Sunday, October 31, 2004

Honestly, which sounds like the better choice?
David Gergen, a writer and political commentator who worked for Clinton as well as a succession of Republican presidents, said American politics has rarely offered such a stark contrast in leadership models. The choice, he said, is "between fact-based versus intuition-based policies." Confronted with a policy decision, Gergen believes, Kerry's instinct is to study and seek to master the complexities of his choice; Bush's instinct is to act quickly, in the belief that a leader is better off to drive events and circumstances rather than be driven by them.

It's truly amazing that given the choice between fact-based and gut instinct (intuition), this country is having a difficult time selecting the superior attribute. Why don't we tell our kids to skip studying and tackle their school exams based on intuition and gut instinct?
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Human Rights Watch said Saturday it alerted the U.S. military to a cache of hundreds of warheads containing high explosives in Iraq in May 2003, but that officials seemed uninterested and still hadn't secured the site 10 days later.

The disclosure, made by a senior leader of the New York-based group, raised new questions about the willingness or ability of U.S.-led forces to secure known stashes of dangerous weapons in Iraq.

As Bush/Cheney have been pounding home, (with these guys in charge) be afraid, be VERY afraid.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I've read many Kerry newspaper endorsements over the last several days and I must admit that GW has made it easy on these writers. The sheer number of reasons why NOT to vote for this guy is astounding. It's as if each writer stopped writing simply because of constrained space. One could write pages as to why Kerry is the wiser choice; it literally writes itself.

I came across the following endorsement by Michael M. Thomas of the NY Observer that is one of the better versions of the ABB kind. Many a right-winger has groused, "How can you vote for someone solely because the other candidate is seemingly so bad?" I refrain from asking, "Oh really? I suppose you were completely head-over-heels in love with that Dole guy when he challenged 'evil' Bill...." Well, for those still perplexed, read the following to better understand:
This voter is going to pull the lever for Kerry-Edwards.

I will do so with a certain hesitation, realizing that this puts me on the same side of the aisle with a bunch of people—in the media, mainly—for whom it is hard not to feel unmitigated intellectual contempt, if only because their unreasoning, shrill and narrow Bush-hatred has engendered a revulsion in a great many thoughtful middle-of-the road Americans that has made this election a good deal closer than it should have been, and permitted doubt and indecision to linger much longer than they should have. We don’t want to be seen in public with Ann Coulter, say, but we equally don’t want to be identified with the crowd at The Nation. We no longer care what the Scaife gang may have done or not done to Bill Clinton; most of us feel that Mr. Clinton put himself in a bad spot to begin with. We no longer care about the 2000 election. Al Gore isn’t running in this one—which is the only election we care about.

My own mind was made up over the weekend. I am not an America-blamer, but I cannot help feeling some personal responsibility, some deep shame at the carelessness on our part that led to the murder of 49 young Iraqi men being trained to do a job whose objective is to let us get out of a situation we should never have been in. This event, more than any other, underlines the contemptible moral indifference and the criminal lack of grasp that is the essence of Mr. Bush’s and Mr. Cheney’s administration. Nor can any reasonable person continue to accept the administration’s claim that America is safer today, when enough high-tech explosive materiel to blow up half the globe has gone missing on their watch. Some of that stuff is going to turn up in this country, mark you: on an F train, in a container on the docks of Los Angeles or New Orleans, in the cargo hold of an Airbus, in the basement of 7 Liberty Plaza.

Whatever he is, or isn’t, John Kerry is not mad, and I am no longer certain that the President isn’t. Last week I referred to Mr. Bush as "George of Arc," and I believe the comparison with the voices-driven warrior maid of Domremy holds. As my Cambridge Biographical Dictionary puts it: "Belief in her divine mission made her flout military advice—in the end disastrously." As the news from Iraq has steadily worsened, the President seems to be increasingly faith-driven, relying on inner voices to drown out dissent or any suggestion that Iraq is a mistake—actually, Iraq is what you get when you hire a management consulting firm, a Mc-Kinsey, say, or an Accenture, to design you a war—and to reassure him that he’s done and is doing the right thing.

In a word, I think the President may be unbalanced; he may be playing with considerably fewer than the 52 cards we expect to find when we fan out the Presidential deck. Through all three debates, I kept trying to put my finger on what it was about the President’s tics and twitches that bothered me. "Trying to put my finger on"—oh, cut the crap! I was simply rejecting what my eyes and ears were telling me: This guy is f——— nuts!

And while he gives himself over to his private angelic chorus, the clever men, sensing a last good chance, fan out from behind the arras to complete the globalized larceny that has been Mr. Cheney’s thief’s-dream since the 2001 inaugural: to steal for his corporate and K Street controllers what can be. You want an example? Here’s a good recent one. The administration passed a bill, with much fanfare, to pay for AIDS drugs for disease-ravaged African countries like Uganda. Then the K Street boys got busy. Instead of using the U.S. subventions to buy readily available drugs at generic prices—between one-third and one-sixth of list—the initiative specifies that this particular withdrawal on the Public Capital buy the drugs from the big pharmaceutical companies at full price. More whimper for the buck, you might say, but what the hell: just as long as the fat cats get fatter. It has the doctors in Africa who are trying to stem the epidemic shaking their heads in disbelief.

At the end of the day, it is impossible not to feel grave reservations about both candidates. But there’s a big difference: Reservations with respect to Mr. Kerry are grounded in uncertainty. But the reservations I feel about Mr. Bush are grounded in certainty. With the former, I worry about the nation; with the latter, I fear for it. Those to me are grounds enough.

Friday, October 29, 2004

THE CHICKENHAWKS: "Conservatives make great fun of President Clinton for questioning the Vietnam War, standing up to his beliefs and questioning his own participation in that war as well, i.e., being honest and walking the walk of his own belief system [and then giving up his student deferment to subject himself to the draft!]. On the other hand there were literally millions of dishonest hypocritical, cowardly right-wing loonies who supported the war while refusing to personally participate." (from

Nearing the eve of perhaps the most important Tuesday in decades, thought it would be a good idea to list some notable chickenhawks (other than the rooster himself, GW):

Bill O'Reilly
Rush Limbaugh
Sean Hannity
Michael Savage
Karl Rove
Ted Nugent
Bill Bennett
Dick Cheney
Don Rumsfeld
Paul Wolfowitz
Ann Coulter
Newt Gingrich
Joe Scarborough
Richard Perle
Tom DeLay
Denny Hastert
Trent Lott
Roger Ailes
Brit Hume
Bill Kristol
John Ashcroft
Dick Armey
Charlie Daniels
From Bad To Worse

The 300+ tons of missing high-explosives could just be the tip of the iceberg. This Tuesday cannot come fast enough:
Vast amounts of weapons-related material missing, official says

By Jonathan S. Landay
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The more than 320 tons of missing Iraqi high explosives at center stage in the U.S. presidential election are only a fraction of the weapons-related material that's disappeared in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion last year.

Huge amounts of arms and ammunition were stolen from military sites, and there's "ample evidence" that Iraqi insurgents are firing looted weapons at U.S. troops and using some of them in car bombs and improvised explosive devices, said a senior U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.N. officials also are concerned about the disappearance of sensitive equipment and controlled materials that could be used to develop nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

"If this equipment is finding itself on the open market, then anybody with money can buy it," said Dimitri Perricos, acting head of the U.N. Monitoring and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC), the U.N. weapons inspection agency.

The CIA has convened a "mini taskforce" of experts to assess precisely what equipment is gone and what threat it could pose if it fell into the wrong hands, said two U.S. officials.

In a new disclosure, the senior U.S. military officer and another U.S. official, who also spoke on condition he not be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said that an Iraqi working for U.S. intelligence alerted U.S. troops stationed near the al Qaqaa weapons facility that the installation was being looted shortly after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003.

But, they said, the troops took no apparent action to halt the pillaging.

"That was one of numerous times when Iraqis warned us that ammo dumps and other places were being looted and we weren't able to respond because we didn't have anyone to send," said a senior U.S. military officer who served in Iraq.
Hypocrisy! (again)

USA Today reports NAACP in potential trouble due to anti-Bush comments:
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the tax-exempt status of the nation's oldest civil rights organization, saying criticism of President Bush at the NAACP's national convention in July may have violated rules against partisan activity.

In a letter dated Oct. 8, the IRS said it had "received information" that NAACP Chairman Julian Bond "condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush on education, the economy and the war in Iraq" in a July 11 speech.

Fine, investigate away IRS. HOWEVER, what about Jerry Falwell? Recall I wrote about this on Sept. 30th. He, and other religious organizations, have been (for years) overtly vocal about supporting Bush -- where's the in-kind investigation(s)? Oh, right, I get it, he's for Bush, and that makes it A-OK.

Yup, fast on our way to becoming a banana republic....
BRUCE! has key state Wisconsin going to Kerry this morning. Could the tide change be due to:

(He campaigned there yesterday)
There's something there!

OK right-wing conspiracy nuts, what do you make of this? (from Daily Kos)
Dr. Robert Nelson thinks he could get sent into early retirement for speaking out, but he probably hasn’t considered that he might find himself on the next one-way trip to check out Saturn’s moons if Dubyanocchio gets a second term. That’s because, in Friday’s, Nelson declares himself on the notorious “bulge”:

"I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate. …This is not about a bad suit. And there's no way the bulge can be described as a wrinkled shirt."

A senior research physicist with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Nelson is an internationally recognized authority on image analysis. The last couple of days he’s been poring over the photographs that the Cassini spacecraft is sending back from frigid Titan. Before that, however, for the past week, he was working on this:

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Remember how wrong this was just days before the 2000 election?

Kerry in a landslide?
Rudy Blames the Troops

The president was cautious the president was prudent the president did what a commander in chief should do. 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?

It's one thing for GW to refuse to except blame for anything, to pass the buck always. It's what he does, he's been doing it his entire life. But what's Rudy Giuliani's excuse?! Wow, has this guy fallen from the pedestal in terms of heroic status. With his pathetic performance at the Republican Convention and now this truly mystifying and repugnant statement, Rudy's true colors are now known. He's simply a Bush suck-up who is not above pandering and self-serving behavior.

What glimmer was there is now long gone.

The Sierra Club is compiling a list of 100 environmental reasons to NOT vote for Bush/Cheney. They're up to #95. Please visit and read through this list. It's incredible.

And don't fall for the lame-o right-wing excuse that much of the environmental problems in our country today cannot be blamed on Bush/Cheney, but rather have been occurring for MANY years -- not just the last four. Look, we've had documented success over the last 30+ years in terms of cleaning up the environment and we've since seen in the last year or two documented evidence that this progress has halted and reversed on many fronts in just the last four years. In addition, it goes without saying that the many reversals and changes this administration has conducted on existing environmental laws and regulations will not show their repercussions until many years in the future. It's the same thing with someone taking vitamins: they're not going to show results in just the few weeks or even years after the start of taking them, but rather the beneficial effects will become evident over the ensuing decades.

It's ludicrous to even have to explain this stuff but trust me, with many right-wing folks, you have to lay out what's obvious!
The Height of Incompetence

In yesterday's Boston Globe:
According to an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued earlier this month, there was "widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraq's nuclear program." This includes nearly 380 tons of high explosives suitable for detonating nuclear weapons or killing American troops. Some of the looting continued for many months -- possibly into 2004. Using heavy machinery, organized gangs took apart, according to the IAEA, "entire buildings that housed high-precision equipment."

This equipment could be anywhere. But one good bet is Iran, which has had allies and agents in Iraq since shortly after the US-led forces arrived.

This was a preventable disaster. Iraq's nuclear weapons-related materials were stored in only a few locations, and these were known before the war began. As even L. Paul Bremer III, the US administrator in Iraq, now admits, the United States had far too few troops to secure the country following the fall of Saddam Hussein. But even with the troops we had, the United States could have protected the known nuclear sites. It appears that troops did not receive relevant intelligence about Iraq's WMD facilities, nor was there any plan to secure them. Even after my briefing, the Pentagon leaders did nothing to safeguard Iraq's nuclear sites.

I supported President Bush's decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein. At Wolfowitz's request, I helped advance the case for war, drawing on my work in previous years in documenting Saddam's atrocities, including the use of chemical weapons on the Kurds. In spite of the chaos that followed the war, I am sure that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein.

It is my own country that is worse off -- 1,100 dead soldiers, billions added to the deficit, and the enmity of much of the world. Someone out there has nuclear bomb-making equipment, and they may not be well disposed toward the United States. Much of this could have been avoided with a competent postwar strategy. But without having planned or provided enough troops, we would be a lot safer if we hadn't gone to war.
Peter W. Galbraith, a former US ambassador to Croatia, is a fellow at the Center For Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. In the 1980s, he documented Iraqi atrocities against the Kurds for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Kevin Drum writes:
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%.

As Fabrizio blandly puts it, "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." More accurately, if Fabrizio is right — that Kerry is ahead by 5% overall in the battleground states — Kerry is 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 doomed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Interesting. In the three big battleground states (PA, OH, and FL), Survey USA has the following:

Ohio: Kerry 50%, Bush 47%

Penn.: Kerry 53%, Bush 45%

FLA: Kerry 50%, Bush 48%

Hmm, that looks like the hat-trick for Kerry to me. Fingers crossed.
More from The New Yorker:
President Bush often complains about Democratic obstructionism, but the truth is that he has made considerable progress, if that’s the right word, toward the goal of stocking the federal courts with conservative ideologues. The Senate has confirmed two hundred and one of his judicial nominees, more than the per-term averages for Presidents Clinton, Reagan, and Bush senior. Senate Republicans blocked more than sixty of Clinton’s nominees; Senate Democrats have blocked only ten of Bush’s. (Those ten, by the way, got exactly what they deserved. Some of them—such as Carolyn Kuhl, who devoted years of her career to trying to preserve tax breaks for colleges that practice racial discrimination, and Brett Kavanaugh, a thirty-eight-year-old with no judicial or courtroom experience who co-wrote the Starr Report—rank among the worst judicial appointments ever attempted.)
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.
It's my understanding that for the first time in it's LONG history, The New Yorker has endorsed a presidential candidate. And who caused the break with tradition? Yup, you guessed right, Bush. They've endorsed Kerry. (Should be no surprise, the magazine is of extremely high caliber and intellect).

Some excerpts:
This Administration’s most unshakable commitment has been to shifting the burden of taxation away from the sort of income that rewards wealth and onto the sort that rewards work. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, another Washington research group, estimates that the average federal tax rate on income generated from corporate dividends and capital gains is now about ten per cent. On wages and salaries it’s about twenty-three per cent. The President promises, in a second term, to expand tax-free savings accounts, cut taxes further on dividends and capital gains, and permanently abolish the estate tax—all of which will widen the widening gap between the richest and the rest.

Bush signalled his approach toward the environment a few weeks into his term, when he reneged on a campaign pledge to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions, the primary cause of global warming. His record since then has been dictated, sometimes literally, by the industries affected. In 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed rescinding a key provision of the Clean Air Act known as “new source review,” which requires power-plant operators to install modern pollution controls when upgrading older facilities. The change, it turned out, had been recommended by some of the nation’s largest polluters, in e-mails to the Energy Task Force, which was chaired by Vice-President Cheney. More recently, the Administration proposed new rules that would significantly weaken controls on mercury emissions from power plants. The E.P.A.’s regulation drafters had copied, in some instances verbatim, memos sent to it by a law firm representing the utility industry.

“I guess you’d say I’m a good steward of the land,” Bush mused dreamily during debate No. 2. Or maybe you’d say nothing of the kind. The President has so far been unable to persuade the Senate to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but vast stretches of accessible wilderness have been opened up to development. By stripping away restrictions on the use of federal lands, often through little-advertised rule changes, the Administration has potentially opened up sixty million acres, an area larger than Indiana and Iowa combined, to logging, mining, and oil exploration.
War On Terror soon to = War On Drugs?

In today's USA Today:

Afghanistan is at once the world's newest democracy and its largest producer of heroin: This year, the country had a record opium crop. The narcotic feeds 95% of Europe's addiction and generates an estimated $30 billion in revenue. Most comes from street sales outside Afghanistan.

But even the $2.5 billion that stays in Afghanistan amounts to a third of its economy. The money corrupts government officials, who tolerate trafficking, and finances warlords and terror groups like the Taliban who encourage cultivation and elicit protection money from smugglers.
Doug Wankel, a former Drug Enforcement Administration official who is point man for the U.S. counternarcotics initiative at the American Embassy in Kabul, says the opium industry is "financing terrorism. It's financing subversive activities. It's financing warlordism. ... And if it's a threat to the government of Afghanistan, it's a direct threat to the national security interests of the United States."
There is a growing sense of urgency within a U.S. administration eager to avoid any tarnish on what is otherwise a foreign-policy success story. "Amazing, isn't it?" President Bush exclaimed of the Afghan election at an Oct. 9 Iowa campaign stop. "Freedom is beautiful."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Children Have Become The Canaries

Any semi-regular reader of this blog knows that I'm an avid environmentalist. To a large degree, this passion reached new heights when I became a father. It's well-documented that kids are much more sensitive to environmental toxins than adults. THAT fact is enormously worrisome and an outrage.

Here's an excerpt from a Bill Moyers' interview with the great scientist, David Suzuki:

SUZUKI: I like to say that in Canada not long ago, Cape Breton coalminers took canaries in the coal mine. When the canary keeled over, they didn't say, "Hey, Jack, come on over here. This bird just fell over. What do you think? Do you think it's…"
And now our own children have become the canaries. One out of five children in Canada will now have asthma. When you and I were boys, asthma was a rare disease.
MOYERS: And that's as recent as the 1930's, right?
SUZUKI: Exactly. Exactly. So, our own children are now telling us we're doing something fundamentally wrong.
And all you have to do is every time you have a smog alert, go down to the emergency room in the hospital, and sit there for a day. You will see that room, those emergency rooms jammed with people in deep respiratory distress.
Well, you don't have to be a genius to say, "Maybe it's got something to do with what we're taking into our lungs." And the point of the sacred balance that I did was to say, "Look, people, we can't continue to act as if air is something out there. And we are here. And we manage our interaction with the air."
"We are the air." At our ages, I reckon we've taken about 350 million breathes. We've taken one to four liters of air, breathed it deep into our bodies, and fused to the air, and filtered whatever was in that air into our bodies. The idea that we use air as a toxic dump, and somehow it goes away and doesn't affect us is absurd.

What does this say about Bush as a father, or Cheney?
What a pillar of resolute consistency, a man of righteous certitude -- yeah right. He's just another opportunistic, two-faced, no-principled politician. (Recall born-again Prez Pro-Life endorsed the pro-choice candidate in PA, Arlen Specter, over the pro-life candidate, Pat Toomey).

Exhibit #2547:

What a hypocrite. Yesterday in Colorado Bush stumped for Marilyn Musgrave, the Republican Congresswoman primarily responsible for the failed Gay Marriage Amendment. Today on Good Morning America he said he's okay with civil unions and with states making their own choices on marriage discrimination. (from TalkLeft)
Oliver Willis is throwing down the gauntlet when (and if) it comes down to a Kerry/Edwards administration. Apparently, K/E stated they'd appoint some Republicans to show the era of ultra-partisan government is over. Willis feels this noble goal is simply foolish, stating "If we win, we make them play by our rules."

I understand where Willis is coming from with this stern urging, however I've always been one for "two wrongs don't make a right." Yeah, it may sound naive, but it's much more than that. Would any Democrat WANT to belong to their party if it started to morph into the disgusting, repulsive, lizard-like party that the GOP has devolved into?? And due to human behavior, once you head down that road of consolidating power, it's often difficult to turn back, implying watch what you wish for you just may get it (i.e. a morphed, repulsive party).

Finally, I've written before about how there's a very good chance that the GOP will implode over the next few months, irregardless of who wins the election. There is growing unrest within that party that is currently staying quiet for obvious reasons. However, if Kerry wins, the sh*t will eventually erupt as more moderate party members finally begin to speak up and demand change. If Bush wins, the same should likely happen only it will take longer. Again, either way, there's evidence that power players within the GOP are fracturing. As the Iraq situation worsens, as the federal deficit grows larger, and as DeLay sinks into further legal trouble, more than a few Republican sharks will begin to close in on the "extremist" prey.
In the New York Times:

A top NASA climate expert who twice briefed Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming plans to criticize the administration's approach to the issue in a lecture at the University of Iowa tonight and say that a senior administration official told him last year not to discuss dangerous consequences of rising temperatures.

The expert, Dr. James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, expects to say that the Bush administration has ignored growing evidence that sea levels could rise significantly unless prompt action is taken to reduce heat-trapping emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.

Many academic scientists, including dozens of Nobel laureates, have been criticizing the administration over its handling of climate change and other complex scientific issues. But Dr. Hansen, first in an interview with The New York Times a week ago and again in his planned lecture today, is the only leading scientist to speak out so publicly while still in the employ of the government.
In a draft of the talk, a copy of which Dr. Hansen provided to The Times yesterday, he wrote that President Bush's climate policy, which puts off consideration of binding cuts in such emissions until 2012, was likely to be too little too late.

Actions to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions "are not only feasible but make sense for other reasons, including our economic well-being and national security," Dr. Hansen wrote. "Delay of another decade, I argue, is a colossal risk."
Dr. Hansen, 63, acknowledged that he imperiled his credibility and perhaps his job by criticizing Mr. Bush's policies in the final days of a tight presidential campaign. He said he decided to speak out after months of deliberation because he was convinced the country needed to change course on climate policy.
In the Washington Post today:

Libya's disarmament, Khan's exposure and the ongoing war in Iraq -- signature events in Bush's nuclear record -- do not address what intelligence agencies describe as the major source of terrorist risk: "the vulnerability of Russian WMD materials and technology to theft or diversion," as Tenet put it last year.

Half the world's stockpile of plutonium and highly enriched uranium is in Russia. About 600 metric tons are warehoused in some form. Of that quantity, the Department of Energy reported at the end of 2003 that 22 percent is satisfactorily secured with U.S. technical and financial assistance. The department predicted that such "comprehensive" upgrades would cover 26 percent of the stockpile by the end of this year.

Extrapolating from those figures in his first debate with Bush, Kerry said it would take 13 years to secure Russia's bomb ingredients at the current pace.

"The big gorilla in the basement is the material from Russia and Pakistan," said Robert L. Gallucci, dean of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and a classified consultant to the CIA and Energy Department laboratories. "This is the principal, major national security threat to the United States in the next decade or more. I don't know what's in second place."
Bush has spoken in favor of "cooperative threat reduction programs" funded under 1991 legislation sponsored by Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and then-Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.). He has also sought to reduce their budgets. His 2005 budget request would cut the Defense Department's efforts to secure foreign nuclear stockpiles by $41 million, or 9 percent.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Editor & Publisher keeps a running tally on newspaper endorsements for the two candidates. Kerry currently leads Bush by a 128 to 105 count. However, Kerry clearly surpasses Bush when it comes to the circulation of the supporting newspapers, by a 16.9 million to 10.9 million count.

This tid-bit is somewhat interesting since it tends to reflect the electoral map vs. popular vote dichotomy. On sheer number of endorsements, Kerry beats Bush by 22%, however when you weight such endorsements by circulation Kerry is ahead by a whopping 55%. Many of Bush's endorsements are from smaller town papers. If you look at the electoral map, on an absolute basis Bush wins more of the 50 states than Kerry. Yet, it's the population that counts (similar to the newspaper circulation). What's the point of capturing five states with a total population of say 2 mil., when one state has 30 mil.? Yes, obvious points, but I only mention this because the 55% circulation lead is not getting publicized as much as the 22% absolute number lead.

Also, many on the right simply dismiss this endorsement lead by Kerry as the old "what do you expect from the liberal media?!" Yet, perhaps most telling in this regard are those papers which endorsed Bush in 2000 and in this election have flip-flopped, endorsing Kerry instead. So far, 35 papers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have jumped to Kerry. How many papers that endorsed Gore in 2000 have sided with Bush in this election? Just four. And this doesn't count many right-leaning papers like The Tampa Tribune, which has decided not to endorse either candidate. The Tribune had endorsed a Republican ever since 1952, with one exception (1964, endorsed neither candidate).

Finally, it's interesting to see Kerry amass several endorsements in Florida to the tune of nearly 1.8 mil. in circulation, versus Bush's meager two endorsements that represent just under 130,000 in circulation. That's 130 "thousand" to Kerry's 1.8 "million" in that key swing state. Jeb to the rescue? Again??
Because God must've said to rape and pillage the planet:

Recasting Wilderness as Open for Business
A Bush administration policy reversal ends decades of shielding the nation's untamed areas.

Bush supposedly wants to protect the U.S. (despite much evidence to the contrary), and yet apparently it's the opposite for wilderness where protection is being halted and reversed.

Once these areas are gone they will be gone forever, becoming a very fitting landmark to GW's legacy.
It's been a week or two since Ron Suskind's terrific NY Times Magazine article came out, but I just got around to reading it. To say the article greatly helps to understand this guy in the Oval Office is quite the understatement. If you were not already fearful given the detachment from reality GW displays on a regular basis, Suskind truly crystallizes just how off the charts things are when it comes to blurring governmental policy and religion.

Here's the opening line in the article:

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that "if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3."

In prior posts, I've mentioned the likelihood of this occurring and in a sense, it would be a long overdue good thing. It's about the ONLY thing good that could come out of a GW win -- intra-GOP fighting.

Bartlett is a "self-described libertarian Republican" so it's very difficult for the right-wing folks to attempt their usual dismissal due to liberal bias (what's become a proverbial red herring). He is rightfully disturbed by "this instinct he's (Bush) always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' And ''this is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them.... This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts.... He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.... But you can't run the world on faith.''

Exactly. Bartlett really nails it, esp. the part about GW being "just like them." Al Qaeda & Osama are just as nutty as Bush's administration with both camps driven by staunch, resolute theological beliefs. Each side believes God is on their side -- it's lunacy! It's just as crazy as when sports figures thank God for an achievement, but such an act assumes God didn't care as much about the other competing athletes. Does this really make sense? Isn't God supposed to be all-loving? Would he/she truly pick sides??
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 24 - The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

Hmmm. Could this possibly be due to the lack of soldiers over there (administration officials admit the facility was never secured)? Where is Rumsfeld to respond to this? In fact, where is Rumsfeld? Powell?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

In case you didn't notice, oil has approached $55 a barrel. This price peak is that much more meaningful given the Saudi prince's assurance to Bush (see Woodward's book) that he would do all he could to get oil prices down well before the election. If indeed he is doing all he can, what does that say about supply & demand issues concerning oil? It stands to reason the Saudi spigots are open at full blast and yet demand still swamps supply.

Such an imbalance does not bode well for future energy prices. Another administration -- which regularly makes a practice of dealing in facts and using logic and reason to set policy -- would already be acting on this predicament. But not this one. Our current faith-based president lives in the world of fantasy and denial. Meanwhile, Rome burns (fossil fuel).

You'd think at the very least conservation would be urged, particularly since as he repeatedly stresses we are in "war time" and typically when the nation has been at war, the sitting president has encouraged the public to conserve resources. But not Bush/Cheney. The sacrificing of lives is acceptable, but not sacrificing at the gas pump or in the wallet (tax breaks).

Back to the supply/demand issue with energy, here are a few facts concerning SUV use. For those who own one (two? three??), perhaps the following will be an eye-opener:

* Under the United States' current automobile classification system, in effect since the 1970s, new Sports Utility Vehicles, along with pickup trucks and minivans, are categorized as light trucks. As a result, SUVs are allowed to maintain far weaker fuel-efficiency standards than cars. According to federal law, SUVs are permitted to have an average gas mileage of 20.7 miles per gallon. In contrast, cars are required to maintain an average of 27.5 miles per gallon.

* The rule that allows SUVs, light trucks, to average 7 miles less per gallon than regular cars is a holdover from the Ford Administration. And while it was designed with good intentions–to aid America's farmers during the 1970s oil embargo–the embargo ended decades ago and farmers now receive plenty of subsidies. SUVs and light trucks now amount to more than half of all new vehicles sold, with SUVs making up nearly a third of this market.

* In perhaps the most ludicrous legislative loophole for SUVs, SUVs (or other vehicles, perhaps tanks,) that weigh over 8,500 pounds are completely exempt from federal fuel economy standards! Thus, SUVs that weigh over 8,500 pounds, such as the the Ford Excursion and the Hummer, are exempt from all fuel efficiency regulation and can be as wasteful as the manufacturers and former oil industry executives, now government officials, find profitable.

* Besides increased fuel consumption and carbon emissions, induced by lackluster regulation of SUVs' gas mileage, SUVs also contribute to increased pollution. In fact, SUVs are allowed to contribute up to 5.5 times as many smog-causing pollutants into the atmosphere as standard cars. Even as the automobile industry made marked progress improving the fuel–efficiency of cars in the late–1980s and early–1990s, the proliferation of SUVs with poor fuel economies is eroding this progress. Government policies allow SUV manufactures to produce SUVs that are not fuel efficient and, consequently, remove the incentive for innovation on the part of auto manufacturers.
A tiny bit of help for that rarest (and most bewildering) of species, the undecided voter:

Even Bush said just yesterday, "The choice in this election could not be clearer."


Saturday, October 23, 2004

What a surprise -- not:

No Direct Evidence of Plot To Attack Around Elections

More evidence of Rove's campaign of fear.

It appears virtually certain that Bush will become the first president since the Depression to end his term with a net loss in payroll employment.

Yeah, why not, let's give him another four years to at least try to attain net 1+ jobs.

Let it be known, unlike Hannity, Limbaugh, etc., I am not above being wrong and when I am, I will fully admit to it.

In the comments section, "rls" rightly points out that I was incorrect when stating The American Conservative endorsed Kerry. TAC did, but it also endorsed nearly every other candidate under the sun. Oops, my fault, didn't expect multiple endorsements from one publication. I stand corrected.
The Nation posts a wonderful list entitled, "100 Facts and 1 Opinion; The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration." It's grouped by topic (Iraq, Terrorism, Environment, etc.) and each of the 100 facts are sourced.

I highly urge reading through it. As you proceed, the effect (and outrage) builds until you nearly can't take it anymore. The truly sad fact is this list could've been much longer (200? 300?). What's most impressive is the author did not spend the time digging up many lesser-known, esoteric facts to shock us, but rather basically lays out fairly well-known truths that when read one after the other has a way of reminding us just how fundamentally unfit this administration is and has been. That's the shocking part, arrived at no less when you hit just fact #32 -- with 68 more to go!

Friday, October 22, 2004

True conservatives (vs. ultra-partisan GOP hacks) are beginning to endorse -- Kerry. The New Republic's recent cover story proclaimed, "CONSCIENCE OF A CONSERVATIVE: WHY I CAN'T VOTE FOR GEORGE W. BUSH." More shocking, Pat Buchanan's The American Conservative has come out endorsing Kerry. Wow.

I'm waiting on The Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and National Review....
Low-life thugs:

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.
Those that believe in the Tooth Fairy & Santa Claus, and then there are Kerry supporters....

There's an amazingly revealing survey out by PIPA (U. of Maryland) titled, "The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters." In general, the findings show something that should not come as a surprise: Bush supporters maintain fantastically inaccurate views of reality in the world.

It's worth reprinting entire segments from the study below:

In recent months the American public has been presented reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the heads of the Iraq survey group David Kay and Charles Duelfer (chosen by the president), concluding that before the war Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction nor even a significant program for developing them. Nonetheless, 72% of Bush supporters continued to hold to the view that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Only 26% of Kerry supporters hold such beliefs.

Furthermore, 56% of Bush supporters (as compared to 18% of Kerry supporters) believe that most experts say that Iraq did have actual WMD, and another 18% say that the experts’ views are evenly divided on the subject. Only 23% think that most experts believe Iraq did not have WMD. Though this poll was taken immediately after chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer delivered his report to Congress on whether Iraq had WMD, a majority of Bush supporters misperceived the conclusions of his report. Fifty-seven percent believed that that he concluded that Iraq did have either WMD (19%) or a major program for developing them (38%).

Despite the report of the 9/11 Commission saying there is no evidence Iraq was providing significant support to al Qaeda, 75% of Bush supporters believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda (30% of Kerry supporters), with 20% believing that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11. Sixty-three percent of Bush supporters even believe that clear evidence of this support has been found, while 85% of Kerry supporters believe the opposite.

Asked in August what the 9/11 Commission had concluded, 55% of Bush supporters said that it had concluded that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda. Twenty-seven percent of Kerry supporters assumed this to be the case.

This tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information extends to other realms as well. One of these is world public opinion. Despite a steady flow of official statements, public demonstrations, and public opinion polls showing that the US war against Iraq is quite unpopular, only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq. Rather, 68% assume that views are evenly divided (42%) or that the majority favors it (26%). Among Kerry supporters, 74% assume that the majority is opposed (evenly divided, 20%, majority favors it, 5%).

Bush supporters also believe that world public opinion favors Bush’s reelection. In a September 3-7 PIPA/KN poll, 57% of Bush supporters assumed that the majority of people in the world would prefer to see Bush reelected, 33% assumed that views are evenly divided and only 9% assumed that Kerry would be preferred. Kerry supporters held the opposite view, with only 1% assuming a preference for Bush, 30% thinking that views are equally divided, and 69% assuming that Kerry would be preferred.

International polls have found a strong preference for Kerry. Polling conducted by GlobeScan and PIPA (summer 2004) of 35 of the major countries around the world found that in 30 countries a majority or plurality preferred to see Kerry elected president, while 3 countries favored Bush. On average, 46% favored Kerry while 20% favored Bush. Most recently, a September-October 2004 poll in 10 countries conducted by an ad hoc group of ten international newspapers (see found majorities or pluralities preferring Kerry in eight countries and Bush in two.

When asked (September 3-7) about world public opinion on US foreign policy under the Bush administration, 82% of Bush supporters believed that a world majority either feels better about the US due to its recent foreign policy (37%), or thought views are about evenly divided (45%). Only 17% thought that a majority now feels worse about the US. Among Kerry supporters, 86% thought a majority now feels worse about the US and 12% thought views were evenly divided (feels better, 2%).

In fact, in the GlobeScan poll of 35 countries, in 30 countries a majority or plurality said “the foreign policy of George W. Bush” had made them “feel worse about the United States” (feel better: 3 countries). On average, 53% said they felt worse about the US while 19% said they felt better. Most recently, in the 10-country poll just cited, in eight out of ten countries majorities said that “over the course of the last two or three years” their “opinion toward the US has worsened.”

Bush supporters have numerous misperceptions about Bush’s international policy positions. Majorities incorrectly assumed that Bush supports multilateral approaches to various international issues—the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the treaty banning land mines (72%); 51% incorrectly assumed he favors US participation in the Kyoto treaty--the principal international accord on global warming. After he denounced the International Criminal Court in the debates, the perception that he opposed it increased from 24% to 38% among Bush supporters, but a majority of supporters (53%) continued to believe that he favors it. Only 13% of supporters are aware that he opposes labor and environmental standards in trade agreements – 74% incorrectly believe that he favors including labor and environmental standards in agreements on trade.

Kerry supporters were much more accurate in assessing their candidate’s positions on all these issues. Majorities knew that Kerry favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements (81%); the US being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (77%); the International Criminal Court (65%); the land mines treaty (79%); and the Kyoto Treaty on climate change (74%). They also knew that he favors continuing research on missile defense without deploying a system now (68%), and wants the UN, not the US, to take the stronger role in developing Iraq’s new government (80%). A plurality of 43% was correct that Kerry favors keeping defense spending the same, with 35% assuming he wants to cut it and 18% to expand it.

When attempts are made to make sense of this split in perceived reality, the authors of the report state (politely, I might add):
Why are Bush supporters holding so clinging so tightly to beliefs that have been so visibly refuted? As discussed, one key possible explanation for why Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had WMD or a major WMD program, and supported al Qaeda is that they continue to hear the Bush administration confirming these beliefs. Another possible explanation is that Bush supporters cling to these beliefs because they are necessary for their support for the decision to go to war with Iraq.
To support the president and to accept that he took the US to war based on mistaken assumptions is difficult to bear, especially in light of the continuing costs in terms of lives and money. Apparently, to avoid this cognitive dissonance, Bush supporters suppress awareness of unsettling information.
So why do Bush supporters show such a resistance to accepting dissonant information? While it is normal for people to show some resistance, the magnitude of the denial goes beyond the ordinary.

Hmmm, seems like one big, fat case of denial spurred on by an opportunistic, less-than-scrupulous administration.

"Yeah, yeah, four more years! Four more years!"

Thursday, October 21, 2004

New investigation uncovers more racism, voter intimidation and faulty poll machines

I have a strong suspicion that if the GOP didn't have a majority in the Supreme Court favorable to their side, they might not be as rapid about blatantly suppressing voters. Oh sure, they're thugs and they would indeed conduct such brazen, illegal tactics, but I feel it would be just a tad less brazen with a more liberal-inclined Court. As it is, they realize if any election result was fortunate enough to rise to the Court's decision, odds are it would go the way of the GOP, ala year 2000.

Must be nice having one of the most powerful institutions in the world right in your back pocket.
Whereas we often hear "9-11 changed everything," what we hear much less is "the Supreme Court's ruling on 'Bush vs. Gore' changed everything." There's a very good chance that thanks to the Court's odd and highly suspect ruling favoring Bush, precedence has been established to enable countless legal challenges over voter disputes, MUCH more than at any time prior to 2000. We already know that both parties have thousands of lawyers on the payroll, ready to act when called upon post-November 2nd.

George Will has recently written about this topic, as has Jeffrey Rosen. Will cites how the conservative National Review, though pleased with Bush designated president, questioned the Court's reasoning at the time, stating "It is unclear why—with the different vote tabulation systems from county to county, with different levels of accuracy—this line of reasoning wouldn't render Florida's entire electoral system unconstitutional. Or, for that matter, the nation's electoral system. In fact, all of life can be considered a violation of the equal protection clause."

Even this right-wing publication, deep-down, understood that the Court's decision not only was based on faulty legal logic, but in effect laid the groundwork for numerous future legal disputes when it came to election results. Will we ever again have close decisions that aren't ultimately taken to court? It stands to reason the answer is "no" so get used to the fact that we'll no longer know the winners of elections by simply staying up late on election night, tuning in to network news.

As for this upcoming election, Rosen writes, "What’s striking about the legal strategies of the Bush and Kerry [legal] SWAT teams is how much they plan to rely on Bush v. Gore, which turns out to be an inexhaustible font of rhetoric and novel lawsuits.... The fact that no one knows what Bush v. Gore means is an invitation to litigation."

How ironic, the right-wing majority-ruled Supreme Court handed down a dubious decision that invites ample future legal action -- exactly what Republicans have been fighting against (tort reform, excessive lawsuits, etc.). They can thank their buddy Scalia et al.
How Dare He!

As with the Cheney daughter nonsense, the right-wing fringe folks are attempting to fan the flames and fabricate another "how dare you!" situation with Sen. Biden's "brain dead" comment. In criticizing Bush's actions on drug policy, Biden uttered "he is brain dead."

Of course, the GOP was outraged I tell you! Just furious! How could he say such a thing?! "Sen. Biden should be ashamed of his below-the-belt rhetoric and personal attacks on the president," said David Crossan, executive director of the state's Republican Party.

Note this segment:

Many of the union members and retirees who attended the rally didn't think Biden's comments were out of line.

They said in the past they often crossed party lines to support the late U.S. Sen. Bill Roth, a conservative Republican who spent more than three decades in the Senate, and continue to vote for U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, a moderate Republican. However, they would have a hard time supporting Bush, they said, because of his administration's policies.

That's right, the folks cheering for Biden in the audience have in the past voted for Republican-backed bills, only this time they -- like most people not brain dead today -- realize this administration is extreme and WAY off course.

But back to Biden's "heinous" comment, my response: 1) it's almost factual, and 2) give me a break! For eight years, we had to listen to Republicans malign and bash Clinton, using all kinds of colorful adjectives and descriptive nouns to describe him. Oh, and they never crossed the line?! Yeah, right. A-holes.

Nearly everyday, the GOP proves again and again that they're the party of hypocrisy. They behave as if we all have amnesia, not able to recall their behavior in years past. Fact is you have to be brain dead to allow yourself to be manipulated by them.
Isn't it just lovely how this administration will choose either to ignore reality as the rest of us see it, or they attempt to specifically cite reality to prove a point....? Example of the former is easy: Cheney in VP debate saying he never implied Saddam was connected to 9-11 (we all smile -- in horror -- knowing it's a bald-face lie, who does he think he's kidding?, etc.). An example of the latter can be found at

When trying to refute Robertson's claim, Karen Hughes told the Associated Press, "Obviously, we already had casualties in Afghanistan at the time. If you look at that, that (the comment) was not consistent with what was going on."

In other words, Hughes is arguing that the president couldn't have said such a thing because such a statement wouldn't have been consistent with the reality that everyone could see in front of them.

I just love Hughes' "obviously" -- a subtly barbed jab at us, implying so much with this administration is obvious, right in front of us, easily understood based on real-life events. What a joke.

As I said, the fact is they zig-zag to and fro, citing reality and then more often ignoring it completely, whatever's necessary at the time to desperately prove a point -- and hopefully move on.

And we're to have potentially four more years of this?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A look at Tennessee.

No surprise:

Bush’s support is strongest among Tennesseans who are white and who describe themselves as Evangelical Christians.

Also, no surprise:

Despite the impression the above findings might give, a close look at five domestic agenda items suggests that Tennesseans as a group hardly qualify as well-informed, ideologically consistent policy wonks. For example, only about half of Tennessee adults can accurately name Kerry as the candidate who supports rescinding the recent federal income tax cuts for people earning over $200,000 a year. About a quarter (23%) incorrectly attributed the proposal to Bush, and 27% admit they don’t know which candidate supports the measure. Similarly, only about half (50%) rightly name Bush as the candidate who favors giving parents tax-funded vouchers to help pay private or religious school tuition. Thirteen percent attribute the plan to Kerry, who actually opposes it. Over a third (37%) admit they don’t know.

Knowledge levels are even lower on the other three issues. Well under half (42%) are aware that Bush wants to let younger workers put some of their Social Security withholdings into their own personal retirement accounts. Nineteen percent incorrectly think Kerry supports the measure, and 40% say they don’t know one way or the other. Just over a quarter (28%) rightly name Bush as the candidate who supports giving needy people tax breaks that would help buy health insurance from private companies. Thirty percent inaccurately name Kerry as the measure’s proponent, and 41% admit not knowing. Finally, just 39% know that Kerry advocates requiring plants and factories to add new pollution control equipment when they make upgrades. Fifteen percent wrongly attribute the policy to Bush, and 45% don’t know.

Asked for their own opinions on these same issues – with no clues given in the question regarding which candidates support which position – many Tennesseans express views contrary to those of the candidate they say they support. Only 54% of self-described Kerry partisans, for example, express support for Kerry’s plan to retain the recent income tax cuts only for individuals earning less than $200,000 a year. And about a third (32%) of Bush partisans say they like the idea, even though Bush opposes it. In a mirror image of that pattern, just about half (50%) of those backing Bush support Bush’s plan for providing tax breaks to help needy people buy health insurance from private companies. And about a third (31%) of Kerry backers support the idea, even though Kerry favors an alternative strategy that would let more people qualify for government-funded insurance programs like Medicaid.

On vouchers, 52% of Bush supporters agree with Bush’s stance, and so did 31% of Kerry supporters. Fifty-eight percent of Bush partisans favored Bush’s Social Security plan, but so did 38% of Kerry backers. And 80 percent of Kerry backers, along with 71 percent of Bush backers, say they favor Kerry’s plans for requiring factories and plans to install new pollution control equipment when upgrading.

Overall, in fact, Tennesseans averaged only two right answers when quizzed about which candidate held which view on the five issues. A fifth (20%) got no right answers, and 19% got one answer right. (Source:

I'm fairly certain these results, sadly, would hold true beyond just the state of Tenn. Pathetic.
GOP fails in effort to move polls
Last-minute bid tried to relocate 63 mostly black polling places.

Attempting to confuse people in the key battleground state of PA, the GOP once again shows its true colors of trying to win by any means other than fair play.

Just scum.
Maybe I was too hasty in my praise for Arnold. I read today he opposes Prop 66 in California which would reform the insanely tough "three strikes" sentencing law, which has loaded up jails with "hardened" shop-lifters and pot smokers. Reflecting the wise electorate in the state, about 60% favor it vs. 20% opposed. Oh, and look, the voters themselves have FLIP-FLOPPED, as "just a decade ago, voters approved the three-strikes law with 74% support." Another case of living and learning = so-called flip-flopping? A-hole Republicans....
Further Evidence Our National Nightmare May Soon End

Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: Kerry 284, Bush 247 (

Kerry 276, Bush 262 (

2004 Poll Watcher: Kerry 284, Bush 254 (

Kerry 279, Bush 259

The above is Sinclair Broadcasting's stock chart, hitting a 52-week low today.

May the pro-business Republicans answer this question: I thought it was the #1 priority of public companies to do what's in the best interest of their shareholders, namely by doing what's necessary to get the stock price to go up - no? With Sinclair's decision to air the propaganda-filled documentary on John Kerry, advertisers are leaving and lawsuits are coming.

Hmm, it would appear that this company doesn't care about its shareholders and doesn't care about the business of business. Nope, it appears ideology matters first and foremost, choosing cronyism and political favoritism over maximizing stock price gains.

Good to see free-market, laissez faire in action!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Can someone remind me why in this day and age that thanks to the archaic Electoral College, one elector in California carries just 25% of the weight of an elector in Wyoming? Whatever happened to "one man, one vote"? Many of the reasons for establishing this system are now woefully outdated. Why should a vote count more than another simply because it resides in a different part of the country? Voting is about people and what the EC does is weight votes differently due to land mass. Because people choose to live in some states more than others, they're actually punished via the EC.

The College has become an embarrassment for a country that prior to 2000 was the model for a democratic system.
If you haven't yet seen the CNN "Crossfire" clip of Jon Stewart slamming the noxious Tucker Carlson, it's worth seeing. Stewart comes across as surly and condescending, but it's all worth it when directed at the smug Carlson.

What's most revealing is the extent to which Carlson is a bit light in the brains department. Believing he's clever as a fox, Tucker goes after Stewart for not being tough enough on his own show. Stewart makes several attempts to explain to Carlson that it doesn't matter how his show is about anything since it's a comedy show. Stewart even reminds Carlson that his show comes after a show that has "puppets making crank phone calls."

At the very least, the clip clearly shows that Carlson, as with many political TV talking heads, believes he's an entertainer first, and a journalist or newsperson second. He's making actual comparisons of "Crossfire" to a politically-oriented comedy show that airs on a 100% comedy cable channel. It's obvious when watching the clip that he doesn't get it, and is the larger point Stewart tries (and tries) to make.

Rush Limbaugh is often up front about this (mainly when caught in one of his many lies) informing his listeners that he's an entertainer, a showman, not a serious political figure. It's a cop-out. He attempts to have it both ways, to be taken seriously and have influence but also to have an easy-out when needed.

Stewart let many opportunities slip away and I felt his message was a bit obtuse, though overall he was refreshing simply because you don't see folks mix it up on TV anymore. It was genuine (or at least I think it was.... perhaps Stewart and Carlson went for beers afterwards....).
"John Abizaid was the only one who really had his head in the postwar game," General Garner said, referring to the general who served as General Franks's deputy and eventually his successor. "The Bush administration did not. Condi Rice did not. Doug Feith didn't. You could go brief them, but you never saw any initiative come of them. You just kind of got a north and south nod. And so it ends with so many tragic things." -- Jay Garner, the first civilian administrator of Iraq and a retired Army lieutenant general, in today's NY Times

Garner forgot to describe the glazed-over, blank-stare look perceived with the "north and south nod," a look similar to that of the many institutionalized patients in the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest."

Garner's take on things confirms much of what we've been hearing over the last several months, including:

Post-war planning non-existent

WASHINGTON - In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."

A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions.
"We didn't go in with a plan. We went in with a theory," said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.
Rumsfeld's office "was utterly, arrogantly, ignorantly and negligently unprepared" for the aftermath of the war, said Larry Diamond, who was a political adviser in Baghdad from January to March of this year.

It would've been one thing if this administration put the time and "hard work" in concerning plans for a post-war Iraq and THEN things backfired, requiring modifications. However, that's not what happened. Instead, this bunch of slacker no-nothings did not do the necessary work and chose to ignore those people who were most informed. JUST IMAGINE IF CLINTON/GORE DID THIS -- OH, THE REPERCUSSIONS!

But in this case, largely because they're Republicans and not Democrats (yeah, really, that IS a large part of it), they face no harsh fallout, no blistering criticisms in the media, no massive disruptions in staffing, notta. And worse yet, half of this nation is ready to keep them in charge for another term! Once again, it's this sick compulsion to reward ineptness for the sake of fictional promises and symbolism.
In addition to John McCain, to my surprise, put Schwarzenegger on the short list of moderate, reasonable Republican alternatives to the current cast of extremist wackos in that party:

CARMEL — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed a $3-billion measure Monday to fund embryonic stem cell research, a move that could be pivotal in one of the year's most closely watched initiative campaigns.

The decision was one of two that put the Republican governor at odds with his party, statewide and nationally.

It was also the latest in a string of positions taken by Schwarzenegger that have upset some conservatives: signing legislation last month that expanded domestic partnership rights for gay couples, allowing free needles for drug users, and paroling convicted murderers far more often than his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
Mr. Bush's job approval rating is at 44 percent, a dangerously low number for an incumbent president, and one of the lowest of his tenure. (today's New York Times)

Frank Newport of the Gallup Organization pointed out that, in Gallup's surveys, no president since World War II has won reelection after falling below 50 percent approval at this point in an election year. "Looking at it in context, Bush is following the trajectory of the three incumbents who ended up losing rather than the trajectory of the five incumbents who won," he said. (Washington Post, 5/14/04)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Regarding the nonsensical, blown-out-of-proportion "outrage" surrounding the Cheney gay daughter mention, Margaret Carlson wrote in the LA Times:

Kerry/Edwards "realize that discussing Mary Cheney is a no-lose proposition: It highlights the hypocrisy of the Bush-Cheney position to Democrats while simultaneously alerting evangelicals to the fact that the Cheneys have an actual gay person in their household whom they apparently aren't trying to convert or cure."

She's exactly right. Mary has served as a perfect symbol for the rampant hypocrisy within the GOP as well as the archaic, kooky position they hold toward homosexuals -- that being they can be "cured" of their "deviancy." If Dick Cheney embraces his daughter's lifestyle and refuses to condemn it, then evangelicals should take him to task for siding with Satan. If instead he were to outright condemn his daughter, then he would immediately look like an awful father and an intolerant, shallow, caustic, brutish man. Quite a pickle.

To further show how off base the Republicans have strayed on this one, purposefully attempting to make a mountain out of a mole hill, look no further then a quote by a former top executive at the Christian Coalition, of all places:

"I find it hilarious, ironic and shameless that those who have long employed gay bashing as a political tool are feigning their outrage over Kerry's sensitive notation of Cheney's daughter's sexual orientation. This is truly a moment of desperation for the Bushies. On the one hand they are sending out gay bashing mail and on the other hand they are sounding like charter members of the Human Rights Campaign. You've got to laugh!" - Marshall Wittmann
"Smart States" Update

On October 1st, I discussed the idea of "smart states," those states that have gone 4-0 in the last four presidential elections, correctly identifying the eventual popular vote winner (Gore = winner). Of the fifty states, only eleven have a perfect predictive record. I calculated an average of the current polling data for each of the 11 states to arrive at a 49-41 margin favoring Kerry.

The update for these 11 states: the average has remained steady, currently favoring Kerry by a 49-42 margin.

Looking good.
Out today, more definitive news on the polling front:

Poll: Bush leads by 8 points (USA Today)

Bush, Kerry Tied in White House Race (Reuters)
The WS Journal reports that Pfizer will fund a study to show that Celebrex works as a heart aid amid the controversy over Vioxx. The company will fund a study??! What gives with this fast growing trend for pharm. companies to sponsor their own research / studies? How can anyone trust or put any faith in studies that are funded by the interested party(s) who has a huge stake in the outcome?! It's a joke. Oh, OK, let's pay attention to studies Philip Morris underwrites about tobacco consumption -- yeah, right. The fact that the FDA or the like haven't stepped in to put a stop to this, or at least investigate, is very telling (i.e. FDA is in bed with the industry).

Calling Eliot Spitzer....

Sunday, October 17, 2004

If this election is going to come down to just a few key states, then it's worth noting,

"...the survey also suggests that Kerry continues to claim a large lead in key battleground states. In these 13 states, Kerry held a 53 percent to 43 percent advantage among likely voters." (Washington Post)
More hypocrisy from the GOP. Of the two parties, the GOP is clearly the more anti-gay (duh!). Yet, when Kerry/Edwards respectfully mention Cheney's gay daughter, they get chastised in a "how dare you!" sanctimonious fashion.

Gay, Republican columnist Andrew Sullivan has it correct when he states,

The Cheneys didn't respond to Jim DeMint's gay-baiting in South Carolina, or Alan Keyes' direct insult of their own daughter in Illinois. They have not voiced objections to a single right-wing piece of homophobia in this campaign or the anti-gay RNC flier in Arkansas and West Virginia. But they are outraged that Kerry mentioned the simple fact of their daughter's openly gay identity. What complete b.s.

B.S. indeed.
I mentioned George Soros' book, The Bubble of American Supremacy, in my prior post. An excellent read. Here's a passage from it that succinctly summarizes the obstacles facing us in Iraq, thanks to GW:

In retrospect I can discern the vague outlines of an imaginary master plan conceived by an evil genius called Bin Laden. From his perspective our civilization is degenerate. It is rich and powerful but devoid of true faith. It needs to be destroyed for the truth to prevail. The only way to destroy it is by exploiting its weakness: the fear of death. It will respond to a terrorist attack by lashing out against an unseen enemy. Since the perpetrators remain invisible, the instinctive reaction will claim innocent victims. The victims will be Muslim, Islam will be radicalized, provoking a general confrontation between Islam and the West. Although the West enjoys material superiority, Islam will prevail because it has a major advantage: it is not afraid of death.
Bin Laden clearly expected a counterstrike in Afghanistan; that is why he had Ahmed Shah Massoud, the only commander capable of mounting an effective campaign against the Taliban, assassinated two days before September 11. The invasion of Iraq was an unexpected gift. American soldiers on Arabian soil are serving as a magnet, attracting Al Qaeda-trained terrorists from all over the world. Sleeper cells are coming alive. Around three thousand people with Al Qaeda connections are said to have disappeared from Saudi Arabia. Some of them must be active in Iraq. President Bush is right in saying that Iraq has become the central front in the war on terror. Wittingly or unwittingly, he has played right into the hands of the terrorists.

The New York Times has endorsed Kerry (surprise!) and many may complain that not much of the editorial is spent boosting JK, but rather the bulk dedicated to plastering the current presiding moron.

Call it lame "ABB" but I ask, so what? Those with half a brain, who at least watched one if not all three of the debates, now realizes that Kerry is an excellent candidate -- or at least light years better than Bush. Quibble that he's too verbose or stiff, that he's not Clinton, etc. etc. He's not perfect, agreed, but who ever is? Before Clinton went on to post an outstanding two-term record, he wasn't exactly hailed as the second-coming when up against Bush Sr. Just go back and look at his poll numbers at the time.

Need I remind that all elections are independent events from anything prior and must be judged in a relative sense. For better or worse, selecting the better candidate to vote for is in fact a lesser-of-two-evils exercise. It always comes down to who you dislike (despise?) least. Sure, there are many who truly like Kerry and are 100% proud to vote for him, but that's not my point. I maintain that there's nothing wrong with backing into conviction for one candidate due to an absolute disgust for the other. It all comes down to doing what's best for the country and if that means insuring a clearly poor choice is kept from directing things for the next four years, then so be it.

By the way, the following summary line from the Times is so true:
Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right.

I recall thinking back in December 2000, "Perhaps it won't be so bad.... He wasn't elected properly, maybe he'll govern with that in mind, maintaining a moderate course, more or less like his father...." That all went out the window when he appointed Ashcroft as AG, that's when I knew the nut-jobs had taken control, and it's been the "far-right lunacy show" ever since. As George Soros makes clear in his book ("The Bubble of American Supremacy"), these crazies are completely removed from reality and Soros likens it to the stock market bubble of 1999-2000, where perceptions deviated from reality to an extreme (and we know how that ended!).

Thankfully, the Times specifies the environment as a big reason to vote GW out. Amazingly, this issue does not come up as often as it should. You talk about a topic that clearly shows the differences between these two guys!! It couldn't be more black and white.

Often, the far-right attempts to paint it this way, "Our safety has to be issue #1 and #2. What's the point of worrying about the environment when there's a constant threat we will be blown to bits by terrorists?" In other words, to hell with clean air and water, what's the point if we won't be around to inhale or drink anyway?

Gads. This is the kind of idiotic, fatalistic thinking this administration has encouraged and fostered with their be-afraid-at-all-times mantra. (And I get accused of being an alarmist!). Edward R. Murrow once said, "We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason," but unfortunately that's exactly what Bush/Cheney/Rove want for this country. Put aside all other priorities, think about nothing else, not education, health care, social justice, etc., just keep completely focused on the threat of horrible death. It's the "look over here" trick. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Bush/Cheney and the GOP controlled Congress run roughshod over anything and everything they desire.

Look, when it comes down to it, I'm voting against Bush for two reasons: 1) his administration has been an abject failure on all levels, and 2) he's been horrible on the environment. Yes, the first covers lots of terrain, and it's deserved. I can't think of one thing positive that GW himself has been responsible for during his tenure in office. Nope, not one. But beyond that, he and Cheney (and DeLay) have introduced a new low to government in terms of secrecy and truly sleazy acts. What would've been a huge controversy in past years these days does not raise an eyebrow in the media.

However, with regards to the environment, I look at it this way. There's varying degrees to which a president can control and have influence over one thing from another. With regards to terrorism, this, and any, administration can only do so much with regards to preventing another 9-11. Try as they might, they can only do so much to stop a future attack. However, when it comes to environmental issues, the president has a MUCH larger and purposeful sphere of influence. He can forcefully direct and shape environmental policy so as to protect & preserve nature and insure that U.S. citizens are not jeopardized by gutted or compromised environmental regulations. With this latter point, this administration has chosen at every turn to screw the public/environment in favor of the interests of big business. Go ahead and buy in to the Karl Rove bullsh*t "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests" tag lines, for those who bother to scratch the surface realize it's all just lies (most don't bother).

Given the above, in my mind this election is a no brainer -- literally. To vote Bush/Cheney is to lack a functioning brain, period.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Bush Gets Another "F"

To no one's surprise, the League of Conservation Voters assigned Bush an "F" on its 2003 Report Card given the administration’s abysmal performance on environmental issues. Now, GW has received another "F" this time from the Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy, a nonpartisan group of over 725 experts in the field of national security and international politics. (thanks

From their web site:

The scholars who signed the letter are from over 150 colleges and universities in 40 states, from California to Florida, Texas to Maine. They include many of the nation's most prominent experts on world politics, including former staff members at the Pentagon, the State Department and the National Security Council, as well as six of the last seven Presidents of the American Political Science Association, and twelve former Presidents of the International Studies Association. "I think it is telling that so many specialists on international relations, who rarely agree on anything, are unified in their position on the high costs that the U.S. is incurring from this war," said Professor Robert Keohane of Duke University.

One has to wonder: GW was accustomed to receiving "C"s in school (which now appear to be quite impressive for him). If the teachers didn't likely cater to his family's known prominence, might we conclude that he would've then received the "F"s he's justly receiving now?

I harken back to my earlier post where I pointed out this country's absurd "George Costanza" tendency to favor and encourage those who are extremely average (or below average in this case). It's as if we want to punish the bright, over-achievers and reward the slow-witted and slackers. HELP!!
Thugs At Work

It appears that for one to just discuss the possibility of a military draft is grounds for a lawsuit by the GOP. Astonishing. Ed Gillespie will freely threaten Rock The Vote with such outrageous legal action in attempt to censor and silence (what Republicans do best: bully those who are not lined up on their side.... fascism anyone?), yet they say not a word about Sinclair Broadcasting's airing of an anti-Kerry program just two weeks before the election (violating FCC regulations). Once again, the GOP proves to be the party of hypocrites, i.e. if you can't stand to look at yourself in the mirror, then the GOP is for you!

What follows is RTV's response letter to Gillespie, excellent stuff:

Mr. Ed Gillespie, Chairman
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear Chairman Gillespie,

The letter I received from you yesterday was quite a surprise. It struck us as just the sort of "malicious political deception" that is likely to increase voter cynicism and decrease the youth vote. In fact, it is a textbook case of attempted censorship, very much in line with those that triggered our organization's founding some fifteen years ago.

I am stunned that you would say that the issue of the military draft is an "urban myth"that has been "thoroughly debunked by no less than the President of the United States."

I have some news for you. Just because President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary Rumsfeld, and for that matter Senator Kerry, say that there is not going to be a draft does not make it so. Just because Congress holds a transparently phony vote against the draft does not mean there isn't going to be one. Anyone who thinks that the youth of America are going to take a politician's word on this topic is living on another planet.

By your logic, there should be no debate about anything that you disagree with. There's a place for that kind of sentiment (and your threats), but its not here in our country.

There are questions that the politicians are running away from. How long can we keep 138,000 U.S. troops or more on the ground in Iraq? What if full-scale civil war erupts there, as the CIA has warned is a realistic possibility? Would the next President be faced with a choice of pulling out of Iraq rather than institute a draft? Would women be drafted? What exactly would the draft-age be?

According to the Pentagon's own internal assessment, there are "inadequate total numbers" of troops to meet U.S. security interests. The current issue of Time magazine reports that, "General John Keane, who retired last year as the Army's No. 2 officer, says the continued success of the all-volunteer military is not guaranteed" Keane has told Congress that adding more than 50,000 troops to the Army would require thinking about a return to the draft."

But you want young people to believe that the draft is just an "urban myth." I was expecting that you were going to present some facts to back up your assertion. But, instead, you have demanded that we stop talking about it.

Although the draft may not be a discussion topic for someone of your age, we have found that young people - Republicans, Democrats and Independents - are very interested in this issue. We believe in the capacity of young Americans to make their own judgments when fairly presented with the facts. That is why we are actively promoting an informed, educated dialogue. I urge you to review the "Debunking the Myths" section on our website where we address misperceptions about the draft.

Mr. Gillespie, this is a generational issue. Nothing cuts closer to the core of the very reason Rock the Vote exists. We think young people deserve to know where the politicians stand on this issue - and that a generation that could be called to service deserves more than the phony debate they are getting. We believe that it is only by asking questions - not by censoring debate - that our democracy can remain strong and vital.

Issues such as jobs, health care, Iraq, taxes, and education have energized the electorate, and the draft issue deserves the same serious treatment and candor. Blanket denials do not square with the facts and do not level with the electorate.

As far as the possibility that Rock the Vote's efforts might "decrease the youth vote," we are feeling very confident at this point that the opposite is true. More than 1.1 million people have used our website to fill out voter registration forms this election cycle. Our street teams and ground partners have registered hundreds of thousands more. Young voters are going to surge at the polls on Election Day and make the difference for whichever candidate does the best job reaching out to them.

Despite the strong and often strident tone of your letter, I would hope that we could both agree that honest and open debate is the surest guarantor of our democracy and liberty.


Jehmu S. Greene
Dropping out of GW's "huge" coalition is Poland (where more than 75% in the country say they oppose Polish participation in Iraq). Not to worry, we still have the might of Bulgaria, Dominican Rep, El Salvador, and Moldova on our side (for now).
Signs of mutiny in the military? If so, all the more reason for a need for change at the top. If the military begins to question (and act on) our current president & leadership, there goes Bush's sole strength (his supposed hawkish, gung-ho military ways); much credibility lost when troops start to bale on him (!).

Friday, October 15, 2004

You've GOT to be kidding me!

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon plans to promote Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former head of military operations in Iraq, risking a confrontation with members of Congress because of the prisoner abuses that occurred during his tenure.

Not only does this administration refuse to own up to any mistakes, refuse to fire anyone accountable for screw-ups, instead they apparently promote those who make tragic mistakes (in this case, promote the man in charge during the Abu Ghraib mess)! Look for Condi Rice to rise in the ranks next....
Just beautiful, Cheney has lobbied the last four years in favor of a drilling technique developed by -- surprise! -- Halliburton, benefiting them to the tune of $1.5 bil. per year, and jeopardizes drinking water. Captured in one story we have Cheney displaying the cronyism we all know him to be guilty of regarding Halliburton AND showing another example of this administration running rough-shod over environmental concerns and regulations -- again, something we've grown accustomed to seeing in the papers.

But this is just alarmist blather, correct far-right loonys?
Dick Cheney cited in the VP debate (well, actually he stated, which is a George Soros web site, actively campaigning AGAINST Bush/Cheney) and I believe we can assume that Cheney would endorse the consulting of this web site for truth. Here's what has to say about the much-repeated (and wrong) tax raising votes by Kerry:

By our tally, Kerry has cast more than 6,000 recorded votes over his nearly 20-year Senate career. It's fair game for the Bush campaign to pick through those looking for votes that are contrary to Kerry's stated positions. But as this ad demonstrates, voters have reason to be skeptical of such exercises. Bush's claim that 98 of those 6,000 votes were to "raise taxes" is still misleading.

Make a bet they keep saying it anyway?