The Peach

Proudly providing the reality-based community with the juice on politics, media, religion and culture

Friday, October 15, 2004

They Hate Him. They Really, Really Hate Him

From the AP wire comes this sad, but nonetheless expected and understandable report: in a poll meant to gauge how we're perceived by our allies, eight out of nine countries said their view of America had worsened. By big margins, those questioned said the war in Iraq has not aided the global fight against terrorism. And, what makes The Peach wish our allies could vote here, eight out of ten countries, often in landslide proportions, hope John Kerry will defeat Bush in the next election (in Britain, where the margin of victory was the narrowest, Kerry defeated Bush 50%-22%). So after hearing all this talk about the coalition and our friends in Poland, The Peach sits back again and asks, "What the hell is President Bush talking about?"

Math Problems or Problem Math?

In a NY Times article, these facts about our economy under the Bush administration were listed:

Medical insurance premiums have risen 60%.
Average tuition at four-year public colleges and universities has increased 20.3%.
The average price of regular gas has increased 40.4%
The median household income, adjusted for inflation, has fallen $1,535.
The wealthiest 10% of taxpayers received half of all the tax savings.

Now, you just have to ask yourself: are you better off now then you were four years ago?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Lynn Cheney: Swinging Both Ways

Not that we've decided to break out the ol' Lynn Cheney blogger flogger, but we at The Peach just can't ignore Mrs. Cheney's Joan Crawford-like reaction to John Kerry's heartfelt comments about her lesbian daughter, Mary. Kerry's point was that gays and lesbians do not chose who they are, and that we should be more accepting:
We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.
The fact that Lynn Cheney refers to this remark as a "cheap and tawdry trick" has The Peach completely baffled. We don't understand how the wife of the VP could find the Kerry statement so appalling when her own husband has been working so hard to eliminate rights for gays and lesbians. Pardon us, but Mrs. Cheney should be nothing short of ashamed for not standing up for her own child when she needed it the most--protecting her values, beliefs and needs. On one hand Mrs. Cheney claims to be "speaking as a mom," but on the other hand she works overtime to deny her own child's rights. Is there a disconnect here?

It is obvious that Lynn Cheney is still living in a world of denial and rejection when it comes to their daughter. An article in Salon.com from August 2000, examines Mrs. Cheney's comments when interviewed by Cokie Roberts of ABC-News. When Roberts asked about the fact that Mary had "declared herself to be openly gay," Lynn Cheney responded that "Mary has never declared such a thing" and how could Roberts "bring it up on this program."

Even more recently, this article from The Data Lounge points out that following VP Cheney's acceptance speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention, he was joined onstage by his entire family except for his lesbian daughter. Mary and her companion could be seen sitting in the VP box during the speech, but were not included in the family photo op before all the conventioners.

The Peach can only conclude is that the Cheneys reaction isn't so much about John Kerry. It is ultimately about Dick and Lynn Cheney. Our advice to them: get help.

Mrs. Cheney Not Always So Enraged By Lesbianism

Back in 1981, Mrs. Cheney penned a steamy lesbian bodice-ripper titled Sisters that was nothing if not "cheap and tawdry." The paperback chronicles the 19th century adventures of one Sophie Dymond, who arrives in America's wild West as a sweet young thing, only to discover that it is a place where (as the jacket copy has it) "the relationship between women and men had become a kind of guerilla warfare in which women were forced to band together for the strength they needed, and at times for the love they wanted . . . " Males in the novel are uniformly presented as self-interested brutes, and the novel suggests not only that lesbianism does indeed pose a kind of subversive threat to heterosexual marriage, but that it's a good thing! Cheney seems to be arguing passionately that, given what total jerks men are, what right-thinking woman wouldn't prefer to be a lesbian?

Here's a snippet, and find more here.  Posted by Hello

Oops! He Did It Again

This photo from the third debate shows the same mysterious object under Bush's jacket -- and he showed the same hesitation and tendency to wait and repeat phrases as he had in the first debate.  Posted by Hello

It's Education, Stupid!

Was it us, or did Bush avoid most questions, on such important topics as unemployment, wealth disparities and racial discrimination, by talking inexplicably (and incoherently) about education?

According to our Fearless Leader, if you are unemployed, you need education. If you are still only earning $5.15 an hour at your minimum wage job, you need education. If you are the target of racism, you need education. The Peach found it hard to imagine that the unemployed, the working poor and all thinking people would not be insulted by this shallow, self-serving and meaningless response to their situations.

Furthermore, the president continually conflated K-12 education with higher education, for example, talking about No Child Left Behind as a "jobs program." He seems to be suggesting that a 40-year old man or woman, with a couple of kids to put through college, who finds his or her job outsourced, should . . . er . . . go back to elementary school? We are as perplexed as you are about that.

And how about that flu shot debacle? We don't have enough flu vaccine, so don't get a flu shot. But it is all the fault of the trial lawyers. And anyway, we are trying to import additional doses of flu vaccine . . . from Canada!

At this point, The Peach began experiencing flu-like symptoms and had to take some aspirin and lie down. And we tried to unpack the president's logic. We really did. Then it came to us. We probably just need more education.

Oh, THAT Osama

No big surprise that in last night's debate, Bush "forgot" a dismissive comment he made about Osama Bin Laden, much as he "forgot" his part-ownership of a timber concern during the second debate. Here's the goods, thanks to TPM:

Bush on bin Laden, September 17th, 2001
I want justice. There's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive" ... I just remember, all I'm doing is remembering when I was a kid I remember that they used to put out there in the old west, a wanted poster. It said: "Wanted, Dead or Alive." All I want and America wants him brought to justice. That's what we want.

Bush on bin Laden, March 13th, 2002
As I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.

Early senility? Drug abuse? The Peach is willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt. After all, it is "hard work" to be president.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Breaking News: Republican-sponsored Voter Fraud

Major Republican voter fraud is afoot in multiple states, The Peach has discovered. KLAS-TV in Las Vegas just reported that a group calling itself Voters Outreach of America, a voter-registration organization, was sifting out registrations from Democrats and tossing them out. By law, voter registration organizations cannot refuse registrations based on party affiliations. The information was reported by employees of Voters Outreach of America who were shocked to find their supervisors separating out and destroying Democratic registrations.

The Peach has further discovered that Voter Outreach of America is the brainchild of one Nathan Sproul, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party and of the Christian Coalition of Arizona. He is now a partner at Sproul & Associates, a registration consulting firm for the Republicans, and has been collecting big bucks from the Republicans for some time. (see this chart). Probably not coincidentally, Sproul was also responsible for Republicans circulating petitions in order to get Ralph Nader on the November ballot in some states.

But wait. It gets uglier. There is evidence that Sproul & Associates have also attempted to perpetrate voter registration fraud for their Republican masters in Arizona and Oregon, and, The Peach has just discovered, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Librarians in Arizona and Oregon had been phoned by Sproul & Associates employees claiming to have been hired by America Votes, a legitimate progressive organization consisting of such groups as the AFL-CIO and Voices of Working Families. The S & A callers requested permission to open voter registration booths in the target libraries. Fortunately, some alert librarians phoned America Votes and discovered that the group had never heard of S & A.

In West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Sproul hired Kelly temporary services to do voter registration. The people at Kelly were trained to first ask people who they were going to vote for. People who indicated they were voting for Bush were given a registration form. If they said Kerry, they were sent on their way. When angry librarians approached Sproul for an explanation he claimed that he was doing "market surveys."

The Peach has also uncovered this information: In June 2004 the Tucson Weekly ran a story about an initiative to eliminate "Clean Elections" in Arizona, a program that provides public funding for political campaigning, an initiative approved by Arizonians just six years ago. The person behind this initiative? None other than Nathan Sproul! Apparently, seven out of nine successful candidates used "Clean Elections" to help them get elected, including current Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano.

It seems likely that significant numbers of Democratic voters are being fraudulently disenfranchised, under the auspices of the Republican party. In a democracy, there are few worse crimes short of murder. The Republican party needs to be held accountable by mainstream media for this. People need to know that the party that currently claims to stand for patriotic, American values is implicated in robbing them of their right to participate in the democratic process.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Links to Sinclair Advertisers

Remember in days past when puritanical mothers would band together and boycott companies who advertised on such sexually explicit shows as "Married With Children" or child brainwashing shows like "The Simpsons" or wrong-message-sending shows like "Murphy Brown"? Well, now it's our turn. Daily Kos, posted this list of Sinclair advertisers, and we've provided the links. We are asking our readers to contact these companies and object to the Sinclair Broadcasting Group's airing of "Stolen Honor," described by the Sinclair CEO as "an in-kind donation to George Bush." So make your voice heard already!

Halls Fruit Breezers, Sylvan Learning Centers, Kentucky Fried Chicken, ITT Technical Institute, Ford Motor Company, Yahoo DSL, Isuzu, Hardees, Taco Bell, Century 21, Prudential, Cnn.com, General Motors, Geico, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Titan TV, Iams, Miller Lite, Ringling Brothers, Oak Express, ABC Solutions, Kentucky Lottery, Florida Lottery, NFL, Lincoln Mercury, H&R Block, Pontiac, Arby's
A couple of others:
ZigZagZone -- send e-mail to smitty@zigzagzone.com
Warner Bros -- send e-mail to faces@thewb.com (many Sinclair affiliates are WB stations).

You can also go to the "Boycott Sinclair" website for an even more comprehensive list of advertisers and e-mail addresses.

The Peach suggests that readers e-mail, phone, or write these companies and request that they withdraw their advertising or programming from SBG affiliates. Readers should also remind these sponsors that, in fact, SBG doesn't provide viewers with news, but instead acts as another arm of the pro-Bush, Republican propoganda machine. If they want to keep their business with Sinclair, then we don't want what they are selling. Amen!!

Soldiers Once . . . And Young

On the ground in Iraq Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

Faux News

Remember Karen Ryan, the phony PR-exec-cum-journalist who appeared in pseudo-news video segments by the Bush administration, promoting its Medicare legislation in a way that Congress found constituted political propaganda in violation of federal law?

She's B-A-A-A-A-CK! That's right, this week The Bush administration was busy promoting the No Child Left Behind Act with a video, featuring Ms. Ryan, that many local TV stations ran unchallenged, as a legitimate news story. Neither the video news release nor the TV affiliates made it clear that the content was 100% Republican spin, or that the "reporter" involved was paid with your tax dollars.

Interestingly, Ms. Ryan's earlier Medicaid shilling was picked up by none other than the Sinclair network -- the same one that is now airing the bogus Swift Boat fiction to attack John Kerry. Talking Points Memo notes that not only was Ms. Ryan paid by with taxpayer money, but the Department of Education also used tax dollars to pay Ketchum Public Relations to rank news coverage on the basis of how well it channeled Bush propaganda.

Either TV affiliates are not taking a close enough look at what they are being spoon-fed by the Republican noise machine, or -- in this era of deregulation and profit desperation -- they can't afford to take a closer look. Either way, the public trust in our media is rapidly and rightfully eroding.

Republican Nuisance

The Peach was dismayed to see that Bush has jumped on the Kerry cover story in today's New York Times Magazine and already created a new attack ad that is transcendent in its cynicism and dishonesty. We were even more dismayed to see CNN report so breathlessly and uncritically on the new ad that The Peach had to wonder if the Bush campaign has outsourced its PR function to the network without telling anyone.

Here's Kerry's quote, uttered in response to a question about what it would take for Americans to feel safe again: "We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance."

He went on to draw an analogy to organized crime, which as we know has been basically contained to "a level where . . . it isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentially, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."

Bush's attack ad takes the word "nuisance" out of context and insists that Kerry says terrorism itself is "a nuisance, like prostitution or gambling."

CNN's Sunday night anchor repeated the Bush camp's charges verbatim -- including the out-of-context quote, and then AIRED THE BUSH AD ITSELF! A couple of items the mainstream media need to be reporting:

1. The Bush ad is a totally cynical and opportunistic distortion of what Kerry said, and what he obviously meant.

2. What Kerry did say was TRUE! That we need to get terrorism under control, and that the model of organized crime is a pretty good analogy. That we need to feel like we did before 9/11. The Peach sure wants to. Don't you? Doesn't Bush? Isn't that where he's supposed to be taking us? If not, why not?

3. Bush's own father and his NSA saw threats like Saddam Hussein in essentially the same terms -- as someone we'd like to turn into a mere nuisance. Here's a quote from a then-contemporary Newsweek (Sept 23, 1996 v128 n13 p37} piece by Brent Scowcroft:

"The key point, however, is that the "Iraq problem" is not susceptible to quick fixes. Dealing with Iraq will continue to require patience and persistence, leadership and skill. For the foreseeable future, a successful and sustainable-if unsatisfying- policy is likely to share the same objectives as the one we have followed since the end of the gulf war: relegating Saddam to the category of a nuisance and preventing him from re-emerging as a threat to his neighbors or our vital interests."

Emphasis added. The Peach rests its case. Will the mainstream media stop shilling for the Bush campaign long enough to notice?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

What a Difference Ten Years Makes

Would you believe The Peach if we told you that George W. Bush was once a reasonably articulate, intelligent sounding, if still odious, orator? We didn't think so. So here's the proof in this video clip.

After viewing it, ask yourself what could have happened to cause the change? Dope? Senility? Alcohol? We are still scratching our fuzzy heads about it.

The Right's Human Wrongs

In a damning rebuke of the Bush administration, the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a bi-partisan organization, has posted a report which is critical of Bush's civil rights record. Some of the highlights (or lowlights) included:

Voting Rights: The Bush administration did not provide leadership to ensure timely passage and swift implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. As a result, Congress did not appropriate funds for election reform until almost two years into the administration.


Equal Educational Opportunity: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) does not sufficiently address unequal education, a major barrier to closing the achievement gap between minority and white students.


Affirmative Action: Instead of promoting affirmative action in federal contracting and education, the administration promotes "race neutral alternatives," in many instances not applicable and in others not overly effective at maintaining diversity.


Environmental Justice: EPA has taken few actions to ensure disparate impact of minority communities to environmental contamination.


Racial Profiling: The administration responded to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by instituting regulations that facilitate profiling rather than prevent it. Immigrants and visitors from Arab and Middle Eastern countries were subjected to increased scrutiny, including interviews, registration, and in some cases removal.


The Peach has discovered that Republican members not only objected to the report's posting, but are holding back the report's official release till conveniently after the election. We at The Peach have only this to say: NOT ON OUR WATCH!

You can read the whole report here.