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Step off, old man!
Sunday, 12 September 2004
Don't have an opinion
If you want to become President, you should avoid having an opinion on anything until you run for President. Here's what I base this on: Kerry volunteered for Vietnam even though he had misgivings about it. Bush was for the Vietnam War but wussed out so he wouldn't have to go. Kerry saw how wrong the war was so came back and tried to do something about it. Bad move because he opened himself up to a load of criticism.

Kerry should have done like Bush and wallowed around as a failure in everything he did for the next 15 years. Of course, Kerry didn't have the family name to trade off of, but he could have done just fine. Instead, he chose to run for office to help average people live better lives. What the hell was he thinking?

Posted by brettdavey at 11:25 AM EDT
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Nothing else matters
I'm not too concerned about national polls. It's just more important to watch the electoral map and I think Kerry can pull that off.

That is, if the election is on the up-and-up.

How the election might be stolen or manipulated is the topic of discussion from www.inthesetimes.com.

"First is the likelihood of an October surprise. Bush's brain, Karl Rove, is widely believed to have a nasty trick or two up his sleeve. Pakistan may have trapped Osama bin Laden in an Afghan cave and could be planning to produce him just before November 2--three years after our leader promised to bring him in "dead or alive." A few months ago, Mideast press reports warned that trucks hired by the United States were shipping weapons of mass destruction into Iraq--for timely discovery. And the way has been prepared to postpone the election if we suffer another terror attack.

Second, 98 million U.S. ballots will go into computers that could be used to falsify the results--with no paper record available for recounts.

There is some evidence that voting machines turned elections in Georgia and Minnesota in 2002. A week before the Georgia vote, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll showed popular Democratic Sen. Max Cleland ahead by 5 points. He lost to rabid rightist Saxby Chambliss by 7 points--an inexplicable 12-point swing. Georgia was the first state to use electronic voting devices almost exclusively. In Minnesota, Sen. Paul Wellstone was a shoo-in for reelection when he died in a plane crash. Democratic former Vice President Walter Mondale replaced him and led significantly just days before the election, but Republican Norm Coleman won by an unexpected 11 points on Election Day.

With more states using electronic machines lacking paper records and more Republican electoral tomfoolery afoot in Florida this year, Kerry may need a strong turnout in the honestly counted states to prevail."

All of that is scary and of course, you can't put it beyond the thugs in charge to give the collective finger to the US populace. Let's repeat: all they care about is maintaining their power. Nothing else matters.


Posted by brettdavey at 11:22 AM EDT
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Did they know?
Why doesn't anyone care that the Bush Administration disregarded the Geneva Convention in abusing prisoners and actually hiding them from the International Red Cross. This really must comfort our troops knowing that they are also subject to this type of treatment now. And don't tell me a few lower level types were responsible for this.

This is from today's Washington Post about the upcoming Seymour Hersch book.

"Senior military and national security officials in the Bush administration were repeatedly warned by subordinates in 2002 and 2003 that prisoners in military custody were being abused, according to a new book by a prominent journalist.

Seymour M. Hersh, a writer for The New Yorker magazine who earlier this year was among the first to disclose details of the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, makes the charges in his book "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib" (HarperCollins), which is being released Monday. The book draws on the articles he has written about the campaign against terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hersh asserts that a CIA analyst who visited the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the late summer of 2002 filed a report of abuses there that drew the attention of Gen. John A. Gordon, the deputy to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser. But when Gordon called the matter to her attention and she discussed it with other senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, no significant change resulted. Hersh's account is based on anonymous sources, some of them secondhand, and could not be independently verified.

Hersh also says that a military officer involved in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq learned of the abuses at Abu Ghraib in November and reported it to two of his superiors, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the regional commander, and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith.

"I said there are systematic abuses going on in the prisons," the unnamed officer is quoted as telling Hersh. "Abizaid didn't say a thing. He looked at me -- beyond me, as if to say, `Move on. I don't want to touch this.'"

Hersh also reports that FBI agents complained to their superiors about abuses at Guantanamo, as did a military lawyer, and that these complaints, too, were relayed to the Pentagon.

Hersh's thesis is that "the roots of the Abu Ghraib scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists" who have been charged so far, "but in the reliance of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on secret operations and the use of coercion -- and eye-for-eye retribution -- in fighting terrorism."

In particular, Hersh has reported that a secret program to capture and interrogate terrorists led to the abuse of prisoners.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the Pentagon said: "Based on media inquiries, it appears that Seymour Hersh's upcoming book apparently contains many of the numerous unsubstantiated allegations and inaccuracies which he has made in the past based upon unnamed sources."

The statement added that several investigations so far "have determined that no responsible official of the Department of Defense approved any program that could conceivably have authorized or condoned the abuses seen at Abu Ghraib."

The Pentagon's statement is a classic non-denial denial. While there may not have been an official program that was OK'd, it seems most likely that the higher-ups knew what was going on.

Posted by brettdavey at 11:18 AM EDT
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Friday, 10 September 2004
The roundup
I've had a really crazy week so I haven't posted much. Here's a little roundup as we head into the weekend.

* Polls: If you're a Kerry supporter, the polls over the last couple weeks might have you in a tizzy. Don't worry. This is Bush's bounce following the convention. It's doubtful his lead will get any higher. There are a variety of polls out; the ones that give Bush a five point lead or less are probably on target. Anway, national polls don't mean that much, not when the election will come down to what happens in fewer than 10 states. There's a great site called www.electoral-vote.com that updates where the race is electorally, according to the latest polls. Check it out.

* Bush's Guard service: I can't get too worked up about the Bush Guard revelations. Let's see: a rich, connected kid used his family's name to get him out of going to Vietnam? Shocking. Here's what's essential in this discussion. A professor of Bush's says the President supported the Vietnam War. At the same time, he did everything he could to avoid going. Kerry, on the other hand, was conflicted about the war, but volunteered to go. That's all you need to know. As for the Bush documents being forgeries, let's just agree on this: Dan Bartlett and the White House communications staff never questioned what was contained in the memos as being true. Their interviews were funny: they never disputed the facts; they just kept saying the whole thing was dirty politics.

* The media: Dreadful. Really abysmal. I want to throw up everytime I hear some media joker lament the lack of substance in the election. If you ass clowns in the media did any actual reporting, maybe that would change. Just imagine if the New York Times sent its fashion editor to cover a baseball game. The story might read, "The New York Yankess baseball team, dressed in smashing pinstripes, seemed to be sending a message to the rest of the league that baggy uniforms are in." You probably wouldn't learn until the 15th paragraph whether the Yanks won. It's the same thing with general political reporters. They invariably focus on the personalities or "he said-she said" conflicts that invariably rise during campaigns. Why don't they have reporters who are experts in health care or terrorism covering these issues? Laziness. That's all it is. And not so incidentally, this plays right into the Repugs' hands. Simply put: they don't want anyone to analyze their record which is quite possibly the worst in modern history.

* Cheney's comments: Fear. That's all they have to sell. Someone put it best by asking if FDR would have taken such delight in exploiting Pearl Harbor in a run for President. Of course not, but Bush doesn't care because he obviously sees the worst terror attack in US history, which took place under his watch, as the highlight of his first term.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:38 PM EDT
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Molly Ivins says...
Sorry to just cut and past someone else's article. But is is worth reading and it is Molly Ivins. Here it is:

AUSTIN, Texas -- This is the Tommy Corcoran column. Tommy the Cork, so dubbed by FDR, was a Washington wise man. His various biographers called him the ultimate insider, the super lawyer and the master fixer. He came to Washington in 1926 to clerk for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and became a fixture, an almost institutional source of wisdom about American politics, before his death in 1981.

The Cork had a theory about how to choose a president. He always said it didn't matter who was running, that it was unnecessary to pay any attention to them. What matters, he said, is the approximately 1,500 people the president brings to Washington with him, his appointments to the positions where people actually run things. The question to consider is which 1,500 people we get.

So here are a few suggestions:

At the EPA, you do not want people who think it's a good idea to allow more arsenic in the water. When someone, anyone proposes allowing more arsenic in the water, what you want is people at the EPA who promptly say: "No. Not a good idea."
There are some lawyers, and then there are other lawyers. You do not want lawyers at the Justice Department (or the White House or the Defense Department) who, when asked to prepare a legal brief defending torture, do so. You want lawyers at Justice (and the White House and the Defense Department) who say: "No. Torture is not a good idea. Trying to wiggle out from under our laws, international treaties and civilized norms is not a good idea."

You especially don't want lawyers who defend torture promoted to the federal bench. It is not a good idea to have the CIA using the same "interrogation technique" that was so favored by the Gestapo.

This is counterproductive as well as wrong. You don't want folks in charge of the IRS who think it is more important to audit poor people than rich people. That is dumb.

You do not want people in charge of foreign policy who are fools enough to believe in Ahmad Chalabi, a convicted con man and, it turns out, probably a spy for Iran. Those people should be fired. Especially when some of them are now also being investigated for giving classified information to Israel.

Having your Department of Homeland Security turn out to be a public disgrace indicates that you have either not put the right people in charge or they are not getting enough support.

When "Hurricane Hits Florida Yet Again" becomes a standing headline right up there with "Canadian Trade Talks Continue," you may want to put people in charge of policy who recognize that global warming not only exists but threatens us all.

If the people a president puts in charge of foreign policy are all from the same small circle of rigid ideologues, what happens is that they end up listening only to themselves, and on that way lies disaster.

When the people who are running the Food and Drug Administration do so to benefit the big processors and the big drug companies, people get hurt, and some of them die.

When the people in charge of prosecuting terrorists in this country screw up case after case, those people should be replaced.

When the country endures a hideous terrorist attack, is it actually useful for the White House to oppose the commission assigned to find out how it happened? To first deny it adequate funding, then refuse to provide it with critical documents, then oppose an extension of its deadline, then refuse to allow the commission access to prisoners who played key roles in the attack, then try to stop Condoleezza Rice from testifying, then refuse to have the president testify under oath?

When the people in charge make a decision to start an unprovoked war because of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and nonexistent ties to the terrorists who have attacked us, you may conclude that these people are lying, or dumb, or just not helpful.

When a new administration comes into office with a huge budget surplus and then blows it all on tax cuts that benefit the very rich, should it be retained? If an economic team leads the country to a record $422 billion deficit this year and $2.3 trillion in the next decade, do you really want a team in charge that announces it wants more tax cuts that will double the total deficit to $4.6 trillion by the end of the decade? Do these people have a sense of responsibility? If the economic team produces a net loss of 1.1 million jobs after four years, should its contract be renewed?

Forget Bush -- the people around him are a complete disaster. John Kerry will basically re-hire the Clinton team and presumably remain faithful to his wife. Of course, Clinton didn't get Osama bin Laden, either. But his people worked harder at it.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:15 PM EDT
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Sunday, 5 September 2004
Weekend update
* It's no wonder people take "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart seriously. The buffoonery of the cable news networks is staggering. Case in point: the coverage of Hurricane Frances over the past few days. Approximately 90 percent of cable coverage (just a guess on my part) centered around the hurricane that never really materialized, And still today, the cable networks still insisted on devoting tons of coverage to this not-so-significant event. Even the NBC Nightly News devoted lots of time to the tropical storm tonight. Why? Because they'd committed themselves to it and there was no way they could turn from that committment. They had already declared it "the" big story of the week.

Maybe that's why the media adores W. so much: they can't admit when they're wrong either.

* There are a couple storylines everyone is following now: the surprising double digit leads for Bush and the ensuing panic from Democrats. The race is extremely tight. Forget the polls. Anyway, the real bounce will be judged a week or ten days from the convention. And with all the hurricane coverage and the truly horrific events in Russia last week, will anyone even remember Bush's convention of hate?

This comes from www.emergingdemocraticmajorityweblog.com.

"Aside from the timing, there are other reasons to be skeptical of the Newsweek poll. As has been widely reported in various blogs, the partisan distribution of the RVs in the Newsweek poll is quite startling: 38 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 31 percent independent. This 7 point lead for the GOP on party ID does not comport well with other data on partisan distribution this campaign season--which have consistently shown the Democrats leading by at least several points--and can't be blamed on a likely voter screen since there was none.

As Chris Bowers of MyDD shows, if you assume a more reasonable distribution of party ID, Bush's lead is about cut in half. Moreover, if you assume that the differential in partisan support rates in the poll--94-4 for Bush and only 82-14 for Kerry--is, if not overstated now, highly likely to converge toward parity in the near future (as it has been for most of the campaign), even a Bush lead of 5-6 points looks very unstable."

* I don't know if this is going to happen or not, but rumor is that Ben Barnes, former Lt. Governor of Texas, has been interviewed for "60 Minutes" alleging that he pulled strings to get W. into the Texas Air National Guard. Barnes is a Dem and has already been accused of being partisan by the Bush campaign. His history in Texas says otherwise. Anyway, he says he was asked by a Bush family friend to get GW into the Guard. Since there's no direct ask from the Bush family, it doesn't seem like much of a controversy. In the final analysis, however, it can't help Bush. What might be more explosive is the new Kitty Kelly book that will supposedly spill a lot of Bush family secrets. Once again, it's up to those lazy bastards in the press to decide for the rest of us what we should know. If they jump on the Kelly book bandwagon, it could be bad for the Prez.

* Bush is trying to wuss out of the 3rd debate with Kerry, scheduled for Tempe, Arizona. Since this state is considered close to a tossup, Kerry should visit there and hammer home the fact that Bush doesn't think the people of Arizona deserve to hear him defend his record or his plans for the next four years.

* If Bush wins, does he still blame the sour economy on the "recession he inherited" or will he take responsibility for his lack of a plan to put America back to work. What a gutless wonder.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:17 PM EDT
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Friday, 3 September 2004
What'cha drinking, Joe?
I just flipped by MSNBC, where Joe Scarborough compared Bush's speaking ability with Bill Clinton's. Honest.

He also said Rhode Island is as big as Alaska.

Posted by brettdavey at 12:33 AM EDT
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Zell, the hot potato
Granted, Zell Miller scared the hell out of everyone Wednesday night, but did they have to lock him out of the First Family's box just 24 hours later?

Man, how'd you like to be in a foxhole with Bush & Company? They'd stab you in the back for your K-rations.

From www.msnbc.com:

"Late Thursday, Miller and his wife were removed from the list of dignitaries who would be sitting in the first family's box during the president's acceptance speech later in the evening. Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said Miller was not in the box because the campaign had scheduled him to do too many television interviews.

There was no explanation, however, for why Miller would be giving multiple interviews during Bush's acceptance speech, or what channels would snub the president in favor of Miller. Nor was it made clear why Miller's wife also was not allowed to take her place in the president's box 24 hours after his deeply personal denunciation of his own party's nominee."

I love the "scheduling him for too many television interviews" part. I flipped through all the cable outlets after the speech and didn't see him anywhere. I'm assuming they slapped the straightjacket and protective mask on him, then loaded him on the hand truck, ala Hannibal Lecter.

I love the beauty of this. Miller turned his back on his party and now the rats who accepted him turned their backs on him. Gee, think this'll make him even more bitter? Is that possible?

Posted by brettdavey at 12:30 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 September 2004 12:34 AM EDT
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Kerry's midnight rally
I'm watching Kerry's speech from Ohio. It really was a hell of an idea to hold a midnight rally after the President's speech. It's a terrific speech, maybe the best I've seen him give.

He's also delivering the swift kick to Bush and Cheney that we've all been waiting for him to give.

Posted by brettdavey at 12:08 AM EDT
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Thursday, 2 September 2004
Honest. The vest was really heavy.
The short of it is that President Bush is a shallow, uncomplicated person who has the ability to make serious decisions that can negatively impact millions. Simply put, there's no there there.

I'm watching the President on television right now, still trying to recover from the incredibly lame video that preceded his speech. The video actually spent about a minute on Bush coming to Yankee Stadium and throwing a strike despite the heavy vest he was wearing. I mean, seriously folks, it was a very heavy vest.

All of this was intoned with a dramatic flair straight out of NFL Films.

You know, when you boil it down, it doesn't matter that he sat in the classroom with the country under attack and read the book "My Pet Goat." (He wanted to project calm and not alarm the children, he said. How about taking charge and defending the country, Commander?) It doesn't matter that Bush took off for Nebraska like a scared rabbbit when New York and Washington were attacked. (The press bit on Rove's spin that there were unspecified threats against Air Force One. Of course, this turned out to be pure BS.)

What matters is the Prez threw a strike with a heavy vest on.

That should be great comfort to the families of the 975 US service people who died in Iraq and the more than 7,000 who have been injured.

Or the one million more Americans who slipped into poverty this year. Or the more than one million who lost their health insurance.

Goddamn it. The vest was really, really quite heavy, Despite this, the former college cheerleader threw a strike.

One term. Just like Pops.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:30 PM EDT
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