Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Democrats are Mobilized

Although it has become a cliché, this election really is unprecedented. I went for training today to be a part of the lawyer network here in St. Louis. Today, 30 lawyers were expected for training and more then 100 showed up.

I have been credentialed as a Democratic Challenger assigned to a precinct in the City. Or job is not to challenge any voters but rather to respond to republican challenges.

More than 600 local attorneys have volunteered and will be in every precinct targeted by republicans. In addition, a “boiler room” is set up to field question and send out attorney rapid response teams to any precinct that is having a problem. The boiler room will also alert the election authorities and the police, if necessary. In addition to lawyers there is also an army of poll workers and observers who will be stationed at every key polling place in Saint Louis City and County, volunteers staffing phone banks, driving people to the polls, and hundreds of other jobs. We have never had this kind of manpower. The Democratic party has brought in volunteers from as far away and California and New York to help.

This effort is really unprecedented, and it’s not just here in Saint Louis. As I’ve noted on this blog, these efforts are going on in every major city in every swing state.

This is truly historic. On Tuesday night and the rest of the week, this history effort to get out the vote will dominate the election news coverage.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late to be a part of history. Here is the contact info. Give them a call on Monday.

City:
Saint Louis Democratic City Central Committee
300 South Grand St. Louis, MO 63103
314) 533-3245

County:
Victory 2004 Headquarters
3234 Laclede Station Rd
Maplewood, MO 63143
(314) 645-1449

Here is a great web based search engine to locate places in your area by zip code where you can help:

Show me events in my area

There is no excuse not to be a part of history.


Today's Message from Homeland Security. Support the Leader or die.

A November Surprise?

Eschaton

How despirate would this look?

Atrios reports the following:
A rumor from a reliable source suggests that there's a good chance that Tommy Thompson is set to announce that drug reimportation from Canada will be fully legalized.

I'm sure that, if this happens, it'll be a big "read the fine print" bait and switch.

Treat is rumor until confirmed, presumably at a 10AM or so press conference...

...or, more generally, it could be some other major senior pandering drug thing...

Why Does Colin Powell Hate America?

Newsweek- Hell to Pay

In an article long over due, Newsweek examines our future in Iraq and concludes it's bleak.

Colin Powell thinks that the insurgents are winning:

But the truth is, neither party is fully reckoning with the reality of Iraq—which is that the insurgents, by most accounts, are winning. Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general who stays in touch with the Joint Chiefs, has acknowledged this privately to friends in recent weeks, NEWSWEEK has learned. The insurgents have effectively created a reign of terror throughout the country, killing thousands, driving Iraqi elites and technocrats into exile and scaring foreigners out. "Things are getting really bad," a senior Iraqi official in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government told NEWSWEEK last week. "The initiative is in [the insurgents'] hands right now. This approach of being lenient and accommodating has really backfired. They see this as weakness."

Read the whole article. It will give you a taste of what is in store.

And don't feel sorry for Powell. He knew perfectly well what a bad idea this war was and he signed off on it. He forgot he was no longer a general and who he serves as Secretary of State: the American people. Screw him. I hope he doesn't get a good night's sleep the rest of his life.

How different would our world be if Powell had told Bush that he would be forced to resign in protest of a unilateral invasion of Iraq?

You have to read this note from FLA

Talking Points Memo

Blogger and journalist extraordinair Josh Marshall received this letter from one of his people in the trenches. This will give you an idea of what is going to happen on Tuesday:

Still in Florida.

This was one of the most moving, meaningful days of my life.

My job is to get people to the polls and, more importantly, to keep them there. Because they’re crazily jammed. Crazily. No one expected this turnout. For me, it’s been a deeply humbling, deeply gratifying experience. At today’s early vote in the College Hill district of East Tampa -- a heavily democratic, 90% African American community — we had 879 voters wait an average of five hours to cast their vote. People were there until four hours after they closed (as long as they’re in line by 5, they can vote).

Here’s what was so moving:

We hardly lost anyone. People stood outside for an hour, in the blazing sun, then inside for another four hours as the line snaked around the library, slowly inching forward. It made Disneyland look like speed-walking. Some waited 6 hours. To cast one vote. And EVERYBODY felt that it was crucial, that their vote was important, and that they were important.

And there were tons of first time voters. Tons.

Aside from some hassles from the Republican election commissioner ( … [ed.note: Here the letter writer describes various shenanigans intended to exacerbate the difficulties of waiting hours in line to vote. I’ve censored this detail to preserve the anonymity of the writer.], I actually had an amazing experience. No, actually, in a way because of that I had an amazing experience. Because these people know that the system that’s in place doesn’t want them voting. And yet they are determined to vote.

The best of all was an 80 year old African American man who said to me: “When I first started I wasn’t even allowed to vote. Then, when I did, they was trying to intimidate me. But now I see all these folks here to make sure that my vote counts. This is the first time in my life that I feel like when I cast my vote it’s actually gonna be heard.”

To see people coming out — elderly, disabled, blind, poor; people who have to hitch rides, take buses, etc — and then staying in line for hours and hours and hours... Well, it’s humbling. And it’s awesome. And it’s kind of beautiful.

Sometimes you forget what America is.

I think there’s hope.

ES



Fox Poll Tracking Bush Collapse

This is interesting to me only because of the source. Fox News is tracking the Bush collapse. Kerry leads among registered voters, 47-45 (he's up one among likely voters). On Friday, Bush had a 5 point lead; he has now gone from 50% down to 45% in just 48 hours.

Getting at the Mobile Phone Generation

One of the biggest questions of this election has been how voters unreachable by normal polling methods will vote. Zogby has part of the answer:

Polling firm Zogby International and partner Rock the Vote found Massachusetts Senator John Kerry leading President Bush 55% to 40% among 18-29 year-old likely voters in their first joint Rock the Vote Mobile political poll, conducted exclusively on mobile phones October 27 through 30, 2004. Independent Ralph Nader received 1.6%, while 4% remain undecided in the survey of 6,039 likely voters.
(via Mathew Gross)

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Today's Message from Homeland Security

Bush's "Little Gift"?

New York Daily News - Home - Analysis: See tape as boost for Prez

According to the NY Daily News, the Bush people describe OBL's latest tape as a "little gift" for Bush:

"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.

They didn't just think it, they said it out loud,...to a reporter.

(via Josh Marshall)

Ward Report Makes the Big Time!

I am stunned to learn that somehow The Ward Report has been picked up and listed on the Kerry Edwards web page!

See for yourself near the bottom of the page.

Historic Endorsement

The Kerry campaign Friday announced a television ad - "Orlando" - to begin airing in Florida today. The ad spotlights the Orlando Sentinel's endorsement of John Kerry for president, the newspaper's first endorsement of a Democratic presidential candidate in 40 years.

Oddly, nothing in the ad tells the viewer that this endorsement is historic.

The Tampa Tribune, which has not endorsed a Democrat for President since 1952, last week declined to endorse Bush.

Watch the Ad: "Orlando"

Friday, October 29, 2004

Oy



Surprise!

Yahoo! News - No Change in U.S. Alert Level Now, White House Says

OBL has a new video, aired just in time for the nightly news.

TOLEDO, Ohio (Reuters) - The White House said on Friday there was no immediate change in the U.S. terrorism alert level following the airing of a new video tape of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

There is no change in it at this time but it's something we analyze all the time," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "We are on a heightened state of awareness already."

Zieg Heil?

One Nation Under Bush - At a campaign rally, Republicans recite the "Bush Pledge."

The crowd actually stood with their right hand raised,....fully extended palm facing forward?

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

I know the Bush-Cheney campaign occasionally requires the people who attend its events to sign loyalty oaths, but this was the first time I have ever seen an audience actually stand and utter one. Maybe they've replaced the written oath with a verbal one....
These people are just nuts. I can't imagine any educated person wanting anything to do with them.

I'm curious to know what the elderly Jewish voters thought of this. I'm guessing it wasn't a warm feeling of nostalgia.

(via TPM)

Listen to The Boss

Yesterday in Madison: Link (windows media)

"...The country we carry in our hearts is waiting, and together we can move America toward her deepest ideals,...."

Kerry Takes Lead in New Florida Poll

DonkeyRising

October 29, 2004

John Kerry leads George Bush 48.3-46.7 among Florida LV's, with 1.5 percent for Ralph Nader, according to a Florida Opinion Poll conducted 10/23-7 by New York Times Regional Newspapers. The poll also found that Kerry leads Bush among Florida Independents 48-40 percent.

Good News from FLA

DonkeyRising

Miami Dade County Poll: Kerry Running Stronger Than Gore in 2000

I have said for 3 years that Bush would not win FL again, and written it more than once here. The math just doesn't add up for Bush.

Now we have this bit of info:

John Kerry leads George Bush 54.3-41.5 percent of Miami Dade County LV's, according to a new Miami Herald Poll conducted 10/22-5. Miami Herald reporter Jim Defede notes "In 2000, Al Gore beat Bush by almost 40,000 votes in Miami-Dade County...According to the Herald poll, done by Zogby International, Kerry is positioned to win Miami-Dade by anywhere from 90,000 to 100,000 votes. A margin that large in Florida's most populous county would be hard for Bush to make up across the rest of the state."


Why the GOP is Trying So Hard To Suppress Minority Vote

This has been around for several days so you may have seen it. I think it is good info to use to understand what is going to happen in the next several days.

Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio has just finished a survey of 12 battleground states and finds Bush and Kerry tied with 47% of the vote apiece. But when he weights for minority turnout based on the 2000 exit polls, Kerry is ahead 49.2%-45.7%. And when he further updates the weighting to take into account the most recent census results, Kerry is ahead 49.9%-44.7%.

This is not really news. It was Fabrizio, I believe (but may be wrong) who said in 2002 that if minorities vote in the same proportion in 2004 as 2000, Bush would lose by 3 million votes. With this knowledge, think about a lot of things Bush has done to especially reach out to hispanics, like that harebrained sceme he had to let illegals stay for so many years....so long as they left once they were too old to provide cheap hard labor. They have written off the black vote.

Favrizio: "It is clear that minority turnout is a wildcard in this race and represents a huge upside for Sen. Kerry and a considerable challenge for the President's campaign."

Bottom Line: If Fabrizio's data is accurate, Kerry is ahead by 5% overall in the battleground states and a sure winner on November 2.

Suddenly the Bush campaign's obsession with challenging voters in minority neighborhoods makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Their own internal polling is probably telling them the same thing that Fabrizio's poll says: unless they somehow manage to keep the minority vote down, they're screwed.

You can open a PDF of the short summary of Fabrizio's report here: PDF Link

(via Kevin at Wash. Monthly)

Kerry is going to Win WI and IA

DonkeyRising

These are even LV numbers!

Results of American Research Groups Polls of LV's conducted 10/25-27:

Oregon - Kerry leads 50-46 percent
Wisconsin - Kerry ahead 48-47 percent
Iowa - Bush leads 48-47 percent

If the Iowa number is accurate and Bush only has a 1 point lead, Kerry will win Iowa.

Bush Lossing Educated White Guys?

DonkeyRising

Lifted in whole from Donkey Rising:

New Democracy Corps Analysis Shows Bush Suffering Major Loss of Support Among College-Educated Men

An important new analysis by Stan Greenberg and Anna Greenberg draws attention to a critical problem facing George Bush – a startling loss of support among college-educated men. These voters, once “paid-up members in Karl Rove’s “Republican Base” have defected in large numbers to John Kerry.

The October 27th analysis by Democracy Corps examines the latest data on the patterns of Bush and Kerry support among both men and women and among both non-college and college voters.

Here are some highlights from the analysis, focusing on the changing attitudes of college-educated men. Make sure you read the full-text of the memo at the D-Corps site. It’s got lots of important additional information and data that can help guide Democratic strategy in the coming days.

The coverage of the election has mostly missed the real story....
The big change is Bush’s underperformance with men. His margin has slipped 9 points. [In 2000, Bush lead Gore 54-42 among men. Today Kerry lags Bush among men by only 3%, 46-49] As we shall see below, that has been driven by dramatic losses with white college-educated men...

Watch them. In 2000, Gore faced a rout here, losing by 25 points. These were paid up members in Karl Rove’s “Republican base.” But today Kerry is only losing these college men by 6 points (51 to 45 percent)...

Where did Bush go wrong with educated men? Clearly the Bush campaign set out to win college educated men with a strategy that emphasized continued tax cuts and Kerry’s “tax and spend” record in the Senate. At the outset, this might have been sufficient: Bush led among white college educated men by 20 points (56 to 36 percent) in the late winter and early spring. But as the campaign progressed, Kerry steadily increased his share of the vote – ultimately by 9 points to 45 percent – while Bush dropped by 5 points to 51 percent.

Republican strategies, centered on the war and the military, cultural politics and ideology were meant to solidify the base, but it created a series of problems among the educated men. First, college educated men are increasingly skeptical about the situation in Iraq. Second, educated men question Bush’s approach to the economy, which remains sluggish while the deficits explode. Finally, the cultural politics that are so important to shoring up religious voters have no impact with these socially moderate voters.

White college educated men prefer Bush on foreign policy by only 4 points, down from 15 points in the spring and summer, while white men without a college education prefer Bush by 28 points. White educated men favor Bush on Iraq by only 8 points (down from 20 points) while white non-college educated men favor him by 29 points. Only 45 percent of white college educated men say that Bush has good plans for Iraq compared to 61 percent among white non-college educated men.

Interestingly, Bush has seemed to lose these voters on the economy, no longer persuaded by tax cuts. While white college educated men say they prefer Bush on taxes to Kerry (55 to 39 percent), they are split on which candidate would do a better job on the economy. In fact, they moved from giving Bush a 16-point advantage on the economy over Kerry in the spring and summer to only a 3-point edge now. At the same time, white non-college educated men did not move in their assessment, giving Bush a 17-point advantage on the economy.

While cultural politics helped Bush with many of his base groups including white religious and rural voters, it created no traction among white college educated men. White college educated men are simply not culturally conservative – they give pro-life groups (39 percent warm, 42 percent cool) and the NRA (39 percent warm, 43 percent cool) net negative ratings, unlike white non-college educated men. And while they oppose gay marriage (26 percent warm, 48 percent cool), they do so not nearly by the margin as white non-college educated men (16 percent warm, 64 percent cool). A majority of white college men do not own guns (55 percent), while a majority percent).

More than any other factor, these white college educated men are undercutting Bush’s male vote.

John Zogby on the Daily Show

Last night on the Daily show John Zogby predicted the winner of the presidential election: "Kerry".

He explained what I have been saying for a very long time (because I got it from Zogby) and that is that presidents don't get re-elected with numbers that don't go above 50%. Zogby noted that Bush has hit a ceiling of 47 to 48% and undecideds break for the challengers.

Photoshop Reveals All


From Salon. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Salon.com News NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate

I try not to link to Salon because they require a subscription or that one sit through an ad for a "day pass". But this story is interesting.

Dr. Robert Nelson is a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. He takes digital images from spacecraft and uses computer techniques to enhance those images to measure objects on planets.

Dr. Nelson took digital images from video tape of the first debate and using Photoshop on his home computer tourqued up the contrast to highlight what, if anything, was under Bush's jacket. The results are very interesting.

What does this prove? I think it proves that despite their denials, Bush has something under his jacket.

Who knows what it is or for what purpose it served. It clearly appears to be an electronic device.

This doesn't prove to me that he was being fed answers. But it is interesting.

Last Call for Election Day Volunteers

Hello all. Election Day is now 5 days away! We are still searching for election day volunteers and need your help (thanks to those who responded to my last email or to our phone calls). We are training Election Day volunteers this weekend.

Saturday, 10/30 at 1 PM
Saint Louis Democratic City Central Committee Office
300 South Grand at the corner of Forrest Park Blvd.
Council Plaza, behind the Del Taco (the office is in the back corner)

We have been working hard over the past months to identify our supporters.

On Election Day, volunteers will help ensure that every Kerry supporter in Saint Louis gets out to vote. We will call our supporters to make sure they go to the polls, drive people who need rides, and do what we can to ensure that Missouri votes for John Kerry.

Whether you have already told us you would like to volunteer on Election Day or not, the election volunteer training is crucial. If you have not yet been trained, please try to make it this Saturday.

Please give the office a call if you are planning to attend so we can get a head count. If you can not make it this weekend, but are interested, call the office so we can make alternative arrangements.

Jim Felakos
Saint Louis Democratic City Central Committee
300 South Grand
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 533-3245

Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's D-Day

Well, here we are on the eve of Election Day weekend and no October surprise,...At least not from Bush.

If there are going to be any last minute surprises, I would have expected it this week.

If there is still to be such a surprise, it must happen tomorrow so that it can sink in over the weekend to have the desired affect.

With the way Bush's government is leaking against him, I can't imagine any big military event will take place, like a cruise missile strike against Iran.

Some sort of Kerry scandal would be my guess. Accusation of animal sex or some other shocking behavior.

There was an extremely lame attempt by the Washington Times (you can find them yourself) on Monday to accuse Kerry of exaggerating his contacts with members of the Security Counsel, that no one seemed to care about, what with Al Qaeda getting 380 tons of high explosives and all.

But I think the surprise that Karl Rove had bragged about on Sean Hannity's radio show (you can find that link on your own as well) some weeks ago was the the Sinclair Broadcasting airing if Stolen Honor. Thanks to efforts of all of us who attacked Sinclair, that ended up a huge bust.

We shall see.

The GOP's Shameful Vote Strategy

The GOP's Shameful Vote Strategy (washingtonpost.com)

Thank you Harold Meyerson for saying what most so called journalist and so-called opinion makers are too big of cowards to say:

With Election Day almost upon us, it's not clear whether President Bush is running a campaign or plotting a coup d'etat. By all accounts, Republicans are spending these last precious days devoting nearly as much energy to suppressing the Democratic vote as they are to mobilizing their own.

Time was when Republicans were at least embarrassed by their efforts to keep African Americans from the polls. Republican consultant Ed Rollins was all but drummed out of the profession after his efforts to pay black ministers to keep their congregants from voting in a 1993 New Jersey election came to light.

For George W. Bush, Karl Rove and their legion of genteel thugs, however, universal suffrage is just one more musty liberal ideal that threatens conservative rule. Today's Republicans have elevated vote suppression from a dirty secret to a public norm.

In Ohio, Republicans have recruited 3,600 poll monitors and assigned them disproportionately to such heavily black areas as inner-city Cleveland, where Democratic "527" groups have registered many tens of thousands of new voters. "The organized left's efforts to, quote unquote, register voters -- I call them ringers -- have created these problems" of potential massive vote fraud, Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman James P. Trakas recently told the New York Times.

Let's pass over the implication that a registration drive waged by a liberal group is
inherently fraud-ridden, and look instead at that word "ringers."

Registration in Ohio is nonpartisan, but independent analysts estimate that roughly 400,000 new Democrats have been added to the rolls this year. Who does Trakas think they are? Have tens of thousands of African Americans been sneaking over the state lines from Pittsburgh and Detroit to vote in Cleveland -- thus putting their own battleground states more at risk of a Republican victory? Is Shaker Heights suddenly filled with Parisians affecting American argot? Or are the Republicans simply terrified that a record number of minority voters will go to the polls next Tuesday? Have they decided to do anything to stop them -- up to and including threatening to criminalize Voting While Black in a Battleground State?




FLA is Starting to Get some National Coverage

Passion and Election Disputes On Rise in Florida as Vote Nears

Florida is a powder keg and I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't rioting on election day in some neighborhoods.

A couple things that struck me:

*125,000 absentee votes in one county?

*The 60,000 missing absentee ballots in Broward County went missing over two days? And Florida law enforcement doesn't suspect fool play? WTF do they think happend to them?

Adam Nagourny is a tool but here are portions of his piece in today's NYT's.
KENDALL, Fla., Oct. 27 - It is as if the presidential election of 2000 never ended here.

Six days before Election Day, Florida is again struggling with questions about potential voting irregularities, from complaints of up to 60,000 missing absentee ballots in Broward County and accusations of voter suppression in minority neighborhoods to concerns about new touch-screen voting machines. Floridians have been standing for as long as three hours to cast early votes in the presidential race, testimony to the unresolved passions of the election of 2000. Interest is so intense that analysts predict that a staggering 75 percent of Florida voters will cast ballots by the time polls close Tuesday evening.

The disappearance of absentee ballots only fed suspicion among Democrats already distrustful of a state government controlled by President Bush's brother Gov. Jeb Bush, with pollsters saying Floridians are already concerned that their votes will not be counted....

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday that up to 60,000 absentee ballots had been sent to, but not yet received by, voters in Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale. County elections officials did not return phone calls from The New York Times, but Gisela Salas, the deputy elections supervisor, told The Sun-Sentinel that many of the missing ballots were sent on Oct. 7 and 8. Ms. Salas said she had no explanation for their disappearance.

The United States Postal Service issued a statement on Wednesday saying it was handling absentee ballots "as expeditiously as possible," and had "identified no delays in our handling of balloting materials or actual ballots."

Counties throughout Florida are handling record requests for absentee ballots this year, partly because both political parties have encouraged that method of voting, in
addition to the emphasis on early voting. Broward officials told The Sun-Sentinel that 126,220 people had requested absentee ballots as of Tuesday.

A spokesman for Theresa LePore, the Palm Beach County elections supervisor, said her office had mailed more than 125,000 absentee ballots and was sending out several thousand more each day. Many Palm Beach County residents have also complained about not receiving absentee ballots that they requested weeks ago.

Though Broward and Palm Beach Counties are heavily Democratic, Ms. Fletcher said many Republicans were among those who had not received ballots from the county elections offices.

Most polls, including nightly ones by the campaigns here, show Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry in a near tie. But pollsters are nervous about their findings because of all the new forces tearing up the Florida electoral landscape in this post-2000 world, starting with a surge of 1.6 million new voters added to the rolls, and predictions that voter turnout could break records.

This crowd came out to See John Kerry today in Madison Wisconsin. Click on the photo to enlarge it and get a better look.

The Boss on the campaign trail with Big John

80,000 today in Madison Wisconsin

General Clark Has it Right

As the NYT's initially reported, the Bush administration was repeatedly warned of the explosives at Al Qaqaa and advised of the need to secure them. That the Bush administration through its surrogate now seek to blame soldiers is despicable.


General Wesley Clark issued the following statement today:

“For President Bush to send Rudolph Giuliani out on television to say that the 'actual responsibility' for the failure to secure explosives lies with the troops is insulting and cowardly.

“The President approved the mission and the priorities. Civilian leaders tell military leaders what to do. The military follows those orders and gets the job done. This was a failure of civilian leadership, first in not telling the troops to secure explosives and other dangerous materials, and second for not providing sufficient troops and sufficient equipment for troops to do the job.

“President Bush sent our troops to war without sufficient body armor, without a sound plan and without sufficient forces to accomplish the mission. Our troops are performing a difficult mission with skill, bravery and determination. They deserve a commander in chief who supports them and understands that the buck stops in the Oval Office, not one who gets weak knees and shifts blame for his mistakes.”

FBI Investigating Halliburton Contracts

Yahoo! News - FBI Investigating Halliburton Contracts:

Someone decided to leak documents to the AP:


WASHINGTON - The FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co., seeking an interview with a top Army contracting officer and collecting documents from several government
offices.

The line of inquiry expands an earlier FBI investigation into whether Halliburton overcharged taxpayers for fuel in Iraq, and it elevates to a criminal matter the election-year question of whether the Bush administration showed favoritism to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company.

It seems that there have been several leaks lately from inside the DoD and DoJ, etc. Maybe some folks on the inside have had enough?

(thanks to Tim for the tip)



Seals used by the IAEA (top). A seal on an Iraqi bunker door videotaped by a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew on April 18, 2003

Classless Creeps

Atrios has been all over this story today:

Bush's surrogates blame troops for explosives debacle

Rudy Giuliani:

....No matter how you try to blame it on the president the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?
See for yourself (Windows Media)

And Bill Kristol and Laura Ingram are 'on message' too.

and Josh Marshall has this great wrap-up that leaves no doubt the explosives were looted after our occupation began:
The video tape of al Qaqaa unnearthed by a local ABC affiliate and now picked up nationally seems like pretty much game, set, match.

Those corrugated barrels that look like what the IAEA described as the containers for the explosives? Turns out that's exactly what they are. So say at least two former weapons inspectors.

And what about the IAEA seals that were supposed to be there? Turns out those are in the video too.

The only question now, it seems, is why the president and his advisors spent four days spinning out increasingly far-fetched excuses and tall-tales about this, hoping to brazen it out through November 2nd without fessing up.


60,000 Ballots Missing in FL Already!!!

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel out of Fort Lauderdale leads with reports that 60,000 Broward County absentee ballots that should have been delivered by mail have gone missing, causing the county Board of Elections' phone system to be overwhelmed by calls to complain.

No one knows where they are and every one is pointing the finger. Board of Elections says they are lost in the mail, and not surprisingly, the postal service says even they couldn't lose that much mail.

It is likely they were never mailed.

Why shouldn't someone go to jail over fraud of this size?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Pres Bush Tells Us What to Expect from Him Next Term

Link

Follow the link for the president's reminder of what to expect from his second term. Actually, it is a lot like his first term.

MyPollingPlace.com

MyPollingPlace.com

Okay, this is cool. Go to this site and enter your street address and zip and it will tell you the location of your polling place. Like Mapquest, it will also give you a map and driving directions.

I just tested it and it got mine right.

Alert people to this resource and send it to anyone you know who might be confused on where to vote.

(via Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly)

James Wolcott Is On To Something Here

James Wolcott

James Wolcott is a brilliant journalist and has a great blog. He detects hints coming from the right of a looming defeat, as fingers are being pointed.


Go read his recent posts about Captain Queeg and a permature something or other.

Bush Stumping for Kerry

ABC News: Kerry, Bush Trade Barbs Over Iraq Weapons

The Net is abuzz today with Bush's comment this morning in PA:

"For a political candidate to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief."

Indeed.

So what will the Kerry Campaign and the DNC make of it?

MyDD :: New battlegrounds, and is the CBS/NYT's hiding a Florida poll?

MyDD :: New battlegrounds, and is the CBS/NYT's hiding a Florida poll?

Via Atrios, check this out. Word was that CBS/ NYT's were going to release a new FLA poll, but trashed it b/c it showed Kerry with a 4 point lead.


Bush Supports Civil Unions?

Yahoo! News - Bush Stance on Civil Unions Upsets Groups

Bush has gone off the reservation on this one. But the only people talking about it are the wingers.

Bush yesterday to ABC:
"I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so," Bush said in an interview aired Tuesday on ABC. Bush acknowledged that his position put him at odds with the Republican platform, which opposes civil unions.

"I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights," said Bush, who has pressed for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. "States ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that
enable people to be able to have rights like others."
WTF? Why aren't we hearing about this? Talk about a flip-flop. The Constitutional Amendment, that I believe the WH wrote, in fact, would ban civil unions.

This is from the WH:President Calls for Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage

Here is the Text of the Proposed Amendment

"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman." (emphasis added)


"The legal incidents thereof" are civil unions! What are civil unions if not the legal incidents of marraige?

Why aren't we talking about this. This is a huge flip-flop.

Click on the envelope below and email this to every rightwinger you know.

Commander Doesn't Back Up WH

Link

Blogger has been down since last night so this update is a little late.

The NYT's updates its story on Al Qaqaa with a very lame WH pushback that no one involved wants to support:
White House officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell.

But the unit's commander said in an interview yesterday that his troops had not searched the facility and had merely stopped there for the night on their way to Baghdad.

Including Bush himself:

President Bush's aides told reporters that because the soldiers had found no trace of the missing explosives on April 10, the explosives could have been removed before the American invasion. They based their assertions on a report broadcast by NBC News on Monday night that showed video footage of the 101st arriving at Al Qaqaa.

By yesterday afternoon, as Mr. Bush made his way through Wisconsin and Iowa, his aides had moderated their view, saying it was a "mystery" when the explosives disappeared. They said that it could have happened before or after the invasion and that Mr. Bush did not want to comment on the matter until the facts were known.

…."There was no sign of looting here," Colonel Anderson said. "Looting was going on in Baghdad, and we were rushing on to Baghdad. We were marshaling in."

A few days earlier, some soldiers from the division thought they had discovered a cache of chemical weapons that turned out to be pesticides. Several of them came down with rashes, and they had to go through a decontamination procedure. Colonel Anderson said he wanted to avoid a repeat of those problems, and because he had already seen stockpiles of weapons in two dozen places, did not care to poke through the stores at Al Qaqaa.

"I had given instructions, 'Don't mess around with those. It looks like they are bunkers; we're not messing around with those things. That's not what we're here for,' " he said. "I thought we would be there for a few hours and move on. We ended up staying overnight."

The Commander on the ground won't back them up, but hey, they still have the film crew from NBC?

Well, not really. Josh Marshall, who has been all over this has noted in a series of posts over the course of the day, yesterday:
The NBC story started falling apart when MSNBC interviewed one of the members of the news crew in question, who said that there hadn't been any search at all. A short time later Jim Miklaszewski came on to explain that indeed there had been no search and that what the NBC News crew saw didn't tell us much of anything about whether explosives were still there at the time the news crew arrived with the 101st Airborne on April 10th. By early evening, Tom Brokaw told Nightly News viewers in polite but no uncertain terms that they hadn't said what the White House was claiming they did.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Even His Puppets are Turning on Him

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Rebels: Iraq's Prime Minister Faults U.S. Military in Massacre

New low point for Bush. Even his puppet government in in Baghdad has turned on him. Could it be that they no longer fear him?
....In a speech before the interim National Assembly, the prime minister said a committee had begun investigating the ambush, the deadliest of the guerrilla war. The assault took place Saturday night in remote eastern Iraq, as three minibuses of unarmed Iraqi soldiers were heading south on leave. Insurgents dressed as policemen waylaid the men at a fake checkpoint, killed all 49 soldiers and their three civilian drivers, mostly with shots to their heads, and burned the vehicles.

"I think there was major negligence by the multinational forces," Dr. Allawi said before the 100-member assembly. "It was a way to damage Iraq and the Iraqi people."


Today's Message from Homeland Security

WSJ.com - Questions Mount Over Failure to Hit Zarqawi's Camp

WSJ.com - Questions Mount Over Failure to Hit Zarqawi's Camp

The WSJ makes very few articles available on-line for free. This piece, I mentioned earlier today, is an exception.

Another scandal no one seems to care much about.

....According to those who were involved during 2002 in planning an attack, the impetus came from Central Intelligence Agency reports that al Qaeda fighters were in the camp and that preparations and training were under way there for attacks on Western interests. Under the aegis of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tentative plans were drawn up and sent to the White House in the last week of June 2002. Officials involved in planning had expected a swift decision, but they said they were surprised when weeks went by with no response from the White House.

Then, in midsummer, word somehow leaked out in the Turkish press that the U.S. was considering targeting the camp, and intelligence reports showed that Mr. Zarqawi's group had fled the camp. But the CIA reported that around the end of 2002 the group had reoccupied the camp. The military's plans for hitting it quickly were revived.

Gen. Tommy Franks, who was commander of the U.S. Central Command and who lately has been campaigning on behalf of Mr. Bush, suggests in his recently published memoir, "American Soldier," that Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been in the camp during the months before the war. Gen. Franks declined to be interviewed or answer written questions for this article. In referring to several camps in northern Iraq occupied by al Qaeda fighters who had fled Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, Gen. Franks wrote: "These camps were examples of the terrorist 'harbors' that President Bush had vowed to crush. One known terrorist, a Jordanian-born Palestinian named Abu Musab Zarqawi who had joined al Qaeda in Afghanistan -- where he specialized in developing chemical and biological weapons -- was now confirmed to operate from one of the camps in Iraq." Gen. Franks's book doesn't mention the plans to target the camp.

Questions about whether the U.S. missed an opportunity to take out Mr. Zarqawi have been enhanced recently by a CIA report on Mr. Zarqawi, commissioned by Vice President Dick Cheney. Individuals who have been briefed on the report's contents say it specifically cites evidence that Mr. Zarqawi was in the camp during those prewar months. They said the CIA's conclusion was based in part on a review of electronic intercepts, which show that Mr. Zarqawi was using a satellite telephone to discuss matters relating to the camp, and that the intercepts indicated the probability that the calls were being made from inside the camp.

Life Long Conservative Voting D for First Time

Chicago Tribune Why I'm voting for John Kerry

I heard about this on NPR driving back from Peoria today. Chicago Trib conservative columnist Steve Chapman (and he really is conservative) just can't stomach 4 more years.

Here is an edited version of his tepid endorsement:

At the age of 50, I get few chances to try something entirely new. Come Nov. 2, I plan to take one of those rare opportunities. I'm going to vote for a Democrat for president.

I've never done it before, and I hope I never have to do it again. But President Bush has made an irresistible case against his own re-election. His first term has been one of the most dismal and costly failures of any presidency. His second promises to be even worse.

[why he is not crazy about Kerry snipped]

But I can't vote Republican this year--and the stakes demand using any available instrument to remove Bush. Kerry is not the ideal instrument, just as a rubber raft is not the optimal vessel on the open sea. But when the ship is sinking, you can't be choosy.…

[problems with Clinton also snipped] Bush has embraced that approach [nation building] in spades, taking possession of a country that posed no appreciable threat to us.

Now we are mired in a war that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers has said there is "no way to militarily win." For that, we can thank Bush.

As for the broader terrorist threat, we can also thank him for shortchanging the program to dismantle Russian nuclear weapons--which may someday wind up with Al Qaeda. More of those potentially "loose nukes" were destroyed in the two years before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks than in the two years after.

The war in Iraq is one reason government has expanded over the last four years. But only one reason. At his worst, Kerry would be hard-pressed to fatten the bureaucracy as much as Bush has done. Under Bush, domestic discretionary outlays have risen far faster than under Clinton.

The incumbent would have us believe that by cutting taxes, we can get more government for less. In fact, if you cut taxes while increasing outlays, you're not cutting taxes, just postponing them. We'll be paying for Bush's deficits for a long time.
….

The right-to-life movement's support of Bush rests mainly on the hope that he will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe vs. Wade. But a reversal of that decision is unlikely no matter whom he picks--and I doubt Bush really wants it overturned, lest Republicans pay a political price.

The only realistic way to combat abortion is to work ceaselessly over time to change attitudes about it. Bush, in his cowardly refusal to exercise leadership on the issue, has done nothing to change attitudes.

Respect for life, however, goes beyond abortion. The other big issue for "seamless garment" pro-lifers like me, who reject the taking of human life except in self-defense, is the death penalty. There, Bush is proudly in favor of killing people to show that killing people is wrong.

Kerry, it's true, is worse than Bush on some issues. But he can probably pass a test that Bush has failed, namely, avoiding catastrophe. [How’s that for a ringing endorsement!]
….

Bad things have been the hallmark of the Bush presidency, from either a conservative or a liberal perspective. On Nov. 2, we can let him expand the grave damage he has done to the national interest--or we can hold him accountable. I'll vote for John Kerry without high hopes or enthusiasm, but vote for him I will.

The New Yorker: Kerry for President

The New Yorker

As the presidential endorsements stream in, and greatly favor Kerry, I gave up trying to post them here. But this one is different. For the first time in its 80 year history, The New Yorker is endorsing a presidential candidate.

In keeping with New Yorker tradition, the endorsement goes on forever. Here is a very small portion:
The damage visited upon America, and upon America’s standing in the world, by the Bush Administration’s reckless mishandling of the public trust will not easily be undone. And for many voters the desire to see the damage arrested is reason enough to vote for John Kerry. But the challenger has more to offer than the fact that he is not George W. Bush. In every crucial area of concern to Americans (the economy, health care, the environment, Social Security, the judiciary, national security, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism), Kerry offers a clear, corrective alternative to Bush’s curious blend of smugness, radicalism, and demagoguery. Pollsters like to ask voters which candidate they’d most like to have a beer with, and on that metric Bush always wins. We prefer to ask which candidate is better suited to the governance of our nation.

Throughout his long career in public service, John Kerry has demonstrated steadiness and sturdiness of character. The physical courage he showed in combat in Vietnam was matched by moral courage when he raised his voice against the war, a choice that has carried political costs from his first run for Congress, lost in 1972 to a campaign of character assassination from a local newspaper that could not forgive his antiwar stand, right through this year’s Swift Boat ads. As a senator, Kerry helped expose the mischief of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International, a money-laundering operation that favored terrorists and criminal cartels; when his investigation forced him to confront corruption among fellow-Democrats, he rejected the cronyism of colleagues and brought down power brokers of his own party with the same dedication that he showed in going after Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal. His leadership, with John McCain, of the bipartisan effort to put to rest the toxic debate over Vietnam-era P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s and to lay the diplomatic groundwork for Washington’s normalization of relations with Hanoi, in the mid-nineties, was the signal accomplishment of his twenty years on Capitol Hill, and it is emblematic of his fairness of mind and independence of spirit. Kerry has made mistakes (most notably, in hindsight at least, his initial opposition to the Gulf War in 1990), but—in contrast to the President, who touts his imperviousness to changing realities as a virtue—he has learned from them.


GOP Plans for Voter Intimidation

Link

The BBC does what our national media refuses to do, and that is report on what is going on in FL:
A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.

You think that is bad, check this out:

In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective filming every "early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.

On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats.

Note that this is all taking place in Jacksonsville, Duvall County, FL. As I noted earlier , Duvall County is where Gore lost the Presidency and where Kerry will win it.

big Rod Shows Some Leadership

Illinois Governor Seeks Vaccine Abroad

I've already pointed out the extreme irony that Bush wants flu vacine from Canada. Well, gov Blagojevich is tired of waiting on these wimps to get the job done.

Here is the key graphs:
With reports of people in Illinois and around the country waiting hours in lines for flu shots and even driving to Canada for the vaccine, Governor Blagojevich, a Democrat, will ask the Food and Drug Administration today for permission to buy the added doses through European wholesalers at a rate he says he has already negotiated - $7 a dose.

The request is certain to raise new questions about a vaccine shortage that has left the nation with about half its normal supply: how quickly will the F.D.A. decide whether it is safe to import doses of the vaccine, and is it the role of state or local officials to find extra doses and buy them for their own residents?

Yesterday, Mr. Blagojevich's aides said he intended to send the 30,000 extra shots - perhaps more - to the state's most vulnerable residents, those in nursing homes. Without the extra shots, his aides said, the federal authorities have promised only 35,000 flu shots, all told, to Illinois's nursing homes, which have about 100, 000 residents.

The rest is here


WSJ: Bush Passed on Zarqawi Attack

Pre-blog I wrote about this in emails, most recently when the NBC story broke.

Now Kevin Drum at Washington Monthy has this:

The Wall Street Journal has un update today on the infamous NBC story about the Bush administration's unwillingness to take out Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's camp in Iraq in 2002. The NBC story claimed that the Pentagon had come up with three separate plans to take out Zarqawi's camp but was turned down for political reasons.

I haven't seen the Journal story, but Tapped has a summary and reports that they apparently confirmed the original NBC account: the Pentagon drew up several detailed options, they wanted to go after the camp, they thought an attack would succeed, but the administration turned them down.

Why? According to the Journal, the official excuse is that they couldn't be sure Zarqawi was in the camp, but no less a source than Tommy Franks — a George Bush supporter, remember — says that's not true. And even if it were, why not take out the camp anyway?

So far, the only answer left is the one from the original NBC report: Bush was afraid that eliminating a terrorist camp in Iraq would weaken his case for war. PR was more important than destroying a camp known to be a source of chemical weapons and global terrorist training.
This is far worse than the "weakness" that hawks like to ascribe to Bill Clinton. They're fond of mocking Clinton's pre-9/11 penchant for "lobbing a few cruise missiles at some tents," but it appears Bush wasn't even willing to go that far. And the end result is that the one guy in Iraq who really was trying to produce WMD for use in global terrorism got away. And the last I looked, Zarqawi's death toll since 2002 was up to nearly a thousand.

Shouldn't someone ask Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush a few pointed questions about this whole affair?

UPDATE: Laura Rozen has an excerpt from the Journal story.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Bush in Trouble in Battleground States

DonkeyRising

A few days ago, I highlighted some recent polls [which The Ward Report covered here] that showed solid leads for Kerry in the battleground states as a whole, states that were split about evenly between Gore and Bush four years ago.

Since then, Democracy Corps has released new data showing more of the same (a 7 point lead for Kerry in the battleground states). And Mystery Pollster looks at a substantially wider range of recent polls and finds Kerry's battleground performance running ahead of his national performance in every single one. As Chris Bowers points out over at MyDD, these data show Kerry averaging a 49-45 advantage in the battleground.

In addition addition to holding on to all "Gore States" Kerry will carry FL, OH, and at NH at least. He will win the electoral college by 100 votes.

And, not to pile on, but check but the latest unemployment data from the battleground states. Not a pretty picture, by and large, for BC04: Wisconsin and Iowa show increases in their unemployment rates in the last month and Ohio's remains stubbornly high at 6 percent.

And more good news.

New Polls Show Kerry leads by 8.8% in NH, 2% in FL

John Kerry leads George Bush 50.1 to 41.3 percent of New Hampshire LV's, according to a Center for Applied Public Opinion Research Poll conducted 10/18-21 for Franklin Pierce College. The poll scored Bush's approval rating at 45 percent.

John Kerry leads George Bush 50-48 percent of Florida LV's, according to a SurveyUSA Poll conducted 10/22-24.
And if Kerry leads by 2 with LV's that would suggest an actual lead of 4 or more points.

Despite Bush Lies, DoD needs More Cash

Increase In War Funding Sought (washingtonpost.com)

With 200 billion dollars appropriated for Iraq to date, Bush said they would need no more money next year. Well, they need more cash. Lots more cash. Like 70 billion dollars worth.

Just Imagine the outcry had a Democratic admin played politics with military funding.

....The Army is expected to request at least an additional $30 billion for combat activity in Iraq, with $6 billion more needed to begin refurbishing equipment that has been worn down or destroyed by unexpectedly intense combat, another Appropriations Committee aide said. The deferral of needed repairs over the past year has added to maintenance costs, which can no longer be delayed, a senior Pentagon official said.

The Army is expected to ask for as much as $10 billion more for its conversion to a swifter expeditionary force. The Marines will come in with a separate request, as will the Defense Logistics Agency and other components of the Department of Defense. The State Department will need considerably more funds to finance construction and operations at the sprawling embassy complex in Baghdad. The Central Intelligence Agency's request would come on top of those.

"I don't have a number, and [administration officials] have not been forthcoming, but we expect it will be pretty large," said James Dyer, Republican chief of staff of the Appropriations Committee.

Bush has said for months that he would make an additional request for the war next
year, but the new estimates are the first glimpse of its magnitude. A $70 billion request would be considerably larger than lawmakers had anticipated earlier this year. After the president unexpectedly submitted an $87 billion request for the Iraq and Afghanistan efforts last year, many Republicans angrily expressed sticker shock and implored the administration not to surprise them again.

This request would come on top of $25 billion in war spending allocated by Congress for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The two bills combined suggest the cost of combat is escalating from the $65 billion spent by the military in 2004 and the $62.4 billion allocated in 2003, as U.S. troops face insurgencies that have proven far more lethal than expected at this point.

How Much is 380 Tons of High Explosives?

Need some perspective?

380 tons of high explosive is one and one-half times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

380 tons of these explosives could bring down about 900,000 747's ala Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland.

380 tons of high explosives would be more than 4000 OK City courthouses.

There is no question that these explosives have been used in Iraqi bombings. Were they also used in Madrid and Saudi Arabia?

WaPo on Al Qa Qaa on April 5, 2003

Banned Iraqi Weapons Might Be Hard to Find (washingtonpost.com)

To those just in denial about US troops at the massive Iraqi weapons site, send them this story from the WaPo in April of 2003. We didn't have a problem with high explosives, we just need to find WMD to justify, after the fact, our invasion.

Too Many Lies to Keep Straight

In this AFP article today Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita suggests that the explosives at al Qa Qaa may have disappeared even before American troops arrived on the scene:
"We do not know when -- if those weapons did exist at that facility -- they were last seen, and under whose control they were last in ... It's very possible -- certainly it's plausible -- that it was the Saddam Hussein regime that last had control of these things."
But another Pentagon official who spoke to the Associated Press disagreed:
At the Pentagon, an official who monitors developments in Iraq said US-led coalition troops had searched Al-Qaqaa in the immediate aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and confirmed that the explosives, which had been under IAEA seal since 1991, were intact. Thereafter the site was not secured by U.S. forces, the official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
So where does the buck stop?

(via Josh Marshall)

Bill's Back!


Click to Enlarge

Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora and Bush is a Liar

In a criticism long overdue, John Kerry is calling Bush on the fact that they outsourced the Afgan war and let Bin Laden escape at Tora Bora. There is nothing new in this allegation.

Bush today in Colorado:

Now my opponent is throwing out the wild claim that he knows where bin Laden was in the fall of 2001, and that our military passed up the chance to get him in Tora Bora. This is an unjustified criticism of our military commanders in the field.

Well, here is how the story was reported in 2002:

U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight (washingtonpost.com)

(via Josh Marshall)

Sunday, October 24, 2004


(click to enlarge)A 1996 photograph of a bunker where high-density explosives were stored at Al Qaqaa, an Iraqi military facility south of Baghdad.

The Times Now has the Missing Explosives Story

Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq

The NYT's now has the story I pointed to earlier tonight. 380 TONS! Were stolen. Here is the key for context on what a disaster this is:

American weapons experts say their immediate concern is that the explosives could be used in major bombing attacks against American or Iraqi forces: the explosives, mainly HMX and RDX, could be used to produce bombs strong enough to shatter airplanes or tear apart buildings. The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the material of the type stolen from Al Qaqaa, and somewhat larger amounts were apparently used in the bombing of a housing complex in November 2003 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the blasts in a Moscow apartment complex in September 1999 that killed nearly 300 people.

And remember, this site was well known to the world before the war:

The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly warned about the danger of these explosives before the war, and after the invasion it specifically told United States officials about the need to keep the explosives secured, European diplomats said in interviews last week. Administration officials say they cannot explain why the explosives were not safeguarded, beyond the fact that the occupation force was overwhelmed by the amount of munitions they found throughout the country.

The Qaqaa facility, about 30 miles south of Baghdad, was well known to American intelligence officials: Saddam Hussein made conventional warheads at the site, and the I.A.E.A. dismantled parts of his nuclear program there in the early 1990's after the Persian Gulf war in 1991. In the prelude to the 2003 invasion, Mr. Bush cited a number of other "dual use" items - including tubes that the administration contended could be converted to use for the nuclear program - as a justification for invading Iraq.

After the invasion, when widespread looting began in Iraq, the international weapons experts grew concerned that the Qaqaa stockpile could fall into unfriendly hands. In May, an internal I.A.E.A. memorandum warned that terrorists might be helping "themselves to the greatest explosives bonanza in history."
There is no excuse for this debacle. This site and it's contents were well know to all and we were repeatedly warned to protect these explosives.

And 380 TONS did not just walk away. These explosives were taken by sophisticated thieves. We must assume that Al Qaeda now has 380 tons of super explosives.

As I wrote earlier today, we are much less safe today as a result of this. This is a monumental disaster that treatens people everywhere in the world, and they can blame us for this.

More Crimes Against Voters in FLA

Pasco: Election chief warns of absentee scam

As Atrios asks, when is the big media going to pick up this story?

...."The people who are soliciting your ballots in this manner are not elections officials," Pasco Elections Supervisor Kurt Browning warned Thursday.

The warning came after a phone call from a west Pasco woman. Other Florida counties have gotten similar complaints.

"We've had a bunch of them - 100 at least," said Bob Sweat, elections supervisor for Manatee County. "It's probably going on all over the state of Florida."

The Pasco woman said someone came to her home to collect her absentee ballot earlier this week. She said she was led to believe they were from the elections office. The woman told the strangers she hadn't completed the ballot, but they took it anyway.

The deception is the latest sign of the lengths to which some partisans appear ready to go in this election. Elections officials worry there will be many more complaints of overly aggressive behavior in attempts to affect the outcome of the presidential race.
Browning's office had not yet received the woman's absentee ballot Thursday. Given the circumstances, Browning arranged to send her another.

Other counties have had numerous complaints about similar misrepresentations.

"We've had a few people with those complaints - I'd say less than 10," said Dan Nolan, chief of staff for Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson. Johnson said he routinely advises voters to send their absentee ballots in via mail, or to bring it directly to his office.

In Manatee, there have been numerous complaints, and the Sheriff's Office is investigating.

Manatee Elections Supervisor Sweat said the people collecting the ballots appeared to know exactly who had absentee ballots. It is possible for political parties, candidates and political groups to get lists of voters who request the absentee ballots.

Sweat said it appeared the collections were occurring in neighborhoods full of low-income, minority and elderly residents.


Read the rest here

Shocker: Feith Mislead Congress and Nation

Sen. Carl Levin, says that Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith misled Congress about the US intelligence community's assessement of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaida. Levin has now issued a report on Feith and will ask the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to take "appropriate action" against him.

I'm not holding my breath, but certainly Feith is on my list of those who should go to jail.

Dirty Tricks in Columbus OH

Someone in Columbus Ohio seems to be calling voters, impersonating an employee from the local election board, and telling folks that the location of their precincts has been changed. The recipients of the calls seem to be disproportionately elderly.


This one's right out of the Karl Rove playbook.

(via Josh Marshall)

Battleground Polling with 9 Days to Go

DonkeyRising

By Alan Abramowitz

There have been 35 national polls released since the first presidential debate, not counting tracking polls. Bush holds an average lead of 1.5 percent in these 35 polls. There is no trend evident. In 19 polls released between October 1 and 15, Bush led by an average of 1.6 points. In 16 polls released since October 15, Bush led by an average of 1.4 points.

Here are the results in the 11 most important battleground states. These are the 11 states identified as the key battlegrounds by the N.Y. Times today.

State (EVs) October polls Mean Bush lead/deficit
FL (27) 14 +0.6
OH (20) 12 -1.7
PA (21) 10 -3.7
MI (17) 7 -4.0
WI (10) 9 -0.2
IA (7) 9 +0.7
NV (5) 5 +5.4
NM (5) 5 -0.6
MN (10) 5 -2.4
CO (9) 9 +5.3
NH (4) 9 -1.7

Based on the average of all October polls, Kerry is currently leading in 7 states with 87 electoral votes. Bush is currently leading in 4 states with 48 electoral votes. In addition to these battleground states, The Times has Kerry favored in states with 190 electoral votes with Bush favored in states with 213 electoral votes. Adding these to the electoral votes of the battleground states in which Kerry and Bush now have the edge and you get the following: Kerry 277, Bush 261.

Obviously, neither candidate has a secure lead in the Electoral College right now--a switch of one or two states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, or Florida could change the picture considerably. But based on this analysis of recent polls in the battleground states, if either candidate has a slight edge, it's John Kerry. And that's without even factoring in the expected late movement of undecided voters to Kerry.



1.5 Million New Voters in FLA!

Florida's Electoral Rolls Surge

Earlier, I had posted a story claiming 1 million new voters in FLA since 2000. Well, today the LA Times says 1.5 million. That is 18% more voters.

That is amazing.

AP Picks up RNC Distruction of Democrat Voter Registrations



In several battleground states across the country, a consulting firm funded by the Republican National Committee has been accused of deceiving would-be voters and destroying Democratic voter registration cards.

Arizona-based Sproul & Associates is under investigation in Oregon and Nevada over claims that canvassers hired by the company were instructed to register only Republicans and to get rid of registration forms completed by Democrats.

"We treat these complaints very seriously," said Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. The Democratic office-holder said three complaints were filed with election officials throughout the state. He declined to provide details, citing the
continuing investigation.

Substitute teacher Adam Banse wanted a summer job with flexible hours, so he signed up to knock on doors in suburban Minneapolis and register people to vote.

He quit after two hours. "They said if you bring back a bunch of Democratic cards, you'll be fired," Banse contends. "At that point, I said, `Whoa. Something's wrong here.'"

See the rest

Looted Explosives

Josh Marshall is reporting today that approximately 350 tons of super high exploves, RDX and HMX, kept under IAEA seal while Saddam was in charge, was looted after the invasion. As Josh correctly notes, "like so many other things" these very high expolosives where just left unguarded following the invasion.

Citing The Nelson Report, Josh also reports that the DOD has actively sought to cover this debacle up.


Quoting The Nelson Report:
Despite pressure from DOD to keep it quiet, the IAEA and the Iraqi Interim Government this month officially reported that 350-tons of dual-use, very high explosives were looted from a previously secure site in the early days of the US occupation in 2003. Administration officials privately admit this material is likely a primary source of the lethal car bomb attacks which cause so many US and Iraqi casualties. In the first presidential candidate debate, on foreign policy, Democratic nominee John Kerry charged that captured munitions and weapons were being turned against Coalition Forces, with US troops suffering 90% of the casualties. But the specifics of the losses from the Al Qa Qaa bunker and building complex, only now being reported, were apparently unknown outside of DOD and the US occupation authorities. The Bush Administration barred the IAEA from any participation in the Iraq invasion and occupation process, and blocked IAEA requests to help in the search for WMD and other dangerous materials.

Josh has more.

Not the kind of stuff we want in the hands of Jihadist. We are NOT safer as a result of this debacle.

Post Script: I'm told the NYT's has the story and will go with it tomorow on the front page. It will be curious to see just what kind of play it gets in the media.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Like Cockroaches

Big G.O.P. Bid to Challenge Voters at Polls in Key State

The R's are scared to death of all the new registered voters and are going to flood inner city neighborhoods with "poll watchers" to challenge all newly registered voters. They are going to intimidate as many people as possible to keep them from voting and many will do so aggressively.

They have 3600 people in Ohio alone who have been paid $100 for the day to "monitor the polls".

These people are like cockroaches and if we shine a light on them, they'll scatter. If you have volunteered to monitor the polls for our side and have a video camera, take it. When you go to vote and have a video camera, take it.

If these cockroaches know they are being filmed the will behave. If not, many will be as abusive and obnoxious as possible. There goal is to freighten people from voting. We cannot let that happen.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Good Catholic's Voters Guide

STL Post Link

This is just the kind of thing to get my blood boiling.


Since June, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has distributed 50,000 copies of a controversial voters guide to nearly half of its parishes. St. Louis is the only diocese in the country that ordered the guide to distribute to its parishes, according to Frank Norris, a spokesman for the organization that publishes the guide.

The message in the "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics" is similar to part of the message in Archbishop Raymond Burke's recent pastoral letter and is at odds with parts of a voting guide published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Some dioceses around the country, including the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., which Burke headed before coming to St. Louis, have banned the guide or discouraged its use, fearing action from the Internal Revenue Service....

...The 10-page "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics" lists five "non-negotiable" issues - abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex marriage - Catholics should consider when choosing a candidate.

"Candidates who endorse or promote any of the five 'non-negotiables' should be considered to have disqualified themselves from holding public office, and you should not vote for them," it reads.

"Citizens vote in favor of these evils if they vote in favor of candidates who propose to advance them . . . it is a serious sin to endorse or promote any of these actions."

It's time to challenge the 501(c)(3) status of the Saint Louis Archdiocese.

Noticeably absent from the list is capital punishment and the pursuit of unjust wars. Advocating and supporting torture are also noticeable absent.

follow-up (5:30 PM CDT):Call Archbishop Burke's office and let him know what you think of his political activities. Here is his contact info:

Offices and Agencies of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

Most Reverend Raymond Burke
4445 Lindell Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63108

Phone: 314-633-2222
fax: 314-633-2302

(thanks to reader Steve for the tip)

Looking for Volunteers

I received this today, by email:


Dear Don,

I've never written you before but I wanted to talk to you about the urgent need for volunteers in the battleground states and why your efforts are so important -- especially in these final, fast-paced and important days.

As the Democratic Party's national field director, it's my job to make sure we win this election on the ground. A big part of my work is to create and to implement the organizing strategy needed to win.

Another part of my job is to make sure the organizers in towns and cities where the election will be closest have the necessary resources.

Those resources come down to two things: people and money. Organizing is about putting people and money together in a way that creates power for a positive change.

You've helped us put together a field operation that is reaching out to voters. Now, I want you to see firsthand what you've helped us build by showing up to volunteer.

So here is what I'm asking you to do: get involved this weekend at the location listed below, bring a friend (or friends), and stay involved for these last days of the election.

Event: St Louis County Canvass

Meet at: 3234 Laclede Station Rd Maplewood, MO 63143

When: Saturday, October 23 at 09:30 AM

RSVP:https://volunteer.johnkerry.com/event/view/?id=30821&1=1

I've been through some really close elections and I believe that the hard work and commitment of our volunteers is a huge advantage. Everything you do will make a difference and together we can win.

Sincerely,
Karen Hicks National Field Director Democratic National Committee

P.S. from Don: For those of you not in St. Louis you can find another event near you, click on the link below to search our nationwide event database.

Show me other events in my state.

Senate Update

via Marcus:

Alaska

12th Monthly Poll Shows Knowles with Lead

Knowles leads Murkowski by 1.6 points with two weeks remaining.

With fourteen days to go, Knowles leads in the twelfth monthly poll conducted by Ivan Moore Research for Anchorage NBC affiliate KTUU Channel 2, Alaska's largest television station. This poll is the second in five days.

Last Friday, Ivan Moore compiled the data from the last five surveys - June, July, August, September and October - to examine positive-negative and head-to-head numbers. In both surveys, Knowles continues his lead despite Murkowski and her special interest friends spending more than a million dollars in advertising against him! Despite all that negative advertising, Knowles' approval ratings have actually increased!

Knowles continues to lead in this tight election. "Right now it stands with Tony Knowles still in the lead with 46.9 percent, Lisa a little closer at 45.3 percent. A lead of just 1.6 percent -- about as tight as it has been for all 12 surveys." [KTUU-TV, 10/19/04]

Oklahoma

Carson is up by 1 point

Hastert Down On Republican Chances In Illinois, Oklahoma

House Speaker Hastert predicted Tuesday that Republicans would "probably" lose their bid to keep Oklahoma's Senate seat and effectively conceded the GOP would lose its bid for Illinois' open Senate seat, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reported. During a meeting with the paper's editorial board, Hastert cast doubts on the GOP's effort in Oklahoma, where Democratic Rep. Brad Carson is locked in a tight battle with former GOP Rep. Tom Coburn to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Don Nickles. "We have a race in Oklahoma that we are probably not going to win. That's a Republican seat we are probably going to lose. Same thing in Illinois." Republican nominee Alan Keyes, a former presidential candidate, is facing off against state Sen. Barack Obama for the seat being vacated by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill.

Overall, Hastert said the GOP's worst-case scenario would be if the Senate ends up 50-50. "That makes it more paralyzed than it is now," Hastert said. Keyes, appearing separately before the paper's editorial board Tuesday, disputed Hastert's predictions. Meanwhile, at a meeting with the Elgin Courier News editorial board Tuesday, Hastert said Rep. Philip Crane, R-Ill., who is facing a tough re-election challenge from Democratic consultant Melissa Bean, "hasn't been back to his district probably as much as a younger guy would be." Although Hastert said Crane "will be there in the end," he said, "It's a tough race." Hastert said Crane has helped his district by taking care of jobs and economic and transportation issues. The League of Conservation Voters, which named Crane to its "Dirty Dozen" list Monday, began running TV ads today against the lawmaker in the Chicago market.

Colorado

Salazar at 50 in DSCC Poll, Bests Coors by 7, 50-43

While Coors is Mired in Mid 40’s, Salazar Hits 50 Percent, Has Momentum in Race

Washington – Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar is at the all important 50 percent mark among definite voters against Pete Coors in a poll being released today by the DSCC. In a poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group between 10/17 and 10/19 Salazar bests Coors 50 to 43 among definite voters and 49-43 among likely voters. The poll among 600 likely voters has a margin or error of +/- 4 percent.

“It could not be clearer that Ken Salazar has the momentum in this race and that the voters of Colorado are responding to his positive vision, his experience and his plans to help secure a prosperous future for every Colorado family,” said DSCC Chairman, U.S. Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ). “Ken is fighting for better jobs, better healthcare and a safer America and, unlike his opponent, he has the plans, ideas and experience to back up his words, with deeds.”

The Global Strategy Group poll is the third poll in the past 48 hours (Salazar campaign Poll, CNN/USA Today/Gallup) which shows Salazar at or near 50 percent and a lead over Coors outside of the poll’s margin of error.

South Dakota

Daschle is up by 3 points.

Florida

New Poll Show Race Tight. A Quinnipiac University poll of 1208 registered Florida voters, including a sub-sample of 808 likely voters (+/-3.5%), taken 10/15-10/19 shows Mel Martinez (R) and Betty Castor (D) tied at 47% among likely voters and Martinez leading 43%-41% among registered voters.

Kentucky

Bunning Leads By 14. A Survey USA automated poll of 623 likely Kentucky voters taken 10/17-10/19 for WHAS-TV Louisville and WLEX-TV Lexington shows Sen. Jim Bunning (R) leading challenger Dan Mongiardo (D) 53%-39% with 8% undecided or backing someone else.

Washington

Murray Up By Eight. A Strategic Vision poll of 801 likely Washington State voters taken 10/16-10/18 shows Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading challenger Rep. George Nethercutt (R) 49%-41% with 10% undecided.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bill's Back!

Kerry Pulls Out the Clinton Card (washingtonpost.com)

He had 4 way bypass surgery on Sept 6, and will make an appearance with Kerry at a rally on Monday in Philly. Amazing.

...Kerry had once hoped for an intensive October schedule by Clinton, but the surprise quadruple-bypass surgery the former president underwent on Sept. 6 made that impossible. The procedure has left him fatigued, friends said, and until
this week it was unclear whether any appearances would be possible.

Clinton issued recent e-mail appeals to Democrats asking them to make contributions and "to look in the mirror and ask: 'What more can I do to help?' "

Wondering Where Edwards has Been?

It's Gloves Off During Edwards's Speeches (washingtonpost.com)

Slugging it out in the so-called key swing states.

...The truth of the matter is, Iraq is a mess because this president and this vice president were incompetent," Sen. John F. Kerry's running mate told a largely blue-collar crowd. "They were incompetent in building a coalition. They were incompetent in having a plan. . . . If you want to know how successful this president and vice president will be on the war on terror, all you gotta do is look at their incompetence on Iraq."

Edwards said the word "incompetent" seven times in the first seven minutes of the speech.

Here, and in other battleground states in recent days, Edwards also has said that President Bush's "incompetence" extends to other areas, including his reaction to the shortage of flu vaccine. "When I talk about his incompetence, it runs across the board," Edwards said earlier this week in Windham, N.H. There, he also mocked Bush for a "solution" to the vaccine shortage that he offered during a presidential debate: not getting a shot himself....


Financial Breakdown of Campaigns

Link

Between the RNC and the Bush campaign, they have $108M, we $79M.

Both campaigns entered Oct with $37M in the bank.

The RNC raised $34.5M in September, where as the DNC raised $63M.

There are more details on ad spending, etc. Sufficient it to say, both sides will be spending it all by the end of the month.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Today's Message from Homeland Security

SurveyUSA Poll: Bush by 6 in MO

DonkeyRising

This is not bad news. -6 is competitive when you oppose an incumbent. Bush has pulled his advertising here. We can carry MO.

This is Really Bizarre

Pat Robertson: I Warned Bush On Iraq

Top evangelist Pat Robertson said he warned President Bush to prepare the American people for U.S. casualties in Iraq but that Mr. Bush replied, "We're not going to have any casualties."

The religious broadcaster, who is a strong Bush supporter, spoke about his pre-war conversation with the president Tuesday on CNN's "Paula Zahn Now" program.


This is really bizarre. Robertson very famously supports Bush, and in fact assured his flock last year that Jesus had confided to Robertson that Bush would be re-elected.

So what is Robertson's agenda here? Even if it is true, why would Robertson reveal it now?

The WH and Karen Hughes deny the remark.

Mike McCurry for Kerry:
"We believe President Bush should get the benefit of the doubt here, but he needs to come forward and answer a very simple question — was Pat Robertson telling the truth when he said he didn't think there'd be any casualties or is Pat Robertson lying?" the statement said.

The Kerry campaign needs to treat this lightly and let the media drum it up.

Bias in Gallup Poll LV's

DonkeyRising

When following polls, it is easy to just look at the results you like and dismiss those you don't. Some have accused me of doing this with the Gallup LV survey.

When you follow the polls as closely as I do, it is obvious that the Gallup LV survey is an outlier. Their LV numbers consistently do not match other polls. Yesterday, I pointed to an article in the LA Times that briefly touched on "weighting" results to, in theory, have a representative sample.

Well, Ruy Teixeira has a good analysis of the Gallup poll which seems to make an indisputable case that the Gallup likely voter screen clearly underrepresents minority and young voters.

Clearly, minority and young voters vote less consistently than affluent whites. But Ruy shows pretty clearly that Gallup's numbers presume rates of participation that defy history and common sense.

For instance, minority representation among voters in 1996 was 17% and in 2000 it was 19.4%. Yet Gallup says it'll be 14.5% this year. That's absurd since, as Ruy notes, minorities are growing as a percentage of the population and their inpact on furture elections is something that public opinion folks talk about all the time. Bush's 2000 pollster famously noted after that race that with changing demographics, if women and minorities voted in the same percentages in 04 as 2000, Bush would lose by 3 million voters.

With blacks, it was 10.1% in 1996 and 9.7% in 2000. But Gallup says that it'll fall this year to 7.5%.

On young voters (18-29 year olds), it's a similar story. Young voters made up 17% of the electorate in 1996 and 2000. This year, says Gallup, they'll account for only 11%. I understand that it is very difficult to project how young voters will vote in 04, but to assume less will vote is bizarre.

Note: the demographic breakdown numbers Ruy used came from Steve Soto, who has a further discussion of these demographic problems in the Gallup numbers on his website.