Thursday, April 29, 2004

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but if you throw something in my lap that looks and smells like a conspiracy, I may bite. What else am I to think concerning this electronic voting machine scandal? On the surface, it would appear as if the Republicans are all for these machines since their party controls Congress and we have yet to see anything in the way of a motion or bill to require a paper trail. However, when you think about it, I would argue that senior citizens as a group would tend to be more Republican than Democrat. And I would also argue that these same seniors will have difficulty operating these machines (a guess, but one also based on anecdotal evidence: interviews of people who have observed such trouble at polling booths equipped with these machines). So, you would think that the Republicans would want to insure that their base-supporters would be assured of having a clear-cut way to vote 100% Republican, and yet I have not heard a peep of protest. Hmmm. It’s for this reason that I tend to believe in the conspiracy that the machines can be rigged, i.e. they don’t even need the seniors to vote with intent….

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The Saudis at work?

$40 a barrel, here we come....? (only to then come crashing to $25 per barrel before Nov. election, serving as a huge 37.5% "tax cut"....)
Ahh, The Irony

Bush/Cheney have incessantly pounded home that Iraq possesses WMD in the form of uranium, mustard gas, sarin, etc., and yet we have found nothing (oh right, so far….). And yet, when it comes to North Korea, it’s quite a different story. Whereas it was once estimated that the North Korean WMD arsenal consisted of two nukes, it’s now assumed to be “at least eight.”

Why don’t we invade this next member in the Axis of Evil? My guess would be because 1) North Korea lacks anything we want (read: oil), and 2) they definitely have WMD! The latter point being that this administration is not likely insane enough to knowingly send thousands of American troops into a country that has WMD. All the more reason they likely sent troops into Iraq….
Not just jobs have been offshored....

Dana Milbank recently writes about the extent of secrecy within this administration, to the point where the best source of information for Americans has become international channels. Quite pathetic.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I sporadically tune in to Limbaugh's radio show just to hear what the Republican talking points are of late. After listening to him in five-minute bursts, it astounds me how anyone can listen to him and literally believe much of the cr*p he spews. Just yesterday, he was decrying Planned Parenthood and reminding us that this organization originally had roots in racism. He was making the case that PP was in the business of selectively extinguishing the lives of African-Americans. Whether that's true or not aside, it's painful to hear Rush suddenly become concerned with the minorities of this country! I couldn't take it anymore and turned off the radio.

In another five-minute sample, I then hear Rush slamming Kerry on his military record. It's just astounding. You'd think with Bush's supposed military record and the recurring controversy surrounding it that Rush and company would treat this subject as taboo. Yet, it's almost as if they've said to themselves, "that's exactly what the left, and reasonable people, would expect from us -- let's show them we're not afraid!!"

Monday, April 26, 2004

A terrific piece by John Rosenthal, neatly summarizing all that's gone wrong with the Iraq situation. It's eye-opening to read such laundry-list-type articles, with the progression of inexcusable mistakes and questionable motives serving to make one's head spin and blood boil. Rosenthal points out the refusal of hawks to consider new facts as they become known and to constantly dodge & weave with regards to why we went to war in the first place:

".... the Iraq war was never sold to the American people on humanitarian grounds. This is merely the latest attempt to revise the argument whenever the previously stated justification for war bumps against the truth. Instead of reconsidering their position in light of new facts, the hawks simply dig in their heels and raise their voices."

One could make the case that there's nothing more dangerous to our soldiers than military decision makers who utterly refuse to acknowledge new facts.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

National Review Online has been writing about the PA U.S. Senate race, describing Republican incumbent Specter as too liberal (!). The zealousness of the hardcore right-wing of the GOP has managed to once again show they are quite adept at eating their own. Not satisfied with having a senior Senator to wield some clout for constituents, NRO has labeled Specter as the "worst Republican senator." Paul Kengor has written an article about how the state race comes down to the abortion issue, however curiously nowhere in his piece does he make any comment concerning Bush's endorsement of Specter. Instead, he discusses at length Reagan's strong fortitude on the topic, even going so far as to state, "abortion was a moral issue on which he (Reagan) refused to compromise as president." And yet Kengor also states, "Ronald Reagan, the man whom George W. Bush most resembles politically." Really? But I thought George W. has endorsed Specter, the pro-choice candidate...? Way to draw that moral line in the sand G.W.! How can Kengor get this so fundamentally wrong?! Far-right anti-abortion Republicans should be just as outraged at Bush as they are with Arlen, no? Simple logic once again escapes them.
The word "FOX" is normally associated with ultra-rightwing reporting, so it was odd to see Drudge blaring that the Bush administration is unhappy with Fox's soon-to-be-released $125 mil. "THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW." The flick is about the end of the world thanks to global warming. Bush/Rove have apparently instructed internal personnel to not comment on the movie. Assuming FOX movie studios have any relation to Murdoch, to release this thing during an election year is strange. But then again, we all know it's based on "junk science," right?
A terrifically well-reasoned op-ed in the New York Times by Person-Of-The-Year-So-Far, Richard Clarke. I ask, when does he run for political office? Senator Richard A. Clarke has a beautiful ring to it....
What's the point....?

Although blogging is as much a personal joy as it is an attempt to convey views and perhaps change a few, with this story today in the Washington Post (which confirms what we've known for some time), one has to wonder what's the point of it all. Apparently, the country is divided, and stridently so. Those who are going to vote Bush or Kerry are already dead-set in their minds, leaving a scant few to be won over or converted. Thus, Air America Radio and the many left-leaning blogs are doing their best to get the truth out, but in effect to win over just 3 out of every 10 voters. It appears as if for the most part they're singing to the choir (assuming that the dead-set Bush voters simply refuse to tune in). However, as depressing as it may seem that no matter what we do, we'll never get through to the majority of Bush voters (it indeed drives me crazy, esp. when they're family members), the upside resides within the tremendous leverage represented by these less-decided swing voters. Change the mind of just a few and victory awaits!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Extremely well put, by the Center for American Progress:

As a presidential candidate in 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush promised that, if elected, he would use the full weight of the White House to pressure oil-producing countries to increase production if there was a gas-price crisis. He charged, "The president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price" and promised that as president he would "convince them to open up the spigot to increase the supply." Yet, when Saudi Arabia led the fight within OPEC last month to cut production and raise prices, the president "refused to lean on the oil cartel" and refused to even "personally lobby OPEC leaders to change their minds." Now, with esteemed journalist Bob Woodward reporting that the Bush administration and top Saudi officials agreed to manipulate oil prices in conjunction with the 2004 election, President Bush's passivity towards Saudi Arabia is raising disturbing questions.

For months now, it struck me as odd that during an election year, you would figure the incumbent president would raise somewhat of a stink over rising gas-at-the-pump prices. It's a no-brainer political posturing issue. The President publicly states "it's an outrage!" to at least look like he cares about the woes of average Americans. Yet, Bush has been silent on the matter.

I thought that given such rising prices serve effectively as a regressive tax, it figured that Bush would not care (his concerns are with the top 1% wage earners). Or perhaps that such rising prices translated into more profits for his oil industry buddies, again explaining the silence. But with Woodward's revelation that this surge in oil prices was by Saudi design, allegedly known by Bush, it all now makes sense. With pump prices broaching the $2 per gallon level, causing gas-guzzling SUV & minivan owners to scream and holler, it would just make the relief that much more noticeable and welcomed when Saudi Arabia opened the spigots to dramatically lower prices -- with Bush then likely taking credit (claiming it was his behind-the-scenes negotiations that did the job). Gads, you can just see Rove praising this repulsive plan.

Did Bremer suffer from a moment of sanity? What else would explain a Bush team member admitting to mistakes (plural!).... Also, despite the correction concerning the coffin photos of American soldiers, the point remains that purposeful confusion and secrecy is the norm with this administration when it comes to fully & properly accounting for and informing the public of wounded and dead U.S. soldiers.

Friday, April 23, 2004

More evidence that Bush may not be such a wonderful Christian…. Why has it taken this long for the Christian Leaders to come out against Bush’s environmental policies? It’s not as if his environmental record has suddenly become abysmal….

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Is Bush truly a devout Christian?

Pennsylvania will have its Republican primary next week and challenger Pat Toomey has reportedly closed Arlen Specter's lead to just 5%. Bush has endorsed Specter. Leaving aside the fact that the collapse in Specter's lead despite Bush's backing speaks volumes about Bush's reduced clout, it occurred to me that the main stance separatinging the two candidates is the issue of abortion. Specter is pro-choice, Toomey is pro-life.

I could be wrong, but if Bush is a self-proclaimed born-again big-time Christian, and he's been an extremely popular figure for the pro-life wing of the Republican Party, than why is he endorsing the pro-choice candidate? Unlike any other political issue, abortion is hot-button and I had always thought by definition it left very little room for compromise. Those on the pro-life side typically invoke religious belief as their #1 supporting argument. The Bible or God says it is wrong -- end of story.

If that is true, apparently Bush is only pro-life when it is politically favorable to be pro-life. In this case, he (and Karl Rove) have found it to be a smarter move politically to back the pro-choice candidate. What does this say about Bush's credentials as a devout pro-life Christian? Why aren't other Republican pro-life Christians speaking out about this seemingly perverse endorsement? Doesn't this further portray a president that will say one thing (and not mean it), but then do another?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Woodward appears to confirm what we've heard before: that Bush confers with God when it comes to making decisions. When asked what his father, George H., advised about going to war with Iraq, George W. said, "There is a higher father that I appeal to."

Should a U.S. president admit to receiving policy direction from God? Is he implying that one of the reasons we went to war against Iraq is because God told him to do so? Is this a smart move, esp. given the current geopolitical climate, where one could make the case that such a statement could actually incite terrorist attacks against this country? And what about those Americans that don't necessarily believe in God....? Is the U.S. a secular nation or a Christian nation?

I'm both confused and afraid....

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Bush Inc. has decided to use taxpayer dollars to further promote his reelection message by way of the Treasury Department. Again, if this were Clinton....
Iraq situation = Vietnam? Not so fast as it's looking more like Iran-Contra....

According to Bob Woodward, the Bush administration conducted a deliberate circumvention of Congress to divert $700 million into a secret war plan. In addition, he states that on "Saturday, Jan. 11, with the president's permission, Cheney and Rumsfeld call Bandar to Cheney's West Wing office, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Myers, is there with a top-secret map of the war plan. And it says, 'Top secret. No foreign.' No foreign means no foreigners are supposed to see this.... They describe in detail the war plan for Bandar." Finally, the Saudis insinuate that they will get the price of oil down in hopes of influencing a U.S. presidential election.

As always, I have to apply the well-worn Clinton litmus test: what would the Republicans be doing right now if all of this was known and Clinton was in office? If they took him to the impeachment mat over lying about oral sex, you have to believe Bill would be toast at this point, no?? Gads, just outrageous.

I have a question: why is it Mike Malloy remains without a radio show / employer? I happened to discover Mike streaming on the internet about three weeks prior to the cancellation of his show. During those three weeks, I was impressed by the breadth of Mike's knowledge on the issues, but even more so I found his overt conviction & passion extremely refreshing. Yes, at times he appeared to go over the top, which may be why Air America has hesitated to hire him for a weekend slot, or even 11pm-2am weekdays. He may have to tone down the "Bush crime family" language. However, isn't one of the main reasons for Air America's existence is to go head-to-head, toe-to-toe with the Limbaughs and Hannitys of the air waves? To provide an alternative to the bland, NPR-like liberal radio that was currently available? If so, then Mike is your guy. As fired up as he could get at times (which became extremely effective & infectious), I never once recall Mike stooping to irresponsible levels -- which right wing radio makes a daily habit of doing. He never made outlandish statements simply to shock or provoke, but rather his main goal matched mine: to provide the truth and incite those who didn't believe it. This motto rubs diametrically opposite to what this administration hopes to achieve: run from the truth, offer deception, and hope most people just buy into it, too lazy to look further....
This morning on Air America Radio, they were discussing presidential election strategy with Congressman Charles Rangel. The congressman from NY reminded listeners that this election will likely come down to just two or three states. Quite a sobering reminder.

The Washington Post poll out this morning would seem to confirm this statement. Despite Bush receiving more negative verdicts than positive on a host of issues, the bottom line is Bush comes out ahead of Kerry, 47% vs. 42%. How could this be, especially since 57% believe this country is on the "wrong track" (vs. 42% "right track")? The answer can be found in the fact that of those supporting each candidate strongly, Bush gets 84% vs. Kerry's 65%. The fact is Bush has a greater number of supporters who are strictly locked in to their candidate. They are going to vote Bush come hell or high water as he can do no wrong in their eyes. Obviously, Kerry has a lower count of such devout voters. A large segment of Bush voters are diehard fans who don't care a hoot about any recent revelations concerning Richard Clarke, Bob Woodward, 9-11 testimony, etc. Their hands cover their ears as they hum loudly, not wanting to hear the truth.

That said, Bush does not have to spend one dollar of his enormous war chest on many states, populated by such blind followers. He can focus his mighty arsenal on just a few swing states, bombarding them with enough spaghetti-against-the-wall propaganda until something sticks ala Willie Horton style. All of this sadly presents a grim picture for Kerry. I come across diehard Bush types all the time and it's clear to me that to change the mind of such folks would require an act of heinous stupidity far surpassing that of say Watergate. We're talking enormous denial.

I don't mean to paint an utterly hopeless situation, but before one can achieve victory one needs to understand and recognize hurdles to be overcome.

Monday, April 19, 2004

If credibility is to be the numero uno theme this election, than this picture would tend to work against Bush (among other things).
How about an "August Surprise"....

The Bush family and Saudi Arabia have a long history together. It appears as if the Saudis may do all they can to aid Bush's reelection chances. From "60 Minutes" last night:

Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.

Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: “They’re [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly.”
Last week on Air America Radio, Al Franken interviewed New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston, author of Perfectly Legal, a book that exposes our rigged tax system. During the discussion, Johnston specifically mentioned a particularly disturbing tax evasion idea hatched just one month after the 9-11 tragedy by Ernst & Young. It involved an inversion process whereby a corporation would reincorporate in Bermuda and eventually become a tax-free entity. E & Y's big concern at the time was the appearance of a lack of patriotism. However, E & Y partner Kate Barton stated, "A lot of companies feel that . . . the improvement on earnings is powerful enough to say that maybe the patriotism issue should take a back seat."

Outrageous, right? Yet, when you attempt to find news articles about this item via Google News, using "ernst & young" and "inversion" as keywords, you get nothing. Apparently, this egregious bit of news was not worthy of being reported. Nice to see the liberal media hard at work!
Go figure. Hillary was simply 10+ years ahead of her time concerning healthcare. And with her Sunday NY Times mag cover feature, one has to wonder if veep is still in the cards for her....
And you thought Reagan was king of the cut-tax-and-spend....

Apparently, Congress tried to fix a mere $5 bil. tax problem and in the process, created a Frankenstein-like, pork-filled bill to the tune of $170 bil. in spurious special interest tax cuts. It's so bad that one of the lobbyists involved in this act of thievery states that with this bill things have "risen to a new level of sleaze." Oh well, there's always the chance fiscally-prudent (!) Bush will veto the bill....
I have not had a chance to view the Woodward "60 Minutes" segment, but I have a question: how is it such a celebrated journalist as Woodward, who is supposedly adept at uncovering the truth, writes a 400-page book about Bush and 9-11 ("Bush At War") and after interviewing over 100 sources, is not able to come up with any of the earth-shattering revelations that now form the basis for his second book? Did he come across much of this stuff while researching the first Bush book and said to himself, "oh boy, I have a juicy second book all set for election year -- yippee!"....? It makes you wonder.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

If "the United States is gravely concerned for regional peace and stability" in the Mideast given the latest Hamas assassination, we have a funny way of showing it. No outright condemnation of the killing, whereas at least Britain mustered up that the act was "unlawful, unjustified and counter-productive." Even of more concern: reports that Sharon is operating in full election-mode with regards to these recent assassinations (versus the Bush administration's support for such acts as Israel having the right to defend itself). Quite a difference. And of even greater concern is the suggestion that Bush & Co. endorse the idea of encouraging unrest in the Middle East to bring about Armageddon, The Rapture, et al.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Another week, another book enlightening the public about the Bush administration. Next up, a second book by Bob Woodward -- this time lacking the puffery.

Key statements from a conservative, no less:

Woodward's book, combined with the O'Neill and Clarke accounts, ``is not going to help the president's credibility,'' said Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan.

``It's pretending to do one thing and doing another,'' Korb said in an interview yesterday. ``If you look at the preponderance of evidence, it becomes pretty clear'' that Bush was focused on Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks, Korb said.

Lying about oral sex = grounds for impeachment.... Telling lies to start a war, resulting in over 600 dead U.S. soldiers so far = A-OK.....


Let Impeachment Hearings Begin...

Bob Woodward will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday to discuss yet another book about Bush's obsession with Iraq. Based on just this press release from CBS, this is gonna be big :

In the interview, Woodward talked about how the administration was able to finance secret preparations for the Iraq war.

"President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, 'What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq?' What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret," says Woodward.

"...The end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. ...Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."

So Bush illegally diverted money in order to plan an secret war? Hmmm....doesn't this all sound familiar??