Dowd gets it just right

As usual,MoDo cuts through the treacle.
The Bushies' campaign pitch follows their usual backward logic: Because we have failed to make you safe, you should re-elect us to make you safer. Because we haven't caught Osama in three years, you need us to catch Osama in the next four years. Because we didn't bother to secure explosives in Iraq, you can count on us to make sure those explosives aren't used against you. You'd think that seeing Osama looking fit as a fiddle and ready for hate would spark anger at the Bush administration's cynical diversion of the war on Al Qaeda to the war on Saddam. It's absurd that we're mired in Iraq - an invasion the demented vice president praised on Friday for its 'brilliance' - while the 9/11 mastermind nonchalantly pops up anytime he wants. For some, it seemed cartoonish, with Osama as Road Runner beeping by Wile E. Bush as Dick Cheney and Rummy run the Acme/Halliburton explosives company - now under F.B.I. investigation for its no-bid contracts on anvils, axle grease (guaranteed slippery) and dehydrated boulders (just add water) . Osama slouched onto TV bragging about pulling off the 9/11 attacks just after the president strutted onto TV in New Hampshire with 9/11 families, bragging that Al Qaeda leaders know 'we are on their trail.'"

Evenhandedness and reason on the right

Whew. I'm so glad that the right-wing in America is evenhanded and reasonable in its criticism of Democrats. I'm also heartened by the fact that it's above Republicans to lump Democrats in with, and thus compare them to terrorists and totalitarian dictators. No shame. Complete disgrace.

Republicans celebrate Bush's abject failure

Hi. I'm Osama bin Laden. I'm the guy Bush hasn't caught yet. Actually, I'm the guy Bush ignored while going after Saddam Hussein - a guy I hate. The weirdest thing is that the GOP thinks bin Laden's tape is a "little gift". The polls don't reflect that at all.

THE SIGNS? What will we do about the SIGNS?

I got an email from someone who says this:
Are your supporters so dishonest and scared that they resort to stealing a sign from the front of my house. How any one can support the dishonesty of this party is beyond me.
I replied thusly:
Sir/Madam: No one condones trespassing, stealing, vandalism or the intrusion on your property and voice in such a way. Just for the record - I have had three Kerry/Edwards signs stolen and/or vandalized from the front of my home, so I'd ask the same of Bush supporters. Two wrongs don't make a right. Cheers & good luck on Tuesday. BuffaloPundit
Just ... for the record.


The wingnuts are scared

Scaife Monkey-boy Joseph Farah has announced that he has completed his exit from the reality-based community and is now a full and complete member of the delusional whackjob tinfoil hat community. With this, his whackjob manifesto Farah not only solidifies his departure from reality and facts, but also sets up the winger meme for the next eight years of the Kerry administration:
There is only one word in the English language that adequately describes what he was in 1971, and what he remains today for capitalizing on the evil he perpetrated back then. That word is 'traitor.'
Thank goodness he isn't being shrill anymore.

Local News & Events

Saturday, Sunday and Election Day Work In Erie, Pa. Our friends in Erie, Pennsylvania need our help to ensure that Kerry wins this key swing state. Kerry seems to have a small lead in Pennsylvania, and if he is going to win in Pa. he must do well in Erie. They are asking people to travel to Erie this weekend as well as on Election day. If you can help out down there please consider spending the final days in Erie. The address of the Erie HQ is 1002 State Street, on the corners of State and 10th Streets in downtown Erie. The phone number to the office is 814-454-1600. They will arrange for housing for anyone who wants to stay overnight, so contact them to go down. We will also be going on our regular Saturday and Sunday day trips to Erie. The group will leave the Wegmans' parking lot on Walden Avenue, across from the Galleria Mall and off of the Thruway Exit 52E, at 8:30 am and return back to Buffalo around 7:00. To sign up for either trip please drop me and our trip Captain Ginni Basil and e-mail by Friday evening. Ginni's e-mail is affabelle @ yahoo.com. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Election Day In Ohio Ohio still needs hundreds more volunteers to combat the roughly 3,000 paid workers that the Republicans are bringing to Ohio to help SUPRESS the vote. We need people in Ohio to help ensure that everyone who wants to vote does vote and that those votes are counted. They need help in Cleveland and Youngstown, and if we get a large enough crew they will provide us a bus or vans to take the group to Ohio. This would entail you to travel to Ohio on Sunday evening, attending a training seminar on Monday and working at least a 6 hour shift on Tuesday. If you are interested in this effort please drop Mark Poloncarz an e-mail ASAP mpoloncarz @ yahoo.com. DON'T FORGET, IF YOU PLAN ON WORKING OUT OF NEW YORK ON ELECTION DAY YOU WILL NEED TO VOTE BY ABSENTEE BALLOT. AN ABSENTEE BALLOT CAN BE OBTAINED IN PERSON FROM YOUR COUNTY'S BOARD OF ELECTIONS THROUGH NOVEMBER 1ST!!! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Call Local Voters From Your Home for John Kerry In addition to calling voters in Iowa we are also calling local voters to persuade them to get out and vote for John Kerry & John Edwards in WNY. Initial results to these calls have been very positive, and every vote that we bring out for John Kerry will help all Democratic candidates. If you would like to pick up a list they are available in our local HQ. Please be advised these cannot be e-mailed, so please do not ask for the lists to be e-mailed to you. Because the election is only 7 days away we need these calls to be made as soon as possible and then the results be returned to Mark immediately after. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Election Day Volunteers in WNY - Training Seminar on Saturday 10/30 For those of you not able to travel to Pennsylvania or Ohio we need many volunteers here in WNY to help on E-Day. We will be holding a training and discussion seminar Saturday, October 30th. The seminar will take place in Cheektowaga immediately after this event: This Saturday @ 11:00am join ECDC for the 2nd Annual Hillary Clinton Get Out the Vote Rally Higgins for Congress Cheektowaga Headquarters Corner of Dick Road & George Urban Blvd (Valu Center Home Plaza) Come for the Rally - Stay for the neighborhood canvas If you plan to volunteer on election day and didn't make Thursday's meeting, please go to the Clinton rally & stay for the brief training seminar and the assignment of districts to be covered and specific jobs for Election Day. If you are able to volunteer your time on E-Day please drop mark an e-mail and try to make it to the training and assignment seminar Saturday. There are many jobs we need to fill for Election Day, from drivers to callers and to those walking door-to-door bringing out voters. So come on down and help elect our next President by bringing out a huge vote for Kerry in WNY!! Local Campaign Contacts As always, to read the latest local and national campaign news please join our local Yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/buffaloniagara4johnkerry/. Don't forget you can still make a donation to the effort by donating to the DNC. All money raised by the DNC will be used for get out the vote efforts. To make a donation to the DNC E-Patriots secure account please click here: https://www.democrats.org/epatriots/give.html?sourcecode=E004793. If you haven't helped before, now is the time. The race is a toss up in most national polls, and of course is still up in the air in at least 10 of the swing states including Iowa, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. Whatever assistance you can provide will definitely help the cause. As always, thanks for your past support and working together we will elect John Kerry and John Edwards on November 2nd!! Mark Poloncarz Buffalo & WNY Coordinator Kerry-Edwards Victory 2004 Ellicott Square Bldg., Suite 115 Buffalo, New York 14203 716.853-2511

Prediction du Jour

Going out on a limb today. 326 Kerry 212 Bush Kerry's battleground results: *Maine *Arkansas Colorado *Florida Hawaii *Michigan *Minnesota *New Hampshire New Jersey *New Mexico *Ohio *Oregon *Pennsylvania *Washington *Wisconsin

Wes Clark again

Wes Clark responds to former hero Rudy Giuliani, and brain-dead Republican hacks Laura Ingraham and neocon Bill Kristol, who blame the troops on the ground for the fiasco-disaster-debacle-scandal at al QaQaa. (By the way - the GOP's newest excuse? In the grand scheme of things, 380 tons isn't so much. You can't make this shit up.)

“For President Bush to send Rudolph Giuliani out on television to say that the 'actual responsibility' for the failure to secure explosives lies with the troops is insulting and cowardly.“The President approved the mission and the priorities. Civilian leaders tell military leaders what to do. The military follows those orders and gets the job done.

This was a failure of civilian leadership, first in not telling the troops to secure explosives and other dangerous materials, and second for not providing sufficient troops and sufficient equipment for troops to do the job. “President Bush sent our troops to war without sufficient body armor, without a sound plan and without sufficient forces to accomplish the mission. Our troops are performing a difficult mission with skill, bravery and determination. They deserve a commander in chief who supports them and understands that the buck stops in the Oval Office, not one who gets weak knees and shifts blame for his mistakes.”

Today's Issues

We've got some hopeful news, and some chickens comin' on home to roost. Firstly - again, if you're not watching the Daily Show on Comedy Central, you really should start. (11pm Eastern, Monday-Thursday, repeated 7pm the following day). Last night, Utica's own John Zogby predicted Kerry would win. (After predicting a Bush win earlier in the day.) Why the flip flop? Kerry's numbers are going up, while Bush is stuck at 48%. It's tied in yesterday's horse race at 47-47 after a 3-point Bush lead on Monday. (Next Tuesday: Live at 10pm is Indecision 2004 - the Run-up to the Recount) Secondly - The no-bid, $7 billion contract that Halliburton received for Iraqi oil & infrastructure reconstruction is (finally) being investigated by the FBI. Indictments to follow. Thirdly - Don't let anyone tell you that the Republicans are gunning for a fair election and want to make sure that every vote counts: It's happening in Ohio, too. Fourthly - a NASA physicist at the JPL stakes his reputation on the fact that Bush was wearing a wire during the first debate. ("Let me finish.") Fifthly - al QaQaa GAME, SET, MATCH.
David Kay, Iraq weapons inspector for the Bush Administration, just appeared on CNN and was asked by Aaron Brown to review the new video filmed on April 18, 2003, one month after the invasion and 8 days after US Troops first arrived at Al Qaqaa. He was asked about the video which shows the seal. He said that they are indeed IAEA seals and he's seen nothing else like them in IRAQ. He then went on to say that only the explosives in question would have been sealed because of their potency. He then said that other parts of the video show clearly that these were the types of explosives in question. He was asked if it was "Game, Set, Match". He replied yes, "Game, Set, Match". In a final blow to recent conservative spin he was asked if they were classified as WMD. He replied point blank, "absolutely not."
Sixthly - In the Kentucky Senatorial race, the Republican candidate is sinking so quickly in the polls, that he's begun to call his opponent gay. (Thus underscoring the glaring bigotry of the GOP with the whole Mary Cheney "issue.") It's going to be an interesting five days, that's for sure.


al QaQaa

Rudy blames the troops for losing over 760,000 pounds of explosives in Iraq. Yesterday, Bush said that, by criticizing him, Kerry was actually denigrating the troops. George Bush. He'll say anything to get elected. By the way - as to the canard that the weapons were already gone by the time the troops arrived, this local Minneapolis ABC affiliate begs to differ. You see, one of their reporters was embedded with the troops that "liberated" al QaQaa in April 2003. They took pictures. At al QaQaa. Of the explosives. They were there. After our invasion. Could we at least get an "oopsie doopsie" from the "I didn't do it" Kid?

The Curse is Over

Also, check out the celebration at Boston.com and the Boston Herald. So, the Pats are world champions, the Sox are world champions. Both are from Massachusetts. What say we take a Senator from Massachusetts, make him the LOTFW next week and make it a trifecta?


President Bush

Click here to see actual video of Bush restoring honor and integrity to the White House.

Wes Clark today

Got this via Atrios
Today George W. Bush made a very compelling and thoughtful argument for why he should not be reelected. In his own words, he told the American people that "a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your Commander in Chief." President Bush couldn't be more right. He jumped to conclusions about any connection between Saddam Hussein and 911. He jumped to conclusions about weapons of mass destruction. He jumped to conclusions about the mission being accomplished. He jumped to conclusions about how we had enough troops on the ground to win the peace. And because he jumped to conclusions, terrorists and insurgents in Iraq may very well have their hands on powerful explosives to attack our troops, we are stuck in Iraq without a plan to win the peace, and Americans are less safe both at home and abroad. By doing all these things, he broke faith with our men and women in uniform. He has let them down. George W. Bush is unfit to be our Commander in Chief.

Prediction du jour

Kerry: 294 Bush: 244 Kerry wins: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, RI, VT handily As for the "battleground" states: Kerry wins: OH, PA, MN, NH, NM, FL, WI Up in the air for me: I think IA, NV, WI and AR could also go Kerry, in which case it would be 312- 216.

I'm as surprised as everyone



Hopefully, one week from today, John Kerry will be the President-elect of the United States. Kerry wasn't my first choice, but he is now the only choice. I was watching Anderson Cooper 360 last night, and Bill Maher was on. He made a fantastic point:
First of all, they should have made the issue 9/11. You know if the situation were reversed and the Republicans were running against President Al Gore, this whole election would be about 9/11 happened on your watch, I don't want to hear about any excuses, this was your problem. Somehow the Republicans get a mulligan on 9/11. Well, we let it happen once. Won't happen again.
You know and I know that there is an unimpeachable truth to that statement. If Al Gore were President:
  • do you think the Republicans would be treating 380 TONS of explosives lost under our noses as unimportant?
  • do you think that Gore would get a pass on Abu Ghraib, or would the impeachment already have begun?
  • do you think that the CIA "disappearing" people would be just fine with Rush Limbaugh, et al?
Of course not. Let's be real: 9/11 happened on George Bush's watch. He was on vacation in Crawford during the entire month of August. The same month that the daily intelligence report screamed, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US". Bush and his minions like to say John Kerry has a 9/10 mentality. George Bush ought to know - no one had more of a 9/10 mentality than he. Bush, his neocon handlers, and his entire administration have used 9/11 as an excuse to change America into something it never was, and never should have been. We have used 9/11 as an excuse to throw people in prison, and they're never heard from again. That's America? We have used 9/11 as an excuse to overthrow the brutal dictator of a nevertheless sovereign nation-state. That's America? We have used 9/11 as an excuse unilaterally, preemptively, and with little or no legitimacy to commence a war against a sovereign nation-state. That's America? The people in our administration shield themselves from the news and proclaim that all is well, while at least half of the country knows that's not true. We brutalized, tortured, and murdered Iraqi detainees in a U.S.-controlled prison in Iraq. Those detainees hadn't been convicted of any crime. Instead of placing blame with the commanders, common soldiers like Lynndie England take the fall. That's America? We send fathers and mothers who jined the National Guard to defend America's homeland overseas to Iraq to occupy a sovereign nation and fight a local guerrilla insurgency. When they try to resign, they are refused. That's America? While 45 million Americans go without health insurance, we have $225 billion to spend on the occupation of country - the occupation of which, we were told, would pay for itself with sweet, sweet oil money.



Joe Illuzzi runs the local PoliticsWNY.com, to which I link on the right. He has endorsed George Bush for President. I don't agree. I actually think his reasons are pretty ... lame. Let's examine why:
The bottom line: I, nor do many, if not most, Americans give a good damn one way or the other whether Saddam had WMD or not. The fact is when he had them he used them against his own people. Saddam might not have been a terror threat post 9/11 but it was only a matter of time.
The Balfour report conclusively determined that Hussein had no WMDs, and that he was a diminishing, not growing threat. And everyone should give a good damn as to whether or not Saddam had WMDs, because the US shouldn't be invading countries and overthrowing their governments (regardless of how brutal they are) willy-nilly. We need a good reason. WMDs were a good reason. Too bad it was a false reason. If you don't care, you're willfully ignorant and you're a warmonger.
The truth is I would rather depose Saddam & fight terror in Iraq rather [sic] than within the homeland. This is the genius of the war in Iraq. Rather than fight the war on terror within our borders, losing thousands of men, women & children, we are fighting terrorists on their home field, so to speak, in Iraq & Afghanistan, etc., rather than in our cities. The facts are Bush has won two wars & is in fact winning the peace in both Afghanistan & Iraq. Bush has a handle on the war on terror. How often have the terrorists been successful at subsequent attempts at another 9/11 of some sort, not once.
The war in Afghanistan was good. It was proper and right. It seems to have been a success, all in all. The war in Iraq was bad. It was improper and wrong. It has been an unmitigated disaster. The point was that Saddam had WMDs, was thumbing his nose at the UN and needed to be overthrown. That went well enough, but everything since the day Saddam's statue fell has been marred by rank incompetence. Bush has won one war and gotten us involved in a quagmire in Iraq. We are not winning the peace in Iraq. Bush barely has a handle on debate preparation, much less on Iraq. But hey, at least it's just our soldiers who are dying in their hundreds, right Joe? Tell the people in Madrid that al Qaeda haven't been successful since. Tell the people in Bali. Tell the Philippines. Mr. Illuzzi should read the paper more. But maybe not the Buffalo News. He may still owe them money.
Kerry's "global consensus" goes without saying is a non starter on the world stage & is a metaphor for weakness. The French, Russians (No longer), & Germans just look at the world differently & cannot be relied upon in the war on terror.
I am so fed up with this notion that Europe can't be relied upon in the war on terror. Obviously, the above-quoted statement presumes that Iraq had something to do with the war on terror, which it didn't. That being said, the Germans have dealt with Baader-Meinhof, with Libyan disco bombings, with East German espionage, and were on the front lines of the Cold War. How dare a guy in Buffalo denigrate what Germany's been through? France was overrun by the Germans in WWII, and suffered immeasurably in WWI. Do you think France might be sick of wars on HER own soil? Russia, after experimenting for 13 years with some semblance of democracy, is now adopting the Latin American model of rampant, uncontrolled crony capitalism mixed with authoritarian/totalitarian government. Hooray for Russia. Global Test? That makes you mad? Trotting Colin Powell to the UN in February 2003 was part of the Global Test. You need to have a damn good reason to invade a sovereign country. I don't think we made one up, but I do think that the Bush administration chose not to listen to the voices within it that were saying that our reason wasn't going to hold water.
The reason why I write war on terror is the consensus of all of the small wars the US is engaged in presently is the sum total of the war on terror, as I see it.The Bush tax cuts benefited every bracket. Kerry's energy policy is the same liberal babble we heard during Carter & Clinton years. The US is in the beginnings of a full blown recovery from Clinton's recession. Anyone who understands maco [sic] economics knows unemployment is the lagger in any macro recovery.
Oh, great recovery. High energy prices, slow employment numbers, slumping consumer confidence, creeping inflation, stagnation, falling Dow. Happy days are here again? American Ignoramus: I support the idea that we need to wean ourselves off of foreign oil for our own security and the well-being of the economy...But keep your hands off my 10 MPG SUV.
The ethical questions not withstanding [sic] ... The News editorial board, esp., Lipsey & Goldberg approve of abortion on demand period, marry any one [sic] you want including your pet if that is your "choice." Oh & lets [sic] make it legal. Kerry, Lipsey & Goldberg, only pray in your home & churches. God has no place in our government buildings, schools, etc..
Do I detect just a smidge of anti-semitism here? Perish the thought. In Buffalo, it always comes down to Catholic orthodoxy, doesn't it? "Marry any one [sic] you want including your pet if that is your 'choice'?" That's the same argument that was made when antimiscegenation laws came down 40 years ago. If you really equate homosexuality with bestiality, then you're a bigot. Plain and simple. To say that homosexuals who want to marry or enter into civil unions are no better than people who fuck animals is horrific and should be censured anywhere and everywhere. And as for prayer in homes and churches and not in government settings, what's wrong with that? Establishment clause. Read it. Learn it. Love it. You pray in your church, home, car, etc., and I'll do the same in my church, home or car. Or not. But I don't need to listen to your prayers, and you shouldn't have to listen to mine. We enjoy a freedom of, and a freedom from religion.
Kerry is an advocate for Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act" ... As a matter of fact he would spend more money financing Bush's program. Problem is Kerry has so many promises costing untold billions he would surely have to raise taxes.Kerry for his part claims to be a good Catholic but voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. Kerry approves of gay marriage suggesting God somehow created homosexuals with divine intent, i.e., God created a man to lay with another man, or woman with another woman. How depraved have we become in this nation & lets make our depravity legal! ... Love the sinner!! ... Hate the sin!!!So much for the Buffalo News' new found [sic] conservative tendencies, this vacuous endorsement repudiated that notion. A constant unending repudiation of the public policy positions taken by this kneejerk, i.e., predictable, pro "re" active, not responsive, jerkwater (One word), publication which is the Buffalo News. Who cares who the Buffalo News endorses! (That's rhetorical)Bush for President!
Kerry voted against the partial-birth abortion law because it had no exception to save the life of the mother. Apparently, Illuzzi would kill the mother to save the baby. (Whatever happened to leaving medical decisions between the doctor and patient? Didn't Bush say that at the debate? Never mind.) And homosexuality is not a choice. If it was, why would a homosexual choose to be the recipient of ignorant bigotry like Illuzzi's? Illuzzi's afraid that Kerry might raise taxes. He said he would - but only on those making over $200,000. The ones that benefitted most from Bush's tax cuts. Kerry is more fiscally conservative than Bush - espousing the idea that Congress should "pay as it goes", and not just spend and pass the bill on to our kids. Bush Republicans: Borrow & Spend wildly. Kerry Democrats: Tax the richest 1%, and get spending under control. I know people kowtow to Illuzzi, but this sort of thing is what keeps Buffalo back.

Andrew Sullivan Endorses Kerry

I guess I saw this one coming, but I didn't believe it until I saw it. At the same time, the collapse of the casus belli and the incompetent conduct of the war since the liberation point in an opposite direction. If you are going to do what the Bush administration did in putting all your chips on one big gamble; if you are going to send your secretary of state to the United Nations claiming solid 'proof' of Saddam's WMDs; if you are going to engage in a major war of liberation without the cover of international consensus--then you'd better well get all your ducks in a row. Bush--amazingly--didn't. The lack of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq remains one of the biggest blows to America's international credibility in a generation. The failure to anticipate an insurgency against the coalition remains one of the biggest military miscalculations since Vietnam. And the refusal to send more troops both at the beginning and throughout the occupation remains one of the most pig-headed acts of hubris since the McNamara era. I'm amazed that more war advocates aren't incensed by this mishandling of such critical matters. But even a Bush-supporter, like my friend, Christopher Hitchens, has termed it 'near-impeachable' incompetence. I would add one more thing: Abu Ghraib. In one gut-wrenching moment, the moral integrity of the war was delivered an almost fatal blow. To be involved in such a vital struggle and through a mixture of negligence and arrogance to have facilitated such a fantastic propaganda victory for the enemy is just unforgivable. In a matter of months, the Bush administration lost its casus belli and its moral authority. Could it have run a worse war? Domestically, the record is horrifying for a fiscal conservative. Click the link for the whole thing.

Niagara Falls Reporter endorses Kerry

Check it out here.

JOHN KERRY BEST HOPE FOR AMERICA It's time for a change.

In less than four years, President George W. Bush has wrecked the economy, been responsible for the deaths of nearly 1,200 brave American soldiers and the maiming of 8,000 more, killed 25,000 Iraqis -- many of them defenseless women and children -- failed to capture Osama bin Laden and was asleep at the switch for the Sept. 11 attacks that took the lives of 3,000 of our countrymen. No president in all of American history -- Republican, Democrat or Whig -- has a worse record. While he's fond of glamorizing himself as a "war president," when he actually had the chance to go to a war, he chickened out, used his family connections to land a cushy spot in a National Guard unit and then went AWOL on that.

And though he claims to be an enemy of "big government," he has presided over a period of unprecedented growth in both the number of people working for and the costs associated with federal programs. The facts that he can't speak English as though it were his first language and has managed to alienate our historically closest allies are beside the point. Likewise the fact that he is the first president in more than a century to take office after having lost the popular vote in an election.

Bush has shown himself to be a liar of the basest sort. He lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and he lied about Saddam Hussein's links to al-Qaeda. He lied about his own criminal record, which includes a couple of drunk-driving arrests and a covered-up cocaine bust. He lied about his military record.

If there's one thing we can't stand here at the Reporter, it's a liar. When Bush now claims that, in his second term, there won't be a draft and there won't be any meddling with Social Security, we find it impossible to believe him.

John Kerry is not the greatest candidate. His imperious nature and inability to dumb down his communication to the level of a grade-schooler are among his faults. But we're quite willing to accept those faults to rid ourselves of the pox that is the Bush presidency, which has made the United States of America a laughingstock throughout the rest of the civilized world.

Kerry's from Boston, and missed the opportunity of a lifetime last week by not showing up at any of the seven games that led to many miracles and the triumph of the Red Sox over the Yankees. But it's difficult to imagine any citizen of this country whom we would not endorse over President Bush. Vote John Kerry on Election Day. State Sens.

George Maziarz and Byron Brown are running pretty much unopposed but, if they had real opponents, we'd be hard-pressed to endorse either incumbent. Their robotic, knee-jerk, party-line response to the smoking ban last year has been a huge success, in that it's put hundreds of Western New Yorkers out of work and has forced dozens of struggling businesses to close here on the Niagara Frontier.

How they can justify that in their own minds is beyond us. State Assemblywoman Francine Del Monte also voted for the ban. Like Maziarz and Brown, she never saw fit to come to her district and ask people what they thought. But unlike the senators, she's facing a real election-year challenge. For Del Monte, voting for the smoking ban typified a style of governing dictated not by the wants or needs of her constituents but by a guy from Lower Manhattan named Sheldon Silver.

Her opponent, Paula Banks Dahlke, has quite correctly made repeal of the smoking ban a central issue in her campaign. It's not her only issue, but it's a sound one. In our view, it is only fitting that Del Monte join the many other young women she helped put on the unemployment line. That's why we're endorsing Banks Dahlke for the 138th District Assembly seat.

Without question, New York State has the most bizarre procedure for electing judges we've ever seen. While anyone who pays attention knows whether a given candidate is a Republican or a Democrat, a complicated system of cross endorsements and minor party endorsements serves to muddy the waters. Additionally, candidates are forbidden from expressing their views on any remotely important topic, further leaving most voters in the dark about whom they're voting for.

There are five people running for three seats on the state Supreme Court this year. The three we've come to know and respect -- Paula Feroleto, John Curran and Frank Caruso -- all come highly recommended.

Curran currently sits on the court, Caruso serves as Tonawanda Town Justice and acting City Court Judge in Buffalo and Feroleto has more than 20 years' experience as a trial lawyer handling a wide variety of cases. All three deserve your vote.

A vote to retain Charles Schumer in the U.S. Senate is a no-brainer. Likewise, Louise Slaughter deserves re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

With political polarization now the norm in Washington, and the gulf between the "red" states and the "blue" states growing wider by the minute, it is important for New Yorkers to elect to national office those who best represent our values. And, like it or not, that means electing Democrats.

By its very nature, New York is a liberal place. Throughout its history, the Empire State has provided safe haven for those fleeing injustice and oppression, whether they were runaway slaves from the South or refugees from Eastern Europe.

Here at the Reporter, we're constantly amazed by the level of vitriol heaped upon New York in the form of hate mail sent to us by people living in places like Mississippi and Utah -- places that largely elect Republicans to represent them in Washington.

Schumer and Slaughter are as unabashedly liberal as the state they represent. For that alone, they deserve our support.

The race for Niagara Falls City Council is a bit tougher to call.

Both candidates, Glenn Choolokian and George Lodick, are good men and well qualified for the position. Both are vocal critics of Mayor Vince Anello's administration.

We were a bit put off, however, by Choolokian's refusal to debate Lodick on the issues. An open debate in a public forum would have provided the voters of Niagara Falls with the best possible opportunity to decide who to send to City Hall.

For whatever reason, Choolokian chose to deny them that opportunity. We suspect it has to do with his role as one of the plaintiffs in a $1.4 million lawsuit filed against the city by a number of workers at the water and sewage treatment plants, a suit that Lodick has repeatedly referred to in his campaign literature.

Choolokian's refusal tipped us off the fence in this race. Our endorsement goes to Lodick.

Regardless of which candidates you decide to support next Tuesday, the importance of your vote cannot be overestimated. Remember, just four years ago, the presidential race was decided by fewer than 1,000 votes in the state of Florida. Our system of government isn't perfect, and neither are any of the people seeking elected office. But only by getting out and voting can we remind those in government that we're keeping an eye on them.

Thanks to the Reporter for permission to repost.


Check out the dead letter office at this funny site. A lot of this stuff is quite fascinating.



Have you seen the new Bush-Cheney ad called "Wolves?" It's one of those metaphor-wrapped-in-an-ad kind of things that's supposed to scare people into voting for Bush, by underscoring that the world is a dangerous place and that only Bush and Cheney are equipped to protect us from the dangers. Setting aside for a moment the fact that the world has ALWAYS BEEN A FRICKING DANGEROUS PLACE, thank you very much, I was today struck by an amusing thought. In the Wolves ad, (which many have begun referring to "Puppies"), the Wolves are meant to be the scary terrorists. So, let's extrapolate the metaphor, shall we? That means we're the sheep. The American citizenry is nothing but a bunch of sheep to Bush-Cheney 04. I'm BuffaloPundit and I approve this message.


This story actually broke yesterday around the blogosphere, and has thankfully appeared this morning on no less than the front page of the New York Times.

The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations. The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no-man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished after the American invasion last year. The White House said President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was informed within the past month that the explosives were missing. It is unclear whether President Bush was informed. American officials have never publicly announced the disappearance, but beginning last week they answered questions about it posed by The New York Times and the CBS News program "60 Minutes." Administration officials said yesterday that the Iraq Survey Group, the C.I.A. task force that searched for unconventional weapons, has been ordered to investigate the disappearance of the explosives.

American weapons experts say their immediate concern is that the explosives could be used in major bombing attacks against American or Iraqi forces: the explosives, mainly HMX and RDX, could be used to produce bombs strong enough to shatter airplanes or tear apart buildings. The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the material of the type stolen from Al Qaqaa, and somewhat larger amounts were apparently used in the bombing of a housing complex in November 2003 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the blasts in a Moscow apartment complex in September 1999 that killed nearly 300 people.

As if Abu Ghraib wasn't proof enough, this is rank incompetence. This finally, graphically and tragically puts the lie to the Bush team's assertion that they're somehow better - insurmountably better - on the war on terror than anyone else. This crowd - the one that insulted "Old Europe", which publicly vilified the UN, which had no use for NGOs in the war on terror - has received its comeuppance. The IAEA had these weapons under surveillance before we went into Iraq. They knew where thus stuff was. When we came in, we lost track of it? Of 380 tons of explosives? We lost it? It's gone? And according to them, we had enough troops to win the peace? I can't stress this enough - through its rank, juvenile incompetence, this administration misplaced 380 tons of explosives. Explosives which, quite probably, are now being used by Islamist and Baathist insurgents/guerrillas to blow up American and coalition servicemen and women, blow up Iraqi "collaborators", and innocent bystanders. Hooray for America. And we wonder why they don't appreciate this occupation. I predict that no one will be held accountable for this gross misconduct, just like no one will be held accountable for Abu Ghraib (except for Lynndie England). I predict that no one will be fired or resign in shame. I predict that Cheney will tell us that this was all planned, and Bush will tell us it's hard work. Let's fire the one with whom the buck really stops. Let's fire the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. Let's do it next Tuesday.


Buffalo News for Kerry

The Buffalo News endorses Kerry.

Challenger would fight war on terror in a more intelligent and honest way 10/24/2004 In the history of the republic, no president has undertaken a more serious endeavor than taking this country to war. And any wartime president is rightly judged on the wisdom he showed in going to war, the efficiency in which his administration fought the conflict and how it won the peace.

It is now clear that President Bush's leadership in two of these areas has come up tragically short. But Bush is guilty of far more than bad judgment. He is guilty of misleading the American people. There is overwhelming evidence that he ignored information that contradicted the casus belli of this conflict: that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Even worse, he failed to share that information fully with the American people or key congressional leaders. Simply put, we are now in a war that has claimed more than 1,100 American lives because the president and his senior advisers were so determined to depose Saddam that they relied only on evidence that bolstered their case. It is not a performance that merits re-election. For this and a number of other reasons, we endorse the Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry, for president.

Refusal to accept reality

Incredibly, the president continues to defend the decision to go to war because Saddam was an evil butcher who murdered his own people, was a threat to seek weapons of mass destruction once sanctions were lifted and had significant links to al-Qaida. That Saddam fit the definition of evil is a fact. The latter two assertions, however, are mere speculation or demonstrably untrue. More to the point, however, is that those three circumstances did not constitute the case for war that the President presented to America and the world.

Does anyone seriously believe that the American people would have supported an invasion of Iraq based on what Saddam, armed only with conventional weapons, might have done? The president now says that he acted in good faith on bad intelligence regarding Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. That is simply untrue. Here is just a fraction of the evidence that destroys that disingenuous defense:

• The administration said aluminum tubes purchased in 2001 could only be used to build nuclear weapons. But the Energy Department refuted that conclusion at least three times in 2001. The International Atomic Energy Agency also said the administration's conclusion was wrong.

• In February 2003, the CIA told the White House there was no direct evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or had reconstituted its program to produce them.

• The man the president himself named to lead the CIA, Porter Goss, told a Senate committee that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney went beyond available intelligence when they said Iraq had links to al-Qaida and possessed an active nuclear weapons program.

It is a president's job to weigh contradictory views in his administration, not turn a blind eye to credible information.

The unprincipled methods the president used to take us to war would be reason enough to deny him a second term. But having decided to invade Iraq, the president and his advisers compounded their poor judgment by failing to provide the resources necessary to prevent the breakdown of civil authority.

Losing the peace

This administration didn't understand the culture of Iraq, and worse, let itself be influenced by the discredited head of the Iraqi National Congress, exile Ahmed Chalabi, whose information on weapons of mass destruction was not only wrong, but self-serving. Chalabi saw himself as the leader of a new Iraq, and stood to benefit by the invasion. Moreover, Chalabi sold administration officials on the fairy tale that the Iraqi people would welcome the coalition forces with open arms. America is now paying the price for that shortsightedness with a bloody insurgency.

After months of failing to find his footing, Kerry has effectively framed the debate over Iraq. It was, he said, the wrong war at the wrong time fought for the wrong reasons. And while the Bush campaign has used that to question Kerry's commitment to the war on terror, the senator could not be more clear about his desire to continue the war on Islamic terrorists and stabilize Iraq.

The Bush campaign has tried to paint Kerry as weak on defense. It's a phony charge. Although the senator voted against the first Gulf War, he has supported U.S. military force continuously over the years, including armed incursions in Panama, Grenada, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is not the record of a man who is reticent to act in the interests of this country, even when killing is required. Keep in mind, this is a man of wealth and privilege who could have done what thousands of other affluent and middle-class young men did during the Vietnam War - get a safe spot in the National Guard or Reserves.

Instead, Kerry volunteered for duty in Vietnam. Once there, he commanded a small boat in a combat zone, where he was wounded while fighting with honor.

A thoughtful domestic policy

Kerry may not be the ideal candidate for president, but he has demonstrated a thoughtful approach to domestic matters.

His commitment to rolling back some tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the most affluent Americans is a fair policy, especially in light of a spiraling deficit that was primarily caused by the ill-conceived cuts, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. What's more, giving well-off Americans large tax breaks while presiding over an economy that has lost millions of jobs is, at best, insensitive. At worst, it's an unprecedented redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the most affluent.

The environment is another area that clearly differentiates Kerry and Bush. It is impossible to understand why the president, through his refusal to actively pursue oil conservation, continues to make this country a slave to Persian Gulf oil. Moreover, this policy forces the United States to support tyrannical governments in that region, which betrays the principles of our country and further inflames the hatred of the Muslim masses toward America.

Kerry wants to raise fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 36 miles a gallon. Over the next several years, that could free us from the need to import oil from the Persian Gulf. Bush believes that we can drill our way to oil independence, a position that neutral observers have dismissed as wildly unrealistic.

As for clean air, the administration's newest regulations - the Clean Air Rules of 2004 - actually set slightly weaker clean-air goals than Bush's earlier Clear Skies Initiative, which in turn set standards that were weaker than the Clean Air Act passed years ago.

A Kerry presidency also would ensure that the erosion of Americans' rights would be halted. The next president will almost certainly appoint at least one Supreme Court justice, perhaps more, and justices appointed by Kerry could be expected to protect a woman's right to choose by upholding pro-choice laws. What's more, Kerry has rightly called for a scaling back of the Patriot Act, passed in the heat of the attacks of Sept. 11.

This page has acknowledged that some privacy rights need to be surrendered in the name of security. But Attorney General John Ashcroft has used that necessity to trample basic tenets of the Constitution. Before a federal judge struck it down, one part of the act gave the government unchecked authority to get customer records from Internet service providers and other businesses without court supervision. Some suspects, later proved to have had no link to terrorism, were held for inordinately long periods of time without being able to talk to a lawyer. A Kerry presidency would end those abuses.

An administration of ideologues

If there is one overarching theme to the Bush administration, it is the triumph of ideology over judgment. Mitigating facts and educated opinions simply are dismissed if they conflict with conservative dogma.

When the National Cancer Institute wanted to say that abortion does not increase the rate of breast cancer, the administration refused to let it. When a report from the Environmental Protection Agency included a warning about global warming, the administration took it out of the document. When a Web page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said education about condom use does not lead to increased sexual activity, it vanished from the Internet. The quality that many admire in the president - his strong-willed conviction - too often turns into a liability when he refuses to reconsider his positions even in light of conflicting evidence. The president deserves much credit for his actions in the months following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Using CIA assets on the ground in Afghanistan and skillfully employing forces of the Northern Alliance, he unleashed this country's military might on the Taliban government that gave refuge to Osama bin Laden and provided a base for al-Qaida. In short, he attacked those who attacked us. But then he diverted the country's attention to a dictator who posed no immediate threat to this country, and who could have been contained without resorting to war.

Kerry promises to focus our efforts on terrorists who threaten us, protect civil liberties, return fairness to our tax policy and implement a plan to free us from dependence on Persian Gulf oil. That platform merits his election

The election in a nutshell

Here's your choice next Tuesday: Vote for this, or vote against it. It really is that simple.

What's going on?

What, exactly, are Bush & Cheney up to? Bush is in Texas today, and Cheney is in Wyoming?


We've turned a corner, alright.

A few weeks ago, the B-C'04 line was that the economy was strong and getting stronger, and that we were "turning the corner."

Stocks Tumble As Oil Tops $55 Per Barrel Oct 22, 3:19 PM (ET) By MICHAEL J. MARTINEZ NEW YORK (AP) - Worried investors sent stocks sharply lower as crude oil futures topped $55 per barrel and tepid earnings from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and the Coca-Cola Co. offset Google Inc. (GOOG)'s strong third-quarter report. The Dow fell more than 101 points in late trading. Oil prices continued to pressure the market, casting doubt not only on fourth-quarter earnings, but also on the health of the economy as a whole. A barrel of light crude was quoted at $55.17, up 70 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. "These oil prices are really going to bite the consumer at some point. Heating oil is up, it's supposed to be a very cold winter in the Northeast, and lower and middle income people are going to pay," said Russ Koesterich, U.S. equity strategist at State Street Corp. (STT) "Combine that with a total lack of fundamentals in the big name stocks, and there are very few places left to hide for investors." Shares of Google surged in early trading as the online search giant doubled both revenues and profits from a year ago. Like its initial public offering two months ago, Google was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise nervous market.

In late afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 101.92, or 1 percent, to 9,763.84. The Dow was poised to set a new low for the year to date.

Broader stock indicators also were substantially lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 10.48, or 1 percent, at 1,096.01, and the Nasdaq composite index lost 36.72, or 1.9 percent, to 1,916.90.

All three major indexes were set to end lower for the third straight week, as the continued rise in oil prices and middling earnings reports sapped confidence from investors. A wait-and-see attitude also pervaded the market, with major economic reports, including the first reading of the third quarter's gross domestic product, and the presidential election looming.

Look out, stagflation. Here we come.

Make your own prediction

The LA Times has a very cool interactive electoral map. Not only can you click around to make your own predictions, but when you wave the cursor over a state, it'll give you the most recent polling figures courtesy of Polling Report.com.


I came across this blog via DailyKos. The writer has documented several instances where the White House has literally scrubbed information and files from its own website. This is, quite frankly, no different from the old totalitarian habit of "erasing", say, Trotsky from a picture also featuring Lenin and Stalin, once Trotsky fell into disfavor. Specifically, by clicking the link above, you'll be reminded of the VP debate, where Cheney said Edwards was "dead wrong" when he said that the US was taking 90% of coalition casualties and paying 90% of the cost of the Iraq occupation. Cheney chided Edwards, saying that Edwards was ignoring the deaths of Iraqi guardsmen. Brad checked the White House website, and clicked a link to find out the names of the coalition members. The linked-to file was gone. He found it via Google's cache. "Iraq" was not named as a member of the coalition (obviously). Brad then notified the White House webmaster of the broken link and waited a couple of weeks for them to fix it. They did. By getting rid of the link altogether. When the policy doesn't fit the facts, the Bush administration (which acknowledges that it operates outside the reality-based community), changes the facts. It's appalling.


Red Sox Nation, Rejoice

The BuffaloPundit lived in Boston, Mass. from about 1986 - 2001 (with the exception of 1991-1994). Although I grew up a Yankee fan, I grew to appreciate the Sox around the time of my return in 1994. (I rooted for the Mets in 1986). Each year, my appreciation and devotion to the Team that Never Could has grown exponentially. Last year's heartbreak was not unexpected - I go into every series, every game, assuming that they would lose. The best defense against a broken heart. Well, last night I turned the game off at around 10:00. The Sox were up 8-1, but I wasn't secure in the knowledge that they would win. I was a bit hopeful, but by no means certain. Sox fans just don't have that Yankee swagger. I knew that I would wake up this morning and either be unexpectedly elated, or predictably disappointed. I expected the latter. Well, well, well, was I ever surprised. I definitely think either some sort of mythical curse was lifted for the Sox, or else one was imposed on the Yankees. How fitting to come back from a 3-game deficit, to win 4 in a row (unprecedented), and win the 7th game of the series on the birthday of ... number 7. Rejoice, Red Sox Nation, rejoice. Hopefully, politically, on November 3rd, we'll all feel the way I feel right now. Thank you Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling & Derek Lowe. (Thanks to Fark for the pix.)


Co-founder of Amway to address Republicans

Co-founder of Amway to address Amherst Republicans 10/20/2004
Richard M. DeVos Sr., co-founder of Amway Corp. and board chairman of the Orlando Magic basketball team, will be the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Amherst Republican Dinner at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Palms Restaurant, 7740 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.
Mr. DeVos will explain multi-level marketing to the assembled crowd, convincing them that they, too, can be self-employed Amway distributors, and that the "sky's the limit" as to what they can earn. Congressman Reynolds (R-Clarence) showed his appreciation by promising Mr. DeVos that he will introduce a resolution in Congress to ensure that Amway distributors are, hitherto, not counted among the unemployed.

Why Fox29? I'll tell you why.

It's about the constituency. Looking at TV Guide, the regularly scheduled broadcasts from 8-9 on WB49 are "What I Like About You", a new WB teenybopper show featuring Amanda Bynes, and "Grounded for Life", a cutesy family sitcom. Meanwhile, Fox29 was scheduled to run "Totally Outrageous Behavior" and "World's Craziest Videos", which appear to be two different shows ripping off "America's Funniest Home Videos". Obviously, even though Friday night is the crypt of television and ratings, WB has more of a need to satisfy its teenybopper constituency than Fox has to satisfy whatever dateless wonders would be watching "World's Totally Outrageous and Craziest Behavior Videos" from 8 to 9.

Sinclair update: Fox29?

It seems that Sinclair is making what it probably considers to be a compromise. It won't show the propaganda film that bashes John Kerry in its entirety. Instead, it appears that Sinclair will "balance" a good portion of the material in that film with some additional information about the pressure from the government and average citizenry that has been brought to bear against Sinclair in recent weeks. For us Buffalonians, what's most striking about yesterday's Sinclair press release, is this:
While the news special will discuss the allegations surrounding Senator John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activities in the early 1970s raised by a number of former POWs in "Stolen Honor," it will do so in the context of the broader discussion outlined above. The program will be hosted by Jeff Barnd, the Emmy award winning co-anchor of Fox 45's 10:00 News which airs on WBFF-TV, Sinclair's flagship station in Baltimore, Maryland. Joe DeFeo, Sinclair's Vice President of News commented that, "As with all news programming produced by Sinclair's News Central, A POW Story is being produced with the highest journalistic standards and integrity. We have not ceded, and will not in the future cede, control of our news reporting to any outside organization or political group. We are endeavoring, as we do with all of our news coverage, to present both sides of the issues covered in an equal and impartial manner."
Setting aside for a moment the fact that there is nothing about Sinclair's News Central that's impartial, let's then scroll down to find that this "news" program will air on Friday in Buffalo on WUTV FOX 29. Fox 29 doesn't have a news program. Fox 29 doesn't broadcast News Central. Fox 29 doesn't have a news division. To my knowledge, with the exception of airing Fox News Network programming such as the State of the Union or other public-interest items, Fox 29 has never had a news program on its air. Ever. Instead, it's Sinclair's other Buffalo property, WNYO WB49 that airs a nightly 10pm news broadcast, featuring Sinclair's absymal News Central. So, wouldn't WB49 be a natural choice to air this "news" special? Why Fox29? Actually, WB49's local news coverage is quite excellent, from what I've seen. It's important to separate the local production from "News Central." WB49 covers local stories almost exclusively for the first 1/2 hour of the broadcast before moving on to Sinclair's national feed. The choice of local stories is head & shoulders above the other local stations for local content. How many times have you turned on the local news on 2, 4 or 7 only to find Iraq or some other national or international story as "local" story #1? WB49's local production delved last night into some important local issues: surveillance cameras on the East Side, for instance. I'm very doubtful that the special will be either fair or impartial, and I think Sinclair will really have to live up to that claim in a substantial way lest it forever be known as an out-and-out GOP propaganda outlet.

Has Bush lost Pat Robertson, too?

Right-wing ideologue fundamentalists? Concerned about casualties in Iraq.

Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life." (In Texas they call that a cocky sumb***h - Ed.)

"You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' " Robertson said on the CNN show, "Paula Zahn Now."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

Robertson, the televangelist who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, said he wishes Bush would admit to mistakes made.

So there you have it. “We’re not going to have any casualties”. And we all know what a left-wing Bush-hater Pat Robertson is.


Peace Bridge

Christian Menn, the Swiss designer of Boston's majestic new landmark Zakim Bridge, basically says that the imbeciles running the Peace Bridge show can't get it right. It's been years. Build: 1. A pretty bridge. 2. That's wide and can accommodate lots of traffic 3. When it's done, tear down the current bridge. Get it? End of discussion.

Someone ask Giambra

If Nassau County has (at least) the same problem as Erie County vis-a-vis Medicaid, why is Nassau County's bond rating going up? Because Suozzi (founder of FixAlbany.com) has a plan. Giambra doesn't. Buffalo is an old-school political dinosaur where patronage trumps responsibility.

Go, Sox!

We interrupt our opinionated opinionating to bring you a special bulletin: Go Sox!

More on Tom Friedman

I'm actually intrigued by this, because I distinctly remember reading the original op-ed piece. If Tom frickin' Friedman of the New York Times can get it right, can some explain to my why the entire executive branch of the federal government of the United States of America couldn't plan for this contingency? ...one needs to have a great deal of humility when it comes to predicting what sorts of bats and demons may fly out if the U.S. and its allies remove the lid. Think of it this way: If and when we take the lid off Iraq, we will find an envelope inside. It will tell us what we have won and it will say one of two things. It could say, "Congratulations! You've just won the Arab Germany - a country with enormous human talent, enormous natural resources, but with an evil dictator, whom you've just removed. Now, just add a little water, a spoonful of democracy and stir, and this will be a normal nation very soon." Or the envelope could say, "You've just won the Arab Yugoslavia - an artificial country congenitally divided among Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, Nasserites, leftists and a host of tribes and clans that can only be held together with a Saddam-like iron fist. Congratulations, you're the new Saddam. Does that mean we should rule out war? No. But it does mean that we must do it right. To begin with, the president must level with the American people that we may indeed be buying the Arab Yugoslavia, which will take a great deal of time and effort to heal into a self-sustaining, progressive, accountable Arab government. And, therefore, any nation-building in Iraq will be a multiyear marathon, not a multiweek sprint. ....In short, we can oust Saddam Hussein all by ourselves. But we cannot successfully rebuild Iraq all by ourselves. And the real prize here is a new Iraq that would be a progressive model for the whole region. That, for me, is the only morally and strategically justifiable reason to support this war. The Bush team dare not invade Iraq simply to install a more friendly dictator to pump us oil. And it dare not simply disarm Iraq and then walk away from the nation-building task. But they neither planned for the Arab Yugoslavia they got, nor did they warn the American people of it. Instead, you had Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle march across the American political landscape, predicting easy, cheap and quick victory. Richard Perle, July 2002: We know [Saddam has] got about a third of what he had in 1991. But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder. Ken Adelman, February 2002: I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps. Dick Cheney, March 2003: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that. Richard Perle, September 2003: And a year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they've been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation.
Here, you can get a good overview of the administration's September 2001 (coincidence?, I think not) to go to war with Iraq, and the tortuous route they had to follow to obtain the teeny, weeny amount of legitimacy they needed to, basically, invade a sovereign nation that hadn't threatened another nation-state.

Debunking the Myth that Bush is a strong leader

Will you get it through your flag-waving skulls: Bush, his advisors and his administration, while on a neoconservative mission to make the world "safer" totally and completely failed to plan for a contingency that even Tom Friedman (an Iraq war supporter) warned about: Iraq is not a centralized, unified country: it is like a Yugoslavia - a group of not particularly friendly-to-each other ethnic groups, tribes, and sects that were stopped from killing each other by a ruthless totalitarian dictator. Also: since we're fighting what's been called a global war on islamist/islamofascist terrorism, why did we put over 100,000 American troops smack dab in the middle of Iraq and fail to seal the borders? That grave error, that costly, unnecessary, and deadly error is a key reason why our men and women in Iraq, and the Iraqi national guard are sitting ducks. It's a chief reason why Westerners are getting kidnapped and beheaded. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Jerry Bremer said that the chief post-war problem in Iraq was that he didn't have enough troops. After that statement was publicized, the Bushies forced him to retract it on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times, which he did. Remember Jay Garner? Bremer's predecessor? Surprise, surprise. Guess what he's got to say in today's New York Times: 'I think that there were Baathist Sunnis who planned to resist no matter what happened and at all cost, but we missed opportunities, and that drove more of them into the resistance,' Jay Garner, the first civilian administrator of Iraq and a retired Army lieutenant general, said in an interview, referring to the Baath Party of Mr. Hussein and to his Sunni Muslim supporters. 'Things were stirred up far more than they should have been. We did not seal the borders because we did not have enough troops to do that, and that brought in terrorists.'" and: Looking back at that crucial time, those officers, administration officials and others provided an intimate and detailed account of how the postwar situation went awry. Civilian administrators of the Iraqi occupation raised concerns about plans to reduce American forces; intelligence agencies left American forces unprepared for the furious battles they encountered in Iraq's southern cities and did not emphasize the risks of a postwar insurgency. And senior American generals and civilians were at odds over plans to build a new Iraqi army, which was needed to impose order. It's quite a long article. It's quite a factual, undisputed indictment on the Bush administration's abysmal handling of Iraq, and just how inept, incompetent and wrong-headed they are. What's even scarier is that Bush never, ever changes his mind once he's made it up. They'll change the facts to back up that decision, instead. He never "flip flops" by changing strategies once the situation changes. Why? Because he is doing God's will, and what Jesus would do is apparently paramount, exceeding American lives in importance to this "Commander-in-Chief."

Paging the Middle Ages

Hey, let's go back in time to Auto da Fe, inquisition, excommunication, indulgences, and all the other great stuff that the Catholic Church has in its history and arsenal. First, a disclaimer: I do not belong to any organized religion and I do not attend a church. This neither means that I am athiest nor agnostic. It just means I don't join churches, and I don't attend them either. How, when, where, why, and whether I praise and pray to God is my own business, and I don't feel compelled to share it with a bunch of like-minded strangers or with some sort of mystical heirarchy. Obviously, I respect the choice and right of people to praise God (or not) however, whenever, and wherever they want, provided it does not infringe on anyone else's right to do just about anything. I used to call myself a Catholic, although technically I never made it into the club. Let's just say I didn't get the right merit badges. My choice not to become an active and proper member of that Church has only been validated, in my opinion, by that sect's vicious positions on homosexuality, clerical celibacy, contraception, and abortion, which tends to fly in the face of its apparent decades-long tolerance of pedophiliac priests. To underscore my disgust with that church and its laws and heirarchy: some lawyer out in California has sued in ecclesiastical court to excommunicate John Kerry from the Catholic church. (You read that correctly). Why? Because of his private opposition to abortion and his public support of a woman's right to choose. This guy has also targeted Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, Susan Collins, and Mario Cuomo. (What about McGreevey?) Honestly, if this happens, it would be right to call Kerry a martyr. It really is time for the Catholic Church to make the great leap out of its mystical, Rennaissance Faire-type show. Just my two cents. UPDATE: Thou shalt not lie. "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has had no contact with Mr. (Marc) Balestrieri," said Dominican Father Augustine DiNoia, undersecretary of the congregation."His claim that the private letter he received from (Dominican) Father Basil Cole is a Vatican response is completely without merit," Father DiNoia told Catholic News Service Oct. 19, declining to discuss the matter further.


Job Cuts in U.S. Tech Sector Soar, Report Finds Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:42 AM ET NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. technology sector suffered another round of widespread layoffs during the third quarter, with computer firms slashing jobs most aggressively, a report said on Monday...

...Job cuts in technology jumped 60 percent between July and September to 54,701, compared with 34,213 layoffs in the second quarter. Computer companies alone saw job cuts jump 127 percent, to 30,624.

And George W. Bush thinks all of these highly educated technogeeks need... ...a Community College degree. Leave no Computer Programmer Behind!

Is Drudge on the Kerry team now?

Is it just me, or does this "news flash" from Drudge make the case for a more equitable tax system, as espoused by Kerry? In other words, if Teresa Heinz-Kerry can earn about $5 million and pay an "overall average tax rate of only 12.4%" on that, while a schmuck making 30k pays about 25%, doesn't that underscore the need for reforming the tax code to ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay a higher rate than middle-class earners.

The reality-based community

Those of us who deal with reality are not in sync with George W. Bush's White House. And they like it that way. Check out Suskind's piece in the New York Times, before it's archived.
Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . . ''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''
and later...
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency. The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'' Who besides guys like me are part of the reality-based community? Many of the other elected officials in Washington, it would seem. A group of Democratic and Republican members of Congress were called in to discuss Iraq sometime before the October 2002 vote authorizing Bush to move forward. A Republican senator recently told Time Magazine that the president walked in and said: ''Look, I want your vote. I'm not going to debate it with you.'' When one of the senators began to ask a question, Bush snapped, ''Look, I'm not going to debate it with you.''

Growing Putinization of America

A double-helping of Putin. Matt Yglesias coins a new term: Putinization.
Suskind's article along with other pieces of evidence of what one might call the creeping Putinization of American life (the Sinclair incident, the threatening letter to Rock The Vote, the specter of the top official in the House of Representatives making totally baseless charges of criminal conduct against a major financier of the political opposition [shades of Mikhail Khodorovsky], the increasing evidence that the 'terror alert' system is nothing more than a political prop, the 'torture memo' asserting that the president is above the law, the imposition of rigid discipline on the congress, the abuse of the conference committee procedure, the ability of the administration to lie to congress without penalty, the exclusion of non-supporters from Bush's public appearances, etc.) are beginning to make me think this assessment may have been misguided.
Regrettably, I think he's right, but I think we can reverse it pretty easily. In two weeks.

One authoritarian supports another

Pootie-poot endorses Bush.


Swift Boat Liars for Bush

ABC's Nightline traveled to Vietnam to find out which is more accurate: Kerry's Silver Star commendation, or the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush. Vietnamese villagers - who have no axe to grind for or against Kerry - confirm Kerry's version of events leading to the awarding of his Silver Star, and directly contradict that of the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush. What's striking is this passage.

He also said the Swift boats were coming under attack from the Viet Cong fighters on shore. "We tried to shoot at the boat," he said, "but we didn't hit anything." Kerry's citation says he "uncovered an enemy rest and supply area, which was destroyed," but according to the villagers, the Americans missed the military supplies. In fact, Vo Ti Vi said, just a few weeks after the attack, the Viet Cong raided a U.S. base stealing weapons and ammunition. The weapons remain in Nha Vi all these years later, she says, buried under her garden. Back in Tran Thoi, villager Nguyen Van Khoai said that about six months ago he was visited by an American who described himself as a Swift boat veteran and told him another American from the Swift boats was running for president of the United States. Nguyen said the man was accompanied by a cameraman. "They say he didn't do anything to deserve the medal," Nguyen said. "The other day, they came and asked me the questions and I said that the recognition for the medal is up to the U.S.A." He said that, after they met, the Swift Boat veteran and the cameraman turned around and went back down the river. Nightline has not been able to identify the men.

More on Mary Cheney

Why is it inappropriate to mention that Dick Cheney’s daughter is gay?

  • She’s out.
  • She works for her dad’s campaign
  • The Cheneys themselves have used her as an example to explain their own differences with George Bush on the issue of gay marriage/civil unions
  • When John Edwards mentioned her 2 weeks ago, there was no outcry (thus rendering the current outcry quite disingenuous)
  • I think that what Republican senate candidate Alan Keyes said on September 1st, calling Mary Cheney a “selfish hedonist” is far more opportunistic and offensive, yet I didn’t hear Lynne or Dick Cheney condemn Keyes or his statement

What’s quite evident here is that the right’s argument is patently and fundamentally homophobic. Mary Cheney isn’t ashamed of being an out lesbian in a committed relationship. Therefore, there is nothing about which to get indignant. Only a homophobe would think that publicly acknowledging that Mary Cheney is a lesbian, (while explaining that homosexuality is not a choice), is wrong or inappropriate. In other words, if Kerry and Edwards were trying to set a trap for right-wing homophobes, you all walked right into it, and you’re all trapped.

Sinclair Update

I received a nice note from a representative of Dunn Tire, who informs me that they do no advertising on Sinclair stations in Buffalo.


Keyes & Cheney remix

Let's rewind for a moment. Here's what Alan Keyes (R), candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryl... I mean Illinois said on September 1st:
In an interview with SIRUS satellite radio, the Internet's Drudge Report said Wednesday, Keyes called Mary Cheney "a 'selfish hedonist' because she is a lesbian." Keyes said: "The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principal excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism." Asked whether that meant Mary Cheney "is a selfish hedonist," Keyes said: "That goes by definition. Of course she is." Keyes took to the airwaves again Wednesday to try and put the remark in context. WBBM-AM, Chicago, reported he denied the comment was meant to slam Mary Cheney and blamed the media for taking a generalization and making it personal. Keyes said if he had a lesbian daughter he would love her but tell her she was sinning.
Where was Lynne Cheney's outrage at that statement? Where was Richard don't-call-me-Dick Cheney's fury at Keyes? Where was the right-wing punditry to attack this "victimization". So, let's sum up GOPerville:
  • It is wrong for Kerry & Edwards to acknowledge Mary Cheney's existence.
  • It is ok for Alan Keyes to call Mary Cheney a selfish hedonist.
Oh, yeah. By the way? Around September 26th, we learned that, yes, Alan Keyes' daughter is a lesbian, too. You can't make this stuff up, people.

Sound & Fury Signifying Nothing

Check it out. This is one of the sites Sullivan cites. It's nothing more than rank homophobia & blatant bigotry. Sexual preference / inclination? The fact that homosexuality is neither one of those things was the point of Schieffer's question. This quote, however, takes the dumbass cake:
Would they be so willing to allow their daughters to become the public sexual speculation of news media fodder. Would that be something Mrs. Edwards would support? Or if one of Kerry's daughter's had an abortion and somehow it became public - just because he's running for office does that make it ok to bring up in public, in debates, or on ABC Radio?What is mind-numbingly stupid about this - is that evidently the Kerrys and the Edwards are blind to the potential pain this causes...
Well, if Kerry's daughter had an abortion, and came out publicly about it; and Kerry was against all abortions, then yes, it would be ok to bring up in public and/or in debates because it reveals a fundamental hypocrisy about the politician's stand. Where does this blogger get off saying Mary Cheney has in any way been victimized? She is a public figure. You know who victimized Mary Cheney? It wasn't Kerry or either Edwards. It was hypocritical, lesbian-daughter-having Saint Alan of Keyes. The right victimizes poor Ms. Cheney much worse than any Democrat could or has: Check it out here. In 2002, Ms. Cheney publicly joined a Republican gay activist group. Finally, I love the pitying language:
"VICTIMIZING a woman who obviously struggles with her sexual identity. Will this help them win?"
Well, who said she struggles with anything? Let Ms. Cheney speak for herself. Seems to me that she must be over her struggles if she's a Republican advocate for gay and lesbian issues.
"VICTIMIZING an innocent woman who has chosen not to enter the debate on this?"
Well, she's running her father's campaign, and she's a (broken record time) Republican advocate/activist for gay and lesbian acceptance. (The GOP can tolerate, but not accept).

More Sullivan

The Mary Cheney thing really is a fascinating Rorschach test. Many conservatives are appalled and cast their anti-Kerry opinion as a defense of Mary. Here's one:

Last night he allowed his obsession with his own selfish desire to win a point overshadow the appropriate boundaries of taste, compassion, and kindess. Lynne Cheney has the right to call him a bad man. And woman across the nation have the right to see for themselves that he is willing to victimize THEM if it comes to padding his advantage, reputation, position, or standing.

Victimize? All Kerry did was invoke the veep's daughter to point out that obviously homosexuality isn't a choice, in any meaningful sense. The only way you can believe that citing Mary Cheney amounts to "victimization" is if you believe someone's sexual orientation is something shameful. Well, it isn't. What's revealing is that this truly does expose the homophobia of so many - even in the mildest "we'll-tolerate-you-but-shut-up-and-don't-complain" form. Mickey Kaus, for his part, cannot see any reason for Kerry to mention Mary except as some Machiavellian scheme to pander to bigots. Again: huh? Couldn't it just be that Kerry thinks of gay people as human beings like straight people - and mentioning their lives is not something we should shrink from? Isn't that the simplest interpretation? In many speeches on marriage rights, I cite Mary Cheney. Why? Because it exposes the rank hypocrisy of people like president Bush and Dick and Lynne Cheney who don't believe gays are anti-family demons but want to win the votes of people who do. I'm not outing any gay person. I'm outing the double standards of straight ones. They've had it every which way for decades, when gay people were invisible. Now they have to choose.

What he said.

Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:

I keep getting emails asserting that Kerry's mentioning of Mary Cheney is somehow offensive or gratuitous or a "low blow". Huh? Mary Cheney is out of the closet and a member, with her partner, of the vice-president's family. That's a public fact. No one's privacy is being invaded by mentioning this. When Kerry cites Bush's wife or daughters, no one says it's a "low blow." The double standards are entirely a function of people's lingering prejudice against gay people. And by mentioning it, Kerry showed something important. This issue is not an abstract one. It's a concrete, human and real one. It affects many families, and Bush has decided to use this cynically as a divisive weapon in an election campaign. He deserves to be held to account for this - and how much more effective than showing a real person whose relationship and dignity he has attacked and minimized? Does this makes Bush's base uncomfortable? Well, good.

It's about time they were made uncomfortable in their acquiescence to discrimination. Does it make Bush uncomfortable? Even better. His decision to bar gay couples from having any protections for their relationships in the constitution is not just a direct attack on the family member of the vice-president. It's an attack on all families with gay members - and on the family as an institution. That's a central issue in this campaign, a key indictment of Bush's record and more than relevant to any debate. For four years, this president has tried to make gay people invisible, to avoid any mention of us, to pretend we don't exist. Well, we do. Right in front of him.

Sinclair update

Click this link to see an updated list of Sinclair Broadcast Group Advertisers in Buffalo. I sent a polite email to each of them today, and informed them that I would post their replies to this blog. Update: City Mattress' email isn't working.

Lynne Cheney: homophobe & panderer

Did you know that Lynne Cheney wrote a tawdry romance novel involving lesbianism, back in the day? It's called "Sisters." Ahem. Anyway, last night Schieffer asked the candidates whether they thought homosexuality was a choice. Kerry replied that he didn't think it was, and he mentioned the Cheney's lesbian daughter. As I mentioned last night, the FNC punditocracy was shocked, SHOCKED at that remark, and (obviously parroting some RNC talking points that probably went out immediately after the Cheney-Edwards debate), wondered whether Kerry had crossed some sort of line by doing that. Hellooooo? Edwards mentioned it two weeks ago, and Dick Cheney thanked him for his kind words. If outrage was to be had, that was the time. Not now. Not two weeks later. What a bunch of hypocrites. Talk about your cheap, tawdry political tricks.

Hannity Unhinged

Last night, after the debate, I was switching between CNN, FNC, and MSNBC. I stayed on Hannity & Colmes for a while, because it was quite fascinating. The first guest was Terry McAuliffe. He had a nice chat with Alan Colmes, and they pointed out Bush's gaffe re: not being too concerned about Osama bin Laden. Then Hannity got into it with McAuliffe, and to say Hannity was all in McAuliffe's face would be an understatement. Hannity never let McAuliffe get a word in, and an one point started jabbing at him with his pen. At that point, McAuliffe looked right at Hannity and said, "don't touch me," and he said it with conviction. Later on Wes Clark came on, and he had a nice chat with Alan Colmes. (Honestly, Alan Colmes is only good for a nice chat - he doesn't go anywhere near the jugular, like Hannity does). Then Hannity - the uneducated pretty-boy who avoided Vietnam, - got all in the retired General's face. I especially liked it when Clark, having been asked whether Kerry had the strength and conviction to be President, replied, "George W. Bush was cheerleeding while John Kerry played hockey." It was a cute throwaway line, but it was quite astonishing to watch Hannity get all unhinged at that point, screaming in Clark's face: "what do you mean by that? What are you saying about cheerleaders?" over and over and over again. Clark was unfazed, and gave a mischievous smile to Hannity.

Kerry 3:0

It's official. It's a trifecta. Kerry won all three debates. According to CNN, 52% of (scientific - not online) poll respondents thought that Kerry won. Only 39% though Bush won. I was struck last night just how hollow Bush's cry of "liberal from Massachusetts" sounded. I mean, that is such old news, and that sort of attack is so bloody tired. Between that and Bush basically explaining that people who have had it rough - with outsourcing, job losses, etc., are stupid and need to educate themselves, I thought it was a clear victory for Kerry - who had actual responses to domestic policy questions. I had fun during the debate predicting Bush's talking points - for instance, when the question about affirmative action came up, I predicted that the word "quota" would come up within the first 2 sentences. I think he got it out in the 1st. When a question came up about outsourcing (I think), we predicted that "No Child Left Behind" would come up within the first 3 sentences. He got it out in the 2nd. Kerry looked Presidential while Bush looked like a challenger. I think someone on Kos or Pandagon referred to it as the Zen Master vs. the Frat Boy. That pretty much sums it up.