Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Very Cool

The first hurdle has been cleared in the $10 million X Prize contest. SpaceShip One successfully took off, went into space and landed today. Now it has to do it again within two weeks to win the prize. Very exciting stuff.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Florida Fails Voting Test

Jimmy Carter, who has monitored many an election around the world, says in today's Washington Post that Florida's voting situation doesn't meet "basic international requirements."

"Four years ago, the top election official, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was also the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney state campaign committee. The same strong bias has become evident in her successor, Glenda Hood, who was a highly partisan elector for George W. Bush in 2000. Several thousand ballots of African Americans were thrown out on technicalities in 2000, and a fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons."

"The top election official has also played a leading role in qualifying Ralph Nader as a candidate, knowing that two-thirds of his votes in the previous election came at the expense of Al Gore. She ordered Nader's name be included on absentee ballots even before the state Supreme Court ruled on the controversial issue. Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, naturally a strong supporter of his brother, has taken no steps to correct these departures from principles of fair and equal treatment or to prevent them in the future."

"It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation. It is especially objectionable among us Americans, who have prided ourselves on setting a global example for pure democracy. With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida."

Don't Believe Me?

That the GOP is slowly slipping into fascism? This is just one of many similar stories of attacks and vandalism by GOP thugs against Kerry supporters. And the local GOP chairman says its OK because Kerry supporters are "traitors." Imagine what its going to be like if they win in November.

America's Taliban

That as my thought this morning as I listened to this NPR piece about the death of Sgt. Ben Isenberg who died in Taji on Sept. 13 (scroll down for the link to the audio).

Isenberg's father said that the war in Iraq was a spiritual war and that Bush was the spiritual leader to lead this spiritual war, as predicted in whatever apocalyptic piece of fiction Mr. Isenberg believes in (the Bible, I guess).

This is terrifying thinking. And all too common. And very, very much like other fundamentalist movements around the world (i.e. the Taliban).

This fundementalist, apocalyptic Christianity is part and parcel of growing American fascism. This piece by David Neiwart, part two of a series, details more about the role of fundamentalist Christianity in American fascism.

"[E]ach national variant of fascism draws its legitimacy, as we shall see, not from some universal scripture but from what it considers the most authentic elements of its own community identity. Religion, for example, would certainly play a much larger role in an authentic fascism in the United States than in the first European fascisms, which were pagan for contingent historical reasons."

Happy Monday!

1. Open a new file in Word.

2. Name it George W Bush and save.

3. Send it to the trash.

4. Click on Empty Trash Bin

5. Your computer will ask you "Are you sure you want to delete George W Bush?"

6. Answer calmly Yes, press the mouse button firmly and smile broadly.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Election In a Nutshell

in this editorial cartoon

Shutting Down Dissent

The GOP lapdogs are out there saying that Kerry is "emboldening" terrorists, etc.

These latest tactics by the right are aimed at shutting down Kerry's vigorous (and justified) attacks on the president's policies and results (actually, lack thereof) in Iraq. They've done it before and they'll keep on doing it. They don't want any dissent 'cos that messes with the rosy pictures they're painting.

Hopefully, Kerry won't fall for it and will keep up the attacks.

More from Digby.

Bizarro World

You remember Bizarro World from the old Superman comics, right? Everything is backwards. Black is white, etc. Well that my friends describes the Bush administration. So when a Bush bill is named the Clear Skies act, its actually just the opposite. You get the point.

I bring this up to refute the meme going around about how "soccer moms" are becoming "security moms." There's no proof of this at all. Young single women support Kerry in droves, as they always have supported Democrats. No change there. Married women with children support Bush, as they ahve always supported Republicans. No change there.

So why is this meme being planted? To keep the Republican women in line. Remember, Rove has said this election will be won on the base -- so he's not going to let any member of the base go.

More from Digby.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cat and Mouse

We can't find Osama, but we kept Cat Stevens out of the US. Yep, Osama is the real cat here, as he is still on the loose, while mousy Cat Stevens, known as Yusef Islam for 30 years and a peace activist of some note, is being shipped back to England. The plane was actually diverted to Maine on route from London to Washington after it was discovered that Stevens/Islam was on board.

"On his official Web site, [Yusef] Islam has posted numerous statements in opposition to terrorist attacks, most recently the school seizure in Beslan, Russia that ended with more than 300 people dead -- about half of them children. Islam also criticized the September 11, 2001, attacks against the United States and donated a portion of the royalties from a four-disc set of his music to the families of the September 11th Fund."

Yeah he sure is a dangerous guy. Its all just so absurd.

All the Shah's Men

At the recommendation of an Iranian friend, I just finished reading All the Shah's Men. Its a fascinating account of the American-led coup (the brand-new CIA's first activity) of the nationalist leader Mohammed Mossadegh and re-installation of the dictator Shah of Iran in 1953. Mossadegh had nationalized the oil industry and Britain, which had been raping Iran's oil profits for years, wanted him gone. And the US was in the midst of an idealogical rapture about communism and feared the Soviets would take Iran. So the interests of the US and Britain coincided in a covert action that in a pretty straight line led us to the mess we're in today (coup in Iran, Shah's repressive regime, Islamic Revolution, Taliban, Sept 11).

I found this interesting about the idealogues, the Dulles brothers (John Foster Dulles was Eisenhower's Secretary of State and Allen Dulles was director of the CIA at the same time) : "Even before taking their oaths of office, both brothers had convinced themselves beyond all doubt that Mossadegh must go. They never even considered the possibility that a coup might be a bad idea or that it might have negative consequences. History might view their action more favorably if it had been the result of serious, open-minded reflection and debate. Instead, it sprang from petulant impatience, from a burning desire to do something, anything that would seem like a victory over communism."

Substitute Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz for the Dulles brothers, Saddam for Mossadegh and terrorism for communism, and you see the similarities to the mess idealogues have gotten us in to today.

Ashcroft: Zero Terrorist Convictions


What do you want from a guy who lost a Senate race to a dead man?

If Iraq Were America

Juan Cole helps us understand that tragedy that is Iraq by speculating what America would be like if the shit that is going on in Iraq was going on here. You really should read it -- its quite sobering.

GOP DIrty Trickster Behind CBS Fakes?

"The hot rumor in New York political circles has Roger Stone, the longtime GOP activist, as the source for Dan Rather's dubious Texas Air National Guard "memos."

The irony would be delicious, since Rather became famous confronting President Nixon, in whose service a very young Stone became associated with political "dirty tricks."

Reached at his Florida home, Stone had no comment."

New York Post

Air Force Times Says Bush was AWOL

Read the story.

"From most accounts, Bush appears to have received preferential treatment to get into the Air National Guard and avoid the draft after he graduated from Yale University in 1968. He was initially regarded as a good pilot, but his performance faded over his final two years in the Guard and he was suspended from flight status. He did not fly for the remaining 18 months he served in the Guard, though he was obligated to do so.

And for significant chunks of time, Bush did not report for duty at all. His superiors took no action, and he was honorably discharged in 1973, six months before he should have been."

Wishin' and Hopin'

"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
September 22, 2003

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Legal Point

From, of course, Talk Left: "It should be also noted that no one at CBS, or Burkett, has said the documents were faked or forged. Only that they cannot be authenticated."

And remember people its the CONTENT that matters and that has been proven repeatedly in lots of undisputed documents.

Fair is Fair

If Rather is going to take all this heat over the forged Bush documents, then how about Chris Vlasto, whose entire career as an ABC producer has been peddling lies about liberals? Atrios reminds us of the details.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Name the October Surprise


As the site notes, the only surprise will be if there isn't one.

I Report, You Decide

The Left Coaster says the forged memos were a Rove plot to get Dan Rather for doing the story exposing the Abu Gharib mess. And of course to protect Fly Boy.

Kerry Hits Bush Hard

Great speech -- read it.

His 4 point plan for Iraq (from Al Franken's radio show site):

1. Hold an emergency summit of major allies and Iraq's neighbors to rebuild the coalition.
2. Greatly expand the project to train Iraq's troops, and make sure they're trained better--he'd double classroom training time.
3. Fire the officials responsible for screwing up Iraq's reconstruction and hire more Iraqi firms instead of Halliburton. Actually spend the reconstruction money.
4. Pull together a U.N. protection force to make sure the elections go forward.

More from the speech:

"The President has said that he “miscalculated” in Iraq and that it was a “catastrophic success.” In fact, the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions … from the beginning … in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

The first and most fundamental mistake was the President’s failure to tell the truth to the American people.

He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.

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.

His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false… by the President’s own weapons inspectors… and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.

The President also failed to level with the American people about what it would take to prevail in Iraq."

Really, you need to read the speech -- its fantastic.

Don't Be a Good German

"...I don’t want to look back in twenty years and discover that during the crunch time I was the modern equivalent of a ‘good German’—busy with the demands of family and career while ‘the great experiment,’ the USA, went down the tubes around me. Even bearing witness against these trends serves, I hope, in some small way to begin to roll them back."

Michael Froomkin

Osama Doesn't Care Who Wins

Jeez, that Denny Hastert is such an embarrasment. Can anyone really be that stupid? Juan Cole, someone with far more knowledge and expertise in Middle East politics than Hastert, says Osama bin Laden doesn't care who wins the US election.


George Bush's Purple Hearts.

Forged Memo Poster Has NC Ties

For those of you in North Carolina, the LA Times reports that Harry MacDonald, the lawyer who first posted about the CBS memos being forgeries and a prominent Republican activist, works in the Atlanta office of Winston-Salem based Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice. I hear that law firm's name all the time as a funder of public radio in NC.

Obviously, lots of folks are starting to realize that the effort to "expose" the CBS memos as forgeries is a coordinated Republican campaign to turn attention away from the fact that Bush shirked his Guard duties and got away with it.

Some Perspective on Forgeries

So it looks like CBS is going to admit that the Killian documents are forgeries. But let's put this in some perspective.

First, the content of the memos is accurate. Bush used family connections to get into the Guard, failed to meet his obligations and used family connections to get an honorable discharge that he didn't deserve. Lots of other documents prove this. The Killian memos are not necessary to back up that truth.

Second, it was a prominent Republican activist who posted the first questions about the memos -- the same guy who helped in the campaign for Clinton to be disbarred in Arkansas.

Third, what about the forged Niger-uranium-Saddam documents? Nearly everyone, including Colin Powell (suspending belief here for a moment) believed those forgeries. Not to mention the Saddam-9/11 lies.

Fourth, what about all those fake stories the media ate up throughout the Clinton years? Has anyone in the media every apologized for falling for the dirty tricks of Whitewater, Vince Foster, etc etc etc.

The whole thing stinks of dirty tricks designed to distract the media and the public from the fact that Bush is a spoiled rich kid who is completely and totally wrong for America.

Friday, September 17, 2004

You Need to Read This

South Knox Bubba. So, so right. Read the whole thing.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

CW vs. Reality

Twice in the last week I have had to correct co-workers who support Kerry who made statements saying Bush was ahead by double digits and we could not win. This is exactly what the Republicans want -- conventional wisdom saying Kerry is defeated. The reality is, this race is the opposite -- its a deadheat and interestingly, Kerry's number are going up steadily while Bush's continue to decline. Most important of all, Bush's numbers continue to decline among the still undecided.

I have two points here: one, don't believe conventional wisdom. And two, talk up our candidate -- convey confidence about our victory in November.

And three -- do something about it! We don't have much time left -- give money, time, whatever you can. I agree with Moby who said (paraphrasing because I can't find the actual quote): I don't want to wake up on Nov. 3 with Bush re-elected and say to myself 'could I have done anything more?'

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Feel Safe Yet?

You won't after you read this:

"The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include $2.3 billion in spending cuts from virtually all domestic programs not mandated by law, including education, homeland security and others central to Bush's campaign."

I'm sure you heard all about this from the so-called liberal media. Oh, you didn't? What a surprise. How anyone could support this drunken sailor spending and middle-class destroying tax cutting by Bush is beyond me.

[regarding promises made in his acceptance speech at the convention]:

"...the cost of adding private [social security] accounts to the government retirement program at $1.5 trillion over 10 years. With inflation, the figure would now be about $2 trillion..."

"Bush also called for making permanent his tax cuts...The tax cuts include elimination of the inheritance tax, reductions in the top four income tax rates, an increase in the child tax credit, reduction in the marriage penalty, and cuts to the capital gains and dividend tax rates.... the figure for extending the tax cuts [is placed] at $2 trillion over 10 years... "

"...the expansion of health savings accounts and creation of lifetime and retirement savings accounts. ... have very large costs in the long run because they provide tax breaks when the money is withdrawn rather than up front. The Congressional Research Service has estimated those two types of accounts would eventually cost $30 billion to $50 billion a year. "

"Peter R. Orszag, a senior fellow in economic policy at the Brookings Institution, said a conservative estimate for the cost of Bush's permanent tax cuts and Social Security accounts would be about $4 trillion over 10 years."

Screaming at the Car Radio

Yes, I do this with some frequency, although its tapered off since I immediately switch stations if I get even a hint that they're going to play a Bush soundbite. But this morning I'm listening to the BBC and hear some Russian who is in Putin's party talking about how this war on terror is a battle between good and evil. NO, ITS NOT!!!!

Obviously this Russian dude touched a nerve because I've heard Bush and his fedayeen say similar stuff and I have a running feud in my local newspaper with a letter writer who says the same stuff. Ridiculous.

This is not some apocalyptic bullshit, some fundamentalist religious crap about good and evil. People who become terrorists generally do so for pretty good reasons -- think American Revolution, people. I'm not condoning terrorism -- its horrific and a stupid way to get what you want.

But this problem will never be solved by couching it in terms of good and evil. That is backwards thinking and its ineffective in the modern world. This is not 1304 -- its 2004, and believe me, everything changed LONG BEFORE Sept. 11.

Our challenge is not to lock down, not to become totalitarian states in response to terrorism (which is what Putin and Bush propose) but instead to use diplomacy and good ol' espionage/intelligence to undermine terrorism.

And can we please stop calling this a war? Its not. So stop.

Kerry Creates Job

Yep, Kerry personally called that woman who was fired by her boss for supporting Kerry and gave her a job in his campaign. Nice.

One thing I wanted to say to her boss was "just because you can do something doesn't mean you should" (can you tell I'm the mom of teenagers?). Yes, as the owner of a private company he can fire anyone he wants to. But firing her for not supporting the candidate he supports is un-American.

That's the scariest thing about these people -- it doesn't occur to fucking Grover Norquist when he brags about the goal of eliminating the Democratic Party just how creepy and un-American that is.

Kwitcher Bitchin'

I'm with Digby on this one -- quit bitching, put on your game face and go out and win this thing!

"Kerry has every reason to be hopeful. Indeed, there is good reason to believe that Bush's ephemeral lead is shrinking as we speak. It's a nailbiter, but it is far from over. I just wish that Dems could put on their game faces and try to sell the guy a little bit instead of constantly writing his epitaph. He's really a good man, you know. He's spent his life in public service, trying to do the right thing, working hard and carrying our agenda. He's our most liberal nominee in decades. He's smart and energetic and he's never been tainted by corruption or scandal. Is it so hard for Democrats to get behind a man like this..."

Too much handwringing -- stop! Exude confidence.

Too much backbiting (I still want DeeDee Myers and George Stephanopolous shot) -- stop!

We can win, but we must focus (stay on message) and express confidence in our ultimate victory.

The Real Story on This Election

I've been bothered for some time about the fact that the media just doesn't get the real story of this election -- that an incumbent president is stumbling so badly in the polls. The last time this happened was when another guy named Bush was president and stumbled so badly in the polls, he lost the election to a scandal-ridden governor from a small, poor Southern state.

All polls show that the vast majority disapprove of the job Bush has done as president (the war in Iraq, the economy, etc.). Where Bush continues to get strong approval ratings, however, is leadership and vision. Which is simply bizarre, but that's what's happening.

However, I continue to believe that Kerry can win this election. Bush is vulnerable.

James Carville has written an analysis of the campaign and says this: "At the height of Bush’s convention bounce, he is just at the edge of electability. His position is simply not that strong." Amen.

And this: "...we should not underestimate the weaponry available to Kerry. About 54 percent of the country believes that he will keep America strong and safe. Kerry obviously needs to continue to reassure and raise these numbers, but he has crossed a key threshold for a majority of voters. Kerry still has strong advantages over Bush on a broad range of issues... The strongest are health care and prescription drugs, but also raising middle class living standards. He has the edge on the economy (2 points) and is even on America being respected in the world."

And this is very important: "The country wants a change in course, which is evident on both Iraq and the economy. A majority of the country still wants change. By 53 to 41 percent, voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction; by 51 to 46 percent, they want to go in a significantly different direction than Bush. The mood for change is even greater among independents (57 to 35 percent) and battleground state voters (55 to 40 percent). Indeed, the Bush vote is unstable in an election where Kerry and Edwards are talking about a new direction: 14 percent of the electorate is comprised of Bush voters thinking things are going wrong."

This is also very important: "In the Democracy Corps poll, a Kerry message defeats the Bush message by 7-points, which is 10 points better than the race between Kerry and Bush. Among ind ependents, it wins by 18 points and in the battleground states, by 15. Those results are the most important finding of this survey. Amidst the fog of conflicting poll numbers, convention bounces and many distractions, voters remain ready to respond to strong Democratic campaigns in 2004. Democrats should put their energies into this critique, choice and vision, recognizing that big change is possible. Kerry can clearly move back into the lead in this race."

So we can win and we must win. Bush is vulnerable and the media has it all wrong.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bush Failure in War on Terror

Please, John Kerry -- no more speeches about health care or assault weapons or jobs. We all know that stuff is whack and that you have plans that will fix all of it. But Bush will win because people perceive him to be stronger than you in the war on terror. So from now until Nov. 2, talk about nothing else.

Its Bush's favorite -- actually his only -- topic. Make it yours, too.

Remind people of what Bush said before the war -- that we'd be welcome with flowers and candy. Contrast that with what is really happening in Iraq now.

Constantly remind them of how incompetent Bush and his team have been in Iraq, with failure after failure.

Talk about the 1,000 plus dead Americans. What were their lives sacrificed for? Get Iraq back on the front page and lead story on TV news.

Emphasize the now commonly acknowledged lies Bush and company told to get us into this mess. Bush is not trustworthy!

Don't ask (as Reagan did) "Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?" Ask "Do you feel safer now than you did 3 years ago?" And since most of us, even Bush supporters, can answer "NO!", make sure they know who is to blame for that.

Bush is a bad president in the war on terror. America is not safer and in fact is more vulnerable than ever. Bush has no plans to make us safer.

John Edwards can give speeches on that other stuff -- all you talk about is the Bush failure in the war on terror. Come on -- say it over and over and over and say nothing else.

You are not safe in the war on terror, my fellow Americans, and Bush is to blame.


A great observation from Kevin Drum vis a vis Iraq:

"It's clear now that (a) George Bush had no idea what he was getting himself into, (b) his initial plan for rebuilding Iraq was a fantasy, (c) each of his succeeding plans has failed within months, and (d) he's just flailing now, desperately hoping to keep things from completely falling apart before the election.

This is George Bush's idea of fighting terrorism. If this is your idea of fighting terrorism too, he should get your vote on November 2nd. If it's not, well....."

Iraq is FUBAR

Great Krugman column today -- go read the whole thing.

"U.S. news organizations are under constant pressure to report good news from Iraq. In fact, as a Newsweek headline puts it, "It's worse than you think." Attacks on coalition forces are intensifying and getting more effective; no-go zones, which the military prefers to call "insurgent enclaves," are spreading - even in Baghdad. We're losing ground.

And the losses aren't only in Iraq. Al Qaeda has regrouped. The invasion of Iraq, intended to demonstrate American power, has done just the opposite: nasty regimes around the world feel empowered now that our forces are bogged down


Can Mr. Kerry, who voted to authorize the Iraq war, criticize it? Yes, by pointing out that he voted only to give Mr. Bush a big stick. Once that stick had forced Saddam to let W.M.D. inspectors back in, there was no need to invade. And Mr. Kerry should keep pounding Mr. Cheney, who is trying to cover for the absence of W.M.D. by lying, yet again, about Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda.

Some pundits are demanding that Mr. Kerry produce a specific plan for Iraq - a demand they never make of Mr. Bush. Mr. Kerry should turn the tables, and demand to know what - aside from pretending that things are going fine - Mr. Bush intends to do about the spiraling disaster. And Mr. Kerry can ask why anyone should trust a leader who refuses to replace the people who created that disaster because he thinks it's bad politics to admit a mistake."

Can You Be Fired for Your Political Beliefs?

Apparently the answer is yes, if you work for a private company. There are several examples around the blogosphere this morning -- here's one:

"Lynne Gobbell said her boss fired her last week because of the Kerry-Edwards campaign sticker on the back of her car.

Gobbell of Moulton [Alabama] didn't pay a cent for the sticker that she proudly displays on the rear windshield of her Chevrolet Lumina, but said it cost her job at a local factory after it angered her boss, Phil Gaddis.


"I would like to find another job, but I would take that job back because I need to work," she said. "It upset me and made me mad that he could put a letter in my check expressing his (political) opinion, but I can't put something on my car expressing mine."

She was referring to a flier that she said Gaddis placed in employee envelopes to remind them of the positive impact that President Bush's policies have had on them..."

Hesiod has the goods on the boss, BTW -- email address, etc.

One Simple Question

The reward is up over $2,000 to the first one who asks Bush one simple question.

Jeb Does His Part -- Again

Let's see, first Jeb said (through his surrogate) it was OK that big brother missed the filing deadline in Florida. Now he says (through his surrogate) Ralph Nader can be on the Florida ballot, despite a judge's order, a move most interpret as benefiting Bush over Kerry. So Jeb continues to do his part for his big brother.

How did a yankee boy get named Jeb anyway?

You Break It, You Own It

Remember when Colin Powell told Bush (regarding Iraq) "you break it, you own it?" Well, apparently Al Franken brought that up on his show Monday. But according to this post from the diaries on Daily Kos, Franken might have used the opportunity to elaborate on that phrase:

"Mr. President, Colin Powell told you about this war that 'if you break it, you own it.' And now you're going around talking about an 'ownership society.' Well, Mr. President, let me tell you what you own. A million jobs lost. You own that. A thousand soldiers lost. You own that. 1.4 million new people living below the poverty line. You own that. 1.2 million less people covered by health insurance. You own that. A seventeen percent medicare increase. You own that. Health care costs skyrocketing. You own that. The tax burden increasing amongst the middle class. You own that. Mr. President, if you want to talk about an ownership society, let's talk about what you own."

And I would add that we no longer trust you to fix what you've broken, so we're gonna move on and elect someone who can.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Not Falling for Bush BS

Even the right-leaning US News & World Report knows Bush's Guard record is abysmal, even without the new documents.

"A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. [snip] The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably."

Some experts say they remain mystified as to how Bush obtained an honorable discharge. Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation" and "should have been called to active duty." [snip] "There is no 'sometimes we have compliance and sometimes we don't,' " says Scott Silliman, a retired Air Force colonel and Duke University law professor. "That is a nonsensical statement and an insult to the Guard to suggest it."

The regulations must be followed, adds James Currie, a retired colonel and author of an official history of the Army Reserve. "Clearly, if you were the average poor boy who got drafted and sent into the active force," he says, "they weren't going to let you out before you had completed your obligation."

So Bush pulled strings to get into the Guard and he pulled strings to get out. How anyone could vote for this moral coward is beyond me.

Honorable (?) Discharge

Guess who else got an honorable discharge from the Guard? DC sniper John Allen Muhammad. He was charged with striking an officer, stealing a tape measure, and going AWOL, then sentenced to seven days in the brig -- and still received an honorable discharge from the Louisiana National Guard.

Remember, it doesn't matter whether the new documents are forgeries (which they probably are not or the WH would be yelling bloody murder). Bush's ducking of his duties is well documented elsewhere. He is a spoiled brat rich kid moral coward.

It's the Content that matters

From what I'm reading around the liberal blogosphere today, the expert conclusion seems to be that the Killian memos are NOT forgeries. At any rate, it really doesn't matter because the CONTENT of the memos has been confirmed elsewhere. And, of course, therein lies the reason behind the madness about the forgeries -- to distract attention from the damning content that Bush was AWOL.

Another interesting thing to keep in mind is that the White House has not issued any protestation about forgery. So you have to conclude that they can't do that, because they know the documents (and more importantly the CONTENT) are true.

The Company You Keep

Molly Ivins says pay attention to who Bush has hired to work for him -- right there are 1,500 reasons not to vote for him.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bush's Bad Week

Its been quite a bad week for C Plus Augustus.

1) the whole AWOL thing hit the fan on multiple levels

2) poll numbers ain't good for Bush -- his lead is most likely less than 2%, not good for an incumbent president

3) Cheney opened his maw and spewed bile (the wrong vote crap)

4) Cheney channelled Maria Antoinette (let them use ebay)

5) Cheney continued to lie about Saddam and al Qaeda, even though no one listens anymore when he lies with impunity about this

6) Tom Ridge dutifully trotted out 13 minutes after the American death toll in Iraq hit 1,000 with "news" that terrorists are going to try to disrupt the election, even though no one listens anymore

7) the numbers on the economy continue to be bad

8) the number of dead Americans in Iraq continues to increase

9) Iraq is falling apart (US troops have no control anywhere in the country), mimicking Afghanistan

10) Kerry finally came up with a good meme (W stands for Wrong)

11) Kitty Kelley's book says W did coke at Camp David when his dad was president

12) the Log Cabin Republicans said they would not support Bush

13) Bush did not properly publically console ally Australia over the Indonesia bombing and he dissed ally South Korea by not mentioning them in his salute to allies during his convention speech (and they are pissed)

14) there were lots of "ghost prisoners" in Iraq, a clear violation of the Geneva Convention

15) there's a major scandal brewing in the Bush admin over spies, Israel, etc.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!

Have a good weekend!

New Anti-Bush Video

from the 2-minute clip I watched, looks like a good one:

There's Something about W

Its Not About the Truth

So all this talk about whether the memos that CBS used in its report about whether Bush was AWOL from the National Guard are fakes -- does it really matter?

The reality is Republicans since Lee Atwater have made a mockery of our election process by distracting the electorate with this kind of crap. Whether the charges are true or not doesn't matter anymore. What matters is putting the candidate on the defensive so that his message doesn't get heard and doubt gets created in the mind of the voter.

Were most of the charges against Clinton true? Were most of the things said about Al Gore true? The answer is no in both cases, but the goal was accomplished. The effecacy of Clinton's presidency was reduced and Al Gore was defeated (not really, but whatever).

Looks like the Republicans might've finally gotten a taste of their own medicine...

Bush Lies About Economy

Krugman has an excellent takedown of the Bush lies on the economy in today's NY Times:

"On budget matters, which is where I came in, serious analysts now take administration dishonesty for granted.

For example, back in February the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities accused the Bush administration of, in effect, playing three-card monte with budget forecasts. It pointed out that the administration's deficit forecast was far above those of independent analysts, and suggested that this exaggeration was deliberate.

"Overstating the 2004 deficit," the center wrote, "could allow the president to announce significant 'progress' on the deficit in late October - shortly before Election Day - when the Treasury Department announces the final figures."

Was this a wild accusation from a liberal think tank? No, it's conventional wisdom among experts.

And the fakery in its long-term forecasts is much worse.

Bruce Bartlett, a longtime tax-cut advocate, points out that "projections showing deficits falling assume that Bush's tax cuts expire on schedule." But Mr. Bush wants those tax cuts made permanent. That is, the administration has a "plan" to reduce the deficit that depends on Congress's not passing its own legislation.

Sounding definitely shrill, Mr. Bartlett says that "anyone who thinks we can overcome our fiscal mess without higher taxes is in denial." Far from backing down on his tax cuts, however, Mr. Bush is proposing to push the budget much deeper into the red with privatization programs that purport to offer something for nothing.

As Newsweek's Allan Sloan writes, "The president didn't exactly burden us with details about paying for all this. It's great marketing: show your audience the goodies but not the price tag. It's like going to the supermarket, picking out your stuff and taking it home without stopping at the checkout line to pay. The bill? That will come later."

Longtime readers will remember that that's exactly what I said, shrilly, about Mr. Bush's proposals during the 2000 campaign. Once again, he's running on the claim that 2 - 1 = 4.

So what's the real plan? Some not usually shrill people think that Mr. Bush will simply refuse to face reality until it comes crashing in: Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, says there's a 75 percent chance of a financial crisis in the next five years."

Bush Bounce = Zero

From Kevin Drum:

On August 30, before the Republican convention, Rasmussen had Bush ahead of Kerry 47%-46%.

Today, Rasmussen has Bush ahead of Kerry 47.5%-46.8%. In other words, Bush's convention bounce appears to be....


Let Them Eat Cake

Cheney (translated from the original French): Indicators measure the nation’s unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says it misses the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay.“That’s a source that didn’t even exist 10 years ago,” Cheney told an audience in Cincinnati on Thursday. “Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay.”

Let them eat cake!

Edwards: “If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking,” Edwards said in a statement.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

You Can't Run on a Mistake

Bill Maher:

"And finally, New Rule: You can't run on a mistake. Franklin Roosevelt didn't run for re-election claiming Pearl Harbor was his finest hour. Abe Lincoln was a great president, but the high point of his second term wasn't theater security. 9/11 wasn't a triumph of the human spirit. It was a fuck-up by a guy on vacation. the looks of your convention, you'd think that the worst thing that ever happened to us was the best thing that ever happened to you. You just can't keep celebrating the deadliest attack ever as if it's your personal rendezvous with greatness."

Wrong Leadership is Not Strong Leadership

Nice post by David Neiwart:

"Cheney has created an opening for Democrats, really, to say what needs to be said: When it comes to terrorism, Bush was asleep at the wheel on Sept. 11. And he has driven us deeper into the ditch in the years since.

Bush's entire appeal is crafted around the notion that he is a strong and decisive leader -- even if he does sometimes make the wrong call, this meme hints. But being wrong again, and again, and again, makes all the decisiveness in the world a mere figleaf for what can only be described as overwhelming incompetence. This is incompetence that, when the record is tallied, leaves no doubt that the voters already made the wrong choice, back in 2000, a choice that clearly left us vulnerable to being hit by terrorists in a way that is devastating to the nation -- then, now, and for the forseeable future.

If Democrats are serious about fighting Bush's "You know where I stand" meme, they have to make this clear, in simple and unmistakable terms.

Wrong leadership is not strong leadership."

Is Cheney Right?

So Cheney says, "...if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."

Well, keep in mind that


So making the wrong choice might, indeed, result in a devastating hit on the United States.

Vote Kerry!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Carter Duels Zell

I have to say, I was not surprised at all by Zell Miller's rude and offensive speech at the Republican coronation. I see this kind of behavior all the time here in the South, where white men are still convinced the 12% black and 4% Jewish populations are responsible for their lousy jobs and net wage loss (instead of the folks who are really to blame, Republicans). So his anger and vehemence was not surprising. But Zell's performance with the media after was surprising, because it was so stupid for a seasoned politician.

Anyway, Jimmy Carter has taken Zell to the mat, as reported by Josh Marshall.

"Zell, I have known you for forty-two years and have, in the past, respected you as a trustworthy political leader and a personal friend. But now, there are many of us loyal Democrats who feel uncomfortable in seeing that you have chosen the rich over the poor, unilateral preemptive war over a strong nation united with others for peace, lies and obfuscation over the truth, and the political technique of personal character assassination as a way to win elections or to garner a few moments of applause. These are not the characteristics of great Democrats whose legacy you and I have inherited."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Every School a Failure

In a post close to my heart, Kevin Drum notes what's really behind No Child Left Behind:

"...the fact is that the Bush administration wants to see lots of public schools labeled as failures. It's basically a long-term plan to erode the public's faith in public schools and thereby increase support for private schools and vouchers. This is part of a pattern from conservatives, who realize that their domestic agenda is actually pretty unpopular and can be passed only if people don't realize what they're getting. NCLB is an example of this kind of stealth legislation, and both last year's Medicare bill and this year's "ownership society" are additional examples. "

Every parent of a school-age child should be furious about NCLB.

One Thousand

Today the American casualty count in Iraq hit 1,000.

DOJ Failures Should Be Getting More Play

Here's something I don't understand: why is it that the failures of the Department of Justice do not get more play? Ashcroft and Co. have (to use a Bushian word) overexaggerated every so-called "terrorist cell" and have failed to get convictions or have plea bargained down to nearly nothing. The Detroit cases have to be thrown out because of a corrupt prosecutor and the Buffalo cases were a joke to begin with. Not to even mention "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla, who of course was no such thing. This is yet another "plays a tough guy on TV" situation, but no one, except maybe the Washington Post, is making this a major story.

Git R Done

The more I think about Bush's convention speech, the more it seems to me that what he was saying was "elect me and I'll do all the things I meant to do over the last 3 years." Because of course he's done nothing of substance. He has no record to run on, other than playing Fearless Leader on TV.

Speaking of getting things done. apparently the Republican congressional leadership is going to aggressively bring up some hot button, but unsubstantial, issues: From the LA Times, via Kevin Drum:

"The pace of legislative action is likely to quicken in the next several weeks, said Patrick Basham, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, but 'most of it will be carefully packaged, focus-group-tested, window-dressing stuff designed to appeal to swing voters in closely contested congressional races, such as they exist.' He predicted that the Republican leadership would bring bills to the floor 'for the sole purpose of embarrassing or flushing out the Democrats on emotive or wedge issues. Between now and election day, the action on Capitol Hill will be more symbolic than substantive.'"

This means stuff like flag burning, gay marriage, etc. Meanwhile, Congress has yet to pass the overall budget resolution for fiscal 2005.

W Stands for Wrong

"The 'W' stands for wrong," Kerry said of Bush's middle initial. "Wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country."

Beating Bush

Several scribes have suggested that its important for Kerry to force Bush to show his patrician meanness during the debates. I agree. He's not a likeable person (nor was his mother, BTW) but he plays one on TV. So push him, make him angry, make him show his true self.

Same thing with leadership -- Bush is not a leader, but he plays one on TV. Emphasize his lack of leadership on nearly every issue -- its not that hard.

Another writer, Tom Schaller, has suggested re-linking Iraq and Afghanistan to the war on terror and pointing out that such war is failing miserably. The same writer suggests pointing out the nearly royal status of the Bush family. There's been someone named George Bush on 6 of the last 7 presidential election ballots. As Schaller puts it, "Maybe George Bush slept through his American history classes at Yale, but I seem to recall that we fought a war 200 years ago to free ourselves from a monarchy led by a guy named George."

Coke at Camp David

So says a new book on the Bush family by Kitty Kelley (link is in a story in the UK newspaper The Mirror). Says W did inhale (coke, that is) when his father was president.

Bush Bounce Pathetically Small

Ignore the Time and Newsweek surveys. For some reason, their sample skewed significantly higher on registered Republicans, thus making the poll results suspect. Here's what you need to know, from the terrific Donkey Rising site:

"The new Gallup poll, conducted entirely after the GOP convention and therefore the first poll that truly measures Bush's bounce, shows Bush with a very modest bounce indeed: 2 points...

Note also that Bush's 2 point bounce from his convention (which, remember, is defined as the change in a candidate's level of support, not in margin) is the worst ever received by an incumbent president, regardless of party, and the worst ever received by a Republican candidate, whether incumbent or not...

a few other results from the Gallup poll that suggest the relative ineffectiveness of the GOP convention. Bush's acceptance speech, which the media fawned over so ostentatiously, was not rated any better by the public than was Kerry's--in fact, it received slightly worse ratings. Kerry's acceptance speech was rated excellent by 25 percent and good by 27 percent; Bush's was rated excellent by 22 percent and good by 27 percent.

In terms of whether the Republican convention made voters more or less likely to vote for Bush--the real point of the convention after all--there were almost as many saying the convention made them less likely to vote for Bush (38 percent) as said it made them more likely (41 percent). This is actually quite a poor performance. The Democratic convention this year had a substantially better 44 percent more likely/30 percent less likely split.

In fact, looking back to 1984, which is as far back as Gallup supplies data, no candidate has ever had a more likely to vote for/less likely to vote for split even close to as bad as Bush's this year."

Friday, September 03, 2004

Clinton Hospitalized

Bill Clinton has entered a New York hospital to undergo quadruple bypass surgery after experiencing chest pains. Hope all goes well, Big Dog!

Krugman: Feel the Hate

Great column today, read it.

"At some level the people at that convention know that their designated hero is a man who never in his life took a risk or made a sacrifice for his country, and that they are impugning the patriotism of men who have. [edit] Nothing makes you hate people as much as knowing in your heart that you are in the wrong and they are in the right. But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at that convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America. They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe our nation's freedom, diversity and complexity. [edit] Mr. Bush, it's now clear, intends to run a campaign based on fear. And for me, at least, it's working: thinking about what these people will do if they solidify their grip on power makes me very, very afraid."

Glad That's Over

Jeez, am I glad that's over -- the coronation, I mean. At least they revealed their true selves -- ugly and hateful as they are. Michael Moore has a good wrap up in his USA Today column (you'll remember that Ann Coulter was originally picked to write during the Dem convention, but her first column was so ugly that she was un-picked and another conservative chosen in her sted).

Also glad that Kerry came out swinging last night, holding a midnight rally with 15,000 people. He called Bush "unfit to lead" which is just perfect.

And The Daily Show has been great the last two nights. This is worth watching.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

A Vote on Democracy

Read this:

"The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power..."


Scientists say signal nothing to get excited about. Dang.

Bush Speech Preview

He's going to talk about "ownership." Here's the problem with that.

"The Republican rhetoric assumes most Americans can save and invest. The reality is, most Americans are deep in debt. Before they can join the "Ownership Society" they've got to pay their credit card bills, their rising variable-rate mortgages, and their auto loans. After that, there's no money left because jobs are in short supply and wages are stuck in the mud."

"Face it: The Republican "Ownership Society" is hokum. Ownership of America is now more concentrated than since the days of the Robber Barons of the 19th century. The richest 1 percent of America owns more than the bottom 90 percent put together."

Tonight -- Great American Shout Out

Don't forget to shout "Fuhgeddaboutit" when Shrub Jr takes the stage.

Edwards: Too Much Hate at RNC

Oh, so right -- from the Edwards blog.

“There was a lot of hate coming from that podium tonight. What John Kerry and I offer to the American people is hope. Hope for more good paying jobs. Hope for better health care. And hope for our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“What the Bush administration just doesn’t get is that a stronger America begins at home. And John Kerry and I have the right plan to lead America in a new direction because we know that we can do better.”

Liars Redux

Again, didn't watch but from what I'm reading about the coronation day three, it was incredibly hateful and full of lies (or as Atrios puts it, Rush Limbaugh talking points). Miller apparently had a meltdown on Chris Matthews' show, but what do you expect? He's a nut. A bigger nut is Denny Hastert -- hard to believe this moron is a couple of heartbeats from the presidency.


Interesting -- a radio signal from 1000 light years away has been received 3 times by the big radio telescope in Puerto Rico and is being investigated as a possible alien contact.

Here's more.

Very exciting.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

What Happens if Bush Wins?

Washington Monthly asked 16 writers that question. Very interesting reading.


Ahnold made stuff up.

Guiliani didn't have his facts straight.

Bush has no idea what's going on.


The new welfare class are the wealthy:

"Roughly two-thirds of taxable income is paid to workers in the form of wages and benefits. The other third goes to reward capital, or accumulated savings, in the form of corporate profits, dividends, and interest payments. If Bush’s economic agenda was fully enacted, the vast bulk of these payments wouldn’t be taxed at all, and labor would end up shouldering practically the entire burden of financing the federal government. In a new book, “Neoconomy: George Bush’s Revolutionary Gamble with America’s Future,” Daniel Altman, a former economics reporter for the Times and The Economist, describes what such a system might look like. “The fortunate and growing minority who managed to receive all their income from stocks, bonds and other securities would pay nothing—not a dime—for America’s cancer research, its international diplomacy, its military deterrent, the maintenance of the interstate highway system, the space program or almost anything else the federal government did. . . . Broadly speaking, that fortunate minority would be free-riders.”

(from the New Yorker)

Fight, Fight, Fight!

I agree with Athenae -- its time to get out there and fight like hell to win this election.

"Run these ads: Pet Goat footage, spliced next to the Twin Towers burning. Bush, saying we'll win the war on terror, and Bush saying we can't. I want the coffin photos and the words Bush's War on my television every time CNN cuts to commercial, and Fox, too. Not just in battleground states. Everywhere. I want it known across the land, so that no single Bush voter can go to the polls and cast that ballot without knowing what a craven administration they support."

"I want Wesley Clark impugning Bush's military service on every morning show in the land. I want Terry McAuliffe to shove Zell Miller out of the party in prime time and I want other Dems to shun him in public and possibly throw rotten fruit. I want repeated showings of Bush being unable to pronounce Abu Ghraib, and Lyndie England's charming photos, on my TV 24-fucking-7."

"This little fantasy scenario, by the way, is why I'm not in politics anymore. I realize huge swaths of it seem unrealistic and foolish. But c'mon, is it all that different from what the Republicans have been doing to Kerry for the last few months?"

I know it ain't gonna happen either, but I want more spirited fighting back than I see now.

Coronation, Day Two

Of course I did not watch but this is what I've gleaned:

1) The Bush girls (Princess Jenna and Princess Not-Jenna) were awful; ditzy dweebs who should not have been on stage
2) Laura Bush has obviously had botox treatments and is a Stepford wife
3) Laura Bush bashed gays
4) Elizabeth Dole bashed gays
5) Ahnold praised Nixon, which all by itself makes me wretch, and then said that those who criticize the Bush economic "plan" are "girly men"

So much for compassionate conservatism.

Great line on The Daily Show: Stephen Colbert's assessment of the Republican Convention: "Jon, to call this convention a little manipulative is like calling Marcel Marceau a little quiet."