Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I just like the shirt

She has crystallized my feelings at this blasphemy in Johnny's name.

Now they've gone too far. This protester outside of Sotheby's in New York City yells at members of the Republican Tennessee delegation who were attending a party at the auction house, August 31, 2004. The protesters were unhappy that the delegation used the late singer Johnny Cash as a theme for the party.

Name Change

I was never satisfied with the blog name. I put this together on a whim and had no name in mind.

A friend emailed me and suggested the new name. Having thought about it, I like it so am going to try it for a while.

Obviously, the web address is unchanged.

Just a Republican Fantasy?

Alright, I’ve decided to publish this, if for no other reason, then I can later claim you read it here first.

This is one of some old rumors from months ago that I’ve always attributed to Republican fantasies because it was always Republicans talking about them.

I’m talking about the ‘replace Cheney’ rumors. There rumors where popular when Kerry first became popular, but I haven’t heard them in some time and now that we are into the convention I had forgotten about them.

They go like this: Cheney uses his well known health issues as an excuse to step down and is replaced with fantasy VP – typically Rudy or McCain.

Well, today I had a meeting with someone who is as well connected to national politics as anyone I’m acquainted with who doesn’t live in Washington DC. He has major business with Tom Daschle’s office, as well as Durbin’s and is very friendly with Barack Obama. He tells me that he has it on “very good authority from someone who would know” that after the convention Cheney will step down for health reasons and be replaced by McCain which is why McCain is now getting so much attention.

This is the first time I’ve heard this from a D.

I can think of a lot of reasons to dismiss this.

What’s in it for McCain? McCain is arguably the most powerful politician in the country. In the Senate he wields tremendous power… that he would lose as VP.

McCain neither likes nor respects Gdub. Why would he want to work under him? And don’t let the recent love fest fool you. McCain is a devoted R (which is why D fantasies of him running with Kerry were just that) and he is doing his duty for Bush,…and extracting some major payback in return. Did I say major payback?

McCain would be 72 in 4 years tempering his presidential ambitions – and even if he still has them, he is likely better off as most powerful man via the Senate – see above.

Even with McCain’s popularity, such a move post convention would be tremendously controversial and transparent. The campaign would be consumed by the frenzy and speculations of intrigue, etc. They would appear desperate. The media can’t stand substance or issues. This is just the kind of thing they would never give up.

If McCain joined the ticket and they lost, the most powerful politician in the country would no longer be so powerful. If he stays in the Senate, no matter who wins he is still the most powerful politician in the country.

But still, this acquaintance really believes this and he is a serious person.

So, I emailed Josh Marshall (who is the most connected person that will give me the time of day -- on an extemely limited basis) to see if he had heard any new rumors. Josh is at the Convention. His reply?

“anything's possible. but i really, really don't believe it. and that's not just speculation”.

So what do you think?. Having thought about it, in light of the reasons I highlighted above, and Josh’s take, I’m back to thinking it just talk,….but the guy who told it to me is really connected….

So if it happens, you heard it here first.

Arnold's Big Night

Tonight Arnold basks in the glow of the adoring crowd at the RN Convention. It is likely that he will never again be so popular.

Arnold came to power by pandering to angry California voters upset over the state’s fiscal crisis. Like a lot of states, California had a budget shortfall that required more revenue and less spending to keep the budget shortfall from spiraling out of control. So Arnold promised he would balance the budget by cutting a new tax and not cut popular services, yada, yada, yada.

Now I know what your thinking, who on earth would believe such nonsense. Well right now Madison Square Garden is full of such idiots. Well to be fair, some are dumb but others are just dishonest.

Anyway, Arnold solved California’s problem the way every Republican does, he cut a tax and borrowed 15 Billion dollars to cover the deficit.

So, if the California economy really booms, he could be bailed out and a hero. But if they have just ordinary growth (or less then ordinary growth) there will be a day of reckoning, and Arnold will have some explaining to do.

So enjoy it Arnold, you may never have it so good again. The glean in California is already starting to fade.

Getting Centered In N.Y.

Getting Centered In N.Y. (E.J. Dionne)

EJ explains who is targeted and why, by the RNC this week. We shall see if it works.

Here is the key of his column:
Boy, does Bush have the base. Conservative Republicans back their president by margins of about 90 to 1 -- no kidding, I've seen the numbers. Some moderate Republicans are grumpy, but they seem to be coming home. Conservative independents are doing rather well by the president, too.

But the president is weak among voters who are smack in the middle of the political and partisan spectrum. Those who call themselves independent and moderate back Democrat John Kerry by a little better than 3 to 2. Bush's approval rating among the moderate independents is negative. One Republican strategist told me that if Bush can figure out how to break even among the moderate independents and hold what he has elsewhere, he can win the election.

So when you watch this convention, be thinking about those moderate independents and the overlapping groups of Catholics, Hispanics and married moms. This production is, in large part, being staged for them.
But he has more. I've read, and written some, on a supposed civil war brewing inside the Repubblican party between the hard right and the moderate right. EJ touches on this too:
But there is also dissonance and even dissidence. A group of distinguished Republicans -- including five former governors and two former senators -- took out a full-page ad yesterday in the New York Times calling on Republicans to "Come Back to the Mainstream." The ad warned that "partisan ideology . . . increasingly has led moderates to leave the party."

Rep. Amo Houghton, a classic New York moderate Republican, is retiring from Congress this year. He is a gentleman and a gentle man. He did not sign the ad in the Times. But the 78-year-old Houghton, who joined the party of Dewey in 1948, does not mince words about whether trotting out moderation every four years will continue to be enough to keep the moderates in.

"They want the salesmen of moderation and the policymakers of the right wing," Houghton said of his party in an interview on the eve of the convention. Moderates, he said, do not want to be "the guys you pull out of the closet and, after the election, put us back in."
The column is worth a read. Check it out.


Apparently Protestor Day is Over


New York City police arrest a protestor(the one handcuffed not wearing the NYPD shirt) who was part of a non-permitted anti-war protest that was halted by police shortly after it began, in New York, August 31, 2004. Close to 100 of the protestors were arrested by police on Fulton Street just moments after they attempted to march from the Ground Zero site of the World Trade Center disaster, north towards Madison Square Garden, the site of the Republican National Convention. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Assuming a non-violent march, how can the police lawfully break it up?

Polling Update

The DonkeyRising

I think Kerry has taken a hit by the SBL's ads, albeit exaggerated by the media. I think he was too slow to respond to them by hitting back.

Ruy is back from vaction so we will be getting better analysis at DonkeyRising. Here is the latest (verbatim):

The Race at the Start of the Republican Convention.

The Myth: The SBVT controversy seriously harmed the Kerry campaign. Bush comes into his convention in much better political shape than he has been for quite a while.

The Reality: The race has changed little since the start of the SBVT controversy. Bush enters his convention with basically the same political vulnerabilities he had previously.

Let's go to the numbers.

The poll that best provides a before-SBVT damage and after-SBVT damage picture of the horse race is the Gallup poll. That's because Gallup polled both on August 9-11--about a week before media coverage of SBVT really heated up--and on August 23-25, right after the coverage peaked and just as the Kerry campaign began its push-back.

What do the Gallup numbers show? As Gallup's release on their latest poll succinctly puts it: "No Change in Presidential Race Despite Attack Ads". Just so.

In fact, to the extent their numbers show change, it's in the opposite direction to the one everyone is assuming. In their August 9-11 poll, Kerry was behind by one point (47-48) among RVs; in their August 23-25 poll, Kerry's ahead by a point (48-47). (Bush's approval rating also declines by 2 ponts between the two surveys).

So why were (and are) people so convinced SBVT hurt? There were the Annenberg numbers, of course, on how many voters had heard of the the SBVT charges and found them at least a little bit believble. But there's a lot less to these data than people assumed--see EDM's earlier analysis on how these numbers were widely
misinterpreted.

There were the August 23-25 Gallup numbers on likely voters, showing Bush ahead by 3 points, that fed the impression Bush was pulling ahead. But these LV numbers also represented no change from previous Gallup polls, which had showed Bush ahead among this group by about the same margin. (Indeed, it's interesting to note that in the entire month of August only one poll--Gallup--showed Bush ahead among LVs in the Bush-Kerry matchup and it did so three times and by almost identical margins. Must be something going on with that Gallup LV model.)

There was the Los Angeles Times (LAT) poll, which showed Bush with a 3 point lead among RVs, released right after the peak of the mudslinging. But the LAT poll had no point of comparison in August, much less close to the beginning of the SBVT controversy, so the LAT result showed nothing about change due to SBVT. Moreover, the LAT result was an outlier among the month's RV polls--every other poll taken during the month (save one Gallup poll)--had Kerry tied or ahead in the Kerry-Bush matchup.

Finally, there is the most plausible--in my view--source of this sentiment: the fact that a number of polls show a tightening of the horse race between very earlyAugust (i.e., right after the Democratic convention) and late August. That tightening ranges from 2-7 points, turning a small post-convention Kerry lead into a smaller Kerry lead or tie, depending on the poll you look at. But the most plausible hypothesis for this tightening is a natural post-convention decay in Kerry's support (given a lack of new impetus in Kerry's direction) over the course of the month, rather than the specific effect of the SBVT brouhaha.

So where does that leave us? In my view, about where we were before the Democratic convention. In fact--in addition to the horse race--if you look at Kerry-Bush comparisons on issues and on personal characteristics, the results of a number of polls seem almost to replicate the results of that particular poll prior to the Democratic convention.

And another critical thing hasn't changed at all--Bush's ratings in all his vulnerable areas (the economy, Iraq, health care, etc.), as well as voters' sense of whether the country is going in the right direction and whether a different direction is needed. These indicators have all continued to be quite negative (in some cases, have actually worsened) over the course of August, including the period allegedly affected by the SBVT controversy.

This is Bush's problem. He's got to run on something and, unfortunately for him, he has precious little to run on other than being the president of 9/11. The SBVT ads and subsequent media feeding frenzy didn't change that equation in the slightest--and it's not an equation that favors Bush's re-election.


Time For Rumsfeld To Resign

TheBostonChannel.com - Helen Thomas - Time For Rumsfeld To Resign

I predicted a couple months ago, pre-blog, that Rumsfeld didn't know it yet, but he was resigning. Well, needless to say, that hasn't happened, and frankly, I becoming discouraged. I really hate it when my predictions don't come true.

This piece in today's Boston Globe gives me hope. Here the first few paragraphs:
The time has come for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to leave his Pentagon post, either by dismissal or resignation.

Two separate reports this week make it clear that Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon officials were ultimately responsible for the sadistic abuse of prisoners in Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib.

A report by four-member panel headed by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger traced the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq to failures that went all the way up the chain of command in the Pentagon.

Another military report Wednesday said 27 persons attached to intelligence agencies, as well as four private contractors, participated in abuses, some tantamount to torture, of prisoners.

"We discovered serious misconduct and a loss of moral values," said Army Gen. Paul Kern, head of the investigation. This gives lie to early Pentagon efforts to paint the prison abuses as the work of a handful of low-level MPs, acting out their frustrations.

The Kern report also noted that eight "ghost detainees" were concealed from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). One of them died in custody.

Soros Defamation Update

Josh Marshall reports that when asked by reporters, Speaker Hastert has repeated his slur of Soros first made this past Sunday and reported here.

Soros has now sent the speaker a letter demanding that Hastert either put-up or apologize.

I must respectfully insist that you either substantiate these claims -- which you cannot do because they are false -- or publicly apologize for attempting to defame my character and defame my reputation.

It should be enteraining to watch this play out.

Watch this space,....

Oh, We Get Letters!


In response to my recent letter in the STL Post Dispatch, I received the following piece of fan mail.

Some Reaction to Shrock's Resignation

Atrios brought my attention to this.

The Hill.com
Not all delegates were disappointed. “I’m a conservative Christian, and the gay lifestyle is the wrong lifestyle,” said Fred Gerald, a delegate from southern Virginia. “It does not set a very good example for our young people, and it lowers the values in America having gay people in government.”
The blogger who outed Shrock claims to have more. Apparently he has outed Republican Congressional staff in the past.

Here's Your Liberal Media

Corporate Send-Off for Schwarzenegger *
Among the corporate sponsors of Mr. Schwarzenegger's trip, according to a list provided by the governor's office, are Fox Entertainment, NBC Universal,News Corporation, Paramount, TimeWarner, the Walt Disney Company and Viacom.Other donors include Abbott Laboratories, Amgen and Pfizer, ChevronTexaco and Conoco Phillips, and Outback Steakhouse, SBC and Visa.
That's right, Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC all paid to send Arnold to the Republican Convention so he could give a speech they will cover. How many of the will disclose their role?

*You may have problems with the NYT's link. For some reason, again, the link generator I use that is suppose to make the links more friendly and last longer (before going to paid archieves) is not working. I will try to replace this link later today.



Monday, August 30, 2004

The Character Question

The Character Question

Mallaby has an excellent OP Ed in today's WaPo that raises important questions for Bush, that Bush seems to get a pass on.

It's important and you should read it. Here are a couple paragraphs:

…Bush's radicalism has a scary side as well, and it goes to the heart of his fitness for a second term. In his zeal to be a strong leader, and in his disdain for policy detail, Bush sometimes defends positions that have no intellectual basis.

This weakness is most commonly associated with his war in Iraq -- a radical policy that has backfired on him. Even if you accept the case for war, the way Bush has argued it raises fundamental character issues. Why did he claim links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein despite the lack of evidence? Had he failed to absorb the facts, or was he being plain dishonest? Why did he allow the postwar planning to be so scandalously poor? Could he not be bothered to cross-examine the officials who were drawing up plans that would determine his standing in history? Bush appears to have been deaf to the chorus of outside experts who warned that nation-building would be difficult. Doesn't this illustrate a lazy lack of curiosity about how bold ideas will play out in the real world? Doesn't this raise doubts about Bush's fitness to be president?....

The clearest illustration of this inflexibility is not Iraq. It is the central plank of the economic agenda: the tax cuts. These were conceived when the economy was booming and huge budget surpluses were expected, but when the boom turned into bust, Bush showed no ability to course-correct. Almost unbelievably, Bush not only rammed through the huge tax cut he had promised in the campaign: He cut taxes again in 2002 and a third time in 2003. Even now he seems ready to sign an appalling pork-ridden corporate tax reduction. …

Again, this is not just a policy issue; it goes to Bush's character. How can he push such a dramatic shift in economic policy without grappling with the basic point that his cuts are unaffordable?…


And save your breath, Mallaby questions Kerry too. (sorry, the link was busted before)

Congressman Shrock is seen here at the convention just hours before his stunning announcement.

Cong. Shrock (R-VA) Quits when Outed

Well, this is a bizarre story. Hypocrisy will get you every time.

Congressman Ed Shrock is a two term R congressman from Virginia running for a third term. The National Journal ranks him second only to Denny Hastert for conservatism. The congressman earned a 92 percent voting mark from the Christian coalition. The Congressman was an outspoken supporter and co-sponsor of the anti gay marriage statute and later the amendment.

Today, he abruptly announced he was dropping out of the race and retiring from Congress -- effective immediately -- not after the term expires or even next week. Today.

Turns out the married congressman with children likes the boys. It appears that he frequented a gay dating service and left recorded personals. Someone made tapes of these recordings and the tapes were circulating, thanks to the blog Blogactive. This particular blog specializes in outing such people and as of a couple weeks ago starting encouraging people to call the Congressman.

If you're interested, Here's some of the audio but be forwarned, it's not very pleasant to listen too.

Soros a "Public Figure"?

As I noted earlier, Speaker Hastert yesterday on Fox suggest billionaire financier George Soros may get some of his money from drug cartels. Of course the Speaker has no proof to substantiate such a charge. He just slandered him. That's what Republicans do.

In defamation law there is a distinction drawn people "public figures" and everyone else. For a public figure to bring a defamation action, he must prove the defamer was motivated by actual malice. This may not sound very difficult, but it is, and it protects people who criticize public figures from being beaten into silence with civil lawsuits.

But if a person is not a public figure, they have the right to force the defamer, in court, to prove they spoke the truth. If the defamer cannot prove the truth of their assertion, then they may have to pay money in damages to the person they defamed.

Now, I’m no expert on what makes someone a public figure. George Soros is not an elected official and is not running for office. He may be able to at least argue that he is not a public figure (fame is not enough), which could mean the Speaker needs to lawyer up.

Soros strikes me as the kind of guy who isn’t going to just lay down and let some two-bit political hack make such an accusation against him on national, (international?) TV. He may just sue the speaker for spite.

I think we may see an apology coming from Speaker Hastert in the next few days.

BTW, if you think you know if Soros would be a public figure, please share that with us in the comments.

Coda: Okay, I've read a little more about "public figures" and think that Soros probably is one, but what do I know.

Can We Win the War on Terror

As Josh points out, won't the press bury Kerry for making this remark made this morning?

“I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.”


See the answer below.


Answer

In an interview on NBC-TV’s “Today” show broadcast to coincide with Monday’s start of the Republican National Convention in New York, Bush said retreating from the war on terror “would be a disaster for your children.”’

“You cannot show weakness in this world today because the enemy will exploit that weakness,” he said. “It will embolden them and make the world a more dangerous place.”

When asked “Can we win?” the war on terror, Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.”

More From Republican Smear Machine

lifted from Kevin Drum.

Josh Marshall links today to the latest smear from House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Lloyd Grove reports:

"You know, I don't know where George Soros gets his money. I don't know where — if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from," Hastert mused. An astonished Chris Wallace asked: "Excuse me?" The Speaker went on: "Well, that's what he's been for a number years — George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean, he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there." Wallace: "You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel? "Hastert: "I'm saying I don't know where groups - could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know."
And I think maybe George Bush got tossed out of the National Guard because he crashed a plane while he was high on coke and then spent the next five months in Alabama in a rehab center. I mean, we just don't know, do we?

As Kevin aptly points out, Hastert is not an overweight filmmaker or an anonymous blogger. He's the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the third highest ranking Republican official in the country. In fact, he is the third highest ranking official of the government, period.

This is what the leadership of the Republican party has become.

And as I've said before, find me an example of a member of the Democratic leadership doing things like this and I'll post it here and denounce it.

Freudian Slip?

Talking Points Memo:

Josh Marshall credits Andrew Sullivan with a nice find on President Bush's Freudian slip about the Swift Boat Ads ...


I loved Bush's comment yesterday about the smear-ad: 'I can understand why Senator Kerry is upset with us. I wasn't so pleased with the ads that were run about me. And my call is get rid of them all, now.'

'Us'?? I thought Bush had nothing to do with it.


Robert Novak: A Conflict?

Columnist Has Ties to Anti-Kerry Book

Not only is Novak what George Bush Sr. called "the most insidious of traitors" but he is also as big a whore as you will find working in so-called legitimate media.
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.
O'Neill, of course, has now been exposed as a liar. I suppose Novak likes O'Niell's company because it makes Novak feel better about himself.

Why do people continue to take him seriously?

Slow News Week During Convention

Kerry's hanging out in Nantucket and the R Convention opens in NYC. I think it's going to be a slow campaign news week.

We shall see.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

How Refreshing, an Editor who Takes his Job Seriously

This year, the political smear is exposed even as it's happening

Again tipped by Atrios.

Here are some excerpts that ran in an editorial today in the Star Tribune:
We have a responsibility to separate legitimate political opinion -- and the latitude is great -- from deliberate smear. That responsibility is especially important in this campaign. Sometimes it's difficult to tell whether a piece crosses that line; to me, this is not one of those times. A legitimate piece might have raised hard questions about Kerry in Cambodia; theirs wasn't that piece.

Colleagues wanted to print today's Hinderaker and Johnson piece to be "fair" to them. But these are folks who take unfair advantage of that concern.

And what about fairness for John Kerry? These authors take great umbrage at my use of the word "fraudulent" to describe their writing. That word choice was quite deliberate: They hurled it at Kerry; I merely hurled it back.

Here is some of what I've seen during this presidential campaign: About six weeks ago, former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz submitted a piece that took on former counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke. The piece contained demonstrably false statements. I required that they be stripped from the piece, and they were. The piece ran.

Days later, Sen. Norm Coleman submitted a piece on Joe Wilson, who made the famous trip to Niger to investigate the yellowcake episode. The Coleman piece contained demonstrably false statements against Wilson. I asked that they be stripped out. One was not. It claimed that Wilson had "repeatedly" accused President Bush of deliberately lying to the American people about Iraq. Wilson is on the record, including in the Star Tribune, denying he ever said such a thing. I insisted that Coleman provide at least one quote in which Wilson accused the president of deliberately lying to the American people. His office either could not or would not do that. The piece did not run.

Then along came the Hinderaker-Johnson piece on Kerry. It should have set off all kinds of alarms. As one of the editors responsible for these pages, I regret that it did not -- and that I was not here to weigh in on the decision.

Isn't it supposed to be this way at every news outlet?

There's more. Go read it.

Jesus' General updates us on the RNC Opening Prayer

Jesus' General

The General brings us up to date on who will be giving the opening prayer at the RN Convention.

It appears that Falwell, originally slated for the honor didn't hate homosexuals enough so they have gone to the single, childless Sheri Dew, (clearly a self-hating lesbian) who recently compared those who fail to oppose gay marriage to those who supported Hitler.

Now I certainly understand the misgivings people of good will can have on the issue of gay marriage and I think it is a failing of some on the left that do not understand this. But I also think we can all agree that comparing support for gay marriage with supporting a genocidal maniac is beyond the pale.

Here are excerpts from the recent speech by Ms. Dew:
Also, while I was peddling away, I found myself reading the latest edition of one of the nation's most popular news magazines. One of the major articles was about gay "marriage." There were several statements that stood out for me in a dramatic and terrifying way, but one of the most sobering features of the entire article was a picture of two handsome, young men, getting "married." What distressed me most was the fact that they were both holding an infant "daughter",twin girls they had adopted. I was, frankly, heartsick. What kind of chance do those girls have being raised in that kind of setting? What will their understanding of men and women, marriage and families be? Is there any chance that, as adults, they could expect to marry and enjoy a healthy relationship with a man, including rearing children together? In addition, there were alarming concepts about "family" presented throughout the article–concepts that even questioned the validity of heterosexual families.

To say I found the entire article sobering would be a grand understatement. And I found myself thinking, Talk about influence. Imagine the influence of that one magazine in presenting ideas about the family that are totally in opposition to God’s plan and will for His Children.

Lining Up With Hitler or Against Him

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.”
Atrios has more.

Finally, I want to remind people that gay adoption and gay marriage are not the same issue no matter how hard those opposing gay marriage speak of them as the same.

Being married does not automatically make any couple eligible for adoption. Ask any couple who has adopted. And conversely, being single does not automatically make anyone not eligible to adopt.

Adoption agencies and courts are obligated to consider "the best interest of the child" in any adoption and marriage is but one factor.

You should immediately mistrust the motives of anyone who suggests gay marriage and adoption are a part of the same issue. They are not.

Photos of Protest Today

Yahoo! News - Top Stories Photos - AP

The AP says 20 blocks of wall to wall people.

I'm guessing these were not the images Rove had in mind when they picked NYC as host.

AP Photo. Can't put my finger on it, but I think this is my favorite

AP Photo

AP Photo. This photo incudes what appeared to be many flagged drapped caskets.

some of my favorite AP photos from today

Abolish the Electoral College

The lead editorial in this mornings NYT’s calls for the abolition of the Electoral College.

Here are the key paragraphs:
The main problem with the Electoral College is that it builds into every election the possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War, that the president will be a candidate who lost the popular vote. This shocks people in other nations who have been taught to look upon the United States as the world's oldest democracy. The Electoral College also heavily favors small states. The fact that every one gets three automatic electors - one for each senator and a House member - means states that by population might be entitled to only one or two electoral votes wind up with three, four or five.

The majority does not rule and every vote is not equal - thoseare reasons enough for scrapping the system. But there are other consequences aswell. This election has been making clear how the Electoral College distorts presidential campaigns. A few swing states take on oversized importance, leading the candidates to focus their attention, money and promises on a small slice of the electorate. We are hearing far more this year about the issue of storing hazardous waste at Yucca Mountain, an important one for Nevada's 2.2 million residents, than about securing ports against terrorism, a vital concern for 19.2 million New Yorkers. The political concerns of Cuban-Americans, who are concentrated in the swing state of Florida, are of enormous interest to the candidates. The interests of people from Puerto Rico scarcely come up at all,since they are mainly settled in areas already conceded as Kerry territory. The emphasis on swing states removes the incentive for a large part of the population to follow the campaign, or even to vote.
The truth is, its long overdue. The Electoral College is a relic of the past.

I really thought after the last election that the Constitution would be amended to move to one citizen, one vote. The current system gives way too much power to a handful of large states while so many other citizens are just ignored.

A couple amendments were proposed in 2001 but went nowhere. Had President Gore lost the last election by 600,000 votes an amendment would have shortly been winging its way through the states, but with the Republican party well on its way to permanent minority status, I don’t think anything will happen any time soon.

Protestors in NYC

I've been reading for months articles suggesting that the RNC would regret choosing NYC to host their convention because of all the protestors.

Frequently, it would be suggested in this articles that the protest would hearken back to 68 in Chicago.

Although I expect protestors, I've always felt the 68 comparison a little overblown.

Recent reporting has made it clear that Republican mayor Bloomberg does not want to be embarrassed and NYC is taking extraordinary steps to limit protest....Not that Boston didn't do the same thing.

Anyway, as this week unfolds we will find out. On thing that struck me as I thought about this was how well suited NYC really is to very large protests. NYC's mass transit system is unrivaled in the world. They can move, and do move every day, literally millions of people in short order. This makes gathering for protesters much easier and crowd control much more difficult. Life in the city must go on and residents and businesses are dependent on the mass transit system to do business. Protesters can arrive by train from Long Island, NJ, Conn, PA, etc.

250,000 people could never gather in Forest Park. The logistics would never work. That same number in Central Park is a can of corn.

So, it should be fun to watch,...

Analysis of the LA Times Poll

DonkeyRising

For a lot of reasons (mostly the long term patterns versus one poll) I'm not the least bit concerned about the recent LA Times poll.

If you are, Donkey Rising has the analysis.

The Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday August 26th has created substantial consternation among democrats. Not only the mainstream media, but many pro-democratic writers and commentators have accepted the polls' apparent message that the sleazy attacks on Kerry's wartime record have been successful and have allowed Bush to overtake Kerry in the presidential race.

The bad news is that this perception has been widely accepted. The good news is that it's fundamentally wrong.

Let's start with the Kerry-Bush horse-race numbers. While the LA Times poll found Bush's support among registered voters rising from 46% in July to 49% on August 22-24th (and Kerry's support dropping from 48% to 46% in the same period), three other polls by major polling organizations found entirely different patterns.....
Follow the link for more

Cicadas

Eschaton

Clearly this will be all the talk later this morning on the shows.

Doug Feith is the neocon who was widely belived to be the one who drunkenly leaked to his bud, Chalibi, that the US had broken the Iranian code, leading Chalibi to sell us out to the Iranians -- after we invaded Iran for him to help put him in power, but I digress...

Atrios thinks it's a big deal...

I'm starting to think that every dozen years ago the same bunch of corrupt idiots, or their intellectual progeny, get into power and proceed to screw things up until they get caught, at which point the "establishment," with which they're intimately intertwined, demands leniency, letting them go lurk underground until they're ready to pop up and screw things up all over again.

WASHINGTON - An FBI probe into the handling of highly classified material by Pentagon civilians is broader than previously reported, and goes well beyond allegations that a single mid-level analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel, three sources familiar with the investigation said Saturday.

The probe, which has been going on for more than two years, also has focused on other civilians in the Secretary of Defense's office, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, but who have first-hand knowledge of the subject.

In addition, one said, FBI investigators in recent weeks have conducted interviews to determine whether Pentagon officials gave highly classified U.S. intelligence to a leading Iraqi exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which may in turn have passed it on to Iran. INC leader Ahmed Chalabi has denied his group was involved in any wrongdoing.

The linkage, if any, between the two leak investigations, remains unclear.

But they both center on the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 official.

Iran-Contra II?

"Iran-Contra II?"

If your so inclined here is the story Josh and colleagues have been working on for some months.

Iran Contra II is their headline, not mine. I'm not so sure it rises to that level, but I think we may find out.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Our Second Civil War

Our Second Civil War (washingtonpost.com)

Richard Holbrooke's take on the recent events in the Presidential race.

Here's the first two paragraphs:
Americans under 40 can be excused if they think that the presidential campaign went a bit nuts recently. After all, why has campaign coverage been dominated by a war that ended 29 years ago, even as a dozen Americans were dying and more than 130,000 fighting in Iraq?

Well, kids, welcome to an encore presentation of our Second Civil War. The anger and viciousness of the Swift boat debate provide just a brief reminder of how Vietnam divided our nation for a decade. One of my best friends in high school wrote me a furious letter in 1966, saying that since I was then in Vietnam, I must be a war criminal, and he would never speak to me again. And he never did...

Violence Flares in Sadr City, Fallujah

Link

optimism is in short supply on Iraq.

BAGHDAD -- Shiite militants and U.S. forces battled throughout the Baghdad slum of Sadr City, and a mortar barrage slammed into a busy neighborhood in the capital in a new wave of violence Saturday that killed at least five people and wounded dozens of others.

U.S. warplanes and tanks later bombarded targets in Sunni stronghold of Fallujah, and U.S. forces exchanged gunfire with insurgents along the city's eastern outskirts and the main highway running to neighboring Jordan, witnesses said. The fighting left at least 14 people injured, hospital officials said.

The new violence came as residents of Najaf began digging out of the rubble and debris left by three weeks of fierce fighting between militants and U.S. forces in the holy city. The crisis ended Friday when the militants withdrew under a peace deal brokered by Iraq's most senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani....

Follow the link if you want more.

FBI Investigation into Pentagon Official

Link

If you are interested, here is the whole story as presently known. If sounds much more like palace intrigue than a real spy case.

I guess we will know soon enough.

Friday, August 27, 2004

John Kerry - wordIQ Dictionary & Encyclopedia

Definition of John Kerry - wordIQ Dictionary & Encyclopedia

A site with a reasonably detailed Bio including summaries of all Kerry's medals and purple hearts.

Here is an example:
Kerry received his second Purple Heart for action on the Bo De River on February
20
, 1969. The plan had been for the Swift boats to be accompanied by support helicopters. On the way up the Bo De, however, the helicopters were attacked. They returned to their base to refuel and were unable to return to the mission for several hours. Kerry recorded the situation in his notebook: "We therefore had a choice: to wait for what was not a confirmed return by the helos [and] give any snipers more time to set up an ambush for our exit or we could take a chance and exit immediately without any cover. We chose the latter."

As the Swift boats reached the Cua Lon, Kerry's boat was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade round, and a piece of hot shrapnel hit Kerry's left leg. Thereafter, they had no more trouble, and reached the Gulf of Thailand safely. Kerry still has shrapnel in his left thigh because the doctors decided to removed damaged tissue and close the wound with sutures rather than make a wide opening to remove the shrapnel. Kerry received his second Purple Heart for this injury, but he did not take any time off from duty.

Israeli Spy in Pentagon?

FBI Probe Targets Pentagon Official (washingtonpost.com)

Apparently there is an Israeli spy operating in the office of the Sec of Defense -- and he's going to be arrested next week.
...the case is likely to attract intense attention because the official being investigated works under William J. Luti, deputy undersecretary of defense for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Luti oversaw the Pentagon's "Office of Special Plans," which conducted some early policy work for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

A law enforcement official said that the information allegedly passed by the Pentagon suspect went to Israel through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying organization. The information was said to have been the draft of a presidential directive related to U.S. policies toward Iran.

In addition to the Pentagon employee, the FBI investigation focuses on at least two employees at AIPAC, the law enforcement official said.

New Email Feature

Note that at the bottom of each post is a new button. This allows you to email any post to anyone you wish.

Please feel free to share this site.

Poverty Rate Up 3rd Year In a Row

Yahoo! News - Poverty Rate Up 3rd Year In a Row

These are the issues we should be talking about. Every day Bush can keep the SBL's in the press is a day issues like this don't get discussed.

A leaked video reveals what Dole really thinks

For Shame - A leaked video reveals what Bob Dole really thinks about Bush's tactics

WTF? You have to go and see the video.

Why wouldn't so called liberal CNN have aired this portion of Dole's now infamous appearance? The accompaning article says that the remark was made "off air" while a Kerry video was playing but this is not the impression you will get from watching the video.

Democrats now have an unlikely ally in their quest to prove that Bush has a history of these kinds of dirty tricks: Bob Dole. No one has done more to lend establishment respectability to the falsehoods being peddled against Kerry than Dole. The former Senate majority leader and 1996 presidential nominee of the Republican Party made several demonstrably false statements about John Kerry's war record this past Sunday on CNN's Late Edition before saying that "not every one of these people can be Republican liars. There's got to be some truth to the charges."

But Dole also made another statement that day, one that hasn't been aired until now. Of McCain's charge to President Bush during a 2000 debate—"You should beashamed"—Dole told Wolf Blitzer, "He was right."....

Blitzer is such a whore. I noted earlier how Blitzer did not call Dole on any of Dole's mistatments of fact. Now, we find out he knew how Dole felt about the SBL's and Bush and didn't call him on it on air -- content to just alow Dole -- on behalf of Bush -- free air time to shiv Kerry.


SBL's in Hot Water

Critics of prosecutor in ad go to state bar

As attorneys we are "officers of the court" (the "court" being those state supreme courts and federal courts licensing us to practice law) not just while actually in court or when representing clients, but even in our private business affairs. The ethics rules of pretty much every state supreme court say we can't commit perjury, fraud, etc. at any time or face discipline by them. Just ask Bill Clinton whose law license in Arkansas was suspended because he lied under oath.

Well, some of these SBL's are lawyers and have foolishly signed false affidavits. For this the courts who grant them license can take that away as in disbar or suspend them or some lesser form of punishment.

Turns out Al French, the prosecutor in Oregon, was one of those and some vets in Oregon and made complaints to the state bar.

Tapped reports that John O'Neill may have a similar problem:

Al French won't be the last Swift Boat Yada Yada member to risk professional repercussions for the smear campaign. I just received the following via email:

All Texas attorneys are subject to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct:

Rule 8.02 Judicial and Legal Officials (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the *qualifications or integrity* of a judge, adjudicatory official or public legal officer, or of a *candidate for election* or appointment to judicial or legal office.

Rule 8.04 Misconduct (a) A lawyer shall not: ...(3) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

I filed an ethics complaint with about 15 attachments evidencing what I see as violations by John O'Neill. I believe that other complaints have been filed as well.

Will you please follow up on this, as I have a concern that the Texas State Bar may not be inclined to diligently prosecute.

Whatever might lead him to doubt their interest in following this up?

What the courts will do with this is anyone's guess. The more public pressure, the more likely that they will do something.

Greenspan Wants Tax Incease on Working Poor.

Link

From Sam Rosenfeld at Tapped:

"OH, THE GALL. Alan Greenspan is again calling for policymakers to show some political courage and take tough actions to deal with the looming Social Security and Medicare crises. Forget for a moment his elision of the two entitlement programs into a single looming problem, which is a clever way of obscuring the relative fiscal health of Social Security (in contrast to the very real troubles with Medicare) so as to legitimize more drastic changes to it. Forget also for the moment that the remedies he calls for -- like raising the retirement age -- would barely make a dent in the long-term fiscal crisis the country is heading toward.

Instead, note only that this is yet another article on Greenspan's Social Security agenda that fails to mention his leading role first in pushing for increases in the regressive payroll taxes in the 1980s to secure the system and then, two decades later, advocating for George Bush's massively regressive tax cuts -- tax cuts that are, of course, the underlying cause of the ostensible Social Security crisis he's so worried about now. It's simply the most brazen and drawn-out Robin Hood-in-reverse scheme I've ever heard of, and it's worth emphasizing every time the Maestro opens his mouth on the subject. "
Outragious is not strong enough. I hope to write more about this later.

Friday Krugman

America's Failing Health

Krugman reminds us of the issues we should be talking about.

Republican Covention Agenda

The agenda is now final and I received it by email:

Republican Convention Agenda
6:00pm - Opening prayer
6:15pm - Supplementary opening prayer
6:30pm - Prayer in thanks of first two prayers
6:45pm - New energy policy presented by Exxon
7:00pm - Canonization of Reagan
7:15pm - Additional prayers
7:30pm - Opening remarks by Halliburton
8:00pm - Prayer for the safety and well-being of Kenny-boy Lay
8:15pm - Additional remarks by Halliburton
8:30pm - Stoning of the first homosexual
8:45pm - New healthcare policies presented by HMO leader, Kaiser Permanente
9:00pm - Invasion of Iran or North Korea (TBA)
9:15pm - Halliburton contributes $1.4 billion to Republican party
9:30pm - Reagan elevated to savior, Holy Trinity now referred to as the quads
9:45pm - Bush undergoes plastic surgery to look more like Reagan
10:00pm - Cheney runs into Ron Reagan, Jr. Tells him to go f *** himself
10:15pm - Recall of troops from accidental invasion of South Korea
10:30pm - Burning at the stake of 16-year-old Jenny Williams, who had an illegal abortion after being raped by her cousin
10:45pm - Dancing around the golden calf
11:00pm - Stoning of the partner of the first homosexual
11:15pm - New forestry policy presented by Weyerhauser
11:45pm - Thanking God for his wisdom in choosing Bush as president
12:00pm - Closing prayers (lasting until 2:00am)
2:00 am - Hookers arrive for all delegates

Thanks for the tip, Bob.

Let Nader Speak to his Right Wing Supporters

TheNaderFactor.com

Too funny. Go sign the petition.

Dealing With Terror Threats

Before you post anonymous nasty comments I want to acknowledge that post 9-11 it is difficult for an administration to deal with supposed terror threats.

However, the criticism of the Bush administration post 9-11 was not for failing to hold national press conferences to terrify the nation by reporting no specific treats or even threats that "Bin Laden Plans Attack Inside US."

The Bush admin was criticised because they did NOTHING. They didn't warn the FAA, they didn't warn imigration, they didn't alert the airlines, they didn't alert the border patrols, they didn't alert /call in the FBI to rattle field offices for info or suspected activity. They did nothing.

Holding press conferences to spread fear and terror does not make any of us safer. Challenging all aspects of what is now Homland Security does.

The Brits have this one right.

Where's Tom Ridge?

Here we are on the eve of the RN Convention, and Tom Ridge isn't holding any press conferences to report of no specific evidence of any terrorist plots that threaten all of us everywhere?

Threats so deadly and dangerous that the threat level would not be elevated?

Not even 3 or 4 year old threats?

You know some people might think they used those threats for political gain.

Speaking of threats 3 or 4 years old, when you find out that at the time the WTC was cased that other buildings were also cased and so you post army soldiers on those building cased years before with great national fanfare and praise for the president, how long to you keep those soldiers guarding those buildings? Until 3 or 4 years pass from the time they were cased?

A Final Thought on Cleland at the Ranch

Bush really blew a great opportunity when Cleland and Rassman showed up at the former pig farm that Bush now calls home.

Just imagine how this political stunt would have gone, had Bush invited both the decorated veterans into his home to take the letter, offered them a nice cool beverage and "visited" with them for a while? Then walked them both to the gate to see them off, and stopped and "visited" with the reporters briefly mentioning that he was honored to have had both those men in his house, praised their service to our great nation, accepted their letter and reminded the press of his long standing support for campaign reform -- which they would have all parroted in their stories as if actually true, yada, yada, yada.

This would have blown up on Kerry and Bush would have stole the show and the nightly news coverage.

Bush really blew it.

FLA Gallop shows Tie Trending to Kerry / Edwards

DonkeyRising


Florida Poll Shows Race Too Close To Call - But Trend Appears Favorable for Kerry/Edwards. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 1002 Floridians conducted Aug.
20-22 shows registered Florida voters split evenly split 46%-46% between Kerry
/Edwards and Bush/Cheney.

The trend among these voters since July 19-22, however, is toward the Democrats with support for Bush/Cheney declining from 49% to 46% while Kerry/Edwards rose one point from 45% to 46%. The same trend is evident among likely voters as well.
Other polls have showed Kerry leading so it's hard to know if this relects Bush gainig a little ground or just a difference in polls.

It seems a tie in this Gallup is Bush's best showing. Not good for an incumbent. Just ask Gov. Holden.

Bush Interview with the NYT's

Link

The President gave the NYT's an interview this week.

President Bush said on Thursday that he did not believe Senator John Kerry lied about his war record, but he declined to condemn the television commercial paid for by a veterans group alleging that Mr. Kerry came by his war medals dishonestly.
....

...Mr. Bush portrayed himself as a victim of the same type of political interest groups - called 527 committees for the section of the tax code that created them - that are attacking Mr. Kerry. "I understand how Senator Kerry feels - I've been attacked by 527's too,''...

As I noted earlier, please send me any examples of scurrilous attacks on Bush by any 527's because I'm not aware of any. Negitive and pointed ads? Sure, but not scurrilous.

Sanger should have followed up with a request for examples.

The interview, which lasted about 30 minutes, included other issues as well, including Iraqi reconstruction, the Republican Convention, etc.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Responding to McCain, Bush Plans Legal Action on Ads

Yahoo! News - Responding to McCain, Bush Plans Legal Action on Ads

The White House said Bush made the commitment to McCain in a telephone call from Air Force One, hoping to head off a public confrontation with the Arizona
Republican and Vietnam veteran when he campaigns with the president next week.

The Bush campaign said it would file the lawsuit in federal court to try to force the Federal Election Commission (news - web sites) to crack down on the ads. Campaign chairman Marc Racicot said "courts can move with extraordinary speed," but the case could still bog down and have little impact before the Nov. 2 election.

McCain has called on Bush to do more to end ads by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has accused Kerry, McCain's friend, of lying about his Vietnam War service.

McCain urged Bush to condemn the ads directly. Though Bush has refused to do so, McCain praised his decision to file suit and said he would work "with the president, both in the courts and through legislation, to force" the FEC to act.

As for such a lawsuit, I think any individual group has a First Amendment right to support through advertising any legal cause they see fit.

Of course Bush chooses to attach free speech rather than condemn those who abuse it.

As for left leaning 527's, I've yet to see any scurrilous ads against Bush. Pointed? Sure, but not scurrilous. Please point me to ads that prove otherwise and I will condemn them on this blog.

Yahoo! News - Sistani Secures Iraq Peace Deal After Bloody Day

Yahoo! News - Sistani Secures Iraq Peace Deal After Bloody Day

Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Sistani has been out of the country for medical treatment for 3 weeks. Hopefully his return will keep pressure on Sadr to keep this deal. If he does, it will be a first.

Dirty Tricks, Patrician Style

CBS News Dirty Tricks, Patrician Style

There is a good column over at the CBS News website re Bushies and their history:
Any student of Bush family campaigns could have seen the swift boat shiv shining a mile away. This old family has traditions – horseshoes, fishing, bad syntax and having the help do the dirty work in campaigns as well as the kitchen. And they are very good at getting jobs done without leaving fingerprints, without compromising their patrician image and their alleged character.

Even the audaciousness of this year’s episode is not surprising. Who would have believed that George Bush, with all the trouble over his National Guard service, could get John Kerry in hot water for his combat duty and medals in Vietnam? Well,
anyone who saw what George Bush did to former POW John McCain in the 2000 primaries, which was even more outrageous.

The ancestral origin of Bush family gut fighting came in George H. W. Bush’s 1988 campaign against Michael Dukakis in the form of the infamous Willie Horton ad. (Historical footnote: Horton actually went by William, not Willie, and is referred as William in all legal documents; the ad makers thought Willie sounded scarier and blacker.)

CJR Again Call Media ToTask

CJR Campaign Desk

Campaign Desk at the Columbia Journalism Review again calls a lazy media to task pointing out that major media outlets never seem to take the time to sort out the facts, but just report the spin of both camps.

One issue they pick up on is Kerry tours in Vietnam.

Wolf Blizter is such a whore.

Now it's no shocker when a Rush Limbaugh makes light of Kerry's "four months" in-country, nor even when a Tucker Carlson utters some variation on Kerry's "four months of service" every day for three days running on CNN.

But surely, one thinks, someone among the non-carnival press must have taken the simple step of fact-checking the actual length of Kerry's Vietnam service -- against, you know, official records or something? -- and reported back to readers and viewers. One, alas, would be wrong.

This past Sunday, Wolf Blitzer didn't blink when Bob Dole made two mistakes in one sentence on CNN: "I mean [the] first [Purple Heart], whether [Kerry] should have got a Purple Heart -- he got 2 in one day, I think, and he was out in less than four months." And on August 20 The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren wrote: "Mr. Kerry, who was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his four months in Vietnam [emphasis added] has been criticized over the circumstances surrounding his medals since his first Senate campaign in 1984."

Finally, on Tuesday, the Kerry campaign belatedly appeared to get it: Unless someone set the record straight, the press certainly wasn't going to run the facts to ground on its own. So camp Kerry responded.

Hoodwinked - Why is Florida's voting system so corrupt?

Why is Florida's voting system so corrupt?:

Go see this new piece in Slate. Could it be that the national press is finally starting to pay attention?

Here a key that should be getting more attention:

...Hood and Jeb Bush have strongly endorsed the state's Republican-controlled legislature's new rule that outlaws manual recounts. This means that if any of the new optical-scan or touch-screen machines fail as they did in the 2002 elections; and the recent March primaries; and just last week, when a backup system failed in a test run in Miami-Dade�there will be no recourse for counting votes. A coalition of election-reform groups has challenged this rule, and Rep. Robert Wexler of Palm Beach sued in federal court after a state appeals court dismissed the matter, ruling that while the right to vote is guaranteed, a perfect voting system is not.

That's right. In response to the disaster of the 2000 elections the Republican cure was to outlaw recounts. Apparently, they have not heard of the 14th Amendment requirement of "Equal Protection" for all citizens.

Yahoo! News - Swift Boat Writer Lied on Cambodia Claim

Click here to see the article

Gotta love that headline.

Zogby Battleground Poll

The DonkeyRising

An August 23rd. Zogby survey of key battleground states found Kerry in the lead in most. In some cases the lead was strong, outside the margin of error of the polls; in others only a small gap separated the two candidates.

The key results are shown below. Note that in Ohio Kerry appears to have lost ground. Ohio is a state supposedly hit hard with the SBL ads. Note also that FLA seems much closer now. Is this a hurricane bounce?

Kerry Lead in Battleground States

Michigan - 5.2%

Pennsylvania - 8.3%

Wisconsin - 4.4%

Minnesota - 5.7%

Iowa - 7.0%

New Mexico - 5.6%

Washington - 8.4%

Oregon - 11.3%

Arkansas - 2.6%

Missouri - 0.5%

Nevada - 1.7%

Tennessee - 1.9%

Florida - 0.6%

Bush, in contrast, was ahead in only two battleground states, Ohio (51.4% to 45.8%) and West Virginia (49.3% to 41.5%).


Helloooo Thirties

The DonkeyRising

An August 16-18 poll by the London Economist, using a relatively large sample of 1799 respondents, showed John Kerry with a firm lead of 48% to 41% over George W. Bush.

What DonkeyRising Doesn't mention is that this poll shows Bush's approval rating at 39%! To my knowledge this is the first time he has broke into the thirties. He's getting in Poppy territory.

As Atrios observed, the medias failure to report the story of Bush's low approval rating is one of the biggest unreported stories in this election cycle.

CJR Campaign Desk Spin Buster

CJR Campaign Desk: Archives

As I've said before, Campaign desk is a great source. This article is pretty good on the news coverage of the SBL's.

When Bob Dole Said No

When Bob Dole Said No (washingtonpost.com)

On today's WaPo Op Ed page is a column by Noel Koch. Koch was special assistant to President Nixon from 1971 to 1974. He was an assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1986 under Ronald Reagan.

He writes today about Bob Dole's current role in the Bush campaign and expresses disappointment. He is much kinder to Dole than I, but then my memories of Dole don't go back to the 70's. Koch and Dole worked together during Koch's stint in the Nixon WH.

In this piece he recounts Dole's relationhip to the Nixon WH and Colson when Dole was RNC Chair and later uncerimonously dumped.

Koch writes in part:
Bob Dole knows as well as any person how capricious is the gleaning of medals. Some men deserve what they don't get; some get what they don't deserve. And who should know better than he that it is craven to belittle a man's service because it didn't extend over some arbitrary stretch of time?

Bob Dole spent little time in combat. But as a result of the time he did spend, he lay on his back for years, recovering, and helping others to recover.

I spent a year in Vietnam and came home without a scratch. My brother served two tours in Vietnam, earned three Purple Hearts (and was hospitalized, and does draw
disability--weird yardsticks used to measure John Kerry's alleged shortfall), and yet spent far less time than I did in-country. Indeed, his first "tour" lasted about 15 minutes, ending on the beach near Danang in the midst of the U.S. Marines' first amphibious assault in Vietnam.

Time in-country, how often a man was wounded, how much blood he shed when he was wounded -- it is hurtful that those who served in Vietnam are being split in so vile a fashion, and that the wounds of that war are reopened at the instigation of people who avoided serving at all. It is hurtful that a man of Bob Dole's stature should lend himself to the effort to dishonor a fellow American veteran in the service
of politics at its cheapest.

There was a time when he would have refused. I know. I was there.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

2000 Democratic Party Platform

Here is an excerpt from the 2000 Democratic Party Platform:
Battling Terrorism. Whether terrorism is sponsored by a foreign nation or inspired by a single fanatic individual, such as Osama Bin Laden, Forward Engagement requires trying to disrupt terrorist networks, even before they are ready to attack. We must improve coordination internationally and domestically to share intelligence and develop operational plans. We must continue the comprehensive approach that has resulted in the development of a national counter-terrorism strategy involving all arms and levels of our government. We must continue to target terrorist finances, break up support cells, and disrupt training. And we must close avenues of cyber-attack by improving the security of the Internet and the computers upon which our digital economy exists.

While fighting terrorism, we will protect the civil liberties of all Americans. Our justice system must guarantee fairness with procedures that protect the rights of the accused, even under the unusual circumstances of the investigation of threats to our national security. We must avoid stereotyping, for it defeats the highest purposes of our country if citizens feel automatically suspect by virtue of their ethnic origin. The purpose of terrorism is not only to intimidate, but also to divide and fracture, and we cannot permit that to happen.

At lease some people got it even before 9-11.

(thanks Left Hand)

Telluride Daily Planet: Letter from SB Veteran

Telluride Daily Planet: The newspaper choice for the people of Telluride

This letter showed up in the Telluride paper from "Jim Russell" who claimed to have served aboard swift boats on missions with Kerry. Here is an excerpt:
Since I happened to be along on one of the "excursions" where the boats that we were on were attacked and after which Lt. Kerry was cited for valor, I thought it appropriate to give my recollection of that event. This happened on March 13, 1969. I was assigned as Psychological Operation Officer for the Swift Boat group out of AnThoi, Vietnam, from January 1969 to October 1969. As such, I was on No. 43 boat, skippered by Don Droz who was later that year killed by enemy fire. We were second in line while exiting the river and going through the opening in a fish trap when a mine blew up under the No. 3 boat directly in front of us and we started taking small arms fire from the beach. Almost immediately, another mine went off somewhere behind us. All boats, except the one hit, immediately wheeled toward the beach that most of the fire came from (a tactic devised by Lt. Kerry, I later learned) and commenced showering the beaches with so much lead, that it could probably be now mined there. The noise was of course, deafening.

Three things that are forever pictured in my mind since that day over 30 years ago are: (1) The No. 3, 50-foot long, Swift boat getting huge, huge air; John Kerry thought it was about two feet. (He was farther away from it than I). I think it was at least four feet and probably closer to six feet; (2) All the boats turning left and letting loose at the same time like a deadly, choreographed dance and; (3) A few minutes later, John Kerry bending over his boat picking up one of the rangers that we were ferrying from out of the water. All the time we were taking small arms fire from the beach; although because of our fusillade into the jungle, I don't think it was very accurate, thank God. Anyone who doesn't think that we were being fired upon must have been on a different river.

The picture I have in my mind of Kerry bending over from his boat picking some hapless guy out of the river while all hell was breaking loose around us, is a picture based on fact and it cannot be disputed or changed. It's a piece of history drawn in my mind that cannot be redrawn. Sorry, "Swift Boats Veterans for the Truth"- that is the truth.

To say that John Kerry or any of us were on that river to intentionally collect Purple
Hearts really does every soldier and sailor, past and present, a disservice. We were going up those rivers (with an ongoing casualty rate of 86 percent at the time) on the orders of the same people who approved of Kerry's medals and who are now joining in the attacks against Kerry. Unbelievable.

I would hope that the American public sees these evil extreme right wing attacks for what they really are and also pray that the veterans being used by these unpatriotic
right wing extremist political operatives will divorce themselves immediately from them and speak to the real issues as to why they oppose John Kerry. I just don't understand how anyone can align themselves with those who intentionally and gleefully painted a decorated triple amputee (Max Cleland) from Vietnam as un- patriotic. I think that this is the most disastrous, un-American thing that can be done to our servicemen and women, especially now with another unending war going on. Your ends cannot possibly justify these means. Come on!

Jim Russell

The WaPo seems to verify his account in this story today. And he was on a conference call today arranged by the Kerry campaign.

The Sunshine Patriots

The Sunshine Patriots by Tom Robbins

Although this isn't new, I do think it's amusing.

Tuesday Krugman

Better late than never. Go see Tuesday's Krugman column in the NYT's.
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 clichés 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.

Of course, we get the government we deserve when we let them get away with this.

Bush's TANG Service

While traveling on Tuesday, I came across this in In USA Today reminding us of unanswered questions from Bush's past:
Why did Bush, described by some of his fellow officers as a talented and enthusiastic pilot, stop flying fighter jets in the spring of 1972 and fail to take an annual physical exam required of all pilots?

What explains the apparent gap in the president's Guard service in 1972-73, a period when commanders in Texas and Alabama say they never saw him report for duty and records show no pay to Bush when he was supposed to be on duty in Alabama?

Did Bush receive preferential treatment in getting into the Guard and securing a coveted pilot slot despite poor qualifying scores and arrests, but no convictions, for stealing a Christmas wreath and rowdiness at a football game during his college years?

EJ Gets it Right

So Sayeth EJ Dionne:

The media have to do more than "he said/he said" reporting. If the charges don't hold up, they don't hold up. And, yes, now that John Kerry's life during his twenties has been put at the heart of this campaign just over two months from Election Day, the media owe the country a comparable review of what Bush was doing at the same time and the same age.

If all the stories about what Kerry did in Vietnam are not balanced by serious scrutiny of Bush in the Vietnam years, the media will be capitulating to a right-wing smear campaign. Surely our nation's editors and producers don't want to send a signal that all you have to do to set the media's agenda is spend a half-million bucks on television ads.

This is also a test of John McCain. When he ran against Bush four years ago, McCain was smeared mercilessly. When McCain protested to Bush about the attacks at one of their debates during the 2000 primaries, Bush brushed him off. "John," Bush said, "it's politics."

McCain snapped back, "George, everything isn't politics."


Training Time Cut in Half?

Atrios points to this troubling story: The Marines are cutting their final combat training time in half.

Déjà vu, All Over Again

Josh Marshall digs up a scathing column.

….Bush operatives constantly whine about the media but Bush is benefiting from the mock sophistication of journalists who, striking a world-weary stance, say of his campaign dishonesty," It was ever thus in American politics." Even if that were true, it would be no excuse, and it isn't true. This is extraordinary.

There is a strong case to be made …concerning school choice, term limits, protectionism, automobile fuel efficiency standards, his ties to trial lawyers, his running mate's environmental hysteria, and much more. But serious people flinch from being associated with the intellectual slum that the Bush campaign, with its riffraff of liars and aspiring ayatollahs.

….Bush calls his campaign "a crusade to bring back values." His campaign is powerful evidence of the need for such a crusade.
Who was the lefty who wrote this?

George Will on August 26, 1992. Of course he was speaking of Poppy’s campaign. Read the whole column which isn’t long. It is very scathing and leaves one to wonder: Where have you gone, George Will?

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

On Sunday on ABC’s This Week, SBL in Chief John O’Neill told George the following:

JOHN O'NEILL: The whole country's watching him avoid the question. You asked
about Cambodia. How do I know he's not in Cambodia? I was on the same river, George. I was there two months after him. Our patrol area ran to Sedek, it was 50 miles from Cambodia. There isn't any watery border. The Mekong River's like the Mississippi. There were gunboats stationed right up there to stop people from coming. And our boats didn't go north of, only slightly north of Sedek. So it was a made up story. He's told it over 50 times, George, that was on the floor of the Senate. He wrote articles about it, it was a malicious story because it painted all the guys above him, all of the commanding officers, in effect, as war criminals, that had ordered him into a neutral country, it was a lie.
From CNN's Newsnight:
JOHNS: Behind the scenes, Kerry's aides were fighting the swift boat charges with unusual ferocity. They say they have evidence one of the top members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is an outright liar.

The co-author of the book "Unfit for Command," former swift boat commander John O'Neill said Kerry made up a story about being in Cambodia beyond the legal
borders of the Vietnam War in 1968.

O'Neill said no one could cross the border by river and he claimed in an audio tape that his publicist played to CNN that he, himself, had never been to Cambodia either. But in 1971, O'Neill said precisely the opposite to then President Richard Nixon.

O'NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O'NEILL: Yes, sir.(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: Now, O'Neill may have an explanation for this but he has not return CNN's calls. What does seem clear is that a top member of the swift boat group is now being held to the same standard of literal accuracy they've tried to impose on John Kerry-
Aaron.

What a Small World

The president and his campaign of course have nothing to do with the Swift Boat Liars campaign to smear Kerry.

But isn’t it a small world. Today, the top legal counsel to Bush-Cheney, Ben Ginsberg, resigned after he was outed as legal counsel to the SBL’s.

Ben Ginsberg's quote to Reuters: "I was at the nexus of making sure (coordination) didn't happen. To suggest otherwise is flat wrong."

Meanwhile, in Crawford, at the Western White House, Max Cleland and Jim Rassman went to visit with the president and deliver a letter signed by 6 Senators calling on the president to denounce the SBL’s.

Cleland and Rassman were stopped by the Secret Service. The president refused to see them. He did, however, over Jerry Patterson, a Texas Pol and former veteran to face Max.

Here's the letter. Here is a picture of the delivery.

Well guess what? It turns out that Patterson, has received $150,000 in campaign contributions from Bob Perry, the funder of the Swift Boat ads.

Isn’t it a small world indeed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Moral Coward

Joshua Marshall

Josh Marshall has an excellent piece on his web page about the current status of the campaign. This piece is over 1400 words! Please read it.

Josh makes the point that Kerry must fight back, and hit the President hard, but there is a big picture to be considered.

Kerry and even more so the DNC (who has lots more money to spend) needs to hit Bush hard on his record. He can't defend it. Has I've pointed out before, not a single Bush policy or program is popular with the public.

Josh says it best. Here is a small excerpt:

But fighting fire with fire isn't a compelling message. Nor will getting into a tit-for-tat about what each of these guys was doing in 1969 or 1970 or 1971 win this race for the Democrats.

Look at the wrong direction/right direction poll numbers and you see pretty clearly that the country is looking to fire George W. Bush. The president's only hope is to get the debate on to issues like these, shift the dynamic of the race, and convince voters that, whatever their dissatisfactions with his administration, John Kerry isn't an acceptable alternative.

When this stuff comes down the pike, Kerry has to fight back mercilessly. And he can win those fights. But, fundamentally, every day of this campaign that isn't spent talking about the sluggish economy and the president's debacle in Iraq is a day wasted, a strategic failure for the Kerry campaign.

But Democrats don't have to choose between hard-hitting lines of attack on the president himself and focusing on the main issues that are facing the country today. The most damning attacks turn out to be the most compelling, the most relevant for what the country faces, and the most difficult for the president to combat.

I've said several times over recent days that it is an example of the president's moral cowardice that he has such a long record of having others savage his opponents -- for sins of which he is usually more guilty than they -- and then denying any responsibility for what's happening. It's like the moment captured in that recent Kerry campaign spot where John McCain tells Bush to stand by his attacks or apologize, and the now-president is painfully caught off guard, bereft of the protective phalanx of retainers.

He's not used to having to stand behind what he's done. And when McCain comes at him one on one he's jelly. His life has always been a matter of others doing his dirty work for him, others bailing him out. And in that moment it shows.

Current Location

I'm back home from my short trip to Yellowstone and Billings on business. I'm tired so won't have much to post until tomorrow.

I have pretty much been removed from the news but see that initial reports of Bush denouncing the SBL's were greatly exaggerated.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Effect of SBL's Not So Clear

DonkeyRising

This morning while passing through the Denver airport I hard Wolf Blitzer on CNN say something silly suggesting the SBL ads have had a "devasting" effect on Kerry's campaign.

Our friends at DonkeyRising have been looking at this and conclude that it is hard to tell exactly what effect the ads have had. If your interested, read the whole thing.

Here is a key paragraph:

...when asked if they believed the major accusation against Kerry - that he did not legitimately earn all his medals - only 21% of the Annenberg respondents agreed. The strong majority -- 59% -- supported Kerry on this issue, with an additional 20% withholding judgment. Thus, while the data clearly show that the anti-Kerry ads have become widely known, their actual effectiveness is not yet clear.

It's Really About Bush

There is a piece on the online version of the conservative Weekly Standard that thinks this is really about Bush and a desperate need some Republicans have to feel good about voting for the draft dodging idiot (well, okay, I added the last couple words). Here is an outtake:

Yet in 2004, Republicans find themselves supporting a candidate, George W. Bush, with a slender and ambiguous military record against a man whose combat heroism has never (until now) been disputed. Further--and here we'll let slip a thinly disguised secret--Republicans are supporting a candidate that relatively few of them find personally or politically appealing. This is not the choice Republicans are supposed to be faced with. The 1990s were far better. In those days the Democrats did the proper thing, nominating a draft-dodger to run against George H.W. Bush, who was the youngest combat pilot in the Pacific theater in World War II, and then later, in 1996, against Bob Dole, who left a portion of his body on the beach at Anzio.

Republicans have no such luck this time, and so they scramble to reassure themselves that they nevertheless are doing the right thing, voting against a war hero. The simplest way to do this is to convince themselves that the war hero isn't really a war hero. If sufficient doubt about Kerry's record can be raised, we can vote for Bush without remorse. But the calculations are transparently desperate. Reading some of the anti-Kerry attacks over the last several weeks, you might conclude that this is the new conservative position: A veteran who volunteered for combat duty, spent four months under fire in Vietnam, and then exaggerated a bit so he could go home early is the inferior, morally and otherwise, of a man who had his father pull strings so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam in the first place.

Needless to say, the proposition will be a hard sell in those dim and tiny reaches of the electorate where voters have yet to make up their minds. Indeed, it's far more likely that moderates and fence-sitters will be disgusted by the lengths to which partisans will go to discredit a rival. But this anti-Kerry campaign is not designed to win undecided votes. It's designed to reassure uneasy minds.

SBL's Then and Now

Kevin Drum has an excellent recap of why nobody with a brain should trust a word they say:

Roy Hoffman, today: "John Kerry has not been honest."
Roy Hoffman, 2003: "I am not going to say anything negative about him — he's a good man."

Adrian Lonsdale, today: "He lacks the capacity to lead."
Adrian Lonsdale, 1996: "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."

George Elliot, today: "John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."
George Elliot, 1996: "The fact that he chased an armed enemy down is something not to be looked down upon, but it was an act of courage."

Larry Thurlow, today: "...there was no hostile enemy fire directed at my boat or at any of the five boats operating on the river that day."Larry Thurlow's Bronze Star citation, 1969: "...all units began receiving enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire from the river banks."
Dr. Louis Letson, today: "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury."
Medical records, 1968: "Dr. Letson's name does not appear on any of the medical records for Mr. Kerry. Under 'person administering treatment' for the injury, the form is signed by a medic, J. C. Carreon, who died several years ago."

Grant Hibbard, today: "He betrayed all his shipmates. He lied before the Senate."
Hibbard's evaluation of Kerry, 1968: "Mr. Hibbard gave Mr. Kerry the highest rating of 'one of the top few' in three categories—initiative, cooperation and personal behavior. He gave Mr. Kerry the second-best rating, 'above the majority,' in military bearing."

They were either lying then or they're lying now. Take your pick.

Literally all the documentary evidence supports Kerry. No, as in none, documentary evidence supports these lieing POS.