Saturday, September 11, 2004
Is President George W Bush, who weaves a narrative about himself as a man of God, actually a charlatan? Is he really a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Is his faith a sham? Is he more bad boy than born again? More playboy than penitent?
This past month has seen John Kerry, Bush’s Democratic rival for the White House, take one almighty pasting from the Republican right wing over accusations that he exaggerated his military record in Vietnam. Kerry, a many times decorated navy Vietnam veteran, said the smear campaign was orchestrated by a Bush team desperate to divert attention from the woeful state of the US economy and the running sore of Iraq.
But this week it’s Bush’s turn to line up for a beating. But where Kerry has a single questionable question mark hanging over his past, Bush’s charge sheet for alleged wrongdoing has got it all – sex, drugs, cowardice, cruelty; his alleged failings and foibles are imperial in stature.
These are the issues being debated as a result of further revelations into the shrouded past of the President.
This lengthy article goes into considerable detail about Bush's many "youthful indiscretions", including AWOL and Kitty's cocaine story. It winds up with an interesting take on the close association between George W Bush and death. Por ejemplo, did you know that as governor of Texas between 1995 and 2000, Bush presided over more than 120 executions, meaning that he alone accounts for about a third of the executions in the entire USA during that period? And now look how many he's killed in Iraq! The man is on a roll, I tell you.
After Bush campaign bouncers handled the evictions, Secret Service agents, accompanied by Bush's personal aide, supervised the arrests and detention of the activists, and blocked the media from access to the hecklers.
The Bush campaign has made unprecedented efforts to control access to its events. People sometimes are required to sign oaths of support before attending events with Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney. At times, buses of demonstrators are diverted by police to idle in parking lots while supporters are waved in. And the Secret Service has played an unusual role; one agent cooperated with a plan by the Bush campaign last month to prevent former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., from handing a letter to the agent outside Bush's Texas ranch.
This is the America that Bush and his supporters apparently want. No traitors - and no freedom, enforced by the Secret Service. Welcome to Bushtopia.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Baseball and family picnics are about as American as motherhood, apple pie and a walk in the park. In short, they are all about family values. But this administration is about anything but family values. If it was about family values it would have introduced and passed tax cuts that targeted the poor and middle class and not the wealthy. It would have taken steps to protect our environment, instead of gutting environmental measures.
If it was about family values it would not have sent American troops to a foreign land to be killed in a senseless and needless war. The administration would not have dropped cluster bombs which harm and kill hundreds of innocent children who have no idea what they are playing with, nor have used enormous amounts of depleted uranium which kills and severely sickens both Iraqis and our own soldiers who are poisoned and contaminated from its use.
If this administration was about family values it would not be telling lie, after lie, after lie.
An impeachment motion has been introduced in Parliament against British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the lies he waged in order to take England into war. See: www.impeachblair.org.
Why hasn't this story been on the front pages of every paper, and been the lead news story on every news program, in America?
The liberal media must have slipped up.
It's the dishonesty, stupid. The real issue in the National Guard story isn't what George W. Bush did three decades ago. It's the recent pattern of lies: his assertions that he fulfilled his obligations when he obviously didn't, the White House's repeated claims that it had released all of the relevant documents when it hadn't.
It's the same pattern of dishonesty, this time involving personal matters that the public can easily understand, that some of us have long seen on policy issues, from global warming to the war in Iraq. On budget matters, which is where I came in, serious analysts now take administration dishonesty for granted.
It wasn't always that way. Three years ago, those of us who accused the administration of cooking the budget books were ourselves accused, by moderates as well as by Bush loyalists, of being "shrill." These days the coalition of the shrill has widened to include almost every independent budget expert.
Sounding definitely shrill, Mr. Bartlett says that "anyone who thinks we can overcome our fiscal mess without higher taxes is in denial." Far from backing down on his tax cuts, however, Mr. Bush is proposing to push the budget much deeper into the red with privatization programs that purport to offer something for nothing.
In Uncovered: The War on Iraq, director Robert Greenwald calmly, rationally and somewhat irrefutably lays out the reasons, misconceptions and manipulations that led America to war in Iraq. Any person voting in this year’s presidential election owes it to America’s future to see this film.
Leaving wild-eyed conjecture, cheap wisecracks and emotional theatrics behind, Greenwald ends up with a movie that’s better and far more convincing than Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” He knows there’s nothing funny in all of this. And as a result, his movie is also far more depressing and terrifying than Moore’s circus of a film.
Using scant narration, a large library of news clips and an army of experts — virtually all of whom are former high-ranking government officials, some right from the Bush administration, and longtime CIA intelligence specialists — Greenwald offers a cleanly analyzed accounting of both the rationales leading up to the war and its potential results.
He presents the administration’s case — a constant barrage of impending-doom speeches that promised Saddam Hussein held vast arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons — and lets the experts dismantle all the supposed evidence that was presented. He does not lean on the September 11 attacks, since all his experts agree they were merely used as an excuse to invade Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Instead, he focuses on this war and the neoconservative movement that the film says has transformed America’s world image for the worse.
A film that should be seen. Amazon has the DVD for $9.95.
The assault was most noted by Cheney's televised assertion back then that Iraq is part of the "continuing operation on the war on terror." Cheney said victory in Iraq "will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."
The assault is still working. Despite the findings of the 9/11 Commission and a general decline in support for the war, the percentage of Americans who still believe that Saddam was involved in Sept. 11 or provided aid to Al Qaeda remains significant. In a Newsweek poll last week, 42 percent of Americans still think Saddam was "directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks." Only 44 percent say he was not directly involved, and 14 percent remain unsure. That is virtually unchanged from a June New York Times/CBS poll that found 41 percent of Americans still thought Saddam was tied to 9/11.
Despite the facts, America remains roughly split over whether the war was just, which Bush hopes will be just enough in November. All his reasons for invading Iraq are dead. The 1,000th soldier is dead. The downed cables of Iraq sizzle in the street. The Bush presidency hangs on whether he can keep Saddam a live wire, avoiding the fatal shock of truth.
If Bush remains in office, it will be primarily due to the ignorance of his subjects.
When Vice President Cheney said Tuesday that voters would increase the chances of another terrorist attack on America if they vote for John Kerry, he crossed what should be an impermeable line separating democratic decency from the sort of demagoguery that disfigures politics in places like Belarus, Burma, or Iran.
Cheney said of the voters' choice in the coming presidential election: "If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States." This assertion was not only false and defamatory; it was irrational.
The logic of Cheney's remark is that every American who votes for Kerry will be exposing every other American to another Sept. 11 or something even worse.
Yet Cheney himself told Fox News in May 2002, "I think that the prospects of a future attack on the US are almost a certainty." Now he pretends to know that another terrorist atrocity would be more likely in a Kerry administration than in a second Bush term. Cheney is also pretending that Kerry voters will be responsible for inviting any such attack. This flight from reason suggests an effort to make the public forget the failure of the Bush administration before Sept. 11 to heed repeated warnings of Al Qaeda's intention to attack the US homeland.
More than one, I'd say.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
President Bush said on Wednesday that he wanted to give a new national intelligence director "full budgetary authority," a sharp shift from an earlier position and an acquiescence to a major recommendation of the Sept. 11 commission.
Mr. Bush was acting after weeks of intense election-year pressure from Democrats and members of his own party, who have repeatedly told the White House that an intelligence director without budget authority would be powerless to push through significant reform. Mr. Bush also said he would submit his own proposal to Congress to overhaul the nation's intelligence agencies.
"The pattern is pretty clear that the president stakes out positions and holds them as long as it is politically tenable," Mr. Beers said. "And when it becomes politically untenable, he puts forward partial measures in order to appear to be a proponent and to co-opt the issue. And then he slow-rolls to avoid doing anything serious to follow up."
I'm intrigued by this latest "sharp shift from an earlier position", one of many Mr. Bush has experienced throughout his term. Are these "sharp shifts" somehow different from the "flip-flopping" and indecision the administration accuses Mr. Kerry of?
I would like to thank President Bush for his recent comments on the war on terror. It is not often that I have the opportunity to share a similar viewpoint with our commander in chief.
In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, the president was asked whether the United States could win the war against terrorism, given that is the central focus of his campaign.
"I don't think that you can win it," Mr. Bush replied. "But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."
This is a slight departure from the president's July 14 comments when he stated, "I have a clear vision and a strategy to win the war on terror."
By the end of the Republican convention, he was again saying we can win the war.
It almost seems too obvious to mention, but this sure sounds like a flip-flop to me. In fact, given that the war is the president's raison d'etre, this would be tantamount to the big kahuna of flip-flops.
Good grief, another "sharp shift"! When will it end?
That rat-tat-tat-tat you hear is the sound of the lethal weapons President George W. Bush is about to hand over to drug dealers, street gangs - even terrorists.
No such fusillade marks Bush's flip-flop on his 2000 campaign pledge to extend the 1994 ban on assault weapons. The Bush political operation has an efficient muzzle: the sound of presidential silence.
The candidate of compassionate conservatism needed distance from his lifelong friends in the gun lobby. This was to counter the National Rifle Association's boast that, if Bush were elected, it would operate out of the Oval Office. The easy political antidote was for candidate Bush to endorse the 1994 ban and vow to extend it when it expires. That happens on Monday.
The ban was enacted as the nation recoiled from the spraying of school yards with rapid-fire bursts from weapons designed for the military.
The calendar as set by the Republicans in charge calls for the House to debate spending bills this week. Then on to constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage and flag burning, and possibly a debate about keeping the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. At some point, the House may take up intelligence reform.
At least they have their priorities straight. And is this another "sharp shift from an earlier position" by the president?
The terrible beauty of its simplicity grows on you. It is a sign of the dark, macho, paranoid vice president's restraint that he didn't really take it to its emotionally satisfying conclusion: Message: Vote for us or we'll kill you.
Without Zell Miller around to out-crazy him, and unplugged after a convention that tried to "humanize'' him with grandchildren, horses and wifely anecdotes about his inability to dance the twist, Mr. Cheney is back as Terrifier in Chief.
He finally simply spit out what the Bush team has been more subtly trying to convey for months: A vote for John Kerry is a vote for the terrorists.
The vice president and president did not even mention Osama at the convention because of the inconvenient fact that the fiend is still out there, plotting. Yet they denigrate Mr. Kerry as too weak to battle Osama, and treat him as a greater threat.
Mr. Cheney implies that John Kerry couldn't protect us from an attack like 9/11, blithely ignoring the fact that he and President Bush didn't protect us from the real 9/11. Think of what brass-knuckled Republicans could have made of a 9/11 tape of an uncertain Democratic president giving a shaky statement that looked like a hostage tape and flying randomly from air base to air base, as the veep ordered that planes be shot down.
Mr. Cheney warns against falling back "into the pre-9/11 mind-set," when, in fact, the Bush team's pre-9/11 mind-set was all about being stuck in the cold war and reviving "Star Wars" - which doesn't work and is useless against terrorist tactics. The Bush crowd played down terrorism because Bill Clinton and Sandy Berger had told their successors that Osama was a priority, and the Bushies scorned all things Clinton. The president shrugged off intelligence briefings with such headlines as "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" because there was brush to be cleared and unaffordable tax-cutting to be done.
The combination of dishonesty and incompetence is certainly unattractive. It's hard to name a figure in American politics more malevolent than Vice President Dick. He comes across as a black-hearted, soulless monster. I guess that's the way the right wing likes 'em. You know, strong and wrong.
If the Bush campaign has its way, the 2004 presidential election will be decided by fear.
Strategically speaking, the approach is brilliant. Fear blinds people. It can cause intelligent, thoughtful individuals to turn off their brains and revert to instinct, and that instinct tells them to seek a strong leader who can protect them. When no such leader exists, sufficiently frightened people will even invent one, projecting an imaginary strength onto figures who are in reality mediocre.
And unfortunately, this administration is all too adept at provoking fear. Two years ago, by warning that mushroom clouds might soon rise over American cities and that Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicles might spread smallpox over our neighborhoods, they frightened this nation into a misbegotten and mismanaged invasion of Iraq that has so far cost the lives of more than 1,000 of our finest men and women, and in the process has made us significantly less secure.
Now they're at it again. As Vice President Dick Cheney put it Tuesday, "it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."
Vote for us or die.
The claim is particularly charming given the testimony by ex-CIA Director George Tenet that in the late summer and early fall of 2001, "the system was blinking red" with intelligence signs warning of an impending terror attack by Osama bin Laden. Yet the administration that now sells itself as our only salvation against the bloodthirsty hordes did nothing. President Bush didn't even interrupt his vacation.
Well, who wouldn't want to stay at a hot, dusty, Texas ranch in the middle of August?
As you know, 60 Minutes is running a segment tonight [September 8] that features Ben Barnes explaining how he pulled strings to get George Bush into the National Guard in 1968. But the segment also features something else: new documents from the personal files of Col. Jerry Killian, Bush's squadron commander. According to CBS News, here's a summary of the four new documents they've uncovered:
[Washington Monthly, 9/8/04]
[Also check out this Smoking Gun Update by the same author.]
In her book The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, [Kitty] Kelley claims that the blond beauty told her: "[George W.] Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was President, and not just once, either."
Sharon, who was married to President Bush's brother Neil for 24 years and is the mother of model Lauren Bush, released a statement through her lawyer, David Berg:
"I categorically deny that I ever told Kitty Kelley that George W. Bush used cocaine at Camp David - or that I ever saw him use cocaine at Camp David. The one time I met in person with Kitty Kelley, she mentioned drug use at Camp David. I responded by saying something along the lines of, 'Who would say such a thing?'"
"We met at the Chelsea Bistro on April 1, 2003," says our insider. "It was a very long lunch. Sharon was talking about affairs in the Bush family ... [that they are] very dysfunctional. She said they talk about family values, but they don't practice what they preach."
"Then Kitty raised the drug issue," our source continues. "Kitty, who can make a rock talk, said: 'I know about the drugs. I know that W did drugs at Camp David during his father's presidency.'
"Sharon agreed. She said, 'Absolutely. That's all true.'"
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
One sees buttons that read, "At least Clinton's lies didn't kill anyone." Harsh words. Yet the Iraq war is the result of deceptions in which the president and his administration have indulged and indeed continue to indulge. Planned before the attack on the World Trade Center, it is not part of the so-called war on terror. Iraq was not involved in the attack and was not seriously linked with al-Qaida. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There is little hope of a peaceful and democratic Iraq. The Iraqis hate us (as the Gallup Polls there indicate). There will not be a shift of the balance of power in the Middle East. The ouster of Saddam Hussein might cost eventually thousands of American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.
Some defenders of the president argue that he did not deliberately deceive the American people. Yet he and the vice president and the neo-con intellectuals continue to repeat the falsehoods, modifying them ever so slightly so they will enjoy some superficial plausibility: We may still find the weapons of mass destruction, there were some "connections" between Iraq and al-Qaida.
If you tell a big enough lie and tell it often enough, some people will believe you. Never admit your mistakes, never assume responsibility for the consequences of these mistakes. Keep repeating the same old deceptions - often with a show of anger - and enough people will believe you to re-elect you. The war proves that you are a strong leader, a man who can make the tough decisions, a man not greatly concerned about "sensitivity."
If ever there were high crimes and misdemeanors, the lies about the war in Iraq fit that category. We are an odd people. We impeach a president because he lied about his private sex life, which killed no one and harmed no one beyond his family. Yet we support and may well re-elect a "strong" president whose lies are responsible for so many flag-draped caskets, so many poignant obituaries, and so much grief. How many women are sobbing in church these days because of Bush's lies?
The BBC and other media sources are putting it about that Russian TV played down the Beslan [school] crisis, while only western channels reported live, the implication being that Putin's Russia remains a highly controlled police state. But this view of the Russian media is precisely the opposite of the impression I gained while watching both CNN and Russian TV over the past week: the Russian channels had far better information and images from Beslan than their western competitors.
This harshness towards Putin is perhaps explained by the fact that, in the US, the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically support the "war on terror".
They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be "a cakewalk"; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush's plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.
Oops! Sounds like the neocons are on the wrong side of this one.
I'll be the first to admit that the electorate baffles me a great deal of the time. Take for example the widely held belief that George W. Bush is a Christian and John Kerry isn't. I am thoroughly flummoxed as to how anyone, having seen G.W. up close and personal for over four years now, could even suggest such a proposition.
Not only do millions of voters and potential voters suggest Bush is a Christian, and infinitely more so than John Kerry, but it is an unshakeable bedrock belief. Having closely watched Bush's method of operation, I have to say that he talks a good game to the Christian right, and more importantly to a sizable and mostly silent group of moderates, to whom a constant theme of "moral certitude" seems quite appealing.
Would Christ allow corporations to wantonly pollute the earth, causing us to become sick from the air we breathe and the water we drink? Would he roll back hundreds of environmental laws and standards, which only benefit corporations, at the great expense to the rest of the country?
So tell me, please tell me just WHAT is so Christ-like about George Bush? What is it about him, in the face of all he has done, (let's not forget the record number of Texas inmates who were put to death while he was governor) that would allow you to feel comfortable in saying that he is such a man of faith?
Looking back for a moment, we are reminded that it was George Bush who was a hell raiser. Not John Kerry. George Bush partied and chased women till he was forty years old, and supposedly became a Christian when the family intervened and Billy Graham "saved" him. Anyone can say they are "born again." Anyone can say that they've had an epiphany. Most people say if you are going to talk the talk, then you must walk the walk. That is a saying that does not apply to George W. Bush.
Like the saying "Honesty is the best policy", or "Thou shalt not lie". No earthly rules can possibly be applied to the Anointed - or is he just the Appointed?
[Be sure to check out Joe Fields' blog.]
The ad could renew questions about Bush's Vietnam-era service in the National Guard, just as ads by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth renewed debate over Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's service in Vietnam and his anti-war efforts.
Since the 2000 campaign, Bush has been dogged by questions about whether he reported for duty throughout his Guard service. He served as a pilot with the Texas Air National Guard and sought a transfer to Alabama in 1972 so he could work on a political campaign there. But some records that could document his service in Alabama are missing.
"I said, 'Really? That was my unit. And I don't remember seeing you there,'" Mintz says. "So I called my friends and said, 'Did you know that George Bush served in our unit?' And everyone said, 'No, I never saw him there.' It would be impossible to be unseen in a unit of that size."
Well, he is sort of small. Maybe everyone just overlooked him.
Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence that might have linked Saudi Arabia to the Sept. 11 hijackers.
Mr. Graham made the accusation in a new book and repeated it at a news conference Tuesday arranged by Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign. Republicans called the accusations "bizarre conspiracy theories," and the Saudis said they were unsubstantiated and reckless.
The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.
In his book Intelligence Matters, Mr. Graham, the co-chairman of the Congressional inquiry with Representative Porter J. Goss, Republican of Florida, said an F.B.I. official wrote them in November 2002 and said "the administration would not sanction a staff interview with the source." On Tuesday, Mr. Graham called the letter "a smoking gun" and said, "The reason for this cover-up goes right to the White House."
The report added to suspicions about a Saudi role in the hijacking plot.
If I recall correctly, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi and none were Iraqi, but we took revenge by attacking Iraq. The 9/11 attacks were planned by Osama bin Laden, but we took revenge by deposing Saddam Hussein. Honestly - if our country were a person, that person would be declared mentally incompetent and institutionalized.
President Bush claims that in the fall of 1972, he fulfilled his Air National Guard duties at a base in Alabama. But Bob Mintz was there - and he is sure Mr. Bush wasn't.
Plenty of other officers have said they also don't recall that Mr. Bush ever showed up for drills at the base. What's different about Mr. Mintz is that he remembers actively looking for Mr. Bush and never finding him.
Mr. Mintz says he had heard that Mr. Bush - described as a young Texas pilot with political influence - had transferred to the base. He heard that Mr. Bush was also a bachelor, so he was looking forward to partying together. He's confident that he'd remember if Mr. Bush had shown up.
"I'm sure I would have seen him," Mr. Mintz said yesterday. "It's a small unit, and you couldn't go in or out without being seen. It was too close a space." There were only 25 to 30 pilots there, and Mr. Bush - a U.N. ambassador's son who had dated Tricia Nixon - would have been particularly memorable.
Does this disqualify Mr. Bush from being commander in chief? No.
Gee, I was with you right up till that last word. By the way, what would have happened to an enlistee who behaved the way Bush did but was not the son of a rich, powerful politician? Just asking.
In his book The Price of Loyalty, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill recounts a troubling conversation back in 2002 with his good friend Dick Cheney. When O'Neill warned the vice president that the federal budget deficit was growing so large that it threatened the nation's long-term economic health, Cheney curtly dismissed the issue as unimportant.
"Reagan proved deficits don't matter," Cheney said, leaving O'Neill, a traditional conservative Republican and former CEO of Alcoa, too dumbfounded even to respond. A month later, Cheney fired O'Neill from the Cabinet.
In their public statements, of course, top Bush administration officials have continued to mouth the traditional platitudes about the importance of fiscal responsibility, as if there had been no change in Republican philosophy from the days not so long ago when the party was pushing a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. But the gap between their rhetoric and their record is discouraging.
Having inherited a budget in surplus, the Bush administration has quickly produced a series of record-breaking deficits that promise to stretch out into the future as far as the eye can see. Just this week, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that when the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30, the federal government will have spent an astonishing $422 billion more in 2004 than it took in.
Sure sounds irresponsible to me. But then, I'm not a Republican.
There's more work to be done in education, and I'm looking forward to continuing to lead the country in that direction. Let me talk to some of the folks with us. Perhaps they'll help me make our points that I'm trying to make today. One of the things I love about our society is people own things, an ownership society. (Applause.) You know, we want more people owning their own home. Do you realize the home ownership rate is at an all-time high during my administration? (Applause.) I think it's an incredibly hopeful statistic. I like to put it this way. More and more people are opening up the door in the places in which they live and say, welcome to my home; welcome to my piece of property. (Applause.)
[White House website, 9/7/04]
Assuming Bush is referring to the number of people who own homes, that rate has gone up every year since they started measuring it in the 60's. So his claim is kind of like boasting that 2004, the very highest numbered year in history, occurred while he was president.
It seems so strange to me that she just so happened to kill her boyfriend - who was in a different car, coming down a different road when she plowed into him in the intersection.
Maybe the speculation that something more happened is trash... or maybe not... I found no substantial sources that have done an investigation of this, which is strange.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack.
The Kerry-Edwards campaign immediately rejected those comments as "scare tactics" that crossed the line.
"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.
If Kerry were elected, Cheney said, the nation risks falling back into a "pre-9/11 mind-set" that terrorist attacks are criminal acts that require a reactive approach.
This from the man whose pre-9/11 "terrorism task force" never got around to actually meeting. And from the administration that has warned us of impending terrorist attacks on Thanksgiving, on Christmas, on New Year's Eve, at Reagan's funeral, at the Olympics, at the Democratic convention, at the Republican convention, and now sometime before (or after) the Election. And they tell us we're "safer" with them in office.
1972 Year that Bush walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas National Guard, Nearly two years before his six-year obligation was up.
$3,500 Reward a group of veterans offered in 2000 for anyone who could confirm Bush's Alabama guard service.
600-700 Number of guardsmen who were in Bush's unit during that period.
0 Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush's guard service.
0 Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the assistant Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and the White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, the main proponents of the war in Iraq, served in combat (combined).
0 Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq.
200 Number of regulation rollbacks downgrading or weakening environmental laws in Bush's first three years in office.
31 Number of Bush administration appointees who are alumni of the energy industry (includes four cabinet secretaries, the six most powerful White House officials, and more than 20 other high-level appointees).
50 Approximate number of policy changes and regulation rollbacks injurious to the environment that have been announced by the Bush administration on Fridays after 5pm, a time that makes it all but impossible for news organisations to relay the information to the widest possible audience.
50 Percentage decline in Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions against polluters under Bush's watch.
34 Percentage decline in criminal penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.
50 Percentage decline in civil penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.
0 Number of times Bush mentioned global warming, clean air, clean water, pollution or the environment in his 2004 State of the Union speech. His father was the last president to go through an entire State of the Union address without mentioning the environment.
This article is filled with information like this. It's a must-read.
Bush is touted by his publicists as a leader who stands by his decisions, but in fact (according to the columnist Arianna Huffington at ariannaonline.com), he has "flip-flopped more frequently than a blind gymnast with an inner-ear infection."
Huffington lists examples. A few: Capturing Osama bin Laden went from "our number one priority" to "it's not that important"; he opposed a Department of Homeland Security, then supported it; he opposed a 9/11 commission, then supported it; he declared gay rights an issue for the states; then pushed for a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
And so on. Some of my favorites: In 2000, he was opposed to the kind of "nation building" we're doing today in Iraq. He opposes drug use, yet in Afghanistan we protect the world's largest opium poppy crop. His tax cut to the rich was first a way of "paying back" those who had overpaid, later a tool to fight recession. He came into office determined to protect us from terrorists or rogue nations by pursing Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" defense plan, later he forgot the idea.
Flip and flop.
And these are the people accusing John Kerry of being inconsistent.
I'm a veteran. I'll bet the Pentagon can find my records.
I actively opposed the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq and I deeply resent the suggestion that my opposition to these wrong-headed and costly military adventures makes me somehow "un-American."
It is my duty as an American to participate in the affairs of my nation. That's what America is about - it's called "democracy."
I'm appalled that the President - especially this President with his (shall we say, "curiously distinguished") military record - could allow his minions to question my patriotism and viciously impugn the honor of the Democratic nominee. Bush's own Department of Defense stands by John Kerry's decorations: end of story.
I respect the common sense of the old saw about changing horses in mid-stream. Still, if the one you're riding is going to get you drowned, you've got to do it.
Christians in the United States should stop fighting one another about issues of sexuality so that we can focus on the deepest moral crisis of our time: our responsibility for the destruction our nation has inflicted upon the people of Iraq.
Ignoring traditional "just war" criteria, the United States launched a pre-emptive war on Iraq that has killed at least 10,000 Iraqi civilians, more than three times the number of people killed in the tragic 9-11 attacks. Additionally, more than 900 American soldiers have died in Iraq. Thousands more have been wounded and maimed on both sides of the conflict.
The justifications proposed by the president and other leaders have proven false: no weapons of mass destruction, no involvement by Iraq in the 9-11 attacks or in sponsoring al-Qaida. The systematic torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners of war in Abu Ghraib prison is merely one painful symptom of the reckless manner in which our country has acted.
Remarkably, most churches in this country have turned a blind eye to these terrible facts or have remained silent. Instead, it seems all we can do is squabble about sex.
The recent general conference of my own denomination, the United Methodist Church, spent many hours debating the "sexy" issues of gay ordination and same-sex marriage, but it found only a few minutes to pass a resolution calling cautiously for an investigation of abuses of Iraqi prisoners. The larger ethical question of first-strike invasion was never raised at all.
It would be a real relief to find religious people getting all worked up about any subject unrelated to sex. Just to show they can do it.
Monday, September 06, 2004
General Colin Powell is missing in action. At the Republican convention in 2000 he led from the front, opening a line up that could have been set up by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow coalition. Of the three co-chairs in 2000 one was black and another Hispanic; national security adviser Condoleezza Rice kicked off prime-time coverage one night while Chaka Khan serenaded George Bush.
"Make no mistake about it," said a Republican strategist at the time. "Bush is personally obsessed with diversity." That obsession, even at this cosmetic level, seems to have long passed.
Powell, the secretary of state, was absent last week - not just from the podium but from the entire convention. The White House says his absence was a matter of "custom and tradition" that prevents the national security team from attending. This must have been news to Bush's father, who had secretary of state James Baker at his side at the 1992 convention. Powell did not come either because, given his misgivings on the war, the party did not want him there or because, given his misgivings about the party, he did not want to be there.
Either way, this year the most prominent black speaker was the education secretary, Rod Paige - whose low public profile only a Google search could save from oblivion. And it was downhill from there. After Paige came the lieutenant governor of Maryland and finally Erika Harold, last year's Miss America.
Now Bush is closing the deal. His policies and platform will ensure all but the most negligible support from African-Americans, and transforming the Republicans into a monoracial party in one of the world's most multi-racial nations.
Looks like the "party of Lincoln" will be on the flip side for Civil War II. And since so many Republicans are white, and religious, and obsessed with "social issues" relating to sex, pregnancy, and childbirth, why don't they just rename the GOP, calling it the White Christian Reproduction party? Then at least it would be clear where they stand.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Card's remark, criticized later by Democrat John F. Kerry's campaign as "condescending," came in a speech to Republican delegates from Maine and Massachusetts that was threaded with references to Bush's role as protector of the country. Republicans have sounded that theme repeatedly at the GOP convention as they discuss the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq.
"It struck me as I was speaking to people in Bangor, Maine, that this president sees America as we think about a 10-year-old child," Card said. "I know as a parent I would sacrifice all for my children."
The comment underscored an argument put forth some by political pundits, such as MSNBC talk-show host Chris Matthews, that the Republican Party has cast itself as the "daddy party."
A Kerry spokesman, seizing on Card's characterization of Bush as a parental figure for the nation, contended that the president had failed.
"Any parent that ran a household the way George W. Bush runs the country would find themselves in bankruptcy court on the way to family court," said Phil Singer, a Kerry spokesman.
The funny thing is, I tend to think of Bush as a 10-year-old child.
Documents that should have been written to explain gaps in President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service are missing from the military records released about his service in 1972 and 1973, according to regulations and outside experts.
For example, Air National Guard regulations at the time required commanders to write an investigative report for the Air Force when Bush missed his annual medical exam in 1972. The regulations also required commanders to confirm in writing that Bush received counseling after missing five months of drills.
No such records have been made public and the government told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that it has released all records it can find.
Outside experts suggest that National Guard commanders may not have produced documentation required by their own regulations.
"It's sort of like a code of honor that you didn't go DNF (duty not including flying)," said retired Air Force Col. Leonard Walls, who flew 181 combat missions over Vietnam. "There was a lot of pride in keeping combat-ready status."