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Step off, old man!
Monday, 30 August 2004
Bob Novak's fair and balanced approach
This is from the New York Times and it might just give my mother, who can't stand Bob Novak, a stroke.

"Among the stoutest defenders of "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," the best-selling book arguing that Mr. Kerry lied about his record of service in Vietnam, is the columnist Robert Novak.

In his syndicated columns and on the CNN program "Crossfire," Mr. Novak has lauded the book and referred to veterans who criticize Mr. Kerry - most notably John E. O'Neill, the book's co-author -as "real patriots."

Unmentioned in Mr. Novak's columns and television appearances, however, is a personal connection he has to the book: his son, Alex Novak, is the director of marketing for its publisher, the conservative publishing house Regnery.

In a telephone interview, Robert Novak said he saw no need to disclose the link. "I don't think it's relevant," he said. "I'm just functioning as a columnist with a point of view, and a strong point of view."

So when he's not busy outing CIA operatives, he's shilling for his son's right-wing publisher. Mercy.




Posted by brettdavey at 3:00 PM EDT
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Sunday, 29 August 2004
10 reasons to boot Bush
I had a few days off so I didn't post for a while. I guess I'm gearing up for the Repugs convention. The last few weeks have been dominated, of course, by the Swift Boat Veterans and their attacks on Kerry. Their allegations have been pretty much thoroughly discredited with every piece of available documentation backing Kerry's version of events. In many cases, the statements of these veterans contradict earlier statements they made that are complimentary to Kerry.

Here's the story: a group of Vietnam vets are pissed at Kerry for saying what he did when he came back and are doing whatever they can to get back at him. End of story. John O'Neill, the ringleader, was a Nixon errand boy versus Kerry 30 years ago. Imagine his bitterness: his sworn enemy has been in the US Senate for more than 20 years and is months away from assuming the presidency.

Bush doesn't have much to sell himself on, frankly, except for the fact that he didn't cry publicly after 9-11. I like conspiracies as much as anyone but I don't buy into most of the Bush crime family theories. More importantly to me, this Administration is one of the most incompetent in history. It's hard to argue otherwise. Here are ten good reasons he shouldn't be reelected.

10) The latest numbers show over a million more Americans in poverty and over a million more without insurance. These numbers are typically released in mid-September but since they suck so bad, the Administration rushed to release them in August, when the media would pretty much sleep on them. Hey, they were right.

9) Bush shouldn't be reelected for this simple reason: to piss off the media. Why they are in love with this simple man who failed at everything he did before assuming the presidency is beyond me. I saw a CNN roundtable this weekend with Judy Woodruff where she said the Repugs should be pretty happy with recent poll numbers that show Bush leading Kerry by 20 points on the question of decisiveness. Of course, she didn't mention the same poll that said the majority of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction.

8) Almost 1,000 Americans killed, thousands more injured, and 30,000 Iraquis killed. Also, the twisted "Loss-Leave" program that doesn't allow military members to leave once their service is up.

7) The lack of postwar planning for Iraq. Has any Administration ever had its head more squarely up its ass?

6) The war itself. Facts were twisted to fit a sick agenda. 9-11 was the convenient episode that gaved them the rationale.

5) The disregard for the environment. Keep in mind, one of Bush's first decisions was to withdraw the US from the Kyoto Treaty.

4) His lifetime of letting others fight his battles. Bush, like Cheney, supported the Vietnam War, but went out of his way so he didn't have to go himself. He has others attack Kerry (like McCain before him) but Bush professes nothing but respect for his service. Chicken shit.

3) A net loss of more than a million jobs and a record deficit. Way to go, Chimpy!

2) The lack of accountability. This Administration loves to say, "I take full responsibility..." without anyone ever accepting responsibility or paying any kind of price. Isn't there a support group for this type of behavior?

1) The ineptitude in carrying out the war. Here's a great recipe: alienate your allies, tweak the facts to fit your rationale, out a couple of undercover agents in the war on terror (Plame and Kahn), ignore the Geneva Conventions (I'm sure our troops were psyched about that one), blame some lower level troops when the prison torture scandal blows up, allow Haliburton to rape the American people, back a guy for President who is bosom buddies with Iran (Chalabi, who sat with the First Lady during last year's State of the Union address), and have no plan for the post-war occupation.

Four more years? Sign me up.

Any other questions?

Posted by brettdavey at 8:40 PM EDT
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10 reasons to boot Bush
I had a few days off so I didn't post for a while. I guess I'm gearing up for the Repugs convention. The last few weeks have been dominated, of course, by the Swift Boat Veterans and their attacks on Kerry. Their allegations have been pretty much thoroughly discredited with every piece of available documentation backing Kerry's version of events. In many cases, the statements of these veterans contradict earlier statements they made that are complimentary to Kerry.

Here's the story: a group of Vietnam vets are pissed at Kerry for saying what he did when he came back and are doing whatever they can to get back at him. End of story. John O'Neill, the ringleader, was a Nixon errand boy versus Kerry 30 years ago. Imagine his bitterness: his sworn enemy has been in the US Senate for more than 20 years and is months away from assuming the presidency.

Bush doesn't have much to sell himself on, frankly, except for the fact that he didn't cry publicly after 9-11. I like conspiracies as much as anyone but I don't buy into most of the Bush crime family theories. More importantly to me, this Administration is one of the most incompetent in history. It's hard to argue otherwise. Here are ten good reasons he shouldn't be reelected.

10) The latest numbers show over a million more Americans in poverty and over a million more without insurance. These numbers are typically released in mid-September but since they suck so bad, the Administration rushed to release them in August, when the media would pretty much sleep on them. Hey, they were right.

9) Bush shouldn't be reelected for this simple reason: to piss off the media. Why they are in love with this simple man who failed at everything he did before assuming the presidency is beyond me. I saw a CNN roundtable this weekend with Judy Woodruff where she said the Repugs should be pretty happy with recent poll numbers that show Bush leading Kerry by 20 points on the question of decisiveness. Of course, she didn't mention the same poll that said the majority of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction.

8) Almost 1,000 Americans killed, thousands more injured, and 30,000 Iraquis killed. Also, the twisted "Loss-Leave" program that doesn't allow military members to leave once their service is up.

7) The lack of postwar planning for Iraq. Has any Administration ever had its head more squarely up its ass?

6) The war itself. Facts were twisted to fit a sick agenda. 9-11 was the convenient episode that gaved them the rationale.

5) The disregard for the environment. Keep in mind, one of Bush's first decisions was to withdraw the US from the Kyoto Treaty.

4) His lifetime of letting others fight his battles. Bush, like Cheney, supported the Vietnam War, but went out of his way so he didn't have to go himself. He has others attack Kerry (like McCain before him) but Bush professes nothing but respect for his service. Chicken shit.

3) A net loss of more than a million jobs and a record deficit. Way to go, Chimpy!

2) The lack of accountability. This Administration loves to say, "I take full responsibility..." without anyone ever accepting responsibility or paying any kind of price. Isn't there a support group for this type of behavior?

1) The ineptitude in carrying out the war. Here's a great recipe: alienate your allies, tweak the facts to fit your rationale, out a couple of undercover agents in the war on terror (Plame and Kahn), ignore the Geneva Conventions (I'm sure our troops were psyched about that one), blame some lower level troops when the prison torture scandal blows up, allow Haliburton to rape the American people, back a guy for President who is bosom buddies with Iran (Chalabi, who sat with the First Lady during last year's State of the Union address), and have no plan for the post-war occupation.

Four more years? Sign me up.

Any other questions?

Posted by brettdavey at 8:29 PM EDT
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Moderate, huh?
The Repubs didn't offer the opening invocation of their convention to Jerry Falwell, becuase they're trying to appear moderate. Instead, they chose a woman named Sherrie Dew, who wrote this article about gay marriage and adoption.

Here's part of what she had to say:

"This escalating situation reminds me of a statement of a World War II journalist by the name of Dorothy Thompson who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in Europe during the pre-World War II years when Hitler was building up his armies and starting to take ground. In an address she delivered in Toronto in 1941 she said this: "Before this epic is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up with Hitler or against him. Every living human being either will have opposed this onslaught or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If he takes no side, he is on Hitler's side. If he does not act, that is an act--for Hitler."

May I take the liberty of reading this statement again and changing just a few words, applying it to what I fear we face today? "Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family or against it. Every living human being will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family."

At first it may seem a bit extreme to imply a comparison between the atrocities of Hitler and what is happening in terms of contemporary threats against the family--but maybe not. I just turned 50 years old, and I have never married. That was not my intention, and it has not been my choice. When someone asks me why I have never married, the simple and truthful answer is that nobody has ever asked me. Nonetheless, when I speak about the family, I have a deep, profound and abiding belief that the family is absolutely ordained of God, that it is part of His plan for His children, that marriage is supposed to be between a male and a female, and that children deserve to be born to and raised by two parents, father and mother. That is the ideal."

I guess this bitter woman figures since no one ever asked her to marry, others should be denied the same opportunity. Read what she wrote and imagine what kind of parent she would be. The chances her kid would be the next Timothy McVeigh are about 50-50.

Posted by brettdavey at 7:35 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 24 August 2004
Rush to war...
This is from www.nj.com, the online home of a group of New Jersey newspapers. It's pretty sad.

"Under growing pressure to ship Marines to Iraq, the Marine Corps is cutting in half the rigorous field combat training it gives units preparing to deploy, senior officers say.

The Marines hope to make up the time by intensifying this final, pre-deployment training and focusing it on skills needed to survive and prevail in Iraq's brutal combat conditions. This means practicing more nighttime operations, ambushes, city fighting and guarding of convoys."


Posted by brettdavey at 11:24 AM EDT
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Words count, right?
This is a great column by Dana Milbank from today's Washington Post. Too bad other media types aren't so responsible.

"The 2004 presidential campaign sometimes resembles the children's game of "telephone." Here are some quotations as they came out of Democratic nominee John F. Kerry's mouth -- and how President Bush and Vice President Cheney later recounted them.

"Every performer tonight in their own way, either verbally or through their music, through their lyrics, have conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country." -- Kerry, July 8

"The other day, my opponent said he thought you could find the heart and soul of America in Hollywood." -- Bush, Aug. 18

"My goal, my diplomacy, my statesmanship is to get our troops reduced in number and I believe if you do the statesmanship properly, I believe if you do the kind of alliance building that is available to us, that it's appropriate to have a goal of reducing the troops over that period of time [the first six months of a Kerry administration]. Obviously, we'd have to see how events unfold. . . . It is an appropriate goal to have and I'm going to try to achieve it." -- Kerry, Aug. 9

"I took exception when my opponent said if he's elected, we'll substantially reduce the troops in six months. He shouldn't have said that. See, it sends a mixed signal to the enemy for starters. So the enemy hangs around for six months and one day. . . . It says, maybe America isn't going to keep its word." -- Bush, Aug. 18

"I will fight this war on terror with the lessons I learned in war. I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as president of the United States. I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history. I lay out a strategy to strengthen our military, to build and lead strong alliances and reform our intelligence system. I set out a path to win the peace in Iraq and to get the terrorists wherever they may be before they get us." -- Kerry, Aug. 5

"Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge he would fight a 'more sensitive' war on terror. America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive. . . . Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed." -- Cheney, Aug. 12

"Lee Hamilton, the co-chairman of the 9/11 commission, has said this administration is not moving with the urgency necessary to respond to our needs. I believe this administration and its policies is actually encouraging the recruitment of terrorists. We haven't done the work necessary to reach out to other countries. We haven't done the work necessary with the Muslim world. We haven't done the work necessary to protect our own ports, our chemical facilities, our nuclear facilities. There is a long, long list in the 9/11 recommendations that are undone."

-- Kerry, Aug. 2

"My opponent says . . . that going to war with the terrorists is actually improving their recruiting efforts. I think the logic -- I know the logic is upside down. It shows a misunderstanding of the nature of these people. See, during the 1990s, these killers and terrorists were recruiting and training for war with us, long before we went to war with them. They don't need an excuse for their hatred. It's wrong to blame America for anger and the evil of these killers. We don't create terrorists by fighting back. You defeat the terrorists by fighting back." -- Bush, Aug. 18

"Yes, I would have voted for the authority [to use force in Iraq]. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have. But I would have used that authority, as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has. My question to President Bush is: Why did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace? Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth?" -- Kerry, Aug. 9

"He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq. After months of questioning my motives, and even my credibility, the Massachusetts senator now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpiles of weapons we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power." -- Bush, Aug. 18

Now for an update on the White House's ongoing effort to kill the press corps. The White House travel office signed a contract last week with an airline called Primaris to fly the press corps to Bush events. The two-month-old company has only one airplane. True, media representatives gave their blessing to the deal. But that was before they learned that the company's president twice had his pilot's license revoked related to his flying of an "unairworthy" aircraft, that the chief executive flopped in his last attempt to start an airline and that the 15-year-old plane itself was damaged in a hailstorm a decade ago and spent most of the past two years mothballed in France.


Posted by brettdavey at 10:43 AM EDT
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Never heard of him
This is from Josh Marshall at www.talkingpointsmemo.com. Will the lying never end?

"If President Bush really wants to tell the Swift Boat group's funder, Bob Perry, that he doesn't like the ads he's paying for, maybe he can bring it up at the fundraiser Perry is cohosting in New York next week.

President Bush, Karl Rove, and Tom DeLay are all scheduled to be there. The Dallas Morning News got the story. But when they asked Perry's spokesman what the deal was, he suddenly hadn't heard a thing about it.

Perry's spokesman Bill Miller says he was surprised to see his boss's name on the list. "He told me, 'I never approved the use of my name. I'm not going to be there,' " Mr. Miller told the News.


Posted by brettdavey at 8:20 AM EDT
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Paul Krugman nails it
Last night, I almost fell over as I thought of the insanity of the biggest election story right now: Kerry's service in Vietnam. Let me get this straight. All of the service records back Kerry's version of events, as do the people who were on his boat. A group of veterans, none of whom served on Kerry's boat and many of whom were never even near him in Vietnam, have accused him of various lies and misdeeds. The reality is, they are actually upset about his post-war actions.

Bob Dole, who had evolved into a fairly likable, curmudgeonly grandfather type over the last few years, has returned to his roots as a right-wing hatchet man. Who the hell is Dole to judge whether Kerry's wounds were severe enought to receive a Purple Heart? Is he going to similarly judge the Iraq war veterans who come home? "Nope, not severe enough. Sorry."

Why are Republicans seen as an honorable party? Seriously. Think of all the scummy political attacks over the last 30 years. They all had Republican fingerprints on them.

Paul Krugman, in today's New York Times, puts it better than I ever could.

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

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

One of the wonders of recent American politics has been the ability of Mr. Bush and his supporters to wrap their partisanship in the flag. Through innuendo and direct attacks by surrogates, men who assiduously avoided service in Vietnam, like Dick Cheney (five deferments), John Ashcroft (seven deferments) and George Bush (a comfy spot in the National Guard, and a mysterious gap in his records), have questioned the patriotism of men who risked their lives and suffered for their country: John McCain, Max Cleland and now John Kerry.

How have they been able to get away with it? The answer is that we have been living in what Roger Ebert calls "an age of Rambo patriotism." As the carnage and moral ambiguities of Vietnam faded from memory, many started to believe in the comforting cliches of action movies, in which the tough-talking hero is always virtuous and the hand-wringing types who see complexities and urge the hero to think before acting are always wrong, if not villains.

After 9/11, Mr. Bush had a choice: he could deal with real threats, or he could play Rambo. He chose Rambo. Not for him the difficult, frustrating task of tracking down elusive terrorists, or the unglamorous work of protecting ports and chemical plants from possible attack: he wanted a dramatic shootout with the bad guy. And if you asked why we were going after this particular bad guy, who hadn't attacked America and wasn't building nuclear weapons - or if you warned that real wars involve costs you never see in the movies - you were being unpatriotic.

As a domestic political strategy, Mr. Bush's posturing worked brilliantly. As a strategy against terrorism, it has played right into Al Qaeda's hands. Thirty years after Vietnam, American soldiers are again dying in a war that was sold on false pretenses and creates more enemies than it kills.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Mr. Bush - who must defend the indefensible - has turned to those who still refuse to face the truth about Vietnam.

All the credible evidence, from military records to the testimony of those who served with Mr. Kerry, confirms his wartime heroism. Why, then, are some veterans willing to join the smear campaign? Because they are angry about his later statements against the war. Yet making those statements was itself a heroic act - and what he said then rings truer than ever.

The young John Kerry spoke of leaders who sent others to their deaths because they wanted to seem tough, then "left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude." Fifteen months after George Bush strutted around in his flight suit, more and more Americans are echoing Gen. Anthony Zinni, who received a standing ovation from an audience of Marine and Navy officers when he talked about the debacle in Iraq and said of those who served in Vietnam: "We heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening again?"

Mr. Kerry also spoke of the moral cost of an ill-conceived war - of the atrocities soldiers find themselves committing when they can't tell friend from foe. Two words: Abu Ghraib.

Let's hope that this latest campaign of garbage and lies - initially financed by a Texas Republican close to Karl Rove, and running an ad featuring an "independent" veteran who turns out to have served on a Bush campaign committee - leads to a backlash against Mr. Bush. If it doesn't, here's the message we'll be sending to Americans who serve their country: If you tell the truth, your courage and sacrifice count for nothing."

Posted by brettdavey at 7:59 AM EDT
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Monday, 23 August 2004
Overtime rules
If I was running the Kerry-Edwards campaign, I would have an ad on the air tomorrow about the new overtime rules the Bush Administration has put into play. Make it a two-part ad with one piece about the OT rules and the second about laws that favor companies that outsource jobs. Run the ad in Ohio and other battleground states with struggling economies. That should do the trick.

From CNN.com, here is the third of three tests that determine whether someone should receive overtime. Of course, it's the little guy who will get screwed and in this crummy economy, he's probably got no choice but to eat his liver and stay at the job that doesn't pay him overtime.

"The third test is where the rules get considerably more complicated -- and controversial. The final prong is called the "duties" test. It tries to establish eligibility based on the type of work an employee performs every day. Under federal law, a worker whose job is deemed "administrative," "professional" or "executive" in nature does not qualify for overtime. The categories themselves won't change.

Instead, the new rules aim to clarify the type of work that qualifies as administrative, professional and executive. For example, under the administrative exemption, a fast food manager who sets work schedules for a team of workers but can't hire or fire workers will no longer earn overtime."

You know that a person employed as a Burger King manager works like a dog all day long. Now they can't get overtime? Come on.


Posted by brettdavey at 9:16 AM EDT
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30 years of anger
The facts in the Swift Boat case are all stacked against the vets attacking Kerry. There's not much dispute of that. I don't think this is a coordinated attack from the White House. I think the motivation for this attack is not Kerry's service, but what he did after the war. A lot of the vets are upset about his anti-war activities and his testimony before Congress. They might be right to be angry too, but to lie their asses off is unforgiveable. If you're pissed about his anti-war activities, just say so.

This comes from http://digbysblog.blogspot.com It's about one of the Swift Boat vets who was in the advertisements and just resigned from the Bush campaign as a volunteer. Here it is:

"In the post below, I highlighted something that I haven't seen anyone comment upon. This ex-POW, Kenneth Cordier, a man who has held other POW's to account for accepting early release from the North Vietnamese as traitors, is the subject of a letter to the editor in the Dallas Morning News as follows:

"Last month, a lone bagpiper marched to the tune of "Amazing Grace" as silence fell over the distinguished guests, choir, color guard and the veterans and families who came to dedicate the Irving Veteran's Memorial Park honoring those who gave "the last full measure of devotion" to their nation.

Unfortunately, one of the invested [sic] guests, retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier, a decorated former Vietnam POW and experienced speaker, chose to politicize this solemn event. In an attempt at levity, he defended the pulling of ladies' panties over the faces of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. interrogators at Abu Ghraib as preferable to beheading. His inappropriate, Limbaughistic comments detracted from the reverence and purpose of this event.

Richard A. Widener, Irving"

[THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/13/04]

Of all the people to make mock of the depravity visited upon those prisoners at Abu Ghraib, a former POW is the last one I'd expect to see doing it. I wonder if he will find it so amusing when our guys are imprisoned and sexually humiliated in the future. I suppose he will counsel the prisoners and their families to comfort themselves with the fact that "at least it wasn't a beheading."

30 year old bitterness and rage is a very ugly thing and I think we are seeing how it can warp some people into a twisted version of their former selves. In some ways these guys are to be pitied. That war messed them up so badly they apparently lost their humanity."

Posted by brettdavey at 9:09 AM EDT
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