Please, Mr. Postman
More slimeball tactics by the Republicans. The following letter was sent to Democratic voters in Ohio. It is becoming abundantly clear that the only way that the Republicans feel that they can win is to pull a cheap stunt like this.
ADDENDUM by jodru
And let's not forget this doozy from Wisconsin.
Usama's a Michael Moore fan?!
In an absolutely bizarre twist, Usama has surprisingly opted out of the pre-election attack for a pre-election video, of all things. What's more bizarre than him eschewing what proved to be such a powerful tactic in Spain is that he subscribed to the most specious logical stretch of Moore's magnum opus, which holds that the 9/11 attacks were more injurious because of Bush's prolonged presence in a Florida classroom.
Though he says that neither Bush nor Kerry will make him stand down, he clearly has done better than Joe Lockhart could have ever hoped by spinning this election a full 180 degrees. In addition to being dispirited at the failure to catch Usama, Bush has to be dismayed that he's still alert and connected enough to drop a bombshell on the US media cycle with pitch-perfect timing. Just in time for the Sunday talk shows to parse every last implication of the tape and far enough ahead of the election to be disseminated to every last American with a TV, either through news reports or soon-to-be-minted attack ads, Usama's tape should be a resounding condemnation of Bush's utter incompetence in waging his "War on Terror".
The leaner, faster, more incompetent Army
Frontline's website is showing their superb report, "Rumsfeld's War", and is chock full of other assorted goodies, which will turn a reader's stomach. For the uninitiated, Wolfie's supposition that we shouldn't need any more troops for an occupation than we needed for an overthrow reads like a Swiftian proposal.
The full report goes live on Oct. 28 and is well worth watching.
Where have you gone, Adlai Stevenson?
The hole in Adlai's shoe used to be a symbol of an admirable doggedness on the campaign trail.
Oh, how times have changed.
There is probably no quicker way to alienate yourself from the people whose votes you are trying to win than by showing up at their house atop a $5,000 scooter.
Cold War Myth
One of the great enduring legends of the Cold War is that Ronald Reagan won it by outspending the Russians. Conservatives hold this myth as an article of faith, central to the canonization of Reagan. Cheney has taken to dusting it off to intimate that Kerry's votes against Star Wars and other gross expenditures in the 80's would have left the USSR in power.
The fact of the matter is that by the time Reagan started the arms race, the USSR was a paper tiger. Matter of fact the arms race helped prolong the illusion that the USSR was a superpower.
Republican Phone Sex
Bill O'Reilly isn't the only one doing it.
Flag-waving, Bible-thumping babes are waiting for you to help them spread freedom. Make a call today.
It's ruled an error!
U.S. Senator, and baseball hall of famer, Jim Bunning said yesterday that he was unaware of reports that a unit of Army Reserve soldiers in Iraq had refused an order to deliver fuel for reasons including that their trucks were lightly armored.
"Let me explain something: I don't watch the national news, and I don't read the paper. I haven't done that for the last six weeks. I watch Fox News to get my information."
Yes, that explains a lot!
It appears they didn't like what conservative columnist Ann Coulter had to say.
Two men ran on stage and threw custard pies at Coulter as she was giving a speech at the University of Arizona last night. Coulter was hit in the shoulder. The men were arrested by university police.
In her speech, Coulter trashed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, liberals and Democrats, while praising conservative students who attended her speech.
You can view the incident here.
Six blood relatives of President Bush who support John F. Kerry's bid for the presidency have launched a website to publicize their sharp disagreements with Bush's policies.
"Because blood is thicker than oil!"
"Bush Relatives for Kerry" grew out of a series of conversations that took place between a group of people that have two things in common: they are all related to George Walker Bush, and they are all voting for John Kerry. As the election approaches, they feel it is their responsibility to speak out about why they are voting for John Kerry, and to do their small part to help America heal from the sickness it has suffered since George Bush was appointed President in 2000.
"Please, don't vote for our cousin!"
The Prez done did get the kinfolk all riled up
Make No Concession
If the probable occurs, and we have another contested vote, there are two modern precedents which bear considering. In 2000, Al Gore took Nixon's prompt and conceded relatively quickly for fear of disrupting the fabric of the national life any further. Nixon was fond of saying that Eisenhower urged him to demand a recount but that he would not cause a constitutional crisis by contesting his loss in 1960. Turns out Eisenhower never urged the recount, but the logic behind the Nixon/Gore concessions remain the same: the country cannot withstand a contested presidential election.
In Gore's concession speech, he cited Douglas' remark to Lincoln, who had just beaten him in a presidential election, "Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism." Indeed it should, but which benefited more from the 1960/2000 concessions: partisanship or patriotism?
Hindsight clearly indicates the former was the beneficiary and that the latter suffered greatly. In three short years, Kennedy would be assassinated, a crisis which catalyzed the civil unrest of the 1960's. Moreover, Nixon would ascend to the Presidency only to cause an arguably greater crisis of leadership. It's awfully specious to suggest that Nixon's victory in 1960 would have prevented Watergate, but we can be certain that Jack Kennedy would not have died as he did.
More reasonably, if Al Gore had held on to his legal fight and won the election, there is no doubt that he would have not polarized the nation even further by pushing a conservative social agenda and a liberal economic one, and clearly, he would not have lead us into war in Iraq.
In the wakes of these two modern concessions, events would unfold that would test the limits of American patriotism. Clearly, the country will stand to gain much more in the long term with a prolonged contest of the election results than it will with another short-sighted concession, which is made more with an eye to fighting another day than with an ear to the public's needs, no matter how much lip service is paid to that notion.
Second term blues
You have to go back to Eisenhower in US history to find a president serving out his second term in relative peace. As soon as George Bush gets re-elected, he will face a scandal of some sort. The easy money is that there will be an all-out investigation into the case for war in Iraq, but there are so many different entry points into this administration for those who would seek to Watergate it.
Below is a handy reference of all the impediments to a graceful second term that have plagued our post-DDE presidents. This list is both a primer and a menu of available options for the coming Bushgate:
Kennedy - Assassination
Lydon Johnson - Public protests lead him to not seek a second term
Richard Nixon - Threat of impeachment lead him to resign
Gerald Ford - Lost election
Jimmy Carter - Lost election
Ronald Reagan* - Iran Contra
George Bush I - Lost Election
Bill Clinton* - Impeached on perjury in a civil lawsuit
*The only two presidents to actually serve consecutive terms in office were plagued by miserably prolonged investigations and controversies in their second term.
Stewart for President
Is there any doubt that John Stewart has become the voice of reason during this political season. Once again he tells it like it is. This time he rips the television show Crossfire a new one for displaying "partisan hackery."
Here are the Crossfire videos.
Here's the QuickTime version.
Kery the Catholic
John Kerry's best moment tonight was when he beat Bush to the Bible by paraphrasing James 2:14. When John Kennedy was running for President, he was asked if his allegiance would be first to his Pope or to the American people. The very question reflects the ingrained anti-Catholic sentiment in the country, and little has changed in the intervening 40 years. Kerry has wisely avoided the issue of his religion and the odd dance he, like millions of other Catholics, has had to do to remain in its good graces.
Tonight, he deftly managed not only to assert his Catholicism but to distance himself from it enough that he echoed Kennedy's answer to the question of his allegiance with considerably more grace. Kennedy simply said that he would never allow the Church to dictate his actions as President; whereas, Kerry managed to reach out to people of all faiths and assert that we all have work to do to "love our neighbours more".
Meanwhile, Bush, who is used to being the first to invoke his faith, stood silent, having to be prompted to discuss his faith by the moderator.
We named it Abu
Lynndie England, the Army reservist seen in some of the most notorious photos in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, has given birth to a baby fathered by another soldier charged in the case.
The 21-year-old England had the baby on Sunday at the post hospital at Fort Bragg, Col. Billy Buckner, an Army spokesman, said Wednesday.
More wacky behavior from those compassionate convervatives.
Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.
"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us. I grabbed some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assisatnt to get those from me," said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.
And it wasn't only in Las Vegas.
It's also happening in Oregon.
The Sinclair Group first made headlines this election cycle by blacking out Nightline on the 62 stations it owns across the US during the roll call of US casualties in Iraq. Now, they've upped their illegal partisanship even further by vowing to broadcast without commercials Stolen Honor, an unapologetically biased "documentary" about Kerry's service in Vietnam. By forcing its stations to run this documentary, the Sinclair Group is using the public airwaves for private, partisan goals, which is illegal.
Write your Representative and Senators or tune into Media Matters for America to see what you can do to stop this gross abuse.
57 Channels and nothing's on
In Kuwait, injured GI baffled by scenes of Iraq on television
A soldier on his way back to Baghdad after medical leave watched the Pentagon channel in a small air terminal in Kuwait last week.
“That doesn’t look like any patrols I’ve been on,” the injured soldier said, shaking his head.
Catch a Tiger by the Tail
Kerry's got to figure out a way to coordinate his contradictory positions that the war was a mistake that he can win, and the best way for him to do that is to expand on the argument that he's been making that he will be a better commander in chief in the war on "terra", as everyone in the western world seems to pronounce it.
In enlarging on that claim, he needs to explain that terrorist proliferation is a manifold problem, with manifold entry points. Diving into the fight with Islamic extremists via Iraq was a huge blunder, but we've got the tiger by the tail now. He should invoke D-Day, which could have been a disaster.
Bush has a great line of attack with the patronizing admonitions against defaming our allies. Kerry could craft a devastating parry if he were to hail their support, while assailing the US plan of attack. But instead of implying that the only reason to stay in Iraq is to clean up the mess we've made, Kerry needs to make clear that Iraq was an obscure entrance into the haunted house which is Islamic extremism. We're stuck in the hall of mirrors now because we chose the wrong door: Iraq.
He was Maculating!
There's something about W.
It feels like the first time we've met...
...but it also feels like things are going well in Iraq.
Cheney busted off the chestnut of the night with his avuncular admonition of Edwards for a seemingly lackluster Senate attendance record. The grand conclusion to his brief indictment was the rhetorical dagger, "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."
It would be great, really "you're no Jack Kennedy"-great, if that were true. But could it possibly be? Of course not. Let's go back to June 22, a day most of us remember for Cheney's infraction against Senate rules when he dropped an f-bomb on Pat Leahy during a photo shoot. That day also saw passage of Brownback's insidious "Defense of Decency Act" on a roll call vote for which Edwards was present.
Perhaps Cheney was too busy being a jackass that day to take a moment to introduce himself to Edwards. It's tough to take time out of a busy day of jackassery to meet 'n greet. Hell, Cheney couldn't even spare the time in his closing statement to thank John Edwards for his time. Perhaps he'd spent the entirety of his good will on thanking Gwen Ifill for hers.
Hussein and the Hessians
Paul Bremer's copping to the fact that we never had enough troops in Iraq, which lead us to the chaos of the present day.
Kerry's fond of saying that 90% of the costs and the casualties are American. Why isn't he harping on the fact that 25% of the costs go to mercenaries who do their job better than our trained armed forces? But as with all things in the private sector, better means cheaper and more efficiently, and in terms of security, that means more brutal methods. That brutality is seen as American, even if it is just some Soldier of Fortune asshole making a quick buck.
It's no wonder that terrorists are targetting kids and aid organizations now. The line between civilian and combatant has never been blurrier.
Bush's mojo is strong. There's no doubt about that. But it's true strength hasn't been quite apparent until he was able to turn one of his more obtuse moments into a strategic victory.
Everyone points to the moment where he countered with "of course I know that Osama bin Laden attacked us," as an indication of his intellect taking a beating, but that was more of his typical bowlegged gunslinging rhetoric than a recovery from a brain fart.
However, when Kerry used the word global in its secondary sense, which is something that is comprehensive or total, Bush was totally befuddled. Kerry clearly meant that pre-emptive action needs to meet certain all-encompassing standards. First, you've got to be able to prove to your countrymen that diplomacy has failed and the only recourse is to combat. Secondly, you've got to be able to demonstrate the legitimacy of your pre-emption to the world community.
Hitler couldn't do that in the Sudetenland. Hussein couldn't do that in Kuwait. The US could in Iraq, but that's beside the point.
Bush's rejoinder to Kerry's well-reasoned answer to the question of pre-emption was, "I don't know what he means by a global test?" And so, the dull incomprehension of our current President set into motion one of the most effective spin cycles of the election. So complete was the instant Nuspeak revisionism that the great arbiter of the language, Bill Safire himself, fell for it and embraces Kerry's "global" doctrine as gospel truth.
ADDENDUM by jodru
MA (Political Science), University of Notre Dame, 1975
PhD, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver, 1981
Professor of Political Science, Stanford University, 1981
National Security Advisor, 2000 - present
October 3, 2004
"I heard Senator Kerry say that there was some kind of 'global test' that you ought to be able to pass to support preemption, and I don't understand what that means." -- Condoleeza Rice.
Do you have to take stupid pills to work in this administration?
"Actually, he forgot Poland"
And with exquisite timing, Poland is about to exit Iraq. No sooner does GWBII offer up the home of the Pope and subpar vodka as an important partner in the grand coalition during his drubbing in the debate then the country decides it's probably going to get out of dodge before the end of 2005.
Hmmm, I wonder if you can be Commander in Chief and refer to the UK and the US as a "grand coalition of the willing"?
Short & sweet
Greg, over at The Talent Show broke down the debate into one simple mp3. This is all you need to hear.
Holy Chemical Weapons, Batman!
In the presidential battleground state of New Hampshire, the fight to influence voters in November now includes chemical weapons.
Angry after the rash of thefts of her John Kerry campaign signs, a local woman has turned to the plant world for a way to deter people from taking her signs: poison ivy.
Florida's new voting system
With all the trouble that Florida had with their voting system during the last Presidential election, they have decided to try a new way of voting. They are now imploying a touch screen and you can see the preview of the new system here.
Could Dubya Be That Naive?
In reference to Nasty's post on some of the misinformation Bush farted last night (09/30/2004), the bigger question is, does Bush actually think some of the facts and figures he spouts are accurate? It is difficult to believe he could get so many things wrong and yet be unaware of them.
ADDENDUM by jodru
Out of all the misstatements and exaggerations that the Kerrybush made on Thursday night, the most egregious were the three times that Bush cited the 100,000 trained Iraqi security personnel (adding that there would be 125,000 by year's end and 200,000 by the end of next year).
Dick Cheney has done the same thing. In answer to Ric's question, these guys absolutely know when they are lying. Their tactic is the same as any politician's: say something that's blatantly false. hope no one calls you on it. if caught, cite poor memory or mistaken intelligience.
It's a shame when someone wags their finger and gets his staff to back up his story that he didn't fuck an intern, but when we're talking about a situation where American lives and world stability are at stake, it's unforgivable.
Fact or Fiction?
Let's take a look at some of the points that our President made during last night's debate and see what exactly is fact or fiction.
“Of course, we're after Saddam Hussein — I mean, bin Laden. He's isolated. Seventy-five percent of his people have been brought to justice.” [Bush, First Presidential Debate, 9/30/04]
FACT: 19 of The Top 22 al Qaeda Operatives Remain at Large. “Efforts to ensnare the original list of Al Qaeda's most-wanted men are also going slowly. Of 22 top terrorists listed by America in October 2001, only three have been captured or killed…” [Economist, 8/14/04]
“We'll give you all the equipment you need, and we'll get you home as soon as the mission's done, because this is a vital mission.” [Bush, First Presidential Debate, 9/30/04]
FACT: Soldiers Lacked Armored Vehicles, Still Buying Their Own Equipment as Late as This Year. In late March 2004, the AP reported, “Soldiers headed for Iraq are still buying their own body armor - and in many cases, their families are buying it for them - despite assurances from the military that the gear will be in hand before they're in harm's way. The Portland Press Herald wrote that “In early March, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, questioned Acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee about the shortage of body armor and fortified Humvees for troops serving in Iraq. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said after a visit to Iraq in mid-June that U.S. forces still need better armored equipment. Of the 15,000 Humvees in Iraq, about 1,500 to 2,000 are armored, according to the Army.” [Associated Press, 3/26/04; Portland Press Herald, 7/2/04]
“If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade the world will drift toward tragedy.” [Bush, First Presidential Debate, 9/30/04]
FACT: Bush and Rumsfeld Send Mixed Messages In Winning the War on Terror.
Bush says we can’t win the war on terror: When asked ‘Can we win?’ the war on terror, Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it.” [New York Times, 8/31/04]
Rumsfeld doubts the U.S. has a long term plan to win the War on Terror. “With respect to global terrorism, the record since September 11th seems to be … We are having mixed results with Al Qaida… Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?.” [Internal DoD Memo, “Global War on Terrorism,” Rumsfeld, 10/16/03; Reprinted in USA Today, 10/22/03]
On funding for First Responders: “We are doing our duty to provide the funding.” [Bush, First Presidential Debate, 9/30/04]
FACT: Bush Has Cut Funding For First Responders. Bush Cuts Funding for State and Local Homeland Security Grants by $800 Million and training funding in half. Bush cut funding to the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness, which supplies a variety of first-responder grants to state and local governments, by $800 million, to $3.6 billion in 2005 from $4.4 billion in 2004. Bush cut state and local grant funding for first responder training, exercise, and technical assistance by nearly half, from $320 million in 2004 to $178 million in 2005. [Department of Homeland Security, 2005 Budget in Brief, www.dhs.gov; www.omb.gov]
“Well, actually, he forgot Poland.” [Bush, First Presidential Debate, 9/30/04]
FACT: Actually, Polish Troops Were Not Part Of The Initial Invasion Of Iraq. "Except for a few commandos, Polish troops were not part of the original ground invasion." [Washington Post, 10/1/04]
That's just a few. I could go on but it would take up too much space.
FACT: President Of Poland Says He Was Misled About WMD In Iraq. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski told a group of European reporters “But naturally I also feel uncomfortable due to the fact that we were misled with the information on weapons of mass destruction.” [CBS News.com, 3/18/04]
Video time for the little kiddies