Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Here is a glaring example of the difference between the left and the right, at least as currently constituted, and as proof of how totally given over to hatred the Republican party has become.

During the Democratic National Convention, USA Today asked Ann Coulter to write a column about it; and, likewise, they asked Michael Moore to write a column about the Republican National Convention.

Here is the opening of Michael Moore's first column for USA Today:
"Welcome, Republicans. You're proud Americans who love your country. In your own way, you want to make this country a better place. Whatever our differences, you should be commended for that."

Here, by way of contrast, is the opening of Ann Coulter's:

"Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the "F-word" are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling. Democrats are constantly suing and slandering police as violent, fascist racists – with the exception of Boston's police, who'll be lauded as national heroes right up until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they'll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs."

Sort of says it all. And, amazingly the right-wingers insist that it is Michael Moore who is hateful.

Republican National Convention Schedule

6:00 Opening Prayer led by the Reverend Jerry Falwell

6:30 Pledge of Allegiance

6:35 Ceremonial Burning of Bill of Rights (excluding 2nd Amendment)

6:45 Salute to the Coalition of the Willing

6:46 Seminar #1: Katherine Harris on "Are Elections Really Necessary?"

7:30 Announcement: Lincoln Memorial Renamed for Ronald Reagan

7:35 Trent Lott: "Re-segregation in the 21st Century"

7:40 EPA Address #1: Mercury: It's What's for Dinner

8:00 Vote on which country to invade next

8:10 Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh

8:15 John Ashcroft Lecture: The Homos Are After Your Children

8:30 Round table discussion on reproductive rights (men only)

8:50 Seminar #2: Corporations: The Government of the Future

9:00 Condi Rice sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man"

9:05 Phyllis Schlafly speaks on "Why Women Shouldn't Be Leaders"

9:10 EPA Address #2: Trees: The Real Cause of Forest Fires

9:30 Break for secret meetings

10:00 Second Prayer led by Cal Thomas

10:15 Carl Rove Lecture: Doublespeak Made Simple

10:30 Rumsfeld Lecture/Demonstration: How to Squint and Talk Macho Even When You Feel Squishy Inside

10:35 Bush demonstration of trademark "deer in headlights" stare

10:40 John Ashcroft Demonstration: New Mandatory Kevlar Chastity Belt

10:45 GOP's Tribute to Tokenism, featuring Colin Powell & Condi Rice

10:46 Ann Coulter's Tribute to "Joe McCarthy, Great American Patriot"

10:50 Seminar #3: Education: A Drain on Our Nation's Economy

11:10 Hilary Clinton Pinata

11:20 John Ashcroft Lecture: Evolutionists: A Dangerous New Cult

11:30 Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh again

11:35 Blame Clinton

11:40 Newt Gingrich speaks on "The Sanctity of Marriage"

11:50 Closing Prayer led by Sun Myung Moon and Prince Bandar

12:00 Nomination of George W. Bush as Holy Supreme Planetary Overlord

"It's now almost certain that terrorists brought down those two Russian airliners ... When president bush was told that terrorists had just crashed two planes, out of habit he didn't move for seven minutes." --Bill Maher
Giuliani had THIS to say in his speech last night:

"I will always remember that moment as we escaped the building we were trapped in at 75 Barclay Street and realized that things outside might be even worse than they were inside the building.

Spontaneously, I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and said to Bernie, "Thank God George Bush is our President."

When Giuliani was saying that to the Police Commissioner, here was Bush"

Monday, August 30, 2004

Via atrios:

Apparently, the person chosen to give the invocation at the Republican National Convention is an anti-gay bigot whose views are - shall we say - more than a bit extreme:

"At first it may seem a bit extreme to imply a comparison between the atrocities of Hitler and what is happening in terms of contemporary threats against the family [by which she means gay marriage] — but maybe not."

Quoth Atrios:

If we had a decent press, every Bush surrogate would be asked "do you agree with Sheri Dew that support for gay marriage is like support for Hitler?"

If we had an even better press they'd get asked "Do you think Dick Cheney who thinks that people should be free to enter into whatever relationships they want to is, as Ms. Dew thinks, equivalent to someone who supported Hitler?"

One of the most commonly yelled slogans at yesterdays massive protest was "Fox New Sucks."

For some reason, Fox News fails to mention that.

"Had we had to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success - being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day." - Way, WAY Too Stupid To Be President, August 30, 2004

"President Bush now says his Iraq policy is a catastrophic success. He's half right." - John Edwards

George Bush today admitted that the "War On Terrorism" was bullshit and something that would never never end.

When asked "Can we win?" the war on terror, Bush said, "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world."

Remember when Bush said that the unconstitutional provisions were temporary measures that were only in place because we were at war? Well he just said, in essence, that we would ALWAYS be at war.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

New York City

The single image that struck me with the most force was them carrying those flag-draped coffins down the street.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

By way of Oliver Willis:
Ok, this is off the usual subject for this blog, but some things you can't resist, and besides, it's MY blog:

Random Kitten Generator.

The Republicans, of course, have SWORN for a long time that cutting Social Security wasn't part of the agenda. We all knew otherwise. Alan Greenspan is urging cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits to stave off a coming "financial crisis."

I have a better idea. Let's see, cost for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: $5 billion per month; tax cuts that benefit the top 1% of the population: $1.6 trillion over ten years.

Nah. Screw that. Let's create a permanent underclass instead. Good idea. Feeding the hungry and healing the sick is SO much less important than occupying a foreign country where we aren't wanted.

"Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday the country will face ''abrupt and painful'' choices unless Congress acts quickly to trim Social Security and Medicare benefits for the baby boom generation. He said the government has promised more than it can deliver. Returning to a politically explosive issue just before the Republican National Convention, Greenspan said the country must face up to ''some tough policy choices.''

Friday, August 27, 2004

We're Not In Lake Woebegon Anymore

Article by Garrison Keillor

"How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?"
In case there was any doubt, Ben Barnes, former Lieutenant Governor of Texas has openly stated that he helped George W. Bush get into the National Guard because he thought at the time that his job was to help rich people. It's on video:


Windows Media Player

Let's see if the press gives this any play, or if they only report accusations aimed at Democrats.

When something stinks

I was reading the Schlesinger Commission report on Abu Ghraib. It's actual title is "Final Report of the Independent Panel To Review DoD Detention Operations," and you can find it here.

As usual, the press is totally clueless in their reporting of it. But only because they follow their usual course of taking the words of the principles involved at face value rather than thinking for themselves, and asking the questions that they should be asking.

When reporting on politics the main question is not the traditional litany of "What, When, Where, Why and How." The main question is, "Is this bullshit?"

For instance, the AP headline reads, "No Evidence That Rumsfeld Condoned Abuse." USA Today says "Report on Iraq abuse cites interrogators, clears leaders"

But in reality, the report itself makes it clear that, as usual, when something stinks, it stinks from the top. The devil is in the details, and the details aren't even complicated.

On page 33 of the Schlesinger Commission report, it says that the Department of Justice told the Counsel to the President that "neither the Federal War Crimes Act nor the Geneva Convention would apply to the detention condition of al Qaeda prisoners," and that the Taliban "did not qualify for Enemy Prisoner of War status under Geneva Convention III." Both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and "many service lawyers" disagreed with the White House, because they felt that such a stance "would be inconsistent with past policy and practice, jeopardize the United States armed forces personnel and undermine the United States military culture which is based on a strict adherence to the law of war." The Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed that all detainees "would get the treatment they are (or would be) entitled to under the Geneva Conventions."

So what happened?

What happened was that Bush, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft thought that the recommendations of the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were stupid.

It's the usual pattern with this crew: despite the fact that they don't know a damned thing about real war, never having been real soldiers, they THINK they know more than everybody, including those who HAVE been real soldiers. They live and die following arrogance as their sacred principle..

So, on February 7, against the advice of those who knew better, Bush issued a memo saying that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply to al Qaeda. On August 1, 2002, Bush's Office of Legal Counsel stated that "only the most extreme acts, that were specifically intended to inflict severe pain and torture would be in violation." In fact, the memo said, Bush could even authorize torture as Commander In Chief exercising wartime powers, if he so decided.

Then, authorities at Guantanamo asked for permission to use "strengthened interrogation techniques" in order to garner information. The Schlesinger report is silent on the specifics of the techniques authorized, but according to a report by Major General George R. Fay, Rumsfeld himself approved interrogation techniques which included "the use of stress positions, isolation for up to thirty days, removal of clothing and the use of detainees' phobias (such as the use of dogs)."

Who commanded Guantanamo Bay and was authorized to carry our these extreme interrogation procedures? Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller. And after his stint in Guantanamo, the White House decided that he was just to man to head up interrogations in Iraq.

"In Iraq, Miller's team gave officers at the prisons copies of the procedures that had been developed at Guantánamo to interrogate and punish the prisoners, according to the officer who traveled with him.

To at least a few of the officers who met Miller in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib crisis was partly rooted in what they described as his determination to "Gitmoize" the American-run prisons in Iraq."

Colonel Thomas Pappas told investigators the idea of using dogs came from Miller.

So, in a nutshell: Rumsfeld and Bush authorized extreme interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, and then sent the folks who had carried out these extreme techniques to Iraq and Abu Ghraib.

But despite this rather glaring proof of culpability, the White House is supposed to have no culpability for what happened at Abu Ghraib.

The main reason the press spins in that way is because, like the good little puppies that they are, they were told to. James Schlesinger, the head of the commission, went out of his way to underplay it.

"There was direct responsibility for those activities on the part of the commanders on the scene up to the brigade level, because they did not adequately supervise what was going on at Abu Ghraib," Schlesinger said. "There was indirect responsibility at higher levels, in that the weaknesses at Abu Ghraib were well-known and that corrective action could have been taken and should have been taken."

But Schlesinger revealed that his reasons for underplaying the wrongdoing of the high mucky-mucks had nothing to do with the facts of the situation but were entirely motivated by personal fondness for Rumsfeld.

"He said Rumsfeld's office could be faulted for inadequate supervision, but he strongly objected to the suggestion that Rumsfeld should step down from his post.

"His resignation would be a boon to all of America's enemies," Schlesinger said."

Actually, Mr. Schlesinger, there are a whole lot of us who think his resignation would be a boon to America.

And you should not have allowed your personal opinion of Mr. Rumsfeld to cause you to whitewash his obvious culpability.

When something stinks, it stinks from the top.

There are many documents relating to the Torturegate scandal available on the Washington Post's website.
From a Seattle Times editorial, 8/27/04:

Four years ago, this page endorsed George W. Bush for president.

We cannot do so again -- because of an ill-conceived war and its aftermath, undisciplined spending, a shrinkage of constitutional rights and an intrusive social agenda.

The Bush presidency is not what we had in mind.

Our endorsement of John Kerry is not without reservations, but he is head and shoulders above the incumbent.
"Actually, the reason cited by the city for shutting off the park to protestors? Concern over the damage it would to do to the grass. One-hundred million spent on security, and they're hung up on lawn care. Honestly, if next week comes and our worst problem is divots, I'll be pretty damn pleased." --Jon Stewart
"I'm an unabashed supporter of John Kerry because I've stood beside him in combat and I know what he's capable of and I'd want him at my back if I ever have to go someplace where it gets really ugly really fast." - Wade Sanders, who was under fire with Kerry in Vietnam

Matt Gunn does a great job highlighting various ludicrosities of Bush's interview with the New York Times. Here's my favorite point in it:

3. In the NYT interview, Bush clings to his refusal to specifically condemn the falsehoods in the SBVT ad, even though he answers, "No, I don't think he lied" when asked about Kerry's service. That's incredibly disingenuous, which we expect from Bush, but the NYT shamefully doesn't even bother to question him further on why he won't specifically condemn an ad he essentially says is a lie. He wants to have it both ways, winking at those who seek to assassinate Kerry's service record while he calls it noble. It's his m.o..

The man is an outright coward and moral disaster.
As I have said, the SWILLs (SWIft Boat Lying Liars) are not only attacking Kerry, but they are denigrating the service and heroism of every single person who was there.

"John Kerry was a good friend, and a loyal friend to my late husband," she said in a telephone interview from her office in San Francisco. "My husband isn't here to speak, and all I can do is to speak in his name. I don't feel I can remain silent anymore."

Keyes said that by challenging Kerry's record, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of former veterans opposed to Kerry's presidential candidacy, are dishonoring the memory of men such as her husband who fought by Kerry's side. "The suggestion that what Don did or that the award he got was somehow undeserved is crossing a line," she said.

Via the DCCC. The official website of the Republican National Convention has blurbs from the delegates explaining why they love New York. You actually have to look at the links to get the full affect of how absurd this looks:

Congressman Richard Pombo (CA - 11)
"My favorite landmark in New York City is the Statue of Liberty. America is a country of immigrants - people who came here seeking hope and opportunity. That's what the Statue of Liberty stands for, and when you look at it you realize anything is possible."

Hawai`i Governor Linda Lingle
"My favorite landmark in New York City is the Statue of Liberty. America is a country of immigrants - people who came here seeking hope and opportunity. That's what the Statue of Liberty stands for, and when you look at it you realize anything is possible."

Do these guys send around Talking Points on EVERYTHING?
Sentient Non-Idiots For Kerry
Repubs pick a fight about Vietnam while Bush ruins America right now? Is the nation drunk?
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Go read.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Ok, the lies of the Swift Boaters have become more and more transparent and more and more pathetic.

Now - how do we get the damned press to stop treating them as though they may have validity?

"I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border," O'Neill is heard telling Nixon in a conversation that was taped by the former president's secret recording system. The tape is stored at the National Archives in College Park, Md.

In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, O'Neill did not dispute what he said to Nixon on June 16, 1971, but he insisted he was never actually in Cambodia.

"I think I made it very clear that I was on the border, which is exactly where I was for three months," O'Neill said of the conversation. "I was about 100 yards from Cambodia."

1) "I was in Cambodia, I worked along the border" would mean that you were IN CAMBODIA, near the border on the other side. At least to one who speaks English.

2) About 100 yards from the border? What, was there a sign saying "entering Cambodia"?

The question about O'Neill, of course, isn't whether he's lying, but whether he ever tells the truth.
Fair is fair. George W. Bush apparently has made a habit of wearing medals he didn't earn.

"The Republicans are in town to do two things - slander John Kerry and try to get laid. " --David Letterman, Attribution

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

LITTLE GIRL: "Daddy, do ALL fairy tales begin with 'Once Upon A Time'?"

FATHER: "No, just wait till you hear, 'Welcome to the 2004 Republican National Convention, the party of peace and prosperity'."

The Bush credo: "Let's keep pissing people off just for the hell of it. It's worked real well so far."

"Top International Olympic Committee officials are furious at what they see as US President George Bush's hijacking of the Olympic name for his re-election campaign.

IOC marketing head Gerhard Heiberg tried to play down the controversy on Wednesday, saying simply that they would like the ads running on American television to stop.

"We are following what is happening and hope the campaign will stop," said Heiberg.

"The United States Olympic Committee is dealing with the matter. We own the rights to the Olympic name and no one has asked our permission," he added.

"The arrogance of the US administration is quite amazing. To hijack the Olympics name ... it is difficult to put it into words," said one senior IOC member.

Heiberg admitted he was uncomfortable at the Olympic brand being used by politicians.

"This is not good. We do not want this to happen. We are politically neutral," said Heiberg."

"Arrogance." Isn't it amazing how regularly that adjective follows Bush around?

"Cluelessness" fits, too.

Real Republican Values

Moveon has a new ad that is absolutely DYNAMITE. It's about we stood up and said loud and clear that the Republican Party has been taken over by a screaming pack of lunatics. They are going to try telling that lie about "compassionate conservatism," and Moveon rips the mask off. Here it is.

Real Republican Values.

Lawyer Advising Vets Quits Bush Campaign

I'm almost to starting feel badly for writing about these guys. They really have become a sad, pathetic joke in an astonishingly short amount of time. A new lie is exposed every day; a new tie to the Bush campaign is exposed every day. And there are still people who actually take these clowns seriously? There are still people who don't realize that this organization which was formed to CREATE a scandal has instead BECOME a scandal?

George W. Bush is now looking like a giant piece of crap. He has been publicly exposed as a resident of the gutter and as the companion and supporter of some of the most blatant liars ever to grace the planet. On the eve of his convention.

Does anybody think that exposure of these lies will stop during the convention? Of course it won't. And it will take attention away from the convention and will, instead, focus the press on the scandal that Bush has mired himself in.

I have begun to think that the greatest gift John Kerry could ever have asked for is the enmity of these Weasels of Incompetence.

"Bring it on," Kerry said.

They did.

And now we know why Kerry wanted them to.

From "The Gutless Pacifist"

For some reason, I find this picture utterly chilling.
As Mr. Reagan once famously asked: "Are you better off now that you were four years ago?"

Let's see: we are mired in a perpetual war that has no seeming end and no justification for existence.

The city I live in is under perpetual orange alert.

Gas prices have skyrocketed.

Unemployment is way up.

We are running the biggest deficits in history.

We have no money for United States citizens, but we are pouring all of our money into a gaping hole called Iraq.

But on the plus side, I'll soon be able to buy my very own assault rifle.

Good timing. If this keeps up, I may need my very own assault rifle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Lo, yon excrement striketh yon fan.

What is the world made these clowns think that they could just lie, and nobody would notice?

Local veterans call for attorney's resignation

Clackamas County veterans are calling for the resignation of an assistant district attorney who appeared in television ads attacking Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military record.

In the ad, and a sworn affidavit, Al French says he served with Kerry and that the Purple Heart medals Kerry received were obtained under false pretenses.

However, French admitted later that he did not witness the events mentioned in the affidavit and was relying on what his friends told him.

Veteran Don Stewart says he believes it was outrageous that French would try to smear Kerry's military record.

"Mr. French signed an affidavit defaming John Kerry's military service and then he admitted that he had no first-hand knowledge of what he swore to," Stewart said on Monday. "Someone who the community trusts to carry out the law cannot be lying in sworn, legal affidavits."

Winter Soldier

As I mentioned below, there is a new ad being run by the SWILLs (SWIftboat Lying Liars) where they try to make hay out of Kerry's testimony before Congress:

John Kerry (Voiceover throughout) : “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, randomly shot at civilians, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.”

Needless to say, it's taken grossly out of context. The SWILLs try to give the impression that Kerry just pulled stuff out of his ass so he could smear soldiers. We call this "projection."

However, Kerry was not claiming to have witnessed atrocities himself at all. Kerry was reporting the testimony from the Winter Soldier Investigation, and was essentially recapping what other people had publicly said and reiterating what Congress had just heard.

The full text of the Winter Soldier Testimony is here. Here is the Table of Contents, with links:

And a very short excerpt, from the extremely extensive testimony of dozens of veterans:

"CAMILE. I was in the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, attached to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.... The calling in of artillery for games, the way it was worked would be the mortar forward observers would pick out certain houses in villages, friendly villages, and the mortar forward observers would call in mortars until they destroyed that house and then the artillery forward observer would call in artillery until he destroyed another house and whoever used the least amount of artillery, they won. And when we got back someone would have to buy someone else beers. The cutting off of heads--on Operation Stone--there was a Lt. Colonel there and two people had their heads cut off and put on stakes and stuck in the middle of the field. And we were notified that there was press covering the operation and that we couldn't do that anymore. Before we went out on the operation we were told not to waste our heat tablets on food but to save them for the villages because we were going to destroy all the villages and we didn't give the people any time to get out of the villages. We just went in and burned them and if people were in the villages yelling and screaming, we didn't help them. We just burned the houses as we went."

Some people find this stuff very difficult to face, and it hurts them deeply. But it did happen. Kerry didn't make it up, and it could not be ignored by anyone with a conscience. And by reporting it, he not only did his duty as an American, but as a human being, too.

This is one of kos's diaries that Matt Gunn drew attention to:

"This is a quick one... Just caught Tom Oliphant on Scarborough's show on MSNBC, and he had some fascinating insights into Kerry and Vietnam and the Swift Boat Scum that far outshone most of the crap usually on that channel/program. I know he's been a friend of Kerry's for over 30 years, but he seems remarkably objective about the man, the candidate, and his campaigns. A couple of his points:

Kerry, in every campaign he's ever run, has always invited (almost dared) his opponents to attack his Vietnam record. He "leads with his chin," but he does so on purpose. He relishes this fight, and it's a fight he's had over and over again. In this context, the words "Bring It On" take on an entirely new (and in this case, entirely earnest) meaning.

Kerry seems to have planned a very thought-out counterattack to the Swift Boat charges, "phase 2" of which is to begin tomorrow (he's speaking at Cooper Union, which The Note touched on briefly today). To Kerry, the counterattack is always what matters, not the attack itself. In this light, waiting a week or two before responding to the Swift Boat Scum was also a very planned decision.

Oliphant points out how much of this strategy (or obsession) has to do with Kerry's personal convictions and emotions. He has done this repeatedly, and has won every time. He really does turn his boat into enemy fire. Every time.

It was a very reassuring assessment of the man and his campaign. He doesn't fear attacks. He wants them. He invites them. That toughness is one of the most reassuring qualities I can imagine in a candidate. Hopefully, it will shine through to the electorate at large."

"Almost a year ago, on the second anniversary of 9/11, I predicted "an ugly, bitter campaign - probably the nastiest of modern American history." The reasons I gave then still apply. President Bush has no positive achievements to run on. Yet his inner circle cannot afford to see him lose: if he does, the shroud of secrecy will be lifted, and the public will learn the truth about cooked intelligence, profiteering, politicization of homeland security and more.

But recent attacks on John Kerry have surpassed even my expectations. There's no mystery why. Mr. Kerry isn't just a Democrat who might win: his life story challenges Mr. Bush's attempts to confuse tough-guy poses with heroism, and bombast with patriotism."

Monday, August 23, 2004

Bush: Abridge Free Speech

Here's what Bush said that the press is spinning as a call to stop the Swift Boat Vets ad:

"All of them," the president said, when asked whether he specifically meant that the veteran's group's ad against Mr. Kerry should be stopped. "That means that ad, every other ad. Absolutely. I don't think we ought to have 527's. I can't be more plain about it, and I wish — I hope my opponent joins me in saying — condemning these activities of the 527's. It's — I think they're bad for the system."

Do you BELIEVE this guy?

George? Do you think the problem is FREE SPEECH?

The problem isn't that people who don't belong to political parties can run political ads. They're allowed to do that. This is America. The Swift Boat Vets - and everybody else - are allowed to criticize a politician and are allowed to run ads saying so.

The problem is that the this particular ad is immoral, unethical and dishonest.

THAT'S what your being asked to condemn, you moron. Not people's right to speak their minds.

Do you BELIEVE that Bush is trying to use his own dishonesty as an excuse to abridge political speech?

HIS minions wallow in the gutter, and he tries to use it as excuse to stop ALL criticism, valid and invalid.

What a pathetic excuse for a human being.


This blog is being brought to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where there are helicopters hovering in the sky.

They aren't flying anywhere: they are just standing in one place, hovering. Four or five of them. They were there when I left this morning and they are there now that I've returned. I don't think they've been there the whole time: I think it's just coincidence. But I'm not sure. The radio news seems blissfully unaware of them. No mention at all to explain why they are there.

I'm sure this is somehow related to beefed-up security for the soon-to-be Republican National Convention. At least I hope that's why, because if that isn't it, it's something really serious.

It's really one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever experienced. Taking a pleasant walk down Broadway and aware that there is this helicopter hovering directly over your head. People on the street keep looking up nervously, and everyone has a nervous face on. The thwap-thwap-thwap over your head in continuous. The helicopters remind you of the danger. Constantly.

And why?

Because President Stupid and Vicious thought it would be a GREAT idea to try and make political hay out of 9/11 by scheduling the Republican National Convention near Ground Zero in September. That's why.

After all, why would he give a crap that NYC is already regarded as uniquely high on the terrorist's list of preferred targets? Let's push it a little bit higher, and make it a really super desirable target.

I swear, the ONLY consideration he has when making decisions is politics. The man doesn't give a raw crap about anything else.

Homosexual tearfully
admits to being Governor
of New Jersey.

Abu Ghraibe, Guatanamo...

and now, Afghanistan.

Bush's not only makes a habit of smearing veterans: allegations of prisoner abuse seem to follow this guy around wherever he goes, too.

What a guy.

"A United Nations Independent Expert on Afghanistan is denouncing abuses taking place at an illegal jail there, and seeking answers from the United States on getting the prisoners released.

Briefing reporters in Kabul on Saturday, Professor Cherif Bassiouni referred to a group of 725 out of some 3,200 persons originally detained by the Northern alliance -- "and apparently some US forces were involved" -- who then were transferred from Shibergan to Pul --e-Charkhi prison under the authority of the Government.

The expert, who visited the prison, called conditions there inhuman. "They violate every standard of human rights whether under UN standards of minimum rules for the treatment of offenders or under international humanitarian law," he said.

The expert also raised the issue of US forces holding between 300 and 400 detainees in Kandahar and Bagram. "Nobody has had a chance to visit them," he noted. "The lack of giving an opportunity for people to go and see these facilities is a lack of transparency that raises serious concerns about the legality of detention as well as the condition of those detentions."
There is a full examination of all this Swift Boat crap at a site named "eriposte". It's rather exhaustive. It includes this from digby:

"It has struck me lately what a terrible indictment of the military these charges are and how once again the Republicans have absolutely no limits in terms of how fully they are willing to trash the American institutions they allegedly love in order to win. What these people are saying is that the US Navy awarded some of its highest medals for bravery to a coward. The many officers who signed those glowing fitness reports and awarded those citations are either liars or they are incompetent. The word of his shipmates, even the man whose life he saved, are worth nothing. You can't believe military documentary evidence. It was all bullshit, every last piece of it.

And because of this it can now be said that all medals awarded for bravery are suspect. A superior military record is no longer a recommendation. Who can ever believe the government on this issue, now?
The conservative attack on the military is, on the other hand, so small minded, so parochial. For puny, partisan reasons they are accusing the military of widespread corruption --- merely to excuse the behavior of their less than stellar candidate.
Too bad for the men and women who are risking their necks as we speak for Junior's Big Adventure. Any act of bravery on which the military might bestow a medal is now subject to interpretation. Nothing is sacred to these people."
Why does the Iraqi soccer team hate America?

For God's sake, somebody suggest a caption.
"You get up there on a national television show and you say without a shred of proof that a decorated war veteran inflicted his own wounds. This doesn't make you "controversial" or "colorful." This makes you nuts. It ought to disqualify you forever from the company of serious people, and from the society of the decent ones. And you can still get a job with Fox News." - Charles Pierce, talking about Michelle Malkin

Sunday, August 22, 2004

If anyone tries to tell you how "heroic" it was to be in the National Guard when Dubya served (as opposed to now), here's a little winner from the Air National Guard's own website, recounting their history:

"For largely domestic political reasons, President Johnson chose not to mobilize most of the nation's reserve forces. The 1968 callups were only token affairs.... The Reserves and the Guard acquired reputations as draft havens for relatively affluent young white men."

Guess it certainly served as a haven for ONE affluent young white man, eh?
Real Vet Vs. Fake Vet.

Maureen Dowd:


It's easy for the Bushes to stay gallant. They delegate the gutter.

There are always third-party political assassins, ostensibly independent, to do the dynasty wet work.

W.'s old pal and running partner, Lee Atwater, set up the Bush modus operandi: Lay in the weeds while craftily planting plausibly deniable surrogates to slice up your rival....

Reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post last week made it clear that the vile Swift boaters have told wildly varying accounts, sometimes supportive of Mr. Kerry.

The Times revealed that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - is that like the administration's Clear Skies Act for spewing pollution? - has a trellis of ties to Karl Rove, the Bush family and Bush supporters. "A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice," Kate Zernike and Jim Rutenberg wrote. Indeed, it was the same woman who worked for a third party group that slimed Mr. McCain on the environment in the 2000 primaries....

It makes sense for W. to use surrogates to do his fighting, just as he did when he slid out of Vietnam and just as he did when he sent our troops to fight his administration's misbegotten vanity war in Iraq.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

From John Kerry

Sent around by the Kerry Campaign:

George Bush and his Republican friends have become so desperate that they are returning to their old tricks -- whenever a campaign is going badly, they smear the record of a Vietnam veteran. They did it to John McCain in 2000, to Max Cleland in 2002, and now they are doing it to John Kerry. The question must be asked of President Bush: what do you have against Vietnam veterans?

Our campaign has just released a new Internet ad called "Old Tricks" which shows John McCain asking George Bush to apologize for attacking McCain's own heroic record.

View the ad by visiting:


Today we're calling for all of you to join together and stand with John Kerry. Tell George Bush: stop the smear, get back to the issues.

Sign our petition by visiting:


A front group for the Bush campaign called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" is continuing to spread their lies about John Kerry's military record. Their statements have been contradicted by official Navy records, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and every man who served under John Kerry -- yet George Bush refuses to condemn their tactics. Through his silence, George Bush is approving their action. And Bush campaign officials in Florida are even promoting events for this front group.

Enough is enough. No matter what these Bush campaign shills now say, John Kerry's commanders remarked in 1969 that, "In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed." In fact, all of John Kerry's performance reports (available on our website) display an absolutely heroic record of service.

These people play for keeps. They unleash relentless attacks, one wave after another, and it isn't going to stop. Everybody needs to see our ad and reflect on how our country can do better.

We need you to get the truth out by forwarding this email to your friends, family and co-workers.

Tell George Bush to denounce these attacks by clicking here:


Thank you,

Mary Beth Cahill
Campaign Manager

An example of the fallacy of "On-the-other-hand" - as someone called the tendency of the press to treat two sides of any question as having equal validity, no matter how absurd one side may actually be.

From the Washington Post:

"O'Neill has said that the initials "KJW" on the bottom of the report "identified" it as having been written by Kerry. It is unclear why this should be so, as Kerry's initials are JFK. A review of other Swift boat after-action reports at the Naval Historical Center here reveals several that include the initials "KJW" but describe incidents at which Kerry was not present."

Notice that despite this, the Post is actually treating O'Neill's statement that "KJW" identifies Kerry as though it was a legitimate possibility simply because he said it, when it is obviously total hogwash to any sane person.
One more eyewitness account contradicting the liars:

"The commander of a Navy swift boat who served alongside Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the Vietnam War stepped forward Saturday to dispute attacks challenging Kerry's integrity and war record.

William Rood [said] recent portrayals of Kerry's actions published in the best-selling book "Unfit for Command" are wrong and smear the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

Rood, who commanded one of three swift boats during that 1969 mission, said Kerry came under rocket and automatic weapons fire from Viet Cong forces and that Kerry devised an aggressive attack strategy that was praised by their superiors. He called allegations that Kerry's accomplishments were "overblown" untrue."

And that after-action report that Thurlow said was written by Kerry? Hoffman wrote it himself.

"In the official after-action message, obtained by the Tribune, Hoffmann wrote that the tactics developed and executed by Kerry, Rood and Droz were "immensely effictive [sic]" and that "this operation did unreparable [sic] damage to the enemy in this area."

"Well done," Hoffmann concluded in his message."

What a pack of blatant liars.
It looks like Kerry's lawsuit may have validity. The second Swift Boat ad (detailed below) features as an accuser one Colonel Kenneth Cordier. Cordier is a major Bush operative:

"During the 2000 Presidential Primary Campaign, Col. Cordier rallied fellow POWs to support George W. Bush and collected signatures from a large segment of the POWs for a press release endorsement. Following President Bush's nomination, he was appointed as Vice Chair for the Veterans and Retired Military for Bush/Cheney National Coalition."

While Bush claims that he has NOTHING to do with it. But he won't condemn it.

What transparent slime.

Abu Ghraib

Abu Ghraib Probe Points to Top Brass

"An Army investigation into the role of military intelligence personnel in the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison reports that the scandal was not just caused by a small circle of rogue military police soldiers but resulted from failures of leadership rising to the highest levels of the U.S. command in Iraq, senior defense officials said."

Some of us strongly suspect that it WASN'T the "highest levels of command in Iraq" - it was the highest levels of command in WASHINGTON.

The Bush administration tried to get the folks at Gauatanamo declared NOT covered by the Geneva Convention.

Why would they DO that, unless they wished to treat them in ways that violated the Geneva Convention?

Does anybody really think there is no relation between that and the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib?

Friday, August 20, 2004


From The Poor Man; this is illegal, folks.

Bush Campaign Busted Passing Out “Swift Boat Veterans for Bush” Flyer Washington, DC - Despite constant denials, the Bush-Cheney campaign today was busted coordinating with the “Swift Boat Veterans for Bush” in their smear campaign against John Kerry. The following press release was issued this afternoon by the Florida Democratic Party. The evidence is attached.

“Bush Campaign Caught Promoting "Swift Boat Vets for Truth"

While National Campaign Denies Coordination, Campaign in Florida Promotes Rally

Tallahassee -- On the same day that the Bush-Cheney campaign repeatedly denied coordinating attacks with the anti-Kerry group "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," the Bush-Cheney campaign in Florida was caught promoting a rally in Gainesville for the group.

A flyer being distributed at the Alachua County Republican party headquarters, which doubles as the Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters for the county, promotes a weekend rally sponsored by "Swift Boat Vets for Truth, Veterans for Bush, Alachua Bush/Cheney Committee," and others.

New ad

Here's the script of a new ad the "Miffed Vote Veterans for a Big Lie" are going to be running:

John Kerry (Voiceover throughout) : “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads. . .”

Joe Ponder: “The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating.”

John Kerry: “. . . randomly shot at civilians. . .”

Joe Ponder: “It hurt me more than any physical wounds I had.”

John Kerry: “. . . cut off limbs, blown up bodies. . .”

Ken Cordier: “That was part of the torture, was, uh, to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes.”

John Kerry: “. . . razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan. . .”

Paul Gallanti: “John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I, and many of my, uh, comrades in North Vietnam, in the prison camps, uh, took torture to avoid saying. It demoralized us.”

John Kerry: “. . . crimes committed on a day to day basis. . . ”

Ken Cordier: “He betrayed us in the past, how could we be loyal to him now?”

John Kerry: “. . . ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.”

Paul Gallanti: “He dishonored his country, and, uh, more, more importantly the people he served with. He just sold them out.”

Is it my imagination, or do these guys seem to be implying that they committed war crimes? I mean, I know that isn't what they MEAN to imply, but...well...John Kerry is generically decrying the commission of war crimes, and these guys are taking it personally. Why would they do that?

No sane person DENIES that some U.S. soldiers committed atrocities in Vietnam.

Why would you take blowing the whistle on it as a personal attack?

“They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads. . .”

“It hurt me more than any physical wounds I had...he betrayed us.”

Guy? That's only betraying you if you had raped someone or cut off their head.

Did you?

If not, why is it betrayal when someone makes the crimes public?

This has actually become interesting.

Kerry is officially accusing the Bush campaign of breaking the law.

Maybe it's me - but I doubt that Kerry would do that if he didn't have something solid.

"A simmering feud between the Bush and Kerry campaigns over a TV ad that denigrates Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam war record moved toward the boiling point Friday as the Democratic nominee filed a complaint with federal officials that accused the president’s re-election campaign of breaking the law.

Kerry’s complaint to the Federal Elections Commission about the ads produced and aired by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth alleges "overwhelming evidence” that the veterans group is “coordinating its expenditures on advertising and other activities designed to influence the presidential election with the Bush-Cheney Campaign,” Kerry spokeswoman Allison Dobson told NBC News. "
"Kerry did serve with distinction in Vietnam when he easily could have avoided that killing field. His service to his country shouldn’t be diminished by the same despicable, politically motivated tactics visited upon Sens. John McCain in South Carolina and Max Cleland in Georgia, also Viet vets. This kind of gutter-bashing doesn’t belong in American politics, and vets shouldn’t allow themselves to be used as ammo for cheap shots at one of their own.

The stalwart Brown Water Navy warriors who fought at Kerry’s side say he was A-OK, which is good enough for me. The muckrakers such as John O’Neill and his Swiftboat snipers – who didn’t sail on his boat but served anywhere from 100 meters to 300 miles away – are now coming off like eyewitnesses when in fact not one of their testimonies would hold up in a court of law. A judge would call these men liars and disallow their biased statements." - David Hackworth, the country's most decorated living veteran.
The Times has a graphic layout showing the various connections of the Smear Vote Geterans to the Bushies.

Smear Exposed

The New York Times has a good article - praise be, some actual investigative reporting - on the Swift Boat Smear. I'm recapping some of the points below, with a few comments.


Does the smear come from Bush?

As you probably know, Kerry has stated that the smear comes from the Bush campaign. The Bush campaign denies it.

But interviews and documents show TONS of connections to the Bush family, Texas politics and Karl Rove (of COURSE Karl Rove).

The groups two largest financiers are Bob Perry, who has been a political associate of Rove's for 30 years, and Harlan Crow, the seventh-largest Republican donor in the state of Texas and a trustee of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

And their Public Relations Coordinator is Merrie Spaeth, the wife of Bush's old Lieutenant Governor, Tex Lezar.

But Bush had NOTHING to do with it. Really.

How about the groups affadavits?

According to Patrick Runyon, who served on a mission with Kerry, he was one of those originally contacted by the group. He actually had the impression that they were a pro-Kerry group, and gladly gave them a statement about the night Kerry received one of his Purple Hearts.

The caller told Runyon he would be sent an email of his statement to sign and return.

But what they sent Runyon to sign WASN'T WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAID. It was what they WANTED him to say:

"Mr. Runyon said the edited version was stripped of all references to enemy combat, making it look like just another night in the Mekong Delta.

"It made it sound like I didn't believe we got any returned fire," he said. "He made it sound like it was a normal operation. It was the scariest night of my life."

So then sent Runyon a falsified affadavit, telling him to just sign it and send it back.

How many of the OTHER affadavits were phony?

What about what they say? Are they believable?

In the TV commercial, Dr. Louis Letson says, "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury."

But Letson's name does not appear on ANY of the medical records for Kerry.

Under "person administering treatment" for the injury, the form is signed by J. C. Carreon, a medic who died a few years ago. Letson said it was common for medics to treat sailors with the kind of injury that Mr. Kerry had and to fill out paperwork when doctors did the treatment.

But, when asked in an interview if there was any way to confirm that he had treated Mr. Kerry, Letson said, "I guess you'll have to take my word for it."

Thanks, Louis, we'll pass.

Then there is William Schachte, Jr. Schachte claims in the book that he was on the boat the night Kerry received his injury, and Kerry wounded himself while firing a grenade.

One problem: the other two guys on the boat - Bill Zaladonis and David Runyon - say Schachte WASN'T EVEN THERE. They say there WAS no third man on the boat. Period.

David Runyon: "Me and Bill aren't the smartest, but we can count to three."

A spokesman for William Schachte says that Schachte will not comment. Surprise, surprise.

And, of course, Larry Thurlow claims that there was no enemy fire, but his OWN BRONZE STAR CITATION says there was. And the fact that Thurlow received a Bronze Star for the same action that he says didn't happen was conveniently left out of "Unfit for Command."

The actual citation, Mr. Thurlow said, was with an ex-wife with whom he no longer has contact.

Why the hell would his ex-wife get custody of his citation?

And when asked if he would authorize the Navy to release a copy of it, he REFUSED.

But a copy of the citation obtained by the Washington Post under Freedom of Information flatly contradicts him, mentioning "enemy small arms," "automatic weapons fire" and "enemy bullets flying about him."

Thurlow, pathetically, tried to explain that away by claiming that Kerry himself wrote the reports.

But George Elliott and Adrian Lonsdale, two members of the group who have previously supported Kerry, have said that medals were awarded only if there was corroboration from others and said that they had thoroughly corroborated the accounts.

"Witness reports were reviewed; battle reports were reviewed. It was a very complete and carefully orchestrated procedure." - Adrian Lonsdale

In a sad attempt to prove that Kerry wrote the reports, they point to the initials on one of the reports. Get this: They read "K.J.W."


Kerry's middle initial is F. When asked why the hell Kerry would initial a report "K.J.W.," Larry Thurlow said, "What the W. is for, I cannot answer." But he still says that MUST be Kerry's.

A Navy official said the initials refer to the person who had received the report at headquarters, not the author.

Thurlow ALSO says that one piece of evidence that there was no enemy fire is that the boats received no bullet holes.

But a damage report to Thurlow's own boat shows that it received three bullet holes, and later intelligence reports indicate that one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded, which sure as hell indicates that SOMETHING was fired.

Larry Thurlow say that the boat was actually hit the day before.

If it was hit the day before, how come there is no report for the day before?

It says something really lousy about the news media that a web of lies so transparent and so easily ripped apart is getting any play at all.

But that's ok: they thought it would hurt Kerry, but this smear appears to be KILLING Bush. It seems to provoke total disgust in everyone who isn't one of Bush's Kool-Aid drinkers.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

A message from the Kerry campaign

Just sent around by the Kerry campaign:

Today marks the end of the dishonest and disgusting smear campaign against John Kerry and his crewmates from Vietnam. This morning on the front page of the Washington Post, one of the central figures in the effort to distort John Kerry's military service was completely discredited.

The group behind this smear campaign calls itself "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." But the truth is the last thing they are interested in.

President Bush refuses to condemn this group. He wants them to do his dirty work. But this effort to distract attention from the issues that matter most has failed.

This morning, John Kerry said he learned an important lesson in Vietnam: "When you're under attack, the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attacker." Today he took these lessons to heart, knocked down these charges, and made a firm commitment to the American people that the lies about his military service will not stop him from fighting for affordable health care, good-paying jobs, and keeping America secure.

This doesn't mean that these blatantly false attacks won't continue -- the Bush-Cheney campaign is desperate and has no record to run on. But it does mean that we are not going to let them distract us from letting people know about John Kerry's plan to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

Read the Washington Post article:


Read John Kerry's statement from his speech at the International Association of Firefighters Convention in Boston this morning:

Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn't interested in the truth -- and they're not telling the truth. They didn't even exist until I won the nomination for president.

But here's what you really need to know about them. They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know -- he wants them to do his dirty work.

Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam.

As firefighters you risk your lives every day. You know what it's like to see the truth in the moment. You're proud of what you've done -- and so am I.

Of course, the president keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: 'Bring it on.'

I'm not going to let anyone question my commitment to defending America -- then, now, or ever. And I'm not going to let anyone attack the sacrifice and courage of the men who saw battle with me.

And let me make this commitment today: their lies about my record will not stop me from fighting for jobs, health care, and our security -- the issues that really matter to the American people.

Thank you,

Mary Beth Cahill
Campaign Manager

The behavior of the right-wingers is getting more and more thug-like and they get more and more desperate.

"An unidentified supporter of President Bush tries to silence protester Kendra Lloyd-Knox (right) outside Southridge High School in Beaverton. Elsewhere in Portland, supporters of Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., rallied on the waterfront."
This was noticed by kos:

Which campaign is optimistic, and which one is running a relentlessly negative campaign?

That's the official Bush campaign site as of 6:01 p.m. PT.

Compare that to Kerry's site:

Kos says:

Now we already do know why Bush has been relentlessly negative. As the incumbent, Bush is well under the 50 percent mark in polls, and undecideds traditionally break toward the challenger. Bush is the ultimate incumbent, better known than any other this cycle. Those inclined to vote for him are already in his camp. The rest are clearly unhappy, and are looking for an excuse -- any excuse -- to cast their vote for the other guy. Hence Kerry's "play it safe" approach.

So Rove is in a quandry -- how the hell do they push Bush over that 50 percent mark? The answer: destroy Kerry's favorability ratings, make Kerry looks so terrible that voters are either turned off, or feel they have no choice but Bush.

Hence Bush and his minions are running a relentlessly negative campaign and using their best smear attempts to create doubts about Kerry's heroic war exploits and record of decisiveness in life and death situations.

It's called desperation. And it will only get nastier as time goes on.

"President Bush is trying to put a positive spin on the latest bad economic numbers. Today he declared victory in the War on Jobs." - Craig Kilborn
Even Republicans - the ones that are still honest, anyway - have ceaased supporting this debacle. I hate to say it, but Kerry should be so critical:

A top Republican congressman has broken from his party in the final days of his House career, saying he believes the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified and that the situation there has deteriorated into "a dangerous, costly mess."

"I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action," Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb., wrote in a letter to constituents.

"Left unresolved for now is whether intelligence was intentionally misconstrued to justify military action," he said.

Bereuter said in addition to "a massive failure or misinterpretation of intelligence," the Bush administration made several other errors in going to war.

"From the beginning of the conflict, it was doubtful that we for long would be seen as liberators, but instead increasingly as an occupying force," he said. "Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess, and there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities in Iraq without creating bigger future problems in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world."

Bereuter said as a result of the war, "our country's reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened."

Liar, Liar, Bush on Fire

The Scumboat Veterans have been caught lying AGAIN. As you probably know, Larry Thurlow, one of the Swift Boat Vets has claimed that there was no enemy fire on the night of the events that led Kerry tobe awarded a Bronze Star. Thurlow received a Bronze Star himself for stuff from the same night.

According to the Washington Post, official military records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act flatly contradict Thurlow.

"Last month, Thurlow swore in an affidavit that Kerry was "not under fire" when he fished Lt. James Rassmann out of the water. He described Kerry's Bronze Star citation, which says that all units involved came under "small arms and automatic weapons fire," as "totally fabricated."

"I never heard a shot," Thurlow said in his affidavit, which was released by Swift Boats Veterans for Truth. The group claims the backing of more than 250 Vietnam veterans, including a majority of Kerry's fellow boat commanders.

But Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."

A document recommending Thurlow for the Bronze Star noted that all his actions "took place under constant enemy small arms fire which LTJG THURLOW completely ignored in providing immediate assistance" to the disabled boat and its crew. The citation states that all other units in the flotilla also came under fire."

I think it might be a good idea to compile a list of every lie these clowns have been caught telling. It would already be a long list.

The scary thing is that the exposure of all these lies doesn't make Bush's Kool-Aid drinkers even CONSIDER that this might be wrong.

But attacking Kerry seems to be the ONLY thing Bush is campaigning on. It's his entire campaign strategy. And that's because he has no record to run on.

"Vote For Bush: He smears and lies about Vets."

Good campaign.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

NYC to GOP: Drop Dead

The whole thing is here. By Ted Rall.

Tourists are pleasantly surprised when New Yorkers act as friendly and polite as the people back home in Maybury. However, delegates to this month's Republican National Convention shouldn't expect to be treated to our standard out-of-towner treatment. The Republican delegates here to coronate George W. Bush are unwelcome members of a hostile invading army. Like the hapless saps whose blood they sent to be spilled into Middle Eastern sands, they will be given intentionally incorrect directions to nonexistent places. Objects will be thrown in their direction. Children will call them obscene names. They will not be greeted as liberators.

Well aware that it is barren soil for their party's anti-urban, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, overtly racist ideology, Republican leaders have wisely avoided New York City as a convention site for the past 150 years. Even as the rest of America turns red, we New Yorkers remain as liberal as the people's republic of San Francisco: fewer than 18 percent of the citizens of New York's five boroughs (which include relatively conservative places like Staten Island) cast ballots for Bush/Cheney in 2000. But White House strategist Karl Rove sees the continued exploitation of 9/11 for partisan political gain as Bush's key to victory in November. That means bringing the big bash three miles north of the hole where the Twin Towers used to stand, where most of the victims of 9/11 were burned, suffocated, impaled and pulverized.

Making hay of the dead is also the point of this confab's timing. The 2004 Necropublican National Convention is being held a full month later than normal, from August 30 to September 2. The original plan was to have Bush shuttle between Madison Square Garden and Ground Zero for photo ops to coincide with the third anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Bush's visits to the Trade Center site were quietly canceled a few months back after 9/11 survivors expressed revulsion at the idea. But it was too late to change the date.

Anti-Republican sentiment is rising to a fever pitch here as the dog days tick down to the dreaded affair. A poll cited by the local ABC affiliate shows 83 percent of New Yorkers don't want their city to host the RNC. And many of them are planning to do something about it.

Iraq Police Threaten to Kill Reporters

Nice to know that we are in Iraq to turn it into a democracy.

But why the hell would any sane person believe that Bush favors democracy?

"IRAQI police have threatened to kill every journalist working in the holy city of Najaf, where US forces are locked in a tense stand-off with Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army.

After a series of veiled warnings to leave on Sunday, two marked police cars pulled up at dusk outside the Sea of Najaf hotel on the outskirts of town, where Arab and Western journalists are staying.

Ten uniformed policemen walked into the hotel and demanded that the al-Arabiya, Reuters and AP correspondents go with them.

Journalists told them they were not there, but the policemen found and arrested Ahmed al-Salahih, the al-Arabiya correspondent, who the day before had been given a special exemption from the earlier eviction orders.

A uniformed lieutenant then told the assembled journalists and hotel staff: "We are going to open fire on this hotel. I'm going to smash it all, kill you all, and I'm going to put four snipers to target anybody who goes out of the hotel. You have brought it upon yourselves."
"For all the talk about polarization, I find a startling agreement [from] everybody I talk to. Nobody seems to like George Bush very much. The Democrats I talk to hate him and the Republicans aren't very enthusiastic about him." - Bob Novak, Conservative
The Church of Fools has a sermon by Tony Campolo. Too often, Americans don't know what the rest of the world thinks, and don't care. That's arrogance. Seeing yourself as others see you is a learning experience.

"I recently was in on an interview with a journalist from Indonesia. An American asked him the same question that you and I are asking: "Why do so many people around the world hate the United States?"

The journalist answered, "Because you have disappointed us. We expected better of you than you have demonstrated over the past few years. We used to think that America was the ideal nation. Yours was a country in which there was justice for all and your people showed us a generous spirit. That no longer seems to be the case. Whether it is true or not, we now see America as an arrogant bully, using its power to impose its will on other nations."

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I feel sorry for the Republicans.

First, they couldn't find Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Then, they couldn't find WMDs in Iraq.

Now, they can't find a black Republican in Chicago.

The Wrong Reverend Jeb Bush decided to wax theological and explain what REALLY was behind the destruction, devastation and death from Hurricane Charley:

"This is God's way of telling us that he's almighty and we're mortal."

I honestly can't find the words for how totally appaling this is.

For one thing, it's plain blasphemy.

For another, it's totally disgusting.

For a third, it's insanely arrogant.

Does Jeb Bush actually believe that every now and then, God up and kills a bunch of people just to show who's boss?

If so, I don't know WHAT to call the spirit that he believes in, but it certainly isn't God.

If THIS is an accurate representation of the sort of religion believed in by the Radical Right - God help us all.

Let us pray that come November, the Good Lord will send them an unmistakable message telling them what pride goeth before.
And now, from the "I-don't-believe-how-bizarre-this person-is" file, we have Alan Keyes.

Apparently, believe that he didn't look bad enough when compared to Barak Obama, he went on record as being opposed to Senatorial elections.

It seems that Alan All-Keyed-Up wants us to return to the pre-1913 days when citizens didn't get to vote for Senators, but they were chosen by the State Legislature. As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up:

"Alan Keyes said Friday he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures.

The Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, asked about past comments on the election process, said the constitutional amendment that provided for popular election of senators upset the balance between the people and the states.

"The balance is utterly destroyed when the senators are directly elected because the state government as such no longer plays any role in the deliberations at the federal level," Keyes said at a taping of WBBM Newsradio's "At Issue" program.

Keyes' Democratic rival, state Sen. Barack Obama of Chicago, issued a statement saying he supports popular election of U.S. senators.

"I certainly trust the people of Illinois to choose who they want to represent them in the U.S. Senate," he said. "That is the very basis of our democracy."

Keyes said he did not consider repealing the 17th Amendment a high priority.

"But if I ever see an opportunity in politics to promote it, I will," he said.

I'll go on record as saying that I think the Republican Party has insulted every resident of Illinois in general and black voters in particular by importing this absurd crank and putting him forward as a serious candidate.
I find this surprising, but it appears to be the case: John Kerry has been drawing HUGE crowds for his appearances. Look at these shots from some recent ones:

"Fire officials estimated the crowd at Kerry's rally in Waterfront Park at between 40,000 and 50,000 people, the largest turnout for a political speech in Portland in at least a decade." - AP

Bush? Well, um, he hasn't:

"Bush met with 300 small business owners Friday morning, and 2,300 supporters in a town hall-style gathering at a Beaverton school that also attracted a few hundred protesters to a police cordon a few hundred yards away." - AP

But to be fair, you significantly reduce turnout when you make it clear that not every one is welcome.
"And there's no question here that's been scripted, I don't have any idea what you're going to ask and I look forward to that. I don't want them scripted. I think Americans need a president who's willing to talk to everybody, I don't care if you're a Republican, Democrat or independent." - John Kerry Attribution

There ARE some Democrats who aren't afraid to be totally blunt about this administration.

Tom Harkin is one of them.

"When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil. Those of us who served and those of us who went in the military don't like it when someone like a Dick Cheney comes out and he wants to be tough. Yeah, he'll be tough. He'll be tough with somebody else's blood, somebody else's kids. But not when it was his turn to go."

Sunday, August 15, 2004

There ARE a few Senators with the courage to tell the truth. Tom Harkin is one of them:

"When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil," Harkin said. "Those of us who served and those of us who went in the military don't like it when someone like a Dick Cheney comes out and he wants to be tough. Yeah, he'll be tough. He'll be tough with somebody else's blood, somebody else's kids. But not when it was his turn to go."

Spitting on Veterans

Written by an anonymous person who only identifies as "Chookie."

Who's spitting on Veterans now?

In the early seventies, when our country was as bitterly divided over issues as it is today, there were disturbing stories circulating about how returning Viet Nam veterans were being taunted and spat upon by peace activists. While these stories are believed to be popular myths disseminated to discredit the antiwar movement, alas, in recent days, vicious attacks on combat veterans are in fact occurring with alarming frequency in the homeland.

The scars of some veterans are being re-examined lately, with charges that they are really not that big or bad after all, inferring that the veterans who bear them are unworthy of the Purple Heart medal they were awarded – as has happened to John Kerry. A veteran who lost both legs and his right arm to the blast of a grenade in Viet Nam has been called a traitor and compared to a Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and even mocked by a suggestion he foolishly received his grave injuries on the way to a beer party -- as happened to Senator Max Cleland. A veteran who spent 5 years of his youth in one of history’s most infamous POW camps, tortured and abused, one day found himself whispered about as having been a "weak-minded coward" driven mad by his ordeal and perhaps even a Communist agent —as happened to Senator John McCain.

Today’s soldiers serving their country in the field should note well that what really matters these days is not the fact that they served honorably – indeed, one can stay stateside voluntarily during a war one fervently supports and only fly training missions over one’s home state and be said to have served "honorably". It doesn’t matter if you served courageously, or with distinction, or that you were maimed, or disabled fighting for your country – what matters these days is that you think as you ought to think. Be aware that your opinions will be monitored for correctness, and that your attitude will be noted…and you better get it right or else. Many have called for their fellow Americans to "Support Our Troops!", but why aren’t these same individuals or organizations denouncing the defamation of veterans like Kerry, McCain, or Cleland? Where’s the outrage? I don’t think it’s because the Viet Nam war is ancient history, as veterans of the Greatest Generation, like "Flyboy" George HW Bush, are still regularly praised for their bravery in combat service.

Could it be politics? What all the veterans I have named above have in common is having run against GW Bush in an election or having opposed some aspect of his policies. In the past, it was alleged to be the shameful behavior of the antiwar movement, but who is spitting on veterans now?"

Saturday, August 14, 2004

More Cambodia:

The UK Telegraph seems to have blown the "Cambodia" smear out of the water:

"Mr Brinkley [Kerry's biographer] rejected accusations that the senator had never been to Cambodia, insisting he was telling the truth about running undisclosed "black" missions there at the height of the war.

He said: "Kerry went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions. He had a run dropping off US Navy Seals, Green Berets and CIA guys." The missions were not armed attacks on Cambodia, said Mr Brinkley, who did not include the clandestine missions in his wartime biography of Mr Kerry, Tour of Duty.

"He was a ferry master, a drop-off guy, but it was dangerous as hell. Kerry carries a hat he was given by one CIA operative. In a part of his journals which I didn't use he writes about discussions with CIA guys he was dropping off."

So Kerry said it was Christmas of 1968. It was more likely January of 1969.

The Republicans, THAT'S a scandal.

As opposed to lying so you can start a war.

Friday, August 13, 2004

In case you have heard the controversy of whether Kerry was in Cambodia in 1968, and thought it might be nice to have some plain facts to sort it all out, here is a LONG (and very well done) examination of the subject by Balta
Cheney has been trying to make hay out of the fact that Kerry had the nerve to use the word "sensitive" when referring to the war.

This sort of shows desperation and the need for the Republicans to spin EVERYTHING. Because what Kerry said was not only defensible - it was absolutely undeniable, at least if you're a grownup.

"I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side."

Ok?  "Sensitive" means "reaching out to other nations and bringing them to our side." He was obviously referring to our dealing with the other nations of the world - not the terrorists.

GOOD IDEA.  I wish BUSH would try it instead of just antagonizing the whole world.

"I defended our country as a young man when others chose not to and I will defend it as president of the United States. I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary, with the right intelligence, with swiftness and with certainty."

"This vice president's lack of sensitivity is precisely what led this administration to ignore the advice of the professional military and rush to war (in Iraq)," Kerry spokesman David Wade said. "We can't afford another four years of their failed, insensitive foreign policy."

Maybe Cheney, instead of lying and pretending that Kerry has somehow pledged to be soft on terrorism should quote THIS instead: 

"We will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to make sure that [9/11] never happens again, not to our America.

"We will build and lead strong alliances and safeguard and secure weapons of mass destruction. We will strengthen our homeland security and protect our ports, safeguard our chemical plants, and support our firefighters, police officers and EMT's. We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe.

"And we will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaida and the rest of these terrorists. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you." - John Edwards

"You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you."

That what Kerry and Edwards ACTUALLY said about terrorists.  As opposed to what Cheney WISHES they said.
Why the hell don't these clowns ever try to honestly figure out the consequences of anything they do BEFORE they do it?

From Al-Jazeera:

Najaf officials quit in protest

Several Iraqi officials working within the interim government have resigned in protest of the US-led assault on Najaf and Kut.

Sixteen of Najaf's 30-member provincial council resigned in protest at the US-led assault on the Najaf as fighting between the al-Mahdi Army loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr and US occupation forces entered its eighth day.

"We have decided to resign due to what has befallen Najaf and all of Iraq from the hasty US invasion and bombardment of Najaf," the council said in a statement to the press.

"I resign from my post denouncing all the US terrorist operations that they are doing against this holy city," Jawdat Kadam Najim al-Quraishi, deputy governor of Najaf, said on Thursday morning.

These were our FRIENDS over there.

No more.
The Democrats should do more to explain their economic positions to people. The Republicans' "Supply-side" and "trickle-down" have become common lingo, while the Democrats have done little to explain that wealth trickles UP, not down, and that the DEMAND side drives the economy much more than the supply side.

Anywho, Paul Krugman helps to fill that hole in the Times today:

"A new Bush campaign ad pushes the theme of an "ownership society," and concludes with President Bush declaring, "I understand if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of America."

Call me naïve, but I thought all Americans have a vital stake in the nation's future, regardless of how much property they own. (Should we go back to the days when states, arguing that only men of sufficient substance could be trusted, imposed property qualifications for voting?) Even if Mr. Bush is talking only about the economic future, don't workers have as much stake as property owners in the economy's success?

But there's a political imperative behind the "ownership society" theme: the need to provide pseudopopulist cover to policies that are, in reality, highly elitist."

Military Men Speak Out

“We are deeply disappointed by the tone and tenor of President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s personal attacks on John Kerry, a decorated combat veteran who served his country with courage and honor. John Kerry is talking about his plan to address the most pressing issues facing our nation – jobs, the economy, health care, the war on terror, the war in Iraq. George Bush and Dick Cheney have chosen to take their campaign to the gutter. We call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to stop the irresponsible personal attacks and tell us where they want to take the country. Tell us how they plan to win the peace in Iraq. Tell us how they plan to get us back on track with the war on terror. Tell us where they plan to lead the country. The American people and our troops deserve better.”

Signed by:

Admiral William J. Crowe (United States Navy, Retired)
Admiral Stansfield Turner (United States Navy, Retired)
General Wesley K. Clark (United States Army, Retired)
General Merrill “Tony” A. McPeak (United States Air Force, Retired)
General Joseph Hoar (United States Marine Corps, Retired)
General Johnnie E. Wilson (United States Army, Retired)
Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (United States Navy, Retired)
Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy (United States Army, Retired)
Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick (United States Army, Retired)
Lieutenant General Edward D. Baca (United States Army, Retired)

"Well, I had just been told by Andrew Card that America was under attack. And I was collecting my thoughts." - Bush, explaining why he sat there for 7 minutes

You were collecting your thoughts? In a classroom? What thoughts were you collecting, since you obviously knew no details about what had happened? You hadn't previously had any plan for how to respond to an attack?

Well, George, while you were "collecting your thoughts" another plane was heading toward the Pentagon, and would strike it 20 minutes later.

And you were OUT of it.
We're turning the corner

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Cheney has been attacking Kerry, like some stupid-assed high school kid, because Kerry used the word "sensitive" in describing what should be our approach to foreign policy:

"Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge he would fight a 'more sensitive' war on terror. America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive." - Dick Cheney


Bush in 2001: "We help fulfill that promise not by lecturing the world, but by leading it. Precisely because America is powerful, we must be sensitive about expressing our power and influence." (Bush Remarks at USS Regan Ceremony, 3/4/01)

What a pack of stupid clowns.