Coming soon...

Progress in Iraq

Whenever you hear Bush or his surrogates (including Allawi, who was either wittingly or unwittingly used as a pawn for B-C '04), tout the "progress" in Iraq, just have this photo in your head:

Buffalo folks: Debate Watch Party on Thursday

Mark Poloncarz just sent the word out. Please c'mon down, and bring a friend or three. NEW! Thursday September 30th: Debate Watch Party at HQ Join WNY Kerry-Edwards supporters as we watch John Kerry Trounce George W. during the first debate on Thursday September 30th. The debate starts at 9:00, and the party will be held in the Atrium outside of our local Kerry-Edwards HQ: Ellicott Square Building, 295 Main Street, Suite 115, Buffalo, NY. All are invited so come on down and cheer with fellow Kerry supporters as we watch the next president of the United States!

Voting Rights under attack in Ohio

According to the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, is ready to throw out thousands of new voter registrations in that key battleground state because... ...wait for it... ...the Voter Registration Cards are not being printed on the proper 80-lb-stock paper. Peoples' fundamental Federal right to vote is being denied over paper stock. Luckily, the Voting Rights Act provides:
Sec. 1971. - Voting rights (a) Race, color, or previous condition not to affect right to vote; uniform standards for voting qualifications; errors or omissions from papers; literacy tests; agreements between Attorney General and State or local authorities; definitions (1) All citizens of the United States who are otherwise qualified by law to vote at any election by the people in any State, Territory, district, county, city, parish, township, school district, municipality, or other territorial subdivision, shall be entitled and allowed to vote at all such elections, without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; any constitution, law, custom, usage, or regulation of any State or Territory, or by or under its authority, to the contrary notwithstanding. (2) No person acting under color of law shall - (A) in determining whether any individual is qualified under State law or laws to vote in any election, apply any standard, practice, or procedure different from the standards, practices, or procedures applied under such law or laws to other individuals within the same county, parish, or similar political subdivision who have been found by State officials to be qualified to vote; (B) deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election.
So, Ohio is now lucky to join the ranks of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, &tc. ca. 1963 Congratulations!

O'Reilly's stoned slackers

Last week, the Daily Show's Jon Stewart inexplicably appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, which is probably the most annoying, least informative, most shrill show on television. So, O'Reilly teased Stewart about the "stoned slackers" that watch the Daily Show. (Which, by the way, is one of the best shows on television). Comedy Central was peeved by that description and did a little research.
And guess whose audience is more educated? Viewers of Jon Stewart’s show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch “The O’Reilly Factor,” according to Nielsen Media Research.
Then again, Fox News Channel viewers are lucky enough to get unvetted Drudge headlines fed to them as actual news, actually believe that there were WMDs in Iraq, and also believe that Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda. They report. The uneducated and misinformed decide.

The Blue States subsidize the Red States.

First of all, let's set aside a terrific myth, shall we? Especially in Buffalo, everyone thinks that a dramatic diminution in across-the-board taxes and spending will somehow lift New York into unparalleled prosperity. Alabama and Mississippi have ultra-low taxes. A "right-to-work" laws, which stifle union organization. When you think of Alabama and Mississippi do you instantly conjure up images of clean, orderly, top-notch schools, or excellence in any other area? I didn't think so. I do think that New York is over-taxed, is run by a horrific, bloated bureaucracy, has a corrupt and ineffective state government, and is essentially run by the shadow government of ultra-powerful authorities that are wholly unanswerable to the people of the State. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. On to my point. The Red States voted Bush-Cheney in 2000, while the Blue States voted Gore-Lieberman. The Red States responded to Bush's tax cut/spending cut conservatism, his "plain talk", etc. They also responded to the fact that they are net recipients of Federal money. That's right. All of those Red State folks who hate welfare, class warfare and the distribution of wealth are actually the recipients of Blue State wealth. Bunch of ingrates.
States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid: 1. D.C. ($6.17) 2. North Dakota ($2.03) 3. New Mexico ($1.89) 4. Mississippi ($1.84) 5. Alaska ($1.82) 6. West Virginia ($1.74) 7. Montana ($1.64) 8. Alabama ($1.61) 9. South Dakota ($1.59) 10. Arkansas ($1.53) In contrast, of the 16 states that are "losers" -- receiving less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 69% are Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000. Indeed, 11 of the 14 (79%) of the states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here are the Top 10 states that supply feed for the federal trough (with Blue States highlighted in bold): States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid: 1. New Jersey ($0.62) 2. Connecticut ($0.64) 3. New Hampshire ($0.68) 4. Nevada ($0.73) 5. Illinois ($0.77) 6. Minnesota ($0.77) 7. Colorado ($0.79) 8. Massachusetts ($0.79) 9. California ($0.81) 10. New York ($0.81) Two states -- Florida and Oregon (coincidentally, the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election) -- received $1.00 in federal spending for each $1.00 in federal taxes paid.


Plans A-E (aka Bush flip flopping redux)

Kevin Drum lays out the Iraq timeline and gets it all right. PLAN A was an ideologue's wet dream / regular person's joke. We would be greeted as liberators on a bed of roses, and the Iraqi's long-dormant democratic ideals would spring forth, leading to a wonderous victory for democracy, and no need for an occupation. PLAN B involved Garner/Bremer disbanding the Iraqi army and having the US stay a while. PLAN C came about due to increasing resistance, violence and mismanagement. (Some might say incompetence, but that would be shrill). That involved the handover of "sovereignty", and January 2005 elections. Well, now we're on PLAN D, and it isn't doing any better. By the way - did you know that Zarqawi, the guy beheading all the Westerners in Iraq - could have been taken out before we invaded Iraq, but the Bush administration vetoed that because Zarqawi was part of their theory that al Qaeda was linked to Saddam. Bush doesn't think there's anything wrong in Iraq. Meanwhile, the administration refuses to spend the billions earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction. Why? BECAUSE THEY ADMIT THAT IT'S TOO DANGEROUS.

Why does Donald Rumsfeld hate democracy?

Perhaps setting us up for a domestic precedent, Donald Rumsfeld has a fascinating opinion about democracy and voting.
"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday raised the possibility that Iraq could conduct only limited elections in January, excluding places where violence was considered too severe for people to go to polls. 'Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great,' Rumsfeld said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. 'Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet,' he said. "
Yeah. Let's, umm... not have New York and California vote this year. That's not quite perfect, but it beats not having elections at all. Pesky damn elections.

Local Info

Our local Kerry meetup was held last night at Ellicott Square, and there's a lot going on over the next several weeks. The local Campaign office:
Ellicott Square Building
295 Main Street, Suite 115
Buffalo, New York
Firstly, there's only one meetup.com meetup left before the general election, so don't rely on that service if you want to volunteer and get involved. If you're reading this blog and you're within 50 miles of Buffalo (or, say, Erie, PA), please go to www.johnkerry.com and sign up as a volunteer with the campaign-at-large, which will then pass your info along to the local organizer, Mark Poloncarz. You can also contact Mark directly via his local Kerry website at www.poloncarz.com/kerry. This weekend, and up until October 8th, we will be doing voter registration and literature drops in Buffalo proper. This coming weekend, if you're interested in helping out, show up at Kerry HQ in Buffalo at the Ellicott Square building at 295 Main Street. Contact Mark directly at mpoloncarz@yahoo.com for more details. THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER TO VOTE IS OCTOBER 8TH. IF YOU, OR ANYONE YOU KNOW NEEDS TO GET REGISTERED, CONTACT YOUR COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, OR THE BUFFALO CAMPAIGN, from whom you can obtain the necessary forms. We will also be doing phone banking, starting over the next few weeks. Watch this site for more information. A location(s) hasn't been finalized yet. We will need phone volunteers. The first Presidential debate is on September 30th at 9:00 p.m. There may be a centralized, regional watch party downtown, but that isn't yet set in stone. If you'd prefer to host a debate watch party, contact the local campaign or sign up at http://www.johnkerry.com/events/ Finally, there are weekly caravans to do door-to-door canvassing in Erie, PA. Pennsylvania is a crucial battleground State, and the campaign down there needs all the help it can get. Caravaners should sign up with the local campaign.

Allawi the Convenient

Via Josh Marshall comes solid proof that Allawi a) has no idea what h e's talking about; b) gets all of his talking points from B-C'04, but especially Cheney & folks like Perle & Wolfowitz. On Lehrer Newshour:
JIM LEHRER: What would you say to somebody in the United States who questions whether or not getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the cost of more than a thousand lives now and billions and billions of U.S. dollars? PRIME MINISTER IYAD ALLAWI: Well, I assure you if Saddam was still there, terrorists will be hitting there again at Washington and New York, as they did in the murderous attack in September; they'll be hitting also on other places in Europe and the Middle East.
That's pretty much case closed on Allawi's credbility. Folks like Allawi and the neocons think that by repeating this tired old lie over and over again, people will just start believing it. Paging Mr. Orwell.

Your next President

Kerry comments on Bush & Allawi's fantasy Iraq. Couresy of AP.
'Foreign terrorists are still pouring in, and they're trying to inflict damage on Iraq to undermine Iraq and to undermine the process, democratic process in Iraq, and, indeed, this is their last stand,' Allawi said. 'So they are putting a very severe fight on Iraq. We are winning. We will continue to win. We are going to prevail.' Allawi told a joint meeting of Congress Thursday that democratic elections will take place in Iraq in January as scheduled, but Kerry said that was unrealistic. 'The United States and the Iraqis have retreated from whole areas of Iraq,' Kerry told reporters outside a Columbus firehouse. 'There are no-go zones in Iraq today. You can't hold an election in a no-go zone...' George Bush retreated from Fallujah and other communities in Iraq which are now overrun with terrorists and threaten our troops," Kerry said in the brief interview Wednesday. "And even today, he blundered again saying there are only a handful of terrorists in Iraq. I think he's living in a make believe world."
Got that? Our President - the one who gets all of his news filtered to him through aides - is living in a make-believe world.


Here's George Bush's base. Think I'm joking? Just think back to the West Virginia/Arkansas mailings. Courtesy of Atrios & Blast Off, this is from C-Span (you need real player. fast forward to 1:56:43).

PETER SLEN, HOST: Kenner, Louisiana, good morning. CALLER (in a very airy voice): Good morning. I’m going to vote for President Bush because, after all, you know, God made us there, you know, in His image, free from any black color and all [Host looks up, surprised]. The only church that Kerry can go to is where they say the Black Mass, and that is in the Merriam-Webster Pocket Book dictionary, where it says that that is the devil worshippers. [Host looks uncomfortably off-camera, at producer?] I would never vote for, you know, Senator Kerry.e every effort to give you the same booth again, or very nearSo, definitely, I would never vote for, you know, Senator Kerry. And that isn’t the only reason. Also, in the Bible, God said … God … that, uh, also, like (unintelligible) and faggots, that he says, anybody that lays down with another man and has sex with his own sex, and any woman that lays down with another woman and has sex should be put to death and their blood upon them. It also says that about interracial marriages and everything. So that’s the reason why I’m voting for my president, Bush. SLEN: What do you do in, uh … CALLER: And that isn’t the only reason. They also have other reasons also. The other reason is political, because like the political terrorists, they’ve been out there for eight months, and they’ve been out on the road, and they’ve been talking about … they’ve talked against our president. They put him down in every way. And God knows that that is wrong. He’s out there doing God’s work. He’s taking care of all our children. Like when Clinton was in, he made – he tried to make whores and faggots out of our little girls – whores out of our little girls. He put the pornography in the schools. And God’s gonna condemn him for that. SLEN: What do you do in Kenner? CALLER (talking over question): And that’s the reason why … he even went to the hospital and everything. SLEN: Caller, what do you do in Kenner, Louisiana? CALLER: Pardon me? SLEN: What do you do in Kenner? Do you have a job? CALLER: I’m a housewife. SLEN: A housewife? Where do you go to church? CALLER: I go to different churches. I go to, sometimes, in New Orleans, I go to the Cathedral. And I believe in my God, and I know that God is here to protect everybody. And if Kerry comes in … God helped the whole world, because God loved … Kerry … oh, that’s another thing … SLEN (cutting her off): Thanks, caller. I’m afraid – I’m afraid we’re out of time. I wish I could let you go on, but I’m afraid we’re out of time.


This is an utter outrage

Remember a few days ago, there was a big hubbub about a mailer going out in West Virginia, accusing democrats of wanting to ban the Bible, but allow gay marriage? Here's one just like it from Arkansas. What's so interesting about it to me isn't the hateful, stilted message. It's the fact that it was sent by, and paid for by the Republian National Committee in Washington DC; not by the Arkansas party.

Dan Bartlett hosts "Ask the White House" - abbreviated version

Check out this online chat hosted by Dan Bartlett. What it represents is a group of average citizens doing a far better job at asking tough questions than our "professional press" does.

Polls from ARG

New polls are out from ARG. Bush and Kerry are tied in Wisconsin and West Virginia. Bush needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio. Kerry needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Maine, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. NB: New York is 40% Bush, 52% Kerry. That's solid. Ohio is for Bush, but well within the margin of error. It's a squeaker.

Questions Bush Should Answer in the Debates

Daily Kos asked his commenters to post questions that ought to be asked of George W Bush at the upcoming debates. Here are some of the best submissions:

Why have you lost interest in Osama bin Laden, the leader of the organization that attacked the United States of America on September 11?"

Mr. President, in July of 2003 you said if anyone wanted to attack our troops in Iraq, they should bring it on. In March of this year you appeared at a reporters' dinner and ran a video in which you jokingly stumbled around your office looking for weapons of mass destruction. Can you explain this behavior to the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq?"

You recently received a formal intelligence assessment provided by your own agencies, indicating that our mission in Iraq was in great danger of failing. You described this as the CIA 'just guessing'. and indicated that you did not believe what it said. What intelligence sources do you trust when it comes to giving you an accurate assessment of the situation in Iraq?

Do you believe it is best to stick to your guns on an issue even when history is proving the decision incorrect? What about the example of older members of your party were adamant segregationists who have now changed their views and don't apologize for this change of heart. Would you call this flip flopping and a moral weakness? Are there times when admitting your previous position was a mistake is actually a sign of strength?

"If Andrew Card came to you in that Florida classroom and told you that your family had been carjacked on September 11, would you still have sat there for seven minutes and done nothing?"


Meetup Thursday

I haven't attended a Meetup since March. The last Clark meetup at the Buffalo Brewpub. *sigh* Anyway, tomorrow, Thursday September 23rd is this month's Kerry meetup. Things are heating up and it's important for people to attend. Please sign up at Meetup.com, and RSVP that you can attend tomorrow's Meetup at the Ellicott Square Building on Main Street in downtown Buffalo.

The politics of fear and division

Back during the Democratic Conventions, during which I was taking a break from this blog, I was astounded that there was some sort of expectation that the speakers avoid criticizing Bush by name. I mean, what's the bloody point? If Kodak can compare itself to Agfa and Coke can compare itself to Pepsi, why the hell can't Kerry, or speakers on Kerry's behalf, compare Kerry to Bush? Unfortunately, the Convention turned into an episode of "This is Your Life" with Kerry going on and on about Vietnam, and how things he's done and will do coincide with his experiences in Vietnam. Not for nothing, but Vietnam is beside the point. I was 6 or 7 years old when the US evacuated South Vietnam for good. I was born months after the Tet Offensive. Vietnam is not exactly etched in my memory or psyche. I thought Kerry gave a good speech, but he missed some golden opportunities to really compare himself, and his policies to Bush. I think the campaign realizes its mistake now, and is correcting it well. Anyway, during the GOP convention, I don't rememeber anyone suggesting that the GOP shouldn't hammer away at Kerry. Indeed, that's exactly what they did. Well, this graf, courtesy of the NY Times, The GOP speakers concentrated on Freedom, Kerry and War. Kerry's name was uttered 86 times. The Democratic speakers concentrated on Health Care, Jobs, Strength, and War. Bush was only mentioned nineteen times.

Progressive Blog Directory

Organized by State: Click the link to find some new & interesting stuff to read.


Click the link. See how the Republicans dishonor our armed forces.


Baghdad Bush

Great points

Of all places, I got this from Andrew Sullivan's site. Of course, it's available on John Kerry's site, as well. Brilliant stuff. The administration told us we’d be greeted as liberators. They were wrong. They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq's infrastructure. They were wrong. They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong. They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong. They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong. In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the President has held no one accountable, including himself. In fact, the only officials who lost their jobs over Iraq were the ones who told the truth.


West Virginia

Here's a charming little story out of West Virginny. A recent WVGOP mailing warns that Liberals will ban Bibles.
Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November. The literature shows a Bible with the word 'BANNED' across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word 'ALLOWED.' The mailing tells West Virginians to 'vote Republican to protect our families' and defeat the 'liberal agenda.' Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said Friday that he wasn't aware of the mailing, but said it could be the work of the RNC. 'It wouldn't surprise me if we were mailing voters on the issue of same-sex marriage,' Gillespie said.
There was no comment from either Chairman Gillespie or the WVGOP as to whether good ole Appalachian incest will continue to be permitted. I note that the WVGOP's website doesn't appear to have an image of that mailing on its website. I wonder why? I wonder what they're ashamed of?

This really is quite sad

Meet Sue Niederer. Patriot. Heroine. This New Jersey woman's 24-year old newlywed som, Seth Dvorin, a 1st LT in the US Army was killed on February 3rd outside of Baghdad. Ms. Niederer, a gold star mother, is very angry that President Bush sent her son off to die in Iraq. She obtained a ticket to a Bush rally, and arrived wearing a T-shirt bearing the message, "President Bush You Killed My Son." Laura Bush was addressing the crowd, and Ms. Niederer shot up and exclaimed, "When are yours going to serve?" referring to Barbara and Jenna Bush. Ms. Niederer was immediately arrested. has never been a supporter of the United States' war with Iraq. To her, it is just another pointless military conflict, like Vietnam. And when her 24-year-old newlywed son, Seth Dvorin, a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was killed Feb. 3 during a mine-sweeping operation outside Baghdad, the Hopewell Township woman's anger turned toward President Bush. The republican crowd on hand was not at all sympathetic, predictably. Now, this is the point of this post. The right-wing, in abject denial about just how badly things are going in Iraq and how pointless it all was, can come up with only one response to despairing relatives of those killed in Iraq. "They chose to go." "They chose to go." Did they? The men and women of our armed forces certainly chose to go to defend our country against our enemies. The men and women of our armed forces certainly volunteered to join. But isn't there an implicit understanding that the government won't send them to slaughter for a pointless war that had no bearing whatsoever on our national security? Why, even Bush & Co. never sold the war way back when as a national security issue. It was about WMDs. It was about Iraq violating Security Council resolutions. No one could credibly make the argument that Iraq could somehow deliver WMDs to Americans. In fact, they all said that Iraq used WMDs before. On their own people. Setting aside for a moment whether Kurds consider themselves to be the "same people" as the Sunni Ba'athist fascist mob that gassed them, that underscores the point that even Saddam Hussein isn't so stupid as to cause a shitstorm to rain down on him by gassing Americans. Saddam, like most cowardly totalitarian dictators, was all about self-preservation. Any amateur political scientist would tell you that it was not in Saddam's self-interest to cause a catastrophic wave of death on Americans anywhere. Saddam isn't the PLO of the 1980s or the Lebanese militia of the 1980s or the al Qaeda of the 90s and today. He wasn't in a struggle to obtain power. He already had it. Job #1 for him was subjugating his own people. That's it. As for subjugating his own people, the right-wingers will all tell you how great it is for Iraqis that Saddam is gone. Well, at least with Saddam they knew what actions or words would get them in trouble. Now, their risk of death is completely random. So are they better off? And what about every other totalitarian dictator with WMD capabilities? Are we going after Iraq next? Syria? What about North Korea? Ms. Niederer has every right to be pissed off. No one has the right to tell her that her son "volunteered" to fight in Iraq. I'd wager that many of them volunteered to fight in Afghanistan. I'd wager that very few of them are or were eager to get bogged down in Iraq. (Full disclosure: I supported the war in Iraq at the time. I bought Bush's argument hook, line & sinker. How stupid I feel). Iraq casualty's mom arrested as protester


Lying Liars again. And again. And again.

Found this over at Atrios' blog. Since he lifted pretty much the whole post from Rising Hegemon, so will I. It's really a compelling read.
Serial Republican Victim complains for the THIRD straight presidential election of being assaulted and has his family assist. Unbelievable. Here is today's newspaper story: A Republican family attended the rally to show support for the Bush-Cheney ticket. Phil Parlock, a Barboursville resident and strong Republican, said his family was accosted by some Kerry supporters. "We do it peacefully and quietly to show respect. And, we don’t want to get kicked out of anything," Parlock said. After standing on the tarmac with the Kerry supporters, Parklock and three of his children moved down to the airport road near a parking lot exit. With Parlock were sons Phil II, 21, and Alex, 11, and daughter Sophia, 3. Parlock said a Kerry supporter yanked a Bush-Cheney sign out of Sophia’s hands, making her cry. As they stood along the road later, someone threw the ripped-up remains of the sign at them as they passed. Problem is, as pointed out by some (Rezmutt) at D.U. is he has done this before. Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, August 27, 1996, Page 3C Phil Parlock's experience was less calm. The Huntington man said he was knocked to the ground by a Clinton supporter when he tried to display a sign that read "Remember Vince Foster," the deputy White House counsel who committed suicide in a Washington, D.C., park. His death has become the subject of much debate among Clinton opponents. "It must have been a strict Democrat who did this," Parlock said, feeling the red abrasions on his face. "Everyone with the exception of him was real peaceful about our protest." Parlock said some of the crowd tried to make other anti-Clinton demonstrators feel unwelcome. He estimated that about 150 Dole supporters attended the rally, but their signs couldn't be seen for most of the rally. Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, October 28, 2000, pg. 1A: Phil Parlock didn't expect to need all 12 of the Bush-Cheney signs he and his son Louis smuggled in their socks and pockets into the rally for Vice President Al Gore. But each time they raised a sign, someone would grab it out of their hands, the two Huntington residents said. And sometimes it got physical. "I expected some people to take our signs," said Louis, 12. "But I did not expect people to practically attack us." The two said they didn't go to the Friday morning rally to start trouble. "I came to support Bush and try to change some people's minds," Louis said. Now here is the picture of Parlock with his three-year old daughter, who he enlisted as his assistant (father of the year no doubt). Notice closely the young man wearing the union shirt and holding a piece of the sign? Now here is a picture of the very productive Parlock family: What are the odds, this allegedly angry sign-ripper in the union shirt, holding the fragments of a ripped Bush sign is either the guy in the grey sweater or the blue shirt?
So was Parlock having one of his sons portray a union stooge? This guy is a serial disrupter with pretty much the same story every time. Remember this when the Cornerites and Little Green Snot Bubbles spout off and try to make this a big story...especially in the wake of the known abuse protestors get at the regular "Triumph of the Will" functions that comprise a Bush Campaign appearance.


"Rathergate" is not a political story or issue

Did Bill Burkett give Dan Rather forged or replicated memos allegedly written by Bush's TANG commander Jerry Killian? Who cares? Whether or not Bush got preferential treatment to get into the TANG, ahead of a 150-man waiting list is pretty self-evident. No one needs to concoct stuff to prove that fact. Whether or not Bush disobeyed a direct order or failed to complete his service is certainly an interesting story, but not particularly compelling to me. I already believe all those things based on evidence that had already been released and hadn't been challenged. I didn't need these memos to help prove anything, to me at least. I do think Bush's escapades with the TANG are relevant, but only as it relates to Iraq - this is a guy who was gung-ho for Vietnam, but was to chicken to go fight it himself. Just like Cheney. Ok. But we've known that since at least 2000. Rathergate, if you want to call it that, is nothing more than a media story. No more relevant to the Presidential campaign than, say, the Jayson Blair fiasco at the NY Times. Rathergate is an inside-the-beltway kind of story. This makes certain bloggers crazy. This makes freepers go nuts. This makes the Lucianne crowd spew out more racist, ignorant drivel. This makes Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et al. foam at their mouths. In short, as Kevin Drum suggests, this story does nothing more than help Republicans perpetuate the myth that they're somehow victimized by the S/C liberal media. So let Rather twist in the wind. Or not. Who cares? The families of the 1,000 + servicepeople who have died in Iraq don't care. The 9/11 widows don't care. The workers who have lost their jobs to outsourcing or downsizing don't care. Iraqis trying to make it these days don't care. There are bigger issues and bigger problems out there. Let's make sure we get the right message out. The right message is that Bush is, has, and will be wrong on practically every single important issue facing America today. No amount of fake memos or blogger debunkers can change that.


Would that the apple fell closer to the tree

I sure wish Junior would call up his old man once in a while. He just might learn a thing or two. Here's what Poppy Bush had to say in 1998 to a gathering of Desert Storm vets:
"I don't believe in mission creep," he continued. "Had we gone into Baghdad -- we could have done it, you guys could have done it, you could have been there in 48 hours -- and then what? "Which sergeant, which private, whose life would be at stake in perhaps a fruitless hunt in an urban guerilla war to find the most-secure dictator in the world? "Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho?" he asked. "We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power -- America in an Arab land -- with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous." Bush said, "We don't gain the size of our victory by how many innocent kids running away -- even though they're bad guys -- that we can slaughter. ... We're American soldiers; we don't do business that way." "Am I happy that S.O.B. is still there?" Bush asked, then answered, "No." Bush said his memory of Vietnam influenced his thinking during the Gulf War. He recalled that politicians during the Vietnam War kept changing the conditions under which U.S. forces fought -- bombing halts and cease-fires. (TORA BORA?) He said his view was different, and it was a view that was backed up by the secretary of defense and military leaders. "Let the politicians do their diplomacy -- and we worked hard to bring about a peaceful solution. We didn't want any man or woman put into harm's way," Bush said. "We worked hard to form an international coalition," he explained, calling it historic in originality, diversity. "But once the military mission had been defined and the fighting begun, I thought we ought to get the hell out of the way and let the military fight the war and win, and that's exactly what you did. And God bless you for doing it," he said, gesturing to retired Gen. Frederick M. Franks Jr., who commanded VII Corps during Desert Storm. Bush said the United States learned in World War II -- and learned it again before Operation Desert Storm -- that you can't appease an aggressor. "And had we gone for Saddam's ploys, had we capitulated to those advocating a more-passive course, had we relied totally on sanctions ... then we would have sent a signal of weakness to other would-be aggressors around the world," he said. "But we didn't do that," he continued. "We were clear in our purpose from the start. And just for the record, we gave peace a chance. Between August and the time you had to go into battle, we gave it a chance. "Once it was clear that our diplomacy had failed, that U.N. resolutions would not work, that Saddam had no interest in peace ... we did what we had to do -- no more, no less." "We said this aggression would not stand," he said, adding that the soldiers kept his word. "Three times when I was president, I was called upon to make a decision that only the president can make, and it's the toughest decision any president can make ... when you're going to send somebody else's kid into harm's way." He said that, perhaps because of his own service in the military, the decision was never easy. He said it should never be easy for any commander-in-chief. "The decision to go to war is one that defines a nation to the world, and perhaps more importantly, to itself." He said that he knows he called on "all branches of our military to do some extraordinary things, but not once was I let down or was the country let down." At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, he said, he was apprehensive that there was a lot that could go wrong with the situation in Central and Eastern Europe rapidly became more fluid. That, fortunately, did not happen, he said, and the confrontation -- the Cold War -- ended without a shot being fired. Returning to the issue of Hussein's longevity, Bush jokingly called it "a sore spot with me" to be "out of work while Saddam Hussein still has a job. It's not fair," he asserted. Still however, "he is no threat to invade another sovereign nation, and pillage its culture, and murder its citizens. He can brutalize his own people, and torment and torture them, but he can no longer pose a threat to his neighbors. And that's just one of the benefits" of Desert Storm. "As a result of that historic victory, we also saw American credibility go up. You all did this," he said, gesturing to the assemblage. Bush recalled Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev calling him the second day of the bombings requesting a bombing halt. "'We have an arrangement with Saddam Hussein that he will leave the sands of Kuwait,' he said. "We didn't need to consult," Bush explained. "I watched with horror bombing pauses of Vietnam when everybody kind of reinforced their positions, and our soldiers were the losers," Bush said. "I said we don't need a bombing pause. He knows how he got in there -- all he's got to do is put his weapons down and walk out. Of course he wasn't prepared to do that at all," Bush said. "In only a few times in America," Bush said, "does history present us the direct opportunity to shape the world we live in. And we can be proud that when our moment came eight years ago, we were ready.

The smears begin

The 90s were replete with vicious, lying, horrific, yet defamation-proof conspiracy theories and movies about how, e.g., Bill Clinton had Ron Brown murdered, or how the Clintons had Vince Foster murdered. Real, live, wacky, tinfoil hat stuff. I guess they must be really worried about Kerry, because documentary hack & tinfoil hat-wearer extraordinaire Jack Cashill has a new DVD out called "Mega Fix: The dazzling political deceit that led to 9/11". And who, pray tell, led said deceit? Why Bill Clinton and... ...wait for it... John Kerry! Coming up next, I suppose, will be Jerry Fallwell alleging that John Kerry is the antichrist. Unbelievable.

Ready? Think. Vote.



Bush: hypocrite. liar.

Putin, living out Bush's wettest of wet dreams, is proposing what amounts to a wholesale abolition of its 13-year old democracy. Putin proposes a virtually complete halt to direct elections of governors and duma legislators, and seeks ever-more centralized power in Moscow. Hey. Totalitarian dictatorships for the 21st century. What a great way to wage war on terrorism. Putin. You can take Pooty-Poot out of the KGB, but you can't take the KGB out of Pooty-Poot. Let's focus on the Presidential race, courtesy of Oliver Willis John Kerry:
'But I remain deeply concerned about President Putin's ongoing moves to limit democratic freedoms and to further centralize power. Russia's emergence as a new democracy was one of the most hopeful and significant developments of the 20th century, and recent infringements on civil society and democratic processes must be reversed. Russia will be a much more effective partner in the war on terror, if its government is transparent, open to criticism, respectful of the rule of law, and protects the human rights of all of its citizens, including those in Chechnya.'
What about George Bush?
In fact, it will hurt. Failure to take sides with democratic forces in Russia will cast doubt on Bush's commitment to worldwide democracy. A White House official commented to the New York Times that Putin's actions are 'a domestic matter for the Russian people.' Really? If so, then the same holds for all other peoples whose rights are taken away by tyrants. If the Bush administration holds to that line, then those hostile to democracy in the Middle East will point to the glaring U.S. double standard; those who favor democracy in the Middle East will be discredited. That will be a severe blow to what Bush regards as a central element of his war on terrorism."
What was that again about exporting democracy?


Hit Bush on his alleged strength

Krugman suggests what many bloggers have long advocated. Specifically, the Rove playbook says you have to hit your opponent on his perceived strengths (read: SwiftBoatLiars), not on his weaknesses. In other words, it's a waste of time and energy to attack Bush for having been a yellow-belly during Vietnam. We already know that. Most people have already formed their opinion about that. We need to attack - frontally - the notion that Bush is strong against terror. He's not. You hear me? HE'S NOT!
On Sunday, a celebrating crowd gathered around a burning U.S. armored vehicle. Then a helicopter opened fire; a child and a journalist for an Arabic TV news channel were among those killed. Later, the channel repeatedly showed the journalist doubling over and screaming, 'I'm dying; I'm dying.' Such scenes, which enlarge the ranks of our enemies by making America look both weak and brutal, are inevitable in the guerrilla war President Bush got us into. Osama bin Laden must be smiling. U.S. news organizations are under constant pressure to report good news from Iraq. In fact, as a Newsweek headline puts it, "It's worse than you think." Attacks on coalition forces are intensifying and getting more effective; no-go zones, which the military prefers to call "insurgent enclaves," are spreading - even in Baghdad. We're losing ground. And the losses aren't only in Iraq. Al Qaeda has regrouped. The invasion of Iraq, intended to demonstrate American power, has done just the opposite: nasty regimes around the world feel empowered now that our forces are bogged down. When a Times reporter asked Mr. Bush about North Korea's ongoing nuclear program, "he opened his palms and shrugged.
Did you just read that? When asked about North Korea's nuclear program. The nuclear program that the rogue, Stalinist monarchical, Communistic enemy of the United States has admitted that it is pursuing. When asked about it, your President and mine - the one who's strong on defense- "opened his palms and shrugged." We can do better and help is on the way.

Zell raises some ridiculous points.

Look who's trying to salvage what's left of his ever-diminishing-if-not-downright-nonexistent-credibility. Of course, he does it within the friendly confines of the online-only WSJ Opinion Journal. You know - where they send Peggy Noonan to opine about the sacred dolphins and what-not. This guy's nickname of "zig-zag" really is evident in this piece. Specifically, it's time for people to give up the canard that Reagan's increased defense spending in the 1980s led to the end of the cold war. The West's winning the cold war had less to do with Star Wars the as-yet-untested-and-unviable weapons system, and more to do with Star Wars the Western cultural phenomenon. The Soviet system had been slowly imploding and rotting since WWII, and the trio of corpses - Brezhnev, Andropov & Chernenko - led the Politburo to select Gorbachev as General Secretary of the Communist Party - the head of the Soviet State. Gorbachev was no dummy and he saw that the Soviet economic system was crumbling, and that the social system was untenable. This led to Perestroika and Glasnost. These two changes snowballed into the ultimate advent of pluralist democracy and (Tycoon) capitalism. Reagan was along for the ride. Read my lips: The Soviet Union collapsed because of what Gorbachev did - not Reagan.

Richard Perle. Idiot?

Richard Perle said the following at an American Enterprise Institute conference on September 22, 2003: "A year from now I'd be surprised if there's not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush." I guess he's ... um ... surprised. It's amazing that the fact that these AEI neocons, together with indicted / convicted thief/liar Chalabi rope-a-doped us into war in Iraq isn't a massive scandal. 1,000 lives so Perle, Feith & Wolfowitz can test out some idiot thesis.


I'm sick of the lies.

Well, well. It looks like our local Yahoo group has its own troll. Hooray. This troll suggested in a Saturday posting that Kerry will ask UN permission to defend America, and Kerry voted against weapons systems, and what makes us think that France or Germany will get on board during a Kerry Administration? Here's my reply: Bush hasn’t responded forcefully. Bush’s policies haven’t left American any safer. It is by the Grace of God that we haven’t had another major terrorist incident on US soil – not due to some wonderful strategery by the Bush Administration. Even worse than “puffing” the effectiveness of their anti-terror efforts, the Bush administration just plain-old lied about it. In April, they said terror attacks in 2003 had decreased. That was a lie. After a compliant media and marginally interested electorate had absorbed that bit of disinformation, the administration “adjusted” the number in June to reflect that significant terror attacks were at a 21-year high. Gosh, I feel so safe. So does Madrid, and Beslan, and Iraq, and Indonesia, and the Phillipines. So extraordinarily secure. /sarcasm - To quote David Cross, even Nader would have bombed Afghanistan after 9/11. The problem is, our effort in Afghanistan to root out Taliban, al Qaeda and other militant islamist forces not only took a back seat to Iraq, it ended up in the way-back third row seat. Afghanistan today is as bad a mess as it was when we invaded, if not more so. Warlords control their personal fiefdoms, while Karzai’s government struggles to obtain control. We should be doing everything in our power to help Karzai out and re-unify Afghanistan, but we’re not. Why? - Iraq is becoming the quagmire many hoped it wouldn’t. Of course, G.H.W. Bush, in his own memoirs, written 5 years ago, explained that he didn’t invade the remainder of Iraq in 1991 because it would become an uncontrollable quagmire, which we would still have been occupying in 1999. If only G.W. Bush had consulted with his own father, rather than the neocons or Jesus Christ. - The “ask the United Nations to go to war” is a red herring and beside the point. No one should ever suggest that the US needs UN permission to defend itself. As for Iraq, however, we weren’t defending ourselves. Bill Clinton didn’t get UN approval for NATO to invade Kosovo, because it was pretty clear that the Russians would have vetoed it. Acting in Kosovo without UN approval didn’t somehow render it illegal or wrong. In the case of Kosovo, where there was clear and uncontroverted evidence of genocide on the European continent, which was adversely affecting the security of NATO member Greece, NATO had a right if not a duty to act, without regard to the UN. Iraq, however, wasn’t posing any sort of immediate or real threat to anyone outside of Iraq’s own borders. Sure, Iraq was defying existing UN resolutions by not allowing free and unfettered inspections, but diplomatic resources hadn’t been exhausted, and the Blix inspectors hadn’t been allowed to complete their work. Specifically – the only legal justification that could be offered to invade and occupy the sovereign State of Iraq was that it had failed to obey UN resolutions on WMDs. In 2002-2003, Blix and his 200 inspectors were allowed 6 months by Washington to look for illegal weapons programs. The only thing they found was a missile system that could travel marginally beyond 150 km radius. In 2003-2004, over 100,000 coalition troops occupying the entirety of Iraq have failed to locate any illegal weapons programs. That means: a) Iraq didn’t have any WMDs that were prohibited by UN resolutions, and b) Saddam played the neocons and Bush for fools. - The US never made a real effort to get France and Germany to support the war in Iraq. We sent non-diplomatic staff like Donald Rumsfeld to Berlin and Paris to essentially demand obeisance from those two countries. It is bad – in this case disastrous – diplomacy to go to a sovereign ally and demand fealty in connection with a politically explosive and factually dubious international military adventure that is bereft of any connection to any war on terror. Predictably, (and probably as Washington had hoped), Berlin & Paris rejected Washington’s demands and told Rumsfeld to go do what he thought he needed to do. When Iraq became the magnet for terrorists it is today, as a result of the complete power vacuum left by the abolition of a 40-year-old totalitarian dictatorship and its armed forces (which could have been, and should have been predicted by our government), Bush went begging for help from Germany and France. “Old Europe” wasn’t biting. 5. All we did in Iraq was replace a despot with what is slowly brewing to become a civil war. Nice work, Bush. 6. “Kerry voted against most of the weapons systems” is an ignorant parroting of Bush-Cheney talking points. In the wake of the breakdown of the Soviet Union, Bush’s own father talked about a “New World Order” – we were unsure what the death of the cold war, and the bilateral political dynamic would bring. What it’s brought is terrorism. Primarily radical Sunni Islamist terrorism. Go ask Dick Cheney. Back in the early 90’s, Kerry was voting against the funding of certain weapons systems because the Bush Pentagon was ASKING CONGRESS to do so. Dick Cheney (the Sec Def who never served a day in the military, but sure knows his way around Defense Contractors), actually went to congress and complain that they weren’t CUTTING ENOUGH SYSTEMS.
In March of this year, Cheney attacked Kerry for having "repeatedly voted against weapons systems for the military," hammering the senator for voting "against the Apache helicopter, against the Tomahawk cruise missile, against even the Bradley Fighting Vehicle." He said this record has "given us ample doubts about [Kerry's] judgment and the attitude he brings to bear on vital issues of national security." What Cheney leaves out of his stump speeches is the ironic fact that almost all of the cuts Kerry voted for were endorsed or originally proposed by Cheney himself. At issue is not the cuts themselves, but the hypocrisy of Cheney attacking an opponent who merely followed his lead. Cheney accuses Kerry of calling for "major reductions or outright cancellations of many of our most important weapons systems"; Bush ads attack the senator for voting "against 13 weapons systems for our troops" over 20 years. But it was Defense Secretary Cheney who gloated that he had "put an end to more than 100 systems" in less than three years. In December 1991, he bragged to the Washington Post that he was setting "an all-time record as Defense Secretary for canceling or stopping production" of weapons and equipment. And Cheney has gotten specific. He regularly attacks Kerry's vote against the B-2 stealth bomber in October 1990. But seven months earlier, Cheney had put forth the proposal to cut the B-2 bomber program. Cheney cites Kerry's vote against the AH-64 Apache helicopter. But it was Cheney who told Congress in 1989, "I forced the Army to make choices.... I recommended that we cancel the AH-64 program two years out." Cheney slams Kerry's vote against the F-14 aircraft in October 1990; according to the Post, Cheney "asked Congress to kill" the F-14 in 1991 and had been "skeptical" of a proposal to continue production of the planes as early as 1990. Cheney hammers Kerry for voting against the F-16 aircraft and the Trident submarine, yet Kerry was merely endorsing cancellations proposed by Cheney – who, according to The Boston Globe, had "decided the military already [had] enough" of those weapons. Cheney accuses Kerry of voting against "even the Bradley Fighting Vehicle." But in 1991 it was Cheney's Pentagon that said it wanted "to terminate such Gulf War veterans as the... Bradley Fighting Vehicle." At one point, Cheney told the Post he had terminated "the F-14, F-15 and F-16 fighters, the A-6, A-12, AV-8B and P-3 Navy and Marine planes, and the Army's Apache helicopter and M-1A1 tank." Five of these weapons systems are listed by the Bush campaign in its attempts to chastise Kerry for his anti-defense votes. Cheney was so successful at cutting weapons that The Boston Globe worried "The Army's cupboard is left particularly bare... [it] will soon have virtually no major weapons in production." Cheney has even gotten specific about dates, condemning Kerry for supposedly calling for defense cuts "in 1984, in the middle of the Cold War." But it was near the end of 1984, at the height of Cold War tensions, that Cheney told the Washington Post that President Reagan needed to "take a whack" at defense if he wanted to be a credible commander-in-chief. If Reagan "doesn't really cut defense," Cheney told the Post, "he becomes the No. 1 special pleader in town." Cheney excoriates Kerry for being "deeply irresponsible" on intelligence issues. As evidence, he cites a proposal in the 1990s by Kerry and Republican Senator Arlen Specter that would have slightly reduced intelligence funding. First and foremost, Kerry's proposal was small potatoes compared to GOP efforts to cut intelligence. Bush's own nominee to head the CIA, Representative Porter Goss, authored legislation that would have slashed 20 percent of the budget for human intelligence two years after the first World Trade Center attack. But more importantly, Kerry's proposal was nothing compared to Cheney's shortsighted effort to stifle intelligence reforms in the name of retaining his own personal power. As the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reports, "Some of the most important intelligence reforms proposed by the 9-11 Commission, including the creation of a Director of National Intelligence (DNI), might have been adopted over a decade ago if not for the opposition of the Secretary of Defense at the time, Dick Cheney." Specifically, in a March 1992 letter to Congress, Cheney defended the status quo and objected to legislation that would have taken some of his powers away in order to create a new Director of National Intelligence. In the letter, Cheney wrote that intelligence reforms proposed by Congress "would seriously impair the effectiveness" of government and specifically opposed a "single, national intelligence 'czar.'"
Cheney: was he wrong then, or is he wrong now?


Ch ch ch ch chaaanges.

I posted the following comment at Oliver Willis' blog in response to another poster who was lamenting how radically left Willis' thinking had become. My point: George W. Bush just has that affect on people: Back in 2000, I was a registered republican. Voted for Bush in '88, Clinton in '92 & '96. Voted for Weld in '96 and Kennedy in '94. You don't get more centrist/swing voter than that. Anyway, I volunteered VERY actively for McCain in 2000. During the debate when McCain said his most influential political philosopher was Teddy Roosevelt, while Bush & the rest of the GOPbots said "Jesus Christ" was their fave POLITICAL philosopher. McCain was the only one with the nuts and integrity not to fall into that cretinous trap. I went up to NH the next day. When Bush started in with the push polling and the most vicious attacks on McCain I'd ever heard of, and after Bush visited Bob Jones U, my mind was made up that this guy was pure, unadulterated evil. Since March 2000, my sole political philosopy has been "anybody but W. Bush". This year, I was EXTREMELY active with the Clark campaign. He is a great man, and I don't regret a moment of that work. Kerry will do just fine. Bush, on the other hand, and the cabal that runs the country with him, is the most despicable, manipulative, maniacal, evil, untrustworthy bush of shitbags I've ever heard of. With a compliant press, a compliant congress, our only salvation from a total descent into one-party fascism is the Federal Bench. Republicans control 3/3 of the powers of government, and yet they still play the victim. Unbelievable. In any event, to get to my bloody point. I, too, was moderate & middle of the road (I even supported the Iraq war, before I realized I had been lied to). Bush pushed me over the edge into what even I in 2000 would have considered liberal fanaticism. Bush made me a liberal fanatic.

Wes Clark Speech Thursday

I was flipping around and landed on C-Span, where Wes Clark was giving a speech at Johns Hopkins. At first, he was reading from prepared text, and that was making him fumble & stumble. At one point, however, he just abandonded the text altogether and spoke from his own mind. He stopped looking down at the paper. His speech - its content and its style - was awesome. He was speaking about "defense spending in the 21st century", but the part I heard was about how our people and our resources are being squandered and improperly used in Afghanistan (where Karzai is barely hanging on, and warlords run the show), and Iraq, which really has become a lawless nighmare. He then took questions from the audience, and one young man had on a Clark2004 t-shirt. It was quite touching. The questions were intelligent - as you'd expect at that school, and the answers were pointed & relevant. Wes Clark really is a brilliant man, and would have made a wonderful president. I truly hope that he stays active politically, because he really adds so much to the political discourse and to the Democratic Party. As of now, the speech doesn't appear to be on C-span's website.

Happy Birthday to this Blog

Hey. I just realized it's been about a year since I first made my way down to Kahunaville to the first Draft Clark 2004 Meetup. There, I met Robin Schimminger, Dave Swarts, Terry Wegler & Jeremy Toth - the first die-hards in the Clark effort. I started this blog later that week. Here's to a fascinating year.


Fonts. It comes down to fonts.

Earlier, I posted about some recent documents that were released by CBS news concerning Bush's TANG service. The big crapstorm throughout the blogosphere, freeperworld and drudgeworld since about lunchtime has involved whether those memos are forgeries. It comes down to fonts, people. Specifically, the Bushbloggers claim that: 1. It's unlikely if not impossible that Killian used a typewriter that used proportional spacing of letters. (Compare courier with times new roman to see the difference between fixed and proportional spacing.) 2. It's downright impossible that he could have typed a superscript "th"; and 3. No fonts back then would make a number 4 with a closed top and no foot. Can you believe this crap? The wingers don't like the content, so they attack the authenticity. Anyway: 1. The IBM Selectric was released in 1961, and the Selectric II was released in 1972. The Selectric II not only offered proportional spacing, but used "golfballs" so that different fonts and font sizes could be used on the same document. 2. The Selectric II offered superscript typing. 3. Here's at least one selectric golfball font that used the number four with a closed top and no foot. Also: I haven't confirmed it, but some people remember golfballs that had small "th" on them as part of the font.

God Bless Maureen Dowd

Look, copyright be damned. I'm printing the whole thing here for educational purposes. I'm not doing it commercially, and I'm doing it for educational purposes. Educate yourselves and realize just how evil BC'04 has become.
Cheney Spits Toads By MAUREEN DOWD ASHINGTON — George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have always used the president's father as a reverse lodestar. In 1992, the senior Mr. Bush wooed the voters with "Message: I care.'' So this week, Mr. Cheney wooed the voters with, Message: You die. The terrible beauty of its simplicity grows on you. It is a sign of the dark, macho, paranoid vice president's restraint that he didn't really take it to its emotionally satisfying conclusion: Message: Vote for us or we'll kill you. Without Zell Miller around to out-crazy him, and unplugged after a convention that tried to "humanize'' him with grandchildren, horses and wifely anecdotes about his inability to dance the twist, Mr. Cheney is back as Terrifier in Chief. He finally simply spit out what the Bush team has been more subtly trying to convey for months: A vote for John Kerry is a vote for the terrorists. "Because if we make the wrong choice,'' Mr. Cheney said in Des Moines in that calm baritone, "then the danger is that we'll get hit again. That we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind-set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war.'' These guys figure, hey, these scare tactics worked in building support for the Iraq war, maybe they can work in tearing down support for John Kerry. They linked Saddam with terrorism and cowed the Democrats (including Mr. Kerry, who has never been able to make the case against the Bush administration's trompe l'oeil casus belli) and fooled the country into going along with their trumped-up war. So why not link Mr. Kerry with terrorism and cow the voters into sticking with the White House they've got? It's like that fairy tale where vipers and toads jump out of the mouth of the accursed mean little girl when she tries to speak. Every time Mr. Cheney opens his mouth, vermin leap out. The vice president and president did not even mention Osama at the convention because of the inconvenient fact that the fiend is still out there, plotting. Yet they denigrate Mr. Kerry as too weak to battle Osama, and treat him as a greater threat. Mr. Cheney implies that John Kerry couldn't protect us from an attack like 9/11, blithely ignoring the fact that he and President Bush didn't protect us from the real 9/11. Think of what brass-knuckled Republicans could have made of a 9/11 tape of an uncertain Democratic president giving a shaky statement that looked like a hostage tape and flying randomly from air base to air base, as the veep ordered that planes be shot down. Mr. Cheney warns against falling back "into the pre-9/11 mind-set,'' when, in fact, the Bush team's pre-9/11 mind-set was all about being stuck in the cold war and reviving "Star Wars" - which doesn't work and is useless against terrorist tactics. The Bush crowd played down terrorism because Bill Clinton and Sandy Berger had told their successors that Osama was a priority, and the Bushies scorned all things Clinton. The president shrugged off intelligence briefings with such headlines as "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States'' because there was brush to be cleared and unaffordable tax-cutting to be done. After the blue-ribbon graybeards declared the Bush administration's pumped-up W.M.D. claims and Saddam-9/11 links bogus, the White House went into a defensive crouch - especially the man in the undisclosed bunker, who had veered wildly between overly pessimistic predictions of Saddam's nukes and overly optimistic predictions of grateful Iraqis with flowers and chocolates. For a time, it seemed that Americans were realizing they'd been flimflammed by the Bushies. But at the convention, the swaggering Bush juggernaut brazenly went back to boasting about its pre-emption doctrine, tracing imaginary connections between 9/11 and Saddam, and calling all our foes terrorists. Why should the same group that managed to paint a flextime guardsman as a heroic commander - and a war hero as a war criminal - bother rebutting or engaging with critics? As the deaths of American men and women fighting in Iraq topped 1,000, and with insurgents controlling parts of central Iraq, the White House trotted out the same old discredited line, assuming it can wear - and scare - everyone down by November.

Flip Flopping: GOP-stuff-that-really-matter stylie.

Bush was against the 9-11 commission before he was for it. (Flip-flop!) Bush was against giving them mounds of pertinent evidence before he was for it. (Flip-flop!) Bush was against the commission finishing its work before the election until he was for it. (Flip-flop!) Bush was against the commission extending its deadline (necessary because Bush had dragged his feet in cooperating) before he was for it. (Flip-flop!) Bush was against testifying before he was for it. (Flip-flop! Though he remained firm on being too afraid to testify alone.) Bush was against Condi testifying before he was for it. (Flip-flop!) Bush was opposed to an intelligence czar before he was for it. (Flip-flop!) And now Bush was opposed to an intelligence czar with any budgetary authority before he was for THAT. (Flip-flop!)

Bush has probably dreaded this day for years

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Questions about Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard have been circulating for years. They surfaced briefly during the 2000 campaign, but a compliant media, afraid of being labeled "liberal", didn't do the sort of investigative work we've come to expect. If Watergate happened in 2004, it'd probably blow over after being buried on page A23. The Bush-Guard story was essentially dead from November 2000 through January 2004. Then, at a Wesley Clark (yay!) rally in New Hampshire in January 2004, Michael Moore looked forward to a debate between the General and the Deserter. After that hit the air, the right-wing media and punditry went ballistic. The stories calling Clark crazy and Moore a traitor came fast and furiously. The compliant SCLM just parroted the outrage expressed by such media luminaries as "Fox and Friends" and "Sean Hannity". As a matter of fact, Clark took a big and undeserved hit as a result of Moore's comment. A little while later, after the fury calmed down, some people actually went back to Bush's guard records to see if there was something there to validate Moore's claim. See some old Calpundit posts here and here and here and here. In March, however, the whole thing died down again. It's September now, and the Bush-Guard story has gained some new traction. Apparently not good for Bush. Last month was dump-on-Kerry's-heroism month, brought to you by Karl Rove, BC'04 & the Swift Boat Liars. Now it's let's-closely-reexamine-flightsuit's-TANG-record. After being told in 2000, and again in January-February 2004 that all available records had been disclosed, guess what? Some new records (shock!) have been disclosed (horror!) just in the past couple of weeks. Last night on 60 Minutes, Dan Bartlett, onetime Lt. Governor of Texas, explained how he got GWB into the TANG, ahead of thousands of young men on an existing waiting list. In the wake of the 60 minutes story last night, the White House - without comment - released yet more records from Bush's time in the TANG. Of course, the AP and WaPo have outstanding FOIA requests for all of Bush's records, and the White House has repeatedly already stated that it released all of Bush's available records. Another lie. And the WaPo is mad. Page A1 mad.
The new documents surfaced as the Bush administration released for the first time the president's personal flight logs, which have been the focus of repeated archival searches and Freedom of Information Act requests dating to the 2000 presidential campaign. The logs show that Bush stopped flying in April 1972 after accumulating more than 570 hours of flight time between 1969 and 1972, much of it on an F-102 interceptor jet. White House officials have said there was no reason for Bush to take the annual physical required of fighter pilots because there were no suitable planes for him to fly in Alabama, where he applied for "substitute training" to replace his required service with the Texas National Guard. But the new documents suggest that Bush's transfer to non-flight duties in Alabama was the subject of arguments among his National Guard superiors.
Not spinning well is it?
In releasing Bush's flight records, White House spokesmen yesterday expressed frustration over what they depicted as the Pentagon's failure to produce a full and complete record of the president's military service. "It's clear that DOD [the Department of Defense] did not undertake as comprehensive a search as had been directed by the president," said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, just days after assuring The Post that Bush's full personnel file had already been released. "We have again asked that they ensure that any and all documents [relating to Bush's military service] are identified and released."
The Boston Globe also smells red meat in this story:
In August 1973, President Bush's superior officer in the Texas Air National Guard wrote a memorandum complaining that the commanding general wanted him to ''sugar coat" an annual officer evaluation for First Lieutenant Bush, even though Bush had not been at the base for the year in question, according to new documents obtained and broadcast last night by CBS News. The commander, the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, wrote that he turned aside the suggestion from Brigadier General Walter B. Staudt, Bush's political mentor in the Guard. But he and another officer agreed to ''backdate" a report -- evidently the evaluation -- in which they did not rate him at all. There is such a report in Bush's file, dated May 2, 1973. ''I'll backdate but won't rate," Killian apparently wrote in what is labeled a ''memo to file." Initials that appear to be Killian's are on the memo, but not his name or unit letterhead. The August 1973 document, dated as Bush was preparing to leave Texas to attend the Harvard Business School, represents the first apparent evidence of an attempt to embellish Bush's service record as his time in the Guard neared its end. The four pages of documents also contain an August 1972 order from Killian, suspending Bush from flying status for ''failure to perform" up to US Air Force and Texas Air National Guard standards and failing to take his annual flight physical. The suspension came three months after Killian had ordered Bush to take his physical, on May 14, 1972. The documents also contain what appears to be Killian's memo of a meeting he had with Bush in May 1972, at which they discussed the option of Bush skipping his military drills for the following six months while he worked on a US Senate campaign in Alabama. During that meeting, Killian wrote that he reminded Bush ''of our investment in him and his commitment."
Understandably, the Bush campaign is flipping out and playing the victim. Mm hmm. After months of relentlessly negative attacks on John Kerry with nary an idea, program or achievement to tout, the BC'04 campaign are victims. Give me a break. To quote some imbecile... Developing...


Once a yellow-belly, always a yellow-belly

Let's all ask President Bush why? Why are you afraid of undecided voters? We already know the countless stories about every single solitary Bush campaign stop/speech being packed only with strident supporters. Loyalty-oaths for all! Anyway, of the 3 debates proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the middle one is supposed to be town-hall style and take questions from undecided voters. Bush is afraid that some of the "undecideds" may be "partisans." (As if Kerry wouldn't also potentially be affected by same). Well, Kerry's pledged to attend all three debates. Of course. I mean, the guy can think on his feet and knows what he has to say.
The officials said Bush's negotiating team plans to resist the middle debate, which was to be Oct. 8 in a town meeting format in the crucial state of Missouri.

This is our President.

Bill Clinton lied. Yup. He lied right to your face, and my face, and everyones' faces. He lied about having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. He was impeached over it. In the late 60s and early 70s, George W. Bush was supposedly, ostensibly a member of the Texas Air National Guard. But did he fulfill his obligation? Caveat: During Vietnam, Guardsmen did not get sent to Vietnam. The Guard of today (where men and women who intend to serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year end up spending over a year in Fallujah) is not the Guard of yesteryear. In no way does this information about Bush, and the insinuations about him avoiding service in Vietnam, have any affect or reflect poorly on the men and women serving in the Guard today. The Boston Globe re-examined some documents about Bush and his commitment to the TANG. Indeed, he was given leave to work on a campaign in Alabama, and to attend Harvard (!) Business School in Massachusetts during his time with the Guard. If he did not successfully meet his obligation, he could be sanctioned. He could have been sent to active duty for 24 months. So what do the records reflect?
"He broke his contract with the United States government -- without any adverse consequences. And the Texas Air National Guard was complicit in allowing this to happen,' Lechliter said in an interview yesterday. ''He was a pilot. It cost the government a million dollars to train him to fly. So he should have been held to an even higher standard.' Even retired Lieutenant Colonel Albert C. Lloyd Jr., a former Texas Air National Guard personnel chief who vouched for Bush at the White House's request in February, agreed that Bush walked away from his obligation to join a reserve unit in the Boston area when he moved to Cambridge in September 1973. By not joining a unit in Massachusetts, Lloyd said in an interview last month, Bush ''took a chance that he could be called up for active duty. But the war was winding down, and he probably knew that the Air Force was not enforcing the penalty.' But Lloyd said that singling out Bush for criticism is unfair. ''There were hundreds of guys like him who did the same thing,' he said. Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs in the Reagan administration, said after studying many of the documents that it is clear to him that Bush ''gamed the system.' And he agreed with Lloyd that Bush was not alone in doing so. ''If I cheat on my income tax and don't get caught, I'm still cheating on my income tax,' Korb said. After his own review, Korb said Bush could have been ordered to active duty for missing more than 10 percent of his required drills in any given year. Bush, according to the records, fell shy of that obligation in two successive fiscal years.
What a Patriot. What a Great American. Thank you, George W. Bush. Thank you for "gaming the system." Thank you for ensuring that other mens' sons do the fighting for you. Thank you for "cheating."

Where the hell is the outrage?

Dick Cheney was elected Vice President in 2000. November 2000. He was inaugurated in 2001. January 2001. 9/11 occurred in 2001. September 2001. About 8 months after inauguration. You know all that bluster about how wrong we were before 9/11 to treat al Qaeda as a law enforcement rather than a military issue? Well, Big Time Dick, his protege Bush, and their anointed Attorney General all subscribed to that same principle between January and September 2001. In fact, it seems that Dick Clarke was among the few voices in this administration that was urging a more serious look at al Qaeda. What does Dick have to say now? In a campaign stop, he basically tells the American people the following: 1. You must vote Bush/Cheney in November 2004. 2. If you don't vote Bush/Cheney in November 2004, there will be another catastrophic terrorist attack on US soil. 3. It will be your own damn fault, America, if you vote in Kerry/Edwards, and we get that terrorist attack. How low, disgusting, vile and vicious can Bush/Cheney get? I don't even think we've scratched the surface. Ask John McCain.


Lying Liars

I was out of town for a week or so, and couldn't post at all. Needless to say, the GOP convention was a predictable festival of Kerry & Democrat-hatred. Nothing more. The Democratic Party is the party of Barack Obama. The Republican Party is the party of Zell Miller. What a no-brainer that is. Anyway, Miller did his best imitation of a madman last week, and joined the chorus of lies against John Kerry. The Republicans think Kerry can't win on national security issues? What makes them think Bush can? How, precisely, has Bush made us any more or less safe since 9/11? What, exactly, did 1000 U.S. servicemen and women die for in Iraq? What tangible benefit have we, as Americans, gained as a result of invading, occupying and administering Iraq? Anyway...
Kerry did not cast a series of votes against individual weapons systems, as Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) suggested in a slashing convention speech in New York late Wednesday, but instead Kerry voted against a Pentagon spending package in 1990 as part of deliberations over restructuring and downsizing the military in the post-Cold War era. Both Vice President Cheney and Miller have said that Kerry would like to see U.S. troops deployed only at the direction of the United Nations, with Cheney noting that the remark had been made at the start of Kerry's political career. This refers to a statement made nearly 35 years ago, when Kerry gave an interview to the Harvard Crimson, 10 months after he had returned from the Vietnam War angry and disillusioned by his experiences there. (President Bush at the time was in the Air National Guard, about to earn his wings.) President Bush, Cheney and Miller faulted Kerry for voting against body armor for troops in Iraq. But much of the funding for body armor was added to the bill by House Democrats, not the administration, and Kerry's vote against the entire bill was rooted in a dispute with the administration over how to pay for $20 billion earmarked for reconstruction of Iraq. "