Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Today's Message from Homeland Security

What a Wingnut

Grover Norquist en Espanol - Did he really say good riddance to World War II veterans?

This has been making the rounds on the Net for a couple days and now Tim Noah at Slate has picked it up. Grover Norquist has said the WWII generation are un-American.
"Two million people who fought in World War II and lived through the Great Depression die every year. That generation has been an exception in US history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and for obligatory military service. They are the Democratic base, and they are dying."

Not Surprisingly, God is Punishing FLA

Discourse.net: Hey Florida, Have You Got the Hint Yet?

via atrios.

Where's Don?

I'm going to Mexico for 10 days of rest and relaxation. I don't know that I will be able to post much, but will try.

I've invited a friend to "guest blog" and hope that he does in my absence.

Meanwhile, organize debates parties and watch the debates. Encourage everyone you know to watch them.

These debates are make or break for both candidates but no one expects anything from Bush, but demand a great performance from Kerry.

Watch all the breaks the so called liberal media" gives Bush on his performances while holding Kerry to a very high standard.

And don't expect Bush to fall on his face. He is very good at speaking of broad, grand ideas while Kerry see nuance in everything. The American people don't want nuance -- remember Al Gore who just got consumed in details.

Bush is not burdened with details so he can sound grand even when we know he is full of it.


Now This is a Tight Race

DonkeyRising

September 22, 2004

New ARG Polls Have the Race Very, Very Close

ARG is polling all 50 states and DC on the race for president and today they released the final 30 or so of these polls. Here's how ARG summarized what their data had to say (but check out all their data at their website):

How close is the race for president?

George W. Bush is at 47% and John Kerry is at 46% in the weighted national popular vote.

Bush leads outside the margin of error in 17 states with 133 electoral votes.

Kerry leads outside the margin of error in 10 states with 132 electoral votes.

Bush has any lead in 29 states with 253 electoral votes.

Kerry has any lead in 20 states with 270 electoral votes.

Bush and Kerry are tied in Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Bush needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio.

Kerry needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Maine, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Among men nationwide, 51% say they would vote for Bush and 42% say they would vote for Kerry.

Among women nationwide, 42% say they would vote for Bush and 50%say they would vote for Kerry.


And here's a brief take from Alan Abramowitz on these data:

The results of the new 50-state ARG poll appear to be very much in line with other recent polls in the same states. Using today's National Journal Scoreboard, I found other polls conducted by independent, nonpartisan, or bipartisan polling organizations during approximately the same time period in 22 states. On average, support for George Bush was 0.6 points lower and support for John Kerry was 1.8 points higher in the ARG poll compared with the poll conducted closest in time to the ARG poll.

ARG's conclusion that the national race is a virtual dead heat is consistent with the results of other recent state polls conducted by independent, bipartisan, and nonpartisan polling organzations.

Alan promises a more detailed analysis on Friday, so look for his further thoughts then.

Juvenile

Juvenile

Now this is rapid response. They just talked about this on The News Hour. Bush puts up a new attack ad and Big John replies. Go check it out.

Guess who is going to cave in to Terrorist Demands?

Yahoo! News - One of Two Iraqi Female Prisoners May Be Freed

This should make Iraq safe for westerners? Can you imagine the outcry had a D suggested this?

More on DeLay-Related Indictments

First Draft - More on DeLay-Related Indictments

As Atrios said, know the players in the DeLay indictments.

New Proof Bush Snorted Cocaine

New Proof Bush Snorted Cocaine

Nothing but the best news sources here.

More on the New Partnership

USATODAY.com - Democrats polish their positions in bid to regain House

Here is USA Today's take on the new Democratic intiative.

...Democrats Wednesday will unveil a platform of six "core values" they hope will give voters a reason to support them in November.

The New Partnership for America's Future is "our pledge to the American people addressing their aspirations," says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She promises "a drumbeat" by House Democrats about their party's values on national security, prosperity, fairness, opportunity, community and accountability.

The statement of principles, designed to fit on a pocket card that candidates can carry with them, reiterates familiar Democratic positions. There are no new initiatives or specific legislation. Instead, the plan lays out goals such as creating 10 million new jobs, assuring health care for all children, making college tuition tax deductible and ending deficit spending.

Gun control, gay marriage and abortion are conspicuously missing. Those weren't priorities on which House Democrats had "consensus, credibility and clarity of message," Pelosi says, adding, "This unity is a message all its own."


So they are finally tired of being defined by the R's. Better late than never, I suppose.

The Tip of the Iceberg

3 DeLay Workers Indicted in Texas

I suspect this is just the beggining. As I pointed out, pre-blog, this grand jury investigation as been going on for some time and DeLay has been concerned about being indicted. They have 3 of his top aides and just like the Ryan investigation in Illinois, you can believe it will lead to more.

Couldn't happen to nicer people.

Sticking it to those 'Lucky Duckies'

Boston Globe: Sticking it to working families

Tom Oliphant today points out how Bush's tax package has screwed the poorest workin families and the Republican refusal to fix it. Part of the child tax credit was indexed and part not. So while a poor family earns less each year, their eligibility for the credit also decreases.

...And there's the rub. An analysis by the Urban Institute and the University of Wisconsin offers the example of a married couple with two children who work at the federal minimum wage of a puny $5.15 an hour. Three years ago, their income of $20,600 would have produced a child tax credit refund of $1,060. With a higher threshold two years later, the credit's value drops 5 percent to $1,010.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. As ordinary Americans know too well, incomes downscale in the United States have been worse than stagnant in this decade. Not only has the minimum wage not budged in seven years, but family incomes above that have also suffered severely since 2000, and the suffering has been proportionately greater the lower you go on the income scale.

Moreover, this decline in earnings (even before inflation in cases like workers with less than a high school education or single parents) has been accompanied by large increases in the cost of necessities -- including everything from gasoline to health insurance for those low-income workers lucky enough to have any. In the expert analysis -- by Leonard Burman of the Urban Institute and John Karl Scholz of the University of Wisconsin -- a single parent who got a $109 credit in 2001 would have received nothing last year even though her earnings fell.
...
Bush and his Republican Congress buddies could fix all this substantially, by simply restoring the original $10,000 threshold. The cost to the government would have been $4.3 billion over five years.

The fact that they did nothing is eloquent testimony to the status of working families in today's political culture. The next time Bush trumpets his opposition to tax increases, John Kerry should say something about the 4 million families Bush prefers not to count.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Today's Message from Homeland Security

"New Partnership for America's Future"

I'm told that tomorrow the Democratic Congressional leadership is going to unveil their "New Partnership for America's Future" modeled on the Contract with America.

It has been under construction for months and made use of some really sophisticated polling. It promises to present a straight forward basic plan to voters that is easy to understand and designed to resonate with mainstream America. Like the Contract with America, it's a marketing gimmick, but long overdo from our congressional leadership that has been mostly inept for the better part of the last 3 years.

We shall see.

ARG vs. Gallup

Lifted from DonkeyRising

Ruy explains why we can trust the ARG poll based up past performance.

Of Gallup's 2000 performance he notes that in the days before the election, their results varied widely: "only 10 days before Election Day, Gallup's tracking poll had George Bush leading Al Gore by 13 points--similar to Bush's lead over John Kerry [among likely voters] in Gallup's most recent 2004 poll."

And concludes:
Therefore, we can have a good deal of confidence in the accuracy of ARG's 2004 50-state poll which, based on the first 20 states that have been released thus far, seems to indicate that, contrary to some (but not all) recent national polls, we have a very close presidential contest. Kerry is leading by a comfortable margin in every blue state. More importantly, he is leading in 4 of the 5 battleground states included in the first wave and is only trailing by 1 point in Colorado--a state that George Bush carried by 9 points in the 2000 election. Another very recent newspaper poll in Colorado shows the same thing.

My advice is watch the rest of the ARG state polls as they are released....I predict that they will continue to show a very competitive battlefield in the 2004 presidential election.
Go read the whole thing. It will make you feel better.

Lawyer SWAT Teams?

Party lawyers prepare for post-Election Day trauma

This explains the Kerry Edwards letter below.

Come Election Day, at least five "SWAT teams" of Democratic lawyers will have their bags packed, ready to go to whichever battleground state might turn into the next Florida.

Republicans have created an extensive network of lawyers in key states, and are flying in reinforcements now, weeks before the election. In Florida itself, Republicans have set up a command post in Tallahassee, the capital where hundreds of outside lawyers descended for the 2000 recount.

Once again, courts and lawyers may play a decisive role in picking the president.

Republican and Democratic lawyers both say at least one court challenge seems inevitable. Both sides are far more ready for the fight this year, and unlikely to let any viable challenge slip through their fingers. Instead of one Florida, the country could wake up on Nov. 3 to three or four.

I love the Brits

Al-Qaida would back Bush, says UK envoy

The Foreign Office was thrown into turmoil yesterday after the British ambassador to Rome, Sir Ivor Roberts, described President George Bush as "the best recruiting sergeant ever for al-Qaida".
....

According to one of those present, Sir Ivor had been taking part in a discussion on which candidate Europeans would back if they had a vote in the US election. The ambassador said they would vote for Mr Kerry but some people would want Mr Bush, not least al-Qaida.

"If anyone is ready to celebrate the eventual re-election of Bush, it's al-Qaida. Whereas it is clear that the Palestinians hope that a Kerry victory will unblock the
situation," he said.

The Foreign Office, which warned before the war that Iraq could become a breeding ground for al-Qaida, did not deny yesterday that Sir Ivor made the remarks. "We are not making any comment other than the fact they do not represent government policy," a spokesman said.

In a statement, Sir Ivor said last night: "These statements as reported do not
reflect my personal views."

The Foreign Office is taking a soft line because Sir Ivor had not intended his comments to be made public and there was a breach of Chatham House rules, meaning the conference had been held on condition that all comments should be kept off the record.


Chatham House rules, indeed.

Below is an Interesting Email from Kerry Edwards

Dear Don,
We've got to spend every dollar as carefully and wisely as we can between now and November. And as we learned in Florida in 2000, we have to expect the unexpected on and after Election Day. That's why I'm writing to ask for your immediate help on a very special project.

Election Day is several weeks away, but our campaign is already considering our options should John Kerry or George Bush pursue a recount like the famous Florida ballot dispute in 2000. That year, the Bush campaign raised more than $14 million in the Florida crisis, compared to Al Gore's campaign, which raised $3.2 million. We can never again be outspent 4-to-1 in such a critical situation.

Help us get a head start funding our recount efforts:

https://contribute.johnkerry.com

Our campaign is asking the Federal Election Commission whether we could use our GELAC fund to pay the expenses associated with a recount effort. We are optimistic that the FEC will rule by the end of the month. But we can't wait. We need to begin raising funds now.

Your GELAC contribution will also help in other vital and even more immediate ways. It can free up more of the limited public funds we have available to buy media, support candidate travel, and pay for direct contact with voters. Here's how it works. The law allows candidates like John Kerry, who accept public financing, to raise private contributions to cover legal, accounting, and related administrative costs. Without sufficient GELAC funds, we would have to divert portions of our public financing allotment to cover those costs.
That's a step we simply can't afford to take.

Contribute to our critical GELAC fund here:

https://contribute.johnkerry.com

I urge you to help us raise the maximum for GELAC. That way, we can spend our entire general election budget on the things that matter the most. That's our goal. Please act today to help us meet it.

Thank you,

Mary Beth Cahill Campaign Manager

Paid for by Kerry-Edwards 2004 General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance Fund.

Tuesdays with EJ

What Is Bush Hiding?

EJ quotes Bush from last week saying issues regarding his TxANG service need to be cleared up, and further points out the obvious: One Bush can do this.

Why does this matter?
...Bush could end this story now so we could get to the real issues of 2004. It would require only that the president take an hour or so with reporters to make clear what he did and did not do in the Guard. He may have had good reasons for ducking that physical exam. Surely he can explain the gaps in his service and tell us honestly whether any pull was used to get him into the Guard.

But a guy who is supposed to be so frank and direct turns remarkably Clintonian where the National Guard issue is concerned. "I met my requirements and was honorably discharged" is Bush's stock answer, which does old Bill proud. And am I the only person exasperated by a double standard that treated everything Bill Clinton ever did in his life ("I didn't inhale") as fair game but now insists that we shouldn't sully ourselves with any inconvenient questions about Bush's past?

I'm as weary as you are that our politics veer away from what matters -- Iraq, terrorism, health care, jobs -- and get sidetracked into personal issues manufactured by political consultants and ideological zealots. But the Bush campaign has made clear it wants this election to focus on character and leadership. If character is the issue, the president's life, past and present, matters just as much as John Kerry's.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Today's message from Homeland Security

New TV Spots

TV Spots-

Kerry has a couple new TV spots up on the website.

I have no idea where they are actually running.

What's happening in South Carolina?

MyDD :: What's happening in South Carolina?

Kerry is gaining ground in SC of all places.

R Senators turn on Bush

Link

I missed the Sunday talk shows but this is pretty remarkable. Republican Senators within weeks of the election sharply criticizing Bush.
..."The fact is a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies is required. We didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to the point where we finally lost," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran who is co-chairman of President Bush's re-election committee in Nebraska.

"We can't lose this. It is too important," Hagel, R-Neb., said on CBS' Face the Nation.

A major problem, said leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was incompetence by the administration in reconstructing the country's shattered infrastructure.

The chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar, noted that Congress appropriated $18.4 billion a year ago this week for reconstruction. No more than $1 billion has been spent. "This is the incompetence in the administration," Lugar, R-Ind., said on ABC's This Week.
...

Sen. John McCain, who has campaigned often with the president, said mistakes in Iraq generally can be attributed to inadequate manpower. McCain, R-Ariz., said problems began arising shortly after the dash through the desert to take Baghdad, the capital, in April 2003.

"We made serious mistakes right after the initial successes by not having enough troops on the ground, by allowing the looting, by not securing the borders," McCain said.

"Airstrikes don't do it; artillery doesn't do it. Boots on the ground do it," McCain told Fox News Sunday.
...
McCain said Bush was not being "as straight as we would want him to be" about the situation. "The longer we delay with these sanctuaries, the more difficult the challenge is going to be and the more casualties we will incur and the Iraqi people will suffer because they will be able to operate out of these sanctuaries obviously now with somewhat of impunity," McCain said.



WSJ today talks about Polling Problems.

Lifted from DonkeyRising

Wall Street Journal Article Asks All the Right QuestionsJohn Harwood has a front-page article in the Monday Wall Street Journal that does an excellent job of summarizing and discussing the debate that has been unfolding around the problems with recent polls. Of course, here on DonkeyRising I have discussed these problems in detail and defended the proposition that, once these problems are taken into account, the Presidential race is close to tied.

Or, as the article puts it:
If the CBS and Pew surveys are adjusted to reflect comparable numbers of Republicans and Democrats, their results would have been virtually identical.

Indeed that's precisely what liberal polling analyst Ruy Teixeira did on his Web log, called Emerging Democratic Majority. As the New York Times report of the poll carried the headline "Bush Opens Lead," Mr. Teixeira's blog declared, "CBS News/New York Times poll has it close to even."

...Mr. Teixeira argues that the Democratic edge Mr. Kohut [of the Pew Research Center] found is realistic, since exit polls from the 1996 and 2000 campaigns indicated that in both cases four percentage points more Democrats than Republicans showed up to vote. Slightly more self-described Democrats than Republicans voted in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 elections as well.
Nice to see some of the these very important arguments escaping the blogosphere ghetto and entering the mainstream press.

Losing Ground in MO

Two MO polls have the same result:

Bush leads Kerry 48-41 percent among Missouri LV’s, with 1 percent for Nader, 1 percent for another party ticket and 9 percent undecided in a survey conducted Sept. 14-16 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for Knight Ridder and MSNBC.

Bush leads Kerry 49-42 percent of Missouri LV’s, with 9 percent unsure in a head-to-head survey conducted Sept. 13-16 by Research 2000 for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV.

Kerry and the DNC with 100 million plus to spend on media? I still haven't seen anything here.

Let the Debates Begin

Link

The campaigns have finally agreed on the debates and to my surprise, Bush has agreed to 3. I can't imagine why, given his position but I'm certainly happy about it.

Now Kerry has to really perform very well. No one has any expectations for Bush. People are just happy if he makes it through the night. Kerry on the other hand, having allowed Karl Rove to define him, must really make an extraordinary case for his own election.

And today, Kerry finally found the courage to say what every thinking person has known for some time: Bush is arrogant and incompetent and his policy in Iraq a complete disaster.

More Polling Info

There is no question that Bush is ahead in this race. By how much is less clear.

The latest Zogby national head-to-head poll shows Bush with a slim lead, 46% to 43%.

The Investors Business Daily / Christian Science Monitor poll out today has exactly the same numbers as Zogby: Bush 46%, Kerry 43% among likely voters. Among registered voters Bush 44%, Kerry 43%.

The Gallup poll is out of wack, but no matter how you slice it Bush is ahead and Kerry needs to worry about it.

Watch Big John tonight Letterman.

I'm Back!

Sorry for my absence. Business travel without a good Internet connection and then a weekend with friends in Dallas.

Friday, September 17, 2004

More TxANG Records from DoD?

Bush has claimed that he released all of his TxANG records in 2000. Of course, this is a lie which he has repeated just a few months ago even as the WH was releasing new documents.

The AP has been pursuing the records via a FOIA request and the DoD has been stonewalling. Months ago the AP finally filed a FOIA lawsuit. Well, it looks like they are making progress, but who know what will come of any of it.
A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to find and make public by next week any unreleased files about President Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard service to resolve a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. handed down the order late Wednesday in New York. The AP lawsuit already has led to the disclosure of previously unreleased flight logs from Bush's days piloting F-102A fighters and other jets.

Pentagon officials told Baer they plan to have their search complete by Monday. Baer ordered the Pentagon to hand over the records to the AP by Sept. 24 and provide a written statement by Sept. 29 detailing the search for more records.

"We're hopeful the Department of Defense (news - web sites) will provide a full accounting of the steps it has taken, as the judge ordered, so the public can have some assurance that there are no documents being withheld," said AP lawyer David Schulz.

Albuquerque, NM

Blogging from Albuwquerque NM on a dial-up and not having fun. For some reason, high speed Internet access never seems to work for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Disaster on an Upprecedented Scale

Link

Why do these generals hate America?

'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.

But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

And none of this has anything to do with those that attacked us on September 11. This outcome was completely predictable. I am at a loss to udnerstand how any could support Bush.

This Will Be the October Surprise.

U.S.: Suspect Site in Iran Shows Nuclear Bomb Goal

As I noted a few weeks ago, the October surprise from the Bushies will be a cruise missile strike on Iran. Expect more stories in the build-up all based upon leaks from "unnamed sources" or "a senior US official".

Keeping Iran from getting the bomb is essential, but there is still plenty of time for diplomacy,....but not for Bush, and the latter is the time table that will control.

You read it here first.

Secret CIA Report Says Iraq Doesn't Look So Good

Why Does the CIA Hate America? And the Iraqi People?

U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism on Iraq's Future

A classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush in late July spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq, government officials said Wednesday.

The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.

"There's a significant amount of pessimism," said one government official who has read the document, which runs about 50 pages. The officials declined to discuss the key judgments - concise, carefully written statements of intelligence analysts' conclusions - included in the document.

The intelligence estimate, the first on Iraq since October 2002, was prepared by the National Intelligence Council and was approved by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under John E. McLaughlin, the acting director of central intelligence. Such estimates can be requested by the White House or Congress, but this one was initiated by the intelligence council under George J. Tenet, who stepped down as director of central intelligence on July 9, the government officials said.

As described by the officials, the pessimistic tone of the new estimate stands in contrast to recent statements by Bush administration officials, including comments on Wednesday by Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, who asserted that progress was being made.
McClellan, now deaf and blind, said of the report:
"You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," Mr. McClellan said at a news briefing. "And every step of the way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future."

Of course, the conclusions of the report are obvious to anyone who follows the news and has any since of history, but, I suppose for those who thought this war a good idea, are surprised.

So when will Bush acknowledge this? He will go to his grave years from now telling anyone who will listen that his policy in Iraq was a great idea.

Why Do These Republican Senators Hate America?

KR Washington Bureau GOP senators rebuke Bush for plan to diverting Iraq funds

It is a big deal with weeks before an election two republican senators who are household names rebuke the Administration. Go read the article.

Here is a taste:
WASHINGTON - Two senior Republican senators on Wednesday rebuked the Bush administration over its handling of Iraq, saying its proposal to divert $3.46 billion in reconstruction funds to mostly beef up security showed that U.S. policy is in disarray.

The harsh comments by Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana and Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska contrasted with the upbeat assessments of Iraq that President Bush gives as he campaigns for re-election in November.

But their bleak assessment followed by a day a Knight Ridder report that some current and former U.S. officials are worried that Bush's plan for creating a stable democracy in Iraq is in danger of failing.

The proposal to divert the reconstruction aid "does not add up in my opinion to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning," Hagel said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. "But it does add up to this: an acknowledgement that we are in deep trouble."

Lugar said the administration could have sought the funding switch months ago, but it dithered amid an upsurge in violence by minority Sunni and majority Shiite insurgents against the government of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and U.S.-backed coalition forces.

"We have an emergency problem now. And we had one in July, and we had one before that," he said.

The bloodshed has exposed as "nonsense" assurances that "blithely optimistic" administration officials gave the committee before last year's invasion that U.S. troops would be welcomed in Iraq and would be there for only a short time, said Lugar

More Guard Documents from the WH?

CBS Guard Documents Traced to Tex. Kinko's (washingtonpost.com)

As I've said before, I'm so tired of this story. From my perspective it boils down to this: The White House has yet to deny that Bush disobeyed a direct order.

But that is not why I'm posting this. In yet another follow-up, check out the last paragraph in this WaPo story:
In a related development, White House press secretary Scott McClellan hinted that more documents regarding Bush's National Guard service may soon be released. Asked whether officials in the White House have seen unreleased documents, McClellan called that 'a very real possibility.' Other officials with knowledge of the situation said more documents had indeed been uncovered and would be released in the coming days.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Todays Message from Homeland Security

The Prevent Defense

I am a frustrated man. I continue to believe that Kerry has every opportunity to win this race. But what frustrates me is that from my vantage point in Saint Louis, Kerry appears to be running a ‘prevent defense.’ As every football fan knows, this defense mostly prevents victory.

Here in a key swing state (Missouri is the ultimate bellwether having gone with the winner in every presidential election in the last century, with on exception) we are getting no real attention. Kerry has made two stops in Saint Louis since the convention which is great. But, I’m aware of no TV or radio from either Kerry or the DNC. The DNC had ran some ads on the radio a few weeks ago but that’s all I’m seeing….or hearing.

Is Kerry ceding Missouri? I don’t think so – he wouldn’t have been here last week. What he is doing is playing it safe and concentrating media money and attention on a few key states, so that he can eek out a narrow win. As he gains momentum, he would expand to other states later, but not now.

Here is the problem with that strategy. Our opponents are ruthless. How Kerry, who has been in Washington for 20 years, could have learned nothing from the Clinton administration is a bit of a mystery. As Bob Dole famously observed in 1998, many in his party never saw Clinton’s presidency as legitimate. Yes, it is ironic that they support Bush, but they have no sense of irony.

If president Kerry has any hope of actually being able to lead, even for 6 or 8 months, he must break their back! He has to utterly defeat them at the polls. They must be repudiated by the voters, in Missouri, in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in West Virginia, in Arizona, in Florida, yada, yada, yada.

Kerry must have coattails long enough to pick up at least the House. If he thinks he could win a narrow strategic victory in the electoral college and actually be an effective president he is out of his mind. They will eat him alive. That is what they do.

Forgive the cliché’ but this election really is the most important of my lifetime. This election is about who we are as a nation and who we are as a people. It is about our role in the world as a leader or a cast out. Our victory must be decisive.

Kerry with the DNC has more then enough money so where the hell is he?

Those of you not in Saint Louis, tell me what you see from your vantage point. Please tell me I'm wrong.

--Don

Cheney: Lying Liar

(via tapped)

Dick Cheney would have you believe that John Kerry wanted Saddam Hussein at large, free to gain power and terrorize his people.

But which man pushed to lift sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s? Dick Cheney.

Which man was CEO of a company doing business with Iraq? Dick Cheney.

David Sirota and Jonathan Baskin outline the vice president's shameful pattern of putting profit above America's foreign policy

And what are we doing about it?

CJR: Go Read Shapiro in USA Today

CJR Campaign Desk Link

Even as John Kerry adds more manpower to hone his message, he (and his handlers) would be well-advised to clip out a column by USA Today's political writer Walter Shapiro that ran today.

Shapiro delivers a dispassionate analysis noteworthy for its impressive substance and crisp style. His message to Kerry: Be Kerry.

If the Democrats have made a tactical misstep in this campaign, it probably was in the smile-button blandness of the Boston convention that failed to draw sharp distinctions with the Bush administration. Such a nice-to-a-fault style is not Kerry.
After watching Kerry in action in Ohio and Wisconsin, Shapiro writes:

... Kerry, who has become a crisper candidate in recent weeks, still can exasperate his supporters. Probably the most common phrase uttered by prominent Democrats this month has been "Kerry needs to ..." The remedies vary widely, and the level of candor depends on whether the speaker is inside the campaign. But the persistence of George W. Bush's lead in the polls since the Republican convention has easily-panicked Democrats hearing the ominous theme from Jaws.
With three decades of political coverage under his belt, Shapiro offers a perspective sorely lacking in much of this season's reporting:

The seven weeks until the election can have the sweep of an epic novel. And there is no evidence that Bush is immune from the forces of gravity that can deflate a lead after a convention's glow fades. But an examination of the Gallup Polls in years with presidential debates indicates that the horse race does not gyrate much between Labor Day and the first presidential faceoff [on Sept. 30].
The Kerry camp isn't the only group that should post the column and refer to it frequently. Readers should too. And, come to think of it, it might not be a bad idea for Shapiro's colleagues in the campaign press to do so as well.

--Susan Q. Stranahan


What Carville and Greenberg think

Link to PDF

(via DonkeyRising)

The latest strategy analysis by Democracy Corps is now available on the D-corps website. The report is based on Democracy Corps September 6-9 survey of 1004 likely voters and features an extended analysis by leading strategists Stanley Greenberg and James Carville of where the campaign now stands and what the polling data suggests Kerry should do. Here are a few key excerpts:

1. The president has a lead of about 5 points, if we look at the average of all the public polls done after the convention; the Democracy Corps poll completed last Thursday shows the president with a 3-point lead. In any case, Bush is at 49 percent with the former estimate and 48 in our survey. At the height of Bush’s convention bounce, he is just at the edge of electability. His position is simply not that strong. If his bounce recedes, as it did for Kerry, and if Kerry takes the race to Bush, the president could easily be endangered again.

2. A majority of the country still wants change. By 53 to 41 percent, voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction; by 51 to 46 percent, they want to go in a significantly different direction than Bush. The mood for change is even greater among independents (57 to 35 percent) and battleground state voters (55 to 40 percent). 14 percent of the electorate is comprised of Bush voters thinking things are going wrong.

3. Part of the stability of this race are the grave doubts voters feel about George Bush. These doubts about Bush are largely undiminished in the last month: Bush favors corporate interests over the public interest (60 percent serious doubts), is too ready to go to war (58 percent), spending too much abroad and neglecting home (54 percent), and made mistakes in Iraq that shortchange America at home (54 percent).

4. While Bush has gained on having plans for Iraq and it bringing more security, a stable majority says the war was not worth it. Just 43 percent believe we are making progress there, and this is before recent developments in Iraq, with increased fighting.

5. And on the economy, voters by nearly two-to-one reject Bush’s assertion that the middle class is making gains .... Bush could not be more out of sync, even as he is compelled to make the case for progress.

Kerry Up by 7 in Michigan

The DonkeyRising

Needless to say, this is huge:

John Kerry leads George Bush 50-43 percent among Michigan RV's, with 1 percent for Nader and 6 percent neither/unsure, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted Sept. 10-13.


HoldThemAccountable

HoldThemAccountable.com

Go here, see the ad and give them money.

Young Voters Registering in Record Numbers

Link

The NYT's says young voters will vote in record numbers this year. The fact is that they have never voted in significant numbers before. A lot of people think this year is different and many millions of dollars have been spent by public interest groups to register young voters. We shall see:
After dismal turnout by young voters in 2000, surveys this year show that interest in the election among the young is near the highest level it has reached at any time since 18- to 20-year-olds were given the vote in 1972. And state election officials say registration of new young voters is coming in at levels they have not seen in years.

Polls in the spring and summer from the Harvard Institute of Politics, the Pew Research Center and MTV all found that young people say they plan to vote at a rate that will far eclipse the low-water mark of four years ago. The pool of potential young voters is substantial - about 40.6 million Americans ages 18 to 29, or one in five eligible voters, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or Circle, a nonprofit research group that has concentrated on the youth vote.

"This is a bigger group than 50- to 65-year-olds," said Carrie Donovan, the youth director at Circle, which is based at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Carnegie Corporation of New York. "It seems like so muchof it is influenced by the kind of buzz that's out there, and this year, there's a real buzz."

Helped by outside groups that are spending millions of dollars in young-voter registration drives, Democrats say the pool of new young voters is swinging their way. But Republicans are doing their own drives through college Republicans, and they say the youth vote is up for grabs.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Today's Message from Homeland Security

Go Read Digby

Time To Put Our Game Face On

Such a Heavy Price and so Little to Show

And none of this has anything to do with those who attacked us on September 11.

AP: Wounded numbers still rising as insurgency takes heavy toll
WASHINGTON (AP) More than 200 U.S. troops were wounded in Iraq in the past week, the Pentagon said Tuesday, and the total since the invasion was launched in March 2003 is now 7,245.

Of the 219 wounded in the past week, 81 were returned to duty; the 138 others were not.

The Pentagon generally reports its wounded totals each week. Fatality totals are updated daily.

The number of Americans killed and wounded has grown rapidly amid an intensifying and increasingly effective insurgency. There were more wounded over the past five months about 4,000 than in the first 13 months of the war, when there were about 3,300, according to Pentagon reports.

The number of Americans killed as of Tuesday was 1,018, by the Pentagon's count. That includes three civilian employees of the Department of Defense. It does not include Army Spc. Keith M. Maupin, 20, of Batavia, Ohio, who was captured April 9. His fate has not been officially resolved.
Meanwhile, Bin Laden is no where to be found, but still threatening us every day.

Bumper Sticker Insubordination

Bumper Sticker Insubordination - A Kerry fan gets fired, and then hired, for her politics. By Timothy Noah

I've read a little about this around the web. I was a little suspicious. Tim Noah has a nice summary of the story.

Apparently, it is true that Lynne Gobbell who worked for Enviromate was fired for having a Kerry sticker on her car. Thanks to publicity, she was offered her job back, but in the meantime, John Kerry hired her.

By the way, email Enviromate and tell them what you think of facists.

White House Cover-up on TxANG Service?

UNRELEASED DOCUMENT SHOWS BUSH FAILED TO FULFILL HIS COMMITMENTS

As I established here, the last suggestion of a WH cover-up of TxANG documents was a bust.

Josh Marshall brought my attention to this document which may well establish such a cover-up.

There is no denying that Gdub has lied about his guard service repeatedly and did not fulfill his commitment. I'm tired of talking about that.

The story, in my humble opinion, is a possible WH cover-up of his service. The WH has repeatedly insisted they have produced all documents and has others have pointed out, key documents are missing.

This is not something the Kerry campaign should pursue and other then a biting ad, neither should the DNC. But where the hell is our Press Corps?

Outrageous Missile Fraud

Test of Missile Defense System Delayed Again (washingtonpost.com)

Aside from the war in Iraq, there is no better example of this administration's corruption and incompetence than the so call missile Defense Shield.

It is now being deployed and will be activated without final testing, which has been postponed until after the election to avoid embarrassment.

you and I have paid something like 30 Billion Dollars on this system and it has not had a single successful test!

And it protects us from an enemy that doesn't exist. It is a cold war system to protect us from ICBM's. Our enemies now use jumbo jets and car bombs.

The administration thus finds itself proceeding with deployment after only eight intercept tests -- all held before Bush's decision 21 months ago to start fielding a system in 2004. Five were hits, but all occurred under heavily scripted conditions.

All also involved a surrogate booster that flew only half as fast as the booster that will be used in the system. That booster has been launched successfully several times, but it has never flown attached to an actual kill vehicle. The maiden flight of the booster and kill vehicle is slated to be a central feature of the next test.

The absence of realistic flight testing has prompted Thomas Christie, the Pentagon's chief weapons evaluator, to say he will not be able to provide a confident assessment of the system's viability ahead of the planned deployment. In recent weeks, his Operational Test and Evaluation office has argued with MDA over widely different estimates of the system's likely effectiveness.
The five so called hits, by the way, only occurred because the tests were rigged. The missiles shot down carried homing beacons!!! And, when the DOD announced the successful tests they never told anyone about the homing beacons until someone inside leaked it later.

So what does this system do? It makes the contractors who built it a lot of money. They are among President Bush's largest contributors.

People should be outraged about this, but unfortunately, the public is so ill informed that they think they're being protected, when all they are getting is fleeced.

Kerry Retakes the Lead!

DonkeyRising

John Kerry leads George Bush 46-44 percent in a head-to-head match-up among nation-wide RV's, with 10 percent not sure, according to an Investor's Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence Sept. 7-12, 2004.

Daily Tracking Poll: Bush by 0.6

Prez track 2004

Go Listen to the Song

This is for Joe, who didn't vote in the 2000 presidential election and still thinks that was the right call.

Al Gore

I'll Never Know Why Powell Sold his Soul to These People

Boston Globe: Agents knew case flimsy, Powell says

"disengenous" is too nice a word. Powell simply lied.

''What . . . distressed me is that there were some in the intelligence community who had knowledge that the sourcing was suspect and that was not known to me," Powell told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. ''They knew at the time I was saying it that some of the sourcing was suspect."

Powell stated he has learned some intelligence reports produced before his UN speech included ''disclaimers" that were not circulated to top officials, including himself and President Bush. After more than a year of fruitless searching, Powell repeated his view that at this point it is ''unlikely we will find any stockpiles" of
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.


...

'It's disingenuous for Powell not to mention the fact that even his own people were doing their best to warn him about categorical statements and warn him about exaggerating the threats, warning him about the reliability of some of the human intelligence reporting," said Greg Thielmann, formerly Powell's chief of intelligence on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

Thielmann said analysts at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research provided Powell with a report just two days before the speech calling into question many of the claims. Among them were disagreements that Iraq's acquisition of aluminum tubing was for use in a nuclear weapons program. Thielmann had left the administration a few weeks before the speech.
(via Atrios)

$3 Trillion Price Tag!

$3 Trillion Price Tag Left Out As Bush Details His Agenda (washingtonpost.com)

Well, looky here, yet another lie from the lying liars. Remember the old adage, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me"? Well, were at about 'fool me 137 times' and at this point, you have to just be a fool.

Who do they think they are fooling. There hasn't been a fiscally conservative republican president since Herbert Hoover.
Bush's pledge to make permanent his tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010 or before, would reduce government revenue by about $1 trillion over 10 years, according to administration estimates. His proposed changes in Social Security to allow younger workers to invest part of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds could cost the government $2 trillion over the coming decade, according to the calculations of independent domestic policy experts.

And Bush's agenda has many costs the administration has not publicly estimated. For instance, Bush said in his speech that he would continue to try to stabilize Iraq and wage war on terrorism. The war in Iraq alone costs $4 billion a month, but the president's annual budget does not reflect that cost.

Putin on the Brakes....to Democracy

Putin Issues Plan to Tighten Grasp, Citing Terrorism

To the Considerable envy of the Bush Administration, President Putin, ends democracy in Russia to fight the war on terror.
Under Mr. Putin's proposals, which he said required only legislative approval and not constitutional amendments, the governors or leaders of the country's 89 regions would no longer be elected by popular vote but rather by local legislatures - and only after the president's nomination. Seats in the lower house of the federal Parliament, or Duma, would be elected entirely on national party slates, eliminating district races across the country that now decide half of Parliament's composition. In elections last December, those races accounted for all of the independents and liberals now serving in the Duma.
Bush at a recent campaign stop said that Putin "had the right idea," but citing opposition from "liberals who care more about an old piece of paper" refering to the US Constitution, "than public safty" would not allow him to take the necessary steps to provide "real safty". Bush went on to say that America "can't have it both ways, free and open elections and safety from the terrorist who live right next door to each of us." The crowd of carefully chosen average Americans then broke into shouts of "zieg heil."

Tuesdays with EJ

Staring Down the Barrel of The NRA (washingtonpost.com)

Why the president is willing to make us less safe:
Honest debate on gun policy is impossible because of the cynical absolutism of thecurrent leadership of the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party'sdependence on this interest group's muscle and the fear that the NRAinspires among some Democrats.

At a time when preventing terrorism is supposed to be a national priority, why can'tour politicians agree to sustain a ban on a very narrow class of firearms? DoesPresident Bush want to make it easier for Americans to use their tax cuts to buy Uzis and AK-47s? Is our national policy to do all we can to defeat the terrorists --except for those measures that the NRA vetoes?

Sure, Bush says, he would sign a renewal of the ban, which theoretically puts him on the side of the majority. But a president who was happy to bring excruciating pressure on Congress to pass his tax measures lifted not a finger to get Republican leaders in Congress to put the assault weapons bill on his desk.

This is the politics of the nod and the wink. As Jim VandeHei and Paul Farhi reported in The Post, the NRA is planning to spend $400,000 a week until the election to condemn John Kerry's votes for gun control. Overall, the organization expects to spend $20 million on this election, mostly to help Republican candidates.

Tuesday Krugman: Taking On the Myth

Link

Today's Krugman is important. Go read it:
Sunday, a celebrating crowd gathered around a burning U.S. armored vehicle. Then a helicopter opened fire; a child and a journalist for an Arabic TV news channel were among those killed. Later, the channel repeatedly showed the journalist doubling over and screaming, "I'm dying; I'm dying."

Such scenes, which enlarge the ranks of our enemies by making America look both weak and brutal, are inevitable in the guerrilla war President Bush got us into. Osama bin Laden must be smiling.

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

And the losses aren't only in Iraq. Al Qaeda has regrouped. The invasion of Iraq, intended to demonstrate American power, has done just the opposite: nasty regimes around the world feel empowered now that our forces are bogged down. When a Times reporter asked Mr. Bush about North Korea's ongoing nuclear program, "he opened his palms and shrugged."

Yet many voters still believe that Mr. Bush is doing a good job protecting America.

If Senator John Kerry really has advisers telling him not to attack Mr. Bush on national security, he should dump them. When Dick Cheney is saying vote Bush or die, responding with speeches about jobs and health care doesn't cut it.

Monday, September 13, 2004


Today's message from Homeland Security

Here is an Outrage for You

Politics News Article Reuters.com
MIAMI (Reuters) - Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state.

The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it.

In a memo to Florida's 67 county supervisors of elections, Division of Elections director Dawn Roberts said the uncertainty of Hurricane Ivan, which could hit parts of the state by week's end, forced her to act.

White House Silent

With all the theories flying on the authenticity of the new TxANG documents produced by CBS, there is one glaring issue no one seems to talk much about.

Based upon what I have read, the White House does not dispute their authenticity. Did I just miss this?

The WH has addressed the issues raised and has even offered excuses as to why Bush did not obey the order to obtain a physical (remember Bartlett's silly theory that it was basically an illegal order), but they do not deny that Bush was so order, and by implication admit he disobeyed the order.

So all you lefties out their chasing your tail to prove the documents authentic, just stand down and stop taking the bait.

Powell: Kerry Would Respond to Terrorism in "Robust Way"

Boston Globe: Powell targets terror comment

Perhaps Powell has finally had enough? Don't bet on it, but yesterday on Meet the Press:
"I can't tell you how he might respond to it. As commander in chief, I think he'd respond to it in a robust way," the retired Army general said of Kerry during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Powell added: "There's no commander in chief, no president of the United States, who would not respond to terrorism. Now, how he would respond, which strategies that individual would use, I can't predict the future."

No Trial in Sight for Saddam

As I posted here on September 5th, it appeared that Saddam’s trial was going to begin months early, conveniently in October.

Well, in the last 10 days, things have fallen completely apart. Last week Salem Chalabi was removed (apparently the murder charge is an issue) from his post as head of the Iraqi Special Tribunal that will prosecute crimes against humanity committed by the former Baathist regime, it seems that his would-be successor has already resigned.

Now, Tapped is reporting Judge Naeem al-Igaily submitted his resignation because he feared that the public announcement of his appointment would be tantamount to a death sentence.
Judge Naeem al-Igaily, head of the special tribunal to try former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, submitted his resignation hours after the announcement of his appointment, Al-Sabah Al-Jadid newspaper reported Monday. He submitted his resignation for the lack of protection and because he opposed announcing the appointment publicly, which would endanger his life, the paper quoted a source close to the judge assaying.

The 9/11 Commission Report

The New York Review of Books: Pinning the Blame

Elizabeth Drew for The New York Review of Books has actually read the entire report.

Although the media didn't have much interest in the details, but Report is actually very critical of the Bush administration.

This provides an excellent summary that everone should read. Here is a couple paragraphs:

Though Bush administration officials said after the fact that no one could have imagined that terrorists would use planes to fly into buildings, the report shows that there had been warnings of attacks very much along those lines before September 11—including information from an informant in East Asia of the possibility of al-Qaeda's hijacking planes, filling them with explosives, and using them to crash into US cities. Richard Clarke had worried about this very possibility in connection with the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. In the commission's words, the "possibility" of this sort of terrorist attack "was imaginable, and imagined."

The most arresting document is the Presidential Daily Brief of August 6, 2001, which, until it was finally made public, had been described by the White House as "historical in nature." A single question by Ben-Veniste to Condoleezza Rice, asking her to state the title of the PDB, exposed that fiction. The title was "bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." That the commission was able to see the President's daily briefings by the CIA during the Clinton and Bush administrations at all was unprecedented. They could only do so, however, under strict rules set by the administration: only two commissioners were allowed to read the PDBs, and—for reasons that later became clear—they were forbidden to copy down their titles.

After the September 11 attacks, administration officials claimed that the information they'd received wasn't specific enough for them to act on it. But it was much more specific than they suggested. The government even received evidence in July 2001 that an al-Qaeda attack had been put off for two months but hadn't been abandoned. And the August 6 PDB itself was far more detailed than the administration admitted. It cited evidence, including reports in the press as well as clandestine information, that bin Laden had "wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US" since 1997; that al-Qaeda members had lived in or traveled to the United States for years, "and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks"; that FBI information "indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijacking or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." It cited a call to the US embassy in the United Arab Emirates in May 2001, "saying that a group of bin Laden supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives." It said that the FBI had seventy "bin Laden–related" investigations underway. The President told the commission that he'd found this last point "heartening." Others might have been alarmed. (The commission concluded that the FBI had exaggerated the extent of its investigations.)

Via Atrios

This is Who They Are

This is classic Atrios:

Wingnuttery

A doctor who has performed abortions wants there to be the death penalty for those who perform them. He also sterilized a 20 year old woman without her consent, and then illegally billed Medicaid for the procedure. He said "That ["the gay"] agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today." He criticized NBC for showing "Schindler's List," saying that it promoted "irresponsible sexual behavior."

Oh, and he's the Republican candidate for Senate from Oklahoma.

Assault Weapons Ban

will expire tonight at 11:00 PM CDT. Bush claims he would sign an extension if presented one, but, the R's in Congress have made sure that won't happen.

This is a time when you need to stand up and be counted. Take a second to send an email to your congressman and Senators and let them know just how unhappy you are about this.

And do not assume that if your member of Congress is a D, that he supports the ban. Many rural D's do not.

Click here to reach your member of Congress.

Click here to reach your Senators.


Bond, Christopher - (R - MO)
274 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5721
Web Form: bond.senate.gov/contact/contactme.cfm


Talent, James - (R - MO)
493 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6154
Web Form: talent.senate.gov/Contact/default.cfm?pagemode=1


Durbin, Richard - (D - IL)
332 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2152
Web Form: durbin.senate.gov/sitepages/contact.htm


Fitzgerald, Peter - (R - IL)
555 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2854
Web Form: fitzgerald.senate.gov/contact/contact_email.htm

Kerry Interview in Time.

TIME.com

Kerry gives a good interview in Time Magazine this week.

He talks a good game, but he has to do better and getting his message out.

Osama Still at it.

Bin Laden's Hand Seen in Afghanistan

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his No. 2 are still directing attacks in Afghanistan, a top U.S. commander said Saturday, three years after the attacks that drew U.S. forces into the country.

Maj. Gen. Eric Olson said that the trail was cold in the hunt for the Al Qaeda leader — even though strikes such as the recent bombing of an American security firm in Kabul, the capital, bear hallmarks of the militant network.

The Aug. 29 attack killed seven people, including three Americans, in front of Dyncorp, the U.S. security firm that provides guards for Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

Olson, the operational commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, said the military had not intercepted radio traffic from either Bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri. Still, the involvement of well-trained foreign fighters in attacks near the Pakistani border convinced him that they are pulling strings.

"What we see are their techniques and their tactics here in Afghanistan, so I think it is reasonable to assume that the senior leaders are involved in directing those operations," he said.

"I don't think we're close at all" to defeating the insurgents, he added.

Reports poured in Saturday of fresh fighting in the country.
How different might our world be if we had devoted the resources Bush used to settle an old family score to actually going after the man responsible for the attacks on Sept 11? And why aren't we, the loyal opposition, making this point?

Go read this article from the LAT's. Like Iraq, the situation in Afganistan is also falling apart, and this is coming from the commanders on the ground.

Robert Novak Believes in Revealing Confidential Sources, After All

Atrios brings this to our attention to this funny exchange that also illustrates why our side often appears impotent to Republican attacks.

Robert Novak Believes in Revealing Confidential Sources, After All


On the CNN panel show, "Capital Gang," Novak expressed grave doubts about the CBS documents, then said: "I'd like CBS, at this point, to say where they got these documents from. They didn't get them from a CIA agent. I don't believe there was any laws involved. I don't think we'll have a special prosecutor, if they tell. I think they should say where they got these documents because I thought it was a very poor job of reporting by CBS ...."

Fellow panelist, Al Hunt, from the Wall Street Journal, then replied: "Robert Novak, you're saying CBS should reveal its source?"

The transcript continues:

NOVAK: Yes.

HUNT: You do? You think reporters ought to reveal sources?

NOVAK: No, no. Wait a minute.

HUNT: I'm just asking.

NOVAK: I'm just saying in that case.

HUNT: Oh.

NOVAK: I
think -- I think it's very important. If this is a phony document, the American -- the people should know about it.

HUNT: So in some cases, reporters ought to reveal sources.

NOVAK: Yes.

HUNT: But not in all cases.

NOVAK: That's right.

HUNT: OK. Mark Shields, what's the relevance of all this?

SHIELDS: A point well taken, Al.
Although humorous, this is also an illustration of a problem we have from our side. They poked a little fun at Novak and then let him go.

Had it been the other way around, Novak would have gone in for the kill.

Why did they let him up? They should have made him squirm. Imagine something like this:

Hunt: That's an interesting view Bob. At the request of someone you betrayed our country by disclosing the identity of an undercover CIA agent. That's a federal crime and you've, as far as we know, refused to identify your source. As a patriot aren't you obligated to revel what former president Bush called the "most insidious of traitors"?

Novak: oh,....well, ....that's something different,...this is totally different,....this isn't fun anymore, come on guys,..

Hunt: Yes, it is different. While there seems to be a lot of issues floating around about these documents, there doesn't seem to be any question that your disclosure was a federal crime and some, such as former president Bush, would say treason. How is it that you do not feel any obligation to disclose your source?

Novak: I recent that, Al, that is totally uncalled for, um,......this isn't fun anymore,....we're talking about these documents that have appeared overnight, and CBS,…

Hunt: We're talking about revealing sources, and I recent the fact that you, a so called journalist had no compunction what so ever in betraying an undercover CIA agent for purely patrician purposes and now protect those who did the same. The treachery you were so willingly a part of may have endangered lives and burned US intelligence assets around the world. Why are you not obligated to reveal your source, Bob?


Sunday, September 12, 2004

Fallujah Follies

Key General Criticizes April Attack In Fallujah (washingtonpost.com)

Outgoing Marine Corps General James T. Conway, on his way out the door had some pretty harsh criticisms of the handling of Fallujah.

It is no secret that Fallujah is a complete disaster. But for a general to be so candid is pretty amazing. Also career suicide.

Rumsfeld Mixes Up Hussein, Bin Laden in Speech

Rumsfeld Mixes Up Hussein, Bin Laden in Speech

I've basically taken the weekend off. I needed the break. I'll back in full swing tomorrow.

But I wanted to bring this to your attention. via Atrios. Sounds like Rummy is cracking.

And on a very serious note, today was a very bloody day in Iraq. Too bad so many do not care.
Yahoo! News - New Spasm of Violence Sweeps Iraq, Killing 110

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Today's message from Homeland Security

What a dope.

Polling Updates

DonkeyRising

September 11, 2004

Kerry Leads in New PA Poll

In a SurveyUSA poll of Pennsylvania LV's for WCAU-TV Philadelphia, WNEP-TV Wilkes-Barre and KDKA-TV Pittsburgh conducted Sept.7-9, Kerry Leads Bush 49-47 percent, with 5 percent undecided.


Kerry Rips Into Bush Lead in Missouri

A new SurveyUSA poll of Missouri LV's conducted Sept.7-9 for KSDK-TV St. Louis and KOMU-TV Columbia shows Bush now leading Kerry by just 2 percentage points, 48-46 percent, with 5 percent undecided.


New National Poll Shows Neck and Neck Race for White House

A new Zogby America poll of nationwide LV's conducted Sept. 8-9 has Bush at 47 percent and Kerry at 45 percent in a head to head match-up, within a 3.1 percent m.o.e.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Nader is on 23 State Ballots

I've been looking for information in one source that would tell us just how many state ballots Nader is on. This piece seems to have the most details I could find in one spot. It includes a state by state run down. Here is the crux:


Nader has met requirements to appear on the ballot in nine of 18 states actively contested by President George W. Bush and Kerry this year.

Those states — Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Washington and WestVirginia, along with ...Colorado through his Reform Party nomination— have seen the Bush and Kerry campaigns spend millions buying ads and organizing grass-roots supporters to get out the vote in a race that could be as close as the 2000 election.

....

By the end of the month, Nader is likely to qualify in three battlegrounds — Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin — that don't require his supporters to collect too many signatures.

Nader is also not on Illinois, California and Texas.

KR Link

Knight Ridder reports Nader on the ballot in 23 States. The good news is that he has just been booted off of Florida's ballot and is also not on the ballot in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Arizona.

His goal was 40 states but that doesn't look so good right now

Friday Krugman

The Dishonesty Thing

Krugman is again back to fiscal and budgetary issues. I think this is where he is best and where he should stay. Today's topbic is about the Administration lack on honesty in budget forcasts.
For example, back in February the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities accused the Bush administration of, in effect, playing three-card monte with budget forecasts. It pointed out that the administration's deficit forecast was far above those of independent analysts, and suggested that this exaggeration was deliberate.

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

Was this a wild accusation from a liberal think tank? No, it's conventional wisdom among experts. Two months ago Stanley Collender, a respected nonpartisan analyst, warned: "At some point over the next few weeks, the Office of Management and Budget will release the administration's midsession budget review and try to convince everyone the federal deficit is falling. Don't believe them."

He went on to echo the center's analysis. The administration's standard procedure, he said, is to initially issue an unrealistically high deficit forecast, which is "politically motivated or just plain bad." Then, when the actual number comes in below the forecast, officials declare that the deficit is falling, even though it's higher than the previous year's deficit.

Goldman Sachs says the same. Last month one of its analysts wrote that "the Office of Management and Budget has perfected the art of underpromising and overperforming in terms of its near-term budget deficit forecasts. This creates the impression that the deficit is narrowing when, in fact, it will be up sharply."

Friday with EJ

Rewriting The Record (washingtonpost.com)

EJ thinks that the Bushies don't like to talk about their record and has some examples.

Bush's speech of two years ago can only be read as an effort to scare our country into war. Iraq, Bush said, "is seeking nuclear weapons. . . . The Iraqi dictator must not bepermitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons. . . . We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States."

And, oh, yes, Bush couldn't resist touting, through loose association, the supposed link between Hussein and Sept. 11 that the Kean-Hamilton commission has discredited. "We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America," Bush said.


Click to enlarge. (via Atrios who got it from Mad Magazine)

Am I Dreaming This?

Yahoo! News - Fiscal Conservatives Challenge Bush

The Heritage Foundation and The Cato Institute are Criticizing Bush! I have long mocked any Republican who claims his support of Bush is based upon fiscal conservatism.

Well, apparently, these two famously conservative think tanks couldn't take the hypocracy anymore.

But Bush has yet to say how he will pay for it, even as he charges that his Democratic presidential rival, John Kerry is hiding "details on how they would raise spending and lower the deficit" until after the Nov. 2 election.
….
But even fiscal conservatives, traditionally allied with the Republican White House, were skeptical of Bush's plans.

"While it's true that Kerry hasn't provided a detailed plan, neither has the president," said Heritage Foundation budget analyst Brian Riedl.

William Niskanen, chairman of the Cato Institute, said Bush's warnings about Kerry's spending plans were "inconsistent" with his own proposals. "There's no way to accomplish (Bush's) major new measures, including tax reform, without substantial increases in spending," Niskanen said.

Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth, a group that raises money for conservative political candidates, said Bush was not being "very forthright" about his plans. He called Bush's fiscal record "abysmal," adding that under both Bush and Kerry "fiscal responsibility takes the back seat."

This week congressional analysts warned the deficit will balloon to a cumulative $2.29 trillion over the next decade.

Bush's most ambitious proposal -- adding personal retirement accounts to Social Security -- may be the most costly up front. The estimated cost of diverting some payroll taxes to these private accounts ranges from $1 trillion to $2 trillion over 10 years, analysts say.

Bush's own economic advisers say tapping the bond markets to pay for private accounts could dramatically increase the federal debt for decades….


Go read the article. It's interesting.

Fakes and Forgeries

More is being written on this silliness. Go to Josh Marshall's site where he has found "official" documents released months ago by the WH with some of the same alleged defects.

Atrios too.

Secret Service being reduced to Goon Squad

Secret Service Not Coddling Hecklers (washingtonpost.com)

I guess this story is now getting some national attention. I don't know how I feel about SS agents removing those who disrupt a rally. I'm sure this happens at Kerry events too. I think the question is degree. Those making a violent disruption that could create a security risk for the Pres or Candidate, are an easier call, and I do not believe anyone should be allowed to "shout down" a candidate and prevent him or her from speaking.

But is it the job of the SS to shield the President from dissent? What about those who simply have a sign or shirt that is anti-Bush? Or make a cat-call or two? To the extent that these events merit police action, isn't this the job of local law enforcement?

Now this is an easy call:
After Bush campaign bouncers handled the evictions, Secret Service agents, accompanied by Bush's personal aide, supervised the arrests and detention of the activitsts and blocked the news media from access to the hecklers.
....
One uniformed Secret Service agent complained to a colleague that "the press is having a field day" with the disruption -- and the agents quickly clamped down. Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site -- even though their colleagues were free to come and go. An agent, who did not give his name, told one journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators and that there was a "different set of rules" for reporters who did not seek out the activists.

The SS now controls media access? Isn't this facism?

Go read the article. There is a lot here, and it is something we should be talking about.

Thursday, September 09, 2004


Today's message from Homeland Security

Why do they Hate America?

KR Washington Bureau 09/08/2004 Senator, 8 retired military officers seek independent probe of prisoner abuse in Iraq

Don't they know that dissent is treason?

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a former Army Ranger and respected member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined eight retired generals and admirals Wednesday to call for an independent investigation into the abuse of prisoners in Iraq.

"We need to get an independent inquiry because we have not yet established, in a credible way, the complete picture and we have waited now for months," Reed said in a conference call with journalists.

To date, the Army has launched more than four dozen reviews, inspections and assessments of the treatment of detainees. It also has conducted more than 200 investigations into specific allegations of criminal abuse and homicide. The House and Senate armed services committees are scheduled to review some of the most recent investigations Thursday.

Ex-Medicare Chief Should Repay Salary for Defrauding Nation

GAO Say Ex-Medicare Chief Should Repay Salary

What he should do is go to jail. The crime is called "official misconduct".

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The former Medicare administrator should repay his government salary because of his efforts to keep higher estimates of the cost of a prescription drug plan from Congress last year, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

The recommendation from the Government Accountability Office reignited the controversy over passage of the Medicare overhaul and questions about whether the Bush administration intentionally concealed its own estimates of the cost -- $100 billion more than the $400 billion it acknowledged -- to win support from conservative Republicans.

The release of the report follows last week's announcement that Medicare premiums for non-hospital care will rise a record $11.60 a month next year, which administration officials said was partly attributable to provisions of the new law.

Log Cabin Rethinking Bush

Gay GOP Group Won't Endorse Bush Reelection

The 25 member board of gay republicans has told the 2 members not on the board that perhaps their past support of Bush was, in hindsight, not the best for them.

Some say that all 7 African-American Republicans may soon follow suit.

As long as I live, I will never understand gay republicans.

Wingnutty Conspiracy Theory

Although there is no credible evidence or news stories on this, the response from the right to the reports that Bush refused a direct order and went AWOL, more than once: the documents are forgeries.

The biggest problem with this is that the White House concedes their authenticity. Instead, they seek to explain them.
[WH Director of communities Dan]Bartlett said Bush's superiors granted permission to train in Alabama in a non-flying status and that "many of the documents you have here affirm just that."

Asked about Killian's statement in a memo about the military's investment in Bush, Bartlett told CBS: "For anybody to try to interpret or presume they know what somebody who is now dead was thinking in any of these memos, I think is very difficult to do."

Why Bush did not obey the order for the physical?

Bartlett told CBS, "As it says in your own documents, President Bush talked to the commanders about the fact that he'd be transferring to a unit ... in Alabama that didn't fly that plane," the F-102, the type Bush was trained in.

Ever mindful of Nuremberg, Bush refused an illegal order?

Post RNC Convention Fox News Poll

FOXNews.com - FOX News Polls - You Decide 2004 Poll - 09/09/04

As the typically understated Josh Marshall wrote, the Fox News Poll is GOP Friendly.

And that is why I mention it here. The lede for their post convention poll:
NEW YORK — Thoughts of the Republican National Convention (search) appear to have faded as quickly as memories of Labor Day at the beach, as less than a week after the GOP gathering in New York City the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows the presidential race in a dead heat.

As more polls come in all over the place, I think we can reach a few conclusions.

1) The Time and Newsweek polls are outliers.
2) Bush likely has a slight lead coming out of his convention, with not much of a bounce.
3) Bush picked up momentum that Kerry needs to stop.

So the question is, what are we going to do about it?

The Kerry campaign is launching a new ad blitz and plans to spend 50 million on them. There are now a couple new ads posted here at JohnKerry.com. There not bad.

But here I am in Saint Louis MO, and I haven't seen them. So where is he running them. He is coming here again in a few day which will be his second visit since his convention, so clearly they are not writing us off, so where are they on TV?

And where is the DNC with millions to spend, and all the 527's that favor Kerry? Other than some DNC radio spots I'm seeing nothing, so where are they? Ohio, Pennsylvania?

I had lunch today with a friend, and aside from the fact that he really doen't see any reason to hold Bush accountable for anything, his feeling is that if Kerry doesn't respond to the Bushie charges that he is a tax and spend liberal he has to think the accusation are true. I wonder how many others feel this way.

I know Kerry is moving but I want them to move faster.

Great Piece on Press Reporting and Cheney's outrageous Remark

Cheney Crosses Line

The Campaign Desk at Columbia Journalism Review is a great source. This is a good piece not so much about what Cheney said but the presses reaction to it. Here is a part:
but there's another reason to look at the controversy surrounding the provocative statement: It offers a window into just how much control over campaign coverage the media has ceded to the campaigns themselves. After all, it was fairly obvious to anyone who has followed the campaign, or just watched the convention, that a Republican theme has been that the current occupants of the White House are infinitely better equipped to fight the war on terror than their challengers. It's not a large step from there to the idea that a vote for Kerry increases the likelihood that terrorists will strike again. Until Cheney's comment, of course, no one in the campaign had spelled out the argument quite so indelicately or so explicitly -- essentially, "vote for Bush or die," as the Nation put it. As a result, prior to Cheney's inadvertent slip from code to plain English, comment on the administration's so-called "fear strategy," when it appeared at all, was largely confined to opinion magazines and editorials.

It wasn't that reporters didn't know what was going on, but that they were reluctant to spell it out, lest they be accused of "bias" or, God forbid, "interpretation." Cheney's statement, which he no doubt regrets, changed all that, making it OK for reporters to treat the "fear strategy" as front-page news....
There's more. Go read it.

Better Late than Never?

Kerry Says Bush Broke His Word in Pursuing War on Iraq

Could it be that just weeks before the election, and weeks after affirming his vote for the war, Kerry is finally getting his act together on this issue? I'm not so sure it isn't too late for Kerry on this issue:
Standing where President Bush made his case for the use of force in Iraq 23 months ago, Senator John Kerry accused Mr. Bush on Wednesday of breaking his promise to go to war as a last resort and with a broad alliance, ignoring the advice of his generals and grossly underestimating the costs.

"I call this course a catastrophic choice that has cost us $200 billion because we went it alone,'' Mr. Kerry said. "And we've paid an even more unbearable price in young American lives and the risks our soldiers take."

Latest State Polling Figures

The Round-up From DonkeyRising

New Gallup State Polls

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of Washington state conducted September 3-7,2004 has Kerry at 51 percent, Bush at 43 percent, Nader at 2 percent, and neither/unsure at 4 percent.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of Pennsylvania RV's conducted Sept. 4-7,2004 shows a tie, with 47 percent each for John Kerry and George Bush, with 6 percent neither/unsure.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of Ohio RV's conducted Sept. 4-7, 2004 has Bush at 48 percent, Kerry at 47 percent and neither/unsure at 5 percent.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of Missouri RV's conducted Sept. 3-6, 2004 reports Bush leads with 53 percent, Kerry 42 percent with 5 percent neither/unsure.
Living in MO, I can tell you I'm not surprised by those numbers. For some reason, Kerry is doing nothing here. I haven't seen any TV ads in some time.


White House involved in a Cover-up?

Case closed: Below are updates I made this morning following a story that took off from an early AP story that suggested the WH had the heretofore missing docs featured on 60 minutes. What we now know is that the WH released copies of those records that were faxed to the WH by CBS. So, sadly, no cover-up. If you really want more, see Kevin Drum.


AMERICAblog

America blog reported last night that the White House released at least one of the memos newly discovered by 60 Minutes and cites an AP story thusly:
"After the [60 Minutes] broadcast, the White House, without comment, released to the news media two of the memos [mentioned in the broadcast], one ordering Bush to report for his physical exam and the other suspending him from flight
status."
However, if you go to the AP story now there doesn't appear to be any mention of the WH releasing anything. So did they or didn't they?

The WH has repeatedly claimed they released everything they had, so it is a big deal if they had any of these docs and didn't release him.

Chi Trib:Memos say Bush pushed for move

10:06 AM Update:

The Chicago Tribune on their web site has the older AP story from last night that indicates the WH released documents late last night. If this is true, this is a cover-up. Here are the key grafs but note that it is not clear who released the documents -- 60 Minutes or the WH?

The late-night release of the memos added another layer of complexity and intrigue to the renewed examination of Bush's time in the National Guard in the Vietnam era, the war from more than 30 years ago that has taken an unexpectedly prominent role in this presidential campaign. Bush's challenger, Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites), has been forced to defend his combat service in Vietnam, where he received several awards for heroism.

The release of the documents comes seven months after the White House disclosed what it said was an exhaustive list of the president's National Guard records. The documents were released two hours after CBS News raised new questions during a prime-time broadcast about whether Bush was awarded a coveted slot out of favoritism.

Update 10:41 AM: CNN has the old AP Story up here. But as I point out above, the AP is not now saying the WH released any records last night, so the question is why not? I've scanned the news on the net, and cannot find any other source for this.