Thursday, September 30, 2004

Quick debate comment...

...and then I'm off to bed.

Judy Woodruff said on CNN that the Kerry people are feeling "very good" about their candidates performance and Bush was "on the defensive."

Whereas the Bush people will only say "nothing dramatic happened." They do not claim to have won tonight, but they claim to have held on. They say they didn't lose, although they refuse to say that Kerry won.

That means that even they know that Kerry won.

September 30th

Apparently, this is Bush's idea of progress:

09/30: Bombings in Iraq kill 35 children, wound scores of others
09/30: Footage Shows 10 New Hostages in Iraq
09/30: Hospital 35 killed, 120 wounded in Baghdad blasts
09/30: At least 33 dead in twin Baghdad bomb blasts
09/30: Iraq rocket attack kills U.S. soldier, wounds 7
9/30: Car Bomb in Iraq Kills Two, Wounds 60
09/30: Gunmen Kill Police Official in Mosul

But remember: this is being done by a mere HANDFUL.

Low expectations

Bill O'Reilly had this to say about Bush doing the interview with him:

"The president did not receive the questions in advance, nor were there any restrictions on what I could ask. Again, that's impressive."

Impressive. The President of the United States actually answered questions about his own job without receiving them in advance! I, for one, am thoroughly awed.

A Real Man

Read this.

Who said it?

"I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.”

Who said that?

Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia.


I swear I am not making this up.

Right-Wing Loonies R Us

Michael Savage, right-wing talk radio host and total lunatic has this to say:

"You can expect the Bible to be declared a hate book if Kerry wins."
"You can expect the complete and total elimination of border with Mexico if Kerry wins."
"You can expect a rampant increase in partial-birth abortion and the sale of baby body parts if Kerry wins."

The full rant - those statements are only a part of it - is available at Media Matters.

Now, I don't take this stuff seriously. Michael Weiner (that's Savage's real last name, for those of you who didn't know) is as far off the edge as a man gets, and anybody who listens to his broadcast for anything but laughs wasn't about to vote for Kerry anyway.

But what I want to know - and it worries me - is why the hell is someone who is obviously bonkers on the radio at ALL. Heck, they gave this guy a TV show which they only cancelled after he told a gay caller, "I hope you get AIDS and die."

That is a basic difference between the left and right in the United States right now. There are plenty of nuts on the left - but nobody would even think of giving them a radio show because - well, because they're nuts. They may be handing out pamplets on the street or something, but they aren't on large cable news channels. You meet them at odd parties; you DON'T see them on the news.

But the right-wing nuts ARE on the news. The right-wing takes its lunatics - and turns them into pundits.

As long as you tout a right-wing party line, ALL responsibly for actual content goes out the window. You can be a convicted criminal - like Ollie North - and still get a major forum. You can be clearly mentally imbalanced - like Michael Savage, Anne Coulter or Michelle Malkin - and still get a major forum. You can be both a convicted criminal AND clearly mentally imbalanced - like G. Gordon Liddy - and still have a major forum.

The So-Called Liberal Media (SCLM) exercises NO judgment as to what they allow on the airwaves - as long as the sentiment is right-wing. Left-wing commentators are not only fewer, but they are more moderate. They cover the political spectrum from moderate to liberal. Right wing commentators cover the polical spectrum from moderate to insanely radical.

And it works. The result is to pull coverage further and further to the right, aided and abetted by rank and file right wingers who bombard media outlets with phone calls any time anything airs that makes the right-wing look bad. So the networks skew further and further to the right in an attempt to achieve "balance."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A mere handful

"Over the past 30 days, more than 2,300 attacks by insurgents have been directed against civilians and military targets in Iraq, in a pattern that sprawls over nearly every major population center outside the Kurdish north, according to comprehensive data compiled by a private security company with access to military intelligence reports and its own network of Iraqi informants."

No problem. According to Bush, it's only a HANDFUL of people carrying out 80 attacks a day in nearly every city in the Iraq.

What a filthy liar.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bush's top-ten flip-flops

It's nice when the stuff that has been part and parcel of the atmosphere in political cyberspace for months finally penetrates somewhere in the mainstream media.

CBS has noticed.

Some Reservists go AWOL

USA Today:

"Fewer than two-thirds of the former soldiers being reactivated for duty in Iraq and elsewhere have reported on time, prompting the Army to threaten some with punishment for desertion."

What's the problem? They're only following the example of their Commander-In-Chief.

Why the polls are bullshit

Seriously. Not wishful thinking. I had heard about this before, but this is the first time I've seen the hard figures, thanks to the leftcoaster.

The Gallup Poll? They poll more Republicans than Democrats. A LOT more.

"Here is the text from the email I got from Gallup this morning outlining the party ID breakdown in their likely voter samples from their two most recent national polls:

Likely Voter Sample Party IDs – Poll of September 13-15
Reflected Bush Winning by 55%-42%

Total Sample: 767
GOP: 305 (40%)
Dem: 253 (33%)
Ind: 208 (28%)

Likely Voter Sample Party IDs – Poll of September 24-26
Reflected Bush Winning by 52%-44%

Total Sample: 758
GOP: 328 (43%)
Dem: 236 (31%)
Ind: 189 (25%)

Looking at this, again I have a simple question: how can anyone, especially USA Today and CNN, let alone the rest of the media take a Gallup national poll seriously when Gallup knowingly puts a poll out there for consumption with a 12% GOP bias in its likely voter sample that everyone knows does not exist in the country today or at any time in the last three presidential elections?

Yet this flawed poll showed a narrowing Bush lead from their similarly flawed poll of two weeks ago. So if a poll with an unsupportable GOP bias of 12% in its likely voter sample, shows an 8% Bush lead amongst likely voters when a poll they used two weeks ago with a 7% GOP bias showed a 13% Bush lead with likely voters, then how can anyone not conclude that Kerry is doing much better than Gallup would have you believe?"

I spoke too soon

And I'm GLAD.

Below, I asked if they would ever start using the word "liar" to describe George W. Bush.

Well, John Edwards must have read my mind.

"They will absolutely lie about anything," Edwards said Monday at a rally in Victory Park attended by hundreds of well-wishers.

A Bush health care ad claims that Kerry would put health care decisions in the hands of government "bureaucrats" at a cost of $1.5 trillion. Independent analysts estimate the cost at $895 billion over 10 years, which Kerry says he would pay for by repealing Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

"There's not a single new government program in our health care plan," which calls for strengthening existing government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, giving tax breaks to employers that provide health insurance, and allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada, Edwards said.

Edwards said Monday that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been consistent but consistently wrong. "He will never admit he's done anything wrong," Edwards said of Bush. "They've made a lot of mistakes, and our troops and our taxpayers are paying for that right now."

Holy shit.

The incompetence is mind-boggling.

"Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 120,000 hours of potentially valuable terrorism-related recordings have not yet been translated by linguists at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and computer problems may have led the bureau to systematically erase some Qaeda recordings, according to a declassified summary of a Justice Department investigation that was released on Monday."

120,000 hours?


There are thirteen years worth of terrorist-related chatter, and we have NO IDEA what they are saying?

How is this possible?

And in addition, the article says, they have "systematically erased" Al Qaeda recordings. What does "systematically" mean? That it WASN'T an accident? That they erased them as a matter of policy?

And why are they STILL looking for translators? It's been three years. Leaving aside the insanity of having no translators BEFORE September 11, how the hell can you still not have enough three years later?

For one thing, you don't want "translators" - you want people for whom it is their native language, so that there is no work of translating - they just listen and they know what it means.

For another thing, I have NO IDEA how the FBI weeds out potential terrorists who would love to work for the FBI when looking for Arabic translators . And I have no faith in their ability to do so. At this point, I have no faith in their ability to do pretty much anything.

"Overhauling the government's translation capabilities has been a top priority for the Bush administration in its campaign against terrorism."
Translation: "Bush SAYS it has been a top priority, but we have absolutely no evidence that it HAS been."

George, you've been making this a top priority, and you STILL don't have enough translators, and you still have 13 years worth of material sitting on a shelf, and that doesn't include the stuff you've erased?

That means you're even more incompetent than I thought you were.

And I think you're pretty damned incompetent.

Press won't stop clowning

How much spin and opinion is there in the following sentence, which masquerades as "reporting"?

"If the Massachusetts senator is not successful during the debates in erasing lingering doubts about whether he can be a credible alternative to Bush, he will have little hope of doing it before the Nov. 2 election. "

Pardon me for asking, but how the hell do YOU know that there are "lingering doubts"? I mean obviously SOME people have doubts - and some don't. By THAT score, there are also "lingering doubts" about Bush. (There is also open detestation, but that's another story.) Some people have "lingering doubts" about Barney the Dinosaur. People have "lingering doubts" about damned near everything. Who has "lingering doubts"? How many people? How seriously? Doubts about what, exactly? What if they aren't lingering, but ephemeral, does that still count? Do you KNOW that they are "lingering"? How does a doubt "linger"?

The reporter is talking about HIS OWN lingering doubts, and projecting it onto the electorate - obviously. As to what the electorate ACTUALLY thinks, he has absolutely no clue, and he CAN'T have any clue.

In short, the statement about "lingering doubts" isn't anything REAL - it's a script that the reporter is blindly following. It's hard to even say what it MEANS. It's a gaseous puff of blather masquerading as an actual point, and upon examination, it falls apart.

And that premise-with-no-meaning leads immediately into the statement that if Kerry cannot erase these phantom "lingering doubts" in one debate, he's through. Again, something that the reporter cannot POSSIBLY know to be true, based on a premise that the reporter cannot possibly know to be true.

But we are supposed to regard it as "reporting."

Bush keeps lying.

When does it become OK to actually call the man a liar? How many times does he have to lie and how constantly does he have to lie before the press considers it acceptable to use the word "liar"?

Many of President Bush assertions about progress in Iraq -- from police training and reconstruction to preparations for January elections -- are in dispute, according to internal Pentagon documents, lawmakers and key congressional aides on Sunday.

A flip and a flop and now just a flop

From Michael Moore

Mr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions on Iraq: "A flip and a flop and now just a flop."

Dear Mr. Bush,
I am so confused. Where exactly do you stand on the issue of Iraq? You, your Dad, Rummy, Condi, Colin, and Wolfie -- you have all changed your minds so many times, I am out of breath just trying to keep up with you!

Which of these 10 positions that you, your family and your cabinet have taken over the years represents your CURRENT thinking:

1983-88: WE LOVE SADDAM. On December 19, 1983, Donald Rumsfeld was sent by your dad and Mr. Reagan to go and have a friendly meeting with Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. Rummy looked so happy in the picture. Just twelve days after this visit, Saddam gassed thousands of Iranian troops. Your dad and Rummy seemed pretty happy with the results because ‘The Donald R.’ went back to have another chummy hang-out with Saddam’s right-hand man, Tariq Aziz, just four months later. All of this resulted in the U.S. providing credits and loans to Iraq that enabled Saddam to buy billions of dollars worth of weapons and chemical agents. The Washington Post reported that your dad and Reagan let it be known to their Arab allies that the Reagan/Bush administration wanted Iraq to win its war with Iran and anyone who helped Saddam accomplish this was a friend of ours.

1990: WE HATE SADDAM. In 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait, your dad and his defense secretary, Dick Cheney, decided they didn't like Saddam anymore so they attacked Iraq and returned Kuwait to its rightful dictators.

1991: WE WANT SADDAM TO LIVE. After the war, your dad and Cheney and Colin Powell told the Shiites to rise up against Saddam and we would support them. So they rose up. But then we changed our minds. When the Shiites rose up against Saddam, the Bush inner circle changed its mind and decided NOT to help the Shiites. Thus, they were massacred by Saddam.

1998: WE WANT SADDAM TO DIE. In 1998, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others, as part of the Project for the New American Century, wrote an open letter to President Clinton insisting he invade and topple Saddam Hussein.

2000: WE DON'T BELIEVE IN WAR AND NATION BUILDING. Just three years later, during your debate with Al Gore in the 2000 election, when asked by the moderator Jim Lehrer where you stood when it came to using force for regime change, you turned out to be a downright pacifist:

“I--I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president [Al Gore] and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I--I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place. And so I take my--I take my--my responsibility seriously.” --October 3, 2000

2001 (early): WE DON'T BELIEVE SADDAM IS A THREAT. When you took office in 2001, you sent your Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and your National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, in front of the cameras to assure the American people they need not worry about Saddam Hussein. Here is what they said:

Powell: “We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they have directed that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was 10 years ago when we began it. And frankly, they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” --February 24, 2001

Rice: “But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let's remember that his
country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his
country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been
rebuilt.” --July 29, 2001

2001 (late): WE BELIEVE SADDAM IS GOING TO KILL US! Just a few months later, in the hours and days after the 9/11 tragedy, you had no interest in going after Osama bin Laden. You wanted only to bomb Iraq and kill Saddam and you then told all of America we were under imminent threat because weapons of mass destruction were coming our way. You led the American people to believe that Saddam had something to do with Osama and 9/11. Without the UN's sanction, you broke international law and invaded Iraq.

2003: WE DON’T BELIEVE SADDAM IS GOING TO KILL US. After no WMDs were found, you changed your mind about why you said we needed to invade, coming up with a brand new after-the-fact reason -- we started this war so we could have regime change, liberate Iraq and give the Iraqis democracy!

2003: “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” Yes, everyone saw you say it -- in costume, no less!

2004: OOPS. MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED! Now you call the Iraq invasion a "catastrophic success." That's what you called it this month. Over a thousand U.S. soldiers have died, Iraq is in a state of total chaos where no one is safe, and you have no clue how to get us out of there.

Mr. Bush, please tell us -- when will you change your mind again?

I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the "intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.

And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with what you call the "many positions" he has taken on Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed you. That was his position. You told him and the rest of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John Kerry, want to live in a country where they can believe their president.

That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let him and this great country down. And that is why tens of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest of the world off.

We can't take another minute of it.

Michael Moore

Monday, September 27, 2004

"The loud little handful -- as usual -- will shout for the war. The pulpit will -- warily and cautiously -- object... at first. The great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, ‘It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.’

Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the antiwar audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

Before long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men...

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception. - Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)

Red States Feed at the Trough

Stolen - whole and shamelessly - from kos.

You can never point out enough that it's the RED states -- the ones that vote Republican -- that take the most from the federal government, while it's the BLUE states -- those that vote Democratic -- that support their deadbeat asses.

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid(red states in bold):

  1. D.C. ($6.17)
  2. North Dakota ($2.03)
  3. New Mexico ($1.89)
  4. Mississippi ($1.84)
  5. Alaska ($1.82)
  6. West Virginia ($1.74)
  7. Montana ($1.64)
  8. Alabama ($1.61)
  9. South Dakota ($1.59)
  10. Arkansas ($1.53)

In contrast, of the 16 states that are "losers" -- receiving less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 69% are Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000. Indeed, 11 of the 14 (79%) of the states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here are the Top 10 states that supply feed for the federal trough (with Blue States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

  1. New Jersey ($0.62)
  2. Connecticut ($0.64)
  3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
  4. Nevada ($0.73)
  5. Illinois ($0.77)
  6. Minnesota ($0.77)
  7. Colorado ($0.79)
  8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
  9. California ($0.81)
  10. New York ($0.81)

Two states -- Florida and Oregon (coincidentally, the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election) -- received $1.00 in federal spending for each $1.00 in federal taxes paid.
'nuff said.

Is he steadfast or stubborn?

Or is he stark-raving, frigging INSANE?

From Reuters:

Bush: Would Give 'Mission Accomplished' Speech Again

President Bush said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and would do it all over again if he had the chance, according to excerpts from an television interview released on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News if he still would have put on a flight suit to declare major combat operations in Iraq over, Bush replied, "Absolutely."

When Bush gave his May 1 speech fewer than 150 Americans had died in the war. Since then more than 900 have died."

Gee, George, would you stuff a sock in your crotch the second time, too?

I don't even know what to make of this one. Even though Bush now knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the mission WASN'T accomplished, he'd still say it WAS?

Is he admitting that his governing philosophy is that PR trumps reality? As long as it looks good on camera, it doesn't matter if it's false?

Here is Kerry's excellent response:

"It is unbelievable that just this morning we learned that the president has said he would do it all over again and dress up in a flight suit, and land on an aircraft carrier, and say 'mission accomplished' again. Well, my friends, when the president landed on that aircraft carrier, 150 of our young sons and daughters had given their lives. Since then, tragically, since he said mission accomplished, tragically over 900 have now died..."

"I will never be a president who just says mission accomplished. I will get the mission accomplished. That's the difference."

One claim that is being made by Bush apologists is that Bush was referring to the tour of duty of that particular aircraft carrier, not the "mission" in Iraq as a whole. This, like most of the stuff that comes out of the mouths of Bush apologists, is a lie:

"America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished," he said. Despite growing doubts at home and abroad, he reiterated that troops would find weapons of mass destruction, which were his rationale for striking first at Iraq.

O'Reilly shoud have asked Bush if he still blames the CREW for the "Mission Acomplished" banner.

Who said it?

"My inclination was to support the government and the war until proven wrong, and that only came later, as I realized we could not explain the mission, had no exit strategy, and did not seem to be fighting to win."

Who said it?

George W. Bush, about Vietnam. From his autobiography, "A Charge to Keep: My Journey to the White House."

Saturday, September 25, 2004

An Unamerican Way to Campaign

From today's New York Times, a very important editorial. I'm reproducing the whole thing.

"President Bush and his surrogates are taking their re-election campaign into dangerous territory. Mr. Bush is running as the man best equipped to keep America safe from terrorists - that was to be expected. We did not, however, anticipate that those on the Bush team would dare to argue that a vote for John Kerry would be a vote for Al Qaeda. Yet that is the message they are delivering - with a repetition that makes it clear this is an organized effort to paint the Democratic candidate as a friend to terrorists.

When Vice President Dick Cheney declared that electing Mr. Kerry would create a danger "that we'll get hit again," his supporters attributed that appalling language to a rhetorical slip. But Mr. Cheney is still delivering that message. Meanwhile, as Dana Milbank detailed so chillingly in The Washington Post yesterday, the House speaker, Dennis Hastert, said recently on television that Al Qaeda would do better under a Kerry presidency, and Senator Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has announced that the terrorists are going to do everything they can between now and November "to try and elect Kerry."

This is despicable politics. It's not just polarizing - it also undermines the efforts of the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency to combat terrorists in America. Every time a member of the Bush administration suggests that Islamic extremists want to stage an attack before the election to sway the results in November, it causes patriotic Americans who do not intend to vote for the president to wonder whether the entire antiterrorism effort has been kidnapped and turned into part of the Bush re-election campaign. The people running the government clearly regard keeping Mr. Bush in office as more important than maintaining a united front on the most important threat to the nation.

Mr. Bush has not disassociated himself from any of this, and in his own campaign speeches he makes an argument that is equally divisive and undemocratic. The president has claimed, over and over, that criticism of the way his administration has conducted the war in Iraq and news stories that suggest the war is not going well endanger American troops and give aid and comfort to the enemy. This week, in his Rose Garden press conference with the interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Mr. Bush was asked about Mr. Kerry's increasingly pointed remarks on Iraq. "You can embolden an enemy by sending mixed messages," he said, going on to suggest that Mr. Kerry's criticisms dispirit the Iraqi people and American soldiers.

It is fair game for the president to claim that toppling Saddam Hussein was a blow to terrorism, to accuse Mr. Kerry of flip-flopping and to repeat continually that the war in Iraq is going very well, despite all evidence to the contrary. It is absolutely not all right for anyone on his team to suggest that Mr. Kerry is the favored candidate of the terrorists. And at a time when the United States is supposed to be preparing the Iraqi people for a democratic election, it's appalling to hear the chief executive say that loyal opposition gives aid and comfort to the enemy abroad.

The general instinct of Americans is to play fair. That is why, even though terrorists struck the United States during President Bush's watch, the Democrats have not run a campaign that blames him for allowing the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to be attacked. And while the war in Iraq has opened up large swaths of the country to terrorist groups for the first time, any effort by Mr. Kerry to describe the president as the man whom Osama bin Laden wants to keep in power would be instantly denounced by the Republicans as unpatriotic.

We think that anyone who attempts to portray sincere critics as dangerous to the safety of the nation is wrong. It reflects badly on the president's character that in this instance, he's putting his own ambition ahead of the national good."

What he said:

I mean Digby, of course.

"I think that one of the most frustrating things about Bush's smarmy rejoinder "they world is better off without Saddam in power" is that you have to answer..."well, yes, BUT THERE ARE PRIORITIES, GODDAMIT..."

It is impolitic to say it, (and probably suicidal) but in a very real sense, the answer to the question "is the world better off without Saddam in power?" is no."

Friday, September 24, 2004

For god's sake, get your story straight

"Terrorists are pouring into Iraq to try to undermine Iraq and God forbid, if Iraq is broken or the will of Iraq is broken, then London will be a target, Washington will be a target." -Iraq's Prime Minister Allawi

But, Mr. Allawi, our Glorious Leader Bush told us that there were "only a handful." And we know HE wouldn't lie.

New ad

Kerry has already come out with an ad responding to Bush's press conference yesterday. And MAN it's a good one.

Click here.

Unbelievable hypocrisy.

Democrat John Kerry wrongly questioned the credibility of the interim Iraqi leader, and "you can't lead this country" while undercutting an ally, President Bush said Friday. Attribution

THIS from the mouth of a man who has spent the last four years almost obsessively insulting every ally we have. The hypocrisy would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

Hey, George: this is America, not Saudi Arabia, and John Kerry can question any damned thing he pleases. In fact, we EXPECT our Senators to question foreign potentates whom we have placed into power. That's part of the reason why we ELECT them.

Even if it makes you look bad, poor baby.

Off the cuff

One of the best moments of Kerry's speech at Temple wasn't included in the official transcript because it was an off-the cuff remark. He was interrupted by a heckler who wanted to know his stance on AIDS. Intead of doing what Laura Bush did, and having the heckler dragged out of the hall in handcuffs, he interrupted his speech and very smooth STATED his stance on AIDS. It was VERY smooth and an off the cuff articulation Bush couldn't make if his life depended on it.

The contrast with Bush couldn't be greater: A candidate appears before a diverse audience. Someone yells out a question and demands an answer - and instead of getting hauled away and handcuffed, the candidate or elected official ANSWERS!

What a breath of fresh air.

John Kerry, Speech at Temple University


If Kerry keeps this up, he will be the next President of the United States.

"I have news for President Bush: Just because you can't do something doesn't mean it can't be done." - John Kerry, Spetember 24, 2004
"Bush spends more in 3 days in Iraq than he has in the past 3 years protecting our ports." - John Kerry, September 24, 2004

Kerry busted terrorist bank

Here's an article in the Washington Monthly about how Kerry busted BCCI. Kerry had the good sense to mention this today:

"We send drug people to jail for the rest of their life. he said, "and these guys who are bankers in the corporate world seem to just walk away, and it's business as usual…When banks engage knowingly in the laundering of money, they should be shut down. It's that simple, it really is."

Follow the Money

How John Kerry busted the terrorists' favorite bank

Two decades ago, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a highly respected financial titan. In 1987, when its subsidiary helped finance a deal involving Texas oilman George W. Bush, the bank appeared to be a reputable institution, with attractive branch offices, a traveler's check business, and a solid reputation for financing international trade. It had high-powered allies in Washington and boasted relationships with respected figures around the world.

All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.

For God's sake, people, at least keep the lies straight

The Bushies are in such chaos that they can't even keep their stories straight. They seem to contradict each other about once every half and hour:

"The No. 2 official at the State Department said Friday that the elections planned for January in Iraq must be "open to all citizens," contradicting Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld who has suggested that voting might not be possible in the more-violent areas.

"We're going to have an election that is free and open and that has to be open to all citizens. It's got to be our best effort to get it into troubled areas as well," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told a House committee Friday, after being asked about Rumsfeld's words.

Armitage told reporters after the hearing that: "We absolutely want to hold them in all parts of Iraq." Asked if partial elections were under consideration, he said: "No. Not now. Not that I know of."

Whistle a happy tune

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, the head of Bush's puppet government in Iraq, called Bagdhad "very good and safe."

"Very good and safe." Let's all plan our next vacation there.

He said that out of 18 provinces in Iraq, only 3 or 4 are where the problem is.

ONLY three or four.

"Hey, there's FIFTY states! We've only been driven out of 8 or 9!"

He says that elections will be held in January. How, exactly, he will hold an election in a no-go zone he doesn't say. But Rumsfeld, ever helpful, says, what the hey, maybe only three-quarters or so will actually be able to vote. What the problem?

"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great. Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet."

That's a better ratio than Florida got, right, Donald?

As Husham Mahdi, a 29-year-old in Bagdhad, asks, "How can we hold elections when they will bomb every polling booth?"

I know, details, details. We are being such doooom-and-gloooomers. Why can't we just sing "Whistle a Happy Tune" while watching a televised beheading? What's WRONG with us that we won't just get with the program and deny reality?

Iraq is so safe that Allawi and the whole U.S. Embassy in Iraq conduct business in fortified compounds guarded by tanks, blast walls and barbed wire!

It's so safe that they have gone through 12 police chiefs in Bagdhad since Hussein was taken down and the last one resigned after a few days because he received death threats!

And we KNOW that security is only a problem in three provinces because, after all, suicide bombings are taking place all over the country!

And it's "only a handful" of people! How many is that? A pittance. A handful of people are keeping us out of Fallujah, Najaf, Ramadi, Sammara, Karbala, Tikrit, Bayji, Al Haglanyah, and much of Baghdad! A handful of people are attacking our troops 80 times a day!


Thank you, Mr. Allawi, for comforting me. I feel so much better now.


How credible is Allawi? Check this out from an interview with Jim Lehrer:

JIM LEHRER: What would you say to somebody in the United States who questions whether or not getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the cost of more than a thousand lives now and billions and billions of U.S. dollars?

PRIME MINISTER IYAD ALLAWI: Well, I assure you if Saddam was still there, terrorists will be hitting there again at Washington and New York, as they did in the murderous attack in September; they'll be hitting also on other places in Europe and the Middle East.

He's SO credible that he implies that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

Just like Bush.

What a coincidence.

Barbara and Jenna, your country is calling

A great suggestion from the folks at Outlet Radio:

"Besides, since we've graduated from college, we're looking around for something to do for the next few years ... kind of like Dad."
[Remarks by Barbara and Jenna Bush - 2004 RNC - 08-31-04]

Army Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in an interview at his Pentagon office that the shortfall for the budget year ending Sept. 30 is likely to be about 5,000 soldiers. That is a little more than 1 percent of the total Army Guard force of 350,000.

"This is something that can't be ignored. I've got to watch it every day,'' he said. "But it's not something that I would say indicates that we're breaking. I think it indicates that the recruiting climate has gotten tougher, and that means we need to adjust to a tougher market.''

[General: Guard Won't Meet Recruiting Goal - AP - 09-23-04]


Great idea. I'd go further, and suggest that they could make up those 5,000 troops EASILY if every right-wing nut who claimed to support this war just marched down to the recruiting office and enlisted right now.

What do you say, nutjobs? John Kerry did it. You would want HIM to show you up, now, would you?


I had previously read excerpts of John Kerry's speech at NYU. Thanks to Matt Gunn for drawing my attention to the whole thing. It is, indeed, total dynamite. In a way, it's almost TOO good, because the only way to do it justice is to reproduce the whole thing, and it's long. If you haven't read it, go read it, and spread it.

"The President now admits to “miscalculations” in Iraq.

That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment – and judgment is what we look for in a president.

This is all the more stunning because we’re not talking about 20/20 hindsight. Before the war, before he chose to go to war, bi-partisan Congressional hearings… major outside studies… and even some in the administration itself… predicted virtually every problem we now face in Iraq.

This President was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.

The administration told us we’d be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.

They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq’s infrastructure. They were wrong.

They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.

They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.

They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong.

In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the President has held no one accountable, including himself."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Types of racism

There should be a word to describe the sort of casual racism that is defined by a lack of empathy and a tendency to stereotype, as opposed to the really virulent hatred of the committed bigot. It is a different kind of thing, and it's also much more common.

I don't think that all Republicans are racists, by any means. But it amazes me what a totally tin ear the official Republican organization has on the subject of race. They really just don't get it at all. They actually thought "Vote for Keyes - he's black, too!" would show those black people how diverse they were instead of being perceived as the condescending insult it obviously is. And they actually don't see it. It confuses Republicans that that's perceived as an insult.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's Delegate to the House of Representatives once said: "If you listen carefully they (the Republicans) will tell you what they really think."

This is one of those instances.

Who said it?

"Who you gonna believe - me or your own eyes?"

Chico Marx or George Bush?

Chico, of course. Bush just implies it with almost every sentence.

The story lead on the MSNBC website:

"During a Rose Garden appearance with the interim leader of Iraq, President Bush said January elections in Iraq are possible 'because the prime minister told me they are.'"

Holy shit.

You could almost hear Rove scream

From Bush's press conference:

Bush: Let's talk about polls. I saw a poll where the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than it is here in America!


He's right, and every sane person knows it.

Kerry lost no time in responding to Allawi's speech.

Here it is. Good job.

"I think the prime minister is, obviously, contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country. The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story.

"The United States and the Iraqis have retreated from whole areas of Iraq. There are no-go zones in Iraq today. You can't hold an election in a no-go zone.

"George Bush let Osama bin Laden escape at Tora Bora. George Bush retreated from Fallujah and other communities in Iraq which are now overrun with terrorists and threaten our troops. And George Bush said on the record we can't win the war on terror.

"And even today, he blundered again saying there are only a handful of terrorists in Iraq. I think he's living in a make believe world."

Surprise, surprise

Allawi gave a speech before Congress today, and I'm shocked to report that Bush's hand-picked minion agreed with Bush.

Lies exposed

That erudite, liberal, blogging cockroach, archy, has come up with what I think is an astounding find: the U.S. State Department produced a list of countries where Al Qaeda operated back in November 2001, and Iraq wasn't on it.

Take a look at the article and the accompanying map. The State Department still has it up.

Was Bush aware of this? Did he ignore it?


As our Declaration of Independence reminds us, governments derive their power from the consent of the governed.

As Salon reminds us, Iraq is hell, and it is hell because we may have weapons, but we DON'T have the consent of the governed.

We have become that which we have traditionally hated.

"Iraq is a place where there is no civil debate and interest groups mediate their conflicts with weapons. The U.S. has the most powerful armed presence, its own military, but as an interest group, it represents the smallest number of Iraqis, possibly only those it directly supports. Political legitimacy, we have long known, comes directly from the people; it is not something that can be dictated by a foreign power, no matter how noble its stated intentions. The Allawi government, the result of American occupation, is what many Iraqis scornfully call a U.S. puppet government. In the months following the "transfer of sovereignty," I never heard a single Iraqi offer up praise for it. Not one."
Letters page, NY Times:

President Bush endlessly repeats the claim that we are safer without Saddam Hussein in power but offers evidence that does not support his assertion.

Saddam Hussein's being a dictator or using weapons against his people or wishing to acquire the capacity to get weapons of mass destruction are not logical pieces of evidence to support Mr. Bush's assertion.

Simply put, how exactly was Saddam Hussein a threat, and why are we safer with him in custody?

Against the reality of the mess in Iraq - now a magnet for terrorists, a beacon for anti-American rage, a killing field for Americans, Iraqis and others because of Mr. Bush's invasion - one can reasonably conclude that we are much less safe since Saddam Hussein was toppled.

Mr. Bush's repetition of his assertion to the contrary is not only wrong but also nonsense. He is either utterly incompetent in his inability to understand the fundamental reasoning flaw in his standard defense of the war, or he assumes that much of the electorate is.

John E. Colbert
"George Bush and Dick Cheney are the last two people we need a lecture from about how to keep America safe. Dick Cheney's record of failure is eclipsed only by George Bush's." - John Edwards

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Keyes surging

The latest poll shows that Alan Keyes is now less than FIFTY POINTS behind Barak Obama. Obama has 68%, Keyes 23%.

Go get ' em, Alan. You do the GOP proud.

Extra! Reporter actually reports!

ABC News actually called Bush on one of his lies. Really. I'm not making that up. This is a good sign: Bush has lied for so long, so continually, with almost total impunity from the the So-Called Liberal Media that he probably has no IDEA how to handle a press corps that actually requires honesty, and a press corp that does not allow lies to go unnoticed in the name of "fairness." At this point, he just assumes that he can say anything, no matter how ludicrous, and his supine sycophants in the press won't mention it.

Click here to view the video - Quicktime required. Some other packages (like winamp) let you hear the audio, but you can't see it.

Here's the text:

PETER JENNINGS: We were struck today by a very pointed attack by President Bush on John Kerry.

First of all, this is what Mr. Bush said.

[begin video clip]

BUSH: We agree that the world is better off with Saddam Hussein sitting in a prison cell.

And that stands in stark contrast to the statement that my opponent made yesterday, when he said that the world was better off with Saddam in power.

I strongly disagree.

[end video clip]

JENNINGS: And this is what Mr. Kerry actually said. [emphasis original]

[begin video clip]

KERRY: Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in Hell.

But that was not, in and of itself, a reason to go to war.

The satisfaction that we take in his downfall does not hide this fact:

We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.

[end video clip]

If Bush can't build a straw man - does he have anything to say at all?
"The president wants to shift the topic and I am not going to let him shift the topic. This is about President Bush, his decisions and his choice and his unwillingness to live in reality. And American lives are on the line as a consequence of that." - John Kerry.

Good Catch:

"A year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush."

Richard Perle, AEI Keynote speech, September 22, 2003


Anybody watching, reading or listening to Bush's speech to the UN had to be wondering what the man could possibly be thinking. Well, everyone except for his personal gaggle of Kool-Aid drinkers, who would say he was "brilliant" if he soiled himself in public.

This is the U.N. This is Clown-boy's last chance to get some international cooperation to help with what has become a gigantic disaster. This is his last chance to actully behave like a leader instead of a bully. This is his final opportunity to redeem something decent from the ashes.

What does he do? He gives them a campaign speech. The United-Frigging-Nations.

He actually looked the UN in the eye and pretended that Iraq was just rosy. As though they didn't know any better.

He refused to admit making any mistakes when talking to a roomful of people whom he has gone out of his way to antagonize, and who are suffering from his mistakes. He scolded them. For being right. What they said about Iraq turned out to be true. What he said turned out to be false.

And he and his minions seem to be the only ones in the world who don't know it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

From Operation Truth:

The U.S. must face the monster it created
SPC Murphy was stationed in Iraq for 15 months, including several months as an MP (Military Police) at Abu Ghraib Prison.

I feel uneasy returning this month to American soil after my 15-month tour in Iraq. This dreadful feeling is inescapable. Every day I must look in the mirror and face the fact that I served in a war based on flawed premises. I was told that Iraq was an imminent threat, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. There were no WMD. I was told that Saddam had collaborated with Al Qaeda. He had not. Later I was told that we invaded Iraq to bring its people freedom and democracy. In my time in Iraq I witnessed the security situation deteriorate daily, and elections have yet to be held. (Incidentally, before the war I believed in the humanitarian cause of liberating the Iraqi people from the evil of Saddam, and I still believe in that cause.) My personal experiences on the ground epitomize broader, and sometimes troubling, issues in the war.

When my company landed in theatre in May, I was one of the few soldiers equipped with body armor effective at stopping powerful AK-47 ammunition. My mother, an elementary school art teacher, shipped the bullet-proof ceramic plates to me from the States. Other soldiers weren’t so lucky, having to raid buildings and patrol dangerous streets while wearing inferior Vietnam-era flak jackets. Later I learned that 40,000 troops had been sent into Iraq without effective body armor. We rode in ‘soft shell’ Humvees, equipped with flimsy fiber-glass doors. A Volvo has more protection. I saw the blood of American soldiers spilled because of the lack of ‘up-armored’ Humvees

After training 2,000 police, and bringing law and order to the city of Al Hilla, my unit was tasked to run Abu Ghraib prison, a mission for which we had no prior training. We were combat support military police, ideal for conducting convoy security, not administering prisoner-of-war camps. My unit was desperately under-manned, so I was assigned to run an entire tier at the ‘hard site’. Even as a junior-enlisted soldier, I was personally responsible for 320 prisoners and a staff of four or five ill-disciplined Iraqi police. At Abu Ghraib, we were not afforded basic necessities such as cleaning supplies, instead prisoners cleaned their cells with water alone. Worst of all, nobody ever knew for sure who was actually in charge of the prison: military police, military intelligence or civilian contractors. All the while, insurgents’ mortars rained down on a near-daily basis, killing and wounding scores of soldiers and prisoners alike.

After being promised one year 'boots on ground', and in Kuwait just days from flying home, my unit’s tour was extended by three months. We headed back to Iraq. Our new mission was to guard Halliburton truck drivers, civilian contractors who made three and four times my $20,000 salary. I wondered what on earth civilian truck drivers were doing in a combat zone. Riding with Halliburton on long convoys, we faced roadside bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire to protect these high-paid contractors. Finally, we were sent home in August.

I enlisted in the Army Reserve following September 11, 2001, one of the hardest and best decisions I have made in my life. I love the United States, the Army and my unit. Out of this deep love, I ask that we as Americans take a long look in the mirror. We must ask ourselves who we are and what we stand for. We as a nation must face the monster we have created in Iraq, sooner rather than later. We must find a way out of the mess in Iraq with minimal loss of American and Iraqi life. We owe it to the soldiers on the ground and the embattled Iraqi people.


I HATE making references to fascism - it makes you sound like a nut - but it might be better to sound like a nut than to ignore thuggery.

"Vandals set fire to signs and wrote pro-President Bush messages on the front of Lafayette’s Democratic Party Headquarters, the second time the office was hit by vandals.

"The remnants of a small fire fueled with John Kerry/John Edwards campaign signs remained on the front steps of the headquarters at 310 Buchanan St. in downtown Lafayette on Thursday morning.

"A mixture of ash from the fire and what appeared to be motor oil was used to smear “4+ GWB” across the front windows and “W” on the headquarters’ door.

“Obviously, this vandalism is an attempt to intimidate volunteers and the Democratic effort,” said Mike Skinner of Lafayette, chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “This is not Iraq. This is Louisiana. Issues will decide this election, not intimidation.”

The situation could have been even more dangerous because the fire was set at the front door of the headquarters, Thompson said.

“Thank God we didn’t have anybody here this morning,” she said. “They were trying to harm us.”

Skinner said it’s the second time this location has been vandalized.

Bush campaign officials in Louisiana and Arlington, Va., did not immediately return calls for comment, the Associated Press reported."

Self delusion

Frm CNN:

"President Bush, trying to soften his image overseas as a heavy-handed unilateralist, is using his annual address to the United Nations to offer up a brighter vision of a planet with less hunger, disease and oppression. In his speech today, Bush also is expected to defend his decision to invade Iraq."

I can never decide if Bush is really that rotten or really that self-deluded. If he doesn't want an image as a "heavy-handed unilateralist," it easy: don't behave like one.

Bush seems to think that being the President involves behaving like a total shit, and then giving a speech that says, "really - I mean well."

E.J. Dionne

I think it's more effective to focus on Iraq than Vietnam. Still, E.J. Dionne makes several delightful points about Bush's past:

"Republicans were conspicuously happy to have a front group spread untruths about John Kerry's Vietnam service in August and watch as the misleading claims were amplified by the supposedly liberal media. The Vietnam era was relevant as long as it could be used to raise character questions about Kerry. But as soon as the questioning turned to Bush's character, we were supposed to call the whole thing off. Why? Because the media were supposed to question Kerry's character but not Bush's.

"And, please, none of this nonsense about how Kerry "opened the door" to the assault on his Vietnam years by highlighting his service at the Democratic National Convention. Nothing any candidate does should ever be seen as "opening the door" to lies about his past. .

But, most important, there is only one reason the story about Bush's choices during the Vietnam years persists. It's because the president won't give detailed answers to the direct questions.

But a guy who is supposed to be so frank and direct turns remarkably Clintonian where the National Guard issue is concerned. "I met my requirements and was honorably discharged" is Bush's stock answer, which does old Bill proud. And am I the only person exasperated by a double standard that treated everything Bill Clinton ever did in his life ("I didn't inhale") as fair game but now insists that we shouldn't sully ourselves with any inconvenient questions about Bush's past?"

Monday, September 20, 2004

Reward Good Behavior.

Kerry's speech was excellent. EXACTLY the sort of thing he should be saying.

Like it or not, politicians pay attention to MONEY.

Reward Good Behavior.
"Where is the freedom [Bush] promised? All the bloodshed, the sabotage, the killings. Who is paying the price? We, the Iraqi civilians." -Retired police officer Abaas Ramah.

Four-point soundbites.

Kerry just gave a speech at New York University on Iraq laying out a "four-point plan." I don't know about a "four-point plan." I agree with what he said, but the oppressive news cycle demands sound bites, and I don't think a candidate has any real choice but to provide them. People's eyes glaze over when you start talking about "four-point plans."

But Kerry's criticisms DID offer some REALLY GOOD sound bites, and he should do this every single day.

"Bush's mistakes were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment — and judgment is what we look for in a president."

"Iraq was a profound diversion from that war and the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions and, if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight."

"This president was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences."

"By one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded."

I especially like that last one. Flip-flop? Bush can't even make up his mind about why he started a war.


From ABC News:

"But whenever the debate turns to Iraq, Republicans are quick to turn Kerry's sometimes confusing positions on the war against him. After voting to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, Kerry criticized the president for doing so and said Bush should have pursued more diplomacy first."

This is nonsense from a press corp that has ceased to exercise ANY critical thinking, and which sees its job as simply repeating spin points.

The fact is that Bush declared that the vote for authorization was NOT a vote to go to war.

What Bush SAID was:

"Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.

The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something."

And Kerry referred to that when
explaining his vote on Iraq back in October 2002:

"As the President made clear earlier this week, "Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable." It means "America speaks with one voice."...

...In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days--

To work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force.

If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.

Ok? That's what he said THEN, and it's what he says NOW.

Bush said that the vote WASN'T a vote for military action. Now he says it was. Flip-flop.

But Kerry said THEN exactly what he says NOW. That he gave Bush the authorization with the assumption that he would work with the international community and he would attack Bush if he FAILED to do so. And Bush DID fail to do so.

Does the press REALLY find this position confusing? "I voted to give Bush the authority to go to war, and he screwed it up." That's not complicated.

Congress gave Bush a license to drive. They didn't know he would drive recklessly and crash the car.

Plan for Iraq

Kerry is laying out a plan for Iraq at New York University this morning to counter criticism that he has shifting position, and nothing concrete. Good. It really isn't hard: screw what happened 30 years ago. YES, Kerry was infinitely more heroic than Bush, but people really don't much care. Kerry should simply talk about foreign policy and domestic policy. It's EASY to make Bush look awful on both: he's BEEN awful. Kerry should talk about what he WILL do, and what Bush has and hasn't done. Every day. It really isn't hard.

"How can you fix a problem that you refuse to acknowledge even exists?" - Terry McAuliffe


Bush, Kerry Tentatively Settle on 3 Debates

Kerry should INSIST that they have at least one REAL debate - where the two candidates actually engage each other. Not one of these stupid rituals where some dumb reporter asks some dumb pre-packaged question, and they each give a dumb pre-packaged answer. The idea of a debate is to see how candidates think on their feet, not to see how well their handlers can write spin points..

Hit them again. Harder, harder.

"Let me just say this in the simplest possible terms. When John Kerry is president of the United States, we will find Al Qaeda where they are and crush them before they can do damage to the American people." - John Edwards

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The World's Shortest Blog

Just one question...

Jimmy Swaggart - Bush supporter

Jimmy Swaggart, paramour of a 10-dollar-hooker, decides to explain why he supports Bush:

"I'm trying to find the correct name for it ... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. ... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.

"And I thank God that President Bush has stated (applause) that we need a constitutional amendment that states that marriage is between a man and a woman."

The video is here, courtesy of Oliver Willis.

Christians should loudly (almost as loudly as Swaggart) call this trash what it is.

And Democrats should demand that Bush distance himself from it.

Rummy lies; surprise, surprise.

November 2003: Rummy says we have 118,000 Iraqi security personnel
"In the period ahead, we will be accelerating the training of Iraqi forces, with the objective of going from the level today, which is 118,000 Iraqis in the Army, police, site protection, civil defense and border patrols, 118,000 Iraqis under arms, to somewhere in excess of 220,000 sometime during the year 2004." - Rumsfeld, 11/10/03

December 2003: We now have 140,000 Iraqis in uniform
"The number of Iraqis in uniform is said to be about 140,000" - Wash Times, 12/8/03

August 2004: Rummy says we now have 220,000 Iraqis in uniform, but only 110,000 functioning
"We’ve gone from zero to something like 220,000 Iraqi security forces of which 110,000 are properly trained and equipped and functioning." - Rumsfeld, DOD Web site, 8/26/04

September 2004: Rummy says we have only 95,000 Iraqis trained and functioning
"[Rumsfeld] said the coalition has fully trained and equipped 95,000 Iraqis in the army, National Guard, Border Patrol and police." - DOD, 9/10/04

"The Secretary of Defense said in February we have trained 220,000 Iraqi military - what did he say? - 'an amazing accomplishment'. And that was malarky.

Then he said last Friday, a week ago Friday, we've trained 95,000.

But we had a witness before us from the State Department on Thursday at Dick's hearings, I asked them, I said: 'To the best of my knowledge, Rumsfeld is saying 32,000 cops have been trained, to the best of my knowledge not one single Iraqi policeman has gone through the full compliment of training, is that true?'

And the administration witness said 'yes, that's true.'" - Joe Biden

So-Called Liberal Media

Where is Edwards? All over the place, the press just doesn't mention it.

"Sometimes, it's as though it were two-against-one as John F. Kerry seeks the presidency: Vice President Dick Cheney knocks him down, and President Bush grinds in his heel.

While it may not seem so from the national news coverage of late, the Democratic presidential nominee does have a partner in the campaign. John Edwards is wowing crowds in battleground states, even as some members of his party wonder why he is not attracting the same attention to their cause as Cheney is for the Republicans.

Two or three times a day, the Democratic vice presidential nominee pops into a pivotal media market, addresses a rally, or conducts a town hall meeting, and then sits for a round of interviews with local reporters."
"The Bushies are way beyond spin, which is a staple of politics. These guys are about turning the world upside down, and saying it's right side up." - Maureen Dowd

No Stars, Just Cuffs

From Mean Maureen

In World Wars I and II, gold star mothers were the queens of their neighborhoods, the stars in their windows ensuring that they would be treated with great respect for their sacrifice in sending sons overseas to fight and die against the Germans and Japanese.

Instead of a gold star, Sue Niederer, 55, of Hopewell, N.J., got handcuffed, arrested and charged with a crime for daring to challenge the Bush policy in Iraq, where her son, Army First Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, died in February while attempting to disarm a bomb.

She came to a Laura Bush rally last week at a firehouse in Hamilton, N.J., wearing a T-shirt that blazed with her agony and anger: "President Bush You Killed My Son."...

Friday, September 17, 2004

Who's winning?

From Global

Answers to Tough Questions

Liberal Oasis has created a document (unofficial, not endorsed by the Kerry campaign, but quite good) for use by grass-roots volunteers. It's a handy set of responses to the various attack points the the Bush Campaign has put out there. And, unlike the Bush attack points, the stuff here is accurate.

So, if you engage undecided voters, take a look a this.

It's in Microsoft Word, and it's here.
"I think that anybody that thinks that you can hold elections in the Sunni Triangle by the end of January is really smoking something." - military historian Frank Fukuyama.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

"Political pundits are saying President George W. Bush has made gains in two key states: dazed and confused." - David Letterman

Terrorists and insurgents

George Bush has been keeping secrets. He has kept secret what he learned from the National Intelligence Council back in July: that the outlook in Iraq was bleak. That civil war was a distinct possiblity. That entire regions of the country were now a "no go" for U.S. troops, since those regions are now under the control of "terrorists and insurgents."

It's obvious why Bush can't level about that: it makes him look bad. But I'm thinking about how curious the terms have become: "terrorists and insurgents. It's interesting that we have now begun to define "terrorists and insurgents" as entire regions of Iraq.

Weren't the terrorists and insurgents supposed to be just little pockets of Hussein's loyalists?

Now, suddenly, "terrorists and insurgents" are entire regions, many of whom, no doubt, passionately HATED Saddam Hussein.

How big of a stretch would it be, then, for Bush to extend the term "terrorists and insurgents" to cover every person in Iraq? Is that so far-fetched? If virtually every person in Iraq wanted the U.S. out of there, would that make them ALL terrorists and insurgents and entitle the U.S. to kill them all?

Is that the definition of a "liberated Iraqi"? One who pledges allegiance to the United States?

Clueless in Baghdad

Iraq is falling apart. Some people are claiming that we are now losing. Soldiers are dying due to Bush's incompetence. And Bush continues to pretend that everything is just finem and is psychologically unable to change course.

This is from Crossfire today:

BEGALA: The president has been misleading us about Iraq from the beginning. And he's doing it again today. And let me explain to you why. In today's "New York Times," for example, there is a report that President Bush has been briefed on an exhaustive national intelligence estimate of what is really happening in Iraq. The estimate was completed back in July. And it is unrelentingly pessimistic, likely outcomes reportedly ranging from a best-case scenario of a shaky security, economic and political climate, to the worst case, civil war.

But that is not what Mr. Bush told us in his September convention address. Then, he spoke of -- quote -- "a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East" -- unquote. And he told the National Guard earlier this week -- quote -- "The world is changing for the better" -- unquote.

Well, one former Army colonel bluntly tells "USA Today" -- quote -- "The bottom line is, at this moment, we are losing the war" -- unquote. Too bad our commander in chief is not as honest as that Army colonel.


CARLSON: Look, look, the idea that Bush is lying -- anybody who watches television, anyone who reads the newspapers, anyone who bothers to go to Iraq knows what's obvious. It's a bit of a mess in Iraq. Everyone knows that, Paul.

BEGALA: Except George W. Bush, who knows it and won't tell us. He keeps telling us, oh, it's great, it's wonderful. Things are terrific.


CARLSON: You know what? You know what? The idea that this is somehow an example of Bush lying. The point is, Bush has a plan. You may not agree with it.

BEGALA: He doesn't have a plan.

CARLSON: Yes, he does.

BEGALA: He doesn't have a clue.

"George Bush is proud of the fact that not even failure can cause him to change his mind." -John Kerry
Kerry spoke to the National Guard, just like Bush did a few days ago, and had this to say:

"The president stood right where I'm standing and did not even acknowledge that more than 1,000 men and women have lost their lives in Iraq. He did not tell you that with each passing day we're seeing more chaos, more violence, more indiscriminate killings."

"You deserve a president who will not play politics with national security, who will not ignore his own intelligence while living in a fantasy world of spin, and who will give the American people the truth about the challenge our brave men and women face on the front lines."

Kerry is GOOD when he fights.

Let's hope he keeps fighting.

Bottom Feeder.

The putrid, disgusting, sorry excuse for a human being also known as "Dick Cheney" apparently thought that saying (in essence) "vote for us or you might die" just wasn't disgusting enough.

So he decided to dig deeper into the slime.

Apparently, he thinks that the kids in Russia got what was coming to them because they didn't support our quagmire in Iraq.

"I think some have hoped that if they kept their heads down and stayed out of the line of fire, they wouldn't get hit. I think what happened in Russia now demonstrates pretty conclusively that everybody is a target. That Russia, of course, didn't support us in Iraq, they didn't get involved in sending troops there, they've
gotten hit anyway."

Do you BELIEVE that?

Using the murder of a few hundred children to make political points.

This man is utterly beneath contempt, and he and his puppet should be rejected by every decent human being.

Hold Them Accountable

A new 527 called the "Fight Back Campaign" has a dynamite TV ad. Click here to view the ad, or contribute to keeping it running.


Iraq? It is now an official disaster.

"The National Intelligence Council presented President Bush this summer with several pessimistic scenarios regarding the security situation in Iraq, including the possibility of a civil war there before the end of 2005.

At worst, the official said, were "trend lines that would point to a civil war." The official said it "would be fair" to call the document "pessimistic."

The intelligence estimate, which was prepared for Bush, considered the window of time between July and the end of 2005. But the official noted that the document draws on intelligence community assessments from January 2003, before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the subsequent deteriorating security situation there.

The estimate appears to differ from the public comments of Bush and his senior aides who speak more optimistically about the prospects for a peaceful and free Iraq. "We're making progress on the ground," Bush said at his Texas ranch late last month."

This is astounding. Our official intelligence community is telling Bush that he has caused a DISASTER. And it's worse than that, since this report was written when the situation was a bit BETTER than it is now.

And Bush's only response is to publicly bullshit, and play "put on a happy face" for the TV cameras.

And everybody KNOWS that he's doing that, and LYING about what a disaster he created.

And the So-Called Liberal Media is giving him a free pass on it.

The most gigantic foreign policy blunder since God Knows When - maybe EVER - and the media won't treat it like it's a big story.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Seen on the Fairway Supermarket electronic billboard on the West Side Highway, Manhattan:


Weeping may endure for a night

"But joy cometh in the morning."

Firing someone for his or her political beliefs seems to go against everything this country stands for. But it isn't actually illegal.

So a dedicated member of Right-Wing-BrownShirts-R-Us, Phil Geddes, owner of c ompany called "Enviromate" actually fired an employee, Lynne Gobbell, for having a Kerry Bumpersticker on her car.

"We were going back to work from break, and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired," she said. "I told him that Phil couldn't tell me who to vote for. He said, 'Go tell him.' "

"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, 'Well, am I fired?' He hollered and said, 'Get out of here and shut the door.' "

She said her manager was standing in another room and she asked him if that meant for her to go back to work or go home. The manager told her to go back to work, but he came back a few minutes later and said, " 'I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry,' " Gobbell said.

So in a fine move, John Kerry, after reading the story somewhere, called the woman up and hired her.

"Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. "He was telling me how proud he was that I stood up," Gobbell told me. "He'd read the part where Phil said I could either work for him or work for John Kerry. He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.' I was just so shocked."

Let's see if the media covers it. This is a perfect campaign story - the sort that the press just eats up. But it makes Kerry look good, so I'll bet it gets little play.

By the way, here's contact info for the clown that fired. If you are so inclined, call him up and tell him what a piece of crap he is.


The Enviromate Company is here:
EnviroMate Insulation
13855 Court Street
Moulton, Alabama 35650
Phone: 256.350.0442

Mr. Geddes also has a law office with contact info as follows:
619 Bank Street
Decatur, AL 35601

Monday, September 13, 2004


The Poor Man gets irrestistible. Go look. Especially Mrs. Ignatz.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, responding to allegations that he fostered a climate that led to the prisoner-abuse scandal, said yesterday that the military's mistreatment of detainees was not as bad as what terrorists have done.

"Does it rank up there with chopping someone's head off on television?" he asked. "It doesn't."

What in the hell does THAT mean?

Is Donald Rumsfeld claiming that anything less than a public beheading is an acceptable way for the United States to treat its prisoners of war?

Bitch slap

PETE SESSIONS (R-Soulless Robot): "This is similar to being an away game. We had our home game on September 11th, 2001. We inflicted - they inflicted, the enemy inflicted - heavy damages upon the United States. But it's now up to us not to sit back and treat this like it's an international circumstance that may be thought of, uh, with a law enforcement exercise."

MARTIN FROST (D-Dallas): "Pete, my wife is an army officer, and she's on assignment in Iraq right now. Two weeks ago I went to the burial of a twenty-one-year-old marine from this area who was killed in Iraq. That burial was at the National Cemetary. We've had a thousand - more than a thousand - people die in this war so far. Pete, this is not a game."

Video here

George W. Putin

"President Vladimir Putin outlined plans Monday to "radically" change the Russian political system in a way that would increase his own power, portraying the moves as a means of combating terrorism in the aftermath of this month's deadly school seizure."

"Give me power or you might die."

Who does THAT remind you of?

Thank you

Kerry seems to be taking the gloves off and actually tying Iraq (in this context, pronounced "a-rock" - what a great pun) around Bush's neck. Which is exactly what he should do.

"Senator John Kerry on Sunday accused the Bush administration of letting "a nuclear nightmare" develop by refusing to deal with North Korea when it first came to office.

"They have taken their eye off the real ball," Mr. Kerry said, his voice almost shaking in anger. "They took it off in Afghanistan and shifted it to Iraq. They took it off in North Korea and shifted it to Iraq. They took it off in Russia, and the nuclear materials there, and shifted it to Iraq."

Mr. Kerry's basic argument, that the Iraq war has diverted attention from more dangerous nations like North Korea, is one he has often used on the campaign trail and in interviews over the past several months. But his language on Sunday, calling the situation "a nuclear nightmare" and directly accusing Mr. Bush of leaving the United States more vulnerable to North Korea, was far harsher and more incendiary than the language he has used before."

You think maybe John Kerry figured it out from reading this page? Well, okay, but maybe he SHOULD.

Friday, September 10, 2004


Ok, I REALLY didn't want to write about the "are the documents forged?" question, because I meant what I said below: it's secondary, and Bush has to be made to defend what he's doing NOW, not what he did 35 years ago. Also I don't have a whole lot to say: I'm hardly qualified to make a determination. For the record:

Personally, I think some of the questions are good ones and warrant examining, despite the fact that SOME of the claims that have been made are plain false (like the claim that proportional space fonts didn't exist. They existed since the 1940s, and were downright common by the 70s.)

BUT (and it's a big but) CBS insists that they thoroughly investigated and the documents are authentic, and they are the ONLY ones who have examined the originals. The media "experts" making claims about these documents are seriously breaching protocol; they aren't supposed to pass judgment on documents that they haven't examined with their own hands.

That said, here are a few observations about the question of superscript. Just food for thought:

1) Despite the claims that superscript was not used at the time, it was, and, in fact, it appears on one of the official National Guard Documents Bush released himself. You can see a superscripted "111th" on page 3, the second line. The page is sideways.

2)In addition, THIS document, which is one of the ones the right-wing claims is phony, has a superscript "111th" and a NON superscript "111th" (in the heading). Also a non-superscript "1st." Indicating that it was typed with something that DIDN'T superscript automatically. In fact, there is the LACK of superscript in three out of four memos. May 4th ("111th" and "1st"); May 19th ("1st"); and August 1st ("111th," "1st" and "147th" twice). NONE of these have superscript. But Microsoft Word superscripts automatically.

That's it. For the rest, I'll just sit back and let the mess work itself out in the wash. Back to important stuff, like Bush's current incompetence.
Why are conservatives the ones pointing out the obvious hypocrisy is Bush's attacks? Why aren't the Democrats?

I mean, didn't the Democrats NOTICE that the guy claiming that Kerry couldn't pay for his proposals was running up the largest debt in history? How could they not notice? Why didn't they point that out?

"President Bush, who accuses his Democratic rival of keeping his budget plans secret, has yet to offer plans of his own for funding his campaign promises and cutting the deficit in half, fiscal conservatives said on Friday.

Bush is campaigning for a second term promising to overhaul the Social Security retirement system and the U.S. tax code. He is pushing for more spending on job training and for expanding health care tax credits.

But Bush has yet to say how he will pay for it, even as he charges that his Democratic presidential rival, John Kerry, is hiding "details on how they would raise spending and lower the deficit" until after the Nov. 2 election."

atrios has posted this thing from Mad Magazine

Focus, dammit, focus

AWOL documents. The SWILLs (SWIft Boat Lying Liars). The raking of the muck of petty scandal after petty scandal. I'm a little tired of it. And I've participated in it myself. But it's a distraction, and it isn't doing much to help beat Bush. The focus should be on domestic and foreign affairs, both of which Bush has handled badly or hasn't handled at all.

Kerry has done a fair job in the last few days of focusing on that stuff, and he's been smart to tie the Iraqi debacle to domestic issues by pointing out the disaster that it is AND how its costs are negatively impacting America's domestic needs. But it doesn't seem sustained. Crap keeps rising to distract attention from it.

You know what the big news SHOULD be? That Bin Laden's top lieutenant just released a video mocking the efforts of the United States - THREE YEARS after 9/11.

Three years. And the guys who staged the attack on the United States are STILL AT LARGE. They're making videos and releasing them to the media, so, NO, they aren't holed up in a cave somewhere.

That's how big of a failure Bush has been.

While the nation has spent time, money and LIVES wondering when the Iraqis were going to start loving us for occupying their country, the people who attacked us are walking around scot free, making videos mocking our efforts two days before the actual anniversary of the attack.

And what has Bush done about the threat? INCREASED it. James Fallows in the October Atlantic writes that "It is hard to find a counterterrorism specialist who thinks that the Iraq War has reduced rather than increased the threat to the United States."

Terrorists attacked Australia two days ago. They attacked Russia last week. But George W. Bush is trying to hinge his campaign on the transparent falsehood that his actions have increased our safety.

His response to 9/11 has not only NOT been good - it hasn't even been acceptable. It's hard to imagine one more thoroughly incompetent. It's hard to imagine any opportunity in the history of the United States that has EVER been more thoroughly squandered.

John Kerry, the DNC and the whole pack of them should stuff Bush's bullshit right back down his throat. If they must focus on 35 years ago (and it probably isn't a good idea to completely ignore it, since it HAS been turned into an issue), they should do so in a way that ties it to the present.

"George Bush's failure to finish the job in the National Guard is part of Bush's pattern: he never finishes the job. He didn't finish it in Afghanistan, and the video of Ayman al-Zawahiri proves it."

Is that so hard?