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Step off, old man!
Friday, 10 September 2004
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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Wednesday, 1 September 2004
The Kennedy-Reagan debates are next...
This comes from www.dailyikos.com, as well as a number of other sites. I guess when you're actor, you just follow the script.

Here's Ahnold from the convention.

"Schwarzenegger said, "I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military."

The facts? There was no presidential debate in that election. Nixon never debated Humphrey.
But it sure is a touching story, regardless of its truth.


Posted by brettdavey at 1:20 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 31 August 2004
Just another patriot
The more you learn about the Swift Boat vets, the more they stink. This story comes from the Washington Post's Dana Milbank.

"This is a story about Swift boats and FastShip.

Four days ago, retired naval Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. seconded accusations made by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth seeking to discredit Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's record in Vietnam. But since then, Democrats have discovered that Schachte is also a long-standing supporter of President Bush and a lobbyist whose client FastShip Inc. recently won a $40 million grant from the federal government.

On Aug. 27, Schachte issued a statement saying that after he "avoided talking to media" for months, he was reluctantly stepping forward to challenge Kerry's award of one of his Purple Hearts on Dec. 2, 1968. "Kerry had himself in charge of the operation, and I was not mentioned at all," he said. "He also claimed that he was wounded by hostile fire. None of this is accurate. I know, because I was not only in the boat, but I was in command of the mission."

Kerry has said Schachte was not on the boat that night, adding another mystery to the disputed events of 36 years ago. But other events are not in dispute. According to a March 18 legal filing by Schachte's firm, Blank Rome, Schachte was one of the lobbyists working for FastShip on issues such as the effort to win funding for a new marine cargo terminal. On Feb. 2, Philadelphia-based FastShip announced that it would receive $40 million in federal funding for the project.

In addition, David Norcross, Schachte's colleague in the Washington office of Blank Rome, is chairman of this week's Republican convention in New York. Records also show that Schachte gave $1,000 to Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns.

The Kerry campaign alleges foul play. "It's amazing what a $40 million government contract can do for your memory," Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton said, noting that Schachte did not challenge Kerry's Purple Heart while describing the incident in an interview last year. Schachte is listed as "of counsel" on Blank Rome's Web site, but a receptionist at the firm said he is retired, and messages left for him and a firm spokesman were not returned."

Just another patriot doing his duty.


Posted by brettdavey at 3:10 PM EDT
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Outing Congress
It's sad when someone has to keep their sexuality submerged. I don't think it's anyone's business if someone is gay or not. That's up to them to reveal. What bothers me is hypocrisy.

There is a website that is outing members of Congress who take anti-gay public stances but are secretly gay. The latest is Rep. Ed Schrock (R-VA). Here's part of what he said in 2000 in regards to the Clinton administration's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military. It's from the Washington Post.

"He (Schrock) supported asking enlistees whether they have had homosexual experiences in an effort to try to keep gays from serving.

"You're in the showers with them, you're in the bunk room with them, you're in staterooms with them," Schrock told the Virginian-Pilot. "You just hope no harm would come by folks who are of that persuasion. It's a discipline thing."

Schrock has now announced he will give up his bid for a 3rd term.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:13 AM EDT
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We can't win!
Good for the Dems. They should really jump on Bush for this remark about the war on terror being unwinnable. There's also reference in here to Bush's interview with the NY Times. It just shows you: take this man out of an unscripted atmosphere and he is uninformed and disengaged.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President George W. Bush said in an interview that he does not believe the US-led war on terror can be won -- a statement that opposition Democrats exploited with great gusto.

Bush was asked in an interview on NBC television whether the United States can win the war on terror. "I don't think you can win it," he answered.

Despite the explanation that followed, opposition Democrats -- hungry to sink Bush's 2004 re-election aspirations -- immediately pounced on those seven words. Democrat John Kerry's vice presidential candidate, John Edwards, bashed Bush for being defeatist while on the campaign trail in North Carolina.

"After months of listening to the Republicans base their campaign on their singular ability to win the war on terror, the president now says we can't win the war on terrorism," Edwards said in a speech in Wilmington.

"This is no time to declare defeat," he said.

It is the second time in four days that Bush has been taken to task over his own remarks. In an interview published Friday with The New York Times, Bush said he made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be" in Iraq after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein.

And the strong anti-US insurgency in Iraq was an unintended byproduct of a "swift victory," he said.
Bush however refused to go into detail on what went wrong, saying that it was a task best left to historians.

The Democrats reacted quickly. "The president has finally abandoned his stubborn refusal to admit his failure to plan," said Rand Beers, Kerry's adviser on national security issues. "Now he must both plan and act."

Retired army general Wesley Clark, a former Democratic presidential candidate, took issue with Bush's Monday statements in an interview with Fox News. "I believe this war is winnable -- we won the Cold War," he said.

Clark, a the former supreme allied commander in Europe, expanded on his views in a joint telephone conference call with Democratic Senator Joe Biden. The chaos in Iraq "was not a miscalculation. It was simply negligence on the part of the president," Clark said. "It's a major mistake."

Clark said that the war on terrorists "motivated by Islamic extremist ideology is winnable, by going after, attacking and defeating the specific groups that attack us, cutting off their ability to recruit, (and) defeating the claims of their ideology."

It was also important to strengthen homeland security and keep militants from accessing weapons of mass destruction, Clark said, adding that the Bush administration's approach to the problem "is fundamentally flawed."

Biden also took a swipe at Bush. "If we do not unite the world in the resolution that the tactics of Islamic terrorists are totally unacceptable, then we will be fulfilling the prophecy of President Bush (news - web sites) which is we can't totally win the war," he said.

In Wilmington, Edwards reminded his audience that the last time the United States "collided with an enemy that wanted to destroy our way of life was at the end of World War II."

"Imagine if President Truman had responded to the Iron Curtain with a wall of indifference? Imagine if he had turned his back on allies that had stood by our side? Imagine if he had refused to lead the effort to rebuild our former enemies, Germany and Japan?" he asked

Posted by brettdavey at 9:08 AM EDT
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