq are talking seriously about leaving. U.S. forces have effectively ceded entire cities to the insurgents, and much of the country elsewhere is a battleground." But why would the media talk about this in the context of a presidential campaign? We're all too busy trying to find out whether fucking IBM Selectric typewriters in 1971 could make Superscript th's. A nation of chimps, the lot of us.

Hot New Worry: Old-Fashioned Vote Fraud While we're all justifiably terrified of the fraud possibilities inherent in electronic voting, we shouldn't forget another profitable avenue of democracy-wrecking: screwing around with absentee ballots. The new popularity of absentee voting (26 states no longer require absentee voters to have a reason for not going to the polls) means there are new opportunities for fraud: since 2000, the federal government has convicted people of absentee vote fraud in 15 different cases. In addition, the military has begun handling absentee ballots in a different way: You can now vote via telephone or email, but in order to do so you have to provide your name and Social Security number to the company running the service, thus eliminating the secret ballot that's a basic cornerstone of democracy. You will no doubt be stunned to learn that the company operating this service for the military is owned by a prominent Republican fundraiser.

They Say "Coincidence"...They Say "An Act of God" Ralph Nader is on the ballot in Florida, despite a court order postponing a decision on the matter, because the Reform Party doesn't actually qualify as a national party under Florida election law. Dawn Roberts, the Republican official in charge of elections in Florida, oddly says that Hurricane Ivan "forced my hand." She also says that since she's ruled, there's no need for the court to have a hearing on the matter, which is scheduled for Wednesday. Anyone familiar with our nation's system of checks and balances has already thrown up on their keyboard.

Iran Invasion Watch: Day 40 The US government has refused to rule out an attack on Iran, giving us all an exciting preview of what we can expect for spring 2006: Another Persian Gulf quagmire. Huzzah!

-Consider Arms